Last week, citing an “elevated threat of violent extremism,” the United States Justice Department announced that it is establishing a specialized unit focused on domestic terrorism. Pulling on the heart strings of those ignorant enough to think that January 6, 2021 was “as bad as Pearl Harbor and 9/11,” — instances in which thousands of people suffered horrifying deaths — the department’s top national security officer stoked fear over America’s new number one threat… itself.
“We have seen a growing threat from those who are motivated by racial animus, as well as those who ascribe to extremist anti-government and anti-authority ideologies,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said.
Using language made famous in the W era of post 9/11 warmongering speeches, Jill Sanborn, the executive assistant director in charge of the FBI, said these lone extremists or small cells are seeking to carry out violence against unsuspecting Americans. Only this time, those extremists are not the people in caves on the other side of the world, they are your neighbor, the coach of your son’s little league team, your local doctor, and anyone else the government paints with the extremely broad brush of terroristic tendencies.
“This includes both homegrown violent extremists inspired primarily by foreign terrorist organizations as well as domestic violent extremism,” Sanborn said.
Obviously violence against innocents is unacceptable, immoral, and unjustified. And, those who seek to carry out this violence are enemies to a free society. However, when the state begins to view its own citizens as “the enemy,” history shows us that nothing good follows.
Nevertheless, it has begun.
This month, the US Army will begin training for this very scenario and the American people are the new enemy.
A “realistic” guerrilla war will be fought across two dozen North Carolina counties this month, with young soldiers battling seasoned “freedom fighters,” according to the U.S. Army.
The two-week “unconventional warfare exercise” will be staged Jan. 22-Feb. 4 on privately owned land. And it will be realistic enough to include the sounds of gunfire (blanks) and flares, the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School said in a news release.
Exact times, locations and exercise specifics are not provided.
However, advance publicity is intended to make sure civilians — including law enforcement officers — don’t mistake the fighting for terrorism or criminal activity, which has happened in the past.[…] Called Robin Sage, the exercise serves as a final test for Special Forces Qualification Course training and it places candidates in a politically unstable country known as Pineland.
The candidates face off against seasoned service members from units across Fort Bragg, as well as specially trained civilians, officials said. The setting is “characterized by armed conflict,” forcing the students to solve problems in a real world setting, the center says.
“These military members act as realistic opposing forces and guerrilla freedom fighters, also known as Pineland resistance movement,” the center said.
“To add realism of the exercise, civilian volunteers throughout the state act as role players. Participation by these volunteers is crucial to the success of this training, and past trainees attest to the realism they add to the exercise.
Advance public notice of “the U.S. military’s premiere unconventional warfare exercise” became a priority in 2002, after one soldier was killed and another wounded when a Moore County sheriff’s deputy mistook Robin Sage exercises for criminal activity.
Pineland covers counties primarily in southeastern North Carolina, as well as Chesterfield, Dillon and Marlboro counties in South Carolina. The full list in North Carolina: “Alamance, Anson, Bladen, Brunswick, Cabarrus, Chatham, Columbus, Cumberland, Davidson, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, New Hanover, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rowan, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, Union, and Wake.”
While there are certainly several very small groups of people willing to carry out violence against the US to achieve their means, the idea that there is some massive insurrection pining away, waiting to take over the government, is laughable. Nevertheless, the scope of what is considered “extremism” continues to widen.
Committees are being formed, laws are being passed, and a new era of “Patriot Act” America is rising as the establishment exploits the January 6 events to usher in a new level of totalitarianism.
Congress is seeking is a domestic version of the Patriot Act’s material-support provision, which criminalizes providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. “Support” is a broadly interpreted term which could include participation in propaganda activities, civil protest, fundraising, even group membership—with no requirement to show any connection to furthering terrorism. This could encompass tens of millions of Americans.
Despite a slew of laws criminalizing domestic terrorism, many within Washington continue to push for even more. This is worrisome to civil rights advocates, who argue that increasing legislation means increasing the number of people who could be labeled as potential domestic terrorists.
“Such a law is not needed given the broad reach of existing criminal statutes,” Mara Rudman, executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress, says. “It will not solve the problem of domestic extremism and is likely to lead to unintended harms. … As lawmakers explore options for cracking down on these lawless and hateful acts, they should take care to ensure that the solutions do not create new risks for the communities they are trying to protect.”
“History is replete with examples of such laws being weaponized and used against vulnerable citizens, especially Black Americans, and against individuals who criticize the government,” Rudman said.
Indeed, all totalitarian regimes throughout history have successfully come to power by convincing their citizens to fear and turn against anyone who criticizes the almighty state. By continuously attacking what can and can’t be said about one’s government, all form of political dissent is eventually outlawed and even thinking about it becomes a crime.
Rather than create a new era of Stasi-esque legislation and enforcement, those who truly want to seek a peaceful resolution, would do well to understand what it is people are angry about and seek to address it — instead of outlawing it — and forcing people into a corner.
After all, as John F. Kennedy famously said in 1962, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”