Liberty Activist News Digest

News


| Commentary | Action Items |

ACLU, others lobby Obama to commute sentence of political prisoner Chelsea Manning

NBC News NBC News

"The American Civil Liberties Union and gay-rights groups are lobbying President Barack Obama to commute the prison sentence of a transgender soldier who leaked classified government and military documents. The ACLU said the letter Monday co-signed by more than a dozen civil rights groups considers Chelsea Manning's 35-year sentence unprecedented." (12/06/16)

http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/aclu-lobbies-obama-commute-sentence-chelsea-manning-n692501

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UN rejects UK regime’s appeal of Assange arbitrary detention ruling

Daily Express [UK]

"The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention threw out a UK appeal against its previous ruling, when the panel had said that Mr Assange's detention was unlawful. Although Mr Assange voluntarily sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London more than four years ago, the panel ruled that the fact that he would be arrested as soon as he attempted to leave amounted to an arbitrary detention. In throwing out the appeal, the UN said the British Government had not brought forward any new evidence to allow a review of the case. Following the ruling, Mr Assange said in a statement: 'Now that all appeals are exhausted I expect that the UK and Sweden will comply with their international obligations and set me free.'" (12/01/16)

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/738767/Wikileaks-Julian-Assange-free-United-Nations-UK-Government-appeal

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US political prisoner Barrett Brown freed

CNet News CNet News

"Barrett Brown, a journalist who served as an unofficial spokesman for various Anonymous hacking operations, was released from prison Tuesday after serving more than four years behind bars for sharing stolen data and threatening an FBI agent. Barrett, 35, originally attracted the attention of law enforcement officials in 2011 when he copied a hyperlink to data stolen in a hack of security think tank Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, from one Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel to another." (121/30/16)

https://www.cnet.com/news/journalist-linked-to-anonymous-released-from-prison/

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UK: Dozens arrested in Million Mask March

Anonymous Time

"The annual Million Mask March in London ended in the arrest of 47 people, mostly for drug offenses and obstruction of officers. Thousands of supporters of the hacker group Anonymous wore Guy Fawkes masks and gathered in Trafalgar Square to protest capitalism and promote civil liberties." (11/06/16)

http://time.com/4560010/million-mask-march-london-arrest/

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ACLU: Surveillance state firm used Facebook, Twitter, Instagram feeds to help police track dissidents

New Orleans Times-Picayune

"A powerful surveillance program that police used for tracking racially charged protests in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, relied on special feeds of user data provided by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, according to an ACLU blog post published Tuesday. The companies reportedly provided the data -- often including the locations of users -- to Geofeedia, a Chicago-based company that says it analyzes social media posts to deliver surveillance information to 500 law enforcement agencies. The social media companies sought to restrict Geofeedia's access to the streams of user data in recent weeks after the ACLU discovered them and alerted the companies about looming public exposure." (10/12/16)

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/10/facebook_twitter_instagram_sen.html

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Legal counsel, advocates concerned about whereabouts of US political prisoner Chelsea Manning

Mic

"According to a tweet from Chelsea Manning's attorney Chase Strangio on Sunday, Manning, a trans woman serving 35 years' time in a men's prison for leaking millions of military and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks, hasn't had contact with friends, family or supporters for the last five days. ... On Sept. 23, Manning was sentenced to 14 days of solitary confinement for attempting suicide in July. Manning said the punishment is known as 'disciplinary segregation,' in a statement reported on by the Guardian. She said there was 'no set date set' for her confinement to start, and that she would be given an opportunity to appeal the decision." (10/10/16)

https://mic.com/articles/156444/chelsea-manning-s-legal-counsel-and-advocates-are-concerned-about-her-whereabouts#.oIFPpJf2t

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NZ: Protesters shut down central Auckland as ministers sign Trans-Pacific Partnership

New Zealand Herald [New Zealand]

"Central Auckland has ground to a halt as trade ministers signed the TPP today. All streets around Sky City Convention Centre and motorway on and off ramps leading to the central business district have been blocked by protesters. ... The agreement is designed to free up trade [sic] and investment between the countries, but has been a beacon for controversy for several years, mainly due to the secrecy of the deal, lack of public consultation and fears New Zealand's sovereignty could be diminished." (02/04/16)

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11584458

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MN: Police in riot gear tear down protest camp in Minneapolis

CBS News CBS News

"Officers in riot gear broke down an encampment early Thursday outside a Minneapolis police precinct where protesters have been demonstrating for nearly two weeks over the fatal shooting of a black man by police. Officers told about 50 demonstrators outside the police precinct to disperse about 4 a.m. and began tearing down tents about 15 minutes later. City dump trucks carried away tents and supplies. Demonstrators headed by the local Black Lives Matter group have gathered at the site since the Nov. 16 death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark following a confrontation with police a day earlier." (12/03/15)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/police-in-riot-gear-tear-down-protest-camp-in-minneapolis/

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UK: Thousands turn out for Million Mask March in London

Anonymous USA Today

"Thousands of people wearing grinning, goateed Guy Fawkes masks turned out in central London Thursday for the annual 'Million Mask' protest that deteriorated into a shoving match with police as marchers strayed from the approved route through Central London. By early evening East Coast United States time, three officers with London's Metropolitan Police were taken to the hospital and 28 arrests had been made for public order offenses, one of them for assault of a police officer, police said via Twitter. Similar anti-establishment demonstrations promoted by the hacktivist group Anonymous were also planned in Washington, D.C., Madrid, The Philippines, Canada and Mexico. A website appearing to be authored by Anonymous claimed that protests were planned in 670 cities worldwide." (11/05/15)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/11/05/thousand-turns-out-million-mask-marches-anonymous-guy-fawkes/75231016/

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New York man creates “sovereign nation” in Utah

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"A New York man is building his own sovereign nation called Zaqistan on a remote piece of land in Utah. Zaq Landsberg has created a yellow-and-red flag, official-looking passports and a border patrol gate guarded by a giant robot sentry for the realm, KSL-TV reported. 'The conceptual goal is I want it to become a real country,' said Landsberg, its president. 'I mean, that goal is not going to happen. It's impossible, but going through the motions, (I'm) trying to make that happen.' He's even created a motto for the land of Zaqistan: 'Something from nothing.'" (10/25/15)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/New-York-man-creates-sovereign-nation-in-Utah-6588931.php

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Snowden filmmaker to sue US government

Independent On Line [South Africa]

"Filmmaker Laura Poitras, whose documentary about fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden won an Oscar, is suing the US government to find out why she was repeatedly detained at immigration checkpoints. Poitras is seeking the release of six years of records that document how she was searched, questioned and sometimes held for hours at US and foreign airports on more than 50 occasions between 2006 and 2012. 'I'm filing this lawsuit because the government uses the US border to bypass the rule of law,' she said in a statement issued by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit watchdog group that is representing her." (07/14/15)

http://tinyurl.com/psk8wnp

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Singapore: Regime court sentences political prisoner Yee to time served

Al Jazeera Al Jazeera America

"A Singapore teenager who posted online a video that was deemed offensive to Christians, and an obscene image of late leader Lee Kuan Yew, will be released after a court sentenced him on Monday to jail time already served. The case has reignited concerns about censorship and social controls in the Southeast Asian financial hub, and has drawn criticism from human rights activists. Amos Yee, 16, was sentenced to four weeks of imprisonment from June 2, which means he could be released immediately after spending 50 days in custody." (07/06/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ops2468

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Feds subpoena Reason to ID commenters who were insufficiently respectful of robed political hack

Wired

"Last week the Department of Justice issued a grand jury subpoena to the libertarian media site Reason.com, demanding that it identify six visitors to the site. The subpoena letter, obtained and published by blogger Ken White, lists trollish comments made by those six Reason readers that -- whether seriously or in jest -- call for violence against Katherine Forrest, the New York judge who presided over the Silk Road trial and late last month sentenced Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht to life in prison. ... The subpoena calls for Reason.com to hand over data about the six users, including their IP addresses, account information, phone numbers, email addresses, billing information, and devices associated with them." [h/t Wendy McElroy] (06/08/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p2kwsul

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MA: Judge orders protesters to end 11-year vigil

Fox News

"A Massachusetts judge ordered parishioners of the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church to end their 11-year protest vigil and vacate the shuttered Roman Catholic church Thursday. However, the Friends of St. Frances, a group that has been occupying the Scituate church every day since 2004, said they are not going anywhere. They intend to ask the state court to stay the ruling pending an appeal. ... St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church was among dozens of parishes closed as part of a controversial plan to restructure Boston's Archdiocese's debt. Opponents had said the closures were the archdiocese's way of paying for clergy sex-abuse settlements, a charge the church has repeatedly denied. The archdiocese blamed the closures on falling attendance, a priest shortage and financial problems." (05/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nr2by59

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MS: Lesbian couple kicked out of bowling alley for “kissing”

Raw Story Raw Story

"A same-sex couple says the owner of a Mississippi bowling alley had them booted out of his establishment after they kissed -- an action that is legal for businesses in the state. Tiffany Franklin and her girlfriend, Jazmine Lewis, were at Metro 24 Bowling Center in Jackson on Saturday night when they were told not to show affection for each other. 'He just blatantly said, 'This is my establishment. I do what I want to,' and then, 'I'm a pastor,'' Shannon Divinity, a friend of the women, told WAPT." [editor's note: He should have that right, and they should have every right to publicize the fact, never go there again, and encourage others not to - SAT] (04/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pb2brx2

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Sony hack: Wikileaks publishes more than 30,000 documents

Wikileaks The Hollywood Reporter

"On Thursday, WikiLeaks published more than 30,000 documents and 170,000 emails from Sony Pictures, obtained from a hack that has been sourced to North Korea in anticipation of the studio's release of The Interview. The Julian Assange website noted in a press release that 'whilst some stories came out at the time, the original archives, which were not searchable, were removed before the public and journalists were able to do more than scratch the surface.' In a move that could trigger another round of embarrassing prying into Sony affairs, WikiLeaks has now published those documents in a searchable format." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pyh7ea4

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Security theater: Protester lands aircraft on Capitol grounds. Gov-thugs: “Muh airspace!”

CNN CNN

"A mailman from Florida wanted to make a big, bold point about the corruption that results from money in politics. So Doug Hughes boarded a small personal aircraft called a "gyrocopter" and flew an hour from Maryland into restricted airspace over Washington and landed on the West Lawn of the Capitol building. In tote: letters for every member of Congress urging them to reform campaign finance laws. Hughes caused a melee Wednesday afternoon when he flew his gyrocopter, undetected by NORAD, to the nation's capitol. U.S. Capitol Police converged as he landed, and the White House said President Barack Obama was briefed on the situation. It was a bizarre incident that riveted the city and shut down the U.S. Capitol for part of the day." [editor's note: No, HE didn't "cause a melee." Nor did he "shut down the US Capitol." Panic-prone political class drama queens did both those things - TLK] (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/k9qy5gy

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NY: More than 400 march on Union Square to protest Walter Scott shooting

New York Daily News

"Dozens were taken into custody and two cops were reported injured Tuesday as anti-police brutality protests erupted across two boroughs and brought traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge to a standstill. About 400 protesters walked from Union Square to NYPD headquarters at 1 Police Plaza in lower Manhattan, before taking to the roadway of the bridge and marching through Brooklyn. Cops and protesters clashed, leaving one NYPD sergeant injured after getting punched in the face by a protester, cops said. Another cop was reportedly injured after being hit by a bottle on Flatbush Ave., sources said." (04/14/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nme4hbj

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NY: Edward Snowden monument unveiled, then covered up, in Brooklyn park

Los Angeles Times Los Angeles Times

"Brooklyn hipster artists strike again? A public monument to Edward Snowden was unveiled at a New York park early Monday only to be covered up by park officials later in the day. The work of art included a sculpted bust of the National Security Agency document leaker, according to photographs posted on blogs and news sites. ... 'Parks and NYPD have removed the sculpture. The erection of any unapproved structure or artwork in a city park is illegal,' said Maeri Ferguson of the Parks' press office." (04/06/15)

http://tinyurl.com/m5kq3cm

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Chelsea Manning is officially on Twitter

Chelsea Manning Mashable

"Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning is officially on Twitter ... kind of. Since opening on Friday, Manning's Twitter account has already attracted more than 18,000 followers at the time of this writing. Manning's profile photo features a black-and-white drawing of her with long hair. Since she is currently behind bars and does not have Internet access, however, that means Manning must call someone from Fort Leavenworth military prison to dictate her tweets. Communications firm Fitzgibbon Media is currently handling the account." (04/04/15)

http://mashable.com/2015/04/03/chelsea-manning-twitter/

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TN: Senate bill allows [sic] guns in parks … and at statehouse?

The Tennessean

"When Senate Clerk Russell Humphrey called House Clerk Joe McCord Wednesday morning and told him the state Senate approved an amendment to allow [sic] guns at the state capitol, McCord didn't believe him. 'No, I thought it was an April Fools' joke,' McCord said, smiling. McCord was not alone in his surprise: in addition to Tennessee senators approving a bill to quash local bans on guns in parks, they passed an unexpected amendment that allows [sic] people with gun permits to take guns into the state capitol and capitol complex. The Senate voted 26-7 on the amended bill; although a vote of approval sends the measure a step closer to Gov. Bill Haslam's desk, an amendment like the one added Wednesday could cripple the bill." (04/01/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nxsvssc

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Sweden: Prosecutor requests permission to question Assange at London embassy

Wikileaks Deutsche Welle [Germany]

"A Swedish prosecutor said on Friday that she had asked permission to question Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean embassy in the British capital, where he has taken refuge since losing a legal battle against extradition to Sweden in 2012. Prosecutors had previously refused to travel to London, but lead prosecutor Marianne Ny said time was running out to press certain charges against Assange, as their statue of limitations will be reached in August. ... One of Assange's defense lawyers, Per Samuelson, welcomed Friday's offer, saying his client would probably accept it. 'It's something that we have been asking for four years,' Per Samuelsson, one of Assange's lawyers, told the Swedish daily Aftonbladet. 'This is the way to go so that he is (proven) innocent.'" (03/13/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n55f4r7

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Wikipedia, et. al sue NSA over mass surveillance

NBC News NBC News

"The Wikimedia Foundation, owner of Wikipedia, and eight other groups filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against the National Security Agency and the Department of Justice, challenging the NSA's mass-surveillance program. 'Our aim in filing this suit is to end this mass surveillance program in order to protect the rights of our users around the world,' the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation wrote in a blog post about the suit filed in Maryland. The American Civil Liberties Union is representing the groups and posted the full complaint online. Other plaintiffs include Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International." (03/10/15)

http://tinyurl.com/njt3tey

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Egypt: Fattah sentenced to five years

Telegraph [UK]

"An Egyptian court sentenced the country's most famous activist to five years in a maximum-security prison on Monday, in a verdict that lawyers described as a deterrent to anyone who wished to join Egypt's political opposition. Alaa Abdel Fattah, one of the 2011 uprising's most recognisable faces, was sentenced to five years in prison. Another 24 defendants received sentences ranging from three to five years. ... Fattah was a leading figure in the 2011 Arab Spring revolt that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak. He was first sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison for participating in an unsanctioned demonstration, before a retrial was ordered." (02/23/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ornkvpx

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France: Anti-jihadi efforts net 8-year-old schoolboy

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"French officials have announced a series of counterterrorism measures aimed at disaffected youth, part of an expanded campaign to fight the kind of Islamic extremism that inspired the terror attacks in Paris earlier this month. But on Wednesday, when French police detained and questioned an 8-year-old boy who had praised the attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, critics asked whether the government had gone too far. While dozens of people have been arrested and accused of defending terrorism since the attacks, the child from the southern city of Nice appears to be the youngest by far." [editor's note: In this country he'd likely have been rewarded for being "politically sensitive" - SAT] (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nxqlug2

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Commentary


| News | Action Items |

Digital security tips for protesters

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Bill Budington

"After the election, individuals took to the streets across the country to express their outrage and disappointment at the result of the U.S. presidential election. Many protesters may not be aware of the unfortunate fact that exercising their First Amendment rights may open themselves up to certain risks. Those engaging in peaceful protest may be subject to search or arrest, have their movements and associations mapped, or otherwise become targets of surveillance and repression. It is important that in a democracy citizens exercise their right to peaceably assemble, and demonstrators should be aware of a few precautions they can take to keep themselves and their data safe. Here we present 10 security tips for protesting in the digital age." (11/16/16)

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/11/digital-security-tips-for-protesters

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Ten powerful ways to act locally

Living Freedom
by Claire Wolfe

"If the events from the Crash of Ought-Eight to the Insane Election of 2016 have served any purpose it's been to show a lot of ordinary people that their well-being -- if they're to have any well-being at all -- is in their own hands. From other events (Katrina in '05, Sandy in '12, and the Louisiana bayous of 2016, for instance), they've learned similar lessons. Not only are they on their own, but 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help you' are the last words anybody wants to hear. Crazy as this time is, is there any better moment to create freedom?" (10/04/16)

http://www.clairewolfe.com/blog/2016/10/04/nine-powerful-ways-to-act-locally/

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How to start a great (and lasting) meetup

Jeffrey Tucker Foundation for Economic Education
by Jeffrey A Tucker

"At a recent gathering of students and young professionals, we discussed the subject of meetups and social gatherings. They all had tales of fun, interesting, engaging events they attended in the past. These are places to meet and greet and talk about ideas. They help with recruitment to the cause and extending the social network. I asked what happened to the gathering. The answer was always the same: 'I don't know, it just stopped.' Why was the meetup not long for the world? Usually there was some mistake made in planning. Those mistakes can cause even a great social group to fizzle." (05/08/16)

https://fee.org/articles/how-to-start-a-great-and-lasting-meetup/

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How to counter recruitment and de-militarize schools

OpEdNews
by David Swanson

"U.S. military recruiters are teaching in public school classrooms, making presentations at school career days, coordinating with JROTC units in high schools and middle schools, volunteering as sports coaches and tutors and lunch buddies in high, middle, and elementary schools, showing up in humvees with $9,000 stereos, bringing fifth-graders to military bases for hands-on science instruction, and generally pursuing what they call 'total market penetration' and 'school ownership.' But counter-recruiters all over the United States are making their own presentations in schools, distributing their own information, picketing recruiting stations, and working through courts and legislatures to reduce military access to students and to prevent military testing or the sharing of test results with the military without students' permission. This struggle for hearts and minds has had major successes and could spread if more follow the counter-recruiters' example." (02/10/16)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/How-to-Counter-Recruitment-by-David-Swanson-Counterculture_Military_Recruitment_School-160210-359.html

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Stop CISA: Join EFF in a week of action opposing broad “cybersecurity” surveillance legislation

Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Nadia Kayyali

"How do you kill a zombie bill like CISA? Grassroots action. That's why EFF and over a dozen other groups are asking you to join us in a Week of Action to Stop CISA. The Senate is likely to vote on the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) in the coming weeks, and only you can help us stop it. We keep hearing that CISA and the other 'cybersecurity' bills moving through Congress are “must-pass” legislation. But just like the original version of CISA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), we think grassroots activism can stop this legislation in its tracks." (07/27/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pgrq3jd

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The right to ignore Leviathan

Paul Jacob Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

"Charles Murray, author of Losing Ground and other controversial books, has a suggestion. For business people. Pillars of the community. Fine, upstanding citizens. Civil disobedience. He's suggesting, says John Stossel, that we ignore the parts of government that don't make any sense, all the nonsense in the big books of the regulatory state." (05/15/15)

http://thisiscommonsense.com/2015/05/15/the-right-to-ignore-leviathan/

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“Safe-space” America dangerous to dissenters

USA Today USA Today
by Kirsten Powers

"Christina Hoff Sommers has been speaking on college campuses for two decades challenging students to embrace what she calls 'equity feminism' over 'gender feminism.' In her view, the former is focused on legal equality between men and women, the latter on disempowering women by portraying them as perpetual victims of the patriarchy. This heretical view now requires campus security. Prior to a mid-April lecture at Georgetown University, the American Enterprise Institute scholar was deemed a 'rape apologist' by campus feminists for challenging statistics that she says overstate the rate of rape on campus. 'The postings were so frantic that Georgetown sent undercover security into the audience,' Sommers told me." (05/05/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kwxqfhw

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McConnell’s Snowden amnesia bill extends NSA snooping

USA Today USA Today
by Elizabeth Goitein

"Two years ago, Edward Snowden's revelations about the National Security Agency's mass surveillance of Americans led to public outcry and widespread demand for Congress to take action. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. answered the call -- not with reforms, but with a bill to extend the NSA's powers for another five years. The bill, co-sponsored by Senate intelligence committee chair Richard Burr, R-N.C., would reauthorize until 2020 three provisions of the Patriot Act that are scheduled to expire on June 1. These provisions include Section 215, which the NSA has used to collect the phone records of nearly every American and store them in a vast database. Of all the surveillance activities Snowden revealed, this 'bulk collection' program was the most explosive." (04/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lqnpjsw

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Political prisoner Barrett Brown has email access blocked by the Bureau of Prisons

Liberty Blitzkrieg Liberty Blitzkrieg
by Michael Krieger

"Since Barrett was arrested in September 2012, he has undergone an incredible degree of harassment at the hands of the feds, which are quite frankly not just exacting revenge on him, but also demonstrating how terrified they are of his capability, determination and courage. They want to lock this guy up and throw away the key, which is precisely what they initially tried to do by threatening him with over a century in prison. Ultimately, Barrett received a five year sentence earlier this year, of which he had already served about half. Being the guy that he is, Barrett has been conducting interviews from prison with various media personalities (with Infowars and Sam Seder), and most recently had been in discussions with Glenn Greenwald to write for the Intercept. This didn't please the Bureau of Prisons all that much, and immediately after his email correspondence with Glenn, his email account was suspended." (04/06/15)

http://tinyurl.com/k2265ya

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Trevor Timm on The Scott Horton Show

The Scott Horton Show
by

"Trevor Timm, a columnist and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, discusses his article 'Barrett Brown's sentence is unjust, but it may become the norm for journalists;' and how Obama's proposed expansion of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act would make it even easier to jail journalists." [Flash audio or MP3] (02/02/15)

http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2015/02/02/2215-trevor-timm/

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Why the sentencing of political prisoner Barrett Brown matters to freedom in America

Liberty Blitzkrieg Liberty Blitzkrieg
by Michael Krieger

"Barrett is a Jedi of the Republic, a relentless investigative weapon of status quo destruction who presents a serious threat to the corrupt and criminal American crony 'elite.' That's why the system wants him locked up in a cage, and it's precisely why we need him back on the streets." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pb22ocq

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It’s time again for the Untied Way

Jon Carroll San Francisco Chronicle
by Jon Carroll

"You’re invited! To a party! Please join Mayor Ed Lee, columnist Willie Brown, manager Bruce Bochy, author Dave Eggers, actor Rene Auberjonois, singer-songwriter Holly Near, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and special guest star Audra McDonald in a gala evening of songs, jokes and moving digital presentations (as seen on YouTube) to support the wonderful work of the Untied Way©, whose motto is, 'When People Care, Then Something Happens.' ... Actually, no. Everything in the first two paragraphs is a lie. The Untied Way does not do galas. It doesn’t have the infrastructure. Candidly, it doesn’t have any infrastructure at all." [editor's note: Read on to find out how this delightful idea works! - SAT] (12/02/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lxjakp7

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Ten illegal police actions to watch for in Ferguson

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Bill Quigley

"When the Michael Brown verdict is announced, people can expect the police to take at least ten different illegal actions to prevent people from exercising their constitutional rights. The Ferguson police have been on TV more than others so people can see how awful they have been acting. But their illegal police tactics are unfortunately quite commonly used by other law enforcement in big protests across the US." (11/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l75lhmt

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UC’s latest free-speech lapse

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders

"'I may be a thief, but you are a terrorist,' quoth UC Santa Barbara feminist studies Professor Mireille Miller-Young. It was March 4. The professor had just grabbed an antiabortion poster from the Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust at the campus free-speech area. The professor didn’t like a poster of an aborted fetus -- I don’t blame her. But she had no right to take the poster. Thrin Short, 16, and her sister Joan, 21, pursued the professor and her student entourage. They also taped what ensued. Miller-Young got physical. The Shorts called the police. In August, Miller-Young apologized and pleaded no contest to theft and battery charges." (11/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nbdq3vf

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Trying to silence Bill Maher in cradle of free speech

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders

"'The students at the University of California at Berkeley represent a diverse array of students from all walks of life,' begins the student petition. Somehow you just know that before the end, the document would demand that the administration muzzle someone -- for the sake of diversity. The spirit of far-left censors trumps exposure to novel ideas. Hence the new student group: Stop Bill Maher from Speaking at UC Berkeley’s December Graduation, which almost prevailed. 'It is the responsibility of the University of California to protect all students and uphold a standard of civility,' quoth the petition, which has gathered close to 4,000 signatures. Protect students from a comedian? O brave new university that has such delicate flowers in it." (10/30/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mrq9unh

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Self-care for activists

Students For Liberty Students For Liberty
by Elizabeth Tate

"Being an activist is emotionally draining. Trying to get people into the same place on the same day can be like herding cats; People will argue with you constantly, and sometimes it feels like no matter what you do, you aren’t making a difference. Sometimes you wonder if it’s worth it to be in the movement anymore. This is normal and natural. Anyone who works long hours and sometimes doesn’t see results can relate. For activists, it can be even harder because it’s something we so fervently believe in that brings us so much exhaustion. This is why, like with all things, it’s important to remember that you always come first." (10/29/14)

http://studentsforliberty.org/blog/2014/10/29/self-care-for-activists/

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Will California’s next top cop support legal pot?

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders

"Practically everyone expects Attorney General Kamala Harris to win re-election handily in November. The Democrat won 53 percent of the vote in a crowded June primary. A rising star expected to ascend someday to the governorship, or perhaps a U.S. Senate seat, Harris has won the endorsement of major newspapers. She’s such an attractive candidate that... President Obama had to apologize last year for calling her 'by far the best-looking attorney general' in the country. And yet Harris faces two unusual obstacles in the November runoff. One is Ron Gold, a never-elected Republican attorney from Los Angeles, running for office on a shoestring. The other hurdle is the fact that Gold supports legalizing marijuana for recreational use, while Harris has been opposed. " (10/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p8ggbvf

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Obama is president. Peace protests, RIP

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders

"Where are the peaceniks? Why aren’t they marching on Market Street to protest President Obama’s use of military force in Syria and Iraq? The Chronicle’s Kevin Fagan interviewed peace activists who told him that their ranks are numb, in part because America has been at war for more than a decade. Some even wonder if the Islamic State is so barbaric as to merit air strikes. 'People are war-weary and have already been very disappointed in President Obama for some time,' Peaceworkers Executive Director David Hartsough said. That’s right; they’re disappointed. After GOP President George W. Bush sent U.S. troops into Iraq with congressional authorization in 2002, activists took to the streets, but after a Democrat ordered air strikes over Syria without explicit authorization, they’ve been subdued. ... I understand. Partisans on both sides of the aisle like to think that if they were in charge, the world would be a safer place." (09/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/magfnw4

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Artez Hurston’s Ferguson

The Intercept
by Ryan Devereaux

"Artez Hurston is curled up on a concrete bench in a Missouri jail cell, fast asleep. He snoozes peacefully, despite the fact that just a few hours ago he was staring down the barrel of a gun. His slumber wouldn’t be that noteworthy except that our cramped cell, with its bright lights and white bricks, is filled with about a dozen wired young men still buzzing over their recent arrests in a nationally televised display of explosive civil unrest. At least two of them are bleeding. One man is missing a shirt. Another’s is stained white with the residue of tear gas." (09/04/14)

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/09/04/rdevro-hed-tk/

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Who cares if your congressman doesn’t read your letter?

Jim Babka Downsize DC
by Jim Babka

"Does Congress read your letters? Not much and not well. It shows in the stupid canned responses they send. I write my letters for other reasons, and you should too ..." (09/04/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kr6cw9x

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Honoring Julian Heicklen: Jury Rights Day, September 5, 2014

Garry Reed Libertarian News Examiner
by Garry Reed

"Everyone who believes in true justice and not just the imposition of whatever various governments have decided they want 'The Law' to be should know when Jury Rights Day is and what it's all about. Jury Rights Day is celebrated every year on September 5. Jury rights is about jury nullification, the right of every citizen who serves on a jury to decide not only the guilt or innocence of the accused but whether the law itself is legitimate, just, and being applied correctly." (09/03/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mkapqkf

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The most wanted man in the world

Wired
by Scott Dadich

"The message arrives on my 'clean machine,' a MacBook Air loaded only with a sophisticated encryption package. 'Change in plans,' my contact says. 'Be in the lobby of the Hotel ______ by 1 pm. Bring a book and wait for ES to find you.' ES is Edward Snowden, the most wanted man in the world. For almost nine months, I have been trying to set up an interview with him --traveling to Berlin, Rio de Janeiro twice, and New York multiple times to talk with the handful of his confidants who can arrange a meeting. Among other things, I want to answer a burning question: What drove Snowden to leak hundreds of thousands of top-secret documents, revelations that have laid bare the vast scope of the government's domestic surveillance programs?" (08/14)

http://www.wired.com/2014/08/edward-snowden/

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The end of reefer madness?

The Nation
by Katrina vanden Heuvel

"Dropping 'a bomb on our country’s disastrous war on marijuana with unprecedented force,' The New York Times launched last month High Time: An Editorial Series on Marijuana Legalization, a seven-parter that puts the paper squarely—I believe—on the right side of history on this issue. (Happily, with the exception of its title, 'High Time' is refreshingly free of bad puns and Cheetos jokes.) Citing 'vast social costs,' 'racist results' and 'overwhelming evidence that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems,' the Times editorial board advocated a repeal of the nation’s cannabis prohibition. Last November, of course, The Nation went all-in on marijuana-law reform with our 'Dope and Change' issue ..." (08/04/14)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/180874/end-reefer-madness

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A new phase in the marijuana legalization debate

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"On Sunday, the New York Times editorialized for the first time in favor of a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, and did so in dramatic fashion, with a statement on the front page of the Sunday Review section and two more pieces going into greater detail. It wasn't particularly surprising, given the generally liberal bent of the Times editorial page and the fact that support for legalization has moved firmly into the mainstream. But it's still important, because the Times remains the most influential news outlet in the country, and they have an unrivaled ability to set the agenda for the rest of the media. There is a shift going on in this debate, and it isn't just that mainstream politicians and newspapers can now support legalization." (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m22xm6k

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Jose Antonio Vargas: Reporter without a visa at the border

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders

"The star of a CNN film, Documented, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas went to Texas to bring attention to the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border illegally since October. On Tuesday, authorities detained Vargas at McAllen-Miller International Airport because his Philippine passport lacks a U.S. visa. Within hours, Immigration and Customs Enforcement released him. Upon release, Vargas issued a statement in which he noted that he had come to the border to shine a light on the children and the fear they must endure in the course of simple acts, like boarding a plane. The problem here is: Vargas is living proof that U.S. immigration enforcement is toothless." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lbpmtuw

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Stop the CISPA zombie

Jim Babka Downsize DC
by Jim Babka

"The Zombie is back. YOU helped defeat a fake cybersecurity bill last year. It was called CISPA. It's undead. Now it's called CISA. I sent a letter demanding Congress to defeat it using DownsizeDC.org's Hands Off the Internet campaign. Please do the same. You may borrow from or copy this letter..." (07/16/14)

https://secure.downsizedc.org/blog/stop-the-cispa-zombie

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Time to revive the peace movement

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Matt Reichel

"It has been 10 years of dormancy for the peace movement: a full decade since the thriving demonstrations of the early Bush years gave way to liberal demands that the focus shift to defeating the president at the ballot box. This fixation remained through the two ensuing presidential elections, which have demonstrated, beyond a reasonable doubt, the futility of this approach to altering American foreign policy." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/omyyn3x

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Waiting for dark

Wired
by Andy Greenberg

"Amir Taaki and Cody Wilson are cruising north through Texas on Interstate 35 in the 4:30 am predawn darkness. One of the headlights on the aging BMW Wilson’s driving is burned out, and he’s wearing sunglasses. 'They’re prescription,' he says drily. It’s May Day, every anarchist’s favorite holiday, and the two 26-year-olds have marked the occasion by releasing a piece of software that represents their best attempt so far to undermine every government in the world. A call from a lawyer friend has reminded them that creative US prosecutors might hit them with conspiracy or other charges. So they’ve decided to skip town." (07/11/14)

http://www.wired.com/2014/07/inside-dark-wallet/

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What the Supreme Court doesn’t see

In These Times
by Lauren Rankin

"This Saturday was like most Saturdays for me. While others were heading for a run, for brunch, or even were still asleep, I was on a sidewalk, wearing a neon-yellow vest, waiting for patients at an abortion clinic. I took a piece of bright orange chalk and carefully marked the eight-foot radius around the building’s entrances. My clinic has a buffer zone. On Thursday, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down Massachusetts’ 35-foot buffer zone. In a blow to patients in Massachusetts and perhaps nationwide, the Court ruled that the state’s 35-foot buffer zone at abortion clinics violates the First Amendment rights of anti-choice protesters. ... If only the Supreme Court could see what I see every weekend." (07/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m4skp69

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“Complete control”: Notorious surveillance contractor tech uncovered

Reason
by Zenon Evans

"Hacking Team, a company which has been described as an 'enemy of the Internet,' provides law enforcement and intelligence agencies with legal 'offensive technology' to infiltrate and remotely control people's phones and other digital devices. The extent of this company's capabilities remain murky, but two groups of Internet security experts say they have just exposed some of their surveillance firepower and the fact that Hacking Team has more servers spitting out malware based in the U.S. than any other country." (06/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kr6y7ba

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Nine stages of activism

Cagle Post
by Andy Singer

Cartoon. (06/21/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/06/nine-stages-of-activism/

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The “progressive” (aka, liberal) antiwar movement: RIP?

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by John V. Walsh

"Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) will not do the job of challenging Hillary. From Norman Solomon to Medea Benjamin they are notorious by now for putting Party over principle. Other progressives operating outside the Dem Party, and few in number, are well defended, claiming that elections are for naught. But history argues against this." (06/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/jw57pec

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Blocking social media: The new model for controlling “public unrest”

Heartland Institute Heartland Institute
by John Engle

"Governments almost always like to expand their powers over speech, particularly when that speech is damaging to the governments’ credibility. The freedom of speech is a critical right in all free societies precisely because it is the ultimate means ordinary citizens have to challenge the powers that be, to express dissent, and to organize with like-minded people dissatisfied with the way government is running. The internet has been the most powerful and valuable tool in the expansion of individuals’ power over their governments. The state quakes at the raw people-power that services like Twitter provides." (06/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/phsr6ud

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Bowe Bergdahl & the honorable history of war deserters

The Nation
by Richard Kreitner

"'Myths abound about deserters....' So begins an essay in the April 16, 1973, issue of The Nation. Those who propagate such myths, the essay argued, 'rely on World War II clichés and stereotypes of the bad guy slinking away from his buddies under fire.' Amid a debate about whether to offer amnesty to those who had dodged the Vietnam draft and, more controversially, to those who abandoned the military once in its ranks, the Nixon administration and its allies launched what the Nation article called 'a carefully orchestrated media campaign' to disparage the patriotism and integrity (and, not always implicitly, the manhood) of the latter." (06/05/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ngzu45z

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The worst idea since Prohibition

Fox News Forum
by Jenny Beth Martin

"When then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama sat down for a 2001 interview with WBEZ radio in Chicago, he spoke of the Constitution as 'a charter of negative liberties; says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you,' as if protecting Americans from their government was somehow problematic. Today, we’re seeing the Democratic Party President Obama leads take action to amend the Constitution so that the government can do something to you: restrict free speech. Senate Democrats are seeking to re-write the First Amendment to the Constitution to restrict speech in politics via Senate Joint Resolution 19 (S.J. Res. 19)." (06/03/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mphfwu5

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Action Items


| News | Commentary |

August 4: Rally against unconstitutional surveillance

1984 Day

"This Sunday – 8/4 – Rally Against Unconstitutional Surveillance
Join thousands of participants in 1984 Day rallies around the country."

http://1984day.com/

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Occupy Wall Street: Strike The Root! Video Contest

Cop Block

"Can you make a video that communicates the ideas of complete liberty to those at the Occupy Wall Street protests? $400 (as of Sat. Oct 1st). Deadline: 11:55PM EST on Sunday, Oct. 16th" [Sponsors: Strike the Root, Cop Block, Freedom's Phoenix, Liberty on Tour] (10/05/11)

http://www.copblock.org/occupy-wall-street-strike-the-root/

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Lemonade Freedom Day Aug. 20

Lemonade Freedom Day

"Please join us on August 20, 2011 and set up your own lemonade stand. We need to send a message to everyone who is listening. They can not shut down the kids lemonade stands. If you do not have kids or do not want to set up your own lemonade stand, please support a local kid's lemonade stand. Selling lemonade is not a crime!" (07/26/11)

http://www.lemonadefreedom.com/

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Rethinking a bug-out

Living Freedom

"Like most of you, I’ve always had a bug-out bag — a grab-and-go kit — around the house. But I realized as I worked yesterday that I never took those kits completely seriously. Thing is, I didn’t believe I’d need to bug out. Until now, I’ve mostly lived in the sort of places other people would bug out to." (03/21/11)

http://tinyurl.com/49qmqh4

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