I am starting to think I need to file a First Amendment lawsuit over that insane bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security on Feb. 7.
In case you’ve forgotten, that report - a public declaration of the federal government’s official view of terrorism - called the top terrorist threat to the United States:
false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions.
Their words, not mine.
Trying to “undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions” is now a terrorist act?
Then I’m a terrorist.
Especially since the bulletin specifically mentions COVID-19: there is widespread online proliferation of false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19.
There’s that word “misleading” again. As this White House has made clear, “misleading” facts are those that lead people to opinions of conclusions it doesn’t like.
No, no one has knocked on my door or threatened to arrest me.
But that does mean the government is not targeting me - along with other prominent Covid and vaccine skeptics. Per the bulletin, the Department of Homeland Security in 2021 expanded its evaluation of online activity as part of its efforts to assess and prevent acts of violence.
The government has other tools against people it classifies as terrorists too, including plenty of secret ones.
And remember, to be a terrorist under these terms, your speech simply has to “potentially inspire acts of violence.”
If this isn’t a government effort to discourage lawful speech, I don’t know what is. The question is whether it is so broad and dangerous that I can prove it will have a chilling and unconstitutional effect on me (and other people) even if I do not know I am being targeted. It feels like a form of prior restraint, all the worse for being so broad.
Will courts agree? There may be only one way to find out.
And quickly, if I do it. The Rocket Docket in the Eastern District of Virginia feels like the place.
If I decide to do this, I will look to raise money to back the suit. I don’t actually think it will be particularly expensive, but I would like as many small donations as possible, mainly to show how many people think equating speech with terrorism is a travesty and must stop.
I assume there will be money left over, potentially lots - it can go to some worthy free speech cause.
In the meantime, please join me here: