Donald Trump’s spying on citizens, sculpture and ‘free speech’

This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump’s DOJ Demands Personal Info On 1.3M Visitors to ‘DisruptJ20Inauguration Protest Website

18 August 2017

The Justice Department is demanding web hosting provider DreamHost turn over 1.3 million IP addresses of people who visited the website, which was used to organize the protests against President Trump’s inauguration.

The Justice Department is also seeking names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and other information about the owners and subscribers of the website. More than 200 protesters were arrested during the Inauguration Day protests and are now facing decades in prison on trumped-up charges. We are joined by Nate Cardozo, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. His group is assisting DreamHost in its opposition to the government’s search warrant.

The transcript of this video is here.

In a chilling attack on free speech, a District of Columbia Superior Court judge Thursday ordered the web hosting company DreamHost to make available to the Trump administration vast amounts of data related to a website,, that organized protests against Trump’s inauguration in January: here.

By Ophelia Benson:

Aug 17th, 2017

Speaking of beautiful statues that are causing Donald Trump to mourn and pine when they are moved from one spot to another, a couple of Facebook friends have been reminding us of some that were demolished altogether decades ago. They adorned what was then Bonwit Teller at Fifth Avenue and 56th Street in Manhattan.

Bonwit Teller sculpture

Beginning in the 1960s, a series of corporate takeovers changed the face of retailing. Bonwit’s was sold several times, and it lost the luster that Bergdorf, in particular, was able to retain. Although some ancillary stores survived until 2000, Bonwit Teller closed its store at Fifth and 56th in 1979.

That was good news for Donald Trump, who acquired the old Bonwit’s building and began demolition in 1980. He had promised the limestone reliefs of the dancing women to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which wanted them for its sculpture collection, although the offer was conditional on his being able to remove them. But suddenly workmen jackhammered them to bits.

This act was condemned by, among others, The New York Times, which said: “Evidently, New York needs to make salvation of this kind of landmark mandatory and stop expecting that its developers will be good citizens and good sports.”

The Trump organization replied that the two-ton panels were “without artistic merit”, that saving them would have delayed construction for months and cost $500,000.

Plus they weren’t Confederate generals or General Pershing or Mussolini, so you know, who cares.

A chalk mural of Heather Heyer, murdered by a white supremacist hitting her and other anti-racist protesters with his car, adorns the Charlottesville Downtown Mall on August 16, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo: Bored_Grrl)

By Katherine Cross in the USA:

When “Free Speech” Kills

Friday, August 18, 2017

The way we were going, this was always going to end in blood. Every person who’s ever misused arguments for free speech to defend Nazis or white supremacists  —  just so they could puff out their chests and apocryphally quote Voltaire with smug certitude  —  has some measure of Heather Heyer’s blood on their hands.

The road that James Alex Fields Jr. sped down was paved with countless editorials in major newspapers and magazines that positioned student movements or black women on Twitter as existential threats to “free speech.” It was paved by those who said they were less afraid of Richard Spencer than the man who punched him. It was paved by countless people saying, “they’re just words” or “it’s just the internet, it’s not real life” in defence of extremists’ vitriol, never realizing that such statements are not mere words on the wind: they are promises.

After all, how many times have we seen white people online call for mowing down protesters? What happened in Charlottesville wasn’t even the first time someone went out and actually did it. As a recent Slate article notes: “On July 10, 2016  —  the same day a South Carolina fire captain threatened to run over BLM protesters who had shut down Interstate 126  —  an SUV driver in southern Illinois plowed through a group of BLM protesters after yelling ‘All lives matter, not blacks, all lives.'”

That was over a year ago, and we should have seen then how quickly hateful social media slogans quickly become action.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of Heyer’s murder, a Springfield, MA policeman wrote on Facebook  —  in response to a news article about the terror attack  —  ”Hahahaha love this, maybe people shouldn’t block roads.” He added, to someone trying to argue with him, “How do you know [the driver] was a Nazi scumbag? Stop being part of the problem.” An incredible two step: celebrating a woman’s murder, and then tut tutting someone who insulted her murderer while retreating behind formless relativism.

The many instances of whites letting loose their hatred online and calling for the mowing down of protesters are wishes being loosed into the ether. Eventually, they’ll coalesce into a deed. As I said, they are not just words, they are promises, given force and urgency by the overheated rhetoric that prevails on social media, where even the most extreme racists are given free reign to agitate without limit.

Black Lives Splatter racist decal from nazi site Daily Stormer

This variation on the United States racist “All Lives Splatter” decal which encourages drivers to wound or kill protesters against police brutality is specifically a call to kill or injure supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. It is from the nazi Internet site Daily Stormer, one of the organisers of the Charlottesville violent fascist rally. The murderer of Heather Heyer got his inspiration from this.

10 thoughts on “Donald Trump’s spying on citizens, sculpture and ‘free speech’

  1. Pingback: Donald Trump’s spying on citizens, sculpture and ‘free speech’ — Dear Kitty. Some blog | Art History blog

  2. Dear friends,

    Trump is forcing an internet provider to turn over the personal details of 1.3 million people who visited an anti-Trump website! From anywhere in the world!

    This could impact all of us – over half of the world’s websites are hosted in the US. And Trump can do whatever he wants with the data, like give it to dictator friends to help them crack down on their own citizens.

    In 3 days lawyers are taking him to court, but they’ll focus on the impact on Americans. The judge can also consider the rights of non-US citizens. If we bring a court filing backed by a million people around the world, arguing that our rights are at risk too, it could swing the case! Add your name and Avaaz will take Trump to court!

    Click to stop Trump’s Internet takeover

    This kind of power would mean that Trump could demand the IP addresses and behaviour of every visitor to Avaaz’s website too. Or Wikipedia or Youtube. Under US law, American citizens would have protections for what he can do with their information, but the rest of us would have nothing. It would transform our free internet into a big brother state with Trump at the helm.

    We can’t let it happen.

    Thankfully, US law could stop him if the judge feels like the threat to privacy outweighs Trump’s “security” concerns. And the fact that his first victims are visitors to a website directly protesting his power is a mark in our favor. But the argument is even stronger if we can show the danger this power holds for foreign website visitors who have no protection under US law and could be jailed or worse simply for signing a petition!

    Let’s add our voices now, and make sure the judge knows that their decision will affect the whole world!

    Click to stop Trump’s Internet takeover

    The internet is more than just another issue, it’s what empowers our movement to connect as human beings and win strategic fights that lift all of us up. The fight to protect the free web is no different!

    With hope,
    Danny, Mia, Anne, Andrew, Martyna, Ricken and the rest of the Avaaz team

    More information:
    Tech firm is fighting a federal demand for data on visitors to an anti-Trump website (Washington Post)

    In J20 Investigation, DOJ Overreaches Again. And Gets Taken to Court Again (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

    DreamHost is fighting DoJ request for 1.3M IP addresses of visitors to anti-Trump protest site (Tech Crunch)

    US government demands details on all visitors to anti-Trump protest website (The Guardian)


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