Constitution in Crisis :: December Newsletter

An gold justice scale backlight an an eerie dark background
Civil Society Groups to Congress: Oppose Islamophobic Judge
November 30, 2017
SARS, CVE and the Gang Database. Chicago Resists Surveillance
December 1, 2017

Dear Troublemakers,

If you’re reading this email, it’s safe to assume that you to rely on a free and open internet to engage in political expression and seek out information.

Yet, as I type this, that free and open internet is under attack. Grassroots pressure from activists like you forced the FCC to adopt historic net neutrality rules in 2015. But the FCC, under corporate influence, is posed to repeal these provisions on December 14.

Take Action: Tell Congress to Support a Free and Open Internet

Net neutrality is what prevents the dwindling number of mega corporations that provide access to the internet–the Comcasts, Verizions, and AT&Ts of the world– from speeding up, slowing down, or blocking any content, applications, or websites you want to use. Without net neutrality, these corporations could impede your ability from visiting certain websites–either because they don’t like the content or because they’ve created a new pay-to-play internet.

It was popular mobilization that made the FCC adopt Net Neutrality in the first place, so popular mobilization can defeat the corporate backed-assault on our free internet.

Please take action now.

Take Action: Political Expression Is Not A Conspiracy

The DOJ is turning political expression into conspiracy and free assembly into a crime. They are using a shocking legal theory: if you attend a march where other individuals engage in vandalism you are collectively liable for their acts and should face decades in prison. Ditto if you’re a journalist who is merely covering the event

Torture, Indefinite Detention, and Now the Government Wants to Destroy Their Art Too?

The men illegally detained at Guantanamo have suffered immeasurably, held without trial or hope, subjected to torture, indefinite detention, and isolation, many are not even charged with a crime. Now, a powerful exhibition of art created by some of these men has provoked the Pentagon and Department of Defense to suddenly declare that all art created by detainees will henceforth become the property of the US government and may no longer be removed from the prison, even upon a detainee’s clearance and release.

Press Freedom Groups Join Defending Rights & Dissent in Demanding Charges Be Dropped Against Journalists Arrested When Covering Inauguration Protest

Aaron Cantú and Alexei Wood are journalists who were covering a protest march on Inauguration Day 2017, in Washington, DC. They face a number of charges, including engaging in a riot, conspiracy to riot, inciting a riot, and property damage. Since some of the charges are felonies, they face potentially decades in prison. Cantú and Wood were arrested and charged for simply doing their jobs as reporters. Their prosecution endangers press freedom in the United States

DRAD Asks UN Special Rapporteurs to Address J20 Prosecutions

Defending Rights & Dissent sent a letter to the UN Special Rapporteurs on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. In our letter, we alerted both special rapporteurs to the ways in which the trials and arrest of the inauguration protesters violate international human rights norms.

Defending Rights & Dissent Statement On Forcing RT America To Register As Foreign Agent

Regardless of what one thinks of RT America, and people have every right to criticize their coverage, the DOJ’s decision to force them to register under FARA threatens press freedom.

Civil Society Groups to Congress: Oppose Islamophobic Judge

The groups agreed that Talley’s publicly-stated Islamophobic opinions that “mainstream” Islam preaches the “murder of nonbelievers” and his support for President Trump’s statement “Islam hates us,” demonstrate an unquestionable inability to be impartial with respect to the rights and religious freedom of American Muslims.

Due Process Is Impossible at Guantanamo

The morass around Abd al Rahim al Nashiri’s military trial provides the latest evidence that due process is systematically denied at Guantanamo.

A Game of Hunger Strike Chicken

Since September, as the result of an opaque administrative policy shift, medical officers at Guantanamo have stopped force-feeding hunger strikers and stopped monitoring their deteriorating health. This move betrays a disregard for the lives of the men held prisoner there.

In Opening Argument Prosecution Concedes No Evidence Tying First J20 Defendants To Property Destruction

On Monday November 20, 2017, prosecution and defense gave opening arguments in the trial of the first of the six people–one journalists, two medics, and three protesters– swept up in the mass arrest of Inauguration Day Protesters. What was startling was how many of the key facts were not in dispute. Neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys purport that any of the six people on trial personally engaged in any destruction.

Going After the Espionage Act

Reality Winner is accused of leaking a 5-page document about Russian attempts to hack the election. She is being charged under the Espionage Act, her lawyers are challenging that, and if they are successful, they may prevent the government from using the act to go after future whistleblowers.

Celebrate the Life of John Raines

John and his wife Bonnie lived most of their lives harboring a deep secret about a crime they committed in 1971 that changed the course of U.S. history.

Small Independent News Outlets have Outsized Impact

Fighting fake news is not the only or best way to ensure that our content ecosystem prioritizes real news. This week, a groundbreaking article in Science proves that a better way to secure a media system that works for democracy is to strengthen independent news outlets.

Berkeley to Consider Surveillance Equipment Oversight Ordinance

On December 5th, the Berkeley City Council will consider an ordinance to allow public oversight and input before any new surveillance technology is acquired by the police.

LA Will Rally to Close Guantanamo on January 11

President Donald J. Trump has refused to close the barbaric detention center at Guantanamo. On the contrary, he made a campaign promise that “We’re gonna load it up with some bad dudes,” Because Guantanamo remains open and in operation, Trump could make good on that campaign promise.

Portlanders Again Fight to Cut Ties to JTTF

Today in Portland, OR, a coalition of 23 local civil liberties, civil rights, and peace and justice groups called on the city council to withdraw the city’s police from the Joint Terrorism Task Force, an FBI-led coalition of law enforcement agencies which includes Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the IRS, Homeland Security and local police agencies.