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Help, help we're being repressed

By Jackson Murphy
web posted June 17, 2002

Last week marked nine months since the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington and the week went off without a hitch. Well sort of. But there are some who have failed to grasp the obvious: there is a war going on.

On Friday there was no warnings to report, and it is shameful to think that we don't even blink when another 12 people die, this time in a suicide bomber attack in Pakistan. But there was something worse. The Guardian printed a statement entitled "We won't deny our consciences" signed, apparently, by some "prominent" Americans.

"In our name," say these prominent Americans, "the government has brought down a pall of repression over society. The president's spokesperson warns people to 'watch what they say'. Dissident artists, intellectuals, and professors find their views distorted, attacked, and suppressed."

Suppressed? One signer of the statement, Casey Kasem, is a disk jockey who happens to voice the deadbeat sidekick of cartoon canine Scooby Doo. Prominent American? Barely. Suppressed? You must be joking. Take another hit off the bong Shaggy!

If Edward Said is so repressed why do we continue to read his prattling in The Guardian?
If Edward Said is so repressed why do we continue to read his prattling in The Guardian?

Sure the usual suspects (Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, Gloria Steinem, and their buddies) signed the thing. But who are they kidding? Noam Chomsky gets more attention in the media than Mariah Carey after a post buffet-gorging breakdown. Can it really be suppression when you have face time on CNN, get books published, and travel around the world? If this is "being repressed" where do you register?

Maybe these loons are looking out for American citizens like Jose Padilla, sorry ... his close friends call him Abdullah al Muhajir, who is now being held for as long as the U.S. military damn well pleases. Padilla it is claimed has links to al-Qaida and is being held in connection to a plot to explode a "dirty bomb". Here is a man who spent time outside the United States training to be a terrorist, he came back into the country and Chomsky and his minions want to roll out the red carpet for him.

They failed to mention that the justice system has granted Zacarias Moussaoui, the twentieth hijacker, the chance to represent himself in court. He'd probably get stoned to death if he stole a loaf of bread in the Middle East; but here we give him three squares a day, a roof over his head, and the chance to act like James Traficant by defending himself. It makes you want to bring third-rate Russian comedian Yakof Smirnoff back to shriek, "What a country."

So here we have on one hand the U.S. allowing one foreign born man some civil rights, and he is going to squander them by getting rid of his lawyers. On the other hand we have a guy who is an American citizen who has been, at the very least, meeting with al-Qaida and is going to be safely locked up before he gets to violate a great many people's rights.

There is good news. Los Angeles based writer Ken Layne figures that this published statement will benefit the Bush administration: "Anyway, the Bush team has done a great job with this latest nonsense from the 'prominent Americans.' I wouldn't be surprised if Congress drops the Sept. 11 investigations out of bored disgust. If you're nostalgic for October, this will bring you right back, man."

When there are legitimate, and far more serious, complaints to be made on behalf of the civil rights of the prominent Americans favorite vacation spots in the radical Islamic world why are they spreading such ridiculous statements about America's liberty?

The truth is, Chomsky and co. live and die, much like the environmentalist movement, by framing the issues in their most frightening and hysterical form. The reality is Chomsky and co. look increasingly ridiculous doing just that, but we're on to them. They just don't get it and that is just fine.

Jackson Murphy is a commentator from Vancouver, Canada. He is the editor of "Dispatches" a website that serves up political commentary 24-7. You can contact him at jacksonmurphy@telus.net.

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