The Dissent Newswire

May 15, 2020

Senate Votes to Extend PATRIOT Act Surveillance

Eighty Senators voted yesterday to extend three PATRIOT Act surveillance provisions with minimal safeguards to protect US persons from the prying eyes of the NSA and FBI. That final vote doesn’t tell the whole story, which stars the intense campaign
May 12, 2020
NYPD officers at a #BlackLivesMatter protest in NYC

It’s Time to Rein in NYPD’s Vast Surveillance Regime

A national coalition of 41 civil rights and community-based organizations, including DRAD, sent a letter yesterday calling on New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to call for a vote on the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act.  In
May 12, 2020

Showdown Between Privacy and Surveillance Set for Tomorrow

No matter which side of the aisle you lean toward, the evidence is clear: the FBI’s use of Section 215 surveillance authorities is highly politicized and dismissive of the basic constitutional rights of US persons. In fact, the FBI has
May 7, 2020

Contact Tracing Needs Strong Safeguards

Until safeguards are put in place to prevent mission creep and other abuses of data collected through electronic contact tracing, the privacy and security of Americans could be undermined long after the emergency has ended
May 7, 2020

“We’re Dying In Here” – A Recap of Our Incarceration & Coronavirus Town Hall

  On May 5, Defending Rights & Dissent hosted an important virtual town hall meeting on incarceration during the coronavirus entitled “We’re Dying In Here: Incarceration & Coronavirus,” moderated by DRAD communications director Quentin Anthony Anderson and featured panelists such
May 4, 2020

Protect Workers Who Blow The Whistle

Defending Rights & Dissent joined with  the Athena Coalition, Fight for the Future,  Free Press, Media Justice and dozens of other justice groups on this statement in support of warehouse and other lower-income workers blowing the whistle on unsafe working
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 21, 2020

The Right to Protest is Precious, Even During a Pandemic

Dissent and protest are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees freedoms of speech, assembly, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. These rights are fundamental to our democracy. They cannot be
April 13, 2020

10 Years After ‘Collateral Murder’ We’re Still Shooting The Messengers

On April 5, 2010 Wikileaks published a classified U.S. military video documenting the killing of 12 people in Baghdad that included a Reuters photojournalist and his driver.  Collateral Murder, as the video is known, contradicted the military’s official version of
April 10, 2020

The Trump Administration’s Allergic Reaction to Oversight & Accountability

In a stunning 48-hour period this week, the President Donald Trump essentially admitted that he fired Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson for properly exercising the duties of his job and his administration relieved Capt. Brett Crozier, a decorated Navy
April 7, 2020

“Not in my backyard”: How Louisiana’s prison system is kicking the coronavirus can down the road

“Not in my backyard!”  That’s how those of us on the frontlines of prison reform advocacy here in Louisiana are interpreting a recent plan released by the state on how the Department of Corrections is confronting the crisis surrounding COVID-19
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
April 1, 2020

A Balancing Act: Your Health vs. Your Rights

To encourage social distancing and limit the spread of the coronavirus, nearly one in five Americans have been asked by state and local officials to stay at home during the crisis.  Officials and medical experts say this extraordinary measure, an
March 26, 2020

A Guide for Activists on Stay-in-Place Orders

Defending Rights & Dissent has been working with community organizations to make sure necessary public health precautions don’t inadvertently lead to increased over-policing. We’ve prepared this guide that can help.
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