Big Tech and Biden: War on Terror 2.0

Joe Biden’s first war has already started and, backed by the might of Big Tech and the influence of the media, threatens to form a near impenetrable alliance that seeks to eliminate dissenting voices.

On the back of the Capitol Hill siege, the aforementioned trio are openly aligned in their declaration of a ‘war on domestic terror’ that will target all dissidents of power through their respective domains: Government by passing the necessary laws, Big Tech by censoring counter views and media by shaping public perception.

The war on domestic terrorism – the new ‘war on terror’

Days after election night, Joe Biden planned to make a priority of passing a law against domestic terrorism through the creation of a White House post overseeing the fight against ideologically inspired violent extremists, and the attack on the Capitol two months later served to justify this alleged necessity.

“Don’t dare call them protesters,” Biden said of the Capitol insurgents. “They were a riotous mob. Insurrectionists. Domestic terrorists.”

A letter signed by Democratic leaders of five House committees asked the FBI Director Christopher Wray to “leverage all available assets and resources” to ensure the perpetrators of the attack were brought to justice.

Former CIA director John Brennan hoped that Biden’s team “are now moving in laser like fashion to try to uncover as much as they can about what looks very similar to insurgency movements that we’ve seen overseas”, detailing an “unholy alliance” which even included libertarians.

Such vagueness gives credence to the notion that this government-led program will be loosely applied to just about anyone with counter views to the neoliberal narrative.

Stasi-style lists of dissidents

The authoritarian concept of maintaining databases of political dissidents used to be associated with the likes of Turkey and North Korea, yet it is fast becoming a highly popular idea among the liberals of the free world. Maintaining lists of purporters of pro-Trump narratives had long been talked up by various political figures during his presidency and now, with the Capitol attack, those wishes have now found the perfect pretext.

The ‘Trump Accountability Project’ seeks to stop anyone who worked for Trump’s White House from future employment, and has received the support of former DNC press secretary Hari Sevugan, while ProPublica published a database of almost 4,000 Trump staffers. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez also called for an archive to be kept of Trump supporters in December.

“Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future? I foresee decent probability of many deleted Tweets, writings, photos in the future,” Ocasio Cortez tweeted.

After the Capitol incident, Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson stated his desire for Republican senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley to be placed on the federal “No Fly” list for their support of Trump during the voter fraud disputes.

Big Tech and government merge

Yet the most blatant form of list composition of dissidents was seen after alternative social network Parler was accused of playing a part in the spreading of information that led to the Capitol attack.

Hackers bragged about managing to archive 99.9% of all Parler user data including photos of verified state ID cards and GPS locations amounting to more than 56 terabytes.

Parler went offline shortly after the Capitol incident after Amazon Web Services (AWS) suspended the social media platform, citing the platform’s lack of content moderation. After reaching No.1 on Apple’s app store and Google Play, it was also taken down from both.

This was, of course, cheered on by the majority of Trump despisers, yet it should provide a frightful image of the public-private merge between government and Big Tech that has been fastened with the election of Biden which will end up affecting everyone.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, between funds to campaigns and outside groups, employees from internet companies committed 98% of their contributions to Democrats. Big Tech, particularly Google, shared a revolving door with the White House under the Obama administration with Biden as vice-president and this will resume spinning under the new US presidency. Already, Biden has hired a former Facebook associate general counsel and an ex-Apple VP for government affairs to his team, while Reuters reports that Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft executives are set to fill senior roles.

This is a symbiotic relationship that seeks to protect one another: Big Tech will ensure that dissidents of Biden will continue to suffer harsh censorship under vague claims, and the administration will continue to safeguard these companies from necessary scrutiny and investigation.

‘War on Terror’ rebranded

The ‘War on Terror’ under the Bush administration saw exaggerated or false pretexts pushed by the same alliance of government, media and corporations to manufacture support and consent for power, profit and surveillance. The Patriot Act passed on the back of 9/11 allowed for the expansion of government surveillance to monitor phone and email communications, collect bank and credit reporting records, and track the activity of innocent Americans on the Internet in the name of catching terrorists.

The same pattern appears to be emerging once again, only with slight rebranding. The Capitol attack is 9/11, the Domestic Terror Act is the Patriot Act, Trump supporters are the terrorists, data is the oil, and Big Tech companies are the military contractors. The media… well, is still the media, serving their government and corporate masters by obscuring the public of the agenda at play.

The broad brush with which the term ‘domestic terrorists’ will be applied not only to the 74 million citizens who voted for Trump in 2020 but many others too by loose association, combined with the might and determination of the most powerful and influential entities, makes for a truly troubling recipe which, in the toxically divided political climate, will only deepen political unrest.

The demand to designate those with different political views as terrorists is explicitly a call for more punitive measures which, as witnessed in the past, will be pursued in an arbitrary and discriminatory way with little to no transparency which will hand further power to the state to expand surveillance, further limit privacy and end free speech.

Conclusion

The events at the Capitol need not be condoned to notice the clear hypocrisy at play, that this is clearly a matter of politics rather than principles.

The same Big Tech platforms, media outlets and politicians who fueled and promoted violent Black Lives Matter protests across the United States throughout last summer, are now outraged at the ‘incitement of violence’.

This is also the same trio that, for the previous four years, promoted the notion that Russia hacked the election in Trump’s favour with no concern that this effort could ‘incite violence’ and ‘threaten democracy’. This served as the justification for Big Tech platforms to enforce widespread censorship, purge websites and alter algorithms to boost outlets which legitimized this claim and, even after it was disproven in the Supreme Court, continued to parrot these arguments.

There is no clearer case to prove that the term ‘conspiracy theory’ is not based on the validity of the argument, but based on who says it.

Worse yet, what keeps the majority of people quiet is the illusion that censorship will only apply to the ‘bad guys’ and that, with enough of it, we can weed out hate and violence, without understanding the far more sinister implications this has.

Cheering on subjective and hypocritical censorship gives consent to power to suppress viewpoints that challenge power. Today, it’s Trump supporters, but tomorrow this can be applied in the vaguest of ways to whoever steps outside of the official line on matters of maximum importance.

The continuous left-right squabbling blinds people from the common threat posed by Big Tech, media and government on privacy and free speech, as well as the vague reasoning for harsh surveillance that this will serve to justify.

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