“We Still Have to Protest This?”

Free speech unplugged, unfettered. With a handheld camera, Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU, documented the debate for and against same-sex marriage outside the California Supreme Court last Thursday.

Privacy statement. This embed will serve content from
Please note that by playing this clip You Tube and Google will place a long-term cookie on your computer. Please see You Tube's privacy statement on their website and Google's privacy statement on theirs to learn more. To view the ACLU's privacy statement, click here.

While the legal arguments were made inside the courthouse, the crowd gathered outside made their opinions known. It's a true First Amendment moment, where all points of view — even the "B.S." — are defended by the ACLU.

Learn more about what the ACLU is doing for same-sex marriage at: www.tell-three.org and www.aclu.org/lgbt.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this blog post was titled "We Still Have to Protest This B.S.?"

Add a comment (9)
Read the Terms of Use

Vic Livingston


• Read this account and judge for yourself whether "prior restraint" and censorship by proxy are authoritarian realities of the U.S. "Security State"

For your consideration, as Rod Serling used to say on TV, we take you into the Twilight Zone that is my life as a communicator being unjustly prevented from freely communicating...

... a journalist trying to persevere in his field while being mistreated as a "target" of an unremitting campaign of cruel, unjust, undeserved government-inspired 24/7 surveillance, harassment, and injurious physical torture attacks via radiation weaponry.

As regular readers of this column are aware, I am about to enter my sixth year as a victim of so-called "extrajudicial punishment." That's the euphemism for a blatantly unconstitutional and abusive bypass of the judicial system, using as its "tools" of rogue justice a variety of covert methods and tactics:

Financial sabotage; stealth radiation assault, pervasive invasion of privacy, vandalism of personal property, adulteration of food and water; medical mistreatment at the hands of infiltrator "technicians"; character assassination; and malicious interference with all forms of personal and electronic communications.

The ugly truth makes the term "warrantless wiretapping" sound deceptively benign.

Much of the extrajudicial punishment is meted out by one's "neighbors" -- so-called vigilante "gang stalkers," many of them members of government-sponsored community policing, public safety, or "town watch"-type units. Their mission is to torment, neutralize and eventually eliminate those deemed by their handlers to be "dissidents," "radicals," "agitators," "troublemakers," "social deviates" -- or anything else they can come up with to "take down" someone they don't want around.

But the suspicion is that the electronic harassment, surveillance, and assault by electromagnetic devices such as silent beam laser/microwave "directed energy weapons" is overseen by trained professional operatives -- some of the same people charged with "keeping America safe" from terrorists, drug traffickers and street gangs (excluding, of course, the gang stalkers engaged by the architects of the covert programs of extrajudicial punishment).

Which brings me to the dilemma at hand. To report and write on politics, human rights, or any issue of significance, a journalist must have free and unfettered access to information from any available source -- free of censorship, selective filtering, malicious tampering, or so-called "prior restraint," the interception and holding for "official approval" the journalist's work product or communications.

One of my primary sources of political information has been the web site Politico.com, founded in 2007 by two Washington Post reporters, John Harris and Jim Vandehei. The site, establishmentarian and conventional in its reporting style and point of view, nonetheless provides a reliable accounting of the day's political news, with a heavy inside-the-Beltway perspective. It's become a must-read for political operatives, journalists, and the so-called "paid disinformation agents" who can be found posting their thinly-veiled propaganda to the site each and every day. The most dedicated among these "disinfo trolls" are the first to comment on Politico stories as the are released, many in the very early morning hours. Who else but a paid troll would show up so regularly to issue wingnut rants at the 5 a.m. hour?

Aside from the spewings of the trolls, the "comments" section of Politico.com also has become a repository for thoughtful instant analysis by readers, many of whom rank as members of the power elite, bureaucrats, politicians and political thinkers (and of course, the scriveners who chronicle their deeds). Many interesting articles from obscure sources also get posted to the comments section; some of the articles show up in multiple "threads" and stay posted there, to be archived electronically by search engines such as Google and Yahoo!

Thus, the Politico.com comments section has become an electronic version of the Gates of Wittenberg, a bastion of "free speech" on an increasingly corporatized, monetized worldwide web.

That explains why, when I was still able to do so, I posted to Politico.com many of my NowPublic.com articles, about topics ranging from government-supported extrajudicial targeting, punishment, and community "gang stalking," to the transition to digital television. For example, an article about community gang stalking was posted to a Politico story about Eric Holder, President-elect Obama's choice for attorney general. My post had a headline deck which read, "MR. HOLDER: Please stop these abuses of power." Many of these posts had remained on the site for several months.

But it was a recent story provocatively headlined, "DOMESTIC TORTURE VIA RADIATION WEAPONRY: AMERICA'S HORRIFIC SHAME," that triggered an in-your-face "cyber-takedown" -- leaving me unable to post to the comments section of Politico (as I write this, it is Day Seven of my apparent banishment).

The story exposed what's been described as a modern-day slow genocide taking place in cities and towns across America -- the covert use of weaponry that emits silent, potentially lethal forms of radiation to harass, torture and sicken so-called "targets" of so-called "extrajudicial targeting" at the hands of a nationwide network of vigilante groups hiding behind government-funded citizen community policing, town watch, and business-related anti-terrorism programs.

On the morning of Friday, Jan. 2, my apparent censors opted for a show of brute force. When I checked my email, I found dozens upon dozens of messages purportedly from Politico.com, each informing me that a post was deleted from the site due to "inappropriate content." None contained anything "inappropriate." While some posts were made to multiple threads (something that's commonplace and widely tolerated on Politico), each was related in some way to the original Politico story.

I checked links to various articles I had recently posted, and found that virtually all of them were gone from the site -- along with the related Google links that had been posted to the net. Some links remained; but moments after I checked a cached copy of one of the articles, that item suddenly vanished, too -- a sign, I believe, that my internet connection is being "mirrored" in real time and subject to "remote computing" control (and content tampering) by a sophisticated third party surveillance operation.

Then I tried to use my password to log onto the Politico site. Anyone should be able to get onto the site, but logging in is required to post comments. I received a message that my account had been "deactivated" and to contact the site administrator.

I called the main number listed on the web site. I spoke to a woman who identified herself as an office manager. She said the take-down of my posts may have been a technical glitch, and she promised to get back to me.

I was somewhat incredulous that the take-down of dozens of posts and links could possibly be a "glitch." I still hadn't heard from her by the following week, so I called again. I was told to talk to Danielle Jones, a web manager. The person who said she was Ms. Jones informed me that my account was deactivated because I made multiple posts of the same articles to various threads. She called it "spamming." I disagree, but I did not debate her.

I offered to avoid doing that in the future, and asked that my account be reactivated. She said she was sorry, but she could not do that.

"Why?" I asked.

I got no answer. The voice on the other end was somewhat rude and abrupt.

So I called John Harris, Politico editor. I explained the situation to a person on the other end of the line who identified himself as John Harris. He promised to look into the situation.

I still hadn't heard back from Politico by Friday, a week after my posts came down along with my log in account, so I called and asked to speak to the office manager I had talked to originally. A voice on the other end repeated the line I got from "Ms. Jones" -- that I had posted the same item to multiple threads.

I repeated my pledge not to do that again, and once again asked that my account be reactivated.

"Why is there what seems to be a permanent ban on my posting to Politico?" I asked.

The woman on the other end said she had to grab another line.

A while later, she came back onto the line, and repeated the story about multiple posts, saying: "If anything changes, we will let you know."

I started to ask once again, "So you're saying I'm banned from posting to Politico?" But she hung up before I could finish the sentence.

I left another long message for John Harris. The call was not immediately returned. A week banned from posting to Politico, and still counting.

Notice I was careful to state that these people identified themselves as being from Politico. They sure did not sound like they were trying to keep the customer satisfied.

I openly wonder whether this whole episode wasn't some sort of concocted "Kabuki theater." Was I really talking to Politico staffers? Or was I conversing with impostors, operatives who are the ones truly responsible for my banishment from the ranks of Politico posters?

I would like to talk to John Harris to get to the truth of the matter. Perhaps he will read this, or someone else will call this column to his attention.

Or perhaps an over-reaching "National Security Letter" prevents him from speaking up?

Something very wrong is happening here. Why would Politico unilaterally move against this particular poster, one of many thousands who regularly post to the site? If I did violate rules against "spam," why wasn't I given a second chance after my offer to avoid making multiple posts of the same item to different threads?

Politico certainly has the legal right to edit and censor its web site. The First Amendment protects the site owner's free speech rights, not the rights of its readers, according to a recent Supreme Court decision (a decision that would seem to violate the spirit of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment; but that's an argument for another forum).

But if Politico is denying me posting privileges to its site at the order or suggestion of an agent of government, that is another matter entirely. That, in my opinion, is censorship by proxy -- and I welcome the day the Supreme Court rules on that set of facts.

Perhaps what happened to me could be that test case. ACLU, are you listening? I will make sure you get this column. Better yet, readers: Will you please send it to them? My email is buggy (or "bugged"). Their link is www.aclu.org.

And Politico: Will you please give me the courtesy of answering this question: If you think I broke your rules, why would that warrant a permanent ban from posting to your site -- especially since your site is replete with multiple posts?

Or is Politico.com a willing, or perhaps unwitting, enforcement mechanism of government censorship by proxy?

John Harris, it's your move. I believe you owe me an answer -- along with all of your readers who would like to believe that you run an independent media outlet, one that values the First Amendment rights of site owners and readers alike.





Robert Link

This struck me as gratuitous. Rather than making the point that both sides have the right to express their opinions I came away feeling like I had watched a few minutes of the Jerry Springer show.

The job of protecting civil liberties is difficult enough, requiring as it often does a greater tolerance for nuance than is commonly found in prevailing discourse. I would think the ACLU would be better served to work on fostering the mindset required for our work than showcasing shouting matches.


I just wish some folks would use their
freedom of speech to make an inteligent argument rather than just yelling repent.

Vic Livingston


And I'm still waiting for Politico.com to "reinstate my "privilege" to comment on their full-length articles.

Courtesy, it would seem, would dictate at least some modicum of response.

But at least Paen had the good matters to reply to what he apparently regards as an unintelligent agrument.

As for Robert Link, supra: Ah, yes, another advocate for the stifling of free speech. But I suppose that's your mission by trolling here, yes?

Qui Tam

Few are crazy before being targeted, but with doctrine of Information Superiority,
that means denying whatever defenders of life, liberty, or truth seek. Fascism.

tabby byler




Erik Kallstrom

I am currently doing research to determine the interest in America's space program. If you have a minute please take my survey at:


Your time very important for our research and your opinions matter! Thank you ~ Erik Kallstrom - ERAU Graduate student.


Why dose the Aclu think the can tell me that i can not put a cross in my front yard or put it on a grave in rememberance of a loved one or post it along the highway to where someone who needs to see it can. Where do you people get your ideas, that is one my rights as an american and a christian period. You fools are just like the ones that want to take away my gun rights as well. I have had it with people who think they know everything but no nothing at all. I sick and tired of people telling me that i can not do this or that when i am not hurting anyone or forcing them to beleive what i beleive. God founded this country and if it was not for God we would not even have a United State. You people need to wake up and see that if you keep on kicking God out of places or letting people show how they feel that is wholesome or pure or loving to others the end of the world will come to an end as you know it. For once the Holy Spirit leaves this planet man is on his own for satan will come like a flood and there will be no one to stop him and then you will see all the evil that has been stopped for thousands of years. I do not want to be in your shoes come judgement day for then you will know who is God and Lord, now is the time to repent for time is drawing near to when you will not be able to and then it is to late. Hell is forever. Jesus died for you period. And he did not die in vain. And there is no other way to get to God except through the door who is Jesus, That is fact not fiction. Beleive it or not. That choice is yours but leave my country alone and leave my God giving rights alone.

Sign Up for Breaking News