Archive for Terrorists

Seymour Hersh Reveals that MEK Terrorists Were Trained in the USA by the Pentagon

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2012 by loonwatch

As Glenn Greenwald noted in his book “With Liberty and Justice for Some,” equality before the law is an illusion in the United States. If you are wealthy and have political clout you are most likely to get away with breaking the law and committing crimes, such as “material support” of terrorism.

We reported in July of last year that many politicians from both parties were working with and receiving money from a US State Department designated terrorist organization, the MEK. A group Islamophobes are also quite fond of at the moment.

It was then revealed that the US and Israel have been supporting the MEK to carry out terrorist missions in Iran. Now it has been revealed by the trailblazing investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh that the Pentagon has been training the MEK in Nevada for years, starting in 2005:

US Pentagon Trained Iranian terrorists in Nevada: Hersh

Posted on 04/07/2012 by Juan Cole

The intrepid Seymour Hersh reports at the New Yorker that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) of the US military gave members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK or People’s Holy Jihadis) training in signals intelligence at a facility in Nevada during the Bush era. The MEK was then and is now on the US State Department’s terrorism watch list, so the Pentagon’s deployment of this group was quite illegal.

The MEK was given a base in eastern Iraq by Saddam Hussein, who used the some 4,000 guerrillas who gathered there to harass the Islamic Republic of Iran. The MEK had its origins in an Islamic-Marxist guerrilla group of the 1970s that fought the forces of the Shah. It joined in the revolution against the Shah in 1978-79 but broke with the Khomeini regime and turned to a massive campaign of bombing and sniping against it. In return, the regime killed some 10,000 suspected MEK members, many of whom it just shot down in the street. The group evolved into a political cult, with insistence on glaze-eyed absolute obedience to the leader, Maryam Rajavi, and cult-like practices such as forced marriages and divorces (not to mention the long history of violence inside Iran).

When the US occupied Iraq, some in the Pentagon adopted the MEK at Camp Ashraf near the Iranian border for use against Iran. The MEK has bought a lot of big American politicians and seems to have promised the Israelis it would recognize Israel if it ever came to power in Iran; figures connected to the Israel lobbies have hypocritically campaigned to have the MEK delisted as a terrorist organization, despite it long and bloody record of attacks on civilians. As recently as this year, NBC quoted unnamed US government officials alleging that the MEK has been assassinating Iranian scientists in Iran.

Hersh reveals a trail of blatant hypocrisy on the part of the US government. “Our” terrorists are not terrorists even if they have blown up non-combatants, but national liberation groups such as Hizbullah in Lebanon are designated terrorists. Government officials have even brandished the word “terrorism” to describe perfectly peaceful protesters and dissidents inside the US, while JSOC was flying dyed-in-the-wool terrorists to Nevada for training.

The USG Open Source Center translated a report in the MEK newspaper regarding the hobnobbing of Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton and others with the MEK leadership in Paris recently:

“– On 24 March, the NCRI secretariat website published a report on an international conference held in Paris to address MEK concerns and issues, which was attended by NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi as well as former high ranking officials from the United States and Europe including Rudy Giuliani, Tom Ridge, John Bolton, Patrick Kennedy, and Colonel Wesley Martin.. According to the report, the issues raised included the adoption of a “decisive policy” against Iran’s regime, protection of the rights of Camp Ashraf and Liberty residents, and the elimination of MEK’s “terrorist label.” Rajavi said that “the only way to prevent an Iranian atomic bomb or the occurrence of an unprecedented conflict” was “regime change” by the Iranian people and resistance. On the issue of Camp Liberty, Rudy Giuliani said: “Let us go there. Let us see it with our own eyes.” He added: “Currently the enemy of stopping Iran becoming nuclear is appeasement. This wrong perception has made Iran more determined in becoming nuclear. Let us stop appeasement. Let us stop the efforts for negotiations. Stop writing letters to the ayatollahs. Let us rise up and say as Americans that we are for regime change in Iran and we will take every step necessary to stop Iran becoming nuclear” (National Council of Resistance of Iran in Persian — Website of an exiled political umbrella coalition of Marxist and Islamist organizations — Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO), National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA), People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and Muslim Iranian Students Society (MISS); on US State Department’s list of terrorist groups since 1997; URL: http://www.iranncr.org/).”

As Sheila Musaji points out, lots of American Muslims are in jail for ‘material support of terrorism,’ but American politicians and pundits get a free pass for actively supporting the MEK– which, remember, is definitively on the terrorism watch list.

Note to the US government and the Neocons: George Orwell’s 1984 was a dark political satire, not a blueprint for how you should do things.

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.

Washington’s High-Powered Terrorist Supporters

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2012 by loonwatch

Glenn Greenwald, the first nomination for induction in the Anti-Loon Hall of Fame

Greenwald is like the canary in the coal mine, warning about the grave threat to our civil liberties and the abuse of the rule of law at the hand of the political elite:

Washington’s high-powered terrorist supporters

by Glenn Greenwald (Salon.com)

We now have an extraordinary situation that reveals the impunity with which political elites commit the most egregious crimes, as well as the special privileges to which they explicitly believe they — and they alone — are entitled. That a large bipartisan cast of Washington officials got caught being paid substantial sums of money by an Iranian dissident group that is legally designated by the U.S. Government as a Terrorist organization, and then meeting with and advocating on behalf of that Terrorist group, is very significant for several reasons. New developments over the last week make it all the more telling. Just behold the truly amazing set of facts that have arisen:

In June, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 6-3 ruling in the case of Holder v. Humanitarian Law. In that case, the Court upheld the Obama DOJ’s very broad interpretation of the statute that criminalizes the providing of “material support” to groups formally designated by the State Department as Terrorist organizations. The five-judge conservative bloc (along with Justice Stevens) held that pure political speech could be permissibly criminalized as “material support for Terrorism” consistent with the First Amendment if the “advocacy [is] performed in coordination with, or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization” (emphasis added). In other words, pure political advocacy in support of a designated Terrorist group could be prosecuted as a felony — punishable with 15 years in prison — if the advocacy is coordinated with that group.

This ruling was one of the most severe erosions of free speech rights in decades because, as Justice Breyer (joined by Ginsberg and Sotomayor) pointed out in dissent, “all the activities” at issue, which the DOJ’s interpretation would criminalize, “involve the communication and advocacy of political ideas and lawful means of achieving political ends.” The dissent added that the DOJ’s broad interpretation of the statute “gravely and without adequate justification injure[s] interests of the kind the First Amendment protects.” As Georgetown Law Professor David Cole, who represented the plaintiffs, explained, this was literally “the first time ever” that “the Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment permits the criminalization of pure speech advocating lawful, nonviolent activity.” Thus, “the court rule[d] that speech advocating only lawful, nonviolent activity can be made a crime, and that any coordination with a blacklisted group can land a citizen in prison for 15 years.” Then-Solicitor-General Elena Kagan argued the winning Obama DOJ position before the Court.

Whatever one’s views are on this ruling, it is now binding law. To advocate on behalf of a designated Terrorist group constitutes the felony of “providing material support” if that advocacy is coordinated with the group.

Like most assaults on the Constitution in the name of Terrorism during the Obama presidency, criticism of that Court decision was rare in establishment circles (that’s because Republicans consistently support such assaults while Democrats are reluctant to criticize them under Obama). On the day the Humanitarian Law decision was released, CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer interviewed Fran Townsend, George Bush’s Homeland Security Advisor and now-CNN analyst, and Townsend hailed the decision as “a tremendous win for not only the United States but for the current administration.” Here’s how that discussion went:

BLITZER: There is a related case involved that the Supreme Court came out with today and I want to talk to you about this. The Supreme Court ruling today in the fight against terrorism . . . .The 6-3 decision by the Supreme Court, the justices rejecting the arguments that the law threatens the constitutional right of free speech. You read the decision, 6-3, only three of the Democratic appointed justices decided they didn’t like this. They were the minority. But the majority was pretty firm in saying that if you go ahead and express what is called material support for a known terrorist group, you could go to jail for that.

TOWNSEND: This is a tremendous win for not only the United States but for the current administration. It’s interesting, Wolf, Elena Kagan the current Supreme Court nominee argued in favor of upholding this law. This is an important tool the government uses to convict those, to charge and convict, potentially convict those who provide money, recruits, propaganda, to terrorist organizations, but are not what we call people who actually blow things up or pull the trigger.

BLITZER: So it’s a major decision, a 6-3 decision by the Supreme Court. If you’re thinking about even voicing support for a terrorist group, don’t do it because the government can come down hard on you and the Supreme Court said the government has every right to do so.

TOWNSEND: It is more than just voicing support, Wolf. It is actually the notion of providing material support, significant material support.

BLITZER: But they’re saying that if material support, they’re defining as expressing support or giving advice or whatever to that organization.

TOWNSEND: That’s right. But it could be technical advice, bomb-building advice, fundraising.

So Fran Townsend lavishly praised this decision — one that, as Blitzer put it, means that “If you’re thinking about even voicing support for a terrorist group, don’t do it because the government can come down hard on you.”  And while Townsend was right that the decision requires “more than just voicing support” for the Terrorist group, the Court was crystal clear that such voicing of support, standing alone, can be prosecuted if it is done in coordination with the group (“the term ’service’ [] cover[s] advocacy performed in coordination with, or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization“).

But look at what is happening now to Fran Townsend and many of her fellow political elites. In August of last year, The Christian Science Monitor‘s Scott Peterson published a detailed exposé about “a high-powered array of former top American officials” who have received “tens of thousands of dollars” from a designated Terrorist organization – the Iranian dissident group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) — and then met with its leaders, attended its meetings, and/or publicly advocated on its behalf. That group includes Rudy Giuliani, Howard Dean, Michael Mukasey, Ed Rendell, Andy Card, Lee Hamilton, Tom Ridge, Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark, Michael Hayden, John Bolton, Louis Freeh — and Fran Townsend. This is how it works:

Former US officials taking part in MEK-linked events told the Monitor or confirmed publicly that they received substantial fees, paid by local Iranian-American groups to speaker bureaus that handle their public appearances.

The State Dept. official, who is familiar with the speech contracts, explains the mechanism: “Your speech agent calls, and says you get $20,000 to speak for 20 minutes. They will send a private jet, you get $25,000 more when you are done, and they will send a team to brief you on what to say.”

As but one example, Rendell, the former Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania and current MSNBC contributor, was paid $20,000 for a 10- minute speech before a MEK gathering, and has been a stalwart advocate of the group ever since.

Even for official Washington, where elite crimes are tolerated as a matter of course, this level of what appears to be overt criminality — taking large amounts of money from a designated Terrorist group, appearing before its meetings, meeting with its leaders, then advocating on its behalf — is too much to completely overlook. The Washington Times reported on Friday that the Treasury Department’s counter-Terrorism division is investigating speaking fees paid to former Gov. Rendell, who, the article notes, has “become among [MEK’s] most vocal advocates.” According to Rendell, “investigators have subpoenaed records related to payments he has accepted for public speaking engagements” for MEK. As the article put it, ”some observers have raised questions about the legality of accepting payment in exchange for providing assistance or services to a listed terrorist group.” Beyond the “material support” crime, engaging in such transactions with designated Terrorist groups is independently prohibited by federal law:

David Cole, a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, noted that “any group that’s on the list is also, by definition, on the Treasury Department’s list for specially designated global terrorists.”

Anyone in the United States is prohibited from engaging in any transaction with such an entity,” he said.

While Mr. Cole stressed his personal belief that individuals have a “First Amendment right to speak out freely” for an organization like the MEK, he said that “it is a crime to engage in any transaction, which would certainly include getting paid to do public relations for them.

Rendell has a lot of company in the commission of what very well may be these serious crimes — including the very same Fran Townsend who cheered the Humanitarian Law decision that could be her undoing. After someone on Twitter wrote to her this weekend to say that she should be prosecuted (and “put in GITMO indefinitely”) for her “material support”of MEK, this is how — with the waving American flag as her chosen background — she defended herself in reply:

How reprehensible is the conduct of Fran Townsend here? Just two years ago, she went on CNN to celebrate a Supreme Court decision that rejected First Amendment claims of free speech and free association in order to rule that anyone — most often Muslims — can be prosecuted under the “material support” statute simply for advocacy for a Terrorist group that is coordinated with the group. And yet, the minute Fran Townsend gets caught doing exactly that — not just out of conviction but also because she’s being paid by that Terrorist group — she suddenly invokes the very same Constitutional rights whose erosions she cheered when it came to the prosecution of others. Now that her own liberty is at stake by virtue of getting caught being on the dole from a Terrorist group, she suddenly insists that the First Amendment allows her to engage in this behavior: exactly the argument that Humanitarian Law rejected, with her gushing approval on CNN (“a tremendous win for not only the United States but for the current administration“; This is an important tool the government uses to convict those . . . who provide []  propaganda, to terrorist organizations”).”

What is particularly repellent about all of this is not the supreme hypocrisy and self-interested provincialism of Fran Townsend. That’s all just par for the course. What’s infuriating is that there are large numbers of people — almost always Muslims — who have been prosecuted and are now in prison for providing “material support” to Terrorist groups for doing far less than Fran Townsend and her fellow cast of bipartisan ex-officials have done with and on behalf of MEK. In fact, the U.S. Government has been (under the administration in which Townsend worked) and still is (under the administration Rendell supports) continuously prosecuting Muslims for providing “material support” for Terrorist groups based on their pure speech, all while Fran Townsend, Ed Rendell and company have said nothing or, worse, supported the legal interpretations that justified these prosecutions.

The last time I wrote about these individuals’ material support for MEK, I highlighted just a few of those cases:

  • A Staten Island satellite TV salesman in 2009 was sentenced to five years in federal prison merely for including a Hezbollah TV channel as part of the satellite package he sold to customers;
  • a Massachusetts resident, Tarek Mehanna, is being prosecuted now ”for posting pro-jihadist material on the internet”;
  • a 24-year-old Pakistani legal resident living in Virginia, Jubair Ahmad, was indicted last September for uploading a 5-minute video to YouTube that was highly critical of U.S. actions in the Muslim world, an allegedly criminal act simply because prosecutors claim he discussed the video in advance with the son of a leader of a designated Terrorist organization (Lashkar-e-Tayyiba);
  • a Saudi Arabian graduate student, Sami Omar al-Hussayen, was prosecuted simply for maintaining a website with links “to groups that praised suicide bombings in Chechnya and in Israel” and “jihadist” sites that solicited donations for extremist groups (he was ultimately acquitted); and,
  •  last July, a 22-year-old former Penn State student and son of an instructor at the school, Emerson Winfield Begolly, was indicted for — in the FBI’s words — “repeatedly using the Internet to promote violent jihad against Americans” by posting comments on a “jihadist” Internet forum including “a comment online that praised the shootings” at a Marine Corps base, action which former Obama lawyer Marty Lederman said ”does not at first glance appear to be different from the sort of advocacy of unlawful conduct that is entitled to substantial First Amendment protection.”

Yet we have the most well-connected national security and military officials in Washington doing far more than all of that right out in the open — they’re receiving large payments from a Terrorist group, meeting with its leaders, attending their meetings, and then advocating for them in very public forums; Howard Dean, after getting paid by the group, actually called for MEK’s leader to be recognized as the legitimate President of Iran  – and so far none have been prosecuted or even indicted. The Treasury Department investigation must at least scare them. Thus, like most authoritarians, Fran Townsend suddenly discovers the importance of the very political liberties she’s helped assault now that those Constitutional protections are necessary to protect herself from prosecution. It reminds me quite a bit of how former Democratic Rep. Jane Harman — one of the most reliable advocates for Bush’s illegal spying program — suddenly started sounding like a life-long, outraged ACLU member as soon as it was revealed that her own private communications were legally surveilled by the U.S. Government.

One can reasonably debate whether MEK actually belongs on the list of Terrorist organizations (the same is true for several other groups on that list). But as a criminal matter, that debate is irrelevant. The law criminalizes the providing of material support to any group on that list, and it is not a defense to argue after one gets caught that the group should be removed.

Moreover, the argument that MEK does not belong on the Terrorist list — always a dubious claim —  has suffered a serious blow in the last couple of months. An NBC News report from Richard Engel and Robert Windrem in February claimed that it was MEK which perpetrated the string of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, and that the Terrorist group “is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service” (MEK denied the report). If true, it means that MEK continues to perpetrate definitive acts of Terrorism: using bombs and guns to kill civilian scientists and severely injure their wives. Yet Townsend, Rendell, Dean, Giuliani and other well-paid friends continue to be outspoken advocates of the group. Even the dissenters in Humanitarian Law argued that the First Amendment would allow “material support” prosecution “when the defendant knows or intends that those activities will assist the organization’s unlawful terrorist actions.” A reasonable argument could certainly be advanced that, in light of these recent reports about MEK’s Terrorism, one who takes money from the group and then advocates for its removal from the Terrorist list “knows or intends that those activities will assist the organization’s unlawful terrorist actions”: a prosecutable offense even under the dissent’s far more limited view of the statute.

But whatever else is true, the activities of Townsend, Rendell, Dean, Giuliani and the rest of MEK’s paid shills are providing more than enough “material support” to be prosecuted under the Humanitarian Law decision and other statutes. They’re providing more substantial “material support” to this Terrorist group than many people — usually vulnerable, powerless Muslims — who are currently imprisoned for that crime.  It’s nice that Fran Townsend suddenly discovered the virtues of free speech and free association guarantees, but under the laws she and so many others like her have helped implement and defend, there is a very strong case to make that her conduct and those of these other well-connected advocates for this Terrorist group is squarely within the realm of serious criminal behavior.

Glenn Greenwald
Follow Glenn Greenwald on Twitter: @ggreenwald.More Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald: The real definition of Terrorism

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

(cross-posted from Salon)

The FBI yesterday announced it has secured an indictment against Faruq Khalil Muhammad ‘Isa, a 38-year-old citizen of Iraq currently in Canada, from which the U.S. is seeking his extradition. The headline on the FBI’s Press Release tells the basic story: “Alleged Terrorist Indicted in New York for the Murder of Five American Soldiers.” The criminal complaint previously filed under seal provides the details: ‘Isa is charged with “providing material support to a terrorist conspiracy” because he allegedly supported a 2008 attack on a U.S. military base in Mosul that killed 5 American soldiers. In other words, if the U.S. invades and occupies your country, and you respond by fighting back against the invading army — the ultimate definition of a “military, not civilian target” — then you are a . . . Terrorist.

Here is how the complaint, in the first paragraph, summarizes the Terrorism charge against ‘Isa:

By “outside of the United States,” the Government means: inside Iraq, ‘Isa’s country. The bulk of the complaint details conversations ‘Isa allegedly had over the Internet, while he was in Canada, with several Tunisians who wanted to engage in suicide attacks aimed at American troops in Iraq; he is not alleged to have organized the Mosul attack but merely to have provided political and religious encouragement (the network of which he was allegedly a part also carried out a suicide attack on an Iraqi police station, though ‘Isa’s alleged involvement is confined to the attack on the U.S. military base that killed the 5 soldiers along with several Iraqis, and the Terrorism indictment is based solely on the deaths of the U.S. soldiers).

In an effort to depict him as a crazed, Terrorist fanatic, the complaint includes this description of conversations he had while being monitored:

Is that not exactly the mindset that more or less anyone in the world would have: if a foreign army invades your country and proceeds to brutally occupy it for the next eight years, then it’s your solemn duty to fight them? Indeed, isn’t that exactly the mentality that caused some young Americans to enlist after the 9/11 attack and be hailed as heroes:they attacked us on our soil, and so now I want to fight them?

Yet when it’s the U.S. that is doing the invading and attacking, then we’re all supposed to look upon this very common reaction with mockery, horror, and disgust– look at these primitive religious fanatic Terrorists who have no regard for human life — because the only healthy, normal, civilized reaction someone should have to the U.S. invading, occupying, and destroying their country is gratitude, or at least passive acquiescence. Anything else, by definition, makes you a Terrorist. That’s because it is an inherent American right to invade or occupy whomever it wants and only a Terrorist would resist (to see one vivid (and darkly humorous) expression of this pathological, imperial entitlement, see this casual speculation from a neocon law professor at Cornell that Iran may have committed an “act of war” if it brought down the American drone that entered its airspace and hovered over its soil without permission: “if it is true, as the Iranians claim, that the drone did not fall by accident but was brought down by Iranian electronic means, then isn’t that already an act of war?”).

It’s one thing to condemn ‘Isa’s actions on moral or ethical grounds: one could argue, I suppose, that the solemn duty of every Iraqi was to respectfully treat the American invaders as honored (albeit uninvited) guests, or at least to cede to invading American troops the monopoly on violence. But it’s another thing entirely to label someone who does choose to fight back as a “Terrorist” and prosecute them as such under charges that entail life in prison (by contrast: an Israeli soldier yesterday killed a Palestinian protester in a small West Bank village that has had much of its land appropriated by Israeli settlers, by shooting him in the face at relatively close range with a tear gas cannister, while an Israeli plane attacked a civilian home in Gaza and killed a father and his young son while injuring several other children; acts like that, or the countless acts of reckless or even deliberate slaughter of civilians by Americans, must never be deemed Terrorism).

Few things better illustrate the utter meaninglessness of the word Terrorism than applying it to a citizen of an invaded country for fighting back against the invading army and aiming at purely military targets (this is far from the first time that Iraqis and others who accused of fighting back against the invading U.S. military have been formally deemed to be Terrorists for having done so). To the extent the word means anything operationally, it is: he who effectively opposes the will of the U.S. and its allies.

This topic is so vital because this meaningless, definition-free word — Terrorism — drives so many of our political debates and policies. Virtually every debate in which I ever participate quickly and prominently includes defenders of government policy invoking the word as some sort of debate-ending, magical elixir: of course President Obama has to assassinate U.S. citizens without due process: they’re Terrorists; of course we have to stay in Afghanistan: we have to stop The Terrorists; President Obama is not only right to kill people (including civilians) using drones, but is justified in boasting and even joking about it, because they’re Terrorists; of course some people should be held in prison without charges: they’re Terrorists, etc. etc. It’s a word that simultaneously means nothing and justifies everything.

(Continues here).

Terrorists Charged in Plot to Kidnap and Kill Troopers

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2011 by loonwatch

I wonder if Rep.Peter King will bringing this clear terrorists case in Alaska up at the hearings? Can you just imagine if these five were Muslim? It would be lock ‘em up and throw away the key, press conferences and daily bulletins on their interrogations, etc.

Five charged in alleged plot to kidnap or kill troopers, judge

By CASEY GROVE casey.grove@adn.com (Anchorage Daily News)

Five people in the Fairbanks area were arrested Thursday by state and federal law enforcement on charges connected with an alleged plot to kidnap or kill state troopers and a Fairbanks judge, according to the Alaska State Troopers.

Francis “Schaeffer” Cox, Lonnie Vernon, Karen Vernon, Coleman Barney and Michael Anderson are accused of conspiring to commit murder, kidnapping, and arson, as well as weapons misconduct, hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence, according to trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters in a written statement late Thursday.

An investigation “revealed extensive plans to kidnap or kill Alaska state troopers and a Fairbanks judge,” the statement said. The plans included “extensive surveillance” on the homes of two Fairbanks troopers, the statement said.

“Investigation also revealed that extensive surveillance on troopers in the Fairbanks area had occurred, specifically on the locations of the homes for two Alaska state troopers,” the statement said. “Furthermore, Cox et. al. had acquired a large cache of weapons in order to carry out attacks against their targeted victims. Some of the weapons known to be in the cache are prohibited by state or federal law.”

U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler said Lonnie Vernon, 55, was arrested for threatening to kill a federal judge. She said more information about federal charges would be released today Fairbanks Police Chief Loren Zager said the operation involved multiple police actions related to Fairbanks-area members of the “sovereign citizen” movement.

The operation was complete by evening, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Anchorage.

Alaska State Troopers had earlier shut down a road near Cox’s home, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. The 26-year-old militia leader is a self-described “sovereign.”

An arrest warrant for Cox was issued last month when he failed to show up for a court appearance on a weapons charge.

Cox, a vocal proponent of Americans’ right to bear arms, had earlier vowed to defy what he described as an illegitimate and overbearing government.

The News-Miner reported a state trooper carrying a rifle blocked off an intersection near Cox’s listed address Thursday afternoon. A neighbor who lives on the same road said it was not blocked as of 5 p.m.

Along with troopers and Fairbanks police, the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service carried out the arrests, according to troopers.

An update posted on Cox’s Facebook page at about 7:30 p.m. said: “Schaeffer has been taken into custody by the FBI. Please pray for his safety and the safety of his family.”

The sovereign citizen movement is characterized by a rejection of U.S. laws and taxes. In general, participants believe that federal, state and local statutes and laws do not apply to them.

The investigation continues, troopers said.

Terrorism in Europe, What if they were Muslim?

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2010 by loonwatch

The anarchists seem to be on a tear across Europe.

Terrorism is a serious issue in Europe, but contrary to popular misperception it isn’t the Mooslimsyou should be worried about:

‘Wave of terrorism’: Blasts hit Rome embassies

ROME — An Italian anarchist group claimed responsibility for parcel bombs on Thursday that wounded two people at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome, a reminder of home-grown threats at a time of political instability in Europe.

A Swiss man was seriously wounded and was rushed to hospital. The employee at the Chilean embassy was less seriously hurt. A note was found stuck to his clothing, claiming responsibility for the attack on behalf of the FAI, or Informal Anarchist Federation.

“We have decided to make our voice heard with words and with facts, we will destroy the system of dominance, long live the FAI, long-live Anarchy,” said the note, written in Italian, which was released in the evening by the police.

 

John Snyder: ‘Jesus Calls for Us to be Armed’

Posted in Feature, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2010 by loonwatch
The “Gun Saint”

John Snyder, a member of the St. Gabriel Possenti Society, a group that honors the “gun saint” brags that he is designated the “senior rights activist in Washington” by Shotgun News. Snyder recently published a news release on the Christian News Wire saying “we must be armed to fight the Islamists.”

Snyder attempts to argue for the use of handguns on the basis that we are under threat from terrorists. It is the same piggyback and fear-mongering argument used by radical Tea Partiers and scions of Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller to propagate the conspiracy of Muslim menace and threat. The fact is you are more likely to be hit by lightning, killed in a car crash, drowning, fire, or murder  than to be killed by a terrorist in America. From Reason Magazine,

But how afraid should Americans be of terrorist attacks? Not very, as some quick comparisons with other risks that we regularly run in our daily lives indicate…in 2003 about 45,000 Americans died in motor accidents out of population of 291,000,000. So, according to the National Safety Council this means your one-year odds of dying in a car accident is about one out of 6500. Therefore your lifetime probability (6500 ÷ 78 years life expectancy) of dying in a motor accident are about one in 83.

What about your chances of dying in an airplane crash? A one-year risk of one in 400,000 and one in 5,000 lifetime risk. What about walking across the street? A one-year risk of one in 48,500 and a lifetime risk of one in 625. Drowning? A one-year risk of one in 88,000 and a one in 1100 lifetime risk. In a fire? About the same risk as drowning. Murder? A one-year risk of one in 16,500 and a lifetime risk of one in 210. What about falling? Essentially the same as being murdered. And the proverbial being struck by lightning? A one-year risk of one in 6.2 million and a lifetime risk of one in 80,000. And what is the risk that you will die of a catastrophic asteroid strike? In 1994, astronomers calculated that the chance was one in 20,000. However, as they’ve gathered more data on the orbits of near earth objects, the lifetime risk has been reduced to one in 200,000 or more.

What are the odds of dying in a terrorist attack?

So how do these common risks compare to your risk of dying in a terrorist attack? To try to calculate those odds realistically, Michael Rothschild, a former business professor at the University of Wisconsin, worked out a couple of plausible scenarios. For example, he figured that if terrorists were to destroy entirely one of America’s 40,000 shopping malls per week, your chances of being there at the wrong time would be about one in one million or more. Rothschild also estimated that if terrorists hijacked and crashed one of America’s 18,000 commercial flights per week that your chance of being on the crashed plane would be one in 135,000.

Even if terrorists were able to pull off one attack per year on the scale of the 9/11 atrocity, that would mean your one-year risk would be one in 100,000 and your lifetime risk would be about one in 1300. (300,000,000 ÷ 3,000 = 100,000 ÷ 78 years = 1282) In other words, your risk of dying in a plausible terrorist attack is much lower than your risk of dying in a car accident, by walking across the street, by drowning, in a fire, by falling, or by being murdered.

For Snyder and his ilk these facts obviously don’t matter. Why let facts get in the way when you need to drudge up support for liberal gun laws? Can we say that Snyder is motivated by religious sentiment and that he in fact feels that he is religiously obligated to own a gun?

Yes.

In his “news release” Snyder writes,

Snyder warned, “Those who work against this freedom in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere should beware. If it so happens that people are murdered because politically correct elitists spoke and worked successfully to prevent citizens from getting, carrying and using self-defense guns, the blood of the innocent will be on their hands.

“Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us that, ‘A man without a sword must sell his cloak and buy one,’ according to Luke (22:36). It’s time to take all of His words to heart.”

Ominous words from Snyder, but does this comport with Christian teaching? Is the old song, “Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition” on the mark? Imagine if a Muslim had said something similar about Muslim teaching requiring Muslims to own guns, there would be no doubt that individuals in the media and the usual anti-Muslim suspects would be saying that this is the correct interpretation of the religion and therefore Islam is a violent Faith.

 

Bullies Charged for Hate Crime against Muslim Boy

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2010 by loonwatch
Kristian Ishmael

Islamophobia knows no race and hopefully these kids will realize that attacking people for their religion or ethnicity is wrong and will not be sanctioned.

Muslim teen beaten, called a ‘terrorist’ by classmates says he stayed silent out of fear

(NY Daily News)

A Muslim boy says four bullies made his life a living hell in the halls of a Staten Islandpublic school, calling him a “terrorist” and beating him every chance they got.

The victim, a 16-year-old high school freshman, told his father and the police of the constant abuse he endured, prompting the arrests Sunday of his teen tormenters on suspicion of hate crimes.

“[They] punched me in my groin, and I fell to the floor. They started kicking me, and calling me ‘You f—in’ terrorist,’ ‘You f—in’ Muslim,’” the victim, Kristian, told the Daily News.

Word of Kristian’s emotionally scarring ordeal comes during a disturbing spike in hate crimes across the city, highlighted by Friday’s sadistic Bronx gang torture of two teens and an adult because they were gay.

Kristian – his voice shaky, his hands clenched in his lap – and his parents spoke to The News on grounds their last name not be used.

The boy, the American-born, only child of Trinidadian immigrants, said the abuse began in October 2009 while he was a student at the Edwin Markham Intermediate School. He said the almost-daily abuse didn’t end until he graduated from the school in June.

He finally told his father when he began his freshman year last month at Port Richmond High School and saw two of the bullies sitting in one of his classes; he hasn’t returned to class since.

“I think I can’t go through a year like this again,” said the soft-spoken victim, who first told his story to the Staten Island Advance.

The four suspects – three 14-year-old Latinos and a 15-year-old African-American – were arrested on charges of assault and aggravated harassment – both as hate crimes. They were all released to their parents and are expected to be formally charged as early as today as minors. Their names were not made public.

Kristian said the bullying began when the thugs first called him gay and quickly escalated to him being battered for his Muslim heritage and blamed for terrorist bombings.

“I was very scared that if I told the teachers…they would beat me up more,” Kristian said.

He said he remained silent, hoping and praying they would stop.

“It kept going on,” he said. “The kids were in my class and they would see me in the halls.”

He said one of the teen thugs brazenly attacked him in class, in front of a teacher.

“[He] touched me here and here,” he said, pointing to his left elbow and forehead.

The teacher scolded the menace, saying, “‘Why did you do that for? He’s a good boy. Leave him alone. Why do you keep bothering him?’”

Outside of class, things got worse.

“Four kids punched me everywhere. They would spit in my face, and kick and punch me. I had injuries,” Kristian said.

Once he was kicked so hard he had blood in his urine and had to go and see his doctor.

His father, whose first name is Shaffiate, said Kristian, a once-promising student and gifted piano player, has given up music and his grades have suffered.

“He’s afraid to go outside alone,” the father said.

The family wants him transferred to a new school.

jlauinger@nydailynews.com

With Rocco Parascandola

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2010/10/11/2010-10-11_si_muslim_teen_beaten_mocked_by_classmates.html?r=news#ixzz12GI4A475

 

Drunk Man Urinates in Mosque, Calls Worshipers “Terrorists”

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on August 26, 2010 by loonwatch

The backlash against Muslims continues. I am sure Islamophobes will give this guy a break and say he was drunk, but do you think they would have given Mel Gibson the same break for his drunken anti-Semitic tirade?

‘Drunk’ desecration at mosque

By FRANK ROSARIO and JESSICA SIMEONE

A drunk barged into a Queens mosque last night and shouted anti-Muslim slurs as he urinated on prayer rugs, cops and witnesses said.

Evening prayers were disrupted at the Iman Mosque on Steinway Street in Astoria when the unhinged man “came in with a beer bottle in his hands, clearly very intoxicated,” said Mustapha Sadouki, who was attending services.

“He fumbled over to our rugs where people were praying” and then committed the despicable desecration, Sadouki said,

The man, identified by cops as Omar Rivera, also allegedly shouted slurs, calling the worshippers “terrorists.”

Two men managed to subdue him. They put him a back room and called 911.

Cops took him to a hospital and later charged him with criminal trespass.

“He stuck up his middle finger and cursed at everyone,” said Sadouki, 43.

“No one can pray now because the rugs are completely soiled. It was disgusting.

“He calls us terrorists, yet he comes into our mosque and terrorizes other people.

“This is a true hate crime.”

 

Middle Easterners and Muslims can’t play good guys in Hollywood, only terrorists

Posted in Loon Media with tags , , , , , , on May 23, 2010 by loonwatch
LEAD: No stars in “Prince of Persia” are of Middle Eastern or Muslim descent, including Jake Gyllenhaal.

A whitewash for ‘Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’ and ‘The Last Airbender’

Two of the season’s most expensive films spark controversy by casting white actors in ethnic parts, a practice seen before in Hollywood.

By Chris Lee, Los Angeles Times

Since its release, the video game franchise Prince of Persia has become notable for the acrobatic grace of its dagger-wielding, balloon pants-wearing hero as well as for what the games didn’t do: affront gamers of Middle Eastern and Muslim descent with stereotypical depictions of people from the region as terrorists or religious zealots.

Independent filmmaker and blogger Jehanzeb Dar, to name one such player, remembers his favorable first reaction to the swashbuckling action game, which is set amid the sands and ancient cities of Persia (as ancient Iran is known) and follows a hero with a magic sword caught between forces of good and evil. “You could see clearly the protagonist had distinct Middle Eastern features and darker skin,” said Dar, 26, who pens the blog Muslim Reverie from Langhorne, Pa. “People could develop some respect for that culture instead of seeing it vilified.”

So when Disney studios announced plans for a live-action adaptation of Prince, Dar held out hope it would be a “serious story that would dispel a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions.” Then came the bad news regarding “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” (the movie which arrives in theaters on Friday). None of its principle cast members are of Iranian, Middle Eastern or Muslim descent. And playing Dastan, the hero and titular heir to the Persian throne in the $200-million tent-pole film, is none other than Hancock Park’s own Swedish-Jewish-American prince, Jake Gyllenhaal.

“My first reaction was, ‘Really?!’ ” said Dar. “It’s insulting that people of color — especially Middle Easterners or South Asians — are not allowed to portray ourselves in these roles. That’s a big problem a lot of people in the community are having with this film.”

Of course, Hollywood, has a rich history with this kind of thing. Think: John Wayne playing Genghis Khan in “The Conqueror,” Peter Sellers’ bumbling Indian character in “The Party” or even more notoriously, Mickey Rooney’s buck-toothed Mr. Yunioshi character from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” the grandfather of all “Yellowface” stereotypes.

Although these portrayals took place decades ago, their legacy lives on. Even now, in the age of Obama — when the newly installed Miss USA Rima Fakih is Lebanese American, Will Smith is the biggest movie star in the world and Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina to sit on the Supreme Court — the movie industry can still seem woefully behind the times when it comes to matters of race.

Consider the latest evidence. This summer, two of the season’s biggest budgeted films have sparked controversy by installing white actors in decidedly “ethnic” parts. And some early fan reactions have varied from indignation to righteous fury to organized revolt over a perceived “whitewashing” of multi-culti characters, a practice that has come to be known as “racebending.”

In addition to Gyllenhaal and British actress Gemma Arterton’s portrayal of Iranian characters in the swords-and-sandals action epic “Prince of Persia,” Paramount has come under attack for its live-action adaptation of the Nickelodeon animated series ” Avatar: The Last Airbender.” Directed by “Sixth Sense” auteur M. Night Shyamalan, “The Last Airbender” (as the movie is called to distinguish it from a certain James Cameron-directed 3-D blockbuster) has enraged some of the show’s aficionados by casting white actors in three of four principal roles — characters that fans of the original property insist are Asian and Native American.

And with just weeks until the movie’s July 2 release — after a year-and-a-half-long letter-writing campaign to the film’s producers and a correspondence with Paramount President Adam Goodman to underscore the importance of casting Asian actors in designated Asian roles — members of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans and an organization called http://www.racebending.comare urging fans to boycott “Airbender.”

The movie’s detractors have spoken against the film at six college campuses, including M.I.T., New York University and UCLA, also setting up booths at events such as San Francisco’s WonderCon pop culture expo to publicize their discontent. At last count, the group’s Facebook group had 7,125 supporters and attracted petitioners against the movie’s casting in 55 countries. The stated goal: to prevent “Airbender” from blooming into a lucrative three-part franchise via negative word of mouth.

“It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this,” said Racebending.com spokesman Michael Le. “They’ve constructed a film that is contrary not only to what fans expected to see but is also contrary to what America expects to see in a film released in 2010 featuring Asian culture and Asian and Native American characters as heroes.

“We want to raise awareness of the discriminatory practices of Hollywood,” Le continued. “We want to tell people this is important. It really matters.”

Guy Aoki, head and co-founder of MANAA — a crusading organization that has skirmished with TV networks and movie studios for a decade for more positive representations of Asian Americans — put a finer point on the boycotters’ concerns. “If ‘The Last Airbender’ does really well, it sends the message in Hollywood that discriminating against Asian Americans works,” he said.

Although the studios behind both “Prince of Persia” and “Airbender” have taken costly steps to not seem insensitive toward — or out of touch with — the minority constituencies represented in their respective films, no Disney or Paramount executives would comment for this article. Nor would the producers — “Prince of Persia’s” Jerry Bruckheimer or “Airbender’s” Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall. Directors Mike Newell and Shyamalan similarly declined.

Camille Alick, project manager for MOST — Muslims On Screen & Television, a resource center providing Hollywood productions with connections to Muslim actors and accurate information on Muslim populations — had not seen the films but remains sympathetic to the studios’ decisions, and contends that her experience in the field allows her insight into such casting choices.

“The hope is to have an authentic depiction, but casting directors have huge jobs in front of them,” Alick said. “They’re trying to find the best person for the part. And when it’s a big budget movie, it’s going to come down to a business decision. If a major actor can carry a film, that plays a big part. It’s not malicious intent.”

Still, those among the anti-racebending camp feel that such rationalization provides a convenient excuse for keeping the prevailing system — a glass ceiling for actors of color in major movies — firmly in place.

“Hollywood can make anybody into a hero,” Aoki said. “And yet these people continue to use a conservative attitude. When are they ever going to put an Asian American as a star to disprove that thinking? For Paramount to assume people wouldn’t pay to see Asians as leads is presumptuous and insulting.”

For the uninitiated, the cartoon series “Avatar: The Last Airbender” was aimed at children but enjoyed broad crossover to all ages — earning a zealous Asian American following — during its 2005-08 TV run. Set in a Pan-Asian universe, identifiably Asian and Native American, anime-inspired characters battle one another using martial arts manipulation of the four elements. The series follows a 12-year-old named Aang (played by non-Asian actor Noah Ringer in the movie) and his band of youthful cohorts who must save the world by toppling the evil Fire Lord and ending war with the Fire Nation.

But when word leaked out last year that a casting call had gone out for the movie version requesting “Caucasians and other ethnicities,” “Airbender” fans freaked. Moreover, many of the film’s detractors felt that Shyamalan, an Indian American, had betrayed his own.

On the “Airbender” set in Philadelphia, Shyamalan took issue with the accusation that “Airbender” was anything less than inclusionary to characters of color. “Ultimately, this movie, and then the three movies, will be the most culturally diverse tent-pole movies ever released, period,” he told The Times last summer.

Paramount provided a statement about “Airbender’s” casting choices. “The movie has 23 credited speaking roles — more than half of which feature Asian and Pan Asian actors of Korean, Japanese and Indian decent,” it reads. “The filmmaker’s interpretation reflects the myriad qualities that have made this series a global phenomenon. We believe fans of the original and new audiences alike will respond positively once they see it.”

(In an effort to short-circuit further criticism, the studio says it will screen a print of the film to Racebending.com boycotters once its last-minute conversion from 2-D to 3-D is complete.)

During “Prince of Persia’s” scripting process, Disney hired BoomGen Studios, a consultation and niche marketing firm specializing in creative content about the Middle East, to help address issues of historical congruity and cultural contexts. Consultants advised the filmmakers to avoid specifically characterizing religion by setting “Prince” in a “mythological time” before the arrival of Islam. As well, the company worked to assure members of the Iranian American community that the film was the antithesis of a recent action-adventure movie felt to vilify the people of Persia.

“We said, ‘This is the anti-’300,’ ” said BoomGen’s co-founder Reza Aslan.

Asked point blank by the Times of London, “Isn’t Gyllenhaal a bit pale to play a Persian?” Bruckheimer delivered this history lecture. “Persians were very light skinned,” he said. “The Turks kind of changed everything. But back in the 6th century, a lot of them were blond and blue-eyed.”

Aslan confirmed the veracity of Bruckheimer’s historical appraisal. “Iranians are Aryans,” Aslan asserted. “If we went back in time 1,700 years to the mythological era, all Iranians would look like Jake Gyllenhaal.”

Gyllenhaal maintains that “Prince of Persia” is simply a slice of old-fashioned Hollywood fantasy, a bit of cinema escapism that’s as light in spirit as the vintage serials. That heritage — along with the fact that it’s based on a video game — took precedence over any real-world context for his character.

“To me, it’s not something I gave a lot of thought because all of it such a fantasy,” Gyllenhaal said last month at San Francisco’s WonderCon. “It’s based on a video game, not something out of history. There’s nothing real about this. It’s just an adventure and it’s fun and it’s strange in a way to hold one part of it and say, ‘That’s not real or right.’ ”

Jack Shaheen, author of “Reel Bad Arabs” and a frequent commentator on Hollywood’s distortions of Muslim cultures and people, refused to condemn “Prince of Persia’s” depiction of ancient Iranians until seeing the film. But he critiqued the film industry’s conventional wisdom that mainstream audiences won’t shell out to see a non-white lead in a big-budget film.

“Hollywood is making a mistake,” Shaheen said. “As a society, we’re not seeing color like we used to. We’re more integrated than we used to be. The country is changing. But I don’t think Hollywood is at the forefront of that change.”

chris.lee@latimes.com

Times staff writer Geoff Boucher and freelance contributor Sam Adams contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

 

Senator James Inhofe’s un-American Call to Racially and Ethnically Profile Passengers

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2010 by loonwatch
The un-American Senator James InhofeThe un-American Senator James Inhofe

The Republican senator from Oklahoma has called for passengers to be “racially and ethnically profiled,” because according to him, “all terrorists [or at least 90% of them] are Muslims.”  Yes, that’s true: all terrorists are Muslims…except of course the 94% that aren’t.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fQnFJ9RMws&feature=player_embedded 300 250]

Does the good senator not know the ugly history of racial profiling?  Based on this same logic, white racists justify the racial profiling of blacks.  A white supremacist on the white nationalist websiteStormfront.org says:

Blacks looking ghetto in an affluent neighborhood should send up flags. For some reason, I doubt that they are there to do the plumbing, though I am sure they wouldn’t mind relieving you of a few of your more valuable items.

These white nationalists ask, just like Inhofe: “why should my white wife be considered on the same level as a ‘ghetto’ black guy?”

That racist forum is in fact full of calls for a return to racial profiling.  And they justify their belief based on “practicality” just like Inhofe and other loons do.  These white nationalists argue that according to the Department of Justice, blacks are seven times more likely to commit murder than whites:

Racial differences exist, with blacks disproportionately represented among homicide victims and offenders
In 2005, homicide victimization rates for blacks were 6 times higher than the rates for whites.

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm

…In 2005, offending rates for blacks were more than 7 times higher than the rates for whites……………..

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm

In another thread, they argue that blacks commit fifty times the number of violent crimes as whites.  There are also other points brought forth by such people, such as the fact that one in twenty adult black men are incarcerated.  Or that “more than three times the number of black Americans live in prison as in college dorms.” Or that over 55% of offenders admitted under the age of 18 are black.And on and on…All justifications to legalize racial profiling.

So if you justify profiling on airplanes by arguing that 90% of terrorists are Muslims (which is false anyways), then by that same logic you ought to be OK with profiling blacks, especially those “ghetto blacks” who happen to be walking through the suburb.  Whatever arguments you use to justify profiling of Arabs/Muslims can be used for blacks…What?  You’re not OK with that?  Then why is it OK to do that to Muslims or Arabs?

I am an American, and I oppose these un-American calls to racially and ethnically profile.  I don’t believe in such discrimination, and know that it is prohibited by the fourth and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution (that annoying document that right wingers always try to circumvent).  If you don’t believe in the ideals of this country, then kindly leave.  You, Senator Inhofe, are un-American.

And if you want to lament about your wife being pulled aside for extra searching, maybe think about changing the war mongering policy that has been shoved upon us by the right wing.  You can’t reallykill hundreds of thousands of Muslims, and not expect there to be a handful of disgruntled Muslims who seek revenge.

I know that people are annoyed by the added costs of airport security.  Well, I have a very low cost solution: the U.S. would save trillions of dollars if it withdrew all troops from foreign lands, and stopped aiding the state of Israel.  (Then put the money into universal health care.)  That would take away the motivations of Islamic extremists.  But I get it: you don’t want to do that…then stop complaining when that policy ends up fueling terrorism.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

 

All Terrorists are Muslims…Except the 94% that Aren’t

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , on January 20, 2010 by loonwatch

terrorism_has_no_religion

CNN recently published an article entitled Study: Threat of Muslim-American terrorism in U.S. exaggerated; according to a study released by Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “the terrorist threat posed by radicalized Muslim-Americans has been exaggerated.”

Yet, Americans continue to live in mortal fear of radical Islam, a fear propagated and inflamed by right wing Islamophobes.  If one follows the cable news networks, it seems as if all terrorists are Muslims.  It has even become axiomatic in some circles to chant: “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but nearly all terrorists are Muslims.” Muslims and their “leftist dhimmi allies” respond feebly, mentioning Waco as the one counter example, unwittingly affirming the belief that “nearly all terrorists are Muslims.”

But perception is not reality.  The data simply does not support such a hasty conclusion.  On the FBI’s official website, there exists a chronological list of all terrorist attacks committed on U.S. soil from the year 1980 all the way to 2005.  That list can be accessed here (scroll down all the way to the bottom).

Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Soil by Group, From 1980 to 2005, According to FBI Database

Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Soil by Group, From 1980 to 2005, According to FBI Database

According to this data, there were more Jewish acts of terrorism within the United States than Islamic (7% vs 6%).  These radical Jews committed acts of terrorism in the name of their religion.  These were not terrorists who happened to be Jews; rather, they were extremist Jews who committed acts of terrorism based on their religious passions, just like Al-Qaeda and company.

Yet notice the disparity in media coverage between the two.  It would indeed be very interesting to construct a corresponding pie chart that depicted the level of media coverage of each group.  The reason that Muslim apologists and their “leftist dhimmi allies” cannot recall another non-Islamic act of terrorism other than Waco is due to the fact that the media gives menial (if any) coverage to such events.  If a terrorist attack does not fit the “Islam is the perennial and existential threat of our times” narrative, it is simply not paid much attention to, which in a circuitous manner reinforces and “proves” the preconceived narrative.  It is to such an extent that the average American cannot remember any Jewish or Latino terrorist; why should he when he has never even heard of the Jewish Defense League or the Ejercito Popular Boricua Macheteros?  Surely what he does not know does not exist!

The Islamophobes claim that Islam is intrinsically a terrorist religion.  The proof?  Well, just about every terrorist attack is Islamic, they retort.  Unfortunately for them, that’s not quite true.  More like six percent.  Using their defunct logic, these right wingers ought now to conclude that nearly all acts of terrorism are committed by Latinos (or Jews).  Let them dare say it…they couldn’t; it would be political and social suicide to say such a thing. Most Americans would shut down such talk as bigoted; yet, similar statements continue to be said of Islam, without any repercussions.

The Islamophobes live in a fantasy world where everyone is supposedly too “politically correct” to criticize Islam and Muslims.  Yet, the reality is the exact opposite: you can get away with saying anything against the crescent.  Can you imagine the reaction if I said that Latinos should be profiled because after all they are the ones who commit the most terrorism in the country?  (For the record: I don’t believe in such profiling, because I am–unlike the right wing nutters–a believer in American ideals.)

The moral of the story is that Americans ought to calm down when it comes to Islamic terrorism.  Right wingers always live in mortal fear–or rather, they try to make you feel that way.  In fact, Pamela Geller (the queen of internet Islamophobia) literally said her mission was to “scare the bejeezus outta ya.” Don’t be fooled, and don’t be a wuss.  You don’t live in constant fear of radicalized Latinos (unless you’re Lou Dobbs), even though they commit seven times more acts of terrorism than Muslims in America.  Why then are you wetting yourself over Islamic radicals?  In the words of Cenk Uygur: you’re at a ten when you need to be at a four.  Nobody is saying that Islamic terrorism is not a matter of concern, but it’s grossly exaggerated.

Related Posts:

Europol report: All terrorists are Muslims…Except the 99.6% that aren’t

RAND report: Threat of homegrown jihadism exaggerated, Zero U.S. civilians killed since 9/11

Update:

A reader by the name of Dima added:

The FBI Terrorism Report shows…[that] the highest number of terrorist incidents in the U.S. by region (90) took place in Puerto Rico.

Second Update:

An Islamophobe commented on this article, saying that the statistics are flawed because the FBI included small acts such as “stealing rats from a lab” as an act of terrorism.  Of course, this is patently false.  Here is a breakdown of the terrorist attacks by type (the pie chart is from the FBI’s official website and can be accessed here):

Terrorism by Event, From 1980 to 2005, According to FBI DatabaseTerrorism by Event, From 1980 to 2005, According to FBI Database