Antiwar.com Sues FBI Over Secret SurveillanceMay 22nd, 2013
I’ll tell you what. Angela Keaton can keep a secret. This weekend Angela represented AntiWar.com, along with Teresa Warmke from Fr33 Aid and Carla Gericke from the Free State Project at the Bitcoin 2013 Conference, and not once did she let on that this news was breaking just a few days later.
AntiWar.com is a non-profit news organization devoted to the cause of ending military aggression and imperialism. It is read by libertarians, pacifists, leftists, rightists, independents, greens, reds, yellows and pinks. Best of all it reports on foreign policy from a principled non-interventionist perspective. And now AntiWar.com is suing the FBI after discovering they were the subject of secret surveillance.
The website’s founder and managing editor, Eric Garris said, “Free speech is now being considered a threat to national security.” He and longtime editorial director, Justin Raimondo, filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday demanding the records the FBI is keeping on them.
The lawsuit comes on the tails a recent reveal that the IRS has been targeting groups that criticize the State which included press organizations. The State is targeting free speech with secret monitoring and intimidation from multiple angles, but AntiWar.com isn’t taking it lying down.
Julia Harumi Mass, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, is representing Antiwar.com in the case. She says, “FBI surveillance of news organizations interferes with journalists’ ability to do their jobs as watchdogs that hold the government accountable.”
According to the suit, the ACLU has made several futile attempts to obtain FBI files related to a heavily redacted 94-page FBI memo which makes it clear that the FBI has files on Garris and Raimondo, and recommends further monitoring of AntiWar.com as a “preliminary investigation …to determine if [redaction] are engaging in, or have engaged in, activities which constitute a threat to national security on behalf of a foreign power.”
The ACLU has been filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for any FBI records on Antiwar.com since 2011.
The FBI memo also reveals that contributors and readers of AntiWar.com were targeted, even though the memo acknowledged there was no evidence of any crime being plotted or committed. In other words, the FBI is continuing a secret criminal investigation even after they’ve determined there is no crime because they don’t like what’s being said. The only reason I can imagine for this is that they hope to discover some charge they can trump up to stifle the free speech they have no legal grounds to silence.
The trouble is, even though no charges were filed, no convictions were made, and no evidence of wrongdoing was found, being targeted by FBI surveillance has had a chilling effect on donors. After Raimondo explosed the FBI memo in 2011 Antiwar.com started losing major donors who were afraid of the FBI would begin monitoring them as well.
Since then Antiwar.com has adopted Bitcoin as an alternative payment system, which would allow allow financial supporters to protect their privacy. This is particularly awesome, because it means that AntiWar.com is simultaneously pursuing both an inside-the-system and outside-the-system solution to the problem of State aggression.
The AntiWar.com Bitcoin donation address is: 1M87hiTAa49enJKVeT9gzLjYmJoYh9V98