As the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001 dawns upon us, Americans will come together to recall the happenings of that infamous day. Ceremonies and even parades will occur in cities and towns around the country as television and radio stations allocate time for special programming and school children partake of numerous activities.
At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, to say nothing of heartless, I confess to having little patience for the pomp and circumstance to which we are treated year after year around the eleventh of September.
For sure, the attacks of that day were as awful as any that this country has experienced during our lifetime. Those who personally suffered loss on that day are as deserving of our compassion as those who attacked us are deserving of our justice. Yet from these facts it most certainly does not follow that there is an obligation on our part to annually engage in ritualistic expressions of our collective angst over the losses that we endured a decade ago.
In the days following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began systematically disregarding civil liberties and arresting “suspects” they believed might commit a crime if given the opportunity.
An example of these violations is found in the case of Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain.
In 2007, these leaders at a mosque in Albany, New York were sentenced to 15 years in a federal penitentiary for their alleged connection with terrorist organization and their participation in a plot to launder money obtained by selling a missile to a Pakistani militant group known as Jaish-e-Mohammed. The FBI alleged that the two men had conspired to “make money through jihad” by laundering the proceeds of the sale of the shoulder-launched missile.
What the FBI also admitted was that the crimes of which Aref and Hossain were accused, tried, and convicted were “not real” and that there was never any threat to the American people from the supposed conspiracy.
According to a story published recently in Harper's Magazine:
President Obama will be the featured speaker at an “interfaith faith prayer service” at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. on the evening of September 11th to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the nation. Curiously, while the event will also include a “Roman Catholic bishop, a Jewish rabbi, Buddhist nun, a Hindu priest, the president of the Islamic Society of North America, and a Muslim musician,” reported Ron Kerby at Beliefnet.com, “…not a single protestant or evangelical has been invited to participate.”
Most conspicuously absent, noted Kerby, will be official representation from the nation’s 16.6 million Southern Baptists, by far America’s largest Protestant denomination. “Completely left off the program was anybody represented by the National Association of Evangelicals,” he added. “No Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Congregationalists, Wesleyans, or Mennonites. Nobody from the Church of Christ or the Assemblies of God.”
The U.S. government has found another way to invade privacy in the name of fighting terrorism by proposing legislation that would track prepaid debit cards. As usual, the real losers would be, not terrorists who won’t comply anyway, but innocent Americans, or travelers, and card issuers burdened with yet another layer of record keeping and compliance procedures. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a branch of the Treasury Department, has drafted rules, taking effect Sep. 27, to establish a “more comprehensive regulatory approach for prepaid access.”
It’s important to distinguish between these prepaid debit cards and the debit cards attached to your bank account. Once known as “stored-value cards” the cards will be renamed “prepaid access cards” — because they aren’t tied to a bank account, the money paid for them in advance could be anywhere, currently outside the reach of monitoring by the government. Which is precisely the point. An assessment of financial security threats in 2005 by the Treasury Department noted that the 9/11 hijackers opened bank accounts, signed signature cards and received wire transfers, which left a financial trail.
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker told Reuters that American forces must continue the fight against the Taliban and for a stable Afghanistan as "the ultimate guarantee that there will not be another 9/11."
"It is going to require more resources, its going to require time," said Crocker, a career diplomat who also served as Ambassador to Iraq. "I hope we can bring all those to bear, because as hard, painful, as expensive as this has been in blood and treasure, it has cost a lot less than 9/11 did."
The Central Intelligence Agency continues to rapidly expand its global extrajudicial assassination program under the Obama administration, secretly murdering people with drones from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Somalia and Yemen. Even American citizens are fair game, according to the President.
The dramatic evolution of the agency’s priorities and operations has become so extreme that a former senior intelligence official told the Washington Post the CIA had been turned into “one hell of a killing machine.” The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the paramilitary transformation was “nothing short of a wonderment.”
But the dramatic metamorphosis, detailed in a recent exposé by the Post, entitled “CIA shifts focus to killing targets,” is hardly without critics. Some experts have even warned Congress that the illegal killings may constitute war crimes.
Documents discovered in the rebel-occupied capital of Libya offer evidence that the CIA assisted the now-deposed Libyan ruler Muammar el-Qaddafi in apprehending and jailing suspected terrorists. Those suspects include members of the rebel forces the United States and NATO have aided in toppling the Qaddafi regime.
The files were found by journalists and the activist group Human Rights Watch in the Tripoli headquarters of former External Security Organization chief Moussa Koussa. They show that both the CIA and its British counterpart, MI-6, turned captured enemies of the Qaddafi regime, including suspected al-Qaeda operatives, over to the Libyan dictator. Both the United States and Great Britain sent terrorist suspects to Libya for questioning, knowing the country's reputation for brutal interrogation techniques. Some of the documents included warnings to the Libyan government to respect the human rights of the detainees, the New York Times reported.
Civil libertarians pitched their usual fit last week over the revelation that the NYPD is collaborating with the CIA to spy on New Yorkers — and folks living, working, or worshipping everywhere else, too. But this may be may be just the protection New Yorkers need, given another story that had emerged three days earlier: the FBI is busily recruiting and outfitting terrorists to bomb us.
The government’s excuse for both outrages is the usual one: preventing terrorism. “…[A]ny potential threat to New York City is the NYPD's business, regardless of where it occurs,” “officials” sniffed.
Indeed. “The NYPD…produced an analytical report on every mosque within 100 miles, officials said.” One hundred miles from the City puts us in the wilds of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, and upstate New York; it encompasses such large cities as Philadelphia and Newark; it includes tens of millions of people.
Two federal officials have been reassigned and a third has resigned in the wake of controversy over "Operation Fast and Furious," the controversial sting that is also known as the "Gunwalking Scandal." Kenneth Melson, acting director for the past 28 months of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, will become senior advisor on forensic science in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Programs, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Tuesday. U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke, who approved the flawed operation that allowed weapons to be delivered to drug gangs, submitted his resignation to President Obama effective immediately. Emory Hurley, a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix who worked on the Fast and Furious investigation, has been reassigned from criminal cases to civil casework.
The reassignments appear to be an ongoing shakeup at ATF, where two assistant Special Agents in Charge of the operation, George Gillett and Jim Needles have previously been reassigned to other positions, CBS News reported.
"Fast and Furious" was reportedly designed to gather intelligence on gun sales as ATF agents observed sales of thousands of high-caliber weapons to alleged middlemen for drug cartels operating on both sides of the Mexican border.
On September 11, 2011, a solemn memorial service will take place at Ground Zero on the tenth anniversary of that fateful day when 3,000 innocent Americans were killed by an attack on the United States by radical Islamists. It will remind us that although Osama bin Laden was killed by American Navy Seals, the war against radical Islam continues. Indeed, it has simply entered a new phase, the nature of which will be determined by the outcome of the Arab Spring.
As in memorial services in previous years, the names of the dead will be read by their relatives, who still suffer their losses. And it is important that we should be reminded of that day, which destroyed our delusion that the fall of the Berlin Wall would usher in a new era of world peace and happiness. Instead, we now face, for the indefinite future, a global war declared by radical Islam.
Several years ago, a PBS Frontline film showed, for the first time, people leaping out of the windows of the World Trade Center, hurtling their bodies to sudden death.