Thursday, September 04, 2008

No,No, No..It's happened: protesters charged with terrorism for civil disobedience

From Democracy Now!:

"8 RNC Protesters Get Terror Charges Under PATRIOT Act

In St. Paul, Ramsey County prosecutors have formally charged eight members of the group RNC Welcoming Committee with conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism. The eight activists are believed to be the first persons ever charged under the 2002 Minnesota version of the federal PATRIOT Act. The activists face up to seven-and-a-half years in prison. According to the National Lawyers Guild, the criminal complaints filed by the Ramsey County Attorney do not allege that any of the defendants personally engaged in any act of violence or damage to property. Instead, authorities are seeking to hold the eight defendants responsible for acts committed by other individuals during the opening days of the Republican National Convention."

Bold for emphasis.

This is what we, meaning lots and lots and lots of people in the United States, have been afraid would happen. The PATRIOT Act and its progeny have now been used to prosecute protesters who were engaged in direct action. First it was criminal conspiracy acts, now outright terrorism. The first strategy was that used against the Freedom Riders in the South during the Civil Rights movement, who technically were engaged in breaking the law as a conspiracy because they were determined to integrate bus travel. Same thing with organized civil disobedience against segregation in general in the South. Now, with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism we've passed a very, very, dangerous threshold. Terrorism in the United States means Guantanamo Bay, torture, being held without cause, and possibly the death sentence. The RNC Welcoming Committee is being labeled Domestic Terrorist organization.

Everybody should be shitting bricks at this point over this because we know all too well where this could lead to.....look at South America for some prominent examples.

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