Responding to the outcry over covert police surveillance of peaceful activists' meetings, Maryland lawmakers voted on March 24, 2009 in favor of a bill to protect residents from having authorities violate their First Amendment rights. The House of Delegates and Senate approved similar bills and Governor Martin O'Malley has expressed his commitment to signing the legislation into law.
The Latest News
The Charity and Security Network monitors U.S. and foreign government activities and a wide range of news sources to identify developments in national security policy that impact civil society and nonprofit organizations. We collect and disseminate relevant information on our website, via our Twitter and Facebook accounts, and through our biweekly email newsletter, which contains links to a variety of news articles. To read the most recent issues of our email newsletter or to subscribe, click here.
Our staff also creates news pieces on events and developments of particular interest to our members that are not covered in other news outlets. Those stories can be found below, in revese chronological order.
On Friday April 17 Judge Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern California District ordered the government to meet with attorneys representing the charity, Al-Haramain, and either agree on a protective order that would safeguard classified information, or submit a statement to the court detailing where they agree and cannot agree. Where there is disagreement, each party is required to state their position.
On March 18, 2009 the House Foreign Affairs Committee held its third hearing in an ongoing investigation into the proper role of the military in the government's foreign assistance efforts. Committee Chair Howard L. Berman (D-CA) set the direction for the discussion by asking "And what are the implications of putting a military face on development and humanitarian activities? How does this affect the way we are viewed in the world, and what is the practical impact on USAID’s ability to carry out development projects?"
On Feb. 19, 2009 a Texas based hub for national security data collection, the North Central Texas Fusion System, released a Prevention Awareness Bulletin that cites an increase in tolerance as a security concern, cites non-violent activities relating to Muslims and says "it is imperative for law enforcement officers to report these types of activities to identify potential underlying trends emerging in the North Central Texas region." It attracted national attention and criticism from civil liberties organizations.
The rising numbers of attacks against global aid workers is threatening their safety and the humanitarian work they provide in many of the worlds' turbulent areas. Government action that intrudes into the operations of nongovernment organizations has contributed to the problem, according to experts. In the U.S. a proposal to require United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grant applicants to collect and submit personal data on program partners threatens to exacerbate the situation.