Fear is the government's powerful tool of control


Published: Sunday, January 16, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 16, 2005 at 1:27 a.m.
We are being taken down a treacherous road of fear created and inflamed by the world's major governments.
A film by Adam Curtis called "The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear," argues coherently that much of what has been said about the threat of international terrorism "is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians.
It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services and the international media."
A few of the points made: If Osama bin Laden does, in fact, head a vast international terrorist organization with trained operatives in more than 40 countries, as claimed by Bush, why, despite torture of prisoners, has this administration failed to produce hard evidence of it?
How can it be that in Britain since 9-11, 664 people have been detained on suspicion of terrorism, but only 17 have been found guilty, most of them with no connection to Islamist groups and none who were proven members of al-Qaeda?
Why have we heard so much frightening talk about "dirty bombs" when experts say it is panic rather than radioactivity that would kill people?
The documentary does not doubt that Osama bin Laden helped finance various affinity groups of Islamist fanatics that have engaged in terror, including the 9-11 attacks.
Nor does it challenge the notion that a terrifying version of fundamentalist Islam has led to gruesome spates of violence throughout the world.
But it also makes a powerful case that the Bush administration has seized upon the false image of a unified international terrorist threat to replace the expired Soviet empire in order to push a political agenda.
If you keep people fearful, you keep them controlled.
Mark Lawrence, Gainesville

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