Cowlix Wearing my mind on my sleeve

Freedom of Speech Archives
Friday, May 03, 2002 Permanent link to this day
Rumsfeld won an award

The 2002 Jefferson Muzzles have been announced. These are awarded each year near Thomas Jefferson's birthday to (dis)honor those who've ignored his warning on limitations of free speech. [via BookNotes]

Thursday, April 18, 2002 Permanent link to this day
Barely translucent

Censorship Wins Out: on the obstacles to the Internet being used as a free flow of information from opaque countries, in particular the control of governments over technological and economic access to the net.

A decade or so ago, it was all clear: the Internet was believed to be such a revolutionary new medium, so inherently empowering and democratizing, that old authoritarian regimes would crumble before it. What we've learned in the intervening years is that the Internet does not inevitably lead to democracy any more than it inevitably leads to great wealth.

[via Snowdeal]

Tuesday, April 09, 2002 Permanent link to this day
Bookstore records

In a case brought by The Tattered Cover with the assistance of the ABFFE, The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment protects bookstores from being forced to turn over customers' purchase records to police. This could be a good sign in terms of a related clause in the PATRIOT Act mentioned here a few days ago, although the court did leave open the possibility that there were situations where such records could be obtained by the government.

See also: The court's ruling.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002 Permanent link to this day
Is it safe to buy that book?

Most Far-Reaching Gag Order In 1st Amendment History?: not only are bookstores and libraries subject to demands for patrons' book lists, they can't discuss it afterwards.

John Ashcroft's war on terrorism includes the most far-reaching gag order in First Amendment history -- preventing the press from reporting on the FBI's seizure of the lists of books bought or borrowed in bookstores and libraries by noncitizens and citizens suspected of terrorist activities. Under the omnibus USA Patriot Act, the FBI has the authority to get an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court -- a secret body composed of rotating federal judges -- to seek "any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities."

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and the American Library Association (ALA) have particularly alerted their members to part of the law that prevents booksellers and librarians -- once the FBI has come calling -- to reveal that a search has been made. The law states: "No person shall disclose to any other person ... that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sought or obtained" these records.

[via New World Disorder]

Tuesday, February 26, 2002 Permanent link to this day

The Patriot Act: Last Refuge of a Scoundrel

The Patriot Act is not antiterrorism legislation; it's antispeech legislation, and is no more a direct response to the September 11 attacks than the Children's Internet Protection Act is a direct result of sincere concern by members of Congress about the safety of minors. The cold, cynical reality is that the Patriot Act is a bloated hodgepodge of speech-chilling law that lurked in congressional corridors not only before September 11 but in large part before the Bush administration. It was hustled into reality in the post-9/11 environment so quickly, secretively, and undemocratically that our Bill of Rights had been clocked with a one-two punch well before any of us realized it was under attack.

[via Unknown News]

Get a grip

US threat to peace, says vicar, in a parish magazine, circulation 500, article. A parishioner filed a complaint that the vicar was "inciting racial hatred against Americans" and British police are investigating. [via Unknown News]

Sunday, January 20, 2002 Permanent link to this day
First Amendment

Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment - A Congressional Research Service report. [via Secrecy News]

Sunday, December 23, 2001 Permanent link to this day
It was just a question

In Sacramento, a Publisher's Questions Draw the Wrath of the Crowd: Janis Besler Heaphy, publisher of The Sacramento Bee, was booed off the stage while giving a commencement speech at California State University, Sacramento because of her comments urging citizens to safeguard their rights. [via Follow Me Here]

Thursday, December 20, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Sami Al-Arian fired

University of South Florida has fired Sami Al-Arian, a tenured computer science professor, largely because of the disruption caused his appearance on the O'Reilly Factor, which he says was a setup, and the subsequent death threats he received and bomb threats the University received. He was placed on paid leave two days after the show aired and was sent a letter of intent to terminate yesterday. In addition to the recent trouble, he has spoken out against the detention of his brother-in-law on secret evidence, been a vocal critic of Israel and has been accused of running a front organization for Islamic Jihad, though the charges have not been proven.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Billboard threat

Chashama, a New York City theater and art gallery that had rented space to Adbusters for an ad got a visit from the Defense Department questioning the content of the billboard. [via email]

Monday, December 10, 2001 Permanent link to this day

Mark at wood s lot tied this article describing The Invasion of the Body Snatchers' basis as a statement on McCarthyism to The New McCarthyism article I linked to yesterday (no, not the Donald Sutherland version).

Sunday, December 09, 2001 Permanent link to this day

Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive on The New McCarthyism: Secret Service visits, booksellers being required to disclose purchase records while under a gag order, columnists fired and professors harrassed for unpopular statements.

Friday, November 23, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Censoring the boards

On censorship of message boards by major providers. [via Undernews]

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Copyright © 2001-2002 by Wes Cowley