Anti-war group plans ‘enlightening’ civil engagement filing FOIA requests

The Triangle Committee to Stop FBI Repression is planning an “enlightening form of civil engagement” for April 27 — filling out Freedom of Information Act requests. They group wants to find out what information the government is collecting about its members. The event will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Durham Solidarity Center, 331 W Main St.

“We encourage activists and organizers to fill out FOIA requests,” said Kosta Harlan, a member of the committee. “We know the FBI has been spying on those of us who peacefully exercise our First Amendment rights to speak out against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. What we don’t know is the extent of the surveillance here in our community.”

A federal agent infiltrated the Minnesota Antiwar Committee and for two and a half years. While pretending to be an active member of the committee, the agent raised money, befriended members, and gave public speeches on behalf of the group. He also handed internal reports to the government that described plans to go on an international solidarity trip to Palestine.

“By collectively filing these FOIA requests, we are demonstrating that we are not afraid to defend our rights, and we will not be deterred from working for peace and justice,” Harlan said.

The committee is organizing this event to generate FOIA request to find out what level of scrutiny the movement in our parts is under. This collective action is part of a larger efforts to find out where the FBI has been collecting information.

The committee believes it is critical to let the FBI and the federal government know that people are paying attention. Representatives from the National Lawyers Guild will be on hand to guide people through the process.

For more information, contact the Triangle Committee to Stop FBI Repression at ncstopfbi@gmail.com or go to their website.