Jan 27 2017

THE CRIMINALIZATION OF U.S. DISSENT

This LINK is to an article on the new definition of a “terrorist” in our nation and the criminalization of dissent in the 21st century.

An excerpt: “General safety and openness, for much of the American public, feels permanent. For most Americans, there is an illusion that our safety, comfort, and freedoms rest on a foundation so large and protected as to be immune to collapse – at least in our lifetimes. Despite the rise of a kind of fascism, the constant teetering on the brink of economic collapse, the threats to our future by climate change, possibly nuclear weapons, and certainly permanent war, there is a feeling, mainly for those of us with privilege, that the way we live our lives – safely, comfortably, in many ways thoughtlessly – is deeply engrained into reality and will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

The structures that sustain our lifestyles, behavior, and even freedoms, are large and complicated structures. In some ways, they have proven rather durable, albeit often in the ugliest ways and at the expense of many. Maybe those structures will outlast those of us alive today. Maybe they won’t. The financialized economy, the largely privatized military industrial complex, the fossil fuel industry, the domestic security apparatus, the industrial agriculture industry, and more, could very well be our demise as a civilization. There is no reason to be coy about this.

On February, 12th, 2002, the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Section Chief of the Counterterrorism Division, James F. Jarboe, testified before the House Resources Subcommittee on Forest and Forest Health, mostly about what are now dubbed “eco-terrorists.” The definition of domestic terrorism was, “the unlawful use, or threatened use, of violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States (or its territories) without foreign direction, committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” Note that the destruction of property constitutes terrorism in this definition.

As the Guardian reported in 2013, ‘Since the 2008 economic crash, security agencies have increasingly spied on political activists, especially environmental groups, on behalf of corporate interests. This activity is linked to the last decade of US defense planning, which has been increasingly concerned by the risk of civil unrest at home triggered by catastrophic events linked to climate change, energy shocks or economic crisis – or all three.’ The article cites the authorization of the military to respond on American soil during times of ’emergency’ or ‘civil disturbance.’ (That article is highly recommended for this topic.)”

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2017/01/27/the-criminalization-of-u-s-dissent

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