BC and the Belfast Project: A Scholar's Privilege to Disobey

The ongoing imbroglio over Boston College’s Belfast Oral History Project has been disappointing at almost every turn. The case involves a subpoena by the Northern Irish police force of confidential materials collected by Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre, two scholars who worked with BC to create an oral history of the Irish “Troubles” as told by former IRA and Loyalist members closest to the fighting. In my latest piece for my Forbes.com blog, “Injustice Department,” I discuss the grave implications for First Amendment rights resulting from the blithe willingness of Boston’s federal courts to jeopardize scholarly research in the name of dubious law enforcement claims. Furthermore, the article raises the important question of what could have been done differently to allow the scholars, like reporters whose confidential notes are being subpoenaed, to resist the disclosure of their sources through civil disobedience.

You can find the article after the jump.
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The 15th Annual Boston Phoenix Muzzle Awards, student edition

Sticks and stones might break your bones, but on college campuses in the Northeast, words can get you expelled. The Boston Phoenix gives its annual “Muzzle Awards” to the year’s worst free speech violators, with a sidebar highlighting the most egregious violators among academic institutions. The academic Muzzle Award winners this year—Boston College, Bridgewater State, and Harvard University—faced stiff competition. But, in the end, they stood out for their significant contributions to the culture of censorship now running rampant on our nation’s campuses. Click here to access Dan Kennedy’s “15th Annual Muzzle Awards” and here to access my “Muzzles on campus” sidebar. An excerpt after the jump...

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Announcing a New FIRE Book: Unlearning Liberty, Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate

FIRE President Greg Lukianoff's book, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com. The book will be formally released on October 23, but from now until then, we are spreading the word about the book and the important stories it tells regarding censorship on campus. Getting the message out about how bad things have become on college campuses for once-cherished principles like free speech and due process helps FIRE fight back against campus abuses, and all proceeds from the book go to FIRE to help support our work. Unlearning Liberty is the first book since The Shadow University, written by Alan Kors and me, Harvey Silverglate, to attempt a far-reaching and large-scale exposition of the insane cases of censorship and abuse of basic rights that occur at our nation's colleges and universities. 

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DiMasi Agonistes and the federal ‘justice’ system

Being Fourth of July week, it seems a particularly apt time to consider the various forms of tyranny with which we have been inundated of late. The treatment of federal prisoner (and putative “corrupt pol” – a subject on which I expect to have more to say at some future date) Salvatore DiMasi is of the stomach-churning variety. Or at least the treatment of DiMasi by federal prosecutors and “corrections” officials should churn the stomach of all decent citizens devoted to the essential respect for human dignity demanded of our government by the Bill of Rights. Please read my views on the subject in the current issue of The Boston Phoenix; the column after the jump.

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Bulger's Girlfriend Faces Sentencing

Today U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock sentenced Catherine Greig to 8 years in prison for harboring longtime fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger. On Friday, prosecutors requested a 10-year sentence, while Greig’s defense, as well as the probation department, recommended 27-33 months. David Boeri interviewed me for WBUR about this emotionally charged case.

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