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American Alliance for Automotive Corporate Social Responsibility (AAACSR) report: The People v. The People’s Car

The People v. The People’s Car: How Volkswagen’s Corporate Culture is Primed to Deceive

As part of its #DefeatTheVice campaign, the American Alliance for Automotive Corporate Social Responsibility (AAACSR) announces the publication of a report analysis: The People v. The People’s Car: How Volkswagen’s Corporate Culture is Primed to Deceive. Download here for free.

Earlier this year, the U.S. government “formally labeled the Chinese government’s policies targeting ethnic Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in the northwest region of Xinjiang as ‘genocide,’” constituting serious crimes against humanity.

“Malfeasance at Volkswagen in the 21st century did not begin with the so-called ‘dieselgate’ scandal in 2015 but is perhaps what the company is best known for state-side,” reads the report.​​​​​​​

Changchun FAW-Volkswagen worker representative Ai Zhenyu was detained by Chinese police in 2017 for organizing for equal pay. Following his release from police custody, Ai told the China Labour Bulletin: “Volkswagen and Audi have been exposed for their discriminatory practices against Chinese agency workers, they’ve totally disregarded the human rights of Chinese workers.”

AAACSR serves as a watchdog to ensure that global automotive makers competing for American consumer demands are following the highest standards in the following core areas: the environment and clean air, supply chain sustainability and fairness, health and safety, labor and human rights, diversity and inclusion, and the protection of American consumers and the economy.

AAACSR calls on the public to join our #DefeatTheVice campaign in bringing awareness and ensuring up-to-date corporate social responsibility policies and standards among the global automotive industry in the U.S., including Volkswagen.

Special thanks to Amanda Rivkin

Invisible Institute: Chicago Police Torture Archive


On Monday, February 15th at 6:30pm, join the Invisible Institute, Chicago Torture Justice Center, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, and the Pozen Center for Human Rights to honor the history and struggle of survivors and their families, and commemorate the launch of the Chicago Police Torture Archive.



Darrell Cannon, a survivor of torture which included beating with a flashlight, Russian roulette, hanging by handcuffs on his wrists, a cattle prod to his testicles and penis, a shotgun pumped in his mouth, all while being verbally abused and repeatedly called the n-word in an abandoned area of the South Side in November of 1983, sits at Leona’s restaurant in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois on June 26, 2016. Cannon spent 24 years wrongly incarcerated for the crime he confessed to after all the torture was committed against him, an act he calls “the most sadistic thing anyone has done to me in my whole life,” based solely on the confession as there were no witnesses or nor evidence to support the confession.

“The Chicago Police Torture Archive is a human rights documentation of former Commander Jon Burge’s violence against more than 100 Black men, from the 1970s-1990s. The journalistic centerpiece of this site are the profiles of police torture survivors, most of whom were represented by the People’s Law Office of Chicago.

“The People’s Law Office (PLO), which had worked alongside activists and in the courts to hold the City to account, donated its files to the Pozen Center for Human Rights at the University of Chicago in 2017. Pozen, in turn, asked the Invisible Institute to digitize, curate, and publish the legal archive. Our goal is to make these digitized records accessible to the public and to complement the ecosystem of historicizing survivors’ stories of police torture in Chicago.

“The site includes over 35 profiles of survivors, along with documents collected by PLO of the trials, interrogations, evidence, and other court proceedings. The history and resources sections include writing from organizers, journalists, and attorneys who were centrally involved in the four-decades long struggle. The police data section connects the history of Burge accomplices within the Chicago Police Department to allegations of police misconduct beyond the torture cases.

“Many thanks to PLO, Pozen Center, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, Chicago Torture Justice Center, John Conroy, and the survivors who shared their stories with us and the public. We wish to serve as a resource to journalists, educators, historians, students, activists, legal advocates, and the survivors of torture still fighting their cases and seeking reparations from behind bars.”

Atlantic Council: 360/StratCom 2020

Atlantic Council DFRLab

“360/StratCom is DFRLab’s annual, premier government-to-government forum focused on working with allies and partners to align free and open societies in an era of contested information.”

“As democracies counter and build resilience against disinformation, malign state and non-state actors continue to develop new tools to spread false narratives and manipulate civil discourse. Both the COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming elections in the United States – among other global events – have increased public awareness to the threat of mis- and disinformation. The DFRLab has been at the forefront of raising critical social debates about the role of government, the private sector, and civilians in monitoring and securing the information environment both on and offline.  

360/StratCom is the premier government-to-government forum focused on working with allies and partners to align free and open societies in an era of contested information. We find ourselves in a global competition for information and influence, and we face a rapidly evolving threat landscape, from war zones to our living rooms. Democracies must build resilience and work together against the proliferation of online influence operations around the world, as well as disinformation that recognizes no borders, spreading faster than facts. The accountability and security on which democracy depends hang in the balance.   

“On December 7-8, 360/StratCom provided a forum for experts to learn best practices, share innovations, and engage with a truly global policy community to report and mitigate disinformation. Over the course of two days, the DFRLab hosted a series of virtual private roundtables, workshops, and trainings with allied countries’ government officials to foster global collaboration aimed at defending civil society and democratic institutions from the malign actors who seeks to undermine stability in the digital age. 

“This video is a reflection by many of the annual event’s esteemed speakers from around the globe. The DFRLab’s goal is to provide a forum for experts to learn best practices, share innovations, and engage with a truly global policy community to report and mitigate disinformation.”

Burge Victims Speak: Exhibit Discussion

Saturday January 19, 2019 at 1pm

Harold Washington Library, 7th Floor Chicago Authors’ Room

Hear photographer Amanda Rivkin, Chicago attorney Flint Taylor and survivor Darrell Cannon discuss the history, investigation, resolution and impact of torture by Chicago police commander Jon Burge and his “midnight crew.”

This event is in conjunction with the Burge Victims Speak exhibit at Harold Washington Library Center.

The talk will be accompanied by a presentation of Rivkin’s portraits.


More info.

Burge Victims Speak Exhibit at Harold Washington Library Center


Chicago Public Library

November 15, 2018


The exhibit Burge Victims Speak photographs + audio by Amanda Rivkin features 17 photographic portraits and audio accounts of men who survived torture by Chicago police commander Jon Burge and his “midnight crew” between 1972 and 1993. The exhibit is on display November 20 to January 25 at Harold Washington Library Center, in the 3rd Floor Exhibit Hall.


The images document the men—many of whom served prison sentences for coerced admissions of crime—in their current-day lives.


Rivkin is a fellow at the Invisible Institute, a journalism production company on Chicago’s South Side. The organization is in the process of developing a public archive of the Burge cases, the future home of Rivkin’s photography and interview series.


The torture came to light when Chicago lawyer Flint Taylor received anonymous letters detailing systemic police torture inside Area 2 and later Area 3 headquarters. Investigation by the police oversight Office of Professional Standards concluded torture had occurred. In 2015, Chicago City Council passed a reparations ordinance that acknowledged the victims of officers serving under and with Burge.


Rivkin’s reporting was supported by the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Howard G. Buffett Fund For Women Journalists.

TED x Mid Atlantic: Active Resistance

We are just beginning to understand the massive efforts by foreign governments to influence our elections and plant the seeds of chaos into the United States. Our reliance on digital platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and the speed at which misinformation can spread has left us vulnerable. So what can we do? Amanda Rivkin says we must be proactive and form an active resistance against these attacks. Amanda Rivkin is a photographer and writer focused on gender, security, political and military issues in Eastern Europe and the United States.


Currently she is at work on a long-term project documenting in portraits and oral histories the victims of Chicago municipal police torture under former Commander Jon Burge. For this work, she has received a grant from the International Women’s Media Foundation Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists and support from The Invisible Institute, a non- profit journalism outfit focusing on issues of policing in Chicago.


In February 2017, she founded Trumpistan Watch, a free weekday e-mail subscription and blog media monitoring Western and Russian media news sources concerning Trump and Russia, with a particular focus on geopolitical security, media and authoritarianism. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

TEDxMidAtlantic: Superpowers


I will be speaking at TEDxMidAtlantic October 27-28, 2017 in Washington, DC, alongside other featured speakers including former Democratic Vice-Presidential Candidate Senator Tim Kaine.  I will speak on active measures and active resistance.

Farewell, Obama!


Jill and Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama and daughter Malia after Obama gave his farewell address to a crowd of thousands and the nation during his farewell address at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017.

For a full gallery of images from last night, please see my archive, “President Obama’s Farewell Address“.

BBC World Service: “World Have Your Say” on Russian Athletics Doping

Today I got to discuss how Russians cheat and lie, this time in sport with host Ben James and a panel including a Canadian and Kenyan Olympiad and colleagues in London and Germany on the BBC World Service’s “World Have Your Say” program.

…we hear the conversation surrounding the latest twist in allegations of doping in Russian sport. The New York Times says Russian officials have for the first time admitted to the existence of a doping operation which affected major competitions.