We are being subjected to a narrative that claims foreign operatives have amplified “divisive issues,” such as Black Lives Matter or opposition to fracking in order to sow discord. Such a narrative delegitimizes domestic dissent. It is also remarkably condescending. People don’t need Russians to tell them to be concerned about the police violence they experience or contaminated water they drink.
The latest upshot of this trend is Facebook’s takedown of an event page for a protest organized to counter the “Unite the Right Rally” planned for DC on August 12. Why? Because the social media conglomerate unilaterally decreed the racial justice protest was being promoted through “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” The implication being that the activity was tied to nefarious Russia-linked influence operations.
But it’s a legitimate event organized by local activists (well known to Sue and me) who hold the actual permit for the real life protest and who were using the page as an organizing platform. The local groups include Black Lives Matter DC, Smash Racism DC, and Resist This (formerly DisruptJ20).
We are disturbed not only that Facebook has deprived grassroots activists of an important organizing tool, but has maligned local activists as Russian agents. We are dismayed that so many in the media are uncritically parroting this claim, further compounding the tarring of local anti-racist activists as being part of a nefarious foreign plot to hijack our democracy.
Read the full article here.
Legislative and Policy Counsel
Fatema Ahmad, does advocacy work in Boston by engaging in community building and empowering residents to resist abusive policing practices. She is the Deputy Director of the Muslim Justice League (MJL) and a national leader against the Countering Violent Extremism program.
The 2020 Republican Convention Will Be in Charlotte. Local Activists Are Preparing Now to Protect the Community.
They want to pass the Civil Liberties Protection Act of 2018 to safeguard community members and protesters.
Silver Spring Justice Coalition Decries Decision that Fatal Police Shooting Was “Justified.” Demands Transparency and Accountability
On July 30, the Howard County State’s Attorney handed down a decision that the shooting of an unarmed black man by a Montgomery County police officer was legally justified.
The US Attorney’s Office (USAO) have announced they are moving to dismiss without prejudice all charges against the remaining 38 protesters arrested during Donald Trump’s Inauguration.
Color of Surveillance Delegation Takes DC By Storm, Demands Transparency and Accountability on Government Surveillance Aimed at Communities of Color
Community leaders from around the country participated in lobby visits, a Congressional briefing, and a full day conference at Georgetown Law last week as part of the Color of Surveillance delegation organized by the Center for Media Justice.
Tear gas is among the least of the problems facing those who care about the murder and destruction of war. But it is a major element in the militarization of local policing. In fact, it is widely deemed illegal in war, but legal in non-war.
Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit Is Both A Testament to the Power of Dissent And An Illustration of Government Hostility to Black Political Power
July 17 marks the 59th anniversary of Billie Holiday’s death. We recall Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”, a musical protest against this country’s white supremacist violence. “Strange Fruit” is a testament to the power of music as an impetus for social change. The government’s reaction is also a story about the repression of dissent. It is for both of these reasons why we at Defending Rights & Dissent continue to defend the right to dissent.
DEA Finds a New Way Around Encryption: Planting Spy Phones With Suspects, Raising Concerns About Privacy, Security, and Free Expression
“Putting a smartphone whose security has been compromised into circulation could create privacy and security risks for anyone who ultimately uses that device and jeopardize free expression,” said Sarah St.Vincent, researcher on US surveillance and domestic law enforcement at Human Rights Watch.
The 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act is a law that will require technology corporations, such as Google and Facebook, to drastically alter their business models regarding data collection and privacy regulations. Despite the bill’s strong language, it has many shortcomings
August 2, 2018 – We have been repeatedly subjected to a narrative in which foreign operatives have amplified “divisive issues,” such as Black Lives Matter or opposition to fracking in order to sow discord. Such a narrative delegitimizes domestic dissent.
America’s pretrial justice system is broken, and violates one of the bedrock principles of the justice system: innocent until proven guilty.
Private prison companies are not only making huge profits from the incarceration and detention of immigrants, they are also a huge political force in lobbying for the legislation and policies that criminalize immigrants and communities of color in the U.S.
Congress must demand full transparency and accountability to protect children from disappearing.