Tuesday, January 22, 2008

HR 1955: The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act

What is HR 1955, and why should we be interested? Here is a short introduction. More than we may imagine rides on the peoples' response to this newest development in the war on democracy.

Passed by a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives with a vote of 404-6, October 23, 2007.

Freedom of speech, association and assembly will be illegal in the US once the Senate and President sign on – and neither oppose it.

With this law, dissent will be illegal.

The unmistakable import of this new law is the criminalization of dissent.

The FBI’s infamous Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) stated clearly, in documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, that, “through counter-intelligence, it should be possible to pinpoint potential trouble makers (sic) and neutralize them.” J. Edgar Hoover said of his COINTELPRO operation that his intent was to “neutralize political dissidents.” The FBI’s COINTELPRO operated illegally. HR 1955 now makes legal the mechanisms for neutralizing dissent. Expressing an opinion or view that is not favourable to the current ruling powers may be met with repression. America is now officially a fascist state.

The bill is moving rapidly through Congress, and may be signed into law by February. Dissent and debate in the US House of Representatives was virtually non-existent. The media networks have been silent. Spread the news: the internet and face to face communication seem to be the only means to get this critical information out.

"Legislation such as this demands heavy-handed governmental action against American citizens where no crime has been committed," Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul stated to the House in December, after missing the vote while campaigning. "It is yet another attack on our constitutionally protected civil liberties. It is my sincere hope that we will reject such approaches to security, which will fail at their stated goal at a great cost to our way of life."

"It will no doubt prove to be another bureaucracy that artificially inflates problems so as to guarantee its future existence and funding," Paul predicted in his House speech. "But it may do so at great further expense to our civil liberties." It is, he concluded, an "unwise and dangerous solution in search of a real problem."

"If you understand what his bill does, it really sets the stage for further criminalization of protest," said Dennis Kucinich. "This is the way our democracy, little by little, is being stripped away from us."

“There is no way to overstate how crucial this piece of legislation is. We are at a turning point, and without the restoration of the rule of law the "blueprint" for what I have called a "fascist shift" -- the closing down of democracy -- calls for scarier recriminations against citizens, greater tightening of social controls -- the ever-growing, disturbingly political TSA watch list is, alarmingly, due to go from the airlines' administration to that of the TSA itself -- and more corruptions of the electoral process. Blackwater is a truly terrifying wild card. Without the rule of law we will be powerless as each of these assaults on liberty continue to escalate. With it we can fight back.” – Naomi Wolf, author of The End of America, and American Fascism, in 10 easy steps.

“The most pressing liberty Ron Paul, the ACLU, Dennis Kucinich and pretty much most left- and right-leaning organizations fear outright is a restriction on the right of internet access, since the House Subcommittee hearings and text of the resolution seized upon it with almost draconian intent. "The Web as a Weapon?" The question begs another: How do you disarm that weapon?” - Punishing Thought Crime: Would New Bill Make YOU a Terrorist?by Scott Thill, AlterNet. January 17, 2008.

Look at the definition of terrorism in this bill. It is defined "the use, planned use or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual's political, religious or social beliefs." Note that the bill states that terrorism may be the use of violence or force to advance political goals. The bill then specifies that the use of “intellectual force” by way of “compelling logical argument” falls under the definition of terrorism. This should make us all shudder. Thought crime. This is the destruction of democracy, civil rights, the constitution and freedom of speech.

It is important to remember that violence is already illegal, and therefore this bill is not about dealing with violence. Hence, this bill is about the use of non-violent “force” – the force of opinion, intellectual force, the force of a logical argument. In short, the bill is designed to combat free speech, and further, to suppress any form of protest, through association, assembly or expression. There is no other way to describe such legislation in any milder terms: this is fascism.

HR 1955 marks the beginning of the police state in America. When this bill is signed into law, dissent will be punishable by arrest without trial, and indefinite incarceration in the detention centers which Haliburton is busy constructing across the “homeland,” not to mention torture, which the Military Commissions Act of 1996 already made legal. Speak now, while you can. (See Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps and YouTube - Olbermann: the beginning of the end of America.)

Write, speak, blog, send letters to your representatives, email the news outlets and let them know that this critical unfolding of events, designed deliberately to destroy democracy and constitutional rights and freedoms, including this latest and most heinous of fascist legislation.

Here are some contact listings for getting the word out.

totn@npr.org, morning@npr.org, atc@npr.org, letters@latimes.com, fair@fair.org, ireport@cnn.com, netaudr@abc.com, evening@cbsnews.com, ftn@cbsnews.com, today@nbc.com, letters@nytimes.com, nytnews@nytimes.com, editor@usatoday.com, wsj.ltrs@wsj.com, letters@newsweek.com, letters@washpost.com, letters@usnews.com, info@ap.org, zmag@zmag.org, countdown@msnbc.com, mail@democracynow.org

People of America, here is a coalition, across right and left, that is working to defend freedom, democracy and your constitutional rights. You might want to get involved. The hour is late.

the American Freedom Agenda

American Freedom Campaign

“This is the answer both to those who say "What we can do?" and to those who claim (actually, sometimes whine) "there is nothing we can do." And if we don't act on this now we will get the democracy we deserve -- which is no democracy at all.

“Put aside your partisan ideal world -- sometimes issues simply transcend partisanship -- and if ever there is an issue that is above and separate from party politics, it is the restoration of the democratic system we inherited. There are good people and passionate patriots across the political spectrum.

“Let's do it. There is no excuse now. The restoration of democracy is up to you -- as the Founders intended it should be.” – Naomi Wolf

Get informed, get involved. There is much to be done, and little time.

J. Todd Ring,
January 22, 2008

Declaration of War vs. The People

YouTube - Freedom of Speech and H.R. 1955 pt. 1

Thinking for Yourself is Now a Crime - Paul Craig Roberts

ZNet |Repression | The House of Reps Vote 404 to 6 to Pass the Bill that Legalizes COINTELPRO?

Punishing Thought Crime: Would New Bill Make YOU a Terrorist?

ZNet |U.S. | Congressional Shame and Duplicity

Naomi Wolf: Fascist America, in 10 easy steps | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

*****“The End of America”: Naomi Wolf Warns U.S. in Slow Descent into Fascism - Democracy Now! |

The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot - Naomi Wolf

America: A Fork In the Road - Writings of J. Todd Ring

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