3 posts tagged first amendment
ramsey clark, we have not see his life again. certainly not eric holder.
We have witnessed confrontations between police and citizens fraught with violent potential in many parts of the nation. Some have been preceded by skillful psychological buildups designed to create apprehension. Wild rumors, promising immense crowds, traffic paralysis, rioting and looting have flourished for weeks and even months before a number of such demonstrations. Crowds of tens of thousands have assembled and protested. Among them have been individuals intent on creating trouble; violence if possible.
Experience to date shows such crowds can be controlled without significant violence. They can be controlled without denying rights of speech and assembly. It is well to remember President Kennedy’s observation that those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent revolution inevitable. Above all, such crowds can be controlled without excessive force and violence by police.
Of all violence, police violence in excess of authority is the most dangerous. For who will protect the public when the police violate the law?
The need is constant communication. Careful sifting of rumors can eliminate the 99% that are obviously unfounded without escalating public apprehension by giving them credibility. The clear offer of a fair and reasonable accommodation of requests to assemble and speak reduces the risk of violence. Careful distinction between non-violent demonstrators acting within the law and those who commit violence, protecting one, arresting the other, is essential to avoid the non-violent in violence. An express mandate to the entire police complement to use the minimum force necessary to execute lawful orders, to refrain from use of excessive force must be understood by every officer. A constant turnover of men at critical or sensitive duty stations will relieve tensions and cool tempers. Constant presence by high Departmental officials will better assure a professional discipline. Firm appropriate action is needed when police themselves violate the law.
Crowd control under such circumstances is far from an easy task. It has been accomplished under great provocation without excessive force by the police.
It is the duty of leadership and law enforcement to control violence, not cause it. To seek ways of relieving tension, not to look for a fight. A professional police department, properly instructed, well trained, well paid, adequately staffed can do this. Balance, firm effective enforcement of the law, neither overaction, nor underaction, these are the needs. Professionals can succeed. Our liberty and security depend on them.
—Remarks by Ramsey Clark to the National Commission on Causes and Prevention of Violence, Washington, DC, September 18, 1968
Decision Emphasizes David House’s First Amendment-Protected Associations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; firstname.lastname@example.org
BOSTON – A federal judge late Wednesday denied the government’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the suspicionless search and seizure of electronics belonging to activist David House when he reentered the U.S. after a vacation.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Massachusetts represent House in a suit charging that the government targeted House based on his lawful association with the Bradley Manning Support Network, an organization created to raise funds for the legal defense of the soldier accused of leaking material to WikiLeaks. The government had asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that it has broad powers to search and seize laptops, phones and any other electronic device at the border without any justification.
“This ruling affirms that the constitution is still alive at the U.S. border,” said Catherine Crump, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, who argued the case along with John Reinstein of the ACLU of Massachusetts. “Despite the government’s broad assertions that it can take and search any laptop, diary or smartphone without any reasonable suspicion, the court said the government cannot use that power to target political speech.”
The decision allows the case to move forward to the evidence-gathering stage, which could reveal why House became the subject of a government inquiry and which government agencies copied or viewed the contents of his laptop, phone and camera.
While the court held that the government does not need suspicion to search a laptop at the border, it also held that the government’s power to search was not unlimited. U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper wrote that the fact that “the initial search and seizure occurred at the border does not strip House of his First Amendment rights, particularly given the allegations in the complaint that he was targeted specifically because of his association with the Support Network.” The judge also acknowledged the complaint’s allegations that “the search of House’s laptop resulted in the disclosure of” the Support Network’s supporters and internal communications and that these disclosures “will deter further participation in and support of the organization.”
In November 2010, Department of Homeland Security agents stopped House at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago and questioned him about his political activities and beliefs. Officials then confiscated his laptop computer, camera and a USB drive and did not return them for nearly seven weeks. The government has not said what it did with House’s possessions during that period. House’s detention and interrogation and the seizure of his electronic papers and personal effects had no apparent connection with the protection of U.S. borders or the enforcement of customs laws.
The court ruled that even if the government could legally search House’s devices at the border, this does not mean that agents could take and keep those devices for nearly seven weeks. Without some reasonable relationship between the original search and the extended seizure, the judge said, government agents may not “seize personal electronic devices containing expressive material, target someone for their political association and seize his electronic devices and review the information pertinent to that association and its members and supporters simply because the initial search occurred at the border.”
The ruling is available at:
More information on the case is at:
From the Twitter company blog:
Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country — while keeping it available in the rest of the world. We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld, and why.
We haven’t yet used this ability, but if and when we are required to withhold a Tweet in a specific country, we will attempt to let the user know, and we will clearly mark when the content has been withheld.
A continuation in the recent upsurge in internet censorship.