July 5, 2000
The Wisdom Fund

National Commission on Terrorism Perpetuates Self-Serving Myths

by Enver Masud

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- While U.S. government statistics indicate that terrorism is declining, L. Paul Bremer III, Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism, in the June 2000 report to Congress, says the threat of terrorism is "becoming more deadly," and recommends actions which would further erode American's civil liberties.

Created in the wake of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, the commission's recommendations include greater monitoring of foreign students, sanctions against Greece and Pakistan, and adding Afghanistan to the list of countries designated a "state sponsor" of terrorism. The list currently includes Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, North Korea and Cuba.

The U.S. is "not considering sanctions" against Greece or Pakistan says U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Larry Johnson challenges the commission's findings.

Mr. Johnson , a counter terrorism expert who appeared with Mr. Bremer on WETA NewsHour on June 6, says, "we had no problem as a country sanctioning Hezbollah and Hamas, but one of the terrorist groups that was left off the list of designated terrorist groups...was the Irish Republican Army. The message we sent to the world is if you're Irish Catholic, it's okay to be a terrorist. If you're a Muslim, that's bad."

Mr. Johnson also disagrees that the threat of terrorism is "becoming more deadly." He says "the number of deaths fell from 4,800 in the 80s to 2,500 this last decade." Government statistics confirm a steady decline in terrorism.

In Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1998, the U.S. Department of State says, "the number of international terrorist attacks actually fell again in 1998, continuing a downward trend that began several years ago."

Updating this 1998 report with 1999 data, "Total U.S. Citizen Casualties Caused by International Attacks" are as follows: the number of those killed each year from 1993 through 1999 is 7, 6, 10, 25, 6, 12, 5; the number of those wounded during these same years is 1004, 5, 60, 510, 21, 11, 6.

Perhaps, the more interesting statistic, as far as "Islamic terrorism" is concerned, is "Total Anti-U.S. Attacks--1999" which lists attacks by region as follows: Africa--16, Asia--6, Eurasia--9, Latin America--96, Middle East--11, North America--1, and West Europe--30.

Given the statistics for the Middle East and Latin America, one wonders why one doesn't hear about "Christian terrorism," at least as often as one hears about "Islamic terrorism."

Furthermore, "To call terrorism a threat to national security is scarcely plausible," say John Mueller and Karl Mueller ("Sanctions of Mass Destruction," Foreign Affairs, May/June 1999, p. 43). They add, "On average far fewer Americans are killed each year by terrorists than are killed by lightning, deer accidents, or peanut allergies."

In fact, the U.S. may have more to fear from American terrorists than foreign. On April 19, 1995, a truck bomb destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168 citizens and injuring hundreds. This attack was the deadliest terrorist event ever committed on U.S. soil.

And civil libertarians are not thrilled by the recommendation that it should not be the FBI or the Federal Emergency Management Agency to head up response to a major terrorist attack, but instead the military or CIA, which is currently prohibited from taking actions within the borders of the U.S.

The commission report is silent on the causes of "terrorism," and U.S. government actions which, if judged by the same criteria applied to countries designated a "state sponsor" of terrorism, would place the U.S. on this same list.

Graham E. Fuller, former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, says ("Airstrikes Aren't the Endgame," Los Angeles Times, August 24, 1998), "it is dangerous to divorce terrorism from politics, yet the U.S. media continue to talk about an abstract war against terrorism without mention of the issues or context that lie behind them."

Mr. Charley Reese, self-described "ex-soldier," now a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, writes ("Face it: U.S. foreign policy contributes to acts of terrorism," August 18, 1998), "Terrorism is a political act, a response to U.S. foreign policy. It is an act of war waged by people too weak to have a conventional army or one large enough to take on the United States."

Fuller and Reese identify the realities of U.S. foreign policy that serve to perpetuate the cycle of violence. Among these are:

"U.S. support for almost any ruler [often against the wishes of his people willing to protect U.S. interests--routinely identified in Washington as oil and Israel" says Fuller. And this support usually comes without meaningful input from American Muslims.

While Muslims are virtually excluded from high-level policy making and media, "Jewish Americans," says Fuller, "occupy nearly every single senior position relating to U.S. Arab-Israeli policy."

Reese says: "The one-sided support of Israel, even when Israel is clearly an aggressor or an abuser of human rights, creates enemies. When your wife and children are killed with U.S. weapons wielded by a government backed by the United States and protected from UN sanctions by the United States, it doesn't sit too well."

Reese adds: "We slapped sanctions on Sudan allegedly because someone in Washington doesn't like its internal human-rights policies that, you can be sure, are far more humane than China's or those of some of the African dictators we so ardently supported."

As for terrorism by the U.S., General Henry H. Sheldon, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on the CBS series 60 Minutes, "The special forces are used to put down rebellions or to start one." At the time (April 30, 1995), Gen. Sheldon was head of a U.S. special forces unit. The U.S. budget for covert operations is twice the combined defense budget of those countries designated a "state sponsor" of terrorism.

But as long as there's money to be made, and friends of the Zionists remain in control of key positions in the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government, they will perpetuate their self-serving myths--leaving Americans vulnerable to the realities. For this year, the budget for counter terrorism was doubled to $10 billion.

[Enver Masud is an engineering management consultant, author of "The War on Islam," and founder of The Wisdom This article was published in England as "Myths to Make More Money," Impact International, July 2000.]

Bill Vann, "US media, Ashcroft silent on conviction of right-wing terrorists in Texas,", December 9, 2003

[ . . . the chances any individual resident of the globe will be killed by an international terrorist over the course of an 80-year lifetime is about 1 in 80,000, about the same likelihood of being killed over the same interval from the impact on the Earth of an especially ill-directed asteroid or comet. At present, Americans are vastly more likely to die from bee stings, lightning, or accident-causing deer than by terrorism within the country.--John Mueller, "Some Reflections on What, if Anything, 'Are We Safer?' Might Mean,", September 11, 2006]

[In 2008, 14,180 Americans were murdered, according to the FBI. In that year, there were 34,017 fatal vehicle crashes in the U.S. and, so the U.S. Fire Administration tells us, 3,320 deaths by fire. More than 11,000 Americans died of the swine flu between April and mid-December 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; on average, a staggering 443,600 Americans die yearly of illnesses related to tobacco use, reports the American Cancer Society; 5,000 Americans die annually from food-borne diseases; an estimated 1,760 children died from abuse or neglect in 2007; and the next year, 560 Americans died of weather-related conditions, according to the National Weather Service, including 126 from tornadoes, 67 from rip tides, 58 from flash floods, 27 from lightning, 27 from avalanches, and 1 from a dust devil. --Tom Engelhardt, "This is not a national emergency,", February 15, 2010]

Number Americans Killed Annually Huffington Post, September 2, 2016

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