Treating dissent as treason
The Center for American Progress has coined the term Intimigate to describe "the well established pattern ... that the Bush Administration has summarily fired, intimidated and defamed anyone who has had the courage to tell the truth about Iraq." 
Constitutional Definition of Treason
- Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
Also see Annotations. Section 3. Treason. Definition and Limitations plus Case Law re Treason, FindLaw.com.
- Capitol Hill Blue, a political journalism web site based in Washington, DC, reported in January 2003 that President Bush was angry at opposition within the Pentagon to his push for war with Iraq. According to an unnamed White House spokesman quoted in the article, "The President considers this nation to be at war, and, as such, considers any opposition to his policies to be no less than an act of treason."
- The New York Times reported in November 2003 that the Federal Bureau of Investigation "has collected extensive information on the tactics, training and organization of antiwar demonstrators and has advised local law enforcement officials to report any suspicious activity at protests to its counterterrorism squad. ... But some civil rights advocates and legal scholars said the monitoring program could signal a return to the abuses of the 1960's and 1970's, when J. Edgar Hoover was the F.B.I. director and agents routinely spied on political protesters like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."
- In April 1997, Arianna Huffington, who was part of the conservative movement in the 1990s, complained that Newt Gingrich had become a "Leninist surrealist." She wrote:
- Gingrich's determination to squash dissent has simply driven dissent underground and instead squashed the vitality of House Republicans. "The reason why there has been no Jack Kemp emerging in the Republican conference, as in 1978, is because Gingrich is so controlling," a former Gingrich intimate told me. "He pays lip service to the free exchange of ideas but treats the slightest dissent as treason. Had Newt Gingrich been speaker when Newt was a backbencher, Gingrich would never have survived as an insurgent."
- Dixie Chicks performance in London, March 2003. Cumulus Media responded by censoring the Dixie Chicks from its playlists. Subsequent congressional hearings in July revealed gravity of their corporate directive. Some Clear Channel Communications' communcations stations, independently, also boycotted the Chicks, and two Colorado DJs were suspended from their jobs for their actively protesting against their station's written policy of Chicks censorship.
- FTAA Meetings in Miami 2003, by Naomi Klein 
- With the activists recast as dangerous aliens, Miami became eligible for the open tap of public money irrigating the "war on terror." In fact, $8.5-million spent on security during the FTAA meeting came directly out of the $87-billion President Bush extracted from Congress for Iraq last month -- a fact barely reported outside of the Miami press.
- The resulting media coverage was the familiar wartime combination of dramatic images and non-information. We know, thanks to an "embed" from the Miami Herald, that Police Chief Timoney was working so hard hunting down troublemakers that by 3:30 on Thursday, "he had eaten only a banana and an oatmeal cookie since 6 a.m."
- also "This is not America" =
- "A judge presiding over the cases of free trade protesters said in court that he saw no less than 20 felonies committed by police officers during the November FTAA demonstrations" in Miami. 
- A tabulation at the Center for American Progress titled "Right-Wing: When In Doubt, Attack People's Patriotism."
- Greenpeace: Last year, two of its activists boarded a ship that was smuggling illegally harvested rainforest mahogany and unfurled a banner that called on President Bush to act. But instead of going after the smugglers, the Justice Department went out of its way to file criminal charges against Greenpeace, citing an antiquated 1872 law. It's the first time in our history the government has prosecuted an entire organization for the free speech activities of its supporters. 
- "I disapprove of what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it." -- Beatrice Hall summarizing Voltaire's philosophy in The Friends of Voltaire
- "And though the time is always right for an act of conscience, perhaps the best time of all is when the voices of power are howling that dissent is treason. A crowd marching for principle voices a different kind of power, saying what power itself doesn't want to hear: Americans have a right to dissent. Civil liberties are not a village that you save by destroying." -- Erika Munk, adjunct professor at the School of Drama, about her efforts to organize a protest march in her article "Saturday is the Time To Speak Truth to Power," Newsday (New York), March 20, 2003.
- "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, Pennslvania Assembly Reply to the Governor, 1755.
- "In case you haven't gotten it yet, here it is in a nutshell. Criticizing the president is not the same thing as criticizing the troops. Criticizing the president is not the same as criticizing America. And criticizing the president is not 'giving aid and comfort to the enemy,' which is the classic definition of treason, a federal crime that earns felons the death penalty."
Related SourceWatch Resources
- anti-American activities
- antiwar rallies
- freedom of speech
- information infrastructure
- media reform
- Patriot Act I
- Patriot Act II
- Reckless escalation of adversity
- religion and empire
- Using fear as a political tool
- War on activism
- Dissent IS Democracy web site.
- Some examples at democrats.org.
- Arianna Huffington, "Newt: The Leninist surrealist," April 10, 1997.
- How anti-democratic tactics continue to be used to stifle debate over national security.
- Examples at Right-Wing: When In Doubt, Attack People's Patriotism.
- Treason Cases and Doctrine, 1945-1970, Constitution Society.
- The Ashcroft Smear, Editorial, Washington Post, December 7, 2001.
- Matthew Rothscild, Ashcroft: My Critics Are Traitors!, Progressive.org, December 8, 2001.
- Richard Reeves, There IS A Difference Between Dissent And Treason, New York Post, December 10, 2001; another text copy.
- Brian Keefer, Closing Down Debate: Ashcroft's Attack on Dissent, spinsanity, December 10, 2001.
- ACLU and AFL-CIO Blast Ashcroft, cpusa.org, December 13, 2001: "In a blatant attempt to stifle growing criticism of the efforts of the Bush administration to amend the Constitution and write new laws by executive fiat, Attorney General John Ashcroft equated political dissent with treason during a belated appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee Dec. 6[, 2001]. In his testimony Ashcroft refused to answer some questions, evaded others and accused those who have raised 'phantom concerns about lost liberty' of helping the enemy. 'Your tactics only aid terrorists,' he said in an aggressive defense of the administration's attacks on the Bill of Rights."
- The Ashcroft Way: Equating Dissent with Disloyalty, Anniston Star, December 13, 2001.
- Kris Axtman, Political dissent can bring federal agents to door, Christian Science Monitor, January 8, 2002.
- Marjorie Cohn, The Patriotic Duty to Dissent, jurist.law.pitt.edu, March 8, 2002.
- Jim Lobe, The War on Dissent Widens, GlobalIssues, March 12, 2002.
- Molly Ivins, 'Dissent' is not a dirty word, StarTelegram, April 14, 2002.
- Ben Fritz, Podhoretz's false choice: dissent or war, spinsanity.org at newsfrombablylon, June 6, 2002: "Does New York Post columnist John Podhoretz have powers of memory far beyond those of his colleagues in the media? He seems to think so, as indicated in his latest column, where he wrote, 'Doesn't anybody around here remember that THERE'S A WAR ON?' (his emphasis) ... The issue, though, is not one of memory. It's yet another example of spin--in this case, Podhoretz attempting to frame any and all questioning of the government's performance as a 'finger-pointing blame game' and, thus, illegitimate despite continuing revelations that the CIA and FBI knew more than they initially admitted. Sadly, such attempts to quash reasonable dissent are becoming a pattern for Podhoretz."
- We are in charge here, Public Opinion, September 9, 2002.
- David Horowitz, Joe Conason got it wrong. I have never equated doubts about the war with treason. The only "fifth column" in America is that subset of the left that hates this country and loves its enemies, Salon.com, November 25, 2002.
- partisan tool designed to stifle dissent, mudcatblues, December 11, 2002.
- Danny Schecter, The Power of Evil, znet/zmag, January 14, 2003: "What we learn here is that the phrase (Axis of evil) comes from the world of propaganda more than politics. ... Critics reject this lexicon of evil, whenever and if their criticisms are ever heard or seen in our media. And that's the final worry in the use of evil -- as constructed and deployed by politicians on TV. ... As Collateral Language [by Laura Redieh, ... published by NYU Press, 2002/2003] explains, the ambiguities inherent in, and the fears evoked by, the rhetoric of evil forcefully silence dissent. ... And that may be the most evil among all the evils in and outside the axes we operate within."
- Doug Thompson, "Role Reversal," Capitol Hill Blue, January 22, 2003.
- Jim Moore, If Dissent is Treasonous, Then We're All Traitors, Etherzone, January 30, 2003.
- New York Sun Suggests Treason Prosecution For Free Speech. Source: SpinSanity, February 10, 2003.
- Timothy Noah, Dissent Equals Treason. The New York Sun lacks the courage of its fascist convictions, Slate.msn.com, February 11, 2003: "On Feb. 6, the New York Sun published an editorial equating dissent with treason. The subject was an anti-war march planned in New York City on Feb. 15. Although the Sun grudgingly conceded that the protesters 'probably do have a claim under the right to free speech,' it went on to argue that anyone who marches against war with Iraq is providing 'aid and comfort' to Saddam, and therefore committing treason as defined by Article III of the Constitution."
- Maureen Farrell, Richard Perle, Ann Coulter and America's Savage Regression, DemocraticUnderground, March 15, 2003.
- "Kevin", Stifling Dissent, leanleft, March 18, 2003.
- Bill Berkowitz, Some Dare Call It Treason, Alternet, March 19, 2003.
- Mike Hersh, When Dissent Was Duty, mikehersh.com, March 19, 2003.
- We are in a Nation Ruled by Madmen Who Will Bury the U.N., BuzzFlash, March 21, 2003: "But the propaganda strategists of the Bush Cartel, led by Karl Rove, quickly marginalized any dissent against the White House's Dr. Strangelovian, doomsday world view by spreading the word that protests AIDED AND ABETTED terrorism. The Democratic leadership in Congress was never able to crawl out from under charges that any criticism of the Bush Cartel was treason and hindered Bush's 'war on terrorism'."
- William F. Jasper, True Patriotism, The New American, March 24, 2003.
- O. Ricardo Pimentel, Without dissent, it's not America, Arizona Republic Opinion, April 1, 2003.
- Michael Tomasky, Dissent in America, The American Prospect, April 1, 2003: "The shooting may or may not have started by the time you read this. But one thing that has certainly begun is the campaign to force dissenters to keep it zipped when the shooting commences."
- Justin Raimondo, If This Be Treason - then let the War Party make the most of it! Peter Arnett is 'guilty' of real reporting, not sedition, antiwar.com, April 2, 2003.
- Doing the dissent thing?, BBC.co.uk, April 2, 2003: "George Galloway MP has been branded a 'traitor' for opposing war. In the US a top journalist was sacked for faulting the US campaign. Even Robin Cook climbed down over his anti-war comments. Are voices of dissent being stifled?"
- Anna Quindlin, Sounds of Silence, anti-sheep.com, April 23, 2003.
- Talking out of Turn: The Right's Campaign Against Dissent, Right Wing Watch Online, People for the American Way, April 29, 2003. Also at TomPaine.com.
- Paul Walfield, The 1st Amendment, Dissent, Treason etc., American Daily, May 6, 2003.
- Freedom Under Fire: Dissent in Post-9/11 America, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), May 30, 2003.
- Eric Foner, Dare Call It Treason, The Nation, June 2, 2003.
- Alisa Solomon, The Big Chill. (Dissent in America), The Nation, June 2, 2003.
- Every Move You Make. Police Surveillance vs. Political Dissent, BadMoonRising, July 6, 2003.
- Neil Mackay, Rage. Mistrust. Hatred. Fear. Uncle Sam's enemies within. While the US fights a war on terror, it is also systematically crushing its citizens' rights, The Sunday Herald (Scotland), June 29, 2003.
- Cathy Young, None Dare Call It Stupidity. Pure nastiness left and right, reason.com, July 15, 2003.
- Rumsfeld says dissent aids the enemy. Disagree with the Bush administration, and you're a traitor, democrats.org, September 9, 2003.
- Dissent as Treason, EssentialLiberties, September 10, 2003.
- Sarah Paretsky, For Those Who Wish to Dissent: Speech, Silence and Patriotism, Chicago Tribune, September 21, 2003.
- Karen Holt, Librarians Not Warmed By Ashcroft's Remarks, PublishersWeekly, September 23, 2003.
- General Wesley Clark takes his vision for a New American Patriotism to Phoenix today, AmericansforClark Press Release, October 9, 2003: ""This New American Patriotism is not just about waving the flag and guarding our borders," General Clark said. "It's about guarding what makes us distinctive as Americans - our personal liberties, our right to debate and dissent. We are not a country that manipulates facts, ignores debate, and stifles dissent."
- Dave Lindorf, "Keeping dissent invisible. How the Secret Service and the White House keep protesters safely out of Bush's sight -- and off TV,", Salon, October 16, 2003.
- Molly Ivins, Won't Run, Will Bug Out, AlterNet, November 14, 2003: "Now we're going to bug out before next year's election, L. Paul Bremer has been called in for an emergency confab, troops must be down to 105,000 by spring. The CIA, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, has sent a report from Baghdad saying the whole thing's going south. We're back to bombing Baghdad. Forget a constitution, we have to hand it all over to the Iraqis right away. ... I'm glad all this bug-out stuff is coming from the administration - if some liberal said it, we'd all be accused of treason."
- DISSENT and PROTEST, crisispapers.org. Current article clips (most recent November 15, 2003).
- Eric Lichtblau, "FBI Scrutinizes Antiwar Rallies," New York Times, November 22, 2003.
- Ted Lang, U.S. Gestapo Takin' Names. F.B.I. Out of Control!, Etherzone, November 24, 2003.
- "Bushies vs. Downie," Washingtonian, November 26, 2003: One senior Bush administration official called Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie "Osama bin Downie" and said the Post was "leading a jihad against the Bush administration."
- Charlie Savage, Post-9/11 Limits on Dissent Claimed, Boston Globe, December 14, 2003.
- Monica Davey, An Antiwar Forum in Iowa Brings Federal Subpoenas, New York Times, February 10, 2004.
- Dave Lindorff, "Black Helicopters? The GOP's Police State," CounterPunch, May 21/22, 2005.