"Most Americans today have no idea that since 9/11, one single organization has been responsible for hatching and financing more terrorist plots in the United States than any other. That organization isn’t Al Qaeda, the terrorist network founded by Osama bin Laden and responsible for the spectacular 2001 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. And it isn’t Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Al-Shabaab, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any of the other more than forty U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations. No, the organization responsible for more terrorist plots over the last decade than any other is the FBI. Through elaborate and expensive sting operations involving informants and undercover agents posing as terrorists, the FBI has arrested and the Justice Department has prosecuted dozens of men government officials say posed direct—but by no means immediate or credible—threats to the United States."-The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism by Trevor Aaronson (Excerpt)
Terrorism is a Distraction From a Larger Threat
We’ve been shortsighted. We’ve marginalized those who warned us. We’ve treated environmentalism as an irksome fad. We’ve given cadence to nontroversies and called it balance. We’ve spent trillions to protect ourselves against terrorists and done nothing to keep our biggest cities above water in a storm.
“One of the very important national security threats we face is climate change.” Said Senator Barbara Boxer in a 2007 cable interview. In the 2010 mid-terms, her opponent sacked Hewlett-Packard CEO, Carly Fiorina, made it into a campaign commercial and said: “Terrorism kills and Barbara Boxer is worried about the weather.”
Yes, the weather. This frivolous weather thing the hippies keep harping about just devastated the biggest, most densely populated, city in the country. The city that never sleeps shut down completely. The structural damage and loss in revenue are unprecedented. Even before Sandy, our weather-related fatalities far exceed the Americans who’ve died from terrorist attacks. Since September 11, 2001 there have been roughly 30 Americans killed by terrorism (depending on how you do the numbers). Meanwhile, extreme weather deaths in the same time period have totaled 6,408 as of 2011, according to the National Weather Service.
But the word “terror” is what’s ginning up the right wing and the phrase “climate change” never got mentioned once during the presidential debates.
"We conclude that verses extremists cite from the Qur’an do not suggest an aggressive offensive foe seeking domination and conquest of unbelievers, as is commonly assumed. Instead they deal with themes of victimization, dishonor, and retribution. This shows close integration with the rhetorical vision of Islamist extremists. Based on this analysis we recommend that the West abandon claims that Islamist extremists seek world domination, focus on counteracting or addressing claims of victimage, emphasize alternative means of deliverance, and work to undermine the ‘champion’ image sought by extremists."-
A new study of propoganda from 1998 to 2011 shows that Muslim extremists are more concerned with defending against foreign intrusion than striving towards worldwide offensive Jihad. The study’s researches, Jeffry Halverson, R. Bennett Furlow and Steven Corman, assert that
continued claims to the contrary, by both official and unofficial sources, only play into a ‘clash of civilizations’ narrative that benefits the extremist cause. These claims also undermine the credibility of Western voices, because the audience knows that extremist arguments are really about victimage and deliverance.
Real-life scenario No. 1: A man with a weapon strides into a military medical office in Texas and opens fire, killing 13 people and wounding 29 before he is stopped and taken into custody. In the ensuing news media coverage and public discussion, the incident is widely viewed as an act of terrorism.
Real-life scenario No. 2: A man with a weapon shows up at a public gathering inside a supermarket in Arizona and opens fire, killing six (including a U.S. district judge) and wounding 13 (including a member of the U.S. House of Representatives) before he is stopped and arrested. In the ensuing media coverage and public discussion, the incident is generally not characterized as terrorism.
The difference? In the first scenario — the 2009 Fort Hood shootings — the perpetrator, Nidal Hasan, was a Muslim of Palestinian ancestry. In the second — the 2011 Tucson shootings that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords gravely wounded — the perpetrator, Jared Loughner, was non-Muslim and white.
So it goes, according to new research by a terrorism prosecutions expert in Portland, Ore., when it comes to public perception of what constitutes terrorism. An analysis by law school professor Tung Yin of Lewis & Clark (the college where I work) reveals that race and religion strongly color portrayals of terrorism, to the point where crimes of a similar pattern — political motivation, mass destruction, indiscriminate killing, etc. — tend to be characterized differently in this country when the perpetrators are Muslim or of Arab descent.
Tom Krattenmaker in USA Today, reiterating what everyone already knew. The research is worth a read nonetheless.
The National Counterterrorism Center released its annual report on terrorism this week. The findings in a nutshell:
Seventeen U.S. private citizens worldwide were killed by terrorist attacks in 2011. These deaths occurred in Afghanistan (15), Jerusalem (1), and Iraq (1). Overall, U.S. private citizen deaths constituted only 0.13 percent of the total number of deaths worldwide (12,533) caused by terrorism in 2011.
So to be clear, there were no terrorism-related deaths in the US last year (which has held true for every year since 9/11). And out of the seventeen American deaths worldwide, all of them occured in countries we’re militarily occupying or actively assisting the occupation of.
Meanwhile, we’ve spent over a trillion dollars in the War on Terror, our budget reserves ten times the amount for military spending as it does for education and health services, and our government justifies civil rights violations using the overwhelming threat of “Islamic terrorism.”
When will people realize just how absurdly overblown that threat is? Moreover, when will our government admit responsibility for the cycle of violence that results in the few deaths that DO occur from terrorism? The “threat” is used to justify military occupation, while that occupation itself is in large part the source of the threat.
"What that means is, as soon as a member of al Qaeda sets foot on American soil, the first thing he hears after ‘You are under arrest’ is, ‘You have the right to remain silent, you have a right to be provided an attorney and if you can’t afford one, one will be provided for you. […] There may be differences about how we treat illegal aliens who come here as members of al Qaeda to conduct terrorist attacks, but I think the vast majority of people in this body and around the country do not think telling them they have the right to remain silent as the first thing they hear is a wise thing."-
Texas Rep. Mac Thornbury’s incredibly stupid reasoning behind voting against a bill to end indefinite detention in the United States. The measure was defeated by the House earlier today.
What Thornsbury and the 237 people who sided with him fail to acknowledge is that the implications of the National Defense Authorization Act that was passed late last year do not merely affect the rights of Al Qaeda terrorists; they present an unprecedented assault on the civil liberties of all Americans. Earlier this week, US District Court Judge Katherine Forrest ruled the NDAA’s indefinite detention provision unconstitutional, saying it had a ”chilling impact on First Amendment rights.” Forrest found that reporters and activists had a reasonable fear that the government could deem them to have provided support to someone associated with terrorist groups simply by interviewing them.
I had been hoping Obama would say something intelligent about what drove Abdulmutallab to do what he did, but the President uttered a few vacuous comments before sending in the clowns. This is what he said before he walked away from the podium:
‘It is clear that al Qaeda increasingly seeks to recruit individuals without known terrorist affiliations … to do their bidding. … And that’s why we must communicate clearly to Muslims around the world that al Qaeda offers nothing except a bankrupt vision of misery and death … while the United States stands with those who seek justice and progress. … That’s the vision that is far more powerful than the hatred of these violent extremists.’
But why it is so hard for Muslims to ‘get’ that message? Why can’t they end their preoccupation with dodging U.S. missiles in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Gaza long enough to reflect on how we are only trying to save them from terrorists while simultaneously demonstrating our commitment to ‘justice and progress’?
Does a smart fellow like Obama expect us to believe that all we need to do is ‘communicate clearly to Muslims’ that it is al Qaeda, not the U.S. and its allies, that brings ‘misery and death’? Does any informed person not know that the unprovoked U.S.-led invasion of Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and displaced 4.5 million from their homes? How is that for ‘misery and death’?" -Ray McGovern: The Obama Team Just Doesn’t Get It: US Violence and Occupation Spark Terrorism
"The concept of pre-emptive prosecution mocks domestic law as egregiously as pre-emptive war mocks the foundations of international law."-
Christ Hedges: First They Come For the Muslims. Hedges interviews Stephen F. Downs, a lawyer who has methodically documented the mendacious charges used to incarcerate many Muslim activists as terrorists.
The government lawyers must know these pre-emptive cases are fake,” he said. “They must know they’re prosecuting people before a crime has been committed based on what they think the defendant might do in the future. They defend what they are doing by saying that they are protecting the nation from people who might want to do it harm. I’m sure they’ve been co-opted at least to believe that. But I think they also know that they are twisting the legal concepts, they are stretching them beyond what the framework of the law can tolerate. They have convinced themselves that it is OK to convict many innocent people as long as they prevent a few people from committing crimes in the future. They are creating an internal culture within the Justice Department where there is contempt for the law and for the foundational principle that it is better for one guilty person to go free than that one innocent person is convicted. They must know they do not do justice, and that they serve only ideological ends.
"So, this trial was not about my position on Muslims killing American civilians. It was about my position on Americans killing Muslim civilians, which is that Muslims should defend their lands from foreign invaders – Soviets, Americans, or Martians. This is what I believe. It’s what I’ve always believed, and what I will always believe. This is not terrorism, and it’s not extremism. It’s what the arrows on that seal above your head represent: defense of the homeland. So, I disagree with my lawyers when they say that you don’t have to agree with my beliefs – no. Anyone with commonsense and humanity has no choice but to agree with me. If someone breaks into your home to rob you and harm your family, logic dictates that you do whatever it takes to expel that invader from your home.
But when that home is a Muslim land, and that invader is the US military, for some reason the standards suddenly change. Common sense is renamed ”terrorism” and the people defending themselves against those who come to kill them from across the ocean become “the terrorists” who are ”killing Americans.” The mentality that America was victimized with when British soldiers walked these streets 2 ½ centuries ago is the same mentality Muslims are victimized by as American soldiers walk their streets today. It’s the mentality of colonialism."
A few pages from a newly obtained NYPD report released by the Associated Press today.
Police have built databases showing where Muslims live, where they buy groceries, even what Internet cafes they use and where they watch sports. Dozens of mosques and student groups have been infiltrated and police have built detailed profiles of ethnic communities, from Moroccans to Egyptians to Albanians… . The effect of the program was that hundreds of American citizens were cataloged — sometimes by name, sometimes simply by their businesses and their ethnicity — in secret police files that spanned hundreds of pages.
The detail and scope of this is disturbing.
When the New York Police Department was doing some spying on Muslim students outside the city (that’s a thing it does, we learned from the Associated Press on Monday), an apartment officers used to spy on Rutgers students got a visit from the FBI on a report that it was a terrorist cell itself. This is the kind of reporting that won the AP a Polk award Monday for its series on the NYPD spying on Muslims. Not only did the department go well outside its jurisdiction to “get a better handle on what was occurring at” Muslim Student Associations, as spokesman Paul Browne told the AP, it did so in a pretty Keystone Kops manner at times:
Police also were interested in the Muslim student group at Rutgers, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. In 2009, undercover NYPD officers had a safe house in an apartment not far from campus. The operation was blown when the building superintendent stumbled upon the safe house and, thinking it was some sort of a terrorist cell, called the police emerency dispatcher.
The FBI responded and determined that monitoring Rutgers students was one of the operation’s objectives, current and former federal officials said.
This is too good.