30 Crimes the Government Chooses to Not Label Terrorism

by Will Potter on June 4, 2009

in Government Priorities

time_bombjpgWe recently looked at why the government and the press (outside of some bloggers and opinion columnists) have not labeled the murder of an abortion provider as “terrorism.” It’s important to remember, though, that this isn’t an isolated incident. The word terrorism is used by the FBI and Department of Justice only when it fits a certain political agenda.

The government has systematically labeled animal rights and environmental activists who have never harmed anyone as “the number one domestic terrorism threat.” Yet the term is not applied to individuals who have committed much more serious (and often violent) crimes either for personal gain or for right-wing motives.

Here are 30 cases that the government has chosen to not label as “terrorism”:

  1. Plotting to assassinate the president.
  2. Beating African-American voters because they voted for Obama.
  3. Threatening to assassinate the President and detonate C4 at the Mall of America.
  4. Making death threats against biologists to “kill the enemies of Christian society.”
  5. Attacking a black man with a chainsaw because of his race.
  6. Using a noose to assault a black man at the Pentagon.
  7. Tying up a black student and taunting him with racial epithets as part of a high school graduation party.
  8. Smuggling “shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, and other military weapons.”
  9. Leaving an incendiary device at a federal courthouse.
  10. Placing a pipe bomb near a hotel and then calling in a bomb threat.
  11. Making bomb threats on an airplane.
  12. Impersonating an armed federal agent.
  13. Shooting at FBI agents in a drive-by.
  14. Threatening federal agents with an assault rifle.
  15. Offering to sell your own child for sexual purposes.
  16. Attempting to buy a 9-year-old girl for sex.
  17. Selling a 5-year-old for sexual purposes.
  18. Forcing a young woman to engage in prostitution through force, fraud and coercion.
  19. Kidnapping 3 children.
  20. Sending white powder to John McCain’s presidential campaign with a note reading, “Senator McCain, If you are reading this then you are already DEAD! Unless of course you can’t or don’t breathe.”
  21. Mailing 65 threatening letters to financial institutions with white powder.
  22. Mailing the Social Security Administration and saying ““I’m going to blow up your office and the IRS office as well.”
  23. Sending more than 25 threatening letters to federal, state, and local governmental agencies containing fake Anthrax.
  24. Sending a white powder through the U.S. mail to the Internal Revenue Service with a note that says “YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO ANTRAX DIE!”
  25. A former sheriff’s deputy forcing a teenage girl to perform sexual acts in his patrol car.
  26. Three police officers shooting a 92-year old woman at her home “during the execution of a search warrant obtained by the defendants based upon false information.”
  27. Using “deadly weapons including firearms, baseball bats, machetes, bottles or knives in the commission of numerous murders, attempted murders and assaults…kidnapping; obstruction of justice; and witness tampering.”
  28. Stealing cattle for personal profit.
  29. Setting fire at a petting barn and killing more than 40 animals.
  30. Setting dozens of fires that caused “incalculable suffering.”

Of course we could keep going, there’s no shortage of examples to draw from. To be clear, I am not arguing that all of these examples are in fact “terrorism” (I’ll be outlining what I think are the top criteria for defining acts of terrorism in a future article). But if the government defines “terrorism” so broadly as to include releasing mink from fur farms and protesting legally while wearing masks, then why don’t any of these qualify?

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