Sunday, November 08, 2009

Terrorist? Not A Terrorist?

This is how the public herd is encouraged to stampede. From the most recent New York Times headline:
Little Evidence of Terror Plot in Base Killings
"Little" evidence? Then that must mean there is some evidence, right? You can just hear keyboards all over reactionary America tapping furiously with the news: See? Even the communist Jew York Times says he could have been a terrorist!! But when we get to the actual body of the article we find that "investigators have tentatively concluded that it was not part of a terrorist plot." Mind you, that's only tentative. Something else may have yet to surface. Something Muslimy. What else do they know? Well, this:
One significant investigative thrust has involved determining whether Major Hasan had contact with extremists who preyed on his increasingly angry and outspoken opposition to American policies in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But so far, investigators have unearthed no evidence that he was directed or steered into violence or ever traveled overseas to meet with extremist groups, as defendants in some recent terrorism cases are accused of doing, the officials said.

The officials emphasized that their findings were preliminary and that the investigation was fluid. New information could alter their perceptions of Major Hasan’s motives. But the early conclusions are already influencing the course of the inquiry, including which law enforcement agencies lead it.
Still fluid, yes, as are all investigations until they are completed, although the way they are reported in the news nowadays, you'd never know it. Once the first edition hits the streets, we stay locked into whatever preliminary information we read, and our minds are made up. Couching incidents in language like this headline only cements those first impressions. Then there's this:
The officials said a continuing search of Major Hasan’s computer indicates that he had logged on to Web sites that celebrated radical Islamic ideologies and that he had exchanged e-mail messages with like-minded people, some possibly overseas. In addition, they believe that he may have written inflammatory Internet postings that justified suicide attacks, though that has not been concretely established.

Still, investigators have found no evidence that Major Hasan sent e-mail messages to known terrorists or anyone else who encouraged or helped him to orchestrate the shootings.
Maybe he did. Then again, we just don't know. Why are they sharing this speculation with us? This is the kind of perfectly legitimate back-and-forth any investigator has to engage in to eliminate all possible dead ends, but to outsiders, it may just look like enough "evidence" to support whatever racist agendas they already have.

And then there is this:
The possibility that the Fort Hood attack involved terrorism arose for a number of reasons...friends and work associates of Major Hasan have described his increasing doubts about the American military missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In interviews in recent days, friends and others have portrayed Major Hasan as a troubled man, deeply concerned about being deployed to the war zones.
Jesus. He had doubts about the wars, and he was worried about being sent there. I guess after years of protests against the war, that makes me a suspect of terrorism, too. Having concerns about being dropped into the meatgrinder of somebody else's Big Idea, that's also cause for suspicion.

After playing this "Terrorist? Not a Terrorist?" game show through most of the text, the article finally boils down to this: investigators seem to be mainly concerned with gathering evidence to show premeditation so they can pre-empt any wussy insanity defense. Not that such a defense has been very useful since 1984 for even the most obvious cases. Because as God is my witness, even a hallucinating schizophrenic will get his comeuppance here in the Land of the Free to Not Give A Damn About Your Problems.

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