Nevada: Post On-Line Comment? Feds Want Your Name

Posted: June 16, 20098:27 pm Eastern http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=101348

By Bob Unruh © 2009 WorldNetDaily

A federal prosecutor in Nevada is trying to get the names, telephone numbers, IP addresses and possibly even the credit card numbers of newspaper readers who participated in a forum about a tax protest case.

The demand is being made apparently because of comments such as:

"I wonder what would happen if the government showed up to give a no-knock warrant raid and the community turned out in force (with firearms) to repel them?

I WISHJ (sic) I WORKED FOR A COLLECTION AGENCY AND COULD CARRY A GUN!!!!!

Too bad he didn't buy a gun and some ammo with his gold to defend his life, liberty, and property.

The time will come for WAR against this criminal US Government. They have changed the laws for their own good. I call out to all our Military branches to take over our government now! According to an Associated Press report in the Reno Gazette Journal, the recent subpoena issued to the Las Vegas Review-Journal doesn't explain the reasoning for the request from the U.S. attorney's office, but in an open court hearing before Judge David Ezra it was confirmed prosecutors sought the information because of "hinted" acts of violence.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutors' office, Natalie Collins, told WND she could only confirm the existence of the subpoena because it was referenced in open court.

She said she was unable to comment on any other questions about the federal grand jury subpoena or the prosecutors' concerns.

Ultimately, a subpoena could become part of the public record, although that would be out of the ordinary, if it somehow was made public during a subsequent court hearing, she said.

According to the AP report, newspaper Editor Thomas Mitchell said he would contest the demand which was delivered to the paper about June 2, although he said the newspaper would cooperate if specific threats were presented.

The comments on the newspaper's site concerned a case against Robert Kahre, who faces accusations he paid workers with gold U.S. coins worth hundreds or thousands of dollars but paid taxes on the coin's face value of $20 and the like.

One forum participant suggested that the "12 dummies on the jury" … "should be hung along with the feds."

The vitriol between Kahre and the prosecutor's office dates back to the 2003 raid on Kahre's business. Kahre and several workers later sued prosecutors in a civil case, which remains pending.

According to press freedom experts at Freedom House, there are precedents for government demands for such information.

A report on Internet freedoms on the organization's website states, "Vague provisions in the criminal code and state-secrets legislation have been used to imprison citizens for their online activities, including publication of articles criticizing the government or exposing rights abuses…"

But that report is for China. The report for the United Kingdom, with societal standards similar to those of the United States, isn't applicable because there's no matching freedom of speech standard, the organization said.

But a worried reader said, "It's starting guys!! Soon we will not be able to post our opinions, unless we create new accounts with fictional e-mail addresses or the Feds may subpoena RGJ next. Almost forgot, better use a library computer and not your home IP."

The ACLU of Nevada was outraged, posting a comment on the same forum: "In the ACLU of Nevada's view, the subpoena violates the important First Amendment rights of anonymous commenters. We at the ACLU of Nevada have always fought for the fundamental right to engage in anonymous political speech and we want to protect the rights of anonymous commenters."

Besides a description of taxes as a "scam" and a description of prosecutors as "Nazis," a review by WND of the postings revealed no direct threats.

But there were those who took the situation humorously. Wrote one participant who signed his name, "John Galt," "Just a quick note to add my name and IP address to this list. Let the fed goons come bust down my door, if they can find me."

"So the feds are going to use this as an excuse to circumvent free speech? yeah, place me on that list also," added another.

There also was a great deal of commentary about how taxes are "voluntary."