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The KingFish Schemes to Reignite the National Psychosis

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TALAT HAMDANI: Jackson, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: This is some of what she had to say.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE: I'm reminded of someone--a proverb now quoted by Sheila Jackson Lee: "Cleaning a dirty kitchen, you can't clean it with dirty water." There are no redeeming factual information that we will receive today that can add to the abhorrence that all us have on terrorism in the United States of America. We don't disrespect the witnesses--at least I do not. But, you see, it has already been tainted, this hearing. There are no loud signs of reasoning that are coming through this hearing. The reason is because it has already been classified as an effort to demonize and to castigate a whole broad base of human beings. I cannot stand for that.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Let's turn to another clip of yesterday's hearing. This is Georgia Republican Representative Paul Broun.

REP. PAUL BROUN: When I was in the Marine Corps, I was taught to know your enemy. And I think that's extremely important. And the enemy in this--the focus of this hearing today is not the Islamic religion. It's Islamicists. It's the radical jihadists. It's the radicalization of our youth, as Mr. Bledsoe and Mr. Bihi have talked about. And I think it's absolutely critical that we as a nation focus upon doing exactly what I was taught in the United States Marine Corps: to know your enemy.

Dr. Jasser, I'm very appreciative of your work and your testimony, and particularly your answer to Mr. Richmond, because I think it's extremely important to focus on who wants to destroy this country. And I believe that there are--that there are entities within this country that are supporting those radical jihadists. I think there are organizations that are very public that are supporting the radical jihadists. We need to know exactly who our enemy is. We need to focus upon that enemy and not let political correctness deter us from that.

AMY GOODMAN: That's Paul Broun, Republican from Georgia, in the hearings held by the Long Island Congressman Peter King, dealing with what he called the "radicalization" of the Muslim American community.

Mark Potok is also joining us, from Montgomery, Alabama, director of Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center. You heard the congressman saying, "know your enemy." Talk about the threats in this country, Mark Potok.

MARK POTOK: Well, when we listened to Peter King in one of the earlier clips saying there's no political--there's no equivalency with neo-Nazis and so on, you know, he is simply misrepresenting objective reality. The Hill newspaper reported a few days ago that the FBI has said that about two-thirds of all terrorism in this country between 1980 and 2001 was committed by non-Islamic American extremists. Since between 2001 and 2005, according to the same report, that figure went up to 95 percent.

You know, I would recall just one of about 75 domestic terrorist plots we've tracked since the Oklahoma City bombing. Back in '98, there was a Klan plot to blow up a particular gas refinery in Texas. At the time, the authorities said that 30,000 people would have been killed had this plot in fact come off. That is 10 times the number of people who died on 9/11.

So, look, I'm not suggesting that jihadists, foreign jihadists, aren't a threat, or even a certain number of domestic or sort of homegrown jihadists, but it is simply false to say that, you know, that it's this massive threat out there and that concerns about radical right are silly.

AMY GOODMAN: And tell us about Kevin William Harpham, ironically, this week, taken into custody in connection with the attempted bombing of the Martin Luther King march in Spokane, Washington.

MARK POTOK: That's right. And let's remember that Peter King just--we just heard Peter King saying there was not one terror-related case that related to the radical right in recent years. You know, just the day before yesterday, a man named Kevin Harpham was arrested and has been charged in connection with the attempted mass murder, with an IED, of Martin Luther King Day marchers in Spokane, Washington. He had constructed a device, or allegedly constructed a device, that probably would have taken out scores of those people. It was packed with shrapnel. There was rat poison in the device, reportedly, that would have supposedly prevented victims' blood from coagulating. So, in other words, it was meant to kill as many people as possible.

And this man, it turns out, was a member of the National Alliance, for many years the leading neo-Nazi group in America. We found all kinds of postings on neo-Nazi websites and forums from him, talking about the coming race war, talking about what was and what wasn't useful for building bombs, talking about all those kinds of things, talking about how furious he was at anti-racists and contemplating the possibility of shooting them and so on.

JUAN GONZALEZ: I'd like to--Talat Hamdani, I'd like you to react and tell us what you would hope Americans would--how they would react to these hearings that attempt to malign the entire Muslim community in the United States.

TALAT HAMDANI: Well, the hearing, it was a charade. It was Peter King's hearing. It was his judgment. But the representatives of our Congress, majority of them, who took an oath to defend the Constitution, they defended the Constitution yesterday. Rep. Sheila Jackson, Carson, Rep.--you know, Mr. Thompson--everybody. They said this is not about--it is about radicalization, but across the board. It should be opened up, because there are many radicalization of various people, but not of one faith. To close in on one faith, like Keith Ellison said, God bless him, it is saying, "We will investigate the drug dealers, but only the black drug dealers."

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