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Freedom Files Season 2


"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech."
- Benjamin Franklin

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." -- Virginia Woolf

"Democracies die behind closed doors." -- The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, ordering the government to end its policy of closed deportation hearings.

"The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"There has never been a more urgent need to preserve fundamental privacy protections and our system of checks and balances than the need we face today, as illegal government spying, provisions of the Patriot Act and government-sponsored torture programs transcend the bounds of law and our most treasured values in the name of national security." -- ACLU



"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
-- George Orwell

"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword." -- Julius Caesar

"There is no 'slippery slope' toward loss of liberty, only a long staircase where each step down must first be tolerated by the American people and their leaders."
-- Alan K. Simpson

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were, for the moment, unpopular."
--Edward R. Murrow

"Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it." -- Mark Twain

"In Germany, the Nazis first came for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, but I didn't speak up because I was a protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me." -- Reverend Martin Niemoeller



  • A Few San Jose Police Used Force Repeatedly in Arrest Cases
    A small number of San Jose police officers have used force repeatedly in cases in which resisting arrest is the primary charge, according to an investigative article by the San Jose Mercury News.

  • California Places Lethal Injection Protocol on Fast Track
    The CA Department of Corrections has released a new protocol for administering lethal injections. If this protocol is approved by Judge Jeremy Fogel, in San Jose, the state can go ahead with executions.
    To view protocols: CDCR Link
    We do not have very much time to make public comments as the window will close on Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 5PM. A public hearing has been scheduled for June 30, 2009 from 9AM-3PM at the Auditorium of the Department of Health Services, 1500 Capitol Ave. Sacramento.
    Related Articles: Mercury News | Sacramento Bee | ACLU

  • Attorneys Urge California Supreme Court To Invalidate Prop 8.   Attorneys for same-sex couples, civil rights organizations and the state Attorney General's office have appeared before the California Supreme Court to urge the court to strike down Proposition 8. At issue in the case is whether the initiative process can be used to take away a fundamental right only for one group of Californians based on a trait – in this case sexual orientation – that has no relevance to the group's ability to participate in or contribute to society. Because the case has serious implications for the constitutional rights of all Californians, it has generated unprecedented support from many national and state civil rights groups as well as California legislators, local governments, bar associations, business interests, labor unions, and religious groups.   2009-03-05
  • House Hearing Today Will Examine Problems With Local Immigration Enforcement.     The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing today to examine immigration enforcement agreements between localities and the federal government. As part of the hearing entitled, “Examining 287(g): the Role of State and Local Law Enforcement in Immigration Law,” the ACLU will urge Congress to temporarily suspend and then provide long-overdue federal oversight of these agreements which have resulted in illegal profiling of Latinos. Immigration enforcement by local law enforcement, including sheriffs, has also resulted in the unlawful detention and deportation of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. 2009-03-04
  • Senate Hears Testimony On Proposed Truth Commission.     A key Senate committee has met to hear testimony from constitutional experts and legal scholars to determine the focus and scope of a proposed “truth commission” to investigate the national security and executive power policies of the Bush administration. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) initiated the hearing after announcing last month that he sought to form the commission. 2009-03-04
  • ACLU Urges Supreme Court To Deny Motion To Dismiss Al-Marri's Indefinite Detention Case.     The ACLU has filed a brief with the Supreme Court opposing the government's move to dismiss the case against Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri as moot. The Supreme Court agreed to hear al-Marri's case in December, and oral arguments are currently scheduled for April 27. 2009-03-03
  • House Hearing Spotlights Need For Better Health Services For Immigration Detainees.     The Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing today on health services for immigration detainees in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. This welcome hearing highlights the need for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to prioritize fixing this broken medical care system in its Fiscal Year 2010 budget. 2009-03-03
  • Justice Department Releases Bush Administration National Security Memos.     The Justice Department has released nine secret memos and opinions written by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that authorized some of the Bush administration's unlawful national security policies, including a memo written by OLC lawyer John Yoo that argued the Fourth Amendment does not apply to military activities inside the United States. Some of the memos are responsive to ACLU lawsuits seeking OLC legal opinions and other government records. 2009-03-02
  • CIA Destroyed 92 Interrogation Tapes.     According to a letter filed by the government in court today, the CIA acknowledged it destroyed 92 tapes of interrogations. The admission comes in an ACLU lawsuit seeking records of the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody abroad. In December 2007, the ACLU filed a motion to hold the CIA in contempt for its destruction of videotapes recording the harsh interrogation of prisoners in violation of a court order requiring the agency to produce or identify all the requested records. That motion is still pending. 2009-03-02
  • Designating Non-Profits As Terrorist Organizations Without Due Process Undermines Security And Humanitarian Aid, Say Groups.     Several of the nation's top non-profit humanitarian and philanthropic organizations told a federal court today that the government's authority and conduct in freezing a charity's assets undermines critical humanitarian aid and the government's own anti-terrorism efforts. Grantmakers Without Borders, OMB Watch, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and several other organizations made this argument in a friend-of-the-court brief filed in support of due process rights for KindHearts for Charitable Humanitarian Development, Inc. in a case brought by the ACLU, the ACLU of Ohio, and several civil rights lawyers. 2009-02-27
  • Obama Administration Initiates Review Of Bush Health Care Denial Rule.     The Obama administration is initiating a review of an ill-advised Bush administration rule that allows health care workers and facilities to refuse to provide reproductive health care services, even at the expense of patient safety. The rule, pushed through in the waning hours of the Bush administration despite public objection,threatens access to basic reproductive health services, including contraception and counseling for abortion care. 2009-02-27
  • Senate Intelligence Committee To Investigate CIA Detention And Interrogation.     Multiple news reports today indicate that the Senate Intelligence Committee will launch an investigation into the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) detention and interrogation programs. The investigation will seek to uncover how the agency was given the authority to establish black site prisons abroad to indefinitely detain individuals, as well as to interrogate them using torture and abuse. The ACLU welcomes the committee’s investigation, and calls for the proceedings and findings to be open to the public. 2009-02-27
  • State Department Report Reaffirms U.S. Commitment To Human Rights At Home And Abroad.     The State Department's Human Rights Report for 2008 is an encouraging sign that the Obama administration intends to renew the United States' commitment to protecting and advancing human rights at home and abroad, according to the ACLU. The report, submitted to Congress yesterday, helps fulfill the formal responsibility of the State Department to uphold international human rights standards. 2009-02-26
  • House Bill Adopts Humane And Enforceable Standards For Immigration Detention Facilities.     In the wake of three immigration detainee deaths over the last six months, Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) introduced legislation today to adopt humane and legally enforceable standards for immigration detention facilities. The need for Congress to pass such legislation is underscored by recent deaths of immigration detainees in Monroe, Louisiana, Farmville, Virginia and Central Falls, Rhode Island. This bill, H.R. 1215, Immigration Oversight and Fairness Act of 2009, provides basic protections for immigration detainees including access to medical care, phones, legal materials, and law libraries. It also ensures protections for unaccompanied children, sexual abuse victims, survivors of torture, families with children, and other vulnerable populations. 2009-02-26
  • Stimulus Funds Should Go To Improving Education For Poor And Minority Communities, Says ACLU.     Education funds included in the stimulus bill should be used to further human rights policies in the schools, including programs to close achievement gaps and to improve the quality of education for poor and minority communities across the country, according to a letter the ACLU sent today to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. 2009-02-26

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Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the ACLU of Northern California, Inc. 408-462-2581 (voicemail only)
P.O. Box 5303, San Jose CA 95150

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This site was updated 2010-01-01.