"All the news that's fit to print about fighting Terrorism with Vigilance!"



Cliff McKenzie, Editor

GROUND ZERO PLUS 1343 DAY--New York, NY, Monday, May 17, 2005--An unconfirmed report by Newsweek Magazine that American guards at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba flushed the Koran down the toilet to incite prisoners to spill their guts about Terrorist information resulted in the deaths of 17 people in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The report in the May 9 news magazine was kindling for explosive riots in both Muslim-based countries against America.

The reference to flushing the Koran--Muslim's spiritual guide that is held with the same respect Christians cleave to the Bible--was a sidebar story about a planned investigation into abuse of prisoners at the Cuban detention facility.

Under fire, Newsweek apologized for what it called an error in reporting. The information, the magazine claimed, had not been verified according to strict journalistic policy, suggesting that it might not be accurate. Nevertheless, the comment boiled over already simmering cauldrons of anti-American hatred and sparked the riots that led to nearly a score of deaths.

The tragedy of deaths and the resulting political harm to fragile American relations in the Middle East as well as a continuing blemish on U.S. military tactics in the war against Terror, serves also as a reminder that Rumors Are Terrorism in disguise.

The vast majority of people in America have, at one time or another, have suffered the victimization of Rumor Terror. Unverified information, usually false--published by word of mouth or by writing--that scorches a person reputation in either a social, personal or business relationship.

"Did you hear about so-and-so doing such-and-such..."

"I have it on good authority that so-and-so did such-and-such to what's his/her name..."

Human beings are fragile, and, for many, their reputations are paper thin. Rumor attacks, like suicide bombs, maim and mangle images and set into motion riotous emotional venoms that can tar and feather a person regardless of guilt or innocence to the facts.

In noted psychological and sociological studies, students are given a statement and told to pass it on to another. One by one, the statement begins to morph. Whatever facts might have been black and white in the original become filtered through the prejudices and bigotries of the individual passing on those facts so that they become twisted and malformed. At the end of the Rumor gauntlet, the final result bears little semblance to the original, and is usually riddled with vitriolic asides that tend to be destructive rather than constructive.

Why are Terror Rumors so prevalent?

The Beast of Rumors lurks within all of us

One answer is that inside all of us, the Beast of Rumor Terror lurks. He has a thirst to pervert the innocent into the guilty for no other reason than to fuel his own fires. Terrorism, it must be recalled, thrives on the Ugly Side of human nature. Like the mushroom, it cannot exist in the sunlight of Truth, for Truth's nature is to evolve above the primordial slime of human darkness and to grow above those forces that inhibit or prohibit emotional maturity.

A rumor, albeit underscored as "truth" in a printed international magazine such as Newsweek, appears to bring with it some veracity simply because there are those who blindly believe what they read, or, who are so eager to believe it that they chisel such information in stone.

One of the most noted of all groups who glue themselves to the printed word--whether true or not--are the Conspiracy Theorists. Whether its the Pope or the President of the United States or a CEO of a major company, there is "evil forces afoot," and anything in print serves as another bullet to prove their point.

The same is true of an individual who holds certain prejudices against another person or group. Hearing something of a negative nature, or, reading about it, churns the engines of hate. Terror Rumors also live in our thoughts.

The child who "thinks the world is against him or her," creates Internal Rumors that demean his/her self. Looking in a mirror, a child who thinks he/she is ugly or unattractive or unworthy or not-as-smart-as will hear the Terror Rumor Voices whispering in his/her ear--"Yes...you are no good. You're not like Johnny or Mary. You're not pretty or handsome or as smart as, or as gifted as...so why try. Do not try to rise above these thoughts or feeling because you will simply be beaten back down. Stay in the quagmire of self-pity and self-deprecation. Remain a nail and see the world as a hammer. Continue to be a doormat and let the world walk over you because no matter how hard you try, you'll always be a Victim. My Victim. The Victim of your own Rumor Terrorism."

The hatred of the Afghanistans and Pakistanis aginst America needs only a spark to ignite

Stepping back and examining the human thought process, if we were to list down all the Mind Rumors that swirl through our heads about what "WE THINK" are the motivations and purposes of others, we find ourselves being inundated by dark clouds. We see the world as a group huddled in concert against us, spending its time figuring up ways to make our lives more miserable, setting booby traps for us. We simply expect the Beast of Terror to fall from the sky.

The hatred of the Afghanistans and Pakistanis against America needs only a spark to ignite. One could justly suggest that if it hadn't been the Newsweek article that set off the riots, something else might have. The fuel for the fire was volatile. Like nitroglycerin, it only needed a jar to explode.

The lesson for those of us seeking to be more Vigilant is to quash the Rumor Terrors that exist in our minds before they amass into unstable piles of hatred, anger, and other forms of explosive emotional conflagrations.

It becomes important that we see our prejudices and bigotries as Terror Thoughts. It is important that we do our best to extinguish them with Vigilance Thoughts.

A good test is: "Will this thought I'm thinking, left to run its course, end up in a constructive or destructive result??

Another test is: "Would I urge a child to think the same thoughts I am about someone else or myself?" And, "if I did, would that child grow stronger in character about himself or herself, or would such thinking ultimately hobble the emotional maturity and quality of the child's life as a responsible, productive human being?"

The reason we must test and guard against Rumor Terrorism is that no matter what we do, left unchecked, Rumor Terrorism leaks out into the world. We exhibit our prejudices and angers against others by promoting false information, or, unverified facts.

We need to use the child as our balance point

We also must be cautious not to assume we are the judge and jury of Rumor Terrorism, for often our own filtering system becomes corrupted.

If we use the child as our balance point, and ask ourselves if such thoughts would be good for a child growing up in this world, we would not tell people that Americans flushed the Koran down the toilet.

And, if we think about it, by thinking or spreading rumors, we flush ourselves down the toilet.



Go To May 13 Story: "The Crumbling Infrastructure Of Moral, Physical and Ethical Vigilance In America"





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