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Government Distortion

[Oregon Daily Emerald - opinion]

Do you remember John Lithgow as Eric Qualen in Cliffhanger in 1993? If you like trashy action movies as much as I do, I'm sure you recall when he said, "Kill a few people, they call you a murderer - kill a million and you're a conqueror."

I would have liked to see one of the "eco-terrorist" defendants recently sentenced in Eugene put a twist on that line. He or she should have stood up in front of federal judge Ann Aiken and said, "Destroy $40 million dollars worth of private and government property and they call you a terrorist - destroy a whole country and you're a liberator."

Such a B-movie one-liner captures the farce that our federal courts system and our federal government are being reduced to.

Legal measures and definitions enacted to allow the federal government to prosecute terrorists are being selectively tailored to fit cases to which they do not apply. The sentencing of the convicted members of the "The Family," an Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front related group, represent just such a circumstance of misdirected legal angst.
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Section 808 of the USA PATRIOT ACT not only provides a terrorism definition for arson of government property, and property "used in interstate commerce," but it also cannibalizes USC Chapter 5, Section 81. That's right. Technically speaking, any arson prosecutable under the federal code is terrorism.
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Yet there is no recourse against the U.S. government's blatant intimidation and coercion of governments and populations, be it regime change or a "shock and awe" campaign of bombing and death.

So here's another appropriate one-liner: Ask not what you can do for your government, but wonder what your government can do to you.

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full story:
http://media.www.dailyemerald.com/media/storage/ paper859/news/2007/07/16/Commentary/ Surprise.The.Government.Is.Distorting.The.Law-2923987.shtml

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