By Steven Yates
December 2, 2007
On October 23, 2007, the House of Representatives passed what may be the most dangerous bill ever to come down the pike. This bill, like many of its predecessors on our steady march toward totalitarianism, sailed under the radar. There was virtually no publicity or fanfare. Now, the bill has gone to the Senate, and is in committee.
The bill is called the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (H.R. 1955/S. 1959). The language in this bill is so maddeningly vague it could mean anything. It could therefore be tailored to attack any group opposing national and international policies that have the backing of the corporatist-governmental power system.
Consider the definition offered of ‘violent radicalization’ (from Sec. 899A of the bill being referred to the Senate): “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.”
This definition alone ought to raise your hackles! What counts as an ‘extremist belief system’? What constitutes ‘violence’? Either one is anyone’s guess, because nowhere in the bill is the word ‘extremist’ defined, nor is ‘violence’ defined. In practice, they will mean whatever federal bureaucrats or others calling the shots want them to mean. What about ‘facilitating’? This is a favorite word in today’s mushy political-correctese. Does it mean ‘causing’? Or merely ‘encouraging’? How much ‘encouragement’?
Consider the definition offered for ‘homegrown terrorism’: “the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”
No examples of ‘homegrown terrorism’ are offered.
One could understand a federal proscription against ‘the use … of force or violence…’ assuming we know what these amount to. But ‘planned’ use? What does this mean? ‘Planning’ involves thought, not action. In such ways this bill kicks open the door to the officially sanctioned creation of thought crimes that can be smuggled in under ‘homegrown terrorism’ and treated accordingly. Some critics have therefore dubbed H.R. 1955/S. 1959 as the Thought Crimes Act of 2007. They have spoken of the potential criminalization of dissent in America.
There is plenty more in this insidious bill that ought to scare the living daylights out of anyone defending basic freedoms recognized by our Constitution. Sec. 899B of the bill is entitled ‘Findings’ and consists of nine numbered paragraphs—all of them legislative land mines. There is no need to look at them all. Consider (3): “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.”
Again, the bill offers no definition or examples of ‘terrorist-related propaganda’ available over the Internet. The phrase could therefore again mean anything those in power want it to mean.
Or consider (6): “The potential rise of self radicalized, unaffiliated terrorists domestically cannot be easily prevented through traditional Federal intelligence or law enforcement efforts, and requires the incorporation of State and local solutions.”
Read between the lines. H.R. 1955/S. 1959 would accelerate the federalization and militarization of state and local police departments. If this bill becomes law, expect more Taser attacks on ordinary people who haven’t been charged with any crime, but refuse absolute obedience to cops acting like common bullies. Those paying attention know that there has been an epidemic of such attacks this year, the most recent being on a driver in Utah who declined to sign a traffic ticket and wanted proof that he had been speeding (innocent until proven guilty, correct?). If this bill becomes law, police militancy will increase, but with incidents sufficiently widely dispersed that few residents will detect the pattern, organize, and demand a stop to it.
Sec. 899C of the H.R. 1955/S. 1959 would establish a National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Ideologically Based Violence within the legislative branch. The Commission will consist of ten members appointed by federal officials including the president and the Secretary of Homeland Security. The bill commands the Commission in mind-numbingly repetitious language: “Examine and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States, including United States connections to non-United States persons and networks, violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in prison, individual or ‘lone wolf’ violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence, and other faces of the phenomena of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence that the Commission considers important.”
The Commission would convene and conduct “studies” for 18 months. Very possibly it will rely on such biased sources as the Marxist Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, which bills itself as the gold standard for monitoring “hate groups” and “extremist” activity on U.S. soil. During this period, grassroots political groups could find themselves compelled for their own protection to do the equivalent of background checks on new members and recruits. Some would doubtless be spies sent by the SPLC or the federal government itself. They would also have to watch what they send out via email, or place on their websites. Big Brother would be watching—especially anything sent to or received from persons based overseas.
Sec. 899D creates a Center of Excellence for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States. This Center would be “university-based,” suggesting intent to pull academia into subservience. The lure, of course, will be Homeland Security dollars. The result will be more infiltration and more academic thought control, this time in the guise of the “war on terror.”
The Findings section ends: “Certain governments, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have significant experience with homegrown terrorism and the United States can benefit from lessons learned by those nations.”
Articles—on the Internet, of course—have been appearing regularly on how the U.K is becoming a total surveillance state, with cameras watching the movements of civilians everywhere. Is our government to emulate the U.K.? All three societies are slightly further down the road to police-state conditions than we are. Is that why they are suggested as good models for those who would carry out the mandates of H.R. 1955/S. 1959?
Sec. 899E elaborates: “International Effort—The Secretary shall, in cooperation with the Department of State, the Attorney General, and other Federal Government entities, as appropriate, conduct a survey of methodologies implemented by foreign nations to prevent violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism in their respective nations.” In other words, our federal government is to study foreign police states in order to build a better police state on U.S. soil. Only, however, “[t]o the extent that methodologies are permissible under the Constitution …”
If anyone at the federal level except perhaps Ron Paul had read the bill, they would realize that by its very nature it is unconstitutional. Nothing in the Constitution authorizes our federal government to model policies on those of governments elsewhere in the world—or to conduct the kind of domestic infiltrations and surveillance this bill would require.
Sec. 899F, in light of all the above, is almost comical. Are you ready? Here it comes: “The Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to prevent ideologically based violence and homegrown terrorism as described herein shall not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights, or civil liberties of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents.”
George Orwell couldn’t have said it better!
Here is the million dollar question: what prompted this bill? The only event in recent years that can be labeled ‘homegrown terrorism’—given the federal government’s pronouncements as our only criterion—was the destruction of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The federal government executed Timothy McVeigh for that on July 14, 2001. Even in that case there are unanswered questions. But while Internet-based claims persist that McVeigh had accomplices other than Terry Nichols, none are officially recognized. Other attacks on U.S. soil (World Trade Center 1993 and, of course, the 9/11 attacks) are blamed on foreigners.
So again: what prompted this bill?
There is only one plausible answer. H.R. 1955/S. 1959’s unnamed target is the independent Patriot movement.
By the ‘Patriot movement’ I mean red-blooded Americans who proudly defend gun rights, and will tell you why: an armed populace is a free populace. They have turned off their televisions and tuned out corporate-controlled media. They have removed their children from government schools. Many are men and women of modest means at best—some are living from paycheck to paycheck—and are sick and tired of bromides on behalf of NAFTA/CAFTA/FTAA, “free trade” and “globalization,” when they have seen none of the supposed benefits. They are aware that today savings are nonexistent, while bankruptcies and foreclosures are at all-time highs.
They know, moreover, that the federal government and its controlled media lie brazenly with a cooked inflation figure, a “core inflation” rate that excludes food and energy costs. For part two click below.
Click here for part -----> 2,
© 2007 Steven Yates - All Rights Reserved
Steven Yates earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1987 at the University of Georgia and has taught the subject at a number of colleges and universities around the Southeast. He currently teaches philosophy at the University of South Carolina Upstate and Greenville Technical College, and also does a little e-commerce involving real free trade. He is on the South Carolina Board of The Citizens Committee to Stop the FTAA.
He is the author of Civil Wrongs: What Went Wrong With Affirmative Action (1994), Worldviews: Christian Theism Versus Modern Materialism (2005), around two dozen philosophical articles and reviews in refereed journals and anthologies, and over a hundred articles on the World Wide Web. He lives in Greenville, South Carolina, where he writes a weekly column for the Times Examiner and is at work on a book length version of his popular series to be entitled The Real Matrix (hopefully!) to be completed this summer.