October 10, 2005

PC Hacks at OU Paper Covering Up Oklahoma Bombing

joelhenryhinrichsIII.jpgThe University of Oklahoma student newspaper, The Oklahoma Daily (OD), today calls for the FBI break its silence on Joel Henry Hinrichs III--the OU student who blew himself up outside a football game on Oct. 1. The reason? To dispell the myths propogated by online 'hacks' that are claiming that the Oklahoma bomber, Hinrichs, may have been part of a larger Islamic terror plot.

Underlying today's editiorial is the assumption that Hinrichs was not part of a larger plot and that any evidence to the contrary is simply poor journalism.

The Oklahoma Daily even goes so far as to call those circulating this evidence "liars".

Such accusations come as no surprise to Jawa Report readers. The prevailing wisdom in both academia and in the media is that worries about homegrown Islamic terror cells are overblown. In many corners, especially prevelant in our nations' universities, there is even suspicion that the Bush Administration is really behind domestic terror fears as a way of diverting the publics' attention away from real issues.

It remains to be seen whether of not Joel Henry Hinrichs III was part of a larger Islamic terror plot. Stating unequivocally that he was part of such a plot is, in fact, shoddy journalism.

However, it is equally shoddy journalism to state, unequivocally, that Hinrichs was not part of such a plot. And to state, unequivocally, that there is no evidence that would lead some to this conclusion is the type of head-buried-in-the-sand type of journalism that we've come to expect out of the mainstream-media and in who's image aspiring journalists are molded.

There is, in fact, a great deal of circumstantial evidence to suggest that Hinrichs' death was a failed terror attack. Glaringly missing from today's OD editorial is the fact that Hinrichs was under investigation by local authorities because he had attempted to buy ammonium nitrate, a key ingredient in the truck bomb used to bring down the Murrah building in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh. Hinrichs, of course, blew himself up before the investigation could be completed. A first, we might add, since there is no record of an American killing himself by explosion.

Further, neighbors of Hinrichs claim he was a frequent visitor to a nearby mosque. The leaders of the OU Muslim Student Association, though, deny that Hinrichs was a Muslim. At best, then, we have conflicting reports. But just because the OU student newpaper cannot confirm that Hinrichs attended the mosque in question does not mean that media reports to the contrary are fabrications. They could be fabrications, but, then again, so could the denials.

The problem with this student newspaper, and the mainstream-media in general, is that they cower in fear over reaction to any implication that the Muslim community might have a greater propensity towards terrorism than, say, the Mennonite community. They are, in fact, held hostage from the truth by their unwavering faith that all religious ideologies are equal in driving violence as those on the other end of the spectrum are held hostage from the truth by their unwavering faith that Islam, alone, is responsible for the ills of the world.

They are right in the central premise of the editorial: the FBI ought to release pertinent information. But they make a major assumptive leap, which is quite revealing, that whatever information the FBI has would be exculpatory rather than damning.

Release the information, they say, because we know (without having seen this information) that it will prove there is no Islamic terror cell at the OU campus.

The fact remains that we have no idea what evidence the FBI has. The only bit of revealing information about which way the evidence is leading the FBI is a single statement from first assistant attorney for the Justice Department in Oklahoma City, Bob Troester, who said:

We don't comment on sealed indictments.
An indictment, even a sealed one, would mean that the FBI is already contemplating further arrest in the Oklahoma bombing. After all, one does not indict a corpse.

Of course, Troester's statement could have been a slip of the tongue. He could have meant sealed search warrant rather than indictment. People make mistakes, slips of tongue happen. But until such time as the Justice Department seeks to clarify the statement, then we ought to assume that they meant what they said.

The fundamental question raised is whether or not we have learned anything from 9/11 or not? Do we continue to treat terrorism, as we did prior to 9/11, as an act of criminality or do we treat terrorism as an act of war?

If a mere criminal act, then the public ought to reserve judgement. Innnocent until proven guilty, it is better to let a hundred guilty men go free than convict one innocent, etc., etc, and all that. The greatest fear among people with this point of view is that innocents are unfairly branded enemies and that publications, like this, might call someone a name they don't desrve.

If an act of war, then the public has a right to expect that affirmative measures will be taken to assure that such acts will not take place in the future. In war, there is no presumption of innocence. In fact, when an act of war (such as a bombing) takes place on a field of battle (as the American homeland now is) in such a way that the only known incidents of the act have been perpetrated by enemy combatents (as suicide-bombings are relatively rare outside the Islamic terror community), then one ought to presume terrorism until otherwise disproven.

We at The Jawa Report take the latter stance. The context of war changes everything. If the OD does not understand that we are at war and that the field of battle is U.S. soil itself, then they have learned nothing from 9/11. Their greatest fear may be that innocents are unfairly branded terrorists, and that is a legitimate concern.

Our greatest fear, though, is that our enemies walk freely among us, using that presumption of innocence to plot our demise and kill us. In either case, the possibility of being wrong is present, but only in the latter will being wrong get people killed.

So, since the good editors at the OD decided to call us hacks (and worse) for suggesting that Hinrichs might just be part of a larger plot, let us practice that age old journalistic practice of tit-for-tat and suggest that it is the OD that is staffed by hacks. But hacks isn't sufficient a word to describe people who's agenda it is to make all seem right at OU, despite the fact that a student just blew himself up outside of a football game. No, hacks is reserved for mundane political types who say what they say in order to get their guy elected. As far as we can tell no one is running for election at OU--unless of course David Boren is thinking of coming out of retirement--so hacks isn't appropriate here. A far stronger term is needed to describe people willing to cover up what looks to be an act of terrorism in America's heartland and call that responsible journalism.

Any guesses on what that word is? Please put your answers in the comments section.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:01 PM | Comments |