Obama Adds 675 Million Muslims to the Ultimate US Terrorism List


However President Obama is judged on various subjects for his first year in office, he has already made history in the way that neither his predecessor nor any other leader has ever managed.

On January 3, 2010, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued new security directives to all United States and international air carriers with inbound flights to the U.S. effective January 4, 2010. The TSA press release sought to assure the traveling public:   “The new directive includes long-term sustainable security measures developed in consultation with law enforcement officials and our domestic and international partners.”

At midnight Washington DC time, January 3, it went into effect and placed 675 million more Muslims and Arabs on yet another ‘Terrorism’ list. Also added were Nigerian and Cuban Christians but they were not the target.

So 675 million is the approximate total number of people on the new list from the ten “prone to terrorism countries” as the Washington Post called them, or “terrorist leaning countries” according to Fox news, (Sudan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen) and the four current “State sponsors of Terrorism” (Iran, Syria, Libya and Cuba).

All 675 million of these citizens are subject to being watched, patted down, and full body scanned under arrangements calling for ‘intense screening’ by the national airlines transporting them to the US.  As with the new H. R. 2278 Congressional initiative against satellite TV providers, the airlines flying from or via the 14 countries will have to enforce the new stringent security measures or themselves risk losing their lucrative US bi-lateral landing rights and potentially, end up on yet another US Special Global Terrorism facilitator list.

In addition to the approximate 675 million covered by the new measure, with the average birth rate of these countries being approximately 45 live births per 1000 per year, it means that more than 17,000,000 newborns will join the new US T list even before their first gulp of their mommy’s milk.

The new list initiative is enough to warm Dick Cheney’s heart, reputed as he is to have never seen an Muslim or Arab (except those he does business with) he didn’t want terrorized by a listing or other means, but the  international rebellion against this latest US War on Terrorism initiative has begun.

As this report is being prepared, Nigeria has just weighed in via media reports reaching Beirut around noon on 1/5/09 and its government has demanded that their 150,000,000 (150 million)  citizens be immediately scratched from the new T list of 14 countries singled out for special treatment. Nigeria Information Minister Dora Akunyili announced today that “Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, did not accept the new Terrorism list and we do not have a history of terrorism and such a move could not be justified. It is unfair to include 150 million Nigerians on the US list for tighter screening because Nigerians do not have terrorist tendencies.”

It’s no secret these days that anyone who  even looks as though they could be  Arab or Muslim is already on a ‘mental  US Terrorism watch list’ evidenced by reports of some passengers deciding not to board flights after observing Hijab wearing females or Abaya wearing Muslim or Arab  men as fellow passengers.  What often happens according to airport security officials is that non Muslims sometimes stare at Muslims trying to detect something unusal or suspicious about them and then the Muslims stare back wondering why they are being stared at and both parties become paranoid.

The Lebanese, bless them all, ever alert to foreign intrigues, were among the first objecting to being placed on the new US T list.

On Sunday night’s (1/3/09) late and wild van ride back to Beirut from Beital in the now frigid and frequently bitterly cold and windblown, Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, this observer got an ear full.  Our driver, by appearance, down to the “Akek” (Amber) ring on his little finger,  neatly trimmed short beard, black wool jacket and black baseball cap, was a Hezbollah guy.  Fellow passengers were accepting as “Abass” treated us to his new CD of Resistance music, (again and again!), including the popular songs “Haydar, Haydar” and “Oh Hussein!”, and the catchy “Ali, Ali!” (Ali was the cousin and son in law of the Prophet Mohammad who Shia Muslims believe should have been the first Khalifa (successor) of the Prophet rather than Abu Bakr and his line including Omar (the second Khalifa) and Othman (the third Khalifa).

In important respects, from this succession argument grew the Shia-Sunni conflict now deeply splitting Islam.  On the van, it was a party atmosphere among the fifteen or so passengers, most of whom were returning from week-end visits to their families toting Bekaa delicacies of one kind or another.  Van users, including this one, prefer Hezbollah drivers on the Beirut-Bekaa run because they know every pot hole on the route over the West Lebanon Mountains, don’t try to overcharge riders, are unfailingly polite to the elderly and infirm-assisting them on and off the vans, and perhaps most importantly, these guys drive like bats fleeing hell, which cuts travel time by about one-third.

But those probably most grateful for  riding with drivers like ‘Abass’ are those whose documents might not be quite in order or they just might be carrying contraband of some sort. For them our driver was golden, because drivers like him are routinely waived through various check points en route once their affiliation is noticed.

One can’t help wondering what would happen if a US ‘profiling’ system was in place and a van was pulled over by a Pennsylvania State trooper named Lawrence and his  flashing red light, for ID and luggage inspection or just to sniff inside the vehicles quickly rolled down windows. Would the van still have passengers traveling to Beirut or would he ask to share a smoke?

The friendly young man sitting next to me opened a carry-on case and while not wanting to appear snoopy, one could not help noticing that it was packed with filled honey comb and softball sized clumps of Red-bud Hashish (known locally by Western clients as ‘H & H’, with sometimes the prized honey fetching more than the Red-bud), two ancient Bekaa products. Appreciated from before Roman times each harvest achieved bumper crops this year. The near record yield was recorded despite a couple of DEA funded  ‘photo op’  anti-drug ‘raids’ last summer that the locals laugh at.   The chatty kid told me lots of couriers make at least twice weekly Baalbek trips.

One Baalbek young lady, a member of the large Jaafar clan (which producers some of Hezbollah’s best fighters) , studying Journalism at Beirut’s American Lebanese University (LAU), commented to me after our driver took a music break to tune in the news, “Oh, your country just added 14 more Muslim countries to another airplane Terrorism list. Mabrouk!”

This opened an animated discussion of the ways things are going these days between the Obama administration whose sweet words last spring have become the source for scowls and ridicule in Lebanon  due to deep disappointment and, once more dashed hope of America  becoming  an honest broker  in the region — and of course, the various US Terrorism lists.

A teenager from the back of the van sing-songed, “Wouldn’t it be easier just for you Americans to  put the whole world on your terrorism list and then let everyone on the planet convince you they should be taken off?”  And another smart alec grinned:   “Or you could just stop giving Israel weapons to kill and terrorize us and then there would be no need for any terrorist lists at all?”

Within two seconds, not more,  an old woman who must have been in her 80s, wrapped in an Ashoura black covering, and who  appeared to be sound asleep, lifted her head and shouted “Enshallah! (God willing!)”  and returned her head forward to slumber.  With that sage intervention the van erupted and shook in laughter.

The strongest reaction came from ‘Mustapha’ who appeared to be some sort of Salafist recently arrived from the gulf.  Claiming to have friends in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, he expressed a strong opinion and with anger in his voice:

“Does your government think Muslims with self respect and who value the Koran will allow his family especially his wife and his daughters to be body scanned? He would rather die.  This will not happen.  One phone call and your Embassy in Lebanon will close faster than the one in Yemen.  I think sometimes that you Americans have no idea about these latest aggressions against Muslims?  Are you out of your minds?  We are a peaceful people with a few extremists doing some crazy things but only in response to crimes against us like in Palestine. Stop provoking us and leave us and our lands!”

Will frequent flyers start to Glow?

As Mustapha expressed, Muslims and Arabs find the full-body scanner treatment abhorrent.  In this they are not alone with many questions being raised from cost (approximately $ 200,000 each or 10 more expensive that the usual metal detectors) to questions whether such devices would have even detected the type of bomb allegedly used on Christmas Day in Detroit.

While the Israel Defense Industries has announced a crash program to build and distribute quickly a cheaper and improved full body scanner (FBS) version, the stock of American Science & Engineering, a US  company that makes the full body scanners skyrocketed after Christmas and hit $82 dollars per share on 1/4/09, up from around $ 42 this summer.UK companies like L-3 Communications and Qinetiq hope to fend off competitors in landing quick orders.  Qinetiq announced yesterday that it can perfect a “stand-off” full body scanner to reduce privacy issues.

Former Bush Homeland Security director, Michael Chertoff admitted to NPR the other day that he is in the hunt for contracts for his new consulting firm, while denying that his advocacy of fbs when he held his post is a conflict of interest. Jane’s Defense Weekly claims the FBS are here to stay.

There are many critics of FBS including claims that it tends to fry hearing aids, and sends massive doses of ionizing x-rays radiations to the thyroid and breast areas. Others insist dogs are more effective and much cheaper.

Privacy Issues

The rapid introduction of full body scanners at British airports threatens to breach child protection laws which ban the creation of indecent images of children. Terri Dowty, of Action for Rights of Children, in London claims that the scanners could breach the Protection of Children Act 1978, under which it is illegal to create an indecent image or a “pseudo-image” of a child.

The ACLU and similar civil liberty organizations in England and Europe are waging a campaign against FBS on privacy grounds some arguing that the images created by the machines are so graphic they amount to “virtual strip-searching” and have called for safeguards to protect the privacy of passengers involved.   US and European Child porn laws are applicable in the view of some lawyers and there is growing concern that TSA type  at airports around the World  do not commit offences under child pornography laws or sell to the likes of the National Enquirer,  the UK Sun, NY Post etc. full body scan images of  celebrities, movie stars and others. Some governments are expressing concern that images could end up on the Internet.

A 12-month trial at Manchester, England airport of scanners revealed naked images of passengers including their genitalia and breast enlargements only went ahead last month after under-18s were exempted.

The Obama administration’s new list is meant to parry the coming expected rampage from the likes of Russ Limbaugh.  Already some conservatives such as retired Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney who wants to get young Muslim men strip searched in the worst way. The former US Air Force general’s comments during a recent Fox News broadcast. “We’ve got to go to more than just the normal process that they’re talking about now,” he opined on Saturday. “We have got to go to very; very strict screening and we’ve got to use profiling. And I mean, be very, very serious about the profiling. If you are an 18-28-year-old Muslim man, then you should be strip searched. If we don’t do that, there’s a very high probability that we’re gonna lose an airliner.”

The Obama administration has expressed for months an interest in revamping the terrorism lists and who is on them who should not be.   Now is the time to rethink the whole T list concept.

FRANKLIN LAMB is doing research in Lebanon.  He is reachable at fplamb@gmail.com.


More articles by:

Franklin Lamb volunteers with the Lebanon, France, and USA based Meals for Syrian Refugee Children Lebanon (MSRCL) which seeks to provide hot nutritional meals to Syrian and other refugee children in Lebanon. http://mealsforsyrianrefugeechildrenlebanon.com. He is reachable c/o fplamb@gmail.com.

February 19, 2019
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Troublesome Possibilities: The Left and Tulsi Gabbard
Patrick Cockburn
She Didn’t Start the Fire: Why Attack the ISIS Bride?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Literature and Theater During War: Why Euripides Still Matters
Maximilian Werner
The Night of Terror: Wyoming Game and Fish’s Latest Attempt to Close the Book on the Mark Uptain Tragedy
Conn Hallinan
Erdogan is Destined for Another Rebuke in Turkey
Nyla Ali Khan
Politics of Jammu and Kashmir: The Only Viable Way is Forward
Mark Ashwill
On the Outside Looking In: an American in Vietnam
Joyce Nelson
Sir Richard Branson’s Venezuelan-Border PR Stunt
Ron Jacobs
Day of Remembrance and the Music of Anthony Brown        
Cesar Chelala
Women’s Critical Role in Saving the Environment
February 18, 2019
Paul Street
31 Actual National Emergencies
Robert Fisk
What Happened to the Remains of Khashoggi’s Predecessor?
David Mattson
When Grizzly Bears Go Bad: Constructions of Victimhood and Blame
Julian Vigo
USMCA’s Outsourcing of Free Speech to Big Tech
George Wuerthner
How the BLM Serves the West’s Welfare Ranchers
Christopher Fons
The Crimes of Elliot Abrams
Thomas Knapp
The First Rule of AIPAC Is: You Do Not Talk about AIPAC
Mitchel Cohen
A Tale of Two Citations: Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and Michael Harrington’s “The Other America”
Jake Johnston
Haiti and the Collapse of a Political and Economic System
Dave Lindorff
It’s Not Just Trump and the Republicans
Laura Flanders
An End to Amazon’s Two-Bit Romance. No Low-Rent Rendezvous.
Patrick Walker
Venezuelan Coup Democrats Vomit on Green New Deal
Natalie Dowzicky
The Millennial Generation Will Tear Down Trump’s Wall
Nick Licata
Of Stress and Inequality
Joseph G. Ramsey
Waking Up on President’s Day During the Reign of Donald Trump
Elliot Sperber
Greater Than Food
Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
Nicky Reid
The Councils Before Maduro!
Gary Leupp
“It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby”