The New York Times recently published an article about how exaggerated the threat of Islamic terrorism is. I pointed out in my own article that in fact the NYT article understated how truly overstated that threat is: in the last half decade, Muslim terrorists have killed a whopping zero civilians in the United States and Europe.
As the war drums beat against yet another Muslim country, the grave and looming threat of Islamic terrorism must be waved before the American public. And so, Joe Sixpack must never be allowed to realize that he has a higher chance of being struck and killed by lightning–or being killed by a peanut–than being killed by those scary looking Moozlums. Instead, the threat must be continually drummed up in order to justify America’s multiple wars in the Muslim world.
Enter the FBI. This organization, tasked with stopping Islamic terrorism in the United States, will serve the purpose of reminding American citizens that they must be afraid–very, very afraid–of the dark threat of Muslim terrorists.
Spencer Ackerman and others have been diligently exposing and documenting the anti-Muslim bias of the FBI. Not only does the FBI train using anti-Muslim materials, it has been spying on American Muslim communities and even training local police in the art of doing so.
Worse yet, the FBI has been engineering its own Islamic terror plots: the set-up has been repeated numerous times. First, they find an impressionable young Muslim male angry at U.S. foreign policy, and then, using undercover FBI agents posing as Al-Qaeda, goad him into committing acts of terrorism, only to foil the ginned-up plot at the very last minute. They then arrest the young Muslim would-be terrorist and announce to the nation that the FBI has successfully thwarted yet another Islamic terror plot. What is largely ignored by the media is that the plot, from start to finish, was orchestrated by the FBI.
Glenn Greenwald spoke of this long ago in an article, The FBI successfully thwarts its own Terrorist plot:
The FBI is obviously quite pleased with itself over its arrest of a 19-year-old Somali-American, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who — with months of encouragement, support and money from the FBI’s own undercover agents — allegedly attempted to detonate a bomb at a crowded Christmas event in Portland, Oregon. Media accounts are almost uniformly trumpeting this event exactly as the FBI describes it. Loyalists of both parties are doing the same, with Democratic Party commentators proclaiming that this proves how great and effective Democrats are at stopping The Evil Terrorists, while right-wing polemicists point to this arrest as yet more proof that those menacing Muslims sure are violent and dangerous.
[T]he FBI — as they’ve done many times in the past — found some very young, impressionable, disaffected, hapless, aimless, inept loner; created a plot it then persuaded/manipulated/entrapped him to join, essentially turning him into a Terrorist; and then patted itself on the back once it arrested him for having thwarted a “Terrorist plot” which, from start to finish, was entirely the FBI’s own concoction. Having stopped a plot which it itself manufactured, the FBI then publicly touts — and an uncritical media amplifies — its “success” to the world, thus proving both that domestic Terrorism from Muslims is a serious threat and the Government’s vast surveillance powers — current and future new ones — are necessary.
Such terrorist plots also “prove” the need to bomb, invade, and occupy the Moozlums Over There–we are told that it’s the only way to Keep Us Safe™ from Islamic terrorism.
The familiar pattern repeats itself today, as The Washington Post reports:
Federal authorities on Friday arrested a 29-year-old Moroccan man in an alleged plot to carry out a suicide bombing at the U.S. Capitol, the latest in a series of terrorism-related arrests resulting from undercover sting operations.
For more than a year, Amine El Khalifi, of Alexandria, considered attacking targets including a synagogue, an Alexandria building with military offices and a Washington restaurant frequented by military officials, authorities said. When arrested a few blocks from the Capitol around lunchtime on Friday, he was carrying what he believed to be a loaded automatic weapon and a suicide vest ready for detonation.
The gun and vest were provided not by al-Qaeda, as Khalifi had been told, but by undercover FBI agents who rendered them inoperable, authorities said.
ABC 7 notes in passing:
The public nor any members of Congress were ever in danger, police say. Capitol Police say they worked closely with the FBI throughout the entire operation, during which the suspect was closely monitored.
Even though “[t]he public nor any members of Congress were ever in danger”, this same terrorist plot will be used as another proof that Islamic terrorism is a grave danger to Americans. Indeed, Assistant Attorney General Monaco concluded: “Today’s case underscores the continuing threat we face from homegrown violent extremists.”
Greenwald had written of the 19-year old Somali terrorist arrested in 2010:
Finally, there is, as usual, no discussion whatsoever in media accounts of motive. There are several statements attributed to Mohamud by the Affidavit that should be repellent to any decent person, including complete apathy — even delight — at the prospect that this bomb would kill innocent people, including children. What would drive a 19-year-old American citizen — living in the U.S. since the age of 3 — to that level of sociopathic indifference? He explained it himself in several passages quoted by the FBI, and — if it weren’t for the virtual media blackout of this issue — this line of reasoning would be extremely familiar to Americans by now (para. 45):
Undercover FBI Agent: You know there’s gonna be a lot of children there?
Mohamud: Yeah, I know, that’s what I’m looking for.
Undercover FBI Agent: For kids?
Mohamud: No, just for, in general a huge mass that will, like for them you know to be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays. And then for later to be saying, this was them for you to refrain from killing our children, women . . . . so when they hear all these families were killed in such a city, they’ll say you know what your actions, you know they will stop, you know. And it’s not fair that they should do that to people and not feeling it.
And here’s what he allegedly said in a video he made shortly before he thought he would be detonating the bomb (para. 80):
We hear the same exact thing over and over and over from accused Terrorists — that they are attempting to carry out plots in retaliation for past and ongoing American violence against Muslim civilians and to deter such future acts. Here we find one of the great mysteries in American political culture: that the U.S. Government dispatches its military all over the world — invading, occupying, and bombing multiple Muslim countries — torturing them, imprisoning them without charges, shooting them up at checkpoints, sending remote-controlled drones to explode their homes, imposing sanctions that starve hundreds of thousands of children to death — and Americans are then baffled when some Muslims — an amazingly small percentage — harbor anger and vengeance toward them and want to return the violence. And here we also find the greatest myth in American political discourse: that engaging in all of that military aggression somehow constitutes Staying Safe and combating Terrorism — rather than doing more than any single other cause to provoke, sustain and fuel Terrorism.
Once again, our Muslim would-be terrorist’s motivations revolve around his anger over U.S. military actions in the Muslim world. The ABC report notes–once again something that is only mentioned in passing (with
very little no critical analysis):
In January 2011, he first met with an undercover agent and stated the “war on terror” was a “war on Muslims,” court records show.
Why on earth would Amine El Khalifi or another Muslim from that part of the world think that the U.S. is waging a “war on Muslims”? It is so utterly baffling to me. I mean, why would any Muslim think that? Is it just because the U.S. is bombing, invading, and occupying multiple Muslim countries? It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that the U.S. and its stalwart ally Israel have bombed Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iran, Sudan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia, right?
Also of interest is the fact that Amine El Khalifi, at least initially, didn’t want to kill American civilians. The ABC report says:
El Khalifi told undercover agents that he originally wanted to target a building in Alexandria that contained U.S. Military personal but later changed that plan because he found out the building had non-military civilians.
He then discussed killing U.S. generals and would research where they lived, according to court documents, that added he introduced the idea of targeting a restaurant in D.C. that military officials would frequent.
Were the undercover FBI agents responsible for convincing him to attack civilians instead? In the end, El Khalifi’s target was the U.S. Capitol, federal employees he believed were responsible for ordering and orchestrating the “war on Muslims.”
It is interesting that even a Muslim would-be terrorist like Amine El Khalifi expressed a dislike for attacking American civilians, even though the United States bombs and kills Muslim civilians with impunity, without a second thought or national discussion, and on an order of magnitude that El Khalifi could never even imagine to have done himself. Indeed, as Foreign Policy Magazine calculated:
[T]he United States has killed nearly 30 Muslims for every American lost. The real ratio is probably much higher, and a reasonable upper bound for Muslim fatalities (based mostly on higher estimates of “excess deaths” in Iraq due to the sanctions regime and the post-2003 occupation) is well over one million, equivalent to over 100 Muslim fatalities for every American lost.
It goes without saying that Amine El Khalifi’s actions are morally repugnant. But, to put this into perspective: whereas El Khalife had said he “would be happy killing 30 people”, the United States has killed “well over one million” Muslim civilians. As George Orwell wrote:
Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them. There is almost no kind of outrage—torture, imprisonment without trial, assassination, the bombing of civilians—which does not change its moral color when it is committed by ‘our’ side. The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.
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The FBI needs to engineer and then thwart these terrorist threats because there is not enough real “Islamic terrorism” in the United States to justify the War on Terror. Such FBI-generated terror scares enable not just the stripping away of civil liberties at home, but more importantly, serve to justify America’s wars abroad. There is a need for Americans to fear being attacked by Muslims in order for them to go along with waging wars of aggression against various Muslim countries.
The media has been beating the drums of war against yet another Muslim country: Iran. Glenn Greenwald has dubbed CNN’s Erin Burnett the “worst of the worst” in this regard. (Greenwald’s article and his earlier piece on the subject are must reads.) Burnett’s reporting on the issue is nothing short of war propaganda. In it, she warns of “Iran’s threat to the United States in the United States–right here at home.” Her report asks: “Is Iran planning an attack in America?”
Without any evidence whatsoever, Burnett looms: “[On a] much more real and frightening scale, Iran could attack the United States in a much more fearsome way…Iran’s next target could be here in the nation’s largest city.” Egypt could attack the United States; South Africa could attack the United States; Canada could attack the United States; does that mean we bomb any of these countries? Martians could attack the United States–let’s nuke Mars before they get a chance to do that!
American hawks are clearly looking for a smoking gun–an attack on U.S. soil that could justify launching a war against Iran. There are so few real Muslim terrorists, as Prof. Charles Kurzman argues in his book The Missing Martyrs: Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists, that the FBI needs to generate Muslim terror plots.
There is another related point I’d like to address here: Erin Burnett had on her show the fervently anti-Muslim bigot Peter King, who led the congressional hearings against Muslims. Rep. King warned of the grave Iranian threat and made the case for war against Iran.
From time to time, a few readers have complained that our site, which is designed to expose Islamophobia, has turned “too political”–that we talk about America’s foreign policy too much instead of simply documenting the Islamophobia of the nation’s leading anti-Muslim loons. I take the full “blame” for this: the Erin Burnett segment shows how intrinsically connected Islamophobia and America’s wars are. Peter King, a classic anti-Muslim loon, is on a “respectable” news channel–CNN–to discuss why we need to attack another Muslim country. America’s war cheerleaders and Islamophobes work hand-in-hand.
There is an undeniable link between Islamophobia and American foreign policy: indeed, it is the latter which gave birth to the former, and the former that feeds the latter. Quite simply, America’s wars are Islamophobic in and of themselves. Documenting Islampohobia without mentioning the wars would be like talking about American racism against blacks in the 1800’s without ever mentioning the institution of slavery.
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Lastly, I’d like to comment on the ever evolving threat of Islamic terrorism. First, we were told that Afghanistan was the epicenter of Islamic terrorism. Then, it was Iraq. Then, Barack Obama reminded us that it was in fact Afghanistan after all. Then, the “experts” started saying that “everyone knows that Pakistan is the center of Islamic terrorism.” For some time, Syria and Yemen were also considered candidates for this title. And remember when even many anti-war liberals would (ignorantly) argue that in reality it is Saudi Arabia that is the source of Islamic terror (because most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi)? Now, it seems Iran is back at the top of the list.
The target of American belligerence keeps changing from one Muslim country to another–it’s a Madlibs with the blank reading “name a Muslim country”: so far, fourteen different Muslim countries have been used to fill in the blank (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iran, Sudan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia). But why on earth would Amine El Khalifi or other Muslims come up with the absolutely crazy idea that America is at “war with Muslims”!?
Each time the threat changes and a new Muslim country is named the “center of Islamic terrorism” (everyone knows XYZ country is the real source of Islamic terrorism!), few stop to think or ask “wait, wasn’t it ABC country, not XYZ, that was the ‘epicenter of Islamic terrorism’?” Most Americans acknowledge the War on Iraq was a “mistake” (that’s what it’s called when Western countries commit war crimes–these are “mistakes”–like how failing to stop at a stop sign for a full three seconds is a “mistake”–everyone makes mistakes!–hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians die and this is called a “mistake”). Even though the exact same process unfolds against Iran as it did against Iraq just a few short years ago, Americans continue to impress the world with their goldfish-like memories, with a majority of Americans supporting a military strike on Iran.
We will be told that it is all the media’s fault, and yes, the media has the lion’s share of the blame. But, isn’t there something to be said of the jingoist, nativist, and belligerent attitude that is prevalent among us Americans in general? One can convince our fellow Americans to bomb just about any country on earth–certainly a Muslim-sounding country. And yet, at the same time, we are told how warlike those Moozlums over there are.
One thing is for certain: while we Americans continue to expand our knowledge of geography by targeting and bombing various Muslim countries –Muslims in the Muslim world are unified in their belief that it is the United States and Israel that are the greatest threats to their safety and world peace. It is, I think, difficult to argue otherwise.