Friday, September 17, 2004

Domestic terrorism

Apparently, even self-evident -- and officially identified -- cases of domestic terrorism do not warrant serious coverage in the press.

Otherwise, how can you explain the dearth of interest -- outside of the New York Times -- in the booby-trapped letters that have been sent to 14 of the nation's governors so far?

The letters are rigged to burst into flames when opened:
The mailings, under investigation by the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security, bear a return address that names two inmates at a maximum-security prison in Nevada. But a Nevada corrections official said it was unclear whether they were the actual senders.

Aides to several governors, including Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, said they had been told by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the case was being treated as one of domestic terrorism, and Jennifer Meith, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Fire Marshal's Office, said that was her understanding as well.

But spokesmen for the bureau declined to comment on a current investigation, although one of them, Joe Parris, said in Washington, "Cases of this nature are generally handled by the local domestic terrorism squads'' -- that is, the joint terrorism task forces set up by the F.B.I. in cities across the country.

Some of the more recent victims have included Utah Gov. Olene Walker, while Washington's Gary Locke was among the first.

Why, exactly, isn't CNN running specials on this instead of the CBS memos? Why doesn't Bill O'Reilly hold talk sessions on it?

Because, you know, if these attacks happened to originate with what some bloggers refer to as "Arab terrorists", we can only imagine where they'd be getting played.

Speaking of which, anyone remember the anthrax terrorist, and how that case dropped out of sight? (This story from August 6 has the most recent turn of events.)

In any event, the return addresses are almost certainly bogus, but the inclusion of prison culture in this case suggests a possible association with the notorious prison gang the Aryan Brotherhood, which has other links to domestic terrorism.

Speaking of which, there was this cryptic message left recently on the Aryan Nations Web site [WARNING: Racist site], which may be apropos of nothing:
ATTN. 76

"Tac Tran" refers to a "tactical transmission." The remaining lines remain open to multiple interpretation (though "Contact 88" is almost certainly a Hitler reference).

It's probably unrelated, and it more than likely represents pure fantasizing on their parts. But it probably should be duly noted, too.

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