Berkeley Gathering Calls for Defense of Rights

BERKELEY CALLING! The living Free Speech tradition of Berkeley, CA, the home of one of the University of California’s most famous universities and communities, was shining like a beacon to the world once again. An eloquent and heart-felt call to Defend the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States was issued by a group of distinguished and experienced speakers.

On Thursday, January 23, 2014 over 400 Bay Area residents were treated to a panel of civil liberties leading activists at John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley California titled “NSA Surveillance and Our ‘Almost Orwellian’ State.” It was a packed house with a very lively panel discussion. It was also live-streamed.

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Shahid Buttar, Executive Director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, was one of the main speakers at the forum. Shahid Battar was joined by Daniel Ellsberg, the iconic whistleblower of The Pentagon Papers fame, a national hero described by President Nixon as “the most dangerous man in America”; Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction.org and producer of the film “War Made Easy”; Cindy Cohn, Legal Director and General Counsel to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Rainey Reitman, Activism Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and BORDC board member, kicked off the event with brief remarks. The moderator was Robert Jaffee, a volunteer attorney on the Hedges v. Obama case challenging “indefinite detention without due process”. Left to right seated are Daniel Ellsberg, Shahid Buttar,  Cindy Cohen, and Norman Solomon. Photo by Vic Sadot

Rainey Reitman, Activism Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and BORDC board member, kicked off the event with brief remarks. The moderator was Robert Jaffee, seated behind at right of Reitman, is a volunteer attorney on the Hedges v. Obama case challenging “indefinite detention without due process”. Left to right seated at the long table: Daniel Ellsberg, Shahid Buttar, Cindy Cohen, and Norman Solomon. Photo by Vic Sadot

Shahid Buttar sounded the call to Defend the Bill of Rights! He denounced Senator Feinstein D-CA for her role not protecting the American people against the crimes against the Constitution and the attempt to keep the crimes secret until 2038. He asked people to sign and promote the “Shame on Feinstein” statement, which demands that and to tell Senator Feinstein D-CA to withdraw her bogus bill to codify continuing unwarranted, untargeted, and unsubstantiated surveillance of citizens and to resign from the Senate oversight committee on Intelligence for trying to cover up instead of stopping the vast illegal spying on Americans by the NSA. Solomon earlier exposed in an open letter that Feinstein had made a secret deal to keep that level of Total Information Awareness surveillance a secret until 2038. There is a Shame on Feinstein Facebook Page. And the petition is here: https://shameonfeinstein.org

For the more comprehensive report on the forum read Matthew Kellegrew inThe Peoples’s Blog For the Constitution” by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC). http://www.constitutioncampaign.org/blog/#.UuYabNLTlkg

 Kellegrew reports, “The panel often focused on the positive, presenting examples of creative ways local communities can engage with the issue of over broad surveillance. Members of the Shame On Feinstein coalition passed out flyers and BORDC’s Shahid Buttar commended the effort from the stage. Buttar put the struggle for a truly accountable government in the context of broader historical struggles for liberty and freedom.”

Executive Director of BORDC, Shahid Buttar, issued the call for a vigorous grass roots citizen campaign to Defend the Bill of Rights. Seated left to right at the table: Daniel Ellsberg, Cindy Cohen, and Norman Solomon.

Executive Director of BORDC, Shahid Buttar, issued the call for a vigorous grass roots citizen campaign to Defend the Bill of Rights. Seated left to right at the table: Daniel Ellsberg, Cindy Cohen, and Norman Solomon.

Cindy Cohn provided an update on the legal challenges to NSA spying. Norman Solomon shared his analysis of mass media coverage of the NSA controversy. Daniel Ellsberg addressed the role and history of whistleblowers and the institutions they confront. Shahid Bhuttar focused on grassroots action opportunities at the state level, including the “Shame on Feinstein” initiative calling for Senator Feinstein’s resignation as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the bi-partisan “Off Now Coalition” policy proposed in Sacramento, CA, and in other states, such as Utah, cut off the NSA from state resources. See US News & World Report article by Steve Nelson: “Some NSA Opponents Want to ‘Nullify’ Surveillance With State Law – Activists say legislation can cut water, kill snooping at Utah Data Center”.

Shahid Buttar, Executive Director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee announces “tool kits” available to citizens in the ongoing campaign against criminal violations of the Constitution by the NSA. Short video at BORDC YouTube Channel (2:33).

Watch the entire forum in the video below! “Our Almost Orwellian State & NSA Surveillance Forum” Berkeley Gathering Calls for Defense of Rights in the Sanctuary of St. John’s Presbyterian Church. Posted by Bright Path Video YouTube Channel.

Abby Martin, RT TV Host of “Breadking the Set”, explains “Why Obama Speech Spells No Change to Global Surveillance” in her latest “Brainwash Update”. Abby Martin is “Breadking the Set” of the corporate media’s constrained parameters of allowed thinking! 

Full Spectrum Dominance: Lyrics and link to the free SoundCloud song posted at Global Network Against Nuclear Weapons and Power in Space! 

Are You A Citizen Or Are You A Slave? (5:11) Vic Sadot video at Truth Troubadour YouTube Channel – “Are You A Citizen” is an anthem salute to struggle that is done in strident Cajun waltz style. The song was written by Vic Sadot and Cindy Hubschmidt. It challenges citizen apathy and cynicism. In reciting the successful parts of the historical record, the song confronts the notion that we cannot change anything. Yet the the historical record of struggle says otherwise. Colonialism, slavery, and debtor prisons were defeated. A Bill of Rights, the right to organize unions, civil rights, and womens voting rights were all won through struggle. As Thomas Paine once said, “Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another.” Rights are inalienable and not granted by the political powers that be. As the song says, “You’ll use your Bill of Rights ’til your struggles are won!”

Twit Wit Radio 1-26-14 Archive – Berkeley Political Comedy Radio Show Every Sunday Evening on KPFA Pacifica. Activists need to laugh sometimes! And that takes smart humor like Twit Wit delivers! 

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2 thoughts on “Berkeley Gathering Calls for Defense of Rights

  1. Pingback: Homeland Security Surveillance Comes Corporate Outsourced to Oakland | Berkeley Calling

  2. Tom Valentine discusses Ellsberg as part of the drug cover up in Vietnam. Just sayin’ that celbrity ain’t what it used ta be.

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