FBI spies on US civil rights groups

By EDRi · July 27, 2005

The renowned US civil rights organisation ACLU has sent out an alarming press release about FBI-surveillance of their activities and of other renowned peaceful groups such as Greenpeace and United for Peace and Justice. The FBI has collected more than 1.100 pages of documents on the ACLU since 2001 and the ACLU is urging the court to order a rapid hand-over of these files, in stead of having to wait another 9 months for the FBI to ‘process’ the file. The ACLU is deeply concerned about the large-scale surveillance of political and religious groups in the name of fighting terrorism.

In December 2004 ACLU filed access requests to FBI-files on behalf of 7 national organisations and on behalf of more than 100 groups and individuals in 16 States. The ACLU received widespread complaints from students and political activists who said they were questioned by FBI agents in the months leading up to the 2004 political conventions. The people represented by ACLU include “advocates for causes including the environment, animal rights, labour, religion, Native American rights, fair trade, grassroots politics, peace, social justice, nuclear disarmament, human rights and civil liberties.”

“The ACLU is seeking information about the FBI’s use of Joint Terrorism Task Forces and local police to engage in political surveillance. The FOIAs seek two kinds of information: 1) the actual FBI files of groups and individuals targeted for speaking out or practising their faith; 2) information about how the practices and funding structure of the task forces, known as JTTFs, are encouraging rampant and unwarranted spying.”

ACLU: FBI Is Keeping Documents on ACLU and Other Peaceful Groups (18.07.2005)