Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

For Immediate Release

Contact

 Chip Gibbons, Esq.,  Legal Fellow  (443) 618-0996  chip@defendingdissent.org

Press Release

On 45th Anniversary of Break-In That Exposed COINTELPRO, 60 Groups Demand Congressional Commission to Investigate FBI & DHS

WASHINGTON -

Over 60 national and local groups have signed on to a letter initiated by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Defending Dissent Foundation, calling on the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to investigate the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) monitoring of political protests and social movements. Signatories include the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, Center for Constitutional Rights, ColorOfChange, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Government Accountability Project, Greenpeace USA, National Lawyers Guild, Popular Resistance, Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, Rising Tide North America, School of the Americas Watch, US Uncut, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, and Veterans for Peace.

The letter is a response to recent revelations that the FBI has been spying on Black Lives Matter, School of the Americas Watch, and anti-Keystone Pipeline groups, and earlier revelations that both the FBI and DHS engaged in similar surveillance of Occupy Wall Street. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the FBI continuously invokes counterterrorism authorities to monitor groups it admits are peaceful and nonviolent. The signatories are asking for a full investigation to determine the extent of FBI and DHS spying in the past decade.

The letter is delivered on the 45th anniversary of the break-in at the FBI’s Media, PA office by eight peace activists, which exposed COINTELPRO, the FBI’s expansive program to surveil, disrupt, and “neutralize” lawful political groups. Popular outrage over the revelations forced Congress to act with its own investigation (the Church and Pike Committees) and reform legislation (such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act).

“That the FBI cannot discern between activism and terrorism shows us that they think dissent is still the enemy,” BORDC/DDF Legal Fellow Chip Gibbons said. “There have been multiple attempts at reform but after each and every one we see the same thing happening again. The FBI claims to no longer investigate groups for their political beliefs, but look at who the FBI investigates under its counterterrorism authority – peace groups, racial justice groups, economic justice groups – the very same types of organizations that were targeted during the heyday of J. Edgar Hoover."

Letter: https://bordc.org/fbi-dhs-letter

Background: https://bordc.org/investigate-the-fbi

###

Defending Rights & Dissent strengthens our participatory democracy by protecting the right to political expression.  

About the merger of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Defending Dissent Foundation

In 2015, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) and the Defending Dissent Foundation agreed to merge to place both organizations and their respective supporters in an even stronger position to help restore constitutional rights eroded by executive agencies.

While BORDC was established to fight the PATRIOT Act in the wake of its passage under the Bush administration, DDF was founded

Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Arbitrary, Racist, and Unfair': Judge Blocks Biden From Ending Title 42

"Only the coyotes profiteering off of people seeking protection have reason to celebrate this ill-reasoned ruling," said one migrant rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


'This Is a War' for Democratic Party's Future, Says Sanders of AIPAC's Super PAC

"They are doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country," said the senator.

Julia Conley ·


Ginni Thomas Pressed Arizona Lawmakers to Reverse Biden's 2020 Win: Report

"Clarence Thomas' continued service on the Supreme Court is a scandalous and appalling breach of judicial ethics," said one observer. "He is implementing the exact same theories that his wife used to try to steal the 2020 election for Trump."

Brett Wilkins ·


Millions More Kids Going Hungry Since GOP, Manchin Killed Expanded Child Tax Credit

"Even brief disruptions in access to food can have lasting consequences," wrote the authors of a new analysis of worsening hunger among U.S. families.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo