Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Government Continues to Criminalize All Behavior

Taking a page from the drug marketing handbook, the army casts a wide net -
A leaked U.S. Army document obtained by Wired Magazine characterizes people “frustrated with mainstream ideologies” as potential terrorists, while also framing those who “believe in government conspiracies” as violent radicals.

“These are some warning signs that that you have turned into a terrorist who will soon kill your co-workers, according to the U.S. military. You’ve recently changed your “choices in entertainment.” You have “peculiar discussions.” You “complain about bias,” you’re “socially withdrawn” and you’re frustrated with “mainstream ideologies,” writes Spencer Ackerman.

The manual (PDF) was produced in 2011 by the Asymmetric Warfare Group, a unit within the U.S. Army headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland. The document is intended to weed out “internal threats” within the ranks of U.S. soldiers.

Given that both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have identified returning veterans as one of the primary domestic terror threats, the document is seemingly designed to spot such radical extremists well ahead of time.

Examples of behavior that is considered an indication of potential terrorism include the following;

- Complaining about bias;

- Being frustrated with “mainstream ideologies”;

- Being reclusive;

- Believing in government conspiracies “to the point of paranoia”;

- Visiting “extremist” websites or blogs;

- Altering your reading habits;

- Having “peculiar discussions”;

- Being “highly emotional”;

- Using “social networks”.
Notice the lack of any sort of objective measurements? There's a reason for that, let's use a hypothetical example -

I have a (fictional) neighbor, let's see if he fits the critereia:
  • He was complaining that his tax bill was too high and that the government was trying to appropriate his land
  • He was also upset that the local paper wouldn't report on it.
  • Come to think of it, I haven't seen him much in the last few weeks.
  • He did mention a 'Tax Patriot' group to me the last time I saw him, the town board has it listed as an 'extremist' site. 
  • When I finally did see him again, he was trying to get me to sign up to join the Tax Patriot group and has been posting their stuff to his Facebook page. I better report him....
So at this point our local town board police department receives a call that there might be a possible 'extremist'. They dish a few dollars out to the concerned citizen for their 'tip', log a 'potential terrorist' into the government statistics and pay the neighbor a visit. While visiting, they notice some 'code violations' and 'subversive material' and fine the individual. Of course, he has issues paying the enormous court costs so a lien is placed against his home which wanted the home in the first place. Several months later, he's in jail for willful failure to pay his bills and subsequently finds his name on the terror watch list.

To make matters even worse, after he is released from jail, he is re-arrested for possession of 'illegal firearms' and sent to prison to do some hard time.

Is this really the sort of country we want to live in?

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