The Hard Truth

Journal of Political News & Constitutionalism

Archive for May 2009

Hostile bloggers facing fines, jail?

leave a comment »

Posted: May 06, 2009
10:39 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

1ST AMENDMENT ON TRIAL

Proposal ‘comes close to making it federal offense to log onto Internet’



Jail cell

A new proposal in Congress is threatening fines and jail time for what it calls “cyberbullying” – communications that include e-mails and text messages that “cause substantial emotional distress.”

The vague generalities are included in H.R. 1966 by California Democrat Linda Sanchez and about a dozen co-sponsors.

But it already is being condemned as unconstitutional, unrealistic and probably ineffectual.

At Wired.com, in a report labeled “Threat Level,” writer David Kravets criticized the plan to demand “up to two years in prison for those whose electronic speech is meant to ‘coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress.'”

“Instead of prison, perhaps we should say gulag,” he wrote.

(Story continues below)

Such limits never would pass First Amendment muster, “unless the U.S. Constitution was altered without us knowing,” he wrote. “So Sanchez, and the 14 other lawmakers who signed on to the proposal are grandstanding to show the public they care about children and are opposed to cyberbullying.”

The plan is labeled the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, after the 13-year-old Meier, whose suicide last year reportedly was prompted by a woman who utilized the MySpace social networking site to send the teen critical messages.

Speak out now against limits on your speech!

The defendant in the case, Lori Drew, was accused under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

“Sanchez’s bill goes way beyond cyberbullying and comes close to making it a federal offense to log onto the Internet or use the telephone,” Kravets wrote. “The methods of communication where hostile speech is banned include e-mail, instant messaging, blogs, websites, telephones and text messages.”

“We can’t say what we think of Sanchez’s proposal,” he said. “Doing so would clearly get us two years in solitary confinement.”

Wrote a contributor to the Wired forum page, “If passed, this legislation could be easily abused with the effect of criminalizing all criticism. You probably [couldn’t] even criticize the legislation itself because it would cause Sen. Sanchez emotional distress or possibly be considered a form of intimidation.”

The bill, which has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, states, “Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

It states: “Cyberbullying can cause psychological harm, including depression; negatively impact academic performance, safety, and the well-being of children in school; force children to change schools; and in some cases lead to extreme violent behavior, including murder and suicide.”

Teen homeschooler jailed under Patriot Act

leave a comment »

Posted: May 04, 2009
8:31 pm Eastern

© 2009 WorldNetDaily

HOMELAND INSECURITY

FBI holds 10th-grader for months with little contact from family


Ashton Lundeby

A 16-year-old homeschooled boy from North Carolina was taken away from his home in handcuffs two months ago and has been held by the FBI in Indiana ever since, a victim, his mother claims, of the Patriot Act spun out of control.

According to Annette Lundeby of Oxford, N.C., armed FBI agents and local police stormed her home around 10 p.m. on March 5, looking for her son, Ashton. The officers presented a federal search warrant and seized the tenth-grader’s computer, cell phone and bank statements.

Ashton was then taken to a juvenile facility in South Bend, Ind., charged with making a bomb threat in Indiana from his home computer.

His mother, however, told Raleigh’s WRAL-TV that she argued with the authorities, claiming someone must have hacked into her son’s IP address and used it to make crank calls. The agents’ search, she claims, also failed to uncover any trace of bomb-making materials.

“Undoubtedly, they were given false information,” Lundeby told the station, “or they would not have had 12 agents in my house with a widow and two children and three cats.”

Allowed little access to see her son over the last two months, facing a court date that keeps being pushed back and given no information by FBI agents sitting behind a gag order on the case, Lundeby now says the USA Patriot Act has unjustly imprisoned an innocent boy and stripped her son of due process.

“We have no rights under the Patriot Act to even defend them, because the Patriot Act basically supersedes the Constitution,” she told WRAL-TV. “It wasn’t intended to drag your barely 16-year-old, 120-pound son out in the middle of the night on a charge that we can’t even defend.”

Passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the USA Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism – or P.A.T.R.I.O.T. – Act armed law enforcement with new tools to detect and prevent terrorism. Among other measures, it better enables interagency cooperation and allows law enforcement a wider array of technological and surveillance tools to more quickly and stealthily investigate terrorist threats.

Dan Boyse, a former U.S attorney not connected to the case, explained to WRAL-TV how Ashton Lundeby could have been swept up by the Patriot Act.

“They’re saying that ‘we feel this individual is a terrorist or an enemy combatant against the United States, and we’re going to suspend all of those due process rights because this person is an enemy of the United States,'” Boyce told the station.

Boyce theorized that if an FBI agent came to the conclusion that Lundeby was a serious terrorist threat, the usual rules of law enforcement don’t apply.

“There’s nothing a matter of public record,” Boyce said. “All those normal rights are just suspended in the air.”

Ashton’s mother told the television station, “Never in my worst nightmare did I ever think that it would be my own government that I would have to protect my children from. This is the United States, and I feel like I live in a third world country now.”

The WRAL-TV news report, including Annette Lundeby’s comments, can be seen below:

According to the WRAL-TV report, because a federal judge has issued a gag order in the case, the U.S. attorney in Indiana cannot comment on Lundeby, nor can the FBI.

Military Police at the Kentucky Derby

leave a comment »

Infowars
May 3, 2009

A Google News search does not produce a story or even a brief mention of the fact military police were on hand at the Kentucky Derby to keep restless plebs in line. However, an Associated Press photograph, posted on the Yahoo! News website, shows two MPs in combat fatigues with side arms restraining a man at the derby.

police state   Military Police at the Kentucky Derby
MPs
Military police detain a fan who ran onto the track following the running of the 135th Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 2, 2009, in Louisville, Ky.

“Military police detain a fan who ran onto the track following the running of the 135th Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 2, 2009, in Louisville, Ky.,” the photo caption reads.

The photo was also included in a slideshow on the Yahoo! Sports website, although the text of the article does not contain a mention of military police at the event.

“The military has NO BUSINESS policing the citizens except during extraordinarily exceptional times of national emergency by an executive order. This is very disturbing and completely un-American. Maybe even more disturbing is that no one seems to care how quietly and easily we have accepted the burgeoning police state,” an article comment states.

Infowars has reported on numerous instances of military involvement with local law enforcement in violation of Posse Comitatus. In March, we reported on U.S. Army troops dispatched to patrol the streets of Samson, Alabama, after a murder spree.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
  • efoods

On April 6, we reported on a DHS, federal, state, Air Force, and local law enforcement checkpoint in Tennessee. On April 3, Infowars was instrumental in the cancellation of a seatbelt checkpoint that was to be conducted in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security and the 251st Military Police in Bolivar, Tennessee.

Last December, we reported on the Marine Corps Air and Ground Combat Center dispatching troops to work with police on checkpoints in in San Bernardino County, California.

On Aprill 22, we reported the deployment of 400 National Guard Combat Support Battalion troops to “maintain public order” at the Boston Marathon.

Last June, Infowars posted an article by D. H. Williams of the Daily Newscaster reporting the deployment of 2,300 Marines in the city of Indianapolis under the direction of FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

Prison Planet’s Paul Joseph Watson reported a story on April 22 covering the assault of a local television news team by an irate police officer in El Paso, Texas. A video taken by the news videographer shows uniformed soldiers working with police officers at the scene of a car accident.

The presence of uniformed and armed military police at the Kentucky Derby is part of an ongoing campaign to acclimate the populace to the presence of soldiers at public events.

Guess how DHS defines who is a terrorist now

leave a comment »

Posted: May 02, 2009
8:35 pm Eastern

HOMELAND INSECURITY

2nd ‘domestic extremism’ report includes ‘alternative media,’ ‘tax resisters’ in lexicon

By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

Two weeks before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security penned its controversial report warning against “right-wing extremists” in the United States, it generated a memo defining dozens of additional groups – animal rights activists, black separatists, tax protesters, even worshippers of the Norse god Odin – as potential “threats.”

Though the “Domestic Extremism Lexicon” was reportedly rescinded almost immediately, Benjamin Sarlin of The Daily Beast recently obtained and published online a copy of the unclassified memo, dated March 26, 2009.

While many of the groups listed in the lexicon – such as Aryan prison gangs and neo-Nazis – may indeed be widely considered extremists, others will likely take offense at being described as a potential “threat.”

Are you ready for a second Declaration of Independence? Sign the petition promoting true freedom once again!

For example, the memo defines the “tax resistance movement” – also referred to in the report as the tax protest movement or the tax freedom movement – as “groups or individuals who vehemently believe taxes violate their constitutional rights. Among their beliefs are that wages are not income, that paying income taxes is voluntary, and that the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allowed Congress to levy taxes on income, was not properly ratified.”

The report, however, continues in its assessment of tax protesters, asserting that members “have been known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence and terrorism in an attempt to advance their extremist goals.”

Similarly, the lexicon concludes its definition of “black separatists” by asserting, “Such groups or individuals also may embrace radical religious beliefs. Members have been known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence directed toward local law enforcement in an attempt to advance their extremist goals.”

In his blog piece titled “Who You Calling an Extremist?” Sarlin writes, “Partisans leapt to decry the first DHS memo as part of a Democratic conspiracy to marginalize right wingers. But it became clear that DHS’s broad descriptions of extremists were symptomatic of an ongoing agency problem that crossed ideological lines.”

The lexicon states its purpose is to provide “definitions for key terms and phrases that often appear in DHS analysis that addresses the nature and scope of the threat that domestic, non-Islamic extremism poses to the United States.”

Apparently, the DHS analyzes the “threat” level of Internet news websites like WorldNetDaily, for the lexicon defines “alternative media” as “a term used to describe various information sources that provide a forum for interpretations of events and issues that differ radically from those presented in mass media products and outlets.”

The term “black power,” widely used in a variety of contexts, also merits a definition in the lexicon: “A term used by black separatists to describe their pride in and the perceived superiority of the black race.”

The DHS memo also includes precursors to the ill-fated “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” report, which prompted outrage from legislators and a campaign calling for the resignation of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.

For example, the lexicon contains virtually the same broad-stroke language the right-wing extremism report used.

“Rightwing extremism,” the lexicon defines as those “who can be broadly divided into those who are primarily hate-oriented, and those who are mainly antigovernment and reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority. This term also may refer to rightwing extremist movements that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

The lexicon further points to those who oppose driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.

“Anti-immigration extremism,” the lexicon defines as “a movement of groups or individuals who are vehemently opposed to illegal immigration, particularly along the U.S. southwest border with Mexico, and who have been known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence and terrorism to advance their extremist goals. They are highly critical of the U.S. Government’s response to illegal immigration and oppose government programs that are designed to extend ‘rights’ to illegal aliens, such as issuing driver’s licenses or national identification cards and providing in-state tuition, medical benefits, or public education.”

Unlike the right-wing extremism report, however, the lexicon includes definitions of extremism across a broad spectrum of issues: anarchy, animal rights extremism, black nationalism, Cuban independence, environmentalism, Jewish extremism, Mexican separatism, right-wing militias, white supremacists, the anti-war movement and more.

Among the more curious groups the DHS appears to be monitoring is the “racial Nordic mysticism” group, defined as “an ideology adopted by many white supremacist prison gangs who embrace a Norse mythological religion, such as Odinism or Asatru.”

Among the more comical definitions is the description given of what “racist skinheads” wear, enabling law officers, it appears, to identify skinheads by their preferred brand of footwear:

“Dress may include a shaved head or very short hair,” the report states, “jeans, thin suspenders, combat boots or Doc Martens, a bomber jacket, and tattoos of Nazi-like emblems.”

Sarlin, who first publicized the memo, reports that a spokesperson for DHS told him the memo was recalled “within minutes” of being issued but declined to offer any details on the reasons for its withdrawal.