ISSN 2330-717X

The US Cleanses Itself Of Its Own Citizens – OpEd


By Boris Volkhonsky

A couple of days ago, President Barack Obama signed the highly controversial HR 347 bill, officially titled “Federal Restricted Building and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011”, but already labeled as “Trespass Bill”, passed almost unanimously by the U.S. Congress in late February.

The new legislation imposes restrictions on any “disorderly or disruptive conduct”that might “impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions.” The “Catch-22” of the legislation is that it virtually gives full freedom to the Secret Service to determine exactly which premises and grounds which otherwise may be free to public access, will be declared restricted.

The reasons why such legislation has been adopted at this particular moment are obvious. The year 2011 saw an unprecedented wave of protests within the framework of the “Occupy” movement. The year 2012 witnesses several important events that are sure to attract the renewed attention of the protesters. Among them, the NATO and G8 summits in Chicago in May, as well as the Democratic and Republican Conventions later in summer.

It is true that certain statesmen, their families, foreign diplomats, etc. need protection by the Secret Service. But for too many in the U.S. the HR 347 bill means an outright violation of the most fundamental of all fundamental laws existing in the country – that is the First Amendment which grants the U.S. citizens freedom of expression and assembly. Now that any area can be labeled as restricted, the U.S. law enforcement agencies are empowered with unlimited rights to persecute anyone who would simply desire to express his or her dissatisfaction with the current policies. The popular venue of protesters on the sidelines of Pennsylvania Avenue across from the White House may become number one in the list of restricted areas, where demonstrations would be equaled to “disorderly or disruptive conduct”that might “impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions.”

Just recently we spoke on the attitudes adopted by the U.S. law enforcement in regard to people who just happened to be near the “Occupy” protest sites. They may be kept in custody, strip-searched and interrogated just because they were buying coffee in a nearby shop and the police suspect that they might be willing to join the protests. Now the practice has been legalized both by the Congress and President.

As U.S. Representative Justin Amash who was one of only three lawmakers to vote against the Act wrote on his Facebook account, “The bill expands current law to make it a crime to enter or remain in an area where an official is visiting even if the person does not know it’s illegal to be in that area and has no reason to suspect it’s illegal.”

Together with the recent authorization of extrajudicial killings of U.S. citizens abroad suspected of plotting an attack against the U.S. national interests, it seems that the present American rulers would simply love to wipe away completely such an option. It would automatically mean that there would be protesters “disrupting the orderly conduct of Government business,” and it would also make the First Amendment completely meaningless. In a country with no subjects, no one needs freedom of expression. The one who dares to speak up may be suspected of plotting an attack, and be eliminated extra judicially.

The tendency is clear – the U.S. is gradually turning into a police state. What started as a counterterrorist activity in the wake of 9/11 has turned into a total war of the state on its own citizens. The peaceful protesters can be easily labeled as suspected terrorists with all the consequences.

And if the First Amendment stands in the way, get rid of it.

The only remaining question is whether there are enough bars in the country to keep the suspected protesters behind them.

Boris Volkhonsky, senior research fellow, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies

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VOR, or the Voice of Russia, was the Russian government's international radio broadcasting service from 1993 until 2014, when it was reorganised as Radio Sputnik.

One thought on “The US Cleanses Itself Of Its Own Citizens – OpEd

  • March 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    The uS government is busy achieving it’s goal for ruling the world with a piece of paper.Selectively choosing the few that reap the rewards they accept in the form of another peice of paper called a counterfit dollar bill.
    The two political partys there in Washington act as if it is a requirement you are born as a politician to become a citizen.
    It is my opinion that they are processionally a beggars group. They use their techniques to fool you into beleiving they did something for you when it was only for them.
    Obama has tried hard to get rid of the protestors called occupy wall street protestors. The homeland security has labeled them as an extremist political group.The New York Police Department has obligated themselves along with the new York Mayor to harrass them into leaving it looks. Just a continuation from what happened in California prior to November 11th 2005 under Bush.
    Dominos are the only thing I use to easily discribe what the police unions and the white house accomplish together as two politically run groups that are the uS extremists with a power lobby in Washington.The uS is a police state and not a police where religion may be freely practiced or exist…unless it is a commercial one or willing to die with a gun in your hand type of religion that bows to politicians as they walk by taking their money so virtuously and patriotically as if it was their God given duty.
    They are all mentally ill and have never accomplished anything substantially good.
    Smile…and have a good day.


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