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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Best Thing I've Read Today

Glenn Greenwald writes about the arrest this week of three young American men who supposedly were going to fly to Syria to fight for Isis -- despite their lack of money or, in the case of one of the guy, the inability to travel internationally because his mother had taken away his passport. It appears that none of the three would have been able to carry out their threats, or even planned anything dangerous, without being manipulated by the FBI.

Greenwald details how that FBI trickery works, and then adds:

We’re constantly bombarded with dire warnings about the grave threat of home-grown terrorists, “lone wolf” extremists, and ISIS. So intensified are these official warnings that The New York Times earlier this month cited anonymous U.S. intelligence officials to warn of the growing ISIS threat and announce “the prospect of a new global war on terror.”

But how serious of a threat can all of this be, at least domestically, if the FBI continually has to resort to manufacturing its own plots by trolling the internet in search of young drifters and/or the mentally ill whom they target, recruit and then manipulate into joining? Does that not, by itself, demonstrate how over-hyped and insubstantial this “threat” actually is? Shouldn’t there be actual plots, ones that are created and fueled without the help of the FBI, that the agency should devote its massive resources to stopping?
It's important that Greenwald (and a sadly small number of others) ask these questions, because the rest of the news media continues to simply report what the FBI and other law enforcement agencies tell them in official press releases or well-timed internal leaks. That's not journalism, that's stenography.

Greenwald's point echoes what I have said for years -- that this country runs on fear more than anything else. A populace that's afraid of inflated-out-of-proportion threats from terrorism, disease, immigrants, and home break-ins is easily manipulated into supporting bad public policies that do nothing more than increase funding for the homeland security business and the military industrial complex. One former president, Dwight Eisenhower, warned us about the latter, and another, Franklin Roosevelt, told us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

But Americans don't know that history, so we are doomed to repeat it. Today, it's not just fear we must fear -- it's a government that creates things to be afraid of in order to get more and more money to fight them.

Read Glenn Greenwald's full piece here.