(The ‘land of the free’?): PHOTOS: Since Standing Rock, 56 Bills Have Been Introduced in 30 States to Restrict Protests

Say goodbye to your right to free speech. Say goodbye to your right to protest, or even speak out. Our ‘representatives’ that we elect and pay to be OUR voice are going to make sure that we go to jail (and more) if we get all uppity and even dare trying speaking up for ourselves.

By no stretch of the imagination can this be justified.

PHOTOS: Since Standing Rock, 56 Bills Have Been Introduced in 30 States to Restrict Protests

On February 23 of last year, a day when the frozen ground had started to turn to mud, law enforcement officers rolled into the Oceti Sakowin camp near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. Donald Trump had been inaugurated a month earlier, and the new president quickly reversed an Obama administration decision to deny Energy Transfer Partners a permit to finish construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.78 billion project running directly under the Missouri River. The water protectors, as protesters called themselves, had been fighting the pipeline since the spring of 2016, concerned that the proposed route cut through ancestral land of spiritual significance, and that a pipeline leak could contaminate the primary water supply to the reservation. The small group who had remained through the bitter winter at Oceti Sakowin had been ordered to leave by February 22nd or face eviction and arrest. Most did; a few dozen remained the following the day, when Humvees with snipers on their roofs rolled into camp, a helicopter buzzing above them.

Photojournalist Tracie Williams, on assignment for the National Press Photographers’ Association, captured some of what happened next. Officers wearing military fatigues walked through the camp with assault rifles and knives, which they used to slice open the skins of teepees. Rain and fat flakes of snow fell against a backdrop of smoke rising from structures that had been set alight in a ceremonial gesture. Moments after clicking through the last two frames on her memory card—of two men in prayer, weapons aimed at their heads—she was arrested. Williams, who had been documenting life at Oceti Sakowin for three weeks leading up to the raid, told officers she was a journalist—and says she’d previously identified herself as a member of the press to representatives of the governor’s office and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and let them know that she’d be there, documenting, and obtained a press credential from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department—but they confiscated her equipment as evidence and detained her anyway. Williams was later charged with physical obstruction of government function, a Class A misdemeanor that could result in a year in jail and $3,000 in fines. Her trial is scheduled for June.

An hour after police evicted the last demonstrators from Oceti Sakowin, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed four measures increasing punishments for demonstrators. Among other things, the new laws expanded the definition of criminal trespass, and raised the penalty for a riot conviction. Though the measures were clearly in response to Standing Rock, they also reflected a much broader conservative backlash to direct action—a backlash that resulted in a wave of legislation introduced in states across the US. Overall, according to the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, lawmakers in 30 states have introduced 56 bills to restrict public protest since Trump’s election.

*

This is a battle for a narrative,” said Standing Rock Sioux member and attorney Chase Iron Eyes, when I asked how he felt about activists being referred to as terrorists or “jihadists.” Iron Eyes was arrested during a police raid on another protest camp a few weeks before the eviction of Oceti Sakowin, and charged with a felony for “inciting a riot” as well as criminal trespass. He’s facing five years in prison. Daniel Sheehan, who serves as chief counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Office and is defending Iron Eyes, believes that Iron Eyes was surveilled and selectively prosecuted with felony charges because he was particularly outspoken in his opposition to the pipeline. His name appeared on several intelligence documents prepared by TigerSwan, including one labelling him as one of the “most radical” members of the protest movement.

https://www.thenation.com/article/photos-since-standing-rock-56-bills-ha...

We are supposed to sit down and shut up and allow corporations to pillage and plunder everything that enhances their bottom line. And not just American corporations, ANY corporations. The NDAPL pipeline is owned by a Canadian corporation. So is the Keystone (which was supposed to run through here but will take a different route). For sport, just imagine how many corporate overlords we would have if the TTP would have passed. And if The Clinton Creature had been elected, I think HER would have gotten it passed long before now.

(Re: The blip about since Trump’s election; Call me crazy but it seems to me that the Obama administration also supported persecuting and prosecuting anyone who objected to the corporate over-reach into our rights and our land. That SOB tried to push the Keystone, TTP, and TTIP down our throats. That guy could have done a lot to protect the American people. He decided to protect his bank account. President Hopey-Changey Transformational Transparency sure gets a pass for his complicity in all this, doesn’t he?)

There’s one more thing in the article that I need to note.

In late October, 80 Republicans and four Democrats sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking whether demonstrators who target energy infrastructure might be prosecuted as domestic terrorism.

It’s an 8-page letter. It is something that Americans need to read. First, stop and think about what it means to be charged with ‘domestic terrorism. What is ‘domestic terrorism’?

5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—

(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

(B) appear to be intended—

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2331

‘Who’ is prosecuted under U.S.C. 231?

a)

(1) Whoever teaches or demonstrates to any other person the use, application, or making of any firearm or explosive or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, knowing or having reason to know or intending that the same will be unlawfully employed for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder which may in any way or degree obstruct, delay, or adversely affect commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce or the conduct or performance of any federally protected function; or

(2) Whoever transports or manufactures for transportation in commerce any firearm, or explosive or incendiary device, knowing or having reason to know or intending that the same will be used unlawfully in furtherance of a civil disorder; or

(3) Whoever commits or attempts to commit any act to obstruct, impede, or interfere with any fireman or law enforcement officer lawfully engaged in the lawful performance of his official duties incident to and during the commission of a civil disorder which in any way or degree obstructs, delays, or adversely affects commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce or the conduct or performance of any federally protected function—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

b

Nothing contained in this section shall make unlawful any act of any law enforcement officer which is performed in the lawful performance of his official duties.

If this unconstitutional bullshit gets passed, we’re ALL eligible for prosecution. The ‘incident to’ part is the hitch in our giddy up.

incident to
adjective
closely related to; resulting from; likely to happen because of
The company shall have all powers incident to the sale of property.

https://www.translegal.com/legal-english-dictionary/incident-to

Oh yes, the ‘letter’. It’s 8 pages long and shows the signatures of all who signed onto this First Amendment rights-crushing corporate whoring.

https://buck.house.gov/sites/buck.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Prote...

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Comments

The Aspie Corner's picture

I barely sleep as it is because of the dizziness and ringing in my ears anyway. The meds I was on for ASD helped with this for the most part, but I haven't had access to those for nearly 2 months now. That's the price I pay for not being able to participate in this pay-to-win shithole country.

As to this shit about protests? Come on. Protest has never ever been legal ever. After all, after the Capitalist Spat of 1776 ended, there were those who tried to rebel against the assholes who won and they were all keel-hauled and read the Riot Act. What's going on now isn't any different.

People always talk about voting with their wallets. Well, that's impossible to do when you're basically living hand to mouth and Walmart is your only option for grocery shopping.

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10 users have voted.
Amanda Matthews's picture

@The Aspie Corner @The Aspie Corner

too tired to care? Why the fuck did you bother then?

I get it you have problems. Many of us here do. But I’ve never seen anyone respond like you just did.

Why are you even posting if you don’t care?

EDIT: never mind. I’ll let it slide.

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5 users have voted.

I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

The Aspie Corner's picture

@Amanda Matthews At some point, people just don't care to play anymore. Especially considering these assholes have spent decades moving the goal posts at every last turn. The porkies own this country lock, stock and barrel and they aren't even bothering to hide it with some nice and neat facade anymore.

I have to admit it'll be fun watching these assholes cannibalize each other when they're done with us, if the planet doesn't burn first.

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6 users have voted.
Amanda Matthews's picture

@The Aspie Corner @The Aspie Corner

how much you don’t care I’ll ask again, why are you posting in this thread? How many times are you gonna say it? Trust me, three IS the charm in this case. Although it does serm to be a lot of effort for something you don’t care about.

But some of us do care. That’s why I posted this.

EDIT: again, never mind. Some things just aren’t worth it.

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2 users have voted.

I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

zoebear's picture

@Amanda Matthews

Is expended in offering a little patience and compassion in your reply to fellow posters as opposed to the response you did offer?

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8 users have voted.

"World is a multi-dimensional reality. At lower levels, it is full with unconsciousness and competitiveness. At higher level, it is full of beauty, bliss and divinity. Focus on higher dimensions"
~Amit Ray

Amanda Matthews's picture

@zoebear

about what I do.

And I suggest next time someone ‘doesn’t care’ about what I (or anyone else for that matter) posts they just move along to something they do care about and not shit all over someone else’s work.

It’s not hard to do. I do it all the time.

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2 users have voted.

I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

Citizen Of Earth's picture

just like they do in China. All the dissident sites will be throttled into "Server Not Found" Land. And it will all be perfectly legal -- thanks to President Shithole's FCC.

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11 users have voted.

Donnie The #ShitHole Douchebag. Fake Friend to the Working Class. Real Asshole.

Amanda Matthews's picture

@Citizen Of Earth

For example:

****
Google is blocking the World Socialist Web Site from search results.

Here’s a video from WSWS when I tried to post it.

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8 users have voted.

I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Amanda Matthews I don't know if this is the video you tried to embed, but this WSWS video on resistance to Internet censorship is worth a try:

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2 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Amanda Matthews

Here’s a video from WSWS when I tried to post it.

Which video was that, Amanda? Where did you get it on WSWS.org?

Thank You! Smile

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1 user has voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

QMS's picture

@Citizen Of Earth even US consumers can see chinese tactics. Unfortunately, for the unawares, our level of censorship is inscrutable.

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5 users have voted.

Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

Steven D's picture

There's a reason the first amendment came before the second.

Free speech is the greatest deterrent to tyranny.

And we're losing it on so many fronts.

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13 users have voted.

"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

QMS's picture

@Steven D I guess if the supremes think corps are people, bullets are words. Wink

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8 users have voted.

Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

Meteor Man's picture

@QMS
Ergo, bullets are freedom of speech, especially if the passively involved trigger is pulled by an objective law enforcement officer.

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7 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

QMS's picture

@Meteor Man how did the right to bare arms become (sleeves rolled up) guns have more rights than people?

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3 users have voted.

Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

Meteor Man's picture

@QMS
It's all about the ink.

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3 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

QMS's picture

@Meteor Man squirt guns with octopi ink. Ya had me there for a minute.

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3 users have voted.

Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

The Aspie Corner's picture

@Steven D The only people who have ever had freedom in this shit country are the rich. Any attempt to change this at all has seen people incarcerated, co-opted, or assassinated. Just look at the way the porkies have totally twisted MLK Jr.

Sure, they talk about how he had a dream and fought for equality but conveniently leave out the reasons he was gunned down to start with. They conveniently forget to tell the masses that he was also vehemently anti-war and pro-worker. Hell, they've whitewashed him to the point that he might as well have been Larry Elder. All in the service of the Capitalist Party USA.

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in court:

Congress shall make no law ..... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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8 users have voted.

Beware the bullshit factories.

Meteor Man's picture

@Timmethy2.0
Or Justice Clarence Thomas. Just for fun I checked wiki for court membership info:

At least five justices are Roman Catholics and three are Jewish; it is unclear whether Neil Gorsuch considers himself a Catholic or an Episcopalian.

It is also not clear if Thomas is Catholic or Episcopalian:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is currently a Catholic, but he has belonged to other Christian religious denominations in the past.
"Although born a Baptist and raised a Catholic, he now regularly attends an Episcopal church."

http://www.supremecourthistory.org/thomashp.htm

Zero Protestants because . . . ?

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6 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Meteor Man

Try Explaining That To Justice Gorsuch Or Justice Clarence Thomas.

Or Prince Ramses!

Wink

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1 user has voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Meteor Man's picture

Holy shit!

. . . if they’re [journalists] not going to cooperate with the official narrative, well, then they need to be censored, or algorithmically deranked, or otherwise marginalized, and the sooner the better. Which is exactly what the corporatocracy is doing, and what they intend to continue doing until “unity,” “harmony,” and “trust” is restored.

And this is just the beginning, folks. If you want to get a glimpse of our dystopian future, read this recent piece in The Atlantic. It’s by Representative Will Hurd, of Texas, but it conveys the sentiments of the corporate ruling classes and their loyal servants in government, generally. I won’t spoil it for you, but here’s one quote:

"To address continued Russian disinformation campaigns, we need to develop a national counter-disinformation strategy. The strategy needs to span the entirety of government and civil society, to enable a coordinated effort to counter the threat that influence operations pose to our democracy. It should implement similar principles to those in the Department of Homeland Security’s Strategy for Countering Violent Extremism, with a focus on truly understanding the threat and developing ways to shut it down.”

Because we need "to protect democratic
institutions".

The Counter punch link:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/16/the-war-on-dissent-the-specter-o...

(The Department of Homeland Security’s Strategy for Countering Violent Extremism is a PDF file at the end of the Counterpunch article)

The Atlantic link:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/russia-is-our-adver...

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11 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

QMS's picture

@The Aspie Corner @Meteor Man

to protect democratic institutions

with a focus on truly understanding the threat and developing ways to shut it down

using their words to describe what we are up against

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4 users have voted.

Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

Thank you for this interesting piece. I copied the signatures because I need to look into this further, but I see at least 3-4 assholes from Colorado. I need to talk to these idiots. I also happen to know that the names I recognize are also members of the "local" ALEC group...aka as the Koch fools.

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In life, as in dance, grace glides on blistered feet. ~Alice Abrams