Update 2: See my follow-up article "DoD Deletes 'Protest = Terrorism,' Problems Remain."
Update appended at the end:
The Department of Defense is training all of its personnel in its current Antiterrorism and Force Protection Annual Refresher Training Course that political protest is "low-level terrorism."
The Training introduction reads as follows:
"Anti-terrorism (AT) and Force Protection (FP) are two facets of the Department of Defense (DoD) Mission Assurance Program. It is DoD policy, as found in DoDI 2000.16, that the DoD Components and the DoD elements and personnel shall be protected from terrorist acts through a high pirority, comprehensive, AT program. The DoD's AT program shall be all encompassing using an integrated systems approach."
The first question of the Terrorism Threat Factors, "Knowledge Check 1" section reads as follows:
Which of the following is an example of low-level terrorism activity?
Select the correct answer and then click Check Your Answer.
O Attacking the Pentagon
O Hate crimes against racial groups
The "correct" answer is Protests.
A copy of this can be found on the last two pages of this pdf.
The ACLU learned of this training and on June 10, 2009 sent a letter to Gail McGinn, Acting Under-Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, objecting to their training all DoD personnel that the exercise of First Amendment rights constitutes "low-level terrorism."
For those who have worried about a trend - evident, for example, in the USA PATRIOT Act, the universal and ongoing government surveillance of all of Americans' electronic communications that began in February of 2001 (seven months before 9/11), the global war on a tactic (terrorism), therefore making this war unending, the unprecedented pre-emptive arrests of protestors at the 2008 Republican National Convention with those protesters being charged as "domestic terrorists," the justifications for torture, pre-emptive wars of aggression, ongoing occupations, American gulags such as Bagram, suspension of habeas corpus, and "prolonged detention" for acts someone might commit, not what they have done, FBI et al infiltration of protest groups and the government's acknowledged use of undercover agents (agents provocateurs) in said infiltration, thus giving the government under the rubric of fighting domestic terrorism unrestrained and unsupervisable power to suppress legitimate political activities, the unleashing and justifications for Christian fascists to murder those they do not like (such as the assassination of Dr. George Tiller and the killing at the Holocaust Museum a few days ago) - this news adds further fuel to the fire.
These are not items from some famously vilified, non-US dictatorial regime. These are items from the good ole USA, land of the free and home of the brave.
Just how brave are we now? How free are we still? Are we brave enough to be "winter soldiers" and stand up against these fascist moves? Or will we go down in history in infamy, the way the "Good Germans" of the 1930s and 1940s did?
Update: A couple of the comments on this article at Reddit raise the question of whether this particular DoD test is merely an anomaly.
I have just learned of a scholarly conference paper presented earlier this year that underscores the fact that the DoD training's use of "low-level terrorism" is hardly an anomaly. "Low level terrorism" is a term being used by state security agencies: