Introduction

by Laura Poitras

Field of Vision accepts submissions of audio/visual material from the public, but because people who send us this material could be putting themselves at risk, Field of Vision has set up a platform to make this process easier and more secure.

Below are detailed security instructions written by Micah Lee. Micah is the person who initially connected me to Edward Snowden in early 2013 and was instrumental in bringing the NSA story to the public. You can read his story here.

The instructions below are dense and complex. Micah has written them with the goal of providing security guidelines for sources who need them most. Not everyone is in that category and you might not need to take all of these precautions.

One thing I’ve learned in the last decade of reporting on national security issues is that encryption tools and security methods that sound complicated when you don’t think you need them, suddenly become straightforward when you or a source have their life on the line. It is not brain surgery. Your own particular threat model will determine which of these steps you need to take if you are thinking of submitting video or images to Field of Vision. Our basic step-by-step instructions can be found here. If you need more knowledge, keep reading.

Security Instructions and Guidelines

by Micah Lee

While our website has been protected with HTTPS encryption from the beginning, and all of our staff publish their PGP keys on their staff profiles so that readers can send them encrypted email, this alone isn’t enough to protect the anonymity of sources.

If you want to communicate with us without exposing your real-world identity, here are security guidelines for communicating with us using our SecureDrop server, an open source whistleblower submission system.

What Not To Do

If you’d like to prevent your employer or your government from knowing that you’re submitting material to use, here are some things you should not do:

Don’t contact us from work. Most corporate and government networks log traffic.

Don’t email us, call us, or contact us on social media. Most of the ways that people communicate over the Internet or phone networks are incredibly insecure.

Don’t tell anyone that you’re a source. Even if you plan on coming out as the leaker at some point in the future, you have a much better chance of controlling the narrative about you if you are deliberate.

As journalists we will grant anonymity to sources if the circumstances warrant it — for example, when a source risks recrimination by disclosing something newsworthy. If we make such an agreement with you, we will do everything in our power to prevent ourselves from being compelled to hand over your identity.

That said, in extreme cases, the best way to protect your anonymity may be not to disclose your identity even to us.

What To Worry About

Here are some steps you should take to protect yourself:

Be aware of your habits. If you have access to secret information that has been leaked, your activities on the internet are likely to come under scrutiny, including what sites you have visited or shared to social media. Make sure you’re aware of this before leaking to us, and adjust your habits well before you decide to become our source. Tools like Tor (see below) can help protect the anonymity of your surfing.

Compartmentalize and sanitize. Keep your leaking activity separate from the rest of what you do.

If possible, use a completely separate operating system (such as Tails, discussed below) for all of your leaking activity so that a forensic search of your normal operating system won’t reveal anything. If you can’t keep things completely separate, then make sure to clean up after yourself as best as you can. For example, if you realize you did a Google search related to leaking while logged into your Google account, delete your search history. Consider keeping all files related to leaking on an encrypted USB stick rather than on your computer, and only plug it in when you need to work with them.

Strip metadata from audio/visual materials. Videos and photographs often include metadata that could be used to de-anonymize you. If you send us files that include metadata, we will strip it for you before we publish it.

How To Actually Leak

Now that we have that straight, here’s how to go about contacting us securely:

Go to a public WiFi network. Before following any further directions, grab your personal computer and go to a network that isn’t associated with you or your employer, such as at a coffee shop. Ideally you should go to one that you don’t already frequent. Leave your phone at home, and buy your coffee with cash.

Get the Tor Browser. You can download the Tor Browser here. When you browse the web using the Tor Browser, all of your web traffic gets bounced around the world, hiding your real IP address from websites that you visit. In order to start a conversation with us using our SecureDrop server, you must use Tor.

Consider using Tails instead. If you are worried about your safety because of the information you’re considering leaking, it might be prudent to take higher security precautions than just using Tor Browser. If someone has hacked into your computer, for example, they’ll be able to spy on everything you do even if you’re using Tor. Tails is a separate operating system that you can install on a USB stick and boot your computer to. Tails is engineered to make it hard for you to mess up:

Tails leaves no traces that it was ever run on your computer

  • It’s non-persistent, which means that if you got hacked last time you were using Tails, the malware should be gone the next time you boot up
  • All Internet traffic automatically goes through Tor, so it’s much harder to accidentally de-anonymize yourself
  • It has everything that you need to contact us through SecureDrop built-in, as well as other popular encryption tools
  • It’s the operating system that Edward Snowden used to leak NSA documents
  • It sounds complicated, and it is. But if you’re risking a lot, it’s probably worth the effort. You can find instructions for downloading and installing Tails here.

Use SecureDrop to communicate with us. You can use our SecureDrop server to securely and anonymously send us messages, read replies, and upload material. If you have access to audio/visual material that you’re considering leaking, you can use SecureDrop to just start a conversation with us until you’re comfortable sending in any documents.

Our SecureDrop servers are under the physical control of Field of Vision. When you interact with our SecureDrop servers, we don’t log any information about your IP address, web browser, or operating system, nor do we deliver persistent cookies to your browser. When you use Tor to connect to our SecureDrop server, your connection is encrypted. Using the Tor network helps mask your activity from anyone that is monitoring your Internet connection, and it helps mask your identity from anyone monitoring our Internet connection.

When you send messages or upload files to this server, these messages and files are stored encrypted. Field of Vision stores the encryption keys on air-gapped computers that never connect to the Internet. Even if our SecureDrop server got hacked or the physical hardware got confiscated, the messages and files you have submitted previously should still be shielded from the attacker.

You can access our SecureDrop server by going to http://tsdgultcavajhyjx.onion/ in Tor Browser. This is a special kind of URL that only works in Tor (even though the URL starts with “http://” and not “https://”, the connection between Tor Browser and our SecureDrop server is encrypted). This is what you’ll see:

To learn more about safely using SecureDrop as a source, check the official guide for sources document.

Sending Us Large Files

Tor makes everything you do online much slower, and uploading gigabytes of files to our SecureDrop server might not be practical. In these cases, sending your material via mail is an option. Our mailing address is:

Field of Vision 114 Fifth Avenue, 19th Floor New York, NY 10011

In the United States a warrant is required to open postal mail. Even so, if you do plan on mailing us material there are a few steps you should take to protect your identity.

Make sure you include enough postage on your package, and mail it from an unfamiliar public mailbox. Don’t include a return address. When you write our address, be careful not to betray your handwriting. Depending on the risks you’re taking, you may wish to avoid leaving fingerprints or DNA.

If you’re mailing digital material such as on a hard drive, a USB stick, an SD card, or a DVD, it is safest to encrypt the data before sending it to us using a tool like VeraCrypt, so that only a strong password can unlock it. You can tell us the password separately using SecureDrop. This way, even if the package gets intercepted, the data you’re sending, and your anonymity, will remain safe.

If you’re considering sending us sensitive material in the form of large files, you’re welcome to start a conversation with us using SecureDrop ahead of time. We can walk you through the various options, help make sure you’re following the proper steps, and help you use the encryption software necessary to do so securely.

A still from A Night at The Garden. Marshall Curry

For his latest film, A Night at The Garden, two-time Academy Award nominee Marshall Curry used archival footage of a Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden to tell a story that is painfully relevant to today’s political climate. Here’s how he found those haunting images—and what he hopes audiences will take away from his latest project.

Q: How did you discover this event?

A: A friend of mine told me about it last year, and I couldn’t believe that I’d never heard of it. When I found out it had been filmed, I asked an archival researcher, Rich Remsberg, to see what he could find. It turned out that short clips had been used in history documentaries before, but no one seemed to have collected together all of the scraps of footage—there was some at the National Archives, some at UCLA’s archive, some at other places. So he gathered it, and I edited it together into a short narrative. When Charlottesville happened, it began to feel urgent. So I sent it over to Laura Poitras and Charlotte Cook at Field of Vision and said, “Have you ever heard of this event? Would you be interested in supporting the film?” And they jumped on board.

Q: What struck you about the footage?

A: The first thing that struck me was that an event like this could happen in the heart of New York City, a city that was diverse, modern, and progressive even in 1939. The second thing that struck me was the way these American Nazis used the symbols of America to sell an ideology that a few years later hundreds of thousands of Americans would die fighting against.

It really illustrated that the tactics of demagogues have been the same throughout the ages. They attack the press, using sarcasm and humor. They tell their followers that they are the true Americans (or Germans or Spartans or...). And they encourage their followers to “take their country back” from whatever minority group has ruined it.

Q: Why do you think that most Americans have never heard of this group or this event?

A: The footage is so powerful, it seems amazing that it isn't a stock part of every high school history class. But I think the rally has slipped out of our collective memory in part because it’s scary and embarrassing. It tells a story about our country that we’d prefer to forget. We’d like to think that when Nazism rose up, all Americans were instantly appalled. But while the vast majority of Americans were appalled by the Nazis, there was also a significant group of Americans who were sympathetic to their white supremacist, anti-Semitic message. When you see 20,000 Americans gathering in Madison Square Garden you can be sure that many times that were passively supportive.

In a part of Fritz Kuhn’s speech that isn’t in the film, he applauds Father Coughlin whose radio shows praising Hitler and Mussolini reached audiences of 30 million. Henry Ford and Charles Lindberg expressed anti-Semitic beliefs. And press magnate William Randolph Hearst declared, “Whenever you hear a prominent American called a fascist, you can usually make up your mind that the man is simply a loyal citizen who stands for Americanism.” (In a small ironic twist, we licensed some of the Bund footage from the Hearst collection at UCLA.)

These were ideas that, if not universally accepted, were at least considered legitimate points of view. But two years after this rally, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and Germany declared war on the US, and at that point this sort of philosophy became unacceptable. When the Nazis began killing American soldiers, we started erasing the fact that any Americans had ever shared their philosophy.

In the end, America pulled away from the cliff, but this rally is a reminder that things didn’t have to work out that way. If Roosevelt weren’t President, if Japan hadn’t attacked, is it possible we would have skated through without joining the war? And if Nazis hadn’t killed American soldiers, is it possible that their philosophy wouldn’t have become so taboo here?

Q: Who was the guy who ran out on stage and got beaten up at the rally?

A: He was a 26-year-old plumber’s helper from Brooklyn named Isadore Greenbaum. When he ran on stage to protest, he was beaten up and had his pants ripped off as he was thrown from the stage. He was also arrested for disorderly conduct and fined $25.

There was a debate at the time over whether the Bund should be allowed to have a rally, which – like so many things about the event—seems eerily contemporary. Greenbaum explained to the judge the day after the rally, “I went down to the Garden without any intention of interrupting. But being that they talked so much against my religion and there was so much persecution I lost my head, and I felt it was my duty to talk.” The Magistrate asked him, “Don’t you realize that innocent people might have been killed?” And Greenbaum replied, “Do you realize that plenty of Jewish people might be killed with their persecution up there?” (New York Times, 2/22/39)

But in The New York Times, the American Jewish Committee argued that although the Bund was “completely anti-American and anti-Democratic... because we believe that the basic rights of free speech and free assembly must never be tampered with in the United States, we are opposed to any action to prevent the Bund from airing its views.”

Mayor LaGuardia, for his part, ridiculed the event as an “exhibition of international cooties,” and said he believed in exposing cooties to the sunlight.

Q: What happened to this group after this rally?

A: The German American Bund, who held the rally, had a significant presence in the 1930s, with training camps in New Jersey, upstate New York, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, and a huge march down East 86th Street in Manhattan. But their mainstream appeal was reduced by their leaders’ German accents and culture. As Halford E. Luccock famously said, “When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism.'”

The group’s leader Fritz Kuhn was eventually arrested for embezzling Bund funds and sent to prison. He was stripped of his citizenship and, after the war, deported to West Germany where he died a few years later. The Bund disappeared soon after the start of World War II.

Q: How did you decide on the editing approach?

A: At first I thought I’d make a traditional documentary—with an explaining the background of the group. But when I started cutting the footage together, I realized there was real power in just watching it unfold, without explanation. When most people watch it, at first they are puzzled: “What is this?” They see George Washington and American flags and hear the Pledge of Allegiance (notably, before the phrase “Under God” was added in 1954), but then they see swastikas and people giving the Nazi salute, and it’s really unsettling.

So I decided to keep it pure and cinematic and unmediated—as if you are there, watching, and wrestling with what you are seeing. I wanted it to be more provocative than didactic—an icy splash of history tossed into the discussion we are having about White Supremacy right now.

Q: What do you want the audience to take away from the film?

A: The film doesn’t have narration or interviews to clearly underline the takeaways, but I think most audiences will find lots to chew on.

To me, the most striking and upsetting part of the film is not the anti-Semitism of the main speaker or even the violence of his storm-troopers. What bothers me more is the reaction of the crowd. Twenty-thousand New Yorkers who loved their kids and were probably nice to their neighbors, came home from work that day, dressed up in suits and skirts, and went out to cheer and laugh and sing as a speaker dehumanized people who would be murdered by the millions in the next few years.

This point is less an indictment of bad things that Americans have done in the past, than it is a cautionary tale about the bad things that we might do in the future.

When the protester is being beaten up there’s a little boy in the crowd who I zoomed on in the edit. You can see him rub his hands together, doing an excited little dance, unable to contain the giddy excitement that comes from being part of a mob. And when the protester is finally thrown off stage, there’s a long slow pan across the crowd that is laughing, clapping, cheering, like they’re at a World Wrestling Federation match.

We’d like to believe that there are sharp lines between good people and bad people. But I think most humans have dark passions inside us, waiting to be stirred up by a demagogue who is funny and mean, who can convince us that decency is for the weak, that democracy is naïve, and that kindness and respect for others are just ridiculous political correctness.

Events like this should remind us not to be complacent—that the things we care about have to be nurtured and defended regularly—because even seemingly good people have the potential to do hideous things.

For more information on A Night at the Garden, visit ANightatTheGarden.com, where you can find links to New York Times articles from the time, audio files of the speech, and transcripts of other speeches from that night.

Field of Vision is debuting their new film, A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN by Marshall Curry.

A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN (Dir. Marshall Curry)

In 1939, twenty-thousand Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism – an event largely forgotten from American history. A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN uses striking archival fragments recorded that night to transport modern audiences into this disturbing gathering. With chilling resonance in light of events in Charlottesville and around the country, the film is a reminder about the power that far-right ideology once had in America and a wakeup call about the importance of to addressing it today.

From Field of Vision Co-Founders:

Laura Poitras: "When Marshall approached us with the film two days after Charlottesville, my first thought was, 'we need to put this film in cinemas,' and release it like a newsreel."

Charlotte Cook: “When Marshall first showed us this footage we were stunned. We felt that due to this political climate it was essential to get this film out fast, but also that to do so we needed to try a different style of distribution. By playing in theatres across the country first we hope this the film will be able to reach beyond our usual audience, and into a range of communities and cities around the US. Creating a conversation around the film from the ground up. It’s extremely exciting to be able to do this with Marshall, a filmmaker we’ve been wanting to work with for a long time. And this film is so incredibly well, and thoughtfully, made. We can’t wait for people to see it.”

On Sunday September 24, the film will be shown across the country at 22 screens in Alamo theaters in:

Kansas City

https://drafthouse.com/kansas-city/show/american-assassin

https://drafthouse.com/kansas-city/show/it-2017

https://drafthouse.com/kansas-city/show/kingsman-the-golden-circle

https://drafthouse.com/kansas-city/show/mother

Yonkers

https://drafthouse.com/yonkers/show/3-d-rarities

https://drafthouse.com/yonkers/show/solaris-4k-restoration

San Francisco

https://drafthouse.com/sf/show/ingrid-goes-west

https://drafthouse.com/sf/show/beach-rats

https://drafthouse.com/sf/show/infinity-baby

Brooklyn

https://drafthouse.com/nyc/show/zardoz

https://drafthouse.com/nyc/show/dunkirk

https://drafthouse.com/nyc/show/good-time

https://drafthouse.com/nyc/show/mother

Austin Lakeline

Austin Mueller

Austin Ritz

Austin Slaughter

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/mother

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/grindhouse

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/stronger

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/the-big-sick

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/brads-status

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/tough-guy-cinema-repo-man

The film is also playing at the IFC Center in New York until Friday playing before the 12:30pm showing of “The Unknown Girl."

The film will be part of a special event at the NYFF, and more festivals to come, along with an online release.

About Marshall Curry: MARSHALL CURRY is a two-time Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker. His film, “Street Fight,” follows Cory Booker’s first run for mayor of Newark, NJ and was nominated for an Oscar and an Emmy. His follow up documentary, “Racing Dreams” tells the story of two boys and a girl who live in rural America and dream of one day racing in NASCAR. It won numerous awards, including Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival, and aired on PBS and the BBC. His third film, “If a Tree Falls, a Story of the Earth Liberation Front” peels back the layers of a radical environmental group that the FBI called the number one domestic terrorist group in the United States. That film won the award for Best Documentary Editing at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to be nominated for an Oscar. Marshall was Executive Producer and an additional editor of “Mistaken For Strangers,” a comedy rock-doc about indie band, The National. Most recently Marshall directed and edited “Point and Shoot,” a documentary about a young Baltimore native who set out on a 30,000-mile motorcycle trip through Northern Africa and the Middle East and wound up joining the rebels in Libya fighting Gaddafi. It won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released in theaters and aired on PBS and the BBC. Marshall is a graduate of Swarthmore College where he studied Comparative Religion and has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Duke, Columbia, NYU, and other colleges. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and children.

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