When you are dedicated to defending rights and dissent, every day is a busy one. Yet, this month was particularly jam packed.
Just last week, I was on Capitol Hill talking to Congress about the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. If passed, individuals who participate in boycotts of Israel or its settlements, led by intergovernmental organizations (such as the EU or UN) could face up to 20 years in prison. This is a clear criminalization of political speech. You may have already taken action against the bill (if you haven’t, please do so now). My meetings were a chance to make sure your voice is really being heard.
We also made sure your concern about mass surveillance is heard. Last week we delivered over 100,000 signatures demanding reform or sunset to Section 702, which authorizes mass electronic surveillance.
And we organized the delivery of over 16,000 signatures to the Department of Justice decrying the use of the Espionage Act to prosecute (alleged) whistleblower Reality Winner.
Finally, we have been doing important work to stop the confirmation of Trump’s nominee to head the FBI, Christopher Wray. We met with members of the Judiciary Committee to advise them on crucial lines of questioning, urging them to dig into his stance on investigating people based on their First Amendment protected activities, including whether he would stand up to Trump’s proposals to engage in general surveillance of mosques without indication of criminal activity, or using FBI resources to create a Muslim registry. His answers to questions we suggested were evasive, leading us to call on the Senate to reject his nomination.
Defending Rights & Dissent isn’t just our name, it’s what we do.
P.S. None of this work is possible without your support. Please support our work with a donation today.
After nearly four months of advocacy, supporters of the Fostering Community Trust ordinance erupted in applause after a majority of City Councilmembers raised their hands in favor of the measure, which enshrines an unwritten Rockville City Police (RPD) policy into law.
Defending Rights & Dissent was joined by the Center for Constitutional Rights, National Lawyers Guild, Massachusetts Chapter, and Palestine Legal in opposing a Massachusetts bill that threatens the right to boycott.
We need to know what surveillance technology our police are using, and how they are using it, so we can fight it
Oakland has been a “sanctuary city,” but the label didn’t mean much because the city still had an agreement with ICE to allow its police officers to cooperate with the federal agency.
Oakland City Council’s Public Safety Committee Votes to Sever Ties With ICE & to Review Agreements With FBI
Community activists turned out to a July 11 meeting of the Public Safety Committee of the Oakland City Council to urge an end to police participation in task forces led by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or other federal law enforcement agencies.
TAKE ACTION: Campaign to Defend the Right to Boycott Gains Steam
Our years long campaign to protect the right to engage in political boycotts -even against US allies- got a major boost. Although introduced earlier in the year, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which could impose a prison sentence of up to 20 years on people for engaging in political speech, recently attracted widespread media coverage. People are outraged and speaking out.
Advocates for whistleblower protections, free expression, and government transparency celebrated Whistleblower Appreciation Day on July 27, by Standing With Reality. We delivered 16,000 signatures to the Department of Justice demanding that the charges against Reality Winner be dropped
A bipartisan coalition of groups, including Demand Progress, ACLU, FreedomWorks, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Defending Rights & Dissent, delivered over 100,000 petition signatures today calling on Congress to overhaul Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act or, absent such reform, let it sunset.
We believe that Mr. Wray owes Congress, and the American people, a more definitive answer about his willingness to instruct FBI agents to engage in general surveillance based on religion.
Defending Rights & Dissent Joins Transparency Groups in Trying to Prevent CIA from Destroying Records
The CIA recently received tentative approval from the National Archives and Records Administration to destroy files that allegedly have no historical significance. Defending Rights & Dissent joined the National Security Archives, OpenTheGoverment, and Demand Progress in submitting comments opposing the planned destruction of documents.
An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would create two commissions that will decide the right way, and the wrong way, to practice Islam was voted down on a vote of 208 – 217.
Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was passed to combat threats from hostile foreign powers and international terrorism, but the FBI has been looking at the communications of U.S. persons without a warrant or even suspicion of wrongdoing.
Rights Groups File FOIA to Uncover Details About Police Use of Force, Infiltration of Inauguration Protests
DC National Lawyers Guild (DC NLG) and Defending Rights and Dissent, two groups who defend the right to protest, are demanding answers about the Metropolitan Police Department’s conduct during anti-Trump inauguration protests.
No Commitment On Mosque Surveillance, Muslim Registry, Racial or Religious Profiling, or Police Accountability From Wray. But He’ll Be Confirmed Anyway
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee believe that Trump’s nominee for FBI Director, Christopher Wray, did not pledge his loyalty to Donald Trump, and will not sweep the Russia investigation under the rug. And apparently very little else matters to them
Senators should ensure Mr. Wray will be a strong advocate for greater FBI transparency and accountability.
University of Houston Law Center professor and DRAD board member Emily Berman discusses the concerns about FBI director nominee Chris Wray, and the need for strong Congressional oversight of the FBI.
Many of the Senators were concerned with the eroding of public trust in the FBI and how to restore business as usual to the agency. But it is precisely business as usual at the FBI we should be concerned about.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia has joined with five other courts in upholding our right to film the police. It overturned the lower court which had ruled the act of filming police is not “sufficiently expressive” to fall under the First Amendment