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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/3/21

A Domestic Terrorism Law? War on Dissent Will Proceed Full Speed Ahead

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From Strategic Culture

What makes the current state of war against "terrorism" so dangerous is that the national security apparatus has been politicized

Domestic Terrorism
Domestic Terrorism
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President Joe Biden has already made it clear that legislation that will be used to combat what he refers to as "domestic terrorism" will be a top priority. That means that his inaugural speech pledge to be the president for "all Americans" appears to apply except for those who don't agree with him. Former Barack Obama CIA Chief John Brennan, who is clearly in the loop on developments, puts it this way in a tweet where he describes how the new Administration's spooks "are moving in laser-like fashion to try to uncover as much as they can about [the] insurgency" [that includes] "religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, even libertarians."

The United States Constitution's Bill of Rights, which includes freedom of speech and association, has been under siege for some time now. Government has always used its assumed powers conferred by a claimed state of emergency to deprive citizens of their rights. During the American Civil War Abraham Lincoln imprisoned critics of the conflict. Woodrow Wilson's First World War administration brought in the Espionage Act, which has since been used to convict whistleblowers without having to present the level of evidence that would be required in a normal civil trial. During the Second World War, Franklin D. Roosevelt erected concentration camps that imprisoned Japanese Americans whose only crime consisted of being Japanese.

But perhaps the greatest attack on the Bill of Rights is more recent, the Patriot and Military Commissions Acts that were passed into law as a consequence of the "Global War on Terror" launched by President George W. Bush in the wake of 9/11. Together with the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which includes a court designed to speed up the warrant approval process, ordinary citizens found themselves on the receiving end of surveillance for which there was little or no justification in terms of probable cause. The FISA process was even notoriously abused in the national security apparatus attempt to derail the campaign of Donald Trump. The tools are in place for ever more government mischief and no one should doubt that the Democrats are just as capable of ignoring constitutional safeguards as the Republicans have been.

What makes the current state of war against "terrorism" so dangerous is that the national security apparatus has been politicized while the government has learned that labeling someone or some entity terrorist or even a "material supporter of terrorism" is infinitely elastic. That is precisely why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has frequently called out opponents and attached to them the terrorist label, since it then permits other steps that might otherwise be challenged.

And there is also the fact that the playing field has changed since the First and Second World Wars. The government has technical capabilities that were never dreamed of in most of the 20th century. Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers have demonstrated how the government routinely ignores constitutional limits on its ability to interfere in the lives of ordinary citizens. Not only that, it can monitor the lives of millions of Americans simultaneously, giving the police and intelligence agencies the power to mount "fishing expeditions" that literally invade the phones, computers and conversations of people who have not been guilty of any crime.

The authorizations that already exist will be further weaponized to go after dissidents as identified by the new regime. A bill introduced by House intelligence committee chair Adam Schiff "would take existing War on Terror legislation and simply amend it to say we can now do that within the U.S." It would be combined with previous legislation, including former president Barack Obama's infamous 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the military to indefinitely detain American citizens suspected of terrorism without a trial. Obama and Brennan also assumed an illegal and unconstitutional right to act as judge, jury and executioner-by-drone of American citizens overseas. Given those precedents, a bill like Schiff's would free the national security community's hands even more.

The new body of legislation would mean increased secret legal surveillance, suppression of free speech, indefinite incarceration without charges, torture, and even perhaps assassination. If it sounds like totalitarianism, it should. There ought to be particular concern that the plan of the Biden Administration to go after so-called domestic terrorists will be this generation's version of either Pearl Harbor or 9/11. The incident that took place at the Capitol Building on January 6th (already being referred to as 1/6 in some circles) has been exaggerated beyond all recognition and is now being regularly referred to as an "insurrection," which it was not, by both politicians and the mainstream media. The language used to vilify what are alleged to be "right wing" and "white supremacist" enemies of the state is astonishing and the technology is keeping pace to turn the United States and other countries into police states to ensure that citizens will do the bidding of government.

To cite only one example of how technology can drive the process, Biden has several times threatened to initiate and enforce something like a nationwide lockdown to defeat the coronavirus. Can he do it? Yes, the tools are already in place. Facial recognition technology is highly developed and deployable in the numerous surveillance cameras that are being installed. Wrist bands are being developed overseas that are designed to compel compliance with government dictates on pandemic measures enforcement. If you have been told to stay home and are instead walking the dog your wrist band will tell the police and they will find and arrest you.

And, as the old saying goes, the Revolution is already beginning to devour its own children. Universities and schools are insisting that teachers actively support both publicly and privately the new "equity and diversity" order while police departments are purging themselves of officers suspected of being associated with conservative groups, meaning that something like a loyalty test might soon become common. Recently the Defense Department has begun intensive monitoring of the social media of military personnel to identify dissenters, as is already done in some large companies with their employees. The new Director of National Intelligence hardliner Avril Haines has already confirmed that her agency will participate in a public threat assessment of QAnon, which she has described as America's Greatest Threat.

Haines has also suggested that intelligence agencies will "look at connections between folks in the U.S. and externally and foreign" while Biden on his first full day in office has pledged to thoroughly investigate claims about Russian hacking of U.S. infrastructure and government sites, the poisoning of Putin critic Alexei Navalny, and the story that Russia offered the Taliban bounties to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. It could be Russiagate all over again, with a claimed foreign threat being used to conceal civil rights violations being committed by the federal government at home.

And, of course, the new policies will reflect the biases of the new rulers. Right wing "terror" will be targeted even though the list of actual right-wing driven outrages is embarassingly short. Groups like Black Lives Matter will be untouchable in spite of their major role in last year's rioting, arson, looting and violence that caused $2 billion damage and killed as many as 30 because they are in all but name part of the Democratic Party. Antifa, which rioted in Portland last week, will also get a pass -- the media routinely describes leftist violence as "mainly peaceful" and only sometimes concedes that some "property damage" occurred.

It is Trump supporters and conservatives in general who are being shown the exit door, to include calls for "deprogramming them." The Washington Post's Zionist harpy Jennifer Rubin recently declared that "We have to collectively, in essence, burn down the Republican Party. We have to level them because if there are survivors, if there are people who weather this storm, they will do it again." She also echoed calls for making them unemployable, "I think it's absolutely abhorrent that any institution of higher learning, any news organization, or any entertainment organization that has a news outlet would hire these people."

As the notably clueless Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in 2006 while Lebanon was getting bombed and shelled by Israel, "We are seeing the birth pangs of a new Middle East..." so too are we Americans seeing something new and strange emerging from the ruins of Trumpdom. It will not be pretty and after it is over Americans will enjoy a lot of fewer liberties, that is for sure.

 

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Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues. He is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served eighteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. Mr. Giraldi was awarded an MA and PhD from the University of London in European History and holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Chicago. He speaks Spanish, Italian, German, and Turkish. His columns on terrorism, intelligence, and security issues regularly appear in The American Conservative magazine, Huffington Post, and antiwar.com. He has written op-ed pieces for the Hearst Newspaper chain, has appeared on "Good Morning America," MSNBC, National Public Radio, and local affiliates of ABC television. He has been a keynote speaker at the Petroleum Industry Security Council annual meeting, has spoken twice at the American Conservative Union's annual CPAC convention in Washington, and has addressed several World Affairs Council affiliates. He has been interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Britain's Independent Television Network, FOX News, Polish National Television, Croatian National Television, al-Jazeera, al-Arabiya, 60 Minutes, and other international and domestic broadcasters.


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