Chip Gibbons

February 12, 2024

What the Vault 7 Source Sentence Means for Julian Assange and the Future of Press Freedom

In a dramatic move, convicted WikiLeaks source Joshua Schulte was sentenced to 33 years and four months in prison for giving to WikiLeaks CIA hacking tools dubbed “Vault 7.” His sentence caught many in the press freedom community off guard.
June 7, 2023

What We Know About the FBI’s Role in the War on WikiLeaks

On June 6, 2023, I reported on the FBI’s denial of our request for all files mentioning and referencing WikiLeaks, one of several FOIA requests related to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange we have filed. Although the denial was not
June 6, 2023

FBI Denies Defending Rights & Dissent FOIA Request for Files on WikiLeaks, Citing “Pending or Prospective Law Enforcement Proceeding”

On June 5, 2023, the FBI responded to our nearly two year-old request for all FBI records  mentioning or referencing WikiLeaks. The FBI stated that they had located responsive records, but those files were “located in an investigative file which
May 19, 2023

Latest FBI Political Spying Scandal Has Disturbing Echoes With 1960s War on Anti-War, Black Power Protests

In 1967, the Johnson Administration forced the Department of the Army, Department of Justice, and FBI to form a special unit on civil disturbances. One of the key tasks of this unit was proving a connection between foreign governments (namely,
February 15, 2023

The FBI, Anti-Globalization Protests, and FOIA Deception

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, international financial summits, like the IMF and the World Bank, attracted masses of protesters. In many cases, protesters engaged in civil disobedience. They were also met with brutal repression by police that included
November 28, 2022

“Crazy, Almost Criminal Political Backdealings”

Reprinted with permission from Chip Gibbons’ Substack Newsletter. Chip Gibbons retains all copyright. It was twelve years ago today that five international newspapers—The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and El PaĂ­s—began working with WikiLeaks to publish the first stories based
July 13, 2022

House Rules Committee Blocks Vote on Historic Protections for Journalists and Whistleblowers

Last night, the House Rules Committee blocked an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Action that would have amended the draconian Espionage Act to prevent its continued abuse against journalists, their sources, and whistleblowers. Had the Rules Committee approved the
June 29, 2022

We Call It: June is Espionage Act Month!

On June 15, 1917, Congress passed the egregiously misnamed Espionage Act. Although it sounds like a bill targeting spies and saboteurs, its initial targets were those Americans who dared to oppose US participation in the First World War. Decades later,
June 17, 2022

Defending Rights & Dissent Statement on the Julian Assange Extradition Order

On June 17, 2022, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel ordered that WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange be extradited to the US. Assange is wanted by the US government for charges that include 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act for publishing
April 8, 2022

Why CRT Bans Are Aren’t Just Disingenuous – They’re Dangerous

By now, you’ve probably at least been within the periphery of the latest faux-outrage on the right regarding something called “critical race theory,” or CRT for short. You’ve probably been assaulted by hair-on-fire headlines or cable news chyrons like: Clearly,
March 24, 2022

Your Geolocation Fits the Description Cops Are Looking For

Earlier this month, a federal judge in Virginia ruled that the surveillance tactics used to find an alleged bank robber were unconstitutional. Specifically, Judge M. Hannah Lauck of the Eastern District of Virginia pointed to the use of a “geo-fence
March 18, 2022

We’re Fighting to Bring Sunshine to Government Surveillance of Dissent

It’s Sunshine Week, which highlights the importance of government transparency. While there are a lot of important steps our government could take to be more transparent (and an urgent need for Congress to take the matter seriously), we at Defending
March 2, 2022

This Louisiana Legislator Wants To Make Killing Protesters Legal

On February 21, a little-known Louisiana state legislator introduced a bill that would add at least two new legal justifications for murder. The first, if someone – anyone, presumably – suspects a protester might be damaging property (or “imminently” about
February 7, 2022

Our Government Has a History of Lying Us Into War. It’s the Media’s Job to Challenge That.

Weapons of mass destruction. Bombing a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant. The Gulf of Tonkin incident. There’s plenty of good reasons for journalists to question US military claims. Most importantly, because that’s their job. In the span of a few hours one day
December 8, 2021

House Rules Committee Blocks Historic Effort to Reform the Espionage Act

Last week, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) offered an amendment to the Protecting Our Democracy Act containing vital protections for national security whistleblowers. If passed Rep. Tlaib’s amendment would have made crucial reforms to the Espionage Act including  Forcing prosecutors to