Sunday, December 10, 2006

Now we know who the terrorists are.

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) (S.3880) defines as "terrorism" causing any business classified as an "animal enterprise" (e.g., factory farms, fur farms, vivisection labs, rodeos, zoos and circuses) to suffer a profit loss and is punishable by a long prison sentence -- even if the company's financial decline is caused by peaceful protests, boycotts, media campaigns or leafleting. Defining non-viol
ent activist tactics that cause exploitive corporations to lose profit but don't physically hurt anyone as "terrorism" is both a deceptive misapplication of a serious termand a completely unacceptable violation of our Constitutionally-granted First Amendment rights to freedom of speech. Industry groups pushed the AETA through Congress quickly and with little public scrutiny.

The AETA was unanimously passed in the Senate on September 29th and on November 13th it was passed in the House with only 5 Representatives voting. President Bush signed the AETA into law on November 27th.

Read the full text of the bill

Clearly, the lame duck congress is trying to cause as much mischief and pay off debts to various industry supporters as possible before being turfed.

It also clearly illustrates who is really running this country and what sorts of people terrify them. Al-Queda it ain't. It's you, it's me, it's anyone who might be concerned about our food supply, the labor practices within the food chain, the standards and practices of the busnesses running that food chain, the ethics involved, related to people, animals and consumers...

In other words, you are the terrorist. As am I. Osama Bin Ladin - not so much.

This bill does nothing whatsoever to combat terrorism; instead it sweepingly defines any number of actions that are commonly considered to be first-amendment protected speech as terrorist acts. Expect it to be enforced selectively and convenienently.

If you were wondering if the "war on terror" might just be a cynical contrivance to get you to surrender your rights without protest, you need wonder a lot less. At the very least, this bill is a cynical attempt to use the war on terror to suppress your rights for the benefit of corporate agrabiz giants.

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