Opinion & Community

White supremacist Richard Spencer will speak at Michigan State after all

 

Richard Spencer poses between interviews Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, in College Station, Texas.
DAVID J. PHILLIP, AP

Here are five things to know about Richard B. Spencer, largely known for the 'alt-right' movement.
USA TODAY
White supremacist Richard Spencer will speak for two hours on Michigan State University's campus on March 5, the university and Spencer's lawyers have agreed. That is the first day of MSU's spring break.

The agreement came in a settlement of a lawsuit filed by attorney Kyle Bristow against MSU after it denied Spencer's representatives space to speak on campus.


"This is a resounding First Amendment victory for the alt-right," Bristow told the Free Press on Thursday. "Left-wing censorship of right-wing ideas in academia is unacceptable.

“Richard Spencer gets to speak and MSU gets to pay” the cost associated with security.

“The fundamental right of Americans to think and speak freely is nonnegotiable.”

According to the terms of the agreement:

Spencer will speak from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. March 5 in the auditorium in the Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education.

Spencer will pay the university $1,650 for the rental.

MSU will provide police and security for the event. Spencer's group won't pay anything toward it.

MSU will set up a ticketing process for the event and control entry to the event.

Spencer's group will provide insurance for the event.

Spencer's group will not hold any other gathering or event at MSU.

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon issued a statement on the settlement.

"Michigan State is wholly dedicated to freedom of speech, not just as a public institution, but as an institution of higher education. Here, ideas — not people — are meant to clash and to be evaluated based on their merits.

"This agreement was based on the university’s requirement that the event occur on a date and at a venue that minimizes the risk of violence or disruption to campus. The security of our campus community remains our top priority and all appropriate security measures will be taken in connection with the event," Simon said. "Michigan State rejects this group’s divisive and racist messages and remains committed to maintaining a diverse campus and supporting an inclusive, just and democratic society.”

Spencer's group has a similar request pending at the University of Michigan, where President Mark Schlissel has said the university would negotiate with the group for a safe way to allow them on campus.

"After consulting widely with many members of our community, I made the difficult decision to begin discussions with Richard Spencer’s group to determine whether he will be allowed to rent space to speak on the University of Michigan campus. If we cannot assure a reasonably safe setting for the event, we will not allow it to go forward," Schlissel said then. "Let me be clear. U-M has not invited this individual to our campus, nor is anyone in our community sponsoring him."

A U-M spokeswoman told the Free Press earlier this week there was no update to those talks.

Florida police officers caught disconnecting man's surveillance cameras

VERO BEACH, Fla. — An Indian River County man feels his privacy was violated after he captured Vero Beach police disconnecting a surveillance camera outside his front door.

Police were investigating a crime the man says he had nothing to do with.

Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey stands by his officers' actions.

In late August 2017, Currey said his officers got an anonymous tip that someone at a Vero Beach home on 15th Avenue matched the description of a man wanted for felony grand theft.

Surveillance video of Florida teacher kissing student released
“We went there for a felony warrant. We were also advised there may be firearms in the house,” Currey said.
al may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Police showed up at the apartment, with caution, according to Currey.

Surveillance video from the apartment captured the two officers knocking on the door, and waiting for an answer. However, the tenant, who does not want to be identified by name, was at work, he said.

Shortly after the officers are seen knocking on the door, one looks up at the surveillance cameras and reaches toward it. Then, the video goes black.

The tenant says he got a call from his neighbor telling him police were at his home.

“I had returned to my house about 45 minutes later and noticed [the camera was] disconnected,” the tenant told ABC Action News affiliate WPTV.

He checked his surveillance tapes and said the officer pulled the wires from his camera.

“When I saw that I had no idea what they were up to. What their intentions were,” the tenant said.

It turned out the tenant was not the man police were looking for, but resembled the man they ended up arresting.

Regardless, Currey says he stands behind his officers’ actions and said they acted legally.

“In law enforcement, we don’t want to be at a disadvantage. We try to be at an advantage as best we can. If that was a safety precaution, and a tactical precaution to make them safer then I stand behind that,” Currey said.

He explained the officers were worried about possible weapons in the home, but says he has not heard of any other officers disconnecting cameras for their safety when researching a crime tip.

The tenant called this questionable practice.

“If anybody can just make a report and then have the police show up and remove and tamper with things around your house, that’s not right," the tenant said.

He also said he had just installed the cameras because his home had been burglarized a couple weeks prior.

The officer pulling the wires from his camera put it out of commission for at least a week, he said.

Currey said he wished the tenant would have come forward with his concerns sooner. Currey only learned about the surveillance video this week and the tenant's concern over the officer's actions.

Currey said the department also would have offered to pay to repair any damage to the cameras.

Watch the video: 2576c4d1bf414dc98843072039ed99cb.m3u8

3 hurt in QC grenade blast

Reuters file photo of a crime scene tape.
MANILA, Philippines — Three persons, including a 9-year old girl, were injured when a grenade exploded after being lobbed at the home of a peace officer in a Quezon City village Thursday night.

Leandro Gabot, 65, a member of the Lupong Tagapamayapa of Barangay Bagong Pag-asa, said he was watching television in his home on Road 1 when he heard something land and roll on the roof.

The explosion came a few seconds later.

Among the injured were Gabot’s grandchild.

The other two were a 34-year old neighbor of the village official and Grab driver Roderick Sadia, who said he had just turned into Road 1 when he had to stop and wait for a motorcycle bearing two men, one of them in a tank-top, to drive away.

“Saka ako pumasok, ‘sakto sumabog na (I entered the street just as the explosion happened),” Sadia said.

Footage taken by a CCTV camera of the barangay showed the motorcycle make two circuits of the area aound Gabot’s house before the explosion.

Chief Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar, Quezon City Police District director, said their bomb squad confirmed that the explosion was from a fragmentation grenade.

He added that Gabot’s work with the village peace and order council was the likely trigger for the grenade attack.

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Duterte eyes total ban on deployment to Kuwait over Pinays’ deaths

he flag of Kuwait flies over a man. (Reuters)
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said he is considering a total ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to oil-rich Kuwait following what he called the “unacceptable” deaths of four Filipinas there.

“We have lost about four Filipino women in the last few months. It’s always in Kuwait,” Duterte said at the launching of the Overseas Filipino Bank in Manila Thursday.

Duterte said he discussed the issue with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who he instructed to talk to the Kuwaiti government, “state the truth and just tell them that it’s not acceptable anymore. Either we impose a total ban or you can have the correction.”

“I do not want a quarrel with Kuwait. I respect their leaders, but they have to do something about this,” he stressed.

Sought for comment, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they need to first investigate the real causes of death of the four women. But, he added, “if the death is a result of maltreatment of their employers, that’s another thing. I will not hesitate to impose a total ban.”

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Fariñas protests ‘railroading’ raps on con-ass resolution

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas (Reuters File)
MANILA, Philippines — “False, unfounded and unfair.”

This was how Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas described accusations by colleagues from the Makabayan bloc that the pro-administration “supermajority” in the House of Representatives had “railroaded” the adoption of the resolution calling for a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution.

“Nothing at all had been railroaded,” Fariñas said, insisting in a statement that House Concurrent Resolution No. 9 was the “product of democratic and exhaustive debates not just in the plenary hall … but in nationwide public consultations.”

The resolution calls on the Senate and the House of Representatives to convene into a constituent assembly to revise or amend the Charter. other modes of amending the Constitution are through a constitutional convention and through a people’s initiative.

Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc claim the resolution was hastily approved on Tuesday, January 16, even while several House members were still interpellating.

But Fariñas maintained that lawmakers were given enough time to study the proposal, from the time the committee report was filed in February 2017, calendared in the House Order of Business in March 2017, and sponsored on the floor in December 2017.

He reminded his colleagues that the move to amend the Constitution was not new as it has been discussed in the previous congresses.

“The clamor for Charter change has long been there. It is time we seriously consider it for the benefit of our country and our people,” he said.

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BLACK FRIDAY | Bloggers for Freedom’ blast ‘moves to silence, scare’ media as Palace vows maximum tolerance

MANILA, Philippines — Some of the Philippines’ most prominent bloggers came out Friday, January 19, to support the first of a series of “Black Friday” protests against the threatened closure of news site Rappler and other threats to freedom of the press and expression as Malacañang vowed to observe maximum tolerance.

The “Bloggers for Freedom” simultaneously issued a statement late Friday morning, saying they were standing “for the rights to free expression and to free speech” and that their “first responsibility is to protect these rights.”

“We thus stand with Rappler, its right to exist, the rights of its working journalists and contributors, and the rights of its community of readers,” they said as they denounced “moves to silence and scare journalists, bloggers and media practitioners just because the President and his ardent supporters dislike their news and views.”

Some 60 bloggers, including past winners of the Philippine Blog Awards as well as veterans of past campaigns in defense of lumad rights, disaster relief and environmental protection, signed the statement:

Loi Landicho of The Professional Heckler, Pinoy Ako Blog’s Jover Laurio, Helga Weber, lawyer Jesus Falcis, Jane Uymatiao, Dale Bacar, Rod Magaru, Ely Valendez, Marcelle Fabie, Global Voices’ Karlo Mongaya, former congressman Raymond Palatino, thought-leader Stefan Punongbayan; Technology blogger Jam Ancheta, journalists Julius Mariveles and Inday Espina Varona, finance guru Fitz Villafuerte, professional photographer Fritz Tentativa, UP professor Mykel Andrada, tour guide Carlos Celdran, travel bloggers Estan Cabigas, Enrico Dee, Melo Villareal, Acee Vitangcol and Czarina Maye Noche;

Eugene Alvin Villar, Julius Rocas, Jon Limjap, Markku Seguerra, Hancel Reyes, JM Mariano, JM Tuazon, Brian Ong, Flow Galindez, Jane Uymatiao, Johnn Mendoza, Reginald Agsalon, John Clifford Sibayan, Ramon Nocon, Mc Richard Viana Paglicawan, Saul de Jesus,;Rhadem Camlian Morados, Yusuf Ledesma, Myk Mykapalaran Cruz, Tina Antonio, Renz Daniel de Vera, Alex Lapa, Tess Termulo, Zena Bernardo, James Romer V. Velina, Ricky Rivera, Mark Will Mayo Magallanes, Eyriche Cortez, RJ Barrete, Peachy Tan,, Christian Melanie, Jann Medina, Carlo Arvisu, Reynaldo Pagsolingan Jr., and Dino Manrique.

Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Harry Roque claimed the Black Friday protest “is a testament that freedom is alive and democracy is alive in the Philippines.”

“The Palace position on the matter remains clear and consistent: We allow public displays of constructive criticism as part of full exercise of the protesters’ rights to express their grievances.”

“Authorities, as a matter of standard operating procedure, will observe maximum tolerance and respect the protesters’ right to peaceful assembly,” he added.

Aside from the Metro Manila rally at the Scout Circle on Timog and Tomas Morato, protests will also be held in several major cities in the provinces.

Among the groups that are joining or voiced support for Black Friday are the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, which was “formed during martial law to defend and uphold press freedom.”

“Today we stand firm and encourage our members to wear black and support the protest this evening,” it said.

Among the groups that organized Black Friday are the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the media and artists alliance Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity, the alternative media consortium Altermidya and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines.

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Legazpi City decamps 11,000 Mayon evacuees

Lava cascades down the slopes of the Mayon volcano seen from Legazpi city, Albay province, 340 kilometers (210 miles) southeast of Manila, Philippines, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. Over 9,000 people have evacuated the area around the Philippines’ most active volcano as lava flowed down its crater Monday in a gentle eruption that scientists warned could turn explosive. (AP Photo/Dan Amaranto)
LEGAZPI CITY—At least 2,610 families or 11,522 persons from the 8 to 8.5 kilometer radius of Mount Mayon were decamped in Legazpi City on Thursday night.

Evacuees were from the barangays (villages) of Padang, Buyuan, Mabinit, Matanag and Bonga.

Miladee Azur, head of City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the decision was made after Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum reiterated that the most threatened in the recent activities of Mayon Volcano are residents inside the 6 to 7 kilometer radius.

“As per advisory by [Phivolcs] Director Solidum in a bulletin, with alert level 3, the areas within the Southeastern part inside the 7 kilometer radius are affected. It means, there’s actually no reason for them to evacuate but they were fearful when they saw (the activities of) Mayon Volcano,” she said.
Azur said though the evacuation on Monday was voluntary, most of the evacuees wanted to go back to their houses when they knew that the most affected are within the 7-kilometer radius.
“That was voluntary evacuation. It was not a mandatory evacuation. We just accommodated their willingness to evacuate because they couldn’t sleep at night,” she added.
Based on the latest data of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, 6,973 families or 26,971 persons were still in evacuation centers in the towns of Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Malilipot, Sto. Domingo, Tabaco City, and Ligao City. Ma. April Mier, @MaAprilMierINQ, Inquirer Southern Luzon

 

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Int’l journos slam SEC ruling vs Rappler; asks UN, Asean to make a stand

A rappler employee exits its office at the Capitol Commons in Pasig on Monday, January 15, 2018 after Maria Reesa and Chay Hofilena gave a press briefing to media as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) orders the revocation of its license to operate. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE
An international group of journalists has called on the United Nations (UN), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to make a stand against the Philippine government’s decision to revoke the license of online news site, Rappler, as it is a “flagrant violation of media freedom.”

On Friday, French-based organization Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters without Borders or RSF) condemned the ruling of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoking Rappler’s articles of incorporation “on trumped-up legal grounds.”

“The decision to close Rappler is fraught with danger, hence the urgency of referring it to these international bodies,” RSF deputy director-general Antoine Bernard said in a statement.

“We are very concerned about the safety of its journalists and the protection of their sources, especially as Rappler is well known for the quality of its investigative reporting,” Bernard added.
In an order dated January 11, the SEC alleged that Rappler violated the restriction on foreign ownership of local media, the anti-dummy law, the corporation code, and the Securities Regulation Code.
The body pointed out that Rappler’s Philippine depositary receipts (PDR) issued to one of its foreign investors, Omidyar Network, requires the news company to seek the investor’s approval on corporate matters.
Rappler CEO Maria Ressa has denied the allegations, saying the order to shut down the news outfit was a political pressure over their stories critical of the government.
The order drew wide criticism from media groups, saying the move was an attack to press freedom. Centerlaw, the former law firm of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, said that the SEC decision was unconstitutional for denying Rappler due process as it was a form of prior restraint.
Daniel Bastard, head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk, said that the Duterte administration’s “troll army” has been spreading the rumor online that Rappler is foreign-owned.
“The president is clearly trying to exploit nationalist sentiment in order to silence a media outlet that annoys his clique. But the legal grounds offered for this decision are contradicted by the hard facts,” Bastard said.

RSF maintained that Rappler is 100 percent Filipino-owned, based on its media ownership monitoring study conducted in partnership with VERA Files.
“Rappler Holding Corp. is an example of financial transparency. It has received some foreign investment, including from Omidyar Network and North Base Media, but this has been in the form of PDR that do not imply any form of ownership,” the statement read.
“RSF supports Rappler’s decision to appeal against this iniquitous decision, one based entirely on false information,” it added.
The SEC order, apparently, was only the first of the series of moves against Rappler. In a subpoena released on Thursday, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) summoned Ressa and former Rappler reporter, Reynaldo Santos Jr., to answer a complaint for cybercrime.
The subpoena stemmed from a cybercrime complaint filed by Chinese-Filipino businessman Wilfredo Keng, one of the subjects of an investigative report by Rappler in 2012.
READ: Rappler’s Maria Ressa , ex-reporter summoned to NBI for cybercrime raps
The Rappler report indicated that Keng’s sports utility vehicle was used by the late Chief Justice Renato Corona.
The NBI required Ressa and Santos to appear at their headquarters in Manila and submit their testimonies on January 22. /kga

 

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Bato: PNP raising bail fund for cops in mistaken identity shooting

The body of a slain worker is seen next to the bullet-riddled AUV on Shaw Boulevard in Barangay Old Wack-Wack, Mandaluyong City. STAR/Joven Cagande, File
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s top cop on Friday said the Philippine National Police is raising funds to help the relieved police officers, who mistakenly shot at a vehicle and killed two of its passengers in Mandaluyong, to post bail.

Two people were killed and two others were wounded last month in a shooting incident along Shaw Boulevard, where law enforces mistakenly opened fire at a vehicle bringing a gunshot victim to the hospital.

The police were deployed to assist barangay watchmen who were pursuing a white van they thought was carrying the shooter in an earlier incident.

According to PNP chief Director-General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, the policemen and village officials involved in the fatal shooting were already charged with double homicide and double frustrated homicide.

A warrant of arrest, which set the recommended bail bond, has also been issued, Dela Rosa added.

“We’re putting up bail fund for them. So that’s our moral responsibility because those cops are our men,” Dela Rosa told CNN Philippines.

“They were performing their duties during the time although they made a mistake. But still deep inside them there was no ill motive in that operation,” he added.

Malacañang earlier assured the public that there will be no whitewash in the investigation of the shooting incident in Mandaluyong City.

The PNP is already facing unprecedented scrutiny due to concerns about their conduct during anti-narcotics operations.

Thousands of suspected drug traffickers have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte unleashed his lethal drug war, with human rights group saying most of the fatalities in the crackdown were extrajudicial killings committed by cops.

But the police force, which continues to enjoy Duterte’s trust despite previously calling them “corrupt to the core,” had denied executing suspects in cold blood, saying they only killed in self defense.

In the same live television interview with CNN Philippines, Dela Rosa said the mistaken identity shooting was completely unacceptable, but “shit happens.”

"So they have to face the consequences of their actions," he said.

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