The Dissent Newswire

July 13, 2020
person wearing a FBI JTTF windbreaker at a press conference with other police

Barr’s New FBI Task Force Is Just Another Tool to Use Against Protesters

As the nation rises up against police brutality and racism, Attorney General William Barr has escalated his attacks on protesters. On June 26, 2020, he announced the formation of a task force on violent anti-government extremists. Although its stated purpose
July 13, 2020

Statement on Kenneth Marcus’s Resignation As Head of Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights

Kenneth Marcus has announced that he is resigning as assistant secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.Given Marcus’s long history of working to silence student speech supportive of Palestinian rights, Defending Rights & Dissent opposed his nomination to the post. While Defending Rights & Dissent supports robust enforcement of our nation’s civil rights laws, we oppose the misuse of those laws to silence political speech about Palestinian rights or Israeli policy, as Marcus did.
July 10, 2020

Take Action: Congress Needs to End the Use of Facial Recognition Technology

“If the technology is flawed and the policing is flawed, then the whole thing is flawed.” Robert Williams wrongfully arrested in Michigan due to false facial recognition match As millions of Americans rise up – both on the streets and
July 7, 2020

DRAD Signs Open Letter Against Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act

On Tuesday, July 7, Defending Rights & Dissent, along with a host of national organizations and security experts (including DRAD board president Sascha Meinrath) from civil society, industry and academia, signed onto a national letter expressing our strong opposition to
June 26, 2020

DRAD Joins 40+ Groups to Declare Intimidation Tactics in Louisiana Won’t Silence Environmental Protesters

40+ advocacy groups express outrage over arrests of Louisiana Bucket Brigade leaders, vow to stop Formosa’s plans to poison the Black community in St. James BATON ROUGE, LA: Two leaders of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade were charged under Louisiana’s felony
June 17, 2020
collage of Black protesters and the FBI Black Identity Extremism report

DRAD and Over 100 Orgs Demand #ProtectBlackDissent

Today, Defending Rights & Dissent joined MediaJustice and 100+ civil rights organizations urging Congress to cease federal funding for surveillance technologies, known to be disproportionately deployed in Black communities and other communities of color. As Black activists around the country
June 11, 2020

Refusing to be Silenced: Protesting Anti-Protest Laws in the Midst of Global Protests

On Wednesday, a coalition of environmental and civil liberties groups – led by local activists from St. James Parish, Louisiana – held a press conference urging Governor John Bel Edwards to veto anti-protest legislation that recently passed overwhelmingly in the
June 11, 2020

Defending Rights & Dissent Joins Civil Liberties Group Urging Inspector General Investigation of Kenneth Marcys

Defending Rights & Dissent joined with eight other civil rights and civil liberties groups in urging the Department of Education Inspector General to review the actions of Kenneth Marcus. Marcus currently heads the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), a position he previously held in the Bush administration. However, between his stints at the OCR, Marcus was a vociferous proponent of a number of schemes to deny supporters of Palestinian rights their First Amendment rights. This included encouraging the office he now heads to treat criticism of Israeli policies and support of Palestinian rights as violations of federal civil rights law. Complaints alleging just that were repeatedly rejected by the OCR. That is until Marcus came to head the office.
June 10, 2020

Race, Violence, and Political Illegitimacy

Perhaps it’s appropriate that with July 4th, the anniversary of America’s violent break from Britain, less than a month away, the issue of state-sponsored violence and reactions by citizens to it is, once again, front and center in our national
June 5, 2020

No One Expects the Third Amendment

It wasn’t long ago the president called for “liberating” states that had been on lockdown in response to the contagious coronavirus, encouraging people to exercise their First Amendment rights and push back against what he considered government overreach.  But now
June 4, 2020
Donald Trump

Trump’s Antifa Boogeyman

People angry at the sorry state of the world and looking to build a better one go out and protest. Yet, across the country when people gathered to protest police violence, they themselves were met with police violence. Donald Trump has responded with a seemingly never ending stream of inflammatory tweets. On Monday, in a demagogic speech, he openly spoke of using the military on US soil against US citizens.  How does Mr. Trump justify his actions? He’s decided to claim that what the nation is is seeing is preplanned, carefully orchestrated, professionally managed protests and violence. The instigator? Antifa.
June 1, 2020

DHS ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ Program Based On Junk Science, Targets Vulnerable Communities

On Monday, a coalition of more than 70 civil rights and civil liberty groups and community organizations sent a letter to Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf asking him to end an anti-Muslim and deeply flawed $80 million
June 1, 2020

The Ongoing Saga of the Patriot Act Surveillance Provisions

On Wednesday night our left-right coalition of grassroots activists and members of Congress managed to thwart House leadership’s attempt to ram an unacceptable reauthorization of the Patriot Act down our throats. Thousands of people across the country let their legislators
June 1, 2020
special tactics team ready for action in the streets

Killology, BulletProof, and Warrior Policing

President Trump’s reckless encouragement of police officers to rough up people in their custody overshadowed comments made by Bob Krull, head of the Minneapolis police union, at a 2017 political rally in Minnesota.  Fervent from speaking at the same podium
June 1, 2020
People protesting

Defending Rights & Dissent Condemns Nationwide Violence Against Anti-Police Brutality Protests

Over the last several days, we have seen shocking images of police violence against protesters. We have heard politicians at all levels of government, and from both sides of the aisle, speak of “outside agitators,” an age old lie told to delegitimize social movements, downplay rightful anger, and greenlight repression. These are dark and trying times. But it is precisely because of dark and trying times that we at Defending Rights & Dissent fight for the right to protest and engage in collective action aimed at building a more just world. 
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