Wednesday, December 17, 2008

FOR under surveillance

Below is the text of an action alert issued today by FOR. As described, we have learned that our email accounts have been under surveillance. This is another example of the way the Uribe administration has created a climate of suspicion around the human rights community in Colombia, putting us and our work in danger. Please take action!

"Speak Truth to Power" takes on a new dimension when you realize you are under surveillance! That is exactly the position we at FOR find ourselves in once again. In 2005, we informed FOR supporters that more than 10,000 pages of FBI files had been released to us, documenting decades of surveillance of the organization. Now, we have just learned that for two full years - since December 2006 - our Latin America program has been targeted and monitored by state agents. Specifically, the e-mail messages intercepted include FOR communication in the US and with Colombia!

This covert action is a direct violation of our right to privacy as a humanitarian activist organization. FOR's e-mail account was among more than 150 e-mail accounts of human rights organizations, journalists, academics, and labor organizations that were targeted. We've also learned that the Colombian military paid for computer hard drives "of interest to intelligence" agencies. The June 2007 break-in and stealing of FOR's Bogotá office computers containing sensitive files on our work with members of Colombian peace communities may have been a direct result of this state-sanctioned surveillance.

FOR is meeting this attack on civil rights by calling on U.S. and Colombian officials for a full investigation, sanctioning of officials responsible, and the erasure of intercepts. Join us in exposing this militaristic intervention. Click here to write to the State Department's chief for human rights concerns.

We also hope you will take this opportunity to show the Colombian and U.S. regimes that you support democracy, privacy, and self-determination by making a donation reaffirming your commitment to FOR. We need your help. Whatever your gift, it is a sign of your commitment to justice. We say again: we will not be silenced!

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