Once again, our First Amendments rights are being eroded
by Pam Barker | TLB staff writer/analyst
In the wake of the Oregon militia standoff, the feds are looking for a legal way to prosecute freedom activists in the same way as ISIS terrorists. The resulting law would limit the First Amendment rights of certain individuals and groups as yet to be defined.
Specifically, they are looking into a law ‘that prohibits supporting designated terrorist groups’ and increases current penalties in cases of domestic terrorism, according to a report by Reuters.
It is against US law to support international terrorist organizations designated as such by the State Department, and this law has been used extensively and successfully to prosecute ISIS-supporting suspects.
Domestic groups receive more constitutional protection because belonging to those organizations does not constitute a crime.
As a result of the disparity in the way terrorist groups of international origin are dealt with, domestic terrorism suspects have historically faced less serious charges compared to their international counterparts.
The Justice Department plans to approach Congress for this new law.
Counsel has been hired to, among other things, determine which cases being prosecuted at the state level could be interpreted as meeting the federal criteria for domestic terrorism, according to an official with the Justice Department. In this we can see a clear attempt to bring such groups under federal government jurisdiction.
John Carlin, the Justice Department’s chief of national security, claims that domestic groups motivated by ‘US-born philosophies’ pose a ‘clear and present danger’
Threat to First Amendment Speech
A critical phrase, ‘clear and present danger’ is how First Amendment protection of free speech can be overridden. A type of constitutional test given to forms of expression, it has largely fallen out of usage in the last 40 or so years, giving way to a more liberal test. That the government is looking to bring it back suggests how much they feel threatened by the militia movements.
Of course, the worry is how this form of speech will be interpreted and what this could mean for those in the liberty activist movement. Writes Brandon Smith:
The liberty movement, likely in the near future, is about to be outwardly defined by the establishment as a terrorist movement, and those who support it through speech will be designated as material supporters of said terrorism.
To be utterly clear, this could apply to any and everyone who promotes anti-government sentiments online, and will likely be aimed more prominently at liberty analysts and journalists.
Depending on how the Justice Department defines domestic terrorism, we could see a censorship on free speech and free expression.
American Juries Have a Different Take on ‘Terrorist’
A statute already exists which enables terrorism charges to be brought against those who provide ‘material support’ to those deemed terrorists, but it is rarely used as it is difficult for juries to view domestic offenders in this way.
Further, successful application of this statute carries a maximum penalty of only 15 years. Given the deterrent effect the Justice Department clearly seeks, it would be reasonable to suppose that the feds are looking for harsher lengths of imprisonment.
A scapegoat found?
Pete Santilli may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the outspoken shockjock of independent media is currently sitting in jail awaiting trial in the Oregon militia standoff without convincing evidence being presented for his continued detention. Writes lawyer John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute [emphasis mine]:
Long a thorn in the side of the FBI, Santilli was arrested by the FBI following its ambush and arrest of key leaders of the movement. He was charged, along with the armed resistors, with conspiracy to impede federal officers from discharging their duties by use of force, intimidation, or threats—the same charge being levied against those who occupied the refuge … Notably, Santilli is the only journalist among those covering the occupation to be charged with conspiracy, despite the fact that he did not participate in the takeover of the refuge, nor did he ever spend a night on the grounds of the refuge, nor did he ever represent himself as anything but a journalist covering the occupation … Read between the lines and you’ll find that what the government is really accusing Santilli of is employing dangerous speech.
The missing links – the hidden hand?
In an excellent article which raises legitimate questions as to real agenda behind the Oregon militia events, Bernie Suarez considers the various ways in which this has played into the hands of the globalists manipulating the agenda behind the scenes:
Am I saying this entire event was staged? Not at all, but I am saying that the timing of the story fits in perfectly with the overall agenda to demonize freedom lovers, Constitution lovers, independent thinkers and even faith based Christians who may not quite want to go along with a bully federal government, tyranny, Agenda 21 land-grab rulings, legislation and forced selling of land.
The big picture is definitely missing from this story. Agenda 21 has been for some years now effectively rezoning or redefining public land and private property for federal appropriation. An attack on middle-class rural and suburban property rights, especially in the US, it seeks to confine the population to urban zones with little in the way of personal assets or freedom of mobility. The Bundy situation, as complex as it has become over the years, appears to be at the heart of federal land-grabbing:
… there is an agenda playing out throughout the United States to restructure local ordinances and legislation pertaining to “preserving” certain lands while “developing” others. Federal government takeover of rural land is at the center of this agenda. This agenda is slowly but surely looking to limit land ownership in rural areas, bully Americans out of their lands, and force more and more Americans into urban areas. This is also a war against the individual that is only getting worse.
And one wonders about the equation of the militia men with a terrorist group that is well documented as being a western intelligence creation, which has no doubt been used to justify all manner of false flags and a ramping up of the military-intelligence state.
To use ISIS as a yardstick for defining domestic terrorism, for raising the bar on criminal penalties, for bringing it under federal control, and for creating a new domestic law based on a little-used test for free speech stinks. Suarez is right – it’s tough not to see a hidden hand at work.
About the Author:
Pam Barker is a TLB staff writer/analyst. She has an extensive background in the educational system of several countries at the college and university level as a teacher and administrator.