Is Protesting War –Terrorism?

Labeling Peaceful Protest of War a “Terrorist Act?”

The war on peaceful dissent is gaining speed.  Within the last week FBI SWAT teams (members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force) broke down doors in early morning raids of antiwar leaders and activists in several U.S. cities including Minneapolis and Chicago.  (So far Hilo has been spared.)  An old time labor organizer said anti-terrorism today is becoming worse than the anti-communist McCarthyism witch hunts of the 1950s.

The peace activists had their possessions ransacked, and computers, photos, papers, and cell phones taken.  No arrests were made nor charges filed. The FBI said the raids were part of “an ongoing investigation,” but the raids appear to be a fishing expedition to intimidate dissenters into silence, and ratchet up police state measures by inferring that peaceful protest of war is terrorism.
George Bush once said, if you’re not with us, you must be with the terrorists.

The current FBI raids ignore the just released Dept. of Justice Inspector General’s (IG) scathing report about improper government terrorism investigations between 2002 and 2006. The IG’s report said the FBI targeted various peace, justice and religious groups with no apparent justification and improperly conducted surveillance of anti-war rallies in Pennsylvania, and groups such as The Catholic Worker, Quakers, and Greenpeace. According to the IG’s report, the FBI even placed non-violent activists on terrorist watch lists and placed peace groups “under its ‘Acts of Terrorism’ classification.”  The FBI followed people to parks, libraries, etc. and even secretly searched their personal trash.

Using the guise of anti-terrorism to target and intimidate domestic peace groups and anti-war activists is a serious abuse of government power.  The mindset behind such actions is made clear by a spokesperson for the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center (CATIC) back in 2003 trying to defend unjustified targeting of peace activists without factual evidence.  CATIC Spokesperson Van Winkle said: “You can make an easy kind of a link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that’s being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that (protest),” said Van Winkle, “You can almost argue that a protest against (the “war on terror”) is a terrorist act.”

By the above account, it looks like we are all terrorists if we want to stop war and have a just and peaceful world for future generations. I suppose things could be worse.  We could be put on the kill list (instead of the watch list) — targeted for assassination by the CIA as a terror suspect as many people, including U.S. citizens abroad, already are. The Obama administration is claiming “State Secrets” in a lawsuit challenging such all inclusive executive authority.  No Miranda Rights.  No right to an attorney. No formal charge, No trial.  Just the fast track to summary execution by a CIA hit squad or a missile firing drone aircraft.  What ever happened to the Constitutional demand  that “no person shall be … deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law?”

Refuse To Be Silent!  Stand Up For Peace!

1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties. 4. Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, etc. 5. Seek peace through justice in Hawai`i and around the world.
Contact: Malu `Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box AB Kurtistown, Hawai`i 96760.
Phone (808) 966-7622.  Email
Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet (Oct. 1, 2010 – 472nd week) – Friday 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office