Sunday, April 17, 2005

Is the World a Safer Place? - Terrorism vs. Censorship

One more addition to the current "Myth of Global Terrorism" news:

In his pre-presidential campaign - and in presidential address - the US President GW Bush had made the remarks that the "war on terrorism" is winning, and that the world is a safer place, etc. etc.

Nevertheless, this year, the US Administration decided to eliminate the publication of its annual report "The Patterns of Global Terrorism", because the facts did not fit the political statements. A news item from Knight Kidder reports:

"The State Department decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered.

Several U.S. officials defended the decision, saying the methodology used by the National Counterterrorism Center to generate statistics had flaws, such as the inclusion of incidents that may not have been terrorism.

But other current and former officials charged that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's office ordered the report, "Patterns of Global Terrorism," eliminated weeks ago because the 2004 statistics raised disturbing questions about the Bush's administration's frequent claims of progress in the war against terrorism.

"Instead of dealing with the facts and dealing with them in an intelligent fashion, they try to hide their facts from the American public," charged Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and State Department terrorism expert who first disclosed the decision to eliminate the report in The Counterterrorism Blog, an online journal.

... According to Johnson and U.S. intelligence officials, statistics that the National Counterterrorism Center provided to the State Department reported 625 "significant" terrorist attacks in 2004. That compared with 175 such incidents in 2003, the highest number in two decades.

The statistics didn't include attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, which President Bush as recently as Tuesday called "a central front in the war on terror."...

The numbers of incidents and fatalities in the report for 2003 were undercounted last year, forcing a revision and embarrassing the White House, which had used the original version to bolster Bush's election-campaign claim that the Iraq war had advanced the fight against terrorism. U.S. officials blamed bureaucratic mistakes involving the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, the forerunner of the National Counterterrorism Center, created under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which Bush signed Dec. 17...."

If you are wondering about the first statement mentioning the "myth of global terrorism"... please wait - will come back to it also.

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