In the wake of 9/11, many folks with political agendas tried their best to tie their particular issue to terrorism. Drug agencies tried to play up the possibility that South American drug lords were funding Islamic militants, Bush tried to tie it to his proposed Iraq war, we were told that political protest were dangerous because terrorists could infiltrate them, and there was even an attempt to clothing manufacturers to push for stronger anti-bootlegging laws, because bootleg t-shirts could possibly be funding terrorism.
Well here’s a new one:
Asking for increased vigilance in the wake of the London bombings, the government is warning that terrorists may pose as vagrants to conduct surveillance of buildings and mass transit stations to plot future attacks.
More specifically, this warning was released by the US Attorney’s office, and is allegedly based on “a State Department report that was issued last week”.
Part of me feels that this is a ploy to give law enforcement and local governments another tool to take on their homeless population. But another part of me figures that this warning is just typical, unrelated paranoia. I mean, the cops already abuse the homeless with impunity; how much more power would they need?
It is certainly paranoid, though, the base logic being: “London subways blew up. America has subways. Homeless people often loiter in American subways. Therefore, the homeless are a threat.”
But we have to at least look at the “incident” that set this thinking off
in Somerville, Mass., in which a police officer became suspicious about someone dressed as a street person. The officer questioned the man, discovered he had a passport from a “country of interest” — typically a Middle Eastern or South Asian nation — and a checkbook with a questionable address, the e-mail said. The investigation is continuing, it said.
The incident happened in early July, Somerville city spokesman Mark Horan said, when the man walked back and forth in front of the Social Security office in Somerville’s Davis Square and kept looking in the windows.
“This was right after one of the London bombings,” Horan said. “There was an even higher degree of sensitivity.”
The man was evasive about what he was doing but wasn’t arrested. Somerville police didn’t investigate further but passed the information on to the FBI, Horan said. There haven’t been any similar incidents in Somerville, he said.
Okay. A homeless guy originally from a country that someone has deemed scary. Maybe it’s somewhere in central or south Asia. Or maybe not, the article doesn’t say. And while I’m surprised to find that a homeless guy had a passport on him, I guess it is an important thing to have when in another country.
“Checkbook with a questionable address”, are you shitting me? Lord lord, the homeless man has a checkbook with an address that he doesn’t live at. Doesn’t that whole “homeless” thing make that inevitable?
Let’s face it. An awful lot of the “war on terror” has nothing to do with actually protecting Americans from terrorist attacks. A lot of it is about making white middle class people feel safer. “Oh good, they’re taking that dark-skinned foreign man off the plane for questioning, he could’ve been a terrorist.” “Yes, we’d better attack those Arab countries because all Arabs are surely the same and want to kill us.” “I’m glad the cops arrested that homeless man over there, he could’ve been an Al Qaeda operative looking for security flaws in our sporting goods store.”
[crossposted at New Noise]
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