Over the last year I have developed a big interest in the corporate control of our legal system. Since learning about Veggie Libel Laws in Food, Inc., and the SHAC 7 shortly after that, it has become clear to me that our lawmakers are bending to the will of corporate lobbies. Big news, right? Well, it’s worse than you may realize. Through secret posh meetings, convoluted political tactics, and the right rhetoric, corporations are bringing designer bills to congress, and getting them passed. An example of this is the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act of 2006. I see it as a frightening threat to free speech, even though the bill’s sponsors would deny that claim. The AETA updates a previous law known as the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. The scary addition (other than the big political buzzword TERRORISM right in the title), is the expanded definition of terrorism; it makes intentional “economic damage to animal enterprises” an offense that could send you to federal prison as a terrorist. I can’t break it down as well as Will Potter can, but you get a sense of how broad and vague this law is.
Mr. Potter’s book, Green is the New Red opened my eyes to this ‘Green Scare’ trend. And after reading an AP article about terrorism arrests around the world exploiting post-9/11 fears, it inspired me to write a letter to The Denver Post, where I read the article. I’m excited to see that my letter made it to print on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 because this issue needs to come to light whenever possible. Corporate influence over our lawmaking process is out of control, and we need to be aware of the consequences. The AETA may not ban peaceful protests and picketing, but it makes you think twice about it. Why should we worry about going to federal prison when we campaign against companies that profit from animal cruelty? Does that feel like free speech to you?
Hit the jump to read the full text of my letter to the Denver Post, a reader’s response, and my re-response… Read the rest of this entry →