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To prevent homegrown terrorism, and for other purposes.
November 20, 2007 4:34 PM   Subscribe

HR 1955 : The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens. While the United States must continue its vigilant efforts to combat international terrorism, it must also strengthen efforts to combat the threat posed by homegrown terrorists based and operating within the United States.
posted by Huplescat (45 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
so someone wants to form a commission to study the problem - wow, is THAT scary - ooh, and they're going to make a report! - and then they're going to form a center of excellence

and then they're going to subpoena people - as if congress couldn't do that already

it's all just hot air - if it DID something a vast majority of congresscritters wouldn't have voted for it
posted by pyramid termite at 4:43 PM on November 20, 2007


`(1) The development and implementation of methods and processes that can be utilized to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States is critical to combating domestic terrorism.

Good thing we don't have any home-grown terrorism! I mean, other then from the occasional right-wing gun-nut in the 1990s

`(b) Commitment to Racial Neutrality- The Secretary shall ensure that the activities and operations of the entities created by this subtitle are in compliance with the Department of Homeland Security's commitment to racial neutrality.

LAWL.

Anyway, all this bill does is authorize a legislative commission (like the 9/11 commission) and a "CENTER OF EXCELLENCE FOR THE STUDY OF VIOLENT RADICALIZATION AND HOMEGROWN TERRORISM IN THE UNITED STATES" as part of (I think) the Department of Homeland security.

Nothing in this bill talks about censoring the internet or anything like that, although in theory the commissions could recommend something like that.
posted by delmoi at 4:45 PM on November 20, 2007


Awful, and surprised to see a democrat introduced it.
posted by mathowie at 4:45 PM on November 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act

read: Those Little Fuckers Burned a Hummer Dealership Revenge Act
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:49 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- 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.

I think this neatly sums up the current administration and the Republican party in general from the last few years.
posted by quin at 4:50 PM on November 20, 2007 [9 favorites]


The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens
The guns have aided in facilitating all of that too, but there are still millions of gun out there. Alcohol has probably done a lot more damage than any other drug, maybe in a tie with tobacco, still its sale isnt forbidden. Airplanes can be used as a weapon anytime, almost anything can be used as a weapon anytime

But none of these are dangerous to any government or private corporation, not as much as the possibility that some idea, no matter how idiotic or genious it could be, could be disseminated and could reach the very same people kept gullible by empoverished superficial education, untrained to spot propaganda because that would make most advertisement a lot less effective is not useless.

Of course silencing internet should seem as a solution, whereas internet permits also the dissemination of messages against the most vicious propaganda ; sites such as LGF and FreeRep may look like lunatic asylums and to concentrate people sensible to some propaganda, but they do NOT cause the propaganda to become magically effective of people not sensible to it, it just makes it more accessible.

Probably, the day Guternber invented the mobile character press, somebody in the Church of Rome gasped in horror at the prospect of having people disseminate "false" edition bible, as well as popularized editions of the bible from latin to any other language..which would have breaked the "secret code" of latin and disseminate the Bible to the "vulgus" without any priest or spindoctor doing any "free interpretation" or "occasional error" anymore.
posted by elpapacito at 4:54 PM on November 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


delmoi writes "Nothing in this bill talks about censoring the internet or anything like that, although in theory the commissions could recommend something like that"

So it's either another false commission created just to give money to the people sitting in the commission, which isn't good , or maybe the preamble of something bigger, or not. In theory, if you slowly raised the temperature of water the frog will not jump out of it and it will boil alive, as opposed to splashing hot water on the frog which would make him jump to safety.
posted by elpapacito at 4:56 PM on November 20, 2007


Awful, and surprised to see a democrat introduced it.

Jane Harman blogs frequently at Huffington Post.
posted by ericb at 5:00 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


(l) Nonapplicability of Federal Advisory Committee Act- The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Commission.

What struck me was the provision exempting the commission from the Federal Advisory Committee Act (see also Wikipedia's entry). The U.S. GSA says FACA ensures that advice by advisory committees is objective and accessible to the public. Sounds like a good idea, why would the drafters of this legislation want to avoid FACA?
posted by RichardP at 5:10 PM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


From the "Findings" section of the bill:

"(9) Certain governments, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have significant experience with homegrown terrorism and the United States can benefit from lessons learned by those nations."

Huh? OK, England had IRA bombings, not exactly "homegrown", after all. And some very recent Islamic fundamentalist attacks, but even still, signifigant? I dunno. And then Canada and Australia? What? What are they talking about? Looks to me like they just grabbed, er, the 3 other major English-speaking nations of the world to include here. There are any number of other countries, I'd say, with much more experience of "homegrown" terrorist activities. Italy, for example, comes to mind straightaway.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:17 PM on November 20, 2007


(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- 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.

Well there goes my plans for revolution. Can we posthumously brand our founding fathers as criminals? Freedom requires eternal vigilance until such time as it is deemed inappropriate.
posted by effwerd at 5:28 PM on November 20, 2007


to end terrorism in the US: kill everyone wearing a funny hat.
posted by Postroad at 5:32 PM on November 20, 2007


to end terrorism in the US: kill everyone wearing a funny hat.

Starting with the Shriners.
posted by WPW at 5:38 PM on November 20, 2007


Relax. It's just Jane Harman establishing her anti terrorism street cred for when Hillary announces her as her V. P. choice.
These Dems think far ahead. Unlike our Repubs. who are still wondering why they can't find those wmd.
posted by notreally at 5:45 PM on November 20, 2007


And then Canada and Australia? What? What are they talking about?

This and probably this.

I know that's not much. I actually think people have a lot more to learn from the former than the latter.
posted by dreamsign at 5:56 PM on November 20, 2007


(event, not country)
posted by dreamsign at 5:56 PM on November 20, 2007


Australia? What?

We had Serb and Croat immigrants blowing each other's shit up all through the 80s, and this bombing was a pretty good shot at knocking off a few heads of government. No biggie, obviously, but not nothing either.
posted by Wolof at 5:56 PM on November 20, 2007


Bah, since when do you need to pass a bill to start a McCarthyist witch-hunt?
posted by sdodd at 5:59 PM on November 20, 2007


In theory, if you slowly raised the temperature of water the frog will not jump out of it and it will boil alive, as opposed to splashing hot water on the frog which would make him jump to safety.

in practice, the frog jumps out - period - i get so tired of people saying this

if you increase the heat little by little the frog eventually decides he doesn't like it and THE FROG JUMPS OUT

period - end of subject

you are welcome to speculate whether people are smarter than frogs, of course
posted by pyramid termite at 5:59 PM on November 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


Awful, and surprised to see a democrat introduced it.

ProTip: the democrats are the Marginally Better If You Turn Your Head And Squint A Bit Guys, not the Good Guys.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:59 PM on November 20, 2007 [5 favorites]


Hey, I know it was just said above, but I just have to say this myself:

THE FROG JUMPS OUT!

I also just wanna say that pyramid termite knows when to caps lock.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:04 PM on November 20, 2007


I think it's lobsters they are talking about . . . wait . . . lobsters don't jump (but I hear some crabs do).
posted by augustweed at 6:12 PM on November 20, 2007


I'm skeptical of this plan. When it comes to sowing fear just before your National Convention, a congressional committee report seems a poor substitute for a terrorist attack, capturing Bin Ladin, or finding WMDs. But I guess the committee report is more reliably predictable.
posted by sdodd at 6:18 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jane Harman blogs frequently at Huffington Post.
We must have different definitions of the word frequently.
(she has made only five posts since January 2007, and zero since the end of March)
posted by finite at 6:22 PM on November 20, 2007


In theory, if you slowly raised the temperature of water the frog will not jump out of it and it will boil alive, as opposed to splashing hot water on the frog which would make him jump to safety.

Next Time, What Say We Boil a Consultant.
posted by ericb at 6:29 PM on November 20, 2007


Thanks for the link, ericb. Of course, the frog-boiling myth is flawed from the start, by trying to describe something that may very well occur psychologically to people (being lulled into a false security... which really does happen) by using a purely physical biological example. People are not 'dumber' than frogs, but can be manipulated into believing a (symbolic) soup pot is a (symbolic) hot bath. It's just an annoyingly bad analogy.
posted by wendell at 6:45 PM on November 20, 2007


notreally writes "These Dems think far ahead. Unlike our Repubs. who are still wondering why they can't find those wmd."

The Bush administration is comprised of many individuals who worked for Nixon. They never went away. They just waited until the time was right to come back. I mean, look at this. You don't think those guys think ahead? They may be incompetent or run through with too much greed to be effective, but they think far, far ahead. Many conservative political strategies are long term, at least since Goldwater.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:47 PM on November 20, 2007


In theory, if you slowly raised the temperature of water the frog will not jump out of it and it will boil alive, as opposed to splashing hot water on the frog which would make him jump to safety.

That's a bit of an urban legend. For one thing, if you actually put a frog in boiling water, it will die instantly.
posted by delmoi at 6:51 PM on November 20, 2007


There was a discussion about this with the author of the third link and a lawyer from the Center for Constitutional Rights on Democracy Now today.
posted by homunculus at 6:53 PM on November 20, 2007


read: Those Little Fuckers Burned a Hummer Dealership Revenge Act

They've already got that: The Terrorism Enhancement: An obscure law stretches the definition of terrorism, and metes out severe punishments.
posted by homunculus at 7:28 PM on November 20, 2007


"Rebuilding America's Defenses" [PDF] by the Project for a New American Century, lists this as one of their objectives:

"CONTROL THE NEW 'INTERNATIONAL COMMONS' OF SPACE AND 'CYBERSPACE,'" (their capitalization).
posted by McLir at 7:42 PM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Good thing we don't have any home-grown terrorism! I mean, other then from the occasional right-wing gun-nut in the 1990s

And the Unibomber, and Timothy McVeigh and company, and (presumably) the anthrax terrorists.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:44 PM on November 20, 2007


HR 1955 from Jane Harmon (D-CA) and her 14 co-sponsors.
www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-1955
posted by LiveLurker at 8:56 PM on November 20, 2007


And the Unibomber, and Timothy McVeigh and company, and (presumably) the anthrax terrorists.

McVeigh wasn't a right-wing gun-nut?
posted by delmoi at 11:16 PM on November 20, 2007


The Bush administration is comprised of many individuals who worked for Nixon Yog-Sothoth. They never went away. They just waited until the time was stars were right to come back.
posted by mkhall at 4:47 AM on November 21, 2007


Well, McVeigh did spend time on the gun show circuit, so - gun. And he did believe you could take down a helicopter with a flare gun, so - nut.
But I suspect it was the meth use that put him over the edge and the not so much using guns as using ANFO goosed with nitromethane that made him really dangerous. As to right wing, well, that'd imply at least some allegiance to the U.S. Once you're a terrorist, tough to say there's any real validity to your political orientation. Motivated by authoritarian ends? Maybe. This stuff gets pretty shadowy (at least politically) once you start looking into it.

I strongly believe in gun rights. However I believe information and the right to speak freely is the cornerstone of liberty in the U.S. This could be just one more chilling effect on free speech and the right to private discourse.

By itself, it probably isn't and won't be much in execution. But it is in ideology, in conception, it fosters the idea that free speech rights are secondary to rooting out subversives.
Well, who determines who's a subversive?

Excellent quote here from one of the main links:
“When you first look at this bill, it might seem harmless because it is about the development of a commission to do a study,” explained Hope Marston, a regional organizer with BORDC. “However, when you realize the focus of the study is ‘homegrown terrorism,’ it raises red flags,” Marston said. “When you consider that the government has wiretapped our phone calls and emails, spied on religious and political groups and has done extensive data mining of our daily records, it is worrisome of what might be done with the study. I am concerned that there appears to be an inclination to study religious and political groups to ultimately try to find subversion. This would violate our First Amendment rights to free speech and freedoms of religion and association.”

Right now it's a conceptual war. I call it, I think quite rightly, a war. I suspect (given the 'gun nut' slights) that many of you don't see it as such. But consider the argument in the same vein as making English the official language of the U.S. or how your hackles raise when someone calls this a "Christian nation" and so forth.
Now I have some sympathy for folks who assert certain values, but by no means do I support monoculture or myopic social views in any form even where it would conform to my own views.
I agree with Madison that there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations - and that - no nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. (Also that Americans need never fear their government because of the advantage of (the States) being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation. But I digress)
This war on terror certainly appears, by design, eternal.

This is very much a war over how we perceive our country and this is another shot across the bow.

Many people invoke the founding fathers as a kind of appeal to authority, I would argue my invocation here is to point to a body of thought that had the aim of good and lasting government, not as any specific political end, which is in contrast to the lawmakers in question.

So - I think Madison was right in the Federalist papers that popular governments tend to fraction due to opposing interests and injustice and confusion can result.

This law appears, at least to me, to attempt to address the potential for injustice. Very dangerous, precisely because it isn't specific in it's intent or scope.
There's this vague assertion of power in response to an emergency situation that we can readily agree doesn't really exist in terms of a clear and present dangers.

Seriously, you worry about terrorism every day on your drive to work?
As Madison said factions often lead to a majority invasion of rights, and liberty becomes precarious. The most sure protections therefore are the freedoms of speech, thought, religion, and the press.

And again, this sort of thing, by the very nature of it's lack of specificity, is a danger. What exactly is it they're doing? Something about terrorism. And who are they going to bring before the committee? And so forth.

I can only point to the vague abstractions of law and it's aimless execution that did (and does) damage through torture or hell, the whole thing Padillia went through.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:23 AM on November 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


. . .not to mention (again) that they aim to keep the findings and recommendations of this committee from the public. A vague mandate, lacking accountability. . .hmmm. . .seems vaguely familiar.
posted by flotson at 6:02 AM on November 21, 2007


I'm pissed that my Rep voted for it. Shame on you, Tammy.

I'm happy my man, Kucinich, voted against it (woot!).

And shocked... Dana fucking Rohrabacher voted against? Huh.

Looking at Dana's wikipedia entry, I find he's more complex than I expected. Still don't like the guy, but at least he's voting against this thing...
posted by symbioid at 10:33 AM on November 21, 2007


Oppose the Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act
posted by homunculus at 12:24 PM on November 28, 2007


Kucinich on HR 1955
posted by homunculus at 12:51 PM on December 3, 2007


The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act: A Tutorial in Orwellian Newspeak
posted by homunculus at 2:02 PM on December 5, 2007


Civil Liberties and Terrorism
posted by homunculus at 1:48 PM on December 14, 2007


Terrorists attack Darth Vader's Offices
posted by caddis at 7:32 AM on December 19, 2007


Terrorists attack Darth Vader's Offices

Let me guess, the only thing damaged were the only copies of some "special files" in Dick's walk in file cabinet. Damn, sorry guys.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:23 AM on December 19, 2007


I guess Cheney's shredders just couldn't destroy documents fast enough.
posted by homunculus at 10:55 AM on December 19, 2007


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