Daily Archives: July 18, 2011

Hidden terrorist or anti-muslim injustice?

There was a report on NPR Morning Edition this morning concerning a professor in Ohio who was smeared by people who came to “train” state security people and then fired. The professor has been in this country since 1979. He is an American citizen. NPR gives his name as Omar al-Omari, a gentleman who came to the US from Jordan. He is suing the state.

The incident remind me of the terrible injustices our government did in the 50’s to anyone who could be labelled a Communist sympathizer. Republicans still persist in using it, though the so-called Communist menace disappeared some time ago. They don’t forget their false nightmares. How many perfectly innocent lives were ruined, because someone began a rumor that became a story that led to character assassination of those individuals who were accused. It happened in the 70’s when some of us went witch hunting for anti-war protestors. We seem to be doing it again, only this time the smear words are Muslim terrorist. Omar al-Omari was fired from his position because he omitted the names of some universities where he had worked from his resume. Huh? I’m not sure why this would make a difference, especially since he seems to have degrees from several different universities in various countries.

Guandolo [the trainer] suggested when I interviewed him on the phone that there were things he knew about Omari that the FBI didn’t. “We know we have our facts right, because we have to,” Guandolo said. (Nearly a dozen sources contacted by NPR in the intelligence community, the FBI and at the Department of Homeland Security said Omari has no links to terrorists or terrorism. They said the accusations against him are unfounded.)

Just who does he think he is? That’s the kind of answer a liar and a bully gives to make you think he knows more than he really does and to intimidate you. It is a stark reminder of how far down the path toward gross violation of civil rights and intolerance we’ve been led by the GWOT. There are prisoners still in Guantanamo because someone was certain the facts were correct, only they were wrong or they used torture to get “confessions” or both. There are people in prison in the US who were entrapped by the FBI or others into saying something or boasting or obtaining materials that were urged on them by informants, who don’t belong there. There are prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan who are innocent of the charges against them, or who just aroused some anonymous person’s suspicions. None of this is law they way Americans are said to practice it.

The CIA has done a similar thing to Juan Cole who writes the blog Informed Comment. He is also suing, and you can read about his experience here. Cole is also a professor, but he is at the University of Michigan. He has the ACLU on his side. I hope al-Omari does too.

The larger question is, when does the hysteria stop?