Tag Archives | Freedom of Speech

Federal Court Affirms Constitutional Right To Give Cops The Middle Finger

Via the Huffington Post, the most cherished of liberties has been defended. Use it freely and often:

A police officer can’t pull you over and arrest you just because you gave him the finger, a federal appeals court declared Thursday. In a 14-page opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the “gesture…is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity.”

John Swartz and his wife Judy Mayton-Swartz had sued two police officers who arrested Swartz in May 2006 after he flipped off an officer who was using a radar device at an intersection in St. Johnsville, N.Y. Swartz was later charged with a violation of New York’s disorderly conduct statute.

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Under Proposed Law, Masked Canadian Protesters Could Receive Ten Years In Jail

In surveillance states, concealing one’s face will be considered a significant crime. Via Russia Today:

Canadian lawmakers weren’t exactly in the Halloween spirit when they approved a new bill on Wednesday. The legislation makes it illegal to wear masks during riots and protests. If it becomes law, mask-wearers at riots face up to 10 years in jail.

Parliamentarian Blake Richards, who sponsored the bill, says the measure is aimed at targeting the “growing threat” of vandalism and violence. Lawmakers are particularly targeting the Blak Bloc anarchist group, whose members dress in black and hide their faces with glasses, scarves, and hoods. The group engaged in violence during the Quebec student protests earlier this year.

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Greek Magazine Editor Arrested After Publishing List Of Swiss Bank Accounts

The right to free speech trumped by the right of the powerful to keep their Swiss bank accounts a secret, the New York Times reports:

The Greek police arrested and then quickly released the owner and editor of a respected investigative magazine on Sunday morning hours after he published a list of more than 2,000 Greeks who were said to have accounts at a bank in Switzerland, throwing new controversy into a scandal over whether the government is actively pursuing suspected tax cheats.

Mr. Vaxevanis posted a message to his Twitter account early Sunday saying that 15 officers had surrounded the home of a friend with whom he had been staying “like Greek storm troopers in German uniforms.” The Greek news media reported that the charges concerned the violation of the privacy of those on the list.

Mr. Vaxevanis’s arrest raises questions about freedom of the press in a country that frequently reminds its European Union partners that it is the birthplace of democracy.

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“Weev” Auernheimer on Free Speech versus Exploitation

Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

Via The Internet Chronicle

Andrew Auernheimer, an American gray hat hacker better known as “weev,” tells The Internet Chronicle that his indictment in a New Jersey district court over a June 2010 AT&T data breach is at its root an important free speech issue. Speaking to Chronicle.su’s Gray Phone, Mr. Auernheimer, a 27-year-old associate of Goatse Security, claims he made certain AT&T was aware of the breach in time to patch it, he never sought financial gain from what was in effect the the extraction of 114,000 iPad users’ email addresses, and that he never personally possessed more customer data than enough to communicate that the breach was bona fide. While prosecutors imply Mr. Auernheimer’s actions and statements may constitute computer fraud and foreknowledge of possible insider trading, he and his fellow Goatse Security associates saw themselves as merely tarnishing a company’s reputation due to its own reckless mishandling of customer data.

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Napa Woman Faces Vandalism Charges for Chalking 9/11 Truth Messages on Sidewalk

Picture: Keith Rowley (CC)

According to the Napa Valley Register, a local woman is facing vandalism charges after chalking “9/11 Truth” on a public sidewalk:

Amy Larson readily admits writing “9/11 Truth” and “9/11 Truth Now” in chalk on the First Street sidewalk over Napa Creek.

“I just want people to think for themselves,” said Larson, 29. “I believe we’ve lost a lot of civil liberties since the 9/11 attacks. I’m really concerned about that.

“This is political free speech,” added Larson, who says the investigation into the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. should be reopened.

Her chalk writing — which occurred Sept. 11, the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks — got Larson arrested on suspicion of vandalism.

Read more at Napa Valley Register.

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Ventura Talks 9/11, Makes Fox News Anchor Leave Stage

..."but I ask questions and what perturbs me is that you don't get answers, nobody wants to talk about it, this event which changed the entire history of our Country, why aren't allowed to discuss it? Why aren't we allowed to ask questions? The moment you do you get a reaction like he gave me, 'how dare you....how dare you question your government.' - Jesse Ventura
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German Pussy Riot Copycats Face Jail For Church Protest

The two-year prison sentences handed down to Pussy Riot supposedly revealed how oppressive and backwards Putin's Russia is, in contrast to our Western democracies. But now three colorfully ski-masked Germans who tried to stir a commotion at the historic Cologne Cathedral earlier this week are staring at the possibility of three years behind bars. Any guesses on what would happen to a U.S. Pussy Riot, assuming some sort of terrorism charges would be thrown at them?
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Pussy Riot’s Closing Statement Denounces ‘Totalitarian System’

The eloquent and defiant closing statement from band member Yekaterina Samutsevich in the Pussy Riot trial explains the meaning (which Americans might not have understood) behind the punk band’s acts of art. Via chtodelat, translated:

I now have mixed feelings about this trial. On the one hand, we now expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. Now the whole world sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial.

During the closing statement, the defendant is expected to repent or express regret for her deeds, or to enumerate attenuating circumstances. In my case, as in the case of my colleagues in the group, this is completely unnecessary.

The fact that Christ the Savior Cathedral had become a significant symbol in the political strategy of our powers that be was already clear to many thinking people when Vladimir Putin’s former [KGB] colleague Kirill Gundyaev took over as head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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Documents Show FBI Raids Are Targeting Anarchists And Activists

I’m curious to see this news get tweaked as a lighthearted Portlandia segment. The Portland Mercury on the revelation that the FBI is conducting raids on the homes of politically minded locals in search of “criminal evidence” such as black clothing, anarchist literature, and placard signs and flags:

The first interview with any of the Portlanders who were served grand jury subpoenas as FBI agents searched their homes on July 25 shines some light on what authorities may be hoping to achieve with the raids.

Dennison Williams was in bed at his house on Wednesday morning when he heard someone shout, “FBI!” Then came a loud crash, which turned out to be agents breaking down his front door, and Williams heard a bang and a saw a flash of light—the agents throwing flash grenades.

FBI officers entered his room with assault rifles and kept them aimed at him while they handcuffed him.

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