We don’t often ask you to donate to support our work. But today, I have to.
The next several months are crucial to our mission to fulfill the promise of the Bill of Rights.
We face ominous threats:
- Congress will consider renewing the NSA’s wildly broad mass internet surveillance program (Section 702) exposed by Ed Snowden.
- The right to protest is under direct threat from cities, states, and the Department of Justice.
- An ineffective and racist program that targets the Muslim communities is being promoted as a way to counter white supremacist violence in a way that will legitimate its use against Muslims and all peaceful activists.
- Local police will again have access to military equipment they don’t need, and the administration is sending subtle and not so subtle messages to ‘get tough,’ and not to worry about being held accountable when rights are violated.
- New prisoners may soon be locked up at Gitmo
- The Supreme Court will soon rule on Trump’s Muslim Ban, but already the state department has adopted the ‘extreme vetting’ Trump promised, that adds a shocking new layer of surveillance, profiling and intrusion into privacy.
And enormous opportunities:
- Together with Asian Law Caucus, Council on American Islamic Relations, PICO Network, and PolicyLink we are building a movement to keep FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces from deputizing local police to terrorize communities of color and social movements.
- Our Resisting Surveillance collaborative is helping local communities organize and educate their neighbors about the many ways the government conducts surveillance against people who are not even suspected of any crimes, and what they can do to stop it.
- We are helping to build a national movement to protect the right to dissent, and many members of Congress, rightly skeptical of efforts to stifle protest, are ready to listen to our concerns about FBI monitoring and infiltration of activist groups.
Stay Loud, Stay Strong,
Over 120 people came together on a hot muggy Sunday afternoon in August to learn about our government’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs in Montgomery County, MD, and around the country.
What do communities of color, environmentalists, animal rights activists, civil rights activists, immigrant communities, Muslims, the labor movement, and a host of others all have in common?
The FBI is investigating the car attack against anti-racist activists in Charlottesville, VA, and has been reaching out to counterprotesters who were there, to conduct interviews ostensibly about the car attack.
After the Murderous Attack in Charlottesville, It is Time For Lawmakers to Reject Bills Protecting Those Who Run Over Protesters Once and For All
Lawmakers who push bills removing liability for “accidentally” running over political protesters do so with a wink and a nudge. Responding to a nonexistent problem, these bills are about communicating a murderous disdain for political protests. While given the seriousn nature of the charges against Heather Heyer’s murderer, it is unlikely that bill protecting those who unintentionally run over protesters would have offered him much protection. It is also impossible to deny what message singling out those who injure or kill protesters for special protections sends.
The benefits of protest are not always obvious. Demonstrations are not persuasive in and of themselves, but they encourage discussion and introspection. In the market place of ideas, they open the door for change and help define and protect civic space.
Until we can abolish for-profit prisons, let’s at least make sure they aren’t allowed to continue to operate in total secrecy. It’s time to close the FOIA loophole for private prisons.
Defending Rights & Dissent joined with civil and human rights groups in sending a letter to members of Congress opposing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act.
Hoover, from the very first moment he joined the Department of Justice in 1917, until to the end of his FBI directorship in 1972, was involved in continuous, willful, and systematic deprivations of civil liberties.
We are deeply saddened to see Rasmea leave and are angered by the circumstances under which she departs. Rasmea has worked tirelessly as a community organizer. Even the last few months, she has continued to fight for social justice, acting as one of the organizers of the March 8 International Women’s Strike.
Coalition: Justice Department’s demand for protest website data raises privacy and civil liberty concerns
Today, a broad coalition of over 60 public interest organizations sent a letter to the Attorney General expressing concern over the Justice Department’s demand for information associated with a protest-organizing website.
We are disappointed that members of the Senate did not press Mr. Wray for a strong commitment to stand up to President Trump’s worst tendencies
On Thursday, August 24, 2017 Chief Judge Robert E. Morin issued a ruling from the bench that DreamHost must turn over information from DisruptJ20.org to prosecutors. This warrant stems from the unconstitutional prosecutions of J20 protesters. As a result, it has the potential to broaden an ongoing witch hunt. Even if this weren’t the case, given the chilling effect the government’s request will have on speech the warrant should have been rejected.
Senators should ensure Mr. Wray will be a strong advocate for greater FBI transparency and accountability.
Trump’s Pick To Head The FBI Wouldn’t Say Whether He’d Spy on Mosques. The Senate Confirmed Him Anyway.
Both the FBI and Trump have a troubling intolerance for dissent. Trump during his campaign called for widespread surveillance of mosques and the FBI already has confidential informants crawling throughout the Muslim community.
A WhiteHouse.Gov petition asking for Antifa to be declared a terrorist organization has exceeded the number of signatures that in theory mandates the White House to respond. It is riddled with misunderstandings of the First Amendment and US anti-terrorism law.
The bizarre assertion of blue racism is a new low, but it plays on a similar theme we’ve seen time and time again.
How low will an FBI paid informant go? How about preying on a young man with such severe paranoid schizophrenia that he has been declared legally ‘incompetent’ by enticing him into a terrorist plot created by the FBI?
Private prison companies that receive federal funding provide the same service as government agencies, but, by asserting their status as private entities, claim that they are not subject to public records laws such as the FOIA.