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In-Depth Interview: Bill of Rights Defenders Demand Hearings and Restrictions on Surveillance and Infiltration of Nonviolent Protesters

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Chip Gibbons joins us to talk about an open letter to Congressional leaders demanding hearings into multiple cases of FBI and DHS violations of First Amendment rights of peaceful protesters, like Occupy and Black Lives Matter.Gibbons is Legal Fellow at Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation, and he is organizing the distribution of an open letter to the chair and ranking member of House and Senate Judiciary committees, signed by dozens of groups.

The letter details a number of cases where the FBI and Homeland Security have used the anti-terrorism tools and authorities in the PatriotAct and other laws to infiltrate and spy on nonviolent First Amendment groups like School of the Americas Watch, Occupy, Black Lives Matter, and potential protesters of the Keystone/XL pipeline.  In addition to exposing wrongdoing, the signers of the letter demand reforms to prevent future violations.

Gibbons discusses the expansion of law enforcement’s tentacles with DHS Fusion Centers and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, and how infiltration and surveillance are justified by concocted threats of violence.  In the case of SOAW, the covert actions continued for 10 years, despite no record of violence or criminal behavior beyond civil disobedience.

For more information, and to add your name to the petition, click here.