Monthly Archives: May 2008

Senate Moves Forward On Thought Crimes Bill

Senate Moves Foward On Thought Crimes Bill

05-15-2008
Dissident VoiceTom Burghardt

In the wake of Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins’ (R-ME) alarmist report, “Violent Islamist Extremism, the Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorism Threat,” the Senate may be moving towards passage of the Orwellian “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007″ (S. 1959).
A companion piece of legislative flotsam to the House bill, “The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007″ (H.R. 1955), the Democrat-controlled Congress seems ready to jettison Constitutional guarantees of free speech and assembly. The bill passed the House by a 404-6 vote in October. Twenty-three congress members abstained, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers.
Under cover of studying “violent radicalization,” both bills would broaden the already-fluid definition of “terrorism” to encompass political activity and protest by dissident groups, effectively criminalizing civil disobedience and non-violent direct action by developing policies for “prevention, disruption and mitigation.”
Call it COINTELPRO 2.0.
Crafted by former House Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Jane Harman (D-CA), the legislation would create a domestic commission, a university-based “Center of Excellence” that would study and then, target domestic “radicalization” as a “threat” to the “homeland.”
David Price, a professor of anthropology at St. Martin’s University who studies state surveillance and the harassment of dissident scholars, told Jessica Lee of New York’s Indypendent newspaper last year that Harman’s bill “is a shot over the bow of environmental activists, animal-rights activists, anti-globalization activists and scholars who are working in the Middle East who have views that go against the administration.”
Evoking disquieting memories of political witchhunters ensconced in the House Committee on Un-American Activities and Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, the anti-radicalization commission would be empowered to “hold hearings and sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, receive such evidence, and administer such oaths as the Commission considers advisable to carry out its duties.”
With the power to subpoena and compel testimony from anyone, the commission would create the (intended) impression that a person forced to publicly testify before a congressionally mandated star chamber must be involved in “subversive” or illegal activities.
According to Naomi Spencer,
The commission would be composed of appointees, one chosen each respectively by Bush, Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff, the Senate and House majority and minority leaders, and by the ranking majority and minority members of the two congressional homeland security committees. Such a selection process would certainly result in an extremely right-wing panel.1
When one considers that elite consensus favoring “muscular” strategies for fighting “terror”–homegrown or otherwise–emerge during a period when the Bush regime has illegally wiretapped phone calls, sifted e-mails, spied on political and religious organizations, and conducted extensive data mining of financial and other personal records, it becomes clear that the corporate police state is shifting into high-gear in a desperate move to criminalize ideological “thought crimes.”
The intent of the proposed legislation, however, goes far beyond an academic exercise. According to Jessica Lee, Harman stated that “the National Commission [will] propose to both Congress and [Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael] Chertoff initiatives to intercede before radicalized individuals turn violent.”
In the context of the post-Constitutional “New Normal” paradigm, Harman and her acolytes evoke images of Philip K. Dick’s Department of Precrime in his dystopian novella, The Minority Report. Only here, in the bizarro world of outsourced “homeland security,” mutant precogs are replaced by high-end–and taxpayer funded–data-miners, psychological profilers and social network analysts in the employ of dodgy security firms linked to America’s military-intelligence complex.
The legislation specifically singles out the Internet as a “weapon” for domestic radicalization. When she introduced her bill to the Senate last November, Harman remarked, “There can be no doubt: the Internet is increasingly being used as a tool to reach and radicalize Americans and legal residents.”
Equating America’s web-surfacing habits with the threat of ideological infection by Islamist pod-people, Harman avers that the Internet allows Americans “to become indoctrinated by extremists and to learn how to kill their neighbors … from the comfort of their own living rooms.”
(Britney, Paris, better move over… there’s a new truck-bombing instructional posted over on YouTube! OMG!)
Harman’s ludicrous pronouncement is considerably ramped-up by the Lieberman and Collins report, based on–what else– “expert testimony” during hearings held by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
Lieberman and Collins claim that,
…the report assesses the federal government’s response to the spread of the violent Islamist message on the Internet and concludes that there is no cohesive and comprehensive outreach and communications strategy in place to confront this threat. The report does not discuss relevant classified tools and tactics employed by the law enforcement and intelligence communities, but does recognize that there is no plan to harness all possible resources including adopting new laws, encouraging and supporting law enforcement and the intelligence community at the local, state, and federal levels, and more aggressively implementing an outreach and counter-messaging campaign on the Internet and elsewhere.
In other words, “independent” Democrat Lieberman and “maverick Republican” Collins are proposing new “tools” for regulating the Internet through a counter-propaganda campaign that would create “message force multipliers” that “support law enforcement” initiatives to crush the radical “threat.”
By targeting the Internet, House and Senate thought police claim that “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.”
But as the American Civil Liberties Union wrote last week,
Experience has demonstrated that in the event of a terrorist attack, the results of this report will likely be used to recommend the use of racial, ethnic and religious profiling. This will only heighten, rather than decrease, the spread of extremist violence. As an organization dedicated to the principles of freedom of speech, we cannot in good conscience support this report or any measure that might lead to censorship and persecution based solely on one’s personal beliefs.
The ACLU is concerned that identifying the Internet as a tool for terrorists will lead to censorship and regulated speech — especially since the Internet has become an essential communications and research tool for everyone. Indeed, some policy makers have advocated shutting down objectionable websites in violation of the First Amendment. It is an unworkable solution.2
Precisely. But wait, there’s more! Citing the New York City Police Department (NYPD) as “experts” in the area of “homegrown radicalism,” the report avers:
After more than two years of research into homegrown terrorism cases in the United States and around the world, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) developed a model to explain how this core enlistment message, and the “jihadi-Salafi” ideology that provides the foundation for that message, drive the domestic radicalization process — transforming “unremarkable people” into terrorists.
Perhaps Lieberman and Collins should have consulted the family of Sean Bell as to the NYPD’s “expertise” on analogous crime “modeling.” Murdered by trigger-happy cops after a bachelor party the morning of his wedding, Bell’s life was snuffed-out after he and his friends were shot some 50 times. The cops–surprise!–were recently found “not guilty” on all counts by a New York judge.
We can dismiss senatorial allusions to NYPD’s acumen in the area of “counterterrorist analysis” with the contempt it deserves. But let’s be clear on one thing: the sole purpose of the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act” is to target the American people’s constitutionally-protected right to say No.
If the U.S. House and Senate care to examine the “root causes” of terrorism today, they need look no further than the on-going U.S. slaughter in Iraq–a “preemptive” war of choice to which they infamously gave their consent with eyes wide open.

Chicago Citizens Reject Terror Drill Fearmongering

Chicago Citizens Reject Terror Drill Fearmongering

Published on Thursday, May 15, 2008.

Source: Prison Planet – Paul Joseph Watson

The latest opportunity for authorities to grandstand, fearmonger and practice processing citizens through a de facto internment camp fell flat on its face yesterday after just 350 out of an expected 4,000 turned up to participate in a mock terror drill at Chicago’s Sears Centre Arena.
“An elaborate public-health drill Tuesday that organizers had hoped would use thousands of volunteers to help test the Chicago area’s response to a possible bioterrorism attack instead drew fewer than 350 people—and one beleaguered Cook County Board president,” reports the Chicago Tribune.
“The exercise, estimated to cost $80,000, was mandated and funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which has called for health departments nationwide to coordinate drills since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.”
Authorities practiced processing citizens through the de facto internment camp and giving them mandatory pharmaceutical products.
Perhaps the people of Chicago’s lack of enthusiasm for the drill can be explained by them waking up to the fact that these exercises are nothing more than an excuse for fat enforcers to practice shoving people around in internment camps while the local TV news shows images of people being rounded up and processed by men with big guns – all part of the conditioning for an attack we are constantly assured is “inevitable”.
Or maybe it was because the only “terrorists” found in Chicago were a group out of Miami that supposedly planned to “wage a full ground war against the United States” and bomb the Sears Tower, but who actually turned out to be “a bunch of dipshits living in a warehouse,” as The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart described them.

As in every other case we have studied, the men turned out to be a semi-retarded street gang that were provocateured by FBI agents into spewing violent rhetoric yet barely had the capability to make a cheese sandwich, never mind bring down the tallest building in America. What they were interested in was a promise of $50,000 in cash from the government informants who were sent in to radicalize them and create a phony victory for Bush’s war on terror.
As the Miami New Times newspaper described it, the “ragtag group couldn’t wage a ground war on a jar of peppercorns.” The whole case descended into a farce as judges repeatedly declared a mistrial while the government tried to save face.
The fact that there are no real terrorists that are not government-run is a moot point for government minions that get off on pathetic power trips and bossing people around under the pretext that they are saving America from the deadly terrorists.
As is the fact that the only bio-terror attacks against U.S. citizens in America –the infamous biological tests in U.S. cities from San Francisco to New York which killed Americans from the 40’s to the 60’s, Project SHAD, which exposed uninformed and unwilling US military personnel and others to deadly bio-weapons during the Cold War, and the 2001 anthrax attacks which led back to Fort Detrick Maryland, were run by the U.S. military-industrial complex itself.
In addition, according to the Miami Herald, “The United States held open-air biological and chemical weapons tests in at least four states – Alaska, Hawaii, Maryland and Florida – during the 1960s,” during which they “used artillery shells and bombs filled with the nerve agents sarin and VX,” according to Pentagon documents.
Given that history, preparing for a bio-attack on behalf of “terrorists,” like our warehouse dipshit friends, seems like a waste of time when the real threat has always been from the inside.

College student has rights destroyed over a story

The Knox Report

From the Firearms Coalition

The Pen is Mightier…
and More Dangerous
By Jeff Knox
(May 6, 2008)

When Steven Barber turned in his midterm creative writing assignment at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVA-Wise), he was hoping for a good grade to complement his 3.9 grade point average. Instead, Barber was expelled from school, locked in a mental institution for three days, and had his concealed carry permit revoked.

Barber’s fictional story was a first person narrative of a troubled college student consumed by depression, paranoia, drug addiction, and alcoholism as he struggles with one of tragedy’s recurrent themes, “To be or not to be.” The character progresses through fear, anger, and despair; sleeping with a gun under his pillow after the Virginia Tech massacre, contemplating the murder of an unpleasant professor, and finally deciding on suicide. The entire story is just contemplation – no characters, real or fictional were harmed in the telling of the story – and Barber himself is nothing like the character he described. But Barber’s professor, Christopher Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and some of the class members were uncomfortable with the story. No one complained about another student’s paper which included violent, bloody murder, but that carnage was carried out with a knife while Barber’s character had a gun. Perhaps someone in the class knew that Barber owned guns and feared that the character in the story represented its author’s secret desires. Whatever their motivation, their concerns were shared with the college administration who decided to involve the campus police. Within 24 hours of sharing his writing project, Barber was confronted by campus police who questioned him about his frame of mind, searched his person and his room, and asked him about weapons. Barber, believing he had Virginia law on his side, admitted that he did have three pistols locked in his car whereupon the police searched the car and confiscated the guns.
A Navy veteran and Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit holder, Barber cooperated with the police and administration through all of the searches and questions even when they took him into custody and transported him to a mental hospital for three days of evaluation. After three days of questions, group therapy, tests, and more questions, Barber was given a clean bill of health and released on his own recognizance. Meanwhile his Concealed Weapons Permit had been revoked and he was expelled from the university.
Eventually the guns were turned over to Barber’s father, but his appeal of the expulsion was denied and even though the prosecutor who rushed through an emergency revocation of the concealed carry permit admits that it was based on faulty information, Barber has not been able to get it reinstated. The prosecutor says that he based his request for the permit revocation on information from the campus police stating that Barber had been “involuntarily committed” when in fact he had simply been detained for observation and evaluation. Such a detention is not lawful grounds for the revocation of a permit, especially when the evaluation results in a clean bill of health. When questioned about the error, the prosecutor laid the blame on the campus police for using the wrong terminology, but went on to say that he intended to find some other mechanism to justify his actions and insure that Barber’s permit is not restored.
There is no question that Barber violated school policy by having firearms in his locked car on campus, but he broke no laws. There is some disagreement about a college or university’s right to prohibit firearms, particularly in locked cars. Virginia law forbids any government agency or entity from restricting firearms – even within the State Capitol – but makes an exception for colleges and universities to apply restrictions to staff and students. Barber contends that those restrictions can not extend to a locked car on campus whether it belongs to a student or not, but so far that contention has fallen on deaf ears. Barber would like to hire an attorney to challenge the school’s position, regain admission to the university, and recoup his lost credit hours. He also needs an attorney to help him get his carry permit back, but the cost involved for these endeavors is beyond Barber’s ability to manage and no offer of assistance has been forthcoming from any of the organizations with the wherewithal to provide it.
At this point Barber is working to pay off the unexpectedly due student loans for the education that was unexpectedly preempted and considering reenlisting in the Navy to help get his life back on track. He is hopeful that he will eventually be able to recover his carry permit, but has all but given up hope of forcing the school to reinstate him. It is simply tragic that this young man’s future has been derailed all because he wrote a story that was just a little too compelling for an education system which believes tools instigate actions rather than the other way around.

Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety is hereby granted provided this credit is included. Text is available at http://www.FirearmsCoalition.org. To receive The Firearms Coalition’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Hard Corps Report, write to PO Box 3313, Manassas, VA 20108.
©Copyright 2008 Neal Knox Associates