countries had signed an official agreement in September, activists in El Salvador demanded to see the text of the document.”
El Salvador’s ILEA recently received another $2 million in U.S. funding through the congressionally approved Mérida Initiative but still refuses to adopt a more transparent curriculum and administration, despite partnering with a well-known human rights leader. Enzinna’s FOIA requests for course materials were rejected by the government, so no one knows exactly what the school is teaching or to whom.
SOURCES: “Exporting U.S. ‘Criminal Justice’ to Latin America,” “Community in Solidarity with the people of El Salvador,” Upside Down World, June 14, 2007; “Another SOA?” Wes Enzinna, NACLA Report on the Americas, March/April 2008; “ILEA funding approved by Salvadoran right wing legislators,” CISPES, March 15, 2007; “Is George Bush restarting Latin America’s ‘dirty wars?’ ” Benjamin Dangl, AlterNet, Aug. 31, 2007.5.Seizing Protest
Protesting war could get you into big trouble, according to a critical read of two executive orders recently signed by President Bush. The first, issued July 17, 2007, and titled, “Blocking property of certain persons who threaten stabilization efforts in Iraq,” allows the feds to seize assets from anyone who “directly or indirectly” poses a risk to the U.S. war in Iraq. And, citing the modern technological ease of transferring funds and assets, the order states that no prior notice is necessary before the raid. On Aug. 1, Bush signed another order, similar but directed toward anyone undermining the “sovereignty of Lebanon or its democratic processes and institutions.”
In this case, the Secretary of the Treasury can seize the assets of anyone perceived as posing a risk of violence, as well as the assets of their spouses and dependents, and bans them from receiving any humanitarian aid.
Critics say the orders bypass the right to due process and the vague language makes manipulation and abuse possible. Protesting the war could be perceived as undermining or threatening U.S. efforts in Iraq. “This is so sweeping it’s staggering,” said Bruce Fein, a former Reagan administration official in the Justice Department who editorialized against it in The Washington Times.
SOURCES: “Bush executive order: Criminalizing the antiwar movement,” Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, July 2007; “Bush’s executive order even worse than the one on Iraq,” Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, Aug. 2007.6.Radicals = Terrorists
On Oct. 23, 2007, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed (by a vote of 404-6) the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act,designed to root out the causes of radicalization in Americans.
With an estimated four-year cost of $22 million, the act establishes a 10-member National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism as well as a university-based Center of Excellence “to examine the social, criminal, political, psychological and economic roots of domestic terrorism,” according to a press release from the bill’s author, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Los Angeles).
During debate on the bill, Harman said, “Free speech, espousing even very radical beliefs, is protected by our Constitution. But violent behavior is not.” Jessica Lee, writing in The Indypendent, a newspaper put out by the New York Independent Media Center, pointed out that in a later press release Harman stated: “The National Commission (will) propose to both Congress and (Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael)
Chertoff initiatives to intercede before radicalized individuals turn violent.”
Which could be when they’re speaking, writing and organizing in ways that are protected by the First Amendment. This redefines civil disobedience as terrorism, say civil rights experts, and the wording is too vague.
For example, the definition of “violent radicalization” is “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.”
The story didn’t make it onto the CNN ticker, but enough independent sources reported on it that the equivalent Senate Bill 1959 has since stalled. After introducing the bill, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), later joined forces with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on a report criticizing the Internet as a tool for violent Islamic extremism.
SOURCES: “Bringing the war on terrorism home,” Jessica Lee, The Indypendent, Nov. 16, 2007; “Examining the Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act,” Lindsay Beyerstein, In These Times, Nov. 2007; “The Violent Radicalization Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007,” Matt Renner, Truthout, Nov. 20, 20077.Slavery’s Runner-up
Every year, about 121,000 people legally enter the United States to work with H-2 visas, a program legislators are touting as part of future immigration reform. But Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) called this guest worker program “the closest thing I’ve ever seen to slavery.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center likened it to “modern day indentured servitude.” They interviewed thousands of
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