Friday, September 22, 2006

Rosie Knows Best (or At Least Better Than Ashcroft)

News Item: (Sept. 2006) Rosie O'Donnell is blasted for saying on TV that radical Christianity poses as much of a threat to the US as does radical Islam.

News Item: (Bill Berkowitz, WorkingForChange.com) Three antigovernment activists were rounded up (in May, 2003): Edward Feltus, 56, a member of the New Jersey Militia movement; William Krar, a 62-year-old tax protester with ties to the New Hampshire militia and a range of hate groups; and Judith L. Bruey, 54, Krar's common-law wife.  Last November, Krar pleaded guilty to federal charges of "possessing a dangerous chemical weapon" and faces up to life in prison.  Bruey and Feltus also pleaded guilty to different charges.  According to CBS news, hundreds of federal subpoenas were issued during the course of the investigation, intelligence experts were alarmed enough to include mention of the case in President Bush's daily intelligence briefings, and more deadly cyanide bombs may still be in circulation.

One journalist who has closely followed all these developments is Daniel Levitas, author of The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, Nov. 2002).

In an e-mail exchange, Levitas told me that he was curious about the lack of media coverage of the Tyler, Texas case so he telephoned the chief Department of Justice antiterrorism coordinator for the Eastern District of Texas, who is an assistant US attorney.  According to Levitas, "Heconfirmed all of the details as previously reported in the media and then some.  This case was huge," the assistant US attorney told Levitas.  "The real facts of this case are as bad or 'worse' than all previous reports and it does not appear as if media exaggeration is at work," Levitas said.

"The sodium cyanide device was fully functional and could have killed anyone within a 30,000 sq. foot facility; "Krar's stockpile contained more than 100 explosives, including 60 fully functional pipe bombs, as well as land mine components, det. cord and trip wire and binary explosives; machine guns and other illegal weapons; and racist, anti-Semitic and antigovernment literature, including William Pierce's Turner Diaries; "Krar, a tax protester who has never been indicted for his tax-related offenses, is from New Hampshire and has numerous ties to white supremacist and militia groups; "Feltus was a member of the New Jersey Militia.”

Why the severely limited coverage of the original arrests? Levitas believes that the Tyler, Texas arrests came at a time when the media was "distracted" by the invasion of Iraq.  However, "unlike the numerous arrests of suspected Al Qaeda militants, Attorney General John Ashcroft said nothing about this case."

It is more than curious that perhaps the most tangible terrorist threat to America in the few years may have been from a non-Muslim source; and that it may be a fact that since the threat was non-Muslim it was then “buried” by the media.

Is there any question that John Ashcroft (Attorney General in 2003) would have been front and center of this story if those captured had been Muslim?  Contrast his absence in this case with his conspicuous behavior when charging Muslim suspects (as in the Buffalo, NY area) accused of far less serious crimes and who had done far less to advance terrorism.

The New Jersey Militia, (they are not accused of being involved in this plot) is not a direct offshoot of any particular religious sect as far as can be seen.  However, they do promote belief in God as is evidenced by the following quote from their newsletter: “When government treats Unalienable Rights as though it has power to "grant" them, it, inadvertently or not, puts itself in the place of God as do all tyrants and dictators.” (http://216.239.37.104/search?q=cache:n9wKdcrw9W0J:www.njmilitia.org/jul96.htm+%22new+jersey+militia%22+god&hl=en&ie=UTF-8)

Despite the President’s constant claim that Islam is a “religion of peace,” it may be that within the administration, non-Islamic terrorists and Islamic terrorists are not seen in quite the same light.

And perhaps Rosie O'Donnell has it right after all.

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