Rockford Institute remembers September 11 and its implications
By Susan Johnson
The Rockford Institute hosted a public forum titled “September 11, Ten Years Later” Thursday, Sept. 8, at its offices, 928 N. Main St. The audience was welcomed by Chronicles Executive Editor Scott P. Richert, who introduced the speakers. (The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of The Rock River Times, but are solely the views of the speakers.)
President Thomas Fleming spoke on the topic “The War on Civil Liberties: Less Safe and Less Free.” Following is a summary of his speech.
The War on Terrorism and the PATRIOT Act
If the U.S. were to get serious about fighting the War on Terrorism, we would quit talking about Islamism, and we would speak simply of Islam as an ideology that is out to destroy us. No more Ramadan and multi-cultural and prayer services. The government would start personal profiling that has been so successful in Tel Aviv.
The policy that has been carried out is embodied in the PATRIOT Act, as if a government crackdown on terrorism has something to do with patriotism. Naturally, the act is intended to characterize anyone who opposes it as unpatriotic. It was renewed this March by President Obama. There is no coherence in it, so nobody actually knows what is in it. But we do get the sense and purpose of it. … We can spend as much money as we want. The second section gets down to the nitty-gritty of details.
Where is our freedom?
The first thing our government singles out has to do with condemning discrimination against Muslims. The top two priorities are (A) printing as much money as we can, and (B) protecting Muslims from the hatred practiced against extreme Islamization. The government now has power to go after people who want to sell their assets. One section of the act has to do with authority to intercept computer fraud. There is no restriction on who can be targeted. Good American companies can be threatened. If you compare these provisions of the PATRIOT Act, the freedom from unreasonable search and seizure is now a dead letter, also, the right to a speedy and public trial. Where is our freedom of association, since Americans can be investigated? Where is our right to representation? Also, our library research, free speech, habeas corpus and the right to consult with an attorney. Our protection is now largely in the Department of Homeland Security, but the cost to society is much greater.
The airline industry has been hit especially hard, and more people are subjected to the humiliating treatment of airport security — the gallant efforts of the Transportation Security Administration to make travel safe and unpleasant. If we are all discouraged from travel by air, we will be safe! The TSA budget is over $8 billion. The TSA is riddled with corruption and improprieties; most TSA employees are now unionized under AFSCME. But 500 TSA employees have already suspended for stealing. Title I, granting unlimited funding, will be used to the maximum.
How safe are we?
How safe has any of this made us? The experts in security are the Israelis, and they have devised this system. Here in the United States, Bruce Schneier describes the system as “security theater.” It doesn’t work. Why would we think it would? Any government that makes protection of Muslims a higher priority than that of its citizens does not care much about its citizens.
There is another, more basic reason why our government does such a poor but expensive job of protecting us. Libertarians like to say there is no such thing as government — only people in the government. The governments of modern states have little in common with the people; they are super-corporations created by lower-level corporations, and they assume all the powers. They are responsible to two groups: the consumers who buy their products, and shareholders who own a stock in the company.
The corporation we call government is financed by the consumers, our taxpaying citizens, without whom the government would not survive. They need our approval to carry on. They seek that approval through elections. Any government that depends on popularity (even dictatorships) or on the will of the people — this government must always tell lies to the people. It cannot tell what its real motives are. Anything could happen if the voters or even abject subjects of a dictatorship were told the truth. Would Americans approve of the war in Iraq?
Government deceives the people
Government’s role is that of a deceiver and a seducer. Our leaders never tell the truth to us, or if they do, it is only accidental. Whether you define truth as what is consistent with reality or as what a man believes, politicians hate truth because it loses votes. In security and foreign policy matters, the lie extends to every little detail. This is then communicated to national security advisers and the head of the CIA, who filter out any unpleasant reports. So neither the director of the CIA nor the Secretary of State, nor the president know anything.
Former CIA operative John Brennan, the president’s adviser on counter-terrorism, declared that he knew Pakistan had nothing to do with protecting Osama bin Laden. Government feeds on crisis — wars, depression, natural disasters. If there is no crisis, they have to invent one.
Remember the Peace Dividend we were going to get? We at Chronicles laughed about it. We used to call this the “Headline of the Month” club. The War on Terror is one more government boondoggle to rip off the poor to pay for the government’s agenda. Lobbyists can represent economic interests, environmental organizations, wind farms, etc. There are also ethnic and religious lobbies, African-American lobbies, the Indian lobby. Each of them has bought a place in the government. Even if your government wanted to protect you, they couldn’t do it because to do the right thing would mean offending some group.
It is up to the government of the United States to protect our security. Naturally, they make the claim that 9/11 has not been repeated. It was unprecedented. It requires people willing to commit suicide. They had the will but not the intellect. All these acts of terrorism have been aimed at the government. If we would stop allowing in aliens who are violent, many of our problems could be solved. Many of these gangs cannot even hit the target. This is, in fact, one of the safest periods of American history, but if you stay up at night worrying about Stone-Age Bedouins, turn off the TV and get into everyday life. You can defend yourself.
The growing influence of Islam
The next speaker was Chronicles Foreign Affairs Editor Serge Trifkovic. He is a graduate of the University of Sussex in England. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Southamption and pursued his postdoctoral research on a State Department grant at the Hoover Institute at Stanford. He started his working life as a broadcaster and producer with the BBC World Service in London and with the Voice of America in Washington, D.C. He also covered southeast Europe for U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Times. He is the author of several books and commentaries.
Serge Trifkovic’s topic was “Islam: More Powerful Than Ever?” He said he originally thought that on Sept. 11, 2001, the Muslims made a big blunder. He thought it was the sort of thing that would shake up the Western world and wake them up to the demographic deluge that had been going on for years, and their previous ideas would be subjected to critical scrutiny. This pitiful illusion lasted for about 48 hours.
It soon became clear to him that the Western elite class is behaving just as it did in 1937. The press could not tell the truth about the Moscow murderers. Instead of making a blunder, the Muslims actually achieved a coup. They tested the limits of Western civilization and found out that there are no limits. No one has been more open than the founder of Islam. The more open you are, the more determined your Western fellow travelers will be to assure us that they are not like that at all.
The big one to watch is Turkey — the most populous of ostensibly secularized regimes, but it also was the most determined to turn into a modern European state. Already in the 1990s, the late Turkish president laid the foundation for the political party that came into power. …
The policy of rihad will pay dividends because we cannot change the composition of Europe by the end of the century. What can save us? A miracle, a precipitous and economic cliff that would remove any credibility in business.
People are still looking to government for solutions. The Muslims are not capable of thinking creatively or developing a policy that is harmonious and prosperous. If there is a rapid wake-up to the West resulting from the meltdown of the global economy and the Western world left to its own devices, the result will be the discovery of the complete abandonment of ethics in government.
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