Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Disturbing Development

The US House passed a disturbing bill, H.R. 1955, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 on October 23. Introduced by Jane Harman, D-CA, the thing shot through the House like greased lightning to a slam passage 404 to 6. Only three Republicans (including Arizona’s Jeff Flake) and three Democrats voted "nay."

Ron Paul did not vote.

The bill has language that occurs to me as problematic at best or worse, downright dangerous.

The key points of the bill essentially consist of:

1. Creates a “National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism” under section 899C.
2. Creates a “Center of Excellence” under section 899D, a research unit based in universities that will research and produce a report in 18 months recommending measures to prevent “dissent” that leads to terrorism, including descriptions and definitions of what exactly this “dissent” is.
3. To protect our civil liberties, Section 899F creates an “Auditing Mechanism” produced by a Department of Homeland Security official. It is required to conduct an annual audit.

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.

We require definitions within a definition. What is an "extremist belief system"? What is "ideologically based violence"? Per the language of the bill it includes not only physical violence, but also thinking about or threatening to use violence or what can be interpreted as a type of force.

WTF!! Interpreted by whom? George Orwell defined "thought crime" in 1984 and gave rise to the phrase "Orwellian nightmare" to refer to the ultimate tyrannical state.

Summarizing a lot, we are setting up a think tank to tell us what kind of thinking, what kind of ideology, leads to terrorism. Once this university legitimized (or is it university infiltrating?) think tank does its study and produces recommendations, then we have the enchilada, perhaps, and the green light, maybe, for a nightmare I can’t believe I am writing about as a real event.

We are not talking about the Armageddon and don't panic. We are however, looking at the laying of a foundation for what could turn into something Orwellian. The auditors in 899F report to those they audit and only have to produce one report before the 18 month report resets everything to a new world order that appears poised to dismantle the First Amendment as we know it.

The current turn of events, as I've already posted, leave me more disoriented than ever. We have the ACLU and right wing conservatives on the same side. Conservative bloggers reading this story might want to visit my NIN dystopian Year Zero post and watch those videos. It appears to be happening. Seriously, just taste one minute.

The bill sets in motion forces to define certain ideologies as "thought crime" or "pre-crime" so as to prevent a terrorist act like in the film Minority Report. I kid the reader not. We are talking about legislation to distinguish ideologies that represent “pre-criminal” activity including thinking or beliefs. Make no mistake. The intent involves the ability to take preemptive action against identified ideological criminals.

Any belief system can be defined as an "extremist belief system."

Perhaps, and I only speculate, the July 2007 National Intelligence Estimate Report started it by speaking to the need to find links between various forms of thought and terrorism. Remember the London attacks? English citizens conducted them, but they had a "foreign" religion and ideology. How do we identify, find, and eliminate them before they attack?

The concept of "Homegrown Terrorism" has burst on the scene, and now we want to distinguish which groups and which ideologies fit the profile of those likely to become "domestic terrorists." Anything those in power gain consensus regarding the profile is fair game. While the initial language targets Islam, it is so vague that the slightest tip of the scope could steer the cross hairs to right-wing Christians. The machine can turn on anyone at odds with the current regime.

I would expect such a piece from Lord Cheney. It has Lord Cheney all over it, except it doesn’t. Democrats created and passed this bill. I am baffled.

The bill is now S. 1959 in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Perhaps clearer minds will prevail in the Senate. Eggplant would sign the bill in a heartbeat. Perhaps we’ll luck out and The Supreme Court will declare it unconstitutional. Then again, perhaps the Department of Homeland Security has determined that your church, your position against abortion, and your grocery store purchase records fit the profile of someone about commit a terrorist act.


Blogger Dustin said...

whoa. That is scary. Are they really going to narrow down what kind of dissent is legal?

Whenever I think about the red scare, I can't help but notice the parallels. This is not OK. I thought using the military to combat terrorists was bad enough, now we are going to use the police to suppress our own population? are you kidding? I can't think of a surer way to increase domestic terrorism.

11/28/2007 7:34 AM  
Blogger Sirocco said...

Who gets to define what is extremist? For example, is the belief "life begins at conception" extreme? It's not like there haven't been acts of domestic terrorism committed by anti-abortion activists. Are we now going to round all pro-life folks up and waterboard them?

Hopefully this entire research program, even if enacted, will die a quite, painless death.

11/28/2007 8:13 AM  
Blogger AZW88 said...

Best way to kill this bill: Use it to target far right extremists, anti-abortionists that promote bombing clinic and killing doctors, and those nut-cases that protest at soldiers funeral claiming the death was because of homosexuality in America.....

11/28/2007 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My God. Those videos are amazing.

The "one minute" link matches your story like they were made for each other. This bill is really true!!

AZW88 is right. It's a universal law you see everywhere. A guy buys a gun to protect himself and shoots his kid. People blow themselves up trying to make a bomb.

We create a solution to a problem and the solution turns into a far worse problem. We are building the beast.

This is the beginning.

11/28/2007 3:29 PM  

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