Archive for Pakistan

Norwegian Far Right says Breivik Correct to Fear Muslims

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2012 by loonwatch

Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik sits in the courtroom in Oslo, Norway, on Friday 1 June, 2012. (AP / Heiko Junge, Pool)

Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik sits in the courtroom in Oslo, Norway, on Friday 1 June, 2012. (AP / Heiko Junge, Pool)

(Via IslamophobiaToday.com)

Norwegian far right says Breivik correct to fear Muslims

By Balazs Koranyi, Reuters

(Reuters) – Norwegian far-right leaders told the court trying Anders Behring Breivik on Tuesday the mass killer was right to fear his nation’s “planned annihilation” by Muslims, even if his method of combating it was wrong.

Breivik killed 77 people on July 22, first detonating a car bomb outside government headquarters and killing eight, then gunning down 69 people, mostly teenagers, at the ruling Labour Party’s summer camp on Utoeya Island.

He argued his victims deserved to die because they supported Muslim immigration, which he said is adulterating pure Norwegian blood.

“The constitution has been cancelled, we’re at war now,” Tore Tvedt, the founder of far-right group Vigrid told the court.

Tvedt, 69, with greying hair and moustache, addressed the court in a firm voice.

“When they get their will, the Nordic race will be exterminated,” he said of Muslim immigration.

Breivik’s defence team called Tvedt and other far-right supporters to the stand to support their argument that Breivik is sane since his ideology is shared by others, even if their numbers are few.

“Take a look at society in Pakistan, look at the 57 Islamic states. People there live in a regime of terror and slavery, that’s what we had under national socialism and in the Soviet Union, people were trapped in a terror state,” Arne Tumyr, the head of an anti-Islam group told court.

Tall, thin and with a full head of hair, Tumyr, 79, spoke softly and insisted on testifying top the court standing up.

“If nothing is done, Norway will be taken over my Muslims,” he said.

Members of Islamic communities make up about 2 percent of Norway’s five million people, though their numbers were growing faster than those of Christians, Statistics Norway said.

All witnesses argued against Breivik’s violence but said Norway’s passivity toward the issue would eventually lead to a Muslim takeover.

The court’s main task in the 10-week trial is to decide whether Breivik is sane and whether he should be sent to jail or a psychiatric institution.

One court-appointed team of psychiatrists concluded he is psychotic, but a second team came to the opposite conclusion. The five judges hearing the case will take a final decision on his sanity at the end of the trial.

If deemed sane, Breivik faces a 21-year jail sentence which could be indefinitely extended for as long as he is considered dangerous.

Breivik has said he should either be executed or acquitted, calling the prospect of a prison sentence “pathetic”. If he were to be declared insane, he has said, that would be “worse than death”.

The court had hoped to deliver a verdict before the first anniversary of Breivik’s attack, but said a ruling may not come before August 24.

(Editing by Jon Hemming)

US Drone Hits Mosque in Pakistan: 10 Killed

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by loonwatch

Why_do_they_hate_us_Muslims

According to Obama logic we should not care about the fact that the elected Parliament of Pakistan has called for a cessation to all drone activity.

And people wonder why America is hated? It’s because you’re killing people on their way to offering prayers. For every murdered “insurgent”, or “militant”, or “terrorist” (whatever you want to call it) 10s of 100s of more innocent civilians are being murdered.:

US drone strike hits mosque; 10 killed

PESHAWAR –At least 10 people were killed and several others sustained injuries when unmanned US predator drone targeted a mosque in Mir Ali area of North Waziristan Agency on Thursday.

Sources said that earlier the death toll was put at six which later rose to 10 with several others were still in critical condition. The mosque was completely destroyed as two missiles were fired on it. Identities of the victims in the strike are not known immediately as North Waziristan is a far-flung mountainous tribal area bordering Afghanistan.

This was the fourth strike since Parliament in March demanded an end to the drone hits and first attack after the Chicago Summit.

Forty-five US missile strikes were reported in Pakistan’s tribal belt in 2009, 101 in 2010 and 64 in 2011.

Agencies add: The attack, in the Khassokhel village near Mir Ali in the North Waziristan, was the second to take place in less than 24 hours.

Aimed at a suspected militant hideout, Uzbek insurgents made up the majority of the fatalities from the strike, which will surely work to further the growing governmental tensions between the United States and Pakistan.

Local tribesmen said 10 bodies were pulled from the debris and that efforts were underway to retrieve others.

“The drone fired two missiles and hit the village mosque where a number of people were offering Fajr (morning) prayers,” local tribal elder Roashan Din told NBC News.

Read the Rest…

Pakistan Deputy Attorney-general to Clean Shoes at Amritsar Golden Temple

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2012 by loonwatch

Muhammad_Khurshid_Khan_Shoes

Deputy Secretary General Khurshid Khan in a Sikh Temple

Muhammad Khurshid Khan was so upset at the killing of a Sikh man in Pakistan by a Taliban group that he decided to embark on a pilgrimage of service to Sikh and other religious places of worship as a form of penance for their actions.

Quite a remarkable story:

Pakistan deputy attorney-general to clean shoes at Amritsar Golden Temple

After spending several hours polishing the shoes of worshippers at Gurdwara Sisganj in New Delhi on Monday, where he was part of a Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association delegation, Muhammad Khurshid Khan left for Amritsar, home of the Golden Temple and the centre of the Sikh religion, to clean thousands more.

He began his service pilgrimage after Jaspal Singh, one of three Sikh men kidnapped by Taliban militants in Peshawar in 2010, was murdered. The other two men were rescued by the Pakistani Army. Since then he has visited Sikh temples or Gurdwaras in Pakistan and India to declare his opposition to terrorism through ‘sevadari’ – service – to other religions.

Mr Khan said he was so upset by the killing and his fear that it associated his own Muslim faith with terrorism that he went to sit on the steps of Peshawar’s Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh. He felt a sense of peace, he told The Times of India, and resolved to visit other places of worship, including Hindu temples and Christian churches to offer his help.

“I am a Muslim, not a terrorist; I am a Khan, not a terrorist; I am from Pakistan, but not a terrorist,” he explained.

The Taliban had damaged Pakistan’s ‘pluralistic’ heritage – there are still Christian, Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities throughout the country – but it was unfair “to tarnish a whole community for the sins of a few,” he said.

He visited his local Gurdwara every day for two months, where he read the works of the Sikh gurus, including Guru Nanak, and polished shoes. In both India and Pakistan, shoes are regarded as dirty, and touching the feet of another is an act of self-abasement and respect.

He was on Monday night travelling from New Delhi to Amritsar after India’s Sikh prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, indicated he had no objection to him continuing his pilgrimage at the Golden Temple.

Paramjeet Singh Sarna, president of Delhi’s Sikh Gurdawara Management Committee, said Mr Khan’s actions had moved Indian Sikhs.

“There is always this underlying impression that every Pakistani is a radical but people like Khurshid have changed this image. His act has a message for the entire humanity. Although he as an individual didn’t hurt or kill anybody he has shown remorse for the innocent victims of the Taliban in Pakistan, including a Sikh, by performing community service. We are thankful to him for everything he has done for the minorities in Pakistan,” he said.

Could The Use Of Flying Death Robots Be Hurting America’s Reputation Worldwide?

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on March 16, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Could The Use Of Flying Death Robots Be Hurting America’s Reputation Worldwide?

A Global War on Christians in the Muslim World?

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2012 by loonwatch
Newsweek
February 12 Cover

Career hatemonger Aayan Hirsi Ali‘s alarmist screed in the February 12 issue of Newsweek is a jumble of half truths culled together with the obvious purpose of demonizing Muslims. Despite her agenda-driven fear mongering, Hirsi has sparked an important debate about the plight of religious minorities caught in the crossfire as the so-called “Clash of Civilizations” continues to escalate.

We previously cross-posted an article from Jadaliyya refuting Hirsi’s account, and now offer another perspective from John L. Esposito, Professor of Religion and International Affairs at Georgetown University.

A Global War on Christians in the Muslim World?

by John L. Esposito, Huffington Post

Religious minorities in the Muslim world today, constitutionally entitled in many countries to equality of citizenship and religious freedom, increasingly fear the erosion of those rights — and with good reason. Inter-religious and inter-communal tensions and conflicts from Nigeria and Egypt and Sudan, to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia have raised major concerns about deteriorating rights and security for religious minorities in Muslim countries. Conflicts have varied, from acts of discrimination, to forms of violence escalating to murder, and the destruction of villages, churches and mosques.

In the 21st century, Muslims are strongly challenged to move beyond older notions of “tolerance” or “co-existence” to a higher level of religious pluralism based on mutual understanding and respect. Regrettably, a significant number of Muslims, like many ultra conservative and fundamentalist Christians, Jews and Hindus are not pluralistic but rather strongly exclusivist in their attitudes toward other faiths and even co-believers with whom they disagree.

Reform will not, however, result from exaggerated claims and alarmist and incendiary language such as that of Ayan Hirsi Ali in in a recent a Newsweek cover story, reprinted in The Daily Beast.

Hirsi Ali warns of a “global war” and “rising genocide,” “a spontaneous expression of anti-Christian animus by Muslims that transcends cultures, regions, and ethnicities” and thus “the fate of Christianity — and ultimately of all religious minorities — in the Islamic world is at stake.”

Hirsi Ali’s account, for surely it is not an analysis, mixes facts with fiction, distorting the nature and magnitude of the problem. It fails to distinguish between the acts of a dangerous and deadly minority of religious extremists or fanatics and mainstream society. The relevant data is readily available. Nigeria is not a “majority-Muslim” country of 160 million people with a 40 percent Christian minority” as she claims (and as do militant Islamists). Experts have long described the population as roughly equal and a recent Pew Forum study reports that Christians hold a slight majority with 50.8 percent of the population.

Boko Haram, is indeed a group of religious fanatics who have terrorized and slaughtered Christians and burned down their churches, but they remain an extremist minority and do not represent the majority of Nigerians who reject their actions and anti-Western rhetoric. Gallup data finds that a majority of Nigerians (60 percent) “reject the anti-Western rhetoric” of Boko Haram.

Curiously, Hirsi Ali chooses not to mention that in the Jos Central plateau area both Christian and Muslim militias have attacked each other and destroyed mosques and churches.

Another example of failing to provide the full facts and context is the Maspero massacre. Coptic Christians have a real set of grievances that have to be addressed: attacks on churches, resulting in church destruction and death and injuries, the failure of police to respond to attacks, and a history of discrimination when it comes to building new churches and in employment.

Hirsi Ali rightly attributes the genesis for the assault against Christians to the Egyptian security forces. Although some militant Egyptian Muslims did in fact join the violence against Christians, she overlooks the fact that increasingly Christians have been joined by many Muslim Egyptians in calling for this discrimination and backlash to be addressed. Thus, she fails to mention the many Muslims marched in solidarity with the Christians against the security forces and were also injured as a Reuters article dated Oct. 14, 2011 reported: “At least 2,000 people rallied in Cairo on Friday in a show of unity between Muslims and Christians and to express anger at the ruling military council after 25 people died when a protest by Coptic Christians led to clashes with the army.”

She also fails to recognize the continuing state violence in Egypt against activists and protestors regardless of their faith.

Thousands of Muslims turned up in droves outside churches around the country for the Coptic Christmas Eve mass, in solidarity with a beleaguered Coptic community offering their bodies, and lives, as “human shields,” making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and build an Egypt free from sectarian strife: “Egypt’s Muslims attend Coptic Christmas mass, serving as “human shields.”

Ali also points to the “flight” of Christians from the Middle East as proof of widespread persecution. According to Gallup surveys in Lebanon, however, Muslims are slightly more likely than their Christian counterparts to want to flee the country permanently and for Muslim and Christian alike the reason they give is primarily economic.

More problematic and deceptive is Hirsi Ali’s charge that: “What has often been described as a civil war is in practice the Sudanese government’s sustained persecution of religious minorities. This persecution culminated in the infamous genocide in Darfur that began in 2003.” Sudan has certainly been a battleground for decades, but to say that Darfur is an example of the Muslim-Christian genocide is flat out wrong. The black African victims in Darfur were almost exclusively Muslim. The killers were Arab Sudanese Muslims (janjaweed) who murdered black Sudanese Muslims.

Addressing the issue of religious freedom requires greater global awareness and a concerted effort by governments, religious leaders, academics and human rights organizations, as well as curricula reform in many seminary and university religion courses (particularly comparative religion courses), to counter religious exclusivism by instilling more pluralistic and tolerant visions and values in the next generation of imams, priests, scholars and the general public. However, when lives are at stake and the safety and security of all citizens threatened, accurate and data driven analysis is crucial. Inflammatory statements and unsubstantiated generalizations exacerbate the problem, risk more strife or even violence and do little to contribute to finding a solution.

Newsweek Trumpets Hirsi’s War Against Muslims

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2012 by loonwatch
War on Christians
February 12 Cover

Newsweek has apparently abandoned any pretense of actual reporting in favor of tabloid-style sensationalism. Career hatemonger Aayan Hirsi Ali‘s alarmist screed in the February 12 issue is a jumble of half truths culled together with the obvious purpose of demonizing Muslims, at the expense of Christian minorities she pretends to defend.

Hirsi ignores US-led invasions–actual wars–against one Islamic country after another, and the impact on Christians, especially in Iraq. In fact, according to her apocalyptic vision, the West must destroy Islam, by any means necessary–in the name of peace and civilization, of course.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s War

by Anthony Alessandrini, Jadaliyya

For a couple of centuries now, we have had to make due with Samuel Johnson’s famous phrase: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Thanks to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, we can now revise this phrase for the twenty-first century. Tthe last last refuge of a scoundrel, it appears, lies in taking up the battle against something called “Christophobia.”

Hirsi Ali coins this term as part of her alarmist and deeply hateful cover story for Newsweek. “The War on Christians” is splashed across the cover, but the actual target of Hirsi Ali’s piece becomes more clear in the title provided for the online version of the piece: “The Global War on Christians in the Muslim World.”

The terms of Hirsi Ali’s argument, such as it is, are all set out in her opening paragraph:

We hear so often about Muslims as victims of abuse in the West and combatants in the Arab Spring’s fight against tyranny. But, in fact, a wholly different kind of war is underway—an unrecognized battle costing thousands of lives. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm.

The criminally careless tossing out of the term “genocide” gives us a clue about what is to come. So too does the style, which is a classic version of her usual mode, that of the lone brave voice crying out about injustice in the wilderness, surrounded by dupes who are too busy portraying Muslims as “victims or heroes.” Fortunately, Hirsi Ali is prepared to offer us “a fair-minded assessment of recent events and trends,” leading to what she sees as her inevitable conclusion and allowing her to coin her useful new term: “the scale and severity of Islamophobia pales in comparison with the bloody Christophobia currently coursing through Muslim-majority nations from one end of the globe to the other.”

Having already reached her inevitable conclusion in her opening, Hirsi Ali appears to feel little need to support it with anything so mundane as actual facts. Instead he offers a loosely-connected cherry picking tour that ties together incidents of violence against Christians and other religious minorities in Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, and Indonesia. All the instances she references are real and terrible acts of violence. And all of them are symptoms of complex political and social situations that need to be analyzed and addressed. This makes it all the more horrible that Hirsi Ali treats them as mere data to be added to her deeply simplistic argument. Indeed, she raises the same two points in each case: first, that Muslims are killing Christians; second, that the world (by which she means “the West”)—apparently distracted by its uncritical admiration for the revolutionaries of the Arab Spring and its obsession with stamping out Islamophobia—stands idly by and watches. So Hirsi Ali is forced to beg her readers to help break what she refers to as a “conspiracy of silence.”

Were the consequences of such an argument not so grave—and I will come to those consequences shortly—it would be possible to simply dismiss this article as the nonsense that it is. To reduce the complexity of the political violence in Nigeria and Sudan to instances of “Christophobia,” for example, is simply ludicrous, as is the suggestion that somehow Western political and media figures have been “reticent” or “silent” when it comes to Darfur. This is in no way to downplay the full horror of these situations; indeed, what is most disturbing here is Hirsi Ali’s cursory citing of them—Nigeria merits just two paragraphs of her article, Sudan just one—in the service of her hateful argument.

In other cases, what is striking is the utter thinness of the arguments she tries to marshal. When, for example, she tries to make the case that “not even Indonesia…has been immune to the fevers of Christophobia,” she cites data complied by the Christian Post suggesting an increase in violent incidents against religious minorities of nearly forty percent between 2010 and 2011. Again, this is certainly a cause for concern, but it would be interesting to ask Hirsi Ali how she would compare this increase to the more than fifty percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims in the United States between 2009 and 2010, as reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She might also have turned to data on Indonesia produced by Human Rights Watch rather than that of an obscure Christian website, which would have confirmed her point about an increase in attacks on religious minorities (including Ahmadis) in Indonesia—except that rather than attributing this increase to the rise of “Christophobia,” HRW’s conclusion about this key US ally is quite different: “The common thread is the failure of the Indonesian government to protect the rights of all its citizens.”

Of course, these sorts of fact-free claims about the “Muslim world” by conservative commentators are nothing new. What is more worthy of note, however, are those claims by Hirsi Ali that suggest a number of moves taken out of the contemporary neo-conservative playbook. Hirsi Ali’s connections to the neo-con movement—she is, among other things, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute—have been widely noted. For example, Hamid Dabashi lists her prominently among the “comprador intellectuals” who have helped sell the neo-con agenda in the United States and Europe. (Indeed, it is clear that the title of her article is meant to resonate in this election season with the claims being made by conservatives about an alleged “war on Christians” here in the United States.)

One strand of this neo-conservative reasoning as it can be read out of Hirsi Ali’s article has to do with her references to Egypt. She only devotes one paragraph to Egypt, but the print version of the article includes four images (including the cover image), some quite graphic, of violence against Copts in Egypt. Hirsi Ali preludes her point by noting that the alleged rise of Christophobia in Egypt comes “in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.” Her key example is the attack by security forces on pro-Coptic protesters outside Maspero on 9 October 2011, which killed at least twenty-four people and wounded more than three hundred. From this example, Hirsi Ali moves forward with her relentlessly superficial line of argument: “By the end of the year more than two-hundred thousand Copts had fled their homes in anticipation of more attacks. With Islamists poised to gain much greater power in the wake of recent elections, their fears appear to be justified.”

The first and most obvious problem here, of course, is Hirsi Ali’s attempt to transform an attack by security forces against protesters—the sort of attack that has marked the bloody fule of the Supreme Council of Armed Force (SCAF)—into yet another example of “Muslims attacking Christians,” driven solely by the relentless power of Christophobia. The deeper problem, and the one that betrays the mark of neo-con logic, is her implication that the source of this violence springs from, not the US-supported and armed military junta currently ruling Egypt, but the forces supposedly unleashed by the Arab Spring. This becomes clear in the final sentence, which resonates with the neo-con mantra that has been constant since the beginnings of the popular uprisings: if they get their democracy, we’ll wind up with the Islamists.

This disdain for the forces of democracy in Egypt (as contrasted to the neo-cons’ own preferred model of “democracy promotion” through military intervention) becomes even clearer in the admiring take on Hirsi Ali’s article posted on the blog of the National Review by Nina Shea. Concurring with Hirsi Ali’s thesis regarding the rise of Christophobia in the region, Shea adds, “Unfortunately, Arab democracy in Iraq and Egypt, the ancient homelands of two of the three largest Middle Eastern Christian communities, seems to be exacerbating the religious persecution.” (“Arab democracy,” we are thus invited to conclude, must be quite different from, say, “Western-style democracy.”)

As Shea notes, Hirsi Ali also uses the example of violence against Christians in Iraq, which is again awarded a full paragraph of attention. “Egypt is not the only Arab country that seems bent on wiping out its Christian minority,” she writes, continuing her “fair-minded assessment.” She goes on to note the rise in violence against Iraqi Christians since 2003, and the fact that thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled the country—“as the result of violence directed specifically against them”—leading to what she calls “an incipient genocide or ethnic cleansing of Assyrians in Iraq.”

And then, she moves on. The fact that 2003 is hardly an arbitrary date is not so much as acknowledged. Here we find yet another example of the almost unbelievable gall exhibited by neo-cons, as part of the larger forgetting of the war on Iraq in the United States. That Hirsi Ali—who was, like her neo-con colleagues, a vocal supporter of the war—can avoid not only accepting responsibility for the shattering of Iraqi society, but can actually use this shattering to advance her own hideous Islamophobic arguments, is simply obscene. Just as she fails to acknowledge that the attacks on pro-Coptic protesters in Egypt need to be understood within the larger framework of SCAF’s systematic attacks on all protesters, so she refuses to acknowledge that the thousands of Christians who have fled from Iraq are part of the one and a half million Iraqis who have been made refugees by the war she supported.

This forgetting of the carnage unleashed by the criminal war against Iraq is especially important today, as some of the same neo-con forces have not ceased to bang the drums for a new war against Iran. Hirsi Ali, not surprisingly, whole-heartedly endorses an attack on Iran. This is one of the clear dangers presented by her article in the current moment. I had decided not to mention another, more intimate connection between Hirsi Ali and neo-con ideology, represented by her marriage to the dean of neo-imperialists, Niall Ferguson. But it becomes impossible not to mention this connection when, in the very same issue of Newsweek—in fact, only four pages away from her article—we find an article by Ferguson, arguing vigorously for supporting an Israeli attack on Iran, using logic that could have been lifted straight out of the pro-war op-eds of 2002 (“Sometimes a preventive war can be a lesser evil than a policy of appeasement.”) Hirsi Ali only manages to work Iran into her argument regarding “Christophobia” in an indirect way, but given her long-standing views—she has, for example, argued that the Bush administration should have attacked Iraq and Iran after 9/11—her larger framework is clearly intended to support this march towards a new war.

But this is still not the most insidious aspect of Hirsi Ali’s argument. This becomes apparent only as she reaches her conclusion, which begins with a reiteration of her two theses: “It should be clear from this catalog of atrocities that anti-Christian violence is a major and underreported problem.” Helpfully, she goes on to offer an explanation for both aspects of the problem. This “global war on Christians” is not, she suggests, the result of coordination by “some international Islamist agency.” “In that sense,” she goes on, “the global war on Christians isn’t a traditional war at all. It is, rather, a spontaneous expression of anti-Christian animus by Muslims that transcends cultures, regions, and ethnicities.”

In a word: Muslims are killing Christians because Muslims hate Christians. And if this global war remains “underreported,” Muslims are to blame for this as well: part of the reason for “the media’s reticence on the subject,” she suggests, “may be the fear of provoking additional violence,” but the “most likely” explanation is “the influence of lobbying groups such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.” Such groups, she concludes, “have been remarkably successful in persuading leading public figures and journalists in the West to think of each and every example of perceived anti-Muslim discrimination as an expression of a systematic and sinister derangement called ‘Islamophobia’—a term that is meant to elicit the same moral disapproval as xenophobia or homophobia.”

We discover a few important things here. The first is that the seeming disconnectedness of Hirsi Ali’s argument is in fact intentional. There is no need to draw logical or factual connections between the various incidents she raises because the logic can be found in the very structure of her thesis: what she cites are simply examples of Muslims attacking Christians, and Muslims attack Christians because Muslims hate Christians. When Egyptian security forces attack Coptic protesters, it is not the army attacking protesters; it is Muslims attacking Christians. When Iraqi Christians flee the violence of a country destroyed by a US-led war and occupation, it is not Iraqis fleeing from carnage; it is Christians fleeing from Muslims. Hirsi Ali has developed the perfect machine for circulating and defending Islamophobia, since it directly implicates every individual Muslim in the actions of every other individual Muslim—not to mention the actions of any government of any Muslim-majority state. And, as an added bonus, it even manages to implicate the imputing of Islamophobia itself as part of the problem, since she sees this as part of the sinister “conspiracy of silence” that allows this global Christophobia to flourish.

Hirsi Ali’s “war,” in other words, guarantees the continuing stigmatization of Muslims in North America and Europe. This is what allows her to speak of a “global war on Christians in the Muslim world.” In addition to resonating with the US’s “global war on terror,” what this phrase signifies is that the Islamic “threat” is a global one. So what might appear to be a minority community under siege in the United States, Hirsi Ali suggests, is in fact part of a threatening wave of genocide; the “spontaneous expression of anti-Christian animus by Muslims that transcends cultures, regions, and ethnicities” exists, in inchoate form, everywhere. No one (Christian) is safe.

Allow me to state the obvious, which is that Hirsi Ali’s argument has an immediately recognizable pedigree. The attempt to justify the oppression of minority groups by producing them as threats to “our way of life”—including the assertion that the same groups have the mysterious power to bewitch, dupe, and silence the unwary through conspiratorial means and shadowy organizations—has been a standard practice of racism and fascism, those precursors of Islamophobia; Hirsi Ali is a connoisseur of all three. Her supposed defense of an embattled minority is a thinly disguised attempt to extend and expand the ongoing repression of Muslim minority communities. The logic of her argument is precisely the same as that which has underwritten the violent policing of Muslim communities in the name of fighting “homegrown terrorism,” which has had such horrific consequences for these communities (not to mention for civil liberties more generally).

Hirsi Ali, like Ferguson and the rest of the neo-con forces, is eager to wrap herself in the mantle of “Western” virtues such as skepticism and secularism, against the forces of sectarianism and fundamentalism that they see as constitutive of the “Muslim world.” But what could possibly be more sectarian and fundamentalist than Hirsi Ali’s vision of the world, with its terrifying simplifications and generalizations, and its reduction of genuine situations of violence and suffering to data whose only purpose is to power her relentless Islamophobia machine?

The Greater Islamophobia: Bombing, Invading, and Occupying Muslim Lands (II)

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2011 by loonwatch

This article is part II of The Greater Islamophobia: Bombing, Invading, and Occupying Muslim Lands (I).  

Read Part I first.

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg is a prominent establishment journalist who helped push the country to war against Iraq: he famously claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, was on the verge of going nuclear, and was linked to Al-Qaeda and 9/11.  These were all lies, nothing short of alarmist war-propaganda.

Jeffrey Goldberg is at it again, but this time against Iran and Pakistan.  This is part of his overall warmongering ideology, one that involves advocating what I call the Supreme Islamophobic Crime: bombing, invading, and occupying Muslim lands.  The justifications used to wage war against Muslims are steeped in hypocrisy and double standards, which are very prevalent in Goldberg’s articles.

In part I, I responded to Goldberg’s claims that Iran should be attacked because it is supposedly on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons.  I pointed out the hypocrisy of the U.S. and Israel in this regard, both of which also have nuclear weapons and are either in violation of the NPT (the U.S.) or refuse to sign it (Israel).  As George Orwell famously said in his critique of nationalism: “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.”

For the record, I am a strong believer in complete nuclear disarmament.  However, either all countries should get rid of nuclear weapons or all countries have the right to acquire them.  There cannot be a double-standard in this regard.  If the United States and Israel possess them, then Iran–which is under constant American and Israeli threat of not just conventional warfare but nuclear strike–not only has the right to obtain them, but–as Glenn Greenwald notes–“nothing is more rational than Iran’s wanting a nuclear weapon” (note: that is, if Iran secretly wanted to do so).

*  *  *  *  *

Here in part II, I will tackle the rest of Goldberg’s article, which is filled with typical Zionist, neoconservative, and warmongering rhetoric.  Each of his pro-war arguments can be equally applied to America and/or Israel, reinforcing Orwell’s statement.

First, Goldberg writes:

The leaders of Iran are eliminationist anti-Semites; men who, for reasons of theology, view the state of the Jews as a “cancer.” They have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction… Iran’s leaders are men who deny the Holocaust while promising another.

Goldberg is repeating multiple falsehoods against Iran.  Here, he is referring to an infamous statement that was uttered by the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in which he supposedly said “Israel must be wiped off the map.”  In fact, this was a case of blatant mistranslation by the Western media: what he really said was:

The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.

Ahmadinejad was calling for regime change, not for Israel’s destruction or the annihilation of Jews.  Certainly, the two greatest proponents of regime change–the United States and Israel–should be the last to equate regime change with genocide.

In fact, the Iranian leadership, while reserving the right to defend itself if Iran is attacked, has never threatened to initiate an attack against Israel, let alone “repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction” as Jeffrey Goldberg imagines.  Once again, quite ironically, it is Israel that has repeatedly threatened to initiate an attack against Iran.  Remember: actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.

Goldberg’s claim that the Iranian government has “promised another [Holocaust]” is absolutely bogus; therefore, his claim that “[t]he leaders of Iran are eliminationist anti-Semites” is also completely contrived.  They are anti-Semites, but they are not eliminationist anti-Semites.  Do we bomb people for being anti-Semites?  To put the shoe on the other foot, would any sane person call to bomb Israel for their leaders being anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and/or Islamophobic?  One cannot help but reiterating the Orwellian mantra: actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.

Meanwhile, it is Israeli leaders who have not just endorsed but actively enacted a policy of “driving the Palestinians out of Palestine.”  The Israeli leadership has, for well over half a century, supported the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, euphemistically called “forced transfer.”  For example, the current prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, expressed support for ethnic cleansing by famously saying that Israel should “carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.”  (In fact, a majority of Israelis support the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.)  Worse yet, Netanyahu has not just supported ethnic cleansing by mere words, but is right now engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

In a previous article, I pointed out how misleading it is to focus on Iranian rhetoric over Israeli action.  While the Western media obsesses over whether or not Hamas or Iran may have called to wipe Israel off the map (mere rhetoric), Israel has literally wiped Palestine off the map (actual action)–it has been and is currently in the process of wiping the land of pesky Palestinians as well.  This is the difference then between word and deed: if one looks at a map, Israel is on it and Palestine is not.  Who has wiped out whom?  That this obvious absurdity is not ever pointed out in the Western media speaks volumes.

Yes, the Iranian leadership has called “the Zionist regime” a “cancer.”  So, now we are invading countries for simple name-calling?  If the Venezuelan government calls the United States and everything it represents a “fulminating disease” or even a “pile of human feces,” are we justified in attacking it?  If that is the case, then would Iran be justified in attacking the United States and Israel for all the things it has been called?   We dubbed Iran to be part of the “Axis of Evil.”  That’s just as bad as being called a “cancer.”  Can Iran attack us on that basis?  Here exists another double standard: we freely label Iran with the label of “Axis of Evil” but if Iran did the same to us, that would be proof of their innate belligerence.  This is because actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.

There is no doubt that denying or downplaying the Holocaust is morally repugnant, but how could such a person as Jeffrey Goldberg, who throughout his career has justified, downplayed, and denied the Palestinian suffering, be up in arms about Iranian leaders doing the same with the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust?  More importantly, would any sane person apply the logic to Israel, arguing that denial of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe)–the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948-1949–is reason to attack Israel?  Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them. (Note: Denying either the Holocaust, the Catastrophe, or any other such crime against humanity should be considered completely unacceptable.)

*  *  *  *  *

Then, Jeffrey Goldberg uses every Zionist’s favorite go-to trump card: “Hamas and Hezbollah!”  He writes that Iran has been

providing material support and training to two organizations, Hamas and Hezbollah, that specialize in the slaughter of innocent Jews.

Prof. William Beeman of Brown University argues that the Iranian links to Hamas and Hezbollah are exaggerated.  Aside from this, however, there is a profound double standard at play here: Israel supports Mujahedin-e Khalq, a militant group inside Iran that even the U.S. State Department designates a “terrorist organization”:

It is widely known within intelligence circles that the Israelis use the MEK for varied acts of espionage and terror…

If it is justified to attack Iran on the grounds that Iran supports Hamas and Hezbollah which in turn commit acts of terrorism against Israel, then would our opponents argue that it is justified for Iran to attack Israel because Israel supports the MEK which engages in terrorism against Iran?  Such double standards are never pointed out in the U.S. media, but they certainly do not go unnoticed in the Muslim world and elsewhere.  Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.  

If Iran is to be attacked for its “material support” of groups that commit acts of terrorism, then wouldn’t the Iranians be more justified in attacking Israel, which has committed not just “material support” but actual acts of terrorism within Iran?  Israel has been implicated in several terrorist acts within Iran, including “bombings” and “assassinations” of Iranian scientists.  Just a couple weeks ago, the Israeli intelligence agency orchestrated a terrorist bombing within Iran, “in which 17 people were killed” including a prominent Iranian scientist.

One can only imagine the reaction within pro-Israeli circles–and the absolute indignation of the American media–if “stealth jihadists” of Iranian descent bombed an MIT lab and killed a dozen and a half civilians along with a prominent research professor.  Do you think the mainstream media would be silent about this string of terrorist attacks if they were against American targets and perpetrated by Muslims?  Remember:  Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.  (This media double standard explains why most Americans believe the lie that nearly all terrorist attacks are committed by Muslims.)

The Guardian reports:

Israel has been linked to several previous incidents in Iran similar to Saturday’s explosion, including an explosion at a Shahab facility in south-western Iran in 2010 and a bomb attack earlier that year in Tehran, in which Iranian physicist Masoud Ali Mohammadi was killed.

One need not look back to two weeks ago to prove Israeli terrorism in Iran: just a few days ago it was reported that an Iranian power plant was bombed in an Israeli terrorist attack JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer rejoiced, calling this terrorist attack “good news” and saying that “[t]his calls for some champagne.”  Similarly, Jeffrey Goldberg gleefully reported the news that Iran is under attack, showing once again how the Goldbergs and Gellers (in this case, Geller’s partner-in-crime) agree on advocating the Supreme Islamophobic Crime of bombing, invading, and occupying Muslim countries.

What do you think Spencer or Goldberg’s reaction would have been had it been a “stealth jihadist” who bombed an American power plant?  Recall the absolute rage of Islamophobes, neoconservatives, Goldbergs, and Gellers–as well as Americans in general–over the Fort Hood Shooting.  In that incident, Nidal Hasan killed U.S. soldiers on a military base as they were about to be deployed to go to war against Muslim countries.  At that time, it was wondered: how could Muslims be so bloodthirsty that they would do such a thing?  Yet, when Americans or Israelis kill Iranian scientists, then this is either brushed off as a necessary casualty in the War on Terror or even gleefully rejoiced over as yet another “success” in the War on Terror.

Of course, such double standards abound in our national discourse, without anyone pointing out the obvious.  This is because, repeat after me, actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.

*  *  *  *  *

Goldberg then tries throwing the kitchen sink at Iran, arguing that we should attack Iran because it is lead by a “messianic, apocalyptic cult”:

[I]t isn’t too much to imagine that some of Iran’s more mystically minded leaders, mesmerized by visions of the apocalypse, would actually consider using a nuclear weapon on Israel — a country so small that a single detonation could cripple it permanently.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who once told me he believes that Iran is led by a “messianic, apocalyptic cult,” is correct to view Iran as a threat to his country’s existence.

Here, we see another example of Goldberg’s double standards.  While it is true that some Iranian leaders dabble in “messianic, apocalyptic” dribble, there is an equally pernicious ”messianic, apocalyptic” impulse among Israelis, which Jeffrey Goldberg himself acknowledges.  Should this be legitimate grounds for another country to attack Israel?  Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.

The only recognized sect of Judaism in Israel is Orthodox Judaism, the most prominent sect of which is Religious Zionism.  Rabbi Abraham Kook, considered the father of modern Religious Zionism, argued that “Zionists were agents in a heavenly plan to bring about the messianic era.”  According to this messianic group, the congregating of the Jews in Israel will bring about the end times, meaning the wheels are already in motion.

Israel’s leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, doesn’t seem to have a problem with “messianic, apocalyptic” Religious Zionists; in fact, Netanyahu proclaimed:

The religious Zionist public is part of every major way of life in Israel and it is time it was part of the ruling party

Netanyahu not only reached out to put such messianic Jews in “the ruling party”  but also “affirm[ed] Christian Zionists”, a nutty “the End is Near” Christian group.  He has himself engaged in messianic babble, and the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an article entitled “Netanyahu’s messianism could launch attack on Iran“.

There is another underlying irony here.  As noted above, Israel supports Mujahedin-e Khalq, which is a “revolutionary cult.”  Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.

*  *  *  *  *

Jeffrey Goldberg gives four more reasons why President Obama should lob missiles at Iran.  The first:

First, Iran and the U.S. have been waging a three- decade war for domination of the Middle East. If Iran goes nuclear, it will have won this war. American power in the Middle East will have been eclipsed, and Obama will look toothless.

This is a complete non-sequitur.  How does Iran having nuclear weapons in the region equate to “domination of the Middle East”?  Israel would still have tens or hundreds of times as many nuclear weapons as Iran, and the United States would have Iran surrounded.  What it would do is even out the scales of power a bit, making Israel think twice before nuking any of its neighbors.  What Zionists like Goldberg do not want, and will seek to prevent at any cost, is Iran to balance out the scales of power.  Goldberg et al. want American and Israeli “domination of the Middle East.”

Goldberg’s statement is very telling, because he accidentally reveals what every Arab and Muslim in the region knows: “[T]he U.S. [has] been waging a three-decade war for domination of the Middle East.”  Hmm….I wonder why do Arabs and Muslims in the region hate us?  It’s such a big mystery to me.

How would Americans feel if some other country was “waging a three-decade war” to dominate them?  But, of course, such comparisons–putting the shoe on the other foot–must never be discussed in the national discourse–and anyone who does so should be ignored, marginalized, and vilified.

Then, Goldberg says:

Second, every U.S. ally in the Middle East — Israel, the Gulf countries and Turkey, especially — fears a nuclear Iran. The president would have their complete support.

Here, we have another glimpse into the imperialist mind.  The reality of Arab street is thus:

According to the Brookings Institution’s 2010 Arab Public Opinion Poll, 77 percent regard Israel as the biggest threat, 80 percent regard the United States as the biggest threat, and only 10 percent regard Iran as the biggest threat. Fifty-seven percent think the region will be better off if Iran had nuclear weapons.

The same is the case in Turkey:

Turks see US as biggest external threat, poll results show

Some 43 percent of Turks perceive the United States as the country’s biggest threat, followed by Israel, according to a broad survey carried out in December…

The survey asked “From which country does the biggest threat come?” with 43 percent of Turks saying the U.S., followed by 24 percent who indicated Israel, 3 percent for Iran…

The percentage of Arabs, Muslims, and Turks who would support an American or Israeli attack on Iran would be, one can reasonably assume, even lower.

What Goldberg is saying then is that the American-supported stooge dictatorships–those same ones that the democratic Arab Spring has been shaking off–would support such a move against Iran.  To any good colonialist, what the people of a nation want does not matter: simply install a subservient client regime and through it thwart the will of the people.  I wonder why they hate us?  It is an absolute mystery to me.

Goldberg goes on:

Third, the president is ideologically committed to a world without nuclear weapons. If Iran gets the bomb, it will set off an arms race in the world’s most volatile region. At the very least, Saudi Arabia and Turkey will seek nuclear weapons. It would mark a bitter defeat for Obama to have inadvertently overseen the greatest expansion of the nuclear arms club in recent history.

The irony of the president of the United States–leader of a country that has the most nuclear weapons in the world, the only one to have ever used them (not once, but twice), one that is in violation of the NPT, one that still actively plans on how to use nuclear weapons in future wars, and one that comes to the swift defense of Israel when it opposes a nuclear free Middle East (see part I of my article)–claiming to be “ideologically committed to a world without nuclear weapons” should not be lost.

In fact, President Barack Obama–unlike Iran’s leaders who have steadfastly pledged never to use nuclear weapons against anyone–came up with a list of conditions under which the U.S. could use nuclear weapons (see this article by The New York Times).  Obama argued that any restrictions on nuclear weapons would simply not apply to “outliers like Iran and North Korea.”  He also reserved the right to use “nuclear retaliation against a biological attack” by any country (or even by a non-state actor, one assumes).  Obama refused to issue a “blanket statement that the country would never be the first to use nuclear weapons.”  Therefore, the United States effectively rejects a “no-first use” policy.

To be sure, the NYT article article mentions that Bush had an even more militant position; he “reserved the right to use nuclear weapons ‘to deter a wide range of threats,’ including banned chemical and biological weapons and large-scale conventional attacks.”  In other words, the Republican party is even more militant than Obama in this regard, giving an almost carte blanche to use nuclear weapons.

To sum it up: America reserves the right to use nuclear weapons, but is dedicated to restricting nuclear arms to, in Goldberg’s words, “the nuclear arms club”–with the U.S. being the leader of this exclusive club.  Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.

Goldberg’s obsession with Iran’s supposed nuclear weapons contrasts sharply with his indifference or acceptance of Israel’s known nuclear program.

Goldberg’s last reason to attack Iran uses typical Zionist exploitation of Jewish suffering coupled with alarmist fear-mongering to justify war:

Finally, the president has a deep understanding of Jewish history, and is repulsed by Iranian anti-Semitism. He doesn’t want to be remembered as the president who failed to guarantee Israel’s existence.

Does Israeli bigotry towards Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims give Iran the justification to attack Israel?  Or does this, like all of Goldberg’s other reasons, apply only one way?  Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.

Jeffrey Goldberg completes his pro-Israel propaganda by invoking the mandatory Hitler reference, arguing that a “nuclear Iran poses the gravest threat since Hitler to the physical survival of the Jewish people.”  As Greenwald noted:

No discussion of any of this is complete without noting that it was endlessly claimed that it was Saddam who was the New Hitler in order ratchet up fear levels and justify an attack that country, too. How many times can we be persuaded to attack the New Hitler?

*  *  *  *  *

Glenn Greenwald’s recent article, George Orwell on the Evil Iranian Menace, is an absolute must read.  The United States has been hard at word portraying the Iranians as “the Aggressor, the Modern Nazis, a True Menace” and itself (and Israel) as Iran’s “innocent peace-loving victims.”  This is of course placing reality on its head, which is completely obvious if one puts the shoe on the other foot.

Imagine, for instance, if Iran militarily occupied Canada and Mexico, if Cuba and other islands near the U.S. mainland were Iranian client regimes, if a massive Iranian naval fleet were stationed nearby on both East and West Coasts, if Iranian sky robots were flying over American soil targeting and killing U.S. citizens, if Iran committed acts of terrorism on U.S. soil such as blowing up power plants, if Iran assassinated American scientists, if Iran launched sophisticated cyber-attacks against the U.S., if Iran lobbied for crippling sanctions against America, and if Iranian leaders routinely called for war against America–what do you think the American reaction to all this would be?

After noting that the U.S. has done all this whereas “Iran has not invaded, occupied or air attacked anyone”, Greenwald writes:

Given the extensive violence and aggression the U.S. has perpetrated, and continues to perpetrate, on numerous countries in that region, one might think that not even our political culture could sustain the propagandistic myth that it is Iran that is the aggressor state and the U.S. that is its peace-loving victim. But, of course, one who thought that would be completely wrong. Not only is it a widespread belief, but it’s virtually mandated orthodoxy. But none of that should be at all surprising or confusing, given that 66 years ago, George Orwell — in his 1945 Notes on Nationalism— explained exactly the warped form of thinking that creates this mindset:

All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. . . . The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

This is not to say that the Iranian regime is benevolent; there is no question that it is domestically oppressive.  Oppression of Bahais and other minorities is something that should not be downplayed.  (This is why I hope that, like other Arab dictatorships that have been toppled by the people themselves, the same happens in Iran.  This is also the reason I supported the Iranian Green Movement against the Iranian regime and ayatollah-ruled theocracy.)

But, as Greenwald pointed out:

Iran, to be sure, is domestically oppressive, but no more so — and in many cases less — than the multiple regimes funded, armed and otherwise propped up by the U.S. during this period.

I would also point out that this line of argumentation cannot reasonably be used by Goldberg and other Israeli apologists because Israel itself is domestically oppressive to its significant Arab, Palestinian, and Muslim population.  This, as we see, is another argument that seems to only work one way, because the moral of the story is that actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.

*  *  *  *  *

In conclusion, every single one of Jeffrey Goldberg’s reasons to go to war against Iran are hypocritical.  He, like Islamophobes everywhere, uses profound double standards, applying one standard to Muslims (Iranians, in this case) and another for America and Israel.  This is the Greater Islamophobia, which revolves around the Supreme Islamophobic Myth: radical Islam is the greatest threat to world peace.  This is something that both Jeffrey Goldberg and Pamela Geller strongly agree with, and they advocate the Supreme Islamophobic Crime: bombing, invading, and occupying Muslim lands.

The disagreement between Jeffrey Goldberg and Pamela Geller just has to do with a difference of opinion with regard to P.R.: Goldberg believes that the Lesser Islamophobia gives the Greater Islamophobia “a bad name”, whereas Geller believes it helps create popular support for it.  In reality, both of them are correct:  Goldberg gives the Supreme Islamophobic Myth the Seriousness it needs in order to be taken Seriously by policy-makers and Serious People, whereas Geller helps create popular support for such warlike policies among the masses.  The Goldbergs and Gellers of the world work hand in glove.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

NFL Team is on the Verge of Sharia Compliance!

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2011 by loonwatch

After people heard that the owner and coach were replaced by a Pakastini-born Muslim and an African American, there was an uproar of Islamophobic and racist comments. If we want this country to prosper once again, we need to grow up, but when we allow comments like this to filter in, my hope diminishes:

“I wonder if Khan has any friends who are terrorists?,” asks forgotten man on www.FreeRepublic.com. “Rush Limbaugh was not allowed to buy into the Rams, but a Muslim from Pakistan can buy the Jaguars. Go figure.”

Fanning The Flames: New Jacksonville Jaguars Owner’s Muslim Faith Stirs Stupidity

[Jacksonville, FL] Last week, it was announced that the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team had been sold to super-successful Illinois businessman Shahid Khan. The deal was reported to be worth $760 million and includes a somewhat controversial first for the league.

Khan is a Pakistani-born Muslim, and will be the first of his faith to own a National Football League team. NFL team ownership is considered to be the ultimate trophy for American billionaires.

The sale is not 100% final, however, it still has to get approval from the league and the other owners, but Khan has had an ongoing relationship with the league for ten years so it seems a sure thing.

The Muslim-American community, which has been under attack since 9-11, no doubt sees Khan’s ownership as a sign that America is moving in the right direction, despite a vocal minority hell bent on demonizing all Muslims.

“He is the first … shows how American Muslims are integrating,” said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American Islam Relations.

The Jacksonville Jaguars press release talking up the sale didn’t mention the fact that Khan was Muslim. That was probably a good thing – on the same day the sale was announced, it was also revealed that long-time head coach Jack Del Rio had been fired and assistant coach Mel Tucker – an African-American – would be taking over.

This year, the Jacksonville Jaguars have made a bigger impact in the news than on the field This year, the Jacksonville Jaguars have made a bigger impact in the news than on the field

For redneck racist types – and in North Florida there are more than a few – the fact that the white owner and white coach of their hometown NFL franchise were replaced by a Pakistani-born Muslim and a black guy was just too much to take, especially in ONE DAY.

This Jaguars ownership change could be the final straw that sends Confederate flag flyers fleeing pro football for the warm, white blanket of NASCAR.

Just last year, members of the Jacksonville City Council jumped on the Muslim hate train in what was described as a huge embarrassment for the region. Parvez Ahmed – a University of North Florida professor, Fulbright Scholar and Muslim – had his Human Rights Commission nomination sent back to the Rules Committee because of “constituent concerns.”

It had already been approved, mind you. But that was before the Islamophobes in the ACT! For America organization made a bunch of noise and the spineless jellyfish on the city council caved to their concerns.

Almost on cue, conservative news sites were rife with ugly comments about Khan’s big play.

“I wonder if Khan has any friends who are terrorists?,” asks forgotten man on www.FreeRepublic.com. “Rush Limbaugh was not allowed to buy into the Rams, but a Muslim from Pakistan can buy the Jaguars. Go figure.”

Forgotten man must have forgotten that Limbaugh has made multiple controversial racist remarks about black athletes over the years and that many players indicated that they would not play for Limbaugh’s team if he was even a part owner.

Khan just happens to have a religion in common with some people who have committed terrorist acts in the name of their god. The same could be said about any of the major religions.

When CNN ran the story, the comments sections was literally boiling over with stupidity, hate and a bit of Star Trek movie related humor (1982′s Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan features Captain Kirk famously yelling “KHAAANNNN!,” a familiar refrain in the comments section).

The awful stuff was counteracted by some progressive Jags/NFL fans protective of their city/league and of the new owner.

On CNN, Terri surmised, “That is how the Pakistani’s will get even with the United States. They plan to buy the NFL, one team at a time, and move it to Pakistan.”

Also on CNN, someone calling themselves Pakastani [sic] wrote, “The name of the new team will be the Jacksonville Jihadis. Expect the cheerleaders to show some ankle during games!”

DisgustedNY was concerned that, “Now you have some guy who grew up in Pakistan dictating what happens with an American tradition.”

But they weren’t all an embarrassment to America’s melting pot philosophy. JaxFan noted the political ramifications of Khan’s ownership, saying that, “The level of religious ignorance and intolerance represented in some of the city’s supposed leaders will make it absolutely hilarious to see those same anti-gay, anti-Muslim religious righties having to kiss the butt of a Muslim who now holds the keys to the Jaguars and their possible relocation.”

The Jacksonville community loves their team (and t-shirt cannons) The Jacksonville community loves their team (and t-shirt cannons)

“I think any comments challenging the prospective buyer’s ‘credentials’ as an American are immature,” offered Jeremy. “The guy has been here 40+ years, went to school for engineering here (actually did a degree that is USEFUL), worked for an American company, started his own American company (notice from the link posted above, that ALL the factories for his company are in the US?), and finally has had a dream of buying an NFL team.”

“America was founded based on principles of freedom of religion,” continued Jeremy. “I say let him take the team and see what he can do with it!”

Things were about the same on Yahoo! News … Mac offered: “A new way to launder money to the terrorists. Wonderful.” And from John: “Sold to Islamic Terrorist from Pakistan.”

Jake was downright racist in saying that, “schweet! sell them to a Sand Monkey.” And from Thomas: “I think he got the money to buy the team by tipping off where Bin Laden was hiding.”

DEF appeared to be a buoy of reason in a sea of hate and stupidity, analyzing that, “As a 20-year resident of Jacksonville, I can say that this is the most conservative bible belt town I have ever lived in. It has a huge redneck/conservative Christian base not to mention that many of them have their predisposed prejudices against Muslims.”

“This new owner … has a great opportunity to change Jacksonville for the better,” he said.

Although DEF cautions Khan – and he makes a good point in doing so that if Khan moves the team from Jacksonville (as has been widely speculated) that he, “could certainly see many in Jacksonville reacting by building a much deeper hatred for Muslims. … It could get ugly.”

I think you mean uglier.

By: Mark Christopher/Sunshine Slate

The Greater Islamophobia: Bombing, Invading, and Occupying Muslim Lands (I)

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2011 by loonwatch

Jeffrey Goldberg, an establishment journalist, has made a career out of shilling for Israel and war-cheerleading against various Muslim countries.  Goldberg’s polite, professional, and mainstream expression of Islamophobia is far more pernicious than the rude, amateurish, and fringe Islamophobia of Pamela Geller.

This Thanksgiving, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs crossed swords over Butterball’s halal turkeys; the animosity between the two has reached the point where Goldberg refers to Geller as his “arch-nemesis” and Geller calls Goldberg a “Jewicidal Jihadi” (whatever in the world that means).

But while Jeffrey Goldberg and Pamela Geller may disagree over such silly matters as “stealth halal” turkeys (which I call the “Lesser Islamophobia”), Goldberg and Geller are guilty of advocating the “Supreme Islamophobic Crime”: bombing, invading, and occupying Muslim lands.  With regard to this “Greater Islamophobia”, establishment journalists like Jeffrey Goldberg have a lot more influence than the Pamela Gellers of the world in promoting the war hysteria necessary to sustain the political and popular support for American wars against an increasingly long list of Muslim countries.

The Crusades that ravaged the Muslim world centuries ago were fueled by mindless hatred of the Other, a hatred without which it is unlikely that a whole civilization could have been successfully mobilized against another.  Similarly, the United States of America has taken up the sword against the Muslim world, something that simply would not be possible without large segments of the society accepting an anti-Muslim worldview as axiomatic.

Islamophobia is necessary to wage war against the Muslim world but it is also the inevitable result of such wars.  There is a need to spread the Supreme Islamophobic Myth that radical Islam is the greatest threat to world peace and must be fought.  This need exists (1) in order that nobody, especially the American population itself, realizes that the opposite is true (that it is the United States–not any Muslim country–that is committing the “supreme international crime” of waging aggressive wars in foreign lands), and (2) in order to justify endless war and military occupations.

It is important to understand that one reason Jeffrey Goldberg rejects the Lesser Islamophobia such as Pamela Geller’s silly “stealth halal” turkey nonsense is because, in his own words, “Pamela Geller…gives the fight against Islamist terrorism a bad name.”  In other words, the Lesser Islamophobia gives the Greater Islamophobia “a bad name” and might turn people away from bombing, invading, and occupying Muslim lands.

We saw a similar dynamic earlier this year when Harry Reid, Lindsey Graham, and others suggested that formal action be taken against the Quran-burning Florida preacher Terry Jones.  Jones was vilified as an Islamophobic bigot (and there is no doubt that he is one), whose (Lesser) Islamophobia was supposedly placing U.S. troops in Afghanistan at risk.  Yet, these same individuals are among the greatest defenders of the Greater Islamophobia, which is the real cause behind Muslim anger: the bombing, invading, and occupying of Muslim lands.  In fact, their opposition to Pastor Jones was that he was making it more difficult to sustain the military campaign against Muslims.  As Salon’s Glenn Greenwald wrote:

[T]here is an extreme irony in Harry Reid and Lindsey Graham, of all people, suddenly worrying about actions that trigger anger and violence in the Muslim world. These two Senators, after all, have supported virtually every one of America’s actions which have triggered vastly more anti-American anger, vengeance and violence in the Muslim world than anything Pastor Jones could dream of spawning — from the attack on Iraq to the decade-long occupation of Afghanistan to blind support for Israel to the ongoing camp at Guantanamo.

Similarly, war-cheerleading journalist Jeffrey Goldberg supports the Supreme Tenet of Islamophobia: seemingly endless war against the Muslim world.  Even before the blood of Afghan and Iraqi citizens dried from the American sword, U.S. war rhetoric against two other Muslim countries–Iran and Pakistan–has ratcheted up.  Just like in the lead up to the Iraq War, the Jeffrey Goldbergs of the mainstream media have been furiously at work making the case for war.

To understand the war-obsessed brain of Jeffrey Goldberg it would be worthwhile to look back to his 2008 article Re-Thinking Jeffery Goldberg.  In it, he reveals the interesting fact that not even Jeffrey Goldberg can keep track of how many Muslim countries Jeffrey Goldberg has called to attack.  He writes:

Last year…I called for the immediate invasion of Yemen (or possibly Oman)…

Was it Yemen or Oman?  Goldberg can’t remember–surely, we can’t expect him to remember such a long list of countries to invade.  The article reveals how flippantly Goldberg discusses such matters; it’s just table talk for him.  Bomb Yemen?  Oman?  Iraq?  Iran?  They all sound so similar!

It would also be worthwhile to take into account his ideological background:  Jeffrey Goldberg, like Pamela Geller, is a militant Zionist extremist.  He “moved to Israel while still a college student” where he served “as a military policeman in the Israeli army”, earned the rank of corporal in the Israel Defense Forces, and served as a prison guard in “the Ketziot military prison camp”, the conditions of which Defence for Children International called “truly appalling”; Human Rights Watch declared the Ketziot prison camp a “clear violation of the IV Geneva Convention.”

Glenn Greenwald wrote of Jeffrey Goldberg so:

[Jeffrey] Goldberg[‘s …]devotion to Israel is so extreme that he served in the IDF as a prison guard over Palestinians and was described last year as “Netanyahu’s faithful stenographer” by The New York Times’ Roger Cohen…

The link between Zionism and Islamophobia has been investigated before; the connection between Zionism and warmongering is even clearer.  So, it is no surprise that Jeffrey Goldberg is a war-cheerleader.  The Institute for Policy Studies calls him “a hawkish ‘pro-Israel’ commentator[]” whose “articles have often seemed to parallel efforts by hawks to push the United States into war.”

His most recent war-cheerleading articles have been against Iran and Pakistan, which is what I will focus on here.  Goldberg is not the only journalist beating the drums of war, but he is one highly prominent figure in the establishment media who serves as a quintessential example of the typical hypocrisy, profound double standards, and bloodthirsty warmongering that permeates the national discourse.

America’s Hypocrisy toward Iran

Jeffrey Goldberg urges President Barack Obama to launch “missile strikes” against Iran for its supposed nuclear weapons program:

The International Atomic Energy Agency is set to release a report today offering further proof that the Iranian regime is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons.

No intelligence is entirely dispositive, but the evidence on hand about Iran’s nuclear activities, even before the release of the latest report, is fairly persuasive, and the IAEA isn’t known to be a den of neoconservative war-plotting. It isn’t interested in giving Israel a pretext for a preemptive attack on Iran unless it has to.

The question now is what Israel — or the U.S. — will do about it.

The Israeli case for preemption is compelling, and has been for some time.

Notice that Goldberg doesn’t even care what the IAEA report would say: he wrote this article before the report was published.  Either way for him, the Iranian regime is producing nuclear weapons and should be attacked.

Goldberg fails to mention what The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh pointed out in an excellent article explaining why the IAEA’s change in leadership from the respectable Mohammed ElBaradei to Yukiya Amano gives reason to doubt its impartiality: according to leaked cables obtained by Wikileaks, the American permanent representative to the IAEA commented that “[Amano] was solidly in the U.S. court in every strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.”  

Furthermore, despite all the war-cheerleading from America’s propaganda press, “there is nothing [in the report] that indicates that Iran is really building a bomb.”

In any case, Jeffrey Goldberg’s article on Iran in 2011 should evoke in the reader feelings of deja vu: in the run up to the Iraq War, Goldberg published a very similar article against Saddam’s Iraq.  Then, Goldberg had written:

“It is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years,” [a German official] said.

There is some debate among arms-control experts about exactly when Saddam will have nuclear capabilities. But there is no disagreement that Iraq, if unchecked, will have them soon, and a nuclear-armed Iraq would alter forever the balance of power in the Middle East. “The first thing that occurs to any military planner is force protection,” Charles Duelfer told me. “If your assessment of the threat is chemical or biological, you can get individual protective equipment and warning systems. If you think he’s going to use a nuclear weapon, where are you going to concentrate your forces?”

There is little doubt what Saddam might do with an atomic bomb or with his stocks of biological and chemical weapons.

Simply exchange “Iraq” for “Iran” and we now have Goldberg’s 2011 article.  Goldberg was one of the key journalists who played a part in pushing the case for war against Iraq, by spreading the lie that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction (on the verge of becoming nuclear) and that he was somehow connected to Al-Qaeda and 9/11.  Goldberg even repeats the claim that “Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years”: he says bombing Iran will have a “reasonable chance of delaying the Iranian nuclear program for at least three to five years.”

Goldberg and his ilk had succeeded in misleading the American public with regard to Iraq, pushing the nation to war and leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent civilians. He served an important role in spreading the government’s propaganda in order to justify the “supreme international crime”: initiating a war of aggression.

And now Goldberg et al. are at it again, this time against Iran.  The image at the top of this article really speaks to the “now serving bombing customer #224″ mentality that permeates the American military juggernaut.

In addition to being a hyper-aggressive superpower that bombs countries left and right (which, for Iran, is literally the case: countries neighboring it on both sides have been bombed, invaded, and occupied by America), the U.S. obliviously engages in the most egregious of hypocrisies.  It simply does not enter into polite discussion in Western media–but it does in Iran, Pakistan, and the rest of the Muslim world–how hypocritical it is of the United States, the country with the most nuclear weapons in the world, to vilify a country for (allegedly) trying to build a single such bomb.  The forbidden question to ask is: what moral right does the United States, the greatest nuclear power in the world, have to stop other countries from pursuing the same course of action?

Other absurdities include the fact that Israel, America’s closest ally, also has a secret (not so secret) nuclear weapons program, possessing “over 400 nuclear and hydrogen weapons.” Why can Israel have so many nuclear weapons, yet Iran cannot have a single one?

Furthermore, in the words of FAIR, “[t]he U.S. is violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).”  As Jimmy Carter wrote:

While claiming to be protecting the world from proliferation threats in Iraq, Libya, Iran and North Korea, American leaders not only have abandoned existing treaty restraints but also have asserted plans to test and develop new weapons.

Former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara issued an unusually honest assessment, saying:

I would characterize current U.S. nuclear weapons policy as immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary and dreadfully dangerous.

FAIR notes further:

The NPT’s preamble calls on nuclear weapons states “to facilitate the cessation of the manufacture of nuclear weapons, the liquidation of all their existing stockpiles, and the elimination from national arsenals of nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery.” Article VI of the NPT explicitly obliges signatories “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

Thirty-seven years after agreeing to these conditions, the U.S.—the only nation to have ever used nuclear weapons against human beings—spends $40 billion a year to field, maintain and modernize nuclear forces, including an arsenal of 10,000 warheads, 2,000 of which are on hair-trigger alert.

Meanwhile, Israel refuses to even sign the NPT.  Why aren’t the war drums beating against Israel for its reticence in this regard?  In fact, “[n]early 200 nations, signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), backed plans” to hold a conference to achieve a nuclear-free Middle East.  The only country in the region refusing to hold such talks?  Israel.

I’m sure the United States of America condemned Israel for this, and threatened sanctions and war.  The President of the United States supported Israel in its decision and claimed that such a conference “singles out Israel.”  Well, yes, I guess one might think it “singles out Israel” since Israel is the only country in the region to have nuclear weapons, the irony of which should not be missed considering Israel pushed war on Iraq and is now doing the same with Iran for trying to produce nuclear weapons.

But such ironies do not get discussed in America, only in the rest of the world.  In the Muslim world, it is clearly understood that the United States and Israel are not against nuclear weaponry nor do they ever want a nuclear free Middle East–instead, they simply want to hold a nuclear monopoly.  We get nukes; you don’t; if you break this “fair” agreement, then we’ll bomb you, on the grounds that you have nukes–we might even nuke you for having nukes, because nukes are bad, except when we have and use them.  As George Orwell said: “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.”

Some Israeli apologists have argued that there is no equivalence between Iran and Israel since the former is a signatory of the NPT and the latter is not.  This is a purposefully deceitful argument: can anyone imagine the sort of pressure (sanctions, military force, war, and/or occupation) that would await Iran had it refused to sign the NPT or now withdrew from it?  (It is legal to withdraw from the treaty after giving three months notice.)  If Iran weren’t a signatory of the NPT, we all know that the entire premise of sanctions and military action would be: Iran must sign the NPT!  If Iran withdrew from the NPT, the entire premise would be: Iran withdrew from the NPT!  Furthermore, proponents of the “Iran signed the NPT, Israel didn’t” defense should be asked: What about the United States, which signed the NPT and is in violation of it?  Can Iran legally bomb the U.S. now?

Another counter-argument raised is the claim that the United States and Israel cannot possibly be equated with countries such as Iran.  The implication here is that Iran is just so absolutely warlike that it cannot be trusted with nuclear weaponry.  Meanwhile, the U.S. and Israel are peace-loving democracies and can be trusted never to use them.  Orwell’s quote–and Glenn Greenwald’s recent article on Orwell and Iran–come to mind.

There is the obvious absurdity that the United States is the only country to have used nuclear weapons against human beings (not once, but twice).  Not only this, but the U.S. has never apologized for doing so; quite the opposite: Americans have always claimed that incinerating two civilian cities saved millions of lives, a morally repugnant lie that lives on.  Only the most brainwashed mind could understand such depraved logic: bombing and killing thousands of people actually saves lives.  In the words of George Orwell: war is peace.

Imagine if Nazi Germany had produced the atomic bomb first–and had nuked Great Britain or the United States (not once, but twice).  The dastardly act would be remembered by the Western powers as the ultimate act of Nazi depravity; the atomic bomb would be viewed as the most Nazi-like of weapons, one that wantonly and indiscriminately incinerates civilian populations.  In such a scenario, Nazi propaganda that such an act was noble because it “saved millions of German lives” would be scoffed at and not taken seriously.  Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.

If Americans still engage in the morally atrocious act of justifying the mass murder of Japanese civilians from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (even though Japan had been ready to surrender long before it was nuked), one shouldn’t be surprised that the United States continues to ponder the use of nuclear weapons in the near future.  Leaked documents have shown that the U.S. government has

outlined a broad array of contingencies under which the U.S. might use nuclear weapons. Among these contingencies: using nuclear weapons against countries with no nuclear weapons capacity, such as Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Here, we see the profound hypocrisy of the U.S. government on full display: while using the threat of Iranian nuclear attack as a moral pretense to wage war against Iran, the United States itself has long been planning “a broad array of contingencies” under which Iran may be nuked.  Is this not a case of mind-boggling projection?

From this, it is clear that the U.S. government does not desire nuclear disarmament, but nuclear monopoly: this unequal balance of nuclear power leaves open the nuclear option against its non-nuclear enemies without fear of nuclear retaliation.

The same is the case with Israel, which has issued contradictory statements about the use of nuclear weapons.  Yes, Israel has said “it would not be the first country in the Middle East to formally introduce nuclear weapons into the region”, but what does this vague statement mean?  Do Israelis think Iran has now “introduced” nuclear weapons into the region?  In fact, Israel “reject[s] no first use because they believe that there may be circumstances in which they would initiate use of nuclear weapons.”

Indeed, Israel endorses the Samson Option, whereby Israel will respond with “massive retaliation” (including the use of nuclear weaponry) if it feels threatened.  What policy could be more maniacal than this?  Here, we have Israel endorsing a policy of nuclear Armageddon, yet on the other hand we are constantly told that Iran, unlike Israel, might use the bomb–a bomb it doesn’t even have.

Meanwhile, the truth is that the Supreme Leader of Iran has rejected the use of nuclear weaponry  because it is “forbidden in Islam”:

Nuclear weapons unholy, Iran says / Islam forbids use, clerics proclaim

In a surprising development, Iran’s hard-line clerical establishment, which had bitterly resisted American pressure to open the country’s nuclear facilities to inspection, is using its religious influence to rally support for an agreement with the West to foreswear the development of nuclear weapons.

Led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the nation’s “supreme leader,” Iranian clerics have repeatedly declared that Islam forbids the development and use of all weapons of mass destruction.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, based on its fundamental religious and legal beliefs, would never resort to the use of weapons of mass destruction,” Khamenei said recently. “In contrast to the propaganda of our enemies, fundamentally we are against any production of weapons of mass destruction in any form.”

The ironies just keep adding up: the United States–a country that has used nuclear weapons in the past, possesses the most nuclear weapons in the world, and actively makes plans on how to use nuclear weapons against its enemies–is threatening to take action against Iran for its alleged nuclear weapons program–a country that has never used them, does not have them, and has sworn never to never use them (not even in self-defense or retaliation).  Only in the U.S. media could such absurdities go largely unchallenged.

If anyone tries to mention that the United States and Israel are far more warlike than Iran, he must be quickly shut up.  One recalls the debate Ahmed Rehab had with Bill O’Reilly; asked Rehab: “How many countries has Iran attacked in the past 50 years?”  The answer: zero.  Meanwhile, the United States and Israel have attacked dozens and dozens of countries (in a future article, I will compile the lengthy list of nations that have been attacked by the U.S. and Israel.)

O’Reilly couldn’t give a straight answer to the question (the answer is zero–Iran has never initiated a war against another country) so he brought up the Iran-Iraq War and the current Iraq War.  Yet, the Iran-Iraq War was not initiated by Iran–rather, Iraq attacked Iran.  There is no debate about this fact, so either (1) O’Reilly is ignorant of the facts he cites, or (2) he is using a misleading argument, which really speaks volumes about how few countries Iran has ever invaded (zero) that he was forced to make one up.  Worse yet, the example O’Reilly cited is an example of Iran being attacked by a country that received the military backing to do so by the United States.  In fact, “the CIA authorized, approved and assisted…in the manufacture and sale of cluster bombs and other munitions to Iraq” for use against Iran.

The second example O’Reilly cited was of the current Iraq War.  Once again, O’Reilly reverses reality: Iran did not invade Iraq.  He must have mistaken the United States for Iran.  Both examples O’Reilly used show America’s belligerency, not Iran’s.

The other examples O’Reilly gave, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, also show that he simply cannot answer the question in a straight manner.  The reason he can’t do so is because the answer is zero. Neither Hamas or Hezbollah is Iran.  At most one could argue that Hezbollah operates as a proxy for Iran.  In that case, we should compare the number of countries that the United States has not only attacked but how many the U.S. has done so by proxy.  That list would certainly dwarf Iran’s.

The double standard is well-understood by Iranians and Muslims living in other countries: nuclear weapons are OK for America and Israel, but off limits to countries like Iran.  Yet, it is exactly such countries that would most need nuclear weapons to act as deterrence against American and Israeli threats of military action, belligerence, and propensity toward aggression.

Part 2 of this article to be published within 24-48 hours.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Pakistani belief about drones: perceptive or paranoid?

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2011 by loonwatch

By: Glenn Greenwald

Two weeks ago, President Obama’s former Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, excoriated the White House for its reliance on drones in multiple Muslim nations, pointing out, as Politico put it, that those attacks “are fueling anti-American sentiment and undercutting reform efforts in those countries.”  Blair said: ”we’re alienating the countries concerned, because we’re treating countries just as places where we go attack groups that threaten us.”  Blair has an Op-Ed today in The New York Times making a similar argument with a focus on Pakistan, though he uses a conspicuously strange point to make his case:

Qaeda officials who are killed by drones will be replaced. The group’s structure will survive and it will still be able to inspire, finance and train individuals and teams to kill Americans. Drone strikes hinder Qaeda fighters while they move and hide, but they can endure the attacks and continue to function.Moreover, as the drone campaign wears on, hatred of America is increasing in Pakistan. American officials may praise the precision of the drone attacks. But in Pakistan, news media accounts of heavy civilian casualties are widely believed. Our reliance on high-tech strikes that pose no risk to our soldiers is bitterly resented in a country that cannot duplicate such feats of warfare without cost to its own troops.

Though he obviously knows the answer, Blair does not say whether this widespread Pakistani perception about civilian casualties is based in fact; if anything, he insinuates that this “belief” is grounded in the much-discussed affection which Pakistanis allegedly harbor for fabricated anti-American conspiracy theories.  While the Pakistani perception is significant unto itself regardless of whether it’s accurate — the belief about drones is what fuels anti-American hatred — it’s nonetheless bizarre to mount an anti-drone argument while relegating the impact of civilian deaths to mere “belief,” all while avoiding informing readers what the actual reality is.  Discussions of the innocent victims of American military violence is one of the great taboos in establishment circles; that Blair goes so far out of his way to avoid discussing it highlights how potent that taboo is.

Last month, I interviewed Chris Woods of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which had just published a report conclusively documenting the falsity of John Brennan’s public claim that “in the last year, ‘there hasn’t been a single collateral death‘” from U.S. drone attacks.  Last week, the Bureau published an even more detailed report focusing on the number of Pakistani children killed by American drone attacks:

The Bureau has identified credible reports of 168 children killed in seven years of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas. These children would account for 44% of the minimum figure of 385 civilians reported killed by the attacks. . . .The highest number of child deaths occurred during the Bush presidency, with 112 children reportedly killed. More than a third of all Bush drone strikes appear to have resulted in the deaths of children. . . . President Obama, too, has been as Commander-in-Chief responsible for many child deaths in Pakistan. The Bureau has identified 56 children reported killed in drone strikes during his presidency . . . .

The report indicates that the number of Pakistani children dying from drone attacks has decreased substantially over the past several months — since September, 2010, when one man’s son, two daughters and nephew were all killed by a single U.S. strike — but such deaths nonetheless continue (including one in April of this year, in which a 12-year-old boy, Atif, was killed).  These facts make John Brennan’s blatant lie particularly disgusting: it’s one thing to kill children using remote-controlled weaponized air robots in a country in which we’re not formally at war, but it’s another thing entirely to stand up in public and deny that it is happening.

In several ways, the Bureau’s study significantly understates the extent of U.S.-caused civilian deaths in the region.  As Woods told me, the Bureau uses such a rigorous methodology — counting civilian deaths only when they can be definitively confirmed up to and including the victims’ names — that some deaths almost certainly go uncounted in the notoriously inaccessible Waziristan region.  Other credible reports provide an even starker assessment of the number of innocents killed.  Moreover, this latest report from the Bureau counts only child deaths, not those of innocent adult men and women in Pakistan, nor does it discuss the large number of civilian deaths from drones outside of Pakistan (Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq), nor the U.S.-caused deaths of civilians from means other than drones (such as the “amazing number” of innocents killed at checkpoints in Afghanistan).

Adm. Blair’s Op-Ed may have had a much greater impact had it included a discussion of these facts, rather than implying that the problem with American drone attacks is Pakistani paranoia.  That’s precisely why the Op-Ed — like most discussions in establishment venues of this topic — didn’t include those facts.

U.S. Bombs and Kills 168 Pakistani Children, Why Are the Pakistanis Such Ungrateful and Cruddy Allies?

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2011 by loonwatch

Many Americans wonder why Pakistan is such an ungrateful and cruddy ally.  Do any of them stop to think that perhaps the U.S. is an even cruddier ally?  At least Pakistan doesn’t kill our children.  File this away under Why They Hate Us:

Study: CIA drones strikes have killed 168 children

The Obama administration says a year of drone strikes in Pakistan killed zero civilians; outside experts disagree

By: Justin Elliot

Based on international and Pakistani news reports and research on the ground, the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism has issued a new study on civilians killed by American drones, concluding that at least 385 civilians have been killed in the past seven years, including at least 168 children.

Here’s a taste of the report, which can be read in full here (warning: graphic images):

Pakistani father Din Mohammad had the misfortune to live next door to militants in Danda Darpakhel, North Waziristan. His neighbours were reportedly part of the Haqqani Network, a group fighting US forces in nearby Afghanistan.

On September 8 2010, the CIA’s Reaper drones paid a visit. Hellfire missiles tore into the compound killing six alleged militants.

One of the Hellfires missed its target, and Din Mohammad’s house was hit. He survived. But his son, his two daughters and his nephew all died. His eldest boy had been a student at a Waziristan military cadet college. The other three children were all below school age.

An Obama administration official told ABC that these numbers are “way off the mark” — but, tellingly, did so on the condition of anonymity, meaning he or she will be protected from any accountability.

Meanwhile, the New York Times’ Scott Shane has an important articlereviewing the same issue and in particular Obama counterterrorism adviser John Brennan’s claim in June that for the previous year CIA drone strikes hadn’t caused “a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities we’ve been able to develop.” Shane finds that basically every outside observer — including those of all ideological stripes — finds this claim to be preposterous:

Others who question the C.I.A. claim include strong supporters of the drone program like Bill Roggio, editor of The Long War Journal, who closely tracks the strikes.

“The Taliban don’t go to a military base to build bombs or do training,” Mr. Roggio said. “There are families and neighbors around. I believe the people conducting the strikes work hard to reduce civilian casualties. They could be 20 percent. They could be 5 percent. But I think the C.I.A.’s claim of zero civilian casualties in a year is absurd.”

Brennan issued a new statement to the Times suggesting that the CIA has merely “not found credible evidence of collateral deaths” from the drone strikes:

“Fortunately, for more than a year, due to our discretion and precision, the U.S. government has not found credible evidence of collateral deaths resulting from U.S. counterterrorism operations outside of Afghanistan or Iraq, and we will continue to do our best to keep it that way,” Mr. Brennan said.

Given that the drones are operated remotely, it’s far from clear how the CIA even knows who is being killed in many of these strikes.

Woman weightlifter fights to compete in hijab

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on June 10, 2011 by loonwatch

 

Woman weightlifter fights to compete in hijab

by Liz Goodwin

A 35-year-old weightlifter is battling to be able to compete in the sport she loves while wearing a hijab instead of the body-hugging uniform that’s required.

Kulsoom Abdullah, who was born in the United States to Pakistani parents, discovered weightlifting at her gym, Crossfit, in Atlanta in 2008. She entered her first open competition last year, and was thrilled to find out that she was actually pretty good in the competitive sport. She can lift 70 kilos (about 154 pounds) to her shoulders, and 60 kilos (or about 132 pounds) over her head, in a move called the “clean-and-jerk.” Last December, she qualified for the American Open Weightlifting Championships, which would have been her first national competition.

But when her coaches asked whether she would be able to wear her modified uniform–which covers everything but her face, hands, and feet–the organizers told told them no.

Abdullah talked to some lawyer friends, who told her that other athletes had won their bids to wear different clothing for religious reasons. So she tried again, this time personally writing to USA Weightlifting with her request, and asking the group if it could compromise on a uniform.

Officials with the group wrote back and said they had to follow the rules of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), which mandates collarless uniforms and doesn’t allow exceptions.

“I was really disappointed because I was really looking forward to it,” she told The Lookout. “I had never thought I would qualify at the national level.”

“It is like saying, if you are different, you can not compete,” she wrote on her web site. “I am not asking people to change, I am just asking to participate and be able to dress the way I do.”

Now, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim advocacy group, is taking up Abdullah’s cause, and trying to lobby weightlifting organizations to revise their rules in time for her to compete in a July national competition. CAIR officials are arguing that USA Weightlifting is in violation of the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, which forbids sports bodies from discriminating based on “race, color, religion, sex, age, or national origin.” Not allowing Abdullah to wear her hijab is discrimination, CAIR maintains.

USA Weightlifting told The Lookout in a statement that “uniforms must not cover either the knees or the elbows because the judges must be able to see that the lifter has locked out his or her knees and elbows in order for the lift to be deemed completed.” The IWF will discuss Abdullah’s request at a June 26 meeting in Penang, Malaysia. United States Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Jones says the group is committed to being “inclusive” but that it’s up to the IWF to decide if the modified uniform would provide a “competitive advantage.”

While the weightlifting powers-that-be have decided against her for now, Abdullah says she never feels out of place when training six days a week or when in open competitions with other lifters.

“They’re very encouraging,” she says of her fellow weightlifters, who are mostly men. “They’re really nice people and they’re very welcoming.”

As female competitor, “you’re always going to feel a little different,” she said of the traditionally male-dominated sport.

She says her family, who she lives with, is also supportive. “I mean, it is different, so they were [hesitant] … but they said as long as you don’t get hurt that’s fine. Sometimes it’s a little bit scary for my mom but I think she’s used to it now.”

Abdullah has a PhD in electrical computer engineering from Georgia Tech, and still does research at the university. She said what she likes about lifting is ”there’s a lot of technique involved. Someone could be very strong and not be able to lift as much.”

Excelling at lifting “gave me confidence,” she said, adding that she hopes more women will join up if they hear about their story.

Abdullah’s problem is not unique in the world of sports. The Iranian woman’s soccer team showed up to a Olympic qualifying match against Jordan wearing hijabs on Sunday, and officials with the global soccer governing body, FIFA, promptly disqualified them. FIFA banned the headscarves in 2007, citing choking hazards.

This is what a standard weighlifting uniform looks like, as modeled by Mabel Mosquera at the 2004 Olympics:

Jezebel Turns Osama bin Laden’s Daughter into a Killing Machine

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2011 by loonwatch

Jezebel Turns Osama bin Laden’s Daughter into a Killing Machine

(MuslimahMediaWatch) -Lara

Though one expects a whopping media event like the death of Osama Bin Laden to produce speculative stories on an industrial scale, it is to be hoped that the speculation is at least based in reality. Blogs engage in wild speculation, but serious media blogs are still behooved to be based on facts; otherwise, we might as well read slash fiction.

None of this quibbling for Anna North at Jezebel, who ponders the future of Osama bin Laden’s 12-year-old daughter, Safiyah, in a recent post. By ponder, I mean indulge in wild speculation with lashings of Orientalist and Islamophobic tropes.

The post, which has united commenters in disgust (one of whom, notably described the post as being written in  “Islamophobinese”), is boldly titled, “The Future of Bin Laden’s Daughter.” The article is inexplicably illustrated by a black and white photograph of a girl’s eyes. The eyes actually appear to be blue (Safiyah’s are likely to be brown), so already the indications are clear that a creepy agenda is ahead.

The first few paragraphs repeat what is known: her age, that she witnessed OBL’s death. From then, the fate of the children is discussed. North misquotes Canadian paper, The Star, stating that some want the children to be sent to madrassas in Pakistan, which would turn them into “jihadis.” What the article actually said was that the notorious Lal masjid had offered the children places, in what is almost certainly a bid for attention. By not making this clear, North perpetuates both the stereotype of madrassas as sinister hotbeds of nascent terrorism (rather than the actual meaning of the word: “schools”) and also the idea that there is a clamour in Pakistan to radicalize these children.

Safiyah’s very name is a cause of suspicion to North, who mentions the OBL quote that he’s named her after a woman who killed a Jewish spy, hence her very name is a “connection to jihad.” A bit of Islam 101 would have revealed that Safiyah (RA) was actually a Jewish convert to Islam and a wife of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), hence the popularity of this name amongst Muslims.

Anyway, enough facts! It’s time for some pop culture references, however tasteless they may be when discussing a bereaved teenager. You see, Safiyah’s life is just like the film Hanna, about a girl who is raised and trained as an expert killer. Despite the fact that there is no evidence at all of Safiyah being trained to kill.At all.

However, we are not in a place of facts, truth, or evidence, so North happily states that the whole life imitating art should have Safiyah undergoing super-secret training and then avenging her father’s death, because as we know, the only Arabs/Muslims in films are Reel Bad ones.

From that “if my granny had wheels, she’d be a bus” level of reasoning, North finally concludes it is the role, nay, the “job” of the U.S. to stop this happening.

Right. So the U.S. is now duty-bound to prevent something happening that happens in films, not real life—something that there is no evidence to indicate will happen. There is also the whole issue of national sovereignty and how much right the U.S. has to interfere with the lives of foreign citizens in foreign countries who have not actually committed any crime against the U.S. or anyone else. Admittedly that last issue has often been hazy in practice, but history does not show U.S. intervention to be hugely positive, let alone worthy of encouragement in a supposedly progressive blog.

Therein lies the source of disappointment. From decidedly unpromising beginnings, Jezebel has attempted to improve its coverage of Muslim women, even featuring the work of several MMW writers. Yet someone saw fit not only to write this dreck, but allow it to be published. While recent kerfuffles would indicate that the “New” Jezebel is not massively concerned by reader criticism, such emphatic criticism should surely not be ignored. Until then, in a reversal of the usual statement: skip the post, read the comments.

Osama Bin Laden Killed

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2011 by loonwatch

The USA got Osama!

Today people are celebrating but there will be a tomorrow to think about. Are we going to scale back our wars, drone attacks and support for occupations; issues which breed hundreds of Osama’s or will we continue to ignore them?

Osama bin Laden killed in Pakistan

(AlJazeera)

US president Barack Obama said bin Laden, the most-wanted fugitive on the US list, has been killed on Sunday in a US operation in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, about 150km north of Islamabad.

“Tonight, I can report to the people of the United States and the world, the United States had carried an operation that has killed Osama Bin Laden, a terrorist responsible for killing thousands of innocent people,” Obama said in a statement.

“Today, at my direction, the United States carried out that operation… they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

“The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date against al-Qaeda.

“We must also reaffirm that United states is not and will never be at war against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader, in fact, he slaughtered many Muslims,” Obama said.

US celebrations

Barack Obama called bin Laden’s death the ‘most significant achievement’ against al-Qaeda [EPA]

As the news of bin Laden’s death spread, crowds gathered outside the White House in Washington DC to celebrate.

Former US president George Bush called his death a “momentous achievement”.

“The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done,” Bush said in a statement.

According to Al Jazeeera’s Rosalind Jordan in Washington, the operation had been in the making for the last nine or 10 months.

“The fact that it happened inside Pakistan, there have been suggestions that Pakistani intelligence may have been protecting them,” she said.

Patty Culhane, another Al Jazeera correspondent, said the US authorities got intelligence last September and were able to track bin Laden down through his couriers. They followed them to his compound which is reported to be worth over a million dollars.

Reporting from Pakistan, Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder said the development had caught a lot of people by surprise .

“He was considered by many as a hero, but not to the extent that people would come out on the streets. The reaction so far not likely to be strong on the streets, perhaps a protest here or there by the religious parties,” he said.

‘Symbolic victory’

Qais Azimy, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Kabul, said Afghan officials described bin Laden’s killing as a “symbolic victory”, since he was no longer directly connected to the group’s field operations.

“This organisation (Al Qaeda) is more than Bin Laden, it may be symbolised by Bin Laden, but it definitely is more than Bin Laden”

Mark Kimmit, US military analyst

Mark Kimmit, a US military analyst, said bin Laden’s death “was not the end of terrorism, but an end of a chapter.”

“Capturing or killing bin Laden has more iconic value. It will have symbolic value, because it has been a number of years since bin Laden has exercised day to day control over operations. We still have an al-Qaeda threat out there and that will be there for a number of years.

“This organisation (al-Qaeda) is more than bin Laden, it may be symbolised by bin Laden, but it definitely is more than bin Laden,” he said.

It is, however, a major accomplishment for Obama and his national security team. Obama’s predecessor, George Bush, had repeatedly vowed to bring to justice the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, but never did before leaving office in early 2009.

He had been the subject of a search since he eluded US soldiers and Afghan militia forces in a large-scale assault on the Tora Bora mountains in 2001. The trail quickly went cold after he disappeared and many intelligence officials believed he had been hiding in Pakistan.

While in hiding, bin Laden had taunted the West and advocated his views in videotapes spirited from his hideaway.

Besides September 11, Washington has also linked bin Laden to a string of attacks – including the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 bombing of the warship USS Cole in Yemen.

Having the body may help convince any doubters that bin Laden is really dead.

Ruth Pfau: Pakistan’s “Mother Theresa”

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2010 by loonwatch

In my opinion the work Ruth Pfau is doing is greater than Mother Theresa because she is attacking the root of the problem and not just helping people cope after the fact. (hat tip: Leonoroa)

Pakistan’s ‘Mother Teresa’ saving flood victims

By Mark Lobel (BBC)

A tiny, frail lady – her silver grey hair tucked under a white head scarf with a red floral trim – stands defiantly at a relief camp she set up for minority people displaced by Pakistan’s recent deadly flooding.

Eighty-one-year-old German nun Ruth Pfau is surveying the needs of hundreds whose homes were washed away.

Two months since they sought shelter in Hyderabad, on disused land by the side of a busy road, she and her team have provided them with tents, food, water, medicine and a school.

“We need blankets,” many of them shout at once. Then they complain the dry rations they received did not include sugar, milk, salt or chilli.

For a split second Dr Pfau is taken aback and winces, before noting down their concerns.

Her arrival has been a Godsend for them, the forgotten of the floods.

Immense stamina
“We only go into these camps where, for some reason or other, nobody else is willing or able, or ever thought of helping them,” Dr Pfau explained.

Dr Pfau has established leprosy clinics across Pakistan
She is one of the very few helping the flood-affected Hindu minority.

Dr Pfau’s service to Pakistan’s most neglected began more than 50 years ago.

She took on the country’s leprosy problem, rescuing children holed up in caves and cattle pens for years as their disfiguring and suffering worsened, abandoned by distraught parents terrified they were contagious.

She trained Pakistani doctors and attracted foreign donations, building leprosy clinics across the country.

“Working with Dr Pfau is very, very difficult, because she has such immense stamina, that I don’t think anyone can match,” said Mervyn Lobo, the organisation’s national co-ordinator, who has travelled with her for more than 11 years.

Born in the German city of Leipzig in 1929, Ruth Pfau grew up fearing for her life as first Allied forces bombed her town during the Second World War, then Russian forces ran amok.

She saw her younger brother die, was forced to steal wood and coal for heating food and risked her own life escaping East Germany.

“If I give any sense to these years, it is a preparation to be ready to help others,” she explained.

After completing a medical degree and joining a French Roman Catholic Order, she decided to leave for India.

But diverted to Pakistan while waiting for her visa in 1958, she was to stumble upon leprosy, a disease she had never heard of in a country she did not know existed.

“Well if it doesn’t hit you the first time, I don’t think it will ever hit you,” she recalled, after first seeing leprosy during a visit to a makeshift dispensary built on a disused graveyard in Karachi.

“Actually the first patient who really made me decide was a young Pathan.

“He must have been my age, I was at this time not yet 30, and he crawled on hands and feet into this dispensary, acting as if this was quite normal, as if someone has to crawl there through that slime and dirt on hands and feet, like a dog.”

Tears of happiness
Soon after, the clinic was moved from the makeshift dispensary to a two-storey nursing home in Karachi, which became Dr Pfau’s new headquarters.

Dr Pfau’s compassion for people like Bundu Sheikh have drawn comparisons with Mother Teresa
The Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre is now eight storeys high, staffed by former patients and children of patients and houses a hospital.

Sitting in the corridor, 31-year-old leprosy patient Shabana, the wife of a rickshaw driver, awaits a check-up.

“I was ill with fever and severe fits so I went to the civil hospital and they sent me here. Dr Pfau’s clinic paid for all my tests and treatments. I could never have afforded them myself,” she said.

“After seven months, I am now much better.”

On the outskirts of Hyderabad, Dr Pfau received a warm welcome from a former leprosy patient Bundu Sheikh, during one of her visits.

Covered in dust with bright, dyed-orange hair, he greeted Dr Pfau with a huge hug and raced out so fast he forgot his shoes.

He is now a cleaner with a deformed nose and no feeling in either leg, living in a makeshift shack on the roadside.

When asked how important Dr Pfau has been in his life, he cried tears of happiness.

“Without her,” he said, “I’d be in the hands of God.

“She is not just a doctor, not just an ordinary person, not just a mother, but a Messiah.”

‘Pakistani marriage’
Key to Dr Pfau’s huge success in saving people’s lives and bringing leprosy under control by the mid-1990s was winning over Pakistan’s leaders.

Dr Pfau has transformed the lives of thousands of people in Pakistan
They were hesitant to help at first but soon appointed her the country’s federal advisor on leprosy.

She said the government was an essential partner.

“We are like a Pakistani marriage. It was an arranged marriage because it was necessary. We always and only fought with each other. But we never could go in for divorce because we had too many children.”

Having won over the establishment and created such a strong and widespread network of doctors, Dr Pfau used the opportunity to tackle tuberculosis and partial blindness.

She has also assisted the country’s many forgotten displaced people and rescued victims from the 2005 earthquake and floods of 2010.

Her determination and selfless service explain why many see her in the same light as another European-born nun – Mother Teresa, winner of a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her services to the poor and dispossessed of India.

Dr Pfau said that, though she greatly appreciated and admired Mother Teresa, in reality the similarities between them were few.

She said her focus was on removing the root of the problem – not just dealing with its symptoms – the same ethos that has served her so well over the years in Pakistan when dealing with poor, displaced and marginalised people.

“The most important thing is that we give them their dignity back,” she insisted.

 

Those irrational, misled, conspiratorial Muslims

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , on May 26, 2010 by loonwatch

by Glenn Greenwald

(updated below – Update II)

The New York Times this morning has a particularly lush installment of one of the American media’s most favored, reliable, and self-affirming rituals — it’s time to mock and pity Those Crazy, Primitive, Irrational, Propagandized Muslims and their Wild Conspiracy Theories, which their reckless media and extremists maliciously disseminate in order to generate unfair and unfounded hostility toward the U.S.:

Conspiracy theory is a national sport in Pakistan, where the main players — the United States, India and Israel — change positions depending on the ebb and flow of history. Since 2001, the United States has taken center stage, looming so large in Pakistan’s collective imagination that it sometimes seems to be responsible for everything that goes wrong here. . . . The problem is more than a peculiar domestic phenomenon for Pakistan. It has grown into a narrative of national victimhood that is a nearly impenetrable barrier to any candid discussion of the problems here.  In turn, it is one of the principal obstacles for the United States in its effort to build a stronger alliance with a country to which it gives more than a billion dollars a year in aid.

Initially, it’s worth asking how these “conspiracy theories” compare to this:  from the front page of The New York Times, September 8, 2002:

More than a decade after Saddam Hussein agreed to give up weapons of mass destruction, Iraq has stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb, Bush administration officials said today. . . . In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium. . . . An Iraqi defector said Mr. Hussein had also heightened his efforts to develop new types of chemical weapons. An Iraqi opposition leader also gave American officials a paper from Iranian intelligence indicating that Mr. Hussein has authorized regional commandersto use chemical and biological weapons to put down any Shiite Muslim resistance that might occur if the United States attacks.

From the front page of The Washington Post, April 3, 2003:

Pfc. Jessica Lynch, rescued Tuesday from an Iraqi hospital, fought fiercely and shot several enemy soldiers after Iraqi forces ambushed the Army’s 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, firing her weapon until she ran out of ammunition, U.S. officials said yesterday. Lynch, a 19-year-old supply clerk, continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds and watched several other soldiers in her unit die around her in fighting 11 days ago, one official said. . . .Lynch’s rescue at midnight local time Tuesday was a classic Special Operations raid, with U.S. commandos in Blackhawk helicopters engaging Iraqi forces on their way in and out of the medical compound, defense officials said.

Brian Ross, ABC News, the week of October 25, 2001:

[S]ources tell ABCNEWS the anthrax in the tainted letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle was laced with bentonite. The potent additive is known to have been used by only one country in producing biochemical weapons — Iraq. . . . Former UN weapons inspectors say the anthrax found in a letter to Senator Daschle is nearly identical to samples they recovered in Iraq in 1994. . . . At the same time those [anthrax] results were coming in, officials in the Czech Republic confirmed that hijack ringleader, Mohammed Atta, had met at least once with a senior Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague, raising what authorities consider some extremely provocative questions.

NBC News, April 26, 2004:

Pat Tillman, who gave up the glamorous life of a professional football star to join the Army Rangers, was remembered as a role model of courage and patriotism Friday after military officials said he had been killed in action in Afghanistan. . . . [U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Matthew] Beevers said Tillman was killed by enemy fire, but he had no information about what type of weapons were involved in the assault, or whether he died instantly.

Jeffrey Goldberg, The New Yorker, February 10, 2003:

According to several intelligence officials I spoke to, the relationship between bin Laden and Saddam’s regime was brokered in the early nineteen-nineties by the then de-facto leader of Sudan, the pan-Islamist radical Hassan al-Tourabi. . . . In interviews with senior officials, the following picture emerged: American intelligence believes that Al Qaeda and Saddam reached a non-aggression agreement in 1993, and thatthe relationship deepened further in the mid-nineteen-nineties . . . I learned ofanother possible connection early last year, while I was interviewing Al Qaeda operatives in a Kurdish prison in Sulaimaniya. There, a man whom Kurdish intelligence officials identified as a captured Iraqi agent told me that in 1992 he served as a bodyguard to Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s deputy, when Zawahiri secretly visited Baghdad. . . . [James] Woolsey, who served as President Clinton’s first C.I.A. director, said that it is now illogical to doubt the notion that Saddam collaborates with Islamist terrorism.

Bernard Lewis, Wall St. Journal, August 8, 2006:

Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22. . . . This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers, January 11, 2002, explaining the treatment of detainees:

I mean, these are people that would gnaw hydraulic lines in the back of a C-17 to bring it down. I mean, so this is — these are very, very dangerous people, and that’s how they’re being treated.

And that’s to say nothing about the orgies of “conspiracy theories” churned out on a daily basis from right-wing talk radio, blog outlets, Fox News and even establishment Republicans over the years — from Iranian computer virusesVince Foster’s murderthe nefarious Muslim-Leftist alliance, ACORN’s omnipotence, and Obama death panels to The Vicious War on Christmas, the DOJ’s “Al Qaeda 7,” Maoist followers in the administration, Obama’s Kenyan birthplace and Islamic beliefs, and the subversive Congressional interns serving at the behest of CAIR.

* * * * *

There’s little doubt that many Pakistanis believe all sorts of things that are false and that some extremist sectors peddle paranoid conspiracies.  Propaganda is a standard tactic used by political and religious leaders of all types to manipulate their followers, as is casting blame on external enemies for those leaders’ failures.  Indeed, it’s virtually impossible to find a society free of extremist paranoia, and Pakistan undoubtedly has its share.  But look at the specific beliefs identified by theNYT as proof of how conspiratorial the Pakistanis are, and decide where the real propaganda is.

First we learn that “no part of the Pakistani state — either the weak civilian government or the powerful military — is willing to risk publicly owning [its] relationship” with the U.S., and that “[o]ne result is that nearly all of American policy toward Pakistan is conducted in secret, a fact that serves only to further feed conspiracies.”  The NYT specifically cites the fact that “the Central Intelligence Agency uses networks of private spies; and the main tool of American policy here, the drone program, is not even publicly acknowledged to exist.”

But isn’t exactly the same true in the U.S., where our most consequential acts in Pakistan — from drone attacks to Special Forces operations — are ones the U.S. Government will not even publicly acknowledge, let alone debate and describe?  Here’s what Hillary Clinton said when asked last December about the deaths of Pakistani civilians caused by U.S. actions in that country:  ”I’m not going to comment on any particular tactic or technology.”  And the NYT should perhaps check itsown front page from yesterday, which detailed a secret order from last fall directing a massive escalation in the use of U.S. Special Forces in a whole slew of Muslim countries — all without any public discussion, debate, or authorization from Congress.  We’re essentially fighting covert, unauthorized wars in multiple Muslim nations — including Pakistan — all while the NYT mocks those silly Pakistanis for failing to publicly discuss their own military policies and for believing that the U.S. is engaged in unknown and unseen conduct in their country.

Then the NYT derides some Pakistanis for their crazy “theory that India, Israel and the United States — through their intelligence agencies and the company formerly known as Blackwater — are conspiring to destroy Pakistan.”  But what the NYT fails to mention is that the U.S. is actually using Blackwater for a wide variety of covert, lethal missions inside Pakistan, as The Nation‘s Jeremy Scahill has documented at length.  They may not be “conspiring to destroy Pakistan,” but they are engaged in “targeted assassinations,” “‘snatch and grabs’ of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan,” and “assist[ing] in gathering intelligence and help[ing] direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes.”

Given Blackwater’s history and the secrecy in which its conduct is shrouded, isn’t it more rational to worry about their conduct inside one’s country than to ignore it or assume it’s benign?  After all, if a foreign country were sending its military and intelligence services inside the U.S. to assassinate our citizens, drop bombs on us from robots in the air, and infiltrate our society with shadowy private contractors — as we’re doing to Pakistan — do you think we might be projecting intense hostility toward that country and expressing serious suspicions about what else they were doing inside our country?  Is it conspiratorial paranoia or rational self-interest that leads one to think that way?

As further proof of this pervasive myth-making in Pakistan, the NYT article cites the fact that one Pakistani lawyer with a talk show “argues that Al Qaeda is an American invention.”  While that’s not precisely true, it is a matter of undisputed fact that the mujahedeen who were the precursors to Al Qaeda — as well as Osama bin Laden himself — were supported and funded by the U.S. throughout the 1980s, all the way up to the formal founding of “Al Qaeda” itself:

Thousands of Muslim radicals joined the CIA and mujahedeen, including bin Laden, the wealthy son of a Saudi road builder. Though he didn’t actually take up arms, he helped build roads and arms depots, using his own funds and CIA money.

“We funded him, we and the Saudis,” said Glynn Wood, professor of international policy at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. . . . Pakistani investigative journalist Ahmed Rashid reported recently that the CIA funded an underground arms depot, training facility and medical center that bin Laden helped build in 1986 near the Pakistan border. There bin Laden set up his first training camp.

As the BBC said in 2004:  ”Bin Laden and his fighters received American and Saudi funding” in the 1980s and “[s]ome analysts believe Bin Laden himself had security training from the CIA.”  In 2007,Der Spiegel called bin Laden “one of the best customers for the CIA” during that decade.

In light of all that, what’s more irrational and propagandized:  believing that the U.S. was responsible for the birth of Al Qaeda (as some benighted Pakistanis do) or treating that belief as though it’s some wild, unhinged, crazed conspiracy theory with no basis in reality (as the NYT today does)?  The same is true for what the NYT castigates as Pakistani conspiracies “infused with anti-Semitism,” such as the belief that Jewish and Indian lobbies exert influence on U.S. Government foreign policy.  What rational person denies that such groups — along with a slew of others — exert political power in Washington, or that Israel maintains close military and other relations with Pakistan’s arch-enemy, India?

It’s not until the third-to-last paragraph that the NYT article cursorily acknowledges the clear basis which rational Pakistanis would have for being highly suspicious of American involvement in their country:

There are very real reasons for Pakistanis to be skeptical of the United States. It encouraged — and financed — jihadis waging a religious war against the Soviets in the 1980s, while supporting the military autocrat Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, who seeded Pakistan’s education system with Islamists.

And, of course, the U.S. propped up that country’s oppressive Musharraf regime with massive amounts of aid — not to mention the small fact that the U.S. invaded and has been militarily occupying two of Pakistan’s neighboring countries (one of which shares a large border with Pakistan) for almost the entire last decade.  In sum, the U.S. has covertly played a central role in the internal affairs of the region generally and Pakistan specifically for decades.  In light of that, what’s more irrational:  to question what the U.S. is up to or to treat such questions as the by-product of crazed and deranged fanaticism?

Finally, note how the NYT article is framed at the top by a photograph of a Pakistani holding a sign that reads “We Hate America” — as though the only reason someone might harbor such anti-American hostility is because they’ve been misled with false claims and conspiracy theories about Our Noble and Magnanimous Land.  That — about a country where we’ve propped up numerous oppressive regimes and continue to slaughter civilians via sky robots.  Of all the myths identified by the NYT article, the implicit one conveyed by that photograph – Pakistanis harbor anger toward the U.S. only because of false conspiracy theories they’re being fed — is easily the most extreme.

This game of Let’s Mock Those Crazy, Conspiratorial Arabs and Muslims is as useful as it is common:  recall how only the Paranoid “Arab Street” believed that the invasion of Iraq would lead to permanent American military bases in that country, only for this to be revealed, followed bythis.  There is a lot of propaganda, paranoia and myth in Pakistan, along with most places in the world.  But the American media’s fixation on pointing to it and deriding it has the principal effect (if not intent) of obscuring the role we play in enabling (and even justifying) those sentiments, along with at least our own equal share of such propaganda and our own media’s central role in bolstering it.

UPDATE:  As one commenter suggested, no discussion of how populations are subjected to conspiratorial propaganda is complete without this, from USA Today in September, 2003:

UPDATE II:  For similar reactions to this NYT article, see here and here.

Draw Muhammad Day Predictably Descends into Hate Fest

Posted in Feature, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2010 by loonwatch

Yesterday, May 20th was the Draw Muhammed Day which is extending into today, ostensibly put together to defend freedom of expression/speech. The original creators of the day have backed out, including Molly Norris, due to the tremendous amounts of bigotry and hate that it engendered, but others continued with the campaign.

Taking a glance at the Facebook page, most of the freedumb expressions are hateful and bigoted depictions of Muhammad meant to anger Muslims. Is it a coincidence that the ones who are reveling most in this day are racists and Islamophobes?

Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller have both been utterly gleeful over the event. Unconditionally supporting it, Spencer got in the act himself drawing Prophet Muhammad with a bomb on his head, though the depiction looks a little bit like Spencer himself, and Geller added to the fray by drawing Prophet Muhammad with the face of a pig.

As Shahed Amanullah said, this is pretty much collective punishment on the whole Muslim community for the actions of a few. The inspiration for this event was the threats that the South Park creators received from a group called Revolution Muslim.

We reported at the time that this group is composed of four or five individuals, all with dubious backgrounds. Not only are they on the fringe in terms of their beliefs, they are completely rejected in the American Muslim community. Yet for some curious reason the media took this story and ran with it as if these Revolution Muslim characters represented or had any clout amongst American Muslims. It is as though anyone can say they are Muslim or represent Muslims and they will get airtime if they do or say something crazy.

The event itself was a mixture of self-righteous internet warriors who cared less about free speech and more about offending and disparaging Muslims. The initial fan page was deleted by Facebook, shortly after that another one was started.

There were pictures of Quran’s in toilets, of Muhammad depicted in all sorts of ways which I won’t repeat or reproduce here because they are vile and disgusting, and go beyond any justification of free speech and into the realm of outright hostility and bigotry towards Muslims.  People can view the site and judge for themselves.

However, I must say that if this event was put together to defend freedom of speech it has failed. Freedom of speech, the freedom to offend, to be a racist is not in dispute but when you get called out for it don’t begin whining. There also seems to be a level of incitement, the strange and morbid wish to receive death threats, as the moderator put it, “Did you receive any death threats? If so, post them online and share the fun. :)

Interestingly enough, a few participants in the Draw Muhammad Day expressed disappointment at not receiving death threats, one Jack Burns wrote,

Jack Burns

Jack Burns

I’m really disappointed…I haven’t received any…I’m starting to feel left out!

Troels Jensen

Troels Jensen

damn, i did not get a death threat yet, darn…

The trouble seems to be one of communication. American Muslims say, “we respect free speech, and to begin with we don’t care about the South Park cartoon which was a media storm created from a small group of wing-nuts who got way more attention than they deserve.”
Unfortunately, as when Muslims condemn and fight terrorism no one cares or is paying attention. A day such as this isn’t about criticism or defense of free speech, it is more like a day when people can stroke their own egos and have some excitement in otherwise boring lives.

Online ‘Draw Mohammed’ Campaign

The Pakistani government has blocked access to Facebook and YouTube over a campaign encouraging users to post images of the Prophet Muhammad online.

A group of free speech advocates declared May 20 “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” to protest censorship of an episode of South Park that featured illustrations of Muhammad. In 2006, the show poked fun of a controversy over Danish cartoons with images of Muhammad. For Muslims, it’s blasphemous to show an image of him, but the episode aired without much notice.

 

That’s part of the freedom of speech. It’s not always neat and clean. It’s not always nice and smooth. Sometimes it’s a little ugly and a little bit dirty, but it’s free speech.

– Liam Fox, NewsJunkiePost.com

Then last month the prophet appeared on South Park, again, this time in a bear suit. In response, a radical Muslim website posted a warning to the show’s creators saying they could end up like Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who was shot and stabbed to death after making a film that protested domestic violence in Islamic cultures. Comedy Central censored all references to Muhammad in the followingSouth Park episode.

That sparked cartoonist Molly Norris to establish “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” in protest; a Facebook page was created for people to post drawings, and the campaign spilled over into YouTube.

“The reaction of people drawing cartoons and encouraging people to draw cartoons is to make the point that one group cannot impose its ideology or its theology on others simply by saying we don’t allow that or it offends us,” says Liam Fox, who writes for the website News Junkie and says he supports the protest.

But many of the drawings and comments posted on the Facebook page weren’t just depictions of Muhammad; there were some very anti-Muslim comments. That prompted Norris and many other professional illustrators to withdraw their support for the protest.

“It may be a sincere attempt at trying to make a statement about free expression,” says Rex Rabin, president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. “It just kind of strikes me as unnecessary and childish.”

Rabin says he believes in free speech and he thinks cartoons can be a great way to make a statement. But he says he sees no point in cartoons that are simply meant to offend an entire religious group.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has condemned the threat of violence against the creators of South Park. But a spokesman for the organization, Ibrahim Hooper, says the protest has created a worse situation.

“It was being taken up by Muslim bashers and Islamophobes and those who have a deep hatred for the faith of Islam and that’s what we’re seeing today,” he says.

Still, Hooper and CAIR are asking Muslims to respond to the situation by organizing educational events about Islam.

Fox thinks all groups have to have a thick skin in a free society, so he stands behind “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.”

“That’s part of the freedom of speech. It’s not always neat and clean. It’s not always nice and smooth,” he says. “Sometimes it’s a little ugly and a little bit dirty, but it’s free speech.”

Facebook briefly took down the “Draw Mohammed” page, but then put it back up. By Thursday afternoon it had more than 100,000 members.

 

U.S. avenges Times Square bombing by killing more Pakistani civilians

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2010 by loonwatch
U.S. predator droneU.S. predator drone

Some days ago, a man of Pakistani descent by the name of Faisal Shahzad tried to detonate a bomb in Times Square.  Shahzad was arrested, and confessed to the crime, saying that he did it in retaliation for U.S. drone attacks against Pakistan.  These U.S. led drone attacks are illegal under international law and constitute an act of war against Pakistan.  In fact, they have killed hundreds of Pakistani civilians and have created widespread anti-American sentiment in the country.

I analyzed the Times Square bombing here, and explained how the only way to truly stop the recruitment of terrorists against the U.S. is for us to stop bombing them over there.  Unfortunately, the U.S. government decided to take another route…

Shahzad’s plot failed.  Nobody was hurt; nobody was killed.  But the United States decided to react in an Israeli manner, and sought to avenge the zero dead by dropping more bombs on Pakistani heads, killing civilians in the process.  There’s nothing bombs can’t solve, right?  Sounds like we’ve taken a page out of the terrorists’ playbook.

Here is BBC News’ heavily biased report:

US drone ‘kills 24 suspected militants’ in Pakistan

At least six unmanned drone aircraft, believed to be operated by the CIA, were in the air when the missile strikes took place early on Tuesday, a local official told the BBC.

In the first attack, they fired at least 11 missiles – two hit a vehicle, killing four, while nine landed on a compound located in a ravine, he said…

Some days ago, a drone strike on a compound in the same area killed five people and injured four.

The US has stepped up pressure on Pakistan’s government since linking a failed car bombing in New York to the Pakistani Taliban.

Drone attacks have focused on North and South Waziristan, where US officials believe many al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters find shelter.

Pakistan publicly criticises drone attacks, saying they fuel support for militants…

It is not known how many civilians have also been killed.

Is it not interesting that we know exactly how many militants died–twenty-four (not twenty or twenty-five)–but are somehow dumbstruck when it comes to how many civilians have been killed?  Why can’t we report at least a roundabout number of how many civilians were killed?

By leaving out a number, the government and the mainstream media attempt to dehumanize the victims; they are a faceless, even numberless lot…not worthy of more than one line dug deep in the text of the article. Had civilians died in the Times Square bombing, the mainstream media would tell us their names, their life stories, and the families they left behind.  Meanwhile, the victims of the U.S. drone attacks not only don’t get faces, they don’t even get numbers. This is truly a Herculean achievement!  It used to be that they would be reported as faceless numbers; now they are both faceless and numberless.  Effectively, it’s as if they never existed, effaced from the pages of time.

It may interest you to know that–as a matter of policy–the United States does not count how many civilians have been killed by the U.S. military–neither in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or Iraq.  General Tommy Franks declared: “We don’t do body counts.”  That’s strange.  If you invaded these countries to liberate its people, wouldn’t you want to know how many of them you have killed, so you can evaluate whether or not your “liberation” is really benefiting them?

If we use previous estimates, at least one-third of those killed in these recent drone attacks were civilians, meaning at least eight people.  Can you imagine the rage in American eyes if the Times Square bomber had successfully killed eight New Yorkers?  We’d have bombed Pakistan “back to the Stone Ages.”  But when our drones slaughter Pakistani civilians in these illegal drone attacks, we somehow expect the Pakistanis to thank us for it.  And by the way, eight is based on conservativeestimates.  According to Pakistani sources, the number of civilians killed by U.S. drones far outnumbers the number of militants.

We must stop this back-and-forth, this tit-for-tat.  We can’t retaliate by killing civilians.  We simply can’t, not only if we want to stop the recruitment of terrorists, but also if we want to live up to the very ideals that this country was founded upon.

Most importantly, the question is: how many drone attacks on militants and civilians alike will quench our thirst for blood, our desire for revenge?

 

Pakistanis pose as Indians to get hired in the U.S.

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2010 by loonwatch
At least *this* was a better stereotype...At least *this* was a better stereotype…

Reuters reports:

Pakistanis pose as Indians after NY bomb scare

(Reuters) – Pakistani merchants and job seekers in the United States, still reeling from economic hardship since the September 11 attacks of 2001, are posing as Indians to avoid discrimination in the wake of the Times Square bomb attempt.

“A lot of Pakistanis can’t get jobs after 9/11 and now it’s even worse,” said Asghar Choudhri, an accountant and chairman of Brooklyn’s Pakistani American Merchant Association. “They are now pretending they are Indian so they can get a job.”

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, creating hostilities that ordinarily would lead a Pakistani to resent being mistaken for an Indian.

Merchants in New York, many of whom declined to be named, still remember reprisals after September 11. Soon after the attacks, there was a drive-by shooting in Brooklyn at a Pakistani restaurant, which is now closed.

The local merchants association has shrunk to 150 members, from about 250 merchants almost a decade ago.

The FBI also arrested many undocumented workers in the neighborhood, leading to a wave of deportations, and residents would call law enforcement to make claims against their neighbors, including many false claims, Choudhri said…”We are embarrassed that the name of Pakistan came up.”

 

South Park angle unlikely; Marriott Hotel, not Viacom, probable target

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2010 by loonwatch
Faisal ShahzadFaisal Shahzad

Following the failed Times Square bombing and the arrest of a Pakistani-American suspect named Faisal Shahzad, questions remain about his possible motivations.  Some have suggested that the recent South Park controversy could have something to do with it: perhaps Mr. Shahzad was retaliating against Viacom, which owns Comedy Central.  According to this theory, the grievance was over a depiction of the Prophet Muhammad by the satirical cartoon show South Park, which runs on Comedy Central. The Viacom building is in close proximity to the intended blast site.

The police have not ruled out this South Park angle (and I do not think they should), although officials have conceded that it is one out of a hundred possibilities.  However, certain extreme right-wingers and anti-Islam ideologues (such as Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller) have invested a lot in this South Park-Times Square connection, and pray that it turns out to be true.  It would certainly allow them to paint the Muslim community in the worst possible light: “Those crazy Moozlems bomb and kill innocent civilians simply for drawing a cartoon of their prophet!”

Proponents of the South Park-Times Square connection argue that both the (1) location and (2) timing fit.  As for the location, it is said that the the parked SUV was in close proximity to the Viacom headquarters.  This is true, but it is unlikely that the blast would have significantly damaged the Viacom building.  Instead, it seems more likely that the intended target was the Marriott Hotel, which is right next to the blast site.  Most importantly, the reaction of the emergency response teams gives us a strong indication of what the terrorists’ target was.  It seems to have been the Marriott Hotel, which was evacuated and shut down.  USA Today reports:

NYC’s Marriott Marquis partly evacuated due to car bomb scare Saturday

Update, 12:13 pm: Earlier this morning, I learned more about what Marriott Marquis guests experienced last night from Kathy Duffy, who handles public relations for Marriott’s New York hotels. Since the suspicious vehicle was parked on the 45th Street side of the Marquis, NYPD told the hotel to evacuate that side of the building. Since the hotel was sold out, that meant evacuating several hundred people who had rooms between floor 10 and 45, she said. The Marquis provided the guests with temporary cots and blankets in the banquet room (see CNN iReport photo link below), where they stayed until around 2 to 3 a.m., when they were allowed back to their rooms, Duffy told me.

Because the Marriott Hotel–and not the Viacom building–was evacuated, it seems pretty safe to say that the former was the target and not the latter.  Furthermore, the attack was on Saturday night–after hours.  The Viacom building would likely have been virtually empty.  Wouldn’t a bloodthirsty terrorist have struck during peak office hours in order to kill as many Viacom employees as possible?  The New York Times commented:

Times Square on a Saturday night is one of the busiest and most populated locations in the city, and has long been seen as a likely target for some kind of attack.

We can further reasonably assume that a bloodthirsty terrorist would want to kill as many people as possible, and therefore a “sold out” Marriott and a heavily “populated” Times Square were the more likely targets than the unoccupied Viacom building.  If it was truly the Pakistani Taliban involved in the attack, the chosen target (the Marriott) would fit their M.O.  This is not the first time the Marriott would have been targeted.  In 2006, Islamic extremists detonated a bomb outside the Marriott in Karachi, the same city where Faisal Shahzad allegedly met with radicals.  In 2008, the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was bombed, as well as another Marriott in Jakarta.  In 2003, the Marriott in South Jakarta was bombed.  In addition to the Marriott, several other hotels have been bombed in Pakistan.  In fact, two of the prime targets chosen by terrorists in Pakistan are consulates and hotels.

As for the timing of the attack, proponents of the South Park-Times Square connection argue that the bombing attempt occurred almost immediately following death threats made by Revolution Muslim. They argue: how can this just be a coincidence?  However, it is in fact the incredibly short time duration–between when the South Park controversy took place and the attempted Times Square bombing–that works most against the South Park-Times Square theory.  It is unlikely that the terrorists could have planned the attack so quickly.  Furthermore, and most importantly, numerous reports have come out saying that Faisal Shahzad went to Pakistan to receive terrorist training.  This happened long before the South Park controversy.  Hence, something else radicalized him and convinced him to bomb his adopted country.  If we assume that the Pakistani Taliban trained him (and instructed him to bomb NYC), then all this preceded the South Park affair.  Mr. Shahzad, and his Taliban teachers, had intended to bomb us long time ago.

It is highly unlikely that Revolution Muslim has anything to do with the bombing, as they are under constant scrutiny by the FBI.  They are known for their antics and tall talk, not for their actions and walk.  And surely they would have bombed the place first, before announcing to the world their intention to do that and placing themselves under the watchful eye of the government.

It could be argued that Revolution Muslim issued the call and other extremists hearkened to it.  However, as I discussed above, the bombing took place too soon afterward.  Furthermore, the Pakistani Taliban–who claimed responsibility for the bombing–have not (to my knowledge) ever expressed outrage over the South Park cartoons.  The South Park controversy seemed to be a decidedly North American affair, and it is unlikely that the Taliban took notice of it.  If they had, where were their bellicose condemnations and flamboyant threats?

Lastly, there seems to be no motive to attack Viacom.  Comedy Central had, to the dismay of the South Park creators, cowed to the threats from the Islamic extremists, and refused to show the Prophet Muhammad on their channel.  Faisal Shahzad is a highly educated man; certainly, he would have known that it would makes no sense to attack Viacom or Comedy Central, considering they met the extremists’ demands.  Had this recent bombing had anything to do with South Park, it would have been the creators of the show–not Viacom–whom would have been targeted.

In conclusion, it seems unlikely that the failed Times Square bombing had anything to do with the South Park controversy.  This is so because neither the location, timing, or motive fits.  Rather, the intended target seems to have been the Marriott Hotel and Times Square, both of which would have resulted in the greatest number of deaths.  As such, it is extremely unlikely that the Times Square bombing had anything to do with a cartoon’s depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.  I believe that the extreme right wing and anti-Islam camp wish to pin it on the South Park affair only to exploit the Times Square bombing to further their hate-filled agenda.

There is a concerted effort to hide the fact that our country’s horrific foreign policy–the interventionist policy in the Islamic world in general and the predator drone attacks in Pakistan in specific (which have killed hundreds of Pakistani civilians)–could be (and most likely is) what motivated the Times Square bombing. (I argue this here, and more convincingly here.)  Instead, it is easier to blame it on a heathen religion.