Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Terrorist Accounting, Ashcroft Style

We know John Ashcroft is willing to inject his fundamentalist morality into his position as Attorney General, as witnessing the expensive draperies on those nude statues. Further, we know he is an enemy to civil liberties, as evidenced by the Patriot Act and his defense of it. Now there's evidence that he can't count. We get this article from the Omaha World-Herald, a paper smack in the middle of the conservative homefront.

What's it all about? Well, if you want to fight terrorism best you should really keep good statistics to refer to later when allocating resources. That's good management. But it appears that Mr. Ashcroft is counting just about any crime he can find to terrorism, thereby, yet again, ratcheting up fears and future budget allocations. To Iowa, the front line of the war on terror.

Let me just give you the lead to the article. . .

DES MOINES (AP) - Federal prosecutors claim they built 35 terrorism-related cases in Iowa in the two years after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, but most of the defendants have questionable links to violent extremism.

Defendants who could be identified by the Des Moines Register were, in most cases, charged with fraud or theft and served just a few months in jail.

"If there have been terrorism-related arrests in Iowa, I haven't heard about them," said U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt. But Pratt himself presided over courtroom proceedings in at least six of the criminal cases that federal prosecutors had cataloged as terrorist in nature.

Included among the 35 cases were:

• Four American-born laborers who omitted mention of prior drug convictions or other crimes when they were assigned by a contractor to a runway construction project at the Des Moines airport or when they applied for manual-labor jobs there.

• Five Mexican citizens who stole cans of baby formula from store shelves throughout Iowa and sold them to a man of Arab descent for later resale.

• Two Pakistani men who entered into or solicited sham marriages so that they and their friends could continue to live in the Waterloo area and work at convenience stores there.
We are so much safer with these folks on the job protecting us, aren't we?

Pardon while I go rinse with a good chianti, then spit.