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Bradley Allen went to the Santa Cruz County Courthouse steps with his camera on Wednesday, November 30, 2011, to cover a demonstration for Santa Cruz Indymedia, part of Indybay, at a time the Occupy movement was at its height. He assumed it would be similar to others he had recently been to, where people had rallied, marched, and picketed banks.
“See it — Film it — Change it” is a slogan of Witness, an NGO that has been documenting human rights violations for 20 years. Lawyers working for The New Media Advocacy Project recently presented Congress members with video of sexual violence in Haitian camps and won some assistance to the victims. Ustream, a commercial service for live video streaming, provided a platform to citizen journalists covering Hurricane Sandy. Rich Jones of Openwatch has a vision of smartphones recording the actions of law enforcement to the point cops become truly accountable to the public. And Ken Goldberg’s Rashoman Project offers new technology for recording volatile protest situations.
All of the above was presented and discussed at a forum at the Banatao Auditorium on the University of California, Berkeley campus called “We Witness: A Panel on Digital Video, Social Media, & Political Protest.” It was held on Monday, December 10 by the CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative in honor of Human Rights Day.
Read More and View Photos
Participating Organizations: Witness
|| New Media Advocacy Project
|| Rashoman Project (video)
|| CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative
Attorney David E. Mastagni of the Sacramento law firm Mastagni, Holstedt, Amick, Miller & Johnsen has demanded that the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay) remove a post by Vallejo Copwatch. It is unclear on whose behalf the overly broad demand was made as it requests that Indybay "remove any and all information pertaining to public safety officers employed by the City of Vallejo." The specific Vallejo Copwatch post listed in the demand letter, though, identifies Vallejo police officer Dustin B. Joseph as the killer of Mario Romero on September 2nd of this year. The Indybay Collective has no intention of removing the post.
David Morse, a veteran independent journalist and long-time member of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay) has settled his lawsuit over the University of California - Berkeley Police Department’s (UCBPD’s) improper arrest, imprisonment, and seizure of journalistic materials during a student demonstration he was covering as a journalist. In exchange for Mr. Morse’s agreement to dismiss the lawsuit, the University of California Regents have paid $162,500 and have agreed to modify UCBPD policies and procedures regarding acceptable means of seeking materials from a journalist or anyone possessing materials with an intent to disseminate to the public and have also agreed to conduct extensive training sessions for UCBPD officers regarding protections for journalists under federal and state law.
UCBPD officers arrested Mr. Morse while he was covering a demonstration on the UC-Berkeley campus on December 11, 2009. Mr. Morse was making news photographs of a march on the UC-Berkeley campus, in which some participants caused damage to the exterior of the Chancellor’s house and other property, when UCBPD officers arrived at the scene. Mr. Morse identified himself as a journalist, and offered to show the officers his press credentials. UCBPD officers instead immediately detained and then arrested Mr. Morse and seized his camera, telling Mr. Morse that they wanted his camera because they believed it contained evidence of a crime. Mr. Morse was charged with attempted arson of an inhabited structure, vandalism, participation in a riot, attempted burglary, threatening a university official, and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer. His bail was set at $132,500.
As part of this settlement, the UC Regents agreed:
Read More |
Californian Journalist Wins $162,500 Settlement For Unlawful Arrest |
Indybay Reporter Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against UC Police |
Indybay Reporter Succeeds in Quashing UCPD Search Warrant |
Eight Arrested at UC Berkeley After Concert and March
- To revise and update its policies and procedures concerning protections for journalists mandated by the federal Privacy Protection Act (“PPA”), California Penal Code § 1524(g), and California Evidence Code § 1070, including:
- Acknowledging that the PPA’s protections apply to both traditional media outlets and new technologies such as the internet, and protects individuals even if not associated with a media outlet;
- Acknowledging that the PPA requires the use of a subpoena, rather than a search warrant, to obtain unpublished journalistic materials;
- To mandate that all UCBPD officers – current and future – undergo training on the revised and updated policies and procedures regarding journalistic protections;
- To pay a total of $162,500 to Mr. Morse and his attorneys.
Community Media with Indybay will be an introduction to contributing to the all-volunteer website, Santa Cruz Indymedia
). Beginning July 11th
, people who are passionate about local independent media will meet every other Wednesday as part of Free Skool Santa Cruz for workshops and discussions on how anyone can publish text, photos, audio and video, either as news articles or event announcements directly to the website.
Around 500 people from 15 cities in Mexico and 11 countries in the world came together in the National Encounter of Autonomous Anti-Capitialist Resistance at the end of May 2012 to share experiences of autonomy and support the uprising and current process of self-government in Cherán, Michoacán. The Cherán K’eri uprising on April 15, 2011 and the process of self-government now underway in that community is, for many, a source of inspiration, a strong show of resistance to be defended, and an experience to learn from.
On September 8th, 2011, BART police mass arrested close to thirty people, including Indybay reporter Dave Id, inside the Powell Street BART station during a protest against BART police. Protesters and journalists alike were handcuffed for hours and charged with violating California Penal Code Section 369i. On June 4th, the case was heard in open court and charges were dismissed against fourteen defendants represented by the NLG. It is unknown if other arrestees sought independent counsel, paid a fine for the infraction, had their charges dismissed, or if their charges remain pending.
On Friday, June 8th, five of the Santa Cruz Eleven had preliminary hearing dates set by visiting Judge Stephen Sillman. Additionally, Brent Adams now has a new public defender, attorney Lisa K. McCamey. Charges have been refiled against Franklin Alcantara and Cameron Laurendeau, and they have a new preliminary hearing scheduled for July 23rd. Gabriella Ripley-Phipps and Becky Johnson will be going into their preliminary hearing on Monday, June 25th
Robert Norse reports:
Seven defendants (two were recharged) now face an upcoming Preliminary Hearing sometime in June thanks to Santa Cruz County District Attorneys Bob Lee and Rebekah Young. The seven are activists and reporters selected out of hundreds who passed through the vacant Wells Fargo bank building (now surrounded with a fence and barbed wire) in downtown Santa Cruz. The next pretrial court hearing is on Friday, June 1st
at 8:15 AM in Dept. 6.
On May 18th, supporters of the Santa Cruz Eleven held banners on the Soquel Avenue overpass, to be seen by passing drivers on Highway 1, in support of the eleven people charged in association with the 2011 occupation of a vacant bank building in Santa Cruz. So far six of the eleven defendants have had charges against them dismissed by Santa Cruz County judge Paul Burdick, and the remaining five, Brent Adams, Desiree Foster, Gabriella Ripley-Phipps, Becky Johnson, and Robert Norse (Kahn), are still in the middle of pre-trial hearings.
On May 14th, all charges against Indybay
photojournalists Bradley Stuart Allen and Alex Darocy were dismissed by Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Paul Burdick. The Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office had argued, without any evidence, that Allen and Darocy were "the media arm of the organization, the group’s propagandists" for the occupation of the vacant Wells Fargo bank building at 75 River Street in late November, thereby validating Shmuel Thaler, a Santa Cruz Sentinel
photographer, as having been at the occupation as a bona fide journalist. Judge Burdick questioned the inconsistencies in the DA's argument and dismissed all charges.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed a brief as amicus curiae, on May 3rd, in support of Bradley Stuart Allen and Alex Darocy’s motion to dismiss, pursuant to Penal Code section 995, pending before the Superior Court of California for the County of Santa Cruz. In the brief, ACLU of Northern California concludes, "The prosecution’s theories of liability for conspiracy to trespass and aiding and abetting trespass seek to punish Allen and Darocy for activity they engaged in that is protected by the First Amendment and the liberty of speech clause of the California Constitution."
On May 4th, community members gathered at the Santa Cruz Courthouse for a press conference and rally to demand District Attorney Bob Lee drop the charges against the Santa Cruz Eleven, who have all been charged with felonies arising from the occupation of a vacant bank building last fall. Organizers of the rally believe the DA should, "re-examine the basis for the charges, and the Court must ensure that these activists are not being selectively prosecuted." Approximately 100 people were in attendance at the courthouse rally, and after a brief press conference that had seven of the Santa Cruz Eleven introducing themselves, the group marched through downtown Santa Cruz.
WILPF–Santa Cruz Branch writes,
The Santa Cruz Branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) condemns the action of local law enforcement in attempting to prosecute eleven local activists who are alleged to have occupied the long-deserted bank building at Water and River Streets last fall. Four of the defendants are journalists, who were present to report to the community on the protests. The First Amendment is clear on the rights of journalists to observe and print their findings; the charges against them should be dropped immediately.
On April 18th, U.S. Federal authorities removed a server from a colocation facility shared by Riseup Networks and May First/People Link in New York City. The seized server was operated by the European Counter Network (“ECN”), the oldest independent internet service provider in Europe, who, among many other things, provided an anonymous remailer service, Mixmaster, that was the target of an FBI investigation into a series of bomb threats against the University of Pittsburgh.
Congress is currently considering HR 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, a bill that purports to protect the United States from “cyber threats”. This legislation would create a gaping loophole in all existing privacy laws. If CISPA, as the bill is called, passes, companies could vacuum up huge swaths of data on everyday internet users and share it with government agencies without a court order. Internet privacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Free Press say that CISPA uses dangerously vague language to define the breadth of data that can be shared with the government.