Activist James Ian Tyson was listed as a terrorist over a traffic violation in a deliberate effort by police to prevent him organizing a protest at the Democratic National Convention taking place in Charlotte this week.
As we reported yesterday, Charlotte resident Tyson was arrested on Sunday morning as he was driving to a protest just days before the start of the DNC with his initial bond set at a huge $10,000 dollars.
Although the reason for the arrest was not known until today, prosecutors were keen to keep Tyson locked up for the duration of the DNC, according to Tyson’s lawyer. Tyson spent 36 hours in jail, 24 of which were in a tiny cell.
It has now emerged that Tyson, an activist with the Rainforest Action Network, was arrested for driving with a suspended license when he was only a passenger in the car.
“Tyson’s lawyer, Derek Fletcher, says a police report of the arrest claimed his client was on a terrorist watch list and should be held until the convention ends Thursday,” reports the Associated Press, adding that Tyson thinks he was targeted to prevent him from organizing a protest.
In other words, Tyson was arrested on a bogus charge, declared to be a terrorist and kidnapped by police simply in order to stop him from exercising his First Amendment rights.
This means that cops in America are now mimicking the actions of the NKVD, Joseph Stalin’s feared Soviet secret police, and abducting political dissidents to prevent them from organizing rallies.
“I’m a local Charlottean, I’m a farmer, I’m a carpenter, I’m a family member and a community member. I am not a terrorist,” Tyson told the Charlotte Observer, adding that he has no clue how he ended up on a terror watchlist.
“They have no reason to have me on that list,” Tyson said. “I haven’t done anything remotely criminal involving politics.”
As we previously highlighted, efforts by the state to characterize protest as terrorism have been ongoing for years.
A 2009 Department of Defense anti-terrorism training program entitled Antiterrorism and Force Protection Annual Refresher Training Course used material that defined certain First Amendment-protected activities as “low level terrorism.”
“I think they’re watching me and looking for a reason to arrest me,” Tyson said. “I’m not afraid of police, but I don’t want to be arrested again.”
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