John W. Whitehead

John W. Whitehead - The Rutherford Institute

Despite what some may think, the Constitution is no magical incantation against government wrongdoing. Indeed, it’s only as effective as those who abide by it. However, without courts willing to uphold the Constitution’s provisions when government officials disregard it and a citizenry knowledgeable enough to be outraged when those provisions are undermined, it provides little to no protection against SWAT team raids, domestic surveillance, police shootings of unarmed citizens, indefinite detentions and the like.

Unfortunately, the courts and the police have meshed in their thinking to such an extent that anything goes when it’s done in the name of national security, crime-fighting and terrorism. Consequently, America no longer operates under a system of justice characterized by due process, an assumption of innocence, probable cause and clear prohibitions on government overreach and police abuse. Instead, our courts of justice have been transformed into courts of order, advocating for the government’s interests, rather than championing the rights of the citizenry, as enshrined in the Constitution.

Just recently, for example, the Supreme Court refused to hear Hedges v. Obama, a legal challenge to the indefinite detention provision of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), thereby affirming that the president and the U.S. military can arrest and indefinitely detain individuals, including American citizens, based on a suspicion that they might be associated with or aiding terrorist organizations.

The Court’s decision reflects a mindset in government in which the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution, once the map by which we navigated sometimes hostile terrain, has been unceremoniously booted out of the runaway car that is our government, driven over and left for road kill on the side of the road. All that can be seen in the rearview mirror are the tire marks on its ragged frame.

What we are dealing with, as I document in my book “A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State,” is a runaway government hyped up on its own power, whose policies are dictated more by paranoia than need. Making matters worse, “we the people” have become so gullible, so easily distracted and so out-of-touch that we are ignoring the warning signs all around.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the NDAA indefinite detention case — which challenged whether the government can lawfully lock up American citizens who might be deemed extremists or terrorists (the government likes to use these words interchangeably) for criticizing the government — is one such warning sign that we would do well to heed.

The building blocks are already in place for such an eventuality: The surveillance networks, the militarized police, the courts sanctioning the government’s methods, no matter how unlawful, and the detention facilities, whether private prisons or FEMA internment camps, to lock up the troublemakers.

History shows that the U.S. government is not averse to locking up its own citizens for its own purposes. One need only go back to the 1940s, when the federal government proclaimed that Japanese-Americans, labeled potential dissidents, could be put in concentration (aka internment) camps based only upon their ethnic origin, to see the lengths the federal government will go to in order to maintain “order” in the homeland. The U.S. Supreme Court validated the detention program in Korematsu v. US (1944), concluding that the government’s need to ensure the safety of the country trumped personal liberties. That decision has never been overturned.

In fact, the creation of detention camps domestically has long been part of the government’s budget and operations, falling under the jurisdiction of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA’s murky history dates back to the 1970s, when President Carter created it by way of an executive order merging many of the government’s disaster relief agencies into one large agency. During the 1980s, however, reports began to surface of secret military-type training exercises carried out by FEMA and the Department of Defense. Code named Rex-84, 34 federal agencies, including the CIA and the Secret Service, were trained on how to deal with domestic civil unrest.

Fast forward to 2009, when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released two reports, one on “Rightwing Extremism,” which broadly defines right-wing extremists as individuals and groups “that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely,” and one on “Leftwing Extremism,” which labeled environmental and animal rights activist groups as extremists. Both reports use the words terrorist and extremist interchangeably.

These reports indicate that for the government, so-called extremism is not a partisan matter. Anyone seen as opposing the government — whether they’re left, right or somewhere in between — is a target, which brings us back, full circle, to where we started, with the NDAA’s indefinite detention provision, whose language is so broad and vague as to implicate anyone critical of the government.

Unfortunately, Americans haven’t been overly concerned about the rights of others, whether noncitizens or suspected terrorists, and now we’re the ones in the unenviable position of being targeted for indefinite detention by our own government. It will only be a matter of time before they learn the hard way that in a police state, it doesn’t matter who you are or how righteous you claim to be — eventually, you will be lumped in with everyone else and everything you do will be “wrong” and suspect.

Martin Niemoller learned that particular lesson the hard way. A German military officer turned theologian, Niemoller was an early supporter of Hitler’s rise to power. It was only when Hitler threatened to attack the churches that Niemoller openly opposed the regime. For his efforts, Neimoller was eventually interned in the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1938 to 1945.

As Niemoller reportedly replied when asked by his cellmate why he ever supported the Nazi party:

“I find myself wondering about that too. I wonder about it as much as I regret it. Hitler’s assurance satisfied me at the time … I am paying for that mistake now; and not me alone, but thousands of other persons like me.”

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His latest book, “A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State” (SelectBooks), is available online at He can be contacted at

(4) comments

che guevara

Germany may have lost the war , but the Fourth Reich has insidiously grown out of the ruins of the Third Reich . The formation of NATO after the war provided the necessary conduit for the globalist plan to evolve clandestinely . The European Union may well prove to be the capstone of this agenda . Escalating wars in the Ukraine and the middle east prove that the same psychopaths are still firmly in command . The conquest of middle eastern and Russian resources is still paramount . Furthermore , there has never been an American Space Program , but rather a Nazi Space Program founded by Werner Von Braun and his fellow / former Nazi rocket scientists . The CIA was modeled directly from the Nazi Gestapo under the direction of former Nazi Dr. Reinhardt Gehlen and represents yet another Nazi institution imported to the Fourth Reich / America . The FDA is the product of such barbaric Nazi Doktors as Josef Mengele , and on it goes . In your cupboard you most likely have products from such famous Nazi corporations as Bayer , Nestle , Krupps , Pfizer , Merck , Kraft , BASF and many others . Lest we forget that it was also Wall Street financers like Prescott Bush , the Harrimans , the Rothschilds , Kuehen , Loeb and Adler ( that's right , Jewish financers ) who enabled the Nazis to rise to power . It was also numerous " American " corporations such as the Rockefeller - owned Standard Oil Company who provided the Nazis with most of their petrol during the war , and the DuPont family of Delaware who supplied the Nazis with tonnes of gun powder and munitions to kill American and Allied soldiers with , and IBM who developed the IBM Punch Card Machine for the Nazis to enable them to better catalogue their concentration camp prisoners . In fact , If you conduct any banking business with the Rockefeller's Chase Bank , you can plainly see the Swastika enigmatically contained within the Chase Bank corporate logo , as it is also present within the logo of NATO , to name but two places it appears in plain view hidden from the unsuspecting multitudes . Despotic governments all exhibit a tendency to develop an unhealthy fixation upon their own citizenry , and to eventually begin to consume themselves by means of incessant wars of aggression and the cultivation of a Police State as this poisoned organism escalates it's own war with itself . History has repeatedly proven that this pathology never lasts and that it never ends well either . Mr . Whitehead ain't just whistling Dixie .

I could go on and on , but it is all rather tiresome . Therefore , I will leave off with a couple of quotes from two rather famous Nazis .

" An evil exists that threatens every man , woman and child of this nation . We must take actions to ensure our domestic security and homeland security . "

---------- Adolf Hitler , taken from a speech given at the creation of the Nazi Gestapo

" If you tell a big lie enough and keep repeating it people will eventually come to believe it . The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political , economic and / or military consequences of the lie . It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of it's powers to repress dissent , for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie , and thus by extension , the truth is the greatest enemy of the State . "

------------- Josef Goebbels , Hitler's Propaganda Minister

Durable Brad

@che guevara,

The same people who dismiss Mr. Whitehead as a paranoid egotist of epic proportions... have probably never even heard of Operation Paperclip. [sad]

wes alderson

John, nicht, nicht. Das ist nicht der 3rd reich.

Das ist der 4th Reich.

Durable Brad

/\ Joseph Von Bismarck [beam]

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