Civil Liberties Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Civil Liberties Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
A trooper who pulled over and later arrested a woman found dead in her jail cell was put on desk duty Friday for violating procedures, the Texas Department of Public Safety said. Sandra Bland, 28, was arrested July 10, and after spending the weekend in the Waller County jail, she was found hanged in her cell Monday. Harris County's medical examiner said the death was a suicide, but Bland's family disputes the finding. The FBI has joined the Texas Rangers in investigating the circumstances surrounding her death. The state Public Safety Department and Waller County district attorney have requested that the FBI conduct a forensic analysis on video footage from the incident. In arresting Bland, the trooper "violated the department's procedures regarding traffic stops and the department's courtesy policy," state public safety officials said Friday without specifying what procedures the trooper, whose name has not been released, had violated. Since Bland's death, alleged video of her arrest has been posted to both Facebook and YouTube. The video shows deputies cuffing Bland on the ground. She appears to be yelling, saying the deputies slammed her head into the ground. One of the deputies then turns his attention to the person recording the altercation, telling the person to leave.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the routine violation of civil liberties.
The Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the Black Lives Matter movement since anti-police protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri last summer, according to hundreds of documents obtained by The Intercept through a Freedom of Information Act request. The reports confirm social media surveillance of the protest movement and ostensibly related events in the cities of Ferguson, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and New York. The tracking of domestic protest groups and peaceful gatherings raises questions over whether DHS ... has allowed its mission to creep beyond the bounds of useful security activities as its annual budget has grown beyond $60 billion. In an email to The Intercept, DHS spokesman S.Y. Lee wrote: “The DHS National Operations Center statutory authority ... is limited to providing situational awareness." Baher Azmy, a legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, however, argues that, “What they call situational awareness is Orwellian speak for watching and intimidation. Some of the documents show that the DHS has produced minute-by-minute reports on protesters’ movements in demonstrations. Surveillance of [an] April 29th protest, which the bulletin explicitly refers to as a “First Amendment-protected event,” raises questions about the potentially compromised state of protesters’ civil liberties — a worry that also surfaced after it was revealed in 2012 that the DHS was monitoring Occupy Wall Street.
Note: For more along these lines, read about Cointelpro, the program used by corrupt intelligence agencies to spy on and attack the U.S. civil rights movement beginning in the 1960's. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the erosion of civil liberties.
According to newly released police video, a Texas trooper threatened Sandra Bland with a Taser when he ordered her out of her vehicle during a traffic stop on July 10, three days before she was found dead in a county jail. Bland — a 28-year old African American woman — was stopped for failing to signal while changing lanes, but the routine traffic stop turned confrontational after the officer, Brian Encinia, ordered Bland to put out her cigarette. Bland refused. Encinia opened the driver’s door and attempted to physically remove Bland from the vehicle. “I’m going to yank you out of here,” Encinia said as the two struggled in the car. “Don’t touch me, I’m not under arrest,” Bland said. “I will light you up!” Encinia said, while pointing the Taser at Bland. State Sen. Royce West (D) said that after viewing the video, he could confirm that Bland was threatened with a Taser by the officer. Details of the confrontation were not included in the arrest warrant written by Encinia, which officials released ... eight days after Bland’s death in the Waller County Jail. During the incident, Bland repeatedly asks why she is being arrested. The remainder of the confrontation occurs outside the view of the camera, but the audio captured what appeared to be a struggle. On Wednesday, authorities responded to allegations that the dashcam video had been edited from its original form. The video uploaded by state officials to YouTube contains visual sequences that appeared to repeat themselves.
Note: The video referenced above was removed from YouTube after this article was published. See strong evidence in this NPR report showing the video was altered to hide what really happened. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the routine violation of civil liberties.
America ... is indecently over-incarcerated. We lock up far more people per capita than any nation even close to our size: roughly 2.4 million men, women, and children. The financial toll of mass incarceration is irresponsible; the human toll is unconscionable. Just 40 years ago, our incarceration rates were much lower, and on par with our peer nations. Since then, however, our prison population has ballooned by about 700%. What happened? We launched the so-called War on Drugs. Criminalizing drug abuse only further shatters people and families that are already in pieces. Our criminal-justice system ... takes people whom we have failed since birth — subjecting them to substandard food, poor living conditions, failing schools, unsafe communities — and then tries to “correct” them through inhumane, over-punitive treatment. For four decades, we have embraced the lie that incarceration ... protects us. Mass incarceration does not make us safer; it makes us more vulnerable. It destroys communities, wastes resources, separates families, ruins lives. It is the result of policies that criminalize poverty and make prisons and jails become warehouses for deeply damaged people with little or no access to mental health or substance abuse treatment. Instead, let’s invest those resources in our neighbors and family members so they don’t end up in the system to begin with, and if they do, so they can get back on their feet.
Note: What is not mentioned here is the role of the greedy prison-industrial complex which has privatized prisons and made imprisoning people profitable. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the corrupt prison industry built upon by systematic violations of civil rights.
The torture scandal consuming the US’s premiere professional association of psychologists has cost three senior officials their jobs. As the American Psychological Association copes with the damage reaped by an independent investigation that found it complicit in US torture, the group announced on Tuesday that its chief executive officer, its deputy CEO and its communications chief are no longer with the APA. All three were implicated in the 542-page report issued this month by former federal prosecutor David Hoffman, who concluded that APA leaders “colluded” with the US department of defense and aided the CIA in loosening professional ethics and other guidelines to permit psychologist participation in torture.. Despite rumors ... the APA framed the departures of longtime executive officials Norman Anderson and Michael Honaker as “retirements”. Rhea Farberman, who served as APA’s communications director for 22 years, “resigned”, the APA said in a statement. Anderson, Honaker and Farberman join Stephen Behnke, the APA’s former ethics chief also implicated in torture, in the first wave of APA departures as the organization seeks to rebuild its credibility. A call to end all psychologist participation in US interrogation and detention operations is slated for APA consideration at a major conference next month.
Note: For more along these lines, read about how the torture program fits in with a long history of human experimentation by corrupt intelligence agencies working alongside unethical scientists. For more, see this list of programs that treated humans as guinea pigs.
The Oscar-winning documentary film-maker Laura Poitras is suing the US government. Poitras, 51, said she had been held at borders more than 50 times between 2006 and 2012, often for hours at a time. At various times she alleges being told by officials that she was on a “no fly” list, having her electronic equipment confiscated ... and being threatened with handcuffs for taking notes. The latter incident took place when she was working on a film about the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Poitras [is] launching the legal action "because the government uses the US border to bypass the rule of law,” said the film-maker. She was repeatedly stopped until 2012, when the journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote an article about her experiences. Poitras’s reporting on the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, along with work by Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill and Barton Gellman contributed to the Pulitzer prize for public service won jointly by the Washington Post and the Guardian in 2014. Her film on Snowden, Citizenfour, won the 2015 Oscar for best documentary. The director is being represented by lawyers from digital-rights advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “The well-documented difficulties Ms Poitras experienced while traveling strongly suggest that she was improperly targeted by federal agencies as a result of her journalistic activities,” senior counsel David Sobel told the Intercept. “Those agencies are now attempting to conceal information that would shed light on tactics that appear to have been illegal.”
Jean Maria Arrigo’s inbox is filling up with apologies. For a decade, colleagues of the 71-year-old psychologist ignored, derided and in some cases attacked Arrigo for sounding alarms that the American Psychological Association was implicated in US torture. But now ... a devastating report has exposed deep APA complicity with brutal CIA and US military interrogations – and a smear campaign against Arrigo herself. David Hoffman, a former federal prosecutor, confirmed what she has crusaded against for a decade: the APA’s institutional involvement with torture led to a concerted effort to quash dissent, lie to the public, and silence people like her. In 2005, Arrigo ... was a member of an internal panel, known as the Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (Pens), that greenlit psychologist participation in national-security interrogations. The taskforce was intentionally weighted in favor of the US department of defense, through stacking it with representatives from the military and CIA. It rejected efforts ... to include references to the Geneva Convention and specific interrogation techniques that psychologists could not be involved in. Arrigo took her concerns public. In response, [Gerald] Koocher ... who served as APA president in 2006, [launched] “a highly personal attack.” Arrigo said she was untroubled by Koocher’s “idiotic” broadside. What was more troubling to her, she said, were the well-meaning members of APA who did not challenge the attacks.
Note: Read an article on how military psychologists are fighting against torture reforms. For more, read about how the torture program fits in with a long history of human experimentation by corrupt intelligence agencies working alongside unethical scientists.
With nearly 1.5 million Facebook fans, CopBlock is relentless and gleeful in its posts of alleged cases of police misconduct and abuse of power. Made up of a loosely affiliated network of grassroots activists, CopBlock members also “patrol” their local law enforcement, monitoring traffic stops and other interactions, often shouting advice to those they perceive as victims. It’s a method that was initiated by the Black Panthers and, unsurprisingly, police have not always taken kindly to this sort of citizen oversight. Some even want to see CopBlock members listed as domestic terrorists. One of the emerging voices seeking to counter CopBlock is called, succinctly, Civilians Against CopBlock. Many of their posts attack those who would question police powers or officers accused of crimes. It’s worth noting here that the Department of Justice did find racial bias in Ferguson’s police department, and you can’t discuss race and police without mentioning New York’s infamous stop-and-frisk law, which an independent review from Columbia University found to be strongly biased. And a paper from the University of Pennsylvania found clear, strong tendencies for African Americans to be profiled and stopped. But does this mean most cops are racist or prone to violent abuse of power? No, of course not. There are nearly a million law enforcement officers in the United States, men and women who put their lives on the line every day to keep the rest of us safe so we can fight on the Internet.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the erosion of civil liberties.
The Central Intelligence Agency’s health professionals repeatedly criticized the agency’s post-Sept. 11 interrogation program, but their protests were rebuffed by prominent outside psychologists who lent credibility to the program, according to a new report. The 542-page report ... raises repeated questions about the collaboration between psychologists and officials at both the C.I.A. and the Pentagon, [and] concludes that some of the [American Psychological] Association’s top officials ... sought to curry favor with Pentagon officials by seeking to keep the association’s ethics policies in line with the Defense Department’s interrogation policies. The association’s ethics office “prioritized the protection of psychologists — even those who might have engaged in unethical behavior — above the protection of the public,” the report said. Two former presidents of the psychological association were on a C.I.A. advisory committee, the report found. One of them gave the agency an opinion that sleep deprivation did not constitute torture, and later held a small ownership stake in a consulting company founded by two men who oversaw the agency’s interrogation program. The association’s ethics director, Stephen Behnke, coordinated the group’s public policy statements on interrogations with a top military psychologist, the report said, and then received a Pentagon contract to help train interrogators while he was working at the association, without the knowledge of the association’s board.
Note: For more along these lines, read about how the torture program fits in with a long history of human experimentation by corrupt intelligence agencies working alongside unethical scientists. For more, see this list of programs that treated humans as guinea pigs.
Three days after the New York Times revealed that the U.S. government was secretly monitoring the calls and emails of people inside the United States without court-approved warrants, the National Security Agency issued a top-secret assessment of the damage done to intelligence efforts by the story. The conclusion: the information could lead terrorists to try to evade detection. Yet the agency gave no specific examples of investigations that had been jeopardized. The December 2005 bombshell story, by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, set off a debate about the George W. Bush administration's expansion of spying powers after the 9/11 attacks, and also about the Times editors' decision to delay its publication for a year. White House officials had warned the Times that revealing the program would have grave consequences for national security. "To this day we've never seen any evidence – despite all the claims they made to keep us from publishing – that it did any tangible damage to national security, " Lichtblau told The Intercept. "The reality was that the story ... didn't tell terrorists anything that they didn't know," he said. The NSA's damage assessment on the article ... is among the files provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The memo recounts meetings in 2004 and 2005 in which administration officials disclosed "certain details of the special program to select individuals from the New York Times to dissuade them from publishing a story on the program at that time."
Note: You can read the revealing memo mentioned at the link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on civil liberties from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Media Information Center.
[One spy unit is] responsible for some of the United Kingdom's most controversial tactics of surveillance, online propaganda and deceit. Documents ... demonstrate how the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), a unit of the signals intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), is involved in efforts against political groups it considers "extremist". Though its existence was secret until last year, JTRIG quickly developed a distinctive profile [after] Edward Snowden revealed that the unit had engaged in "dirty tricks" like deploying sexual "honey traps" designed to discredit targets, launching denial-of-service attacks to shut down Internet chat rooms, pushing veiled propaganda onto social networks and generally warping discourse online. Particularly revealing is a fascinating 42-page document from 2011 detailing JTRIG's activities. The document lays out the tactics the agency uses to manipulate public opinion, its scientific and psychological research into how human thinking and behavior can be influenced. Many GCHQ documents describing the "missions" of the "customers" for which it works make clear that the agency has a wide mandate far beyond national security, including providing help on intelligence to the Bank of England, ... to various departments on agriculture and whaling activities, to government financial divisions to enable good investment decisions. Beyond JTRIG's targeting of Anonymous, other parts of GCHQ targeted political activists deemed to be "radical," even monitoring the visits of people to the WikiLeaks website. [The document] includes detailed discussions of how to foster "obedience" and "conformity".
Note: Read amazing excerpts of this report at the link above showing how JTRIG plays an active role on the Internet in directly manipulating many political discussions and websites. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in intelligence agencies from reliable major media sources.
Retailers have the ability to scan your face digitally, and use that identification to offer you special prices or even recognize you as a prior shoplifter. But should they use it? Should they get your permission first? Privacy advocates announced Tuesday they have walked away from a government-run effort with industry intended to ... hash out voluntary protocols for facial recognition technology in a way that doesn't hurt consumers. The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, or NTIA, was acting as mediator. The two sides had been meeting for 16 months ... until the nine major privacy groups said they had hit a dead end and that "people deserve more protection than they are likely to get in this forum. At a base minimum, people should be able to walk down a public street without fear that companies they've never heard of are tracking their every movement — and identifying them by name — using facial recognition technology," the groups said. "We have been unable to obtain agreement even with that basic, specific premise." The ability to apply a unique signature to a person's face, even if you don't identify them by name, is particularly invasive, according to privacy advocates. "You can change your password and your credit card number; you cannot change your fingerprints or the precise dimensions of your face. Through facial recognition, these immutable, physical facts can be used to identify you, remotely and in secret, without any recourse."
Note: Read this article for more in this matter. Remember, the same technologies that lead to the disappearance of privacy rights for individuals are also used by corrupt corporations against nonprofit civic organizations to undermine democracy.
With every video that surfaces of questionable or shocking police conduct, at least two questions arise. The first is how exactly each incident happened. The second is how common such incidents are. The first question can be addressed though investigation, which can surprise both police and their critics, and eventually through better training. The second question is more straightforward - and the lack of an answer is unacceptable. The U.S. Department of Justice actually has two separate counts of deaths in police custody - one by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and one by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Each count misses half of all deaths; the department hoped that by combining them, it would get a reasonably accurate number. Its hope was misplaced. The department pretty much acknowledges that its number is unreliable. The Bureau of Justice Statistics suspended its data collection more than a year ago and has since been examining ways to improve the accuracy of its count. A law passed last December with strong bipartisan support allows the attorney general to withhold up to 10 percent of some federal grants to states if they fail to comply with reporting requirements. The law gives states 120 days to begin reporting deaths on a quarterly basis, but the department will not set any requirements for reporting until it completes an internal review of its own data collection. Better numbers won't solve the problem. But they can be a useful gauge through which to measure and focus any proposed solution.
Note: An article in the UK's Guardian newspaper, titled The Uncounted, describes why the U.S. government claims it is unable to keep track of killings by police, but does not mention that police shootings rise as crime falls. The Guardian now independently tracks killings by U.S. police.
At any given time, roughly 480,000 people sit in America's local jails awaiting their day in court, according to an estimate by the International Centre for Prison Studies. These are people who have been charged with a crime, but not convicted. They remain innocent in the eyes of the law. Three quarters of them ... are nonviolent offenders, arrested for traffic violations, or property crimes, or simple drug possession. Many will be found innocent and have their charges dropped completely. Defendants who [are] detained before trial [wait] a median of 68 days in jail. Many ... are forced to wait simply because they can't afford to post bail. A 2013 analysis by the Drug Policy Alliance ... found that nearly 40 percent of New Jersey's jail population fell into this category. People sit behind bars not because they're dangerous, or because they're a flight risk, but simply because they can't come up with the cash. A recent analysis by the Vera Institute ... found that 41 percent of New York City's inmates were sitting in jail on a misdemeanor charge because they couldn't meet a bail of $2,500 or less. For low income people, the consequences of a pre-trial detention, even a brief one, can be disastrous. And in many cases, these people will eventually be found to be innocent. Some civil rights reformers [argue] that bail policies are tantamount to locking people up for being poor. We spend somewhere in the ballpark of $17 billion dollars annually to keep innocent people locked up as they await trial.
A US appeals court on Wednesday reinstated a claim against former attorney general John Ashcroft and other Justice Department officials, stemming from the abuse of Arab and Muslim men and others detained for months ... after the September 11 attacks. The unusual decision cleared the way for once-anonymous plaintiffs to advance charges that the top officials in the Justice Department had violated their constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law. Officials ... knew the abuse was happening and that they knew the detainees weren’t terrorism suspects. The court wrote, “The suffering endured by those who were imprisoned merely because they were caught up in the hysteria of the days immediately following 9/11 is not without a remedy.” The case was first brought 13 years ago by the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York-based nonprofit. The current complaint is joined by eight named plaintiffs, all of whom were caught up in law enforcement sweeps that netted hundreds of men after the 9/11 attacks. The “9/11 detainees” had in common an unresolved immigration status and a perceived Arab or Muslim background. The result, in some cases, was months of detention without charges, abuse at the hands of guards, solitary confinement and other punitive measures. The complaint details gratuitous strip searches, beatings, broken bones and verbal abuse. In one case, a Buddhist from Nepal ... was arrested for filming a Queens street, and held and abused in a Brooklyn detention center for three months. The appeals court found those measures to be “punitive and unconstitutional”.
Note: For more, read this New York Times article. Most of the "9/11 detainees" were deported after being cleared of any involvement in terrorism. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about investigations into 9/11 and its aftermath, or read the excellent, reliable resources provided in our 9/11 Information Center.
A nurse was unfairly denied unemployment benefits after she was fired for refusing a flu shot without claiming a religious or medical exemption, a New Jersey appeals court ruled Thursday. The three-judge panel wrote that the hospital's policy of allowing religious or medical exemptions to the flu shot requirement "unconstitutionally discriminated against" plaintiff June Valent by rejecting her refusal to be vaccinated for secular reasons. Valent was working as a nurse at Hackettstown Community Hospital in 2010 when the hospital's parent company began requiring employees to take the flu vaccine unless they had medical or religious reasons not to. Employees claiming an exemption were required to sign a form and provide documentation. Anyone refusing the vaccine was required to wear a mask while at work. Valent declined the vaccine but didn't state a medical or religious reason, and agreed to wear a mask. She was terminated based on her refusal of the vaccine and disqualified for unemployment benefits by a Department of Labor board of review after several hearings and appeals from both sides. The board concluded that the hospital demonstrated Valent had engaged in work-related misconduct by refusing the flu shot, according to Thursday's ruling. The appellate judges concluded that the hospital violated Valent's right to freedom of expression by endorsing the religious-based exemption while denying her secular choice.
A study has found rules that required Canadian aboriginals to attend state-funded church schools were responsible for "cultural genocide". The report released on Tuesday found that First Nation children were often physically and sexually abused. "They were stripped of their self-respect and they were stripped of their identity," said Murray Sinclair, one of the study's authors. More than 130 residential schools operated across Canada. The Canadian government forced more than 150,000 First Nation children to attend these schools from the 19th Century until the mid-1990s. The schools sought to integrate the children into mainstream Canadian society, but in doing so rid them of their native culture. The policies have been cited as a major factor in an epidemic of substance abuse on reservations. Students said they were beaten for speaking their native language and were separated from their parents and customs. Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a historic apology in parliament in 2008, acknowledging the physical and sexual abuse that took place in the schools. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which wrote the report, was created in 2006 as part of a $5bn (Ł3.3bn) class action settlement between the government, churches and the 90,000 surviving First Nation students. The report issued 94 recommendations including an investigation into missing and murdered aboriginal women and an apology from Pope Francis on behalf of the Catholic Church.
Note: Watch powerful evidence in a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sex abuse scandals and violations of basic civil rights.
The US Central Intelligence Agency used a wider array of sexual abuse and other forms of torture than was disclosed in a Senate report last year, according to a Guantánamo Bay detainee turned government cooperating witness. Majid Khan said interrogators poured ice water on his genitals, twice videotaped him naked and repeatedly touched his “private parts” – none of which was described in the Senate report. Khan’s is the first publicly released account from a high-value al-Qaida detainee who experienced [these] “enhanced interrogation techniques”. The 35-year-old Khan ... is awaiting sentencing after [confessing] to delivering $50,000 to al-Qaida operatives in Indonesia. Khan was captured in Pakistan and held at an unidentified CIA “black site” from 2003 to 2006, according to the Senate report. In the interviews with his lawyers, Khan described a carnival-like atmosphere of abuse when he arrived at the CIA detention facility. He said that he experienced excruciating pain when hung naked from poles and that guards repeatedly held his head under ice water. In a July 2003 session, Khan said, CIA guards hooded and hung him from a metal pole for several days and repeatedly poured ice water on his mouth, nose and genitals. When a doctor arrived to check his condition, Khan begged for help. Instead, Khan said, the doctor instructed the guards to again hang him from the metal bar. After hanging from the pole for 24 hours, Khan was forced to write a “confession” while being videotaped naked.
Note: For more, read about the 10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture and many other questionable intelligence agency practices.
The US government does not keep a comprehensive record of people killed by law enforcement, often leaving families, politicians and advocates powerless to quantify and analyse the size of the issue at hand. The lack of data has been glaring amid the protests, riots and the national debate set in motion by the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown last summer in Ferguson, Missouri. “We lack the ability right now to comprehensively track the number of incidents,” the outgoing US attorney general Eric Holder said before stepping down earlier this year. “Fixing this is an idea that we should all be able to unite behind.” The Guardian has begun an investigative project, The Counted, to record the deaths of people at the hands of US police. When informed of the comprehensive reporting project, which will also be crowdsourced, the families of those whose deaths led to international attention called The Counted a breakthrough. [Many] relatives, campaign groups, activists and authorities ... argue that a national standard of mandatory accounting is a prerequisite for an informed public discussion about the use of force by police. Erica Garner-Snipes, daughter of Eric Garner: "Giving this kind of data to the public is a big thing. Other incidents like murders and robberies are collected, so why not police-involved killings? With better records, we can look at what is happening and what might need to change."
Note: Another recent Guardian article, titled The Uncounted, describes why the U.S. government claims it is unable to keep track of killings by police, but does not mention that police shootings rise as crime falls.
1971: A group of ordinary citizens broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania. What they discovered shocked them. Long before Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA surveillance, these activist-burglars exposed COINTELPRO, the FBI’s illegal surveillance program that involved the intimidation of law-abiding Americans. For forty years the burglars kept their identities secret, but in Johanna Hamilton’s new film 1971, these previously anonymous Americans publicly tell their story for the first time. Hamilton took the time to talk to us about how she approached telling this story: "To me, every aspect of the story was compelling. A group of ordinary people who put everything on the line to protect freedom of speech and hold their government accountable. They were total outsiders who trained themselves for one night of amateur burglary in order to break into an FBI office — on a hunch! They manage to evade capture. The revelations from the break-in helped lead to the Church Committee hearings in Congress, which ended up establishing the first ever set of guidelines governing the FBI’s investigative powers. The Citizens’ Commission risked everything because they suspected the government was conducting illegal surveillance. And they were right. We are in the midst of the same discussion today. Post 9/11 we lost many of the checks and balances that the government normally operates under. Governments should not spy on law-abiding citizens — whether it’s Hoover’s FBI or today’s NSA."
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.