Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bin Laden's Bizarre Rant Looks to Far Future

Anne Applebaum has a very interesting take on the latest Osama bin Laden videotapes and their obvious screenwriter, former "death rock" nutjob Adam Gadahn. Anne's Pultizer book Gulag is a genuine masterpiece and one of the best political dramas written in this new millenium. She knows her world-domination history.
Real or fake, the message might still hint at the direction in which al-Qaida propaganda, or at least al-Qaida propaganda designed for the Western market, is now heading. In a recent Slate piece, Reza Aslan eloquently described how the organization's list of alleged "grievances"—which now include global warming, corporate capitalism, and African poverty, as well as the American bases in Saudi Arabia—weave "local and global resentments into a single anti-American narrative, the overarching aim of which is to form a collective identity across borders and nationalities." But the narrative clearly isn't meant for only the Arab world. On the contrary, perhaps it's time to take the main message seriously: Clearly, al-Qaida's long-term goal is to convert Americans and other Westerners to its extreme version of Islam.

The Marxist paradigm is the road map for the new Road to Serfdom outlined by the Egyptian AQ godfather's book Mileposts.
.Before you fall over laughing, think again. It would only take a very few such converts to do a lot of damage. The results of the Soviet Union's massive propaganda campaign on behalf of world Marxist revolution were also numerically small, but at the time, they were considered very effective: the Baader-Meinhof gang, the Italian Red Brigades, the Weather Underground. There are always disaffected young people—Gadahn is a former fan of "death metal" rock bands—and they're always looking for a cause. Conversion in general is increasingly common across Europe. Some 4,000 Germans were found to convert annually in a recent study, and if only 0.1 percent of them choose the jihadist version of Islam, that's enough to cause trouble.
For, as news from Germany well illustrates, there is nothing quite so passionate as a recent convert. At least two of the men recently arrested and accused of plotting to bomb American interests in Germany were converts. So were Richard Reid, the failed shoe-bomber, and Jose Padilla, the U.S. citizen who was suspected of constructing a dirty bomb, though not convicted for that crime. (Daniel Benjamin provides an even more extensive list of jihadist converts.)----- [Refer to link above which gives useful links.]

Anne ends up the article with an ominous vision of a sort of virtual Orwellian "boot in the face" future that anti-terrorist precautions may impose on the casual traveller----the privacy lobby beware, this is VERY tough love:
It is legitimate, of course, to ask whether it matters what is said by a man who is no longer thought to be in control of his organization, even if he still has access to a video camera inside his cave. But that's precisely the point. Osama will sooner or later die or be captured. But he, or someone close to him, is now trying to ensure that his ideology lives on. And he, or someone, wants it to survive in a form that will appeal to Americans and other Westerners disillusioned with their own political system. To put it bluntly, someone with an Irish or Hispanic name could have a better chance of slipping past the FBI, or through airport security, than someone named Mohammed. In a world in which counterintelligence and security procedures will slowly, slowly improve—that's the future.

And vast databases will scan every passenger in public transit airports for suspicious connections. Given the monstrous eff-ups that are already inflicted on travellers who share the same name as a suspected terrorist, every O'Brien or Lopez might linger while his name is triple-checked while his plane takes off. Und so weiter und so fort---as German converts to Islam would say. Something NOT to look forward to.

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