BORDC/DD Activism: Turn up the heat on Congress

We’re running out of time for making visits to our elected officials in August – when Congress Members are in their home state – but you can also plan to meet your officials in Washington, DC or call them by phone. Here is Defending Dissent’s activism plan…

Tun up the heat on Congress!

Our campaign to Investigate the FBI is gaining steam– but we need your help to make Congress feel the heat this summer. 

Members of Congress will be in their home districts in August, so it’s a great opportunity to meet with them face to face to demand an end to FBI political spying and a full investigation into FBI abuses of its counterterrorism authorities.

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End covert electronic harassment

Here’s a petition to sign – it goes to Senator Rand Paul…

End covert electronic weapons

Senator Rand Paul:
President Obama and Congress can not continue to be blind to the injustices of covert electronic harassment and torture (using military grade weaponry) on millions of non-consensual, law abiding citizens inside the privacy of their home! Because you lead the heroic effort to dismantle parts of the Patriot Act, we are kindly asking you to take the lead once more to prohibit and investigate the barbaric act of Electronic Harassment by means of Executive Order or Legislation.

There are currently 159 signatures. NEW goal – We need 200 signatures

Letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee

Please feel free to use portions of this letter to write to the Senate Intelligence Committee. If we get enough people, perhaps we can get them to investigate this, like they did in 1975. And, btw, I will help write or edit material for TIs for “dana” (donation). Thank you!

Senate Intelligence Committee

211 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senate Intelligence Committee:

I am a registered voter with the Democrat Party and live in XXX, MD. I had the privilege of attending the Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing today with FBI Director James Comey (Counter-terrorism, Counterintelligence, and the Challenges of “Going Dark”). Thank you for providing public access to this important hearing.

In preparation for attending the hearing, I gave a cursory look at the FBI’s tactics for handling encryption. I found information on The Intercept (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/06/hacking-team-spyware-fbi/) indicating “The DEA, FBI and Army bought Hacking Team’s software through a company called Cicom, which for several years served as a middleman for Hacking Team’s US business.” In fact, the article (Leaked Documents Show FBI, DEA and US Army Buying Italian Spyware) states this software allows users to “take remote control of suspects’ computers, recording their calls, emails, keystrokes and even activating their cameras.” In addition, this information was printed in Politico (July 7, 2015) and, according to their article, it also appeared in Wired. Politico refers to the software as thwarting “encryption by infecting devices so it can monitor communications before they’re encrypted or after they’re decrypted.” The article refers to this software as a potential backup to another system the FBI uses (http://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2015/07/06/us-gov-likes-hacking-team/).

In light of Director Comey’s humble insistence that he does not possess any solutions and he believes Silicon Valley could provide innovative ideas, I am bewildered at the contrast between the media and the hearing, both in terms of the quality and quantity of content.

In fact, I was sorely disappointed I did not learn more from today’s hearing. I attended for personal reasons and was looking to attain a fuller understanding of my situation. Briefly, I worked at a federal contractor, experienced mobbing (adult bullying), and was forced out. I recreated my life only to have it all unravel again. Last year, I started to experience mobbing again as well as organized stalking, which involves stalking, harassment, and surveillance. To my surprise, I learned the FBI used these tactics in Cointelpro, which this committee investigated in 1975. Back then, the FBI targeted civil rights activists, war protesters, and various other law-abiding and non-violent citizens.

Apparently, yesterday’s “communists” are today’s “terrorists.” Many (including thousands of Targeted Individuals like myself and another woman present at the hearing today) share this sentiment. Recently (June 30, 2015), Truth Out printed an article titled Protest is the New Terror: How US Law Enforcement is Working to Criminalize Dissent. The author states, “…the FBI, working with local police have directed their resources as much against protesters, dissenters and those practicing and [sic] civil disobedience as they have against the threat represented by terrorists, whether homegrown “lone wolves” or organized outside groups.”

In my own situation, one of my co-workers said to me, “This is what you get when you mess with the police.” One week later, in August of 2014, I noted an abnormal police presence wherever I went. It continues to this day, along with the stalking, harassment, and other forms of surveillance. Surely, a whistle blower and activist like me – a middle-aged, law-abiding, tax-paying breast cancer survivor who served in the Peace Corps and has written about health and human rights – does not warrant neither the resources nor the punishment inflicted. I would like to remind this committee of the words from the original investigation of Cointelpro:

We have examined the collection of intelligence about the political advocacy and actions and the private lives of American citizens. That information has been used covertly to discredit the ideas advocated and to “neutralize” the actions of their proponents. As Attorney General Harlan Fiske Stone warned in 1924, when he sought to keep federal agencies from investigating “political or other opinions” as opposed to “conduct . . . forbidden by the laws”:

When a police system passes beyond these limits, it is dangerous to the proper administration of justice and to human liberty, which it should be our first concern to cherish.

. . . There is always a possibility that a secret police may become a menace to free government and free institutions because it carries with it the possibility of abuses of power which are not always quickly apprehended or understood. 7

Our investigation has confirmed that warning. We have seen segments of our Government, in their attitudes and action, adopt tactics unworthy of a democracy, and occasionally reminiscent of the tactics of totalitarian regimes. We have seen a consistent pattern in which programs initiated with limited goals, such as preventing criminal violence or identifying foreign spies, were expanded to what witnesses characterized as “vacuum cleaners”,” sweeping in information about lawful activities of American citizens.

The tendency of intelligence activities to expand beyond their initial scope is a theme which runs through every aspect of our investigative findings. Intelligence collection programs naturally generate ever-increasing demands for new data. And once intelligence has been collected, there are strong pressures to use it against the target.

Thank you again for the public hearing. I do hope you will consider my story and know that there are thousands out there going through very similar circumstances. Please protect our rights in concert with protecting the security of the nation and preserving the democracy our forefathers and mothers created so that we may live in freedom.