Constitution in Crisis :: February Newsletter

Celebrating Fred Korematsu in an Era of Racism and Fearmongering
February 1, 2018
Coalition to Congress: Uphold Section 504 of the National Security Act. In other words, don’t let intelligence agencies move money around behind Congress’ back.
February 5, 2018

Dear Troublemakers:

Every month you get this newsletter, filled with shocking accounts of the latest assaults on our right to political expression and our Bill of Rights. But it’s also filled with accounts of how Defending Rights & Dissent is part of a powerful grassroot movement that is fighting back and winning.

You know that Defending Rights & Dissent is at the forefront of this grassroots movement. We are small, agile, and effective. So activists and communities of color under attack know they can count on us from the get-go. We can respond quickly and mount a campaign to fight back immediately.

We don’t need much to do our work, but we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’re asking you to become a monthly sustainer. As a monthly sustainer, you’ll help make this work possible.

We need to find 30 new sustainers this month. Will you be one?

Your donation of $5, $10, or $20 a month will give us a solid foundation for the rest of the year.

You’ve seen how even though we are a small organization, we make a huge difference. So you know the support you give us will be impactful.

Please take a minute to become a monthly sustainer right now.

In Solidarity,

Sue and Chip

Did you know we publish a Daily Digest of civil liberties news from across the country? You can sign up for the Daily News Digest here. If you don’t want that many emails, sign up for the Weekly Digest instead. It comes out every Friday.

Charges Dropped for 129 Inauguration Protesters

Defending Rights & Dissent was elated by the news that 129 of the J20 defendants had their charges dismissed. Nonetheless, the struggle continues. Fifty-nine people still face multiple felony charges.Defending Rights & Dissent demands that the remaining charges be dropped, that Jennifer Kerkhoff be fired, and that DC police be held accountable for the wanton brutality they engaged in during the inauguration.

Are JTTFs Protecting Us Against Threats, or Threatening Our Civil Rights & Liberties?

Since the 9/11 attacks, the United States government has poured money into counter-terrorism efforts. One place in which they have spent billions of dollars is the network of 119 Joint Terrorism Task Forces  (JTTFs) located across the country.

Celebrating Fred Korematsu in an Era of Racism and Fearmongering

Senator Maizie Hirono (D-HI) has introduced a resolution honoring Fred Korematsu, who fought President Roosevelt’s internment of Japanese Americans. Her resolution declares January 30, 2018 as “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.”

Congress Fails to Protect Privacy…. Again

The House passed the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act (S. 139), giving the NSA authority to sweep up internet communications of foreigners and untold numbers of Americans without a warrant, and allowing the FBI to troll through the collected data without a warrant.

Victory for Journalists, Whistleblowers, and Activists As Key Provisions of Ag-Gag Law Found to Be Unconstitutional

In a victory for journalists, whistleblowers, and activists, on January 4, 2018 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down key provisions of Idaho’s ag-gag as unconstitutional. Defending Rights & Dissent has long asserted ag-gag laws are unconstitutional.


With New FOIA Request, Defending Rights & Dissent and National Lawyers Guild Demand Answers About Infiltration of Inauguration Protests

Defending Rights & Dissent and the National Lawyers Guild filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking information about the infiltration of protest group DisruptJ20 by DC police, as well as the extent of police cooperation with non-law enforcement third parties like Project Veritas.

Defending Rights & Dissent Expresses Concern Over Senate Committee’s Inquiry into Jill Stein

On January 10, 2017 Defending Rights & Dissent sent a letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence expressing concern over their investigation of political activist and former Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein.  While it is legitimate to be concerned about foreign interference in a US election, the tenor of discussions concerning this interference has increasingly moved into the direction of chilling dissent.

Defending Rights & Dissent Expresses Concern About Florida’s Retaliation Against Prison Strikers

Defending Rights & Dissent sent a letter to the Florida Department of Corrections expressing our concern with allegations they had retaliated against prisoners who engaged in political organizing.

Boston Resists Surveillance and Learns About Programs Targeting Communities of Color

Boston is a city that prides itself on its progressive politics. But it’s time to take a closer look at surveillance and policing in the city.

Oakland Privacy Scores Another Victory

Last night, the Oakland City Council voted to formally end all law enforcement cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and its parent agency Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Groups seek oversight of NYPD Strategic Response Group’s role in abusive and repressive protest policing and conflation of “anti-terror” and protest

Following the rough policing of an immigration-related protest on Thursday and prior protests in NYC where protesters were subjected to abusive treatment and tactics, a number of civil rights, legal and other organizations called for the City Council to hold an oversight hearing into the policing of protests.