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The claim is often made that President George W. Bush’s war on terror, which produced legislation that was employed to attack Iraq in 2003, eventually morphed into the worst foreign policy mistake in U.S. history when that conflict destabilized the entire region and led to an American multifront military engagement that now appears permanent. Few of those in the policymaking business appreciated that by turning “terrorism” into an especially invidious form of evil allowing governments to arrest or even assassinate without due process and bomb civilians if they fit a profile, Pandora’s box was being opened to expand that authority to commit other heinous abuses of authority.
Jim Bovard has described how post 9/11 there were hundreds of arrests for no good reason, in some cases only because someone had a name or countenance that appeared to be “Arabic.” Congressman Ron Paul and a handful of others observed at the time that the legislation would inevitably be used against domestic enemies of the state as well as against foreign or foreign-linked groups, meaning that the real damage done by the Patriot Act, the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) and the Military Commissions Act would be felt somewhere down the road, possibly at a point where the original objective of the legislation would be more or less forgotten.
Now that we have an identified “domestic terror” problem one should expect at a minimum a massive increase in surveillance of innocent citizens couple with arbitrary arrests and incarcerations. Indeed, the process is already well underway with FBI Director Christopher Wray announcing that there are several thousand terror “cases” under development. There will also be increasing calls to take away guns and to control what is allowed to appear on the internet. Soon Americans will have nothing to measure their remaining liberties by and will be less free to exercise rights including free speech, possibly dramatically so.
So now we have reached a point where we have a government that is committed to further reducing one’s rights in order to “keep us safe” from a domestic threat and congress critters are openly speaking of bringing in “war on terror” type expedients to make sure that they have the tools available to do just that. The Joe Biden White House has made clear that it has embraced fighting domestic terrorists as a top priority. Last week, the Administration sought authorization from the Pentagon to keep thousands of national guard troops in the District of Columbia for 60 days more, presumably to protect the government buildings and staff. The pretext for the continued presence was a vaguely described plot constituting a “potential threat” to overrun the Capitol building on March 4th, a day when it was apparently anticipated that Donald Trump would miraculously be returned to office. The House of Representatives even canceled a session over concerns that they were about to be invaded by a hostile “militia.” Just how “real” the threat was has not been made clear beyond suggestions of “chatter” over the internet, nor has there been any explanation of why the 2,200 strong Capitol Police force is unable to deal with the problem.
Be that as it may, the Biden Administration thinks it knows exactly who the enemy is. The government already has a working definition of a domestic terrorist, i.e. “If you advocate violence as a tool to further political ends, and take concrete steps to do that, you’re a terrorist.” But if you thought that included groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM) you would be wrong. For the Biden Administration it is the stereotyped right-wing extremist, who, among other attributes, is represented by the media and government as coming from the class that Hillary Clinton once described as “deplorables.”
The accepted definition of the enemy defies logic as the rioting, arson, and killing that has taken place over the past year has generally been inspired by Antifa and BLM, resulting in major damage and destruction in various cities and states. But the mobs who wrecked and looted have been mostly set free by the courts in the Democratic Party dominated cities. In Portland Oregon 90% of the rioters were not prosecuted, presumably because the local judicial system believed that their “cause was just.” Against that is the trauma of the January 6th incident at the Capitol, much smaller in scope and damages but obviously terrifying to the media and Congress. Also what did occur bore a more comfortable theme for the Democrats which they have been beating to death ever since – “insurrection caused by right wing extremists who were overwhelmingly white and support Donald Trump.” That’s apparently all one needs to initiate a campaign to get rid of such dissidents.
For some suggestions about the direction the Biden Administration will be going in to eliminate domestic terrorism, one only has to review the comments of Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland at his Senate confirmation hearing on February 22nd, where he declared that going after domestic terrorists would be a top administration priority. When asked if he regards the numerous attempts by Antifa and BLM rioters to destroy federal courthouses in Portland and Seattle as acts of domestic extremism or terrorism, he hedged on the issue and replied:
“So an attack on a courthouse while in operation, trying to prevent judges from actually deciding cases, that plainly is, uhm, domestic extremism, uhm, domestic terrorism. An attack simply on a government property at night…or any other kind of circumstances, is a clear crime and a serious one and should be punished. I don’t mean…I don’t know enough about the facts of the example you’re talking about, but that’s where I draw the line. One is…both are criminal, but one is a core attack on our democratic institutions.”
According to the man who almost became a Supreme Court Justice and now appears to be on his way to becoming Attorney General if you attack and seek to destroy a government building when there is no one in it is a different level of criminality than seeking to disrupt what is going on inside during business hours. It clearly is a fine line, or at least Garland sees it that way, but in either case you are making the building non-functional in terms of its intended use. Indeed, groups like BLM have regularly condemned the criminal justice system and if you burn the building down it will be unusable for a long, long time. So clearly what makes something “terrorism” as opposed to only “criminality” is the expectation based on the events of 1/6 that it will be right-wing whites who will be doing the disruption. They are the terrorists.
So, it seems pretty clear that the Biden Administration is now preparing to go after the people that it objects to and will create new laws as necessary to do so. Garland will certainly have a hand in that development. And if anyone is thinking of leaving all of this behind by fleeing to another country where there is an actual rule of law, it would be best to consider the matter again. On February 22nd, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that white supremacy right-wing nationalist movements have become a “transnational threat” that has exploited the fear of the coronavirus pandemic to gain support. He said that “White supremacy and neo-Nazi movements are more than domestic terror threats. They are becoming a transnational threat. Today, these extremist movements represent the number one internal security threat in several countries. Far too often, these hate groups are cheered on by people in positions of responsibility in ways that were considered unimaginable not long ago. We need global coordinated action to defeat this grave and growing danger.”
It means you can run but you can’t hide. It looks like there will be a worldwide coalition to extirpate the evils that come automatically with whiteness and, as BLM is now de facto a major constituency of the U.S. Democratic Party, you know that Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi will be leading the charge.
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Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.orgaddress is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is [email protected]
He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Featured image: Storming of the US Capitol on 6 January 2021 (TapTheForwardAssist/Wikimedia Commons)