They Hated Us for Our Freedoms, So We Enslaved Ourselves
They said fascism would come again wrapped in the flag & carrying a cross. Instead it's wrapped in a lab coat & carrying a syringe
When the Patriot Act was rammed through in the aftermath of 9/11, lubricated by a fresh round of fear courtesy of the Dark Winter anthrax letters, civil liberties advocates and even a few politicians warned it would spell the end of freedom in America. The legislation package, drawn up nearly a decade previously by such avowed enemies of the US Constitution as prison-packing plagiarist Joe Biden and torture-loving amygdala tease Michael Chertoff, gave the government unprecedented power to surveil communications without warrants or probable cause. Its outrageous overreach was abused to justify bulk data collection and open-ended fishing expeditions so long as the threat of terrorism or a need for foreign intelligence could be invoked.
We were told that “they” - the nebulous Terrorists lurking behind every government the neocons wanted to overthrow - hated “our freedoms,” then encouraged to believe that the only way to guarantee our survival was to ditch those freedoms ASAP. I was still in high school at the time and wasn’t well-versed in the inner workings of psychotic death cults, but even my uninformed mind could see through the sudden surge in knee-jerk jingoism to the raw fear quivering beneath, begging for Big Brother to make the monsters go away.
The threat of further “terrorism” in the form of envelopes full of anthrax targeting the few Patriot Act’s main detractors in the Senate and the media establishment proved the nail in the coffin of American sanity. No one asked why the “terrorists” about to get flattened by the American war machine would be trying to kill off the handful of congressmen who stood in the way of that flattening - Fort Detrick’s finest had made clear what happened to people who ask questions, even (especially) blindingly obvious ones. The neocons even provided the newly-minted congressional converts with a face-saving measure, allowing them to explain their absolute failure to protect their constituents’ rights by claiming this state of affairs was just temporary: the most egregious aspects of the Patriot Act were to be outfitted with self-limiting “sunset” clauses that would allow them to be retired when the nation had returned to its senses.
Except the nation never did, and it was clear from the outset it was never supposed to. Since the rollout of the National Emergencies Act in 1976, legislation which handed the executive branch some 136 emergency powers that otherwise required the approval of Congress to wield, presidents have fallen in love with crisis. Weathering one - whether it’s a terrorist attack, an economic collapse, or a global pandemic - turns even the biggest losers into winners, if not in their own era then in history’s rose-colored rearview, so long as their allies survive to write the official chronicle. Weathering one successfully is better, but it’s not necessary. After George W. Bush took the outpouring of international goodwill that followed the strike on the Twin Towers and wiped his ass with it, declaring war not just on Afghanistan but on Iraq - two countries whose governments had nothing to do with the perpetrators of the attacks even in the “official” narrative that saw the laws of physics take their first-ever vacation - the US became an international pariah, a reputational blemish that didn’t lift until Barack Obama made his debut as the Great Black Hope and was handed a Nobel before he could start five more wars. Yet where is Bush today?
The Bush administration’s crisis response was so noxious that Americans who had just months earlier been plastering flags over every flat surface took to the streets to denounce their power-hungry leader as a menace to civilization. Yet, we’re told, all that is forgiven now - Bush is hosting exhibits of his “art,” cracking jokes about weapons of mass destruction, and being floated as “the first global health president” by New York Times writers who make Judith Miller look like Upton Sinclair, and even Dick Cheney is embraced for his daughter’s noble sacrifice of her Senate seat for Our Democracy™. Never mind that the younger Cheney lost her primary, or that any public statement by Bush is met with an outpouring of abuse online - these upsurges of genuine popular antipathy are always drowned out by screams of approval added in post.
The majority of the “national emergencies” declared in the last half-century are still in effect, despite the circumstances that birthed them having long since faded into obscurity, and the consequences of this love affair with panic are not negligible. In just one example, Executive Order 12170, which froze Iranian assets in the US in 1979 in response to the hostage crisis, was used as the basis for the sanctions whose descendants are still plaguing that country over four decades later. The US government, the corporations that run it, and the international financial cartels that pull their strings have learned never to let a crisis go to waste and never to underestimate the willingness of the people to be in crisis. Just as every post-NEA president desperately seeks a catastrophe to validate the office they secretly know they don’t deserve, so do many of their citizens secretly yearn for a few moments of struggle to give meaning to the tediously comfortable lives they feel guilty about enjoying.
It should surprise nobody to learn that the US government, far from finding satisfaction in its Patriot Act powers, has spent the intervening two decades finding new and terrifying ways to violate the rights of its citizens, but the results are enough to give even the most cynical pause. A civil suit filed in the Western District of Louisiana in May has begun to reveal just how much of Washington’s mammoth bureaucracy has been turned over to behavioral control as it struggles to keep Americans in line under ever-worsening conditions. Earlier this month, it emerged that at least 50 government officials working in over a dozen agencies have been directing the activities of “private” social media companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google much more closely than previously understood in order to recreate reality in their preferred image, silencing and discrediting political enemies, covering up inconvenient truths, memory-holing popular resistance, and illegally snooping on innocent civilians in order to achieve those aims. These agencies are not simply handing down vague presidential edicts on upholding “election integrity” or reminders to adhere to the WHO’s Covid-19 narrative, but holding weekly meetings and exchanging daily emails in which executives are given their marching orders on who to delete, shadowban, and otherwise exile to the digital gulag. Big Tech is not just a close business associate of Big Brother, or even a limb; it is a vital organ.
It’s widely understood that the US government takes advantage of the “private company” fig leaf these monopolies enjoy to do an end-run around not only the First Amendment, which protects Americans’ right to freedom of speech and freedom of association, but also the Fourth, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure of property. And it’s become more difficult than ever to ignore the near-total overlap in ideological leanings between Big Tech and Big Brother under the pandemic regime, as FBI agents poured into the ranks of Facebook and Twitter and White House press secretary Jen Psaki openly admitted the Biden administration was telling these platforms to censor certain users and viewpoints. This state of affairs is almost certainly illegal - as a court ruling against the Biden administration last year declared, “The government cannot accomplish through threats of adverse government action what the Constitution prohibits it from doing directly.” But the massive censorship operation exposed in State of Missouri et al vs Joseph R. Biden Jr. et al not only proves the federal government has been doing on a grand scale what common wisdom held they’d been nibbling at for decades, but that they’re engaged in even more flagrant violation and no longer feel the need to hide it.
Because it’s not just the FBI, the White House, and the Department of Homeland Security (whose cartoonishly Orwellian Disinformation Governance Board was shuttered for good last month after Chertoff himself ruled that the country just wasn’t ready yet for a Ministry of Truth) that are devoting themselves to reprogramming the hearts and minds of the American people. Documented conversations with social media execs show the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Office of the Surgeon General, the Census Bureau, the Food and Drug Administration, the State Department, the Treasury Department, and the US Election Assistance Commission are all engaged in an organized system of selective censorship, shadow banning, astroturfing, and other forms of reality-tweaking of the sort the platforms have sworn up and down they do not allow. This, of course, is in addition to the increasingly absurd overt manipulation of the marketplace of ideas - “pre-bunking” tweets warning that all speculation about voter fraud is itself fraudulent, blanket condemnation of all aspersions cast on Hunter Biden’s virtue as Russian “malinformation” and nothing more, casual reminders that neglecting to say “Slava Ukraini!” three times and touch your toes in the morning risks a visit from Volodymyr Zelensky’s coked-up hologram, and so on. And the overwhelming majority of this heavy-handed propaganda is domestically-directed, meaning that despite the giggling warnings of Bill Gates and other pandemic pimps, public health agencies and law enforcement alike are a lot more concerned about homegrown “infodemics” and their carriers than they are about foreign bioterrorists.
Perhaps more alarming than this rock-solid proof that Big Brother and Big Tech have not merely been canoodling hideously beneath our very eyes but that they are merely two parts of a single entity was the utter lack of reaction to the news in the media. I only learned of it over a week after the New Civil Liberties Alliance posted their press release, and even three weeks later it has gone largely unreported, even among non-establishment outlets. Fresh off his homage to V for Vendetta, Biden ordered social media platforms to join his crusade against “violent extremism” - an open-ended term that has replaced terrorism as the monster under the national bed meant to justify the latest assault on human dignity - and they complied, forging improbably multilateral partnerships with obscure think tanks and nonprofits that could not possibly have been devised in the few days before they were unveiled at a saccharine White House event, complete with advance publicity that would make North Korea blush.
In the years following 9/11, the FBI was under growing pressure to find Muslim terrorists under every rock in order to justify the wholesale destruction of American privacy. They quickly learned that it was easier and less risky to troll wanna-jihad online chats, enticing alienated young Muslim men with promises of cash and explosives to play Osama for the cameras. A 2014 study found that fully 95% of the agency’s “terrorism busts” involved elements of preemptive prosecution - pre-crime - with many amounting to entrapment. Similarly, the agency has faced massive pressure from the Biden administration to justify the increasingly vehement condemnation of half the electorate as “semi-fascist” white supremacists, having recast the January 6 Capitol riot as a democracy-massacring hybrid of Pearl Harbor, Kristallnacht, and, yes, 9/11 in order to add political orientation to the lengthy list of extremism warning signs. The self-righteous bloviating fired up the media establishment, but as months passed with the most serious conviction a man who threw a fire extinguisher and some wooden debris at police - and missed - some began to question whether Biden’s demonization of so-called “MAGA Republicans” as Hitler meets Deliverance was writing a check reality was unprepared to cash.
It didn’t help that Chris Wray had been hyping the “persistent, pervasive” threat of “white supremacy” since before the pandemic, even warning that racists were plotting to infect cops and Jews with the virus by coughing on them. The FBI was already entrapping gullible loners to pad its numbers when Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas declared “domestic violent extremism” the top threat to the nation, but the American people weren’t buying - that same day, a jury acquitted four men of plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, having reasoned that being outnumbered three to one by the 12 FBI undercovers and informants assigned to guide the plot along constituted at the very least professional ineptitude, if not entrapment. One FBI agent even complained to the media last week that they had more people tasked with investigating white supremacy than there were actual white supremacists, lamenting that the “demand for white supremacy…vastly outstrips the supply of white supremacy.”
The solution? Expand the definition of white supremacy to include any non-mainstream view you can get away with and sic the tech platforms on all dissent. Whistleblowers at Facebook say the company is doing just that, illegally submitting the contents of users’ private messages as “tips” to local FBI offices for nothing more than voicing doubt about the 2020 election results, then eagerly supplying the same messages in response to subpoenas (legally, this time) and watching the extremism probes bloom. The program hasn’t turned up a single violent extremist, but that’s fine - just take a page from UNESCO’s book and remind the skeptics that words are violence too.
It’s not that we needed the NCLA’s legal discovery to understand that Big Tech was just another tentacle on the Octopus that has been wrapped around our collective consciousness since the dawn of mass media, of course. The internet itself evolved from DARPA’s internal network and early psychological operations and quickly opened new doors to those who would seek to manipulate hearts and minds; even before PRISM gave the NSA dedicated backdoors into every major platform, the CIA was bankrolling their early funding rounds and DARPA was telling the programmers what to write. No sooner did a platform become popular than it blossomed with JTRIG-style astroturfing and reputational manipulation campaigns, facilitated by proprietary algorithms we blissfully fed our deepest secrets so that we could watch more and better cat videos. This wealth of information has allowed those in power to potentially make targeted individuals of us all with relatively little effort, to predict our next moves before we make them and nudge us ever-so-slightly in the desired direction so subtly we believe we are acting according to our own free will. Operating such a massive control apparatus would not be would be possible if it had not been purpose-built for this. In the past, though, the weaponization was always concealed behind a facade of plausible deniability, private-sector contractors, and brightly-colored boxes with rounded edges. For a president, even an empty suit like Biden, to give a direct order and have Silicon Valley’s richest snap to attention is truly letting the mask fall from a fascist state that has been decades in the making. And Biden should know, having co-written the Patriot Act that made so much of these last two decades possible.
While most people remember the planes hitting the towers when they think of 9/11, or the subsequent cries for vengeance that were twisted by the Bush administration into casus belli for a never-ending war that left much of the Middle East in ruins while sparing the guilty parties, the legacy of the Dark Winter anthrax scare may be even more enduring. In its aftermath, almost every US state eventually adopted variations on the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, a package of legislation which gave state governments unprecedented access to citizens’ property and bodies in the name of keeping them safe. As with the Patriot Act itself, the meat of MSEHPA was written years before the nation got its collective panties in a bunch about white powder in envelopes. It allowed the forced examination, quarantine and treatment - including vaccination - of individuals suspected to harbor an infectious disease, where the definition of “infectious” was somehow expanded to include non-contagious illness, and permitted health authorities to “manage” public and private property. Privacy and bodily integrity were subjugated to the Greater Good; martial law could be imposed in all but name, as the “organized militia” could be called up to help enforce public health rules. While these laws were forgotten about by the general population once the anthrax panic passed, those who believed they lived in a country with constitutionally-protected rights were in for a rude awakening in February 2020, when states began flexing their long-dormant public health muscles and realized your skin was just another door to kick down.
The predators that turned the US into a police state that would be unrecognizable to the inhabitants of September 10, 2001 moved on to threaten the entirety of human civilization when the slick promotional campaign for Covid-19 took the dictatorship of fear global. The outbreak was dubbed a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC) in January 2020, before most of the world had even heard of it, despite minimal understanding at the time of how it spread or who it killed. Like a national emergency in the US, a PHEIC gives the World Health Organization (an unelected body led by a man with strong totalitarian leanings but no medical training other than his experience helping his countrymen die of cholera, funded chiefly by another man with strong totalitarian tendencies and no medical training) expanded powers - to command financing, to require testing, treatment and vaccination protocols, and to marshal international cooperation in the service of containment. Countries have a legal duty to respond to the declaration, report “incidents” within 24 hours, and comply with biological surveillance measures at their borders. Also like American national emergencies, PHEICs have increased in frequency since the designator was introduced in 2005, and the WHO is reluctant to retire them - of the six ever launched, three remain in effect.
Given the extent to which a supposedly law-abiding presidential administration is able to incinerate said law during a “national emergency,” the notion of a global version - an international emergency declaration - is profoundly disturbing in its implications. Indeed, the novel coronavirus was supposed to midwife into being the global communitarian government that entities like the World Economic Forum have been preparing for decades and attempting to summon via other invisible enemies like climate change. But Covid-19 revealed the flaws in the PHEIC model as a pathway to totalitarianism. Those who didn’t adopt the pandemic police state - particularly Belarus, whose president Aleksander Lukashenko refused to institute lockdowns and curfews despite the International Monetary Fund requiring it as a condition for a loan and the National Endowment for Democracy staging a half-assed color revolution to pry him loose, and Sweden, which urged citizens to stay home but stopped short of mandating economic suicide like the rest of Europe - embarrassed their lockdown-happy neighbors with citizens’ stubborn refusal to drop dead. It was bad enough that Tanzanian President John Magufuli had made a fool of the WHO’s holy sacrament, the PCR test, by submitting samples from a goat and a pawpaw fruit that came back “positive” - at least, as an African leader, no one (or no one who mattered) asked too many questions when he died suspiciously less than a month after a Gates Foundation-funded Guardian op-ed demanded his ouster. But Europeans?
The WHO has set out to make sure this never happens again. The agency went public with its demand for a global “pandemic treaty” just a year after classifying Covid-19 as a pandemic, having apparently decided the velvet glove of “public safety” needed more iron fist. What constitutes a “pandemic” in the eyes of the WHO? Depending on the time of day and who one asks, it might be the “worldwide spread of a new disease,” though it may have no official meaning at all, or merely be a useful fear-based treatment for reversing “alarming levels of inaction” by governments. Don’t expect certainty - the WHO can’t even decide on the meaning of pandemic influenza, having infamously altered the definition in 2009 a month before declaring the bogus H1N1 swine flu “pandemic.” Even without an agreed-upon definition for its central term, the pandemic treaty will be legally binding, ensuring mere national sovereignty cannot interfere in the practice of public health. While the WHO’s current supreme law, the International Health Regulations, is also legally binding, member states have the option of rejecting provisions they find distasteful. That option appears unavailable in the new pandemic treaty, which would subject the noncompliant nation to censure, not just by establishment scolds in the court of public opinion, but by a not-yet-unveiled legal mechanism, to be funded by the WHO’s 194 member states. And woe betide those who do not pay their share: the most recent public draft reveals that funding the WHO (and whatever other “global systems and tools” it deems necessary to maintain Public Health) is mandatory during an emergency, as is paying the treaty’s enforcers - never mind if that same emergency (or the WHO’s prescribed cocktail of lockdowns, curfews, and magical thinking) has left your economy in tatters. Hey, that’s a nice country you got there, buddy. Sure would be a shame if something happened to it…
As I wrote in April 2020,
Those who lived through 9/11 and saw the destruction it wrought upon the U.S.’ national character can see it happening again on an international scale. It is our duty to warn the world and avert that outcome. One country falling under the thrall of a totalitarian technocratic police state is a tragedy; the entire world falling under an authoritarian global government is a nightmare from which humanity might never wake up.
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