Thursday, October 12, 2006

It came from within! It must be stopped! (But only in election years.)

A 28-year-old California man who has appeared in five al-Qaida propaganda videos was charged with treason Wednesday, becoming the first U.S. citizen charged with the offense since World War II.

Adam Gadahn, also known as Azzam al-Amriki or Azzam the American, "gave al-Qaida aid and comfort ... with intent to betray the United States" through his appearances in the videos, including two released last month by the terror network, according to an indictment handed up by a grand jury in Orange County, Calif.

...Asked to address skeptics who might view the timing of the indictment as intended to influence the Nov. 7 congressional elections, [Deputy Attorney General Paul] McNulty said it was driven by the evidence and was "in the best interests of the American people." ...

Let's review the history: In May 2004 -- at a time when one poll was showing George W. Bush trailing John Kerry by 10 points -- the FBI declared that Gadahn was (in the words of the San Francisco Chronicle) "one of seven suspected of being al Qaeda operatives who may be working to mount a terrorist attack this summer in the United States." (Guess that didn't work out.)

With a week to go in the '04 election, an al-Qaeda tape that apparently featured Gadahn was obtained by ABC News -- and was immediately the subject of a breathless "exclusive" from GOP mouthpiece Matt Drudge.

Tapes released in 2005 and the summer of this year, curiously, got less attention from the Republicans and their media sock puppets.

But it's October of an election year again, so, again, it's Gadahn Time.

The Bushies love Gadahn because they thinks they can use him to persuade the mouth-breathers in their base that there's a continuity between austere Islamicist extremism and hedonistic coastal librul sixties-hippie-peacenik-hip-hop-metal-whatever culture. If Karl Rove were building a Goldstein in the lab, he'd come up with Gadahn. The S.F. Chronicle again:

[Gadahn's aunt Nancy] Pearlman said her brother Phil, Gadahn's father, was a sometimes-rock musician who had been heavily influenced by the 1960s milieu while growing up in suburban Santa Ana....

[Gadahn] grew to love watching television, using a computer and the Internet and listening to heavy metal rock music, which she disparaged.

"He was listening to that awful, awful stuff," she said....

The righties are coming at us from both directions. As James Wolcott recently pointed out, Dinesh D'Souza claims in a forthcoming book that left-wing cultural decadence enrage Muslims off so much that it's appropriate to say 9/11 is our fault. The Bushies' constant attention to Adam Gadahn makes the opposite point -- that left-wing cultural decadence leads directly to Islamicist fanaticism and, potentially, another 9/11. (Especially when it comes from California.) Never mind that these two ideas are contradictory (if "idea" isn't too strong a word for this nonsense) -- they fit comfortably together in Red American brains, because Red America believes any cultural manifestation that's not accompanied by a pit crew, a crucifix, or a cowboy hat is hatched in a coastal lab by the Elders of Zion America-haters who seek both gay marriage and an al-Qaeda takeover of the U.S. And the only antidote, of course, is Bush's GOP.

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