(This article by Gretchen Ross was first published in the July 2005 issue of Newtopia Magazine)
According to CNN, top American federal law enforcement officials believe “violent animal rights extremists” and “eco-terrorists” currently pose the greatest domestic terrorist threat to the nation. Who defines domestic terrorism, and how the definitions are interpreted and presented to the public, plays a large role in how the masses will view reality.
If you’re an avid television addict, you’ve no doubt heard the words “domestic terrorism” rolling off of more than a few tongues for the past few years since 9/11. If your television news preferences include any of the mainstream 24-hour news channels, chances are it’s a phrase you’re more than familiar with. Your mind may already have automatic mental images conjured up for you simply by hearing the words “domestic” and “terrorism” used together in the same sentence.
If you’ve been relying on the mainstream media as your only source of information, the phrase “domestic terrorism” probably triggers you to instantly picture several stereotypical images. You most likely see a cavalcade of dark-complected men, probably of Middle Eastern descent, storming into your local Wal-Mart with dirty nukes strapped to their chests. You may also visualize them with beards and turbans. It’s quite possible your visualized domestic terrorist is carrying a Koran and shouting “Praise Allah!” as he plows through the toy section and detonates.
According to centuries of research by many psychologists, philosophers and scholars alike, what you see; and as a result, what you believe; is determined largely by what information you’re taking in and what information you’re not privy to. This includes what you allow yourself to absorb consciously and subconsciously and how much you think for yourself.
So how do Americans define domestic terrorism, and what are they basing their interpretations on In most cases, it’s certainly not coming from personal experience. Most people have never personally met a “domestic terrorist”, at least not one by dictionary definition. They rely on the most convenient and established source available to them, no matter how corrupt, controlled or untrustworthy. And that source is the corporate government, as presented to the public by the corporate media.
In today’s world, T.V. “terrorists” are pre-packaged, media-hyped entities consisting mainly of clichs and stereotypes about Arabs, Muslims and anyone against the Iraq war. As a result, a growing number of Americans do not even differentiate Muslims from Arabs, Arabs from terrorists, terrorists from Iraq or Iraq from 9/11. For many, it’s all one long chain of connected evil. The Wal-Mart suicide bomber becomes mentally super-imposed onto anyone falling out side the media’s definition of a patriot. For those who fall prey to the subtle conditioning, it is not only urgent to root out this evil by any means necessary, it’s a patriotic duty. If you need proof of this, try walking down a crowded street in rural America with a turban on your head.
When a trusted mainstream news outlet writes an article on “eco-terrorists,” and files it under the “domestic terrorism” section of its newspaper or website, the mind of the reader, taking the word of the established news source as factual and trustworthy, can subconsciously create the link in the chain and relate it all the way back to the image of the Wal-Mart suicide bomber. The media never have to make the connection directly or literally, the mental magic works on its own on the unsuspecting and uninformed reader. Like the now common and automatic association of Arabs with terrorism, the words “animal rights” and “environmentalism” will trigger the association to terrorism, and anyone involved in these activities will be treated as such.
It’s no accident that the government has recently labeled animal rights and environmental groups as domestic terrorism threats while neglecting to place other groups in that category, such as the KKK. Animal rights activists and environmentalists are in direct opposition to the government’s policy of raping and destroying every piece of nature and wildlife in its path.
On the other hand, the KKK activities are in alignment with the government’s racist anti-Arab views. Never mind that the raw, unbiased facts show that the KKK have killed people for their beliefs, and the “eco-terrorists” and animal rights groups have not. While some environmental and animal rights groups have vandalized and destroyed buildings, they have never killed anyone.
Another group missing from the recent domestic terrorist list is the pro-life crowd, which supposively contains a faction of extremists who have actually killed people by blowing up abortion clinics. But don’t be deceived by their absence. The government doesn’t care about any life, especially if it’s human. The pro-lifers are getting a free pass because the religious fundamentalists who support them represent a large voting base for the party currently holding power. And as an added subliminal bonus, what this actually says to the public is that the destruction of private property is more important than the destruction of human life and nature. The buildings torturing animals for science are of more value than the people inside the abortion clinics. Such is the purpose of corporate capitalism.
In conclusion, unless we do something to stop the conditioning, domestic terrorism will be whatever the media tells us it is. The government, through the media, will define domestic terrorism any way it sees fit, which is always the way which supports, not hinders, its own agenda.
As of July 15, 2005:
Number of murders carried out by American animal rights groups and environmentalists: zero
Number of government ordered murders carried out in Iraq: 22 838
Domestic terrorism is alive and well, and it resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
By Gretchen Ross