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Draconian actions – 1st Amendment thrown to the curb


kscarbel2
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The Guardian  /  October 20, 2016

Two documentary film-makers are facing decades in prison for recording US oil pipeline protests, with serious felony charges that first amendment advocates say are part of a growing number of attacks on freedom of the press.

The controversial prosecutions of Deia Schlosberg and Lindsey Grayzel are moving forward after a judge in North Dakota rejected “riot” charges filed against Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman for her high-profile reporting at the Dakota Access pipeline protests.

But authorities in other parts of North Dakota and in Washington state have continued to target other film-makers over their recent reporting on similar demonstrations, raising concerns that the lesser-known journalists are not getting the same kind of public support and national attention.

Schlosberg, a New York-based film-maker, is facing three felony conspiracy charges for filming protesters on 11 October at a TransCanada Keystone Pipeline site in Pembina County in North Dakota, with prosecutors alleging that she was “recruited to record the criminal activity”.

The 36-year-old, who is producing a documentary, could face 45 years in prison. US whistleblower Edward Snowden recently voiced support of Schlosberg, writing: “This reporter is being prosecuted for covering the North Dakota oil protests. For reference, I face a mere 30 years.”

Grayzel, a film-maker from Portland, Oregon, was also arrested and jailed on 11 October while filming at a separate pipeline protest in Skagit County, Washington. She and her cinematographer, Carl Davis, had their footage and equipment seized and were kept behind bars for a day.

The two were filming activist Ken Ward attempting to shut down the Trans Mountain pipeline, and they now face 30 years in prison for a felony burglary charge, a felony “criminal sabotage” charge and a misdemeanor trespass offense. There were a series of pipeline protests across the US on 11 October.

“Everyone needs to be afraid when our first amendment rights are in jeopardy,” Grayzel, 41, said Thursday before her criminal arraignment. “This is not just about me. This is not just about Carl. This is not about Amy Goodman … This is about the public’s right to know what is going on in this country.”

Free-speech advocates said that both cases are unusual and troubling given that prosecutors have admitted that the defendants were acting as film-makers and yet are still pursuing aggressive felony cases.

While it’s not uncommon for journalists to face arrest and misdemeanor charges for trespassing or disorderly conduct while reporting at controversial protests, conspiracy, burglary and sabotage offenses are rare for members of the media.

“It’s outrageous. It’s an assault on the first amendment,” said Neil Fox, one of Grayzel’s attorneys. “It’s shocking, but it is the kind of climate that we’re living in right now.”

Although Ward, a climate activist, had gained access to a fenced enclosure owned by the Trans Mountain Pipeline, the Skagit County sheriff’s report noted that Grayzel and her cinematographer were “just outside the enclosure … taking photographs and video”. The report said they confiscated the film-makers’ phone and “assorted camera equipment”, actions that have raised further concerns about press intimidation and free speech violations.

Washington prosecutors are relying on laws that were passed in the early 20th century to target labor rights’ protesters, Fox added. “There’s been a revival in the state of Washington of the use of these statutes against labor activists and against environmental activists.”

In Goodman’s case, a judge forced prosecutors to drop a serious “riot” charge, which was centered on Goodman’s viral coverage of the intense Native American-led protests. But prosecutors and sheriff’s officials said they may continue to pursue other charges against the critically acclaimed journalist.

In Schlosberg’s charges, North Dakota prosecutors have alleged that she was part of a conspiracy, claiming she traveled with protesters “with the objective of diverting the flow of oil”.

“I was surprised at the conspiracy charges. I never thought that would ever happen,” her attorney Robert Woods said. “All she was doing was her job of being a journalist and covering the story.”

Prosecutors in both cases refused to comment.

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The oil companies damn near own North Dakota and the republican party there. The oil business is in a recession, especially in North Dakota, thanks to OPEC flooding the market with cheap oil. So the oil companies and North Dakota are desperate, and they're trampling the civil rights of anyone that gets in their way .

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Vandals should be promptly arrested.

However, journalists who are merely filming the event (not committing any acts of vandalism), from "outside the enclosure", enjoy the protection of Freedom of the Press.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has been actively protesting against the pipeline, which would run near its North Dakota reservation. The tribe’s chairman, David Archambault II, said the pipeline, which will run under the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, will “knowingly poison water”.

The pipeline was originally meant to run near the city of Bismarck, which has an overwhelmingly white population, before objections resulted in the relocation to Native American (Indian) land.

The early settlers of America came from the "Old Country" and committed genocide, the intentional action to destroy a people in whole or in part. Prior to the North American invasion by Europeans, the Sioux tribes alone occupied vast areas of what is now the United States. I say, all things considered, give these people some respect. 

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A journalist is still a member of the public, with all of the rights AND RESPONSIBILITIES that go along with that. If somebody is going to rob a bank and calls their local CBS affiliate to record the incident, CBS is likely to show up...AFTER notifying the local law enforcement. If they just show up and document, they become accessories to the crime and face the same criminal liability as those who actually committed the act.

 

Point is, if the "reporter" had prior knowledge that a crime was going to occur, and showed up to "document" it anyway WITHOUT notifying the police first, they are guilty. If the reporter called the cops and said "this is going down" with the date & time, then showed up to film, then they are "just exercising their Rights under the 1st Amendment".  

 

One way they are a PARTICIPANT in a crime. The other a responsible citizen documenting an event.

Edited by RowdyRebel
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When approaching a 4-way stop, the vehicle with the biggest tires has the right of way!
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The issue for the tribes is not global warming or $$$. It's water and their access to it, plain and simple. The pipeline is poorly designed and being built with pipe that's been sitting in a field for over a year rusting. This is Bakken crude, with 4 times the benzine found in conventional crude. The EPA only allows 5 parts per BILLION of benzine in drinking water, so any spill is going to shut down the water for everyone downstream for miles. And the first town downriver is the Standing Rock Rez, which explains why they're fighting this pipeline. I'm not opposed to pipelines, but this one needs to go back to the drawing board.

Edited by TeamsterGrrrl
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10 hours ago, RowdyRebel said:

A journalist is still a member of the public, with all of the rights AND RESPONSIBILITIES that go along with that. If somebody is going to rob a bank and calls their local CBS affiliate to record the incident, CBS is likely to show up...AFTER notifying the local law enforcement. If they just show up and document, they become accessories to the crime and face the same criminal liability as those who actually committed the act.

 

Point is, if the "reporter" had prior knowledge that a crime was going to occur, and showed up to "document" it anyway WITHOUT notifying the police first, they are guilty. If the reporter called the cops and said "this is going down" with the date & time, then showed up to film, then they are "just exercising their Rights under the 1st Amendment".  

 

One way they are a PARTICIPANT in a crime. The other a responsible citizen documenting an event.

well explained Rowdy ! ........at no point is trespassing in the name of journalism ...NOT TRESPASSING!, otherwise we would all be journalist's just grab your note pad and camera and whala  ......instant access to any where!   

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To successfully prosecute a trespassing charge and get a conviction, it's essential to prove that the property owner made available notice that unauthorized entry is not allowed. The pipeline company owns almost none of the land the pipeline is on and does not even have a lease on it. So the pipeline company cannot say who can enter the "easement" the pipeline is in. Much of the pipeline is on private land, so in most cases anyone may freely enter that land. The portions of private land the pipeline is on around the Standing Rock Reservation are largely deserted grasslands, so as long as you don't leave a fence gate open the owners could pretty much care less if you wander across their land. 

Keep in mind also that the Standing Rock and other tribes have treaty rights to access water, gather, hunt, worship, etc. beyond the reservation boundaries... Thus a trespassing charge will be difficult to convict on and will likely be overthrown on appeal in these instances. 

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11 minutes ago, TeamsterGrrrl said:

To successfully prosecute a trespassing charge and get a conviction, it's essential to prove that the property owner made available notice that unauthorized entry is not allowed. The pipeline company owns almost none of the land the pipeline is on and does not even have a lease on it. So the pipeline company cannot say who can enter the "easement" the pipeline is in. Much of the pipeline is on private land, so in most cases anyone may freely enter that land. The portions of private land the pipeline is on around the Standing Rock Reservation are largely deserted grasslands, so as long as you don't leave a fence gate open the owners could pretty much care less if you wander across their land. 

Keep in mind also that the Standing Rock and other tribes have treaty rights to access water, gather, hunt, worship, etc. beyond the reservation boundaries... Thus a trespassing charge will be difficult to convict on and will likely be overthrown on appeal in these instances. 

your thoughts would most likely get you thrown in jail in my area! just because range area is not posted does not mean you are welcome! our state law is if you don't have permission, the land owner is able to prosecute ! as for the easement only employees or representatives of that easement holder are allowed....NOT JOE PUBLIC!  This time of year we keep the sheriff's office busy with hunters that think that just because its not posted they are able to access it. 

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Go do your thing than if you are perfectly legit doing it.  You do have the constitution backing you. Worst case you'll end up with a good law suit against the  police dept, oil companies and pipe line company.

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"OPERTUNITY IS MISSED BY MOST PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS DRESSED IN OVERALLS AND LOOKS LIKE WORK"  Thomas Edison

 “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!’

P.T.CHESHIRE

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2 hours ago, 41chevy said:

When Suffolk County and the Township of Riverhead were trying to make me remove 100 trucks from our farm (even thought they were all insured registered and inspected) I had a "reporter" walk on our land and start taking photos, soil samples and writing down plate numbers.  My wife went out to tell him to leave. Said he was a  journalist and had ever legal right to be there as long as he did no damage. Dogs ended that. Turns out he ran a blog on the East End Environmental News. I don't see a blogger as a journalist or reporter

KS as for what the Europeans and later the Feds did to the Indians, the railroad did the the Chinese, the Plantation owners did to the slaves, the Irish, Poles, Russians and more . . .Different times, different attitudes. My ancestors were Privateers for the Queen in the 15-1600's, should I feel remorse for what they did to the French and Spanish?

We did probably 75 or 100 Zippo Raids when I was in Vietnam, should I feel guilty? We were always taught that you can not change the past.

Me I'm tired of always hearing about what Whites did to other groups 1, 2, or more centuries ago.  Maybe the present and future would work out better if the people laying on and the recipients of guilt trips stop?   Paul

Absolutely right Paul. Few keep it in mind so it needs to be said from time to time, it was a different time and place, with different attitudes. But suffice to say, the native American Indians got a raw deal.

 

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Just now, kscarbel2 said:

Absolutely right Paul. Few keep it in mind so it needs to be said from time to time, it was a different time and place, with different attitudes. But suffice to say, the native American Indians got a raw deal.

 

And the Chinese, Japanese in WWII, Vietnam Vets and more. People need to remember if you live in the past, you will never see the present

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"OPERTUNITY IS MISSED BY MOST PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS DRESSED IN OVERALLS AND LOOKS LIKE WORK"  Thomas Edison

 “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!’

P.T.CHESHIRE

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5 minutes ago, gearhead204 said:

just because MOST of the west is state and fed. ground don't give you a right to trespass on private property! (pretty sure that's in or constitution some where)

"the Skagit County sheriff’s report noted that Grayzel and her cinematographer were “just outside the enclosure … taking photographs and video”. The report said they confiscated the film-makers’ phone and “assorted camera equipment”, actions that have raised further concerns about press intimidation and free speech violations."

What "I" am reading here is, two journalist who were not trespassing, but rather were standing "outside" the enclosure, were arrested and their equipment confiscated. Based on that, I'm seeing Freedom of the Press thrown to the curb.

On any given day, you only see a fraction of the actual news. Do you think for one moment that only Russia, China and other global countries try to keep certain news from reaching the masses? News that would complicate their plans. This is an example of how that takes place right here.

 

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33 minutes ago, 41chevy said:

And the Chinese, Japanese in WWII, Vietnam Vets and more. People need to remember if you live in the past, you will never see the present

I completely agree. Hence, this noise is troubling, over an issue created by the European countries active in North America, long before the United States was created. I, personally, don't want my tax dollars heading down this path. Select people are attempting to apply today's standards to what occurred long ago, another time and place with different norms and attitudes.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/09/27/u-s-owes-black-people-reparations-for-a-history-of-racial-terrorism-says-u-n-panel/

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I guess the way I look at this is simple, if I stand out on a sidewalk and photograph you in your living room while wearing my press hat is that right? I would say without your consent its not! so what happens inside an enclosure is  just as private as your house.

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