Interview with Author John Whitehead
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – Let’s go to the Dude Maker Hotline and say hello to John Whitehead, who is the author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. Let’s give you a little background here. In the book “…The War on the American People, ‘we the people’ have now come full circle, from being held captive by the British police state to being held captive by the American police state.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Let’s go to the Dude Maker Hotline and say hello to John Whitehead, who is the author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. Let’s give you a little background here. In the book “…The War on the American People, ‘we the people’ have now come full circle, from being held captive by the British police state to being held captive by the American police state.” With all the controversy and the riots and all the other acts, untoward and unseemly public acts, that are going on in Baltimore today – they all involve the police state and supposedly began and proceed from the acts of the police – I thought it would be good to get Mr. Whitehead here on the program and talk a little about Battlefield America and about the police state that we currently live in. John, nice to have you on the show, sir.
John Whitehead: Thanks for having me on, sir.
Mike: You’re very welcome. So tell me about this battlefield America that we live in and that you document in the book Battlefield America.
Whitehead: I do document it. I have 43 pages of footnotes. One guy said: Whitehead, I want to call you a conspiratorial theorist and all that, but 43 pages of footnotes. I footnote everything. The reason I footnote is because I do a lot of research. I would say what you’re seeing in Baltimore is one of those last gasps. People realize something is coming down and it’s not pleasant. We saw it in Ferguson. There’s going to be reactions to it occasionally. As I show in the book, however, there were some strategists who came up with some pretty darn good plans, one being Martin Luther King. He said: You don’t need violence. If you organize and get the right kind of leadership, you can make a lot of really significant changes at the national level. I don’t think people seem to be listening to that right now. They’re just reacting. I can see why they’re reacting.
In Baltimore since 2010, they’ve killed over 109 people and 70 of those were black. You can see their concern that something untoward has happened there to African-Americans. I think what we’re seeing in the country, and I document it in the book, is from what I call the electronic concentration camp, the National Security Agency, who downloads two billion of our emails a day, over 500 million text messages. They now admit, these are all things they admit –
Mike: John, hold on a second. I have to digest the electronic concentration camp.
Whitehead: That’s the phrase I use because we’re in that.
Mike: I’m using that. I’ll give you credit.
Whitehead: 160,000 Facebook pages a day they hack into. They admit this. The thing about government, when they admit something, they’re just giving you the tip of the iceberg. I’ll give you a case that we handled here in Virginia where I’m located. A mother called crying one night. She was saying: They took my son away from my home and no one wants to help. I said: What did he do? She gave me the story. He’s a 26-year-old Marine. He’s a 9/11 truther, which there’s a few people out there like that. He didn’t like Obama’s executive orders. He’s a decorated Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan. He did some lyrics, never threatened anybody in particular.
One day he was typing after jogging. He didn’t have his shirt on. It was a hot, August day. He heard a noise outside, so he looks outside. Eight vans had pulled up on his lawns, guys in black outfits running, some in plain clothes. He steps to the front door and says: What’s up? They said: Could you step out, sir? We’re concerned about some of the things you’re saying on Facebook. He steps out. They immediately arrest him. He resists them. They slam him against the fence, lacerating his back. He was bleeding very badly. He gets to the police station. He asked for bandages and they put a prison shirt on him, one of those striped shirts, that stuck on his back. Remember, this is a Marine. He served his country well. I called the police chief. I said: What crime has this guy committed? You handcuffed this guy. He said: Oh, he committed no crime, we’re just concerned about his Facebook posts. He had a five-minute examination by a psychiatrist in a jail cell, a short hearing, and they put him in a mental hospital. We filed a lawsuit and got him out in seven days. The judge ruled he shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
What shocked me, and I was ignorant of this, there are 1.5 million civil commitments – that’s what they call these – each year where a board of psychologist and social workers meet. If the police or somebody report somebody, they decide whether that guy should be snatched from their homes. There are 1.5 million each year. I had a reporter from Los Angeles call me and said 80,000 in L.A. County alone.
Mike: That is shocking!
Whitehead: This is happening in America. Go back to the idea of the electronic – they’re watching everything you’re doing. NSA is calling high schools now reporting kids who are doing weird posts. They’re in the office the next day with the principal being examined. Free speech is what we used to call it. I have veterans who call me now. They do anti-Obama Facebook posts saying he stinks, they don’t like what he’s doing, this or that. The next day the FBI is at their door. We back the FBI off with a letter. They can’t do that, but they do threaten people. Everything you’re doing, folks – your electronic banking records, they know everything that’s in your bank account. By the way, the IRS doesn’t like that and they have their own SWAT team raids. They have hollow-point bullets. How many people realize the Department of Homeland Security, a year and a half ago, purchased 1.6 million hollow-point bullets for use by their agents? They violate international law. They explode on contact.
Mike: This is John Whitehead, the author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. Do you do a historical timeline on this, go linear from 1950 or whatever to the present day to try and flesh out how all this happened?
Whitehead: How it happened was, basically after 9/11 – it zoomed in the last 20 years, but it actually started back in the ‘80s, the first SWAT teams, 80,000 SWAT team raids. How many people realize there are 80,000 SWAT teams? They’re going through innocent people’s doors now. Kids are getting shot, killed. Near 80 percent of those – these are government figures – are for mere warrant service where a cop used to show up and knock on your door and ask if you were the person. They’re going through doors now. Cases I detail, people getting shot in their hallways. They think burglars are in their home.
It’s zoomed after 9/11, but it started a long time ago. It started early in the ‘50s. I detail how in 1938 – this is all documented by professors, by the way. In 1938, Edmund Patrick Coffey, who was the chief assistant to Herbert Hoover, went over to Nazi Germany and studied with the Nazis. He loved it. Hoover was going to go over but the war broke out. By the way, in 1938, Adolf Hitler was TIME’s man of the year. He was very, very popular at that point. That all shifted that kind of philosophy to America. By the 1950s, remember, they were rounding up people who might have talked to a communist or been part of a labor union. They were rounding them up.
It’s been a long train, but 9/11 was, I think, the excuse for zooming it. The militarized equipment that local – listen, police departments with less than 10,000 people in their communities have grenade launchers and MRAPs (mine-resistant armored protection vehicles), sniper rifles, night-vision goggles.
Mike: They have to have all these things because ISIS is getting ready to invade.
Whitehead: That’s right.
Mike: Besides that, the kid down the street who watched the television series Breaking Bad and decided he wanted to cook some meth, he may pose some kind of an automated weapon threat to everyone in the neighborhood. They have to be armed.
Whitehead: According to the FBI, by the way – they just released statistics. Violent crime citizen vs. citizen is at a 40-year low. The murder rate in 2013 was the lowest in the century. Unarmed police officers getting shot in the line of duty, according to the FBI, is at a 50-year low. The hollow-point bullets, by the way, they explode on contact. If you’ve ever seen the Zapruder film, John F. Kennedy, the reason half his head goes off on the back of the car is because of the hollow-point bullets. You’ve got the Social Security Administration ordered, a year ago, 200,000 hollow-point bullets for their SWAT teams. The Department of Education, and I document this, does SWAT team raids for overdue loans. There’s a guy named Kenneth Wright. His wife had an overdue loan. They put a SWAT team on him. They drug him out of his home, slammed his face down on his lawn with guns pointed at him for an overdue loan. What do you think Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington would think of that one?
Mike: I really do wonder this, and it’s difficult to ask the question without police officers wanting to yell at you and make you the next target of SWAT team attack. When someone signs up to be a peace officer and signs up to be the next Officer Friendly, at some point they have to realize that what you’re doing is not about community policing. You’ve been enlisted now, basically, as a commando of sorts in the war on terror, the fake war on terror here in the United States. We’ll just trump up charges so we can execute him. Then you’re being enlisted in the 40-year-long massive failure called the war on drugs. You’re not doing any community policing. All you’re doing is making sure that the jails remain filled, and the bullets and the bombs keep being made. Do you find police officers who have remorse?
Whitehead: A lot of them, yeah. I meet with them. I just helped developed several constitutional courses for police officers who want the Constitution taught in their academies. The older police officers, these are the ones who come to my office. They say the militarized training in the police academies now is changing the face of how police operate. They’re trained very militarily. Then they put the outfits on. I show this in my book Battlefield America. Once you put on the black garb, the Kevlar helmets, the assault rifles, they change. I don’t know if you saw the guy in Ocala, Florida who saw an armored vehicle go by in his community and he flipped the bird to the guy. In the tank, the two guys, they twisted and turned and pulled him over. It was the local police. They got out of the armored carrier in camouflaged outfits and cited him for an improper hand signal, which I thought was a pretty good hand signal if you were going: Hey, that’s your IQ. Who knows? You have to interpret those things.
Mike: You make a point, John, that many people that I know – again, I have to do this with kid gloves, because as soon as I mention this, I’ll get an email box filled with angry police officers saying I’m throwing all the cops under the bus.
Whitehead: No, we’re not doing that. I don’t do that. I work with police.
Mike: No one says, I don’t say, and it doesn’t sound like you say that we don’t need police officers.
Whitehead: No. We need police officers, yes.
Mike: The point that you’re making here and that you make in Battlefield America: The War on the American People is that police officers are now being trained not like police officers. They’re now being trained as if they are going into the military. It is the citizenry that will receive the benefit of the military action. When I point this out –
Whitehead: It’s how they view us now. They do it differently, yes.
Mike: When I point this out and I say to my good friends – and I won’t mention any names – dude, you guys are acting like military. You’re not acting like police.
Whitehead: We’re not Al-Qaeda, yeah.
Mike: Anyone with a pair of eyes can see this and you deny it. Why do you deny it? Look, I’m not out to get you, bro. I do want you to go home for dinner. And I love your kids, too, because I’ve met them. But someone has got to hold their hand up and say: Stop! Either we want cops or we want – we want martial law basically.
Whitehead: Exactly, you’re hitting it. I have a good friend who teaches in one of the police academies. He said: By the way, John, I’m known as the anti-cop. I said: Why are you known as the anti-cop? He says: I teach the Fourth Amendment. Can I read the first sentence of the Fourth Amendment to you?
Mike: Please do.
Whitehead: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search and seizures, shall not be violated . . . .” That sounds like a commandment to me. It’s one of my favorites, by the way. The point is ,that they don’t like those kinds of restrictions. You couldn’t do the SWAT team raids under the Fourth Amendment as James Madison wrote it, and he was urged to write those, by the way, by Thomas Jefferson.
Mike: And you couldn’t do them either – almost every state has a similar prohibition. I know Louisiana does. I know Virginia does. I know Texas does because I’ve read their constitutions. Anyone that was involved in the writing of a constitution, whether it’s a federal or state one, has acknowledged what you just said. Yet today, again, we face the prospect – it’s not the prospect because it’s expanding – of what has now become, as Radley Balko describes it, the warrior cop.
Whitehead: That’s the way they’re trained, yes.
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Mike: But this is a problem. It’s a problem to be addressed by people who care about their communities, not people who hate cops. I don’t hate cops. Do you?
Whitehead: No, I don’t either. I work with them. But here’s the point – you mentioned community. That’s how you can change it. When you see a SWAT team raid where a kid gets burned by a flash bang grenade – and that’s happening regularly now – when someone gets shot in their hallway and killed because the police were in the wrong home, which happens with these warrantless raids, you go to your city council and demand they bring those policemen in and have them retrained, and that is to respect us. Here’s what I say. I pay the salary of that police officer. By the way, I hear police officers use this term civilian now. I told one recently: Sir, I’m not a civilian, I’m a citizen, and so are you. You’re not the military, okay? Retraining – I’d say most cops that I meet today when I talk to them, they are kind of bandy and hyped up. If they’d just retrain them and say: You’re supposed to protect and serve. Why are they serving me? Because I pay your salary, dude. You’re supposed to be getting the bad guy not me.
Mike: John Whitehead, author of Battlefield America. Paul, make sure we have John on the Rolodex for quick dial. When these cases come up, John, will you come back on?
Mike: I’d love to have you back. I can’t wait to read the book. Thank you. John, thanks for your work. I appreciate it.
End Mike Church Show Transcript