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Government Blurs the Lines Between Bad Guys and Average Americans

Posted By Washingtons Blog On September 30, 2013 @ 1:30 am In Think Tank,War/Defense | Comments Disabled

Does the Government Only Label Bad Guys As Terrorists?

 

Preface: Whether you believe this is a conspiracy by the government – or just over-reaction, incompetence or cronyism – the end result is idiotic … and counter-productive [1].

Former NSA boss Michael Hayden compared privacy advocates to terrorists [2]:

“If and when our government grabs Edward Snowden, and brings him back here to the United States for trial, what does this group do?” said retired air force general Michael Hayden, who from 1999 to 2009 ran the NSA and then the CIA, referring to “nihilists, anarchists, activists, Lulzsec, Anonymous, twentysomethings who haven’t talked to the opposite sex in five or six years”.

“They may want to come after the US government, but frankly, you know, the dot-mil stuff is about the hardest target in the United States,” Hayden said, using a shorthand for US military networks. “So if they can’t create great harm to dot-mil, who are they going after? Who for them are the World Trade Centers? The World Trade Centers, as they were for al-Qaida.”

Hayden provided his speculation during a speech on cybersecurity to a Washington group, the Bipartisan Policy Center, in which he confessed to being deliberately provocative.

Similarly, Slate reported [3] last year:

If you’ve ever cared about privacy while using the Internet in public, you might be a terrorist. At least that’s the message from the FBI and Justice Department’s Communities Against Terrorism initiative. The project created flyers to help employees at several types of businesses—including military surplus stores, financial institutions, and even tattoo shops—recognize “warning signs” of terrorism or extremism. An admirable goal, perhaps, but the execution is flawed—particularly for the flyers intended to help suss out terrorists using Internet cafes.

The flyers haven’t been publicly available online, but Public Intelligence, a project promoting the right to access information, collected 25 documents [4] that it found elsewhere on the Web. As Public Intelligence puts it [5], “Do you like online privacy? You may be a terrorist.”

Complaining about the taste of your tap water [6] could also get you labeled as a potential terrorist.

Having “strange odors” [7] or “bright colored stains on clothes” [7] (what if you eat mustard or ketchup?) could get you labeled as a potential terrorist.

Complaining about U.S. drone assassinations [8] could get you labeled a terrorist.

So could expressing fears of big brother or of economic collapse [9] … or otherwise believing that we’re in a crisis [10].  (Irony alert:  if you’re afraid of the government, the government might go after you?)

Indeed, any American [11] could be labeled as a potential terrorist [12] by our government [13] on a whim [14].

For example, the following actions may get an American citizen living on U.S. soil labeled as a “suspected terrorist” today:

And holding the following beliefs may also be considered grounds for suspected terrorism:

In other words, the “terrorism” label has become so ridiculously broad as to lose all meaning … and some government officials are simply using it to harass anyone they wish to punish.


Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog

URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/09/government-blurs-the-lines-between-bad-guys-and-average-americans/

URLs in this post:

[1] counter-productive: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/08/top-security-expert-treating-everyone-like-a-potential-terrorist-weakens-our-ability-to-protect-america.html

[2] compared privacy advocates to terrorists: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/aug/06/nsa-director-cyber-terrorism-snowden?CMP=twt_gu

[3] reported: http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2012/02/02/communities_against_terrorism_initiative_on_internet_cafes_.html

[4] collected 25 documents: https://www.slatt.org/CAT

[5] puts it: http://publicintelligence.net/do-you-like-online-privacy-you-may-be-a-terrorist/

[6] Complaining about the taste of your tap water: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/you-might-be-terrorist-if-you-complain-about-your-tap-water

[7] “strange odors”: http://oathkeepers.org/oath/2011/08/10/7769/

[8] Complaining about U.S. drone assassinations: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/25/nsa-uk-drone-opponents-threats

[9] expressing fears of big brother or of economic collapse: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/ridiculous-dhs-list-you-might-be-domestic-ter

[10] otherwise believing that we’re in a crisis: http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/2161-docs.pdf

[11] any American: http://www.activistpost.com/2013/08/72-types-of-americans-that-are.html

[12] labeled as a potential terrorist: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130924/10470524637/documents-obtained-aclu-show-fusion-centers-broad-surveillance-americans-everyday-activities.shtml

[13] by our government: http://www.infowars.com/dod-training-manual-suggests-extremist-founding-fathers-would-not-be-welcome-in-todays-military/

[14] on a whim: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/12/the-fbi-drowning-in-counter-terrorism-money-power-and-other-resources-will-apply-the-term-terrorism-to-any-group-it-dislikes-and-wants-to-control-and-suppress.html

[15] Being young: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/10/insider-threat/

[16] fair game: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/06/u-s-labels-all-young-men-in-battle-zones-as-militants-and-american-soil-is-now-considered-a-battle-zone.html

[17] see this: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/12/no-child-left-behind.html

[18] Reporting or doing journalism: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/09/in-america-journalists-are-considered-terrorists.html

[19] here: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/dec/19/assange-high-tech-terrorist-biden

[20] here: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/06/11/rep-peter-king-punish-journalists-who-report-classified-information/

[21] Speaking out against government policies: http://www.counterpunch.org/cohn09302006.html

[22] Protesting anything: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/11/in-modern-america-liking-peace-is-considered-terrorism.html

[23] “Occupy”: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/25/nyregion/occupy-movement-was-investigated-by-fbi-counterterrorism-agents-records-show.html?_r=0

[24] “Tea Party”: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/60421.html

[25] war reduces our national security: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/04/four-stories-this-week-prove-that-the-war-on-terror-is-a-farce.html

[26] this: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/11/nobel-prize-winning-economist-war-is-widely-thought-to-be-linked-to-economic-good-times-nonsense.html

[27] Criticizing the government’s targeting of innocent civilians with drones: http://www.salon.com/2012/02/06/top_official_drone_critics_are_al_qaeda_enablers/singleton/

[28] increases terrorism: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/01/nice-work-creating-new-terrorists-you.html

[29] this: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/10/why-were-losing-the-war-on-terror.html

[30] public Congressional hearing: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/02/02/documentary-filmmaker-josh-fox-arrested-at-fracking-hearing

[31] Paying cash at an Internet cafe: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2012/02/06/fbi-enlists-internet-cafe-owners-to-spy-on-customers-2/

[32] Creating alternative currencies: http://www.nysun.com/editorials/a-unique-form-of-terrorism/87269/

[33] Stocking up on more than 7 days of food: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXKfEsgLLRU&feature=related

[34] Mormons are taught to stockpile food: http://jenny-evans.suite101.com/why-do-mormons-store-food-a284336

[35] Hawaiians store up on extra food: http://whatreallyhappened.com/node/156535

[36] Having bumper stickers saying things like “Know Your Rights Or Lose Them”: http://www.infowars.com/doj-funded-training-manual-lists-bumper-stickers-as-terrorism/

[37] Investigating factory farming: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la-me-gs-fbi-tracking-animal-videotapers-as-terrorists-20111229,0,5919114.story

[38] Infringing a copyright: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/08/counter-terror-gone-crazy-copyright-infringement-is-being-treated-as-terrorism.html

[39] Taking pictures or videos: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2008/09/in-a-fascist-state-cameras-equal-terrorism.html

[40] Talking to police officers: http://www.infowars.com/dhs-video-characterizes-white-americans-as-most-likely-terrorists/

[41] Not having a Facebook account: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2184658/Is-joining-Facebook-sign-youre-psychopath-Some-employers-psychologists-say-suspicious.html

[42] the Founding Fathers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oP1Ke70Mi8

[43] anti-tax, anti-regulation or for the gold standard: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/07/us-usa-fbi-extremists-idUSTRE81600V20120207

[44] “reverent of individual liberty”: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/02/government-uses-anti-terror-laws-to-crush-dissent-and-help-big-business.html

[45] inside job: http://www.columbuspolice.org/Units/TEW%20Info/recognizing_sleepers_word2007trifold.pdf

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