Two key liberal Senators in Washington did what it took to pass a law making the US a battle zone in the "war" on terror, and making all US citizens potential terrorists with no rights under the Constitution. Happy Holidays citizens!
By Dan DeWalt
The Police State came a big step closer in the new military authorization bill by ThisCantBeHappening
Predator Odrona is about to sign a military authorization bill [Carl Levin's S-1867] that puts every one of us at risk of being detained by our own military. If the government decides that you are a terrorist threat, the military will be able to kidnap you and deny you the right to a trial or even the right to know why you're being held.
The arrogant and short-sighted leaders who "govern" us have granted the government the right to detain you anywhere in the world, including inside the U.S., and there is no limit to the amount of time that they can hold you once they've got you.
We shouldn't worry though, they claim, because this new law is only meant for the terrorists among us.
So just who represents a terrorist threat? Well, protesters for starts, according to a Pentagon training test, which defines protests as acts of low-level terrorism. Quaker peace meetings in Vermont and across the country have been registered as "suspicious incidents" by the Defense Department's secretive TALON snooping system. Once your name has been entered into one of these lovely surveillance systems, you can rest assured that it will never disappear.
The muslims in America certainly know that they are perceived as potential or likely terrorists by an alarming number of law enforcement agencies across the land. Reports have documented blatant anti-muslim profiling by "experts" presenting at law enforcement terrorism training events.
And let's not forget the right side of the spectrum. Radical back-to-the-landers who wave guns and evade taxes have long been a government favorite for keeping their kill squads sharp. Just ask Randy Weaver. Washington state recently requested an was granted the use of a military surveillance drone to lead SWAT teams, a bomb squad, the highway patrol and four counties' worth deputy sheriffs to arrest three unarmed brothers over a six-cow dispute. It wasn't the cows that brought on the military-style show of force. It was the brothers' family affiliation with the Sovereign Citizen movement, which the FBI classifies as an extremest organization and a domestic terrorism threat.
Obama Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano felt compelled to warn law enforcement agencies about "right-wing extremist activity" shortly after her boss's election. A few months earlier, DHS had released a report warning about cyber attacks from left-wing extremists. If the FBI equates extremest groups with domestic terrorism, should we be surprised that the DHS does as well?
We're not on the edge of a slippery slope here. We're sliding down a precipice faster than you can say "Facebook killed privacy and I don't care". We're all becoming viewed as potential terrorist suspects.
Is this because we are all potential terrorists? No, it's because those in power understand that they have lost their legitimacy and recognize that the only way that they will be able to hold onto power it is through intimidation and fear. The 1% have never been able to earn power through just governance. The 99% always rebel eventually when the injustices and inequalities grow too great for their society to bear. And even though the elite always lose in the long run, they first resort to ratcheting up their police and military power and start treating their citizens like potential enemies.
So who is one of the surprise enablers of the new improved police state? That would be Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). It used to be that when a powerful senior Senator recognized a bill that posed a threat to the Republic, he would filibuster it, or use the bully pulpit and parliamentary maneuvering to prevent its passage. Today the most we can hope for from him is a failed attempt or two at meaningfully amending the bill, followed by the passage of a useless amendment, followed by a yes vote with a few mumbled phrases about being the best we could do or some such truck.
Well they can detain and disappear a goodly number of us, but they can't take us all. We're the ones they make money off of, after all. So why don't we all embrace our potential as terrorists together? It doesn't take much to qualify as we've seen. Let's all declare our intentions and see if the Pentagon brass can convince our troops to come home only to take up hunting us instead of Iraqi "bad guys". Most of our soldiers have labored under the belief that they were fighting abroad to defend our free speech rights at home. American troops take an oath to defend the Constitution, not a government or an ideology. They are duty bound to disobey any orders that are un-Constitutional, and that would include any that involved detention without charges.
So what sort of declaration shall we make? A simple promise to always exercise our first amendment rights in the face of unconstitutional actions by the government is a good start. How about a pledge to support and encourage all forms of non-violent, peaceful citizen actions that challenge the corrupt status-quo that is destroying our nation and its economy? How about a pledge to support and participate in saving unjustly re-possessed homes from being taken by the banks that (may) hold the mortgage?
How about openly supporting and participating in non-violent civil dis-obedience actions to shut down a leaking nuclear power plant that won't obey the law of the state where it resides? Or taking non-violent direct action to impede the immoral weapons manufacturing that delivers to dictators across the globe to use on their citizens?
It's funny, though: all of these actions are protected by our Constitution. While some may be illegal and could earn a trial and possible penalty, they all represent the very heart of what is supposed to be so great about being an American -- the right to free expression and right to assemble to address grievances. None of these actions even remotely deserve to be seen as terrorism, low-level or not.
Our government likes to be at war. They don't have the right to be at war with us, and we must stand strong, speak loud and not let them cow us into a quiet submission. Don't worry, if they take you away, your family can always contact Senator Leahy's office for help.
DAN DeWALT is an activist and journalist based in Newfane, Vermont. He wrote this article for the new Project Censored Award-winning independent online alternative newspaper ThisCantBeHappening!
Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net
. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the Disintegration of American Democracy" and "Killing Time: An Investigation into the Death Penalty Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal"). His latest book, coauthored with Barbara Olshanshky, is "The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office (St. Martin's Press, May 2006).