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.
photo credit: KAZVorpal
Imagine a beautiful woman who is hired on by a company to attend its marketing events with a small team of hard-working salesmen. Traveling to a variety of conventions and other events, the woman sets her eye upon a (married) co-worker with whom she begins to subtly flirt. The flirting is cautiously reciprocated, and the tiny romantic spark increases with each new event they jointly attend. The woman’s body language and words are employed in what soon becomes a full scale process of seducing this man, who, overtaken by the woman’s beauty and interest in him, continues to play along and ultimately falls prey to her overpowering assertiveness.
One night, the woman convinces the married man to join her in a nearby hotel room she acquired for the specific purpose of allowing them to spend the night together and become romantically involved. She even provides him with a fake itinerary and airplane ticket stubs to make his wife believe that he was at another company event. Nervously excited, the man arrives at the hotel and enters the room to find a variety of items purchased but not yet used for the evening’s activities: candles, roses, a stereo with romantic music, condoms… The man turns down the lights, turns up the music, and arranges the room with everything needed in preparation for his seductress. Soon after, a sharp knock at the door sends a thrilling surge of adrenaline through his whole body. Advancing to the door, and excited to see what his new mistress has chosen to wear for the evening’s festivities, he opens it to find his wife.
As it turns out, the seductress had no intention of joining this man, but instead wanted to intentionally ruin his life to advance her own career within the company. Having planned the evening and provided the alibi and necessary supplies, she additionally alerted the wife to her husband’s whereabouts and purpose. The man, who otherwise had no interest in nor plans to commit adultery, had been seductively lured into a situation he did not expect nor originally desire.
If this fictional story has a strangely familiar tone to it, then perhaps it’s because truth is stranger than fiction. The federal government often acts as such a seductress, luring unsuspecting individuals into terrorism traps. They provide the plans, money, and supplies, and coax previously peaceful people into situations they did not desire nor expect at the outset. Once the terrorist plot (that was never going to happen to begin with) is foiled, the government informs the press of their “success” much like the seductress informed the wife of her husband’s intentions. In both cases, the informant bears the original and greater blame.
True, the individual could (and should) have refused participation. But cases of entrapment such as these cannot simply be understood superficially; the unsuspecting individual is not the one to ultimately blame. When the FBI pats itself on the back for stopping a would-be terrorist, they fail to mention that it was they who were prodding the individual along every step of the way, eager to find a compliant pawn for their self-aggrandizement and budget justifications.
Had the seductive female co-worker not persistently coaxed the man into complying with her desires, he never would have sought out nor committed the opportunity to cheat on his wife. Similarly, had the government not gone to great lengths to fund, organize, and supply terrorist activities, the “terrorists” the government “caught” would likely today be leading normal, peaceful lives. Glenn Greenwald expounds:
Time and again, the FBI concocts a Terrorist attack, infiltrates Muslim communities in order to find recruits, persuades them to perpetrate the attack, supplies them with the money, weapons and know-how they need to carry it out — only to heroically jump in at the last moment, arrest the would-be perpetrators whom the FBI converted, and save a grateful nation from the plot manufactured by the FBI.
None of these cases entail the FBI’s learning of an actual plot and then infiltrating it to stop it. They all involve the FBI’s purposely seeking out Muslims (typically young and impressionable ones) whom they think harbor animosity toward the U.S. and who therefore can be induced to launch an attack despite having never taken even a single step toward doing so before the FBI targeted them. Each time the FBI announces it has disrupted its own plot, press coverage is predictably hysterical (new Homegrown Terrorist caught!), fear levels predictably rise, and new security measures are often implemented in response
As in one case, so too with all the others: “the government’s confidential sources were monitored and guided by federal law enforcement agents.” These are not legitimate crime-prevention activities—they are manufactured triumphs based on fabricated scenarios carried out by the very agents seeking to “prevent” them.
Even worse, such phony situations can be politically exploited whenever convenient, since the “attack” occurs only with the planning and prodding of the government itself. Thus we saw the supposed Iranian terror plot “foiled” just as Attorney General Eric Holder was to testify in regards to (and receive significant public outcry for) the botched gun running scheme wherein government officials were supplying Mexican drug warlords with guns. Legitimate law enforcement activities occur in response to actual threats; politically motivated and designed plots are instead interrupted and publicized when convenient to those responsible for them.
Can the federal government save us from a plot of its own creation? So asks—and eloquently responds—Judge Napolitano. The answer, quite simply, is no. Like so many other areas of government activity, Robert Lefevre’s insight holds true: the government is a disease masquerading as its own cure.