Tag Archives: Fear Mongering

Video: “The FBI is Responsible for More Terrorism Plots In the United States Than Any Other Organization. More Than Al Qaeda, More Than Al Shabaab, More Than the Islamic State, More Than All Of Them Combined”

By WashingtonsBlog
June 6, 2015
Washington’s Blog

 

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/trevor_aaronson_how_this_fbi_strategy_is_actually_creating_us_based_terrorists.html

Investigative reporter Trevor Aaronson- executive director of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, author of The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism – has spent years researching and writing about FBI terrorism “stings” on mentally retarded and destitute Muslims orchestrated by informants convicted of rape and child molestation, who make some $100,000 per sting.

Aaronson notes:

The FBI is responsible for more terrorism plots in the United States than any other organization. More than al Qaeda, more than al Shabaab, more than the Islamic State, more than all of them combined.

***

I’ve spent years pouring through the case files of terrorism prosecutions in the United States, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the FBI is much better at creating terrorists than it is at catching terrorists.

Aaronson points out that the FBI hasn’t denied his reports:

We used the court file to find out whether the defendants had any connections to international terrorist groups, whether an informant was used, and whether the informant played the role of an agent provocateur by providing the means and opportunity. And we submitted that to the FBI and we asked them to respond to our database. If they believed there were any errors, we asked them to tell us what they were and we’d go back and check and they never challenged any of our findings. Later, I used that data in a magazine article and later in my book, and on appearances on places like CBS and NPR, they were offered that opportunity again to say, “Trevor Aaronson’s findings are wrong.” And they’ve never come forward and said, “These are the problems with those findings.” So the data has since been used by groups like Human Rights Watch on its recent report on these types of sting operations. And so far, the FBI has never really responded to these charges that it’s really not catching terrorists so much as it’s catching mentally ill people that it can dress up as terrorists in these types of sting operations.

And see this.

Clinton and Bush’s top counter-terrorism czar – Richard Clarke – said:

A lot of the cases after 9/11 were manufactured or enormously exaggerated and were announced with great trumpets by the attorney general and the FBI director so that we felt that they were doing something when, in fact, what they were doing was not helpful, not relevant, not needed.

We noted in 2011:

  • The Washington Post ran a story about one alleged threat entitled “Was it a terror sting or entrapment?“, showing that the U.S. government lent material support to the wanna-be terrorists, and put violent ideas in their heads
  • There are numerous other instances of entrapment of peaceful or mentally incompetent people who are then arrested as “terrorists”. For example, the “mastermind” of the terrorism plot was a self-confessed “pothead” , another was a crackhead, and that they were all semi-retarded. And see this, this and this

The Misinformation Burnout. Media Fatigue with “Islamism” and “Terrorism”

Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Terrorism

By Rev. Richard Skaff
May 19, 2015
Global Research

 

obama-isis“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832)

In this age of social media, 24 hours news service, and internet, the public is saturated with information or misinformation around the clock causing massive bloating and information fatigue resulting in significant indifference about important events in the world.

This phenomenon also applies to terrorism and Islamism where the media is constantly bombarding the airwaves with fear mongering images and bogus interviews with alleged experts and pundits in order to engender fear in the populace and ratings for their channels. “Be vigilant, because the Moslems are coming.” This is kind of retro, and a good reminder of the old cold war slogans like “The Russians or the commies are coming.”

Every nation must create a bogey man or a group to crucify and persecute, in order to unify the public behind their leaders, help them act out their collective aggression, and dodge the important domestic issues that plague the day.

Obama’s presidency initially attempted to moderate the news about terrorism and used intermittent reinforcement like re-killing of the dead OBL to keep people engrossed and scared, as well to earn kudos and increase presidential popularity. Unfortunately, as the 2016 election approaches, viewers can’t help but notice again a sudden airwave bombardment with terror and Islamists news. Per example, Al Qaeda is overhauled and renamed as ISIS to elicit more fear, rejuvenate interest, and pave the way for the next president JEB Bush ( see global research article June 29, 2014 titled “Who will be president in 2016: Theater of the absurd: Hillary Rodham Clinton versus John Ellis Bush) who will continue the ongoing presidential mission of saving our Christian nation from the evil Islamists that our government has once created and perpetuated for political and geostrategic purposes. Who will be the next terror organization once ISIS is overutilized?

It is capitalism 101 that calls for creating the problem, then, concocting the solution which will generate massive amounts of profits, power, and control. Per example, our government’s black operations that survive from the cash generated by drug money resulted for years in massive supplies of drugs into the ghettos, then, a war on drugs was waged in order to create a bigger law enforcement bureaucracy, give the illusion of winning wars and working to protect the public. Another example would be creating terror groups, then, developing the war on terror that generated billions of dollars for the Military Industrial Complex and the oil companies, and facilitated an easy path to spying on Americans, profiling them, micro-chipping them, as well exerting total control over the masses.

When it comes to terrorism, we began this journey in Afghanistan during the late 70s with the Mujahedeen, a mercenary group that was specifically trained by the CIA and the French intelligence into slitting throats and IEDs, in order to engulf the Soviet Union in a horrifying and losing war that mimicked the Vietnam War. Later on, this group was morphed and renamed into Al Qaeda which was originally the name of the computer data base that contained the names of the thousands of mujahedeen who were recruited and trained by the CIA to defeat the Russians, as admitted by former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, whose Foreign Office portfolio included control of British Intelligence Agency MI-6 and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), in a column published by the UK Guardian newspaper.[9] These mercenaries were employed and continue to be used across the globe to destabilize countries.

The new terror organization “ISIS” was given the name of an ancient Goddess that is easy to remember by the western public. Friendly names or logos are picked because they can be easily tattooed in the public’s mind, like 9 1 1. Public relations firms in New York are key players into creating these names and campaigns that capture public imagination. Usually, people living in caves are not pretty familiar with our common western cultural themes, which we tend to take for granted. That is why logos like 9 1 1, ISIS etc, are extremely effective.

What will the future bring to ISIS once the public grows weary and exhausted of this name and its alleged pseudo-organization? I am suggesting the name, “OSIRIS” which might be a decent prospective replacement (Organization for Social Injustice and Rulers of Islamic State) assuming the New York PR firms will adopt it. Osiris was the god of the dead, and ruler of the underworld. Osiris was the brother/husband of ISIS, and the brother of Nepthys and Seth. He was also the father of Horus. As well as being a god of the dead, unfortunately, Osiris was also a god of resurrection and fertility. [7]

Brief History into the name of ISIS

: Isis nursing Horus, wearing the headdress of Hathor. [2]

Isis (/ˈsɪs/; Ancient Greek: Ἶσις; original Egyptian pronunciation more likely “Aset” or “Iset”[1]) is a goddess from the polytheistic pantheon of Egypt. She was first worshiped in Ancient Egyptian religion, and later her worship spread throughout the Roman Empire and the greater Greco-Roman world. Isis is still widely worshiped by many pagans today in diverse religious contexts; including a number of distinct pagan religions, the modern Goddess movement, and interfaith organizations such as the Fellowship of Isis.

Isis was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the patroness of nature and magic. She was the friend of slaves, sinners, artisans and the downtrodden, but she also listened to the prayers of the wealthy, maidens, aristocrats and rulers.[2] Isis is often depicted as the mother of Horus, the falcon-headed deity associated with king and kingship (although in some traditions Horus’s mother was Hathor). Isis is also known as protector of the dead and goddess of children.

The name Isis means “Throne”.[3] Her headdress is a throne. As the personification of the throne, she was an important representation of the pharaoh’s power. The pharaoh was depicted as her child, who sat on the throne she provided. Her cult was popular throughout Egypt, but her most important temples were at Behbeit El-Hagar in the Nile delta, and, beginning in the reign with Nectanebo I (380–362 BCE), on the island of Philae in Upper Egypt.

In the typical form of her myth, Isis was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, goddess of the Sky, and she was born on the fourth intercalary day. She married her brother, Osiris, and she conceived Horus with him. Isis was instrumental in the resurrection of Osiris when he was murdered by Set. Using her magical skills, she restored his body to life after having gathered the body parts that had been strewn about the earth by Set.[4]

This myth became very important during the Greco-Roman period. For example it was believed that the Nile River flooded every year because of the tears of sorrow which Isis wept for Osiris. Osiris’s death and rebirth was relived each year through rituals. The worship of Isis eventually spread throughout the Greco-Roman world, continuing until the suppression of paganism in the Christian era.[5] The popular motif of Isis suckling her son Horus, however, lived on in a Christianized context as the popular image of Mary suckling her infant son Jesus from the fifth century onward.[6]

ISIS in the 21st century

ISIS is allegedly an Al Qaeda-linked Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant, known for its ruthless tactics and suicide bombers and who currently poses a threat throughout the Middle East.[3] It is also known as a militant group “Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham,” (ISIS) or the “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL).[4] Allegedly, The Huffington Post reported that this group has declared its intent to restore the Islamic Caliphate, renaming itself as simply the Islamic State (IS) and naming a leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as Caliph.[8]

It is comical and suspicious that these ragtag mercenaries and U.S. assets have the skills and the ability to inculcate themselves into the western minds. Unfortunately, these thugs are covered by the media around the clock to produce scary news. They become heroes and exceptional villains that movies are made about them. In reality, they are nothing but a tool to the money masters and power vampires who feed off human misery and resources like parasites. Unfortunately, once the blood is drawn, these parasites become fat and get the illusion of becoming lords and masters of the universe. Their ability to kill for the sake of killing and personal gain has given them endurance to maintain their reign over humanity for hundreds of years.

Recommendations for a new geo-strategy

Let’s face it; Islamism and the Middle East have been overdone. I sincerely hope that the Obama administration will work with the U.S. policy makers such as the Central Intelligence Agency, the military, and Private Arms Industry in another word the Military Industrial Complex, or as Michael Glennon in his National Security and Double Government book called them the “Trumanite Network” to finally shift the focus from the wretched Middle East to Eurasia and East Asia, which is Russia and China. We need revive the old slogans “The Russians are coming” which will carry more weight than ISIS. We also need to strategically combine it with another scary slogan “The Chinese are also coming” and as a result we need to step up the rhetoric and evoke perpetual and virtual wars with these powers in order to keep the public scared, impoverished, and subdued. Meanwhile, a war economy must have constant wars. It is time to move away from the McNamara vision of having low intensity conflicts to the 21st century’s virtual conflicts. These virtual conflicts can also be covered around the clock by the establishment media. As a result George Orwell’s vision will be completed.

Conclusion

The public has experienced terrible fatigue and boredom with Islamism and terrorism. The public’s mind is satiated with Islamism and can no longer absorb further propaganda. It’s clever to change the name from Al Qaeda to ISIS or even OSIRIS to renovate the anti-Islamic zeal and to re-trigger a phobic reaction of this religion and its people. However, while our leaders are escalating the rhetoric against terrorists and Islamists, they are at the same time Islamifying the United States and Europe by bringing in Moslem refugees from across the Middle East after destabilizing and destroying their countries.

It is time that the Anglo-American-Israeli axis begins to switch gear, and shift attention from Islamic terrorism to East Asian and Eurasian nuclear conflicts that will decimate the world.

The Chinese are Russians will be once again the new and exceptional villains who will be descending from the steppes to destroy the West just like the barbarians did before them. Islamists can still be used occasionally as agents for Russian and Chinese killing of westerners. Variety is the spice of life, therefore, a variety of monsters might keep the public interested and frightened, instead of bored and burned out with the same fictitious enemy. Eventually, as we experience another burnout with East Asia and Eurasia, we can always resort to aliens from outer space that will be invading our little petty earth. Beware, “The Green Aliens are coming.”

Meanwhile, let’s begin a perpetual and virtual war with Eurasia and East Asia. Then, every once in a while we’ll rotate the enemy to reduce information fatigue and preserve our fears and paranoia, and keep the government in total control of our lives.

Let’s remember that we desperately need the government as our father figure who protects us and control us from ourselves. Our own stupidity and insignificance is our worst enemy. As Ernest Becker once said, man is worm and is eaten by worm. Therefore, the public creates a government entity that rules him, enslaves him, controls him, and makes him believe he is free. This is a brilliant phenomenon that was engineered to guide the frightened herds by the few sociopaths that thrive in their parasitic lives as they gain power, wealth, and control over the imbecilic and trusting masses.

Finally, I am not sure how much control will the elite want. We are already profiled, micro- chipped, spied on, and monitored more than East Germany during the Stasi rule or the Soviet Union during Stalin. At what point will enough be enough? Therefore, the public must stop voting and encouraging this charade of pseudo-democracy. Once the vote stops the elites will be exposed and the image will be clear that the United States is run by a dictatorial plutocracy not a democracy. Let the elite elect each other and marry one another to maintain their wealth and influence, and maybe once they achieve the immortality they seek through their money and power they will leave us alone.

Notes

  1. www.ancientegypt.co.uk/gods/explore/osiris.html
  2. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isis
  3.  Harry Eilenstein: ISIS: Die Geschichte der Göttin von der Steinzeit bis heute. BOD, Norderstedt 2011, ISBN 3-8423-8189-1, p. 9 – 10.
  4. R.E Witt, Isis in the Ancient World, p. 7, 1997, ISBN 978-0-8018-5642-6
  5. Henry Chadwick, The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great, Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 526, ISBN 978-0-19-926577-0
  6.  Loverance, Rowena (2007). Christian Art. Cambridge, MA:Harvard University Press. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-674-02479-3
  7. www.ancientegypt.co.uk/gods/explore/osiris.html
  8. 4. Yasmine Hafiz, (2014). What Is A Caliphate? ISIS Declaration Raises Questions. Huffington’ post June 30, 14
  9. www.dailypaul.com/77379

Police shift their line on Australia’s latest terrorism “plot”

By Mike Head
May 14, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

A 17-year-old teenager was remanded in custody on Monday after facing a children’s court in Melbourne on unspecified charges of “engaging in an act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act” and “possessing things connected with a terrorist act.”

For the second time in two weeks, alarming police claims and media reports about teenagers planning imminent terrorist attacks—first on April 25 (the “Anzac Day plot”) and then May 10 (the “Mother’s Day plot”)—have proven to be dubious.

Last weekend, federal and state police chiefs claimed to have foiled a bombing, just in time, that would definitely have killed people. “As a result of Victoria Police and Australian Federal Police [AFP] interception, some Victorians are going to be alive because of it,” AFP Deputy Commissioner Mike Phelan told a media conference.

“Mother’s Day bomb plot: Teen allegedly blocked family and friends from Facebook posts” was the headline in the Sunday Herald Sun, a Melbourne tabloid. According to the Fairfax Media’s Age: “Up to three teenagers have been arrested in relation to a Melbourne terror plot that was reportedly set to be carried out on Mother’s Day. A 14-year-old boy in Sydney was also arrested in relation to the ‘imminent threat’.”

Ending any hopes of the teenager receiving a fair trial, Prime Minister Tony Abbott seized on the raids to launch another terrorism scare campaign. “There is evidence of a bomb plot that was in a reasonably advanced state of preparation,” he declared last Saturday.

However, by the time that the 17-year-old, who cannot be named because he is a minor, appeared in court on Monday, the police had admitted they had no evidence of any attack planned for May 10, or any other specific date. Nor could they nominate a supposed targeted location.

The police also revealed that no other arrests had been made, and they were not investigating any other suspect. No connection was alleged to the 14-year-old reportedly detained in Sydney.

AFP Deputy Commissioner Phelan stated: “We may not know exactly where it was going to occur nor when it was exactly going to occur, but … let me tell you, something was going to happen.”

Victoria Police Acting Chief Commissioner Cartwright said there was no evidence the teenager planned on attacking a specific event. Nevertheless, the police chief sought to continue the atmosphere of crisis. “We will allege he was well advanced in preparing a bomb,” he maintained.

This claim contradicted the earlier police accounts of detecting three “suspected improvised explosives devices” and detonating them in a local park. That operation, conducted by heavily-suited bomb disposal personnel, was designed to give the impression that bombs actually existed.

Cartwright said investigators were not looking for anyone else in connection with any plot, but were exploring the possibility of online radicalisation. His statement underscored the focus on the teenager’s political views, which voiced hostility to the atrocities being committed by the US and its allies throughout the Middle East.

Cartwright declared that, under existing legislation, the teenager could face an adult court, despite his youth. Media proprietors also applied to the children’s court judge to publicly name the boy. This was refused, but the judge said the application could be revisited at a later date.

Media interviews with members of the 17-year-old’s family gave a picture of the terrifying manner in which balaclava-clad Special Operations Group police officers armed with assault rifles stormed their house last Friday. The operation was clearly intended to send a wider signal to working people of the powers of the police to shoot to kill.

The boy’s mother first thought the police were “some type of terrorist group,” she told the Sunday Herald Sun. “I thought I was being shot at, I thought I was going to be killed,” she said. The police shot at her car as she backed out of the driveway. “[T]hey started shooting into the tyres, around the car … five or six times,” she related.

Police sources claimed the bangs were flash charges, thrown beneath the car to distract the teenager. But family members said police, with automatic weapons drawn, pulled the 17-year-old from the car and yelled at his mother to get out.

The boy’s sister, who watched the scene from the house, rushed outside, only to be confronted by three police with drawn guns who yelled “do not move.” The sister screamed to her friend to “call the cops” but the armed men answered back, “We are the cops.”

Questions remain about the timing of the operation. Police said there was an anonymous tip to the national security hotline nine days earlier. The raid was only launched once an attack was “imminent.” Now that claim has been abandoned.

Two weeks earlier, both Abbott’s Liberal-National government and the Victorian state Labor government of Premier Daniel Andrews exploited the arrests of five other teenagers to urge people to turn out in large numbers to attend the Anzac Day ceremonies marking the centenary of the disastrous British-led invasion of Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula during World War I.

The vague charges laid against the 17-year-old highlight the political and legal purposes of a crucial amendment to the terrorism laws that was rammed through the Australian parliament in November 2005 by the Howard Liberal-National government, with the full support of the Labor Party and the Greens.

That amendment changed the wording of all terrorism offences from “the” to “a” terrorist act. That has allowed the police to arrest and successfully prosecute people without having to show evidence of any specific terrorist act. Nothing has to be proven about any time, place, date, target, method or equipment used—simply that “a” terrorist act was being plotted, even a hypothetical one.

In a manufactured atmosphere of national crisis, all the parliamentary parties, including the Greens, lined up behind the government in rushing the amendment through both houses of parliament within 36 hours. Prime Minister John Howard claimed he had received “specific intelligence” about a “potential terrorist threat.”

For electoral reasons, the Greens have postured at times as critics of aspects of the police-state terrorism laws, while mostly proposing cosmetic modifications. When the World Socialist Web Site exposed their role in backing the amendment, they protested, claiming that the change had “no discernible impact.”

In reality, the amendment opened vast new scope for police-government frame-ups and “terrorist” scare campaigns. Last weekend’s raids are the just the latest in a long line of cases that have relied on the shift from “the” to “a.”

By voting for the key amendment, the Greens displayed their broader role of lending legitimacy to the fraudulent “war on terror.” Its real purpose has become increasingly clear—to provide a pretext for escalating US-led militarism in the Middle East, and for the ripping up of basic democratic rights and civil liberties at home.

New Australian police “terror” raids used to ramp up crisis atmosphere

By Mike Head
May 9, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Heavily-armed Australian federal and state police conducted raids on homes in Melbourne and Sydney yesterday, reportedly detaining a 17-year-old boy in Melbourne and a 14-year-old in Sydney.

The police have provided virtually no information about arrests or alleged evidence involved. They claimed to have detonated three “suspected improvised explosive devices” discovered in one northern Melbourne house.

Nevertheless, headlines in this morning’s Murdoch media tabloids declared that police had foiled an “imminent terrorist plot,” supposedly timed for tomorrow, which is Mothers’ Day in Australia.

Murdoch’s Australian reported, “exclusively,” that the raids resulted from a tip-off by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the country’s domestic political spy agency.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott quickly seized on the raids to launch another terrorism scare campaign. “There is evidence of a bomb plot that was in a reasonably advanced state of preparation,” he declared today. His comments prejudiced any chance of a fair trial, as his similar remarks have done in other recent arrests.

Like previous such raids, these were conducted in a blaze of media coverage designed to whip up an atmosphere of crisis and danger. Television footage showed police in bomb-proof suits scouring through a targeted home, armoured vehicles cordoning off surrounding streets and scores of military-style Special Operations Group police carrying semi-automatic assault rifles.

A 300-metre exclusion zone was imposed and unspecified devices were reportedly exploded in a neighbourhood park, ensuring that local people heard what they described as sounds like muffled gunshots.

Government leaders were consulted in advance about the raids. According to the Sydney Daily Telegraph: “NSW [New South Wales] Premier Mike Baird was briefed on the counter-terror operation on Thursday at a meeting with Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione and his deputy Cath Burn.”

It is not yet clear if there was any connection between the timing of the raids and the denial of bail yesterday to 18-year-old Melbourne teenager Harun Causevic. He was detained on April 18 in raids carried out to allegedly prevent a terrorist attack on the official April 25 celebrations of Anzac Day, marking the centenary of the disastrous British-led invasion of Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula during World War I.

These raids form part of an escalating pattern of highly-publicised police swoops on homes in working-class areas since September, when more than 800 police conducted Australia’s largest-ever such operations, just before Abbott’s government announced the deployment of troops and war planes to join the latest US-led intervention in Iraq and Syria.

This morning, a 17-year-old detained yesterday was charged with the vague offences of “engaging in an act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act … and possessing things connected with a terrorist act.”

From what has been reported, the allegations seem to be as dubious and politically-motivated as those in the previous police operations, like the “Anzac Day plot” raids.

Alleged Facebook posts by the detained teenager were splashed across the pages of the Melbourne Herald Sun. No posting made any threats of terrorism. Instead, they voiced anger and anguish at the atrocities being committed by the US and its allies, including Australia, as well as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, throughout the Middle East.

“If you came home to somebody that used chemicals on your family, then slaughtered them and raped them and then burnt them alive, would you be still preaching ‘forgiveness’? one read. Another stated: “The ‘Muslims’ are quick to condemn the actions of the Islamic State [ISIS], but you will never see them condemning the US atrocities against Muslims, you will never see them condemning the crimes against Muslims in Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Iraq etc etc …”

The publication of these posts suggests that the teenager has been targeted, at least partly, for his political views. In fact, under the latest barrage of “anti-terrorism” laws passed by the Abbott government, with the backing of the Labor Party, since September, expressions of opposition to the outrages being inflicted on the people of the Middle East in the US-led quest to dominate the resource-rich region could be prosecuted as “advocating” or “promoting” terrorism.

State governments have also exploited the atmosphere of crisis to issue directives that all police must be armed, wear bullet-proof vests and work in pairs.

In Melbourne yesterday, Magistrate Suzie Cameron rejected the bail application of 18-year-old Causevic, meaning that he will remain in a maximum security prison at least until August, when a committal hearing is due.

Police prosecutors declared that the teenager faced life imprisonment if convicted of “conspiring to prepare a terrorist act.” Australian Federal Police agent Denis Scott also cited Causevic’s supposed political views, accusing the teenager of being motivated by “an extreme ideology” and a “hatred and disdain” for authority in Australia.

Magistrate Cameron said that despite Causevic’s young age and lack of criminal history, she was not satisfied that “exceptional circumstances” existed to allow his release. The terrorism laws have reversed the centuries-old presumption in favour of bail. Defendants now must prove that unique extenuating factors make bail essential.

Lawyers for Causevic gave a string of reasons he should be released on bail, including that his family would offer a $150,000 surety and he would undergo counselling with Islamic leaders.

But Cameron described Causevic’s behaviour, which allegedly included watching police and contacting weapons dealers, as “deeply concerning”—even though such activities are legal. The magistrate agreed that the teenager’s political opinions and/or mental health required imprisonment. “At worst, he has been radicalised, at best, he is psychologically or psychiatrically unwell,” she said.

Outside the court, Causevic’s father, Vehid Causevic, accused Prime Minister Abbott of instigating a political witch hunt. He said Abbott’s “message” was that “whatever young Muslims who [are] going five times per day in mosque will be charged like terrorists.” He insisted that his son had done nothing wrong, and if anyone could prove otherwise, “I’ll go in jail for all my life.”

Causevic said he and his son had been the victims of terrorism by Victoria Police officers who broke into his home on April 18, dragged people out of bed and physically assaulted his son, breaking his arm. Abbott and Victorian Labor Premier Daniel Andrews utilised the April 18 raids to foment fears of terrorism and drum up support for the Anzac Day war celebrations.

Incredibly, according to the police, the so-called Anzac Day plot was the brainchild of a 14-year-old British boy, who allegedly spoke online to another Melbourne teenager, Sevdet Besim, 18, about “taking out some cops.”

Both Besim, who is also charged with “conspiring” to commit a terrorist act, and the unnamed boy, from northwest England, have been denied bail as well. The 14-year-old is the youngest ever charged with a terrorism offence in Britain, and will reportedly be placed on trial as an adult.

Police conceded that Harun Causevic did not even know of the allegedly incriminating conversation. The main link alleged between him and Besim is that they were friends of Numan Haider, another 18-year-old from the same area of southwestern Melbourne, who was shot dead by police last September in dubious circumstances.

Yesterday’s raids again demonstrate the connection between war and the assault on fundamental legal and democratic rights. Like the massive national police mobilisation during last December’s Sydney café siege, which involved a sole deranged hostage-taker, all these police operations have been used to justify the dispatch of more troops to join the US-led war in the Middle East and the introduction of further police state-style “counter-terrorism” laws.

‘God Told Me to Do It’: The Dangers of America’s Lunatic Right

By Peter Sterry
April 20, 2015
21st Century Wire

 

Christian Fundamentalism Permeates the Republican Party: Sarah Palin’s links to the Christian RightThese are truly insane times.

Aside from the odd grumblings about being a “Christian nation,” here in Britain we are mostly divorced from strong religious themes in our politics. Not so in the US, and I’m not talking about Prayer in Schools here either.

Something big is brewing in America, and it’s not all good. It’s not just the usual war hawk talk from the rank and file Rambo crowd like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and new baby hawks like Senator Tom Cotton. We understand them and their desire to act on behalf of the military industrial complex to sell more Apaches, planes, bombs, boats and missiles. Men such as these can be found everywhere throughout history. They love and want war, and always will.

That’s not it though. There is something else. There exists a rather ugly anti-Arab, or more specifically – anti-Islam wave which is being pushed along, gradually building up into a Zeitgeist in US right-wing political and ‘Christian’ discourse. Presently, this is threatening to go mainstream in America. This is partly due to 15 years of the West’s war against Arabs, and a classically conditioned Pavlovian western anxiety surrounding Muslims. This is not just traditional bigotry, or even racism. It is both disturbing – and frightening, not unlike similar Nazi rhetoric which ushered in Germany’s modern dark age. The same patterns are now being mirrored in certain side-shows within the US political circus.

1-Crusades-Iran-IsraelIMAGE: ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS!

This is exactly how Hitler gathered steam in the early days of the Third Reich – by employing an overtly jingoistic, and even genocidal, racist party line – in order to invigorate his hard core supporters whom he knew would form the phalanx of his foot soldiers later on. In this kind of jagged political environment, facts do not matter at all, but FEAR is everything. If a politician or a street agitator can instil fear into the crowd, then he, or she, knows that power is well within their grasp.

To super charge the political narrative, and rally the remaining foot soldiers who don’t necessarily understand politics too well but are still eager to follow, a leader must evoke fundamentalist religious, mythological, or occult-based belief systems. To make this ideological jump, nogoosestep is required. Here, fellow travelers Adolph Hitler, Rudolf Hess and Heinrich Himmler were able to quietly coordinate a masterful mix, establishing a popular and potent cocktail of reactionary politics and derivative occult and mythological lore and corresponding symbology.

The soil for this kind of convergence has never been more fertile in the US as it is today. Since the early 1980’s, when the Republican Party discovered how important the Evangelical and Christian Zionist right-wing movements were in providing a strong political base, ‘End of Times’ mythology has steadily propagated throughout the United States. With that, a collection of bizarre, yet well-organized movements and sub-movements have evolved, and in each instance, these have provided universal backing to US wars and interventions in the Middle East and elsewhere, seeing these as ‘Holy Wars’ – in a Clash of Civilisations – rather than geopolitical maneuvers. As writerDaniel Spaulding explains,

“The United States has long been the home of a wide assortment of bizarre and eccentric sects and cults, most being harmless, or at least lacking the ability to do any serious harm outside of their immediate proximity without large-scale followings nor serious political access. But there are always exceptions, and one of the more prominent and influential ones is the highly politicised and well-funded Dispensationalist movement, a vocal and well-represented faction among fundamentalist Protestants. Not only do Dispensationalists have a large scale following, but they also manage to wield considerable influence in Washington, especially on US foreign policy.”

Within this contrived ‘End Times’ meets the Crusader, or Samuel P. Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilisations’ dialectic, Arabs and Muslims are almost universally characterized as terrorists and generalised as a universal threat which “must be dealt with”. Given enough time, these same preachers will be eventually craft a similar ‘End Times’ narrative around Russia, or China (some already have).

Throughout the usual paranoid rhetoric (from the usual suspects) on this subject, no specific mention is made as to how exactly the millions of  Arabs and ‘potential’ radical Islamic terrorists – should be “dealt with”. So say the hawks and the zealots. The only thing missing from this 21st century remix of Nuremberg’s Greatest Hits is talk of a “final solution” – even though this is what is clearly being inferred by certain politicians and American talk radio hosts who relentlessly pander to their highly lucrative, but helplessly terrified audiences. Some right-wing American pundits have even come out openly advocating a nuclear final solution to this ‘problem’.

To a lesser degree, and only on paper (so far anyway), Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann represents a mixture of these. Ever since her exit from politics last year, Tea Party favorite Bachmann has since been flirting with media regarding a possible 2016 Presidential run, although many believe she is already a spent force. Now she is urging more pastors around the country to speak from their pulpits about the coming “end of times”, which Bachmann insists is just around the corner. She believes that America’s ‘Christian believers’ are now in competition with Muslims, who themselves are already speedily preparing their own ‘end times’ pathway, in what she describes as, “the coming of their twelfth imam.”

Daniel Spaulding adds,  “Indeed, the late American intellectual Gore Vidal whimsically observed that the practical result of this Dispensationalist theology was a “military buildup that can never, ever cease until we have done battle for the Lord”.

Not by coincidence, the Dispensationalist theological narrative also happens to feed directly into the State of Israel’s own geopolitical and territorial expansion goals and objectives. As a mantra for geographical and cultural expansion, modern Zionism is not so different from the “Glory of Rome”, 19th century America’s ‘Manifest Destiny’, Britain’s Empire on which “the sun never sets”, or Nazi Germany’s Lebensraum” (living space). Israel desires and is actively pursuing its own Lebensraum too, which is called the Greater Israel Project (see their map here).

This is where the American Christian and evangelical right-wing, along with the Israeli Zionist lobby crossover with America’s Republican and Tea Party wings, and the glue which keeps it all together is money – lots and lots of money – for anyone willing to get up in public and sell this bizarre, albeit antiquated, pre-Medieval doctrine of the ‘Tribe of Israel’, the ‘Israelites‘ or ‘God’s chosen people’. According to this new doctrine, any threat to go off script, in other words, any threat to the Jewish State of Israel – is a threat to ‘destiny’ as prescribed by the End Times religious movement. You could go even further into depth and dig into the Anti-Christ and Jesus returning etc, but we’ll hit pause there. Some Islamic branches are also pushing a similar End Times narrative (including ISIS). Notice also how this plugs directly into the current fictional narrative (invented by the very same parties) that “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map”. And there you have it – a potent religious justification for a preemptive military strike against Iran, as the centre piece for World War III.

Preachers and snake oil salesmen are one thing, but heads of state are another. When God speaks to political leaders these days, it seems that all God wants to talk about is war. On this count, both the US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair claimed that, ‘God told me to bomb and occupy Iraq.’ We should all understand the dangers of mixing religion with geopolitics by now.

Even though US President Barack Obama is on the way out with only a year and half to go in office before he retires to a predictable life of opening libraries, foundations, speeches and travel around the globe brokering peace deals – Bachmann and her fellow ‘Christian Soldiers’ (onward!) are convinced that Obama is reciting the Koran in the Oval Office and secretly organising ISIS training seminars over the border in Mexico. The big question is: what will they do when Obama finally leaves office? Will they blame him for all of America and the world’s ills for the next 8 years (exactly as the Democrats have done for the last 6 years, same show, different channel)?

Her recent remarks only reinforce what we already suspectedthat Obama is the least of worries….  In an article in the Christian Post, entitled Michele Bachmann Says Jesus’ Second Coming is ‘Imminent;’ Obama’s Nuclear Negotiations With Iran Are ‘Pro Islamic Jihad’, author  Samual Smith acknowledges that:

1-Michelle-Bachmann

Former congresswoman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has accused President Barack Obama of being “pro the goals of Islamic jihad,” which she explains includes welcoming the “hidden imam” to bring on the apocalypse.

In appearing on the “Understanding the End Times” radio program with Jan Markell last weekend, the 59-year-old Minnesotan bashed the president’s foreign policy goals as being aligned with the goals of Islamic extremists, who she argues have the ultimate goal of bringing about the end of the world and paving the way for the Islamic Messiah.

“Our president, who is as consistent in his foreign policy world view, which is to be anti-Israel and pro, and I’ll say it in my own words, pro the goals of Islamic jihad, because that is what we are seeing,” Bachmann asserted. “These are the goals of Islamic jihad.”

She explained that in February, Obama tried to justify the potential nuclear agreement with Iran by saying that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said it was against Islam to obtain a nuclear weapon.

Bachmann decried that “myth” and stated that Obama is either “ignorant of Islamic scripture” or he is trying to perpetuate a lie to the American public.

“Not only is there any such fatwa, he said that the supreme leader issued a fatwa, issuing a religious opinion, that it said that it was against Islam to obtain a nuclear weapon. Only there has ever been this fatwa found, nobody has ever seen it or heard it. It has never been published,” Bachmann said. “But, it reveals that our president is as ignorant of Islamic scripture as he is at Islamic history. Or, he is trying to intentionally lie to the American people. We don’t know which it is.”

Bachmann also called out the fact that Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani labeled Iran’s diplomacy with the United States as an “active jihad” in early March.

“Our negotiations with the world powers are a source of national pride,” Rouhani said in March. “Yesterday. your brave generals stood against the enemy on the battlefield and defended their country. Today, your diplomatic generals are defending [our nation] in the field of diplomacy — this, too, is jihad.”

Bachmann goes on to further explain Iran’s Shia Muslim goals by stating that they foresee and eventual world were only Islam reigns.

Islam is a flame because they see to that their scripture is being fulfilled. If you are a Shia, you believe that we are going to see the hidden imam soon come back and we will have an apocalypse and we will have an all-out war and then peace will come with only Islam reigning,” she said. “If you are Sunni Islam, you also believe that it is the end of the age. As Christians, we know that the word of God is true. Let’s preach the true living word of God from every pulpit so that believers can know what God’s time clock is.”… Christian Post 

Imagery and Empire: Understanding the Western Fear of Arab and Muslim Terrorists

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research, April 6, 2015
Strategic Culture Foundation,  April 6, 2015

 

US soldiers in IraqIt has been claimed that if all terrorists are not Arabs or Muslims, that most terrorists are Arabs or Muslims. Is this true or another myth? An empirical look at data compiled in the US and Europe will help answer this question.

The notion that the majority of terrorist attacks are committed by Arabs or Muslims not only lacks a historical perspective, but is an unempirical argument that is tied to modern Orientalism that is alive and kicking. Orientalism, itself is heavily tied to US views of exceptionalism. It is an area of thinking where exceptionalist and racist views coincide profoundly. In fact, there is a thin line between all three.

In an outdated linear and geo-ethnocentric way of thinking, whatever societies are located east, as well as south, of the US, Canada, and Western Europe — particularly France, Britain, and the Germanic-speaking countries — are viewed as deficient and inferior. In Europe, this means everyone east of Germany is either tacitly or overtly portrayed as culturally backward. This means the Balkans, Slavic peoples, Albanians, Greeks, Turks, Romanians, Orthodox Christianity, and the ex-Soviet republics.

Under Orientalist thinking in the US, even lower on the totem pole are non-Europeans. This means the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Like exceptionalist attitudes, Orientalist views are important for supporting Washington’s foreign policy and wars as a noble enterprise. US Orientalist attitudes see the rest of the world, from Mexico to Iraq and Russia, as needing US tutelage and stewardship. This is a reconstruction of what was called the «white man’s burden» that was used to justify the colonization of people that were perceived as non-whites.

The Relationship between Terrorism and Arabs and Muslims

Arabs and Muslims are major quarries of US Orientalism. Either tacitly or openly, both Arabs and Muslims are portrayed as uncivilized subjects. Terrorism is deeply tied to images of Arabs and Muslims in the minds of many US citizens and this is why it is falsely believed that most terrorists are Arabs or Muslims.

To varying degrees whenever individuals that are Muslims or ethnically Arabs commit crimes in so-called Western societies, such as Canada or the US, the assessments made have either tacitly or openly passed judgment on all Muslims or Arabs collectively. The Arab and Muslim backgrounds of these individuals is used to explain their crimes. The crimes of Arab or Muslim individuals are not presented exclusively as the crimes of individuals, but as a collective crime. These notions ignore the facts that Muslims are the biggest victims of terrorism.

Seven out of the top ten countries afflicted by terrorist attacks are predominately Muslim, according to the Australia-headquartered Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Terrorism Index for 2014, which is based on the University of Maryland’s meta-analytic Global Terrorism Database. Using a maximum value of ten and a minimum value of zero, the entire international community is systematically ranked. Although the definition of terrorist incidents in the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database can definitely be debated over, important inferences can be made from its data sets and the Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Terrorism Index.

Several key features can be noticed, if readers look at the nature and identities of the perpetrators of what is classified as acts of terrorism among the top thirty countries in the Global Terrorism Index for 2014. The first feature is that the violence generated from the ascribed terrorist groups falls within the framework of insurrections and civil wars that are generally equated as acts of terrorism. For example, this is the case for countries like Somalia, the Philippines, Thailand, Colombia, Turkey, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nepal, which are respectively ranked seventh, ninth, tenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, twenty-second, and twenty-fourth place. Under closer examination several of these insurgencies can be tied to international rivalries and power plays by the US and its allies. This becomes obvious when more observations are made.

The second feature is that the majority of the cases of terrorism in the indexed countries, especially the higher ranked they are on the list, are connected to Washington’s direct or indirect interference in their affair. For example, this is the case for Iraq, NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Russia, Lebanon, Libya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, China, and Iran, which are respectively ranked first, second, third, fifth, seventh, eighth, eleventh, fourteenth, fifteenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth, twenty-fifth, and twenty-eighth. US-led wars, Pentagon interventions, US-backed coups, or US government support for so-called «opposition» groups or proxy regimes have all been a basis for the affliction of terrorism in these countries. Out of the above countries, according to the Global Terrorism Index, 82% of global deaths that are assigned to acts of terrorism happen in NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, and Nigeria. The ties to US foreign policy should be clear.

Not all Arabs/Muslims are Terrorists, But Most Terrorists are Arabs/Muslims?

It has been claimed that if all terrorists are not Arabs or Muslims, that most terrorists are Arabs or Muslims. Is this true or another myth? An empirical look at data compiled in the US and Europe will help answer this question.

In the US, which is ranked in thirtieth in the Global Terrorism Index for 2014, the majority of terrorists are not non-Muslims according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Inside the US, 6% of terrorist cases from 1980 to 2005 were committed by Muslim terrorists. [1] The other 94% of terrorism cases and terrorists — in other words, the vast majority — were not related to Arabs, Muslims, or Islam. [2]

While the FBI’s methodology on what is a terrorist attack and what is not a terrorist attack is questionable, it will be accepted herein for arguments sake. According to the same FBI report, there were actually more terrorist attacks launched by Jews from 1980 to 2005 on US soil. The same FBI data was compiled by the Princeton University linked webpage loonwatch.com in a chart that describes the breakdown cases of terrorist attacks on US soil from 1980 to 2005 as follows: 42% Hispanic terrorism; 24% extreme left-wing group terrorism; 16% other types of terrorists that do not fit into the other main categories; 7% Jewish terrorists; 6% Muslim terrorists; and 5% communist terrorists. [3]

While Muslim terrorists comprised 6% of the attacks on US soil from 1980 to 2005, Jewish terrorists and Hispanic terrorists respectively comprised 7% and 42% of the terrorist attacks in the US during the same period. There, however, is no fear mongering about Jews or Hispanic people. The same media and government focus is not given to them as is given to ethnic Arabs and Muslims.

The same pattern repeats itself in the European Union. Loonwatch.com also compiles data on terrorism in the European Union from the reports of the European Union’s European Police Office (Europol) from 2007, 2008, and 2009 in its annual EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Reports. [4] The data further distances Muslims from terrorist acts. 99.6% of the terrorist attacks in the European Union were committed by non-Muslims. [5] The number of failed, foiled, or successful terrorist attacks by Muslims in the EU from 2007 to 2009 was simply five attacks whereas the number of terrorist attacks by separatist groups was 1,352 attacks, which equates to approximately 85% of all terrorist incidents in the European Union. [6]

According to Europol, the number of failed, foiled, or successful terrorist attacks by so-called left-wing groups was 104 while another 52 attacks were categorized as non-specific. [7] In the same period, two attacks were attributed to so-called right-wing groups by Europol. [8]

There is a huge disparity in who is causing and committing terrorism and who is being victimized and blamed for it. Despite the overwhelming facts, whenever Arabs or Muslims commit crimes and acts of terrorism, they are the individuals that are focused on whereas non-Arabs and non-Muslims are ignored.

If it does acknowledge that Muslims are the biggest victims of terrorism, Orientalism still manages to assess some guilt to the victims of terrorism by tacitly portraying them as members of a savage community or society that are as much prone to facing a violent end as animals in a jungle.

Imagery and Empire

Illusions are at work in the world. The truth has been turned on its head. The victims are being portrayed as the perpetrators.

Whether stated candidly, implied, or unmentioned, the notion of Arabs and Muslims as savages and terrorists plays on the imagery that the so-called Western World embodies equality, freedom, choice, civilization, tolerance, progress, and modernity whereas the so-called Arab-Muslim World underneath its surface represents inequality, restrictions, tyranny, a lack of choices, savagery, intolerance, backwardness, and primitiveness.

This imagery actually serves to de-politize the political nature of tensions. It sanitizes the actions of empire, from coercive diplomacy with Iran and support for regime change in Syria to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and US military intervention in Somalia, Yemen, and Libya. As mentioned earlier, in varying degrees, this imagery extends to other places that are seen by US Orientalists as non-Western places or entities, like Russia and China.

At its roots, this imagery is really part of a discourse that sustains a system of power that allows power to be practiced by an empire over «outsiders» and against its own citizens. It is because of US foreign policy and economic interests that Arabs and Muslims are unempirically portrayed as terrorists while real world data that shows that US intervention is creating terrorism is ignored. This is why there is a fixation on the attack on Parliament Hill in Canada, the Martin Place hostage crisis in Sydney, and the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, but US, Canadian, Australian, and French governmental support for terrorism that has cost tens of thousands of lives in Syria is ignored.

NOTES

[1] Federal Bureau of Investigation, Terrorism 2002-2005, (US Department of Justice, 2006): pp.57-66

[2] Ibid.

[3] «All Terrorists are Muslims…Except the 94% that Aren’t,» loonwatch.com, January 20, 2010.

[4] «Europol Report: All Terrorists are Muslims…Except the 99.6% that Aren’t,» loonwatch.com, January 28, 2010.

[5-8] European Police Office, EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2007 (The Hague, Netherlands: Europol, March 2007); European Police Office, EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2008 (The Hague, Netherlands: Europol, 2008); European Police Office, EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2009 (The Hague, Netherlands: Europol, 2009).

Netanyahu Insists Iran Deal Includes His Demands

By Stephen Lendman
April 05, 2015
Global Research

 

NetanyahuThey want final say over any future agreement. Ideally, they want none at all. They want Iran isolated and weakened. They want its government ousted.

They want Israel’s main regional rival eliminated. They’re willing to wage war to achieve their objectives.

Netanyahu said any deal with Iran must include “a clear and unambiguous Iranian recognition of Israel’s right to exist.”

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf dismissed his demand out of hand saying:

Agreement with Iran “is only about the nuclear issue…(It) doesn’t deal with any other(s), nor should it.”

On April 3, The New York Times headlined “With Iran Deal in Hand, White House Makes Sales Pitch to Preserve It.”

Saying Obama briefed Republican and Democrat leaders by phone before agreement was announced.

He promised more updates as talks continue. Senior administration officials began promoting the deal.

“The intensity of the campaign reflects the steep challenge Mr. Obama faces in building support among lawmakers…skeptic(al about” any deal with Iran.

Fierce anti-Iranian sentiment may kill any eventual agreement. Congressional opposition could undermine months of administration efforts to achieve something it considers successful – true or false.

The Wall Street Journal reported cracks in the Democrat/Jewish alliance over any Iran deal and Obama’s dispute with Netanyahu.

Saying “(m)any US Jewish leaders are unnerved both by the new Iran nuclear agreement and the public falling out between President Barack Obama and his Israeli counterpart, developments that are creating a rift in the durable alliance between Jews and the Democratic Party in the run-up to the 2016 elections.”

They continue warning about a nonexistent Iranian threat to Israel. They want Obama’s relationship with Netanyahu softened.

They want US/Israeli relations strengthened – regardless of its permanent war on Palestine and outrageous human rights violations.

Some want Iran held hostage to Israeli demands. Expect Tehran to face enormous obstacles ahead to achieve any kind of fairness.

Expect Israeli and US-controlled IAEA chief Yukiya Amano to invent fake claims of Iranian backtracking to obstruct lifting sanctions.

Expect things Washington accepted to be reinterpreted otherwise. Expect Iran to face an uphill battle ahead achieving much less than it deserves, including:

  • lifting all sanctions straightaway on completing a final deal with no triggering mechanism for reinstating them based on likely bogus backtracking claims;
  • ending the charade once and for all about an Iranian nuclear weapons program the whole world knows doesn’t exist – stating publicly there’s none now, earlier or likely ahead;
  • normalizing ties with Washington and other Western countries – including reestablishing diplomatic relations; and
  • recognition of Iran’s sovereign independence and right to be accepted like Western nations treat other countries.

It’s hard imagining any deal ending 36 years of intense US anti-Iranian sentiment.

Not as long as Congress, Israel and its Lobby maintain strong opposition to dealing with Iran fairly.

Or Obama demanding much more than he’ll give – on top of America’s duplicitous history of violating treaties, conventions and deals it agreed to.

It remains to be seen if business as usual continues. Odds strongly favor it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Obama declares “national emergency” based on alleged cyber threats from Russia, China

By Thomas Gaist
April 3, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

In yet another escalation of the drive by the US ruling class to establish unconstrained control over the world’s information networks, US President Barack Obama issued an executive order Wednesday declaring a “national emergency” over cyber attacks on US targets. The order authorizes economic sanctions and the seizure of financial assets and other forms of property from any entity considered a “security risk.”

Obama’s six-page order, “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities,” warns that the sweeping powers, are necessary to combat an “unusual and extraordinary threat to national security” stemming from cyberattacks against US infrastructure. The order also asserts new powers to impose travel restrictions against alleged security threats, which can be exercised against any “partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization.”

The executive order also authorizes the US secretary of the treasury to impose financial sanctions on foreign entities accused of hacking American computer systems, clearing the way for escalated confrontation with the Russian, Chinese and Iranian governments, all of which US officials now regularly accuse of sponsoring hacking operations against Western banks and corporations.

The legislation “will give us a new and powerful way to go after the worst of the worst,” Obama wrote in an online post. In a strong indication that the order will be used as the pseudo-legal basis for new sanctions and other provocations against US rivals, Obama directly accused Russian and Chinese hackers of launching cyber attacks on American troops.

“The same technologies that keep our military strong are used by hackers in China and Russia to target our defense contractors and systems that support our troops. Networks that control much of our critical infrastructure—including our financial systems and power grids—are probed for vulnerabilities by foreign government and criminals,” Obama wrote.

“Our primary focus will be on cyber threats from overseas,” Obama wrote, vowing that the White House would move aggressively to ensure that full use is made of the expanded cyberpolicing powers.

Obama also boasted about his administration’s efforts to expand direct data sharing between corporations and the government. The US government is “working to improve our ability to quickly integrate and share intelligence about cyber threats across government and with our foreign partners” and “working to share more information about threats and solutions with industry,” he wrote.

The supposed threat of cyber attacks against US companies and infrastructure is a major component of US war propaganda aimed at preparing public opinion for war with a number of targets, above all China and Russia.

Following the lead of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US media and political establishment hyped accusations beginning in November that North Korea had launched a cyberattack on Sony Pictures. The US government subsequently imposed sanctions against North Korean officials supposedly involved in the attack.

Wednesday’s decree grants broadly defined emergency powers to the Treasury Department modeled on those give to the “counterterrorism” agencies in the wake of 9/11.

The order gives the government “a powerful new tool” against “those who would exploit the free, open, and global nature of the Internet to cause harm,” according to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, and will enable the Treasury to project power against overseas US cyber-adversaries, according to John Smith of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The US government requires “the full range of tools across the spectrum in order to actually confront the cyber threats that we face,” White House cybersecurity chief Michael Daniel told reporters Wednesday.

Claims of the US government to be defending legality are laughable. US cyber operations systematically violate democratic protections established in the Bill of Rights against arbitrary searches and seizures. The FBI has aggressively sought changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure which would dramatically loosen Fourth Amendment-based warranting requirements for electronic hacking operations by the government, and effectively enable agents to implant malware on any computer they choose, without asking a judge for specific authorization.

As a result of programs initiated under the Bush administration and expanded under Obama, the National Security Agency and other federal bureaucracies already enjoy virtually complete access to data stored on the servers of the major telecommunications providers. FBI Director James Comey insisted in appearances last year that major cellphone providers grant back doors into their security systems to ensure that US agents free access to cellular data of US smart phone users. Obama has presided over the expansion of programs run by the NSA and FBI to collect, analyze and share personal data from the general population in vast quantities.

Rather than a concern for security, the Obama administration’s cyber-emergency decree is part of efforts by the US government to establish essentially limitless powers for its intelligence agencies to spy on and hack rival governments and working people around the world.

Numerous experts have warned that complex malware technology deployed by US agencies is accelerating the spread and evolution of weaponized software. Extensive purchasing by the US government of “zero day” hacking “exploits,” programs specially tailored to exploit previously unknown vulnerabilities in widely used software platforms, has fueled the growth of markets for new offensive hacking techs and other pathological forms of software.

“ISIS in Brooklyn”: US Media Inflate Threats With “ISIS Plots” Which Don’t Actually Involve ISIS

By Adam Johnson
April 02, 2015
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting

 

CNN: Suspects 'Accused of ISIS Support'

Actually, the suspects were accused of conspiring to support ISIS–a significantly different legal charge.

Last Friday, the FBI announced another harrowing, 11th-hour capture of Americans plotting to join “ISIS” and launch attack within the United States. The case of two Illinois men, Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds and his cousin Jonas Edmonds, ostensibly involved the former going to Syria to join ISIS there while the latter stayed in the US, plotting to attack “scores” at a military base.

Right on cue, the American media publish dressed-up FBI press releases about the “disrupted” plot, complete with balaclava-wearing stock photos: “FBI Disrupts Plot to Kill Scores at Military Base on Behalf of Islamic State” was the Washington Post‘s headline (3/26/15).

These outlets, as usual,  omitted the rather awkward fact that this “ISIS plot” did not actually involve anyone in ISIS: At no point was there any material contact between anyone in ISIS and the Edmond cousins. There was, as the criminal complaint  lays out, lots of contact between the Edmond cousins and what they thought was ISIS, but at no point was there any contact with ISIS–the designated terror organization that the US is currently launching airstrikes against.

This distinction may seem like semantics, but it’s actually quite important when trying to accurately inform the public–only 40 percent of whom read past the headlines–about the reality of the ISIS threat vs. the fear-inducing media spectacle that so often inflates it.

MSNBC: 'ISIS Plot'

While less sensational press like the Washington Post and the New York Times are careful to avoid calling the sting operations “ISIS plots,” many outlets turn misdirection to explicit misrepresentation: This MSNBC headline (3/26/15) is fairly typical of how the reader is misled into thinking ISIS is actually involved in these arrests:

National Guard Soldier, Cousin Charged With ISIS Plot

The Edmond cousins weren’t actually charged with an ISIS plot.  They were charged with attempting to hatch an ISIS plot, but they are not accused of having any contact with ISIS whatsoever.

In a political environment where only a slight majority (54 percent) currently support the ongoing war effort against ISIS in Iraq and Syria–and soon potentially dozens of other countries–this sleight-of-hand has subtle but tremendous propaganda value. The specter of ISIS constantly trying to enlist dozens of Americans, often for attacks on US soil, is a crucial element in maintaining the current war effort. The media’s inability to point out that these “plots” are almost always entirely of the FBI’s making helps perpetuate the illusion and inflate perceived risk.

John Knefel  noted recently in the New Republic (3/24/15) the gap between our perception of the ISIS threat and the reality:

The likelihood of Al Qaeda or ISIS launching a massive attack inside the United States is “infinitesimal,” according to the Washington Post, yet a recent poll found 86 percent of Americans now see ISIS as a threat to U.S. security.

That perception, however, is based largely on a myth. The Triangle Center’s report states that publicly available information does “not indicate widespread recruitment of Muslim-Americans by transnational terrorist organizations to engage in attacks in the United States, or sophisticated planning by the handful of individuals who have self-radicalized.”

Fox News: The Lure of ISIS

This trope is also present when reporting on the much-hyped “ISIS social media” army. In a  piece headlined “The Lure of ISIS,”  Fox News (12/16/14) used two cases, that of Abdella Tounisi and Basit Javed Sheikh, as evidence of Syrian jihadists’ social media appeal–without mentioning that fact that both men, according to the FBI’s own complaints, interfaced almost entirely with FBI-created “jihadi” social media:

The cases involve individuals from all across the country, from Florida to Minnesota to Colorado. They underscore the challenge US law enforcement continue to face, as well as the global reach of recruiters and propagandists from ISIS and other groups.

But the case of Tounisi and Sheikh cannot “underscore the global reach of ISIS recruiters and propagandists,” since the only recruiters and propagandists these men met online were the FBI’s “OCE”–Online Covert Employees. In the case of Abdella Tounisi, the FBI went so far as to create an entire fake Al-Nusra website, complete with a fake Al-Nusra training video and a fake Al-Nusra email list, as the DOJ’s complaint explained.

Basit Javed Sheikh, the 29-year-old North Carolina man, was duped using an FBI-created “Al-Nusra” Facebook page set up by a female FBI employee posing as an “Al-Nusra nurse” in Syria. The “nurse” persona would have other social media accounts, as well as an “Al-Nusra” Facebook page complete with extremist messages, videos, pictures and content–all created by the FBI.

Would Tounisi and Sheikh have sought other “recruiters” online? It’s impossible to say. (Also important to note that Sheikh had fallen in love with the “Al-Nusra nurse” FBI persona, who allegedly promised him marriage in Syria.) But what is clear is that FBI-created extremist social media isn’t evidence that extremist social media is helping recruit Americans for ISIS or Al-Nusra. But media treat FBI ruses that simulate terrorist activities as evidence that the crimes the FBI is ostensibly seeking to prevent are actually happening.

The New York Daily News (3/9/15) would take this perverse logic to a comical extreme last month with this goofy headline:

Daily News: 'ISIS in B'klyn'

ISIS was not, of course, in Brooklyn. FBI agents posing as ISIS were. This isn’t a matter of emphasis–it’s a matter of reality.


Adam Johnson, a freelance journalist, was a founder of the hardware startup Brightbox. You can follow him on Twitter at @adamjohnsonnyc.

Muslim vs. White Mass Murderers

By Matt Peppe
March 31, 2015
Dissident Voice

 

islamophobia1In the early months of 2015, there have been two separate mass murders inside France that have generated headlines worldwide for their brutality and disregard for human life. In early January, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi entered the Paris offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and gunned down 11 employees, and shot dead one police officer on their way out. Last week, in an act of mass murder with more than 12 times the number of victims, 27-year-old pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally guided the plane he was flying straight into the French Alps and killed all 150 people on board. Yet it is only the former murderous act that has been described by politicians and portrayed in the media as an existential threat and an example of terrorism.

The coverage of the Kouachi brothers downplayed their humanity by describing them as calculating, rational, indifferent killing machines. A New York Times article, titled “From Amateur to Ruthless Jihadist in France,” describes “two jihadists in black, sheathed in body armor” who “gave a global audience a ruthless demonstration in terrorism.” The “hardened killer(s)” were said to walk “with military precision,” and “nonchalantly” take a phone call.

The article explains how French security services were unable to prevent the attacks: “The brothers appeared so nonthreatening that surveillance was dropped in the middle of last year.” Yet they had a long history of being monitored by French authorities, evidenced by the “thousands of pages of legal documents obtained by The New York Times, including minutes of interrogations, summaries of phone taps, intercepted jailhouse letters.”

It is seen as a failure of the security services, who presumably should not have let the brothers out of their surveillance dragnet. Their “steadily deepening radicalism .. occurred virtually under the noses of French authorities, who twice had Cherif in their grasp.”

There is no blame attributed to the French socioeconomic system, which relegates most of France’s Arab population to a permanent underclass of unemployment and poverty. As racial minorities in a country that holds few opportunities for people with their background, the brothers worked dead-end jobs like delivering pizzas and fish mongering. They were not able to get jobs at French investment banks or in the fashion industry. Certainly this must have produced adverse mental health effects.

There is no discussion of whether destitution and marginalization contributed to the Kouachi brothers’ decision to use violence against people who, to them, apparently represented a source of their humiliation.

Neither is there blame on French foreign policy, which has been complicit in arming and funding Al Qaeda for many years in Libya, Syria and other countries. France’s support for violent extremism abroad and its potential to create blowback at home is likewise disregarded in media analysis.

The murderous Germanwings pilot received a very different portrait in The New York Times. The title of a profile on Lubitz reads like a eulogy: “Andreas Lubitz, Who Loved to Fly, Ended Up on a Mysterious and Deadly Course.”

He has a name and a passion. And unlike the “ruthless jihadists,” who chose their path as criminals, Lubitz “ended up on a mysterious course” as if he was a passenger on the journey, rather than the instigator who drove 149 people intentionally to their death.

In describing the “mystery” behind Lubitz, the Times says that “the focus has turned to what had driven him to such an act – and to whether the airline industry and regulators do enough to screen pilots for psychological problems.” As was the case with Newtown elementary school killer Adam Lanza, the problem is understood as one of “missed chances,” in the workplace or by social services, not the police and security officials.

CNN wrote that Lanza “was an isolated young man with deteriorating mental health and a fascination for mass violence whose problems were not ignored but misunderstood and mistreated.” Lubitz had reportedly been treated by psychotherapists for “suicidal tendencies” and possibly suffered from depression.

For white young men like Lubitz and Lanza, the problem was a failure of society – parents, teachers, employers, government regulators – to recognize and treat mental health problems. Implicitly they are people deserving help, not security threats deserving surveillance and monitoring. The mental health of the killers is understood to be a cause – if not the primary cause – behind their actions. They were victimized by their mental health, whereas the Kouachi brothers were rational actors responsible for their actions.

Near the bottom of the New York Times article, a surviving Charlie Hebdo journalist is quoted as saying that one of the brothers told her “We don’t kill women.” One of the brothers also reportedly told a salesman “We don’t shoot civilians.” They clearly did kill civilians, but unlike either Lubitz or Lanza, they did spare lives rather than kill indiscriminately. Yet only the Kouachis are described as “hardened killers.”

Why such different treatments of the massacres and the killers responsible for them? Simply put, the massacre by the Kouachi brothers can be attributed to “Islamic extremism” while the massacre by Lubitz cannot. Surely the passengers who “shrieked in terror” would not have considered themselves any less terrorized than employees of Charlie Hebdo witnessing the masked attackers with Kalashnikovs.

The Paris attacks were described by CNN, BBC, New York Times, NBC, and virtually every major Western news outlet as terrorism. But the Germanwings plane crash has not been called terrorism at all. USA Today reported that the FBI “has found no connection of anyone aboard to terrorism.” CNN reported that Lubitz “was not known to be on any terrorism list, and his religion was not immediately known.”

In other words, it was not immediately known whether Lubitz was a Muslim, and, by extension, whether he was a terrorist. This connection between religion and terrorism, used in the same sentence in the CNN article, demonstrates how terrorism in common usage is understood to be about who a person is rather than what he does. Two Muslim brothers of North African heritage are terrorists when they murder 12 people, while a white German is not a terrorist when he murders 149.

Terrorism is perceived as the most heinous type of crime. Terrorists are thought to be irredeemable, subhuman creatures who do not even qualify as legitimate members of society with rights. But there is no commonly accepted definition of a terrorist, so any terrorist label is completely arbitrary. Unsurprisingly, there is a racial and cultural bias for using such a label.

Media portrayals of mass murderers are a representation of the society’s attitudes towards the subjects they cover. That Muslims and Arabs engender an irrational fear is nothing new. As Edward Said explains in Orientalism, this has a long history.

“For Europe, Islam was a lasting trauma. Until the end of the seventeenth century the ‘Ottoman peril’ lurked alongside Europe to represent for the whole of Christian civilization a constant danger, and in time European civilization incorporated that peril and its lore, its great events, figures, virtues and vices, as something woven into the fabric of life,” Said writes.

This danger still manifests itself in the disproportionate reaction of Western nations and its people to crimes that can be attributed to Islam and Arabs. Even if, as is the case with the Kouachi brothers, they were born and raised in France, never having stepped foot in their parents’ native country of Algeria. But “Frenchness” is still widely understood to be the exclusive domain of the country’s Catholic population.

As Joseph Massad notes in The Electronic Intifada, French colonialists killed millions of people in Vietnam, Algeria and Madagascar, practicing inhuman forms of savagery and torture in the process. In this context, the Kouachi brothers and their accomplice should be compared.

“Despite the horrific magnitude of the three men’s deeds, their crimes remain numerically modest and pale in comparison to with the far more cruel French Catholic and ‘laic’ monstrosities that have reached genocidal proportions across the globe,” Massad writes. “Had the Kouachi brothers and Coulibaly lived, however, they would have still needed many more lessons in cruelty and violent intolerance before they could become fully assimilated into true Catholic and laic Frenchness.”

After the Charlie Hebdo shooting, more than a million people marched in Paris with 40 heads of state “in the most striking show of solidarity in the West against the threat of Islamic extremism since the September 11 attacks,” according to the New York Times.

The marchers, “people of all races, ages and political stripes swarmed central Paris beneath a bright blue sky, calling for peace and an end to violent extremism.” This in the same city where six months earlier French authorities banned marches demanding an end to Israel’s massacres in Gaza, where nearly 2,200 people were killed by drone strikes, tank and naval shelling, artillery fire, and F16 bombings.

In an farcical piece of irony, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who ordered and presided over the military assault, was standing in the first row of world leaders demonstrating their “unity in outrage” during the staged march.

The framing of the Charlie Hebdo narrative as an assault by Islam against Western civilization misrepresents the violence as uniquely Islamic and uniquely evil. Any comparison of the media coverage of mass murderers must recognize that race and ethnicity drive the way those crimes are understood and portrayed. To American and European whites, Islam has always been perceived as a force that needs to be subdued and controlled, usually through violence. It is no surprise that crimes by “Islamists” are depicted by Western media through this lens, in ways that equivalent or more serious crimes by whites are not.

Matt Peppe writes about politics, U.S. foreign policy, and Latin America. You can follow him on twitter. Read other articles by Matt, or visit Matt’s website.