Terror Plot or Propaganda?

August 31, 2006 by  


By Dr. A.S. Nakadar

I recently wrote to predict that the Neo-cons and their allies will raise the boogeyman of terrorism in the pre-election period to influence the elections. And this is in fact what we have witnessed over the past couple of weeks—a drumbeat of trumped-up and speculative charges of terrorism that steadily resonates and amplifies the fear of the American people.

This fear serves two purposes. One is the political end; the Republican trump-card to counter the upper-hand the Democrats have as they approach the November elections. A second purpose is to dampen the debate on the recently concluded war between Israel and Hezbollah, because discussion of what happened will reflect badly on the USA, UK and Israel, but reflects relatively well on Hezbollah.

By the time the UN Security Council called for an “End to Hostilities” after 34 days of fierce fighting between Israel’s army and Hezbollah, Israeli’s myth of invincibility had been shattered and Hezbollah had courageously withstood the onslaught. Israel and the US didn’t expect the ferocious resistance offered by Hezbollah, nor its capability to inflict causalities inside Israel through its missiles.

Those 34 days dominated the world media reporting. With the announcement of the “End to hostilities” the world would start debating the war’s outcome. Many claimed Hezbollah’s victory, an unpalatable thought for Israel, USA and the UK. It became imperative for the Neo-cons and Israelis to divert world attention and to shift focus away from this issue.

It is noteworthy that the UK terror plot was discovered on Thursday, August 10, late in the evening. The first broadcast of the news took place in the US at 2:00AM Friday. The UN passed its Resolution 1701 [which would go into effect the following Monday August 14]. The announcement of arrests for the liquid-bomb plot occurred over the weekend, August 12-13. This strategy dominated the UN resolutions, its implications and the war outcome.

So, do you see how useful the terror boogeyman can be? Sensational reports of bombs disguised as liquids, speculation on the manner of use of liquids as bombs, and long stories on the added difficulties of getting through additional levels of airport security all quickly replaced coverage of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict and resolution.

Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, called the liquid bomb plot “propaganda.”

“None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not even have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency would mean they couldn’t be a plane bomber for quite some time,” wrote Murray in the aftermath of the plot’s “discovery.”

The issue has been raised to hysterical proportions as evidenced by the many reports of people who refused to fly with Muslims, Arabs, or South Asians in the days following the revelation of the plot.

Consider the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Mumbai, India, which was diverted back to Amsterdam because of inter-passenger paranoia. Dutch police arrested twelve people for behaving “suspiciously” on the flight, but, as has so often occurred they were released later without any charges. The government of India lodged a strong protest against the maltreatment of its citizens and the Dutch government apologized.

Coverage of the UK Terror Plot has taken center stage in international news from the time of Resolution 1701’s passage until today, with consequently minor attention given to news stories related to Lebanon, for example the oil spill in the Mediterranean from Israeli attacks.

The demagoguery is the opportunity for Republican and right-wing candidates to hide from real issues like the Iraq war and the US’s flagging economy.

Peter King’s prejudice against the Muslim is well known. In 2004 he said that 85 percent of the mosques in the United States have extremist leadership. He is seeking re-election from the third district of NY and currently chairs the House Homeland Security committee. He said that the airport screeners shouldn’t be hampered by “political correctness.” Last week he endorsed requiring people of “Middle Eastern and South Asian” descent to undergo additional security checks because of their ethnicity and religion.

Similarly, Paul Nelson, a Republican running in the third district of Wisconsin, endorsed racial profiling last week on a local radio show. Asked on the show how screeners would spot a Muslim male, Nelson said, “If he comes in wearing a turban and his name is Muhammad, that’s a good start.”

Similarly John Faso, a Republican NY gubernatorial candidate, is supporting profiling. Citing the UK plot, Faso said law enforcement officials should be able to question a Muslim man without fear of being slapped by an ACLU lawsuit. “Looking for Muslims for participation in Muslim jihad is not playing the odds. It is following an ironclad tautology.”

Mark Flanagan, a congressional candidate in Florida, has become the fourth Republican office-seeker to call for profiling of Muslim airline passengers since the alleged airline bombing plot in Britain announced earlier this month.

Such sensational orchestrated news of the terror boogeyman, supported by a chorus of election-seeking candidates, will continue to dominate the news media until people’s memory develops amnesia for Israel’s war crimes, mass killings, and wanton destruction of Lebanese infrastructure.

Yes, we have to remain vigilant to prevent any act remotely resembling 9/11. And yes, we must stand for justice, peace and war repatriation compensations.

By raising the specter of terror in the hope of glossing over the war outcome and its crimes, we are only avoiding the real issues. And unless we do that we will continue to trample civil rights, civil liberties and religious freedom of individuals and of groups, especially those associated with Muslims or Islamic organizations. I am afraid we are almost becoming a nation riddled with with fabrications and lies to serve neocon political ends.

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