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1
Let's go the hearing, kick in some courthouse windows, and run away. That way maybe some friends of our friends will get interrogated and clam up and go to solitary all to keep us from paying for kicking in the courthouse glass.

That's what friends of friends are for, right?
Posted by gloomy gus on February 25, 2013 at 5:02 PM · Report this
Kinison 2
Time for them to rat out their friends.
Posted by Kinison http://www.holgatehawks.com on February 25, 2013 at 7:29 PM · Report this
3
Brendan: Could you verify that the hearing is open to the public? My experience has been that only people who present acceptable documentation to the security guards at the entrance to the federal courthouse are allowed to enter. They once made an exception for me, but this resulted in an escort by US Marshalls from the entryway, after I walked through the magnetometer and watched my belongings searched by X-ray, to the courtroom (as if I was a dangerous criminal), where they left me without supervision (as if I was no more risk than all the people who showed their papers).
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on February 25, 2013 at 7:56 PM · Report this
pdonahue 6
Hearing changed to Thursday 10 AM. Yeah, bring your ID, just like you do everywhere you go, besides a backcountry trip into the North Cascades, where DON'T you bring your papers with you?
Posted by pdonahue on February 26, 2013 at 11:42 AM · Report this
7
@5 Who said anything about objecting to security (or hipsters)? My belongings and I were searched without objection from me. What I object to is the demand that visitors to our federal courthouse present documentation of identity, something which we are not required to have in this country, much less carry with us and present upon demand in order to comply with a judge's order to appear in court, or to simply bear witness to the actions of our government in "open" court.

So again: I wonder if this hearing will be open to the public, or open exclusively to those who present acceptable documentation to the security guards at the door.

Papers, please!
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on February 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM · Report this
8
@6: I don't bring documentation of identity with me everywhere I go. There's no requirement that I have it---many people do not. If I'm driving on a public road, I bring proof of license to do so. If I'm travelling out of the country, I bring documentation of citizenship because the other nation will likely demand it and because it will make re-entry to the U.S. much easier. Sometimes when I interact with private parties, we mutually agree that I will convince them of my identity before conducting business, but that's completely different than a government entity demanding it as a condition of participation in a process that is supposed to be open to all.

Regardless, the identity of each of us is no business of the security guards at a public courthouse. We are the public.
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on February 26, 2013 at 11:51 AM · Report this
10
@9: I know, it's a crazy thought, isn't it? And shortly after the goose-stepping begins, the executive branch of the U.S. Government will start maintaining blacklists restricting who is free to move around the country via common carrier, who is not, and who is only allowed after extra hassle. Next thing you know, someone, somewhere, will be able to add your name to a list restricting your freedom, and we won't be able to know who put you on the list, why, or how you can get off it. Hell, if we're not careful, we may end up with a situation in which political dissidents and other pesky types can be put on "lockdown" and prevented from traveling, associating, expressing themselves, petitioning their government for redress of grievances, or simply observing the actions of their public servants---all without a shred of process or possibility of appeal.

License to drive on public streets should not qualify one for entry to a public courthouse. Proof of identity should not, either. Are these public buildings in which "open court" is held open to the public, or not? Those people at the gate are not (yet) checking names against a "no observation of or participation in judicial matters" list, and they're not (yet) making a list of who had the temerity to show up and observe the actions of his government. So why, other than conditioning the public to comply with their, "Papers, please!" demands, do they enforce this counter-effective policy?

Will the upcoming hearing be open to the public, or restricted to those people who can and do present acceptable documentation to the guards at the front door?
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on February 26, 2013 at 12:33 PM · Report this
Eric Arrr 11
@Unbrainwashed - I'm curious to get your opinion on something. (My curiousity was piqued by comments you left in an earlier thread about this same subject.)

I'm wondering what level of protection from search and seizure you believe people should be entitled to w/respect to their private written communications, specifically text & email? i.e., what sort of evidence should investigators be required to present, and to whom, to secure authorization to conduct such a search?

Once you answer, I'll explain how the question relates to this mess.
Posted by Eric Arrr on February 26, 2013 at 2:06 PM · Report this
Eric Arrr 13
@12, thanks - I won't penalize you for gamely playing along. (I'm not a lawyer, but I've picked up certain lawyerly habits from hanging around a lot of lawyers. Speaking with precision verging on sharpness might be one of them.)

The warrant you probably read about is the one where the FBI sought permission to inspect the contents of phones and other electronics that they recovered in previous, warranted residential searches. That's one way (-- and in my opinion, and I suspect yours as well, the right way --) for investigators to obtain authorization to search someone's communications records.

What makes a search warrant truly legitimate is that in order to obtain one, the investigator must show to the satisfaction of a judge that they have evidence amounting to probable cause (i.e. "more likely than not") that the search will bear fruit with respect to a specific criminal investigation.

But warrants aren't the only tool in the FBI's search & seizure toolbox. (Bear with me, I'll tie this back to grand jury refusers in a moment.) Another FBI tool is what's called an administrative subpoena, which they can use to force somebody turn over records about a third party. Administrative subpoenas don't need to show probable cause, and they don't need to be reviewed by a court. With these subpoenas, the FBI can literally write itself permission to demand copies of a person's email or text communications from ISP's/telcos/facebook/etc. The only basis required for such a subpoena an assertion that the information sought is "reasonably relevant" to an investigation. "Reasonably relevant" is a vastly weaker standard than "more likely than not", and no judge need approve it. As I said, the FBI writes the subpoena, serves it, and gets what it wants.

So, about these grand jury refusers: what the FBI is now doing is collecting evidence, via the grand jury process, upon which to write administrative subpoenas to obtain the text and email messages of anybody whom they can show is associated with the group of anarchists they've already identified.

Imagine being compelled to tell a grand jury which of your friends were associated with suspected criminals, so that the FBI could then, on that basis alone, use administrative subpoenas to strip those friends of their protection from unreasonable search and seizure of their email and text communications.

That's the situation these refusers are in. Anybody whom their testimony ends up tying to the anarchist scene, however loosely, however rightly or wrongly, gets their life turned inside-out, with zero judicial review.
More...
Posted by Eric Arrr on February 26, 2013 at 9:24 PM · Report this
Eric Arrr 15
@14,

I think you've got your facts wrong.

To the first point, are you saying that the "recovered" text messages referenced in this affadavit were obtained pursuant to a warranted search? If so, what information do you have that I don't? I'd genuinely appreciate whatever you've got.

To the second point, we actually do things about what has been asked. See here for more.
Posted by Eric Arrr on February 26, 2013 at 10:52 PM · Report this
Eric Arrr 17
Dude, I drive a BMW 8-series. If I had left it downtown on May Day, those clowns would have "occupied" it with a brick. you think I'm backing them up?

But who says it's just anarchists getting their lives turned inside-out at this point? The whole problem with these subpoenas is that *anybody* who is on some anarchist's speed dial loses their protection from unreasonable search and seizure, on the basis of mere association.

You favor stripping people of their protections based on nothing more than the possibility some anarchist has their phone number?

By the way, I called you out on two factual problems in my last part. Are you going to address them?
Posted by Eric Arrr on February 27, 2013 at 12:00 AM · Report this
19
@18, Unbrainwashed wrote, "I'm not going to play lawyer with you." followed by various emotional outbursts.

Translation: "I'm backed into a corner and unwilling to address my apparent misunderstanding of a situation on which I frequently comment. I don't want readers to think I ran off with my tail between my legs, so I'll try to divert attention from the very simple questions asked by appealing to those readers' emotions. I'll dismiss as smooth-talkin' lawyerin' any questioning of my assertion that privacy invasions in this investigation were performed with the approval of a judge, and I'll accuse Eric of being too high-falutin' for us regular Joes."

To recap:

@14, Unbrainwashed wrote, "In this case, they got a warrant. It was issued by a judge. [...] you don't know what questions they asked." @15, Eric responded by suggesting that UBW's statements were inaccurate, writing, "To the first point, are you saying that the `recovered' text messages referenced in this affadavit were obtained pursuant to a warranted search? If so, what information do you have that I don't? I'd genuinely appreciate whatever you've got."

UBW did not say whether or not he believes the text messages referenced in the affidavit were obtained with the warrant

Eric also asked, "To the second point, we actually do things about what has been asked. See here for more."

UBW did not acknowledge this information about what has been asked.

@17, Eric asked, "You favor stripping people of their protections based on nothing more than the possibility some anarchist has their phone number?"

UBW did not say whether or not he favors stripping someone of his constitutional protections based on the mere possibility that people rounded up in a witch hunt had that person's phone number.
More...
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on February 27, 2013 at 12:41 PM · Report this
20
see also: "Grand Jury Refusers Katherine Olejnik and Matthew Duran Are Free," Brendan Kiley, Slog, February 27, 2013, http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on February 27, 2013 at 5:56 PM · Report this
22
@21: Again, you're making unfounded acusations and dodging reasonable questions. Now you're wishing violence on others. Maybe we should investigate you and everyone on your contact list.

I wish for neither violence nor property damage. I don't know any of these people. I believe that coercing testimony by torturing people is wrong. I believe that the U.S. Government's anarchist witch-hunt, as was Joe McCarthy's communist witch-hunt decades ago, is wrong. "Who threw the brick through the window?" is a far different question than, "Who is this person and what are her political and social affiliations?"
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on February 28, 2013 at 5:17 AM · Report this

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