Saturday, November 11, 2006

Jennifer L. Pozner: The Terrorists Who Aren't in the News

The Terrorists Who Aren't in the News
By Jennifer L. Pozner

Anti-abortion fanatics spread fear by bombings, murders and assaults, but the media take little notice.

On Sept. 11, 2006, the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks that devastated our nation, a man crashed his car into a building in Davenport, Iowa, hoping to blow it up and kill himself in the fire.

No national newspaper, magazine or network newscast reported this attempted suicide bombing, though an AP wire story was available. Cable news (save for MSNBC's Keith Olbermann) was silent about this latest act of terrorism in America.

Had the criminal, David McMenemy, been Arab or Muslim, this would have been headline news for weeks. But since his target was the Edgerton Women's Health Center, rather than, say, a bank or a police station, media have not called this terrorism -- even after three decades of extreme violence by anti-abortion fanatics, mostly fundamentalist Christians who believe they're fighting a holy war.

Since 1977, casualties from this war include seven murders, 17 attempted murders, three kidnappings, 152 assaults, 305 completed or attempted bombings and arsons, 375 invasions, 482 stalking incidents, 380 death threats, 618 bomb threats, 100 acid attacks, and 1,254 acts of vandalism, according to the National Abortion Federation.

Abortion providers and activists received 77 letters threatening anthrax attacks before 9/11, yet the media never considered anthrax threats as terrorism until after 9/11, when such letters were delivered to journalists and members of Congress.

After 9/11, Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups received 554 envelopes containing white powder and messages like: "You have been exposed to anthrax. ... We are going to kill all of you." They were signed by the Army of God, a group that hosts Scripture-filled web pages for "Anti-Abortion Heroes of the Faith," including minister Paul Hill, Michael Griffin and James Kopp, all convicted of murdering abortion providers, and a convicted clinic bomber, the Rev. Michael Bray. Another of their "martyrs," Clayton Waagner, mailed anthrax letters while a fugitive on the FBI's 10 most wanted list for anti-abortion related crimes.

"I am a terrorist," Waagner declared on the Army of God's web site. Boasting that God "freed me to make war on his enemy," he claimed he knew where 42 Planned Parenthood workers lived. "It doesn't matter to me if you're a nurse, receptionist, bookkeeper, or janitor, if you work for the murderous abortionist, I'm going to kill you."

That's textbook terrorism, defined by the USA Patriot Act as dangerous criminal acts that "appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population" or "to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion."

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Susannity! (Susanne) said...

I too had not heard of this incident. I am so thankful for media outlets like Alternet. Pages and pages of news coverage about Brittany's divorce but not the important stuff, and if it does cover the important stuff, it's selective as hell. I watched Goodnight and Goodluck recently. Murrow is held up as this uber newsperson standard, so why don't we see more emulation from those who say that he epitomizes news integrity?

Thivai Abhor said...

mindblowing, now, in an age of propaganda and diversion, fawning journalists and corporate bottom lines, that there were once mainstream journalists on TV with that kind of courage.

actually I have some videos of news shows from the 70s... sadly they would seem radical by today's standards. another reason my TV is completely disconnected...

alternet is a great forum, sifting through the countless alternative news sources. is there a conservative equivalent to alternet--i would like to compare them?