Freedom of the Press #2
Cease and Desist
by Gary Hunt
January 8, 2017
THE PREAMBLE TO THE BILL OF RIGHTS
Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
The Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
THE FIRST AMENDMENT
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Perhaps it would help if we look at the initial step that the government took in attempting to suppress the First Amendment protected right, that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom… of the press“. Congress, being the only legislative body of the government (Article I, Section 1, “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”), cannot, by that simple statement, delegate to any other branch of the government the authority to pass any law, rule, or policy that would be contrary to that protection afforded by the Constitution.
The first step, as explained in “Freedom of the Press – Part #1”, was a Letter, hand delivered by a FBI Special Agent. I read the Letter in his presence, and we discussed certain aspects of it. However, for the reader, it is necessary to understand just how the Justice Department (pardon my misnomer) threatened me, if I did not comply with their demands. (Bold text in the original.)
Dear Mr. Hunt:
Excerpts of material produced in discovery under a Court Protective Order in the above subject case, United States v. Ammon Bundy, et al., 3:16-CR-00051-BR, have been viewed on your website (http://outpost-of-freedom.com). Your possession of that material and any dissemination and publication of any excerpts of that material violates the terms of the Court’s Protective Order (copy enclosed).
Consequently, you must immediately cease and desist publicly disseminating that material. You must also return all copies of that material to the United States and remove all protected material from the referenced website or any other website. To make arrangements to immediately return all material, electronic or otherwise, that is illegally in your possession, please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at (916) 746-7000 and ask to be directed to the Chico Resident Agency. Failure to immediately comply with this demand within twenty-four hours will necessitate that the United States seek a court order compelling your compliance.
The Letter was signed by Pamala R. Holsinger, Chief, Criminal Division, for Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney, U. S. Department of Justice, District of Oregon.
Now, the Order states that the information is not to be “disseminated”. I understood the provision, and the documents were provided to me with the understanding that I would only “excerpt” from the documents. This was explained the first time I excerpted from the document, in “Burns Chronicles No 40 – Allen Varner (Wolf)“. I stated at that time:
“I will be referring to FBI documents that I have obtained. They are marked, at the bottom left corner, “Dissemination Limited by Court Order”. So, let me make this perfectly clear — I have no intention of “disseminating” the documents, nor am I bound by any “Court Order”. I am writing about a Public Trial, which was held in September and October 2016. Had I access to these documents during that trial, I would have written the same article that I am writing now.”
Now, is there a difference between excerpt and disseminate? From Merriam-Webster:
Disseminating the information that I received is something someone else did. I simply took excerpts, or extracts, from the documents. If laws, or edicts, are to be held to, they must be written. If the Court chose to use “disseminate”, when they meant, “excerpt”, they should have used “excerpt” instead of “disseminate”. But, more about that, later. If the Court can pick and choose, or change, a definition to suit whim, then we really are in trouble. So, while that difference may appear relatively insignificant, generally speaking, from the legal standpoint, there is a chasm between the two.
Holsinger attempts to pretend that this is the same thing. But when we look the wording of the Letter, it is apparent that there is an attempt to misrepresent the Court Order by stating, “dissemination and publication of any excerpts of that material“. Holsinger has added a new twist by separating “dissemination” from “publication of any excerpts” with an “and”, making them separate and distinct elements. However, the Order only addresses dissemination.
Then, Holsinger states that “[My] possession of that material and any dissemination and publication of any excerpts of that material violates the terms of the Court’s Protective Order“. Obviously a conclusion that Holsinger has drawn, though that Order was not directed to me, rather, it was directed to other specific people. So, as I said in Burns Chronicles No 40, I am not bound by this Court Order. However, before we get to the attachment, there is one more point to address.
Holsinger further states that “[I] must also return all copies of that material to the United States and remove all protected material from the referenced website or any other website.” Yesterday, January 8, 2017, hundreds of people began sharing the articles on Facebook. Dozens of people have begun mirroring the Outpost of Freedom blog, especially the Burns Chronicles series. They have also begun sharing and mirroring this new series, “Freedom of the Press”.
Holsinger has attempted to impose on me the Herculean task of removing the referenced material from not only my website, but “any other website“. Heck, I doubt that even the FBI could keep up with such a task. My supposed compliance would have little effect, as that that horse is already out of the barn.
I suppose that we could look at this in slightly different terms. We have all heard of civil disobedience. Well, I may, perhaps, be civilly disobedient, I am not criminally disobedient, as Holsinger attempts to suggest. However, those who have to propagate the articles have taken a first step in civil defiance (See Burns Chronicles No 9 – Civil Defiance or Submission?). A much more definitive statement to the government is that, not just me, but We, will not comply.
Now, the Court Protective Order
Upon motion of the United States, the Court being advised as to the nature of this case, and good cause being shown, it is hereby
ORDERED that. pursuant to Rule 16(d)(1l) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, defense counsel may provide copies of discovery only to the following individuals:
(1) The defendants in this case;
(2) Persons employed by the attorney of record who are necessary to assist counsel of record in preparation for trial or other proceedings in this case; and
(3) Persons who defense counsel deems necessary to further legitimate investigation and preparation of this case.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defense counsel shall provide a copy of this Protective Order to any person above who receives copies of discovery.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that any person above who receives copies of discovery from defense counsel shall use the discovery only to assist the defense in the investigation and preparation of this case and shall not reproduce or disseminate the discovery material to any other person or entity.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Protective Order applies only to:
(1) Statements by witnesses and defendants to government officials;
(2) Sealed documents. and
(3) Evidence received from searches of electronic media.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if there is specific discovery material that defense counsel believes should be an exception to this Protective Order, the parties shall confer before seeking guidance from this Court- The parties shall advise the Court by letter of any exceptions made to the Protective Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that any materials subject to this Protective Order may be filed by a party under seal without prior approval of the Court.
The parties shall continue to confer regarding the efficacy of this Protective Order. Any outstanding issues between the parties related to this Protective Order shall be addressed by the Court at the status conference on June 15, 2016.
The Order states to whom the defense counsel may provide copies. I am not among those so designated. As proof, I was not given a copy of the Protective Order, though I had secured a copy back in March, when the Protective Order became a part of the court record.
In the next “Further Ordered”, we find there is a restriction placed upon those who are included in the designated recipients of the information. However, that Order does not extended its long arm of the Order to include me.
So, if we are a nation of laws, and if this edict is, in a sense, a law, then we must all, including the Court, be bound by the letter of the law.
Let me quote James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, from Federalist #62:
“Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?”
That is why laws are written. And, once written, they can be easily understood by all. It is not up to the Judge to decide what the law means. The law must be in the language of the land so that any who may be bound by it can understand exactly what the are bound to obey.
We will, in a subsequent article in this series, address why that limited “Protective Order” extends only to those identified within its text.