Above the Law
In 2006, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco sponsored a bill to make activism against corporations illegal. Unable to push it through under President Bush, she had to wait for that year’s keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention to become president before her dreams of a totalitarian state could begin to come true. With the 2010 arrests by Homeland Security of anti-war and environmental activists for the crime of showing documentary films criticizing the arms and energy industries, Feinstein was in seventh heaven.
Today, as Obama seeks another term as president, Abby Martin interviews author and journalist Will Potter about recent US federal law enforcement targeting of anti-corporate activists, using terrorism legislation and secret grand juries to intimidate and incarcerate people who’ve committed no crime. In another interview at Escape Velocity Radio, Potter talks about direct action environmental activists who’ve received multi-year prison sentences for non-violent crimes under the new terrorism laws.
As someone who has personally been intimidated by FBI agent threats, Potter notes that by making environmental activists political prisoners, and torturing them with solitary confinement in special Communications Management Units where they are denied human contact, the government is singling them out for human rights abuse by federal prosecutors precisely because of their success at inspiring public involvement and opposition to corporate wasting of the planet. Observing that actual domestic terrorists who commit murder because of their political beliefs — like anti-abortion activists and militias — are merely charged with the crimes they commit, without enhanced sentences for terrorism, Potter says this is because they don’t interfere with corporate profits.
As federal prosecutors and law enforcement escalate their harassment of anti-war, pro-environment, pro-democracy activists attempting to influence domestic and foreign policy, public involvement in movements like #Occupy is bound to wane. As corporations continue to push politicians toward their goal of total corporate control of government and absolute repression of dissent, the defense of civil and human rights will inevitably move from the courts to the streets.
As noted on the Defending Dissent Foundation website, where dissent is a crime, there is no freedom.