DISABLED VET CRIMINALIZED FOR DISTRIBUTING CHANGE-LINKS AT VA MEDICAL CENTER
by Michael Novick, for Change Links
Harry Tischler is a disabled veteran who distributes Change Links at the Veterans Administration health care center in Westwood, where he receives services. He has reported the harassment and intimidation he has been met with by VA staff and security in the April issue of Change Links, (still on-line at http://change-links.org/the-events-at-the-west-los-angeles-va-on-february-27/) and in a follow-up article which appeared on our website last month (http://change-links.org/civil-liberties-denied-at-the-west-los-angeles-va/). (In the interim, a Change Links crew member accompanied Harry to the VA on one occasion.)
Now, Harry reports, he has received a summons to face charges in federal court: “On May 16th I received a “United States Court – Notice To Appear” [telling me to be in court] on June 7, 8:30 am, at the “Roybal Fed. Bldg./Crthouse, Courtroom 341, 3rd Floor, 255 E. Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.”
When, accompanying Harry to the VA, I challenged a clinic coordinator who ordered him to leave and confiscated copies of Change Links he had left with people, that copies of other non-governmental publications were widely available at the VA, including copies of Pet Press magazine on a rack in her clinic along with VA health tips and paperwork, she replied, “I was only told to call the police about him.” This is clearly politically-motivated selective prosecution.
Staffers with Change Links have been trying to arrange legal representation for Harry to fight this violation of freedom of speech and of the press, as guaranteed under the 1st Amendment. If you are a lawyer, or know of one who can represent Harry Tischler in federal court June 7, to defend freedom of speech and the press, please contact Change Links ASAP. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.