Archive for Homeland Security

Wilfredo Amr Ruiz: ‘We Are Not at War With Islam’

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2012 by loonwatch

Wildredo Amr Ruiz

Wilfredo Amr Ruiz

Is the oft-repeated phrase by both presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama, “We are not at war with Islam” just hollow political-speak?

Wilfredo A Ruiz discusses:

Wilfredo Amr Ruiz: ‘We Are Not at War With Islam’

Former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama have persistently affirmed: “We are not at war with Islam,” trying to assure 1.7 billion Muslims that the military actions of the so-called “war against terrorism” do not constitute belligerence against Islam or Muslims. This incessant message of denial is hard to swallow by many sectors of our society, and the world at large, since the United States has engaged in multiple wars of occupation in Muslim countries including Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, it conducts routine military incursions and bombardment campaigns on Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and other Muslim countries.
Furthermore, thousands of Muslim citizens around the world are subjected to arrest without formal accusations or due process of law. Incarcerations and even torture takes place at a network of international secret prisons and “black hole” locations operated or accessed by the CIA and other intelligence agencies.Unfortunately, in the American political arena there is also the perception that the government security and intelligence agencies and military apparatus are at war with Islam and Muslims.
They substantiate this notion with continuous discriminatory and prejudiced policies affecting American Muslims and their institutions. Let us take, for example, the harsh experience New York Muslims are undergoing with the NYPD. They are subject to widespread and ongoing espionage policies from their own police department, which include the opening of dossiers based on ethnic and religious profiling.
This openly unconstitutional practice is not based on suspiciousness of them committing crimes or being engaged in an ongoing criminal enterprise. Rather, the information recorded documents the restaurants they frequent, the books they check out, and even the times and places where they conduct their daily prayers.Evidently, the constant Islamophobic discourses have resonated to the military branches, resulting in the offering of multiple training courses with discriminatory, bigoted and offensive materials.
Some of these academic materials recently discovered are taught at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., in which mainstream Muslim persons and organizations are characterized as radical, violent extremists. The course even calls for treating the Muslim civilian population the way the Japanese were dealt with at Hiroshima, with nuclear attacks on the holy cities of Mecca and Medina and wiping out civilians.
It promotes a total war on Islam affirming that there is no such thing as moderate Islam. The military training course participants are encouraged to think of themselves as a “resistance movement to Islam.” Other various training courses with xenophobic and bigoted content offered to the FBI have also been exposed. These are not isolated and unique classes, but multiple trainings held at numerous venues to hundreds of military officers and intelligence agents that are responsible for the safety and security of our nation.
Notwithstanding the military and FBI’s promises to review their courses and purge the training curriculums of Islamophobic materials, we need ask ourselves: How many other courses (most of them classified as “Secret”) have been offered and, perhaps, are still being offered in these highly secured and secret agencies without public exposure?
The sad reality is that our nation has institutionalized vigilance based on stereotypical ethnic and religious profiling. Let us just examine for a moment the recent incident at Fort Lauderdale International Airport, where an 18-month-old toddler, a daughter of American parents of Middle Eastern descent, was ordered off a plane by Jet Blue Airline’s officials who claimed she was on the TSA’s “no fly” list: a list obviously fed with the names of people selected based on ethnic and religious profiling. The toddler case is not the only one of its kind, as another 500 American citizens are also in these puzzling and sinister lists in the absence of due process. The lists are not only ineffective, but openly unconstitutional because individuals are included without notification or being told why they are on the list and without the chance to rebut the basis of their inclusion.

What will our political leaders do to try to erase the idea that the Nation is engaged in a war against Islam and Muslims? The major challenge they confront in this task is that the more time elapses, the more discrimination, oppression, persecution and injustices cements against American Muslims and their institutions.

President Obama still has the option and opportunity to rise to the occasion and confront this most delicate situation at the level it merits. He might, perhaps, start cleaning and straightening the Executive Branch from head to toe. The president should take steps that truly guarantee the elimination of racial and religious profiling exercised by law enforcement agencies and should swiftly end all the futile wars on Muslim countries once and for all. Perhaps, he should follow the Executive Order he signed back on Jan. 22, 2009, mandating the “Closure of Detention Facilities at Guantanamo” and the “Immediate Review of All Guantanamo Detentions.” Only such decisive actions will sustain the hollowed presidential words: “We are not at war with Islam.”

 Follow Wilfredo Amr Ruiz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AnalistaInter

Peter King: Iran May Have ‘Hundreds’ Of Hezbollah Agents In U.S.

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

Peter King: Iran May Have ‘Hundreds’ Of Hezbollah Agents In U.S.



WASHINGTON — Iranian-backed Hezbollah agents, not al Qaeda operatives, may pose the greatest threat on U.S. soil as tensions over Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program ratchet up, according to the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

“As Iran moves closer to nuclear weapons and there is increasing concern over war between Iran and Israel, we must also focus on Iran’s secret operatives and their number one terrorist proxy force, Hezbollah, which we know is in America,” said New York Rep. Peter King at a Wednesday hearing of his committee.

The hearing, which featured former government officials and the director of intelligence analysis for the New York Police Department, follows a foiled plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C., and testimony by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in late January that Iran’s leaders are “more willing to conduct an attack inside the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime.”

Opening the hearing, King said, “We have a duty to prepare for the worst,” warning there may be hundreds of Hezbollah operatives in the United States, including 84 Iranian diplomats at the United Nations and in Washington who, “it must be presumed, are intelligence officers.”

But Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said he was concerned that the testimony he was about to hear was based on outdated information and not current intelligence. He noted that “no current federal officials” were asked to testify on Wednesday.

“A word of caution is in order,” Thompson said. “When we examine our relationship with another country, we cannot look at any particular moment in time and pretend that it tells the whole story. We cannot view the politics, history and culture of any other country clearly by seeing a snapshot version.”

Referencing Clapper’s earlier testimony, Thompson said the director of national intelligence should be called in for a classified hearing, but added, “We should not engage in a public discussion that creates fear and delivers misinformation.”

King rejected the Democrat’s objections. “We’re not focusing on foreign policy,” he said. “We’re talking about an internal threat to this country.”

Most of the testimony — which came from former officials at the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Treasury, among others — concerned Iranian-linked attacks in other countries that dated back decades in some cases. However, Mitchell Silber, head of the NYPD intelligence unit that has come under fire for spying on the city’s Muslim community, said that between 2002 and 2010 his agency and federal authorities detected “at least six events involving Iranian diplomatic personnel that we struggle to categorize as anything other than hostile reconnaissance of New York City.”

The suspicious events, some of them publicly revealed for the first time, involved security guards at the Permanent Mission of Iran to the United Nations and Iranian diplomats stationed in New York. Among the cases Silber cited:

    • On Nov. 16, 2003, at 2 a.m., uniformed NYPD officers on a subway train observed two men filming the train tracks. The men, who initially claimed diplomatic immunity, were security guards at the Iranian Mission who had recently arrived in New York.
    • In May 2004, despite warnings from the State Department, two more Iranian Mission security guards were observed videotaping infrastructure, public transportation and New York City landmarks. A month later, the guards were expelled by the United States, Silber said, for “engaging in activities that were not consistent with their duties,” or spying.
    • In May 2005, six individuals “associated with the Government of Iran” were interviewed by the NYPD after a call to a city hot line reported suspicious behavior. The individuals on a sightseeing cruise were reportedly photographing and videotaping landmarks such as the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges as well as “reportedly speaking on their cellphones in an unusual manner.” One of the individuals worked at the Iranian Mission while the other five had diplomatic immunity based on their positions within the Iranian government. They were later released.
    • In September 2008, during the U.N. General Assembly, several members of the Iranian delegation were seen taking photos of railroad tracks inside Grand Central Station. After questioning, they were “released without incident.
    • In September 2010, again during the U.N. General Assembly, federal air marshals reported suspicious behavior at the Wall Street Heliport, where four people were seen taking “still photos and videotaping the water line and structural area of the heliport landing pad” from a nearby parking lot. The four produced press cards showing they worked for the Iran Broadcasting Co. and were released.

Although authorities could link none of the incidents to actual plots, “Iran has a proven record of using its official presence in a foreign city to coordinate attacks, which are then carried out by Hezbollah agents from abroad, often leveraging the local community — whether wittingly or not — as facilitators,” Silber testified.

Peter King Defends NYPD Monitoring, Plans More Hearings on Islam

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

This should come to no surprise that Peter King will defend the NYPD monitoring. He must be really proud.

Peter King Defends NYPD Monitoring, Plans More Hearings on Islam

by George Zornick

Appearing on WCBS in New York this morning, Representative Peter King offered a strong defense of NYPD’s spying on mosques and Muslim businesses and student groups in several states. Criticism of the recently revealed program has intensified in recent days, but King said he was proud of the police department.

“[Police Commissioner] Ray Kelly and the NYPD should get a medal for what they are doing,” he said. “This is good police work. If you are going after radical Muslims you don’t go to Ben’s Kosher Deli.”

This is perhaps not surprising coming from the man who held highly controversial Capitol Hill hearings into Muslim Americans last year, which many people saw as essentially profiling by public relations; his colleague, Representative Keith Ellison invoked the specter of Joe McCarthy in criticizing King’s efforts and said they served to “vilify” Muslims.

But, alas, King announced last week that he would hold more hearings into domestic radicalization among Muslim Americans in the coming year. “The series of radicalization hearings I convened last March has been very productive,” King said in a statement. “I will definitely continue the hearings in 2012.”

This is a good time to flag a recent study by Charles Kurzman, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina and member of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security. His comprehensive examination of crime statistics found that terrorism-related incidents by Muslim Americans has declined markedly, and that Muslim-Americans represent “a minuscule threat to public safety.” He wrote:

The limited scale of Muslim-American terrorism in 2011 runs counter to the fears that many Americans shared in the days and months after 9/11, that domestic Muslim American terrorism would escalate. The spike in terrorism cases in 2009 renewed these concerns, as have repeated warnings from U.S. government officials about a possible surge in homegrown Islamic terrorism. The predicted surge has not materialized.

Repeated alerts by government officials maybe issued as a precaution, even when the underlying threat is uncertain. Officials may be concerned about how they would look if an attack did take place and subsequent investigations showed that officials had failed to warn the public. But a byproduct of these alerts is a sense of heightened tension that is out of proportion to the actual number of terrorist attacks in the United States since 9/11.

If King calls Kurzman to testify at his hearings I’ll eat my hat, but it’s possible Democrats on the committee could arrange for his appearance. He would provide a substantive counterweight to King’s typically anecdote-driven hysteria. Last week the FBI foiled a plot in which a Moroccan man wanted to bomb the US Capitol—you can bet King will give that episode a prominent role at his hearings.

Homeland Security TSA Agent Exposed As Anti-Muslim Bigot

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on October 21, 2011 by loonwatch

Roy Egan, “a veteran officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Chicago” and a TSA agent, was confronted by a reporter for his rabid anti-Muslim Facebook comments.  Right now, the story is limited to local ABC News.  I wonder if this will be aired on national and cable news networks.

A word of caution is in order: Roy Egan is just one part of a much larger problem.  He is a cog in a much larger Islamophobic machine.  The Department of Homeland Security and the TSA are operating inherently racist, bigoted, and fear-mongering policies.

(cross-posted from ABC)
http://abclocal.go.com/wls/video?id=8389894

October 12, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) – A veteran officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Chicago is being disciplined after posting hundreds of racist and derogatory comments on Facebook.

His name is Roy Egan. Not only were Officer Egan’s racial and religious rants open for anyone to see, for years he openly identified himself by name on Facebook and listed his employer as U.S. Homeland Security-TSA, the Transportation Security Administration.

For the past nine years, Egan has worked as a TSA baggage screener at O’Hare Airport. The 46-year-old has noted on his Facebook page, “I look for bad stuff going on airplanes.”

But it wasn’t Egan’s personal data that caught the eye of the I-Team. It was his public postings calling “Islam a cult that glorifies death…and a filthy religion.” It is a theme Egan repeated in postings just about every day: that Muslims should be exterminated.

In the garage at Egan’s southwest suburban home, the I-Team questioned the nine-year TSA officer about his anti-Muslim statements.

Goudie: “You posted those, didn’t you?
Egan: It was common stuff I picked off the web and made comments on.
Goudie: What does it say that a TSA officer is saying these kinds of things about Muslims?
Egan: I don’t refer to it in my job.”

Egan’s job is to screen baggage at O’Hare. Since 9/11, the treatment of Muslim travelers and allegations of Middle Eastern profiling, have dogged Homeland Security agencies.

Officer Egan recently posted, “does anything at all make you smile more than a Muslim burning by his own hateful hand.” He maintains such beliefs don’t interfere with his work.

Goudie: “How about if some Muslim name, on a piece of luggage comes by you? Does it get extra scrutiny?
Egan: No, no. That’s against the rules. I wouldn’t do it. There’s no reason for me to open it unless we’re mandated to open it via the machine telling us to. I would never discriminate against a passenger.
Goudie: Do you understand why this attracted our attention?
Egan: I suppose…I don’t hide what I do. I don’t think anything I’ve said is illegal. I don’t think, I definitely don’t do anything illegal.”

“It made me sick. It’s chilling to know that someone who is a federal employee and works at TSA of all places can hold these views with such hatred and such intensity, and to hold them publicly on his Facebook page unabashedly without any sort of regret. It really, it’s scary,” said Ahmed Rehab, Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Egan also posted against gays, Hispanics and blacks. He called President Obama “Muslim-in chief,” made racial comments on Obama’s skin color and said he hopes to “live long enough to see him die.” He described Michelle Obama as a “ghetto snipe” and other names unsuitable to print. And to Attorney General Eric Holder he posted, “die tasting your own blood.”

Egan: “If you read the comment, and it was based on an article that was written, and I’m just commenting on an article. I think he’s committing crimes against our citizens.
Goudie: And he should be dead.
Egan: I didn’t say that. I don’t like the guy.”

TSA officials would not speak on camera, but after learning of our findings TSA officials placed Egan on administrative leave and are moving to fire him.

In a statement, a spokesman said, “TSA has management directives in place governing employee conduct. We hold our security officers to the highest professional and ethical standards. TSA learned of the situation and took immediate steps to initiate the individual’s removal from federal service.”

In my conversation with Egan, conducted before he was suspended, the veteran TSA officer seemed immovable.

Egan: “I don’t do anything against policy, I’ve never done anything against policy that I’m aware of.
Goudie: You’re OK with the things that you’ve posted here, for the public to see?
Roy: I don’t know what you’re fishing for but I’m not trying to do anything against anybody. It’s commentary. It’s freedom of speech commentary.
Goudie: Why would you put this up for the public to see, though?
Roy: I’m not the only one. It’s all over the Internet.”

“We’re going to be in touch with TSA to work with them in order to ensure that this is not a situation that is replicated and that it’s not a deeper problem,” said Rehab.

TSA officials in Chicago declined to answer our questions about screener training and evaluation and whether authorities monitor social media in an attempt to weed out bigoted employees. TSA does have a code of conduct that requires its employees on or off duty to conduct themselves in a way that doesn’t cause the public to question their judgment or harm the agency’s mission.

Transportation Security Administration www.tsa.gov

TSA management directive on employee conductwww.tsa.gov/assets/pdf/foia/TSA_MD_1100_73_5_FINALv2_090521.pdf

Council on American-Islamic Relations www.cairchicago.org

U.S. Department of Homeland Security www.dhs.gov/index.shtm

(Copyright ©2011 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Terrorism Training Casts Pall Over Muslim Employee

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2011 by loonwatch
John Guandolo“Terrorism Expert” John Guandolo

This cottage industry of “terror experts” needs to be reanalyzed. Walid Shoebat, John Guandolo, Robert Spencer, and there are many more.

Terrorism Training Casts Pall Over Muslim Employee

by DINA TEMPLE-RASTON (NPR)

The man at the center of this story is 59-year-old Jordanian-American Omar al-Omari. He looks very much like the college professor that he is — tweed jacket, button-down shirt, thick round glasses, drinking coffee. We met at a coffee shop near downtown Columbus, Ohio, where he laid out a series of events that ended with him being accused of having links to terrorism.

“Actually, I was out of town, out of state, attending a conference and on my way back to Columbus,” Omari said, “and I received a call from one of the attendees of this conference in which I was told my name was used repeatedly during the training. Apparently I was labeled as a suspect. They personalized the attacks. There was a promise to dig into my background, and basically, as an Arab-Muslim American, they thought I’m a suspect.”

Omari was singled out at a three-day seminar for local police and law enforcement in the Columbus area last April. The class was part of a larger nationwide initiative to help local law enforcement not just understand terrorism, but perhaps find ways to stop it. The Obama administration has set aside millions of dollars to fund these training programs, and, not surprisingly, that money has helped create an industry in which self-styled terrorism experts contract themselves out to local police departments as terrorism tutors.

There is no certification process to vet the experts. They simply present their resumes and, often through word of mouth, they get hired. The trainers tend to be former government officials. Sometimes they have had key roles in the federal government fighting terrorism. Just as often, they have not. There’s growing evidence that many of these training sessions are providing officers at the grass roots with a biased view of Muslims in America. That is what appears to have happened to Omari.

The training at the Columbus Division of Police took place over three days in mid-April 2010. The course was titled “Understanding the True Nature of the Threat to America.” Broad outlines of the curriculum are posted on the trainers’ website. The course includes a discussion about the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States; Islamic law as it relates to jihad; and the trainers say they will provide “specific examples of Muslim Brotherhood/Islamic Movement activity in the locale in which the presentation is given.” It was in that context that Omari became a target.

One of the trainers in Ohio that day was a man named John Guandolo. He’s a former FBI agent and former Marine. According to people in the training class that day and Guandolo himself, a photograph of Omari with members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a local Muslim advocacy group, was put up on the screen. According to the people who were there, Guandolo and the other visiting trainers didn’t say outright that Omari was a terrorist, but they suggested that he had links to bad people — people who were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and even al-Qaida.

“I stand by what I said that day about Omari,” Guandolo told me, though he declined to say so on tape. “The facts are on my side.”

Now, to understand why the accusations against Omari were so surprising, it is important to know that at the time he ran a key Muslim outreach program for the state of Ohio. What he was doing for the state’s Department of Public Safety was considered so effective, counterterrorism officials in Washington sent him overseas to talk about it.

Omari is from Jordan. He has been living in the U.S. for 30 years, and he’s an American citizen. Even so, for people in the counterterrorism class in Columbus that day, it seemed entirely possible that he could be a terrorist. And that reaction in the room surprised a lot of people — most notably Deputy Chief Jeffrey Blackwell of the Columbus Division of Police. Blackwell is now in charge of the division’s homeland security unit.

“I was shocked,” he said. “I was shocked that a person at Omar’s level in the state of Ohio in the Department of Public Safety would have his picture displayed by an anti-terrorism group. His reputation was impugned incredibly by the speakers.”

Blackwell and other officials suspended the class to make sense of what happened. “We had a meeting and we discussed what we were witnessing right before our very eyes, what was transpiring in the lecture hall,” Blackwell said. What was so strange about Omari being singled out was that nearly everyone in the room knew him, or at least had heard of him. He was one of Ohio’s most high-visibility Muslims. Many of the visiting officers and Columbus officers had actually worked with Omari on outreach in the Muslim community.

“I knew him really well,” Blackwell said. “And I thought he was a great professional, so that was part of the reason why I was so surprised when his picture popped up in the presentation.”

But for some reason, maybe because former government officials said Omari couldn’t be trusted, Blackwell watched as some people in the room were ready to believe the worst.

“There were a large amount of people there that felt the class was in fact appropriate — that the finger-pointing and the name-calling and the nexuses that were developed and discussed were appropriate to discuss,” he said. “And then you had a huge percentage that were equally and diametrically opposed to that way of teaching and the substance of the anti-terrorism class.”

And the lesson Blackwell took from their reaction?

“That as Americans we are all over the board on our feelings about the terrorism issue,” he said. “And as a law enforcement professional, even law enforcement is divided in how they view people.”

The next day, some people came to Omari’s defense. The head of the local Joint Terrorism Task Force and one of the FBI’s top agents in Ohio both arrived at the academy and assured the class that Omari wasn’t a terrorism suspect. Everyone says that at that point the room erupted in shouts. Half the officers sided with Omari. The other half trusted the trainer, Guandolo. Blackwell said they assumed he must be privy to intelligence on Omari that he wasn’t revealing.

Guandolo suggested when I interviewed him on the phone that there were things he knew about Omari that the FBI didn’t. “We know we have our facts right, because we have to,” Guandolo said. (Nearly a dozen sources contacted by NPR in the intelligence community, the FBI and at the Department of Homeland Security said Omari has no links to terrorists or terrorism. They said the accusations against him are unfounded.)

Bill Braniff, who is in charge of the training program at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, sees what happened in Ohio as part of a larger problem.

“I think this is something that happens across the nation fairly consistently,” he said. “No one is tracking this with numbers, but anecdotally we are hearing about it all the time. The Muslim-American community is being preyed upon from two different directions. One, the jihadist recruitment and radicalization that is actively preying on their sons and daughters; and two, the elevated levels of Islamophobia — Islamophobia at worst and distrust and alienation at best.”

That distrust had real consequences in Columbus. Omari lost his job with the state of Ohio, though not because of claims that he had ties to terrorism. After that training session, officials began digging into Omari’s past, and they eventually found something: They discovered that his employment application was incomplete. He hadn’t listed all of the schools where he had worked before taking the job with the state of Ohio. Omari says he just listed places where he had taught relevant courses — courses that touched on Middle Eastern studies. But he was fired anyway — some six months after the training session.

Federal officials familiar with the case say Omari was singled out because he distinguished between extremist Muslims and mainstream Muslims in his outreach and training programs. Guandolo, the trainer, had a different view. When he talked to me about Muslim groups in the U.S., he spoke in terms of whether or not Muslims were patriotic.

 

Omari, for his part, still can’t believe he got fired. “I lost a lot of things over this,” he said. “I lost respect, dignity, reputation — everything really was connected with that, and definitely, you know, how could you defend yourself?”

Chief Blackwell says even more than a year after the episode, he’s still upset. “That was not a good day, in my opinion, for the Columbus Division of Police or law enforcement in general,” he said.

Omari filed suit last week against the Ohio Department of Public Safety and several individuals for wrongful dismissal. He said he’d love to get his job back. And the trainers who came to the Columbus police department? One of them is scheduled to hold another training session in August at the CIA.

‘Ex-terrorist’ Rakes in Homeland Security Bucks

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

Last night CNN had a “special investigation” on the fraud that is known as Walid Shoebat. It took them years to realize that he was a fraud, even after they had him on as a “terrorist expert” in the past. We wrote about Shoebat two years ago in a piece titled, Three Stooges Coming to a Campus Near You, and Walid Shoebat:”Kill them and their Children”.

CNN provided some disturbing video of Shoebat defrauding security personnel and first responders and wasting tax payer money with his lies. Hopefully it won’t be long until Robert Spencer and the rest who get paid to hate-monger to the DHS are exposed by mainstream media.
Watch Part 2 of Drew Griffin’s special investigative report about Walid Shoebat Thursday on AC360° beginning at 10pm E.T.

From Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston, CNN Special Investigations Unit

Rapid City, South Dakota (CNN) — Walid Shoebat had a blunt message for the roughly 300 South Dakota police officers and sheriff’s deputies who gathered to hear him warn about the dangers of Islamic radicalism.

Terrorism and Islam are inseparable, he tells them. All U.S. mosques should be under scrutiny.

“All Islamic organizations in America should be the No. 1 enemy. All of them,” he says.

It’s a message Shoebat is selling based on his own background as a Palestinian-American convert to conservative Christianity. Born in the West Bank, the son of an American mother, he says he was a Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorist in his youth who helped firebomb an Israeli bank in Bethlehem and spent time in an Israeli jail.

That billing helps him land speaking engagements like a May event in Rapid City — a forum put on by the state Office of Homeland Security, which paid Shoebat $5,000 for the appearance. He’s a darling on the church and university lecture circuit, with his speeches, books and video sales bringing in $500,000-plus in 2009, according to tax records.

“Being an ex-terrorist myself is to understand the mindset of a terrorist,” Shoebat told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”

But CNN reporters in the United States, Israel and the Palestinianterritories found no evidence that would support that biography. Neither Shoebat nor his business partner provided any proof of Shoebat’s involvement in terrorism, despite repeated requests.

Back in his hometown of Beit Sahour, outside Bethlehem, relatives say they can’t understand how Shoebat could turn so roundly on his family and his faith.

“I have never heard anything about Walid being a mujahedeen or a terrorist,” said Daood Shoebat, who says he is Walid Shoebat’s fourth cousin. “He claims this for his own personal reasons.”

CNN’s Jerusalem bureau went to great lengths trying to verify Shoebat’s story. The Tel Aviv headquarters of Bank Leumi had no record of a firebombing at its now-demolished Bethlehem branch. Israeli police had no record of the bombing, and the prison where Shoebat says he was held “for a few weeks” for inciting anti-Israel demonstrations says it has no record of him being incarcerated there either.

Shoebat says he was never charged because he was a U.S. citizen.

“I was born by an American mother,” he said. “The other conspirators in the act ended up in jail. I ended up released.”

He said his own family has vouched for his prison time. But relatives CNN spoke to described him as a “regular kid” who left home at 18, eventually becoming a computer programmer in the United States.

Shoebat, now in his 50s, says he converted to Christianity in 1993 and began spreading the word about the dangers of Islam. He has been interviewed as a terrorism expert on several television programs, including a handful of appearances on CNN and its sister network, HLN, in 2006 and 2007.

Since al Qaeda’s 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, expertise on terrorism has been in high demand. The federal Department of Homeland Security has spent nearly $40 million on counterterrorism training since 2006. The department doesn’t keep track of how much goes to speakers, nor does it advise officials on the speakers hired by states and municipalities.

Shoebat spoke at a 2010 conference in South Dakota and was so well-received that he was invited back for the May event in Rapid City, according to state officials. He warned the police and first responders gathered in the hotel conference rooms that the Lebanese Shiite Muslim militia Hezbollah had operatives working in Mexico and that drug cartels were raising money with Islamic groups. He also asserted that federal agents could have prevented the 9/11 attacks by looking for a chafed spot, called “zabibah,” that sometimes forms on the foreheads of devout Muslims.

“You need ex-terrorists who can tell you what life is like and what thinking is like of potential terrorists,” Shoebat said. “But had we looked at the zabibah only, we would have deflected a suicide action of killing 3,000 Americans.”

But Shoebat also told the group there were 17 hijackers when there were 19. And perhaps more surprising from a man who bills himself as a terror expert, Shoebat said the Transportation Security Administration could have stopped them. The TSA wasn’t created until after the 9-11 attacks.

Jim Carpenter, South Dakota’s homeland security director, said Shoebat brought “a point of view that certainly is not mainstream.”

“He brings in commentary about living and being raised as a Muslim and converting over to Christianity — gives them a different aspect of breaking the mold, so to speak,” Carpenter said. But he said Shoebat’s appearance was “a small portion” of the two-and-a-half-day conference.

“It’s not like we’re talking about setting up training and a discipline we would follow, that this is the only way and that’s the particular point of view of a Muslim or somebody of the Islamic faith. That’s not the case,” Carpenter said. “That’s his point of view.”

Carpenter said there is “no fear of threat” from Islamic terrorism in South Dakota, where the last census reports showed the state’s Muslim community made up less than one-half of 1 percent of the population. According to Rapid City’s local newspaper, about two dozen Muslims live in the city.

During Shoebat’s presentation, he criticized Muslim organizations and told audience members to be leery of Muslim doctors, engineers, students and mosques.

“Now, we aren’t saying every single mosque is potential terrorist headquarters. But if you look at certain reports by the Hudson report, 80 percent of mosques they found pamphlets and education on jihad. So they’re in the mosque, the mosque in accordance to the Muslim brotherhood is the command post and center.”

The conservative Hudson Institute said it never issued such a report and has no idea why its name was invoked.

Shoebat warned that making special accommodations for Muslim beliefs was a step toward establishing Islamic religious law. And he recounted how he wore a T-shirt that read “Profile me” on a trip to the airport and approached the screeners at the security checkpoint.

“I got tapped down, I got checked, I got all these different things,” he said. “I say it’s wonderful.”

Shoebat and business partner Keith Davies run several foundations and three websites that are all linked. Shoebat said the major group, the Forum for Middle East Understanding, includes his own Walid Shoebat Foundation.

In tax records filed by Davies, the Forum for Middle East Understanding reported 2009 earnings from speaking engagements, videos and book sales of more than $560,000. The documents are thin on specifics, and so is Shoebat.

“Basically, we are in information, and we do speaking and we do also helping Christians that are being persecuted in countries like Pakistan, and we help Christians that are suffering all throughout the Middle East,” he said. Asked how they do that, he said, “None of your business” — adding that disclosing details could endanger people he was trying to help in Islamic countries that have laws against blasphemy.

Shoebat’s name doesn’t appear on any of the paperwork. As for his own salary, he said he makes “probably what a gas station makes or a garage makes.”

“Everybody thinks I’m just raking in the dough, which is absolutely incorrect,” he said. He referred details to Davies, who offered to provide a copy of the group’s tax returns — but didn’t. When asked who served on the foundation’s board of advisers, Davies gave “Anderson Cooper 360″ the name of a former pilot, who didn’t return phone calls. But he could not name the high-ranking military officers he said were on the board.

Federal officials say they don’t know exactly how much money has gone to speakers like Shoebat. But in April, the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee raised concerns about “vitriolic diatribes” being delivered by “self-appointed counterterrorism experts” at similar seminars.

Sen. Susan Collins, the committee’s Republican chairwoman, and Connecticut Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman asked the department to account for how much federal grant money went to state and local counterterrorism programs and what standards guided those grants. The request followed reports by the liberal Political Research Associates and the Washington Monthly that raised similar questions.

The Homeland Security Department told CNN that it has standards — and if training programs don’t meet them, “corrective action will be taken.”

“We have not and will not tolerate training programs — or any DHS-supported program — that rely on racial or ethnic profiling,” the agency said in a written statement.

Catholic Nun Forcibly Removed From Plane for Wearing “Muslim Garb”

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2011 by loonwatch

Some What if she were Muslim comedy from Dr. Jalees?

Catholic Nun Forcibly Removed From Plane for Wearing “Muslim Garb”

By: Jalees Rehman, M.D.

April 5, 2011 DAYTON, OH – Sister Cora-Ann, a Catholic nun from the Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Dayton, Ohio got the surprise of her life yesterday, when she was asked to leave the plane she had just boarded at the Omaha International Airport. “I had just sat down in my seat, and started to thank God for our blessings and recite a prayer in Latin”, she recalled, when one of the passengers sitting next to me called the flight attendant. The passenger was Elizabeth Bennet, who later stated: “It is not that we were prejudiced, but she did seem very suspicious. She was dressed in Muslim garb and just before we were about to take off, she started mumbling something in an Arabian or Talibani-sounding language. What was I supposed to do?” Damien Thorn was a passenger seated in the adjacent row and said: “I knew there was something sinister about her, the moment she stepped into the plane. She was wearing those burqa clothes that you see the Iranian women wearing, and she only had a very small carry-on bag.” The flight attendant responded to the call and asked Sister Cora-Ann for her name, boarding pass and a photo ID.

Blanche Dubois was another passenger sitting close to Sister Cora-Ann and explained: “Once I heard that her name sounded like Koran, I got worried. That does not mean that there is anything wrong with me, does it? I just did not want to die. I was so scared, that I just yelled out her name to all passengers.” Mr. Okonkwo was a passenger seated a few rows behind and stated: “Once we all heard that the passenger’s name was Koran, things started falling apart.” Frodo Baggins, a frequent traveler, said he had heard that Muslims do not eat beef. “I did not think that she was Muslim, and to help her out, I took out some of my beef jerky and asked the lady to eat it to prove that she was not a Muslim.”

However, Sister Cora-Ann politely refused the beef jerky and reminded the other passengers that it was the time of Lent, during which Catholics often abstain from eating meat. The unrest in the plane kept growing, because most passengers were now convinced that Sister Cora-Ann was indeed Muslim and they demanded that Sister Cora-Ann leave the plane. “I did not want to cause my fellow humans any distress, so I left the plane”, she said.

“We were so happy that we could continue our journey”, said Frodo Baggins. “Once she de-boarded, it felt like a huge burden was lifted from us.” Apparently, there was indeed a Muslim on the plane, by the name of Abdullah Abdullah the 23rd, sitting in the last row. “Of course I knew that she was a Catholic nun and not a Muslim, because I went to a Catholic school and my favorite teachers were Catholic nuns.” Abdullah Abdullah went on to say “But let us face it: If you are a Muslim on a plane and someone else is being asked to leave the plane, the best thing is to be quiet and enjoy the show!”

PRA: “Manufacturing the Muslim Menace” by Thomas Cincotta

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2011 by loonwatch

First off I want to apologize for the last post, I actually had not looked closely at the images which were as many of you pointed out, “needlessly offensive” and in fact prejudiced. Thank you for the input and oversight, Emperor informed me of the comments and of my error, I am a new contributor and I hope this does not put me out of favor with the loonwatch family.  –Amago

Now the actual study, entitled “Manufacturing the Muslim Menace: Private Firms, and the Threat to Rights and Security,” is well worth the read. It recounts the pervasive atmosphere of Islamophobia and reliance on Islamophobes at the most and ignorance at the least amongst security officials, trainers and others and the corrosive effect in can have on our rights and national security.

Here is an excerpt from the “Executive Summary” of the report:

“Manufacturing the Muslim Menace: Private Firms, and the Threat to Rights and Security”

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks by al Qaeda Homeland Security Professionals Conference,on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the fed- eral government has mobilized law enforcement agencies at all levels into a coordinated national defense against future terror attacks. To meet this challenge, the growing ranks of the domestic security apparatus—including local police, transit, port, and other agencies not traditionally involved in counterterrorism—require training. The George W. Bush administration’s declaration of “war on terror” bolstered a private counterterrorism training industry that offers courses on topics ranging from infrastructure reinforcement to terrorist ideology.

A nine-month investigation by Political Research Associates (PRA) finds that government agencies responsible for domestic security have inadequate mechanisms to ensure quality and consistency in ter- rorism preparedness training provided by private vendors; public servants are regularly presented with misleading, inflammatory, and dangerous informa- tion about the nature of the terror threat through highly politicized seminars, industry conferences, trade publications, and electronic media. In place of sound skills training and intelligence briefings, a vocal and influential sub-group of the private counterterrorism training industry markets conspiracy theories about secret jihadi campaigns to replace the U.S. Constitution with Sharia law, and effectively impugns all of Islam — a world religion with 1.3 billion adherents—as inherently violent and even terroristic.

Walid Shoebat, a popular “ex-Muslim” speaker used by multiple private training firms, recently told the audience at an International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association (ICTOA) conference, “Islam is a revolution and is intent to destroy all other systems. They want to expand, like Nazism.”1 Another private sector counterterrorism trainer, John Giduck, told a Homeland Security Professionals Conference “Going back to the time of Mohammed, Muslims’ goal has been to take over the world.”2 Walid Phares, who teaches for The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies and the National Defense University, argues that “jihadists within the West pose as civil rights advocates”3 and patiently recruit until “[a]lmost all mosques, educational centers, and socioeconomic institutions fall into their hands.”4 These “jihadists” put off militant action, Phares claims ominiously, “until the ‘holy moment’ comes.”5 Solomon Bradman, CEO of the training firm Security Solutions International (SSI), likewise claims that a Muslim stealth jihad threatens the United States from within. Such assertions are far from benign. Asked by a PRA investigator what she understood to be Shoebat’s solution to the Islamic threat he described at the ICTOA event previously mentioned, one audience member responded, “Kill them, including the children. You heard him.”6

Islamophobic statements like those above have the effect of demonizing the entirety of Islam as dangerous and “extremist,” denying the existence of a moderate Muslim majority, or regarding Islam gen- erally as a problem for the world.7 The private sector speakers and trainers PRA investigated routinely invoke conspiracy theories that draw upon deeply- ingrained negative stereotypes of Muslim duplicity, repression, backwardness, and evil.8 Islamophobia is “an outlook or world-view involving an unfounded dread and dislike of Muslims, which results in prac- tices of exclusion and discrimination” and may include the perception that Islam is inferior to the West and is a violent political ideology rather than a religion.9

The notion that a generalized Muslim menace poses an existential threat to the United States and western democracy contradicts official national secu- rity doctrine and undermines both domestic security and the constitutional rights of our citizens and resi- dents. Nonetheless, PRA’s investigation finds that public resources are being used to propagate this dangerous falsehood to the nation’s first responders, intelligence analysts, and other public servants.

Peter King: Supporter of Terrorists to Head Homeland Security

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2010 by loonwatch
Peter King supported the IRA

Peter King claims American Muslims are a threat to our security while also being soft on terrorism, even though throughout the 80′s and until as recently as 2005 King financially and politically supported the IRA.

The Republican congressman who supported terrorism

by Justin Elliot (Salon.com)

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., is set to assume the chairmanship of the House Homeland Security Committee in January, and today comes the news that he intends to launch an investigation of “radicalization” among American Muslims.

In some perverse sense, King, who has represented part of Long Island in Congress since 1993, may be just the man for the job: He spent years openly supporting the terrorist Irish Republican Army.

The journalist Alex Massie has ably documented King’s history with the IRA, a group that he did not break with until 2005:

In the 1980s, he was a prominent fundraiser for Noraid, the Irish-American organization that raised money for the IRA and was suspected of running guns to Ulster, too. Indeed, King’s rise to prominence within the Irish-American movement was predicated upon his support for the IRA at a time when New Yorkers were softer on terrorism than they are now. Noraid helped win King his seat in Congress, making him, in some respects, the terrorists’ Man in Washington. …

In 1982 he told a pro-IRA rally in Nassau County, New York, that “We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry.” That same year, an IRA bomb killed eight people in London’s Hyde Park. Two years later, the IRA almost succeeded in murdering the British prime minister.

If “IRA” were replaced with “Hamas,” the sort of fundraising King did would these days earn you a lengthy prison sentence for material support for terrorism.

Ironically, King has since emerged as the member of Congress perhaps most willing to toss around the “terrorism” label; he recently called for the designation to be extended to WikiLeaks. A few years ago, he also made the ludicrous claim that “80-85 percent of mosques in this country are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists.” After Sept. 11, he floated the idea of using “tactical nuclear weapons” in Afghanistan.

In another literary twist in the tale, when King did finally break with the IRA in 2005, it was over his frustration with the lack of Irish support for the American invasions of two Muslim countries, Iraq and Afghanistan. King’s fear of Muslim terrorism had finally overwhelmed his support for Irish terrorism.

  • Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter. Reach him by email at jelliott@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin More: Justin Elliott

 

Homeland Security Meets its Rosa Parks

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature with tags , , , , , , on November 17, 2010 by loonwatch

Whereas the United States government consistently refuses to take the measures needed to curtail terrorism (i.e. halting U.S.-led occupations and interventions abroad), Homeland Security (and the TSA in specific) has taken extreme measures in the name of Security.  Although these curtailments on civil liberties do virtually nothing to stop terrorism, they are very successful in ratcheting up the fear level in an already spooked citizenry. This may well be an unintended yet helpful consequence, but it may certainly also be a deliberate attempt to create an aura of imminent danger.

It truly speaks to our state of mind that we forever live in a world characterized by the government as “threat level: orange” or “threat level: red.”  Before the threat of Terrorism our collective conscious was paralyzed over the thought of nuclear annihilation from the Soviet Union.  It seems there is always one great existential threat that must exist in order for the U.S. government to keep its citizenry in a state of eternal trepidation.  Fear-stricken Americans are then forced to turn to the government for Security, ceding their freedoms in the process.

One American patriot, John Tyner, decided he had just about enough.  Tyner refused to be go through the XXX-ray scanner.  He also refused to be sexually molested by those acting in the name of Security.  Tyner’s refusal may well turn out to be historic.  It is certainly reminiscent of Rosa Parks and her refusal to go to the back of the bus. Glenn Greenwald writes:

Last week, John Tyner, a resident of Southern California, was subjected to a long series of harassing and vindictive actions by Homeland-Security/TSA functionaries after he refused to submit to the new body scanning and groping searches at the San Diego International Airport.  He was randomly selected for the new procedures, and after he refused on privacy grounds, he repeatedly offered instead to go through the metal detectors which were being used on the vast majority of passengers.  When told that he would not be permitted to fly unless he submitted to the new procedures, he agreed to leave the airport, but was then prevented from doing so and threatened with large fines and other punishments if he tried.  The same day, he chronicled this abuse in a long blog post — with detailed narratives and videotapes — which quickly went viral and was widely-circulated.   If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading it.  As Digby wrote about it:

Just read this story of Orwellian airport hell and then think about how many of our basic notions of freedom we’ve given up in the name of “Homeland Security” in the past few years. Then think about the fact that we are spending billions of dollars in this so-called era of austerity on bullshit like this, with layer upon layer of supervisors and officers and supervisory officers basically performing security theater for no good reason.

These routine insults, humiliations and suspensions of human dignity are training us to submit to the police state. I noticed this morning that in all the blathering about tax cuts and deficits, not one person brought up Homeland Security. That bloated budget is going to get bigger and bigger and bigger and if you build it they will use it. And the results of that are obvious.

Making this story so much worse:  as John Cole notes today, the TSA called a news conference to announce that it was formally investigating Tyner to determine whether to impose $11,000 in fines on him.  As Cole observes:  ”Don’t submit to the police state, and we’ll come after you. This isn’t a punishment for Tyner, it is a message to everyone else.”

This is the sort of outrage that really merits a national uprising in defense of this citizen.  I hope to have some details on that in a bit (I turned in a major chunk of my book today and am thus slightly liberated until tomorrow).  I wrote on Twitter two days ago in response to this story:  “What has most degraded the American citizenry is convincing them that no value competes with or should be weighed against *Security*.”  And, of course, these measures rarely provide real security:  only security theater.

Many Americans, to their shame, are typically apathetic to such concerns because privacy and civil liberties infringements are — at least it’s perceived — being directed only at foreigners and Muslims, not “real Americans.”

I have bolded the last two paragraphs because they are especially poignant.  The last sentence speaks to the general theme of our website: Islamophobia (which, in all honesty, is simply one of the flavors of Other-ophobia) has far reaching consequences.  Not only does it enable and encourage morally defunct and horribly unjust wars, but Islamophobia’s power stretches to affect the lives of everyday Americans.  It is true, however, that many Americans won’t care until it affects the “realAmericans”, by which of course we mean God-fearing Judeo-Christian white people.

Anyways, here is the whole post by John Tyner (well worth the read):

TSA encounter at SAN

This morning, I tried to fly out of San Diego International Airport but was refused by the TSA. I had been somewhat prepared for this eventuality. I have been reading about the millimeter wave and backscatter x-ray machines and the possible harm to health as well as the vivid pictures they create of people’s naked bodies. Not wanting to go through them, I had done my  research on the TSA’s website prior to traveling to see if SAN had them. From all indications, they did not. When I arrived at the security line, I found that the TSA’s website was out of date. SAN does in fact utilize backscatter x-ray machines.

I made my way through the line toward the first line of “defense”: the TSA ID checker. This agent looked over my boarding pass, looked over my ID, looked at me and then back at my ID. After that, he waved me through. SAN is still operating metal detectors, so I walked over to one of the lines for them. After removing my shoes and making my way toward the metal detector, the person in front of me in line was pulled out to go through the backscatter machine. After asking what it was and being told, he opted out. This left the machine free, and before I could go through the metal detector, I was pulled out of line to go through the backscatter machine. When asked, I half-chuckled and said, “I don’t think so.” At this point, I was informed that I would be subject to a pat down, and I waited for another agent.

A male agent (it was a female who had directed me to the backscatter machine in the first place), came and waited for me to get my bags and then directed me over to the far corner of the area for screening. After setting my things on a table, he turned to me and began to explain that he was going to do a “standard” pat down. (I thought to myself, “great, not one of those gropings like I’ve been reading about”.) After he described, the pat down, I realized that he intended to touch my groin. After he finished his description but before he started the pat down, I looked him straight in the eye and said, “if you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” He, a bit taken aback, informed me that he would have to involve his supervisor because of my comment.

We both stood there for no more than probably two minutes before a female TSA agent (apparently, the supervisor) arrived. She described to me that because I had opted out of the backscatter screening, I would now be patted down, and that involved running hands up the inside of my legs until they felt my groin. I stated that I would not allow myself to be subject to a molestation as a condition of getting on my flight. The supervisor informed me that it was a standard administrative security check and that they were authorized to do it. I repeated that I felt what they were doing was a sexual assault, and that if they were anyone but the government, the act would be illegal. I believe that I was then informed that if I did not submit to the inspection, I would not be getting on my flight. I again stated that I thought the search was illegal. I told her that I would be willing to submit to a walk through the metal detector as over 80% of the rest of the people were doing, but I would not be groped. The supervisor, then offered to go get her supervisor.

I took a seat in a tiny metal chair next to the table with my belongings and waited. While waiting, I asked the original agent (who was supposed to do the pat down) if he had many people opt out to which he replied, none (or almost none, I don’t remember exactly). He said that I gave up a lot of rights when I bought my ticket. I replied that the government took them away after September 11th. There was silence until the next supervisor arrived. A few minutes later, the female agent/supervisor arrived with a man in a suit (not a uniform). He gave me a business card identifying him as David Silva, Transportation Security Manager, San Diego International Airport. At this point, more TSA agents as well as what I assume was a local police officer arrived on the scene and surrounded the area where I was being detained. The female supervisor explained the situation to Mr. Silva. After some quick back and forth (that I didn’t understand/hear), I could overhear Mr. Silva say something to the effect of, “then escort him from the airport.” I again offered to submit to the metal detector, and my father-in-law, who was near by also tried to plead for some reasonableness on the TSA’s part.

The female supervisor took my ID at this point and began taking some kind of report with which I cooperated. Once she had finished, I asked if I could put my shoes back on. I was allowed to put my shoes back on and gather my belongs. I asked, “are we done here” (it was clear at this point that I was going to be escorted out), and the local police officer said, “follow me”. I followed him around the side of the screening area and back out to the ticketing area. I said apologized to him for the hassle, to which he replied that it was not a problem.

I made my way over to the American Airlines counter, explained the situation, and asked if my ticket could be refunded. The woman behind the counter furiously typed away for about 30 seconds before letting me know that she would need a supervisor. She went to the other end of the counter. When she returned, she informed me that the ticket was non-refundable, but that she was still trying to find a supervisor. After a few more minutes, she was able to refund my ticket. I told her that I had previously had a bad experience with American Airlines and had sworn never to fly with them again (I rationalized this trip since my father-in-law had paid for the ticket), but that after her helpfulness, I would once again be willing to use their carrier again.

At this point, I thought it was all over. I began to make my way to the stairs to exit the airport, when I was approached by another man in slacks and a sport coat. He was accompanied by the officer that had escorted me to the ticketing area and Mr. Silva. He informed me that I could not leave the airport. He said that once I start the screening in the secure area, I could not leave until it was completed. Having left the area, he stated, I would be subject to a civil suit and a $10,000 fine. I asked him if he was also going to fine the 6 TSA agents and the local police officer who escorted me from the secure area. After all, I did exactly what I was told. He said that they didn’t know the rules, and that he would deal with them later. They would not be subject to civil penalties. I then pointed to Mr. Silva and asked if he would be subject to any penalties. He is the agents’ supervisor, and he directed them to escort me out. The man informed me that Mr. Silva was new and he would not be subject to penalties, either. He again asserted the necessity that I return to the screening area. When I asked why, he explained that I may have an incendiary device and whether or not that was true needed to be determined. I told him that I would submit to a walk through the metal detector, but that was it; I would not be groped. He told me that their procedures are on their website, and therefore, I was fully informed before I entered the airport; I had implicitly agreed to whatever screening they deemed appropriate. I told him that San Diego was not listed on the TSA’s website as an airport using Advanced Imaging Technology, and I believed that I would only be subject to the metal detector. He replied that he was not a webmaster, and I asked then why he was referring me to the TSA’s website if he didn’t know anything about it. I again refused to re-enter the screening area.

The man asked me to stay put while he walked off to confer with the officer and Mr. Silva. They went about 20 feet away and began talking amongst themselves while I waited. I couldn’t over hear anything, but I got the impression that the police officer was recounting his version of the events that had transpired in the screening area (my initial refusal to be patted down). After a few minutes, I asked loudly across the distance if I was free to leave. The man dismissively held up a finger and said, “hold on”. I waited. After another minute or so, he returned and asked for my name. I asked why he needed it, and reminded him that the female supervisor/agent had already taken a report. He said that he was trying to be friendly and help me out. I asked to what end. He reminded me that I could be sued civilly and face a $10,000 fine and that my cooperation could help mitigate the penalties I was facing. I replied that he already had my information in the report that was taken and I asked if I was free to leave. I reminded him that he was now illegally detaining me and that I would not be subject to screening as a condition of leaving the airport. He told me that he was only trying to help (I should note that his demeanor never suggested that he was trying to help. I was clearly being interrogated.), and that no one was forcing me to stay. I asked if tried to leave if he would have the officer arrest me. He again said that no one was forcing me to stay. I looked him in the eye, and said, “then I’m leaving”. He replied, “then we’ll bring a civil suit against you”, to which I said, “you bring that suit” and walked out of the airport.

You can see the video of Tyner’s encounter on his blog.

We at LoonWatch salute this man’s bravery and his courageous support of civil liberties.  Unless more Americans stand up to such curtailments of citizen rights, then it’s only a slight exaggeration to say that one day TSA will give us pre-flight colonoscopies, and we’ll be forced to walk onto planes naked.

UPDATE:

A reader by the name of Mindy posted the following comment:

How come on Puerto Rico they had a base, they did not attack us, and we left it a couple of years ago(please correct me if I am wrong)

In fact, Prof. Brent Smith writes in his book Terrorism in America (p.22):

Puerto Rican Terrorism Puerto Rican nationalists were the most active terrorists in the United States and its territories during the 1980s.  From 1980-1982 Puerto Rican terrorists accounted for fifty-three of the 122 terrorism incidents (43 percent) that took place in that period.  As many as ten different Puerto Rican groups claimed responsibility for bombings and assassinations during the early 1980s.

In 1990 alone, Puerto  Rican terrorists carried out five bombings in the United States.  Can one imagine the reaction of the media and “average Americans” if Muslims carried out five coordinated terrorist attacks in one year?

Puerto Rican terrorism has subsequently declined.  Why?  Prof. Smith writes (p.23):

…Recent efforts in the U.S. Congress to allow Puerto Ricans to vote on the future political status of the island may have had an adverse effect on violent nationalists’ recruitment efforts.

How much clearer would you like it to be?  Was it Jihad, Islam, and the Quran which compelled Puerto Ricans to terrorism?  Or was it U.S. interventionist policies?

Mindy says further:

If people want sympathy from the average American, don’t blow things up, average people like me won’t like you.

This is exactly what average Muslims in the Islamic world think about us.  The United States drops more bombs on Muslim heads in the Islamic world in one single day (and continue to do so on a regular basis) than all the Islamic extremists combined have ever detonated throughout history.  The U.S. kills more Muslims in the Islamic world than Islamic extremists have ever killed Americans, on the order of magnitude of greater than 100.  And these killings, unlike the non-state actors like Al-Qaeda, are orchestrated by the democratically elected U.S. government herself, with the blessing of its citizenry.  So yes: if the United States wants sympathy from the average Muslim in the Islamic world, don’t blow things up, because average people won’t like you then.  Americans should not vote for such warmongers if they wish not to be seen as warmongers by the populations living in areas being warred upon by the U.S.

Please see:

Prof. Stephen Walt: Why They Hate Us?

And of course Glenn Greenwald’s excellent commentary:

They Hate Us For Our Occupations

Mindy says:

Weren’t terrorists trying to kill us before Afghanistan and Iraq?

U.S. interventionism in the region far preceded the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.  It may be worthwhile to read this document from the CATO Institute, which calls the U.S. “the heir to British imperialism in the region” and concludes that “U.S. conduct in the Middle East since the end of World War II” is “trag[ic]“.  The right-liberterian group argues that “it should not be surprising that the West is viewed with suspicion and hostility by the populations…of the Middle East.”

There is indeed a direct correlation between U.S. interventionism and terrorism against the U.S.  The more people we bomb, the more they want to be bomb us.  The more people we kill, the more they want to kill us.  Having said that, it’s probably a good idea to eschew the usage of unhelpful terms like “us” and “they”, as neither “us” or “they” are two monoliths.

And just for the record:

The FALN (Armed Forces of National Liberation) is a clandestine organization committed to the political independence of Puerto Rico from the United States. Between 1974 and 1983, the FALN claimed responsibility for more than 120 bombings of military and government buildings, financial institutions, and corporate headquarters in Chicago, New York, and Washington DC, which killed six people and injured dozens more. The purpose of these bombings was to protest U.S. military presence in Puerto Rico, draw attention to Puerto Rico’s political relationship with the United States, and object to increased influence of U.S.-based corporate and financial institutions on the island.

source

Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, a Puerto Rican nationalist, was classified as a terrorist by the United States, and was in fact one of the FBI’s most wanted.  He had great support in Peuerto Rico.

Los Macheteros is a Puerto Rican group categorized by the FBI as a terrorist group.  It operated (and continues to operate) cells in the United States, with an active membership in 2006 of approximately 1,100 to 5,700 members and an unknown number of supporters and sympathizers.  The group campaigns for Puerto Rican independence from what they see as “U.S. colonial rule.”

Members of the Puerto Rico Nationalist Party infiltrated the gallery of the U.S. House of Representatives and shot 5 Congressman. We must ask, as we always do: what if they were Muslims?

 

SIOA is an Anti-Muslim Hate Group

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2010 by loonwatch
Stop the Islamization of America

Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), was created by anti-Muslim bloggers and activists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. It was born out of its parent organization Stop the Islamization of Europe(SIOE), an organization led by Anders Gravers (also a leader in SIOA), of whom Media Matters wrote,

Despite having put what she says is the “full video” of the event on her site, Geller actually cut out several comments made by Anders Gravers, the Danish Leader for the Stop the Islamisation of Europe. For instance, Geller’s video edits out Graver’s assertion that “[r]ape is also a part of” Muslims’ efforts to convert non-Muslims in Europe, and that “[d]emocracy is being deliberately removed” from the European Union by “incorporating Muslim countries of North Africa and the Middle East in the European Union.” Gravers went on to explain (in a portion of the speech that Geller did include) that the purpose was to gain “some European control of oil resources” at the cost of the “introduction of Sharia law and removal of democracy” in Europe. No, really. Check out this exclusively un-edited portion of his remarks (transcript availablehere)

SIOE’s motto is, “Racism is the lowest form of human stupidity, but Islamophobia is the height of common sense.” It was criticized by John Denham, Labour’s (UK) Communities Secretary, who stated that it was “trying to provoke violence on Britain’s streets” and called it “right-wing.” The group calls for a boycott of all Muslim majority countries and some countries with sizable Muslim minorities such as Cameroon. It calls on its followers to avoid Fisher Price, Asda, Kentucky Fried Chicken and The Radisson Hotel chain for apparently pandering to the Muslim community (via. Wiki).

SIOA’s declared mission is to educate Americans,

about the threat that Islamic doctrine and those who support it present to our freedoms, and the future of our democracy and country.” The organizers call themselves “scholar warriors/ideological warriors in the cause of American freedom and Constitutional government,” as well as in “the defense of… our society of liberty, knowledge, and human decency

The declared mission gives us a scent of the absurdity that is SIOA, what else can “the threat of Islamic doctrine and those who support it” mean except “Muslims.” In other words the groups mission is to educate Americans about the “threat that Muslims present to freedom.”

However, to capture the full extent of bigotry and inciting hatred of Islam and Muslims that is the substance of the organization we have to look no further than its founders, members and supporters. It is a hatred that gives platform to all the destructive rhetoric and conspiracies about Muslims that we have detailed here at Loonwatch, including: nuke and kill all the Muslims and their holy places,Obama is a MooslimMuslim demographic take over of the West, extolling the Crusades, etc. The group also seems to bring together radicals from a variety of backgrounds: Christian Zionists, Extreme Jewish Nationalists, Tea Partiers all united in hate for Muslims.

US Government Rejects SIOA Trademark

Soon after SIOA was launched, both Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer attempted to have their organization’s trademark patented. They assumed that it would go through without a problem but they didn’t expect what came next. The patent office rejected SIOA’s attempt to patent its trademark because of its anti-Muslim nature,

The applied-for mark refers to Muslims in a disparaging manner because by definition it implies that conversion or conformity to Islam is something that needs to be stopped or caused to cease.

“The proposed mark further disparages Muslims because, taking into account the nature of the services (‘providing information regarding understanding and preventing terrorism’), it implies that Islam is associated with violence and threats,” the government agency said.

“The trademark examining attorney refers to the excerpted articles from the LEXISNEXIS® computerized database referencing how many Muslims view terrorists as illegitimate adherents of Islam. … Therefore, the suggestion that Islam equates terrorism would be disparaging to a substantial group of Muslims,” it said.

Accordingly, the applied-for mark is refused under Section 2(a) because it consists of matter which may disparage or bring into contempt or disrepute Muslims and the Islamic religion

The reaction from both Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer was unsurprising, to them it was a signal that Islam had permeated all of our government agencies. Pamela Geller wrote,

It is everywhere, folks, in every aspect of our lives from the big stuff (Major Hasan cover-up) to the minutia (trademark registration)

She doesn’t say what is “everywhere” but one can safely presume based on the written record freely available at her hate site that what she is referring to is the “evil tentacles of the Mooslims.”

SIOA

Undaunted by the rejection from the US Government, SIOA continued with its project. Pushing forward with their now infamous “Leaving Islam” ad campaign as well as opposition to the construction of Mosques and Muslim cultural centers, such as the high profile case of the Cordoba Center or what opponents are dubbing “the Ground Zero Mosque” because of its proximity to Ground Zero.

Both the anti-Mosque and anti-Islam Bus ad campaigns garnered a lot of media attention and were the scene of staunch anti-Muslim rhetoric.

In Miami, where the bus ads kicked off, the city having made a contract to run the ads became aware of the anti-Muslim and Islamophobic nature of the group and upon review made the right decision to remove the ads because they were “offensive.” Of course this riled up Geller and Spencer and they sued Miami which then essentially buckled rather then having to deal with law suits that would cause the city to lose money and time.

In New York, the bus ads went ahead without a hitch though many viewed it as Islamophobic and hateful. Detroit’s transit system however rejected the ads,

Detroit’s SMART bus system has rejected the button-pushing placards that read “Fatwa on your head? Is your community or family threatening you? Leaving Islam?” – and direct Muslims to a Web site urging them to leave the “falsity of Islam.”

“It’s a purely anti-Muslim hate issue,” Dawud Walid of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told the Detroit News on Friday.

“The SMART bus company, or any bus company, should not be used to marginalize a minority group.”

Defenders of the ads, dreamed up by Manhattan-based right wing blogger Pamela Geller and the New York-based Stop the Islamization of America, say it’s a free speech issue and they have sued.

“Americans have a right to know the truth; Islam is a religion of intolerance and violence,” said Michigan lawyer Richard Thompson, who filed the suit.

In New York, the ongoing divisive saga over a planned cultural center has been the scene of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim agitation. Pamela Geller inserted her group into the fray and now SIOA is taking a leading role in the opposition to a planned cultural center which is being dubbed by Geller and company the “Ground Zero Mosque,” though as Reza Aslan put it, it is “neither a mosque nor is it at Ground Zero.”

Some weeks ago SIOA held a protest against the “Mosque” in which protesters attacked two Arab looking men who they mistook for being Muslim. The police had to save them from the crowd, even though they were Arab Christians who came all the way from California to join the protest. That gives you an insight into the kind of people SIOA attracts.

SIOA Facebook Group

SIOA has over 10,000 members on Facebook and it is growing. The SIOA Facebook page is administered by Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and Anders Gravers,

(Click Image to Enlarge)

It is truly an ode to hate mongering racism, incitement to violence, veiled threats of physical violence against Muslims, conspiracy theories, from birthers to Eurabia clowns.

Nuking Muslims and Mecca

One demented SIOA member believes that the “rules of engagement with Muslims” are “#1: Kill the enemy, #2: There is no rule #2,”

(Click Image to Enlarge)

Another doozie, this time from David Gaston. Apparently the Ghost Busters are out to start World War III,

(Click Image to Enlarge)

Another nuking fantasy from Ben Kjellssecondson (the last name sounds like it was put together by someone blindly tapping away at the keyboard),

(Click Image to Enlarge)

It isn’t only pyscho images, but in discussions members dispute with each other on which option, “nuking the Middle East” and killing all the “diaper heads” or wanting Israel to “conquer the whole Middle East” are better solutions to the Mooslim menace,

(Click Image to Enlarge)

There are more nuking and destroying Mecca and Muslim pics which we have saved but this gives you a taste and flavor of the annihilation of Muslims that many in SIOA want to see.

Murdering Muslims

David Gaston, still a member of SIOA posts what he calls “Army Math” next to a picture of dead Afghan civilians,

(Click Image to Enlarge)

This is particularly disturbing when we read that some SIOA members claim to be in the United States Armed Forces and add images with thinly veiled hints of physical violence against Muslims,

(Click Image to Enlarge)

This is something that the MRFF, Military Religious Freedom Foundation and the military should definitely look into. We are seeing a growing trend amongst members of the military who view Muslims as their enemy, and it is only simple mathematics to note that more than a few will not leave their hatred of Muslims at the battlefield but will bring it home.

Crusader Mentality

You can say that many in the SIOA have Biblical or Medieval mentalities — literally. They believe that Israel has a right to the land because it says so in the Bible, they believe the solution to terrorism is Crusades, they believe all of this is prophecy and that Jesus approves,

(Click Image to Enlarge)

More ghastly calls for violence in the name of Jesus,

(Click Image to Enlarge)

Did we mention that some of them really don’t like the Quran,

(Click Image to Enlarge)

Conspiracy Theorists

The paranoia and fear amongst many of the members of SIOA takes form in a number of ways. They hold all the crazy conspiracies that we are used to by now about President Obama: he is a Muslim, anti-Semite, Communist, anti-Christ, etc. They believe in the conspiracy theories of Eurabia, the myth that Muslim women’s wombs are the most dangerous weapons of all because they spell the demographic take over of the West, etc.

Obama and our leaders are anti-Semitic fascist Nazis,

(Click Image to Enlarge)

Obama wants to make America into a Muslim country,

(Click Image to Enlarge)

Another one from Ron Ben Michael, who earlier said Israel will rule the whole Middle East,

(Click Image to Enlarge)

Ron sees no difference between Obama and the other two. They’re all “evil Mooslims” trying to burn Israel.

Then there is the Muslim demographic time bomb, there were a number of pics related to this topic, but this one summed up all the craziness in one image,

(Click Image to Enlarge)

So what is the solution. Well, SIOA members won’t leave you dissapointed,

(Click Image to Enlarge)

Notice the comments. “Kick Muzzies ass out of Europe” and the prayer to Jesus, “I hope this one day happens.” Delightful.

The Fabulous Duo: Christian Zionists and Extreme Jewish Nationalists

While there are all sorts of wackos on SIOA, and some misguided ones who don’t know what they got themselves into, the majority of those attracted to SIOA seem to be Extremist Christians and Jews with a sprinkling of atheists. The SIOA Facebook page was littered with pics of Jesus, prayers to Jesus, Israeli flags, stars of David, etc.

For instance, what does this pic have to do with SIOA’s mission?

(Click Image to Enlarge)

The guy is totally insane, just look at his crazy comments.

Then there is this gem, from our friend Ron, which extolls the power of the Israeli Air Force,

(Click Image to Enlarge)

Disproportionate power anyone? How aboud David v. Golaith?

Conclusion

There are many more posts and pics that manifest the loonacy that is SIOA, and we have them all saved. The sad thing is that this is no laughing matter, these people are calling for murder and genocide. Some of it may be tongue in cheek but a lot of it reveals the inner depths of hatred that lurks inside and motivates this organization, which is one step removed from being the inspiration for an armed anti-Muslim vigilante group.

Even more reprehensible are the admins and creators of this organization, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller who allow such vile, conspiratorial and dangerous pronouncements from their members. How could we expect any less, as is clear from mounting evidence, both Spencer and Geller share in the above views though at times not as explicitly as their followers.

Stop the Islamization of America is nothing less than a hate group that deserves to be monitored and observed by Homeland Security and the likes of the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is one of a plethora of extreme right-wing organizations that have arisen since Obama has taken office and should be included in any further report or update on the rise of right-wing extremism.

Any organization that targets a minority that makes up one percent of the population of America, claiming that the minority is trying to take over is beyond hysterical, it is a threat to the fabric of our nation.

 

Tariq Ramadan: Call Homeland Security, he’s heeere!!

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2010 by loonwatch

Tariq Ramadan, aka the “grandson of Hasan El-Banna”, aka “cold blooded Jihadist,” aka “stealth Jihadist,” aka “terrorist,” aka “taqiyya master,” aka “more dangerous than Osama Bin Laden,” aka “probably related to Barack Obama” is heeere!! Grab your babies, run for the border, hide under your covers, sleep with your guns because we are dooomed!!

Look at the evil:

08muslim_ca0-popup-v2

 

Frank Gaffney: At War with Islam

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2009 by loonwatch
Frank Gaffney
Frank Gaffney

Frank Gaffney is at it again, this time he’s writing for that favorite of warmongers everywhere, The Washington Times. Gaffney stuck a real “unbiased” note right off the bat by titling his article Understanding Islam’s Threat to the U.S. Vital. Yes, in case you didn’t know, that Faith that holds sway over 1.8 Billion people around the world is a threat to the USA. For this former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy nuance is synonymous with unnecessary. It isn’t extremism or radicalism but Islam itself that is to blame for all the problems we face.

The article takes umbrage at the new policies ushered in by the Obama administration. In fact, it starts out by stating that John Brennan, the assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism was wrong when he approvingly recalled a key point in Obama’s speech, “America is not and never will be at war with Islam.” To most reasonable people that statement just sounds like common sense but for Gaffney the real question is whether or not “Islam is at war with us?”

The obvious question is: how does a belief system which has been around longer than America, which has many interpretations and practitioners get cast as the antagonist in a war against America? How do you pit a religion against a whole nation, a nation which itself has many Muslim citizens? The nuanced answers coming from Obama and John Brennan is that we are not at war with Muslims and Islam but against “violent extremists” such as Al’Qaeda. This not only makes more sense but is also more accurate which means it will also be more effective in combating extremism and violence around the world.

The other point of Gaffney’s article, borrowing a term from Robert Spencer, is that even those Muslims who are not violently propagating their murderous vision for the world are engaged in a “stealth Jihad” to undermine America. This is a common and dangerous tactic by those in the Muslim-bashing industry. It asks you to suspend your better judgment and believe that you still have to be aware and afraid of those peaceful Muslims who are law abiding citizens because they are secretly planning to take over America and the world. It is the same kind of rhetoric that was used by Jew haters to further propagate anti-Semitism. The argument went that the peaceful Jew is plotting behind the scenes to destroy the gentiles, this kind of thinking gave birth to the infamous blood libels which eventually contributed to the horrific Holocaust.

When Islamophobia Isn’t Funny

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics, Loon Sites, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2009 by loonwatch

When Islamophobia Isn’t Funny

Posted on 30 July 2009 by Garibaldi

Marwa Sherbini Being Attacked

Marwa Sherbini Being Attacked

We have had commenters, usually from Jihad Watch and other hate sites who come on here and minimize Islamophobia and in fact deny that it even exists. We usually have fun with such commenters and their ideologies, satirizing or poking fun at the truly wide-eyed conspiratorial and selective arguments they and their heroes peddle.

However, there are times when anti-Muslimism and Islamophobia aren’t so funny, and that is when it leads to violence and heinous criminality. This was the case in the 90’s when thousands of Bosnians were massacred in the worst genocide in Europe since World War II for no other reason than being Muslim. Continue reading