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Operation Black Rain: Violations of First Amendment Via Court Order

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posted on Oct, 25 2008 @ 12:16 PM
The Las Vegas Sun reported on 8-23-08 what is believed to be the first case in the nation in which the government has sought to take control of an organizations identity, via its logo, through a court order.

During Operation Black Rain the ATF used undercover agents to infiltrate the Mongols motorcycle club. The (alleged) illegal activities included narcotics manufacturing and trafficking, vehicle thefts, assaults, and prostitution. It included sweeps in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Florida, Ohio and Nevada ( 10-25-08).

This is where the federal government crosses the line and the judicial system fails to protect First Amendment (FA) Rights:

Prosecutors won the right Wednesday to bar the (indicted) Mongols from owning anything bearing their trademarked logo. Make no mistake - it is a legally obtained, federally recognized (and protected?) TRADEMARK of a private organization. The Mongols' trademark is real: "Mongols" in arching sans serif type is Trademark No. 2916965. The Mongols have registered both their name and the image of the cartoon Ghengis motorcyclist as trademarks. It is officially a "Mongols" brand.

Attorney Douglas Mirell, who specialized in First Amendment cases says "...a serious potential FA violation....(where) the government strips lawfully obtained rights;...preventing a rights holder of using the trademark they legally obtained.."

It's an unprecedented approach. According to Maggie McLetchie, staff attorney for the ACLU of Nevada, "It violates the FA and it's the most preposterous thing to happen to trademark law...there is no authority for the government to get rid of trademarks....more than a twisting of the FA and trademark law. People have a right to express wear symbols they....identify with". Consider this hypothetical: Crips and Bloods use red and blue to identify themselves, can the feds ban colors, too?

The goal, according to Thomas O'Brien (U.S. attorney, Cental District of CA where Black Rain indictment was filed) is to empower police who spot anyone wearing a Mongols patch to "stop that (club) member and literally take the jacket right off his back."(NOTE: NOT just the "indicted" individuals arrested and charged in the original sweep). O'Briens' spokesman, Thom Mrozek states "The patch is an asset and as such the gvrnmnt may take it." Ryan Gile, a Las Vegas attrny. specializing in trademark and intellectual property law says "as long as the word "Mongols"...appears somewhere on the club's logo merchandise, the gvrnmnt can still seize it."

Wednesday's order doesn't state the Mongols can't wear their club clothing, it does say they must give all their clothing up which seems to accomplish the same goal.

Does this mean the gvrnmnt can prohibit non-members who already own support gear from wearing it and what about their (Mongols members) tattoos?! Further, trademarks are protected through continuous use so will the gvrnmnt have to crank out its own Mongol-branded goods to keep the trademark valid?

IMHO, this operations' implication are far reaching. If uncontested and confirmed through judicial course it can ultimately be applied to and affect anyone belonging to any organization (or corporation for that matter) the US gvrnmnt dislikes - regardless of legitimacy of its basic function. A bias toward one group that is reflected in the final judgment further contributes to the deterioration of every individuals personal rights protected under the FA. Even if you may find "outlaw" motorcycle clubs unsavory in of themselves we as a society must not allow our government to overstep its bounds in dealing with any organization (it) deemed morally unacceptable.
ie churches, civic groups, political organizations..

and wheres the media?

posted on Oct, 25 2008 @ 02:41 PM
Ok, so if they have the logo tattoed on their arm, do they have the right to cut off their arm? Do they take them to a plastic surgeon or artist to have it blurred?

I promise this, if this story is honest, biker clubs everywhere in the nation should be outraged. They should stand up against this bastardization of basic constitutional rights. The government is going way too far with this.

On the flipside, if they do go ahead with this and it does become a legal precedent, that means that the fight put up by the MPAA and RIAA against piracy, which is based largely on copyright infringement, is no longer valid. Artists and consumers could take this one all the way to court. I dont care that they are limiting this to governmental choice. Everytime something like this happens, it never takes long before the private sector finds a way to exploit the same.

I dont know the Mongols or its members, but my affiliations are my basis by which I base my support of their right to keep their legally copywritten trademark. Let their illegal activities be punished on its own merit based on legal fact, but punishment of the entire organization and supporters by taking away their symbol is akin to flag burning.

posted on Oct, 25 2008 @ 03:12 PM
Thank you for your post and your thoughts.
Yes, this post is absolutely legitimate and true!
I do not have an affiliation with the Mongols either, but I think the same way you do and am sure this can and WILL will effect us all on many levels.

Believe me....the places the links have taken me in regards to this event shows that these clubs are outraged, and the people posting on threads elsewhere run the gamut from professors to lawyers to bikers (as it well should)!

I was pretty sure this would generate some outrage from the members of this site.

[edit on 09.05.2008 by Anna Kronism]

[edit on 09.05.2008 by Anna Kronism]

posted on Oct, 25 2008 @ 07:03 PM
This judgement dictates to the entire free nation of America, they cannot wear clothing of their choice. Or, they will be arrested and striped of their property they have legally obtained. But hey, the supreme court did say we could legally wear the american flag as a diaper. This is Selma, Alabama all over again. Our soldiers are fighting and dieing to protect an entire nation against a regime just like this. Yes, individuals who break the law need to pay for their actions. But, not an entire nation of Americans.

posted on Nov, 9 2008 @ 06:37 PM
I hope that enough people read this and realize how wrong these agencies are. When they did their raids, they also took belongings, including any motorcycles that were found at these homes~even though there was legitimate paperwork proving legal ownership. Many of the homes raided have so much unecessary damage done by over-zealous officers trying to make their 15 minutes of fame~because of the videographers following. They had children lined up on the sidewalks, barefoot, terrified and at gunpoint. The neighbors of the homes raided were also terrified ~ as their properties too were used for sharp shooters to sit waiting. Not once has there been a report that anyone tried to resist or retaliate as their homes were turned upside down! and now, the government wants to take away one of the most important ammendments~the very reason many of men and women have died fighting for the freedoms of our country. Shame on them!

posted on Nov, 9 2008 @ 06:44 PM
OH that's just great,now not only will we have rabid meth dealers walking among us sizing us up we won't even know who's who,part of the plan all along ? I always think it's better to let them wear colors . This is the dumbest thing ever

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 11:52 AM
From the Mongols web page:
Be brotherly to one another and live in Brotherhood...makingthe whole great people, walk on the road of the true state and of the law for the sake of attaining honor and glory.
A man’s greatest pleasure is to defeat his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them that which they possess, to see those whom they cherish in tears, to ride their horses, to hold their wives and daughters in his arms."

They are enemies of honest citizens and we took from them what they possess

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 05:36 PM
I agree that banning the logo altogether goes against our basic freedoms here in the US, but on the other hand would you wear a jacket covered in Nazi Symbols? Knowing the horrors that were commited by some of the people that followed the Nazi beliefs I myself never would. I would not want others to think I approve of the actions that these men were most remembered for. Regardless of what we think there are only a handfull of reasons we wear what we wear anyway: 1- to cover ourselves and adhere to decency laws. 2- to show affiliation to a party or group 3- because we simply like the clothes for design/color/style/whatever. I am not siding with the government (God knows any of you that are farmiliar with me know I dont trust em as far as I could throw my motherinlaw) just trying to make sense of thier actions which I know is almost as difficult as making sense of women, but a guy can try,...cant he

posted on Feb, 4 2009 @ 05:15 PM
The Government has gone too far , on its way to becoming downright communistic. Back on Patriot Day (9/11) my nephew wore a T-Shirt to school with the American flag depicted on it, to show remembrance and support of his country America!! H e was sent home from school, cuz the teacher said it might offend some of the illegal alien students at the school. This violates our right to freedom of speech and self expression.


posted on May, 7 2009 @ 05:45 PM
Well have I have some real true information about this "Operation Black Rain" Topic, My house was one hit on that October 21, 2009 morning the ATF woke me my 18 year old son and my elderly parents with ak's pointed at our face and they took us all outside looking for a certain individual who had done nothing wrong they proceeded and keep this in mind no search warrant was ever showned to us they even brought the search dog, than they proceede to the back house where they found the individual they were looking for he had not done anything and they arrested him than they took my brothers motorcycle and items at his house, in which my brother had nothing to do with this supposably warrant that was never presented to us, So all this went to trial and my brothers friend was found not guilty and on the trial the ATF lied straight through there teeth saying they showed us a warrant. The ATF is all mad and they decided to file charges on my brother who is inocent in all this, I have written letters to the ATF and will continue to write to them this is a form of retaliation because they lost a case that my brother testified in and I will not stop till the ATF is revealed of what corrupted people they are the news is next.

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