Americans are increasingly living in a police state, and the road looks very bleak unless citizens stop being complacent and take back their government, according to Rutherford Institute President John Whitehead.
Whitehead is the author of the new book, “Battlefield America: The War on the American People.” It’s his second book on this issue. In 2013, he published “A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State.”
The issue is taking on additional urgency this week after an online news article chronicled how police stormed into the homes of three supporters of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the middle of the night, subjecting the citizens to intense harassment simply for backing Walker’s collective bargaining reforms in the state. None of them were ever charged.
Whitehead said episodes like that are becoming less of an exception and more of a rule.
“The government is watching everything you’re doing,” Whitehead said. “We are in a police state right now. The question is, can we push it back?”
One of Whitehead’s greatest frustrations in the book is Americans’ acceptance of limitations placed on their freedoms and an unwillingness thus far to fight back. He said one of the biggest problems is that most Americans are unaware of how much police interaction with citizens is changing in many different ways.
“They’re not getting the news,” Whitehead said. “If you watch just regular television news, you don’t realize there are 80,000 SWAT team raids (each year). There were only 3,000 of those in the early 1980s. There are 80,000 occurring annually now across the United States. Eighty percent of those SWAT team raids are for what we used to call warrant service, where a policeman would come knock on your door.”
He said digital intrusion into Americans’ lives is also skyrocketing.
“How many Americans know that the NSA is now downloading two billion of your emails a day and American citizens’ text messages? They admit to hacking into 160,000 Facebook pages a day to see what you’re doing,” Whitehead said.
“In some of the cases we get involved with at the Rutherford Institute, [they] are doing regular free-speech things about Obama,” he said. “They’re getting raided for it. Some have actually been arrested for it.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with John Whitehead:
In addition, Whitehead said laws are now giving the government more latitude in investigating citizens and stripping constitutional rights away from the rest of Americans.
“How many people know there’s a thing called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that Obama has signed into being, which allows the military to come to your door if he thinks you’re an extremist, not a terrorist, and have you arrested by the military, taken away and put in a detention camp where you can’t see your lawyer or your family?” he asked.
According to Whitehead, several U.S. states are refusing to comply with the NDAA on constitutional grounds. He said this rapidly emerging threat is a far cry from what America’s Founding Fathers envisioned.
“George Washington was screaming to never have a standing army on American soil. You will regret it,” Whitehead said. “With the Department of Homeland Security handing out over $5 billion in military equipment, grenade launchers, MRAPS (Mine-Resistant Armored Protection Vehicles) that they use over in Afghanistan, sniper rifles …
“All the things you see in war zones, local police have those now.”
He said another increasingly common tool for local police is the stingray device, which puts Americans’ digital information at risk as police drive by their homes.
“They’re fake cell-phone towers,” he said. “They download everything you’re doing on your cell phone so they can track you. And they do track you.”
WND’s acclaimed Whistleblower magazine documents in its issue, “HOW AMERICA IS BECOMING A POLICE STATE,” one major way Barack Obama’s “fundamental transformation of America” is manifesting in the changing face of law enforcement.
Whitehead says a major reason for the change is a significant adjustment in how police officers are trained now.
“I actually work with some policemen who teach in the academies now. They say the training in the academies is very, very military. And how the police view us is much different than how Barney Fife and Andy Griffith viewed us about 40 years ago,” Whitehead said.
“In fact, I have police now using the term when they refer to American citizens as civilians. I’ve actually corrected a few policemen and said, ‘By the way, I’m not a civilian. I’m a citizen and so are you, sir,'” added Whitehead, who said the increasingly militaristic nature of police work changes how they deal with the public.
He said that’s a big problem because police seem far more likely to obey and execute all orders rather than object on moral or constitutional grounds.
“What they’re saying in the psychological studies is when the police put on camouflage outfits or those black outfits in SWAT team gear, it actually effects their psychology and they view us much differently than they used to view us,” Whitehead said.
“The police went through the door in the home of a mother and father. The parents had done nothing wrong, by the way. [The police] were in the wrong home. They said, ‘We have a year-old baby sleeping in that room. Please, I want to keep my baby safe.’ One cop actually pushed the door open and threw a flash bang grenade in the room and burned the baby,” Whitehead said.
Despite the frightening episodes, Whitehead said he wants Americans to keep level heads about the problem and what can be done about it.
“I don’t think we should be paranoid,” he said. “I think we just need to be informed and realize there are things we can do.”
And what are those things?
“If your local community is not outraged when a baby gets burned by a flash bang grenade in a SWAT team raid, they should [be]. You can set up oversight committees and make sure that those SWAT team members are called in and corrected and (make sure) they won’t do that again,” Whitehead said.
“The average American watches about 150 hours of television a month,” he added. “If you’re sitting, you’re not doing. So I tell people give me 80 hours of that watching time for involvement in local government. Set policies, and change what you’re doing in your own hometown.”