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The Seattle Syndrome By: Ronald Piana
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, February 12, 2003


In his masterwork "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," Edward Gibbon wrote, "Our sympathy is cold to the relation of distant misery." Sadly, that does seem to be the case, at least sometimes. Consider Seattle, a city apparently locked in a death struggle with Berkley to become the undisputed epicenter of anti-Americanism and radical egalitarianism. Perhaps the citizens of Seattle who have chosen to oppose enforcement of immigration laws and the war on terrorism should have visited Ground Zero the day after 3,000 innocent people were murdered by foreign terrorists in an act of breathtaking evil.

Seattle, rife with its own social problems seems to have developed an unusually powerful taste for politically correct silliness and bizarre mischief. In 1999, the city gained the dubious honor of hosting what is now referred to as the "Battle in Seattle." Some 50,000 protest junkies clad in wacky costumes and black bandannas swarmed into the city to disrupt the World Trade Organization’s evil crusade of ‘global capitalism.’ Not surprisingly, an anarchist-led riot ensued and Seattle, a city that prides itself on a super-tolerant, liberal lifestyle soon fell under civil emergency. More alarming than the rioting malcontents was the tone in Seattle itself. The people were often openly sympathetic; workers on construction sites and in offices were seen cheering as mobs of demonstrators commandeered the streets.

That disgraceful fiasco occurred pre-9/11. Although the rules across most of the country have changed, the festering anti-Americanism gaining momentum in places like Seattle dramatizes a grim wartime reality: The so-called "peace movement" spearheaded largely by America-haters, poisons domestic solidarity and strengthens the resolve of our enemies. Blinded by false piety, they refuse to connect the dots between lax immigration laws, terrorism, and the security of their own nation.

Recently, the nine dunderheads comprising the Seattle City Council unanimously approved an ordinance barring local police from cooperating with federal immigration authorities ferreting out illegal aliens. According to a flabbergasted Dan Stein, executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), "Under federal law, no public servant can be prevented from cooperating with federal authorities enforcing U.S. immigration laws."

This reckless policy not only discourages police from pursuing a suspicious person’s immigration status, it requires law officers to ignore evidence pointing to that person’s illegal status. Put quite simply, the City Council’s ordinance effectively turns street cops into meter maids when it comes to enforcing immigration laws.

But remember, this is Seattle, where an 18-foot tall statue of Vladimir Lenin is proudly displayed in its trendy Fremont section. That’s right, Lenin, the monomaniacal despot who laid the groundwork for 20th century communism, during which upward of 100 million souls were lost to his totalitarian ambitions. Unthinkable? Not in Seattle.

While the rest of the country prepares for America’s war on terrorism, Seattle has decided to become an outreach center for illegal aliens, irrespective of their potential ties with terrorist organizations. In defense of the Council’s decision, Anita Sinha, a leftist lawyer for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project summed up the sentiments of her guilt-ridden constituents, "In this climate of secret detentions and special registration, it’s clearly important to have a City Council that takes a strong proactive stance." Proactive for whom? We paid an exorbitant price on 9/11 for the proactive policies of absolute inclusion that the extreme Left still advocates!

More disturbing, is the attitude of Seattle’s police department. In response to Attorney General Ashcroft’s circumspect national security entry-exit registration system, Police Chief Gil Kerlowske—in true Seattle-style, PC form—offered this stunning policy statement: "Seattle police will encourage all complainants to communicate with police officers without inquiry regarding their immigration status." Illegal aliens are criminals, yet Chief Kerlowske wants them to feel comfortable around his officers. His affirmative-confusion-style policing countervails the purity of mission in law enforcement. Would he extend the same deference to carjackers?

He offered this explanation to his baffling policy edict: "The best prevention against a future terrorist attack is a police department that has trust and good communication with all of the people it serves." Do "all the people" he’s alluding to include lawbreakers, e.g., illegal aliens? Sorry Chief, but the best defense against terrorism is super-vigilant law enforcement whose sole charter is to protect America and her law-abiding citizens. Let not your heart be troubled, the ACLU will be on hand if you offend the sensibilities of miscreants.

Not surprisingly, the perennially seedy downtown area of Seattle has become more so with an influx of illegal aliens. Drug dealing is now prevalent, along with a host of pesky civility issues. On Second Avenue, where the needle-exchange program does land office business, the police were finally forced to call in the FBI and INS. A crackdown discovered that a consortium of Mexican ranches was dispatching drug runners across the U.S. border, where they worked their way up the coast to the immigrant-friendly streets of Seattle.

It gets worse. The "Emerald City’s" contempt and utter disregard for immigration laws took a dangerous turn with its handling of Somalis engaged in food stamp fraud. Last year, the FBI determined the Al-Barakaat Wire Transfer Co., an outfit with known connections to al-Qaeda, targeted Seattle’s asylee community as a cash cow to fund its nefarious activities.

The scam was easy, especially in a city renowned for an immigration policy that’s no more than a philosophical abstraction and a police department that maintains a pseudo-chumminess with illegal aliens. Al-Barakaat set up a storefront in Seattle. They immediately began selling Qat (a mild narcotic popular with Somalis), and converting the Somali’s food stamps into cash. During their period of illicit operations, the FBI believes that Al-Barakaat skimmed tens of millions of dollars off these two activities, trafficking the proceeds directly to the al-Qaeda terror network.

The INS sought to deport Somalis who had committed crimes in the US, failed to show for court-ordered deportation, or faced final orders for deportation. To a logical mind, this might sound like prudent immigration practice. However, an aggressively liberal judiciary was unconvinced of the danger posed by a group of persons from an Islamic country, who had made themselves eligible for deportation by their misdeeds.

In Seattle, U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman ruled against the federal government’s compelling argument that such deportations are vital in the war on terrorism. Pechman’s ruling effectively halted the imminent deportation of thousands of other Somali lawbreakers. Perhaps the thought of returning them to their worn-torn country tugged at her heartstrings. One can only imagine why a federal judge would put the interests of potentially dangerous foreign intruders ahead of her country.

Call it "The Seattle Syndrome," a self-deluded ego trip of hyper egalitarianism that so resents America for being a superior culture that it wants to humble Her a bit, bring Her down to one knee.

In October of 2002, close to 10,000 people turned out in Seattle for an anti-war demonstration. Along with the diehard protesters of all things American were proud parents pushing their children in strollers and business-types in designer jeans. It was, by all accounts, just the pre-game show. For any America-hating "activist," Seattle’s numerous anti-war organizations offer a venue to vent their spleen. Fortunately, in true socialist form, these groups operate by consensus, making them essentially leaderless.

When Secretary of State Colin Powell announced that Iraq was in "material breach" of its weapons disclosure requirements it put the U.S. on a potential path to war. It also fired the engines of dissidence. Seattle’s activist community stated that if war were declared they would take to the streets and bring the city to a standstill. This is post-fact protest at its most illogical extreme; success depends on the defeat of their country.

Seattle residents are more opposed to disarming Iraq than most other Americans, even markedly so when compared with residents of their own state. That’s fine. Policy opposition and raucous public debate are very much in the spirit of America. But when the rhetoric is filled with hate and disaffection for our country, in today’s perilous atmosphere, it bears a troubling likeness to subversion.

Seattle’s mission of fostering an atmosphere of cuddly acceptance for all things kooky is that it becomes a self-perpetuating unstated message that no one ultimately understands, except our enemies. And they decoded that message in the 1960s. The infamy of 9/11 created doubts throughout the world about America’s ability and determination to defend Her people. We cannot permit those doubts to become reality. The grave danger is in allowing the Seattle Syndrome to spread unchallenged, like an opportunistic infection. But rendered harmless through containment, it simply remains one of few discordant notes trying to disrupt a magnificent symphony.




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