President Obama has less than a year to make good on the promise he made two days after he took office: to close Guantanamo prison.
President Obama recognized that the prison is a stain on America’s reputation and a horror for those still imprisoned there. It has become a symbol of some of the darkest, most inhumane aspects of the war on terror: torture and indefinite detention.
BORDC/DDF is supporting protests and rallies to close Guantanamo and hold torturers accountable in eleven cities and towns around the country. Please join us! If there isn’t a protest in a city near you, we invite you to sign this White House petition.
We are proud this month to honor CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou with our Patriot Award. We will host a conference call with John on Wednesday, January 13 at 3 p.m. eastern time. You are invited to join the call. Space is limited, so please RSVP here and we’ll send you the dial-in information.
We pledge to remain relentless, principled, loud, and strong through 2016 … and hope you will too!
BORDC/DDF supports grassroots activism to protect and advance Constitutional rights. Join the movement! Please reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are some organizing highlights from around the country:
Berkeley City Council Approves Pact with the Urban Areas Security Initiative
Despite excellent organizing and outreach by the Stop Urban Shield Coalition and a large turnout of activists, the Berkeley City Council voted 5- 3 on December 15 to continue its relationship with the Urban Area Security Initiative, which funds the annual Urban Shield exercise.
Proposed SFPD Body Camera Policy Remains Flawed
Grassroots partners continued their fight for transparency and oversight in the forthcoming introduction of body worn cameras (BWCs) by the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) at a public meeting.
Oakland Public Safety Committee Adopts Privacy Ordinance
On December 15, the City Council’s Public Safety Committee approved the creation of the groundbreaking Oakland Privacy Advisory Council. The proposal went to the full City Council, which unanimously adopted it.
Keeping LAPD Drone-Free
Los Angeles came out strong at actions on December 8th and 10th. Drone-Free LAPD/No Drones, LA! Campaign released the Drone Report on the morning of December 8th at a press conference followed by a strong presence at the Police Commission meeting. Several people spoke at the Commission meeting against the use of drones by LAPD and demanded that the two Draganflyer X6 Drones currently stored at the LAPD Inspector General’s office be either destroyed or returned to the manufacturer.
John Kiriakou Named January 2016 Patriot Award Winner
We are delighted to honor former CIA agent and whistleblower John Kiriakou with the first Patriot Award of 2016! Join us in appreciation of his courage and sacrifice in exposing torture and campaigning against solitary confinement.
BORDC/DDF is your voice in the Nation’s Capitol. We advocate and agitate in Congress and with the Executive branch. Here are just a few of the issues we raised last month:
Twitterstorm the NYPD Out of CUNY!
In response to administration inaction regarding the threats posed by the NYPD infiltrating student groups on campus, CUNY student activists organized a “twitterstorm” criticizing the administration’s lack of concern about the NYPD’s violations of student rights and singling out of Palestinian rights advocacy for political repression.
On Bill of Rights Day: Fulfill the Promise
We grappled with how to celebrate #BillofRightsDay on Dec 15 in the face of such sustained attacks on the freedoms the Bill of Rights promises to protect. Our Legal Fellow Chip Gibbons was inspired by poet Langston Hughes, who wrote that “There’s never been equality for me nor freedom in this ‘homeland of the free’”, reminding us that while the Bill of Rights is best understood as a promise, that has yet to be fulfilled.
Update: “Don’t Be a Puppet” Petition Signatures Delivered to FBI
Thanks to everyone who signed the petition opposing the FBI’s “Don’t Be a Puppet” Program! We delivered over 3000 signatures and as a result the FBI have further delayed the program and agreed to meet with us and partner organizations in this month to hear our concerns.
4 New Year’s Resolutions for Activists, Organizers, Agitators, Dissenters, and Troublemakers
Read our New Year’s Resolutions for Dissenters: 1) Shut Up! Don’t talk to the FBI 2) Know Your Rights 3) Film the Police 4) Stay Loud, Stay Strong.
Obama’s War on Whistleblowers Paves Way for Global Crackdown on Free Press
Turkey’s recent press crackdown highlights the bad example the US – and the Obama Administration – sets for the rest of the world. Given the similarities to Obama’s War on Whistleblowers, isn’t it time we start applying the same standards at home? If we don’t, can we really complain when leaders around the world view our own actions as a green light to crackdown on the press in their own countries?
Danger: Trump’s Muslim Ban Makes Obama Seem Reasonable on CVE
Donald Trump’s “ban all Muslims” policy proposal is despicable, vile, contemptible, bigoted, and would be unconstitutional, to say the least. But it may be most dangerous just because it makes President Obama seem so reasonable, particularly on the topic of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), one of the problematic programs to come out of the Obama White House.
Nicholas Merrill Overturns National Security Letter Gag Order
A National Security Letter does not ask for your cooperation with the federal government; it demands your cooperation, and recipients are subject to a gag order. Now Nicholas Merrill has become the first NSL recipient to successfully challenge and overturn an NSL gag, finally winning the right to speak out about his experience.
Protection for FBI Whistleblowers? Grassley and Leahy Hope So.
Read about The FBI Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, legislation introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to improve the response to FBI employees who call attention to fraud, waste or misconduct within the bureau.
Hit and Run: Omnibus Decimates Privacy, Transparency, Accountability
The Omnibus Spending Bill passed by the House and Senate, and later signed by President Obama contained the secretly-negotiated “Cyber Security Act 2015,” a blow for privacy, transparency, and accountability.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: 2015 Federal Legislative Round-Up
Read our summary of the year in Congress. Spoiler alert: there’s a lot in the Bad and Ugly categories.