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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.
Thu Apr 19 2012 (Updated 04/22/12)
Privacy Groups Seek to Stop Cyber Spying Legislation
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.
ACLU–Santa Cruz Chapter writes, "Eleven local activists have been charged with a variety of offenses arising from the occupation of a vacant bank building last fall. We have two primary concerns regarding this prosecution. First, at least some of the defendants are journalists who were present to report on the protest. We condemn any attempt to criminalize their exercise of the crucial First Amendment right to gather and disseminate information about this newsworthy event. All charges based on this constitutionally protected activity should be dropped immediately. Second, it appears that some of the defendants may have been charged due to their past adversarial relationship with law enforcement officials."
The Long Haul and East Bay Prisoner Support have settled their lawsuits over an armed, over-broad police raid after the law enforcement agencies agreed to delete improperly seized computer data and pay $100,000 in damages and attorney's fees. Moreover, the University of California-Berkeley Police Department (UCBPD) acknowledged that at the time of the raid one of the groups qualified for federal protections designed to protect journalists, publishers, and other distributors of information from police searches, despite the police's persistent denial of that status throughout the lawsuit.
On April 4th, a dozen people demonstrated on the sidewalk in front of the Wells Fargo Bank located at 74 River St. in downtown Santa Cruz, and across the street from the vacant bank building at 75 River St. The event was held to "encourage those victimized by the bank to learn they have allies" and "support the hundreds of people who visited or protested the vacant building at 75 River St. in late November and early December last year."
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