Archive for Hamas

Fearmonger Does Little to Improve Conversation on Terrorism

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2012 by loonwatch

Fearmonger does little to improve conversation on terrorism

by John L. Smith

For Steve Emerson, the danger is very clear and very present: A surprising number of American officials and institutions are in the tank to Islamic extremists and their handmaidens.

Emerson accuses the Obama administration of being infiltrated by radical followers of Islam inside our own country and throughout the world.

That’s right. Infiltrated.

Emerson, the executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, spent an hour last week with the Review-Journal editorial board and was accompanied by Elliot Karp, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas. In the short time Emerson spent at the newspaper, he managed to indict a number of law enforcement institutions and officers as patsies for the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic extremists in our midst.

For one, there’s the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Emerson said the FBI is so focused not offending Islamist and Arabic groups with allegiances to Hamas and Hezbollah that it’s getting in the way of anti-terrorism investigations.

“The agents on the ground understand exactly what’s going on,” Emerson says cryptically of the bureau’s political atmosphere. When asked to elaborate, he replies, “I have to protect my sources.”

Forgive me, but I thought the FBI was doing a pretty good job on the terrorism front. Turns out they’re falling down on the job.

It’s OK, though. Emerson has confidence in his own ability to spot the terrorists among us. He brags that his sources are “sometimes even better than the bureau.”

He adds that his field intelligence was superior to the FBI’s in part because “informants are more likely to work for us.”

That’s not all. He also has the sneaking suspicion that a talk he was scheduled to give to a group of CIA operatives was derailed by the Obama administration. Who knew President Barack Obama had enough hours in the day to dispatch CIA Director David Petraeus to teach Emerson a lesson?

Then there’s Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. In 2010, Baca was honored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has been linked to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. CAIR also actively challenges Muslim stereotypes and presents the Islamic side of issues.

“He believes CAIR is a wonderful organization,” Emerson says sarcastically. ” … I’m not calling him evil, or fundamentally stupid, but he is in bed with the bad guys.”

Obviously, Emerson isn’t shy about pointing fingers. Nor is he simply a sign-waving conspiracy theorist. His allies on the right consider him a Cassandra who warns us about the dangers of Islamic extremism at home and abroad, and especially as it affects Israel. He pens op-ed pieces in major newspapers, is often quoted on television and radio talk shows, is cheered on the speaking circuit, and has a loyal following on his website. He is a leading firebrand from the school of thought that goes something like, “Not all Muslims are plotting terrorist acts, just most of them.”

He claims he is the victim of “a fatwa by NPR” largely because National Public Radio officials don’t invite him on their programs these days. But you can still catch plenty of Emerson’s opinions in a variety of media and networks.

Lest you think he’s just a right-wing extremist out to frighten people, Emerson repeats often that his work is dangerous and he has received many threats. He says things like “I’ve got to look over my shoulder every day,” and “If I had a wife and kids, I couldn’t do this.”

Certainly not. He made it sound a little dangerous just sitting in the room with him.

That’s Emerson’s problem whether you believe he’s full of facts or fudge. His hyperbolic rhetoric plays well on the fundraising circuit, but it does nothing to forward the understanding of complex issues.

The Middle East is a political tinderbox. There’s heated talk of possible U.S. and Israeli military intervention in Iran to halt its development of nuclear technology.

At the risk of becoming part of a vast conspiracy to silence Steve Emerson, that complex conversation isn’t improved by his shouts of conspiracy at the highest levels of our government.

John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Email him at Smith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0295. He also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/smith.

Rick Perry: Hamas And Hezbollah Working In Mexico

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2011 by loonwatch

If you didn’t know by now, Hamas and Hezbollah hablan mucho Español. If you also didn’t know by now, GOP candidates like Rick Perry are retrying to combine the fear of immigrants and Mooslims taking over the country. Apparently, it is a tried and true method to win the GOP candidacy.

Rick Perry: Hamas And Hezbollah Working In Mexico

Texas Gov. Rick Perry warned viewers of CNN’s Republican debate on Tuesday that Hamas and Hezbollah were working out of Mexico. Perry’s answer came in response to a question about securing the southern border.

“We’re seeing countries start to come in and infiltrate. We know that Hamas and Hezbollah are working in Mexico as well as Iran with their ploy to come into the United States,” Perry said.

He continued: We know that Hugo Chavez… and the Iranian government has one of the largest — I think their largest embassy in the world is in Venezuela. So the idea that we need to have border security with the United States and Mexico is paramount to the entire western hemisphere.”

In Muslim community, Lee Baca wins support through conversation, not confrontation

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2011 by loonwatch

Sheriff Lee Baca, a Republican,  made LoonWatch’s 2010 list of anti-Loons and is in one of the leaders for 2011. Here he is still doing a tremendous job.

In Muslim community, Baca wins support through conversation, not confrontation

The L.A. County sheriff, a Republican with a strong reputation as a crime fighter, believes in building trust within minority communities. He reads the Koran and shuns hard-line tactics.

By Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times

April 19, 2011

Reporting from New York— Three young women, all wearing delicate hijabs, are gathered outside a TriBeCa lecture hall in eager anticipation. It’s not an actor or a pop star they’re waiting for. The object of their giddiness is Sheriff Lee Baca, in town for just one night.

It might be unusual for a lawman anywhere to have fans, let alone one a continent away from his jurisdiction. But such is the life of Los Angeles County’s chief law enforcement officer since his outspoken support of American Muslims vaulted him into the national spotlight.

“I just want to meet you and thank you,” one young woman blurts out after catching Baca outside a recent speaking engagement on Muslim outreach. “You gave us a voice.”

In an only-Nixon-could-go-to-China kind of way, Baca, a former Marine reservist and registered Republican, has been largely immune to the innuendo that has caused other politicians to distance themselves from Muslims post 9/11. He has bucked the hard-line law enforcement approach of security checks and surveillance in favor of outreach and cooperation.

His law-and-order credentials have made him an irresistible ally for Muslim advocates, earning him shout-outs on national TV shows, including “The Colbert Report” and invitations to the halls of Congress. On more than one occasion he’s been the only law enforcement official willing to mix it up with Republican lawmakers on the issue.

In New York, where Baca preached the benefits of Muslim outreach on a panel about national security, the sheriff seemed energized by his warm reception. “Did you see those girls? Do they look like terrorists to you?” he said of the gaggle of young Muslim women who greeted him. “They’re not terrorists. I know my public.”

Reading the Koran

The events of 9/11 quickly took Baca in an unusual direction. When many politicians chose an arms-length approach to Muslims, Baca chose the Koran — literally. In the black sedan that ferried him from one engagement to another, he pored over the book, reading it from front to back, memorizing passages.

Within days of the terrorist attack, Baca met with local Muslim leaders, promising them protection. Responding to reports that Pakistani store owners were being hassled, Baca ordered his deputies “to go by the 7-Elevens and offer support.”

His empathy for a persecuted minority, he says, isn’t rooted in any sort of shared experience as a Mexican American but in an unusual childhood.

The son of a seamstress who had to care for three children on her own, Baca was sent as a boy to live with his pensioner grandparents in East L.A. His developmentally challenged uncle, then in his 30s, still lived at the home.

“He was a pound and a half at birth,” Baca said. “Couldn’t read, write, speak sentences. My uncle had no faculty, no capacity.”

With no household car, 7-year-old Leroy, his uncle and his grandmother traversed the city by bus. Those rides had a lasting effect.

“People would sneer at my uncle, laugh at him, make fun of him, and I believe that’s wrong,” Baca recalled. “We’re not bothering anyone. So how about just leaving us alone? Is that asking too much?”

His affinity for minority communities had political benefits. A long-shot candidate for sheriff in 1998, Baca got creative in his campaigning, tapping ethnic groups other candidates ignored.

“I had to have other bases of support outside the traditional realms,” he said. Among them were Iranians, Lebanese and other groups with large Muslim populations.

But his decision to intensify those ties post 9/11, he says, wasn’t political. Lapses on the federal level exposed by the attacks put a newfound pressure on local law enforcement. “All of our lives have been changed by 9/11,” Baca said. “We’re the ones who will get slammed if something falls through the cracks.”

Thousands of tips flooded law enforcement agencies after 9/11. Even leads that seemed silly had to be followed. “The one you don’t follow will end up being the one that matters,” Baca said. In one instance, a local group of Muslim men frequenting paintball facilities were investigated as potential terrorist snipers. They turned out to be “a buncha guys who just liked paintballing,” Baca said. “What are you gonna do? Ignore it?”

To pinpoint legitimate concerns, Baca needed his deputies inside Muslim communities. His focus on homegrown terror grew after the 2005 London Underground bombings, when four men, all living and working in England for years, killed 52.

“I realized we didn’t have a strategy for homegrown terrorism,” Baca said. “Cops are not gonna be invited into an extremist plot. That’s rule No. 1…. But if you get people to tell you something that’s troubling them, that’s the first sign of success.”

To build enough trust to be tipped off to extremist plots, Baca needed his deputies to become hyper-responsive to the Muslim community’s more routine crime concerns.

Less upfront tactics have at times backfired on other agencies. In Orange County, the FBI is still suffering from the fallout of a 2006 operation in which a paid informant posing as a Muslim convert infiltrated mosques.

The mole, equipped with a microphone keychain and a hidden camera, was outed soon after his talk of violent jihad became so extreme that one mosque was granted a restraining order. Many Muslims still point to the incident as proof that they’re too often treated by law enforcement as suspects, not partners.

Baca is reluctant to criticize the FBI, but his disdain for its style of covert intelligence gathering shows.

“I think they learned on their own what the plusses and minuses are. I believe terror plots are more sophisticated. I’m more of a chess player,” he said. “There are so few Muslim extremists in America. You can’t burn all the hay to find the needle, because the people are the hay.”

After initial struggles to make inroads, Baca’s Muslim community affairs unit, which staffs two deputies fulltime, has well-attended community exchanges and receives regular calls from Muslims with concerns that are terrorism-related and other issues. Baca’s personal involvement has softened up many of the community’s older, more reluctant leaders. The department employs about a dozen Muslim deputies and half that many Arabic speakers.

“They want to be able to say ‘I know the sheriff,’” said Sgt. Mike Abdeen, who leads the unit. “They like to go back to the community and say I know so and so, I’m a man of influence.”

Baca has been quick to accept their invitations — and fully participates when he does. At a PakistanDay celebration, he wore traditional garb. With Iranians, he’ll throw in some Farsi; with Pakistanis, a bit of Urdu. He keeps a Koran in his office and another at home and is known to quote passages from memory. Inside mosques, he removes his shoes and during prayers, he joins in, going to his knees and pressing his forehead to the ground.

“He might not understand what he’s doing,” said Deputy Sherif Morsi, the other officer in the unit. “But the point is he’s letting people know ‘I’m your sheriff, I support you.’”

That commitment has taken Baca to more than a dozen Middle Eastern countries since 9/11. The tangible benefits of the trips aren’t always clear, but Baca maintains they give him a unique window into Muslim cultures and to counterterrorism where the fight’s the fiercest.

In Saudi Arabia, he watched hundreds of police recruits march as he and other officials sat in “very elegant seats as if we were heads of state.” Afterwards, they sat on rugs in police headquarters and feasted on a barbequed lamb. “They ripped out the choicest pieces of meat for us with their hands,” Baca raved.

In Egypt, he chatted with the national police chief about his “surgical” approach to beating back the Muslim Brotherhood on the Sinai Peninsula. In Pakistan, then-President Pervez Musharraf agreed to have Baca briefed on two assassination attempts. In one, Pakistani authorities used an Israeli cellphone scrambler to halt a remote bomb detonation. When Baca returned home, the Sheriff’s Department purchased its own.

“I met the police chief of Mecca and I understand who he is. I’m on the street, you don’t learn these things in your office,” Baca said.

Baca’s effort has not been without criticism.

Far right-wing websites have derisively described Baca as an “international” lawman, and a “Hamas-affiliated CAIR” sheriff, referring to the Council on American Islamic Relations, a Muslim group Baca defends. Last year, the innuendo followed Baca to Washington, D.C. One congressman seemed to surprise the sheriff by accusing him at a hearing of cozying up to CAIR despite the group’s “radical” speech. “You’ve been 10 times to [its] fundraisers,” the congressman said.

“And I’ll be there 10 more times,” Baca shouted back.

CAIR is generally considered a moderate, if aggressive, Muslim civil rights group. Attacks against it haven’t dissuaded Baca. Hussam Ayloush, director of CAIR’s regional branch, said Baca is one of the few public officials who have asked for his organization’s side of the story.

“Most politicians I’ve worked with would have avoided the headache. It’s not about the truth, it’s about perception, and they don’t want to touch it,” Ayloush said.

Naive? That’s OK

On a recent evening, Baca strolled along a seedy street in Manhattan’s Chinatown. It was his second East Coast trip in as many weeks, both times to speak on Muslim outreach.

Street vendors, unaware that the stick-thin man before them was a major law enforcement figure, tried one after another to sell him knock-off purses and wallets. “How are you?” Baca greeted them, smiling wide.

Pulling in close as if to share a secret, Baca said he knew his post-9/11 stance has been attacked. Even among friends he’s been warned of being naive. He’s OK with it.

“I’m not endorsing Muslim groups. I’m defending them. ‘Oh he’s a Muslim lover, he’s a Jew lover.’ I don’t pay attention to bigots.

“I know I’m a little naive. I know I am overly trusting. That’s who I choose to be. If you’re uncomfortable with others, you’re not in a position to lead. I’ve created somewhat of a palace in my mind because, if you don’t, this world is your prison…. I can take the attacks. Attack me! Am I going to change who I am? No. Because it works.”

robert.faturechi@latimes.com

Anti-Muslim Blogoshpere Runs Amuck: Forced to Eat Crow

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Sites, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2009 by loonwatch
Islamophobes purposefully mistook these girls as child brides

Islamophobes purposefully mistook these girls as child brides

The Loon world was whipped into a frenzy based on, as usual, the reinforcing winds of ignorance and hate. In what was meant to be an unremarkable story, Tim Marshall a reporter for Sky News blogged on a mass wedding celebration in the Gaza Strip officiated by  Hamas. Marshall reports in his excellent blog Islamophobia. Ignorance or Propaganda?,

The party is for 450 grooms, the brides are elsewhere, some among the 5,000 or so guests. It’s the way things are done here, Personally I’m for the mixing of the sexes, but I’m not about to argue, I’m outnumbered.

Up on the stage there’s music and dancing. Everyone’s having a good time, even me, although the Hamas robocops are making me a little nervous. Sure Hamas have cold blooded killers among them, sure they support the murder of children in Israel, sure they are cracking down on women’s rights, but many of their supporters are just ordinary people. And they need a break…Then the fireworks explode, the cheering begins, and in march the Hamas scouts, bashing drums, looking every inch the future Hamas fighters many will be. Then the grooms, aged about 18 to about 28. They are holding hands with their young nieces and cousins, little girls aged from about 3 to 8, made up to the nines, wearing white wedding dresses.

So what has gotten the Loon world completely riled up? Well it seems that many of the anti-Muslims misconstrued the occasion and thought the grooms were actually marrying the little girls who were their nieces or cousins! Tim Marshall explains, Continue reading