|Anthony Freda Illustration|
Richard Brown was falsely arrested and tells his decades-long story about his experience with the FBI in the video below.
Lately, the FBI has been moving in to repress free speech, using grand jury indictments in a revival of COINTELPRO measures begun in the ’50s against domestic political groups, and most infamously against black civil rights activists in the ’60s. The modern form is even more virulent, as it attempts to chill free speech by paralyzing all activists from participating in the organized, peaceful protest they are entitled to under the Constitution.
Regardless of what one might think of The Black Panthers, or Brown’s former connection to them, there are some striking facts about police brutality, FBI dininfo/misinfo campaigns, activist surveillance, and justice system intimidation tactics that were fully realized in the persecution of black civil rights activists such as The Black Panthers. Brown’s case is indicative of the lengths to which the FBI went to torture people into false confessions, spread personal rumors, provocateur violence, publish false stories, and infiltrate groups in order to conduct full-time surveillance. Now, many of the very same agents (literally) involved in COINTELPRO operations are back, having been deputized by Homeland Security to marshal in another round of repressive conduct against Americans.
It has been thoroughly revealed that peaceful activism is now being connected to terrorism, thus putting all activists under potential surveillance within the greater War on Terror. Additionally, it has been announced that PATRIOT Act provisions are set to be made permanent, offering no relief from the endless expansion of the security state and snitch culture endorsed by Homeland Security. The government considers protesting as a form of terrorism, or “low level-terrorism” as they call it; protests are now juxtaposed with attacking the Pentagon, IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), and hate crimes against racial groups (I wonder if the Afghan/Iraq war falls under this definition).
Such contempt for free speech should be no surprise; from the Bush-era free speech zones to the JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) conducting house visits and interrogations on individuals deemed “radicals” or “extremist” based on “call-ins” — euphemism for snitch-based information obtained from illegal infiltration. It should be no surprise to have watched the YouTube video posted by an Austin-area nurse and mother of five who received a visit from two JTTF agents. Participation at a Palestine peace protest warranted that dreaded knock on the door. Even respected veterans such as members of IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War) who have actively participated in anti-war events have experienced FBI harassment. This treatment is documented by Camilo Mejia — previously the Chair of Board of Directors of the Iraq Veterans Against the War — in IVAW’s latest book Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations.
So, listen to Brown’s story carefully. If you believe in your right to free speech and non-violent rebellion, this story could soon be your own if we don’t take steps to expose this new phase of government over-reach and their police state tactics of oppression. I encourage you to take action now by getting involved with The Committee to Stop FBI Repression.
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