With the trial of the alleged Boston Bomber, and so-called co-conspirators, set to begin next month, many people are calling them terrorists. But are the young men actual terrorists or is it just a word that has been knocked around so often that it is losing its meaning.
Americans are slowly, and imperceptibly, giving up their rights to a government led campaign which was initiated under George W. Bush. With the support of the UK and most NATO members, the government has begun to hide behind a stated objective as the elimination of so called "terrorist organizations."
As the terms "terror" and "terrorism" are loosely defined, the terms are so elastic as to almost make them meaningless. However, the elasticity hasn't stopped civil liberties from being rolled back by politicians.
Previous terroristic episodes, such as those involving the IRA, were treated differently by the hegemony of the US/UK/NATO countries. Then, terrorism was not exploited to generate fear in the population. While the risk of death or injury from terrorism is minute, in almost all of the NATO countries, the media continuously plays it up to excite viewers and attract an audience.
The "war-on-terror" mantra has been adopted by the military-industrial-congressional complex in America as a means to justify their continued existence — and growth. With the end of the cold war, the obvious, and real, dangers have dissipated. Evidence is available which point to the deliberate instigation of terrorist — or false flag — attacks to promote the idea of the "war on terror" to achieve several goals, one of which is the furtherance of the government's agenda.
Governments taking a leading role in the "war on terror" are increasingly censoring information instead of making an attempt to explain the discrepancies between the official story and what is seen by the public in the real world. The UK government is seeking to pass legislation which would ban web content that it deems to be unsavory, despite being factual. In the USA, Freedom of Information requests, have become pretty much useless due to exemptions made under the guise of "national security."
Most Americans are unaware that the US government has been taking steps to allow for an expansion of the prison system and Americans give up civil rights with this ignorance.
On December 31, 2011, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. HR1540 introduces deliberately vague legislation that allows for US citizens to be arbitrarily detained without due process. One of the criteria for which an American could be held is the suspicion of terrorism.
The government, with the assistance of national, mainstream media, has continued to work towards blurring the line between public activism and domestic extremism, resulting in the very real possibility of anyone that disagrees with the government runs the risk of being labeled a terrorist.
The Occupy movement which moved across America in 2011 and 2012, was acknowledged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be a peaceful protest. Yet, records released in 2012 indicate the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential terrorist threat.
US Government Appears Confused Over Definition of Terrorism
The Boston Bombing was called terrorism — even before the acrid odor from the explosion had left the air. US President Obama chimed in and referred to the explosion as a terroristic act. Despite the US media, law enforcement and government statements, the bombing just might not qualify as a "terrorist attack," at least as far as the Treasury Department is concerned.
Signed into law following the 9/11 attacks, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, TRIA, allows businesses to file for compensation in a federally funded reinsurance program set up to cover the expenses related to terrorism-inflicted damages.
Even before suspects had been identified in the bombing, Obama went on national television and proclaimed it a terrorist act where bombs "…are used to target innocent civilians…"
Following the bombing, a senior White House official told reporters that, "…any event with multiple explosive devices…is clearly an act of terror."
As terrifying as explosions in a crowded venue may be, they still aren't "acts of terrorism" until certified as such by the Secretary of the Treasury as well as the US Attorney General AND the US Secretary of State, the Wall Street Journal reports.
One of the suspect's alleged co-conspirators defense team clarifies, that the criteria needed by these three government leaders to certify a specific violent act as "terrorism" is the presence of a minimum of $5 million in damages — regardless of the motives behind the attack.
The damages at the scene of the explosion, don't appear to add up to the requisite $5 million.
The Boston Globe reported that a Starbucks at 755 Boylston Street, situated in very close proximity to the second explosion, had several windows shattered and some minor structural damage in the front area of the shop.
Other buildings in close proximity to the blasts, such as Trinity Church, were unharmed. The majority of the businesses adjacent to the scene of the explosions had already reopened for business on Wednesday following the bombing. The few remaining sealed-off business were closed because of the continuing investigation.
Boston, Sandy Hook, Tucson and Aurora
Two very different legal analysts, Ali Abunimah and Alan Dershowitz, have both posed questions about the quick action of the government to call the Boston Bombing an "act of terrorism."
Dershowitz, who spoke with BBC Radio pointed out that it wasn't clear under existing statues that the bombing meets the criteria of terrorism. Abunimah supports Dershowitz's contention. In a detailed analysis, Abunimah noted that no evidence has been shown that "…the suspects acted in furtherance of politically militant or societal objectives." Indeed, the suspects alleged act is still unknown to have been intended to "influence or instigate" actions that advance a political or social goal. Even Phillip Mudd, a former Deputy Director with the CIA, went on the record as saying that the bombing seemed to be more like an everyday crime instead of terrorism.
During the twenty-four months prior to the Boston bombing, the US had other incidents of mass violence that resulted in more deaths than the explosions in Boston. The shooting in Tucson resulted in 12 wounded and six dead. James Holmes shot up the Aurora theater and left 58 wounded with 12 dead. Adam Lanza shot and killed 26, 20 of them children, at Sandy Hook . No one associated the word "terrorism" with these incidents and no one charged the shooters with crimes related to terrorism.
As seen with the Boston Bombing case, the polar opposite is being seen, particularly after the naming of the accused was released. Practically everyone — the media, government officials and law enforcement — is using the word terrorism to describe the actions that took place that day. Almost immediately after the identity of the suspects was revealed, Obama said, "…we will investigate any associations that these terrorists may have had." Notice Obama's words "…these terrorists…" Even as the trials of the co-conspirators is about to start, there is still no publicly available evidence that any of the people involved had any link to or collusion with a terrorist organization.
There is no publicly available evidence about the alleged motives either. After Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured, Obama addressed the nation. In his speech, he admitted that there were many unanswered questions. One of those "unanswered questions" he listed was this
"Why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence?"
Even if someone forgets about "innocent until proven guilty" and assumes the suspect's guilt, there is still no basis for claiming the bombing as a terroristic act.
As the trials get ready to begin, it is possible that it will end up, if they are found guilty, that their main motive was political or religious. It's equally possible that it wasn't. Maybe some combination of mental illness, social alienation or some other type of instability — which is apolitical — in nature.
Until the motive is known, how can the suspects continue to be called terrorists and how can their actions be termed terrorism?
Image Source: Patrick Rosso