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H.R. 1955 misinformation spreads across the Internet

Ed Haas

H.R. 1955 misinformation spreads across the Internet


January 15, 2008 – Much has been written about H.R. 1955, The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, some of which is inaccurate. The inaccurate information being reported is causing unnecessary alarm for many Americans.


While an inefficient piece of legislation and most likely, a waste of taxpayer dollars, H.R. 1955 does not criminalize any behavior.  It does not, as many independent writers found on the Internet claim, criminalize political dissent.  It does not create any criminal penalties, or pave the way for Americans to be rounded up by the federal government and locked away in Halliburton' Internment Camps.


H.R. 1955 does not legislate against “thought”, protected political expression, or free speech.  It also does not seek to censor the Internet.  It recognizes the Internet as a tool used to spread information rapidly, all information, to include misinformation that could spawn violent reaction.  Again, H.R. 1955 creates no criminal penalty or new laws.


The fact that Halliburton has been paid to construct internment camps in the United States for the purpose of “establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs” is indeed, distressing. 


No doubt, Americans should be very troubled by the language “to support the rapid development of new programs” because that could mean at some point in the future, Americans will indeed be rounded up and locked away for yet to be described reasons, similar to Japanese Americans being locked away in interment camps during World War II.  However, H.R. 1955 does not create the legal authority for such abhorrent government actions. 


What H.R. 1955 does is creates a commission to study what could contribute to Americans subscribing to violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism.  It has a beginning and an end.  Few that have offered commentary on H.R. 1955 mention these facts.  Instead they focus on the definitions of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism found in the Act.  They neglect to tell their readers that the definitions found in H.R. 1955 are for the purpose of the Act – the study.  The definitions do not create legal definitions that Americans can be accused of violating. 


The commission will be comprised of 10 members.  All members will be appointed no later than 60 days after the date of enactment.  H.R. 1955 has passed in the House.  It still needs to pass in the Senate, and then be signed by the President, each of which is expected to occur. 


Within 30 days of the 10 members being appointed, the Commission will meet.  For all practical purposes, the Commission is authorized to accumulate information for its report from all viable sources – from government agencies and the private sector.  What the Commission is not authorized to do is round up Americans for interrogation. 


Not later than 18 months after the date on which the Commission first meets, the Commission will submit to the President and Congress a final report of its findings and conclusions and legislative recommendations.  In its report will be found long-term countermeasure recommendations to hedge against the spread of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence within the United States.  It is possible, if honestly conducted, that the Commission could conclude that the federal government itself – its current abandonment of the 4th Amendment and cherry picking of the U.S. Constitution, its overt abuse of power, its allegiance to corporate America to the detriment of the American people, could become a leading contributor to any future homegrown terrorism. 


That’s right!  The final report could inform the Congress and President that they had better change their ways and stop infringing upon the liberty and freedom of the people, or prepare for the wrath of the people unleashing violent acts against elected officials and targeted government employees charged with enforcing abuse of power and oppressive laws and policies.  If done correctly, H.R. 1955 could serve as a wake up call to the federal government. 


Most importantly, and what is not being mentioned much in the sound the alarm style H.R. 1955 articles, is that the Commission will terminate 30 days after the date on which the Commission submits its final report. 


On January 11, 2008 the Muckraker Report contacted Adam Comis with the Press Office for the U.S. House of Representatives – Homeland Security Committee.  Comas was asked if was H.R. 1955 was a study only – nothing else – with a beginning and an end – an end that occurs with the final report.


Comis said, “Yes, it’s a study only.  H.R. 1955 does not criminalize any behavior.” 


Comis was well aware of the misinformation being spread regarding H.R. 1955 and told the Muckraker Report that the public is being referred to the December 2007 fact sheet to gain a better understanding about what the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 is, and is not. 

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