The US government, which speaks in a language of force, is afraid of its citizenry.
What we are dealing with is a government so power-hungry, paranoid and afraid of losing its stranglehold on power that it is conspiring to wage war on anyone who dares to challenge its authority.
All of us are in danger.
In recent years, the government has used the phrase “domestic terrorist” interchangeably with “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” to describe anyone who might fall somewhere on a very broad spectrum of viewpoints that could be considered “dangerous.” The ramifications are so far-reaching as to render almost every American an extremist in word, deed, thought or by association.
In the government’s latest assault on those who criticize the government—whether that criticism manifests itself in word, deed or thought—the Biden Administration has likened those who share “false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information” to terrorists.
The next part is the kicker.
According to the Department of Homeland Security’s latest terrorism bulletin, “These threat actors seek to exacerbate societal friction to sow discord and undermine public trust in government institutions to encourage unrest, which could potentially inspire acts of violence.”
You see, the government doesn’t care if what you’re sharing is fact or fiction or something in between. What it cares about is whether what you’re sharing has the potential to make people think for themselves and, in the process, question the government’s propaganda.
Get ready for the next phase of the government’s war on thought crimes and truth-tellers.
For years now, the government has used all of the weapons in its vast arsenal—surveillance, threat assessments, fusion centers, pre-crime programs, hate crime laws, militarized police, lockdowns, martial law, etc.—to target potential enemies of the state based on their ideologies, behaviors, affiliations and other characteristics that might be deemed suspicious or dangerous.
In other words, if you dare to subscribe to any views that are contrary to the government’s, you may well be suspected of being a domestic terrorist and treated accordingly.
This latest government salvo against consumers and spreaders of “mis- dis- and mal-information” widens the net to potentially include anyone who is exposed to ideas that run counter to the official government narrative.
There’s a whole spectrum of behaviors ranging from thought crimes and hate speech to whistleblowing that qualifies for persecution (and prosecution) by the Deep State.
Simply liking or sharing this article on Facebook, retweeting it on Twitter, or merely reading it or any other articles related to government wrongdoing, surveillance, police misconduct or civil liberties might be enough to get you categorized as a particular kind of person with particular kinds of interests that reflect a particular kind of mindset that might just lead you to engage in a particular kinds of activities and, therefore, puts you in the crosshairs of a government investigation as a potential troublemaker a.k.a. domestic extremist.
At the other end of the spectrum there are those such as Julian Assange, for example, who blow the whistle on government misconduct that is within the public’s right to know.
Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks—a website that published secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources—was arrested on charges of helping US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning access and leak more than 700,000 classified military documents that portray the US government and its military as reckless, irresponsible and responsible for thousands of civilian deaths.
Since his April 2019 arrest, Assange has been locked up in a maximum-security British prison—in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day—pending extradition to the US, where if convicted, he could be sentenced to 175 years in prison.
This is how the police state deals with those who challenge its chokehold on power.
This is why the government fears a citizenry that thinks for itself. Because a citizenry that thinks for itself is a citizenry that is informed, engaged and prepared to hold the government accountable to abiding by the rule of law, which translates to government transparency and accountability.
This is why the First Amendment is so critical. It gives the citizenry the right to speak freely, protest peacefully, expose government wrongdoing, and criticize the government without fear of arrest, isolation or any of the other punishments that have been meted out to whistleblowers such as Edwards Snowden, Assange and Manning.
The challenge is holding the government accountable to obeying the law.
Following the current trajectory, it won’t be long before anyone who believes in holding the government accountable is labeled an “extremist,” relegated to an underclass that doesn’t fit in, watched all the time, and rounded up when the government deems it necessary.
We’re almost at that point now.
Eventually, we will all be potential suspects, terrorists and lawbreakers in the eyes of the government.
Partisan politics have no place in this debate: Americans of all stripes would do well to remember that those who question the motives of government provide a necessary counterpoint to those who would blindly follow where politicians choose to lead.
We don’t have to agree with every criticism of the government, but we must defend the rights of all individuals to speak freely without fear of punishment or threat of banishment.
Never forget: what the architects of the police state want are submissive, compliant, cooperative, obedient, meek citizens who don’t talk back, don’t challenge government authority, don’t speak out against government misconduct, and don’t step out of line.
What the First Amendment protects—and a healthy constitutional republic requires—are citizens who routinely exercise their right to speak truth to power.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, the right to speak out against government wrongdoing is the quintessential freedom.
**By By John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead