ACLU-DC Sues D.C. Police For False Arrests, Free Speech Violations

Shay Horse

By Staff of ACLU – WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union of the District of Columbia today filed a lawsuit against the District of Columbia, Metropolitan Police Department officers, and D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham for making unconstitutional arrests, using excessive force, denying arrested people food, water, and access to toilets, and invasive bodily searches of protesters exercising their First Amendment rights on Inauguration Day. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a legal observer, a photojournalist, and two others arrested that day. While the overwhelming majority of Inauguration Day protesters demonstrated peacefully, a small number caused property damage. In response to the vandalism, MPD officers employed a controversial crowd-control tactic known as “kettling,” where officers corralled more than 200 protesters—including many who had broken no laws—by trapping and detaining them for several hours before formally arresting them. Officers also deployed nonlethal crowd-control devices—including pepper spray, tear gas, flash-bang grenades, concussion grenades, and smoke flares—upon protesters and others both on the street and inside the kettle, without warning or threat of harm to officers or other members of the public.

Take Action To Protect Our Internet!

1nn

By Popular Resistance. Tell Ajit Pai to protect net neutrality. In 2014 the people fought the Giant Telecoms to win reclassification of the Internet as a common carrier under the Obama administration. This success gave us Net Neutrality – everyone can go wherever they want on the Internet. Now, under the Trump administration, the new chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon, is moving quickly to take net neutrality away! He plans to start that process on May 18 unless we stop him. Send him an email now!

Convicted For Protesting Jeff Sessions Is No Laughing Matter

1tighe

By Tighe Barry. In the recent past, frivolous charges like these would have been thrown out of court. But, Trump and his cronies in the Justice Department are going out of their way to crackdown on dissent, especially in the form of nonviolent protest. Republican officials are jumping on Trump’s bigoted bandwagon to restrict liberties at the local, state and national level. We see laws being passed in over a dozen states to make protesting a crime, while at the same time, North Dakota has passed a law where running over a protester is not a crime. We see state laws being passed to criminalize campaigns that support Palestinian rights. We see that over 200 people who protested Trump’s inauguration have been prosecuted and charged with ridiculous offenses, such as felony rioting charges. We should see our Justice Department prosecuting real criminals, like those responsible for war, not convicting people for laughing in Congress. Unless we rise up and demand our first amendment right to dissent, then the joke will be on the American people. And that is no laughing matter.

Library Worker Heroically Defends Patron’s Free Speech

Dennis-Ross-1024x763

By Chip Gibbons for BORDC – “For someone to be assaulted and then arrested for asking a question, in a public library of all places, is abhorrent. The library should be a place where people of all points of view can feel safe and welcome,” Steve Woolfolk, director of public programing at the Kansas City Public Library told the Dissent NewsWire. But that is exactly what happened during a question and answer session with former Bush Administration official and current Washington Institute for Near East Policy…

National Tax Watchdog Aims To Protect Free Speech

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 1.38.16 PM

By Alejandro Vidal for Tax Revolution Institute – Washington, DC — The free-speech rights of nonprofit organizations, such as advocacy groups, educational institutions, labor unions, and business leagues, are under serious threat, and the clock is ticking. In response, the Tax Revolution Institute (TRI) — a Washington-based nonprofit group that promotes “justice and integrity in the tax system” — has launched the First Amendment Alliance: a non-partisan effort to protect the free-speech rights of nonprofits.

Congress’s Move To Delay IRS Muzzle Rule Another Year Is Not All Good News

While the US Congress may have postponed the enforcement of the IRS muzzle rule once again, they missed the opportunity to stop this threat to free speech for good. (Photo: New Statesman)

By Adam DeAngeli for Tax Revolution Center – The draft of the House of Representatives’ financial-services appropriations bill contains language very similar to what was passed last year to defund the IRS from implementing the nonprofit muzzle rule. If enforced, the rule would harm the nonprofit community by curtailing their First Amendment right to speech and creating legal exposure for accidentally violating these new draconian limits. It’s well and good that the IRS will be prohibited another year from carrying out this rule, but unfortunately this bill leaves the door open for the IRS to move forward with their mandate the following year.

6 Year Anniversary Of WikiLeaks Collateral Murder

The video leaked by Chelsea Manning, titled Collateral Murder, depicted the killing of more than a dozen men, including two Reuters staffers, and the wounding of others, including small children. (Photo: Screenshot/Wikileaks)

By Nozomi Hayase for Common Dreams – On April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks published classified military footage of a July 2007 attack by a US Army helicopter gunship in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad. The video titledCollateral Murder depicted the killing of more than a dozen men, including two Reuters staffers. At the time of release, the WikiLeaks website temporarily crashed with a massive influx of visitors, while versions popped up on YouTube, reaching millions.

Crackdowns On Free Speech Rise Across A Europe Wary Of Terror

A rally in Madrid this month protested the arrests of two puppeteers accused of glorifying terrorism and promoting hatred. The puppeteers could face up to seven years in prison. Credit Fernando Alvarado/European Pressphoto Agency

By Raphael Minder for The New York Times – MADRID — A puppet show at an open square in Madrid during Carnival festivities this month featured a policeman who tried to entrap a witch. The puppet officer held up a little sign to falsely accuse her, using a play on words that combined Al Qaeda and ETA, the Basque separatist group. Angry parents complained, and the real police stepped in. They arrested two puppeteers, who could now face as much as seven years in prison on charges of glorifying terrorism and promoting hatred.

Free Speech Doesn’t Kill People

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.50.15 AM

By Chip Gibbons in Defending Dissent – Just days after the killing of both Goforth and another law enforcement officer, Charles Gliniewicz, USA Today published an op-ed by Ron Hasko, President of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, blaming Black Lives Matter for the deaths of both officers, as well as violent crime across the United States. Hasko asks his readers not once, but twice if there is “hard data and empirical evidence” to support his suppositions. Both times he concedes there is not. Yet, Hasko will not let this admitted lack of evidence derail his attempt to smear a social movement for racial justice, as “concluding that both [the deaths of officers and the spike in crime] stem from the anti-cop themes from such protesters, liberal politicians and the mainstream media is hardly counterintuitive.”

'Gag Mumia Law' Struck Down For Now

1mumia2

We won! As of yesterday, we defeated Pennsylvania’s “Gag Mumia Law”, SB 508. It’s hard to rejoice in this victory when Mumia is under medical neglect, riot police are terrorizing Baltimore, and the state violence that killed Freddie Gray and is putting Mumia’s life on the line is not unique but ingrained in the U.S.’ racist system of policing, surveillance and imprisonment. But we want to take this moment with you to recognize this enormous win, which shut down the Fraternal Order of Police in their tracks and will keep Mumia and all prisoners able to speak to the public. Email us at info@prisonradio.org and we will send you the order. We must be vigilant the FOP has vowed to go back to the legislature and try to silence Mumia again.

Gagged And Censored: Justice Not Served For Drone Protester

1bonnie1

Bonnie said that this trial is about a constitutional free speech issue and the jury should be the ones to decide on whether she was trespassing or had a constitutional right to be on the base sharing her literature. The judge responded that deciding about constitutional issues is not up to the jury and Bonnie will not be allowed to bring that up. Bonnie will now be going to trial on April 1 without being able to offer a strong defense. Her ability to do so has been taken away by the prosecutor and the judge before the trial even begins. This happens so many times in trials for protestors and it is outrageous. We are gagged and then we are censored. As we consider this grave miscarriage of justice in Wisconsin, we realize it is all part of a bigger system of illegal actions by our government.

Free Speech As A Barrier To Trade? The Latest Anti-BDS Scheme

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.00.38 AM

Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) have introduced the United States-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act into Congress. This bill, according to Roskam’s press release, would “counter the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and strengthen the U.S.-Israel economic relationship.” The bill cites its raison d’être not as a political defense of Israel, but as concern over “politically motivated actions” that would constitute barriers of trade in violation of the General Agreement on Trades and Tariffs (GATT). It would tie U.S. trade policy, most notably the pending trade deal with the European Union, to opposing BDS.

This Man Faces Life In Prison For Rapping

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 8.52.52 AM

I’ve heard free speech isn’t free, and Brandon Duncan, who raps as Tiny Doo, has learned that the hard way. Until recently, Mr. Duncan spent eight months in jail on “gang conspiracy” charges arising from several shootings in San Diego from May 2013 to February 2014. Prosecutors admit he wasn’t at the scene of the crimes, and they have no evidence linking him to the shootings. Mr. Duncan, who has no criminal record, also says he had no knowledge of the crimes. But the district attorney charged him all the same because he raps about shootings. That’s not only absurd; it’s a blatant violation of the First Amendment.

Update From Prison Radio

1pradio2

As many of us are out in the streets taking back the radical legacy of King, here at Prison Radio we are at full speed on the path toward freedom and justice. Right now, seven of us are working in the San Francisco office. Over 630 people joined the campaign to Defeat the “Silencing of Our Prisoners Law SB508″ and gave to our successful IndieGogo campaign. On February 26th, Prison Radio attorneys Bret Grote from the Abolitionist Law Center & Nikki Grant and Ashley Henderson from the Amistad Law Project will be advocating that Judge Conner issue a preliminary injunction prohibiting Pennsylvania’s Attorney General and Philadelphia’s District Attorney from using the Silencing Act to censor Plaintiffs’ speech. We want to put an end to this illegal statute before it can be used to intimidate, silence, and punish those who raise their voices against this system.

BREAKING: Net Neutrality Activists Blockade FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's House

Activists speak with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler as they blockade his driveway in Georgetown this morning.

Advocates for net neutrality who oppose the tiered Internet proposed by FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, blockaded his driveway this morning, Monday, November 10, 2014, just as the Chairman was getting into his car. Six people participated in the blockade with a large banner that read “Save the Internet.” They also held signs demanding that Wheeler listen to the people. They chanted “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Tom Wheeler has got to go” and sang “Which side are you on Tom? Are you with the people or with the Telecoms?” The protest, which kicked off at 6:55am, is organized by PopularResistance.org, the same group that Occupied the FCC from May 7 to May 15. They are demanding that Wheeler drop plans to advance so-called “hybrid” rules that fail to protect free speech, and fully reclassify the Internet as a common carrier under Title II.