Who Benefits from Terrorist Threats?

I could barely contain my yawn when I heard Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge claim last Thursday there was yet another vague, shapeless attack on America looming over the horizon.

These sound bites squirm their way into the press when the Bush Administration is caught doing something illegal, immoral, or evil (bonus if it’s all three). Incendiary phrases like “large-scale attack” are used, Al Qaeda is linked and 100% industrial-strength rubbish hits the airwaves. None of it is ever real and I can’t be the only one that’s tired of seeing it on television like it matters.

I know it’s all an act because the press releases always confer something explosive and worrisome — in this case, multiple coordinated attacks during the presidential elections — and then immediately derail that urgency and despair just paragraphs down the page.

If there was a true destabilizing threat to the elections in November, I doubt Ridge would cavalierly state there’s “obviously, no reason for panic, or paralysis” despite admissions moments earlier that the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization is aiming to attack one of the few democratic freedoms afforded to Americans in this post-9/11 landscape. There’s also a healthy dose of mistrust on my part when, after learning from credible sources that something’s in the works, the DHS Threat Advisory remains the same warm and fuzzy yellow we’ve all gotten used to in the past months.

These facts alone should give anyone pause, but there are other disturbing comments in Ridge’s declaration casting doubt on the official story.

Take for example assurances that local and state agencies have been “generally” briefed about security problems. Generally? Can there be anything less specific than Ridge’s comments? And assuming law enforcement is made aware of imminent threats throughout their jurisdictions, what are they supposed to do? In the wake of 9/11 and our failed enterprise in Iraq and Afghanistan, cities are under tremendous financial burdens required by the PATRIOT Act, burdens they must shoulder as the federal government has eliminated much of the funding for these programs in favor of its precious wars.

Then there’s the obligatory slam against Muslims. “Senior administration officials and counterterrorism experts view the coming months as a time to increase vigilance,” the abovementioned article notes, “out of concern that Islamic militants may try to replicate the political success they had in Spain with coordinated pre-election train bombings.”

Islamic militants were never pegged as suspects — the Spanish government was. And the political “success” in Spain was not the terror attack but the removal of a pro-war government that went against the will of its people. Insertion of such ad hominem attacks is completely unnecessary and only inflames the obvious anti-Arab bias the United States government is cultivating in its own electorate.

The only successful terror attacks on the United States in the past 65 years were the results of government denial and complicit cover-up. In either case, the people were kept in the dark until their jingoism and blood were needed.

It’s not revisionist or conspiratorial to state that Pearl Harbor or the Gulf of Tonkin were hand-crafted by American leaders to start wars. Actions like these suggest complicity in the events of September 11th and leave many feeling their government will shatter their lives to push unpopular policy forward.

Bush’s desire to invade Afghanistan, Cheney’s plan to raid Iraq’s oil fields (as seen in Energy Task Force documents), and Rumsfeld’s dismantling of the Constitution wouldn’t have been possible in the public eye without the collapse of the Twin Towers. So who benefits from terrorism?

If Osama bin Laden detests Israel and America’s treatment of Arabs in the Middle East, why give them the excuse they needed to attack, invade, and occupy Gaza, Iraq, and Afghanistan? Palestine emerged as a sympathetic region under an oppressive Israeli regime prior to 2001; all that changed when the World Trade Center collapsed. That’s not exactly a boon for bin Laden or his associates.

Should Muslim terrorists murder people by sending plague through the mail, why use anthrax, which has no secondary communicability (i.e. no possibility of runaway infection), and why send poorly written Arabic threats alongside it? Why not try and shift the blame to another culprit? Could it be the blame shifted on to Arabs?

If Al Qaeda — an organization where the only captured agents turned out to be CIA and Mossad operatives — succeeds in disrupting our elections this year, who benefits?

Only those desperate for another distraction, perhaps a suspension of elections and the inevitable declaration of martial law that emerges in the aftermath. Sound like politics as usual to you?

Ideologically, John Kerry and George W. Bush toe the same line with regards to the war. They’ve both committed to continuing policies they enacted together just over a year ago, and stopping us from voting won’t change that As for the election itself, I can’t imagine any stunt that could incapacitate every voting booth in the country.

An act of terror would be a poor choice for those legitimately fighting against the American empire as it would only further galvanize public opinion against them. That’s why I believe any further attacks will come from within, and why it’s so important to ask yourself who stands to gain from whatever madness is created. Those who benefit are the culprits, usually wrapped in a flag and the smug rhetoric of patriotism. It doesn’t matter if they’re Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon Baines Johnson, or George Walker Bush.

I’d also hope the incessant, soul-sucking prevarications of doom quit hitting the airwaves. They’re all a pantload of lies, they don’t prepare anyone for what’s going to happen, and they generally depress the hell out of everyone. “Security” doesn’t just mean freedom from danger, it also means freedom from anxiety, fear and doubt. Our new watchdog government agency would do well to fulfill that part of the bargain as well — or we might start wondering how all that funding and manpower couldn’t come up with more concrete intelligence than a large-scale attack is a-comin’!