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Using Alleged Terrorism to Escalate War and Homeland Repression

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Using Alleged Terrorism to Escalate War and Homeland Repression
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New York bombMuch about the New York bomb incident is worrisome, besides the media already pronouncing sentence, biasing future jurors to convict or face the wrath of public opinion, their communities, friends and even family. As a result, Faisal Shahzad doesn't stand a chance, guilty or innocent, regardless of his alleged confession and the plausibility that he was set up - used as a convenient dupe with his device rigged not to go off but to emit smoke to be found. Why not given America's history of using false flag incidents for political advantage.

Again, the possibility is real, given the incident's similarity to the Christmas 2009 airline one involving Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He was also used as a convenient dupe, his explosive device no more powerful than a firecracker.

Understand also how involved CIA operatives and assets are globally, especially in Eurasia. Pakistan's ISI (its intelligence service) is a de facto adjunct, both working together destabilizing the region for US geopolitical interests. So-called terror incidents in America or the West are directly connected, perhaps the New York one the latest using Shahzad as a convenient dupe.

Inflammatory Political Rhetoric

On May 4, political venom spewed from New York, Washington and elsewhere, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg calling Shahzad a "homegrown terrorist with a political agenda," and New York Governor David Paterson, the White House, and Attorney General Eric Holder calling the incident a terrorist act, Holder saying in a May 4 news conference:

"We anticipate charging (Faisal Shahzad) with an act of terrorism transcending national borders, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, use of a destructive device during the commission of another crime, and explosives....Based on what we know so far, it is clear that this was a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in the country.....

Make no mistake - although this car bomb failed to properly detonate - this plot was a serious attempt. If successful, it could have" been a mass casualty event. (It's) a stark reminder of the reality we face today in this country....a constant threat from those who wish to do us harm simply because of our way of life."

He went on to cite terrorist networks, lone agents at home and abroad, the continued threat as a result, and implication, of course, for needing stern measures, including sacrificing (more) liberty for security, mindless of Benjamin Franklin once saying that "Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither," and won't get them because the scheme is to deny them.

At the same news conference, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly reminded attendees of the 1993 World Trade Center incident, adding:

"I think New Yorkers can rest a little easier today, and that's due in no small measure to the investigative muscle of FBI agents and New York City police detectives (as well as JFK Airport) customs officials."

Perhaps they had advance knowledge. Perhaps also the likelihood of more repressive laws, stepped up militarism and wars, stripping social services to pay for them, and distracting public attention from the looming Gulf disaster, Goldman Sachs, and impending financial reform to institutionalize business as usual, while claiming real change.

Provocative Media Reports

Besides inflammatory round-the-clock TV and radio reports, The New York Times, like other corporate publications, left no doubt where it stands.

In a Shahzad profile, it stressed his role in a terrorist plot, citing a criminal complaint that "militant strongholds" gave him bomb-making training in Pakistan, and that he's been charged with conspiring to use "weapons of mass destruction" - hardly an apt description for gasoline, propane, firecrackers and fertilizer not considered by The Times.

It also said the car he "apparently" drove to the airport was found with a "Kel-Tech 9 millimeter pistol, with a folding stock and a rifle barrel, along with several spare magazines of ammunition." How convenient to be easily found in plain sight.

Born in Pakistan, Shahzad is a naturalized US citizen with a University of Bridgeport, CT bachelor's degree in computer science and engineering as well as an MBA. Before resigning in mid-2009, he worked as a junior financial analyst for Affinion Group (a marketing services company) in Norwalk, CT. Authorities said he was unemployed at the time of his arrest. They also said he confessed and is cooperating. He's yet to be arraigned in court.

Since the May 1 incident, The Times headlined numerous feature stories, including on May 5 by writers Mark Massetti and Scott Shane called "Evidence Mounts for Taliban Role in Car Bomb Plot," saying:

"American officials said Wednesday that it is very likely that a radical group (the Taliban) once thought unable to attack the United States played a role in the bombing attempt in Times Square, elevating concerns about whether other militant groups could deliver at least a glancing blow on American soil."

Remember that blaming bin Laden and Al Qaeda for 9/11, and the Taliban for sheltering them, became justification for attacking and invading Afghanistan, then Iraq 18 months later based on bogus weapons of mass destruction claims and suggesting Saddam's involvement in 9/11.

Today, the Obama administration "cautions" about the Pakistani Taliban's involvement with Shahzad, one step short of accusing them, Al Qaeda, and other so-called terrorist groups (including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, the Haqqani Network, and Kashmiri elements) to have pretext for stepped up war and increased homeland crackdowns, for sure coming with the public being manipulated to accept them.

Pakistani Taliban spokesperson Azam Tariq, however, claimed no involvement in the Times Square incident or information about the video claiming it. "We don't even know (Shahzad)," he said. Pakistani (ISI) intelligence officials also expressed skepticism about the Taliban's ability to attack America.

No matter, according to a May 9 AP report headlined, "Pakistani Taliban Behind Times Sq. Plot, Holder Says," quoting the Attorney General claiming it was "intimately involved" in the May 1 incident. They "directed the plot," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press" and ABC's "This Week."

That despite an unnamed Islamabad-based Western diplomat telling CBS News that "The Taliban have no demonstrated ability to strike distant places. Structurally, they are far from being a global organization like Al Qaeda," that's, in fact, a 1980s CIA creation - "Islamic brigade" (mujahideen) freedom fighters against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Today, they're America's "outside enemy," terrorists against "democratic freedoms" and the rationale for imperial wars and repressive homeland security.

Later in the day, AP reported that "Holder said changes may be needed to allow law enforcement more time to question suspected terrorists before they are told about their Miranda rights. (He) said the White House wanted to work with Congress to examine the 1966 Supreme Court" ruling to give law enforcement agents "necessary flexibility to gather information from suspects in terror cases."

For sure, this is a dangerous slippery slope down which the end game is grim - full-blown despotism once constitutional rights are ended. Post-9/11, they've been incrementally stripped away.

In a May 3 editorial titled, "Luck and Vigilance," The Times called the city "lucky this one wants to bet their security on it," so to prevent a future disaster "Officials in New York and Washington also need to take a hard look at what, if anything, might have been done to head off this earlier." The implication is clear - more repressive laws, sweeping surveillance, and police state crackdowns against suspects to tell others what to expect.

Clear as well are the targets - Muslims and people of color. Rarely ever are white persons charged with terrorism, no matter the offense.

For example, white supremacist Paul Schlesselman pleaded guilty in January to conspiring to kill Barack Obama and dozens of other Blacks in 2008. He got 10 years in prison on:

"one count of conspiracy, one count of threatening to kill and inflict bodily harm upon a presidential candidate, and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence," not terrorism that surely would have been charged if he was black, Latino or especially Muslim, the main target of choice in the "war on terror."

According to AP, authorities described Schlesselman and co-defendant Daniel Cowart (awaiting sentencing) as "white supremacist skinheads who hatched a plan to go on a cross-country robbery and killing spree that would end with an attack on Obama in 2008. Their plan was to kill 88 African-Americans and behead 14 others before trying to take out Obama. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist movement."

Proposed Homeland Crackdown Measures

They're coming so be prepared, the New York incident used as justification. On May 5, New York Times writer Scott Shane headlined, "Government Tightens No-Fly Rules," saying:

"Homeland Security officials on Wednesday ordered airlines to speed up checks of names added to the no-fly list," and to check for updates every 24 hours. Look for an expanded list ahead, and stepped up airport security, making travel even tougher, perhaps to include interrogations, body searches, and other repressive measures against anyone officials target.

Pervasive Use of Surveillance Cameras

Post-9/11, cities began installing networks of surveillance cameras in public areas downtown, at airports, in shopping areas and elsewhere. Though experts doubt their effectiveness and studies bear this out, significant privacy and civil liberties concerns are raised, including stereotyping and racial discrimination by those in charge of monitoring.

Among global cities, London by far is the most camera-surveilled with as many as 1.4 million in place, no one saying for security reasons. They're everywhere - on streets; in business, shopping, and government areas; in parks; schools; in hallways; on elevators, in cabs and police cars; even in public rest rooms, so there's no place to hide.

American cities have theirs and are adding more, a 2006 ACLU report titled, "Who's Watching?" saying post-9/11, their numbers in New York City alone "skyrocketed. And our lawmakers have failed to keep up: video surveillance cameras can be operated with almost no legal constraint or consequence," despite scant evidence they deter crime on a cost-per-crime solved basis.

For example, for every 1,000 London cameras, less than one crime per year is solved for an average cost of $30,000. At best, other cities report mixed results, but in all cases too poor to justify installation, monitoring and other associated costs.

According to AP, Chicago is the most video-surveilled city in America, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff saying, "I don't think there is another city in the US that has as an extensive and integrated camera network...."

Over the past decade, they're everywhere across the city, including on streets, poles, buses, business and shopping areas, in train tunnels, schools, local landmarks, and elsewhere, in a network linking private and public entities to police. Yet a May 6 Chicago Tribune Steve Chapman article headlined, "Surveillance cameras a flop," said that in Chicago, New York and other cities, their results are unimpressive, and "The more cameras (and) cops watching (them), the more potential for waste."

Yet it doesn't deter zealots like Mayor Richard Daley, planning them for "almost every block," despite their high cost and low return.

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