A collection of relevant and timely media clips and resources.
Posted on August 30, 2009
by James O.E. Norell, Contributing Editor
Those headlines from news outlets across the nation mark a massive propaganda campaign to garner swift support for arguably the most dangerous federal law considered in modern times—New Jersey U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg`s Senate bill 1317. That law would bestow unilateral dictatorial powers on the U.S. attorney general to subjectively make what the Justice Department calls a "dangerous terrorist determination"—a secret edict that specifically strips individual Americans of their Second Amendment rights and any rights to due process. It would literally give the attorney general, whoever that might be, stealth power to turn citizens into instant felons.
The bill titled, "Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009," would empower the Justice Department to secretly determine, through a totally closed process, that an individual cannot buy a gun and ultimately cannot possess firearms if he or she:
"... is known (or appropriately suspected) to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of or related to terrorism, or providing material support or resources for terrorism."
So, need a peek at where this is really going?
Look no further than the Brady Center`s recent manifesto titled "Guns and Hate," published in conjunction with the June 22 introduction of Lautenberg`s bill:
"The National Rifle Association and others in the gun lobby have for years employed inflammatory extremist and anti-government rhetoric that bears a chilly similarity to some of the language of hate groups followed by ... dangerous extremists." (Emphasis added.)
Hmmm. They must be talking about NRA`s reaction to the New Orleans city government`s forcible disarmament of civilians in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Now remember those words—"extremist" and "anti-government." In some pockets of the Obama administration, those words officially define domestic "terrorism."
Again from the Brady Center: "NRA should be aware of the ominous connection between its inflammatory rhetoric and violent acts of domestic terrorism."
There it is in a nutshell. If you are an NRA member and you object to the threat of government taking your guns—perhaps through this legislation or perhaps through the Brady Campaign`s push for an "assault weapons" ban—you are related to "terrorism." Add to that equation the fact that the standard for secretly judging individual Americans as unfit to own guns is "appropriately suspected," and you see where all this is going.
Please note, possession of firearms by real terrorists is already covered by federal law with harsh penalties. Under existing federal law, anyone who receives, purchases, transfers or transports any firearm with the intent of committing a violent crime—terrorism included—is committing a host of federal felonies.
The Justice Department lawyers who originally penned this legislation for Lautenberg referred to the process of rights erasure as a "dangerous terrorist determination."
Under this legislation, a firearm transfer under the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) could be denied to any individual tagged with a "dangerous terrorist determination." Furthermore, that label could be used to deny or revoke Federal Firearms Licenses for dealers, gunsmiths, distributors, collectors, manufacturers or importers. With the stroke of a secret pen, under the guise of "domestic terrorism," whole segments of lawful firearms commerce could be wiped out.
Lautenberg`s legislation would additionally empower the federal attorney general to deny or cancel state licenses related to firearms—say, a concealed-carry permit in Oklahoma, or an owner`s license, like the Illinois Firearm Owner`s Identification Card. Arguably, a hunting license could be taken or denied.
Yet that`s just the beginning of this bestowal of nightmare powers to a few secret bureaucrats.
If the government officially informs a person that he`s been tagged in a "dangerous terrorist determination," that individual would automatically be thrown into the Federal Gun Control Act`s Section 922(g) "prohibited person" category—joining convicted felons, adjudicated lunatics and fugitives from justice for whom possession of any firearm is a federal felony.
Giving or selling a gun to such a person is a felony.
Actually, this is not about "terrorists" buying guns. This is about secretly accused citizens possessing guns. This is about freedom-loving Americans being transformed by a stealth process into felons. It involves secret lists created with secret dossiers.
Real terrorists, by the way, will never appear on any such list because to deny them a firearm purchase through a NICS check would tip them off that law enforcement is watching them.
So, if you found yourself on the no-gun list, how could you appeal?
Under Lautenberg, if you officially object to being turned down for a gun sale or a license application or revocation, the feds would only be required to inform you of your "determined" terrorist status.
"An action challenging the determination may be brought against the United States. The petition shall be filed not later than 60 days after the petitioner has received actual notice of the attorney general`s determination." (Emphasis added.)
"[R]eceived actual notice of the attorney general`s determination" is the automatic disqualifier from owning guns. It`s a trap—heads they win, tails you lose.
You`d have 60 days to garner proof that you are not a terrorist. How on earth does an ordinary person prove such a thing? First, you would need to find out exactly what allegations have been secretly filed to have the feds add you to their "terrorist" list.
S. 1317 would totally shield the government from ever being forced to produce in open court the complete and raw information it possessed to "determine" that you are a terrorist. To "determine" away your Second Amendment rights. To "determine" you are a felon.
Lautenberg`s legislation decrees, "The court shall sustain the attorney general`s determination upon a showing by the United States by a preponderance of evidence." The standard measure of proof of guilt in criminal prosecutions—"beyond a reasonable doubt"—has vanished entirely in this process.
Also vanished is the right to confront the evidence against you. Lautenberg would throw out all federal rules of evidence and, in their place, create a set of police-state rules worthy of Iran, Cuba or North Korea.
"To make this showing, the United States may submit, and the court may rely upon, summaries or redacted versions of documents containing information the disclosure of which the attorney general has determined would likely compromise national security." (Emphasis added.)
By definition, terrorism is equated with national security.
So, a citizen of the United States—in trying to restore rights taken by bureaucrats in secret—would not be entitled to be confronted with either an accuser or actual evidence.
And there is more.
"Upon request of the petitioner or the court`s own motion, the court may review the full, undisclosed documents ex-parte and in camera." (Read, "in the backroom.")
But most astoundingly, considering the separation of powers, Lautenberg orders, "The court shall not consider the full, undisclosed documents in deciding." (Emphasis added.)
Here, the bill is dictating that full, accurate and actual evidence against a citizen must be excluded from a court proceeding.
What about the presumption of innocence—the constitutional backbone of American law? Gone!
This is also a story about connecting the dots between the Lautenberg legislation and massive media manipulation designed to demonize gun owners, the NRA and people who staunchly disagree with their government—but only those who the so-called "mainstream" media hate and label as "right-wingers."
The centerpiece of this coordinated attack on the constitutional rights of gun owners is Lautenberg`s s. 1317. The opening salvo came in the spring with government reports maligning third party voters, returning veterans and gun owners as potential domestic terrorists. That was followed by a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report falsely puffed as proof positive of a "terror gap." On the heels of all of this has been a series of increasingly malicious attacks on NRA by the Brady Campaign and big media.
This is a big-lie carpet-bombing of the American public that will only get worse in the coming months.
Take the GAO report first. Ordered by anti-gun House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., the report covered nics background reviews over a five-year period. It came up with a total of 865 people on the FBI`s "terror watch list" who were cleared to purchase firearms.
A June press release by Lautenberg—expanded and trumpeted by the Brady Campaign and a gang of other gun-ban outlets and politicians—seethed:
"This new report is proof positive that known and suspected terrorists are exploiting a major loophole in our law, threatening our families and communities. This ‘terror gap` has been open too long and our national security demands that we shut it down."
Among the total of individuals covered by the gao report`s five-year scan, 90 were turned down for reasons prescribed under the law, i.e. felons, fugitives, known drug addicts—all 922(g) prohibited person categories.
To put those 865 cleared people in context—other than being among the 1.5 million names on the FBI`s terror watch list—they were also among "More than 100 million such checks [that] have been made in the last decade." (FBI quote).
So, 865 clearances from some 75 million cleared checks have morphed into a political crisis big enough to destroy the Constitution of the United States.
The GAO report and Lautenberg`s press release created scores of mind-numbingly panicked headlines like this one at Philly.com: "Terror watch list no bar to guns."
The story stated, "Citing a `terror gap,` Lautenberg introduced legislation to give the U.S. attorney general authority to stop the sale of guns or explosives to terrorists."
Regurgitating the word "terrorists" is as far as anybody in the lazy, airhead media will ever go. None of these guardians of the people will ever read the bill.
The first wave of media prep work for the "terror" legislation came with the issuance of two government reports—one from the State Police in Missouri and the other from the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Besides having Homeland Security funding in common, the other connection is that after posting they were both withdrawn as offensive and highly political.
The Missouri report, titled "Modern Militia Movement," suggested that people with strong views on gun control, U.S. sovereignty, immigration and abortion, and who openly supported third-party candidates like NRA Board member Bob Barr (former federal prosecutor and U.S. congressman) or U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, should be given special scrutiny as "right-wing extremists." After a storm of protest, it was shelved.
That March 2009 "restricted" document, published through a Missouri Department of Homeland Security "fusion center"—a state/urban center/homeland security satellite—was not an anomaly.
A far more damaging and paranoid document was produced by a shadow internal DHS group called "Extremism and Radicalization Branch, Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division."
Upon reading it, most rational Americans might conclude that "extremism and radicalization" are rampant at the Department of Homeland Security.
That document opened with this statement of purpose: "Federal efforts to influence domestic public opinion must be conducted in an overt and transparent manner, clearly identifying United States government sponsorship."
That lofty announcement was altered by a direct footnote.
"Law Enforcement Information Notice: This product contains Law Enforcement Sensitive (LES) information ... and is not to be released to the public, the media or other personnel who do not have a valid need-to-know."
So much for "overt." Everything about this is "covert."
The report is titled, "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence In Radicalization and Recruitment."
Americans worried about the economy or concerned over the United Nations, sovereignty, immigration policies, and even those who opposed the election of Barack Obama, are labeled as "extremist," and their concern considered "hate."
The DHS report upset so many segments of society, especially active duty service members, veterans and gun owners, that it was quickly withdrawn. Ultimately, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized to vets, but no apology was offered to gun owners.
The document and the "reasoning" behind it are dangerous. Withdrawing it means nothing. It is the entrenched attitude that is important.
Secretary Napolitano said it was a mistake to release it.
The real mistake, in her mind, is that the public learned about it and many Americans were greatly offended.
Make no mistake: The underlying distrust of Americans, especially Americans who are free to own firearms, will continue to grow in the months and years to come. And it has one giant, underlying goal—to further destroy Americans` civil liberties in the name of "closing the terror gap."
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