Chip Gibbons

May 1, 2020

May Day Reminds Us of Labor’s Contribution to Civil Liberties & the Continued Importance of Workers’ Free Speech Rights

The First of May is commemorated around the world as International Workers Day or May Day. Its origins lay in the Haymarket Massacre, an infamous act of state repression designed to bludgeon the burgeoning US workers’ movement. Instead of defeating the workers’ movement and its demand for a more just world, it sparked international solidarity. Today, throughout the United States and the world, workers, including at Amazon, Target, and Whole Foods, are continuing to fight for their basic rights as workers. Their collective action aimed at building a more just world represents the power and importance of free speech and the right to protest.
April 22, 2020

Defending Rights & Dissent Urges Support For Federal Immigrant Release for Safety and Security Together Act

Last week, during the Defending Rights & Dissent/The Nation’s town hall on Civil Liberties and COVID-19, our board member and Project Souths’ Legal & Advocacy Director Azadeh Shahshahani gave a harrowing account of conditions inside ICE detention in Georgia. She also talked about the inspiring organizing activists were doing to end them. When I asked her during the town hall what can those watching at home could do, she urged everyone to contact Congress about the FIRST Act.
April 7, 2020

Watchdog’s Troubling Findings About FBI FISA Application In Line with Longer History of FBI Abuse

Yet again, the FBI has failed to uphold basic safeguards to protect US persons from illicit surveillance. The Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General issued a memorandum stating it did not have confidence the FBI was following its
March 11, 2020
person wearing a FBI JTTF windbreaker at a press conference with other police

What the Inspector General Report on FBI Assessments of Homegrown Violent Extremists Misses

The FBI’s use of assessments and its homegrown violent extremism designation are both highly controversial. Yet, the OIG ignores this completely, taking their existence for granted.
November 4, 2019
person wearing a FBI JTTF windbreaker at a press conference with other police

New Revelations About FBI Spying Renew Concern With Assessments

The investigatory powers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are regulated not by any Congressional charter, but by guidelines promulgated by the attorney general. Thanks to George W. Bush’s lameduck Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who was the last attorney general to revise the guidelines, the FBI’s standard for opening an investigation is shockingly lax. The lax nature of current FBI investigatory powers are in the news again.
September 4, 2019
person wearing a FBI JTTF windbreaker at a press conference with other police

Leaked FBI Documents Show FBI Developed “IRON FIST” To Counter “Black Identity Extremists”

Portions of the FBI’s Consolidated Strategy Guide were leaked to the Young Turks’ Ken Klippenstein. Labeled “threat guidance”, these documents from 2018-2020, show how Black dissent continues to be viewed as a top domestic terrorism threat by the
July 18, 2019

H.Res.496 Simply Affirms the Right that All Americans Have the Right to Participate in Boycotts in Pursuit of Civil & Human Rights

The First Amendment protects your right to boycott. Yet, many lawmakers don’t care about your constitutional rights.
May 30, 2019

Texas The Latest Victory for Right to Boycott, As Another Federal Court Blocks an anti-BDS Law

Texas is like 27 other states in that it prohibits supporters of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions for Palestinian rights from receiving state contracts. It has also joined another growing group of states–those that have had their anti-BDS laws blocked by
April 11, 2019

Defending Rights & Dissent’s Statement on the Indictment of Julian Assange

Earlier this morning, London police entered the Ecuadorian embassy and arrested Julian Assange. Press freedom, civil liberties, and human rights groups have long opposed the extradition of Assange to the US.
March 8, 2019

Statement on the US Government’s Latest Jailing of Chelsea Manning

Manning is a whistleblower, a truth teller, and a hero. Yet, for making the American people aware of crimes committed by their government in their name the US government has repeatedly persecuted her.
March 7, 2019

Two New DHS Domestic Spying Scandals Revealed

Both Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE) and Custom and Border Patrol (CBP) are engaged in monitoring and tracking First Amendment protected activity.Monitoring of political speech is inherently chilling. It is also outside the jurisdiction of both ICE and CBP.
March 5, 2019

Chelsea Manning Resists

Supporters of Chelsea Manning braved a chilly morning to gather outside the US District Courthouse for the Eastern District of Virginia. Manning was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury, but has vowed to fight the subpoena
February 28, 2019

Constitution in Crisis: February

Dear Troublemaker, ICE agents are torturing detainees in their custody. It’s no secret that conditions at ICE detention and processing facilities are deplorable. Long waits for bond hearings, lack of medical care, verbal abuse and worse from guards have all
February 27, 2019
Anti-HUAC Pin

When HUAC Investigated Its Critics

Would you ever criticize the actions of Congress? Would your answer to any those questions change if doing so meant you would be subpoenaed, hauled before Congress, and compelled to answer under oath what your intent was when you wrote your letter or what associations you belonged to at the time?
February 14, 2019
person wearing a FBI JTTF windbreaker at a press conference with other police

By 3-2 Vote Portland Breaks with FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force

The Portland City Council voted 3-2 to sever ties with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).Given the FBI’s persistent surveillance of activists, its targeting of the Muslim community, and overly permissive guidelines, Defending Rights & Dissent strongly supports the effort of municipalities to break with the JTTF.
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