Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Branding someone a terrorist...

...because they want to change governmental policy doesn't seem to square too well with our democratic foundations, does it? And so it begins....

Feds Push Terrorist Label on Arsonists
By Jeff Barnard

The Associated Press

Tuesday 15 May 2007

Their guilt isn't in question. The six men and four women already admitted being involved in a series of arson fires that did $40 million in damage to research facilities, a ski resort and other businesses in the West. But are they terrorists?

A federal judge was to hear arguments Tuesday on a motion by the government to add a so-called terrorism enhancement to their sentencing.

Prosecutors want Judge Ann Aiken to declare the group terrorists - something defense attorneys argue has never happened in 1,200 arsons nationwide claimed by Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front.

The defense argues that branding their clients terrorists is more about politics than sentencing.

Full article at:

I've long argued that the provisions of the Patriot Act and other legislation passed since 9/11 to "make us safer" would surely be abused, and that the idea of what "terrorism" is will be expanded exponentially. That looks to be the case here.

The government is making the case that because these arsonists set their fires in order to change or influence government policy, they are therefore terrorists. This is an extraordinarily slippery slope to be contemplating, because repercussions could influence prosecutors to more often attempt to argue that defendents are terrorists, if only because they can squeeze that angle into the case, somehow. Additionally, it sets up a completely adversarial relationship (from the get-go) between Government and the Individual, one of another of those "for us, or against us" scenarios. Not too surprising, given this administration.

If public (and institutional) buildings would install better windows, they could radically change their heating and cooling costs, being less of a burden on taxpayers as well as being more efficient and eco-friendly. Unfortunately, most public buildings get built via a "lowest bidder" process, so materials may not be the best. I think this is a short-sighted policy and I want the government to change it. So, I take lots of rocks, and start chucking them at the windows of state and federal buildings. Sure, I can get picked up for vandalism, but should the prosecutor also charge me as a terrorist? I mean, terrorist? After all, just doing my best to change governmental policy.

What if I wanted my local city council to adopt a change to make our historic downtown car free? Let's do that by having a sit-in and snarling up the traffic. Oops, bad idea, because now we're (say it with me) terrorists for wanting to change the way our government does things.

Well excuse me, but I kinda thought that was the basis for a representative democracy. I shouldn't be tried as a terrorist for wanting to change policies.

Hopefully, the judge will see the foolishness of this type of argument, and remember that the blade swings both ways, and put a stop to it, but given the big Fear that this country has swallowed since Bush came into power, I doubt it. Look for what "terrorism" is defined as to morph as time goes on, and soon, one day we will all be terrorists.


pygalgia said...

Yeah, but you're a member of that well known terrorist organization: libraries. The "patriot act" has a whole section on your type.

Anonymous said...

Ya those damn librarian types, hiding behind all those books, good amerikans cant trust those readers.

For those who fight the memory hole like Winston Smith, remember right after 911 the Republican talking point of calling environmentalists "environmental terrorists"? Im not talking just about ELF types and such, it was ALL environmentalists. TV was covered with republipukes bleating voer and over "eco-terrorist", "environmental terrorist" day and night, just days after 911 so Bush Inc could pollute the skies, our water supplies, and dismiss climate change. I am a bicylce rider and I think we need to call automobile drivers terrorists...they kill 45,000 americans every year and i dodge their cell phone driving asses every day....get em GW!

SweaterMan said...

That's true. We're almost communistic in the way we operate. I mean, come on! A whole building filled with materials to be shared amongst the community?

Sounds like communism to me.