Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Prepare for another terrorizing message

Paraphrasing FDR: We have nothing to fear but terrorizing videos!

from ABC News's the Blotter:

New Al Qaeda Message Expected As Terror Anxieties Already High in Europe

December 18, 2006 11:53 AM

Hoda Osman Reports:

Uk_police_061110_nr_1 With European law enforcement officials warning of an imminent holiday terror attack, Web sites associated with al Qaeda announced today that the group's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is about to issue a new statement entitled "the truths about the clash between Islam and atheism."

According to the Associated Press, John Reid, Britain's top law enforcement official, said Sunday that it was "highly likely" that terrorists would attempt to mount an attack over the holiday period, when the number of travelers swells. He gave no other details.

The head of Britain's domestic spy agency MI5, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, has said her agents are tracking almost 30 terrorist plots involving 1,600 suspects, and that at least five major terror plots had been thwarted since the July 2005 transit bomb attacks in London.

Zawahiri's statement is being advertised by al Sahab, the production wing for al Qaeda. Typically, the statements are released a few days after being advertised by al Sahab, which would put this message out right before the Christmas holiday weekend begins.

OK. That's a pretty typical "the Terrorists are about to strike! the Terrorists are about to strike!" article, like hundreds we've seen. But what really stunned me this time were the comments at the end of the story from regular folk who have swallowed the "evil Muslims are out to get us!" baloney hook, line, and sinker. Immersed as I am in the news from a tiny slice of the web, from all over the world, still I suspect I'm exposed to vastly more news than most folk. I forget that there are people who still believe that fabrications of intelligence agencies that are parroted on TV and on talk shows are in fact the absolute truth. Without any alternative information, listening only to those whose job it is to make sure we're good and terrorized, they naturally believe that we are personally hated by a thundering horde of sub-human vermin who can never be reasoned with, never be accepted as humans with legitimate gripes, but only be wiped out. The sheer lack of critical thinking in that group of posts astounds me.

The world view of those who depend on mass media for their news is so remote from the real world that it's not surprising that so many folk in the US cannot find Iraq (or their own state) on a map, or can believe that "Muslims hate us for our freedoms" -- or that 30% still support a President who has not demonstrated any particular aptitude for his job (or anything else positive that I know of since his cheerleading days) and has mismanaged and pretty much destroyed this country economically and neutralized our military more effectively than the "terrorists" ever could. Barring a total collapse of the economy, we will be recovering from his incompetence-bordering-on-the-criminally-insane for a long long time to come.

Meanwhile, scapegoating and demonizing Muslims is a good way whip people into an unthinking frenzy.

from the Atlantic Free Press:

The Cost of Islamophobia by William Fisher
Five years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, “Islamophobia” -- intensified by the war in Iraq and U.S. government actions at home – has left millions of American Muslims fearful of harassment, discrimination, and questionable prosecutions, and confused about their place in American society.

Recent polls indicate that almost half of Americans have a negative perception of Islam and that one in four of those surveyed have "extreme" anti-Muslim views. A survey by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) found that a quarter of Americans consistently believe stereotypes such as: "Muslims value life less than other people" and "The Muslim religion teaches violence and hatred."

In 2005, CAIR received 1,972 civil rights complaints, compared to 1,522 in 2004. This constitutes a 29.6 percent increase in the total number of complaints of anti-Muslim harassment, violence and discriminatory treatment from 2004. It is the highest number of Muslim civil rights complaints ever reported to CAIR.

What is the impact on Muslims and other Americans of Arab descent? One, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told IPS, “It sometimes feels suffocating being in the US now. We cannot turn on our TV in the evening to watch CNN or MSNBC or the other ‘news stations’ because of people like Glenn Beck and others who consistently spew hate, nonsense and misinformation about Islam and Arabs on primetime. And if we try to watch mindless drama on TV we are bombarded with shows about Middle East/Arab and Islamic terrorism -- shows like 24, Sleeper Cell, The Agency, etc. It is very difficult being an Arab/Muslim American these days.”


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