H.R 1955: the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 recently passed by the House-a companion bill is in the Senate-is barely one sentence old before its Orwellian moment: It begins, “AN ACT - To prevent homegrown terrorism, and for other purposes.” Those whose pulse did not quicken at “other purposes” have probably not read George Orwell.
Future “other purposes” will undoubtedly be justified by the Act’s use of the term “violent radicalization,” which it defines as “the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence . . .” or by the folksy, Lake Wobegonesque “homegrown terrorism,” defined as “the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born [or] raised . . . within the United States . . . to intimidate or coerce the United States, the civilian population . . . or any segment thereof .
In the service of some self-serving “other purposes,” will “extremist beliefs” become any belief the temporary occupants of the White House consider antithetical and threatening to their political agenda?
Where is our national media when free speech is under attack? Same place it has always been, supporting the powers that profit from shutting us up.
US Says It Has Right to Kidnap British Citizens. A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the US Supreme Court has sanctioned it.
Until now it was commonly assumed that US law permitted kidnapping only in the “extraordinary rendition” of terrorist suspects.
There was concern this weekend from Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP, who said: “The very idea of kidnapping is repugnant to us and we must handle these cases with extreme caution and a thorough understanding of the implications in American law.”
Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, said: “This law may date back to bounty hunting days, but they should sort it out if they claim to be a civilized nation.”
This story, like many that cast the US in a bad light, never made it to the NY Times.
WASHINGTON, DC - November 30 - Green Party leaders called on President Bush to cancel an order directing the CIA to interfere with a December 2 voters' referendum in Venezuela and to cease actions intended to stabilize the Chavez government.
"President Chavez and the people of Venezuela are not America's enemy. We demand that the White House respect the sovereignty of other countries and the democratic will of the Venezuelan people, who have repeatedly affirmed their support for President Chavez and his policies," said Jill Bussiere, Wisconsin representative to the Green Party's International Committee.
"The memo describes secret US-supported actions against the Chavez government that constitute acts of war against a nation at peace with the US. These operations are consistent with other US acts of aggression against Venezuela, including the failed 2002 coup attempt, to which the Bush Administration lent active support," Ms. Bussiere added.
But the NY Times continues to Chavez as a "strongman" and never questions the US attempts to undermine his elected government.