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Sunday, February 08, 2004
 
Not such a good day for the First Amendment, folks.
Our first example of speech repression comes from w's hometown, Crawford Texas:
"... arrested after Crawford Police Chief Donnie Tidmore warned everyone to leave.

The trial, held at the Crawford Community Center, is set to continue at 9 a.m. Feb. 16 because lawyers only had time to bring three out of about 11 witnesses to the stand on Saturday.

One of those witnesses, Tidmore, said during cross-examination that a person wearing political buttons without a permit could violate a city ordinance that requires prior notice before a protest or parade.

The chief was asked whether one of the defendants would have violated the ordinance by sporting political buttons, such as those that read "No Nukes" and "Peace," without the permit.

"It could be a sign of demonstration," Tidmore said
...",
Wow, Donnie. Guess you slept through Civics class, eh?
Next comes a blast from the past that probably brings back memories for all of the Vietnam era war protesters out there:
"...In what may be the first subpoena of its kind in decades, a federal judge has ordered a university to turn over records about a gathering of anti-war activists."
Here's a letter from one of the affected individuals (from the Daily Kos):
Yesterday, February 3, Detective Jeff Warford of the Polk County Sheriff's Office-FBI-Joint Terrorism Task Force came to Catholic Peace Ministry's office here in Des Moines with a subpoena for me to testify before a Federal Grand Jury next Tuesday, February 10. Mr. Warford also served papers on Elton Davis at the Catholic Worker House and Patti McKee, who was coordinator of Iowa Peace Network until last month. The Grand Jury process is shrouded in secrecy. We do not know who or what the object of this investigation may be, beyond "possible violations of federal criminal law in the Southern District of Iowa."
The proceeding will be behind closed doors. We may not have an attorney present. We have the right to plead the Fifth Amendment, refusing the answer questions that might incriminate us. The government, then, can offer us immunity from prosecution, in which case we will obliged to answer under threat of contempt of court and could be imprisoned for the length of the Grand Jury session, 18 months, should we continue to refuse to answer. This immunity would be limited to our own testimony and anything any of us say could be used against the others.

Whatever is going on, this is definitely an escalation on the part of the government's war on dissent and clamp down on civil liberties. The fact that anything that we three and the peacemaking communities we represent could possibly attract the notice of a "Terrorism Task Force" is reprehensible. Please spread the word, express concerns you have with Federal and Polk County authorities. Keep us in mind and prayer.

Brian Terrell
Executive Director
Catholic Peace Ministry


Gee, there's nothing like reviving those grand old traditions. Reminds me of Nixon, J Edgar Hoover, Mitchell...all brought to you courtesy of the Patriot Act.

 
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