Historical background

American citizens seeking asylum is nothing new

Political persecution has a long and notorious history in the USA. It began with religious persecution in the colonial period, such as the famous case of Anne Hutchinson. In relatively recent times, many well-known activists have been forced to leave the country, as early as Emma Goldman in the 1920s.

The “McCarthy Era”

Following World War II, a faction of ultra-right wing members of the national legislatures created the House Un-American Activities Committee. This Committee set out to (illegally and unconstitutionally) purge the USA of socialists and communists from employment, in every industry possible. Public figures were particularly targeted, from humble schoolteachers to movie stars. Many lives and careers, great and small, were ruined; including illustrious artists and writers. Neither the socialist movement, nor public service industries, in the US have ever recovered.


The intensification of popular activism in the 1960s brought with it a corresponding offensive by elements who target political activity.

In the 1970s there was a shocking expose of the FBI’s COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program.) This federal campaign of domestic political espionage targeted both prominent and local activists, with a wide range of violent and sometimes bizarre interference in the their public and personal lives; up to and including political murder. This included the FBI’s alleged involvement in the assassination of popular leaders like Martin Luther King.

COINTELPRO-type abuses today

Despite repeated scandals, regarding such illegal government attacks against lawful political activity, it has never been eradicated. Specific agencies responsible, such as the CIA, have continued to operate in much the same way, as powerful and as secretive as before.

Many formerly illegal government programs of political terror have since been legalized (especially since the election of George Bush I (former head of the CIA) and his son George Bush II): eroding basic human rights in the US and internationally.

See more on the history of political persecution in the US at:


and other sites under “Related Links”