Manufacturing Fear

The latest issue of Rolling Stones features a fascinating Special Report titled Fear Factory, by investigative journalist Guy Lawson. In this article, Lawson details how the FBI has gone to great lengths to go after terrorist threats, to even the point of creating threats themselves. Lawson writes of how outfits of the FBI, such as the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) have used informants to lull unsuspecting people (Arab and South Asian Muslims for the most part) into planning terrorist plots, ones these people never would have pursued on their own.

“While real threats undoubtedly exist,” Lawson writes,”what the Bush administration promotes as a nationwide pattern of terrorist activities is largely the result of its own policies in the age of lawfare.”

He goes on to write about one of many examples, the “Fort Dix Six,” about a group of Muslims who allegedly wanted to attack Fort Dix in New Jersey:

As in other cases, the FBI itself proved to be the mastermind behind the plot. The men —who included three roofers, a taxi driver and a former delivery boy for Super Mario’s Pizza — had little money and no connections to real extremists. All were in their twenties and spent their weekends playing paintball. Under the guidance of two informants for the JTTF, the men planned an assault on Fort Dix using rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s —none of which actually existed.

The article is available in its entirety on the Rolling Stones website. The article can also be found in the latest print version of the magazine, the one with a February 7, 2008 cover date and a picture of Thom Yorke of Radiohead on the cover. It’s definitely worth reading.

2 thoughts

  1. The unfortunate part is that while the public hears about all these ‘threats’ that are undermined, they almost never hear about what happens afterwards – that they were probably never threats in the first place.

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