The Illusion of Freedom: The Police State Is Alive & Well

We’re in a national state of denial!

“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security... This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.”—Historian Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45

Brace yourself.

There is something being concocted in the dens of power, far beyond the public eye, and it doesn’t bode well for the future of this country.

Anytime you have an entire nation so mesmerized by the antics of the political ruling class that they are oblivious to all else, you’d better beware. Anytime you have a government that operates in the shadows, speaks in a language of force, and rules by fiat, you’d better beware. And anytime you have a government so far removed from its people as to ensure that they are never seen, heard or heeded by those elected to represent them, you’d better beware.

The world has been down this road before.

As historian Milton Mayer recounts in his seminal book on Hitler’s rise to power, They Thought They Were Free, “Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about—we were decent people‑—and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the 'national enemies', without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us.”

We are at our most vulnerable right now.

The gravest threat facing us as a nation is not extremism—delivered by way of sovereign citizens or radicalized Muslims—but despotism, exercised by a ruling class whose only allegiance is to power and money.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

America is burning, and all most Americans can do is switch the channel, tune out what they don’t want to hear, and tune into their own personal echo chambers.

We’re in a national state of denial.

Yet no amount of escapism can shield us from the harsh reality that the danger in our midst is posed by an entrenched government bureaucracy that has no regard for the Constitution, Congress, the courts or the citizenry.

If the team colors have changed from blue to red, that’s just cosmetic.

The playbook remains the same. The leopard has not changed its spots.

Scrape off the surface layers and you will find that the American police state is alive and well and continuing to wreak havoc on the rights of the American people.

“We the people” are no longer living the American Dream.

We’re living the American Lie.

Indeed, Americans have been lied to so sincerely, so incessantly, and for so long by politicians of all stripes—who lie compulsively and without any seeming remorse—that they’ve almost come to prefer the lies trotted out by those in government over less-palatable truths.

The American people have become compulsive believers.

As Nick Cohen writes for The Guardian, “Compulsive liars shouldn’t frighten you. They can harm no one, if no one listens to them. Compulsive believers, on the other hand: they should terrify you. Believers are the liars’ enablers. Their votes give the demagogue his power. Their trust turns the charlatan into the president. Their credulity ensures that the propaganda of half-calculating and half-mad fanatics has the power to change the world.”

While telling the truth “in a time of universal deceit is,” as George Orwell concluded, “a revolutionary act,” believing the truth—and being able to distinguish the truth from a lie—is also a revolutionary act.

Here’s a truth few Americans want to acknowledge: nothing has changed (at least, not for the better) since Barack Obama passed the reins of the police state to Donald Trump.

The police state is still winning. We the people are still losing.

In fact, the American police state has continued to advance at the same costly, intrusive, privacy-sapping, Constitution-defying, relentless pace under President Trump as it did under President Obama.

Police haven’t stopped disregarding the rights of citizens. Having been given the green light to probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip, shoot and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts, America’s law enforcement officials are no longer mere servants of the people entrusted with keeping the peace. Indeed, they continue to keep the masses corralled, under control, and treated like suspects and enemies rather than citizens.

SWAT teams haven’t stopped crashing through doors and terrorizing families. Nationwide, SWAT teams continue to be employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of criminal activities or mere community nuisances including angry dogs, domestic disputes, improper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, and misdemeanor marijuana possession. With more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans for relatively routine police matters and federal agencies laying claim to their own law enforcement divisions, the incidence of botched raids and related casualties continue to rise.

The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security haven’t stopped militarizing and federalizing local police. Police forces continue to be transformed into heavily armed extensions of the military, complete with jackboots, helmets, shields, batons, pepper-spray, stun guns, assault rifles, body armor, miniature tanks and weaponized drones. In training police to look and act like the military and use the weapons and tactics of war against American citizens, the government continues to turn the United States into a battlefield.

Schools haven’t stopped treating young people like hard-core prisoners. School districts continue to team up with law enforcement to create a “schoolhouse to jailhouse track” by imposing a “double dose” of punishment for childish infractions: suspension or expulsion from school, accompanied by an arrest by the police and a trip to juvenile court. In this way, the paradigm of abject compliance to the state continues to be taught by example in the schools, through school lockdowns where police and drug-sniffing dogs enter the classroom, and zero tolerance policies that punish all offenses equally and result in young people being expelled for childish behavior.

For-profit private prisons haven’t stopped locking up Americans and immigrants alike at taxpayer expense.States continue to outsource prison management to private corporations out to make a profit at taxpayer expense. And how do you make a profit in the prison industry? Have the legislatures pass laws that impose harsh penalties for the slightest noncompliance in order keep the prison cells full and corporate investors happy.

Censorship hasn’t stopped. First Amendment activities continue to be pummeled, punched, kicked, choked, chained and generally gagged all across the country. The reasons for such censorship vary widely from political correctness, safety concerns and bullying to national security and hate crimes but the end result remained the same: the complete eradication of what Benjamin Franklin referred to as the “principal pillar of a free government.”

The courts haven’t stopped marching in lockstep with the police state. The courts continue to be dominated by technicians and statists who are deferential to authority, whether government or business. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s decisions in recent years have most often been characterized by an abject deference to government authority, military and corporate interests. They have run the gamut from suppressing free speech activities and justifying suspicionless strip searches to warrantless home invasions and conferring constitutional rights on corporations, while denying them to citizens.

Government bureaucrats haven’t stopped turning American citizens into criminals. The average American now unknowingly commits three felonies a day, thanks to an overabundance of vague laws that render otherwise innocent activity illegal, while reinforcing the power of the police state and its corporate allies.

The surveillance state hasn’t stopped spying on Americans’ communications, transactions or movements. On any given day, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether it’s your local police, a fusion center, the National Security Agency or one of the government’s many corporate partners, is still monitoring and tracking you.

The TSA hasn’t stopped groping or ogling travelers. Under the pretext of protecting the nation’s infrastructure (roads, mass transit systems, water and power supplies, telecommunications systems and so on) against criminal or terrorist attacks, TSA task forces (comprised of federal air marshals, surface transportation security inspectors, transportation security officers, behavior detection officers and explosive detection canine teams) continue to do random security sweeps of nexuses of transportation, including ports, railway and bus stations, airports, ferries and subways, as well as political conventions, baseball games and music concerts. Sweep tactics include the use of x-ray technology, pat-downs and drug-sniffing dogs, among other things.

Congress hasn’t stopped enacting draconian laws such as the USA Patriot Act and the NDAA. These laws—which completely circumvent the rule of law and the constitutional rights of American citizens, continue to re-orient our legal landscape in such a way as to ensure that martial law, rather than the rule of law, our U.S. Constitution, becomes the map by which we navigate life in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security hasn’t stopped being a “wasteful, growing, fear-mongering beast.” Is the DHS capable of plotting and planning to turn the national guard into a federalized, immigration police force? No doubt about it. Remember, this is the agency that is notorious for militarizing the police and SWAT teams; spying on activists, dissidents and veterans; stockpiling ammunition; distributing license plate readers; contracting to build detention camps; tracking cell-phones with Stingray devices; carrying out military drills and lockdowns in American cities; using the TSA as an advance guard; conducting virtual strip searches with full-body scanners; carrying out soft target checkpoints; directing government workers to spy on Americans; conducting widespread spying networks using fusion centers; carrying out Constitution-free border control searches; funding city-wide surveillance cameras; and utilizing drones and other spybots.

The military industrial complex hasn’t stopped profiting from endless wars abroad. America’s expanding military empire continues to bleed the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour). The Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety. Yet what most Americans fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with enriching the military industrial complex at taxpayer expense.

The Deep State’s shadow government hasn’t stopped calling the shots behind the scenes. Comprised of unelected government bureaucrats, corporations, contractors, paper-pushers, and button-pushers who are actually calling the shots behind the scenes, this government within a government continues to be the real reason “we the people” have no real control over our so-called representatives. It’s every facet of a government that is no longer friendly to freedom and is working overtime to trample the Constitution underfoot and render the citizenry powerless in the face of the government’s power grabs, corruption and abusive tactics.

And the American people haven’t stopped acting like gullible sheep. In fact, many Americans have been so carried away by their blind rank-and-file partisan devotion to their respective political gods that they have lost sight of the one thing that has remained constant in recent years: our freedoms are steadily declining.

Here’s the problem as I see it: “we the people” have become so trusting, so gullible, so easily distracted, so out-of-touch and so sure that our government will always do the right thing by us that we have ignored the warning signs all around us.

In so doing, we have failed to recognize such warning signs as potential red flags to use as opportunities to ask questions, demand answers, and hold our government officials accountable to respecting our rights and abiding by the rule of law.

Unfortunately, once a free people allows the government to make inroads into their freedoms, or uses those same freedoms as bargaining chips for security, it quickly becomes a slippery slope to outright tyranny. And it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican at the helm, because the bureaucratic mindset on both sides of the aisle now seems to embody the same philosophy of authoritarian government.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this is what happens when you ignore the warning signs.

This is what happens when you fail to take alarm at the first experiment on your liberties.

This is what happens when you fail to challenge injustice and government overreach until the prison doors clang shut behind you.

In the American police state that now surrounds us, there are no longer such things as innocence, due process, or justice—at least, not in the way we once knew them. We are all potentially guilty, all potential criminals, all suspects waiting to be accused of a crime.

So you can try to persuade yourself that you are free, that you still live in a country that values freedom, and that it is not too late to make America great again, but to anyone who has been paying attention to America’s decline over the past 50 years, it will be just another lie.

The German people chose to ignore the truth and believe the lie.

They were not oblivious to the horrors taking place around them. As historian Robert Gellately points out, “[A]nyone in Nazi Germany who wanted to find out about the Gestapo, the concentration camps, and the campaigns of discrimination and persecutions need only read the newspapers.”

The warning signs were definitely there, blinking incessantly like large neon signs.

“Still,” Gellately writes, “the vast majority voted in favor of Nazism, and in spite of what they could read in the press and hear by word of mouth about the secret police, the concentration camps, official anti-Semitism, and so on. . . . [T]here is no getting away from the fact that at that moment, ‘the vast majority of the German people backed him.’”

Half a century later, the wife of a prominent German historian, neither of whom were members of the Nazi party, opined: “[O]n the whole, everyone felt well. . . . And there were certainly eighty percent who lived productively and positively throughout the time. . . . We also had good years. We had wonderful years.”

In other words, as long as their creature comforts remained undiminished, as long as their bank accounts remained flush, as long as they weren’t being discriminated against, persecuted, starved, beaten, shot, stripped, jailed and turned into slave labor, life was good.

This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls.

As Primo Levi, a Holocaust survivor observed, “Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.”

Freedom demands responsibility.

Freedom demands that people stop sleep-walking through life, stop cocooning themselves in political fantasies, and stop distracting themselves with escapist entertainment.

Freedom demands that we stop thinking as Democrats and Republicans and start thinking like human beings, or at the very least, Americans.

Freedom demands that we not remain silent in the face of evil or wrongdoing but actively stand against injustice.

Freedom demands that we treat others as we would have them treat us. That is the law of reciprocity, also referred to as the Golden Rule, and it is found in nearly every world religion, including Judaism and Christianity.

In other words, if you don’t want to be locked up in a prison cell or a detention camp—if you don’t want to be discriminated against because of the color of your race, religion, politics or anything else that sets you apart from the rest—if you don’t want your loved ones shot at, strip searched, tasered, beaten and treated like slaves—if you don’t want to have to be constantly on guard against government eyes watching what you do, where you go and what you say—if you don’t want to be tortured, waterboarded or forced to perform degrading acts—if you don’t want your children to grow up in a world without freedom—then don’t allow these evils to be inflicted on anyone else, no matter how tempting the reason or how fervently you believe in your cause.

As German theologian and anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer observed, “We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.”

# # # #

John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. He is the president and spokesperson of the Rutherford Institute. Mr. Whitehead is the author of numerous books on a variety of legal and social issues, including Battlefield America: The War on the American People.  He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law, and served as an officer in the United States Army from 1969 to 1971.

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Comments

  1. VoiceOfArabi says:

    Hello JOHN W WHITEHEAD,

    Another great article that should make any sensible human being sit up and listen on pains of death. but will they.. probably not, and for the following reasons.

    I said this before, and I will say it again. Governments around the world has spent the last 100 years using the education system (including Hollywood) to create “casino” zombies, who will continue to keep loosing their money in those casinos.

    The main reason is twisted thinking… for example… I used to believe in the saying “The End justifies the Means”…

    Many people think this is valid, and to get to democracy and to save the Republic, you will have to break few eggs to make an omelette. Of course, this is flawed thinking, as under this thought process, it is OK to rape a child to get to democracy… I woke up to this fact when I saw what the Muslim Brotherhood are doing in the name of “The End Justifies the means”, and that’s what is going on in Syria in MB eyes.

    Another flawed concept is Darwinism, or at least how it is applied to society. It goes like this. I am the son or daughter of great man, therefore, my gene is better than the rest, therefore, i should be leading those “less fit people”

    Survival of the fittest may work on genes, but it does not apply to humanity, as humanity is not gene alone. Plus, what is the other side of Survival of the fittest… it is “killing of the unfit, or at least leave them to die.”

    • Ralph Davis says:

      You’re flirting with some critical realizations about the constant state of diversion and disinformation that we exist in. Newsbud purports to change some of that and so far it’s made some gains due to Sibel’s vision based in resistance to persecution and threat from officialdom.

      Child rape isn’t a practice relegated to some backwater religious culture that tolerates psychopathic domination out of fear. It’s pervasive in western culture as perhaps the worst manifestation of a sickness so deep that even ‘aware’ people are repulsed from its full exposure.

      So, there’s even little discussion here, no contributors nor Sibel will even go there to expose its scale. I find it odd given the fact that it represents just how deep the psychopathy afflicts even the best and most morally driven and conscious among us.

      Child rape is now institutionalized as means to corrupt targeted officials, executives and law enforcement to assure their co-operation and/or silence through blackmail and extortion. George Webb has detailed CIA operations, operators and targeted individuals in covert operations run by people like the CIA’s Jeffery Epstein and encompassing everyone from Bill Clinton to Hollywood’s premier actors, athletes, judges, journalists, police, etc, virtually anyone deemed useful to control for propaganda purposes.

      The method is generically referred to as ‘brownstone-ing’ by Webb, which alludes to NYC residential locations set-up with what used to be called ‘honey-pots’, for purposes of corrupting officials. People like Anthony Wiener are commonplace scum, just lower profile because they’re somewhat less amenable to perversion. It goes very deep and wide.

      Nevertheless, this common and aggressive means to counterintelligence agenda is based in the ages of official manipulation. It’s just now overwhelming American politics and is why we’re yet to see mass reporting of the hundreds of arrests already made post-Obama with many thousands, including many prominent people, yet to be publicly exposed for the sick-slime that they are.

      Why it hasn’t been more aggressively dealt with here at Newsbud isn’t exactly clear. It certainly isn’t because Sibel and others are not aware of it. No doubt John Whitehead is living in Charlottesville VA in a hot-bed of CIA recruiting and elite political prospect UVA grad students.

      Darwin & the Huxley’s, Tavistock Institute, Rand Corp, Allen Dulles and the CIA have long been selecting who get’s ‘ahead’ and who gets manipulated or wasted. We well meaning idiots don’t really grasp just how dark this world that we excuse really is. We only too slowly catch on too late to matter. ‘They’ may bring down the economy or soon start a war as the ultimate diversion from their unspeakable crimes.

      Truly, It’s a hard rains a-gonna fall. Buckle-up.

      (Full lyrics: https://genius.com/Bob-dylan-a-hard-rains-a-gonna-fall-lyrics)

  2. World Peace Now says:

    The West has spent countless millions of dollars turning Hitler into a four letter word.
    Here is a powerful rebuttal:
    http://thegreateststorynevertold.tv/

  3. Russell Linz says:

    I agree with pretty every thing Mr. Whitehead espoused except that this is somehow the electorate’s responsibility. His admonition of putting our trust in elected politicians and political parties are the only hope we as citizens have for change short of armed resistance. This country has been on a path to totalitarianism since FDR initiated the Globalist Banking agenda. And as for our Constitution it was tossed aside generations ago. Hitler was quoted as saying “History is written by the winners”. Yes their people remained silent out of fear and comfort and I do see the similarities here with the peoples willful ignorance in what is being done in their name.But to be fair Mr. Whitehead most Americans are out there trying to provide for their families and living pay check to paycheck, being informed of the crimes and abuses of Government is something they literally have no time for. This may be by design of the elites I don’t know .I do know this is not something new, you speak of Hitler, well I read Goebbels diary and of all the prisoners of war that he interviewed he said Americans were the most politically ignorant. I do see a reset coming Mr. Whitehead but its not going to be some glorious awakening of good people but a designed World War that will be planned & executed in the name “Freedom”.

  4. victor friese says:

    The only solution is to take the surveillance grid and turn it in on them. If you look at the art people like Epstein enjoy, it is all about them being able to see us, and us not being able to see them. If we get to where we can see them, then this lie facade, this lone pillar of their power, will crumble, and they with it. It is technilogicaly possible now.

  5. victor friese says:

    We just need an interface that is publicly accessible.

  6. Not all Germans were living the high life when the Nazis rose to power. As is always the way, the masses worked hard for modest gains. We could debate the respective economies, but to say ‘I was too busy earning a wage or three to care whether my country was descending into Fascism’ probably didn’t play too well at Nuremberg. History will not remember us well, if we allow this to happen again. I saw the remnants of 1930s Germany back in Bush 43’s day. Nothing has improved since, sadly, it continues to travel down the same road as 1930s Germany. This time around the State has surveillance toys the Nazis could only fantasize about.

    It is sad to see the US go through this, my fear has always been they would drag the rest of the world with them. And they have. I am concerned that things have got so bad, that a reversal of fortune will require something equally intense.

    I think we ‘can not solve the problem with the same thinking that caused the problem’. We have tried many times and failed dismally. We are at a crossroads, a choice to be made on an esoteric level. An outsider’s perspective on humanity would not make for a pretty picture. If we hold true that evil is the absence of love, then if we resolve this with hate and not love, we will have solved nothing.

    Do we have the courage to react with love?

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