Sending in the Feds

TimeWatch Editorial
February 16, 2017

According to the Free encyclopedia, the Rutherford Institute is a non-profit organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia, US dedicated to the defense of civil liberties and human rights. The organization was founded in 1982 by John W. Whitehead, who continued to be its president as of 2015. The Rutherford Institute offers free legal services to those who have had their rights threatened or violated. The Rutherford Institute has a network of affiliate attorneys across the United States and funds its efforts through donations. In addition to its offer of legal services, the organization offers free educational materials for those interested in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Rutherford Institute also publishes a weekly commentary by Whitehead which is published in hundreds of newspapers and web publications, including The Huffington Post and

We began by describing the Rutherford Institute, because of their commitment to civil liberties and human rights. Originally, they were concerned primarily with the concept of Religious Freedom, but as time rolled by the Free Encyclopedia says “the organization later expanded its mission to encompass other constitutional issues such as search and seizure, free speech, and zero tolerance policy.” According to his biography on the Rutherford Institute website:

“John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead serves as the Institute’s president and spokesperson, in addition to writing a weekly commentary that is posted on The Rutherford Institute’s website. Whitehead's aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties issues has earned him numerous accolades, including the Hungarian Medal of Freedom. Whitehead has been the subject of numerous newspaper, magazine and television profiles, ranging from Gentleman's Quarterly to CBS' 60 Minutes. Articles by Whitehead have been printed in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and USA Today, among others.”About John Whitehead, The Rutherford Institute website

What I have found compelling is an article authored by John Whitehead on the Rutherford Institute website and published on February 14, 2017 entitled “Coming to a City Near You: The US Military Plan to Take Over America.” This is not the first article suggesting the idea of Martial Law in the United States. For many years, there have been those who have inferred that such a possibility was imminent.  There are also those who have pointed to the militarization of the Police Departments, the introduction of military equipment and the increased firepower and military dress of city and state police officers as an indication of the direction in which we are heading. But what gives John Whitehead’s article relevance now is a partially overlooked threat repeated by the President of the United States regarding present conditions in Chicago.

“President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that he would dispatch federal authorities to Chicago if they don't address violence in the city, which he described as "horrible 'carnage.'" "If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible "carnage" going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!" the president tweeted. “The crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential,” Trump said at the Capitol on Inauguration Day. “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”Cristiano Lima, “Trump Threatens to Send In the Feds to Chicago,” POLITICO, January 24, 2017

John Whitehead, in his article raises the issue of military control in a way that is rather troubling. Listen to how he speaks about the future.

“According to “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity ,” a Pentagon training video created by the Army for U.S. Special Operations Command , the U.S. military plans to use armed forces to solve future domestic political and social problems. What they’re really talking about is martial law, packaged as a well-meaning and overriding concern for the nation’s security. The chilling five-minute training video, obtained by The Intercept through a FOIA request and made available online , paints an ominous picture of the future—a future the military is preparing for—bedeviled by “criminal networks,” “substandard infrastructure,” “religious and ethnic tensions,” “impoverishment, slums,” “open landfills, over-burdened sewers,” a “growing mass of unemployed,” and an urban landscape in which the prosperous economic elite must be protected from the impoverishment of the have nots.” John Whitehead, “Coming to a City Near You: The US Military Plan to Take Over America.” The Rutherford Institute website, February 14, 2017

It has been quite a few years since I have encountered descriptive anticipation of martial law being enforced in the United States. But some of the authoritative language and actions being used today causes one to pause and consider Mr. Whitehead’s warning. Listen to how he continues to speak.

“They are people who don’t support the government, people who live in fast-growing urban communities, people who may be less well-off economically than the government and corporate elite, people who engage in protests, people who are unemployed, people who engage in crime (in keeping with the government’s fast-growing, overly broad definition of what constitutes a crime). In other words, in the eyes of the U.S. military, noncombatants are American citizens a.k.a. domestic extremists a.k.a. enemy combatants who must be identified, targeted, detained, contained and, if necessary, eliminated.” John Whitehead, “Coming to a City Near You: The US Military Plan to Take Over America.” The Rutherford Institute website, February 14, 2017

What happens in the future is yet to be determined. Perhaps as never before, has there been as much uncertainty. The term martial law has not yet been as pervasive as in the past, but ’s description of the solution of the President is exactly that.   Rosa describes the solving some of the problems in Chicago, in his article in this way:

“President Donald Trump is threatening Chicago and its mayor, Rahm Emanuel, with martial law, something which could have profound implications for the Windy City. On Tuesday morning, Trump sent out the following tweet, threatening to “send in the feds” in response to Chicago’s violence. If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible “carnage” going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!” , “Donald Trump threatens to impose martial law in Chicago, and it may be over a feud with Rahm Emanuel” Wednesday, Jan 25, 2017 07:45 AM EST

So how does John Whitehead say we can get there?

“This is how you prepare a populace to accept a police state willingly, even gratefully. You don’t scare them by making dramatic changes. Rather, you acclimate them slowly to their prison walls. Persuade the citizenry that their prison walls are merely intended to keep them safe and danger out. Desensitize them to violence, acclimate them to a military presence in their communities and persuade them that there is nothing they can do to alter the seemingly hopeless trajectory of the nation. Before long, no one will even notice the floundering economy; the blowback arising from military occupations abroad, the police shootings, the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure and all of the other mounting concerns.” John Whitehead, “Coming to a City Near You: The US Military Plan to Take Over America.” The Rutherford Institute website, February 14, 2017

We must be warned and prepared.

Cameron A. Bowen

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