ROCKWELL: Well, good morning. This is the Lew Rockwell Show. And it’s great to have as our guest, Mr. John C. Whitehead. John’s the founder and the president of the Rutherford Institute. He’s a constitutional lawyer, champion of civil liberties. And he’s the author, if you can believe it, of 22 books, the most recent of which couldn’t be more timely, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State.
So, John, is it emerging or is it here?
WHITEHEAD: My opinion is it’s here. After I finished the book — you know, the subtitle is “The Emerging American Police State,” but with the recent developments of the NSA, all the crazy things you’re seeing happening across the country with the police, obviously, we’re in a police state; more what I call in my book, The Government of Wolves, an electronic concentration camp. I think everything that we do is being watched. The cases we’re involved in show that. And the IRS is there to crack down if they want, and all the — by the way, when I use the word “police,” I’m talking about federal agents, local police, all of them, not just the local police, so anybody with a uniform and badge. They all have SWAT teams now, the IRS, Department of Homeland Security. So I don’t see how you can argue we’re not in a police state. A Government of Wolves... Check Amazon for Pricing.
But before I wrote the book, actually, I did a detailed study of Nazi Germany. And Nazi Germany — by the way, Hitler came in with slogans of hope and change. He was very, very popular when he first took over in Germany. It wasn’t until three or four years later that people woke up. But all the signs were there. As I point out, as early as 1933, there were articles running throughout Nazi Germany on the concentration camps. And that was, what, 12 years before Hitler went out. So people knew it. They just didn’t want to accept it. But, again, I think the tell-tale signs are everywhere.
ROCKWELL: You know, one thing that you were sort of hinting at there, if they’re listening to everything, the idea of attorney/client privilege just goes up the window, right? I mean, the prosecutors must know, or they can know if they want to know, everything a defense lawyer and a client are discussing.
WHITEHEAD: Yeah. If you do it digital; if it’s electronic. I mean, I had a long-time veteran of the National Security Agency that came by. He had a stack of my books by the way — [Laughing] — going around the country passing my books out at the radio station.
Because, he said, he doesn’t like the way the NSA is going. But he told me, he said, “John, at least a trillion bits of information are pulled off of the Internet a month.” He said, “Your banking accounts, whatever you do, anything digital.” So you say attorney/client privilege, if you’re communicating with your client over text messages, email or otherwise, that is very accessible to government. They probably have a file. And as we now know, the FBI has a procedure where they can actually turn your cell phone, by way of an app, into a microphone and listen to what you’re doing. And even the face of your phone is connected to facial-recognition software. So in my opinion, unless you go live in a cave — and I’ve said this — if you go live in a cave, maybe you can get away from it. But caves are kind of scarce. And with the coming of drones in 2015 — drones are already sweeping across the country. But by 2015, they’re going to be flying everywhere. And they’re saying 30,000 by 2020, equipped with the ability to hack into Wi-Fi, your text messages, even scanning devices that see through the walls of your home. So I would say in 10 years — and that may be too far out — maybe five years, it’s going to be almost impossible to hide from anybody in the government.
And hackers, by the way. There was a big hackers’ conference this past week in Las Vegas. Some of the hackers I actually studied with last summer who are recorded in some of the articles. But they told me last summer, for $250, they can produce equipment which can basically listen in on an entire block of people, like in a neighborhood. For $250. And you know, the government has its own hackers as well. So that’s the lay of the land. It doesn’t look good, no.
ROCKWELL: And, in fact, why should a government that doesn’t hesitate to do all these things, why should they hesitate to put an actual bug in your office or into the room of the jail where you might be talking to some poor The Change Manifesto: ... Best Price: $2.03 Buy New $10.60 (as of 01:25 EST - Details) guy who is in prison? Why shouldn’t we at least assume that they’re listening to everything?
WHITEHEAD: Oh, they are.
ROCKWELL: Maybe you’ll have to communicate by writing on a pad or something.
WHITEHEAD: Yeah, I think you have to assume that. It’s like in 1984. Orwell said you have to assume you’re being listened to and watched, except in the dark. But even in darkness now, with the technology, I mean, I don’t — I had a former NSA agent who did a sweep of our office. He came in, I asked him to do it. He said, “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, the wire tapping stuff is no longer viable.” He said, “They just listen electronically.” In fact, when he comes into my office, he actually unhooks all the telephones, pulls all the blinds. He told me from at least three to five miles that they can actually read the vibrations of your voice off the window pane and know what you’re saying. But he told me the only place secure in the United States right now is in usually a large building, right in the center of the building where there are no electronic devices. But even then, we don’t know. So as I often say, the cell phone I have is quite advanced, but just think, if I have that, what do they have? And we know what that NSA computer can do up in Utah. I mean, it sweeps everything.
ROCKWELL: And, of course, they threaten the whole world. It’s not just us. Apparently, they’re listening to everybody, in Europe and in Asia, for reasons of industrial espionage as well as regular espionage. I mean, they feel they are the world government, right? They don’t feel their jurisdiction is limited to that little dotted line on the map where the IRS rules, but to the whole world?
WHITEHEAD: Yeah. America is an empire, there’s no doubt about that. It’s an empire that people are saying eventually is going to collapse. That’s probably true. We are repeating the errors of history. We’ve created an empire based on wars, obviously, we have to make up.
In fact, I have some former Army officers, students, who have studied with me during the summer. I have a summer intern program. I had one, he was a graduate of the Air Force Academy; flew jets over in the Middle East for the Air Force. But he told me, he said, “I became totally disillusioned.” He said, “One day, I was driving by an opium field. It was being guarded by American troops.” And he said, “It just blew my mind that we were helping harvest opium.” Probably for al Qaeda or Karzai or whoever.
But there’s a lot of corrupt things going on. And, to me, all the tell-tale signs are there. Through my book and my work, my main goal is to try to sound an alarm and wake people up. I mean, you do good work. You get the information out there, and others. But gradually, most people seem to go back to sleep again. And like I say in my book a number of times, I end chapters with the phrase, “It’s time to wake up.” And we are asleep unfortunately. And I think when we do wake up — I mean, with the private prison complexes and all the things that we’re seeing, creating new crimes, the over-criminalization of America, all the cases that the Rutherford Institute gets involved in that are rather scary — I mean, the average citizen today, as some people are estimating, may be committing three to five felonies and you don’t know it. The Second American Re... Best Price: $2.43 Buy New $14.95 (as of 09:05 EST - Details)
The crazy case that we just saw — I don’t know if most people saw it — where the people were keeping a deer; it was against the law to keep a deer or whatever. And they had a SWAT team raid and they executed the deer. We’ve seen such crazy things happen that — you know, they won’t even put those in movies, they’re so crazy. They don’t make any sense. And SWAT team raids where people are getting killed and shot. But things are moving very rapidly, much more rapidly than when I began writing this book last year.
ROCKWELL: John, how did you arrive at these ideas? Have you always been concerned about civil liberties issues and by the government encroachments on our freedoms, or did something trigger things for you?
WHITEHEAD: A lot of research. Back in the 1980s, I actually started writing on the NSA. A few cases surfaced where it was realized the NSA was actually doing domestic spying. So I’d say from the 1980s, on, just watching things develop. Basically, technology has moved so rapidly. In fact, I would say this. Technology is running the show right now. It’s become its own universe. What I was told by the NSA, when I talk about the long-time guy — it was over 20 years he was in the NSA. He said, basically, what the computers do now is they parse the information, hand it to the agent; so the agent becomes an extension of the computer basically.
And you wonder why terrorist attacks like the Boston Marathon event happen. I mean, those guys were on a FBI watch list. It’s like an old-time policeman told me. He said, “John, we don’t do police work anymore. We let the computer do its parsing but we’re watching everybody.” If you’re watching everybody, then if there are some terrorists out there — and there are some terrorists out there — they’re going to get through the system because, again, they’re watching innocent people, like you and me.
ROCKWELL: And, of course, the U.S. government continues, it seems to me, to commit acts of terrorism overseas. Although, by the official government definition of terrorism, anything done by a government can’t be terroristic. It has to be some private criminal. Whether we think of the drone murders or torture camps, the prison camps, their claim that they can just kill anybody they decide is a bad guy, without due process. And isn’t the U.S. — if we were to compare it to other countries, they would happily dub this — isn’t the U.S. a terrorist state?
WHITEHEAD: Well, when President Obama assumed the authority to do drone strikes at his so-called “Terror Tuesdays,” he became a hit man, the rule of law went out the window. We no longer live in a nation that’s under the rule of law. Against the State: An ... Best Price: $5.02 Buy New $5.52 (as of 11:35 EST - Details)
The Fourth Amendment, by the way, which is the absolute centerpiece of the Bill of Rights — people will argue with me and say, no, it’s the First Amendment, John. But my answer to that is the First Amendment right to free speech or freedom of association doesn’t work very well in the back of a police car while you’re handcuffed. And how we stop that from happening is support vigorously the Fourth Amendment, which says — and this is key — I’m astounded by Americans I talk to that have no idea what’s in the Fourth Amendment. But it says we have a right to be “secure” — and that’s the word — “secure” in our homes, persons, papers and effects. Secure. You can’t be secure if somebody is watching you all the time or your door is flying down with a SWAT team raid. But it also says, how do we keep secure. The government, before it does surveillance on us, before it touches us, before it does any of the rude things you’re seeing happen today, like rectum searches on streets and SWAT team raids, they have to have probable cause. The legal standard means that they have to have some evidence that shows that there’s likelihood you’re going to commit a crime. And if it’s not an exigent or emergency circumstance, they have to have a search warrant. And I know you know this, Lew. Search warrants are easy to get. I mean, 99% of the time, the judges and the police — whatever the police say, they listen to. But that’s the standard. We’ve thrown that out with SWAT team raids, with NSA snooping, with the FBI database. We force DNA sampling with rectum searches on streets in Milwaukee where some police have been accused of doing rectum searches and causing bleeding.
I’ll say it again: The centerpiece is the Fourth Amendment. We’ve thrown it out. We no longer live under the rule of law in my opinion. And we live in — you want to call it a terroristic state, a vigilante state, whatever you want to call it. But when American citizens are in their home asleep at 3:00 a.m. in the morning and a flash-bang grenade goes off and they look up and a cop is standing there, a whole group of them, in military gear, and people get killed, that’s definitely terrorism.
ROCKWELL: Well, John, is there any hope or are we just — are we lost?
WHITEHEAD: I think the hope is in being alert, staying alert as a citizen, knowing your rights, reading what’s on the Internet, cookie the websites — like your website, Lew — reading my book, the Rutherford Institute website, because we try to keep people alerted. Education precedes action. That’s the key. If you’re not educated, you don’t know.
But let me give you an example. About a year and a half ago, I spoke to 150 of the best lawyers in the country; Harvard, Berkeley, the best schools. I was to speak to them on the cases we had at the Rutherford Institute. In the middle of my speech, I stopped and I said, “Can any lawyer in this room give me five freedoms of the First Amendment.” And these are some older lawyers who have actually done civil liberties cases. Not one lawyer could give me the five freedoms. One guy started to raise his hand. I said, OK, and I started to call on him, and he put his hand down real quick. So that’s the state we’re in. If the lawyers don’t know it — I mean, I have these law 10 Rules for Dealing w... Best Price: $8.42 Buy New $18.00 (as of 10:53 EST - Details) students coming in in the summer. They can’t tell me the five freedoms of the First Amendment. So we’ve stopped teaching that in public schools. In fact, it’s shown in my book. And I think this is true. The public schools, generally, they’re state schools. They become institutions of compliance. And their main goals — and you’ve published articles on this, Lew — the zero-tolerance policies. They’re arresting kids for food fights, taking them to jail. Crazy state of affairs. We are producing a very compliant citizen in the schools. And also what we’re doing is we’re not teaching them their rights. So they’re not going to know what to do. They’re going to comply with a strip search on the street. That’s illegal, unless you have probable cause.
ROCKWELL: Wow. I must say, I find, at least among young people, a whole lot of reasons to be optimistic. I mean, young people do seem to be —
WHITEHEAD: Yeah, I agree.
ROCKWELL: — much more concerned than their elders are about what is going on. They are educating themselves.
WHITEHEAD: Well, let me give you a good example. I was eating dinner not too long ago — and I won’t say where — some guy walks up to me. He was a young guy, and he introduced himself. And he said, “I’m reading your book.” He said, “My supervisors don’t like it.” And I said, “Well, who do you work for?” He said, “The NSA.”
And I said, “Well, it’s great that you’re reading my book.” But here’s the funny thing. His supervisor said, “What are you reading that left-wing S-H-I-T for?” Well, my book is not left wing. It’s, well, Libertarian, essentially. But he told me, he says, “I’m a Constitutionalist.” And this is the NSA guy. He was in his late 20s. He said, “There’s a group of us in the NSA; we’re young guys.” He said, “You’re generation screwed it up. We’re going to try to make it right.” And he shook my hand and he walked off. And I said, well, that’s a good sign.
So there are some young people who are seeing that it’s time to take action. They’re inside of the government, the Secret Service. I see those as positive. Yeah, so I think you’re right. There is a young — if we can keep them inspired, though. That’s the key. People tend to get distracted with the materialism, and those things become really important. As somebody told me recently, “John, as long as people can go to the mall and shop, they’ll be happy.” But I go back to Nazi Germany. It was the same thing in Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany was the most cultured state in the world at the time. Art, all the theater; the great film directors came out of there, like Fritz Lang Go Directly to Jail: T... Best Price: $2.55 Buy New $22.99 (as of 07:50 EST - Details) and others. It was a very cultured country. And people were happy going to the mall and shopping. And then they wake up one morning and find out that, all of a sudden, it isn’t so nice. Your next-door neighbor just ratted on you and you’re going to be taken to a concentration camp.
ROCKWELL: Well, John, thanks so much for all you do. Thanks for your new book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. We’ll continue to promote it at LRC. And keep it up.
WHITEHEAD: Thank you.
ROCKWELL: Bye-bye, John.
Podcast date, August 13, 2013