The Innocent Are Menaced By the “War on Terror”

Justice:Denied magazine, Issue 25, page 10

The innocent are in greater danger today than at any time since the “Red scare” from the late 1940s through the 1950s. During that time being labeled as a “communist” eased the path to a person’s wrongful conviction and ostracization from society. What is described today as the “War on Terror” has created a similar situation by inflaming passions against anyone labeled as a “terrorist.” Once saddled with that label, the normal protections of a person against an unwarranted criminal accusation are reduced, since no one wants to be perceived as “soft” on terrorism. However Aristotle sagely observed over 2,000 years ago in his Politics, “Even the best of men in authority are liable to be corrupted by passion. We may conclude then that the law is reason without passion.” The ultimate expression of passion without reason is a lynch mob. Errors in judgment by police, prosecutors and judges inevitably follows the quasi lynch mob mentality triggered by allegations of a person’s involvement in terrorism. That passion driven attitude makes it all too easy for an innocent person to be ensnared in the nightmarish web of a criminal prosecution. Mere utterance of the word terrorism in connection with a person’s alleged activities and their presumption of innocence evaporates like a morning mist. Unless cooler heads prevail, a wrongful conviction will predictably result. In the following five stories of an innocent person tagged as a terrorist, four were miraculously saved by “cooler” heads, while one is condemned to die in the highest security prison in the United States. Not surprisingly, they are all Muslims, which is the faith of the terrorists we are told we should mortally fear.

One has to believe that in coming years people will look back in horror at the illicit treatment of people during the “War on Terror” as a product of the same sort of mass induced psychosis that reigned in this country during the “Red scare”. It is another lesson that regardless of what political “leaders” and the media attempt to influence people to believe, the only place the bogeyman we are afraid may be alive, is in the imagination of the person staring back at us in the mirror. Hans Sherrer