9 Aug 2004, Comments (0)

Homemade fruitcakes

Author: Helen

International terrorists are so hot right now. Saturday before last (yeah, yeah, I know, always behind) I opened the AGE Saturday Review or Agenda or whatever it was called that particular week. Page 1 featured an ominously dark coloured graphic filling the best part of the page, depicting a horrified face on which appeared to be under attack from the Spiders from Mars. Looking closer, I saw it was a representation of extremely size-challenged terrorists climbing up the face with ropes – or perhaps it was the Special Operations group and the terrorists were already in his hair. The caption, in big bold letters, screamed:


ARE WE A
TARGET FOR
TERRORISTS?

(Here’s the text – but the headline and artwork has changed on the online version). Of course, with that graphic, you’ll be screaming, “Yes, yes!! I can feel them already. Aaaaagh, get them out of my hair!”

The week before, Background Briefing aired a program on US homegrown terrorists. Then there’s the Australian Jack Van Tongeren, purveyor of firebombs and death threats – admittedly not in the same league as William Krar, featured in the ABC program, who was caught with “…a weapons cache containing fully-automatic machine guns, remote controlled explosive devices disguised as briefcases, 60 pipe bombs, and the chemical weapon for a cyanide bomb big enough to kill everyone in a 30,000 square foot building.”

Imagine the drama if someone of Middle Eastern background was found with that kind of stuff, but William Krar’s activities were barely reported. Reading the Australian or US Mainstream Press ™ these days, you’d be forgiven for thinking that terrorism is only supposed to come from outside your national borders. According to the Background Briefing program, it would complicate the message too much to admit that homegrown nutters pose as much of a problem as international terrorism. Can you say Timothy McVeigh? Martin Bryant?

It’s disappointing the program didn’t interview Dave Neiwert; he’s been giving us buckets of information on the subjec for years, while most bloggers’ attention has understandably been directed outward. Kick and Scream has the goods on Van Tongeren and his unsavoury friends.

My take on it is that we are being told that outsiders are the danger to us because they hate our way of life ™. If we see or hear too much about US/Australian citizens like Krar, McVeigh and Van Tongeren, who seem to have enough hate to spare, it’s going to make that mantra sound a little hollow.


Comments (0)

  • Greg says:

    After spending a year being alerted but not alarmed by the warnings issued by Ashcroft and Ridge following the September 11 attacks, then having to listen to every television news announcement of America Under Siege and every pundit’s spin on Is Australia a Target (because of . . .), I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion I had already reached: terrorism is a danger to everyone everywhere all the time. There is no distinction – per se, sui generis, rara avis, et al. – between so-called homegrown or external terrorists. Both have the same methods and essential purpose and can even be said to stem from the same source, regardless of national origin or Visa status. The only valid differences appear to be that the international terrorist is better funded, better organised, and less committed toward striking any single national entity: all of the West, as well as those corrupted by the West, are legitimate targets. Al Qaeda was successful in the U.S. and Europe because they took the time necessary to place their cells in those countries long in advance of any direct action. In that respect, they are very nearly the same as disaffected citizens with access to a lot of fertilizer and a truck.

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