Daily Archives: March 21, 2012


In Court Today - Protecting the Right to Protest the President (from ACLU)

In Court Today - Protecting the Right to Protest the President (from ACLU)


“Posted by Kate Wood, Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:25am”


Excerpts from report: “People who disagree with the president have as much a right to be heard as those who wish to praise him. Today at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, the ACLU will be defending the free speech rights of presidential protestors who were discriminated against solely for the messages on their signs.

We filed this lawsuit in 2008 on behalf of several New Mexico residents and advocacy organizations who were made to stand more than 150 yards away from the site of a fundraiser being attended by then- President George W. Bush as they peacefully protested administration policies, while a group Bush supporters were allowed to stand only a few feet from the fundraiser site.

The First Amendment means that the government cannot treat demonstrators differently solely because of their viewpoints. Yet the Bush White House had a policy that excluded Americans perceived to be critical of the administration from presidential public events. This clearly illegal policy was even laid out in the official Presidential Advance Manual, which includes a section called “Preparing for Demonstrators.” That section directed teams at the site of a presidential appearance to “work with the Secret Service and have them ask the local police department to designate a protest area where demonstrators can be placed, preferably not in view of the event site or motorcade route.”

In this case, the district court rightly denied the defendants (who are local and federal law enforcement officers) a judgment in their favor before a trial, and they are appealing. Officials went to great lengths to shield the president from viewing the people who disagreed with him. That simply isn’t how a free society should operate.”


Exposed Inside the NSAs Largest and Most Expansive Secret Domestic Spy Center in Bluffdale Utah (from Democracy Now)

Exposed Inside the NSAs Largest and Most Expansive Secret Domestic Spy Center in Bluffdale Utah

Excerpts from Article: “A new exposé in Wired Magazine reveals details about how the National Security Agency is quietly building the largest spy center in the country in Bluffdale, Utah, as part of a secret NSA surveillance program codenamed “Stellar Wind.” We speak with investigative reporter James Bamford, who says the NSA has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas. The Utah spy center will contain near-bottomless databases to store all forms of communication collected by the agency. This includes the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails — parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases and other digital “pocket litter.” “The NSA has constantly denied that they’re doing things, and then it turns out they are doing these things,” Bamford says in response to NSA Director General Keith Alexander’s denial yesterday that U.S. citizens’ phone calls and emails are being intercepted. “A few years ago, President Bush said before camera that the United States is not eavesdropping on anybody without a warrant, and then it turns out that we had this exposure to all the warrantless eavesdropping in the New York Times article. And so, you have this constant denial and parsing of words.”