Friday, March 25 2011 - Civil Liberties-Police State
Peter King's Terror Hearings Take Over
Apologies to our readers for neglecting to post this excellent piece in a more timely manner. Rep. King's hearings may be over for the moment, but the efforts to further inflame anti-Muslim sentiment among Americans (and thus garner silent acquiescence of, if not outright bellicose ranting in favor of, further bombing of various sovereign nations without a congressional declaration of war) certainly will continue. Reality-check reminders as to the underlying themes of theatrical productions like Mr. King's, such as offered here by The Daily Bell, are sorely needed.
Friday, March 11, 2011
A controversial congressional hearing Thursday on the radicalization of Muslim Americans touched on sensitive questions involving terrorism and tolerance a decade after the 9/11 attacks. At times emotional and theatrical, the four-hour session of the House Homeland Security Committee included calls from moderate Muslims for support in overcoming extremists seeking to indoctrinate their children, as well as protests from Democratic legislators who complained the hearing unfairly implicated all Muslims for the criminal acts of a small minority. In the end, committee Chairman Peter King (left), R-New York, said the hearing that generated widespread media coverage "actually went a lot easier than it could have." He ... promised additional hearings in coming months, with the next perhaps focusing on the radicalization of Muslims in U.S. prisons. -- CNN
Dominant Social Theme: Don't trust the Muslims.
Free-Market Analysis: Yesterday's hearing on radicalization of Muslim Americans brings up a larger perspective regarding what is going on in America and a close look into Western-style democracy. The incessant harping on "terrorist Islam" as presented in these US congressional hearings (see above article excerpt) does seem to indicate a trend regarding America's -- in fact the entire West's -- descent into authoritarianism, driven by hysteria over a religion that many of its worshipers (ironically) conflate with "peace."
Peter King is promising more hearings on Islamic terror and one has no reason to doubt they will occur. King has come under attack for these hearings, which some believe are deliberately whipping up hysteria against Muslims, but he has branded such accusations as false and baseless. In fact, ever since 9/11, King has been voicing concerns about Muslim fundamentalism and even wrote a novel about an Al Qaeda penetration in Long Island that resulted in a string of bombings. The protagonist of the book, a blunt, Irish congressman, investigates and eventually exposes the plot.
There is about King -- and certainly about the larger military industrial complex -- a sense that they are manufacturing an industry as much as they are responding to legitimate threats. One has to go all the way back to 9/11 to piece together the genesis is what is taking place today. In this article we shall try.
9/11 is widely held to be the product of a band of Islamic terrorists who flew large planes into the World Trade Towers. But certain members of the 9/11 Commission itself have virtually disavowed the official narrative. The Commission's lead counsel, Rutgers's Law Dean John Farmer, even wrote a book, The Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11 that accused the Washington intelligence and military establishment along with the Bush administration of lying serially to the Commission about many aspects of 9/11.
There are so many anomalies and questions about the attacks that it is difficult to know where to begin. Three obvious -- clear-cut -- issues stand out. The first has to do with the calls made from the planes. Initially, the FBI said the calls were made from cell phones but it eventually emerged that the cell phone technology of the day was not viable from the altitudes at which the calls were supposedly made. The FBI then explained that the calls were made from phones installed within the planes themselves. Unfortunately, more research eventually showed that the planes in question did not have the phone technology. To date, there is no good explanation how passenger phone calls -- widely reported at the time -- took place. Neither cell phones nor in-plane phones were used.
Then there is the issue of the Afghanistan cave "bunkers" from where Bin Laden is said to have plotted and carried out the attacks of 9/11. Donald Rumsfeld conducted several interviews on national TV networks in which he provided colorful schematics of six-story caves complete with elaborate technology communications gear and even various high-tech vehicles stored in subterranean garages. Videos of these presentations were on Youtube.com, though they appear to have been taken down. More importantly, not a single one of these elaborate cave bunkers were ever discovered despite months of searches by US soldiers in Afghanistan. Apparently, they never existed.
Finally, the FBI provided descriptions of the terrorists as well as their names but it later turned out that many of the identifications were incorrect. Individuals living in Europe and the Middle East came forward to complain that they had been incorrectly identified. The FBI admitted as much but it is still not clear who the terrorists actually were given the confusion about their IDs and the initial misinformation. Photos of the terrorists that were released showed them boarding a plane, but it later turned out that the plane being boarded was in Maine, not Boston, which was a later connection.
These three issues are only a fragment of hundreds of anomalies -- questionable information and misinformation -- that continue to plague the "official" 9/11 narrative. It has been reported that up to 70 percent of American adults would be in favor of a new commission -- a non partisan one -- that would attempt to clarify what was obviously a botched job so that some real closure can be achieved about the 9/11 narrative.
It us unfortunate that 9/11, in all its confusion, remains at the heart of the changes that have taken in place in the United States. Even though the narrative as it is currently constituted has been disavowed by members of the Commission themselves, the conclusions have been used to justify the virtual erection of a police state in America that has suspended civil rights and created a burgeoning intelligence-industry complex dedicated to spying on American citizens.
Since the 9/11 narrative itself remains unclear, everything that has flowed from it, including the endless Afghanistan war and even Homeland Security, must be seen as built on a shifting foundation of unreconciled facts and even misinformation. Rather than seeking to clarify issues that should be made clear for historical purposes as well as policy ones, federal legislators like Peter King march further afield with investigations into "Islamic terrorism."
King's point is that the Muslim community is not engaging forcefully enough with the FBI and other policing agencies that are trying to keep citizens safe from a growing Islamic threat. But here, too, we would argue that the points on which he seeks clarity are not the ones that need to be clarified initially. There is still a good deal of confusion about what Al Qaeda is and where it came from. It has been argued that it was an initial creation of the CIA during the Afghanistan fight against USSR occupation and that the name simply means "the list." Bin Laden himself is said to have denied involvement in 9/11 and to this day he has not formally been accused of involvement in 9/11 by US law enforcement.
With so much confusion over basic facts surrounding 9/11 and additional questions about the fundamentalist group that supposedly sponsored the attacks, it is no wonder that King's hearing on Thursday spawned a sharp backlash. What was unspoken in many of the complaints was the bottom-line distrust in the central narrative of 9/11 itself.
If the official story is riddled with logical inconsistencies, then one would believe that King might use some of the Congressional resources at his disposal to clarify some of the remaining questions regarding that fateful day and those behind it. Instead, he treats the narrative as a given -- using it as a template and touchstone on which to launch his larger concerns about Muslim fundamentalist violence.
Conclusion: Without taking steps to clarify the initial narrative,
King runs the risk of looking exploitative rather than genuinely concerned.
This is probably the way that some in the Muslim community see it and an unspoken
reason as to why the hearings caused such a public furor. There still is no
clarity to aspects of the official story and everything that has come thereafter
must be seen as questionable if not suspect as well. This is the type of democracy
King wants the Islamic community to embrace?
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