What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
The Christian Science Monitor is carrying a story about the FBI shelling out $2 million to Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield “as part of a settlement for wrongfully arresting him in connection with the 2004 Madrid terror attacks.”
Mayfield is a convert to Islam, born here in America. He describes the ordeal he was put through:
The days, weeks and months following my arrest were some of the darkest we have had to endure. I personally was subject to lockdown, strip searches, sleep deprivation, unsanitary living conditions, shackles and chains, threats, physical pain and humiliation.
What evidence was the FBI going off of?
FBI examiners had erroneously linked him to a partial fingerprint on a bag of detonators found after terrorists bombed commuter trains in Madrid in March, killing 191 people. The bureau compounded its error by stridently resisting the conclusions of the Spanish National Police, which notified the FBI three weeks before Mayfield was arrested that the fingerprint did not belong to him.
Yup, that’s right… The FBI has wasted plenty of time and resources chasing this man based on a single fingerprint, and now they’re paying out an extra $2 million of our money.
The JBS’ commentary brings home the point quite well:
Undoubtedly there are many Americans who are not overly concerned about the extra-constitutional powers the federal government has been exercising to bring terrorists to justice for the simple reason that they do not imagine that those powers would ever be used against the innocent. Suspension of habeas corpus? Imprisonment without being charged with a crime? Torture? Many Americans who would ordinarily be appalled by these extra-constitutional powers rationalize that the powers are necessary when exercised against suspected terrorists.
After all, the federal government would never accuse someone of being a terrorist who is not a terrorist — or would it?
Well, it already has.
At what point do we shed the prevalent mentality of “It could never happen to me”? At what point do we realize that if it has happened just once, it’s likely to happen again?
Thankfully, Mayfield is resuming his lawsuit against the government to overturn the (unconstitutional and ridiculous) Patriot Act. Here’s to hoping he sees some success after being put through hell by our government.