Archive for Peter King

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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the ranking Democrat on the committee, said he was concerned that the testimony he was about to hear was based on outdated information and not current intelligence.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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter King Defends NYPD Monitoring, Plans More Hearings on Islam

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

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

Peter King Defends NYPD Monitoring, Plans More Hearings on Islam

by George Zornick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter King Plans To Keep Probing For Muslim ‘Radicalization’ In 2012

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2012 by loonwatch

Good old IRA terror supporting congressman Peter King:

Peter King Plans To Keep Probing For Muslim ‘Radicalization’ In 2012

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee signaled Thursday he intends to keep investigating the American Muslim community despite a report this week that showed the number of Muslim extremists arrested for terrorism is on the wane.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), said he would resume his controversial hearings on radicalization among Muslim-Americans this year despite critics who say the focus on one ethnic group fuels bigotry and paranoia.

The chairman also said the committee would hold hearings on Islamist money coming into the United States and on “Iran’s intelligence services, proxies such as Hezbollah, and its ally of convenience, al-Qaeda; and the looming Iranian terror threat to the homeland.”

King will also continue his probe of leaks to a Hollywood filmmaker of classified details of the raid to kill Osama bin Laden, as well as about operations at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, saying they “could endanger the lives of our intelligence officers and special operators, their families, and the homeland.”

Previous hearings led by King last year on the same topic awakened a storm of controversy, with critics questioning whether Congress should single out a specific minority group as a possible threat to national security.

King held the controversial hearings, bearing the title “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.” Opponents such as Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said the hearings dredged up the dark days of McCarthyism and only served to “vilify” a segment of the American population.

Also on the committee’s agenda this year is an investigation of “the possible roles that the deceased al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki and his at-large associates, Daoud Chehazeh and Eyad al-Rababah, might have played in facilitating the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.”

In addition, the committee plans to review security preparations for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and seek obtaining Purple Heart medals for the military victims of the 2009 terror attacks in Little Rock, Ark., and at Fort Hood, Texas.

The committee has scheduled its first hearing of the year on Wednesday, when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will testify on President Obama’s 2013 budget request, expected Monday.

Sahar Aziz: The Contradictions of Obama’s Outreach to American Muslims

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2011 by loonwatch

The Contradictions of Obama’s Outreach to American Muslims

On the same day that Rep. Peter King held the fourth “homegrown terrorism” hearing focused exclusively on Muslims, the White House released its Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States. Despite the White House’s seemingly benign approach to counterterrorism, its implementation produces adverse effects similar to Mr. King’s confrontational tactics.

The White House Strategy proclaims, “Law enforcement and government officials for decades have understood the critical importance of building relationships, based on trust, with the communities they serve. Partnerships are vital to address a range of challenges and must have as their foundation a genuine commitment on the part of law enforcement and government to address community needs and concerns, including protecting rights and public safety.”

To someone unfamiliar with the history of community outreach to American Muslims, the strategy sounds ideal. However, the Obama Administration has sabotaged its own high-minded public position by adopting the Bush Administration’s counterterrorism model that punishes the broad Muslim community rather than targeting genuine threats. Thus, the Administration’s actual practices conform all-too-closely to Peter King’s vision of terrorism being synonymous with Islam.

While preventing terrorism before it happens is a legitimate strategy, the way in which it is currently implemented comes at a high price to a vulnerable minority — Muslims in America.

Expansive surveillance laws coupled with a relaxation of terrorism investigative standards have placed mosques under intrusive surveillance. Similarly, thousands of informants have been hired, for hefty payments, to induce inept and often mentally ill young Muslim men to join fake terrorist plots. Watch lists are bulging with Muslim names while those incorrectly listed lack due process rights to seek removal of their names. Scores of Muslims with no ties to terrorism are charged for making false statements to federal agents in retaliation for refusing to serve as informants. And attempts to locate “lone wolf terrorists” have resulted in the misguided conflation of Muslim orthodox practices with terrorism.

These assaults on Muslims’ civil liberties have strained relations between Muslim communities and law enforcement agencies.

Community outreach meetings, in theory, are supposed to provide the communities with an opportunity to work with government to keep counterterrorism efforts from violating civil rights and civil liberties. Unfortunately, officials routinely dismiss community grievances, reciting self-congratulatory boilerplate that the American government respects constitutional rights as it fights terrorism. Indeed, the government’s cavalier disregard of community concerns is so pervasive that many leaders have concluded that meetings with federal officials are merely pro forma, check-the-box events providing political cover to a government they believe is systematically and unlawfully profiling Muslims. Others have chosen to boycott the meetings altogether.

The government seems oblivious to the harm these counter-terrorism policies are doing to the potential for trust in Muslim communities. Making matters worse, the immense political pressure on the Justice Department to produce terrorism indictments, and congressional accusations that Obama is soft on terrorists, places the Muslim communities in an intractable dilemma: How can you be partners with agencies who misdirect adversarial behavior from actual terrorists to Muslim communities en masse?

If a young Muslim terrorist suspect manipulated into a phony plot has mental health problems and needs rehabilitative health services, for example, investigators and prosecutors nonetheless pursue the adversarial route — to prosecute and incarcerate. The combined effects of these entrapment efforts and over-charging obviously disturbed young Muslim men threatens to devastate Muslim communities in the same way that the mass incarceration of African American men has transformed the communities from which they have been removed.

Such concerns are validated by documents obtained through a freedom of information request by the American Civil Liberties Union, proving the FBI used community outreach meetings forcollecting intelligence on Muslim AmericansAccording to the ACLU, the FBI did not inform Muslims at outreach events, such as community meetings, religious dinners and job fairs, that conversations and names of those in attendance would be recorded in government files. A 2008 document shows that an FBI agent “collected and documented individuals’ contact information and First Amendment-protected opinions and associations, and conducted Internet searches to obtain further information about the individuals in attendance.” This may explain why individuals, including imams, who were active participants in government outreach programs have found themselves indicted or deported, sending a chill through Muslim communities.

If the government is serious about partnering with Muslim communities, it must stop behaving like an adversary. For starters, community outreach programs should not be exploited to spy on Muslims, recruit undercover informants, and make false promises.

Until the Administration translates its lofty rhetoric into tangible policy reforms, there will not be much difference between Mr. King’s and President Obama’s approaches to counterterrorism.

Sahar Aziz is an associate professor of law at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and a fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. She is the author of Caught in a Preventive Dragnet: Selective Counterterrorism Against Muslims, Arabs, and South Asiansforthcoming in the Gonzaga Law Review.

Rep. King’s Fourth Muslim-American Radicalization Hearing to Focus on Military

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2011 by loonwatch
Peter KingPeter King

The former IRA Terrorist supporter, Peter King is holding his fourth hearing on “Muslim-American Radicalization,” this time focusing on the “military.” Expect it to be an Islamophobiapalooza.

Rep. King’s fourth Muslim-American radicalization hearing to focus on military

By Jordy Yager

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is hoping his panel’s hearing on the radicalization of Muslim-Americans within the U.S. military will reveal how the armed services can better protect itself against homegrown attacks.

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) is holding a joint hearing on Wednesday, along with Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), as the next stage in his series of efforts to address the radicalization of American Muslims.  Pointing to the 2009 shootings at the Fort Hood military base in Texas and at a military recruiting station in Arkansas, which killed a total of 14 people and wounded more than two dozen, King said the issue of radicalization within military communities is one that is grossly under the radar.

“There is an attempt by Islamists to join the military and infiltrate the military, and it’s more of a threat than the average American is aware of right now,” said King in an interview with The Hill on Monday.

Lieberman said his committee has held 13 hearings over the past five years on the issue of violent Islamic extremism and, based on what he has learned, the military is an increasingly large target for attacks.

“Clearly, the threat of homegrown terrorism has increased dramatically, and clearly, members of the armed services are a high-value target,” Lieberman said in a statement.

The issue was brought to the front burner for King after it was raised by Paul Stockton, the assistant secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs. King said he feels the Obama administration is just as concerned with the issue as he is, and hopes to develop a working partnership to address some of the inadequacies that will come up at Wednesday’s hearing.

“I think more can be done,” he said. “But this is not going to be any attempt to bash the administration, necessarily. From my perspective it’s going to be a productive hearing and it’s not going to turn into a partisan fight.”

King gave several examples of issues that need more attention, such as whether the military needs to provide more security for recruiting centers and bases in the U.S. or whether local and state law enforcement should play a larger role in coordinating security with the military.

He said he also hopes to address the minutiae of radicalization on military bases. He used an example of how he has heard of at least one instance in which a copy of the radical Islamic magazine Inspire — which has been used as a recruiting tool for terrorist groups — was found in a barracks and allowed to remain. But Confederate flags are rightfully banned, he said.

“I’m using that as an example about whether or not we need to be more aggressive in facing up to the reality. It’s Islamic terrorism. It’s not just a nondescript, anonymous type of terrorism.”

King has held three hearings so far this year on the issue of radicalization of Muslim-Americans within the U.S. The first one drew the most scrutiny, as nearly 100 members of Congress asked him to cancel it or widen the breadth of the radicalized groups he was probing. King lauded the hearing as a success, saying that it brought attention to a taboo subject that is a serious and growing security concern.

The other two hearings focused on the terrorist group al-Shabbab’s influence within the U.S., and the radicalization of Muslim-Americans within U.S. prisons.

Carlos Bledsoe is serving life in prison for waging a shooting spree in 2009 at an Arkansas military recruiting center that killed Army Pvt. William Long.

Bledsoe’s father — who testified before King at a previous hearing, saying that his son was influenced by radicalized Muslim ideals — is planning to be at Wednesday’s hearing, where the slain soldier’s father, Daris Long, is slated to testify. King said each knows the other will be at the hearing and that Bledsoe is attending to show his support for Long.

Also expected to testify are Jim Stuteville, an Army senior adviser for counterintelligence operations and liaison to the FBI, and Lt. Col. Reid Sawyer, the director of Combating Terrorism Center at the West Point military academy.

King is planning to unveil a committee report on the issue at Wednesday’s hearing and another joint report with the Senate panel afterward.

He said his next hearing will likely be next year and focus on the use of certain mosques by al Qaeda and Iran in their efforts to radicalize people within the U.S.

July 27: Peter King to Hold Third Hearing on “American Muslim Radicalization”

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on July 22, 2011 by loonwatch

There goes IRA terror linked Peter King again. We will be live tweeting the shenanigans once again on our Twitter page.

Rep. Peter King Announces Third Islamic Radicalization Hearing Will Happen Next Week

(Huffington Post)

Peter King, the controversial Republican congressman from New York who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, announced Tuesday that he will hold a third hearing on radicalization among Muslim-Americans next week.

While King’s first hearing in March focused on Islamic radicalization in general and his secondfocused on radicalization in prisons, the July 27 hearing will be about al Shabaab, a Somalia-based terrorist organization that has made headlines for recruiting Somali-Americans in the Midwest.

In a press release released on Tuesday, King said:

“At this hearing, the third in a series, we will examine Somalia-based terrorist organization al-Shabaab’s ongoing recruitment, radicalization, and training of young Muslim-Americans and al-Shabaab’s linking up with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).“In Minnesota, Ohio, and other states, dozens of young Muslim males have been recruited, radicalized, and then taken from their communities for overseas terrorist training by al-Shabaab. In a number of cases, the men – including both Somali-Americans and other converts — have ended up carrying out suicide bombings or have otherwise been killed, often without their families even knowing where their sons have gone. There has not been sufficient cooperation from mosque leaders. In at least one instance, a Minnesota imam told the desperate family of a missing young man not to cooperate with the FBI.

“There are growing concerns that al-Shabaab in Somalia is linking up with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen to better train these radicalized young men in order to attack Americans around the world, or potentially shift their focus to attacking our homeland.

“This coordinated and ongoing recruitment and radicalization of young Muslim men in the U.S. is a serious and growing threat to our homeland security and simply cannot be ignored.”

King has been criticized by Islamic organizations for his prior hearings, which many Muslim groupshave said too broadly target their communities. Muslims groups have also criticized prior hearings for largely lacking Muslim witnesses. A witness list for next week’s hearing has not been released.

Anti-Muslims and Politicians Find Common Cause with Iranian Terrorist Organization

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2011 by loonwatch

The surreal world of anti-Muslim Islamophobia knows no bounds. Islamophobes and the political class that panders to them have been caught with their pants down–figuratively for once. Since 9/11, these traffickers in hate have profited from the development of an industry of “terror expert professionals,” consisting of so-called: “ex-terrorists,” “ex-Muslims,” “scholars,” “think tank gurus,” pontificating on the incompatibility of Islam and Democracy, the danger of a growing Muslim populace in the West, the need to be suspicious of Muslims, Muslims’ susceptibility to terrorism, etc.

This narrative belies reality, Muslims who commit terrorism are an extreme minority, in fact what is most glaring in the face of this propaganda is what Charles Kurzman terms, The Missing Martyrs (book review to come soon). For all the hackneyed anti-Muslim diatribe and hypotheses of an omnipresent and ever dangerous “Islamic terrorism,” what is remarkable is the absence of “would-be martyrs,” let alone a threat level that is blown out of all proportion. The Arab Spring has, more than anything else, dealt a stinging, if not lethal blow to the harbingers of doom.

What is most irksome is that the real radicals, the ones who draw us into endless war, increase hostilities amongst communities, and hob nob with anti-freedom organizations are the same individuals projecting their worldview onto Muslims.

Where else (with the exception of perhaps a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel) could we witness a House Homeland Security Sub-committee Hearing being chaired by a Congressman who once was the most outspoken advocate of a terrorist organization. Rep. Peter King’s involvement with the IRA while they were targeting and murdering civilians is well known, and the hypocrisy and double standard of him chairing hearings on “American Muslim radicalization” is painfully evident.

This however is not the only, or even the most glaring example we can turn to of Congressmen or former high ranking government officials supporting or advocating on behalf of a terrorist organization.

Congressmen (including Democrats) and former government officials have met with the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an organization that was designated a terrorist group in 1997 when the list was first compiled, and is STILL ON THE LIST–for now.

MEK has a very aggressive and organized lobby effort in Washington D.C. According to one House staffer, the MEK is “the most mobilized grassroots advocacy effort in the country — AIPAC included.” Their mission is to be delisted as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), push the USA to foment war with Iran, i.e. “regime change,” and have themselves installed into power. Sound familiar?

They attempt to pass themselves off as the sole legitimate opposition to the Iranian regime, going so far as to claim that they are the Green Movement or the government in exile. Now there is a quiet push to have them delisted from the FTO list:

Members of Congress led by Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) have introduced a resolutioncalling on the Secretary of State and the President to throw the support of the United States behind an exiled Iranian terrorist group seeking to overthrow the Iranian regime and install themselves in power. Calling the exiled organization “Iran’s main opposition,” Filner is urging the State Department to end the blacklisting of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) — a group listed by the State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The resolution currently has 83 cosponsors and is gaining significant ground.

Such a move would have disastrous repercussions for the USA, and would inevitably lead to blowback considering what the MEK is about:

[F]or the record, here are the facts about the MEK (you can find this and more at www.mekterror.com):

  • The State Department reports the MEK is a terrorist group that has murdered innocent Americans and maintains “the will and capacity” to commit terrorist attacks within the U.S. and beyond. [1]
  • The MEK claims to have renounced terrorism in 2001, but a 2004 FBI report states “the MEK is currently actively involved in planning and executing acts of terrorism.” [2]
  • RAND and Human Rights Watch have reported that the MEK is a cult that abuses its own members. [3] [4]
  • MEK has no popular support in Iran and has been denounced by the Green Movement, Iran’s peaceful democratic opposition movement.[5]

Iran’s Opposition Green Movement Rejects the MEK

  • The leaders of the Green Movement, Iran’s true popular opposition movement, have denounced the MEK and warned that the Iranian government seeks to discredit Iran’s opposition by associating it with the MEK:
  • “The Iranian Government is trying to connect those who truly love their country (the Greens) with the MEK to revive this hypocritical dead organization.” – Mehdi Karroubi, Green Movement leader. [6]
  • “The MEK can’t be part of the Green Movement. This bankrupt political group is now making some laughable claims, but the Green Movement and the MEK have a wall between them and all of us, including myself, Mr. Mousavi, Mr. Khatami, and Mr. Karroubi.” – Zahra Rahnavard, Women’s rights activist and wife of Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Mousavi[7]

Iraqi National Congress Redux?

  • The MEK claims it is “the main opposition in Iran,” yet similar to Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress that helped bring the United States into war with Iraq, the MEK is an exiled organization that has no popular support within Iran[8]
  • RAND reports that the MEK are “skilled manipulators of public opinion.” The MEK has a global support network with active lobbying and propaganda efforts in major Western capitals. [9]
  • Members of Congress have been deceived and misinformed into supporting this terrorist  organization:
  • In 2002, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen led efforts for the U.S. to support the group, prompting then-Chairman and the Ranking Member of the House International Affairs Committee, Henry Hyde and Tom Lantos, to send a Dear Colleague warning against supporting the MEK.  They cautioned that many Members had been “embarrassed when confronted with accurate information about the MEK.” [10]
  • In the current Congress, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) have each introduced resolutions calling for MEK to be removed from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list.

A Capacity and Will to Commit Terrorist Acts in the U.S. & Beyond

  • The Bush administration determined in 2007 that “MEK leadership and members across the world maintain the capacity and will to commit terrorist acts in Europe, the Middle East, the United States, Canada, and beyond.” [11]
  • The Canadian and Australian governments have also designated the MEK as a terrorist organization. The Canadian government just reaffirmed its designation in December.[12] [13]
  • An EU court removed the MEK from its list of terrorist organizations, but only due to procedural reasons.  According to a spokesperson for the Council of the European Union, the EU court “did not enter into the question of defining or not the PMOI [MEK] as a terrorist organization.” [14]

Saddam Hussein’s Terrorist Militia

  • The MEK received all of its military assistance and most of its financial support from Saddam Hussein, including funds illegally siphoned from the UN Oil-for-Food Program, until 2003. [15]
  • The MEK helped execute Saddam’s bloody crackdown on Iraqi Shia and Kurds. Maryam Rajavi, the MEK’s permanent leader, instructed her followers to “take the Kurds under your tanks.” [16]

A Cult That Abuses Its Own Members

  • Human Rights Watch reports that MEK commits extensive human rights abuses against its own members at Camp Ashraf, including “torture that in two cases led to death.”[17]
  • RAND report commissioned by DOD found that the MEK is a cult that utilizes practices such as mandatory divorce, celibacy, authoritarian control, forced labor, sleep deprivation, physical abuse, confiscation of assets, emotional isolation, and the imprisonment of dissident members. [18]
  • RAND concluded that up to 70% of the MEK members at their Camp Ashraf headquarters were likely recruited through deception and are kept there against their will. [19]
  • The FBI reports that the MEK’s “NLA [National Liberation Army] fighters are separated from their children who are sent to Europe and brought up by the MEK’s Support Network. […] These children are then returned to the NLA to be used as fighters upon coming of age.  Interviews also revealed that some of these children were told that their parents would be harmed if the children did not cooperate with the MEK. ”[20]

A History of Anti-Americanism

  • One of the founding ideologies of the MEK is anti-Americanism—the MEK is responsible for murdering American businessmen, military personnel, and even a senior American diplomat[21]
  • The MEK strongly supported the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, vigorously opposed their eventual release, and chastised the government for not executing the hostages[22]

The MEK was Not “Added” to the FTO List as a Goodwill Gesture to Iran

Delisting MEK: Disastrous Repercussions

The MEK is opposed by the Iranian people due to its history of terrorist attacks against civilians in Iran and its close alliance with Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war.

  1. The greatest beneficiaries of delisting MEK would be Ahmadinejad and Iranian hardliners who seek to link the U.S. and the Green Movement to MEK.
  2. U.S. support for MEK would be used as a propaganda tool by hardliners to delegitimize and destroy Iran’s true democracy movement.
  3. American credibility among the Iranian people would be ruined if the U.S. supported this group.

This should all gives us pause. Do the elected and former government officials who support delisting the MEK know the troubling anti-American, terrorist history of the MEK? If they do, then how in good conscious can they actively push to delist them?

The scenario that keeps coming to mind is cover for war or a possible Israeli attack against Iran. A possibility that seems ever more likely as MJ Rosenburg wrote recently:

A longtime CIA officer who spent 21 years in the Middle East is predicting that Israel will bomb Iran in the fall, dragging the United States into another major war and endangering US military and civilian personnel (and other interests) throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Earlier this week, Robert Baer appeared on the provocative KPFK Los Angeles show Background Briefing, hosted by Ian Masters. It was there that he predicted that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is likely to ignite a war with Iran in the very near future.

Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Robert Spencer’s link to the MEK. Spencer frequently spews insults at Reza Aslan for being a board member of the NIAC. In his “expert” opinion true Iranian Freedom organizations oppose the NIAC, and view them as tools of the Mullahs.

A contemptuous claim if it wasn’t so laughable, considering that the NIAC has frequently spoken out against the Iranian regime and has thrown its weight completely behind the Green Movement.

Spencer comes to this conclusion based on the opinion of his friends in a group called the PDMI or Pro-Democracy Movement of Iran. No one really knows how many people are in the PDMI, all they have is a blogspot website which Spencer links. The website is quite strange, it has an image of former Iranian dictator Reza Shah, and also articles supporting the MEK. Is it another MEK front group? One recent article from July 15 is titled “Iran, Mujahedin-e Khalq, and the US State Department,” by Hamid Yazdanpanah, who writes:

[W]hat has consistently been a go-to practice in appeasing Tehran? The harassment and terrorist listing of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK)…the terrorist designation of the MEK arose purely out of appeasement of the Iranian regime…The terrorist designation of the MEK has not only failed to appease the Iranian regime, it has resulted in severe harm and restriction for an organization devoted to the liberation of the Iranian people. The State Department has a moral and legal obligation to undo this grave error and delist the MEK.

It looks as if on top of all the conspiracies, hatred, and anti-Freedom ideas that Spencer pushes he is also linked to the terrorist MEK. Human Events, another website Spencer writes for contains articles supporting the MEK, such as this one by James Zumwalt. Can we now begin every piece on Spencer with, “The MEK linked Robert Spencer…”?

Sadly, this chimera world in which the Islamophobes and their allies turn everything upside down or sweep it under the rug hoping no one will find the truth is real. We are confronted with an organized mechanism of propaganda seeking to profit from endless war, occupation, hatred, hypocrisy and double standards. We are in an age in which the Supreme Court has upheld a “criminal prohibition on advocacy performed in coordination with, or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization,” and yet our Congressmen, and their lobbyist friends can get away with doing exactly that when it suits their purposes!

*Update: There are more Islamophobes involved in the cynical nexus of bringing legitimacy to the MEK. One such longtime advocate has been neo-Conservative Daniel Pipes, who rather seems like a mild Islamophobe these days. For his support of the MEK see, Daniel Pipes: My Writings on the Mujahedeen-e Khalq. (hat tip: NassirH)

From South Lebanon via Queens with Hate… When Hanan met Peter

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2011 by loonwatch
Brigitte Gabriel

Hanan Qahwaji, better known as Brigitte Gabriel in the Islamophobesphere has been exposed yet again. We wrote about Brigitte a while ago, and brought to fore the hate that her organization ACT! for America regularly engages in. (via. Brigitte Gabriel Review)

From South Lebanon via Queens with Hate… When Hanan met Peter

by Franklin Lamb (Peoples Voice)

Hanan is the Islamophobic Lebanese woman, Hanan Qahwaji who as a child lived in the South Lebanon village of Maryoun overlooking the Lebanon-Palestine border during three years of the on again off again Lebanese Civil War before she became an Israeli collaborator and fled to Israel. Hanan, repackaged as “Rachael”, soon quickly landed a job with Israeli TV and specialized in telling stories about how Muslims terrorized her and her Christian neighbors.

Later, repackaged as “Nour Semaan”, a name she still sometimes uses, Hanan tells American audiences that she became a Middle East “anchor” in Israel. Forgetting to mention that her job was with Pat Robertson’s, Christian Broadcasting Network, working to spread his politically conservative, Pentecostal faith in the Middle East which includes Robertson’s vision of rapture and how righteous Jews will all convert when Jesus comes again. The others will burn in Hell according to the Pentecosts. Hanan is sometimes known as, Nour Semaan, Rachael Cohen, “Dark Angel” and more recently, Bridgitte Gabriel, founder of the anti-Islam Zionist hate group “Act! For America”.

Peter, would be US Congressman Peter T. King, the Republican Islamaphobe from Long Island, NY, who as Hanan’s new partner in saving America from Islam, she sometimes flirtatiously refers to simply as “Petey” or “Petey Chops.”

It’s unknown to this observer whether the couple experienced “un vrai coup de foudre” when Mr. King was Hanan Qahwaji’s first guest earlier this year on a new cable television show that she co-hosts with Guy Rodgers, a Republican consultant who helped expand the Christian Coalition, which used to be a potent political organization on the Christian right and who is ACT’s Executive Director. However, “Petey” and “Bridge” as he calls her sometimes, certainly appear to see potential in one another for saving America from the Muslim hoards, which according to the duo are now in all American neighborhoods and who have infiltrated the FBI, the CIA, the State Department and the White House!

The new team is said by one King staffer to share a vision of “defeating Radical Islam in America and defeating it before it’s too late.” And they intend to show their fellow Americans just how to do it.

This past week in Washington, King held the second of what it planned as a series of “Congressional Hearings” designed to warn Americans about various threats from Muslims in their midst.

Gabriel frequently tells interviewers that “[F]or my first ten years I led a charmed and privileged life. All that came to an end when a jihadist religious war, declared by the Muslims against the Christians, […] tore my country and my life apart. It was a war that the world did not understand.”

What is obvious to the many Lebanese who view Hanan with contempt for misrepresenting and besmirching their country (not to mention her open letter to Israel during the July 2006 war, which she read frequently on TV shows urging Israel to keep bombing Lebanon despite their already killing of more than 1,300 civilians is that it was a war that Gabriel did not understand.

The on again, off again intermittent civil war was not characterized by anything remotely resembling a Muslim “Jihad”. Some Muslims actually fought with Israel and with the Christian Militia. Moreover, the Palestinian organizations were secular nationalists and not remotely Jihadists; plus many were also Christians, while other fighters were communists, Nasserites, and non-religious westerners. Although many combatants were Muslim, perhaps 35% were not. And their fight was with Israel; it was not a religious crusade against Christians. Gabriel’s fundraising speeches among largely uniformed right wing Republican audiences in which she claims she was the target of a religious crusade against Christians is patent nonsense.

“Watching the World Trade Center buildings fall in 2001,” Hanan tells audiences, “I was struck by the same fear that I experienced during the war in Lebanon. As I watched, words instinctively came from my mouth as I spoke to the TV screen: ‘Now they are here.” Gabriel is well aware, as Michael Young of Beirut’s Daily Star has pointed out, that there was nothing remotely comparable between what happened in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, and what she experienced in Marjayoun.

Bridgitte is said to believe that she can help King from deflecting rising criticism of his “hearings” given her own experience with hecklers as she tours the American heartland sounding the alarm.

She is said to resemble a Sarah Palin “mama grizzly” when she senses danger to those she cares about and no sooner than King’s hearing began last week than ACT! pounced with Tweets from the Congressional Hearing Room.

An ACT! staffer twittered live labeling it: “Round 2: House Homeland Security Committee Hearing on The Threat of Muslim-American Radicalization in U.S. Prisons:

“As I watched the discussion during the hearing, I Tweeted about so that our ACT! for America members could see right away what Members of the U.S. Congress are saying and doing about it. While there certainly were not as many “rabble rousers” as there had been for Chairman King’s first hearing on Muslim radicalization, there was some political drama, nonetheless.”

“For example, Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA) falsely alleged that the focus of Chairman King’s hearing “can be deemed as racist and as discriminatory.” The Chairman immediately fired back by saying that “the purpose of this Committee is to combat Islamic terrorism because that is the terrorist threat to this country. Bravo!”

“In response to Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) commenting that “the political correctness in this room is astounding,” Rep. Shiela Jackson-Lee (D-TX) held up a copy of the Constitution replying that the document is where she finds her “version of political correctness.” She went on further to state that there is a parallel between Christian militants and jihadists when it comes to bringing down the Constitution. More nonsense.”

“Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-MI) ranted terribly on for several-minutes about the real problem being the overcrowding of prisons due to unfair sentencing guidelines and claimed that prisoners were turning to Islam to “protect themselves.”

Other witnesses who reportedly left Peter and Bridgette unhappy were:

Deputy Chief Michael Downing, Commanding Officer of the LA Police Department’s Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau, and Professor Bert Useem of Purdue University.

According to ACTS! Tweets:

“Chief Downing repeatedly tried to distinguish “Islam” from what he referred to as “Prislam,” and said that all jihadis had “hijacked” the Islamic faith. As I listened to him, I wondered if he has taken the time to read sharia law, the Qur’an and the hadiths? If he did, I think he would understand that what the “radicalized” Muslims are adhering to is an ideology that is clearly enunciated within Islam’s holy books and has been practiced for 14 centuries. His statements reminded me that a great deal of educating at local, state and federal levels still needs to be done.”

“Professor Useem made several amazingly naïve and plain stupid assertions, one of which was that “correctional leadership (at both the agency and prison-level) has consciously and successfully infused the mission of observing signs of inmate radicalization into organizational practices. Rather than being sitting ducks, waiting for their facilities to be penetrated by radicalizing groups, correctional leaders have fashioned, staffed, and energized the effort to defeat radicalization.”

A few examples of questions from new Members that may have pleased Bridge and Petey were:

  • Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) asked if Shariah law would supersede the U.S. Constitution for radicalized Muslims. A chorus of “Yes” was heard from most of the witnesses.
  • Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) remarked that he was disappointed to see some members of the committee question why a hearing of this nature needed to take place. That the threat of Islamic radicalization in our prisons is clear.
  • Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) commented how remarkable it is that a discussion about the threat of radical Islam appeared to be “off limits.” He also expressed concerns about literature found in U.S. prisons, such as writings by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, that ask: Which do you choose, the flag of Islam or the flag of America?

ACTS! Final Tweet from King’s Hearing last week:

“Action by our grassroots is the fuel that makes the ACT! For American engine run. As we wait for Chairman King’s third hearing on Islamic radicalization it’s really nice to see that the engine is roaring loud and strong.”

In perhaps a personal message of encouragement to the Chairman were the words: “Please keep it up for Round Three!”

One subject being considered for Round Three is: “How to spot an Islamic terrorist in your neighborhood”. An interesting subject since that’s one suggested title for Hanan’s (Bridgitte’s) next book featuring an introduction by none other than “Petey” King.

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and can be contacted c/o fplamb@gmail.com

He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon.

Muslim hearings recall my life in internment camp

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2011 by loonwatch
The Japanese-American Mochida family await relocation to a an internment camp in this photo taken by Dorothea Lange.

Muslim hearings recall my life in internment camp

Editor’s note: Rep. Michael Honda, D-California, is senior Democratic whip and a member of House Budget and Appropriations Committees.

(CNN) — Who would have thought that my early childhood experience in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II would offer such useful insight, 65 years later, in determining the direction America is headed? In reflecting on this week’s second round of Muslim radicalization hearings, planned by New York Rep. Peter King, I feel as if a mirror is being held up to my life, giving value to lessons learned as a child.

Make no mistake. Growing up in internment Camp Amache in Colorado was no joy ride — just look at the pictures. We were treated like cattle in those camps. Never mind that we were born in America. Never mind that we were patriotic Americans and law-abiding citizens. Never mind that we were constructively contributing to the American economy. Despite all this, hundreds of thousands of Americans suddenly became the enemy at the height of the war, with no cause, no crime, and no constitutional protection.

We look back, as a nation, and we know this was wrong. We look back and know that this was a result of “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.” We look back and know that an entire ethnicity was said to be, and ultimately considered, the enemy. We know that internment happened because few in Washington were brave enough to say “no.”

We know all this, and yet our country is now, within my lifetime, repeating the same mistakes from our past. The interned 4-year-old in me is crying out for a course correction so that we do not do to others what we did unjustly to countless Japanese-Americans.

 

Camp Amache, Colorado, where Rep. Honda and his family were sent.

This time, instead of creating an ethnic enemy, Rep. King is creating a religious enemy. Because of prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of Republican leadership, King is targeting the entire Muslim-American community. Similar to my experience, they are become increasingly marginalized and isolated by our policies.

Never mind that many were born in America and have no allegiance to their ancestors’ native homeland. Never mind that they are patriotic Americans and law-abiding citizens. Never mind that they are constructively contributing to the American economy. Regardless of all this, millions of Americans have become the new enemy, with no cause and no crime.

There is no question that a congressional hearing, which targets an entire religion, is morally and strategically wrong-headed. First, it is un-American. This is not the America that I know and have helped build as a lifelong public servant. The America that I know has always provided refuge for those fleeing persecution, from early settlers to recent refugees. The America that I know does not hate and discriminate based on race, religion or creed.

Rep. Michael Honda

Second, it is counterproductive. King is undermining his own objective. In hosting these hearings, King, as chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, has declared, erroneously, that the Muslim-American community does not partner actively enough to prevent acts of violence — or in the case of prisons, extremism. Despite the offensive and fallacious nature of King’s concern, given extensive evidence that contradicts his claim, the Homeland Security chairman’s strategy makes future partnerships unpalatable.

Michael Honda on the day his family was released.

In one fell swoop of his discriminatory brush, King, in his apparent attempt to root out radicalization, marginalizes an entire American minority group, making enemies of them all. To add insult to injury, King has quipped (again, speciously) that America has too many mosques and that extremists run 80 percent of them. We can only hope that Rep. King does not completely undermine all the goodwill established across this country between Muslim Americans and law enforcement officials. You can be certain that few will want to work with King going forward.

Don’t get me wrong. I support the Homeland Security Committee examining “radicalization” in this country, and in our prisons, provided it is a comprehensive review, not a discriminatory one that targets only one subgroup of America. I support the committee examining “violent extremism” in this country, including an examination of militias and the 30,000-plus gun-related deaths that happen each year. I support a committee chair that is keen to keep our homeland secure.

This is not the case with King. These hearings do little to keep our country secure and do plenty to increase prejudice, discrimination and hate. I thought we learned a lesson or two from my internment camp experience in Colorado. I hope I am not proven wrong.

The opinions in this commentary are solely those of Michael Honda.

Peter King and “Prislam”: Round 2 of Muslim American Radicalization Hearings

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

Rep. Peter King held his second round of Homeland Security subcommittee hearings on the radicalization of Muslim Americans. This time the focus was on radicalization in our prison system and the threat it poses to the USA, some witnesses and Congressmen termed the concept “prislam,” a silly neologism that gives me headaches just hearing. Here’s hoping the word doesn’t take off.

It must be repeated from the very beginning that King is tarnished by his past Islamophobic and anti-Muslim comments. A point which has been made by countless journalists as well as by fellow Congressmen/women during the first hearing. He hasn’t apologized for, or retracted, any of those comments, which makes the present populist exercise he is involved in even more deplorable.

King also lacks all credibility considering he supported IRA terrorists for over a decade. Only in the magical realism world of Washington politics would someone who supported terrorists be the chairman of a committee discussing homegrown terrorism and radicalization, unless King is now going to argue that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter?”

Now that we’ve established the serious problems with King chairing such a committee, lets get to today’s hearing. The hearing was less of a circus than the first one in March, mainly due to the absence of such clowns and non-experts as Zuhdi JasserMelvin Bledsoe, and co., but that doesn’t mean that it was any better.

Aside from the contribution made by Prof. Brent Useem much of the testimony was unsubstantial. Prof. Useem essentially summed it all up when he said, “Prisons are infertile ground for the growth of radicalization.” He had a mountain of evidence to back this quote up, which he submitted to the committee.

The most eloquent, touching and thoughtful questions and comments came from Rep.Hansen Clarke, Rep. Jackson Lee and Rep. Richardson, who did excellent jobs in questioning the premise of the hearings, highlighting its discriminatory nature and also providing perspective when it comes to violence and radicalization at large in our prison system.

Here are some choice cuts:

Rep.Hansen Clarke:

“You know what pisses me off? It’s not about Islam. It’s about the prison system,” …”It’s about the prison culture. We’ve got to change it.”

Rep. Jackson Lee:

“If we look to the informational, we should include an analysis of how Christian militants are intending to undermine the laws of this nation.”

“My political correctness is based on this document, ‘the Constitution’”.

Rep. Laura Richardson:

“I disagree with the scope of this committee, I deem that these hearings are discriminatory.”

Patrick Dunleavy:

“In the Attica and Sing-Sing prison riots, Muslims helped decrease violence and stem deaths.”

The WTF comment of the day from Michael Downing:

“Gangs as urban terrorists, the distinction is that they don’t target innocent civilians”

Peter King attempted to defend these hearings and the scapegoating that him and his colleagues are parlaying by saying,

“I have repeatedly said the overwhelming majority of Muslim Americans are outstanding Americans”…“Yet, the first radicalization hearing which this committee held in March of this year was met with much mindless hysteria — led by radical groups such as the Council of Islamic Relations and their allies in the liberal media personified by the New York Times.”

He thereby effectively made it about CAIR once again, which actually stands for Council on American Islamic Relations not Council of Islamic Relations. By doing so he dodged addressing the core criticisms leveled at him and the premise of these hearings, by not only CAIR, but a wide range of groups.

Such a hearing, aside from stigmatizing a whole group of people is also a waste of time, resources and energy,

Last year, the bipartisan Congressional Research Service determined that only a single example of homegrown terrorism stemmed from an individual who was radicalized in prison. CRS concluded that prisons, “while seen by some as potential hotbeds of radicalization, have not played a large role in producing homegrown terrorists.”

So whats all the fuss about?

Peter King wants to sharpen his hawkish GOP credentials, pander to the anti-Muslim base of his party and present an image of being tough on terror, while also continuing the scapegoating and fear-mongering of Muslim Americans.

These hearings only reinforce the point that Muslim Americans have been making the past few years, they are being unfairly targeted and feel besieged as a community. Rep. Mike Honda, a Japanese-American sympathizes, drawing on his own experience of having been interned by the USA during World War II,

Make no mistake. Growing up in internment camp Amache in Colorado was no joy ride — just look at the pictures. We were treated like cattle in those camps…We look back, as a nation, and we know this was wrong. We look back and know that this was a result of “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.” We look back and know that an entire ethnicity was said to be, and ultimately considered, the enemy. We know that internment happened because few in Washington were brave enough to say “no.”

We know all this, and yet our country is now, within my lifetime, repeating the same mistakes from our past. The interned 4-year-old in me is crying out for a course correction so that we do not do to others what we did unjustly to countless Japanese-Americans.

This time, instead of creating an ethnic enemy, Rep. King is creating a religious enemy. Because of prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of Republican leadership, King is targeting the entire Muslim-American community. Similar to my experience, they are become increasingly marginalized and isolated by our policies.

Mike Honda’s words are like a clarion call to our political elites to recognize the dangerous path this nation is headed toward. Lets hope it won’t take another internment camp scenario for our leaders to wake up.

Groups Protest Rep. Peter King’s Next Round Of Muslim Radicalization Hearings

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , on June 14, 2011 by loonwatch

We will be live tweeting the second round of the Peter King hearings.

Groups Protest Rep. Peter King’s Next Round Of Muslim Radicalization Hearings

WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Members of several New York organizations Tuesday decried the next round of hearings by Rep. Peter King on what he calls the radicalization of the Muslim-American community.

King, who heads the House Homeland Security Committee, has scheduled a Wednesday hearing in Washington focusing on radicalization in U.S. prisons. He said he plans to call several law enforcement experts to testify on recent examples of terrorist recruitment among inmates.

“This is a real concern; this is a real issue,” King said in a telephone interview following a news conference by the group Long Island Neighbors for American Values. The group is a coalition of religious leaders and civic groups who contend King’s hearings are fostering negative stereotypes.

“Unfortunately, these people are living in denial,” King said of his foes. “Al-Qaida is attempting to recruit in our country and it is a reality we cannot afford to hide from.”

Among those speaking at the news conference Tuesday was an imam who works as a chaplain at a county jail on Long Island. Imam Isa Abdul Kareem, who said he converted to Islam, disputed King’s contention that American Muslims have not done enough to cooperate with law enforcement, arguing there is zero tolerance for anyone attempting to harm Americans.

“If we found anyone in our community committing an act of terrorism, by the time the police got there the matter would be settled and there would be one less terrorist,” he said.

“My committment is to America,” Abdul Kareem told WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall. “I’m not going to allow anyone to come from overseas to do anything to the country that I was born in.”

Sister Jeanne Clark of Pax Christi Long Island, who said she has served time in jail for committing acts of civil disobedience, said King’s focus on prisons was misdirected.

“Language is important,” she said. “Prisoner, Muslim, radicalized terrorism. Saying these words together in a sentence instills fear and mistrust.”

Some of the same groups also protested in March, when King held the first hearing on the topic.

Leaders at the Islamic Center of Long Island have invited King to partake in an open discussion about Islam.

“We are all aware that a problem exists. Just singling out a single community, isolates that community, marginalizes that community and the community which could be part of the solution is not doing all it can to address the problem, ” Farouk Kahn said. “It would be a lot better, a lot more productive, if we were part of the discussion, part of the solution, and part of developing a policy of how we can address the radicalization of not just the Muslims.”

King said it has been impossible to work with those at the Islamic center, Hall reports.

The congressman said the next hearing after Wednesday will likely be held in late July and will focus on reports of Americans joining al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based offshoot of al-Qaida that has been linked to attempted attacks on U.S. targets, including the foiled Christmas 2009 bombing of an airliner over Detroit and explosives-laden parcels found on cargo flights last year.

Do you think the hearings are making a difference? Should Peter King continue to hold them? Let us know below

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Sue Myrick’s Hearing on the Muslim Brotherhood Threat

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2011 by loonwatch
Sue Myrick wrote the foreward for Muslim Mafia

Rep. Sue Myrick held her House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Human Intelligence, Analysis and Counterintelligence hearing to examine the history, beliefs and positions of the Muslim Brotherhood internationally and in Egypt. It is the third hearing that in some measure has dealt with the American Muslim community and Islam. First it was Rep. Peter King and his McCarthyesque  hearings on “the Radicalization of the Muslim American community,” then New York State Senator Greg Ball held a hearing on “Security and preparedness since 9/11″ which included such anti-Muslim bigots as Nonie Darwish and Frank Gaffney.

Myrick’s hearing didn’t contain the high profile loons that the other two hearings did, but the theme or intent was still to cast a pall of suspicion over American Muslims. The witnesses consisted of Robert Satloff, Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Lorenzo Vidino, a representative of the RAND corporation, Ahmed S. Mansour, a Quranist who claims to be a Muslim scholar, Tarek Masoud, an academic and assistant professor at Harvard University and Nathan Brown, a professor of Political Science.

The charge was leveled either implicitly or directly that some American Muslims may be a “fifth column” considering a 1991 memo written by a Muslim Brotherhood member from Egypt named Mohammed Akram. This is the same memo that Islamophobes and anti-Muslims such as Robert Spencer and co. often use to forward the idea that Muslims are trying to take over.

Tarek Masoud took this issue head on during questioning from the intrepid Rep. Luis Gutierrez,

Chairman Myrick, you mentioned this 1991 explanatory memorandum, Lorenzo mentioned it as well, this document that was written by this Brotherhood guy named Mohammed Akram. So I got it and I read it, it seemed to be a document where this Brotherhood member in the United States is writing to his people back home, trying to encourage them to try and make the United States a priority for proselytization, for political activism, for all kinds of things. And the page in that document that has caused the most controversy is the page that lists all of these organizations, that Lorenzo called Muslim Brotherhood front organizations. My question, if you look at the title of that page, it says “there are the organizations of us and our friends in America,” second line says in brackets “imagine if they all marched together,”and I thought to myself, what a really odd thing for an organization like the Muslim Brotherhood to be saying. If these were really the arms of the Muslim Brotherhood octupus then why would he need to whimsically think, “if only one day all these organizations could work together,” and this is important because it seems to me that that list is an aspirational list, it may include movements or groups that emerged out of the Brotherhood, I’m not making a factual statement, but based on interpreting that document, I am surprised that we jumped to saying that these are Muslim Brotherhood front organizations because it seemed to me to be a list of Muslim organizations that the Brotherhood would like to organize and coordinate. I would like to find out if there is some information there that some folks like me don’t have?

Gutierrez also asked a very interesting question to the panelists beforehand, “what are the intelligence gathering methods or apparatuses which you used? And do you fear that the government’s broad intelligence gathering efforts have been duped?” This question was a slap in the face of Sue Myrick who penned a forward to a book called “Muslim Mafia” which argued that nefarious Muslims have infiltrated our government through a network of spy interns. This belief was voted one of the “worst conspiracy theories” of 2009 by Newsweek.

Lorenzo Vidino, the RAND corp. representative said he wouldn’t use the word “duped” but instead that they have been “inconsistent.” Rep. Gutierrez told him, “inconsistency” is not the same as “fear,” and asked him whether or not we should “fear” that our security agencies have been compromised or “hoodwinked?” Vidino seemed to answer “no” to that question.

There were other highlights during the testimony, like the near incoherence of Ahmed S. Mansour who had the WTF comment of the Day: “Make America the biggest, most superpower of the war of ideas in the world” and something about “create an agency dealing with the war of ideas.” At times it seemed Mansour was trying to get America to back his sect of Islam by bringing up how “successful” his group has been in proselytizing to other Muslims.

At the end of the day the GOP is trying to use Islam/Muslims and buzzwords such as Sharia’ to further promote hatred and bigotry and their own twisted brand of populism. Fear-mongering about a looming Muslim threat feeds well into their base of support and also highlights the immense hypocrisy on the Right. In reality, the biggest threat today to our Constitution comes from the rabid Right-Wing, which is shot through and through with theocrats and theocratic sympathizers.

One only has to look at Rep. Myrick’s own shoddy associations to se what we mean,

Rep. Myrick supports the work of The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools whose goals are clearly in opposition to the first amendment of the U.S.

Rep. Myrick is listed as a sponsor on the website of Capitol Ministries, along with Todd Akin, Michele Bachmann, Paul Broun, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert,  Mike Pence, Tom Price, Lamar Smith, Joe Wilson and various others.  (Read more on Capitol Ministries here)

Rep. Myrick believes that Osama Bin Laden and his ilk – “are acting in accordance with Islam”.

Rep. Myrick and Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan sent a letter that attacked the Justice Department for sending envoys to an ISNA convention because, the lawmakers said, the Islamic Society of North America was a group of “radical jihadists”

Rep. Myrick launched a YouTube video series. In the first video, called Beyond Terrorism: The Whole Story, she warns that extremists live in our midst, “even in positions in our government.” But the wide-eyed Myrick tells the camera: “You’re not being told the whole story… This is something that nobody ever tells you.”

Rep. Myrick supports Brigitte Gabriel’s ACT for America, and put out a letterenthusiastically endorsing them.  It was reported in February that Hal Weatherman, longtime chief of staff for Sue Myrick, is leaving to join the staff of ACT for America.  (Read about Brigitte Gabriel and ACT for America here.)

Rep. Myrick wrote the forward to Dave Gaubatz’ Muslim Mafia book.  (Read more about Gaubatz and this book here)

Rep. Myrick is reported as saying:  “I believe Hezbollah and the drug cartels may be operating as partners on our border.” That department’s spokesman replied that the U.S. “does not have any credible information on terrorist groups operating along the Southwest border.”  (Read more on this charge and responses to it here.)

Rep. Myrick and Rep. Peter King were among the lead sponsors of a bill introduced by Rep. Frank Wolf [R-VA]  to create a panel of outside experts – fresh eyes – to help develop new strategies to combat the violent Islamic jihad as well as its stealth component.

Army defuses N. Ireland van bomb, What if They Were Muslim?

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2011 by loonwatch

The IRA, a terrorist organisation that Peter King supported financially and politically through the 80′s and recently in 2005, has been quite active in recent weeks. Imagine if the bomb that was found was left by a Muslim, we would not hear the end of it. The question one should ask is: why are Muslims being put on trial?

Peter King must be happy to hear about the Homeland Security hearing in Manhattan. King started something “revolutionary,” putting Muslim Americans and Islam on trial and now his minions are following.  But King felt it was important to give praise to one special minion, Greg Ball

Here is a good summary from AlJazeera on the IRA and their recent surge in activity.

Hat tip: Europeans Against Islamophobia

Army defuses N Ireland van bomb

(AlJazeera)

Police say device was likely set by dissident Republicans to cause disruption ahead of election campaign.

Army bomb-experts in Northern Ireland have defused a 225-kilogramme van bomb near the Irish border.

The bomb, hidden underneath a motorway bridge near the main Dublin-Belfast road, was rendered inactive on Saturday following an 18-hour operation.

Police said that the bomb had been set by dissident Republicans to cause “huge devastation” in the nearby town of Newry ahead of Northern Ireland’s election campaign.

They said that it had likely been abandoned short of its target and before it could be detonated.

Two warning calls were made to police about the bomb on Friday.

“In this case, this bomb may have been on its way to the centre of the town,” David McKittrick, Ireland correspondent for the UK’s Independent newspaper, told Al Jazeera.

“The security forces were successful in stopping that happneing, but at the same time they weren’t successful in preventing the making of the bomb and there were hold-ups, once the bomb was discovered, in clearling the area.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bomb, but police said a phone call to warn about the bomb used a code word previously used by dissident Republicans.

Impatient motorists

Police shut the road following the discovery of the bomb, but impatient motorists unwilling to take a diversion moved the traffic cones and “road closed” signs.

BBC Northern Ireland footage showed dozens of cars driving directly past the van before police reinforced the barriers.

The bomb was double the size of those used in a number of bombings last year by Irish Republican Army (IRA) dissidents, none of which caused serious injuries.

Recent weeks have seen a surge in activity by IRA dissident groups opposed to the 1998 peace agreement which largely ended three decades of violence that killed more than 3,600 people.

A week ago Ronan Kerr, a 25-year-old police constable, was killed when a bomb exploded under his car in Omagh, an attack police suspect was organised by IRA dissidents to scare Catholics from joining the north’s police force.

The killing prompted a public outcry in Ireland.

Detectives said they had detained a 33-year-old near Omagh on Friday night in the third arrest connected with the murder.

Peter King Proud of his Bigoted Partner, Greg Ball

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on April 8, 2011 by loonwatch
New York State Senator Gregory Ball speaks during a hearing on Homeland Security.

Peter King must be happy to hear about the Homeland Security hearing in Manhattan. King started something “revolutionary,” putting Muslim Americans and Islam on trial and now his minions are following.  But King felt it was important to give praise to one special minion, Greg Ball:

“This is a first rate hearing,” King said. “I hear some rumblings from people opposed to it. I just wish the Muslim community and the leadership would be much more cooperative on these hearings, not see everything as being an attack on them.”

The same old tired line, when is King going to stop with the baseless accusations of Muslim American non-cooperation, something contradicted by law enforcement, a group conspicuously absent (excepting Lee Baca) from King’s last hearing?

King of course is infamous for saying that 85% of mosques are run by radicals, and now he’schanging up the numbers:

Mr. King prefaced his comments by noting that “99 percent” of Muslims in the United States are “outstanding Americans” and not terrorists.

It seems he can’t make his mind up? Or maybe he realized that people were catching onto the fact that what he said was full of B.S.? At the end of the day watch him squirm and try to claim that he is right on both (contradictory) statements.

If you didn’t catch Loonwatch’s live tweets of the hearings, here is a decent summary:

Hearing on Terror Includes Heated Debate on Islam

By THOMAS KAPLAN (NYTimes Blogs)

In a local reprise of a polarizing Congressional hearing last month on the question of Islam and terror, state lawmakers warned in grave terms on Friday of the threats facing the New York area, while other lawmakers and interfaith groups criticized the proceedings as anti-Muslim and incendiary.

The hearing, which was convened by the State Senate’s homeland security committee, was something of a spectacle: Security was ramped up at the office building in Lower Manhattan where state legislators have work space, and television cameramen easily outnumbered lawmakers.

Adding to the theatrics, the hearing began to great fanfare with testimony from the lawmaker who convened the Congressional hearing, Representative Peter T. King, a Long Island Republican, who has promised further federal inquiries into what he describes as the radicalization of American Muslims.

Mr. King prefaced his comments by noting that “99 percent” of Muslims in the United States are “outstanding Americans” and not terrorists.

“But the fact is: The enemy, or those being recruited by Al Qaeda, live within the Muslim community, and that’s the reality we have to face,” Mr. King said. “This is not to put a broad brush over a community, but you go where the threat is coming from, and that’s the reality today.”

Mr. King testified at the invitation of Senator Gregory R. Ball, a Putnam County Republican who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs. Mr. Ball was criticized by Muslim and interfaith groups as well as a group of Senate Democrats for his inclusion of Islamic law as one of the hearing’s topics; they accused him of exploiting the threat of terrorism to incite a fear of Muslims among the broader public.

But on Friday, as reporters crammed into a low-ceilinged meeting room for the daylong hearing, Mr. Ball defended the scope of the committee’s inquiry, saying that he asked lawmakers to propose other witnesses but received very little input.

“There are some who are more concerned about the front-page press than today,” Mr. Ball said. “I understand politics. But we cannot allow our homeland security to become a political football.”

Among the witnesses whose scheduled testimony provoked the most criticism was Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian-born American who is president of a group called Former Muslims United, and Frank Gaffney, a former Defense Department official who has often criticized Islam.

Ms. Darwish testified on Friday that young people in the Arab world are taught as children to hate America and to look favorably on terrorism. “The education of Arab children is to make killing of certain groups of people not only good,” she said. “It’s holy. It becomes holy in our culture.”

Her testimony was met with an angry rebuke from Senator Eric Adams, a Brooklyn Democrat, who held up a Koran and said that Ms. Darwish was “bringing hate and poison” to the hearing. Mr. Ball tried to quiet Mr. Adams, and their back-and-forth descended into a shouting match, with Mr. Adams suggesting that Mr. Ball was condoning bigotry and Mr. Ball accusing him of pandering to the news media.

“I’m glad that nobody is between those TV cameras and you, because that’s the most dangerous place in New York City right now,” Mr. Ball snapped.

In his testimony, Mr. Gaffney decried Sharia law as a threat to the United States and said that American efforts to prevent future acts of terrorism have been “hobbled, frankly, by what we consider to be politically correct blinders.”

He added that the Muslim community center and mosque proposed to be built near ground zero “fits the profile of triumphalist mosques built on sacred ground of defeated people elsewhere around the world.”

“I believe it should not be allowed to happen here,” Mr. Gaffney said.

While the testimony on Islam offered the most drama, the bulk of the hearing was spent discussing matters far less politically charged. A parade of law enforcement officials and counterterrorism experts offered what amounted to a verbal encyclopedia of terror threats, and legislators added their own possibilities, too.

Senator Martin J. Golden, a Brooklyn Republican, wondered whether someone could shoot down an airplane using a heat-seeking missile. Mr. Ball asked about the safety of the AirTrain system at Kennedy Airport. And Mr. King worried about an attack on the New York City subway system or the use of a dirty bomb.

“I would just say that as we approach the 10th anniversary, not for people to look upon Sept. 11 as just some historical moment like Gettysburg or Pearl Harbor or Bunker Hill,” Mr. King said. “It was the first battle in a war which is still being waged.”

At times, however, those at the hearing seemed less than interested in the technical discussion that dominated most of the session. During the testimony of Richard Daddario, the New York Police Department’s top counterterrorism official, at least three people in the audience were fast asleep.

New York Senate to Host Infamous Islamophobic Bigot at Security Hearing, Interfaith Groups to Challenge

Posted in Feature, Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2011 by loonwatch
Nonie giving a passionate anti-Muslim lecture

For years now, the U.S. government has left counter-terrorism training dangerously unregulated such that millions of dollars were spent on private contractors who present Islam as an inherently violent religion and all Muslims as suspects. This is no shock to Loonwatchers who’ve been watching fake scholars like Robert Spencer brag about their bogus presentations before government security agencies. Unfortunately, the problem still persists and officials continue to receive training in Islamophobic doctrine rather than real counter-terrorism skills, all courtesy of the U.S. tax-payers.

In the latest round of hate-for-hire, the New York State Senate will hold a hearing entitled, “Reviewing our Preparedness: An Examination of New York’s Public Protection Ten Years After 9/11” starring none other than loon-at-large, caught-in-a-pool-of-lies Nonie Darwish (Peter King will also make a cameo).

Like most in the anti-Muslim business, Nonie has a greatly exaggerated personal sob-story backed up by book deals and speaking engagements in all the typical “hating on Muslim” venues. She sells herself as a “human rights activist,” as do so many other virulent Muslim-bashers, though she doesn’t seem to care too much about the human rights of Muslims. This time, however, she will be using the pseudonym “Nahid Hyde,” perhaps as a not-so-clever way of avoiding government inquiry into her association with other bigots and white supremacists. Yet, even a cursory view of her ridiculous book titles should cause any serious security official to question her credibility as a fair and impartial witness.

The reviewer of her latest book, “Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law,” (which sells for a whopping $28.99) stated:

In her estimation, Islam is a backward and authoritarian ideology that is attempting to impose on the world the norms of seventh-century Bedouin life. For Darwish, Islam is a sinister force that must be resisted and contained.

It must be difficult to pack so many stereotypes into 272 pages, but Ms. Darwish has done it, making such bold generalizations and demonstrably false claims as:

Sharia is incompatible with any state that has as a foundational principle the equality of the sexes before the law.

Perhaps she should “educate” the Grand Mufti of Egypt, who recently remarked:

Egypt’s religious tradition is anchored in a moderate, tolerant view of Islam. We believe that Islamic law guarantees freedom of conscience and expression (within the bounds of common decency) and equal rights for women. And as head of Egypt’s agency of Islamic jurisprudence, I can assure you that the religious establishment is committed to the belief that government must be based on popular sovereignty.

But disclosing some enlightening and nuanced facts about contemporary Islam or the multivalent, non-monolithic view and relationship Muslims have with Islamic Law would ruin her book sales and speaking tours, wouldn’t it?

Like other Islamophobes, she is careful to make a distinction between Islam and Muslims, so as not to appear like the plain bigot she is:

Darwish is careful to distinguish between people and ideas: “The purpose of this book is not to spread hatred of a people but to tell the truth about the wickedness of Islamic Sharia law.”

Such distinctions are disingenuous, pro-forma statements that only fool the naïve into thinking she isn’t a professional hate-monger. (Right, just like how Pam Geller loves those Moozlims so much she wants to drop nuclear bombs on them, out of love, of course.)

Contrary to her assertion, Ms. Darwish regularly engages in dehumanizing rhetoric about all Muslims, not just extremists. She even told the New York Times:

A mosque is not just a place for worship. It’s a place where war is started, where commandments to do jihad start, where incitements against non-Muslims occur. It’s a place where ammunition was stored.

That was one of her tamer statements dressed up before a liberal audience. Such sweeping outright lies have been instrumental in the spread of anti-Muslim, anti-Sharia, and anti-Mosque hysteria in our country, materializing in over 800 documented cases of anti-Muslim violence and discrimination. When confronted about her lies, she will likely attempt to dismiss her critics as agents of the Mad Mullah Conspiracy, rather than owning up to the falsity of her claims.

So I don’t believe her for a second when she says she is not spreading hatred. She is spreading hatred, blatantly, and making a buck while doing it, this time at the expense of hardworking New Yorkers’ taxes. In less than a week she is going to tell the New York Senate that basically every Muslim is a suspect, thereby misdirecting valuable law enforcement resources away from violent extremists and onto the majority of peaceful, law-abiding American Muslim citizens. We will all be less safe as a result.

The citizens of New York deserve better than this. The American people deserve better. They have the right to know why the government is funding clearly biased, hateful individuals who have absolutely no credibility. For this reason, a coalition of civil rights and interfaith organizations will hold a news conference on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan to challenge this expected anti-Islam bias in the State Senate, Thursday, April 7th, at 1pm.

The American people deserve testimony from impartial security experts, not this Islamophobic nonsense about stealth Jihad and Islamic boogeymen hiding under every bed. It’s time for the government to be held accountable and to stop playing these dangerous political games with our security.

The Truth About American Muslims

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on April 4, 2011 by loonwatch

More statistical evidence on the anti-Muslim wave post-9/11.

The Truth About American Muslims

At the Justice Department, it’s called the post-Sept. 11 backlash — the steady stream of more than 800 cases of violence and discrimination suffered by American Muslims at the hands of know-nothing abusers. These continuing hate crimes were laid bare at a valuable but barely noticed Senate hearing last week that provided welcome contrast to Representative Peter King’s airing of his xenophobic allegation that the Muslim-American community has been radicalized.

Offering federal data rather than mythic scapegoating of an easy political target, the Senate hearing focused on the fact that while Muslims make up 1 percent of the population, they are victims in 14 percent of religious discrimination cases. These range from homicides and mosque burnings to job, school and zoning law abuses, according to the Justice Department.

In running the hearing, Senator Richard Durbin tried to set the record straight about the patriotism of a vast majority of American-Muslim citizens and the continuing assaults on their civil rights. He warned against the “guilt by association” whipped up by Mr. King’s broadsides — that there are “too many mosques” in the nation, that most of them are extremist, and that American Muslim leaders have failed to cooperate with law enforcement against home-grown terrorism.

It was former President George W. Bush who first warned against turning on Muslim Americans after Sept. 11, 2001, stressing the fact that Islam is “a faith based upon love, not hate,” regardless of the religious veneer the fanatics of 9/11 tried to attach to their atrocities. Since then, American Muslims have served as the largest source of tips to authorities tracking terror suspects, according to a recent university study.

The Senate hearing was not designed as a full refutation of Representative King’s wild thesis, but it put a more human and factual face on a community that has been badly slurred. Mr. King is promising more committee haymakers. This is unfortunate. At least Mr. Durbin’s hearing made clear that the nation’s struggle against terrorism is best served by information, not dark generalizations.

Why Dick Durbin is Right, and Peter King is Wrong

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on March 28, 2011 by loonwatch

Much has been said of the so-called “Muslim Radicalization” Congressional Hearings headed by Rep. Peter King: they were rightfully condemned as “un-American”, “discriminatory”, and “Islamophobic”.  These hearings unjustly singled out the Muslim-American community, an already embattled minority, and amounted to a modern-day witch hunt. King’s hearings will be included in the dark chapter of U.S. history alongside the McCarthy hearings and the internment of Japanese-Americans.

One courageous senator, Dick Durbin of Illinois, decided to take a heroic stand against these hearings, and responded by announcing that he would hold his own committee hearings on the civil rights of Muslim-Americans.  Many have understood this as a “check” or “counter-balance” to King’s hearings, and–considering the timing–it is not difficult to see the connection.  It seems fair to say that this was Sen. Durbin’s attempt to reach out to the Muslim-American community, as if to say: “I’m there for you.”

Naturally, the right-wing went absolutely bonkers when they heard of Durbin’s hearings.  Thegenocidal Pamela Geller, a sweetheart of conservatives, called Durbin a “useful idiot”, and more absurdly, a “dhimmi”.  (To Geller, any non-Muslim who doesn’t revile Islam is by definition a dhimmi.)  But more importantly, Rep. Peter King himself responded to Dick Durbin’s hearings.

King must have thought himself very witty for coming up with the following retort:

Why not have a hearing on everyone’s civil rights? Since they told me I should have my hearings on not just Muslim radicalization but radicalization in all communities, I would say why doesn’t the Senate have a hearing on everyone’s civil rights?

The New York Observer wrote a title entitled “King Turns the Tables on Durbin’s Muslim Hearings”.  But did he?  Even though King was no doubt beside himself for his cunning comeback, the reality is that his response was nothing but 100% Weak Sauce.  Here’s why:

(1) Yes, we–and many others–argued that if radicalization hearings were deemed to be necessary, then they ought to have been held about all communities, not just Muslims.  The reason we were opposed to making them “Muslim-only” was because this would be singling out, targeting, and demonizing one community.  Tell me, Mr. King, which community is singled out, targeted, or demonized by Durbin’s hearings about Muslim civil rights? Durbin’s hearings, unlike King’s anti-Muslim hearings, do not single out, target, or demonize any one community.  Therefore, King’s attempt at striking an equivalence fails miserably.

(2) We’d have absolutely no problem with holding hearings about the civil rights of all communities.  We’re liberals, and we love protecting civil rights.  We wouldn’t get our panties in a bunch like King did over his hearings not being able to single out one community in specific. But…

(3) …Since King already held the congressional hearings about Muslim radicalization–and not about radicalization in all communities–then it makes all the sense in the world to hold the civil rights hearings about Muslims.  This is, after all, a check and counter-balance to the anti-Muslim madness.  How about we hold congressional hearings on civil rights for all communities once King holds his hearings on radicalization of all communities–including the Irish-American community he comes from?

(4) King has tried turning the question around on us, but we can equally turn this around on him: if King had no problem holding Muslim-only hearings about radicalization, then he should have no problem holding Muslim-only hearings on civil rights, right?

King then tried to downplay the issue of Muslim civil rights, citing the FBI database:

King noted that the F.B.I.’s numbers show anti-Semitic attacks outnumbered instances of hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. last year by about nine to one, and that attacks on Christians and Muslims were about equal. (Of course, Christians far outnumber Muslims in the U.S., and there are about three times as many Jews as Muslims.)

And yet, during his own hearings Rep. King ignored the FBI’s numbers about terrorism.  According tothe official FBI database, only 6% of terrorist acts on U.S. soil from 1980-2005 were from Islamic extremists.  This was less than from Jewish extremists.  King is able to see that more anti-Semitic hate crimes occur than anti-Muslim hate crimes, but then becomes blind when it comes to the fact that more acts of Jewish terrorism have occurred than Islamic.  Latinos accounted for over 40% of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil: should we hold hearings against the Latino population?  (We shouldn’t give Republicans any ideas, since they would love to target Latinos.  Nothing scarier to a Republican than a gay Latino Muslim.)

Peter King’s attempt to downplay the assault on Muslim civil rights has echoed throughout the right wing blogosphere.  Said King:

I’m not trying to excuse it, I’m just saying in the overall context it’s sometimes more dangerous to be Jewish than Muslim.

These right wing nuts act as if civil rights begins and ends with hate crimes.  During the 1960′s, hate crimes were just one indicator of discrimination.  It is not the end-all be-all.  For example, job discrimination was a major issue for blacks (and continues to be so)…It is also a problem that Muslim-Americans face today: do you know how hard it is to get a job with the name Muhammad Ahmad Abdul Basit?  No wonder Pakistani-Americans often pose as Indians to get hired.

And is it Muslim-Americans or Jewish-Americans who face severe opposition to building houses of worship–not just a few blocks from Ground Zero but anywhere in the United States?  But amazingly, Peter King doesn’t hold this to be a form of prejudice (let me guess, it’s about parking!):

press release from Durbin’s office cited “restrictions on mosque construction,” as an example of rising anti-Muslim sentiment, King denied that opposition to new mosques—including his fierce opposition to the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” in downtown Manhattan—should be considered an example of prejudice.

Of course, none of this “counts”.  All acts of terrorism by people of other religions “don’t count” and all acts of prejudice against Muslims “don’t count”.  Meanwhile, even a Muslim-American quietly farting in the corner of his room certainly counts (it is after all a biological weapon–and the fact that he did it silently is surely a form of “stealth jihad”).  This is similar to the arguments about the Quran and the Bible: everything violent in the Quran “counts” and everything violent in the Bible “doesn’t count”.

Aside from discrimination in the workplace and with regard to houses of worship, there are even more sinister breeches of Muslim civil rights during the War on of Terror.  The Patriot Act and other un-American legislation have eroded the civil rights of all Americans, but Muslims have been at the forefront.  Here are some civil rights that Muslim-Americans have lost recently: the right not to be the victim of warrantless wiretapping, the right not to be entrapped by law enforcement, the right not to be subject to illegal surveillance,  the right to habeas corpus, the right to be protected from illegal search and seizure, the right to an attorney, the right to face one’s accuser, the right not to be tortured, and the right not to be assassinated at the order of the president.

Most Americans could care less about these affronts to civil liberties so long as it is those Dark-Skinned Foreign-Looking Moozlems with Weird Sounding Names who bear the brunt of these un-American laws.  But that’s why a congressional hearing aimed at protecting the rights of Muslim civil rights would benefit all Americans: once this erosion of civil rights is given precedent (even if it be just against Muslims), it will be institutionalized and could be used against every single one of us.

Melvin Bledsoe: King Witness’ Story Undermined By Reality

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , on March 18, 2011 by loonwatch

A very interesting piece on Melvin Bledsoe.

King Witness’ Story Undermined By Reality

The Tennessean’s Bob Smietana has another blockbuster story, this time questioning the premise of one of Peter King’s star witnesses, Melvin Bledsoe.

Bledsoe testified yesterday that his “happy-go-lucky” son Carlos became a different person after converting to Islam. He claimed Carlos, who changed his name to Abdul Hakim Muhammad, was “brainwashed” by his conversion. Muhammad has admitted to attempting to burn a Nashville rabbi’s home and shooting an Army private at a recruiting station in Arkansas in 2009.

Bledsoe was just one one of just two witnesses called by King in his attempt to prove that young men are susceptible to recruitment, radicalization, and violence in their local Muslim communities. As was evident yesterday at the hearing, these individual stories were inadequate to prove any sort of broader phenomenon. But now Smietana’s piece demolishes King’s argument. Muhammad, it turns out, had quite a bit of trouble even before his conversion, and was not “radicalized” in mosques.

While the elder Bledsoe claimed his son was radicalized and made violent in mosques, local Muslim leaders in Tennessee don’t remember the young man. From Smietana’s piece:

“Something is wrong with the Muslim leadership in Nashville,” Melvin Bledsoe said, testifying in Washington. “What happened to Carlos at those Nashville mosques isn’t normal.”

But local Muslim leaders say they don’t tolerate any violent behavior or rhetoric in their communities. They say Muhammad attended prayers at two Nashville mosques — the Al-Farooq Islamic Center and the Islamic Center of Nashville — for a short period of time.

Then he disappeared.

What’s more, although Bledsoe blamed his son’s conversion to Islam for his mental health problems, records show those issues pre-dated his conversion:

On Feb. 24, 2004, according to police reports, Muhammad was arrested in Knoxville after police found a shotgun and a loaded assault rifle in his car. During a mental health evaluation to see if he was fit to stand trial for the Little Rock shooting, Muhammad said that he had been a gang member and had used alcohol heavily and marijuana regularly before converting to Islam in late 2004.

This is what King said yesterday, of Bledsoe and another witness who said his nephew was radicalized:

Their courage and spirit will put a human face on the horror which Islamist radicalization has inflicted and will continue to inflict on good families, especially those in the Muslim community, unless we put aside political correctness and define who our enemy truly is.

I’m not holding my breath on a correction from him.

UPDATE: My coverage of the hearing is over at the Nation, in which I report on how the proceedings were an effort to portray American Muslims as clueless and “not intellectually equipped.”

Rep. Cravaack got Schooled by Lee Baca

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2011 by loonwatch

House Republican: Hypothetically, Let’s Say CAIR Is A Terrorist Organization … (VIDEO)

Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) continued on the theme that Reps. Peter King (R-NY) Frank Wolf (R-VA) started on earlier today at King’s hearings on the “Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response” by attacking the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

But Cravaack upped the rhetorical ante a bit, referring to CAIR as “basically… a terrorist organization” and asking Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca — hypothetically — if he would continue to work with CAIR if he “knew that CAIR was a terrorist organization sponsored by Hamas.”

“Let me answer this way,” Baca said in response to the accusations, “if the FBI has something to charge CAIR with, bring those charges forward and try them in court and deal with it that way.”

“There is a reality that in my culture as a police officer that you have facts and you have a crime, deal with it,” said Baca, who was called as a witness by Democrats on the committee.

“We don’t play around with criminals in my world,” Baca said. “If CAIR is an organization that’s a, quote, ‘criminal organization,’ prosecute them, hold them accountable, and bring them to trial.”

Peter King’s “Muslim Hearings” are Political Theater to Target Muslims

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2011 by loonwatch

Loonwatch was live blogging the controversial (anti)-Muslim Hearings being chaired by bigoted ex-IRA terrorist supporter Peter King. It was a circus. It devolved along partisan lines with Republicans predictably falling behind the rhetoric and narrative of Peter King. Democratic Congressmen/women issued strong rebukes: Rep. Sheila J. Lee, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Laura Richardson, Rep. Sanchez, and others delivered the message home that these Hearings were nothing more than political theater meant to castigate and intimidate a minority group and most importantly they were bereft of facts and therefore unbeneficial.

The leading witnesses for King were non-experts, Zuhdi Jasser, AbdiRizak Bihi and Melvin Bledsoe, all of these individuals were bereft of any credentials or expertise in the field of radicalization, terrorism or extremism. Zuhdi Jasser is considered an apologist for Neo-Cons and is viewed with suspicion amongst American Muslims for his close association with Islamophobes and war-mongerers. AbdiRizak was incomprehensible at times and much of what he and Bledsoe said were anecdotal and not factual evidence.

King began the hearings with what can only be classified as a bigoted comment, he said, “Moderate leadership must emerge from the Muslim community.” He said this to set up a straw man argument for what would become a recurring attack on CAIR, almost making it into a hearing about CAIR.

After getting its name wrong, calling it the “Committee of American Islamic Relations,” he and other Congressmen labeled CAIR a Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood group. This is the usual trope brought forth by Right-wingers and anti-Muslims such as Robert Spencer and co., the best response came from Sheriff Lee Baca (one of the anti-Loons of 2010) when he said, ‘If CAIR is this terrorist group or has terrorist links then why hasn’t the FBI prosecuted them? Why haven’t they charged them? They wouldn’t be around if they were terrorist or terrorist sympathizers.’

Some highlights included:

Keith Ellison made three important points: 1.) Security is important to all American Muslims, 2.) Hearings threaten our security and 3.) We need increased engagement with Muslims.

Ellison also got quite emotional while mentioning the story of a Muslim first responder who died saving people but was the victim of a smear campaign by Islamophobes who attempted to link him to the 9/11 attacks.

Andre Carson brought up an excellent point about the fact that cooperation between law enforcement and communities such as the American Muslim community is endangered by the backdoor actions and methodologies of  organizations such as the FBI when they send agent provocateurs into Muslim mosques. Such actions cause distrust and engender fear that Muslims’ civil rights and liberties are being violated. One really only has to look at the example in California of the criminal Craig Montielh who was later arrested and confessed that he was sent by the FBI on a fishing expedition to entrap Muslims.

There were also other quite interesting WTF moments: Such as when Peter King mentioned Kim Kardashian and CAIR in the same sentence. Or when non-expert witness Melvin Bledsoe told Rep. Al Green “you don’t know what these hearings are about.” There was also the earlier moment when Peter King denied making the comment that “there are too many mosques in America.” A blatant falsity.

We will have more in depth coverage but it is safe to say that American Muslims are in for a rocky Islamophobic time with these hearings.