Not by PC alone!

This is an ominous development, and I don't think it's being widely reported:

WASHINGTON - Ex-cons who converted to Islam in New York and other state prison systems have turned up in Yemen as Al Qaeda terror recruits, a new Senate report says.

The focus on ex-cons was part of an intensified effort by Al Qaeda to involve Americans who could more easily slip through security and pose a "significant threat" to carry out attacks in the U.S., said Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

"These Americans are not necessarily of Arab or South Asian descent" but "include individuals who converted to Islam in prison," Kerry said in a foreword to the report by his committee.

As many as 36 of the ex-cons, nearly half from New York, were believed to be in Yemen, and U.S. counterterror officials were on "heightened alert because of the potential threat from extremists carrying American passports," the report said.

The FBI and CIA were also concerned about a separate group of fewer than 10 Americans without criminal records who went to Yemen, converted to Islam and married Yemeni women to be allowed to remain in the country.

The report quoted a U.S. official who described the smaller group as "blond-haired, blue eyed-types" who fit the profile of Americans wanted by Al Qaeda for terror missions.

Via China Confidential, who says the report raises an additional taboo topic:
The report highlights another taboo topic for Islamist-appeasing liberals: decades of infiltration of U.S. prisons by agents of Saudi Wahhabism--Muslim chaplains trained in and certified by Saudi-supported Wahhabi institutes operating in the U.S.
Why is all of this considered "taboo"? It's easy to blame political correctness, but I don't think that fully explains the reluctance on the part of so many -- in journalism, government, and law enforcement -- to discuss the problem. It is unreasonable to assume that the entire machinery of official information has been paralyzed solely by political correctness. I think that there are different mindsets at work which operate in collusion. Above all, there's the national security, "we know what's best" mindset, which I've touched on before, and which for various reasons wants to keep citizens out of the loop. (A major reason for this is that they don't want to reveal sources and techniques, etc.)

Then there's what I would call the "responsible" class -- people in various positions which have convinced them that either they are in charge or else they should be -- and these people sincerely believe that putting out information such as the above would "cause a panic" and is therefore "irresponsible."

An interesting proposition, to be sure. I tend to look for answers, for facts, in order to get some idea of what is going on. You know, that old-fashioned concept called "the truth"? I would hate to think that truth-seeking behavior is irresponsible, but in fairness, greater minds than mine (such as Churchill) did allow that truth is the first casualty in war. To which I would counter "Fine, but are we at war?" If so, should I just shut up?

This raises, of course, the additional problem of Saudi Arabia. If we are at war, they really ought to be our enemy, for they are the chief supplier not only of the lethal Wahhabist ideology that sees us as deserving death, but the money that fuels it. Which means we all are fueling it, because we buy their damnable oil. It's tough fighting an enemy that's an ally, especially an enemy we fund every time we fill up at the pump.

Finally, there are those in power who simply don't want to look bad. They hate to look incompetent, they hate having people read about their shortcomings, and they hate being laughed at. If too many Americans read about converted Americans seeking to be suicide bombers in Yemen, they might think our government officials are incompetent, or worse. So the people who might look bad would naturally be expected to have a strong interest in suppressing such reports to the extent they can.

None of this is to diminish the powerful role of political correctness in this process, but it would be a mistake to assume that it's the only factor.

posted by Eric on 01.21.10 at 11:56 AM


It is unreasonable to assume that the entire machinery of official information has been paralyzed solely by political correctness.
Wherein Veeshir looks like a conspiracy nut.

The Saudis throw a lot of money around.
The revolving door between our gov't and Saudi "think tanks" is interesting.
Lots of our retired pols get money from the Saudis, presidential libraries for instance, they also work for "Consulting Firms" and it's both parties. I'm not discriminating.

When you have the powerful in Washington saying, "That's no big deal" it reinforces the PC bent our fine media and civil "servant" betters already have, they don't want to look all Sarah Palin or something, so they pretend it's not happening.

Saying unpopular truths is the rudest thing one can do in polite society.

Veeshir   ·  January 21, 2010 8:24 PM

The door was opened to religious proselytizing in prisons by people like Chuck Colson. You do remember him? The Nixon hatchet man who was jailed for obstruction of justice after the Watergate mess, a friend of G. Gordon Liddy, he found redemption and became a born-againer committed to prison reform. His Prison Fellowship Ministries was rewarded by George Bush with a presidential medal. As an influential member of The Fellowship, his latest political push was opposing Prop 8 in California, on purely religious grounds, of course.

It's wrong, no matter the motive, to allow wacko religious nuts and their organizations to infiltrate government run prisons. And how can you keep Muslims out when you let Evangelicals in? And who opened the door?

Frank   ·  January 21, 2010 10:42 PM

Colson supported Prop 8, on religious grounds.

Frank   ·  January 21, 2010 10:52 PM

Prop 8?

Isn't that a bit afield? I thought this post was about potential suicide bombers.

how can you keep Muslims out when you let Evangelicals in?

I wouldn't keep Muslims out; only Muslims who approve of religious suicide.

I'd also keep out fundamentalist Christians who approved of such things.

Eric Scheie   ·  January 22, 2010 12:54 AM

Yeah, it seems to me that if you're gonna have prisoners find religion you should make sure that religion is one of the "be nice to your fellow man" ones.

Veeshir   ·  January 22, 2010 8:48 AM

Ok, sorry about the off topic Prop 8 link to Colson - I couldn't resist.
But, it does make a point: that both Christian & Muslim religious advocacy contain a political element. Wouldn't it be the wise choice for the government to get all religious recruiting out of the prison system?
Or should we be forced to spend money and exert effort to continually monitor their activities?

That's the trouble with things like Faith Based Initiatives - government that supposedly represents all the people, ends up taking the side of religion either through direct tax support, or allowing religious recruitment of a captive group, in this case prisoners.
Would this kind of activity be permitted in public schools? NO!
So why is it OK in prisons?

Frank   ·  January 23, 2010 1:50 AM

This is a minor point in the context of your post, but Churchill??

There are for authorship of that "truth is the first casualty" line, and neither was Churchill.

Erwin   ·  January 24, 2010 6:43 AM

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