Ahead of next year’s presidential election, the federal police agency has created a new “extremist” category to monitor and combat: the most devoted and loyal supporters of Donald Trump.
According to Newsweek, regime-critical Republicans will be combated using methods that the USA previously employed to crush terrorist groups like al-Qaida.
The extremist category is called AGAAVE – an acronym for “anti-government, anti-authority violent extremism”. Those under investigation are individuals purportedly engaged in “furtherance of political and/or social agendas”.
James Bovard of the New York Post points out that the formulations and definitions are very vague, suggesting that anyone questioning the policies of the Biden administration is at risk of being labeled an extremist. He notes that while the FBI is obligated to have, or at least claim to have, solid information before initiating a criminal investigation, almost no concrete information is needed to start an “assessment” or “analysis” resulting in an individual being labeled as an extremist.
Over 5,500 “assessments” related to domestic terrorism were conducted in 2021, a tenfold increase since 2017 and a fiftyfold increase since 2013. According to investigative journalist William Arkin, these “assessments” are the closest thing to domestic espionage in the USA, something the FBI is reluctant to discuss openly.
Dissidents seen as “terrorists”
There’s also evidence suggesting that the demand for terrorists by those in power far exceeds the actual domestic supply, as a high-ranking federal official testified to Newsweek.
– We’ve become too prone to labeling anything we don’t like as extremism, and then any extremist as a terrorist.
FBI whistleblower Steve Friend shares this view, stating there’s “belief that half the country are domestic terrorists and we can’t have a conversation with them”.
– There is a fundamental belief that unless you are voicing what we agree . . . you are the enemy.
Trump portrayed as dangerous threat
Over recent years, the Biden administration has depicted Donald Trump and his movement as an existential threat to American democracy, warning of the alleged risks of domestic terrorism and violence linked to the 2024 election campaign.
– Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans are a threat to the very soul of this country, declared Joe Biden last year.
Similar statements have been made by Biden’s appointees and staff members, repeatedly identifying Donald Trump and his followers as dangerous threats to the USA that must be stopped.
James Bovard sees parallels between arbitrarily labeling political opponents as “extremists” and the treatment of well-known anti-war activists during the Vietnam War. During that time, it was common for FBI agents to “interview” anti-war activists, spreading paranoia and fear, creating an impression of FBI agents lurking everywhere.
“The more paranoid Trump supporters become, the easier it will be for Team Biden to portray them as public menaces.”
Bovard is also concerned that details about the FBI’s “secret war” against political opponents may not become public knowledge until long after the presidential election has been decided.