When criminal-trespassing charges were dropped February 5 against three Maine eco-activists, the activists were relieved. After all, they had merely been standing in a business’s parking lot during business hours, and had left when a security guard asked them to. But some authoritarian types, including Maine’s entire congressional delegation, might have seen a weakness in our legal system — a vulnerability our elected representatives in Washington are continuing to try to shore up.
US Senator Susan Collins, who is seeking reelection this year, is the lead sponsor of a bill we’ve told you about before, “the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007,” which seeks to outlaw the Constitutionally protected freedoms of speech, thought, and assembly (see “Anti-activist Bill Backed by Collins, Allen, and Michaud,” by Jeff Inglis, November 16, 2007).
The protest is growing — but so is the support: US Senator Olympia Snowe has stonewalled for months, even now refusing to make any official statements about the bill, effectively endorsing it with her silence.
Earlier this month, Rolling Stone magazine highlighted the cases federal prosecutors say proves they need this bill. The story shows that the FBI is using informants not as eyes and ears inside criminal conspiracies, but as masterminds and enablers of supposedly “terrorist” plots that result in arrests and prosecutions of penniless, homeless, non-violent, law-abiding citizens. In one example, an Illinois man with no history of violent behavior was cajoled by an FBI informant into agreeing to a plan to blow up a mall near his home — with explosives bought in a deal brokered by the informant.
As the feds’ efforts to manufacture fear are expanding, dissent is, too. On Tuesday, about 30 protestors representing groups as diverse as the Native Forest Network, Peace Action Maine, and the Maine Civil Liberties Union rallied in Monument Square, opposing Collins’s bill and the rest of the Maine delegation’s support for it.
None of our federal politicians sent representatives to the rally. But then, they’re afraid of groups of citizens gathering to oppose government action.
: This Just In
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