The New Witch Hunt

Civil liberties groups question thesis of Senate Report:

"Violent Islamist Extremism, The Internet,
and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat"

Over the past year the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, led by Joe Lieberman, (ID-CT) and Susan Collins, (R-ME), has been holding hearings into the “threat of Islamic radicalization inside the United States and the initiatives the U.S. government is taking to identify and combat homegrown terrorism.”

The first Senate committee report,
"Violent Islamist Extremism, The Internet, and the
Homegrown Terrorist Threat
," (PDF)
was published 8 May 2008.

Chip Berlet
Lieberman's Senate Report, Islamophobia, and Civil Liberties

Broad civil liberties coalition letter of protest.

ACLU press release:
ACLU Skeptical of Senate Report on 'Homegrown' Terrorism."

Based on a report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council on the future of terrorism and its effect on the United States, DHS has been “developing ways to prevent radical beliefs from crossing the line into violent acts of terrorism.” DHS has already “launched an initiative to reach out to state and local fusion centers to address radicalization,” and reports that “intelligence and law enforcement personnel” are already meeting at these centers “to discuss and analyze what is taking place in their communities.”


The Senate hearings were used to help provide justification for the proposed passage of the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act.” Although this bill appears to have been blocked by public criticism, the bipartisan Senate Committee is preparing a public report on homegrown domestic Muslim radicalization.


It is possible that the report, no matter how carefully crafted, will be used to push the adoption of this or similar reperssive legislation.


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Right-Wing Witch Hunts,
Then and Now

Debbie Almontaser and Hallie Flanagan

May, 01 2008

Debbie Almontaser and Hallie Flanagan have more in common than their decision to wear headgear. They both were targeted by public witch hunts for their educational and cultural activities. Both were smeared by small-minded xenophobic right-wingers. Both stood up to their accusers. Both belong in the Bill of Rights Hall of Fame. Flanagan was targeted in 1938, Almontaser in 2007—70 years and the witch hunts are still with us. This time the villain is not alleged communist subversion, but alleged Muslim terrorism. New cast, same script. The underlying frame is called "countersubversion," which has made repeat performances throughout U.S. history. 

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Teacher fired for refusing to sign loyalty oath

By Richard C. Paddock, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 2, 2008

When Wendy Gonaver was offered a job teaching American studies at Cal State Fullerton this academic year, she was pleased to be headed back to the classroom to talk about one of her favorite themes: protecting constitutional freedoms.

But the day before class was scheduled to begin, her appointment as a lecturer abruptly ended over just the kind of issue that might have figured in her course. She lost the job because she did not sign a loyalty oath swearing to "defend" the U.S. and California constitutions "against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

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DOJ Probes CISPES - Foreign Agent Registration Act Threat


The Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) was charged with being a terrorist organization in the 1980s. The accusations were found to be baseless, but CISPES has one again been contacted by the US government. Citing a 1938 act, the Department of Justice is requesting information from CISPES about their relationship with the leftist party in El Salvador, and their organizing work in the country. Elena Botkin-Levy has more.


Listen to the report from Free Speech Radio News


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