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Notes on Civil Liberties on July 27

Here’s today’s blog for the latest news and updates on civil liberties and digital freedom issues. If you have any news tips and would like to contact me, email

Climate activist hero Tim DeChristopher’s statement, which he read at his sentencing yesterday. DeChristopher told the courtroom, the heart of this case rests on “the rule of law” which “is dependent upon a government that is willing to abide by the law. Disrespect for the rule of law begins when the government believes itself and its corporate sponsors to be above the law.”

UK police allegedly arrest another one of the co-founders of LulzSec. A 19-year-old known as Topiary online was picked up by Scotland Yard and is the second co-founder to be arrested in recent weeks.

WikiLeaks is furious that anti-Muslim organization English Defense League is able to accept donations through PayPal. Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik claims to be associated with the group. WikiLeaks calls this the definition of hypocrisy that PayPal allows them to collect funds but not WikiLeaks.

Committee on Children, Families and Person with Disabilities hears testimony on bills to curtail use of shock therapy. Supporters claim that patients need this therapy so they do not hurt themselves and drugging patients with antipsychotic medicine would not guarantee a person stays alive. Critics conclude the therapy is a form of torture that would be “impermissible against suspected terrorists.

The American people are “woefully ignorant” on human rights and the US media is to blame. H. Victor Condé for Nieman Watchdog illuminates twelve human rights the press is missing and suggests this why power gets away with championing human rights while at the same time making certain those human rights do not apply to America.

House Judiciary Committee moving to pass “Protecting Children from Pornographers Act of 2011.” The ACLU’s blog post on the legislation details how this legislation would violate online privacy. [For more specific details on the legislation, I live blogged a hearing on this legislation a couple weeks ago.]

Stock value of Ebay takes a $1 billion plunge as Anonymous mounts “OpPayPal.” The latest campaign is a boycott of PayPal. Thousands of people allegedly closed their accounts today. And, unlike other actions of Anonymous in the past months, this action, Anonymous boasts, is legal.

Yesterday, Matt Olsen, President Obama’s choice for director of the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) was grilled. The Washington Post has this article on being questioned about the administration’s plans for the transfer of Chinese Muslim detainees known as Uighurs.

Evelyn Crunden at the People’s Blog for the Constitution draws attention to the record number of drone strikes under Obama. Crunden highlights the legal issues surrounding the strikes.

The story of a political activist blacklisted whose flight was diverted when the US closed off its airspace. Raquel Gutiérrez says she was traveling to go share some experiences of Latin American struggles when Aeroméxico told her the US had refused the plane cause she was on it.

Federal government rules allowing human embryonic stem cell research are upheld by a judge. A legal challenge to the funding is dismissed.

And the video for today —

Posted to the website of Andy Worthington, who is known for his coverage and advocacy on behalf of Guantanamo detainees, here is an interview done by Russia Today with former Guantanamo detainee Murat Kurnaz. (Click on the link for Worthington’s write-up on the video.)

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."