Photo by lev radin via Shutterstock

Journalist and co-founder of The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald, said on Jan. 25 that new legislation surrounding domestic terrorism after the Jan. 6 riot at Capitol Hill is unnecessary and could present a danger to free speech.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, proposed new legislation in 2019 that would call for certain crimes to be labeled as domestic terrorism. The bill has not made further progress.

Greenwald likened this occurrence to new legislation that was passed after the 9/11 attacks. 

“Obviously the model that they’re using… is what they did with the first war on terror, the one that was ostensibly devoted to foreign terrorist groups… was to expand what it means to be a crime.

Obvisouly before 2001 it was already a crime to fly planes into buildings or to blow people up… they had to enact an entire series of new terrorism laws that were designed to expand what it means to support terrorism,” Greenwald said.

“You were prosecuted for ‘materially supporting terrorist organizations’. What this law does that Adam Schiff proposed is to simply take the existing war on terror law that is devoted to foreign terrorist groups, and just amend it to say, ‘and domestic terror groups as well,’ which means criminalizing all kinds of protests, associational and even speech activities.”

Greenwald made the point that since the actions that the rioters committed at the Capitol building were already considered crimes, changing legislation to mark those actions as domestic terrorism would be redundant. Greenwald also argues that the legislation regarding domestic terrorism could serve to limit free speech activities.

“If you were a Muslim and you uploaded a video, critical of U.S. foreign policy, and heralding people who are resisting or if you donated money to a charity that indirectly ended up in the hands of groups that the U.S. government… designated as a terrorist organization, even if it wasn’t your intent, you were prosecuted for materially supporting terrorist organizations.”

Greenwald also challenged the notion that the Federal government was unable to manage the riot that occurred on Jan. 6.

“Of course the United States, the most militarized country in the world, the most para militarized police force in the world, has the capacity to repel a few hundred protestors from the capitol had they been prepared to do so, which is why talk that we’re facing some kind of existential insurrection is utter lunacy and madness clearly designed to exploit people’s fears to justify greater powers, Greenwald said.

Written ByLinn Win

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