When officials cry wolf over terrorism threats and ignore the wolf at the door

There is so much to write about when it comes to pointing out the lies, exaggerations and outright whoppers spewed by US President Trump that it is almost not worth doing anymore.  There is no challenge to it: it is like shooting fish in a barrel.  I am not suggesting that no one monitor the inaccuracies of this very un-presidential presidency – that is what democracies do after all – but it is too easy and has gotten kinda boring given the sheer volume of bullshit coming out of the White House.

A recent embellishment does need commentary, however, and that is the claim that the caravan of desperate people moving north through Central America to seek refuge in the  US represents a national security risk to America.  It might, but not for reasons Trump says it does.

The Donald has stated, on various occasions, that migrant flows from Central America are full of criminals, rapists and terrorists and that the US has to take extraordinary steps to prevent them from entering the country.  As somewhere in the vicinity of half of the walkers making their way north are women and children it is hard to reconcile this latest lie with reality.

Is it possible that vicious gang members could sneak in among those fleeing endemic violence in their home countries, often at the very hands of those same gangs?  Absolutely.  Is it possible that there are more than a handful?  Not a chance.

More importantly, what of the terrorists, whether these are of the Islamic State (IS) variety or not?  Well, according to the President’s own intelligence agencies’ assessments, that possibility currently stands at – zero.  If Trump cannot trust his own spies, who can he trust?  Then again, he has clearly indicated on many occasions what he thinks of those patriots who toil in the US intelligence community.  Hint: it is not laudatory.  Never let the facts get in the way of a good story they say, even if that story is a whopper.

So, if there is no national security threat from the caravan of desperate people, where precisely is the threat?  Well, it comes from the effects of racism, hate, and dog whistle politics this ‘president’ has regularly engaged in.  When he says that the press is the enemy of the people he encourages attacks on the mainstream media (witness the pipe bombs sent to CNN).  When he says ‘globalists’ are taking over – read ‘Jews’ – he encourages the anti-Semites to lash out (witness the recent attack on the synagogue in Pittsburgh).  When he labels immigrants undesirables and sends tens of thousands of troops to defend the border against their entry, he encourages attacks on minorities (witness too many to count).

Ironically, then the US President, who is after all tasked with protecting the American people, is rapidly becoming the single greatest threat to national security!  If this is indeed the case why has the US government not moved to:

a) pressure Twitter to close his poisonous account?

b) put him on a no-fly list?

c) seized his assets?

d) launched an investigation into his support for terrorism?

I am of course being grossly facetious.  The spineless Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate who support the singularly most  unqualified president in US history will do nothing of the sort.

Expect, then, more bile, more fiction and more egregious remarks from this man.  And expect more attacks on Jews, immigrants and minorities.  True, we cannot pin these attacks on the president – after all, RW extremism and anti-Semitism have been around for a very long time in the US- but it is also true that he is baiting these attackers and is at a minimum not helping (and at a maximum complicit?).

US society is heading towards a very, very scary place. If Trump is not handed a defeat at tomorrow’s mid-term elections – if the Democrats take control of the House there is some hope they can act as a brake of sorts of the stupidest of his stupidities – and an overwhelming defeat in the 2020 presidential elections, the US will continue its slide towards hateful politics and violence.  This is not a good thing for a country that has long acted as a model for others.

As a resident of the US’ northern neighbour I sincerely hope that Americans wake up to what this man has done, is doing and will do to their nation.  This is not a time to ignore the boy who called wolf.  There is a wolf at the door and it is not the migrant caravan: it is the president himself.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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