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Violent Islamist Extremism, The Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat

When a bipartisan Congressional committee issues a report on the threat of domestic terrorist violence during an election year, you can be sure that the centrist establishment is worried about the popular backlash against government repression and the threat to civil liberties.

That's nothing new.

Scholar William W. Keller argues that in times of wide-spread social unrest and tensions, some liberals retreat from their oversight function as protectors of civil liberties and allow authoritarian methods to be implemented in order to restore order and defend the state. Right now in Washington, DC, civil liberties activists have built a coalition that spans the political spectrum from left to right. This coalition recently managed to block legislation titled the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act." It was, as detailed here, lousy legislation and deserved to be squashed.

Many voters do not support the war in Iraq and are suspicious of Bush administration demands for even more erosions of civil liberties and Constitutional rights.This scares the bipartisan status quo brigade, and centrist Republicans and Democrats now rally behind the power of the state. Dissidents on the left and right already are all potential suspects in the "War on Terrorism." Who better to pick as the main target for the New Witch Hunt than Muslims in America? Is there a more vulnerable community for a new campaign based on fear?

So now comes a "series of reports by the Majority and Minority staff of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs...on the threat of homegrown terrorism inspired by violent Islamist extremism."  The first report, "Violent Islamist Extremism, The Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat," (PDF) was published today, 8 May 2008.

What's really amazing, is that this travesty of a "majority and minority" report is not even really "bipartisan." The committee authors include Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the ranking Republican, and Committee Chairmen Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut independent who has effectively lent himself to the McCain campaign for the last few months.

The ACLU has issued a press release: "ACLU Skeptical of Senate Report on 'Homegrown' Terrorism," and a broad civil liberties coalition signed a letter of protest that was actually issued the day before the report was made public.

Online, there has been almost no comment since the report was issued, hours ago, but it's easy to imagine what the Republican spin doctors and neo-McCarthyites are already whipping up in order to attack Democrats in this election cycle as soft on terrorism. The blogosphere will soon pulsate with their purple prose. This series of reports is a readymade script for the Swift Boating of the Democratic Presidential nominee and a bludgeon with which to push all of the candidates-- Democratic and Republican-- into a corner where they will accept more government repression as the price for being elected.

I will be posting more details about the New Witch Hunt and how it intersects with election 2008 over the next few days. Tomorrow, the story of Debbie Almontaser, hounded out of a job as a school principal by bigoted fanatics.

Cross-posted from Huffington Post - Off the Bus

Originally posted to cberlet on Fri May 09, 2008 at 05:18 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar: Playing politics with Fear (6+ / 0-)

    Fear-mongering by attacking unpopular groups is nothing new. This report "Violent Islamist Extremism, The Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat," and the ones slated to follow, can create a climate where even further erosions of civil liberties can be expected to be pushed by right-wing demagogues and bigoted fanatics.

  •  Let the Games Begin (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dartagnan, paintitblue

    They're bringing old and warn-out artillery to a new war.

    They will lose this time.

    Just watch.

    Know hope.

  •  I haven't read the report (0+ / 0-)

    but just browsing it quickly, it seemed more like an article by a journalist (grainy pictures and all) than a senate's report.

  •  Talk about "fear mongering" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl

    Carl Levin and Barack Obama are on the Committee.  They participated in writing this report.  A "gift to McCain", indeed.  This is a poor excuse for a diary.  Please delete.  

    Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

    by SpamNunn on Fri May 09, 2008 at 05:33:43 AM PDT

    •  How Congressional Committees Work (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack

      This report was written by senior Committee staff, as are all the Committee reports from the Hill. Junior members are generally given a chance to have their staff make comments and suggestions.

      A report does not work like a legislative measure.

      •  Oh, so Joe can just dictate the report? No (0+ / 0-)

        Joseph I. Lieberman Chairman (ID) (CT)

        Susan M. Collins Ranking Member (ME)
        _____________________________________
         
        Carl Levin (MI) Ted Stevens (AK)
         
        Daniel K. Akaka (HI) George V. Voinovich (OH)
         
        Thomas R. Carper (DE) Norm Coleman (MN)
         
        Mark L. Pryor (AR) Tom Coburn (OK)
         
        Mary L. Landrieu (LA) Pete V. Domenici (NM)
         
        Barack Obama (IL) John Warner (VA)
         
        Claire McCaskill (MO) John E. Sununu (NH)
         
        Jon Tester (MT)

        Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

        by SpamNunn on Fri May 09, 2008 at 06:30:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  . (0+ / 0-)

          "This is the first in a series of reports by the Majority and Minority staff

          Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

          by SpamNunn on Fri May 09, 2008 at 06:31:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  PS: Dems are in the majority, (0+ / 0-)

            If you count Joe for a half.

            Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

            by SpamNunn on Fri May 09, 2008 at 06:32:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  P.S. - You are simply wrong. (0+ / 0-)

              A Staff report is not an official Committee report. There are only two names on the report. The names of the full committee are neither mentioned nor listed in the report. Go look. The Committee staff are controlled by the two ranking members: Liebernman and Collins. A Staff report is not issued by the full committee. Get it? It is an old time-honored Inside-the-Beltway political stunt.

              Having credibility when making an argument requires actual factual information, not false suppositions.

              •  As a journalist, with "inside the Beltway" (0+ / 0-)

                experience, you should know better.  Factual information?

                Per the Senate Rules, every Committee member (or his or her staff) gets to see any report of the Committee before it is published and may raise, as a point of order, an objection to any portion of a report with which that member disagrees.   If the requested revision is not made, the objection is noted.  I didn't see Carl Levin or Barack Obama objecting to this report.  

                The "two names on the report" that you cite as being a big deal are the names of the Chair and the Ranking Memmber.  Those names go on every report and are not indicative of authorship, anymore than the name on the Bible indicates that King James was the author.  

                Members or both the majority and the minority staff had input into this report.  You know that.  To be fair, because Lieberman is the Chair, his views are probably more greatly represented than those of junior members, but this story is a non-story.  

                Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

                by SpamNunn on Fri May 09, 2008 at 10:51:33 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It is not an official full Committee Report (0+ / 0-)

                  It is a report from the staff of the Committee summarizing the hearings.  If it was an official  report from the full committee, it would say so, and have all the members listed. It also would be printed by the GPO.

                  Once again, it is an old trick.

  •  Has anyone... (0+ / 0-)

    Few if any speak of the executive orders issued in the last 6 years, year 1 was vacation.
    You can be arrested for protesting and a slew of other things Bush has approved .

  •  War is inherently insecure. (0+ / 0-)

    Domestic spying is incompatible with a free country.

    Democrats want to protect America and all Republicans want is war.

    Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal. Drop by and support the Human Agenda

    by k9disc on Fri May 09, 2008 at 05:43:00 AM PDT

  •  Did the entire committe participate in (0+ / 0-)

    the compiling of this report?


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Fri May 09, 2008 at 06:03:15 AM PDT

    •  No: the report is a Committee Staff report (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack

      This is not a report of the full committee, it is  a Committee Staff report. This from the Report:

      "This is the first in a series of reports by the Majority and Minority staff of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs...on the threat of homegrown terrorism inspired by violent Islamist extremism."

      Joseph Lieberman, (I-CT), Chair
      Susan Collins, (R-ME), Ranking Minority Member

      Lieberman is a well-known hawk on foreign policy

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