If you’re thinking about converting to Islam, you might want to reconsider. The FBI has rounded up another Muslim convert and sent him off to rot in prison for a secret crime in a secret place for a secret amount of time. James Ernest Thompson, also known as James Ujaama is thought to be in prison somewhere in Colorado, but the federal agents who ransacked his home can neither confirm nor deny that he was even arrested. And thank God. Ujaama is suspected of giving laptop computers to Al-qaeda. Just think of all the military secrets that might be released to the terrorists if the feds actually let us know if this American citizen had been arrested or not.
Although Ujaama is suspected of giving tech support to terrorists during his visits to Pakistan, he has yet to be charged with a crime. It’s possible that he’s been charged with a crime, but we don’t know because the press was excluded from Ujaama’s hearings in front of a federal judge on Friday. Two local newspapers argued in court that maybe, just maybe it would be nice to let the press in on this guy’s trial, but they were told to quit "aiding the terrorists." At least, that what I’m sure ol’ John Ashcroft would have said had he been there.
Now, I don’t know if Ujaama is a terrorist collaborator or not. He may be even worse than Jose Padilla (also known as Abdullah al Muhajir), who as we all know (according to Ashcroft) is the most dangerous terrorist in the history of the world, but it might be nice to maintain at least some appearance of due process for the cameras. Of course, if we lived in the America that existed before we all became a bunch of pathetic bleating sheep, some "red blooded Americans" might actually show some concern that Americans are being hauled off as "material witnesses" and then upgraded to "enemy combatants" and locked up for the duration of the "war" (or the Apocalypse, whichever comes first).
Fortunately, the transformation to sheephood is not quite complete. The New York Times recently reported that conservatives are starting to get a wee bit tired of Ashcroft’s magalomaniacal rampage. Grover Nordquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and the unofficial leader of the "leave me alone coalition" admits that many conservatives have become sorry they ever supported his nomination as Attorney General. Nordquist, a good meat and potatoes conservative, and not exactly some kind of Lew Rockwellite still believes that the Bill of Rights still has a few good lines in it even if it gets in the way of the Republican agenda. Old habits die hard and some Americans are still loath to trash the Posse Comitatus act and welcome the new utopia with federal soldiers patrolling the streets asking for everyone’s national ID card.
The most disturbing part of this Ujaama brouhaha, though, is the mantle of guilt placed upon the suspect because of the fact that he edited an "anti-American" website called StopAmerica.org. Naturally, the local news was all over this since it filled some good time between stories on chainsaw sculptors and old men feeding ducks. To drive home the point of how dangerous the suspect is, they trotted out with furrowed brows some lines from his web page that read:
Our campaign will not end until America’s foreign policy has ended. We are Americans united against war. We want the killing to end and America’s foreign policy makers brought to justice for the attempted genocide of more than 500,000 innocent children in Iraq. America’s foreign policy makers have brought hate to the people of the United States.
The horror! Here is a man that criticizes American foreign policy. Somebody get a rope. A headline the next day read "Jailed man admits opposition to foreign policy." Sheer madness.
Recognizing that the images of federal agents swarming about the home of a man secretly taken to an undisclosed location might be disturbing to some viewers, the news stations found some "expert" to assure everyone that "the average American" has nothing to fear from the anti-terror spooks. Presumably, "the average American" means "the obedient American." The dark fact that admitting opposition to American foreign policy is considered somehow shady or even inappropriate (let alone newsworthy) is hardly heartening to those of us who, like Grover Nordquist, aren’t quite ready to trash to Constitution. Fortunately, I might be saved by the fact that I don’t plan to abandon my Catholicism for Islam, or to change my name to Osama or Abdullah. The Pope has been known to criticize American foreign policy, however. I suppose that if the Vatican is added to the "Axis of Evil" I might be in deep trouble. I hear Ashcroft was never too fond of us "cath-licks" anyway.