Protests = Terrorism, says the Pentagon


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Flyboy
June 17, 2009, 10:10 PM
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,526972,00.html
Pentagon Exam Calls Protests 'Low-Level Terrorism,' Angering Activists

Wednesday, June 17, 2009
By James Osborne

A written exam administered by the Pentagon labels "protests" as a form of “low-level terrorism” — enraging civil liberties advocates and activist groups who say it shows blatant disregard of the First Amendment.

The written exam, given as part of Department of Defense employees’ routine training, includes a multiple-choice question that asks:

“Which of the following is an example of low-level terrorism?”

— Attacking the Pentagon

— IEDs

— Hate crimes against racial groups

— Protests

The correct answer, according to the exam, is "Protests."

“Its part of a pattern of equating dissent and protest with terrorism," said Ann Brick, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained a copy of the question after a Defense Department employee who was taking the test printed the screen on his or her computer terminal.

"It undermines the core constitutional values the Department of Defense is supposed to be defending,” Brick said, referring to the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble.

She said the ACLU has asked the Defense Department to remove the question and send out a correction to all employees who took the exam.

“There were other employees who were unhappy with it and disturbed by it,” Brick said.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Les Melnyk said the Defense Department is looking into the matter and expects to provide more information later Wednesday.

“We need to determine if it’s something we’re currently doing,” Melnyk said. “A lot of the information in this exam is intended for people stationed abroad. We counsel those people to avoid demonstrations.”

Anti-war protesters, who say they have been targets of federal surveillance for years, were livid when they were told about the exam question.

“That’s illegal,” said George Martin, national co-chairman of United for Peace and Justice. “Protest in terms of legal dissent has to be recognized, especially by the authorities.

"It’s not terrorism or a lack of patriotism. We care enough to be active in our government.”

Bill Wilson, president of the Americans for Limited Government, which supported the Tea Party demonstrations earlier this year, agreed.

"Groups like Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, paramilitary orgainzations that are striking at out at something they oppose or hate, that's terrorism," Wilson said.

"To equate that in any degree with citizens being able to express themselves seems to me to be headed down a road where all dissent is suspect and questionable."

Ben Friedman, a research fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, said the U.S. government has a long history of infringing upon citizens’ civil liberties in the name of domestic security.

“It’s the kind of thing that happens when you have large security bureaucracies, which is why they need to be kept in check,” Friedman said. “These things tend to occur in times of panic, like after Sept. 11.”

The ACLU, in a letter of complaint it sent to the Defense Department, catalogued a list of what it said were recent civil liberties violations by federal authorities, including the monitoring of anti-war protests and the FBI’s surveillance of potential protesters at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York.

Martin said getting information on the extent of the FBI and National Security Agency’s surveillance programs is nearly impossible.

“I have been arrested within 100 yards of George W. Bush and spoken out against the policies of our government in more than 100 countries," he said. "But they said they have no record on me. I don’t believe that.”

During Bush's presidency, the Defense Department was criticized for infringing on citizens’ civil rights through surveillance programs designed to protect the nation against terrorist attacks. Brick said she has seen no indication that there will be a change in policy under President Obama.

“We need to see what they do,” she said. “In a number of areas the Obama administration has not backed off and kept the Bush administration line.”


Gun nexus: the Second Amendment Rally, among other things.

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rick2497
June 17, 2009, 11:13 PM
And some people still wonder why we need the 2nd amendment.

JohnBT
June 18, 2009, 06:38 PM
"Martin said getting information on the extent of the FBI and National Security Agency’s surveillance programs is nearly impossible."

Well duh. Just duh.

John

Flyboy
June 18, 2009, 07:42 PM
So...in light of this, does anybody want to come out and defend the idea of denying firearms to those on the "terrorism watch list?"

C'mon, I know there are a few of you out there....

2RCO
June 18, 2009, 07:58 PM
Somebody please tell me this is incorrect somehow????????????

I really hope that protesting is not considered terrorism(low level or whatever, in the USA) This has to be taken out of context or something. If not this needs to be on every News network all day long and the Outrage should cause a lot of protesting.

Someone please clarify this before my head explodes!:cuss:

TexasRifleman
June 18, 2009, 08:02 PM
really hope that protesting is not considered terrorism(low level or whatever, in the USA) This has to be taken out of context or something. If not this needs to be on every News network all day long and the Outrage should cause a lot of protesting.

No, it was not taken out of context, that's word for word what the DoD exam said.

The ACLU pitched a fit and the DoD has since removed that question and answer from their exams and sent emails to everyone who took the test clarifying that the question was intended to refer to violent protests.

But the original question did in fact simply say "protests are terrorism".

Honest mistake? Maybe, but if so I have to then question who would let someone that dumb write exam questions.

2RCO
June 18, 2009, 08:05 PM
The ACLU pitched a fit and the DoD has since removed that question and answer from their exams and sent emails to everyone who took the test clarifying that the question was intended to refer to violent protests.

I would hope the Left, Right, and Center could all get behind this.

Every once in awhile the ACLU does something right.

TexasRifleman
June 18, 2009, 08:07 PM
Every once in awhile the ACLU does something right.

Yes, I was saying to someone earlier it's a shame the ACLU doesn't believe in the Second Amendment.

They would be a powerful ally.

DHJenkins
June 18, 2009, 08:26 PM
I thought this test was for americans serving overseas...

I could almost swear I saw the same question in that DoD Anti-terrorism Level 1 test that was posted here a while back - and all of those questions were geared towards overseas service.

catspaw
June 18, 2009, 11:53 PM
JMHO, without protest, we would still be a colony.

Flyboy
June 19, 2009, 12:13 AM
Even if it were for overseas personnel, most of those people make it back stateside at one point or another, and they don't receive attitude transplants upon crossing the border.

LemmyCaution
June 19, 2009, 03:44 AM
What does overseas have to do with it? You mean, like, when we send our troops to someone else's country, the natives have no right to protest anything and should be seen as terrorists, if they get uppity? I thought the big reason we were sending troops overseas was to spread our democratic values and freedom.

Flyboy
June 19, 2009, 03:56 AM
Outstanding question, Lemmy. Mr. Jenkins, would you care to answer?

TexasRifleman
June 19, 2009, 09:29 AM
I thought this test was for americans serving overseas...

That's originally the same excuse that was given by DoD however they backed down quickly given 2 items:

1) it's still not terrorism and there are plenty of countries besides ours that allow peaceful protests and

2) eventually these people will return to the US and if they are taught initially that protest=terrorism you can't exactly unring that bell when they return to the US.

So, trying to excuse it for ANY reason just makes it more disgusting.

DHJenkins
June 19, 2009, 10:47 AM
Well, most Americans serving overseas are not well liked. Heck, most Americans just being overseas are not well liked (anyone visit a foreign country lately not related to gov. service?).

In fact, the majority of Americans we have currently overseas are in countries where they're not only "not well liked" but shot at on a regular basis.

As most overseas protests these days seem to be anti-American, or have some anti-capitalism slant, it would behoove most Americans to steer clear of them as they may be singled out for violence.

There are many forms of terrorism and terrorist. The words means "to cause terror or someone who causes terror", not necessarily "to bomb the $#!@ out of something".

And I don't believe that "the bell can't be unrung". It's been postulated many times here that American soldiers would never agree to disarm their fellow Americans, so it seems they can obviously tell the difference between someone protesting American embargos vs. protesting high prices on chicken quarters.

LemmyCaution
June 19, 2009, 11:14 AM
so it seems they can obviously tell the difference between someone protesting American embargos vs. protesting high prices on chicken quarters.

And that is exactly the problem. There is no difference between the two protests, as far as the 1st amendment is concerned, but you politically believe so, thus would not have a problem with the military making the distinction and acting on it.

As most overseas protests these days seem to be anti-American, or have some anti-capitalism slant…

Again, utterly irrelevant. Being anti-American or anti-capitalist =/= terrorist. Speech is speech. Violence is violence. Saying that some political speech is terrorism and some political violence is not, depending on which side of an issue is in political power opens up a nasty relativistic can of worms that makes it just fine for the opposing party to go tit for tat when they gain power. Preventing this is why constitutional republics exist.

The words means "to cause terror or someone who causes terror"

Your definition of terrorism is laughably broad. Its the same definition antis use against us- "Ooh, the scary man with the gun frightened me, therefore he must be made illegal, because I am scared!"

Here's a better, but still lacking, definition of terrorism:

Terrorism is a policy or ideology of violence intended to intimidate or cause terror for the purpose of "exerting pressure on decision making by state bodies." The term "terror" is largely used to indicate clandestine, low-intensity violence that targets civilians and generates public fear. Thus "terror" is distinct from asymmetric warfare, and violates the concept of a common law of war in which civilian life is regarded. The term "-ism" is used to indicate an ideology —typically one that claims its attacks are in the domain of a "just war" concept, though most condemn such as crimes against humanity.
Terrorism is more commonly understood as an act which is intended to create fear (terror), is perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a materialistic goal or a lone attack), and deliberately targets (or disregards the safety of) non-combatants. Some definitions also include acts of unlawful violence or unconventional warfare, but at present, there is no internationally agreed upon definition of terrorism.

-From Wikipedia

The Wikipedia article goes on to say:

The word “terrorism” is politically and emotionally charged, and this greatly compounds the difficulty of providing a precise definition. A 1988 study by the United States Army found that over 100 definitions of the word “terrorism” have been used. The concept of terrorism is itself controversial because it is often used by states to delegitimize political or foreign opponents, and potentially legitimize the state's own use of terror against them. A less politically and emotionally charged term (used not only for terrorists), allowing for more accurate analyses, is violent non-state actor.

Which seems utterly à propos this thread. In fact, the DOD is deliberately attempting to broaden the definition of terrorism to deligitimize their peaceful political opponents.

ztnedman1
June 19, 2009, 11:21 AM
I agree that its terrorism. Not terrorism to America but to the Governement! It is supposed to BE!!

The government of the United States is supposed to FEAR the people not the other way around. We are supposed to be in control of them but no longer are.

This is why we have the constitution and why we have the 2nd ammendment as our last ditch option to correct the situation.

33-805
June 19, 2009, 11:32 AM
Left leaning liberalism=a desire for more govt interference to "take care of us"=this sort of elitist belief in the ranks of govt functionaries that they know what is best for us. If protest inconveniences our keepers while they are looking out for us, then it is terrorism.

Dangerous and slippery slope to start down. I wish the liberal left would think of this this stuff before it hits the first amendment. I wish they understood that this sort of thing isn't a possibility for a disarmed populace, it is an inevitability. The first amendment is a wonderful thing in all its five freedoms. The second keeps it in place and working. The left needs to realize that you cannot have one without the other. At least not in a functioning way.

DHJenkins
June 19, 2009, 11:45 AM
And that is exactly the problem. There is no difference between the two protests, as far as the 1st amendment is concerned, but you politically believe so, thus would not have a problem with the military making the distinction and acting on it.


I meant to say "protesting American embargos overseas" vs "protesting chicken...domestically". I wasn't aware the 1st amendment extened to foreign countries - thanks for clearing that up.

Again, utterly irrelevant. Being anti-American or anti-capitalist =/= terrorist. Speech is speech. Violence is violence. Saying that some political speech is terrorism and some political violence is not, depending on which side of an issue is in political power opens up a nasty relativistic can of worms that makes it just fine for the opposing party to go tit for tat when they gain power. Preventing this is why constitutional republics exist.

Your absolutely right. I guess if the protests I constantly see in anti-american countries weren't full people toting AK-47's, I'd consider their protests to be only about "free speech" and not connected to violence. Plus, I'm not referring to constitutional republics.

Your definition of terrorism is laughably broad. Its the same definition antis use against us- "Ooh, the scary man with the gun frightened me, therefore he must be made illegal, because I am scared!"

My broad definition of terrorism is no more laughable than you quoting Wikipedia. In fact, if you google "define:terrorism" you'll find 3 down that it used to be defined (on wikipedia) as "Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion" - and that is also how it is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary, which I would argue is a tad more legitimate when it comes to the definitions of words.

My argument is that American servicepeople can tell the difference between a domestic peaceful protest and a violent anti-American protest overseas; and a single, poorly worded question in a DoD test isn't going to change that perception unless they're extraordinarily weak minded. The 1st amendment applies here, not there.

LemmyCaution
June 19, 2009, 11:46 AM
The left needs to realize that you cannot have one without the other. At least not in a functioning way.

The left does realize this. It's the statist center that doesn't. The center wants to preserve the status quo (which is unjust, but benefits them nicely), and removing the tools of others to change the status quo is the first step. And this applies to the entire bill of rights, not just the 1A and 2A.

But enough off topic political nonsense. This valuable thread should not get shut down over it.

LemmyCaution
June 19, 2009, 12:14 PM
I meant to say "protesting American embargos overseas" vs "protesting chicken...domestically". I wasn't aware the 1st amendment extened to foreign countries - thanks for clearing that up.

But you didn't say that. And what you actually did say made my 1st amendment statement relevant. Your backpedaling, then trying to turn the 1st Amendment argument into a straw man is freaking hilarious.

And, while the 1st amendment obviously does not apply overseas, when we send troops to 'export our democracy' (which is a fantastic euphemism for 'overthrowing the sovereign government of another country using military force,' we sort of owe it to ourselves to not hold the civilians of that country to a different standard than to which we hold ourselves, which is exactly what you are doing in your argument above. That's called 'hypocrisy,' and is probably the single biggest motivator of anti-American sentiment around the world.

The DoD test question did not say that 'protesting with an AK47' was a low level form of terrorism. It just said 'protest' was. But, even then, protesting an occupying force with an AK47 used against the occupying force is generally called 'asymmetric warfare.' Unless you're the occupying force. Then you call it 'terrorism,' which definition goes back to about 1776 in our country, and probably even further in the history of the world. But that just depends on what side you're on. It's pretty clear you're on the side of imperialism, when it's your empire. I'm guessing you're against imperialism when it isn't.

And if we are really going to put our money where our mouths are, someday our domestic protests may involve the use of AR15s, if the FedGov continues to abridge the Bill of Rights. Isn't that what the 2nd Amendment is about? By your definition of terrorism, we will be the terrorists in that context. Your argument is utterly relativistic and discredits any principle you might have for backing the 2A.

But the obviousness of your rhetorical cherry picking and American exceptionalism doesn't need me to point it out.

TexasRifleman
June 19, 2009, 12:55 PM
My argument is that American servicepeople can tell the difference between a domestic peaceful protest and a violent anti-American protest overseas; and a single, poorly worded question in a DoD test isn't going to change that perception unless they're extraordinarily weak minded. The 1st amendment applies here, not there.


Whether people can tell the difference on their own has nothing at all to do with this.

The point is that the government defined "terrorism" as any form of protest and that is flat out wrong.

They know it was wrong, which is why they changed it.

Not sure why you'd continue to defend it as a perfectly acceptable answer. It is not.

DHJenkins
June 19, 2009, 01:02 PM
I wasn't aware people protested American embargos over here, since we don't place embargos against ourselves, which is why I didn't feel the need to add "overseas".

Yes, my 1st amendment comment was flippant, but was I was not backpeddling.

As far as my thinking that America is better than anywhere else, and that we're the only ones that need to live up to our own standards - guilty as charged. I don't view other counties as equals and never will.

EDIT: As far as defending it as a perfectly acceptable answer... I still see it as an overseas issue that has nothing to do with domestic protests. Plus, I'm stubborn, and I don't respond well to condescension and people telling me what my positions are, or accusing me of doing something I'm not simply because I didn't phrase something correctly.

LemmyCaution
June 19, 2009, 01:30 PM
I wasn't aware people protested American embargos over here

You'd have to be living in a cave not to have been aware of protests in this country by our own citizens regarding American embargoes against the Palestinians (as but one example, whether right or wrong), as well as a whole range of American foreign policy in the middle east that is protested both here and abroad. There was zero implicit clarity in your supposed distinction between foreign and domestic protest.

As far as my thinking that America is better than anywhere else, and that we're the only ones that need to live up to our own standards - guilty as charged. I don't view other counties as equals and never will.

I was going to dispute this statement, and underscore the fact that, though you profess to love America, you have no idea what the founding ideals of the country are about, or the natural rights affirmed by our Constitution, not granted by it, which apply to all people, universally, not just here in the US.

But instead, I'll just wish Texas luck with its secession.

DHJenkins
June 19, 2009, 01:40 PM
Ok.

You win.

Feel better now?

Seenterman
June 19, 2009, 02:03 PM
I wasn't aware people protested American embargos over here, since we don't place embargos against ourselves, which is why I didn't feel the need to add "overseas".


You'd have to be living in a cave not to have been aware of protests in this country by our own citizens regarding American embargoes against the Palestinians (as but one example, whether right or wrong), as well as a whole range of American foreign policy in the middle east that is protested both here and abroad.

Psstt.

I don't know how but you both forgot about Cuba!! :neener:

Am I the only one that wants their Cigars?

TexasRifleman
June 19, 2009, 02:55 PM
Am I the only one that wants their Cigars?

Don't care much about cigars but if a policy hasn't worked in almost 50 years maybe it's time to try a new one :)

Anyway, thread drift is in. See you all later :)

LemmyCaution
June 19, 2009, 02:56 PM
Ok.

You win.

Feel better now?

No. It's something of a pyrrhic victory, given that my conscience compels me to defend your rights, even as you deny the rights of others.

DHJenkins
June 19, 2009, 04:23 PM
Aww, that's sweet.

Well played sir, well played. ;)

Jeff White
June 19, 2009, 09:04 PM
A good topic but not even remotely on topic at THR. Looks like an APS discussion.

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