by Glenn Greenwald
The last two weeks have ushered in a wave of new domestic police powers and rhetoric in the name of fighting “terrorism” that are carbon copies of many of the worst excesses of the first War on Terror that began nearly twenty years ago. This trend shows no sign of receding as we move farther from the January 6 Capitol riot. The opposite is true: it is intensifying.
We have witnessed an orgy of censorship from Silicon Valley monopolies with calls for far more aggressive speech policing, a visibly militarized Washington, D.C. featuring a non-ironically named “Green Zone,” vows from the incoming president and his key allies for a new anti-domestic terrorism bill, and frequent accusations of “sedition,” “treason,” and “terrorism” against members of Congress and citizens. This is all driven by a radical expansion of the meaning of “incitement to violence.” It is accompanied by viral-on-social-media pleas that one work with the FBI to turn in one’s fellow citizens (See Something, Say Something!) and demands for a new system of domestic surveillance.
Underlying all of this are immediate insinuations that anyone questioning any of this must, by virtue of these doubts, harbor sympathy for the Terrorists and their neo-Nazi, white supremacist ideology. Liberals have spent so many years now in a tight alliance with neocons and the CIA that they are making the 2002 version of John Ashcroft look like the President of the (old-school) ACLU.
The more honest proponents of this new domestic War on Terror are explicitly admitting that they want to model it on the first one. A New York Times reporter noted on Monday that a “former intelligence official on PBS NewsHour” said “that the US should think about a ‘9/11 Commission’ for domestic extremism and consider applying some of the lessons from the fight against Al Qaeda here at home.” More amazingly, Gen. Stanley McChrystal — for years head of Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq and the commander of the war in Afghanistan — explicitly compared that war to this new one, speaking to Yahoo News:
I did see a similar dynamic in the evolution of al-Qaida in Iraq, where a whole generation of angry Arab youth with very poor prospects followed a powerful leader who promised to take them back in time to a better place, and he led them to embrace an ideology that justified their violence. This is now happening in America….I think we’re much further along in this radicalization process, and facing a much deeper problem as a country, than most Americans realize.”
Anyone who, despite all this, still harbors lingering doubts that the Capitol riot is and will be the neoliberal 9/11, and that a new War on Terror is being implemented in its name, need only watch the two short video clips below, which will clear their doubts for good. It is like being catapulted by an unholy time machine back to Paul Wolfowitz’s 2002 messaging lab.
The first video, flagged by Tom Elliott, is from Monday morning’s Morning Joe program on MSNBC (the show that arguably did more to help Donald Trump become the GOP nominee than any other). It features Jeremy Bash — one of the seemingly countless employees of TV news networks who previously worked in Obama’s CIA and Pentagon — demanding that, in response to the Capitol riot, “we reset our entire intelligence approach,” including “look[ing] at greater surveillance of them,” adding: “the FBI is going to have to run confidential sources.” See if you detect any differences between what CIA operatives and neocons were saying in 2002 when demanding the Patriot Act and greater FBI and NSA surveillance and what this CIA-official-turned-NBC-News-analyst is saying here:
The second video features the amazing declaration from former Facebook security official Alex Stamos, talking to the very concerned CNN host Brian Stelter, about the need for social media companies to use the same tactics against U.S. citizens that they used to remove ISIS from the internet — “in collaboration with law enforcement” — and that those tactics should be directly aimed at what he calls extremist “conservative influencers.”
“Press freedoms are being abused by these actors,” the former Facebook executive proclaimed. Stamos noted how generous he and his comrades have been up until now: “We have given a lot of leeway — both in the traditional media and in social media — to people with a very broad range of views.” But no more. Now is the time to “get us all back in the same consensual reality.”
In a moment of unintended candor, Stamos noted the real problem: “there are people on YouTube, for example, that have a larger audience than people on daytime CNN” — and it’s time for CNN and other mainstream outlets to seize the monopoly on information dissemination to which they are divinely entitled by taking away the platforms of those whom people actually want to watch and listen to:
(If still not convinced, and if you can endure it, you can also watch MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski literally screaming that one needed remedy to the Capitol riot is that the Biden administration must “shutdown” Facebook. Shutdown Facebook).
Calls for a War on Terror sequel — a domestic version complete with surveillance and censorship — are not confined to ratings-deprived cable hosts and ghouls from the security state. The Wall Street Journal reports that “Mr. Biden has said he plans to make a priority of passing a law against domestic terrorism, and he has been urged to create a White House post overseeing the fight against ideologically inspired violent extremists and increasing funding to combat them.”
Meanwhile, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) — not just one of the most dishonest members of Congress but also one of the most militaristic and authoritarian — has had a bill proposed since 2019 to simply amend the existing foreign anti-terrorism bill to allow the U.S. Government to invoke exactly the same powers at home against “domestic terrorists.”
Why would such new terrorism laws be needed in a country that already imprisons more of its citizens than any other country in the world as the result of a very aggressive set of criminal laws? What acts should be criminalized by new “domestic terrorism” laws that are not already deemed criminal? They never say, almost certainly because — just as was true of the first set of new War on Terror laws — their real aim is to criminalize that which should not be criminalized: speech, association, protests, opposition to the new ruling coalition.
The answer to this question — what needs to be criminalized that is not already a crime? — scarcely seems to matter. Media and political elites have placed as many Americans as they can — and it is a lot — into full-blown fear and panic mode, and when that happens, people are willing to acquiesce to anything claimed necessary to stop that threat, as the first War on Terror, still going strong twenty years later, decisively proved.
An entire book could — and probably should — be written on why all of this is so concerning. For the moment, two points are vital to emphasize.
First, much of the alarmism and fear-mongering is being driven by a deliberate distortion of what it means for speech to “incite violence.” The bastardizing of this phrase was the basis for President Trump’s rushed impeachment last week. It is also what is driving calls for dozens of members of Congress to be expelled and even prosecuted on “sedition” charges for having objected to the Electoral College certification, and is also at the heart of the spate of censorship actions already undertaken and further repressive measures being urged.
This phrase — “inciting violence” — was also what drove many of the worst War on Terror abuses. I spent years reporting on how numerous young American Muslims were prosecuted under new, draconian anti-terrorism laws for uploading anti-U.S.-foreign-policy YouTube videos or giving rousing anti-American speeches deemed to “incite violence” and thus provide “material support” to terrorist groups — the exact theory which Rep. Schiff is seeking to import into the new domestic War on Terror.
It is vital to ask what it means for speech to constitute “incitement to violence” to the point that it can be banned or criminalized. The expression of any political viewpoint, especially one passionately expressed, has the potential to “incite” someone else to get so riled up that they engage in violence.
If you rail against the threats to free speech posed by Silicon Valley monopolies, someone hearing you may get so filled with rage that they decide to bomb an Amazon warehouse or a Facebook office. If you write a blistering screed accusing pro-life activists of endangering the lives of women by forcing them back into unsafe back-alley abortions, or if you argue that abortion is murder, you may very well inspire someone to engage in violence against a pro-life group or an abortion clinic. If you start a protest movement to object to the injustice of Wall Street bailouts — whether you call it “Occupy Wall Street” or the Tea Party — you may cause someone to go hunt down Goldman Sachs or Citibank executives who they believe are destroying the economic future of millions of people.
And while the New and 3rd Furher Biden takes over and brings back all of Obama’s bad ideas
recall that the gay muslin terrorist re-introduced re-segregating? the USA is on its way to becoming a third world country and by 2024 it will arrive. the main stream media or propaganda mills of the commicrats pander the same story on every network. the flawing of the pedophile and slut will end soon. did you see the propaganda piece of children telling the world that Trump mispronounced the sluts last name? barfly nancy need to be instutionalized-she is the seditionists ..