Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Protest now defined as 'terrorism'

We have been informed that the current web-base [US Department of Defence] instruction course asks, as one of its multiple-choice questions, "which of the following is an example of low-level terrorism activity?" To answer correctly, the examinee must select "protests."

See here (.pdf).


Dick Durata said...

Should we tell the Iranians?

gordon said...

From The Independent:

"Unleashing a rabble of armed government forces on to the streets and claiming that all whom they shoot are "terrorists" is an almost copy-cat perfect version of the Israeli army's public reaction to the Palestinian intifada. If stone-throwing demonstrators are shot dead, then it is their own fault, they are breaking the law and they are working for foreign powers.

When this happens in the Israeli-occupied territories, the Israelis claim that the foreign powers of Iran and Syria are behind the violence. When this happens on the streets of Iranian cities, the Iranian regime claims that the foreign powers of the United States, Israel and Britain are behind the violence."

gordon said...

This piece at Counterpunch is also worth reading in the Iran context.

An extract: "We don’t know if Gene Sharp, the Albert Einstein Institute, or the National Endowment for Democracy (the folks who influenced other branded youth movements and color-coded oppositions such as Serbia’s Otpor and the post-Communist Oranges of Ukraine) were directly involved in Iran. But Sharp’s fingerprints (even if only via printed matter) are all over it. In any event, US ambitions of destabilizing Iran have been well publicized, reported by Seymour Hersh among others".

This Wikipedia article on the Orange Revolution in Ukraine is also relevant.

An extract: Activists in each of these movements [Serbian, Georgian, Ukrainian] were funded and trained in tactics of political organization and nonviolent resistance by a coalition of Western pollsters and professional consultants funded by a range of Western government and non-government agencies. According to The Guardian, these include the U.S. State Department and USAID along with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, the Bilderberg Group, the NGO Freedom House and George Soros's Open Society Institute. The National Endowment for Democracy, a foundation supported by the U.S. government, has supported non-governmental democracy-building efforts in Ukraine since 1988.[15] Writings on nonviolent struggle by Gene Sharp formed the strategic basis of the student campaigns". (see also links in the original Wiki article)

Daro said...

Like we didn't see this coming... Terrorism laws are stalking horses for ever better ways to "control" the rabble. I've talked to a few elites who chilled me with the way they so off-handedly assumed the common slob was incapable of being responsible with so many "freedoms".

Bruce Webb said...

I am currently re-reading E.P. Thompson's 'Making of the English Working Class' and as always it is an eye opener.

During the late 18th century, the whole of the 19th and into the 20th the English ruling class drew no clear line between democracy, revolution, trade unionism, and treason. All were considered threats to the existing order and were beaten down with repressive force very similar (and often more violent) than what we are seeing in Iran today.

I think that most people in America have a overly romantic view of the English Parliamentary system as if you can flash forward from King John and Magna Carta in 1216 to Queen Elizabeth II the essentially figure head monarch. Well the Magna Carta was not what it was cracked up to be, its supposed protections for Free Englishmen in fact extended to a narrow economic band that certainly didn't include peasants and later factory workers.

Universal manhood (and later womanhood) suffrage was a dream not really achieved anywhere and certainly not in the U.S. or Britain until the 20th century and enforced somewhat sporadically here until much latter (One Man, One Vote).

The U.S. Constitution was consciously set up to maintain control over the rabble, the U.S. Senate and most of the various State Senates consciously designed in a way that protected property owners from democratic majorities.

And that impulse has never died out. Bryan Caplan of GMU wrote a book "The Myth of the Rational Voter" that argues that people who don't immediately agree with his brand of libertarian property rights and deregulation should lose the right to vote. That is if you support the minimum wage or regulation of Big Pharma you are ipso facto just part of the rabble.

It is not just tenured econ professors at James Mason (aka Wacky U) that hold these views, we get LTTEs suggesting that only actual property owners should be able to vote on tax levies.

You get this all the time. Some earnest people on the Left persist in trying to make their economic arguments based on democratic and utilitarian assumptions that believe equity should be somewhere at the center of economic and social justice, not quite understanding that the Right has never accepted that and in fact for centuries has viewed arguments from equity as being dangerous, revolutionary nonsense.

'Rabble ye are, and rabble ye shall remain' could well be the watchword for the economic Right.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...


The university that Bryan Caplan is at is George Mason, named for the "Father of the Bill of Rights." I happen to be at James Madison, also in Virginia and named for the "Father of the Constitution." People often confuse them, and I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked "So, how are things at James Mason?" I note that there was a British actor of that name, perhaps most famous for playing Humbert Humbert in the movie version of Lolita, atlhough he also did Shakespeare, I understand. I have even been asked on occasion, "So, how are things at George Madison?" although I do not know of anybody particularly famous by that name.

Bruce Webb said...

Well I did get the GMU right.

And God knows I live in fear that on the occasions that I refer to 'Rosser's Equation' that I slip and substitute the wrong Founding Father.

Mea culpa, mea madisonia culpa.

J.Goodwin said...

Well, I can confirm that the attachment to that pdf certainly looks a lot like the web-based training that we used to receive at the defense agency I used to work for.