Saturday, January 9, 2010

Helen Thomas asks "Why"

"I believe they’re afraid of being un-American, unpatriotic and I believe that they’re, I don’t know this factually but I do think that their corporate heads in New York say, why did you ask for that question".
Helen Thomas

For over 60 years Helen Thomas has reported on American Presidents. Now aged 89 and still reporting from the White House Helen Thomas is the only member of the White House Press who asks probing and critical questions of Presidents and their officials. Watch footage of the press conferences and you can see the contempt which Presidents and their officials often display for Helen Thomas and her probing questions. (Andrew Denton did an interview with Helen Thomas that is available here).

At a recent press conference at which President Obama tried to explain away the intelligence failures that preceded the recent alleged attempt by the Sudanese man Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab to detonate a bomb on a flight over Detroit on Xmas Day Thomas questioned Obama's counter-terrorism guru John Brennan about the Sudanese young man involved.

Thomas asked Brennan why Abdulmutallab did what he did.

Thomas: “And what is the motivation? We never hear what you find out on why.”

Brennan: “Al Qaeda is an organization that is dedicated to murder and wanton slaughter of innocents… They attract individuals like Mr. Abdulmutallab and use them for these types of attacks. He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, al Qaeda has perverted Islam, and has corrupted the concept of Islam, so that he’s (sic) able to attract these individuals. But al Qaeda has the agenda of destruction and death.”

Thomas: “And you’re saying it’s because of religion?”

Brennan: “I’m saying it’s because of an al Qaeda organization that used the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way.”

Thomas: “Why?”

Brennan: “I think this is a — long issue, but al Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland.”

Thomas: “But you haven’t explained why.”

Former CIA official Ray McGovern* writes in a recent piece that very few journalists, officials, and mainstream commentators are willing to ask the question Thomas asks. Here's McGovern:

"Getting back to Abdulmutallab and his motive in trying to blow up the airliner, how was this individual without prior terrorist affiliations suddenly transformed into an international terrorist ready to die while killing innocents?

........ As indicated above, the young Nigerian seems to have had particular trouble with Israel’s wanton slaughter of more than a thousand civilians in Gaza a year ago, a brutal campaign that was defended in Washington as justifiable self-defense........

But why isn't there a frank discussion by America’s leaders and media about the real motivation of Muslim anger toward the United States? Why was Helen Thomas the only journalist to raise the touchy but central question of motive?"

* Ray Mcgovern has written an intriguing piece here on James Douglass's book JFK and the Unspeakable (that I have written about recently here).

No comments: