Pictured: Terrorist Tree-hugger Evildoer Getaway Vehicle
The Bush Administration has been redefining terrorism in order to expand its powers to spy on and prosecute people who are on the opposite side of the political spectrum. Activities such as setting fire to an unoccupied SUV are being treated as terrorist acts and the kids blamed for them are being sentenced as terrorists and being locked up for 20 years of more.
From the Guardian (UK):
According to many, the US is now in the middle of a "Green Scare" akin to the "Red Scare" of the 1950s, when senator Joseph McCarthy launched his infamous communist witch-hunt. Environmental and animal rights activists are being targeted, it is believed, not because they are dangerous, but because in the wake of 9/11 the government needs scapegoats beyond Muslims, and people - often young, white and middle-class - with defined ideologies who target corporate America are easy and attractive game...
...Civil liberty groups expect the green scare to worsen. The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act now raises any attacks against the profits of any animal-based industry to the level of terrorism, and a little-known bill making its way through US Congress with virtually no debate is expected to lead to a new crackdown on any dissident activity, under the guise of fighting terrorism.
Apparently, there have been some criminal acts perpetrated by people who identify themselves as environmentalists and see their acts of sabotage and arson as politically motivated. These people are committing crimes and should be arrested and be forced to do community service to better the community they have affected. Wash some Hummers or something. Vandalism is vandalism even if the vandal thinks he's saving the earth from the mean capitalist. There seems, however, to be no justification whatsoever in calling these people terrorists, and a real danger that groups like, say, the Save The Hairless Cat Foundation (if it exists) will be spied on more than the rest of us because they have an environmental concern. Or that donating to the World Wildlife Foundation will put you on a no-fly list.
Here's where it really gets to be too much Not Good, though. Because there are so few crimes committed by these evildoers,or any evildoers for that matter, the government seems to be considering criminalizing thoughts, because, you know, anyone who's not with them is against them:
The Orwellian-sounding Violent Radicalisation and Home-Grown Terrorism Prevention Act, passed by an overwhelming 400-6 vote last month, will soon be considered by the Senate. Rather than seeking to criminalise "extremist" acts, it targets beliefs, or what many people are calling "thoughtcrimes".
"It proposes initiatives to intercede before radicalised individuals turn violent. It could herald far more intrusive surveillance techniques, without warrants, and has the potential to criminalise ideas and not actions. It could mean penalties for a stance rather than a criminal act," the American Civil Liberties Union and the Centre for Constitutional Rights have jointly said.
Ok. What? Doesn't every teenager see him or herself as a "radicalized individual?" That's why they wear those awesome clothes and get things pierced. And how much more intrusive can they get than listening to telephone calls and reading e-mails? What kind of science fiction crap have they invented now that will read a person's mind? And if they have this kind of technology why are they torturing people? Or does it just predict future crimes? The government has been getting advice from science fiction writers, but this, terrifyingly, is reality.
(creative commons photo attributed to Flickr user Marshall Astor - Food Pornographer)