Cleveland 5: Food Not Bombs volunteers entrapped by FBI need support

Discussion in 'Civil Rights & Privacy' started by Lisa Simeone, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    I can understand getting uptight about single, isolated events where the FBI focuses on & frames some poor simpleton, but here you're dealing the with the collective stupidity of 5 people who met up to blow up a bridge. Shame on the FBI for wasting resources that could have been better spent, but these turkeys won't get much sympathy from me.

    No doubt one reason why they're having trouble finding a "good" attorney is that good civil rights attorneys probably want to spend their time on cases with real civil rights issues and not getting a bunch of dimwits off the hook for collective stupidity.

    The real issue here is policy -- (mis)allocation of federal law enforcement funding at a time when spending deficits are soaring. It's not a civil rights issue.
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  3. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    I think it's interesting that several of you guys talk all the time -- in writing, in a public forum -- about shooting, killing, blowing away, etc. this, that, or the other cop or federal officer. Therefore, shouldn't you be arrested and jailed like these guys?
  4. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    There's a distinctive difference between free speech and heading off in the middle of the night to blow up a bridge.

    Free speech: Somebody should kill that FBI scum that instigating all these problems.

    Crime: We're meeting at 2130 to kill the scum. Bring sharp knives.

    If you show up at that 2130 meeting (especially equipped as directed), you're potential toast.

    Furthermore, the context in which such discussions occur here generally is justifiable self-defense.

    In the Ohio case you actually had five people who thought they were purchasing C4 and meeting to blow up a bridge that night. Just because the FBI is involved doesn't mean that they are 100% wrong. I wouldn't trust an FBI agent as far as I could spit, but they do get it right a good number of times.
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  5. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Right. I might say it a little more delicately, but that's my take on it too. And the entrapment laws are such that it's very difficult to use them to show that you were "framed".

    I see it as a misuse of funding, but I also see it as a civil rights issue. The FBI decided to target these five people for whatever reasons they had, but when it comes to terrorism cases they also target an awful lot of Middle Eastern people, and I see that as racial profiling.

    But yeah, with all the real criminals out there you'd think the FBI would have better things to do.
  6. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    I generally agree with Mike about the difference between the discussion being a crime v. it being free speech.

    It's pretty clear that this is a discussion forum and we're all discussing the issues as they crop up. Kind of like discussing newspaper articles around the water cooler. No one here is talking about taking specific action (be there at midnight & we'll beat him up) against a particular person or to damage something specific (for whatever reasons), they're just expressing disdain (well, levels of disdain) for it. It's all First Amendment covered opinion.

    Could our words be used against us even though our discussions clearly fall under the First Amendment? Maybe. Let's say that one of us at TUG was put on trial for the murder of an FBI agent. And let's say that our TUG defendant spoke generally about killing FBI agents (but not this FBI agent specifically) on TUG. If our defendant takes the stand in his own defense, the prosecution could use the forum conversations to show motive, or to otherwise impeach the defendant's character.

    The defense attorney would rebut using all of the First Amendment arguments, but unless the judge strikes the prosecution's arguments for some reason, then a seed of doubt will have been planted in the minds of the jury.

    But a TUG defendant on trial because he or she said something about guns and law enforcement in the same breath? I just don't see it.

    The other big way forum discussions could be used against us is if law enforcement members are present on the site and they track who says what and then monitor TUG folks on this site and on other sites. Maybe they even get a warrant to unmask posters and once armed with real names, head on over to Facebook and see what they're posting there. In the vast majority of cases that's all that would happen - more monitoring.
  7. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    I believe a subpoena would be required rather than a warrant, and I'm the only one who could respond to such a subpoena, so you'll all know if they do. :D

    I suppose they could snarf the entire shared server from the ISP, and maybe even return it in the dead of night, but the FBI wouldn't do that, would they?

  8. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    We might not know if they've already done this here. If they decided to do a national security letter to your ISP, you'd never know it happened. I don't know if there are ways you could trace and find out -- we're at the limits of my technical knowledge/abilities. :)
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  9. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Other than the site access logs, all of the interesting data is in the SQL database, one of several that I have in that account. Given past interactions I've had with the ISP, they wouldn't have a clue as to how to proceed short of handing over the entire site database. If the FBI gets caught collecting entire databases of social networking sites, the public reaction would be a firestorm.
  10. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    It certainly would!

    But you know what? I could see them trying to get away with that.
  11. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    There is nothing I would put past them.
    jtodd likes this.
  12. jtodd

    jtodd Original Member

    I wouldn't either, especially given what a variety of gov. agencies have already tried/done.

    Oh, and just in case any even browse these forums!


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