ISSN 2330-717X

Anti-Terrorist Hysteria Sweeps US – OpEd


By Vladimir Gladkov

The pilots of a US Jet Blue airline passenger plane carrying over 150 people aboard had to carry out a forced landing after the skipper lost self-control and demanded changing the itinerary due to terrorist danger.

The crew had to resort to the passengers’ assistance to pacify the inadequate skipper. The medical service of Amarillo Airport where the plane had to land confirmed that the pilot had had serious nervous breakdown. The press reported that the CIA would be involved in the investigation. Meanwhile, it is the activity of state agencies that could be the reason for more frequent mental problems lately experienced by airline employees. The incident with the Jet Blue airline pilot is a new reminder that constant searching for internal enemies and whipping up the atmosphere of terrorist danger is not for the society’s benefit.

The pilot’s nervous breakdown is not the only such case. Several weeks ago, a flight attendant of the American Airline was also dismissed from a flight due to nervous breakdown. She was mumbling something about the 11th of September attack and assuring the passengers that the plane would crash. The explanation of these strange nervous breakdowns may lie on the surface. Even though the era of George Bush Jr., with its paranoia and artificially whetted fears of terrorist danger, has remained in the past, US special services are in no hurry to change their methods. Naturally, it would be naïve to deny the danger of terrorist attacks on US territory. However, analysing the measures taken by US state agencies, one gets an impression that the US government is making more efforts to imitate activity than to fight the real danger and the methods used by special services are more likely to result in the aggravation of the situation than in lowering the risk.

A good example of this was the scandal over the secret cooperation between the CIA and New York police with the aim of establishing a system of watching over Muslim people living in that state. That project thoroughly displeased human rights activists and, moreover, it turned out later that the cooperation of the intelligence agency and police was carried out in violation of the President’s decree. The objects for monitoring in that project were not terrorism suspects but ordinary members of Muslim communities, including students. No sooner than that scandal had died down, that an interview of an ex- FBI informer appeared in the press. The FBI had used him for decoying American Muslims into fake terrorist plots artificially organised by FBI agents. This tactics has become popular with the FBI and has allowed the government to imprison a lot of people who did not actually realize what they were in for.

This activity results in growing distrust of and hostility towards the state, as well as the growth of extremist moods among peaceful Muslims. Tracing and arresting law-abiding citizens, the government itself creates ideal conditions for extremist propaganda which real terrorists would not hesitate to take advantage of.

Constant whipping-up of fear is not good for the society. The first victims of this tactics become people who already carry a heavy load of responsibility, first of all, airline pilots. It looks like if the government does not reconsider its doubtful measures of fighting terrorism incidents similar to what happened aboard the Jet Blue liner could become everyday events. The problem is that not every incident is certain to have a happy end.

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VOR, or the Voice of Russia, was the Russian government's international radio broadcasting service from 1993 until 2014, when it was reorganised as Radio Sputnik.

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