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Terrorist Creep - the 'Terrorization' of Criminal and Free Speech Acts

In response to the recent indictments and arrests of individuals accused of engaging in "domestic terrorism" - specifically arson and conspiracy to commit arson - on March 22, the National Lawyers Guild - Portland Chapter, the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center and the First Unitarian Church of Portland will launch a discussion series titled "But, is this really Terrorism?
Northwest Constitutional Rights Center
1020 SW Taylor Street, Suite 449
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 295-6400 o Fax (503) 295-6415

PRESS RELEASE


For Immediate Release: Contact:
Embargoed Until Further Notice Alejandro Queral, (503) 295-6400, Northwest Constitutional Rights Center.
Brenna Bell, (503) 245-0484, National Lawyers Guild.
Kate Lore, (503) 228-6389, x.44, First Unitarian Church of Portland.

Local Organizations Question the Bush Administration's Crackdown on Political Dissent under the Guise of the "War on Terror"


Portland, OR - In response to the recent indictments and arrests of individuals accused of engaging in "domestic terrorism" - specifically arson and conspiracy to commit arson - on March 22, the National Lawyers Guild - Portland Chapter, the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center and the First Unitarian Church of Portland will launch a discussion series titled "But, is this really Terrorism? An ongoing forum about the impact of the 'War on Terror' on dissent in the United States." This series will provide the public an opportunity to dig deeper into the Bush Administration's policies and their ramifications.

"It's time Americans consider whether characterizing as "terrorism" any illegal activity done for political purposes is compatible with our revolutionary and activist history," said Alejandro Queral, executive director of the NW Constitutional Rights Center. "While illegal activities should be punished, there is a serious danger of chilling dissenting points of view when the government casts a net as wide as the definition of 'domestic terrorism.'"

Brenna Bell, a member of the National Lawyers Guild, concurred: "The Bush Administration's "War on Terror" seems to need terrorists to justify their war on civil liberties, so they've expanded the definition to include political activists whose alleged illegal actions ultimately harmed no one. This trivializes the true meaning of the word 'terrorism'"

The first three events of this series will address the government's use of the ever expanding definition of "terrorism" and its legal ramifications for individuals and organizations, the fact that the government overlooks and rewards crimes against the environment (such as illegal polluting and habitat destruction) while attacking the environmental activist community, and the chilling effect the government's action have on politically active individuals and organizations across the spectrum.

"This is a discussion that everyone should have," said Kate Lore, Social Justice Director of the First Unitarian Church of Portland. "When a country has as much power as our does and that power is matched with the fear-based thinking demonstrated in the administration's "war on terror," we are at risk of losing all that we hold dear: peace, justice and freedom for all."

All events will take place at the First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Avenue in Downtown Portland.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006, 7 pm
"Terrorist Creep - the 'Terrorization' of Criminal and Free Speech Acts." A discussion about the impact of characterizing crimes as "domestic terrorism" solely because of the political message allegedly associated with these crimes. With Steven Wax, from the Oregon Federal Public Defender's Office and Ashlee Albies, an attorney working with the Constitutional Rights Center in New York

Wednesday, April 5, 2006, 7 pm
"How Law Enforcement Overlooks Crimes Against the Environment, and
Persecutes Crimes for the Environment"
A discussion about the Federal Government's focus on targeting environmental and animal rights activists rather than corporations committing crimes violating environmental protection laws.
With Kim Marks, of Forest Ethics and Barbara Dudley, former Executive
Director of Greenpeace

Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 7 pm
"The Chilling Effect"
A discussion about the effect the "terrorist" label on politically active organizations and individuals involved with activities protected
by the First Amendment.
With Ben Rosenfeld, one of the attorneys for Judi Bari and Daryl Cherney in their lawsuit against the FBI for framing them as terrorists, and Hope Marston, from the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
Consequences of criminalizing dissent 16.Mar.2006 11:47

Elrond of Immladris

Continuing attempts to treat protestors as terrorists will only have the same effect it has in other dictatorial regimes. It wil force opponents of the state to abandon peaceful protest and step up to more aggressive methods that allow fighting from the shadows.

Let's put it this way: If due to continues prosecutorial escalation someone doing peaceful protest for the Earth faces, say, one chance in 20 of being wrongly accused of being ELF, than anyone who instead does real ELF action will facce far lower odds of being ever discovered while also carrying out far more effective actions.

All you FBI pukes reading this might want to think about that one!