NDAA: Building the Terror State

Posted on 03/01/2012 by


Image via the band Anti-Flag

With the passage of the (insufficiently infamous) National Defence Authorisation Act, or NDAA, into law, there are growing and well-founded cries of ‘police state’, even ‘martial law’. The second is not accurate, although I understand the sentiment. Martial law is when military authorities take over order enforcement, because the civilian authority has broken down and not longer functions.

That is the critical point: The civilian authority in Washington DC has not yet broken down. Far from it, the NDAA vaunts the caprice of the civilian authority over and above any other, including law itself. More succinctly, martial law is what happens after civilian governments fall. The USA has not collapsed just yet.

‘Police state’, however, is quote a bit more to the point. The enforcement of law has been divorced from its subservience to the law itself, as well as the communities which law is supposed to defend. These various institutions have instead, and quite officially, become laws unto themselves.

Typically when a country devolves into a police state, it is in order to crush some sort of internal strife which directly threatens the ability of a government to remain in power. Bahrain is an example which comes to mind, as a very visceral example of this. The United Kingdom also trends in that direction, due to increasing social discord.

In these United States, however, there is no such internal strife. Occupy movements are highly self-organising and peaceful. Theoretically there should be no need to build a police state, beyond the very disturbing USA PATRIOT Act and other assorted laws and institutions. But yet not only has the PATRIOT Act been long since law, the NDAA now joins it.

There are, in my opinion, two reasons why this is so. The first is really the one which offers the most hope in the near future, and touches upon the internal strife rationale for degenerating into a police state. The Federal institutions of these United States are so flimsy and brittle that even peaceable protests like the Occupy movements are enough to ‘threaten’ – in ironic quotes – the authority and legitimacy of said Federal Institutions.

The implications of such brittleness are far-reaching. In my opinion they suggest that these United States have indeed progressed far beyond the point of successful reformability, and deep into the zone of impending political collapse and implosion.

This is the best case scenario for all concerned, although I leave it to the Reader to contemplate why, as an exercise in global thinking.

Leaving aside collapse, I turn to the second reason I think these United States have gone down the road of NDAA insanity. Here I touch upon an essay I wrote previously, about the State of War; I will also talk about the increasing totalitarian nature of the US citizenry.

State of War, Totalitarian People

To summarise the essay I mentioned above: Just as a ‘nation-state’ is a State based upon the homogenised qualities of an artificial ‘national identity’, the State of War is a State based upon the institutions of war. Outside of these United States, the preponderance of US police and actions are effectively aimed at creating a global State of War. Those who are spared are merely those who ‘play ball’, as the phrase goes.

Domestically, as par the course of attempting to build a global State of War, the US citizenry itself has become more totalitarian, in relation to the totalitarian nature of such a global State. This is easily demonstrated. The oppression on one side of the totalitarian coin is matched by the acceptance and submission of the oppressed. Examples of this are the widespread acceptance and submission to: the gropings and pornoscanners of the Transportation Security Administration; the trollish behaviour of the Customs & Border Protection and Immigration & Customs Enforcement; the overall invasive uselessness of the Department of Homeland Security itself; the continuing existence of the PATRIOT Act. These are all highly totalitarian in their brute use of questionable authority; their acceptance is merely the flip side of totalitarian policies and governance. Hence, how the US citizenry has become more totalitarian: They do nothing to stop totalitarianism, and indeed support it by their submission.

It is a useless exercise to try and parse out which came first: A totalitarian government or a totalitarian citizenry. Suffice it to say both were predisposed thereto, and the adoption thereof was a cooperative (or at least concomitant) development. The end result is an insane, out-of-control totalitarian government, and a psychopathic, servile, and acquiescent citizenry.

NDAA and Counter-Terrorism

And so the NDAA has become ‘law’ in record time; speed born of there being effectively nothing out of the ordinary in the bill as far as the Federal Government is concerned.

Ostensibly both the PATRIOT Act and the NDAA are designed to help in the so-called ‘War On Terror’. Since it is exceedingly difficult for a large group of predominantly senile white ‘heterosexual’ men to keep a secret, it is actually a very safe assumption these bills were indeed meant to apply to the ‘War’ as their primary function.

Once the ‘Communist Threat’ was no longer operative, the primary interest of the US Federal Government has been terrorism and how to – not stop – but counter its occurrence Indeed, the term ‘counter-terrorism’ has been used quite a lot in positive reference to these bills and other assorted actions, policies, and so forth. The primary expenditure of the US Federal Government can be seen in this light as not so much on the military per se, but rather on the military in its capacity as an instrument of counter-terrorism.

This can also go to help explain why the PATRIOT Act and the NDAA both sailed so smoothly into ‘law’. They were simply codifications of already standing policies and mindsets in these United States, which fall under the broad heading of ‘counter-terrorism’. The phrase itself deserves a closer look.

In other, similar usages of ‘counter’ – such as counter-revolution – the implication of the phrase is to use a similar method as an ‘enemy’ in order to preserve a given status quo. So, in the example of a counter-revolution, it’s a revolution for the status quo using relative similar methods – or imagined similar methods – as a revolution against thestatus quo. In Christian history, there is the very tidy example of the Protestant Reformation and the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation.

Coming now back to these United States, in order to counter terrorism against the status quo, the US uses terrorism (and variations upon the methods of ‘the terrorists’) to defend thestatus quo.

All the legislation which is self-described ‘counter-terrorism’ is therefore best seen as terrorism for, not against, thestatus quo. The NDAA reeks of terrorism, because it is terrorism; the ame can be said of the PATRIOT Act, as well as other upcoming and equally disturbing legislation, as enumerated by #OpNoVacation in this pastebin.


These United States retooled themselves into a heavily centralised, top-down, bureaucratised, and shrilly ideological country during the Cold War, so as to face the USSR. In this way, these United States became a stark reflection of the enemy they thought they faced. To attack the new Public Enemy Number One (as in, ‘the terrorists’), these United States again retool themselves into a reflection of the enemy they believe they face.

Hence why the US Federal Government has increasingly used the techniques and tactics it claims its enemy uses. These United States have been retooled into the Terror State. This is to say, governance and public order is pursued by the techniques and tactics of terrorism.

The Terror State

Returning to the Federal Government, and specifically those agencies and institutions which explicitly describe themselves as participating in ‘counter-terrorism’. ‘Terrorists’ are seen as having a generalised ethic in common, with further elaboration depending upon the ‘cell’. With that in mind, agencies like DHS and the FBI, et cetera, have a generalised ethic in common. It is probably some variation on ‘find the terrorists, protect the Homeland’.

However, despite the general ethic in common, terrorist cells are seen to be highly independent, to the point of complete ignorance of the activity of otherwise ‘friendly’ cells. In this we can see why Operation Fast & Furious was **a total failure**. The agents of the alphabet soup of involved Federal agencies were ignorant of each others’ actions by design. Ignorance, lack of communication, and operational isolation are assets and must be cultivated, because the more these traits are emphasise, the more these agencies – on paper, at the very least – resemble terrorist cells.

To summarise, it is within the nature of the Terror State to retool those agencies and institutions involved in counter-terorism to operate in a similar manner to the ‘enemy’ they combat. It is therefore no great stretch to see these United States as less of a government, and more of a largely uncoordinated quasi-network of terrorist cells. Existing parallel with this ‘network’ is a largely out-of-touch and purposefully uninformed body politic, which can only set ‘cells’ in motion but never exert real oversight, much less reform or repeal this ‘network’.

I feel this alone is a very good reason these United States are going to fall apart in the relatively near future. Simply put, a government (any institution, really) is only as good as the information is has to base decisions upon. This is basic business and planning; it is axiomatic.

Under the dictates of the Terror State, the less information is shared, the better. Consider the culture of secrecy which has enveloped so much of the US Federal Government, and which Julian Assange has commented about on several occasions. The response to Cablegate is damning enough: Consider how the State Department redacted information from cables it released, unedited versions of which are conveniently located here.

In this way, these United States are hurtling headlong toward information death. The Terror State is a model of governance not made for the ages, it would seem.

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