Thursday, December 13, 2007

Chertoff setting the stage for HR 1955 to officially carry out its purpose….to label bloggers and protesters terrorists

Chertoff says an attack will happen soon and it will be “homegrown”, conveniently coinciding with the soon-to-be-passed HR 1955, which can target Internet bloggers as terrorists

by Larry Simons
December 13, 2007

Speak your mind now before it’s too late. Before you can be officially labeled a “terrorist” by Homeland Security for simply protesting the war or expressing your anger at the government or the Bush administration. Works are under way now in Washington to pass HR 1955, or the Violent Radicalization & Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007.

It has already been passed in the House by a vote of 404-6. SIX! SIX people opposed this bill! This doesn’t just stab America in the back. This stabs it, throws it in the hole in the ground and buries it forever. This is a betrayal to the American people of gargantuan proportions. This bill goes to the Senate soon. Not soon enough for Michael Chertoff, who announced today that he feels an attack will happen soon in this country. Not by outsiders…oh no, but by people right here in this country. Hence, homegrown. Of course, by his admittance, this information is not based on any evidence predicting an attack. I guess he is having another “gut feeling” like he said he had this summer about an imminent attack. I am guessing his “gut” feeling is that the Senate will pass HR 1955 soon, and then he will be able to target a wide variety of people. Bloggers, war protesters, 9-11 truthers and people angry with the government.

The bill was submitted in April by Democrat Jane Harman who has defended the bill despite critics, such as Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, who say the bill is a blatant violation of the First Amendment. Harman says, “HR 1955 is not about interfering with speech or belief. The hearing record makes that abundantly clear. Radical speech, as I have said repeatedly, is protected under our Constitution.” What she fails to mention is that this bill does not give a definition to the word “radical”. It can mean whatever the government says it means. If believing that 9-11 was an inside job is interpreted as “radical”, then quite simply, under this bill, you are a terrorist.

Chertoff defines a “homegrown” attack as “a single person or small group of people living in the United States who were "recruited" on the Internet and had pledged allegiance to al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden”. “Well, as long as I don’t pledge allegiance to bin Laden or al Qaeda, I’m OK” one might ponder. Problem is, the bill does not mention any specific groups in its language. Are we to believe that Chertoff expects us to believe that if someone who planned an attack on the Internet but was not connected with al Qaeda or bin Laden, they’d be off the hook?

Chertoff knows damned well…all TOO well, in fact, of the enormous “terrorist” pool he has to choose from. Bloggers, 9-11 truthers, war protesters, Muslims, authors, activists...the list goes on and on. Hell, he may even include you in the list of potential terrorists if you are business partners with the bin Laden’s. Oh, but wait, that means he would have to arrest George Bush and call HIM a terrorist. Ok, I guess business partners of the bin Laden’s are exempt from prosecution.

Naturally, the sheep of America will deduct that this very story I’m writing is a love letter to the terrorists of the world. These are the same sheep that support the un-Constitutional, unauthorized war in Iraq and want to bomb Iran. These people have no clue what the Constitution says, and more frightening do not care what it says. While George Orwell’s ghost looks ominously over us with a big “told you so” grin, the pens of fascism are getting ready to erase the Constitution, when the Senate signs this bill into law.

“They hate us for our freedoms”, Bush has said quite often to us, the American people, in reference to the terrorists hating us. I’ve come to realize that what Bush was referring to when he said “they” was the Neo-con, Constitution-haters inside this country. Why would terrorists hate US for OUR freedoms? They seem to have more freedom than we do these days.

On December 5, Ron Paul gave an excellent speech before the US House of Representatives concerning HR 1955. Here is that speech:

I regret that I was unavoidably out of town on October 23, 2007, when a vote was taken on HR 1955, the Violent Radicalization & Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act. Had I been able to vote, I would have voted against this misguided and dangerous piece of legislation. This legislation focuses the weight of the US government inward toward its own citizens under the guise of protecting us against "violent radicalization."

I would like to note that this legislation was brought to the floor for a vote under suspension of regular order. These so-called "suspension" bills are meant to be non-controversial, thereby negating the need for the more complete and open debate allowed under regular order. It is difficult for me to believe that none of my colleagues in Congress view HR 1955, with its troubling civil liberties implications, as "non-controversial."

There are many causes for concern in HR 1955. The legislation specifically singles out the Internet for "facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process" in the United States. Such language may well be the first step toward US government regulation of what we are allowed to access on the Internet. Are we, for our own good, to be subjected to the kind of governmental control of the Internet that we see in unfree societies? This bill certainly sets us on that course.

This seems to be an unwise and dangerous solution in search of a real problem. Previous acts of ideologically-motivated violence, though rare, have been resolved successfully using law enforcement techniques, existing laws against violence, and our court system. Even if there were a surge of "violent radicalization" – a claim for which there is no evidence – there is no reason to believe that our criminal justice system is so flawed and weak as to be incapable of trying and punishing those who perpetrate violent acts.

This legislation will set up a new government bureaucracy to monitor and further study the as-yet undemonstrated pressing problem of homegrown terrorism and radicalization. It will no doubt prove to be another bureaucracy that artificially inflates problems so as to guarantee its future existence and funding. But it may do so at great further expense to our civil liberties. What disturbs me most about this legislation is that it leaves the door wide open for the broadest definition of what constitutes "radicalization." Could otherwise nonviolent anti-tax, antiwar, or anti-abortion groups fall under the watchful eye of this new government commission? Assurances otherwise in this legislation are unconvincing.

In addition, this legislation will create a Department of Homeland Security-established university-based body to further study radicalization and to "contribute to the establishment of training, written materials, information, analytical assistance and professional resources to aid in combating violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism." I wonder whether this is really a legitimate role for institutes of higher learning in a free society.

Legislation such as this demands heavy-handed governmental action against American citizens where no crime has been committed. It is yet another attack on our Constitutionally- protected civil liberties. It is my sincere hope that we will reject such approaches to security, which will fail at their stated goal at a great cost to our way of life.

This bill is not anti-terrorism. It’s anti-Constitution. It’s anti-freedom. It's anti-American and if we don’t elect people like Ron Paul to run this country, our Constitution will be a distant memory…very soon.

No comments: