Tag Archives | First Amendment

FBI Crime Maps Now ‘Pinpoint’ Average Muslims

Islamic Cultural Center Of New YorkSpencer Ackerman reports on WIRED’s Danger Room:

It started out as a crimefighting tool. But over the years, an FBI effort known as “geo-mapping” evolved into something more expansive — a method to track Muslim communities, without any suspicion of a crime being committed.

Last month, Danger Room revealed that the FBI was training its agents that religious Muslims tended to be “violent” and that Islamic charity is merely a “funding mechanism for combat.” In response, both the FBI and the Justice Department promised full reviews of their training materials. But the geo-mapping effort indicates that the FBI may have more than just a training problem: The suspicion of ordinary Muslims promoted in those lectures may be spilling over into its counterterrorism tactics.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union acquired some of the FBI geo-maps (.pdf), like the one pictured after the jump, through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

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1st Circuit Appeals Court Upholds Right To Record Police In Public

cell_phoneA resounding victory for the First Amendment. However, outside of the four-state jurisdiction of the First Circuit, the police state lives on. The Citizen Media Law Project gets giddy:

In the case of Glik v. Cunniffe, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has issued a unanimous opinion in support of the First Amendment right to record the actions of police in public.

For those of you not familiar with Simon Glik’s case, Glik was arrested on October 1, 2007, after openly using his cell phone to record three police officers arresting a suspect on Boston Common. In return for his efforts to record what he suspected might be police brutality — in a pattern that is now all too familiar — Glik was charged with criminal violation of the Massachusetts wiretap act, aiding the escape of a prisoner and disturbing the peace.

Unlike most arrestees, Glik, with the assistance of the ACLU, fought back against this treatment.

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Big Alternative Medicine Threatens Suit Against Skeptical Blogger

BrainSaltThe alt-med controversy is often framed as a David-and-Goliath clash between small-time distributors of natural heath products, on one hand, and “big pharma” on the other. It is worth considering, however, that alt-med has become a lucrative industry in its own right, capable of engaging in the same abuses often associated with powerful pharmaceutical companies.

In Europe, draconian libel laws are increasingly being used to intimidate bloggers who question the validity of specific alt-med products or modalities. The most recent case involves the multinational homeopathy manufacturer Boiron and an amateur blogger in Italy. Steven Novella at Science-Based Medicine writes:

There have been many cases now of big companies or organizations, or wealthy individuals, threatening to sue or actually suing a blogger for libel. The most famous case is that of Simon Singh who was sued by the British Chiropractic Association over comments he made in an article. Simon braved through the expensive and exhaustive legal process (which is especially onerous in England), but he is not just a lone blogger.

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Calls to Assassinate the President is Protected Speech, Says 9th Circuit Court

Walter E. Bagdasarian.

Walter E. Bagdasarian.

Stephen C. Webster writes in the Raw Story:

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that calling for someone to kill the President of the United States cannot be classified as a threat because standing law does not prohibit “predictions or exhortations” to violence.

In a 2-1 decision, judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California resident Walter E. Bagdasarian was engaging in free speech when he wrote that Obama “will have a 50 cal in the head soon,” then called on someone to “shoot the nig.”

Bagdasarian published his comments on a Yahoo finance website in the weeks leading up to the 2008 presidential election. He was arrested weeks later, after one of the other commenters reported a potential threat to the Secret Service. During a search of his residence, authorities discovered that he did indeed possess a .50 caliber rifle.

“These statements are particularly repugnant because they directly encourage violence,” the judges wrote.

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Free Speech Moment: Declare War on Christianity Not Drugs!

Peter's CrossSite Note: From time to time, Disinfo.com does post an article for the sole purposes of the speaker intended on exercising their First Amendment rights. If you are curious about this new venture, contact us through the site with the subject line “free speech moment”, and of course, all comments are welcome.

HFS, Christians have denied and continue to deny non-Christians the right to pursue happiness. Christians oppress homosexuals and their right to marry and pursue happiness. Christians are attempting to thwart legal marijuana use. It’s time we deny them their rights for they have clearly shown they abuse those rights to oppress non-Christians.

If Germany can keep out Scientology then America should be able to boot out Christianity!

ISN, 666

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Jilted Boyfriend Announces Ex-Girlfriend’s Abortion On Billboard

Anti-Abortion-BillboardVia Fox News:

ALAMOGORDO, NM— A New Mexico man’s decision to lash out with a billboard ad saying his ex-girlfriend had an abortion against his wishes has touched off a legal debate over free speech and privacy rights.

The sign on Alamogordo’s main thoroughfare shows 35-year-old Greg Fultz holding the outline of an infant. The text reads, “This Would Have Been A Picture Of My 2-Month Old Baby If The Mother Had Decided To Not KILL Our Child!”

Fultz’s ex-girlfriend has taken him to court for harassment and violation of privacy. A domestic court official has recommended the billboard be removed.

But Fultz’s attorney argues the order violates his client’s free speech rights.

“As distasteful and offensive as the sign may be to some, for over 200 years in this country the First Amendment protects distasteful and offensive speech,” Todd Holmes said.

The woman’s friends say she had a miscarriage, not an abortion, according to a report in the Albuquerque Journal.

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Dancing at the Memorial of a Slave Owner

Jefferson Memorial

Photo: Prisonblues (CC)

Saturday, around 50 people held a demonstration through dance at the Jefferson Memorial in southern Washington, D.C., which overlooks the Potomac River. Over 2,000 people had testified on Facebook that they would show up, but these testimonials apparently turned out to be the Internet’s letting off steam.

A week before, U.S. Park Police arrested five protesters for silently dancing in the memorial, which they did in response to the April 12, 2008 arrest of Mary Oberwetter, a 28-year-old D.C. resident, who was eventually charged with “interfering with agency functions.”

The video of recent arrests received in its first 24 hours well over 100,00 views and, at the time of this writing, nearly 900,000. Russia Today journalist and 2010 House Candidate Adam Kokesh, a self-described Ron Paul Republican, found himself thrown to the ground and, briefly, even choked, last weekend for dancing, as he said, in celebration of the principles of Thomas Jefferson.… Read the rest

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Arrested For Dancing at the Jefferson Memorial (Video)

Jefferson Memorial DancerI wonder how Thomas Jefferson would have felt about this. Via the Huffington Post:
The dancers were protesting an appeals court ruling handed down last week that the national monuments are places for reflection and contemplation — and that dancing distracted from such an experience. In 2008, Mary Brooke Oberwetter and a group of friends went to the Jefferson to commemorate the president's 265th birthday by dancing silently, while listening to music on headphones. Park Police ordered the revelers to disperse and arrested them when they did not. Oberwetter sued on free speech grounds, but the appeals court ruled last week that her conduct was indeed prohibited "because it stands out as a type of performance, creating its own center of attention and distracting from the atmosphere of solemn commemoration" that Park Service regulations are designed to preserve. Saturday's protest was staged during the day, on Memorial Day weekend, in order to draw maximum attention:
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Congressman Peter King Resurrects McCarthyism: This Time Around the “Communists” are Muslim

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Peter King’s brand new version of the HUAC hearings and the glory days of the McCarthy era is set to begin Thursday, when King will hold hearings deciding whether or not American Muslims have been “radicalized.” King told CNN’s State of the UnionWe’re talking about the affiliates of Al Qaeda who have been radicalizing, and there’s been self-radicalization going on within the Muslim community, within a very small minority, but it’s there. And that’s where the threat is coming from at this time.”

King justified his witch hunt, titled “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response” by citing three terrorist incidents in the U.S. instances involving Muslims – the tragic shooting at Fort Hood in 2009 and two bomb plots in New York. King said “People in this country are being self-radicalized, whether it’s Major Hasan or whether it’s Shahzad or whether it was Zazi in New York.Read the rest

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules ‘Hurtful Speech’ of Westboro Baptist Church is Protected Under First Amendment

WBCWarren Richey writes in the Christian Science Monitor:

Supreme Court Justice Alito is the lone dissenter in the 8-to-1 ruling on free-speech principles, saying the conduct of the Westboro Baptist Church ’caused petitioner great injury.’

In an important reaffirmation of free speech principles, the US Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that noxious, highly offensive protests conducted outside solemn military funerals are protected by the First Amendment when the protests take place in public and address matters of public concern.

The high court ruled 8 to 1 that members of the Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church are entitled to stage their controversial antigay protests even when they cause substantial injury to family members and others attending the funeral of a loved one.

“Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and – as it did here – inflict great pain,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.

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