As Protest Grows, So Does Repression


Dismayed by growing opposition to the occupation of Iraq and their militaristic foreign policies, the Bush administration has now resorted to spying on the antiwar movement under the cover of fighting "terrorism."

Defend your rights to express opposition to the Bush Administration's policies. Sign UFPJ's online petition urging the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to stop all surveillance of the anti-war movement and to launch an investigation into these spying activities.

On November 23, the New York Times disclosed a confidential FBI memorandum detailing FBI efforts to engage in coordinated, nationwide surveillance of the peace movement. The memorandum, entitled "Tactics Used During Protests and Demonstrations," was circulated to local law enforcement agencies on October 15—ten days before tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco to protest the occupation of Iraq at marches organized by United for Peace and Justice and International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Read the NYT article expose). In the memo the FBI admits they possess "no information that violent or terrorist activities are being planned as part of these protests." Nonetheless, the memo calls upon local police to watch for "possible indicators of protest activity" and report on antiwar activities to the FBI's counterterrorism squads. In chilling detail, the FBI provides information on the training, organization, fundraising and other common tactics and activities of political activists protected by the first amendment. Claiming that "even the more peaceful techniques [of protesters] can create a climate of disorder," they warn of demonstrators' "innovative strategies," such as:
— meetings to plan marches and engage in nonviolent protest, in the manner of Gandhi and Martin Luther King (described as "training camps"-the phrase used to describe Al-Qaeda training sites in Afghanistan)
— use of the internet to "recruit, raise funds and coordinate their activities prior to demonstrations"
— the use of "cell phones or radios to coordinate activities or to update colleagues about ongoing events" during demonstrations
— use of videocameras "for documenting potential cases of police brutality and for distribution of information over the internet" (described as a means of "intimidation" of the police)
— the formation of human chains (i.e. linking arms)
— raising funds for lawyers for people arrested improperly

Read the FBI memo (You'll need Adobe Acrobat. )

Disclosed just days after the Miami police brutally attacked peaceful opponents of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the FBI surveillance is part of a far-reaching effort by the Bush administration to weaken key freedoms and treat the rights of its political opponents with contempt in the name of "fighting terrorism."

Apparently, the FBI cannot tell the difference between the legitimate, nonviolent activities of the peace and justice movement with the illegal, despicable acts of those who brought down the World Trade Center. This is an attempt to intimidate all those who question Bush's militaristic policies into silence. As Senator Kennedy noted, "This reminds me of the old Nixon times and the enemies list... How could we be fighting abroad to defend our freedoms and diminishing those freedoms here at home?"

Under J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI ran clandestine operations ("COINTELPRO") against the civil rights and anti-Vietnam war movements. The aim was to harass, discredit, disrupt, and destroy influential opponents of government policies. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X were among the targets. In the 1970s, Congress imposed tight restrictions on FBI investigations of political activities. But Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Bush Administration have used the fear created by the 9/11 attacks to weaken protections from such government abuses.

We can't let Bush turn back the clock. You can help stop the FBI's attack on the antiwar movement and our democratic rights.

Urge the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to take immediate action to halt all FBI and police surveillance of the anti-war movement and to begin an investigation into these spying activities. Sign UFPJ's online petition right now

Many groups are organizing opposition to the government's spying activities. We encourage you to support all these efforts. The Center for Constitutional Rights has made a similar call and has initiated a campaign demanding that Attorney General Ashcroft step down. Send a free fax to Attorney General Ashcroft via the American Civil Liberties Union. A.N.S.W.E.R. has also initiated an online petition opposing these measures.

— Read reactions from Sen. Kennedy, the ACLU, and others.
— Read S.F. Chronicle editorial attacking FBI surveillance.