FDL Book Salon Welcomes Betty Medsger, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI

By: Saturday March 29, 2014 1:59 pm

This book is a window into a period of American history when secret government used its vast powers to engage in the widespread quashing of dissent.

In the midst of this dark era, a group of conscientious citizens chose to burglarize an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, because they thought they might be able to confirm how the FBI was spying on Americans who dared to protest the policies of their government.

President Obama Failed To Mention Why Government Was Spying On MLK

By: Monday January 20, 2014 12:20 pm

During his speech defending the NSA and domestic surveillance President Barack Obama ironically mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King as proof that intelligence agencies spying on Americans had precedent in our recent history. What Obama failed to mention was why MLK had been targeted by the government. What did King do to become a threat to national security besides being a leading in the civil rights movement?

Martin Luther King Jr., COINTELPRO and the Normalization of Bulk Surveillance in Post-9/11 America

By: Monday January 20, 2014 11:15 am

The political intelligence program known as COINTELPRO was used by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to target civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. COINTELPRO moved “from the kid with a bomb to the kid with a picket sign, and from the kid with the picket sign to the kid with the bumper sticker of the opposing candidate.” It would keep “going down the line,” according to Tom Charles Huston, former aide to President Richard Nixon.

Activists Who Took FBI Files in 1971 Praise Edward Snowden, Defend How He Blew the Whistle

By: Tuesday January 7, 2014 1:41 pm

Activists who raided an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, on March 8, 1971, while millions were tuned into a fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, have come forward to reveal their identities. A new book by Betty Medsger and film directed by Johanna Hamilton is being released on this courageous act, which helped lead to the unraveling of the massive system of surveillance created by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

Aaron Swartz and Jean Seberg

By: Monday January 14, 2013 7:47 am

Aaron Schwartz isn’t the first victim nor, sadly, will he be the last. His death is the terrible toll of a ruthless government intent on protecting a secretive and unaccountable kleptocracy at all costs.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Seth Rosenfeld, Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power

By: Sunday November 11, 2012 1:59 pm

In 1977, The Daily Californian, Berkeley’s student paper, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents bearing on FBI surveillance in Berkeley during the 60’s and early 70’s. In 1981, Seth Rosenfeld, then a Daily Cal reporter, started reading those files that the FBI turned over. He published some initial reports. Later that year, having observed how many files were missing or blacked out (“I wondered whether the bureau was America’s biggest consumer of Magic Markers,” he writes), he filed an additional request for “any and all” records on former UC President Clark Kerr, former Free Speech Movement leader Mario Savio, and more than a hundred other individuals, organizations, and events.

Five lawsuits, many more Magic Markers, and 30 years later, he had succeeded in retrieving more than 300,000 pages of records, a federal judge having ruled that the FBI had no legitimate law enforcement purpose in keeping them secret. His venture in unearthing records about illicit espionage and political operations by America’s chief cops extended throughout, and outlasted, Rosenfeld’s distinguished career as an investigative reporter for San Francisco’s Examiner and Chronicle.

The resulting book is not only about campus surveillance but political causation.

The Problem with Tim Weiner’s Praise for FBI Director Robert Mueller

By: Tuesday April 3, 2012 11:00 am

Author Tim Weiner masterfully tells the story of J. Edgar Hoover’s rise to prominence in the FBI and the trouble experienced after Hoover-era and Watergate scandals were exposed. Then he charts the evolution of the FBI under director Robert Mueller and expresses great confidence that Mueller will go down in history as the best director ever. But there is another side to Mueller’s tenure at the FBI.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Tim Weiner, Enemies: A History of the FBI

By: Saturday March 31, 2012 1:59 pm

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tim Weiner has a talent for getting clandestine government agencies to spill their secrets. After dissecting the Central Intelligence Agency in Legacy of Ashes, for which he won a National Book Award, Weiner now turns his sights on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s intelligence activities in Enemies: A History of the FBI. Those who watched the 9-11 Commission hearings during which the FBI was criticized for being no more than gumshoe detectives might be shocked to find that the FBI engaged in clandestine anti-terrorism and counter-espionage right from its very beginning in 1908.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Jeremy Ben-Ami, A New Voice for Israel: Fighting for the Survival of the Jewish Nation

By: Sunday July 31, 2011 1:59 pm

In midsummer 2006, while my wife and kids were on our yearly trip down to Seattle, to be with our extended Norwegian-Jewish-Cambodian-Icelandic-Swedish-Texan family, the so-called Israel-Hezbollah War was in full rage. My brother-in-law and I were watching Wolf Blitzer on CNN, as he interviewed one pro-Israel talking head expert after another, describing the war not just from the Israeli point of view, but from a right-wing Israeli standpoint.

After the program, he lamented that the voice for Israel in the American media, in public affairs and in politics is almost always from a perspective much further from the right than it should be to reflect the views of the average Israeli, or those of the American Jewish community. He longed for a new organization, based from the positions of moderates, to counter the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and other hawkish pro-Israel groups.

“But,” Lee lamented, “that’ll never happen.”

Some say it has now happened.

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Upcoming FDL Book Salons

Saturday, April 19, 2014
2:00 pm Pacific
Poison Candy: The Murderous Madam: Inside Dalia Dippolito’s Plot to Kill
Chat with Mark Ebner about his new book. Hosted by Beth Karas.

Sunday, April 20, 2014
2:00 pm Pacific
The Gulf of Tonkin Events – Fifty Years Later: A Footnote to the History of the Vietnam War
Chat with John White about his new book. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize winner Deborah J. Nelson.

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