By Phil Giraldi
As has been feared, the new Democratic regime in Washington is already beginning to round up people that they are labeling as terrorists, and much more legislation to control groups that the government disapproves of is in the pipeline. Not surprisingly, groups like Black Lives Matter, which burned down government buildings, looted businesses, and even killed ordinary citizens are not being targeted, as they are dear to the hearts of the ruling Democrats. It is “conservatives only” need apply as the noose tightens around Donald Trump supporters and those who are resisting the social revolution that the Democrats are already seeking to impose on an often-non-receptive public. Dissenters or critics will be defined as “domestic terrorists,” and the same tactics used against groups like al Qaeda will be applied against mostly completely innocent American citizens.
A bipartisan group in Congress has already introduced the so-called “Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021,” which would expand both surveillance and police powers at all levels of government to combat what it chooses to define as “dangerous extremism.” Congressman Brad Schneider, Democrat of Illinois, one of the bill’s sponsors, has elaborated that “America must be vigilant to combat those radicalized to violence, and the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act gives our government the tools to identify, monitor and thwart their illegal activities. Combatting the threat of domestic terrorism and white supremacy is not a Democratic or Republican issue, not left versus right or urban versus rural. Domestic terrorism is an American issue, a serious threat that we can and must address together.” The inclusion of “white supremacy” in the comment is, of course, not coincidental, but is rather intended to define the problem.
Seemingly one of the few who is concerned about the new anti-terrorism legislation is Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who was recently carefully eliminated from the field of possible Democratic candidates for president by Hillary Clinton and the party establishment. Clinton warned that a candidate who objected to America’s worldwide military engagement to spread democracy just might not be acceptable to the groups and individuals that actually control the United States.
In an interview Gabbard observed, “We don’t have to guess about where this goes or where it ends. When you have people like former CIA Director John Brennan openly talking about how he’s spoken with appointees and nominees in the Biden administration who are already starting to look across our country for these types of movements… that in his words make up this ‘unholy alliance’ of ‘religious extremists,’ ‘racists,’ ‘bigots’ . . . even ‘libertarians.’ So, when you look at their process as they’re building this profile of a potential ‘extremist,’ what are we talking about? Are we talking about evangelical Christians? Somebody who is pro-life? Libertarians? People who attended a Trump rally? [This would] lead to a very dangerous undermining of our civil liberties… and a targeting of almost half the country.”
Gabbard also tweeted President Joe Biden, observing, “Your leadership is needed now to denounce those like John Brennan and Rep. Schiff who are advocating for targeting half the country as potential domestic terrorists. Truly unite the American people around our Constitution and the rights that are endowed to us by our Creator.” To their credit, some progressive congresswomen, to include Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Ro Khanna, also called on the Biden administration to “reject reactionary demands to further erode the rights and liberties of the American people.” There was no reply from the White House to any of the letters and tweets, but the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did in a certain fashion respond by issuing a National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin on Jan. 27 that stated, “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence.” It warned that a heightened threat of attack “will persist in the weeks following the successful presidential inauguration which took place on Jan. 20. . . . DHS is concerned these same drivers to violence will remain through early 202” before admitting that “DHS does not have any information to indicate a specific, credible plot. However, violent riots have continued in recent days and we remain concerned that individuals frustrated with the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition . . . could continue to mobilize a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors to incite or commit violence.”
DHS also urged the public to report “suspicious activity and threats of violence.” The New York Times reported about the bulletin on its front page and also included the anonymous comments of an intelligence official who had helped draft the document, saying that “the decision to issue the report was driven by the department’s conclusion that Mr. Biden’s peaceful inauguration last week could create a false sense of security because ‘the intent to engage in violence has not gone away’ among extremists angered by the outcome of the presidential election.” That is, of course, government-speak for, “We don’t have any evidence, but someone might be thinking about doing something bad.”
Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, is now seeking extra money to enhance security in Congress to prevent an attack from congressmen themselves, arguing that there is an “enemy” that is within. This is insanity, but a perspective that will quickly be embraced by some Democrats in Congress as well as by the mainstream media. Will the security include marksmen stationed at various points in the legislative chambers to shoot down congressmen who might appear to be threatening during a debate?
It should be clear to anyone who thinks about it that a Domestic Terrorism Act will be a convenient weapon to use against political dissidents just as much as against actual purveyors of terror. In this case, the law will be used against specific demographics, as Tulsi Gabbard warned, be they fundamentalist Christians, anti-abortionists or even strict constructionists who believe that legislation designed to give blacks special advantages in education and hiring are unconstitutional because the government should not itself discriminate.
Government officials who are keen on giving the security services new tools to suppress what they see as groups that question the bureaucracy’s own legitimacy are playing a dangerous game since the more they do to punish unacceptable views the more real enemies they will wind up making. And the real danger is that the United States will inevitably move towards being a totalitarian state when a fusion of the interests of the politicians and the security services takes place with “the people” as the enemy. That is what happened to a certain extent
in the coordinated attempt to “get Trump” in 2016, when the FBI, CIA, and the White House worked together to subvert the Constitution. Legalizing new measures to deter what is being referred to as domestic terrorism will only institutionalize the government’s authority to suspend the Bill of Rights at will to keep everyone “safe.” As Benjamin Franklin once observed, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” And, he might have added, they will wind up with neither.
Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. His other articles appear on the website of “The Unz Review.”