Along the Tracks

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

My own personal conspiracy theory

The conspiracy theorists have been having a hey day ever since 9-11, and while coming from both ends of the political spectrum, have been most, well, ingenious (to be polite) when out of Left field. I’ve been privy to the details on a few of these thanks to a couple of friendly liberal e-mailers who like to keep me up to date. They range from the mundane (Bush/Cheney directed the attacks to help their industry/oil buddies) to the offensive (Jews directed the attack to bring the U.S. into their war against the Palestinians/Arabs) to the bizarre (Bush again, but to crack down on civil liberties before initiating his father’s New World Order, rounding up opponents and imposing a world-wide “free trade zone”). This last one just goes to show how the extreme-extreme Left and Right eventually meet and become indistinguishable. The Right was having fun with NWO, black helicopters and political detentions years ago - that is so 1993!

Nevertheless, the arrest of Jose Padilla/American al Qaeda dirty-bomber last month points to a “conspiracy,” if you will, that very well may be taking place and I hope and pray the FBI and law enforcement in general is watching for: A nexus between organized crime, Islamist groups and homegrown terrorists/anti-government activists.

First, let me start by making one thing clear: I do not buy the assertion that Padilla is one and the same as John Doe #2 from the Oklahoma City bombing, another conspiracy making the rounds now. However, his arrest, and his past, point to the potential of cooperation between groups which are violently against the federal government and the rule of law.

Padilla was a member of a Puerto Rican street gang in Chicago before being arrested for murder, imprisoned and then converting to Islam. His experience is far from unique. And particularly violent and incorrigible criminals who make such a conversion are likely to be attracted to the “jihad” of Islamism. Meanwhile, their street gang contacts remain. Adding a religious urgency to their acts of mayhem would only energize their attacks on society. The connections would also provide ready pathways to weapons, bomb-making materials and, of course, cash.

We also have the anti-government extremists who believe the federal government must be overthrown. These groups, often neo-Nazi in philosophy, would seem to be a poor fit in the Islamist mix, with racist views and a xenophobic paranoia. Yet they shown themselves more than willing to commit atrocious acts to attack federal authority (the Murrah building bombing the most obvious), seeming little concerned about the means to achieving their ends. And in fact, their overarching philosophy is nearly identical with that of the Islamists: The United States government is hopelessly corrupt and must be destroyed. The enemy of your enemy is your friend. Remember, Stalin and Hitler were allies at the start of World War II. When Continental Europe was conquered, this marriage was no longer convenient for Germany, so Hitler raced into Russia.

Is this conspiracy active? There’s little evidence in the public domain of a union of convenience between Islamists, organized crime and neo-Nazis, but without a little forward thinking and prevention, the first we learn of it might very well be the next major terror attack.

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