Stop Washington’s Anti-Freedom Bill!

May 07, 2024

The House recently passed H.R. 6408: “An Act To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to terminate the tax-exempt status of terrorist supporting organizations.” It is headed to the Senate as S. 1436. 

Like most titles to legislative acts, it sounds benign enough, but the reach of this legislation goes well beyond any narrowly defined or momentarily intended targets. If enacted into law, it can be used against any non-profit which engages in any issue not favored by whatever Administration is in power in the future.

The Act details procedures for the Secretary of the Treasury to designate organizations as having provided material support to groups deemed to be terrorist organizations. Section (C) (ii) provides “Opportunity to Cure” procedures.  In addition to this being “guilty until proven innocent,” Section (F) states “ the United States district courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction to review a final determination with respect to an organization’s designation as a terrorist supporting organization…”  Thus, if the Administration desires that some voices be silenced, they can just do it.  H.R. 6408 passed the House and is positioned to pass the Senate on the consent calendar. It is expected to pass and be signed into law.

This bill is aimed at legislating broad Executive authority to suspend normal due process so as to permit the Secretary of the Treasury to strip US groups of their non-profit status in a peremptory manner, with virtually no limitations, accountability, or meaningful recourse.  The immediate support for the bill comes related to the present crisis in Gaza, but it can be used in any manner in the future.  It also has a three year look back feature, which means if the bill becomes law, our government can designate an organization or country as "terrorist," and then look back at any non-profit which has donated or supported that organization or country in the last three years.  The definition of "support" is also vague.  If a non-profit calls for a mutual ceasefire and negotiations in Gaza (or any other future conflict), is that support for only one side such as Hamas (or any future group anywhere in the world)?  Some in Washington and elsewhere are currently framing it that way.  

Here's the text of the bill:

Here's a sign on letter opposing the bill, by numerous organizations:   

There’s a much larger context here.  Some quotes from a recent Veterans For Peace statement: 

“California Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's recent claims that Code Pink and other peace protesters calling for a ceasefire in Gaza are either Russian or Chinese funded is absurd and insulting, and Veterans For Peace calls on her to withdraw such allegations and apologize.  In October of 2023, Pelosi told a group of Code Pink protesters (all of whom were White American women), to "Go back to China where your headquarters is."  Then in January of 2024, Pelosi said in an interview, “I think … some of these protesters are spontaneous and organic and sincere ..... Some, I think, are connected to Russia. And I say that having looked at this for a long time now, as you know.”  When asked whether she thought some pro-Palestinian protests were Russian plants, the responded, “I don’t think they’re plants.... I think some financing should be investigated... and I want to ask the FBI to investigate that.”  

"Go back to China!" is a common racial insult that historically has been hurled at Asians, but now Pelosi has crossed racial lines and thrown the insult at Whites…. 

Now that the US has declared Russia and China to be our latest enemies, she's trying to connect dots that simply aren't connected….. 

On August 5, 2023, the New York Times attacked Jodie Evans and Code Pink and other peace groups in an article entitled, “A Global Web of Chinese Propaganda Leads to a U.S. Tech Mogul.”  But if one reads the article carefully, the evidence provided actually shows that the headline was false, the American tech mogul in question made all his money in America, and is donating his American money to American and international peace organizations…… following the NYT article, Republican US senator Marco Rubio asked the United States Department of Justice to open an investigation into Code Pink and other entities for potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Then in November of 2023, ten Republican House members of Congress signed a letter saying that they are 'deeply concerned' with Code Pink's ties to the Communist Party of China and requesting documentation.”  

Looking back in recent history, it gets worse. The federal government has expanded its use of FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) to target Black liberation activists and Chinese Americans working for peace with China.  Examples include the African People’s Socialist Party and the Uhuru Movement, where three individuals were charged with acting as foreign agents of Russia based only on normal international exchange and collaboration between peace and justice advocates from different nations, something Veterans For Peace and other organizations have often done.  Businesses and trade organizations also do this all the time, it is normal human communication and networking.  In another example, Boston-area trade unionist Li Tang “Henry” Liang, a Chinese American activist and union member and advocate for peace between the US and China, has also been arrested and indicted under FARA.  The US has used FARA to repress peace and justice organizers going all the way back to the 1951 prosecution of W.E.B. DuBois and the prosecution of the Cuban Five.  

One should also note the establishment looking the other way when violent right wing counter-protesters using weapons physically attack peaceful protesters against the Gaza genocide, the cops let the attacks happen, then go in and arrest the peaceful protesters.  

Now the Washington politicians are developing a bill to strip organizations of their non-profit status if they happen to cross the people in power, even three years retroactively.  

Remember Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous poem about Nazi Germany, which began, “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out…?”

Today, first they came for the Black Socialists, then they came for the Chinese, then they came for the White Code Pink women, now they are coming for the peace non-profits… 

Either we will all stand together, or we will all fall separately.

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