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The Senate's Homegrown Terrorism Bill

November 26, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism and Prevention Act of 2007 has already passed the House, so watch its counterpart in the Senate and contact your senators if you want to keep it from becoming law.

This red-flag raising bill was quickly and quietly passed by the House in October by a nearly-unanimous vote, mainly because almost nobody outside of Congress even knew it existed. Since then it’s raised a lot of eyebrows in the blogosphere. The main-stream media, on the other hand, still hasn’t noticed (or doesn’t care).

The bill would set up a national commission and a university-based “center of excellence for the study of radicalization and homegrown terrorism in the United States” to help government officials control “terrorist” activities originating within the U.S., but all the civil liberty concerns stem from the section of the bill that defines what, exactly, “homegrown terrorism” and “violent radicalization” is.

Here’s the main offending section:

>(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term ‘violent radicalization’ means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.
>(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term ‘homegrown terrorism’ means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
>(4) IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE- The term ‘ideologically based violence’ means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual’s political, religious, or social beliefs.

The Senate version was introduced by Susan Collins (R-ME) and Norm Coleman (R-MN), and its waiting for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to mark it up so that it can be voted on by the full Senate.

For more analysis see this post from November, or check out the blog coverage on the pages for the House and Senate versions of the bill.

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