“Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear -- kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor -- with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.”
-- General Douglas MacArthur, 1957 
The Los Angeles plot of 2002 was proudly
announced by George W. early this year. It has since been totally
discredited. Declared one senior counterterrorism official: "There was
no definitive plot. It never materialized or got past the thought
And the scare about ricin in the UK, which
our own Mr. Cheney used as part of the buildup for the invasion of Iraq,
telling an audience on January 10, 2003: "The gravity of the threat we
face was underscored in recent days when British police arrested ...
suspected terrorists in London and discovered a small quantity of ricin,
one of the world's deadliest poisons."
It turned out there was not only no plot,
there was no ricin. The Brits discovered almost immediately that the
substance wasn't ricin but kept that secret for more than two years.
From what is typical in terrorist scares,
it is likely that the individuals arrested in the UK August 10 are
guilty of what George Orwell, in 1984, called "thoughtcrimes."
That is to say, they haven't actually DONE anything. At most, they've
THOUGHT about doing something the government would label "terrorism."
Perhaps not even very serious thoughts, perhaps just venting their anger
at the exceptionally violent role played by the UK and the US in the
Mideast and thinking out loud how nice it would be to throw some of that
violence back in the face of Blair and Bush. And then, the fatal moment
for them that ruins their lives forever ... their angry words are heard
by the wrong person, who reports them to the authorities. (In the
Manhattan flood case the formidable, dangerous "terrorists" made mention
on an Internet chat room about blowing something up.) 
Soon a government agent provocateur
appears, infiltrates the group, and then actually encourages the
individuals to think and talk further about terrorist acts, to develop
real plans instead of youthful fantasizing, and even provide the
individuals with some of the actual means for carrying out these
terrorist acts, like explosive material and technical know-how, money
and transportation, whatever is needed to advance the plot. It's known
as "entrapment," and it's supposed to be illegal, it's supposed to be a
powerful defense for the accused, but the authorities get away with it
all the time; and the accused get put away for very long stretches. And
because of the role played by the agent provocateur, we may never know
whether any of the accused, on their own, would have gone much further,
if at all, like actually making a bomb, or, in the present case, even
making transatlantic flight reservations since many of the accused
reportedly did not even have passports. Government infiltrating and
monitoring is one thing; encouragement, pushing the plot forward, and
scaring the public to make political capital from it is quite something
Prosecutors have said that the seven men
in Miami charged with conspiring to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago
and FBI buildings in other cities had sworn allegiance to al-Qaeda. This
came after meeting with a confidential government informant who was
posing as a representative of the terrorist group. Did they swear or
hold such allegiance, one must wonder, before meeting with the
informant? "In essence," reported The Independent of London, "the
entire case rests upon conversations between Narseal Batiste, the
apparent ringleader of the group, with the informant, who was posing as
a member of al-Qaeda but in fact belonged to the [FBI] South Florida
Terrorist Task Force." Batiste told the informant that "he was
organizing a mission to build an 'Islamic army' in order to wage jihad."
He provided a list of things he needed: boots, uniforms, machine guns,
radios, vehicles, binoculars, bullet proof vests, firearms, and $50,000
in cash. Oddly enough, one thing that was not asked for was any kind of
explosives material. After sweeps of various locations in Miami,
government agents found no explosives or weapons. "This group was more
aspirational than operational," said the FBI's deputy director, while
one FBI agent described them as "social misfits". And, added the New
York Times, investigators openly acknowledged that the suspects "had
only the most preliminary discussions about an attack." Yet Cheney later
hailed the arrests at a political fundraiser, calling the group a "very
real threat". 
Perhaps as great a threat as the suspects
in the plot to unleash a catastrophic flood in lower Manhattan by
destroying a huge underground wall that holds back the Hudson River.
That was the story first released by the authorities; after a while it
was replaced by the claim that the suspects were actually plotting
something aimed at the subway tunnels that run under the river.
Which is more reliable, one must wonder,
information on Internet chat rooms or WMD tips provided by CIA Iraqi
informers? Or information obtained, as in the current case in the UK,
from Pakistani interrogators of the suspects, none of the interrogators
being known to be ardent supporters of Amnesty International.
And the three men arrested in Toledo, Ohio
in February were accused of -- are you ready? -- plotting to recruit and
train terrorists to attack US and allied troops overseas. For saving us
from this horror we have a paid FBI witness to thank. He had been an
informer with the FBI for four years, and most likely was paid for each
new lead he brought in. 
There must be millions of people in the
United States and elsewhere who have thoughts about "terrorist acts." I
might well be one of them when I read about a gathering of Bush, Cheney,
and assorted neocons that's going to take place. Given the daily horror
of Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine in recent times, little of
which would occur if not for the government of the United States of
America and its allies, the numbers of people having such thoughts must
be rapidly multiplying. If I had been at an American or British airport
as the latest scare story unfolded, waiting in an interminable line,
having my flight canceled, or being told I can't have any carry-on
luggage, I may have found it irresistible at some point to declare
loudly to my fellow suffering passengers: "Y'know, folks, this security
crap is only gonna get worse and worse as long as the United States and
Britain continue to invade, bomb, overthrow, occupy, and torture the
How long before I was pulled out of line
and thrown into some kind of custody?
If MacArthur were alive today would he
dare to publicly express the thoughts of his cited above?
Policy makers and security experts,
reports the Associated Press, say that "Law enforcers are now willing to
act swiftly against al-Qaeda sympathizers, even if it means grabbing
wannabe terrorists whose plots may be only pipe dreams."
Commonly, the "terrorists" are watched for
many months, then the police pounce on them at a politically opportune
time. The reasons in the current case may stem from some aspect of the
Blair and Bush administrations being under attack from all sides,
including the defeat of super war-supporter Senator Joseph Lieberman
(just 36 hours before the British announcement), and the upcoming
November elections, when the Republicans will be running on the War on
Terrorism issue. "Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play
big," said a White House official, adding that "some Democratic
candidates won't 'look as appealing' under the circumstances."
Referring to the alleged UK terrorism
plot, the New York Times reported that: "The White House and the
Republican Party had pounced on that news, along with the defeat of
Senator Joseph I. Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic primary by an
antiwar candidate, Ned Lamont, to paint the Democrats as weak on
national security. Mr. Cheney had gone so far as to imply that the
defeat of Mr. Lieberman, a strong backer of the war, would embolden 'Al
Qaeda types'." 
Vote Republican or the terrorists win!
The announcement of this particular
terrorist threat may also be explained by this news item:
"Much of the televised discussion yesterday concerned the investigative tools available in Britain that U.S. officials credit with allowing authorities to get ahead of the plot before it proved catastrophic. [Homeland Security Secretary Michael] Chertoff said the ability to monitor monetary transactions and communications and to arrest suspects for a period of 28 days on an emergency basis made a significant difference in the case."  We should be hearing from the administration about these things some more.
1. The United States is determined to
dominate the world, not to mention outer space. This is not a left-wing
cliché, the empire's leading lights trumpet Washington's desire, means,
and intention for domination, while assuring the world of the noble
purposes behind this crusade. Since the demise of the Soviet Union,
these declarations have been regularly put forth in policy papers
emanating from the White House, the Pentagon, and think tanks closely
associated with the national security establishment. They make it
perfectly clear that any potential rival to the world's only superpower
must be, and will be, seriously challenged. Here is the first of these
warnings, from 1992: "We must maintain the mechanisms for deterring
potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or
global role." 
3. In recent times only Iraq, Syria and
Iran have stood in the way of US Middle East domination ("remaking the
Middle East" is the usual euphemism). Iraq is now a basket case.
The basketizing of Syria awaits only a
quasi-plausible excuse, which it was hoped Israel would provide by
provoking a hostile Syrian reaction in the recent Israeli-Lebanon war.
The US-Israeli assault on Lebanon was
aimed at basketizing Hezbollah so that it couldn't come to the aid of
Iran by attacking Israel during the basketizing of Iran; the latter may
begin with sanctions, approved by a pliant Security Council. This was
one of the key ways the basketizing of Iraq began. Do not believe the
canard that France is hostile to US foreign policy. Time and again, both
in and out of the Security Council, France has raised a little objection
to this point or that point of Washington's policy because it needs to
pretend and feel that it's still a great power and has a significant
role to play in world affairs, but in the end it smoothes the way for
And Germany against the US war in Iraq?
Hardly. Germany has helped the American war effort in half a dozen
important ways, including on the ground in Iraq, even while German
politicians ran on anti-Iraq War platforms.
Carlos Romulo, former president of the UN General Assembly: "If there is a problem between a weak nation and another weak nation and the UN takes action, the problem disappears. If there is a problem between a strong nation and a weak nation and the UN takes action, the weak nation disappears. If there is a problem between a strong nation and a strong nation and the UN takes action, the UN disappears."
4. World domination also includes Central Asia and its massive oil and gas reserves. Afghanistan with its pipelines and US military bases is vital to this undertaking. Through one war or another in recent years, the United States has managed to establish military bases-facilities throughout the region, including in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia, vital to protecting the pipelines to the eastern Mediterranean; one of the pipelines will extend to Israel, which, along with Turkey, is expected to play a role in the protection of the area.
Was this a sign of the long-awaited breath
of skepticism blowing in the mainstream media? No, it wasn't. I made the
story up. What really happened was that the correspondent reported that
the Cuban government had announced that Fidel Castro was going to have
an operation and that his brother, Raul Castro, would be replacing him
temporarily. Chadwick then asked: "How do you know what to believe in
This also really happened: Jay Leno on his
August 7 program: "There's news of a major medical crisis from Cuba
concerning Fidel Castro. It looks like he's getting better."
Think of a US president battling a serious ailment and a broadcaster on Cuban TV making such a remark.
The following quotations all come from the
same article in the Washington Post of August 4 by Ann Scott
Tyson concerning the Iraqi town of Hit:
"Residents are quick to argue that the
American presence incites those attacks, and they blame the U.S.
military rather than insurgents for turning their town into a combat
zone. The Americans should pull out, they say, and let them solve their
"We want the same thing. I want to go home
to my wife," said an American soldier.
"Another U.S. officer put it more bluntly:
'Nobody wants us here, so why are we here? That's the big question.'"
"If we leave, all the attacks would stop,
because we'd be gone."
"The problem is with the Americans. They
only bring problems," said watermelon vendor Sefuab Ganiydum, 35.
"Closing the bridge, the curfew, the hospital. It's better for U.S.
forces to leave the city."
"What did we do to have all this
suffering?" asked Ramsey Abdullah Hindi, 60, sitting outside a teashop.
Ignoring U.S. troops within earshot, he said Iraqis were justified to
attack them. "They have a right to fight against the Americans because
of their religion and the bad treatment. We will stand until the last,"
he said somberly.
"City officials, too, are adamant that
U.S. troops leave Hit."
"I'm the guy doing the good stuff and I
get shot at all the time! Nobody is pro-American in this city. They
either tolerate us or all-out hate us," said a US Marine major.
"If we do leave, the city will be a lot better and they'll build it a lot better."
William Blum is the author of: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2, Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire, and West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir. Visit his website: www.killinghope.org. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Articles by William Blum
The End Is
Near, But First, This Commercial
13. NPR, Day to Day, August 1, 2006, 12:08