Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | July 22, 2013

Censored: Most-wanted terrorist photos on Seattle buses

You know why, of course.  The world’s most-wanted terrorists are mostly Muslims.  Of the 32 at the FBI website, 30 are Muslims; two are not.  (The other two are Joanne Deborah Chesimard, a Black Liberation Army terrorist from the 1970s who escaped from prison in New Jersey and is thought to be living in Cuba; and Daniel Andreas San Diego, an alleged animal-rights terrorist with two bombings to his credit, in San Francisco in 2003.)

As Accuracy in Media reports, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force proposed, in a pilot program with the State Department’s “Rewards for Justice” initiative, to place photos of 16 of the Most Wanted terrorists on the sides of buses in Seattle.  Seattle was selected for a reason: because of its proximity to a favorite border crossing for would-be terrorists, and the pervasiveness of its modes of mass transit.  The terrorists in question are wanted because they are at large; Seattle is one of the most likely places where an alert citizen might spot one of them, if he is bent on entering or leaving the United States on a terrorist errand.

But Congressman Jim McDermott of Washington (D-7) was having none of this law-enforcement initiative.  In a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, he issued this rebuke:

The “Faces of Global Terrorism” bus ad featuring sixteen photos of wanted terrorists is not only offensive to Muslims and ethnic minorities, but it encourages racial and religious profiling. …

I ask you to reconsider publicizing the “Faces of Global Terrorism” in our city.

I’m sure I don’t need to point out that this posture could be considered literally insane.  These terrorists blow people up, as well as kidnapping and murdering them with guns and machetes.  Fostering public recognition of their faces, in the quest to locate them, bring them to justice, and/or prevent them from doing any more of it, is best accomplished by getting their photos out there, in venues that will get the most possible “eye traffic.”  Small images on the Post Office wall aren’t as effective as putting their photos on buses.

But who knows?  If the complaint triumphs that terrorist photos, exposed to the public, encourage racial and religious profiling, in what venue can those photos be made available?  Will they be taken off the web and removed from the walls of federal buildings?

Consider this censorship in the larger context.  It makes sense to collect and maintain billions of records on the phone calls and emails of 311 million Americans, more than 310,999,800 of whom will never have anything to do with perpetrating terrorism of any kind – but it also makes sense, somehow, to censor from public view one of the most important data points we have in tracing the whereabouts of actual, known terrorists?


There is no valid argument for this move from the exigencies of homeland security, civil rights, or even just basic common sense.  It is demented to do this, like a homeowner who proclaims that he wants to keep his home safe, but constrains himself to remain unaware and defenseless, taking no precautions: refusing, on some irrelevant and over-argued principle, to recognize anything related to his home’s safety that may be happening.

AIM links to Pamela Geller at the American Freedom Defense Initiative on this story, and both AIM and Geller discuss the involvement of the usual Islamist advocacy groups in getting the bus ads censored.  But I want to focus on the fact that non-Islamist Americans are doing this to ourselves.  That includes peaceful, law-abiding Muslim Americans.  We have a choice.  Islamist advocacy groups can’t “make” us do anything.  Each time sound policy and the logic of self-defense are defeated in a political process, it is not because the opponent is strong; it is because our leaders give in – even surrender preemptively.  They need to be held accountable for that.

Most wanted terrorists


J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard online. She also writes for the new blog Liberty Unyielding.

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  1. If I did not know that Congressman McDermott would never engage in anything so heinous, I might suspect him of profiling – but then I noticed that you had already tagged your post for that, too. Once again you put your fingers on all the relevant points.

  2. Sorry, but of course it encourages racial and religious profiling, that is unavoidable. If all current terrorists come from a distinct ethnicity, the suspicion that arises from fear will inevitably label innocent members of that ethnicity as possible terrorists. Many people are simplistic in their thinking and will assign responsibility to the group, rather than only specific individuals. And innocents will be attacked.

    This said, Muslim’s of a terrorist mind-set are on the increase in America, That is a historical pattern that emerges as any Muslim population increases. And that is due to the tenets of mainstream Islam which proclaims it is the holy duty, as dictated by Allah, of all Muslims to subdue the infidel.

    We can’t have our cake and eat it to, either we will have profiling or we will have an increased probability of successful terrorist attacks. If we make avoidance of terrorist attacks our priority, then there is no substitute for expulsion of all Muslims from America, on the grounds that Islam’s tenets and classically liberal western values are irreconcilable.

    That of course won’t happen, so we will have our terrorist attacks, much as does Israel, until it culminates in a nuclear terrorist attack upon a major American city. After hundreds of thousands or even millions die, then we will be faced with the choice of two paths; ‘fortress America’ and a police state OR turning the M.E. into a glass parking lot.

    When a nuclear terrorist attack upon a major American city occurs, the probability is that we will have a leftist/liberal in the WH and a Congress with a democrat majority or strong minority presence. Given that eventuality, turning America into an isolationist, high regulated, socialist police state under near-permanent martial law is the most likely probability.

  3. The FBI better prepare to update that most wanted list

  4. I’m pretty sure that I saw Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah waiting to catch a bus on the corner of Second Ave. and Madison St. just the other day. But when he saw those pictures he stuffed his keffiyeh in his messenger bag and got on his bike and rode off.

  5. I hope Ayman al-Zawahiri’s picture wasn’t on that bus. I’d say the odds of him ever getting to the Seattle area are rather slim. They could use that space for some other terrorist’s likeness.

    McDermott is and always has been an utter zero. You can rest assured that if he’s against X, America will be better off *with* X.

    As for profiling, I think it’s time that America embraced it. Some brave politician stepping up to the plate in this regard would be a breath of fresh air. This PC nonsense is going to get people killed and it needs to stop. The sooner the better.

    • Of course “this PC nonsense is going to get people killed and it needs to stop” but… it won’t. At least, not until there’s a nuclear terrorist attack upon an American city. Then the options get really bad.

      Here’s why; those on the right already realize this, so we’re really talking about the left, which is composed of the committed Marxist left and their dupes; the liberal low-information voter. The committed Marxist left wants terrorist attacks, for confirmation look at Obama’s ME ‘policies’. Everything he is doing is leading to this eventuality.

      So we are left with liberals. To give up political correctness requires rejecting the world-view, they have embraced as defining their self-worth. Add in the common pacifism, gullibility and naivete of many liberals and you have denial writ LARGE.

      We’re screwed because we have met the enemy and he is us.

      “Most people, sometime in their lives, stumble across the truth. Most jump up, brush themselves off, and hurry on about their business as if nothing had happened.” Winston Churchill

      • Love that new avatar you’ve got there GB.

        • Thanks. Theseus, Achilles, Odysseus, Miltiades, Leonidas…

          I’ve always been drawn to and fascinated by ancient Greece. Perhaps a prior lifetime…

          • Like VDH, I’ve always had a special interest in Epaminondas as well. He was a unique character. VDH’s novel about him continues to float near the top of my to-read list.

  6. The fact that McDermott hasn’t been tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail to the jeers of the assembled multitude tells you all you need to know about this country.

  7. RE, cm — no, I’m sure the FBI wasn’t planning to put the photos of terrorists who would obviously be nowhere near Seattle on the sides of buses there. They planned to put 16 out of 32 on the buses in the campaign. Presumably, only the photos of terrorists who might actually enter or leave the United States were in that list.

  8. The reality is that the FBI has $X in its budget that it can’t use for performance bonuses, junkets, seminars near beaches or expense-paid conferences. So some bureaucratic genius came up with the idea of buying space on the side of the buses. a move that shows the agency is hard at work protecting the citizenry but still needs their help to keep evil at bay. The genius will get a performance bonus later.

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