Any American Who Criticizes the Government May Be Labeled a Terrorist
I noted in 2009:
The Department of Homeland Security and police forces label anyone who they disagree with – or who disagrees with government policies – as “terrorists”.
Don’t believe me?
Well, according to a law school professor, pursuant to the Military Commissions Act, “Anyone who … speaks out against the government’s policies could be declared an ‘unlawful enemy combatant’ and imprisoned indefinitely. That includes American citizens.”
And according to an FBI memo, peace protesters are being labeled as “terrorists”.
Anyone who disagrees with the “acceptable” way of looking at things is a terrorist.
How is this different from Stalin or Mao’s use of labels such as “enemy of the state”?
This may have seemed over-the-top to some, but events have proven it true.
For example, the following is considered terrorism or suspected terrorism in modern America:
- Criticizing the government’s targeting of innocent civilians with drones (although killing innocent civilians with drones is one of the main things which increases terrorism. And see this)
As Paul Joseph Watson notes:
Of course, the vast majority of people who visit Internet Cafes use cash to pay their bill. Who uses a credit card to buy a $2 dollar cup of coffee? A lot of smaller establishments don’t even accept credit cards for amounts less than $10 dollars.
Other examples of suspicious behavior include using a “residential based Internet provider” such as AOL or Comcast, the use of “anonymizers, portals, or other means to shield IP address” (these are routinely used by mobile web users to bypass public Internet filters), “Suspicious communications using VOIP,” and “Preoccupation with press coverage of terrorist attack” (this would apply to the vast majority of people who work in the news or political blogging industry).
Searching for information about “police” or “government” is also listed as a potential indication of terrorism, as is using a computer to “obtain photos, maps or diagrams of transportation, sporting venues, or populated locations,” which would apply to virtually anyone who uses Google Maps or Google Earth.
People who may wish to keep private the contents of a personal email or an online credit card purchase by attempting to”shield the screen from view of others” are also characterized as potential terrorists.
Business owners who spot patrons engaging in these types of activities are encouraged to call the FBI’s Joint Regional Intelligence Center (JRIC), after first gathering information on license plates, names, ethnicity, and languages spoken.
In total, there are 25 different CAT flyers aimed at businesses from across the spectrum – everything from hobby shops to tattoo parlors.
As we have documented on numerous occasions, the federal government routinely characterizes mundane behavior as extremist activity or a potential indicator of terrorist intent. As part of its ‘See Something, Say Something’ campaign, the Department of Homeland Security educates the public that generic activities performed by millions of people every day, including using a video camera, talking to police officers, wearing hoodies, driving vans, writing on a piece of paper, and using a cell phone recording application,” are potential signs of terrorist activity.
The CAT program again underscores how federal authorities are empowering poorly trained citizens to become terrorist hunters, stoking fears that America is sinking deeper into a Stasi-style informant society.
Note: The government treats copyright infringers as terrorists, and swat teams have been deployed against them. See this, this, this and this. As the executive director of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School notes:
This administration … publishes a newsletter about its efforts with language that compares copyright infringement to terrorism.
I’m not condoning copyright infringement, but merely citing to the all-pervasiveness of the “terror” label. And given that even grandmas and children might innocently and unwittingly download copyrighted content, any tendency to use the terror label is troubling.
Update: The list of activities which might get you branded as a suspected terrorist has grown even longer.