25 Sep

Our Right to Dissent is Under Siege

Men in Military Fatigues Snatch Protester

Per The G-20 Joint Information Center

The individuals involved in the 9/24/2009 arrest which has appeared online are law enforcement officers from a multi-agency tactical response team assigned to the security operations for the G20.


From The Center for Constitutional Rights

At this very moment, the fundamental right to dissent is being restricted, threatened and perilously criminalized. CCR is on the front lines defending the right to dissent and has also re-issued an important resource for all those likely to be targeted for their actions.

CCR's If An Agent Knocks booklet coverRight now, thousands of activists who have gathered in Pittsburgh to protest at the G20 summit have been met with what we have come to expect: overreaction by authorities and illegal preventive tactics by law enforcement officials at all levels. A secret communications hub with “electronic eyes” has been established by the Secret Service, working with over 40 other agencies to infiltrate, spy on, and disrupt all forms of opposition. Raids and arrests are mounting, and the aggressive and well-planned system of cracking down on dissenting voices and reducing media coverage is strongly in effect.

CCR has responded to the increasing threat to dissent in a number of ways. For months now a CCR board member and cooperating attorney, Jules Lobel, has worked with on the ground organizations to secure permits and challenge restrictions to protests. Last week, in collaboration with the ACLU, he successfully represented several organizations in court and secured the right to demonstrate in a city park during the G20 gathering. And in a filing on Monday, we charged the local police with illegal searches, vehicle seizures, raids and detentions of Seeds of Peace members aimed at preventing them from providing food to protestors. CCR’s legal director, Bill Quigley, is in Pittsburgh advocating on behalf of the protestors, and CCR will continue its support. On the topic of dissent, Bill Quigley wrote an article on the protests at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, PA; you can read the article here.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is re-issuing our pamphlet, “If an Agent Knocks,” to provide advice to activists likely to be targeted by FBI agents or other federal investigators, in Pittsburgh and beyond. This booklet is a resource to protect activists from government investigation. We also want to support the power you show when you exercise this fundamental right of dissent.

Since its original release in 1989, CCR’s “If an Agent Knocks” has been widely circulated in progressive activist communities across the country. This guide includes both the timeless advice included in the original version and extensive updates to reflect the current state of the law and law enforcement tools. It also includes a comprehensive discussion of today’s technology, including cell phones, e-mail and Web browsing.

“If An Agent Knocks” is an invaluable tool for activists in a time when efforts to repress expressions of opposition are intensified. We want to get this publication into as many hands as possible. To obtain a free copy, please email . You can also download it in pdf form. Tell your friends and fellow activists about “If An Agent Knocks,” and urge them to place an order too. We are giving away a special edition of “If An Agent Knocks” posters to the first 500 people who order the booklet.


Annette Warren Dickerson
Director of Education & Outreach

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