Thursday :: May 6, 2004

US Prisons Creating Terrorists

by Mary

The NY Times recently had an article that said the US prisons are being infiltrated by al Qaeda. Although the Justice department has just published a report about this phenomena, the real problem is something else. It seems like the prisons are active breeding grounds of all kinds of terrorists, and not just Islamic extremists. As our prisons become warehouses for society's losers with less access to education or possibility for reform, they produce the helplessness, humiliation and rage that creates extremists of all types.

For extremist groups, inmates represent a valuable source of potential; people who can carry on the struggle in prison and after their release. While right-wing groups tend to dominate prisoner recruiting, left-wing groups provide support to imprisoned members. Fringe groups and movements from all over the political spectrum including Muslim, anti-government, Christian Identity, neo-Nazi, white supremacist, skinhead, animal rights, anti-globalization, environmental and anarchist ideologies, among others, attempt to exert an influence within prison walls.

New recruits adopt their gang's violent, hateful rhetoric and animosity toward other races or religions and, in turn, gain access to new avenues of criminal activity. While many prisoners discontinue their association with extremist groups once they are released, many retain their fanatical position and commit new crimes based on their newly found extremist beliefs.

Bush's administration is incapable of confronting terrorism. As David Neiwart has said more than once, this administration spends much more time and energy looking at some terrorists than others. Eco-terrorists are ranked up there with the Islamic extremists, while the Christian Identity adherents or right wing survivalists are largely overlooked. If Americans ever want to find a way to end terrorism (or greatly reduce its threat), they will need to stop creating more terrorists. One place to start is to read Robert Wright's excellent series on A Real War On Terrorism. Of course, we won't get anywhere until we remove the gang in charge who have done such a remarkable job of stoking the hatred that nurtures generations of new terrorists.

Mary :: 10:00 PM :: Comments (12) :: Digg It!