Guest Post: Lions And Tigers And Terrorists, Oh My!
Submitted by Brandon Smith of Alt-Market blog,
The debate over what actions actually constitute “terrorism,” I believe, will become one of the defining ideological battles of our era. Terrorism is not a word often used by common people to describe aberrant behaviors or dastardly deeds; however, it is used by governments around the world to label and marginalize political enemies. That is to say, it is the government that normally decides who is a “terrorist” and who is a mere “criminal,” the assertion being that one is clearly far worse than the other.
The terrorist label elicits emotional firestorms and fearful brain-quakes in the minds of the masses. It causes the ignorant and unaware to abandon principles they would normally apply to any other malicious enterprise. They begin to reason that a criminal should be afforded justice, while a terrorist should be afforded only vengeance, even though the act of branding a person a “terrorist” is often completely arbitrary. This vengeance is usually pursued by any means. Thus, the terrorist moniker becomes a rationalization for every vicious and inhuman policy of the establishment, as well as for the citizenry.
Dishonorable and foolish people claim the existence of terrorism essentially gives license for the rest of us to become criminal, willfully trampling on individuals’ rights to privacy, property, free speech, due process, civic participation, etc. Mass criminality against the individual in the name of social safety is the glue that holds together all tyrannical systems, triggering a catastrophic cycle of moral relativism that eventually bleeds a culture dry.
Historically, the expanded use of the terrorist label by governments tends to coincide with the rising tides of despotism. A government that quietly seeks to dominate the people will inevitably begin to treat the people as if they are the enemy. Those citizens who present the greatest philosophical or physical threat to the centralization of power are usually the first to suffer. I do not think it is unfair to say that any system of authority that suddenly claims to see terrorists under every rock and behind every tree is probably about to rain full-on fascism down upon the population.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is the legal extension of this process, with a vaporous gray language that allows the government to interpret it in any manner it deems useful, which conveniently allows it to interpret a wide range of “offenses” as acts of war against the state.
The Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something Say Something” campaign is the social extension of the process, by which it creates the framework for a paranoid self-censored surveillance culture.
The fusion center network is the enforcement extension designed to surround local and State police with an atmosphere of indoctrination and federalized dogma, teaching common cops to profile according to a template that is so ambiguous that literally any activity could be considered suspicious or terroristic.
All that is left for the establishment is to force the vocabulary of fear into mainstream consciousness. This means constant propaganda. This means furious hype. This means an utterly shameless barrage of false associations, misdirections and fantastical fairyland lies. This means that we have reached a point in the grand totalitarian scheme in which the American populace is about to be bombarded with an endless drone of terrorism brainwashing — not demonizing a foreign enemy, but demonizing the hypothetical extremist next door. In fact, the Boston Marathon bombing seems to have been the signal for an escalation of such rhetoric. The high-speed conditioning has already begun.
In Middlefield, Ohio, James Gilkerson, an unemployed man taking care of his elderly mother, was pulled over during a routine traffic stop only to exit his vehicle firing an AK-47 at police officers. The action was obviously unprovoked; the police responded with deadly force, and rightly so. I would have done the same. Gilkerson’s attack was crazy, yes. Criminal? Yes. But Middlefield Police Chief Arnold Stanko’s remarks to the press bring a whole other dark side to this already tragic event. Stanko stated that: “He got out of the vehicle, intending to kill my officers. We don’t know why he did it… He was a scumbag and a terrorist, and he’s dead.”
Stanko doesn’t know why Gilkerson fired at police, but he is certain that the man was a “terrorist.” What if Gilkerson was depressed or overmedicated or he just snapped that day? Terrorism denotes certain premeditation and planning. This attack was clearly not part of a malicious scheme, yet the label of “terrorist” is being thrown around nonchalantly, almost as if law enforcement has been trained to use such rhetoric whenever it suits them.
In Montevideo, Minn., the FBI recently raided the home of Buford Rogers, who was convicted of felony burglary in 2011. Authorities had received reports that Buford was in possession of a firearm, which is illegal for convicted felons. The raid did indeed produce firearms, as well as items the FBI dubbed “explosive devices.” They did not specify what these “explosive devices” were or if they actually posed a significant threat to anyone. After the bust, headlines read “FBI Thwarts Terror Attack.”
Again, there is absolutely no indication here of a planned attack. There’s no indication that Rogers had any intent to hurt anyone or even any ideological motivations to hurt anyone. Yet the terrorism label is used again to describe a routine criminal arrest.
In Tempe, Ariz., 18-year-old Joshua Prater was arrested after a maid found an “explosive device” in his closet and turned it in to authorities. Prater claims he built the device, consisting of a carbon dioxide cartridge, a fireworks fuse, gunpowder, match heads and fireworks, eight years ago; and he claims he was not aware it was dangerous. Police did not call Prater a terrorist, but they did refer to his device as an “IED,” which, as we all know, is the abbreviation used by U.S. soldiers to describe an “improvised explosive device,” the favorite weapon of insurgents and “terrorists” in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such terminology is not coincidental. Make no mistake; this is a calculated effort to introduce the language of the battlefield to the streets of America.
Seattle police are now holding simulation drills at local schools in which law enforcement officials fight against gun-wielding proxy opponents posing as “angry parents.”
These kinds of drills are a part of a larger DHS program implemented through fusion centers which, in my view, is designed to desensitize law enforcement to violence against common citizens. Said drills have simulated conflicts with constitutionalists, home-schoolers, patriots and so on. Let’s be clear here; the “terrorists” that the police are now being trained to fight against are people like you and me. We are being painted as the future enemy.
Just to solidify this reality, I will also point out the recent exposure of a DHS training program series available on the Federal Emergency Management Agency Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program website, which includes a media section designed to provide teaching aids to agency heads and law enforcement. The series includes a fabricated news broadcast that covers a hypothetical raid on a “militia headquarters.” The video shows semi-automatic firearms, rifle scopes, night vision, flak jackets — all perfectly legal in the United States today — as illegal “contraband,” while painting gun owners and militias as chemical weapon-wielding terrorists.
What started as an appeal to the average American’s sense of Islamophobia after the 9/11 attacks has now evolved into the full-spectrum theater of random domestic terrorism that culminates in what the establishment calls “self-radicalization.”
The concept of self-radicalization is a very interesting propaganda tactic. Rather than limiting the public’s fear only to some outside foreign enemy like Al Qaeda or some domestic activist organization like the liberty movement, the establishment has now composed a narrative in which each and every one of us might one day catch the extremist virus of dissent, defiance or ideological violence and suddenly decide to kill, kill, kill.
The more naïve subsections of our society will accept unConstitutional methods against the “radicalized” out of fear and conditioning, without realizing that the machinations of bureaucracy being used against those they hate could just as easily be used against them in the future.
If the elites achieve the social endgame they desire, legal and political wordplay will become so broad that anyone could be targeted. If you are a citizen who defies the establishment power structure, then you are an extremist. If you are an extremist, then you are a terrorist. If you are a terrorist, then you are an enemy combatant. And, under the NDAA, if you are an enemy combatant, you are no longer a citizen and you no longer deserve Constitutional protection. The circular logic is maddening, not to mention outrageous. But it is also very useful when an abusive government needs a pretext to silence or destroy dissent. Under totalitarianism, all people become terrorists. It starts with the mistreatment of the worst of us, and it ends with the mistreatment of the best of us.