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Stop the Thought Crimes Act


Stop the Thought Crimes Act

Palash Biswas

Contact: Palash C Biswas, C/O Mrs Arati Roy, Gosto Kanan, Sodepur, Kolkata- 700110, India. Phone: 91-033-25659551
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Stop the Thought Crimes Act


Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:10 pm (PST)
http://www.govtrack .us/congress/ bill.xpd? bill=s110- 1959
S. 1959: Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007

A bill to establish the National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism, and for other purposes. Senate in session this Friday.

Use the US Capitol Switchboard toll-free numbers to call your two US Senators.

1-877-851-6437
1-800-833-6354
1-888-355-3588
1-866-220-0044
1-866-808-0065
1-877-762-8762
1-866-340-9281
1-800-862-5530

Original article
Bringing the War on Terrorism Home: Congress Considers How to
`Disrupt' Radical Movements
author: Jessica Lee
Under the guise of a bill that calls for the study of "homegrown
terrorism," Congress is apparently trying to broaden the definition of
terrorism to encompass both First Amendment political activity and
traditional forms of protest such as nonviolent civil disobedience,
according to civil liberties advocates, scholars and historians.
Bringing the War on Terrorism Home: Congress Considers How to
'Disrupt' Radical Movements in the United States
From the November 21, 2007 issue | Posted in National |

By Jessica Lee

Under the guise of a bill that calls for the study of "homegrown
terrorism," Congress is apparently trying to broaden the definition of
terrorism to encompass both First Amendment political activity and
traditional forms of protest such as nonviolent civil disobedience,
according to civil liberties advocates, scholars and historians.

The proposed law, The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism
Prevention Act of 2007 (H.R. 1955), was passed by the House of
Representative in a 404-6 vote Oct. 23. (The Senate is currently
considering a companion bill, S. 1959.) The act would establish a
"National Commission on the prevention of violent radicalization and
ideologically based violence" and a university-based "Center for
Excellence" to "examine and report upon the facts and causes of
violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism and ideologically based
violence in the United States" in order to develop policy for
"prevention, disruption and mitigation."

Many observers fear that the proposed law will be used against
U.S.-based groups engaged in legal but unpopular political activism,
ranging from political Islamists to animal-rights and environmental
campaigners to radical right-wing organizations. There is concern,
too, that the bill will undermine academic integrity and is the latest
salvo in a decade-long government grab for power at the expense of
civil liberties.

David Price, a professor of anthropology at St. Martin's University
who studies government surveillance and harassment of dissident
scholars, says the 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. " Price says some right-wing outfits such
as gun clubs are also threatened because "[they] would be looked at
with suspicion under the bill."

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), which has been
organizing against post-Sept. 11 legislative attacks on First
Amendment rights, is critical of the bill. "When you first look at
this bill, it might seem harmless because it is about the development
of a commission to do a study," explained Hope Marston, a regional
organizer with BORDC.

"However, when you realize the focus of the study is 'homegrown
terrorism,' it raises red flags," Marston said. "When you consider
that the government has wiretapped our phone calls and emails, spied
on religious and political groups and has done extensive data mining
of our daily records, it is worrisome of what might be done with the
study. I am concerned that there appears to be an inclination to study
religious and political groups to ultimately try to find subversion.
This would violate our First Amendment rights to free speech and
freedoms of religion and association. "

One pressing concern is definitions contained in the bill. For
example, "violent radicalization" is defined as "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."

Alejandro Queral, executive director of the Northwest Constitutional
Rights Center, asks, "What is an extremist belief system? Who defines
this? These are broad definitions that encompass so much. ... It is
criminalizing thought and ideology."

For her part, Marston takes issue with the definition of homegrown
terrorism. "It is about the 'use, planned use, or threatened use, of
force or violence to intimidate or coerce the government.' This is
often the language that refers to political activity."

Congressional sponsors of the bill claim it is limited in scope.

"Though not a silver bullet, the legislation will help the nation
develop a better understanding of the forces that lead to homegrown
terrorism, and the steps we can take to stop it," said Rep. Jane
Harman (D-Calif.) Oct. 23, who co-authored the bill. "Free speech,
espousing even very radical beliefs, is protected by our Constitution
— but violent behavior is not."

The bill's purpose goes beyond academic inquiry, however. In a press
release dated Nov. 6, Harman stated: "the National Commission [will]
propose to both Congress and [Department of Homeland Security
Secretary Michael] Chertoff initiatives to intercede before
radicalized individuals turn violent." (Harman's office refused three
separate requests by The Indypendent for comment.)

Some assert this would allow law enforcement agencies to target
radicals in general. Price says, "This bill is trying to bridge the
gap between those with radical dissenting views and those who engage
in violent acts. It's a form of prior restraint."

Price explains how this may work, citing an example in his home town
of Olympia, Wash., where a peaceful blockade took place in early
November at the Port of Olympia to prevent the shipment of war
materials between the United States and Iraq. He says, "It will be
these types of things that will start getting defined as terrorism,
including Quakers and indigenous rights' campaigns."

Kamau Franklin, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights
(CCR), is also concerned at the targeting of peaceful protests. He
says the "Commission' s broad mandate can lead to the ability to turn
civil disobedience, a form of protest that is centuries old, into a
terrorist act." It's possible, he says, "that someone who would have
been charged with disorderly conduct or obstruction of governmental
administration may soon be charged with a federal terrorist statute."

"My biggest fear is that they [the commission] will call for some new
criminal penalties and federal crimes," says Franklin. "Activists are
nervous about how the broad definitions could be used for
criminalizing civil disobedience and squashing the momentum of the left."

The bill provides a list of Congressional findings, including a
failure to understand the development and promotion of "violent
radicalization, homegrown terrorism and ideologically based violence,"
which is argued to pose a threat to domestic security. The Internet
was highlighted as a tool in "providing access to broad and constant
streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens."

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill would cost $22
million over four years.

THE THREAT (OR LACK THEREOF)

Although the legislation is vague, a chief target appears to be
Islamic militants living in the United States. Harman, in her Nov. 6
press release, says the bill is needed to combat violent
radicalization and cites four cases as examples of such — all of them
involving Muslim Americans allegedly engaged in terrorist activity.
The bill's language also states that proposed appointees to the
National Commission should have "expertise and experience" in a long
list of disciplines such as "world religions." But the only religion
named is Islam.

The bill appears to be influenced by the government-affiliat ed RAND
Corporation, whose website includes a letter from Harman noting, "RAND
... and I have worked closely for many years." Harman, who chairs the
House Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism
Risk Assessment, introduced H.R. 1955 on April 19, 2007.

Two weeks prior to this, Brian Michael Jenkins of RAND delivered
testimony on "Jihadist Radicalization and Recruitment" to Harman's
subcommittee. Jenkins claimed "radicalization and recruiting are
taking place in the United States," and listed a number of
high-profile cases in which Muslim Americans have been arrested on
terrorism-related charges.

In his testimony, Jenkins admitted convictions in these cases — in
Lackawanna, N.Y., Northern Virginia, New York City, Portland, Ore.,
and elsewhere — relied on charges being "interpreted broadly" by the
courts.

There has been significant criticism of how government officials have
hyped many of these cases as mass terror attacks thwarted in the nick
of time despite a lack of any actual plans or means to commit a
violent act on the part of the defendants. It's also been noted that
in numerous instances the government employed informants who goaded
the suspects into committing the illegal acts for which they were
arrested.

In June, Jenkins was back before Harman's subcommittee discussing the
role of the National Commission. According to the Congressional
Quarterly website, Jenkins said, "[Homegrown terrorism] is the
principal threat that we face as a country and it will likely be the
principal threat that we face for decades." The website stated,
"Unless a way of intervening in the radicalization process can be
found, 'we are condemned to stepping on cockroaches one at a time,' he
added."

At the end of his second round of testimony, Jenkins undercut the
claims that there is any real danger requiring the creation of the
National Commission and Center for Excellence. He said, "Judging by
the terrorist conspiracies uncovered since 9/11, violent
radicalization has yielded very few recruits. Indeed, the level of
terrorist activities in the United States was much higher in the 1970s
that it is today." (Repeated inquiries by The Indypendent to the RAND
Corporation to interview Jenkins or other staff analysts were turned
down by the media relations department, which claimed they were all
unavailable for the rest of the year.)

This has the Arab-American community worried. "When you look at the
creation of the Commission, it is scary, especially when people [on
the national commission] will be appointed by the White House," said
Kareem Shora, executive director of the American-Arab
Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). He pointed to the recess
appointment, despite widespread criticism, of Daniel Pipes to the U.S.
Institute of Peace in 2003, who, Shora said, "propagated hate against
Arabs."

Shora is worried H.R. 1955 will unfairly target Muslims, even though
he says they have been largely helpful in terrorist investigations
since Sept. 11. Despite the assistance, he says civil rights abuses
continue to occur, including "voluntary interviews," the Absconder
Apprehension Initiative and the Special Registration Program.

MAPPING MUSLIMS

The passage of the H.R. 1955 coincided with a furor over the Los
Angeles Police Department's plan to "map" Muslim communities in the
city. Appearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security
on Oct. 30, Michael Downing, the assistant commanding officer of
LAPD's Counter-terrorism/ Criminal Intelligence Bureau, said the
project "will lay out the geographic locations of the many different
Muslim population groups around Los Angeles [and] take a deeper look
at their history, demographics, language, culture, ethnic breakdown,
socio-economic status and social interactions. "

Shora says, "Looking at a community based on religious affiliation
alone ... is unconstitutional. The ADC added in a press release that
singling "out individuals for investigation, surveillance, and data
collection based solely on religion ... would violate equal protection
and burden the free exercise of religion."

Following the outcry, the LAPD announced Nov. 15 that it was dropping
the mapping plan. Opposition came from many quarters, including
scholars, because the LAPD envisioned using academics in the mapping
program. It reportedly intended "to have the data assembled by the
University of Southern California's Center for Risk and Economic
Analysis." Recruiting academics for counterterrorism efforts is also
at the heart of H.R. 1955, which proposes a university-based Center of
Excellence.

Roberto Gonzalez, an anthropologist who co-authored a recent article
with David Price criticizing the Pentagon's use of scholars in the
Iraq and Afghanistan wars, says the prospect of creating a Center "is
a bad idea because it is likely to compromise the intellectual
integrity of the academy." H.R. 1955 advocates for the use of
"cultural anthropologists, " which concerns Price that they would "be
doing secretive work for the state."

Chip Berlet, senior analyst at the Boston-based Political Research
Associates, argues the government is trying to establish a Center to
get around legal prohibitions on gathering data specifically based on
race and religion. He explains that there is already extensive
research being done on the roots of political violence by scores of
academics around the country but many of their findings do not fit
into the government's agenda. To Berlet, the proposed Center is
nothing more than "a slush fund for politically connected hacks."

TARGET 'ANTI-GLOBALISTS'

Islamic militants are not the only threat on the government's radar.

"A chief problem is radical forms of Islam, but we're not only
studying radical Islam," Harman told In These Times, a Chicago-based
newsmagazine. "We're studying the phenomenon of people with radical
beliefs who turn into people who would use violence."

In 2004, the FBI named "eco-terrorism, " a broad term that includes
property destruction, the top domestic threat. The July 2007 National
Intelligence Estimate found that "special interest groups" were also
likely to cause small-scale violent attacks.

These "special interest groups" were outlined in a 2005 RAND report,
"Trends in Terrorism." One chapter was devoted to a non-Muslim
"homegrown terrorist" threat — anti-globalists. "Anti-globalists
directly challenge the intrinsic qualities of capitalism, charging
that in the insatiable quest for growth and profit, the philosophy is
serving to destroy the world's ecology, indigenous cultures and
individual welfare," stated the report. The report identifies
rightwing movements such as neo-Nazis as threats and states there
should be a focus on anarchist and radical environmental groups,
citing anarchists involved in civil disobedience during the 2004
National Republican Contention in New York City and millions of
dollars in property damage by the Earth Liberation Front in the last
decade.

A WAR OF WORDS — A LOOK AT VIOLENCE

Observers say using vaguely defined terms is part of a historical
pattern of sweeping government repression that includes the post-
World War II "Red Scare" and the FBI's counter-intellegenc e program,
nicknamed Cointelpro. They are also concerned that H.R. 1955 will
foster a legislative momentum on criminalizing a broad range of
dissident voices.

Jules Boykoff, an assistant professor of politics and government at
Pacific University and author of Beyond Bullets: The Suppression of
Dissent in the United States, said he was alarmed that "violence" was
not defined. He noted the definition of "ideologically based violence"
is the "means to 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."

"It is a circular definition, what does that mean?" asked Boykoff,
while reading the bill aloud. "What does violence mean? We do not need
laws like this because we already have plenty of laws on the books
that make it a crime to blow up or set fire to buildings. It is called
arson."

Boykoff commented that the bill used the terms "extremism" and
"radicalism" interchangeably. "The word 'radical' shares the
etymological root to the word 'radish,' which means to get to the root
of the problem. So, if the government wants to get at the actual root
of terrorism, then let's really talk about it. We need to talk about
the economic roots, the vast inequalities in wealth between the rich
and poor." Boykoff says historically the government has used "radical"
as a way of dismissing groups as "extremists, " however, and uses the
two words as synonyms.

Hope Marston of the BORDC is nervous about the definition of homegrown
terrorism, which is "about the 'use, planned use, or threatened use,
of force or violence' to intimidate or coerce the government." She
says, "The definition does not make clear what force is."

Bron Taylor, a professor at University of Florida who studies radical
religion and environmental movements, questioned the government's
interpretation of violence. He spent years as an ethnographic
researcher exploring the propensity of individuals within the radical
environmental movement to turn to violence, a word he says defines as
harm to sentient beings, not property destruction.

"There are all sorts of things that activists do that involve little
or no risk of hurting people, but their actions get labeled as
violent, or even worse, as acts of terrorism," Taylor said. "For
example, if 10 activists push themselves into a congressperson' s
regional office, make noise, pull out files and make a scene, is that
an act of terrorism? It is quite possible that the act could scare the
hell out of the secretary and office workers because they don't know
these people or what they intend to do? But is that terrorism? Some
people would like to frame it that way."

"In any political dispute, whoever succeeds in defining the terms is
likely to prevail in the debate," Taylor said. "That is why scholars
and the media need to be scrupulous in the ways they use and define
terms deployed by the partisans in these disputes. They should strive
to come up with terms that are as descriptive, accurate and as neutral
as possible."

THE ROLE OF THE COMMISSION

The legislation authorizes a 10-member National Commission (the Senate
bill calls for 12 members) appointed by the President, the secretary
of homeland security, congressional leaders and the chairpersons of
both the Senate and House committees on Homeland Security and
Governmental Affairs.

After convening, the Commission is to submit reports at six-month
intervals for 18 months to the President and Congress, stating its
findings, conclusions, and legislative recommendations "for immediate
and long-term countermeasures ... to prevent violent radicalization,
homegrown terrorism and ideologically based violence."

Kamau Franklin of CCR says he finds the timing of the legislation
disturbing coming a year before the presidential elections and about
eight months prior to the Democratic and Republication National
Conventions — both which of have increasingly been the site of
large-scale protests and civil disobedience.

More disturbing are the similarities to Cointelpro, which was
investigated by a U.S. Senate select committee on intelligence
activities (commonly known as the Church Committee), which convened in
1975. The Church Committee found that from 1956 to 1971, "the Bureau
conducted a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at
preventing the exercise of First Amendment rights of speech and
association, on the theory that preventing the growth of dangerous
groups and the propagation of dangerous ideas would protect the
national security and deter violence."

Hope Marston says, "In the 1970s when we learned of the violation in
rights that the government had been doing for 40 years, there was
public outrage. Because these erosions of the Bill of Rights have
happened during 'the war on terror,' we aren't supposed to protest
anything the government does because they are 'protecting us.' That
feeling has made the government's actions more dangerous."

MONEY FOR COPS, REPRESSION FOR FREE

The Senate version of the bill finds that the domestic threats "cannot
be easily prevented through traditional Federal intelligence or law
enforcement efforts, and requires the incorporation of State and local
solutions."

"That's about joint terrorism task force making," Franklin said. "It's
a way to create a federal slush fund so local police departments can
get their hands on it. This happened in the 1960s."

Marston agreed. "This sounds like part of the same continuum we've
experienced in the last seven years, which is the effort to deputize
local law enforcement to work with the FBI and national agencies
without local accountability, as we have seen with the establishment
of joint-terrorism task forces across the country," Marston said. "On
9/11, there were only a few joint-terrorism task forces, now there are
more than 100 in existence. ... When you talk about working with local
law enforcement to possibly spy on groups and individuals to try to
find the so-called 'needle in the haystack,' this definitely poses a
threat to local autonomy."

Although Cointelpro was partially dismantled in the 1970s and the
FBI's power to conduct domestic intelligence curbed, many safeguards
have been overturned in the last 30 years, according to David Cole and
Jim Dempsey, authors of Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing
Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security. Legislation such as
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 and the 2001
USA Patriot Act "radically transformed the landscape of government
power, and did so in ways that virtually guarantee repetition of some
of law enforcement' s worst abuses of the past," the authors wrote.

In the last few years, many states have passed versions of the Patriot
Act, while Congress has placed further checks on civil liberties with
the Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act (2006), the Animal
Enterprise Terrorism Act (2006) and the Protect America Now Act
(2007), which amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of
1978 and legalized the Bush administration' s warrantless wiretapping
program.

THE BOGUS CENTER OF EXCELLENCE

H.R. 1955 gives Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael
Chertoff the power to establish a "Center of Excellence," a
university-based research program to "bring together leading experts
and researchers to conduct multidisciplinary research and education
for homeland security solutions." The Department currently has eight
Centers at academic institutions across the country, strengthening
what many see as a growing military-security- academic complex.

Rep. Harman, in an Oct. 23 press release, stated that, the Center
would "examine the social, criminal, political, psychological and
economic roots of domestic terrorism."

"I do not have a lot of concerns with this legislation, " said Jim
Dempsey, policy director at the Center for Democracy and Technology.
"Violent radicalization is an issue that deserves to be studied and
understood. I am more comfortable with this bill's approach, which is
to treat the issue as a matter for broad study using largely open
sources, than I would be with an approach that directed the FBI, DHS
or the CIA to examine the issue," Dempsey said. Dempsey was the
assistant counsel to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and
Constitutional Rights from 1985-1994, the former Deputy Director for
the Center for National Security Studies and co-authored with David
Cole, Terrorism and the Constitution.

"I do have some concern that the Commission and the Center will focus
on Muslims and will contribute to a climate of apprehension, " Dempsey
continued. "But I still think the bill is probably a good idea, if its
concepts are in a true spirit of inquiry."

Taylor agrees, but is leery that Washington politicians will hold
power over commission and Center. "As an academic, I like the idea of
creating Centers of Excellence in general because they bring together
excellent scholars," Taylor said. "But this is not something that the
government should have a great deal of control over, because it is so
ideologically charged. We've had plenty of examples of
administrations, this one in particular, that likes to manipulate and
downplay scientific findings that run at variance with their
ideological and political objectives."

"The bill itself, no matter how well drafted, does not guarantee a
balanced outcome," noted Dempsey. "To ensure balance, human rights
activists will have to get involved in the work of the Commission and
the Center."

"If they really want to know why we have terrorism, they are going to
need to explore counter-narratives, " explained Boykoff. "When the
Sept. 11 attacks occurred, one narrative to explain the situation was
that there is 'an external enemy out there who hates America.' Other
narratives, such as that perhaps U.S. foreign policy might be fueling
acrimonious feelings towards the U.S., were not considered. I am
skeptical that the Center for Excellence would be open to these other
narratives, but rather would be regurgitating the standard narrative."

It is unclear how researchers would gather the information.

"If you are trying to understand in the broadest sense what turns
people to violence in a variety of political causes, it is not
something you can do easily, and it must be studied in a serious way,"
said Taylor, who has began studying the radical environmental movement
since 1989. "It is exceptionally hard to study these groups. They tend
to be suspicious of new comers and outsiders, rightfully so. They
aren't fond of academic institutions or academics because they tend to
view most of what goes on at institutions of higher education as being
subservient to interests of global capital," he said.

With his research experience, Taylor believes that it is absurd to
think the Commission could produce a significant report in 18 months.

"To find out what makes people tick, you actually have to engage with
them as a human being, and that is a long process that takes patience
and trust building."

Anthropologist Price is also worried. "My concern is that
anthropologists would again be doing secretive work for the state.
This bill is going to be interpreted so narrowly. It is calling for an
ideological litmus test," Price said. "The military believes there are
ways to get around this questions legally, but ethically, it is a big
deal. There are ethical codes of conduct in anthropology, sociology,
psychology, in the social sciences in general, that they very basic
precautions are taken."

A LONG HISTORY OF DISSENT

For U.S. historian Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the
United States, H.R. 1955 can be added to a long list of government
policies that have been passed to target dissent in the United States.

"This is the most recent of a long series of laws passed in times of
foreign policy tensions, starting with the Alien and Sedition Acts of
1798, which sent people to jail for criticizing the Adams
administration, " Zinn said in an email to The Indypendent. "During
World War I, the Espionage Act and Sedition Act sent close to a
thousand people to jail for speaking out against the war. On the eve
of World War II, the Smith Act was passed, harmless enough title, but
it enabled the jailing of radicals — first Trotskyists during the war
and Communist party leaders after the war, for organizing literature,
etc., interpreted as "conspiring to overthrow the government by force
and violence."

"In all cases, the environment was one in which the government was
involved in a war or Cold War or near-war situation and wanted to
suppress criticism of its policies," Zinn said.

Regardless, Zinn remains optimistic. "We should keep in mind that an
act of repression by the state is a recognition of the potential of
social movements and therefore we need to persist, through the
repression, in order to bring about social change," Zinn said. "We can
learn to expect the repression, and not to be intimidated. "

Hope Marston remains hopeful. "The work we have been doing at BORDC is
mobilizing people in the grassroots across the political spectrum, she
said. "It is not just a Leftist effort to protect the Bill of Rights.
We have worked with libertarians and republicans. We have helped get
412 resolution passed on the state and local level against the erosion
of the Bill of rights."

Editors Note:

Shortly after this article went to press, the Los Angeles Police
Department announced they scrapped their plan to "map the muslim
community" after meeting behind closed doors with leaders in the
Arab-American communities.

A.K. Gupta contributed research and interviews.

Illustration by Jennifer Lew

posted on Friday, November 23, 2007 1:04 AM

Comments

# re: Stop the Thought Crimes Act

A Police Provocateur's Dream, HR 1955 & S.1959

"The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act"

Rep. Jane Harman's "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act" is not written exactly like the Nazi 1933 Discriminatory Decrees that suspended the Reich Constitution, but it can bring America to the same place by trashing America’s civil liberties. Harman’s bill has the potential of driving lawful political and other activists underground into American cell groups. Perhaps expectantly creating the domestic terrorists the Bush Administration has said we need to be protected from.

The Nazis were dead serious when they outlawed specific types of dancing, singing, artwork; any act of expression the Government said "might" cause public unrest in the German State. German Citizens got arrested for dancing the Jitterbug. On February 28, 1933 Hitler signed the Discriminatory Decrees banning free association and speech that might cause public disturbance or adversely affect the peace and security of the German State—according to police. Rep. Jane Harman's "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act" when closely examined, defines "homegrown terrorism" as "any planned act" that might use force to coerce the U.S. Government or its people to promote or accomplish a "political or social objective." No actual force need occur. Government need only charge that an individual or group thought about doing it.

The Harman bill may extend to "planned acts" in America against foreign governments that are "U.S. alleys." See "planned acts" covered under Patriot Act. Under the Harman bill, environmental organizations in America are at risk when they coordinate activities with or support foreign activist groups in some countries. American environmental organizations can’t control what might happen overseas at a "planned" environmental demonstration or control the "planned acts" of foreign activists they network with.

Under the broad language of the Harman bill, anyone attending a "planned anti war rally" could be charged with trying to coerce a government and its people. Government need only charge that an individual in a group "thought about coercing a government or its people." Labor demonstrators that block or intimidate shoppers from entering a store could be charged with "coercing people" under Harman's "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act." The Nazi’s used similar provisions found in the Harman bill to charge labor leaders as communists.

Under the Harman bill, should violence breakout at a "planned" demonstration, the government can charge that everyone attending was "ideologically based toward violence." The individual activists who set up web sites promoting their "planned activities", wrote, emailed or handed out "flyers" promoting "that planned" demonstration could also be charged with Violent Radicalization or Homegrown Terrorism, depending on the violence that occurred at the demonstration. It is foreseeable that "information flyers" not intended by the author to be distributed at a particular event but were somehow distributed, could under the Harman bill open the door for government to charge the author with promoting "Violent Radicalization and/or Homegrown Terrorism, if that subsequently results. Such concerns by writers will crush free speech and written dissent.

The broad language of the Harman bill gives the government the power to bully and charge Americans with terrorism when Citizens exercise their Constitutional Right to Association. Lawful Americans that attend public meetings, demonstrations and other group public events should not be charged with Violent Radicalization, Homegrown Terrorism, or labeled "ideologically based toward violence" because of what another person said or did at a "planned" meeting. Of course, under such circumstances millions of Americans would become afraid to support or attend political and other public meetings out of concern someone might do something that violates Rep. Harman's "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act." Attendance by an American at a "political or environmentalist' meeting" could put a U.S. Citizen on the government's "no fly list."

Should the current provisions in the Jane Harman bill HR 1955 or S. 1959 pass in its present form, the U.S. Government, federal and state police will have no difficulty legally terminating American Citizens and activist organizations that exercise their Constitutional Right to free association, free speech, expression, assembly and writings. Once the Harman bill passes, Police Provocateurs can easily destroy any anti-war group, person or organization that supports or attends a "planned" meeting or demonstration. Police Provocateurs need only join a crowd of protestors at a demonstration, then throw rocks toward uniformed police to criminalize an entire demonstration. Or covertly contact a group’s participants before, at or after a "planned" demonstration, then lie and claim the person(s) the Provocateur spoke with were ideologically bent toward violence; "Violent Radicalization; or Homegrown Terrorism.

Uneducated police provocateurs and informants, which there are many, are more apt to misinterpret intellectual discussion at a political meeting as being ideologically bent toward violence, "Violent Radicalization or Homegrown Terrorism.
12/3/2007 2:20 PM | Ross Stone

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