They were exploited just like they might have been by any other organization bent on hurting our country and our interests. The attitude of the FBI toward this religious organization is a mirrored reflection of the entire 'terror war' which oozes out of every orifice of government and drives every aspect of our government policy, absorbing as much as 70% of our annual budget in 'emergency' defense and unaccountable 'intelligence expenditures.
It seemed no accident that FBI Director Mueller was scheduled for a major speech the same day as the announcement at the City Club of Cleveland warning of "homegrown terror cells." He warned of a "new face of terrorism", of young men who had come to "hate our country." He spoke sympathetically to an audience filled with 250 Muslims from the community even as his agents outlined their infiltration of the religious group in Miami.
It also seemed no coincidence that on the same Friday, the Department of Justice released over 20 examples of some of the convictions they obtained in terrorism cases since Sept. 11, 2001. All but one case they trumpeted - Richard Reid and the shoe-bomb - involved providing and conspiring to provide assistance to known or suspected terrorists and terrorist organizations, but, these prosecutions were not for the overt acts of violence or aggression that most Americans have been steeled against.
Certainly these arrests will not be enough to hold down the anxiety rising among Americans about the continued occupation of Iraq and the growing casualties. Certainly these will not be enough to gin up support for the failed occupation of Iraq, the spot where Bush has decided 'terrorists' should be fought.
"There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is 'bring them on'," Bush spoke to reporters in the White House Roosevelt Room at the beginning of the occupation in 2003.
These days, in the wake of concern for the deaths of over 2500 U.S. soldiers in Iraq, Bush is looking to revive the anxiety that kept Americans yoked to his command of our armed forces with whatever specter of fear he can muster from his likely suspects.
His legislative agenda, and that of the republican Party is at risk in the November elections. Bush and his political advisors have decided to appeal to voters with the same jingoistic display of militarism in Iraq he thinks earned their votes in the last election.
No consideration, whatsoever, is being given by Bush to toning down the confrontational rhetoric about winning and victory in Iraq. Victory, to Bush, perhaps means the end of the violent, militarized resistance to our occupation and to the new ruling authority. But, with every violent action and expression, Bush almost guarantees there will be a violent response from one of our government's foreign adversaries.
It's really no surprise that there are Americans in the country who are contemplating violence against the U.S. and our interests here and abroad. What distinguishes the men in Miami is their reported abstinence from drugs , alcohol, or, more importantly, weapons of any kind. The hapless group doesn't match the breathless descriptions from the initial media broadcasts of a hateful cult of terrorists, bent on destroying America. Shackled together in court, the entire crew was described by a reporter as slightly built and subdued.
The keyhole shot on CNN which showed the inside of the 'warehouse' panned to a wall with certificates. According to earlier reports, those were certificates of learning in sciences and other basic achievements that the organizers of the group had created for their membership. The warehouse was described by the residents in the area as a place where the men went to pray. A man who said he knew 'Brother Sunni' well (pronounced by him as 'sunny'), told the reporter that the group was formed as an alternative to the crime and violence in the area. The 'military garb', he said, was actually karate garb, a defensive art. According to one reporter, many in the community said they felt safer by the presence of the men.
That didn't stop the Vice-President from exploiting the accused men for a republican campaign. In Chicago at a fundraiser for republican candidate David McSweeney - coincidently the location of one of the Miami group's alleged targets - Cheney used the arrests to brag on his regime's 'war on terror.'
It is a very real threat," Cheney said. "There are still people out there who are trying to do everything they can to kill Americans. We have to defend ourselves against that threat." That 'everything', for Cheney, includes wiretapping of Americans, continued occupation in Iraq, and now, the entrapment of impressionable young men to violence.
What of Cheney's old mantra? "We are fighting this evil in Iraq so that we do not have to fight it in our own cities," he boasted at the beginning of the invasion and occupation."
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