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Following the stunning events of September 11, 2001, there was a broad consensus that America’s internal security needed improvement. The government responded by creating the Department of Homeland Security, which was assigned responsibility for protecting the country from the threat of international terrorism. But while the nature of that threat seemed clear at the time, concerns were raised right from the beginning by those concerned that this new security organization might use the fear of foreign terrorists as an excuse to launch a campaign of harassment against social activists and government critics from all across the ideological spectrum. Agencies of the federal government have a long history of throwing the “terrorist” label around willy-nilly, often as a way to slander and stigmatize groups and individuals involved in resistance movements against the corporate-dominated status quo or against those protesting the government’s gradual usurpation of our Constitutional rights.
In the aftermath of 9/11, the architecture of the police state has been steadily moving from blueprint to implementation. The Patriot Acts I and II, the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, indefinite detention of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, spy drones on American soil, the NSA’s Pinwheel database of emails intercepted from US citizens, warrant-less surveillance by local, state, and national law enforcement agencies, the collection of DNA samples from everyone suspected of any crime, the unprovoked hostility and abuse from agents of the TSA, ATF, FBI, FDA, etc. – the list goes on and on, and it is getting longer each day.
All of this has been in response to the grave threat we allegedly face from international terrorists, who supposedly will stop at nothing in their insane quest to hurt innocent American citizens because they hate our freedom, or something like that. But given the government’s proven inclination to treat the word “terrorist” as if it were synonymous with “troublemaker,” it was absolutely 100 percent inevitable that any organized campaign to protect us against real terrorist threats would eventually devolve into a repressive program designed to squelch the activities of those looking to foment peaceful revolution from within.
Of course, this is exactly how a democratic republic is supposed to operate. Citizens unite peacefully and legally to express their preferences for change by voting, protesting, giving speeches, handing out leaflets, going door-to-door, and so on; and if or when these activities achieve a critical mass, our institutions will then evolve accordingly in response. But for the elected officials, bureaucrats, corporations, financial institutions, and media elites who profit so enormously and have so much power under the current arrangement, a constitutionally-based representative democracy actually functioning the way it is supposed to would represent a much graver threat to their hegemony than Osama bin-Laden ever did. For this reason, it was a foregone conclusion that the Department of Homeland Security would eventually shift its focus from international threats to “domestic terrorists,” which is now beginning to happen in earnest.
So who are these domestic terrorists, specifically? To satisfy inquiring minds everywhere, the DHS just recently released a document that clarifies the issue greatly by listing thirteen different categories of American citizens who should now be viewed as potential terrorist threats.
The Lexicon Of Oppression
The Department of Homeland Security published the Domestic Terrorism and Homegrown Violent Extremism Lexicon on November 10, 2011. To quote the DHS directly, questionable grammar and all, the lexicon was created “to assist federal, state, and local government officials with the mission to detect, identify, and understand threats of terrorism against the United States by facilitating a common understanding of the terms and definitions that describe terrorist threats to the United States.” This document, which was emailed to law enforcement officials around the country on November 14 by the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, is a study in vagueness and imprecision, and it is likely that many of those who received it are more confused than ever about who or who might not be considered a terrorist, terrorist enabler, or terrorist sympathizer. Of course, this is not accidental; by including a certain amount of ambiguity in their choice of descriptive language, the DHS has given itself the flexibility to adjust its definition of who or who is not a terrorist as it sees fit.
As of now, the officially recognized categories of domestic terrorist include:
- Anarchist extremists – those who believe that capitalism and corporate globalization should be opposed at every turn and that all forms of government are inherently oppressive (note the conflation of “capitalism” and “corporate globalization” here, as if it were impossible to have one without the other).
- Animal rights extremists – those motivated to action against people, businesses, or government entities perceived to be abusing or exploiting animals (businesses and government entities are included here along with people because DHS wants to characterize acts of vandalism against property and the theft or release of captive animals as examples of “terrorism”).
- Anti-abortion extremists (‘cause, you know, that guy Eric Rudolph, who set off bombs at abortion clinics and at the Olympics back in the 1990s, he was against abortion, so all anti-abortion activists must be crazy like that— it’s only logical).
- Black supremacist extremists – African-Americans who oppose integration or who just flat out don’t like white people very much.
- Environmental rights extremists – again, actions against people, businesses, and government entities are all given equal billing, which is necessary because most of the “terrorism” committed by environmental radicals has involved vandalism and property damage.
- Homegrown violent extremists – wannabes who admire foreign terrorist organizations and decide to get in on the fun by doing something crazy/stupid all on their own (the news media loves these guys, most of whom are pathetic losers who couldn’t blow up a balloon on their own, let alone blow up a subway station or an airplane).
- Lone offenders – lone nuts who act entirely on their own for reasons that are obscure (the man who shot Congresswoman Giffords in Arizona would be an example of such a person).
- Militia extremists – opponents of the government who believe America is degenerating into a fascist police state (you mean it isn’t?). Can usually be recognized by their interest in acquiring more firearms than the government has decided they should be allowed to have.
- White supremacist extremists – groups like the KKK and various neo-Nazi organizations, which of course have been around forever.
- Racist skinhead extremists – a subgroup of the previous category; tend to be even more angry and prone to violence than their older counterparts in the white supremacist movement. These are some legitimately scary dudes—there is no doubt.
- Sovereign citizen extremists – people who don’t like authority and don’t play well with others, especially if those others are somehow connected to the government.
- Facilitators – not terrorists per se, but rather people who give aid and comfort to terrorists; some examples of that aid and comfort could include setting up bank accounts for those suspected of terrorism, helping them make travel arrangements, sending them money, enabling electronic communications on their behalf (letting them use your email, in other words), and producing false IDs to help them hide their real identities.
- Unwitting co-optees – those who help terrorists without realizing what they are doing (how exactly a law enforcement officer is supposed to tell the difference between a facilitator and an unwitting dupe is not clear, which of course means that everyone will be presumed guilty and will need to prove their innocence if they are going to be released).
It is important to emphasize that the DHS is not just concerned with those who actually commit violent acts against human beings. In addition to the vandals, the anti-government activists, and the accidental helpers, the DHS definitions also make it clear that those who “facilitate” or “support” terrorist acts committed by the prescribed groups are also to be considered terrorists. It is clear that a weasel word like “facilitate” can be twisted around to mean just about anything, so if the DHS decides that facilitate should mean “guilt by association” (i.e. your cousin is a sovereign citizen extremist, so therefore you must be too), then that is what it will mean and no one will be able to argue any differently.
…And Then They Came For Me
Through the clever use of vague language, the DHS has given itself an extraordinary amount of wiggle room to define a terrorist in just about any way it sees fit. Of course, some of the groups identified here do have a history of disturbing violence (racist skinheads and homegrown violent extremists, for example), but to suggest that Earth Firsters who put sand in the gas tanks of bulldozers, or anti-abortion activists who stand on the lawns of abortion doctors, or patriot/militia folks who are mainly concerned about surviving societal collapse should be considered terrorist risks is stretching the concept of “terrorist” right up to the breaking point. If the plan is to include acts like vandalism or trespassing or illegal possession of a particular type of firearm under the “terrorism” umbrella, then it is obvious that the federal government intends to grant itself the authority to abuse, denigrate, and harass anyone of any ideological or political bent who isn’t willing to slouch meekly into obeisance at the feet of the ruling elite.
Make no mistake about it – if you are someone who is concerned that we are drifting into totalitarianism, or if you are involved in supporting some sort of cause that threatens the control of the wealthy and powerful, you could someday end up being labeled as a facilitator or supporter of “terrorism,” no matter how committed you are personally to non-violence. And if you should happen by some chance to own a gun, and you have made it clear that you are willing to use it to defend your freedom and your Constitutional rights if necessary, then all we can say is, God help you.
©2012 Off the Grid News