US OK with Death Penalty for apostasy, blasphemy, adultery, and consensual same-sex relations

“Shame on US!” “Not even Russia and Iran stooped as low as we did. Nice job, guys.”
Former UN Ambassador Susan Rice 

Apostasy | Definition of Apostasy by Merriam-Webster – act of refusing to continue to follow, obey, or recognize a religious faith. 2 abandonment of a previous loyalty: defection. First Known Use: 14th century.

United States rejects UN resolution condemning use of death penalty to target LGBTQ people

The United Nations approved a resolution Friday condemning the use of the death penalty in a discriminatory fashion, including its use to punish “apostasy, blasphemy, adultery, and consensual same-sex relations.” But the United States joined a minority of states who voted against it.

ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association, highlighted the outcome of the vote. Executive director Renato Sabbadini noted in a statement how atrocious some countries’ anti-gay laws are, saying, “It is unconscionable to think that there are hundreds of millions of people living in States where somebody may be executed simply because of whom they love.”

Four countries punish homosexuality with death (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen), as do certain provinces in Nigeria and Somalia and ISIS-controlled territories in northern Iraq and northern Syria. The nations of Afghanistan, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates also permit the death penalty, but rarely enforce it.

There are far more countries where homosexuality is illegal but not punishable by death. Brunei Darussalam previously passed a death penalty law, but it has not been implemented. Uganda considered such a law just a few years ago.

Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE were among the 13 countries that joined the United States in rejecting the resolution, which was introduced by Belgium, Benin, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, and Switzerland. A total of 27 countries supported it.

The resolution notably doesn’t call for the end to the death penalty. It simply condemns its usage in a discriminatory fashion. Besides the implications for people with same-sex orientations, ILGA also notes that when used to punish adultery, the death penalty is disproportionately imposed on women.

The Trump administration has not issued any explanation for the vote, which came just days after President Trump endorsed Roy Moore as the Republican Senate nominee in Alabama. Moore has expressed support for criminalizing homosexuality and when asked whether he supports the biblical punishment of death, he refused to give any clear answer.

https://thinkprogress.org/united-nations-gay-death-penalty-36e6a5101ec9/

Haley tries fails to explain UN vote against rebuking use of death penalty to target LGBTQ people. A wake-up call.

The U.S. State Department responded Tuesday to questions as to why it opposed a United Nations resolution that condemns the discriminatory use of the death penalty, such as in cases of adultery and same-sex relations. Spokesperson Heather Nauert said the U.S. had “broader concerns” about the resolutions language regarding the death penalty.

United States rejects UN resolution condemning use of death penalty to target LGBTQ people

So far, no explanation has been given.

“As our representative to the Human Rights Council said last Friday, the United States is disappointed to have voted against that resolution,” Hauert said at a press briefing Tuesday. “We voted against that resolution because of broader concerns with the resolution’s approach in condemning the death penalty in all circumstances, and it called for the abolition of the death penalty altogether. We had hoped for a balanced and inclusive resolution that would better reflect the positions of states that continue to apply the death penalty lawfully as the United States does.”

Nauert clarified, “The United States unequivocally condemns the application of the death penalty for conduct such as homosexuality, blasphemy, adultery, and apostasy. We do not consider such conduct appropriate for criminalization. Okay? I hope that’s clear.”

Department of State @StateDept .@statedeptspox comments on a vote related to the death penalty at the @UN #HumanRights Council in Geneva. #UNHRC 12:03 PM – Oct 3, 2017

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley further insisted on Twitter that when the U.S. voted against a resolution condemning the death penalty for homosexuality, it was not voting for the death penalty for gay people.

Nikki Haley @nikkihaley Fact: There was NO vote by USUN that supported the death penalty for gay people. We have always fought for justice for the LGBT community. 7:54 PM – Oct 3, 2017

 Nikki Haley @nikkihaley Fact: The vote that took place in Geneva is the same US vote that took place under the Obama admin. It was not a vote against LGBT #Fact 7:56 PM – Oct 3, 2017

Neither of these things are true.

Haley’s first tweet ignores the hostile actions the Trump administration has already taken against justice for the LGBTQ community — particularly the transgender community.

Her second claim, that this vote was the same as the vote that took place under the Obama administration, is also false. First of all, as BuzzFeed notes, the Obama administration abstained from the 2014 death penalty resolution; it didn’t vote “No” as the U.S. did on Friday. More importantly, the language on same-sex relations was entirely new to this year’s resolution.

Susan Rice, the UN ambassador under President Obama, was among those condemning the vote:

Susan Rice @AmbassadorRice: Shame on US! I was proud to lead U.S. efforts at UN to protect LGBTQ people, back in the day when America stood for human rights for all 🇺🇸 https://twitter.com/juddlegum/status/915259235008688129

Susan Rice @AmbassadorRice: Not even Russia and Iran stooped as low as we did. Nice job, guys. https://twitter.com/shaundellenty/status/915154762907181056

Nauert’s explanation is also a misleading summary of the actual text of the resolution. While the resolution does refer to various other times the death penalty has been condemned, the actual resolution’s recommendations only address the discriminatory implementation of the death penalty. It does call upon countries to “consider” ratifying what’s known as the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, but it does not require it.

The rest of the resolution’s calls to action refer to how the death penalty is implemented, not whether it should be. It simply calls upon states that have not yet abolished the death penalty to ensure that it is not applied in a discriminatory way and to take all possible precautions to protect the civil rights of people who are facing that punishment.

The resolution reveals how isolated the U.S. is on the issue of the death penalty compared to the rest of the democratized world. Multiple studies and reports by the UN have found that the death penalty is often applied in various discriminatory ways across the world, including disproportionate use against women, racial minorities, poor and economically vulnerable people, and foreign nationals. This is no less true in the U.S., where people of color have made up 43 percent of total executions since 1976 and make up 55 percent of those currently awaiting execution, according to the ACLU.

As to the Second Protocol the resolution encourages countries to sign, it’s already been signed by almost all of Europe and South America, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and South Africa, among others. Abolishing the death penalty is a requirement for countries seeking to join the European Union.

https://thinkprogress.org/state-department-un-death-penalty-homosexuality-b4bcacb08131/

 

 

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It’s been 3 years and we still won’t shut up about the murder on Allard ave

It’s been 3 years since hard working young Eureka resident Tommy McClain was gun down in his own front yard.
The staff at The Examiner had high hopes for the Truth to come out in the federal civil rights trial.
In a real tragic miscarriage of justice, the judge in the case disallowed witnesses and suppressed evidence that would have undoubtedly changed the final verdict.
The McClain family is understandably dissatisfied with the way evidence was suppressed and feel let down by their attorneys. 

Here is Tommy’s aunt speaking for the family:

We have always been skeptical about Tommy having a BB gun tucked in his waistband when the officers confronted him, but what we found has validated our disbelief! We were given the investigation files, that were previously withheld from us before.  In the files, we found a receipt, for a Walther CP99 ordered by Todd Wilcox with the address of the Eureka’s police department underneath his name. There’s a 7-page report written up by Todd Wilcox on page 6 of his report, he states that he attempts to purchase a BB device of the same make and model as item T1; referring to the alleged replica taken off Tommy. However, Wilcox was unable to order the make and mobile but he does order a Umarex CP99 compact from the Amazon Internet shopping site.

My brother and I, along with our friend, Robin, had made the 8-hour drive up to Eureka to pick up Tommy’s belongings from the Eureka’s police department. Officer O’Neill handed me a box with a replica blood stained BB gun inside. It was not Walter PPQ Mills previously reported at the press conference October 1, 2014,  In the box, was a BB device, embossed with the brand name Umarex and mobile name CP99 compact, which described the one that was ordered from Amazon.

The Eureka Police Department investigated their own officers, documented and falsified evidence to cover up their wrongdoings.

Mr. Galipo had this information and did nothing with it, so instead of fighting for Tommy and our family, he throws the whole case under the bus.  It’s not just my opinion; I have the receipt, the reports, and the BB gun.   Just thought that you would like to know.

Respectfully Jamie Bowman.

After zero time spent at the Borges Civil rights trial, Sheriff Honsal blows off the verdict of eight attentive jurors

Guest post from Bob Holcomb, a retired political science instructor and longtime friend of the decedent’s stepfather, was present for the entirety of the trial

On Aug. 28, a jury of eight Humboldt County citizens returned a unanimous verdict in federal court that sheriff’s office correctional staff had failed to provide medical care, as required by their own written policies, for Daren Borges, who died less than two hours after his booking. The jury-determined award to his mother Stephany Borges was $2.5 million. The legal fees and expenses over the 30 months it took to bring the case to trial will likely add an additional million. Representing Humboldt County, attorney Nancy Delaney has indicated she plans to appeal to have the verdict overturned, which will add substantially more to the costs and is a very long shot at best. As the presiding trial judge stated, “Let’s just be clear, the evidence was pretty substantial in a variety of ways — as I’ve said before — so the likelihood I’m going to overturn a verdict is pretty low.” Want to try the Ninth Circuit? Good luck with that!

Admittedly the “preponderance of evidence” is a lower standard than “beyond a reasonable doubt” required in a criminal case. Nonetheless, what had to be proven in this civil case to find a defendant culpable was significant. In the jury instructions, the plaintiffs were required to prove their claim that Mr. Borges’ civil rights had been denied by demonstrating:

  1. The defendant made an intentional decision with respect to the conditions under which Mr. Borges was confined.
  2. Those conditions put Daren Borges at serious risk of suffering serious harm.
  3. The defendant did not take reasonable available measures to abate that risk, even though a reasonable officer in the circumstances would have appreciated the high degree of risk involved — making the consequences of the defendant’s conduct obvious; and
  4. By not taking such measures, the defendant caused Daren Borges injuries.

Three defendants were found responsible on all four elements; a supervisor was exonerated.

So, we have another multimillion dollar judgment against

the sheriff’s correctional staff (remember the Cotton case) arrived at by local jurors who spent four and a half days listening to testimony, viewing videos and hearing arguments before 10 hours of deliberation. They not only found three officers at fault, they also found inadequate training had been provided for the staff by the sheriff’s office.

Given said results in this federal civil rights trial, what is the response of recently appointed Sheriff Honsal? According to “Jury awards $2.5M in jail death suit” (Times-Standard, Aug. 31, Page A1), he said the correctional officers did everything they were supposed to do. The unanimous eightmember jury sure didn’t see it that way. Of course the jury heard all the evidence and saw the entire video of Daren’s time in custody whereas Honsal’s involvement in the trial was zero. The unelected sheriff said Daren would have either died in jail or on the streets with the amount of methamphetamine found inside him. Guess Mr. Honsal has more knowledge than the emergency room physician with 30 years experience who testified that had Daren received a proper evaluation at the jail intake and been sent to the hospital at that point, he would be alive today. How certain was he about that? “One hundred percent.”

Bad enough that Mr. Honsal blows off the verdict of eight attentive jurors and gives no indication any remediation is likely. He then bizarrely suggests that Stephany Borges (who is nearing 70 and lives in Albuquerque) should track down the dealer who sold the drugs to Daren! Some might think that’s your responsibility, Sheriff Honsal, not the duty of a grieving mother.

2.5 Million reasons why Sheriff Honsal should start cleaning up his officers and their practices.

To begin with here is the grossly insensitive statement from our Sheriff:

Changes in the booking process for the Humboldt County jail were already in the works before Daren Borges died, Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said. One of the main differences in the process is the jail has a fulltime registered nurse who started in 2016.
But Honsal said he isn’t certain whether the presence of a registered nurse would have made a difference in Daren Borges’ death.“It’s really very difficult to say,” he said.
Annually there are more than 3,200 people brought into the jail who are suspected of being under the influence or drunk in public, according to Honsal.
He said Borges did not display signs out of the ordinary and the correctional officers did what they were supposed to do. A jail screening form noted “Daren was not oriented to self, date, time and place,” according to a statement from the Borges’ family’s attorneys.
“There sheriff’s office didn’t kill this person, the dealer did,” Honsal said, adding that while he is sorry for her loss, he believes Stephany Borges should be going after the person who supplied her son with the lethal dose of methamphetamine.
Honsal said Daren Borges would have either died in the streets or the jail with the amount of methamphetamine found inside him.
“This is a very difficult case,” Honsal said. “Our guys feel like they did everything possible.”

Guest post from Robert Poyourow Daren Borges’ step-father.

Had Sheriff Honsal attended the trial, as I did, he wouldn’t have made such statements.

The jury heard all the evidence and listened to these same arguments, and then decided UNANIMOUSLY that the county and the three officers were liable. The jury found Sheriff Downey and Officer Hershberger not liable. Honsal did not watch the jail videos. The jury did, and he should, too.

I am Daren Borges’ step-father. We lived in Eureka and I practiced law there until 2005. I attended the full trial and testified about my wife’s loss. I write this letter to add to the coverage in the hope that the additional evidence the jury heard will aid your readers. I will address three points.

Although the jail policy was adequate, the defendants weren’t following it. Instead, they testified that they felt free to improvise and take short cuts that violated written policies. That was deliberate, not negligent behavior. Even though the defendants’ own expert emphasized how critically important the written policies were, the officers argued in their testimony that they were just “guidelines” subject to their interpretation and discretion. Worse, the jail videos also showed that the required policies were violated. Daren was in acute distress. Policy required that Daren be oriented to himself. The officer’s form said he was not. The officers admitted that he was mumbling and incoherent. Policy required that a set of questions be posed (by them) and answered by the detainee; and if not, then the detainee must be taken to the hospital. The video made it clear that they didn’t, and couldn’t, complete the eight to 10-minute exercise on a detainee mumbling incoherently and in acute distress in the one to two minutes they said they took to complete their procedures. The video is clear.

Essentially, the officers short-circuited the policy, and substituted their own judgment for that of a qualified medical professional. They didn’t just err in that judgment, they failed to follow policy that required the judgment be made by others. The jury simply didn’t believe the officers. The jury understood, and rendered its verdict accordingly.

The case was not one of “negligence,” but the violation of a Constitutional right — a claim that involves much more than a simple error of judgment — an argument that the defense raised, but which the judge and the jury completely rejected. This Constitutional violation didn’t happen by accident. It was an intentional act when the officer knew or should have known that serious harm would follow. This is the “reasonable person” objective legal standard. It doesn’t matter, as the officers argued, “we didn’t intend harm.” Such a “subjective” standard is not the law, and it is hardly a standard at all. Such a standard would not even require the officers to follow their own policies.

Last, plaintiff’s emergency room physician expert explained that in over 200 meth overdose cases he had not lost one patient from an overdose, including many with higher doses than Daren! He testified that had Daren been taken to the emergency room he would have been saved. The amount in his system was toxic and fatal only because he received no treatment. Defendant’s expert pathologist had to agree. He concluded his testimony by admitting that only one out of 100 suffering such meth intoxication die from it if they are treated in time. The ones who have died are the ones he sees. Nor was he helpful when he admitted that he only dealt with dead people, and then testified that the last live patient he had seen was over 35 years ago.

The award was not just because we were sympathetic, although we were. Nor was it just because we had gifted and talented lawyers, though they were. The award is best understood because the jury heard all the evidence and found the officers were wrong under the law, and thus liable.

Now we know what happened, and so does the public. The county was found liable. Honsal has much to do, and it should start with cleaning up his officers and their practices.

 

2.5 Million civil rights Verdict Against Humboldt County for the killing of Daren Borges

McKinleyville Federal Jury Returns $2.5 Million Verdict Against Humboldt County for Role in Causing Jail Death

McKinleyville Federal Jury Returns $2.5 Million Verdict Against Humboldt County for Role in Causing Jail Death

Three County Correctional Officers Violated the Constitutional Rights of Daren Borges, 42

August 30, 2017 – Southern California-based attorneys representing the mother of Daren Borges, retired Humboldt State University professor Stephany Borges, obtained a $2.5 million verdict late Monday afternoon in the civil rights action arising from Daren’s death in a sobering cell at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. Woodland Hills attorney Dale Galipo, and Torrance attorney John Fattahi, filed the lawsuit in 2015 on behalf of Ms. Borges against the County of Humboldt, the contracted jail medical provider California Forensic Medical Group, Incorporated (CFMG), the City of Eureka, and various individuals who failed to provide Daren with adequate medical care. The claims against CFMG were resolved by a $250,000 settlement, and the claims against the City of Eureka and its police officers were dismissed before trial.

The trial of the remaining claims against the County of Humboldt and its officers was conducted at the federal courthouse in McKinleyville before United States District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, whose chambers are in Oakland. An eight-person jury, consisting of six men and two women, heard evidence starting on Monday, August 21. Closing arguments were held on Friday, August 25, and the jury  returned its verdict on Monday following ten hours of deliberations.

The jury found unanimously that Correctional Officers Terri Bittner, David Swim, and Tim Hammer violated Daren’s right to adequate medical care under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution during his brief detention on June 13, 2014. It also found that the County was liable for having official policies, customs, practices, and/or training programs, that were the “moving force” of the officers’ violation of Daren’s constitutional rights. The $2.5 million award consisted of compensatory damages for the harm suffered by Daren and his mother.

Daren was taken into custody after a concerned citizen called to report that he was behaving erratically, including taking off his clothes and hitting his head on the ground. In fact, Daren suffered from schizophrenia and was apparently having a psychiatric episode on the day in question. Jail personnel were familiar with Daren’s mental health issues as they had been administering psychiatric medications to him when they released him from the jail just four days before his death. The arresting Eureka police officer testified that he told jail officers Daren was highly under the influence of methamphetamine and was reported to be hitting his head on the ground. Based on Daren’s condition, the officer expected them to call a nurse to evaluate him immediately, including taking his vital signs. According to the officer, when Daren entered the jail he was profusely sweating, had a blank stare, was unable to control his body movements, and was unable to answer any of the jail officers’ questions. Even the jail’s screening form, which the defendants did not fill out until after they placed him in the sobering cell, noted that Daren was not oriented to self, date, time, and place.

Witnesses testified that there were multiple reasons why the officers should have called a nurse to immediately evaluate Daren before taking custody of him. A nurse almost certainly would have recommended that he be transported to the emergency room at St. Joseph’s hospital where he would have received needed treatment, including sedation and cold intravenous fluids, which would have prevented his death from the toxic effects of methamphetamine. Instead, the officers put Daren in a sobering cell and again failed to call for immediate medical attention when his condition deteriorated. When he plunged his head and clothing in toilet water in an attempt to cool himself off from the hyperthermia that is common in methamphetamine overdoses, and exhibited the classic signs of a life-threatening condition known as excited delirium, the officers claimed he looked like he was “having fun.” They conducted 15-minute “safety checks” of his cell and watched him on a video monitor, but ignored his obvious signs of distress. Many of the checks lasted only 1-2 seconds—not long enough to tell whether he was breathing regularly—and the officers did not attempt to get any response from Daren while he lay motionless on his stomach for 45 minutes.

The jury’s finding that the County’s deficient customs and training directly caused Daren’s death is significant and sends a strong message that reforms are overdue. The 2007 death of Martin Cotton II in a sobering cell alerted jail administrators to deficiencies in the medical screening process, but the jail compliance officer’s recommendations went unheeded. In fact, the County replaced her with one of the correctional officers who violated County policies during Cotton’s detention, Duane Christian, who acted as the County’s designated representative during last week’s trial. While reviewing Daren’s death, top jail administrators including Christian were made aware of a recommendation by Dr. Jonathan Greenberg from Humboldt County Mental Health that intoxicated persons coming to the jail must have their vital signs taken, and if they are either delirious or have abnormal vital signs, they must be transferred to the emergency room. Yet the County made no changes to its policies or training as a result of Daren’s death.

“This verdict will save lives, and we are thankful that the jury reaffirmed the truth that all people, even the mentally ill, have rights and their lives have value,” said Ms. Borges. “We brought this lawsuit because we never want this to happen to anyone else, and we hope that the jury’s message is heard and received by the jail administration. We hope the officers finally get the training they urgently need to take care of those who can no longer take care of themselves during arrest.” Ms. Borges added, “My family and I are so grateful to our lawyers who were willing to make sure Daren’s voice was heard when he was unable to speak for himself.”

According to Galipo, “It was abundantly clear that Daren was in dire need of medical assistance and these officers totally sidestepped their duty to care for him while he was in their custody.” “There is no question that many of the County’s written policies designed to prevent such deaths were routinely ignored and violated as a matter of standard operating procedure, not only in this case, but in other cases such as the death of Martin Cotton,” said Galipo.

According to Fattahi, jail administrators “not only ignored Dr. Greenberg’s recommendation to remedy these flawed medical screening practices, they even proclaimed that the officers did a great job and acted according to policies and procedures. We sincerely hope that following this verdict, the jail will train officers to follow its own written policies, and that whenever there is any question that someone may be too intoxicated to be in a sobering cell or may be in medical distress, they should call a nurse to take vital signs immediately so that people do not keep dying in these sobering cells. More business as usual is clearly not the answer.”

Attorneys for Ms. Borges believe there are no legitimate grounds for appeal because the judge had the jury apply a more stringent legal standard than they argued was appropriate, and both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court have recently decided that the standard for similar constitutional claims is objective, not subjective as argued by the County’s attorneys. Galipo and Fattahi intend to file a motion on Ms. Borges’s behalf to recover attorneys’ fees and litigation costs from the County under the federal civil rights laws. According to Fattahi, “A considerable amount of time and resources had to be expended due to the case’s complexity and the County’s stalwart defense.”

There was no settlement offer from the County prior to the verdict. It is expected that most or all of the damages, fees, and costs will be paid by the County’s insurance carrier. The County and its officers were represented at trial by Nancy Delaney, Nicholas Kloeppel, and Amy Hunt of the Eureka law firm of Mitchell, Brisso, Delaney & Vrieze.

About Dale Galipo

Dale Galipo is an attorney specializing in civil rights law based in Woodland Hills. His office currently is handling approximately sixty wrongful death police misconduct cases. Galipo was the lead attorney in the Cotton case, in which a settlement was reached with Humboldt County, then a jury awarded Cotton’s family $4,575,000 against the City of Eureka and its officers for using excessive force and being deliberately indifferent to Cotton’s medical needs.

About John Fattahi

John Fattahi is a Torrance-based civil rights attorney with an emphasis on police excessive force. For more information, please visit http://www.johnfattahi.com.

Trump and DOJ goes after our civil rights and The Resistance

One of the targeted websites is, http://www.disruptj20.org, that helped coordinate protests of Trump’s inauguration. Tracie Van Auken/EPA

The US government is seeking to unmask every person who visited an anti-Trump website in what privacy advocates say is an unconstitutional “fishing expedition” for political dissidents.

The warrant appears to be an escalation of the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) campaign against anti-Trump activities, including the harsh prosecution of inauguration day protesters.

On 17 July, the DoJ served a website-hosting company, DreamHost, with a search warrant for every piece of information it possessed that was related to a website that was used to coordinate protests during Donald Trump’s inauguration. The warrant covers the people who own and operate the site, but also seeks to get the IP addresses of 1.3 million people who visited it, as well as the date and time of their visit and information about what browser or operating system they used.

The website, http://www.disruptj20.org, was used to coordinate protests and civil disobedience on 20 January, when Trump was inaugurated.

“This specific case and this specific warrant are pure prosecutorial overreach by a highly politicized department of justice under [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions,” said Chris Ghazarian, general counsel for DreamHost. “You should be concerned that anyone should be targeted simply for visiting a website.”

The warrant was made public Monday, when DreamHost announced its plans to challenge the government in court. The DoJ declined to comment. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

The government has aggressively prosecuted activists arrested during the 20 January protests in Washington DC. In April, the US attorney’s office in Washington DC filed a single indictment charging more than 217 people with identical crimes, including felony rioting.

Ghazarian said that DreamHost provided the government with “limited customer information about the owner of the website” when it first received a grand jury subpoena a week after the protests occurred. But the government came back in July with the much broader search warrant.

“We’re a gatekeeper between the government and tens of thousands of people who visited the website,” said Ghazarian. “We want to keep them protected.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has been advising DreamHost, characterized the warrant as “unconstitutional” and “a fishing expedition”.

“I can’t conceive of a legitimate justification other than casting your net as broadly as possible to justify millions of user logs,” senior staff attorney Mark Rumold told the Guardian.

Logs of IP addresses don’t uniquely identify users, but they link back to specific physical addresses if no digital tools are used to mask it.

“What they would be getting is a list of everyone who has ever been interested in attending these protests or seeing what was going on at the protests and that’s the troubling aspect. It’s a short step after you have the list to connect the IP address to someone’s identity,” he said.

Wide-reaching warrants for user data are sometimes issued when the content of a site is illegal such as pirated movies or child sexual abuse imagery, but speech is rarely prohibited.

“This [the website] is pure first amendment advocacy – the type of advocacy the first amendment was designed to protect and promote,” Rumold added. “Frankly I’m glad DreamHost is pushing back on it.”

It’s not the first time that the US government has sought to unmask people protesting against Trump or his policies.

In March this year, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a division of the homeland security department, ordered Twitter to hand over the phone number, mailing addresses and IP addresses associated with @ALT_USCIS, an account that purported to convey the views of dissenters within the government.

The account, whose username is a reference to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, is one of dozens of alternative Twitter accounts established after Trump was inaugurated. The unverified accounts claimed to provide an uncensored view of civil servants who disagreed with Trump’s policies.

To protect the identity of the person running the account, Twitter launched a lawsuit against the Trump administration, arguing that it would have “a grave chilling effect on the speech of that account in particular and the many other ‘alternative agency’ accounts that have been created to voice dissent to government policies”.

After public outcry over the administration’s overreach, Customs and Border Protection dropped the request.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/14/donald-trump-inauguration-protest-website-search-warrant-dreamhost#img-1

Billionaire loses bid to shut off access to public beach and surprise! It’s not Bullyboy Arkley

This guy sounds just like our own local bully Robin P. Arkley  

Silicon Valley billionaire loses bid to prevent access to public beach

Court decision is blow to Vinod Khosla and other wealthy landowners seeking to buy renowned beaches, making public land private

 Martins Beach must be opened to the public, according to a California court order.

A California court has ordered a Silicon Valley billionaire to restore access to a beloved beach that he closed off for his private use, a major victory for public lands advocates who have been fighting the venture capitalist for years.

An appeals court ruled on Thursday that Vinod Khosla, who runs the venture capital firm Khosla Ventures and co-founded the tech company Sun Microsystems, must unlock the gates to Martins Beach in northern California by his property.

The decision is a major blow to Khosla and other wealthy landowners who have increasingly tried to buy up the internationally celebrated beaches along the California coast and turn public lands into private property.

The beach was a popular destination for fishing, surfing and other recreational activities for nearly a century, and the previous owners provided a general store and public restroom. But Khosla eventually bought the property and in 2010 closed public access, putting up signs warning against trespassing.

Khosla, who has a net worth of $1.55bn and does not live on the property, has faced multiple lawsuits and legislative efforts to get him to open up the gate to the beach near Half Moon Bay, about 30 miles south of San Francisco. The law in California states that all beaches should be open to the public up to the “mean high tide line”.

The decision this week, affirming a lower court ruling, stems from a lawsuit filed by the Surfrider Foundation, a not-for-profit group that says the case could have broader implications for beach access across the US.

“Vinod Khosla, with his billions of dollars, bought this piece of property and said, ‘No, no, the public isn’t going to use this anymore. End of story,’” the Surfrider attorney Joe Cotchett said by phone on Thursday. “He got away with it for many years … This is probably one of the most important public right-of-access cases in the country.”

Khosla’s refusal to restore access has made him something of a symbol of the immense wealth in the tech industry and rising income inequality in the region.

Last year, his attorneys claimed that he would open the gate to the beach only if the government paid him $30m, an amount that state officials said was unreasonably high. In October, Khosla also sued two state agencies, accusing the government of using “coercion and harassment” to infringe on his private property rights.

The California coastal commission, established by voters in 1972 to protect public use of the coast, has reported that beachgoers have increasingly complained about private security guards telling them they are trespassing on private property and forcing them to leave the public beaches.

“The issue here is, can wealthy private individuals buy up our beautiful beaches for their own use?” said Cotchett, adding that he expects Khosla to appeal the decision and attempt to bring the case to the US supreme court.

Khosla’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Khosla recently made headlines when he downplayed the problem of sexual harassment in the venture capital industry, which has recently been exposed as a major concern among female founders. “I did not know that there was any discrimination,” Khosla said at a recent event, adding that it was “rarer than in most other businesses”.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/10/martins-beach-california-public-vinod-khosla