Civil Liberties: April 2008 Archives

The NSA Gives me the "Glomar Response"

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dod-large.pngI don't know exactly why I didn't submit an NSA FOIA request when I became aware of being spied on. Looking back at all of the articles about domestic spying, it would have been the obvious choice. Since all of the craziness seemed so connected to my international travel, I assumed at first it was the CIA. Wanting to cover my bases, I made requests to a variety of agencies last summer, getting the runaround from the FBI (sending me to a variety of field offices, giving conflicting responses), semantic weirdness from the CIA (something akin to "we have nothing filed under your name in our automated indices"), and denials elsewhere.

Finally, last December I realized the NSA was most likely the agency offended by my Jackie Kennedy costume and Jesus shopping bag and so asked my lawyer to make a request. Until a few weeks ago I thought he had. But he only pretended to. That's right. When he was unable to produce either correspondence with the NSA or a Case Number, I made my own request (after firing him, of course).

Yesterday, I received my very own Glomar Response. Never did any of the other agencies I sought records from use Glomar. This means that, yes, I've been spied on with the NSA's blessing (seemingly by off-the-charts unethical and unprofessional Booz Allen Hamilton employees for the most part). But the details of just how my 4th Amendment rights have been completely disregarded and I've pretty much been imprisoned for a year without having been charged with any crime (etc.)? Those are too precious to national security to divulge.

Read all of the fun government speak after the jump. And, if you think you've sniffed out spooks in your midst, do your own FOIA request. Those of us who have been Glomared under this administration will have recourse one day, methinks.

Free Speech: Not Left, Right, Red or Blue

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wctu.gifLast fall I read about a man in Georgia whose Operation Rescue truck was impounded because it displayed mangled fetuses. This alarmed me. Though I wouldn't want to see a Truth Truck, I believe in an individual's right to one.

Bob Roethlisberger was arrested and jailed over Thanksgiving weekend in a northern suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, on the charge of "Disorderly Conduct" for driving Operation Rescue's Truth Truck bearing signs with photos of aborted babies. The Truth Truck was impounded.

Gwinnett County Police Department officers arrested Roethlisberger Saturday after telling him that signage on the Truth Truck was "vulgar and obscene." According to Operation Rescue, officers ransacked the back of the Truth Truck without a warrant and ordered Roethlisberger to change or remove the signs. When he refused, he was arrested and incarcerated for three days before being released on $1,000 bond.

Disorderly conduct charges were eventually dropped by the county Solicitor:

"I have reviewed the evidence and law in this case and concluded that the physical display of the images in question—as shocking and offensive as they are—does not constitute 'obscene and vulgar or profane language' as specifically prohibited by this statute."
This story was covered extensively by pro-life and religious blogs, but elsewhere not so much. It's a bummer when we let ideology blind us to what binds us. While we disagree profoundly, our rights to free speech unite us as Americans.

Operation Rescue wasn't alone in dealing with not-so-peachy speech restrictions last year. The ACLU of Georgia advocated for residents of a community called Avondale Estates that prohibited the display of signs on residents' property.

Ultimately, the Court struck down some of the sign ordinance provisions as unconstitutional.  In addition, the Court has awarded the ACLU of Georgia $142,329 in attorneys fees and expenses.  This ruling is significant because it analyzes and deals with the scenario where defendants may attempt to avoid fee liability by repeatedly and unilaterally changing ordinances.

Sheesh! Nonstop signage interference!

The bummer is that a lot of free speech advocates may turn up their noses at defending Operation Rescue.  When I mentioned the Truth Truck issue to a politically engaged left-leaner, she couldn't get past the anti-abortion aspect. On the flip side, isn't it likely that pro-life advocates won't be able to look past the ACLU's church/state separation agenda?

This divisiveness is disappointing when we all want safe, free, happy futures. It sounds as though evangelicals are turning more toward issues of racial disharmony, poverty, and the environment. It behooves those on the left to ensure that our free speech advocacy is as inclusive as possible -- even of people who might find our art offensive, or don't approve of our lifestyle choices.

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Six Hours A Week Is:

A coping strategy, advocacy outlet, and form of protection. My life has been nearly destroyed by the unconstitutional practices of politically/socially-motivated private intelligence contractors and the corruption and cronyism that allow them. Apparently because I speak out in ways that prioritize the little guy and human and environmental health above gargantuan profit margins, and believe that facts are as important as PR spin, I was someone who had to be completely discredited. In 2007, after a few months of a surreal and relentless invasion of privacy and dignity, I started to spend six hours each week researching, communicating about, and advocating legal and ethical responses to assaults on our shared democratic and republican ideals. For most of that time I was writing from the perspective of someone whose life was manipulated into a constant state of terror and emergency. In 2010, many of the array of entrapment attempts seem to have failed and it seems no longer possible to get away with such excessive, obvious harassment and overt interference. As we take more practical steps to address what has been allowed to happen to my family, we do expect to see some more harassment and intimidation. But I should be able to chronicle it from a more measured perspective, rather than that of someone in constant fear. Part of me would like to go back and delete earlier posts, because even I find them hard to relate to in some ways. But this blog has been one of our only forms of protection as everyone in any official capacity ignored the truth and tried to spin and frame us into the troublemakers and perpetrators of one form or another. So I leave it up as a form of protection, a record of what has occurred, and (with luck) the account of our way back to credibility and some form of legitimate justice. All content on this site is property of Kyeann Sayer. All rights reserved.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Civil Liberties category from April 2008.

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