Know Your Rights Booklet for Activists

by Will Potter on October 15, 2009

in Activism & Activists' Response

if-an-agent-knocksThe Center for Constitutional Rights has a great new legal guide for activists called “If An Agent Knocks.”

From CCR:

Federal law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have a dark history of targeting radical and progressive movements. Some of the dirty tricks they use against these movements include: the infiltration of organizations to discredit and disrupt their operations; campaigns of misinformation and false stories in the media; forgery of correspondence; fabrication of evidence; and the use of grand jury subpoenas to intimidate activists. Today’s activist must know and understand the threat posed by federal law enforcement agents and their tactics as well as several key security practices that offer the best protection.

Federal agents have many tools at their disposal to target activists. While it is important to know and understand these tools and tactics, it is of critical importance that you resist any paranoia of government surveillance or fear of infiltration, which will only serve to paralyze you or your organization in your quest for social change. If fear of government repression prevents you from organizing, the agents of repression will have won without even trying.

I think it is worth noting that in the recent appellate ruling in the SHAC 7 case, the court argued that educational materials on the SHAC website were relevant to the “terrorism” charges against them. Specifically, the court noted that the SHAC website had “a series of links dedicated to educating activists on how to evade investigators. These links were entitled, ‘Ears and Eyes Everywhere,’ ‘Dealing with Interrogation,’ ‘When an Agent Knocks,’ and ‘Illegal Activity.'”

Clearly, knowing your rights is perceived as a dangerous, dangerous thing. So get to it.

Thanks to Matthew for the link, and the excellent work on this publication.

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