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Political dissent as terrorism: "Minnesota Patriot Act" charges filed against RNC Eight
Thursday, September 11, 2008 :The charges of terrorism leveled against the eight youth who had sought to organize protests and civil disobedience against the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Minnesota last week sound an alarm that political opposition in the US is on its way toward being criminalized.
In what may be the first case of its kind, American citizens have been arrested and charged as terrorists for no other act than planning to protest and obstruct a political event. In this case the occasion was the nominating convention of a party chiefly responsible for policies detested by the majority of Americans, including the war in Iraq and the enrichment of a tiny layer of the enormously wealthy.
Even a casual review of the case reveals that the charges are a baseless frame-up, carried out in the name of constitutionally dubious anti-terrorist legislation enacted since 2002.
More alarming than the case itself, however, is the fact that it has gone virtually unnoted by the national news media. This reporter could also find no mention of the case on the web sites of left-liberal publications such as the Nation, the Progressive, or In These Times. No major politician from either party has commented on the case, including Minnesotas Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar. Attempts to contact the campaign and Senate office of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama revealed that the nominee has no media contact phone number and that he had not released a statement on the arrests.
This silence on the case is no indication of its lack of importance. In essence, the terrorism charges against the RNC 8 show what the World Socialist Web Site has long warned: that anti-terrorism laws like the Patriot Actenthusiastically supported by both major partieshave never been about protecting the American people from terrorism. They were put into place to create the legal framework for the suppression of basic constitutional and democratic rights of the population.Read More