Resisting FBI Repression with Leslie James Pickering

Denver, CO – On the evening of September 14th, Leslie James Pickering of Buffalo, NY’s Burning Books made a stop in Denver on his Resisting FBI Repression speaking tour.

Unicorn Riot was there to stream the event, hosted by the Denver Anarchist Black Cross and the Auraria Climate Justice Coalition.


Leslie spoke about his decades-long history of FBI investigation, spanning from the ridiculous to the nefarious, and about the varied tactics he used to resist the ongoing surveillance he has had to endure.


The topic was timely as earlier in the day we had reported on the escalated felony charges being applied to the pipeline resistance at Standing Rock.

Our point is to, is to try to figure out how they operate, because again, you look at all these movements over time, it could be workers in the 20’s and 30’s, it could be women during the suffrage movement, it could be anti-war activists or black liberationists in the 60’s and 70’s,Β  it could be environmentalists in the 90’s or animal liberationists in the 80’s. It’s the same story over and over again. Movements bubble up, they get really strong and start to learn ways that they can fight back and make a big difference, then repression kicks in and people are either in jail, sometimes dead, and very often scattered and inactive for the rest of their lives, and that’s the pattern, right? If we don’t… if we ignore that and don’t address it, we’re just gonna keep repeating it.” – Leslie Pickering

Leslie described the documents he has received from the investigation on him, as well as the process by which he was able to obtain the documents using the Freedom of Information Act. The FBI has admitted to having at least 30,000 pages on him in their investigation. Leslie has been able to access around 600 pages to date. He is currently in the process of suing the FBI, TSA, NSA, and CIA for additional documents. He directed anyone interested in filing requests to go to the FOIA page of Burning Books website for detailed forms put together by his attorney Michael Kuzma, who specializes in FOIA laws, to help to ensure maximum results when sending in requests.

Pickering also referred back to his steadfast refusal to comply with any interviews with the FBI and how his persistent refusals were cited in his file as a reason to not attempt any further interviews.

The FBI is coming and asking questions, or any law enforcement agency is coming and asking questions – resist them… for Christ’s sake…there is no excuse to talk to those people, they murdered Fred Hampton, they have so many people in prison and it’s all because of them, Peltier is in prison right now and it’s all because of the FBI…they have done so many horrendous, terrible, inexcusable things, there’s no reason to ever talk to them whatsoever.” – Leslie James Pickering

Various literature was available for sale, as well as a patch that read “In Solidarity with the Earth Liberation Front” and an image of the Vail Ski Resort arson from 1998.


Watch full event streams part 1, 2 and 3 below:

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