But many CISPES
activists, many North Americans, were anti-interventionists, but never took the step toward solidarity.
(198) See "The FBI and CISPES
," a report of the Select Committee on Intelligence, U.S.
(1) These repressive government measures surveilled and destabilized the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES
), which was seeking to stop death squads funded by our tax dollars.
In this spirit, we read of the FBI's vast but fruitless investigation in the 1980s of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador ("CISPES
The authors present in their introductory chapter the following four stories to demonstrate "the recurring nature of the government's misguided response to political threats": the 1950s McCarthy era investigation and prosecution of Frank Wilkinson, founder of what is now the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation; the COINTELPRO surveillance of protest movements during the 1960s and 70s, including environmental activists, Vietnam protesters and women's liberation advocates; the investigation of Central American activists, including the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador ("CISPES
") during the 1980s; and the investigation of Palestinians and Muslims, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine ("PFLP") during the 1990s.
By and large, the privilege assertions do not concern prosecutorial documents but, rather, FBI domestic intelligence files and the like; proper oversight in these contexts was restored by the Church Committee, ABSCAM, and Committee in Solidarity with the People of E1 Salvador (CISPES
) congressional investigations.
James Dempsey, deputy director of the Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology, pointed to the 1980s investigation of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, CISPES
. There, said Dempsey, the FBI received information, later shown to be false, that the Dallas chapter of the group was planning "to carry out violent activities" in opposition to U.S.
One of the most prominent involved an investigation of the Committee in Solidarity With the People of El Salvador (CISPES
) from 1983 to 1985.
When the Department of Justice mistakenly suspected the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES
) of supporting Salvadorian terrorists, the United States Senate described the resulting danger to democratic values in this way: The American people have the right to disagree with the policies of their government, to support unpopular political causes, and to associate with others in the peaceful expression of those views, without fear of investigation by the FBI or any other government agency.
He worked energetically with CISPES
(Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador) to protest the Reagan Administration's policy of sending arms to the death squads there.
"They're are not seen as Robin Hoods by a lot of people," said Hugh Byrne, a former director of CISPES
, a group that organised protests in the 1980s.