Police To Target Americans For Their Ideological Beliefs And Behaviors
Much has been written about President Joe Biden’s new Domestic Terror law, but nothing I have seen until now shows just how horrifying it is.
To say that the White House uses the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) like political puppets to push their own agenda would be an understatement. The New Yorkerchronicled four DHS secretaries who were forced to resign by October 2019, and a fifth who resigned this January.
So when I heard about DHS counterterrorism chief John Cohen having a hard time containing his enthusiasm over Biden’s new domestic terrorism law in a GW Program on Extremismwebinar I knew it couldn’t be good.
Garcia does a great job of framing the Feds justification for creating a new War On Terror by targeting American citizens.
“A lot of progress was made by the U.S. government in dealing with the threat posed by foreign terrorist organizations and in particular dealing with the way those organizations operated, the way they recruited individuals, the way they communicated, the way they developed plans, the way they saw to introduce operatives into the domestic environment, the way they sought to recruit people here domestically,” Cohen said. “I think it is safe to say that the U.S. created quite a robust counterterrorism capability. The challenge is the threat we face today is significantly different than the one we faced after Sept. 11,” DHS counterterrorism chief John Cohen said.
As America closes in on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, the Feds want the public to believe that unknown terrorist organizations are recruiting your neighbor[s] to become a domestic extremist. But it is not just any neighbor, this time it is far-right “extremists” or White supremacists and Trump supporters who they want to recruit.
For years DHS officials have warned Americans of the dangers that lurk just outside their front doors or worse in the far-flung Middle East where extremists are plotting to bomb us, shoot us, or poison our water systems. The only difference to the terrorists that await Americans is that now they are allegedly targeting a person’s ideological beliefs.
According to Cohen, “the most significant terrorist threat facing the U.S. today comes from individuals or lone offenders, and small groups of individuals who based on an ideological belief system, primarily an ideological belief system they self-connect with online activity, but they’ll go out and commit an act of violence on behalf of that belief or a combination of ideological beliefs, or a combination of ideological beliefs and personal grievances.”
What does this mean for Americans?
It means that the Feds can target individuals for expressing anti-government sentiments.
“In many respects, this is a much more individualized threat, and what I mean by that is if you look at the lethal attacks that have occurred in the U.S. over the last several years, they have been conducted by individuals who spend incredible amounts of time online viewing extremist content, content about past violent attacks, they tend to be individuals who have shared behavioral health or environmental characteristics,” Cohen said.
Targeting people for their ideological beliefs is horrifying in and of itself. Biden’s new domestic terror law will also give law enforcement the right to target people based on their behaviors.
“What we mean by that, yes, the motive and ideological beliefs are important as part of the analytic process, but the threat tends to come from individuals who have a very superficial understanding of the ideological belief system they use as the validation for an act of violence, but they do have shared behavioral characteristics,” Cohen said.
As a recent Brietbartarticle pointed out, there is no “official Pentagon definition of extremism.” So how can our government give more powers to law enforcement to surveil and arrest suspected “domestic extremists”?
Mike Berry, the general counsel for First Liberty Institute, said he asked the Counter-Extremism Working Group (CEWG) how it intended to define “extremism” and the answer he got was something to the effect of: “We’re still working on that, we’ll probably take the existing definition and expand it.” Berry said that response was “problematic.”
When an organization that backed President Trump warns people about Biden’s new domestic terror law, it is time for all of us to take notice.
Berry warned, “I just don’t know how you can reconcile the Constitution with trying to criminalize someone’s thoughts and beliefs.” And that is the crux of the problem.
When DHS counterterrorism chief Cohen goes on record saying, “There have been several cases where individuals have not met the threshold for domestic terror yet they eventually go out and commit an act of violence”, they are admitting that this is another scam that the mass media is only too happy to perpetuate.
When the Feds and the mass media started asking Americans to “enhance domestic terrorism reporting” by reporting family members and co-workers, you know law enforcement has become a mirror image of other authoritarian regimes.
“Our goal is to enhance domestic terrorism analysis and improve information sharing throughout law enforcement at the federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial level, and where appropriate with private sector partners.”
“This involves creating contexts in which those who are family members or friends or co-workers know that there are pathways and avenues to raise concerns and seek help for those who they have perceived to be radicalizing and potentially radicalizing towards violence,” the White House official said.
Imagine if I used the same logic that the Feds and law enforcement use. It could go something like this:
One day, I looked outside my window and saw my neighbor talking to a Black man and then I saw them talking to someone who appeared to be a Muslim but I couldn’t see the person’s face because it was covered with a hijab. Then I saw my neighbor putting anti-government and Black Lives Matter signs in their front yard; they even put up a Pride flag. The next day, my neighbor knocked on my front door asking me to sign a police reform petition. Little did I know that my wife and kids had already signed the petition.
The next day when I went to work, I overheard my co-workers saying that they planned to march in a Black Lives Matter protest and asked me to sign a police brutality petition.
So when I got off work I immediately called DHS’s new, “Be On The Lookout For Domestic Terrorists” hotline and filed reports on my neighbors, my family and co-workers, I even called my local police department and filed reports with the local Fusion Center. I did this to protect my Homeland, because you never really know about a person’s ideological beliefs and behaviors. (FYI, there is no domestic terrorism hotline, yet.)
When did freedom of expression become a tool for law enforcement to identify family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers as potential extremists?
Giving law enforcement more powers to target people based on made-up or junk science and unsound definitions of domestic terrorism has all the earmarks of an ever-expanding police state that began 11 years ago.
Over 30,000 US Veterans of Post-9/11 Wars Have Killed Themselves Since 2001
Iraq war veteran Zach Choate, 26, leads a group of veterans to a rally on the steps of the Russell Building on Capitol Hill to call for a end to the redeployment of troops who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). (Photo: Tom Williams/Roll Call via Getty Images)
Over 30,000 US Veterans of Post-9/11 Wars Have Killed Themselves Since 2001
"As we come closer to the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we must reflect on the mental health cost of the Global War on Terror."
New research released Monday shows the post-9/11 wars launched by the U.S. military since 2001 have resulted in over 30,000 suicides by active duty American solders and veterans—over four times the number killed in combat operations.
According to Brown University's Costs of War Project—established in 2010 to account for the loss of lives and taxpayer dollars spent on U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—an estimated 30,177 veterans and service members have killed themselves over the last nearly two decades, compared with 7,057 members of the military who have been killed in combat.
The findings were compiled from interviews, government data, and secondary literature.
"The sheer length of the war has kept service members in the fight longer, providing more opportunities for traumatic exposure." —Costs of War Project
The report (pdf) "reveals an increasingly severe crisis," the authors wrote, with the veteran suicide rate per 100,000 people in the U.S. outpacing that of the public.
"The V.A. 2020 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report reveals the suicide rate of veterans overall and adjusted for age and sex is 1.5 times that of the general population," the report reads. "This rate is likely a conservative one because, unlike earlier reports, the V.A. only counts veterans who were federally activated, leaving out Reservists and National Guardsmen who were not federally activated."
From 2011 to 2020 an estimated 1,193 National Guard members and 1,607 Reservists have died by suicide; data is not available for the first decade after 9/11.
Among active duty service members, 5,116 have died by suicide in the past two decades.
The suicide rate among active duty service members has historically been lower than that of the general U.S. population, the report noted, revealing "a significant shift."
The study points to a number of factors that may have contributed to the rise in suicides, including an increase in the use of improvised explosive devices and their association with traumatic brain injuries, exposure to trauma, military culture and training, the wide availability of guns, and stressors associated with returning to civilian life.
Multiple deployments was also highlighted as a factor unique to service members post-September 11, 2001.
"Modern medical advances have also allowed service members to survive physical traumas and return to the frontlines for multiple deployments, even though the combination of multiple traumatic exposures, chronic pain, and lasting physical wounds is linked to suicidal behaviors," reads the report. "The sheer length of the war has kept service members in the fight longer, providing more opportunities for traumatic exposure. The U.S. government’s inability to address the suicide crisis is a significant cost of the U.S. post-9/11 wars, and the result is a mental health crisis among our veterans and service members with significant long-term consequences."
Thomas "Ben" Suitt III, who authored the report, said many service members don't get the treatment they need—sometimes as a result of trying to hide their struggles—and the paper details how this makes them more vulnerable to suicidal behavior.
“There was a sense that an active service member would rather lie on a screening to be able to stay in the military,” Suitt toldNBC News. "If they have a traumatic brain injury but no other physical injuries, they downplay the injuries to stay in their career.”
The report comes days after the World Health Organization (WHO) released a study showing that one in 100 deaths around the world is the result of suicide, and that in the Americas region, including the U.S., the rate rose by 17% between 2000 and 2009.
"We cannot—and must not—ignore suicide," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO. "Each one is a tragedy. Our attention to suicide prevention is even more important now, after many months living with the Covid-19 pandemic, with many of the risk factors for suicide—job loss, financial stress and social isolation—still very much present."
As we come closer to the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we must reflect on the mental health cost of the Global War on Terror. The human cost for our veterans and service members far outweighs even the most crippling financial costs we have endured to send them to war.
Stephanie Savell, co-director of the Costs of War Project, said policymakers in the U.S. "must examine and address those factors" which are leading greater numbers of service members and veterans to take their own lives.
"As we come closer to the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we must reflect on the mental health cost of the Global War on Terror," the report reads. "The human cost for our veterans and service members far outweighs even the most crippling financial costs we have endured to send them to war."
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741, or visit http://SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.
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