Everything Is A Threat: The Fear-Mongering and Hysteria Over Boko Haram


The hysteria that has erupted over the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram over the last few days has been remarkable. The terrorist group abducted hundreds of girls and, thanks to a viral awareness campaign and threats from Washington to intervene, Boko Haram suddenly became America’s new Great Menace that presents an existential threat to the United States.

CNN’s Erin Burnett was particularly unhinged in the show that aired last night. “Boko Haram’s brutal violence includes burning people alive in mosques and churches and slitting the throats of students,” she warned her audience of people who surely have never heard of the group before. “Even among extremist groups, their tactics are vile.”

“You could describe them as the Taliban that have taken it to the next level,” retired U.S. Gen. James Marks said, “maybe a Taliban on steroids.” Boko Haram “is an absolutely horrible, beyond definition horrible organization that clearly needs to go away completely and we have to facilitate their departure.”

Burnett and her U.S. military guests were sure to bring the threat of Boko Haram back to America, cognizant of the risk of giving the impression that this is a Nigerian problem that’s none of our business. Gen. Carter Ham, former Second in Command at the Pentagon’s Africa Command warned, “They certainly present a very, very significant risk in Nigeria, more broadly across the region, and the leaders of Boko Haram have been very clear for the past couple of years that they aspire to attacking Westerners and specifically the United States, its people, and its interests.”

Burnett followed up with the terrifying reminder that nowadays “there are all these direct flights between Nigeria and the United States.”

And then, the alley-oop, Burnett asks Ham, “Do you think they need to be stopped now, that the United States needs to somehow become involved more actively to stop them from striking?”

They’ve set it up for the frightened, ignorant audience. This group is violent, evil, comparable to our undisputed enemies the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and they aspire to attack America. The next logical step is U.S. military intervention, right!? Ham obviously responded in the affirmative. Forget that nobody said Boko Haram was on the verge of striking the United States, or any Western country for that matter.

Actually, the United States has already intervened. Since 2009, the U.S. has sent over $1.3 billion to the Nigerian government and U.S. troops have been sent on the ground to train and cooperate with Nigerian forces in battling domestic rabble rousers like Boko Haram.

Congressional report issued in 2011 found that, “Boko Haram has quickly evolved and poses an emerging threat to U.S. interests and the U.S. homeland.”

Patrick Meehan, chairman of the U.S. Congressional committee that drew up the report, admitted, “While I recognize there is little evidence at this moment to suggest Boko Haram is planning attacks against the [US] homeland, lack of evidence does not mean it cannot happen.” Wow.

As best I can tell, Boko Haram seems to have had an explicitly local agenda until the United States started meddling in Nigeria and Africa became Washington’s new pet project in the “war on terror.

It should go without saying that military interventions in far off countries that intend to neutralize threats that don’t even exist yet tend to create a greater constituency for groups like Boko Haram and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb by giving people reasons to hate U.S. intervention and fight against it. Through the Pentagon’s Africa Command, the U.S. is infiltrating Africa with U.S. troops and training and equipping militaries in Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Libya, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal and Tunisia in the name of preventing “terrorists from establishing sanctuaries.” The strategy appears irreconcilable with recent history, however, given the U.S.-sponsored invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia in 2006 which gave rise to the militant group al-Shabaab – now ironically justifying more intervention.

U.S. politicians, military officials, foreign policy wonks, and news anchors are trained to see every violent non-state group anywhere in the world as a direct threat to America. They use their soapboxes in the media to get that point across to an unsuspecting American population. It helps politicians appear strong, helps military bureaucrats get funding, helps wonks appear knowledgeable, and helps news anchors feel important.

In reality, Boko Haram does not present a threat to the U.S. and U.S. intervention of any kind is not needed, nor would it do any good. What should be obvious, though, is that the burden of proof for the supposed threat and potential intervention is on those who assert it. Evidence-free fear mongering shouldn’t be enough.

20 thoughts on “Everything Is A Threat: The Fear-Mongering and Hysteria Over Boko Haram”

  1. "Evidence-free fear mongering shouldn’t be enough."

    Agreed, but evidence free fear mongering is just about all the War party has, and while US MSM provides cover or actively supports the War party agenda even the most blatant lies and deceptions become the "official" story. Alternative media on the internet have managed to blow numerous holes in the foundation of lies, which is why "Net Neutrality" has roared back to life along with the "Media Shield" act. The former gives internet priority to corporations and others willing to pay for premium service while relegating those who can't or won't pay to the slow lanes, and the latter gives well connected (corporate) journalists and reporters free speech rights while denying that right to everyone else. The internet has become the curse of the war mongering class, and they want to be able to control it as they control current US MSM.

  2. Can't these backward Boko-Haram dudes become civilized like we are in the west, and instead of kidnapping the children of your adversaries and then demand political change, just get some drones and vaporize both your adversaries and their children.. Less drama for sure..

  3. The U.S. leaving nothing but a trail of destruction everywhere it intervenes (at least in this century). But ask your doctor is U.S. intervention is right for you.*

    *May cause drone deaths and mutilations of men women and children, extraordinary renditions, torture, chemical weapons and depleted uranium poisoning and other mysterious illnesses, CIA plots, coups, false flags, collapse of infrastructure, breakdown of all civil order, open civil war, empowering terrorist groups, puppet governments, and resource seizures. Consult with your physician before taking.

  4. I’m a little bit amused at the Joseph Kony-like sudden outpouring of outrage online (talk about inadvertent alliteration!) about Boko Haram’s abduction of 230 Nigerian girls. It’s passing strange, unless of course you’re willing to acknowledge that it’s a propaganda exercise meant to justify a colonial occupation (just like Kony was used in Uganda and CAR).

    Not long ago, Boko Haram was a comical bunch of fundie whackjobs who said believing in a round earth was unIslamic, as was using modern firearms. Nigerians of all stripes, Muslim and Christian, ignored them. Then Goodluck Jonathan took the Nigerian presidency by what might politely be called questionable means, and in order to cement his position decided to invent a domestic threat.

    So he sent his forces to hunt down and massacre Boko Haram members and supporters, including the then leader. The rest of the outfit went underground, decided that unIslamic or not, modern weapons were what it needed, and became the very threat that the massacres were supposed to avert.

    Did Goodluck Jonathan’s brutal, corrupt and incompetent army learn its lesson? Of course not. To this day it’s conducting massacres of people rounded up as suspects and retroactively labelled Boko Haram after their killing.

    If the West wants to step into this snakepit, all the best of luck to it.

  5. This is just the latest in the War Party's iterative approach to finding the next "good war." They are apparently pretty desperate to find some world backwater to expend ordnance on. Nigeria's armed forces should be capable of defeating Boko Haram with the help of surveillance drones, which I don't really object to sending but no hellfire strike or "unbelievably small" airstrikes. The desperation with which they are searching for ways to break the non-interventionist movement of the American people could be an indicator of the MIC Ponzi scheme reaching its apogee. When Nato breaks itself on the political ambivalence of the EU regarding a new Cold War, the fear tactics will escalate out of all control.

  6. I don't watch these MSM propaganda fests anymore, but found Glaser's comments about the Erin Burnett show quite telling. In the second paragraph, he reports that Burnett went hysterical over Boko Haram's "burning people alive in mosques and churches and slitting the throats of students" How is that any different from the US support of the murderous, cannibalistic Al Quida groups in Syria or the fascists from Kiev recently burning to death the Russia supporters in Odessa who were only peacefully demonstrating? Again, US hypocrisy at its finest.

  7. “there are all these direct flights between Nigeria and the United States.”

    Bingo, here is the problem. A sane border policy and terrorism ceases to be a threat to the United States.

  8. The logical proof for attack in the war on terror: "The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence." Or, as the late Johnny Cochran might have said: "If it cannot be seen, we must intervene."

  9. CNN’s Erin Burnett was particularly unhinged in the show that aired last night. “Boko Haram’s brutal violence includes burning people alive in mosques and churches and slitting the throats of students,” she warned her audience of people who surely have never heard of the group before. “Even among extremist groups, their tactics are vile.”
    Yea exactly ……… exactly what the Nazis in Ukraine that the United Stated government is supporting, have now done twice, to what our State Department and Free Press have given the New Speak name "Pro Russian Separatists" ….. That is burning them alive in buildings. …..see Robert Parry's latest expose at Consortium News.

    Doe Erin Burnett, that pillar of American Journalism, even mention those incidents? I suppose when the people you support burn people alive in buildings it's OK, but when the people you are against burn people alive in buildings, it's not OK…….especially when the people you don't support live in a country that has oil. Oh we have to send in the military to go after those bad guys who are burning people alive in buildings …… Which of course takes you to exactly where the oil is, kind of like what happened in Iraq.

    See how this works?

  10. Then there are some little things that go unnoticed under the radar. Like the fact that Boko Haram is a movement of indigenous Kanuris, whose presence in that region is embodied in the not-so-ancient Borno Empire – before the area was colonized by Europeans in the late 19th century. Kanuri identity predates and is more fundamental than Islam. Coincidentally, all this action is taking place in the border country of Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon, and is almost exactly where the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline is under construction, and it should be noted that China has been investing heavily in both that project and other oil development in the general area, especially in Chad.

    This whole flap should be compared with last year's "rebellion" of indigenous Tuaregs in the border country of Mali, Niger and Algeria, along with a similar involvement of so-called "jihadis" who came into the action from elsewhere. Of course, all that action resulted in France's military intervention in Mali, and AFRICOM's establishment of military and drone bases, in Niger (near the capital Niamey and the Air Mountains, still in the border country of Mali and Algeria), and located exactly where the Uranium mines operated by the France's AREVA nuclear industry happen to be. China, naturally, was and is investing heavily in that industry, too.

    And moreover, the whole Boko Haram flap should be compared to the intervention of AFRICOM in the past few years, in the border country of Uganda, South Sudan, and the CAR. Hundreds of troops deployed to track down and kill or apprehend the fearsome (Christian, in this case) terrorist Joseph Kony, and his dreaded Lord's Resistance Army. That movement, too, was and is an indigenous people's movement (of the Acholis, who inhabit that border country). And what's of note is the massive oil exploration and pipeline construction in that area. And of course, there's China's investment…

  11. Withdrawing these processes from the society has turn into near-unimaginable due to the total dependence of the society on technology. The foremost cause for expertise was the simplification of human life. http://www.depomepo.com/

  12. It had in mind the maximization of assets to make sure whole management of the quick environment and the proceedings in it. As a consequence of expertise, data has turn out to be ubiquitous, communication has improved beyond comprehension and the general quality of societal life has grown immeasurably. http://www.profidirect.com/

Comments are closed.