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May 16, 2004

Rise of the Jackboots

The Patriot Act was not enough. Now, the Bush administration is trying to use an obscure law against "sailormongering"; (a 19th century law against illegally boarding a ship to recruit sailors) to chill free speech by Greenpeace. After a typical action against a ship hauling illegal mahogany, the government is now seeking to indict the whole organization on criminal charges:

Not once since the Boston Tea Party have U.S. authorities criminally prosecuted a group for political expression.

"It's ominous," said attorney Maria Kayanan of law firm Podhurst Orseck, which worked with the American Civil Liberties Union on a "friend of court" brief to back a Greenpeace demand that the government reveal who ordered the prosecution.

"It will be very chilling because advocacy groups whose members chose to engage in acts of protest which happen to violate the law will be loathe to act at all."

And in the "we saw this coming" category, a Bronx gang is being indicted; under the state "terrorism" law for nasty but typical thuggery.

From here it's just a short step to indicting Greenpeace and other opposition groups for terrorism. After all, they're involved in rampant "sailormongering."

Send them to Gitmo!

Posted by Nathan at May 16, 2004 07:03 AM