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Category Archives: Free Speech

White House Blocked Report on Climate Change and National Security

The New York Times – The White House Blocked My Report on Climate Change and National Security – Politics intruded on science and intelligence. “That’s why I quit my job as an analyst for the State Department. Ten years ago, I left my job as a tenured university professor to work as an intelligence analyst for the federal government, primarily in the State Department but with an intervening tour at the National Intelligence Council. My focus was on the impact of environmental and climate change on national security, a growing concern of the military and intelligence communities. It was important work. Two words that national security professionals abhor are uncertainty and surprise, and there’s no question that the changing climate promises ample amounts of both. I always appreciated the apolitical nature of the work. Our job in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research was to generate intelligence analysis buttressed by the best information available, without regard to political considerations. And although I was uncomfortable with some policies of the Trump administration, no one had ever tried to influence my work or conclusions. That changed last month, when the White House blocked the submission of my bureau’s written testimony on the national security implications of climate change to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The stated reason was that the scientific foundation of the analysis did not comport with the administration’s position on climate change…” [Rod Schoonover was, until recently, a senior analyst in Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the State Department. He also worked as director of environment and natural resources at the National Intelligence Council and was a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.]

LC Report – Limits on Freedom of Expression

“This report examines the scope of protection extended to freedom of speech in 13 selected countries. In particular, the report focuses on the limits of protection that may apply to the right to interrupt or affect in any other way public speech. The report also addresses the availability of mechanisms to control foreign broadcasters working… Continue Reading

Many Americans Say Made-Up News Is a Critical Problem That Needs To Be Fixed

Pew – Politicians viewed as major creators made-up news, but journalists seen as the ones who should fix it – “Many Americans say the creation and spread of made-up news and information is causing significant harm to the nation and needs to be stopped, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 6,127 U.S.… Continue Reading

How China Is Planning to Rank 1.3 Billion People

Bloomberg: ” China has a radical plan to influence the behavior of its 1.3 billion people: It wants to grade each of them on aspects of their lives to reflect how good (or bad) a citizen they are. Versions of the so-called social credit system are being tested in a dozen cities with the aim… Continue Reading

Human Rights Watch World Report 2019

“World Report 2019 is Human Rights Watch’s 29th annual review of human rights practices around the globe. It summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events from late 2017 through November 2018. In his keynote essay, “World’s Autocrats Face Rising Resistance,” Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth… Continue Reading

CRS Sidebar – Frequently Asked Questions about the Julian Assange Charges

CRS via LC – Frequently Asked Questions about the Julian Assange Charges, April 22, 2019. “After spending nearly seven yearsin the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Julian Assangewas arrestedby British police, was convictedfor violating the terms of his bail in the U.K., and hadanindictmentagainst him unsealedin the United States—all in a single day. Despite the swiftness… Continue Reading

LC Law Day 2019 Event: “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society”

“On May 1, 2019 at 1:30 p.m., the Law Library of Congress will present its annual Law Day event. Join Law Librarian of Congress, Jane Sánchez, in a conversation with American Bar Association President, Bob Carlson, for a discussion on this year’s Law Day topic, “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.”  Please register for this… Continue Reading

F-words and T-shirts – SCOTUS weighs foul language trademarks

Reuters – (Editor’s note: contains language that some readers may find offensive, paragraphs 2, 13, 14, 16, 19, 22 and 23) “In the staid world of the U.S. Supreme Court, where decorum and etiquette are prized and silence is enforced by court police, the F-word could create quite a stir. Yet that expletive and others… Continue Reading

CRS – Free Speech and the Regulation of Social Media Conteny

Free Speech and the Regulation of Social Media Content. March 27, 2019 – “As the Supreme Court has recognized, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become important venues for users to exercise free speech rights protected under the First Amendment. Commentators and legislators, however, have questioned whether these social media platforms are living up… Continue Reading

Democracy in Retreat – Freedom in the World 2019

Freedom House – “Unpacking 13 years of Decline – Freedom in the World has recorded global declines in political rights and civil liberties for an alarming 13 consecutive years, from 2005 to 2018. The global average score has declined each year, and countries with net score declines have consistently outnumbered those with net improvements. Freedom… Continue Reading

Teaching Freedom of Expression Without Frontiers

“Developed by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression with partners from around the world, Freedom of Expression Without Frontiers offers academic and training resources on the laws, institutions and actors that have founded a global system of freedom of expression and information. The website is organized around nine Teaching and Training Modules. It includes a general introduction… Continue Reading

Court Strikes Down Iowa’s ‘Ag-Gag’ Law That Blocked Undercover Investigations

NPR – “A federal judge in Iowa says it’s no longer a crime to go undercover at factory farms, slaughterhouses and any other ag-related operations. The 2012 law was a clear violation of the First Amendment, the judge said. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, one of the plaintiffs in the case, called the ruling “a… Continue Reading