This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – May 26, 2021

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Myanmar’s Army used telecom sector to spy on citizens
  • Trump officials used secret terrorism unit to question lawyers at the border
  • Tahanie Aboushi running to transform the nation’s most powerful DA office

• Months before the Feb. 1st military coup in Myanmar, telecom and Internet service providers installed $4 million worth of intercept spyware that allowed the Army to eavesdrop on its critics’ communications. According to a Reuters investigation, the spyware was put in place before the civilian government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy, was overthrown. The  decision was undertaken by former Army officers in the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

(“How Myanmar’s Army Moved In on the Telecom Sector To Spy on Citizens,” Reuters, May 20, 2021)

• ProPublica reports that the Trump administration used the secretive Tactical Terrorism Response Team inside Customs and Border Enforcement to intimidate lawyers, journalists and political activists along the U.S.-Mexican border. Documents revealing the operation were published by the Santa Fe Dreamers Project, a public interest law firm where Ruiz works. ACLU attorney Mohammed Tajsar maintained that “the whole thing is COINTELPRO for dummies,” referring to the 1960s government domestic spying program.

• Among the progressives running in the primary for Manhattan District Attorney is a Palestinian American lawyer who wears a hijab. Thirty-five-year-old civil rights litigator Tahanie Aboushi successfully sued the New York City Department of Education for failing to protect vulnerable children and currently represents 21-year-old activist Dounya Zayer, who was violently attacked by a NYPD officer during a Black Lives Matter protest last summer in Brooklyn.

(“Meet the Woman Who Would Transform the Nation’s Most Powerful DA’s Office,” The Nation, May 18, 2021; “Who Will Replace Cy Vance As Manhattan District Attorney?” New York Magazine, May 19, 2021)

This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo.

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