The government seems to be obsessed with targeting disgruntled veterans with pre-crime and other unconstitutional forms of surveillance, demonization and harassment, the latest example being an Orwellian software program that purports to identify potential terrorists by analyzing the tone of phone conversations and emails to detect “resentment toward government”.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Mind Machine Project, which is currently being demonstrated to law enforcement officials around the country, is primarily aimed at weeding out ‘troubled veterans’ who may be planning to commit terrorist bombings or political assassinations, by illegally wiretapping their phone calls and Internet communications in order to build psychological profiles.
As we reported yesterday, the program purports to be able to identify “resentment toward government,” which is characterized by the technology’s proponents as some kind of mental illness that requires the involvement of “health professionals,” or worse, a trait of domestic terrorists planning imminent attacks.
Why is the government so intent on targeting veterans as likely terrorists? Seemingly unconcerned about Muslim extremists hiding in caves in central Asia, the Big Sis DHS anti-terror machine has been firmly pointed towards the American people, with the government making every effort to subject its own citizens to the measures that were supposedly introduced to fight foreign extremists, the latest example being federal checkpoints that radiate American truckers with x-ray devices at highway “inspection stations”.
Having already had their benefits slashed and their right to self-defense eviscerated with the passage of the so-called “Veterans Disarmament Act,” men and women who served their country are now being treated with more disdain than drug smugglers and illegal coming across the border from Mexico.
In May 2009, the New York Times reported on how Boy Scouts were being trained by Homeland Security and the FBI to disarm and forcibly arrest “disgruntled Iraq war veterans” who were characterized in the exercise as domestic terrorists.
“Ten minutes into arrant mayhem in this town near the Mexican border, and the gunman, a disgruntled Iraq war veteran, has already taken out two people, one slumped in his desk, the other covered in blood on the floor,” began the article, later describing how the Boy Scouts were told by a federal agent to “Put him on his face and put a knee in his back, I guarantee that he’ll shut up.”
Veterans were again targeted in an April 2009 Homeland Security “assessment” report entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”
The report warned law enforcement officers to be on guard against “disgruntled military veterans,” especially veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who were demonized as potential terrorists.
“The return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks,” stated the report, equating America’s supposed best and brightest with Al-Qaeda bombers.
DHS chief Janet Napolitano was subsequently forced to apologize to veterans for the report, a token gesture which did not satisfy veterans organizations that were deeply offended at the content of the Homeland Security assessment.
Pete Hegseth, chairman of Vets for Freedom, responded, “It wasn’t an apology in my view. It was one of those non-apology apologies. She was sorry that veterans were offended. She should either apologize for the content of the report as it stands or they should rewrite the report and reissue it.”
Despite the apology, Big Sis Napolitano, Homeland Security, and the rest of the federal bureaucracy continue to make it clear that military veterans are a primary target of the war on terror, with the revelation that authorities are seriously looking at MIT’s new pre-crime software as a useful tool with which to spy on vet’s private communications, identify “emotional spikes” that betray “resentment towards government,” and then target them with surveillance designed to be used on suspected terrorists.
While the CIA blocks a lawsuit brought by veterans concerning illegal experiments on troops between the 50’s and 70’s, and while police officers beat those same veterans nearly to death, the authorities continue to make vets the number one domestic target of the war on terror, a sobering reminder of the fact that the feds have identified the American people as their main enemy and are now focusing the vast and expanding force of big government against those who have considered themselves patriots for their entire lives.