Archive for All Muslims are Terrorists

Oh, Another Blow to the “All Terrorists are Muslims…” Myth: Bomb Sent to Chief of Deutsche Bank

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2011 by loonwatch
Joseph AckermanJoseph Ackerman

In another seeming blow to the propaganda pushed by right-wing Islamophobes that all terrorism resides within Islam and is committed by Muslims, news of a letter bomb sent to the chief executive of Deutsche Bank (hat tip:JD):

Anarchist group may have sent letter bomb: German police

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – An Italian anarchist group has claimed responsibility for a letter bomb sent to Josef Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank, and may have sent two more packages, investigators said on Thursday.

The suspicious envelope, intercepted on Wednesday evening, has raised fears that a wave of protests against the failures and excesses of bankers could turn more violent, and prompted police across Europe to warn banks to be extra vigilant.

Ackermann, 63, a Swiss who is the first non-German to headGermany’s biggest bank, is one of the few senior managers in the country always surrounded by bodyguards.

A hidden, rolled-up letter written in Italian from the Federazione Anarchica Informale (the Informal Anarchist Group, or FAI) spoke of “three explosions against bankers, banks, fleas and bloodsuckers,” the German investigators said.

“So it must be deduced from this that two more letter bombs may have been sent,” the Criminal Investigations Office for the state of Hesse and Frankfurt prosecutors said in a statement.

Earlier they said initial tests had shown the letter bomb sent to Ackermann was operational.

The FAI previously claimed responsibility for a parcel bomb that injured two people in the offices of the Swiss nuclear lobby group in March, as well as for parcel bombs sent to the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome last year.

The group also claimed to be behind a letter bomb sent to theEuropean Central Bank, also based in Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt, in 2003.

A United States official told Reuters FBI agents in Germany were in touch with German authorities about the investigation, but that the FBI was not aware of any specific or related threat to New York.

Security has been stepped up at Deutsche Bank offices around the world, banking sources said. One insider said the number of threats against Ackermann had increased in recent months and his security would be tightened, though there were no plans to cancel public appearances.

SECURITY CHECKS

One banking source said that since 2006 every item of mail sent to members of Deutsche Bank’s executive committee was put through a security check.

“We are deeply affected by the violent assault on our CEO Josef Ackermann,” a spokesman for Deutsche Bank said. Employees heading to work, however, said they did not feel threatened.

“There are always people who think a solution would be to make someone pay, but as an employee, I do not feel threatened,” Stefan Popp told Reuters Television.

European leaders gathered in Brussels on Thursday to try to agree on a way out of a sovereign debt crisis that has triggered a wave of government austerity measures and caused Germans to fret they may have to foot the bill.

Some experts said the euro zone debt crisis could have prompted the attempted attack.

A letter bomb sent to Chancellor Angela Merkel last year originated in Greece and is thought to have been linked to an anarchist group reacting to the extreme austerity measures.

Earlier, Frankfurt’s offshoot of the Occupy protest movement, which is critical of banks and has been staging protests in New York, Washington, London and many other cities, denied any connection with the attempted attack.

“We condemn any action that is linked to violence,” said Frank Stegmaier, an activist in the Occupy Frankfurt group, which has been camping outside the ECB since mid-October.

“Occupy has other ways of protesting,” he added.

“SYMBOLIC TARGET”

Before the FAI claim of responsibility, security experts had speculated about the possible involvement of the anti-capitalist movement in Germany which has been gaining momentum, as seen by a number of arson attacks on the Berlin rail network earlier this year.

“I don’t think a sustained campaign against business or even banking leaders is likely in Germany. Ackermann is a highly symbolic target, who has personal security wherever he goes,” said David Lea, a senior analyst for Europe at Control Risks.

Ackermann is the highest-paid chief executive of a German blue-chip company, earning 9 million euros ($12 million) in 2010. He is chairman of the Institute of International Finance, the bank lobbying group negotiating a private-sector contribution toward a multi-billion euro bailout of Greece.

Due to retire as chief executive in May after more than 10 years at the head of Deutsche, he is credited with transforming the bank into a “global champion,” and has become associated with Wall Street-style bonuses and a shareholder-driven management style.

A previous Deutsche Bank head, Alfred Herrhausen, was murdered in 1989 by leftist Red Army Faction guerrillas who blew up his car.

(Additional reporting by Sabine Wollrab, Edward Taylor, Philipp Halstrick, Reuters TV and Harry Papachristou in Athens, William Maclean in London; Writing by Madeline Chambers and Gareth Jones in Berlin, Editing by Rosalind Russell)

The Road to “All Muslims are Terrorists”

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2011 by loonwatch

It’s been travelled before.

Aside from the fact that real democracies don’t persecute their minorities, Jews are reminded in many pieces of scripture to never forget when we were “strangers in a strange land” (see the book of Exodus). Maybe this is one reason why Muslim-bashing ticks me off so much. As a group, we should know what it’s like — if not us personally, then our parents.

Nowadays, though, we have discovered that, after centuries of being despised by zealots and Christian-tinged nationalists, we have suddenly been mailed gold membership cards to a newly-constituted “Judeo-Christian” country club [others need not apply]. We’ve arrived, we tell ourselves. They love us. Things have changed.

Well, I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but the folks who hated Jews last year have simply moved on to new enemies. They haven’t stopped their hating, and I don’t trust their unctuous expressions of new-found love. The religious right responsible for so much of the bigotry toward Muslims (and previously Jews and African Americans) still can’t decide whether they want to kiss us, convert us, wear tallit and sing in Hebrew, or keep blaming us for Golgotha. By the time they realize we really aren’t converting any time soon, I suspect they won’t love us quite so much. And then it will be time for us to die in their End Times scenario. All this is to say – we’re really still the enemy. But ever since the Holocaust it’s just been, well, a bit awkward to say things like that in polite company. But give it time. They haven’t really changed.

Yet Jews are not their only enemies. Blacks, gays, tree-huggers, socialists, progressives, unionists, Hispanics, immigrants, flag-burners, pacifists, anti-globalists, anti-imperialists, secularists, atheists – the list is pretty long – everyone’s a target. And it has always seemed so obvious to me that much of their hostility to Muslims is that Islam is simply their number one religious competitor.

But none of this is new.

A few years ago, while doing some genealogical research, I came across a 1909 immigration document which recorded a family member’s recent arrival in America on a ship from Antwerp. I always found it odd that the shipping company had recorded all this information (but more on this in a second):

19y; male; single; can read/write;
Citizen of: Russia, Race: Hebrew;
Last Residence: Russia, [town] Destination: NY, NY; Has ticket;
Passage paid by brother;
In possession of: $25; Has been in US before in NY;
Never in prison or supported by charity;
Not a polygamist or an anarchist;
Place of Birth: Russia, [town]

In that year, 1909, many Jews were sympathetic to movements advocating anti-authoritarian forms of government based on justice, not nationalistic slogans. After all, nationalism had never been kind to Jews in Europe. For reasons of both fact and perception, most Jews were presumed to be anarchists in 1909.

And a cautious nation couldn’t be too careful about letting such troublemakers into a society whose ideal was British and German Protestantism. Organizations such as the Boston-based Immigration Restriction League were alarmed that so many of these new Jewish immigrants were “undesirable” that they helped legislate large fines on steamship companies which failed to screen them out (thus the detailed steamship records above). The League’s Numerical Limitation Bill was hardly subtle: restrictions were harshest on eastern and southern Europeans (Jews and Italians). The Dillingham Commission further restricted such immigration and totally eliminated Asians. The American nativists of the time believed these foreigners were inherently “lesser breeds” and incompatible with a superior Christian, European society – something echoed frequently by Tea Party types in the U.S. today and by Islamophobes like Geert Wilders. The League’s charter:

We should see to it that the breeding of the human race in this country receives the attention which it so surely deserves. We should see to it that we are protected, not merely from the burden of supporting alien dependants, delinquents, and defectives, but from what George William Curtis called “that watering of the nation’s lifeblood,” which results from their breeding after admission.

Sound familiar?

First they came for the Jews, then the Muslims. Who’s next?

White Terrorism: Jared Lee Loughner Shoots Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2011 by loonwatch

Another case of, “All Muslims are Terrorist…no, wait.”

White Terrorism

by Juan Cole

Jared Lee Loughner,the assassin of Federal judge John M. Roll and five others and attempted assassin of Rep. Gabrielle Gifford (D-AZ), was clearly mentally unstable. But the political themes of his instability were those of the American far Right. Loughner was acting politically even if he is not all there. He is said to have called out the names of his victims, such as Roll and Gifford, as he fired. As usual, when white people do these things, the mass media doesn’t call it terrorism.

It is irrelevant that Loughner may (at this point we can only say “may”) have been a liberal years earlier in high school. If so, he changed. And among the concerns that came to dominate him as he moved to the Right was the illegitimacy of the “Second Constitution” (the 14th Amendment, which bestows citizenship on all those born in the US, a provision right-wingers in Arizona are trying to overturn at the state level). Loughner also thought that Federal funding for his own community college was unconstitutional, and he was thrown out for becoming violent over the issue. He obviously shared with the Arizona Right a fascination with firearms, and it is telling that a disturbed young man who had had brushes with the law was able to come by an automatic pistol. He is said to have used marijuana, which would be consistent with a form of anti-government, right-wing Libertarianism. I don’t think we can take too seriously the list of books he said he liked, as a guide to his political thinking. They could just have been randomly pulled off some list of great books on the Web, since there is no coherence to the choices.

The man who had most to do with Loughner after his arrest, Pima County Sherriff Clarence W. Dupnik, was clearly angered by what he heard from the assassin: “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry … it is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

When Gifford helped pass the Health Care bill, according to Suzy Khimm, “extremists subsequently encouraged the public to throw bricks through the windows of lawmakers.” Gifford had to call the police once before when an attendee at one of her events dropped a gun. Gifford had complained ‘ in an MSNBC interview that a Sarah Palin graphic had depicted her district in the crosshair of a gun sight. “They’ve got to realize there are consequences to that,” she said. “The rhetoric is incredibly heated.” ‘

The subtext of the angst over the shooting of Gifford is that in recent months Loughner was saying Tea-Party-like things about the Federal government. The violent language of “elimination,” “putting in the cross-hairs,” (as with Palin’s poster, above) “taking back,” “taking out,” to which members of that movement so often resort, has created a heated atmosphere that easily seeps into the unconscious of the mentally disturbed. That is Dupnik’s point.

There apparently is some indication that Loughner had an accomplice, and his arrest and identification will shed a great deal more light on the motivations behind this political massacre. Did Loughner have a Rasputin?

In some ways, the turn of Loughner to the themes of the American far right parallels what happened to Michael Enright, who slashed the throat of a Bangladeshi cab driver at the height of the campaign promoting hatred of Muslims launched last summer-fall by Rick Lazio and Rupert Murdoch. Everyone should have learned from that tragedy that heated rhetoric has consequences.

Those right-wing bloggers who want to dismiss Loughner as merely disturbed are being hypocritical, since they won’t similarly dismiss obviously unstable Muslims who, like the so-called “Patriots” of the McVeigh stripe, sometimes turn violent. (Zacharias Moussawi, for instance, isn’t playing with a full set of backgammon dominoes, and blaming Islam for him is bizarre). In fact, the right-wing Muslim crackpots and the right-wing American crackpots are haunted by similar anxieties, about a powerful government in Washington undermining their localistic ideas of the good life.

AP has video on the shootings, h/t LAT.

Among the last things Gifford did before she was shot was to reply to the Tea Party-inspired congressional reading of the Constitution by reading out the Bill of Rights. She obviously enjoyed pronouncing the words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” But where members of Congress encourage extreme rhetoric, and where Rupert Murdoch’s stable of demagogues use code to whip up racial hatred and violence, those rights can be withdrawn by vigilante and mob violence. Not the letter of the Constitution can protect us, but only its spirit, and then only when implemented in our daily lives.