Archive for Government

Congressional Candidate Sam Aanestad: Muslims Infiltrating Government, Obama a Muslim

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on May 28, 2012 by loonwatch

Congressional Candidate Sam Aanestad reportedly said President Obama was a Muslim

(via. Islamophobia-Today)

GRASS VALLEY — Congressional candidate Sam Aanestad said Tuesday he was not going to comment further on a meeting in Paradise where he reportedly said President Obama was a Muslim.

He said, in a telephone interview, that the matter, involving a “disruptive woman who was escorted out,” wasn’t worth discussing further.

Aanestad is a former Republican state senator from Grass Valley.

According to Karen Duncanwood of Paradise, Aanestad was a guest at a tea party meeting at a Paradise pizza restaurant about a month ago.

Duncanwood, a supporter of one of Aanestad’s opponents, Democratic congressional candidate Jim Reed, said she went to the meeting to hear what Aanestad had to say. Jim Stellar of Concow, another Reed supporter, also attended.

In a phone interview, Duncanwood said a woman at the meeting told Aanestad she was concerned about “Muslim extremists” getting into the higher echelons of American government.

Duncanwood said Aanestad indicated he agreed with her and suggested the inroads extended to “the Oval Office.”

Then, Duncanwood said, Stellar asked Aanestad if he was calling Obama a Muslim.

Duncanwood said Aanestad replied that he did.

“At that point,” Duncanwood said, “I stood up and said, ‘He’s a Christian. He baptized his children, and he goes to a Christian church.”

She said some other people at the meeting insisted Obama was a Muslim, and after that she was escorted out of the meeting.

Jessica Allen, Chico campaign coordinator for Reed, heard about the incident. She said Stellar told her he wrote a letter about it and sent it to a local newspaper but it wasn’t published. So, she said, she sent information about the incident to several newspapers, including the Enterprise-Record.

Allen said she wasn’t acting on behalf of Reed’s campaign.

Rather, she simply felt the public ought to know what Aanestad had said, she said.

On Monday, when Aanestad was in Chico holding a press conference, two reporters asked him about the Obama comment.

Aanestad said he did think Obama was a Muslim. He said Obama’s father was a Muslim, and that he was raised in a Muslim culture. Now, Obama says he is a Christian, and Aanestad said he has no choice other than to believe that he is a Christian today.

Last week, Aanestad was interviewed by Marc Albert, who does local news reporting on Chico radio station KZFR. Albert told the Enterprise-Record he asked Aanestad about the Obama-Muslim comment and whether he thought Obama was a Muslim.

Albert said he provided Allen with some recorded excerpts from the radio interview. Allen emailed those to the Enterprise-Record.

In one of the radio clips, Aanestad says, “I was asked (at the tea party meeting), do I think he (Obama) is a Muslim. Do I think he is a Muslim? And the answer is yes. That is his background. That is his beginning.

“He may be a Christian today. There’s no way you or I can tell that. But his background, his upbringing, his tradition, his holiday observances — all from the Muslim background. Does he practice Islam, the religion of the Muslims? I don’t think so.”

In 2010, ABC did a news report claiming many Americans wrongly believe Obama is a Muslim.

The report said Obama has written that by the time he was born, his father had become an atheist, that his father divorced his mother when he was 2, and that he rarely saw his father when he was a child.

Staff writer Larry Mitchell can be reached at 896-7759, lmitchell@chicoer.com, or followed on Twitter, @LarryMitchell7.

Original post: Aanestad now mum on Muslim comment

Obama Orders Government to Clean Up Terror Training

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on December 1, 2011 by loonwatch

No doubt Islamophobes will view this as more evidence of “Obama’s Stealth Jihad” against “Judeo-Christian United States.”

Obama Orders Government to Clean Up Terror Training

by Spencer Ackerman (Wired.com)

The White House quietly ordered a widespread review of government counterterrorism training materials last month, following Danger Room’s reports that officials at the FBI, military and Justice Department taught their colleagues that “mainstream” Muslims embrace violence and compared the Islamic religion to the Death Star.

According to a Pentagon memorandum acquired by Danger Room, the White House’s National Security Staff in October requested “Departments and Agencies” to “provide their screening process for CVE trainers and speakers.” (.pdf) CVE refers to “Countering Violent Extremism,” the euphemism du jour for the war on terrorism. The memorandum says that “recent media attention” led to the review, and contains a single attachment to demonstrate that attention: “Spencer Ackerman’s Wired.com article.”

The ongoing review will examine whether counterterrorism training material throughout the government is accurate and relevant, and will make sure the briefings given to federal field offices and local cops meet the same standards as FBI headquarters or the Pentagon.

Jose Mayorga, a retired two-star general who now serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense, oversaw the Pentagon’s contribution to the White House review. In the memo, dated Oct. 16, Mayorga asked aides to the Joint Chiefs of Staff to collect counterterrorism training materials at the “service academies and major academic centers (e.g., Joint Special Operations University, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and National Defense Intelligence College)” by Oct. 31, a deadline that Pentagon spokesman Robert Ditchey says has “been extended” so the department can be “comprehensive and deliberate.” 

The purpose of the review, Mayorga writes, is to “determine the criteria used to establish professional qualifications for teachers and lecturers providing instruction on countering violent Islamic extremism; with particular focus on Military Information Support Operations, Information Operations, and Military Intelligence curriculum.” Mayorga adds that information on “cultural awareness” for troops preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan is also subject to the White House review.

 

Some security agencies already have their own internal reviews. After Danger Room reported on presentations at the FBI training academy at Quantico and for FBI partners in New York that taught al-Qaida was “irrelevant” compared to the threat of Islam itself, the bureau began what it describes as a thorough scrub of its counterterrorism curriculum. It enlisted the Army’s Combating Terrorism Center at West Point to purge material that conflates terrorism with mainstream Islam. Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department initiated a separate counterterrorism training review, recently told Congress that those instructional materials hurt the U.S. fight against al-Qaida.

But at least one member of Congress is worried that all of these reviews will undermine counterterrorism efforts in the name of political correctness.

In a forthcoming letter to Holder and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) writes that “political nature of these reviews might inadvertently weaken our law enforcement and military counter-terrorism training programs by censoring certain language that is used to objectively identify the asymmetrical threats that are present in today’s world.”

Myrick takes a dark view of Islam. In a foreword to a book titled Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America, she writes, “Since the 1960s there has been a concerted effort on the part of radical Islamists to infiltrate our major institutions. Front groups of terror now operate openly in our country, comprising a network of support for jihadists.” Last year, Myrick alleged that Hezbollah was planting operatives among illegal immigrants entering the U.S. through Mexico.

“We don’t necessarily disagree with some action being taken,” Myrick’s military affairs aide, Clark Fonda, tells Danger Room. “But we’re concerned that this could inadvertently cause a political reaction within [the Justice Department] and [the Defense Department] that could lead to the censoring of words such as ‘Islam’ or ‘Muslim’ in federal law enforcement and military counter-terrorism training documents.”

Myrick’s letter to Holder and Panetta cites the recommendations of a Senate inquiry into the Fort Hood shooting that also warns against euphemistic treatment of violent Islamic extremism. Yet the leader of that inquiry, Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), told Danger Room that the FBI’s anti-Islamic training materials represented a “lie” that “all Muslims support terrorism.”

President Obama has repeatedly tried to assure Muslims that “America is not, and never will be, at war with Islam,” a message he delivered in Turkey and Egypt. His chief counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, argued last year against calling al-Qaida’s adherents “jihadis,” because using a religious term “would play into the false perception that they are religious leaders defending a holy cause, when in fact they are nothing more than murderers.”

These messages are complicated, if not contradicted, by the anti-Islam training that counterterrorism agents and officials at the FBI, Justice Department and Defense Department have received. “Boneheaded is a generous way to describe this training,” says counterterrorism analyst Jarret Brachman, author of Global Jihadism: Theory and Practice. “I’d lean more towards hateful, paranoid and completely counterproductive.”

Photo: White House

Asra Nomani: Government Should Tell Muslims How to Worship

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2011 by loonwatch

Freedom of worship is one of our most invaluable rights. It means that I have the complete freedom and the human right to worship God the way I see fit or to not worship, provided that I uphold the standards of civil law. Thomas Jefferson so eloquently wrote:

That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

[The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom]

This human right is the cornerstone of our democracy. It keeps the political conversation rational, among other things, and prevents our nation from degenerating further into partisan religious delinquency. So, naturally, I am dismayed when I see this most basic and cherished freedom become a casualty in our national discourse on Islam and Muslims.

Observe Asra Nomani, whom we’ve criticized before for supporting racial profiling, in her latest draconian suggestion; if mosques do not bow to the demands of her ideology, they should be denied tax exempt status (i.e. forced to shutdown from crippling taxes). How did she arrive at such a conclusion?

Nomani says she is fighting Gender Apartheid:

Our goal was to walk through the front double doors designated for “brothers” and pray in the forbidden space of the opulent musallah, or main hall, of the mosque.

She paints herself as a freedom fighter, a successor to Martin Luther King Jr. But the question is: why do Muslim men and women pray in separate spaces? Is it sexism?

Until a point in time when we live in a “genderless” society (maybe something Asra advocates?), men and women are generally considered distinguished entities and traditional religions tend to take this into account. In the case of the majority of Muslims, men and women pray in separate places for the five congregational prayers because the Quran says:

Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them… And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof… (24:30-31)

Pious Muslims are not supposed to gawk with lust at members of the other sex. This applies in daily life and even more so in the ritual prayer in which concentration and focus should be directed towards God and not the opposite sex. Separating men and women in the Muslim prayer is therefore considered a matter of modesty; not that women are inferior or have less rights. Thus, separate prayer halls in themselves are not an indication that women are being mistreated or denied access to the mosque.

But perhaps the issue is that women have a less nice area to pray in or are being denied access to the mosque altogether. On this issue Nomani has a point, and she produces some statistics and studies, although mired by her sweeping generalizations:

In a 2005 publication, “Women Friendly Mosques and Community Centers,” written by two American-Muslim groups — the Islamic Social Services Associations and Women In Islam — the authors confirmed that “many mosques relegate women to small, dingy, secluded, airless and segregated quarters with their children,” some mosques “actually prevent women from entering,”…

It is true that some mosques have less than adequate facilities to accommodate female worshippers, but is it always a case of sexism? If you haven’t noticed, opening or expanding a mosque is not the easiest thing to do in America right now. There are other factors involved other than an alleged omnipresent sexism dominating the Muslim community. Some of these mosques do not have the funding to give women a bigger space; and perhaps, it may be the conservative culture of a particular mosque for women to normally pray at home with their children, usually coming to the mosque only on special occasions, and thus a bigger space is unnecessary.

Nomani could draw from Islamic tradition to support her legitimate goal of helping women increase their presence and participation in the mosque. She could, for example, mention how numerous authentic traditions record that the Prophet Muhammad gave women universal support to go to the mosque:

Do not prevent the maid-servants of Allah from going to the mosque.

[Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 0886]

She could engage in a respectful dialogue with notable Imams, scholars and activists, work for grassroots change in her local community, and help establish the model mosque she seeks with their help or of her own volition. Unfortunately, Nomani thinks strong-arm bully tactics and shouting matches in the mosque are the way to go.

First, she travels to different communities to whom she does not belong and demands to violate their sacred spaces. Then, she makes a ruckus in the media to bring pressure on Muslim communities from society at large. That hasn’t worked, so now she wants the government to step in and tell Muslims how they should organize their prayer halls:

I understand the difficulties in having the state intervene in worship issues. I believe in a separation of church and state, but I’ve come to the difficult decision that women must use the legal system to restore rights in places of worship, particularly when intimidation is used to enforce unfair rules.

Unbelievable! One Christian author took the words right out of my mouth:

That is an almost comically irrational paragraph, and yet it ran in a column published in none other than USA Today. Nomani says that she “understand[s] the difficulties in having the state intervene in worship issues,” but shows no such understanding at all. Then, she writes that she “believe[s] in a separation of church and state,” but then she calls upon the coercive power of the state to force doctrinal change in places of worship. She cannot have it both ways…

I am not worried that IRS agents are about to descend on the nation’s churches, mosques, and synagogues to force a new government-endorsed theology on our places of worship. I am very concerned, however, that this kind of argument, left unaddressed, implies a power that the government does not and should not possess.

Undoubtedly what Nomani is asking for is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution’s, First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” She would open the floodgates of government intervention into the most private area of our lives, our places of worship, our sacred spaces, and threaten to raise our taxes if we didn’t worship in a manner consistent with her ideology (a curious double-violation of Tea Party ideology but nonetheless will probably receive a free pass from many on the Right because of the fact that Muslims are Nomani’s target).

She warns us that in mosques “intimidation is used to enforce unfair rules” but she has no problem using the long arm of the law to intimidate Muslims and force them to construct their prayer halls in line with Nomani’s ideology or else be crushed by burdening taxes.  So, Asra, how are you not also using intimidation “to enforce unfair rules?” Can anyone else see the double standard?

Don’t get me wrong. Freedom and women’s rights are very vital issues for Muslims to tackle, but not so much for Nomani. She seems far more interested in getting her uninformed and sensational views published than in helping the Muslim community from within.

How else can we understand her aggressive assault on our most basic American freedom?

Glenn Greenwald: Terrorism and Civil Liberties Speech (Video)

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2010 by loonwatch
Glenn Greenwald

Another excellent piece from Glenn Greenwald, candidate for anti-Loon of the year.

Terrorism and civil liberties speech

by Glenn Greenwald (Salon.com)

I’m traveling today and therefore likely unable to post, but last night I spoke at the University of Wisconsin on “Civil Liberties and Terrorism in the Age of Obama.” An article on the event from the Badger Herald is here. The speech — which focused on the meaning (or lack thereof) of the terms “civil liberties” and “terrorism” — was roughly 50 minutes long and can be seen in the video below. There was also an hour-long question-and-answer session that followed which was quite good, and although the video of the Q-and-A portion appears to be not yet available, it will be posted here once it is. Note that I will also be on MSNBC with Dylan Ratigan at roughly 4:00 p.m. today, and on Morning Joe tomorrow morning:
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=16494687&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=0b349c&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0

UPDATE:  I neglected to mention that tomorrow from 11:oo am-12:15 p.m., I’ll be at NYU Law School for this event on Terrorism and the First Amendment.  The all-day event is free, open to the public, and features some excellent speakers and panels.

As for last night’s speech at the University of Wisconsin, the 50-minute Q-and-A session that followed my speech is below, and was driven by uniformly excellent questions (and some dissents):
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=16505647&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=0b349c&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0

 

 

Kamikaze Joseph Stack: A Terrorist by Any Other Name

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2010 by loonwatch
Joseph Stack's attackJoseph Stack’s attack

A man flies a plane into a federal building in a suicide mission in which he wishes to sacrifice himself for a political cause or objective, he must be a Muslim! Not so fast, Joseph Stack seems to have blown that idea to bits, highlighting a fact we have pointed out Ad nauseum, terrorism isn’t a Muslim only brand.

Joe Stack’s story is interesting for a number of reasons,one of them being the confusion on whether or not what he did is terrorism, though it fits the definition of terrorism to the letter,

premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets

News media outlets are a perfect example of the confusion over whether or not to label this an act of terrorism, or whether to label Joe Stack a terrorist. The confusion seems to stem from the fact that Stack is a middle aged White male who isn’t Muslim. If he had been Muslim there would be no confusion, instantly pundits would be in unanimous agreement that this is terrorism.

Glenn Greenwald breaks down the hypocrisy and the double standards quite succinctly, (I recommend all read his article, Terrorism: The Most Meaningless and Manipulated Word)

The New York Times‘ Brian Stelter documents the deep reluctance of cable news chatterers and government officials to label the incident an act of “terrorism,” even though — as Dave Neiwert ably documents — it perfectly fits, indeed is a classic illustration of, every official definition of that term.  The issue isn’t whether Stack’s grievances are real or his responses just; it is that the act unquestionably comports with the official definition.  But as NBC’s Pete Williams said of the official insistence that this was not an act of Terrorism:  there are “a couple of reasons to say that . . .One is he’s an American citizen.”  Fox News’ Megan Kelley asked Catherine Herridge about these denials:  ”I take it that they mean terrorism in the larger sense that most of us are used to?,” to which Herridge replied: “they mean terrorism in that capital T way.”

The things that make you go hmmm.

Think about that for a second, he is an “American citizen,” so he can’t commit terrorism? Jose Padilla was an American citizen, the una-bomber was an American citizen, Timothy McVeigh was an American citizen. Are they all exonerated because they were American citizens?

Megan Kelley’s words are even more illustrative of the Islamophobia that is commonplace now and buried deep within the American psyche, the “terrorism that we are used to” meaning terrorism can only be commited by Muslims. The “capital T,” might as well be a capital M for Muslim.

Joseph Stack is now being considered a hero and a martyr against big government and the intrusive tax system. Facebook pages and Twitter accounts are abuzz proclaiming Stack a “true American hero.”

The silence from Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who must be busy with their new Orwellian organization Freedom Defense Initiative is deafening. Other Conservatives are busy boohooing against the Left and claiming that they are being painted unjustly as “extremists and terrorists.” Now isn’t that ironic?

 

The Allegedly Growing Domestic Muslim Threat

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , on December 17, 2009 by loonwatch
Glenn GreenwaldGlenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald has a very interesting article in Salon.com, on the recent surge in talk all over the media about the so-called “rise” in threat from homegrown radical “American Muslims.”

The Allegedly Growing domestic Muslim Threat

There is clearly a concerted effort by the Government to claim loudly that the threat posed by radicalized American Muslims is increasing.  Last week, The Los Angeles Times published a lengthy, scary story under the headline ”U.S. sees homegrown Muslim extremism as rising threat,” claiming that “Anti-terrorism officials and experts see signs of accelerated radicalization among American Muslims.”  Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned this month:  ”Home-based terrorism is here.”  When justifying his Afghanistan escalation at West Point, Obama warned of “extremists within our borders who were sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit new acts of terror.”  And strangely, on Saturday, two articles with virtually identical storylines appeared — one in The Washington Postand the other in The New York Times — warning that American Muslims, for the first time, are now becoming a radicalized threat in the way European Muslims are.

At least from all appearances, these claims are being made exclusively on the basis of a handful of recent episodes involving American Muslims accused of having links to Al Qaeda and/or the Taliban.  There is no data whatsoever offered to corroborate the claim of a “trend.”  Given the obvious dangers inherent in trumpeting threats from internal sources — as well as the motives the Government generally has in disseminating such warnings and the motive it specifically has when escalating a war — far more than a few anecdotes ought to be required before any of this is believed.

What’s most striking about these “warnings” is that they virtually never examine thereasons why this would be happening.  Why, after all this time, would American Muslims suddenly be more willing to engage in violence against the U.S.?  To his credit, Scott Shane devoted several paragraphs of his NYT article to addressing this question, and what he finds is both highly significant and highly unsurprising:

[T]he continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the American operations like drone strikes in Pakistan, are fueling radicalization at home, [terrorism expert Robert Leiken] said. “Just the length of U.S. involvement in these countries is provoking more Muslim Americans to react,” Mr. Leiken said . . . .

Like many other specialists, [Georgetown University terrorism expert Bruce] Hoffman pointed to the United States’ combat in Muslim lands as the only obvious spur to many of the recent cases, especially those with a Pakistani connection. “The longer we’ve been in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said, “the more some susceptible young men are coming to believe that it’s their duty to take up arms to defend their fellow Muslims.”

A few analysts, in fact, argue that Mr. Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan — intended to prevent a terrorist haven there — could backfire.

Robert A. Pape, a University of Chicago political scientist, contends thatsuicide attacks are almost always prompted by resentment of foreign troops, and that escalation in Afghanistan will fuel more plots. “This new deployment increases the risk of the next 9/11,” he said. “It will not make this country safer.”

The evidence proving this causation is now so overwhelming as to be undeniable.  Waging wars, occupying, and dropping bombs in Muslim countries is the single most counter-productive step that can be taken to combat Islamic extremism (indefinitely imprisoning them without charges is a close second).  It’s akin to advising a lung cancer patient to triple the quantity of cigarettes he smokes each day.  Yet we continue to do it over and over, and then point to the harms we cause as reasons we need to continue doing it.  Our “counter-terrorism” campaign basically consists of three steps repeated endlessly:

(1) Interfere in or otherwise act aggressively in the Muslim world.

(2) Provoke increased anti-American sentiment and fuel terrorism as a result of Step 1.

(3) Point to the increased anti-American sentiment and terrorism as a reason we need to escalate our interference and aggression in the Muslim world.  Return to Step 1.

The coordinated campaign to hype the alleged “growing domestic Muslim threat” at exactly the time we are escalating our conventional war in Afghanistan and our covert Predator war in Pakistan is a perfect illustration of this process.   Basically, what Shane’s article reveals is the shocking truth that waging war and otherwise interfering in Muslim countries for more a full decade radicalizes Muslims and drives some of them to want to return the violence.  Who would have guessed?