United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is upping his threats against the protestors at the Bundy ranch. Following his ominous declaration on Monday that the US government’s confrontation with protestors at the Nevada ranch is “not over” despite the government having backed-off from its raid of the ranch, Reid is now calling the protestors “domestic terrorists.”
In effect, Reid is urging the US government to make actions against the protestors a top priority and use all means available under the USA PATRIOT Act and otherwise against them.
Terming the protestors domestic terrorists is not a hollow rhetorical threat. Rather, it is a real classification under the law that carries dire consequences. Rutherford Institute President John W. Whitehead explained in 2011:
The Patriot Act drove a stake through the heart of the Bill of Rights, violating at least six of the ten original amendments — the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Amendments — and possibly the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, as well. The Patriot Act also redefined terrorism so broadly that many non-terrorist political activities such as protest marches, demonstrations and civil disobedience were considered potential terrorist acts, thereby rendering anyone desiring to engage in protected First Amendment expressive activities as suspects of the surveillance state.The American Civil Liberties Union explained in 2002 that the USA PATRIOT Act’s “overbroad definition of domestic terrorism” can subject some people exercising civil disobedience to new government powers including civil asset seizures without even a court hearing, US law enforcement access to tax records at the Internal Revenue Service, and more easily obtained search warrants. If Reid has his way, we may well see these and more police tactics used against the Bundy family and the Bundy ranch protestors in the coming days.