OWS Activists Called Domestic Terrorists
Activists are considered terrorists.
by Stephen Lendman
US history is littered with repressive laws. Constitutional protections and civil liberties have been targeted. The 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts restricted First Amendment freedoms.
So did the 1917 Espionage Act, 1919 anti-communist Palmer raids, 1934 Special Committee on Un-American Activities, its House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) successor, FBI COINTELPRO crackdowns, 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, 2001 USA Patriot Act, and other post-9/11 measures.
Police state harshness today reflects US policy. Compromised civil liberties expanded government surveillance, eroded habeas rights, formalized military tribunals, permitted torture-extracted confessions, and sanctified violence in the name of national security.
Thousands of political prisoners languish in America's gulag. It's the world's largest by far. It's one of the harshest.
Many there deserve praise, not imprisonment. OWS activists may join them. More on that below.
For the first time, Patriot Act provisions created the crime of domestic terrorism. Section 802 applies to persons alleged to engage in acts "dangerous to human life."
Evidence isn't needed. Accusations suffice. US citizens and permanent residents are vulnerable. They're frequent targets. They're unjustly accused of violating federal, state, or local laws if they:
- intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
- influence government policy by intimidation or coercion; and/or
- affect government conduct by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.
Patriot Act legislation enacted sweeping federal powers. They're used to investigate and prosecute alleged terrorism. Civil libertarians, environmental and animal rights activists are targeted.
Peaceful demonstrations are criminalized. At times, long-term incarceration follows.
In 2001, prominent Americans demonstrated on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico. Civil disobedience actions were included. Activists entered a US airbase. They harmed no one.