Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The good 'ole Democrats are behind a new clamp-down on dissent

As you'll read in this fact sheet from the Center for Constitutional Rights, and watch on Nov. 20th 2007 Democracy Now!, the "Violent Radicalization and Home Grown Terrorism Act of 2007" or H.R. 1955 sponsored by Democrat Jane Harmon (CA), is a vaguely worded bill that seeks to "study" "extreme" views that it says lead to violent action. The process and definitions used in the measure, which passed the House 404 to 6 and soon will be considered in the Senate, could lead to greater criminalization of dissent.

Under the measure, civil disobedient acts such as groups of people riding bicycles on the street like the monthly Critical Mass bike rides or participation in peaceful protests could be considered terrorist acts under the wording of this bill.

As the CCR points out about sections of the bill:

“SEC. 899A (2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.”

What is an extremist belief system? term is left undefined and open to many interpretations, socialism, anarchism, communism, nationalism, liberalism, etc. that would serve to undermine expressions that don’t fit within the allowable areas of debate. A direct action led by any group that blocks traffic can be looked upon as being coercive.

“SEC. 899B. (3) The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.”

The focus on the internet is crucial, it can set up far more intrusive surveillance techniques, without warrants, and the potential to criminalize ideas and not actions can mean penalties for your stance rather than any criminal act.

“SEC. 899A. (4) IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE- The term `ideologically-based violence' means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual's political, religious, or social beliefs.”

What is force, is civil disobedience covered under that, if arrested at a protest rally and charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing governmental administration, or even assault does that now open you up to possible terrorist charges in the future?

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