Protect Our Right to Protest
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U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
ATT: Jeff Sessions, Attorney General
Dear Mr. Sessions:
As of October 23, 2017, a letter was sent to you from 84 members of Congress, asking you to look into the potential for federal prosecution of protesters who actively opposed pipelines and other energy infrastructure. In addition, this sletter questioned the DOJ as to why it has not pursued prosecution for what it terms, the “attempted sabotage” of 10/11/16 of four pipelines; it further asks if the DOJ intends to pursue prosecution of individuals who knowingly damage infrastructure; and finally it asks if “attacks against the Nation’s energy infrastructure...fall with the DOJ’s understanding of 18 U.S.C Section 2331” (5). (1)
Please be aware that 18 U.S.C. 2331 is the United States Code regarding acts of terrorism on United States soil, and Paragraph 5 defines “domestic terrorism”. Hence, the purpose of the letter is clear: to declare the protest actions against energy projects to be potential a form of terrorism, if damage to property takes place. It quotes a Colorado newspaper, the Daily Caller, a paper which is already on the record for calling for attacks on protesters themselves (2), where it ironically states thea the potential for violence in these kinds o demonstrations justifies a redefinition of such protests as domestic terrorism. The citation of this section of this article is the oly citation of its kind in the entire letter to you, thus making the overall intent clear to the discerning reader.
We the undersigned, do not advocate destructive actions that could result in the loss of life or property. However, we do firmly believe that peaceful protests that night involve civil disobedience are not akin to acts of domestic terrorism, especially when 18 U.S.C. 2331 does not constitute or define the actions of a Dylann Roof to be terroristic in nature. We firmly believe this letter is one of a group of actions designed to prevent US. citizens who are committed to a cause that involves their health,, their land and indeed, their very lives, to take that cause to a wider audience and gather support for that fight in a public fashion. Other actions similar to the intent of this letter, having taken many forms, are designed to frame protestors as criminals, treasonous, violent and destructive people. An example of this is the lawsuit against Greenpeace for their actions to support eh people of Standing Rock, a lawsuit based on laws designed for use against organized crime figures and actions (3). Another example is the numerous attempts to have State legislatures pass their own laws criminalizing forms of protests of energy infrastructure (4), heretofore fully protected by the First Amendment and to charge money for expenses incurred by involved police. Lastly, the alarming rise in the use of words and phrases such as “environmental extremists” and “eco terrorists”, thus beginning once again to paint even placeid and peaceful and lawful demonstrations and protest actions as anti-American, are revolutionary in scope and therefore dangerous.
Native peoples have had a war waged against them since the coming of Europeans. It still goes on but instead of using the Army, the American nation sanctions the continued taking of land, resources and resource land rights, simultaneously using modern methods to silence the voices of the people it runs over.
Environmentalists have long endured being called The Enemy, Wild Eyed Radicals, Commies and yes, even Terrorists, years before the Nation knew the names of Isis and groups of that kind.
Now all of this is coming together in letters such as this one to you, Mr. Sessions. We call on you, in your roles as a leader of the Nation’s Justice Department, to take a public stand against this blatant attempt at shutting down public demonstrations of resistance that have been a revered part of our country since its inception….an inception born from an act of civil disobedience that aso involved water, along with tea and a harbor and a refusal.
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