Today you’ll hear the annual chorus of “we will never forget.” But we have forgotten. We have forgotten the uproar against the Patriot Act, which was passed in the middle of the night. We have forgotten that Guantanamo Bay was once treated as an aberration, which Obama promised to close. And we have forgotten what freedoms have been sacrificed in the name of an ever-growing threat.
As an illustration of that, consider these 7 examples of the types of people the government and corporations now routinely label as “terrorists.”
1. Undercover investigators. Corporations have lobbied for “Ag Gag” bills to criminalize undercover investigations of animal abuse. And U.S. Congressmen compare investigators to arsonists and terrorists.
2. Tim DeChristopher. As an undergraduate student, DeChristopher disrupted an illegal oil and gas lease auction by placing bids (when he knew he didn’t have the money). For his act of non-violent civil disobedience, he was sentenced to 2 years in prison. Politicians called him an “eco-terrorist.”
3. Muslim communities were disproportionately targeted in the aftermath of 9/11, and through surveillance, harassment, infiltration (not to mention physical violence) the attacks continue. This has become so institutionalized within law enforcement that they continue even when they have not generated a single lead.
4. Anarchists. In the Northwest, more than 60 FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force agents raided homes and subpoenaed activists to a federal grand jury. The warrants listed, among other generic items, “anti-government or anarchist literature.”
5. Animal rights protesters. The Center for Constitutional Rights is in court challenging a law called the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which is so broad that it labels a wide range of First Amendment conduct as terrorism if it threatens corporate profits.
6. Anti-war and international solidarity activists. In the Midwest, the FBI raided homes and a political group’s office, and served subpoenas for a federal grand jury. The fishing expedition has been fruitless for the FBI, but it has brought together a broad range of groups opposed to the political attacks.
7. Journalists. The Counter Terrorism Unit has kept files on my work (including a book report!) and the work of other journalists critical of government counter-terrorism operations.
You know who is not on this list? Anti-abortion extremists who have actually murdered people.