Thursday, November 29, 2007

Has Big Brother Arrived?

Over the weekend, I heard a news story on Amy Goodman’s radio show Democracy Now that made me think back to Soledad Brother, Born on the Fourth of July, and our class discussion on political dissenters.

So far, the internet has been a territory too vast for the government to control, but this is not for lack of trying. A new bill – the Violent Radicalization and Home-grown Terrorism Act – was passed through the House of Representatives last month by a vote of 400 to 6. It is expected to pass through the Senate as well. Dressed in anti-terrorism language, the bill is really concentrated effort to control political activists of all stripes. The government is trying to reign in its citizens big-brother-of-the-21-century style. Free speech is being redefined as terrorist activity. Blogging, for example, is described in the bill as a threat to national security, providing "access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda." Under this bill, anti-globalization activists can be considered “home-grown terrorists.” In fact, since what constitutes a terrorist threat is not defined, pretty much any dissenter in the US can be accused of terrorist activity.

Check out this Nov 19 article, “Here comes the Thought Police,” from the Baltimore Sun.

Here's a link to the factsheet about the bill

- Brooke Olaussen

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