The Final Nail in the Constitutional Coffin: How the Atlantic Council’s “Domestic Extremism” Argument Lays the Foundations for Shadow Governance

The creation of new structures for domestic rule that are militarized, invisible to the public and offer no possibility of appeal to the judicial is the defining characteristic of the Biden administration. The Atlantic Council’s report “Domestic violent extremism and the intelligence challenge” (May 2021) is the locus classicus for many new arguments made by the administration at congressional hearings and think tank seminars as camouflage for a radical transformation of law enforcement into a division of the intelligence structure. For that reason, the report deserves special attention.

 

The author of the report, Mitchell D. Silber, is no stranger to the art of pushing the envelope for tyranny in American policy. Deeply connected to Israel, and to foundations linked to Israel, Silber served as director of intelligence analysis for the NYPD (New York City Police Department). 

Silber was never a police officer who walked a beat. He established his policy credentials by serving on a task force of the Council on Foreign Relations addressing terrorist financing for 9/11 and then went on to be compensated for his hypocrisy during a gig as expert on “capital markets intelligence” at the Carson Group, a private equity firm that serves the super-rich. 

In the Atlantic Council report, Silber draws on policy proposals he made previously in his controversial report “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat” for NYPD. That report was condemned (and eventually removed from the NYPD website) by the Brennan Center for Justice because of the radical religious and racial profiling that he proposed for local law enforcement, including the suggestion that common Islamic religious practices indicate extremism.  

This new report for the Atlantic Council on “domestic violent extremism” presents a fantastical description of the “intelligence failures” leading up to the “storming of the Capitol Building” on January 6, 2021 and it concludes with recommendations for even more bureaucracy to track, and to punish, American citizens.     

What we know for certain is that on January 6, 2021 confused photographs and videos of people, dressed up in costumes associated with white nationalist extremism, cavorting in and around the Capitol Building and jostling with police, was released to the corporate media. The images were accompanied by stories that described the intentions of these “extremists” to storm the Congress and to stop the final certification of the presidential election. 

Those involved have not been interviewed by more objective sources, and never allowed to tell their side of the story. The individuals photographed are not identified by name, or granted an opportunity to explain their actions.  

The corporate media accepted without condition the story of a violent riot and five deaths, but as I have written, the entire tale is dubious. 

In Silber’s hands, however, the event becomes a justification for big bureaucratic budgets. He explains that this “intelligence failure” means that we need a DVEAU (Domestic Violent Extremism Unit) under the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), an existing bureaucracy that currently reports to the Director of National Intelligence. The timing of the proposal was linked to the announcement by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on May 11, 2021 that a domestic terrorism branch will be revived within DHS Intelligence & Analysis (I&A).

Silber uses evocative acronyms like DVE (domestic violent extremism) and REMV (racial or ethnically motivated violence) that give legitimacy to the establishment of an unaccountable shadow government that will shove its snout deep in the Federal trough, while setting the stage for the oppression of domestic opposition by intelligence agencies unaccountable to the judicial branch.  

Screenshot from Atlantic Council

That is to say, the institutions that will sprout from the seeds sowed by this report will be free to decide that an American citizen is engaged in domestic extremism and then to monitor, and to interfere, without any court approval.

This proposal to unleash the intelligence apparatus against American citizens did not emerge in a vacuum. The foundations for unaccountable domestic law enforcement are being laid down at precisely the moment citizens are awakening to how the COVID19 vaccine regime is being enforced by government officials who promote dangerous substances as medical necessities. That is to say, the campaign against DVE (domestic violent extremism) is being unleashed at precisely the moment that the collapse of governance in the United States is becoming manifest.  

The “intelligence failure” jig to the tune of “old wine in new bottles” 

Silber’s report assumes that 1/6 was a domestic variation of the 9/11 “intelligence failure” that can be best solved by a “reform of the structure of the Federal government” that will subject all American citizens to direct control by the director of national intelligence. 

The analogy between 1/6 and 9/11 he falls back on is apt in the sense that both events were media shows orchestrated by insiders to force through a radical restructuring of the Federal government that ended accountability and that ushered in an empire of shadows completely detached from the Constitution. 

Silber recommends that a large chunk of law enforcement should be woven into the “intelligence community” and that it must take a “forward-leaning stance” towards domestic terrorism. The term “forward-leaning stance” suggests a focus on “precrime,” the “connecting the dots” process whereby the associations between citizens, comments made by citizens in emails, or in social media, are fed into supercomputers that follow biased algorithms and then are used to tag, and to convict, the innocent in advance. 

For example, if a citizen has been posting on Facebook about the dangers of COVID19 vaccines and then she runs a red light the next day, that action can be interpreted by the government as an act of domestic terrorism because of the presence of such social media postings. Appeals to science, or to the Constitution, can be denied by faceless actors at DVEAU. 

It is no accident that Silber describes the imagined terrorists behind 1/6 as “Born in the USA,” a reference to Bruce Springsteen’s song about the frustrations of working-class whites. The report is a gambit to open the door to the identification of all white working-class people as the equivalent of Al-Qaeda if they question COVID19, 9/11 or the tyranny of global finance. Needless to say, a twisted version of civil rights and anti-racism can also be employed in this operation so as to make this delta strain of fascism feel “progressive” for the weak-minded. 

Silber paints vivid pictures of networks of connected “domestic terrorist” cells who practice “leaderless resistance” as they adhere blindly to “bizarre conspiracies.” These networks of terrorists seem to be a cut and paste from previous Atlantic Council reports on the response to 9/11, such as “The Post 9-11 Partnership: Transatlantic Cooperation against Terrorism” (December, 2004). 

The myth of “leaderless resistance” in Islamic terrorism was of tremendous help in securing juicy budgets for mass surveillance. The fact that leaderless resistance is a political impossibility does not pose much of a problem for these opaque bureaucracies as their activities will never be made public, or be subjected to external review. 

Silber’s attitude towards the Constitution is revealing. He laments that the Constitution gives law enforcement “less latitude” than is required to address these new extremists and he regrets that the current mood in America does not support a “Patriot 2.0” aimed at domestic terrorism. 

The assumption is that law enforcement and intelligence must stop terrorism, domestic and foreign, and that they are hobbled by an outdated Constitution. The reality is that if we take the Constitution out of the policy loop, there will no longer be any rule of law, or any legitimate government left. Without a constitution, the distinction between government agencies, contractors and organized crime will disappear entirely. 

The white nationalist domestic threat is not a hoax, but it is exaggerated throughout the report. There is complete silence, by contrast, about the proven links between global finance and the Federal government in the promotion of a for-profit prison-industrial complex, nor is there any mention of the tens of billions of dollars that have disappeared into the Homeland Security and “intelligence community” black hole. 

It there was any take over of the Capitol, it was by the swarms of private contractors that gather there to feast on bloated Federal budgets. But Silber transforms them into rational organizations that protect citizens. 

Silber hammers home the theme of the “effectiveness of the current intelligence community architecture” in his report. “Architecture” is the precise term that was used after 9/11 to push through the radical privatization of the Federal government in congressional committees. Some of us still remember those heady days when lobbyists for the Patriot Act argued that accountability and transparency were outdated concepts that kept intelligence from preventing the next terrorist attack. 

Silber’s time in private equity also leaks through in the paper. He no doubt finds a ready audience for his financialized language among readers of the report. It is no secret that congressional staff members are rewarded with opportunities to make big bucks for a few years at hedge fund or private equity firms in return for their services in relatively low-paying positions in the Congress. 

Silber quotes Frank Taylor, former head of intelligence at DHS, concerning the 1/6 incident:   

“There is no explanation that I can give for the failure to produce analytical products.”

“Analytical products” is not a law enforcement term, but rather the jargon used in private equity. The use of such jargon in Washington is in line with the assumption on the part of the bureaucrat that to work for the Federal government is an extension of servicing a private equity firm, or a contractor. That truth is driven home by the domination of the Biden administration top positions by “products” of just four consulting firms linked to private equity: WestExec Advisors, Pine Island Capital Partners, The Asia Group and the Albright Stonebridge Group. 

The Report’s conclusion

The Atlantic Council report concludes with four concrete suggestions for responses to the new threat of domestic terrorism that are certain to have contractors licking their chops. 

1) The creation of a new bureaucracy within the I&A (intelligence and analysis) unit of DHS to be assigned the impressive acronym of OSMAU. The functions of this “Online Social Media Analysis Unit” are not detailed, and no suggestion is made as to how it will be kept accountable or transparent. The context suggests, however, suggests that OSMAU will serve as a “meta” fusion center where the postings by American citizens in social media are collected, and files are created in advance for just about every citizen that can be used to support just about any charge at a future date. 

2)  The establishment of a bureau for DVEAU “Domestic Violent Extremism Analysis” that will track and interfere in the lives of American citizens based on their correspondence and their postings. This intelligence bureau dedicated to domestic law enforcement will not be accountable to the FBI, the Justice Department, the DHS, or to the courts, but rather will be embedded in the opaque National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). 

3) The DVEAU “Domestic Violent Extremism Analysis” unit will report directly to the Director of National Intelligence, following a chain of command completely detached from the Department of Justice and from the court system. As a result, because intelligence is an extension of the military, the Posse Comitatus Act (1878) that limits the use of the military in domestic law enforcement will cease to be in effect. 

4) A new position of Deputy Director of National Intelligence will be created and that Deputy Director will be tasked with “domestic warning” (as a “national warning officer”) for terrorism. This Deputy Director will be authorized to declare that the actions of an American citizen, or group of citizens, engage in activities that constitute the equivalent of an act of war and that the Federal government will be able to take retaliatory steps in secret, without the approval of the courts. 

Silber imagines that this Deputy Director will identify “a rapidly metastasizing domestic terrorism threat” and take immediate action (such as the authorities supposedly failed to do on January 6th). 

This final analogy of “metastasis” is telling. Most certainly the analogy to the spread of cancer is apt. 

Silber is engaging in classical psychological projection when he uses that term. The true cancer killing the United States government is the spread of for-profit contractors that search for, and create, domestic threats which they feel entitle them to take actions at home in the manner that a commander in Afghanistan would do without the encumberment of the Constitution.

But that true institutional cancer is a taboo subject that can never be named by the high priests. Instead, the Atlantic Council report serves as a performative ritual, a speech act, that projects the cancer within the Federal system onto a leaderless set of domestic terrorist cells which must be suppressed if they question the legitimacy of COVID19 vaccines, or cast doubt on just about anything.