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Bill O’Reilly’s Enemies of the State

It’s bad enough the Bushites sincerely believe your principled opposition to Iraq attack II is “irrelevant,” and New York’s finest think it’s acceptable to push a barricade up in your face while you’re attempting to exercise your constitutional right to free speech and assembly. It’s bad enough that your Congress person responds to your letters and phone calls with a form letter, or not at all, and the local newspaper will not publish your letters to the editor. Considering the way things are in America these days, you may have concluded all of this is inevitable, sadly predictable.

But it’s about to get worse, much worse.

Soon, thanks to the corporate media, you may not only be denied the right to express your opposition to Bush’s attack, you may very well be considered an enemy of the state — and most of us know what that means.

Enter loud mouth and hyper-reactionary Bill O’Reilly. On February 26, during O’Reilly’s Fox News Channel show, he said the following,

“Once the war against Saddam Hussein begins, we expect every American to support our military, and if you can’t do that, just shut up. Americans, and indeed our foreign allies who actively work against our military once the war is underway, will be considered enemies of the state by me. Just fair warning to you, Barbara Streisand and others who see the world as you do. I don’t want to demonize anyone, but anyone who hurts this country in a time like this, well. Let’s just say you will be spotlighted.”

Now, of course, it’s prudent to consider the source — a TV personality interested primarily in ratings — but it is also advisable to consider O’Reilly’s pull. Thanks to his rabid “journalism,” Bill O’Reilly essentially had Dr. Sami al-Arian, an associate professor of computer engineering at the University of South Florida, not only bounced from his job but also arrested and indicted by the Justice Department on racketeering and terrorist charges due to his alleged association with Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Ashcroft went as far as to characterize al-Arian as “the North American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.” Sami and his co-defendants face possible life sentences if convicted.

I’m sure Bill O’Reilly is tickled.

Recall O’Reilly saying during the September 26, 2001, al-Arian interview, “if I was the CIA, I’d follow you wherever you went. I’d follow you 24 hours.”

Obviously, this is what happened. O’Reilly had used his show as a sort of media glamorized McCarthy hearing, accusing al-Arian of complicity in terrorism.. As it now appears, the FBI and Justice Department were watching Sami and his co-defendants prior to Sami’s appearance on the O’Reilly Factor. O’Reilly’s and the Justice Department’s efforts dovetailed nicely — some will likely say too nicely. It’s no secret the corporate media is essentially the official propaganda office of the Bush White House. It’s the promotional department for the Pentagon.

Sami al-Arian’s arrest after his much ballyhooed appearance on national television is nothing short of a PR coup d’etat for the Ashcroft Justice Department as it endeavors to convince the American public that sinister threats from al-Qaeda and Islamic militant are pervasive from the shores of New York to San Francisco and beyond. Bushites Tom Ridge of the Ministry of Homeland Security and John Ashcroft of the Justice Department are entrusted with the requisite task of creating a climate of color-coded hysteria and ubiquitous fear in America as the Bushites prepare us for continual war against the “terrorist states” of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, and North Korea.

Sami al-Arian is but the first of many fishes to be snagged from the mostly illusory (and meticulously engineered) river of terrorism the Bushites have fabricated — with more than a little help from the CIA — in an effort to scare Americans into the required psychological state needed for perpetual war. In fact, the “international terror network” Bush and Crew often mention runs back through the days of Iran-Contra to Zbigniew Brzezinski and the creation of ferocious and murderous Islamic radicalism during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. It worked for Carter and Reagan. It will work for Bush.

As O’Reilly points out, in the not too distant future you will be expected to either give your full support to Bush, or shut up. If you can’t shut up, if you insist on taking to the streets in protest, if you insist the First Amendment (which O’Reilly exploits) means what it says it does, you will be “spotlighted.” You will be declared an “enemy of the state.”

Of course, not every American opposed to Bush and his vision of recurrent war will be “spotlighted” by the Fox News reactionary, but the real or perceived leaders of the emerging antiwar movement certainly will be. O’Reilly — as the consummate media snake with the dark personality of a relentless bully — will happily finger these perceived leaders on his show and the FBI, CIA (with full presence now in FBI offices), agents from the Ministry of Homeland Security, and those from the Justice Department will descend on prominent and not so prominent dissenters like Attorney General Palmer’s hired thugs did on labor leaders and socialists after World War One.

Naturally, O’Reilly is not so much interested in the antiwar musings of Barbara Streisand or Sean Penn (who can be silenced relatively easily through intimidation), but rather those of us who organize peace vigils and marches, who publish antiwar websites, those of us who write words like the ones you are reading at this very moment. We are the sincere threat to the Bush cabal and its demented vision of forever war, even as Dubya’s dismissive subalterns call us “irrelevant.” Millions of people around the world pouring into the streets and pressuring their governments to end this war before it begins cannot be easily dismissed as “irrelevant.” It will take accusations and frame-ups and TV spangled slander and innuendo to put a dent in the antiwar movement. It take a lot of work for the newly christened COINTELPRO to take down the antiwar movement.

Like Nixon before him, Bush privately roils over these massive rallies and marches and you can bet he will pull out all the stops to circumvent them, especially after he sends the troops into Iraq. Soon Bush will play on the patriotic impulses of millions of Americans to follow lockstep behind him as he murders untold thousands in the Middle East. He will — either implicitly or directly — question the patriotism of those arrayed against the madness of total and unremitting war. It happened in the dark days after 911 and during the attack on Afghanistan — it will happen again, and with a vengeance, when Bush gives the order for his military juggernaut to roll over the helpless Iraqi people. You’re either with Bush and the Zionist chickenhawks, or you will suffer the fate of Sami al-Arian.

Bill O’Reilly will see to it.

 

 

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KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at www.kurtnimmo.com/ . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books. He can be reached at: nimmo@zianet.com

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