S 1959 ~ Letter to My Senators About The "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act"

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montecello.jpgNow is an essential time to let your Senators know (here are their contact forms) that they don't have to pass another frightening bill to seem tough on terror. If you haven't heard about the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, please see the links at the bottom of this post to understand how it could further curtail our freedoms and criminalize dissent. It's already passed in the House!

None of us wants to see more horrific acts of violence. On the other hand, we don't want to waste our time with redundant measures that likely won't prevent them, but will threaten the First Amendment.

I sent this to Sens. Tester and Baucus today. Adapt it as you wish!

Dear Senator Baucus,

I am gravely concerned about S 1959, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act. I am troubled by the overly vague language and worried that in practice it will criminalize non-violent forms of dissent and stifle freedom of speech.

S 1959 has the potential to be used to target citizens who disagree with whichever administration is currently in power or who oppose powerful corporate interests. Most of the "home grown" terror we have seen has originated from white, Christian anti-abortionists. However, we know from the FOIA documents released so far that most of those targeted for surveillance by the current administration have been anti-war activists. Additionally, we have seen concerted efforts to label property destroying/anti-development extremists "terrorists" and tie mainstream environmental groups to them.

Surveillance is endemic in our society -- we have been labeled one of the world's top surveillance societies by Privacy International. Do we need to set up another commission to decide who to watch?

I look forward to hearing your position on this bill.

Thank you,


CNET
Huffington Post
NYC Indypendent 

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12 Comments

Diana 'Money Maker' Maine said:

We only need government for law, police, and army. That's it. Anything more and we're giving up our freedom.

The people voted in those that created the bill. Sure it could have been cheated, but the people sat by and let them cheat.

Don't blame the bill, blame the people.

Diana

Jake said:

thanks Kyeann, the sample letter is terrific!

Bill said:

Here's mine:

I am gravely concerned about S 1959, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act. I am troubled by the overly vague language and worried that in practice it will criminalize non-violent forms of dissent and stifle freedom of speech.


S 1959 has the potential to be used to target citizens who disagree with whichever administration is currently in power or who oppose powerful corporate interests. I believe that the majority of the paranoia of S1959 opposers on the internet is related to the particular wording in SEC. 899A. DEFINITIONS (4) IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE-
"The term `ideologically based violence' means 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."
It seems that the word "force" is in question, as it is not defined to exclude non-violent protest, news articles or commentary, political blogging, or any other non-violent, peaceful forms of opposition or discontent. A lot of people are worried that a Ghandi-like sit-in protest could be interpreted as applicable under this wording.

There are two things that are somewhat conforting in this law.

1) Even if the paranoid conspiracy theorists among us are right, the same over-reaching interpretations they fear can be conisidered to make lobbying our politicians highly illegal. (I do think that the big-monty lobbyists are one of the worst things to happen to our great country)

2) SEC. 899B. FINDINGS (8):
" Any measure taken to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence and homegrown terrorism in the United States should not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights, or civil liberties of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents."

Even with this second comfort being part of this bill, I am somewhat concerned that things in there could be used in an abusive manner, and I'd hate to see the United Stated become what we criticize China for. I'd like to see some stronger language protecting our rights and preventing such a China-alike possibility from happening here, especially with the Bush Administration's reputation for adhering to and protecting our Constitution.

If this law passes, I do want to see the word "force" interpreted to include financial influence, toward the goal of outlawing big-monty lobbyists.

Surveillance is endemic in our society -- we have been labeled one of the world's top surveillance societies by Privacy International, though it sounds to me like at least (if only) Britain is trying to exceed the "Big Brother" overwatch we are putting into place in America. Do we need to set up another commission to decide who to watch?

Violence is already quite illegal in America. David Koresh (Waco TX), Theodore Kaczynski (aka unibomber), Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma City bombing), John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo (the two snipers in DC) all found out.

I'm not sure why a new law is needed to violence in America . I look forward to hearing your position on this bill. Does this email I'm writing to you count as some form of "force" of influence toward my political or social beliefs in relation to this bill?

:( said:

"home grown" terror we have seen has originated from white, Christian anti-abortionists."

You mean democrat, God hating leberals


Kyeann said:

Thanks for your comments! Sad-faced person, the point is not to diss anti-abortionists. Rather, to show that these measures end up being carried out in politically motivated ways. I don't think mainstream anti-abortionists should suffer because of the actions of extremists either.

Michael said:

Might you be able to update your post with a site with contact info for all senators? I would like to be able to send a link to this post to everybody I know and have everything here in the one blog post.

That'd be awesome! :D

Kyeann said:

Done, Michael! Link added above.

The Amazing One said:

Hell ya baby. Finally someone is smart enough to make something that helps me go out of my way to compromise my security and that of hundreds of millions of other Americans, yay!!!

anonymous said:

Dear Senator Boxer,

I am gravely concerned about S 1959, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act. I am troubled by the overly vague language and worried that in practice it will criminalize non-violent forms of dissent and stifle freedom of speech. I am, therefore, heeding the advice of generations past and writing my senator.

S 1959 has the potential to be used to target citizens who disagree with whichever administration is currently in power or who oppose powerful corporate interests. We know from the FOIA documents released so far that many of those targeted for surveillance by the current administration have been anti-war activists. Additionally, we have seen concerted efforts to label mainstream environmental groups as "extremists".

As defined in the bill, the term ‘violent radicalization’ means, "the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change." It further defines "Ideological Based Violence" as, "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." The word "force" is not adequately defined, as it does not explicitly state that said force must involve the actual use or planned use of violence. As such, "force" could be construed to mean organizing a march or protest, boycotting, telephone campaigns, or any other form of exercising dissent - including writing this letter to you. Furthermore, the bill would make "adopting an extremist belief system" illegal. This is also known as thought crime.

I agree that it is important to protect our national security from threats, both foreign and domestic. However, that security should never come at the expense of civil liberties. The language of this bill is dangerous. It is vague, generalized, and potentially unconstitutional. It blurs the line between thought and action, and in an age where long-cherished rights against invasion of privacy, unreasonable search and seizure, freedoms of speech and association, and the just exercise of law (denial of habeas corpus, rendition, unethical interrogation) are being suspended, do you really want to endanger more of our rights?

I look forward to hearing your position on this bill.

ss said:

I too wrote to Baucus and Tester. I wrote 2 weeks ago. Tester responded by saying he thinks they can come up with a compromise. I am writing him again to tell him that after much thought and rereading my copy of the Constitution, I don't see where there Can be any compromise on this bill. I am a Ron Paul supporter and simply because of that fact, I have already seen myself labelled as a "terrorist" in the msm. I can't even watch a gory movie because I despise violence so much....

Kyeann said:

ss -- well, it's promising that Tester is thinking about it and not just following the herd. There is a lot of fast and loose use of the term "terrorist" to describe Libertarians and climate change activists right now. I am not a Ron Paul supporter, but of course sympathize with many of his sensible positions on the war and liberties. I guess it is easier to frame his supporters as terrorist wackos than to acknowledge that a growing number of Americans are no longer willing to trade our freedoms for "safety."

Kerry said:

You go, girl! Thank you for your vigilance and information. I'll send a letter directly.

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Six Hours A Week Is:

A coping strategy, advocacy outlet, and form of protection. My life has been nearly destroyed by the unconstitutional practices of politically/socially-motivated private intelligence contractors and the corruption and cronyism that allow them. Apparently because I speak out in ways that prioritize the little guy and human and environmental health above gargantuan profit margins, and believe that facts are as important as PR spin, I was someone who had to be completely discredited. In 2007, after a few months of a surreal and relentless invasion of privacy and dignity, I started to spend six hours each week researching, communicating about, and advocating legal and ethical responses to assaults on our shared democratic and republican ideals. For most of that time I was writing from the perspective of someone whose life was manipulated into a constant state of terror and emergency. In 2010, many of the array of entrapment attempts seem to have failed and it seems no longer possible to get away with such excessive, obvious harassment and overt interference. As we take more practical steps to address what has been allowed to happen to my family, we do expect to see some more harassment and intimidation. But I should be able to chronicle it from a more measured perspective, rather than that of someone in constant fear. Part of me would like to go back and delete earlier posts, because even I find them hard to relate to in some ways. But this blog has been one of our only forms of protection as everyone in any official capacity ignored the truth and tried to spin and frame us into the troublemakers and perpetrators of one form or another. So I leave it up as a form of protection, a record of what has occurred, and (with luck) the account of our way back to credibility and some form of legitimate justice. All content on this site is property of Kyeann Sayer. All rights reserved.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Kyeann published on December 3, 2007 3:21 PM.

The Patriot's Glossary ~ TALON ~ Spying on Law-Abiding Citizens was the previous entry in this blog.

The Patriot's Glossary ~ The Levi Guidelines ~ Suspended by Ashcroft is the next entry in this blog.

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