Ashcroft: “Since 1983 the United States government has defined terrosits as those who perpetrate premeditated, politically motivated violence against noncombatant targets. My message to America this morning then is this: if you fit this definition of a terrorist, fear the United States, for you will lose your liberty.”
Looking for what Ashcroft was referring to, I went online and found the website to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Nixon-created branch of the government which was supposed to run the country in the event of a nuclear attack.
FEMA says: “Terrorism is the use of force or violence against persons or property in violation of the criminal laws of the United States for purposes of intimidation, coercion or ransom. Terrorists often use thrreats to create fear among the public, to try to convince citizens that their government is powerless to prevent terrorism and to get immediate publicity for their causes.”
The site then goes on to give the official FBI definition of domestic terrorism and international terrorism.
“Domestic terrorism involves groups or individuals whose terrorist activities are directed against elements of our government population without foreign direction.”
“International terrorism involves groups or individuals whose terrorist activities are foreign-based and/or directed by countries or groups outside the United States or whose activities transcend national boundaries.”
As the ACLU has said, the definitions given above would make a terrorist of someone who threw a rock through the window of a bank during a political demonstration. Actually, the FBI's loose definition of terrorism doesn't even hold up in court all the time, as happened here in Los Angeles Superior Court, when Judge Larry Paul Fidler refused to allow the prosecution to call alleged SLA member Sarah Jane Olson (Kathleen Soliah) a terrorist during her trial, even though what she was accused of would fit the above definition.
The Bush Administration has no intentions of respecting the decisions of any civilian court when it comes to setting up military tribunals. They're not even following precendents, because both Lincoln and Roosevelt obtained congressional approval to set up military tribunals.
Bush has also seized the opportunity created by the terrorist attacks not only to crack down on civil liberties, but also to make al Qaeda into the West's version of theGreat Satan and obscure the role U.S. intelligence operations have played in helping to create the terrorist threat in the first place. That's the one fact the administration doesn't want to get out and whythey'll do everything in their power to keep their war out of the civil courts.
At the same Senate hearing, Ashcroft said: “To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve.” Who are Ashcroft's “peace-loving people?” It's the same thing as Nixon’s “silent majority,”a group of people that are defined by the government as the backbone of the country because they are apolitical.