July 31, 2011 Leave a comment
Ramadan mubarak to the Muslims around the world. I hope your month of fasting is spiritually, emotionally and materially rewarding.
"I have often been forced to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that there was no place else to go.”
July 26, 2011 1 Comment
As vacations go this is one of my better ones to date, but the shootings in Norway and the typical missteps by main stream media to cast blame on the culprits has made it just too unbearable for me. Thankfully, Glen Greenwald’s piece sums it all up for me and it’s a must I post it here in its entirety.
For much of the day yesterday, the featured headline on The New York Times online front page strongly suggested that Muslims were responsible for the attacks on Oslo; that led to definitive statements on the BBC and elsewhere that Muslims were the culprits. The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin wrote a whole column based on the assertion that Muslims were responsible, one that, as James Fallows notes, remains at the Post with no corrections or updates. The morning statement issued by President Obama — “It’s a reminder that the entire international community holds a stake in preventing this kind of terror from occurring” and “we have to work cooperatively together both on intelligence and in terms of prevention of these kinds of horrible attacks” — appeared to assume, though (to its credit) did not overtly state, that the perpetrator was an international terrorist group.
But now it turns out that the alleged perpetrator wasn’t from an international Muslim extremist group at all, but was rather a right-wing Norwegian nationalist with a history of anti-Muslim commentary and an affection for Muslim-hating blogs such as Pam Geller’s Atlas Shrugged, Daniel Pipes, and Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch. Despite that, The New York Times is still working hard to pin some form of blame, even ultimate blame, on Muslim radicals (h/t sysprog):
Terrorism specialists said that even if the authorities ultimately ruled out Islamic terrorism as the cause of Friday’s assaults, other kinds of groups or individuals were mimicking Al Qaeda’s brutality and multiple attacks.
“If it does turn out to be someone with more political motivations, it shows these groups are learning from what they see from Al Qaeda,” said Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism researcher at the New America Foundation in Washington.
Al Qaeda is always to blame, even when it isn’t, even when it’s allegedly the work of a Nordic, Muslim-hating, right-wing European nationalist. Of course, before Al Qaeda, nobody ever thought to detonate bombs in government buildings or go on indiscriminate, politically motivatedshooting rampages. The NYT speculates that amonium nitrate fertilizer may have been used to make the bomb because the suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, owned a farming-related business and thus could have access to that material; of course nobody would have ever thought of using that substance to make a massive bomb had it not been for Al Qaeda. So all this proves once again what a menacing threat radical Islam is.
Then there’s this extraordinarily revealing passage from the NYT –first noticed by Richard Silverstein — explaining why the paper originally reported what it did:
Initial reports focused on the possibility of Islamic militants, in particular Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, or Helpers of the Global Jihad, cited by some analysts as claiming responsibility for the attacks. American officials said the group was previously unknown and might not even exist.
There was ample reason for concern that terrorists might be responsible.
In other words, now that we know the alleged perpetrator is not Muslim, we know — by definition — that Terrorists are not responsible; conversely, when we thought Muslims were responsible, that meant — also by definition — that it was an act of Terrorism. As Silverstein put it:
How’s that again? Are the only terrorists in the world Muslim? If so, what do we call a right-wing nationalist capable of planting major bombs and mowing down scores of people for the sake of the greater glory of his cause? If even a liberal newspaper like the Times can’t call this guy a terrorist, what does that say about the mindset of the western world?
What it says is what we’ve seen repeatedly: that Terrorism has no objective meaning and, at least in American political discourse, has come functionally to mean: violence committed by Muslims whom the West dislikes, no matter the cause or the target. Indeed, in many (though not all) media circles, discussion of the Oslo attack quickly morphed from this is Terrorism (when it was believed Muslims did it) to no, this isn’t Terrorism, just extremism (once it became likely that Muslims didn’t). As Maz Hussain — whose lengthy Twitter commentary on this event yesterday was superb and well worth reading — put it:
That Terrorism means nothing more than violence committed by Muslims whom the West dislikes has been proven repeatedly. When an airplane was flown into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, it was immediately proclaimed to be Terrorism, until it was revealed that the attacker was a white, non-Muslim, American anti-tax advocate with a series of domestic political grievances. The U.S. and its allies can, by definition, never commit Terrorism even when it is beyond question that the purpose of their violence is to terrorize civilian populations into submission. Conversely, Muslims who attack purely military targets — even if the target is an invading army in their own countries — are, by definition, Terrorists. That is why, as NYU’s Remi Brulin has extensively documented, Terrorism is the most meaningless, and therefore the most manipulated, word in the English language. Yesterday provided yet another sterling example.
One last question: if, as preliminaryevidencesuggests, it turns out that Breivik was “inspired” by the extremist hatemongering rantings of Geller, Pipes and friends, will their groups be deemed Terrorist organizations such that any involvement with them could constitute the criminal offense of material support to Terrorism? Will those extremist polemicists inspiring Terrorist violence receive the Anwar Awlaki treatment of being put on an assassination hit list without due process? Will tall, blond, Nordic-looking males now receive extra scrutiny at airports and other locales, and will those having any involvement with those right-wing, Muslim-hating groups be secretly placed on no-fly lists? Or are those oppressive, extremist, lawless measures — like the word Terrorism — also reserved exclusively for Muslims?
UPDATE: The original version of the NYT article was even worse in this regard. As several people noted, here is what the article originally said (papers that carry NYT articles still have the original version):
Terrorism specialists said that even if the authorities ultimately ruled out terrorism as the cause of Friday’s assaults, other kinds of groups or individuals were mimicking al-Qaida’s signature brutality and multiple attacks.
“If it does turn out to be someone with more political motivations, it shows these groups are learning from what they see from al-Qaida,” said Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism researcher at the New America Foundation in Washington.
Thus: if it turns out that the perpetrators weren’t Muslim (but rather “someone with more political motivations” — whatever that means: it presumably rests on the inane notion that Islamic radicals are motivated by religion, not political grievances), then it means that Terrorism, by definition, would be “ruled out” (one might think that the more politically-motivated an act of violence is, the more deserving it is of the Terrorism label, but this just proves that the defining feature of the word Terrorism is Muslim violence). The final version of the NYT article inserted the word “Islamic” before “terrorism” (“even if the authorities ultimately ruled out Islamic terrorism as the cause”), but — as demonstrated above — still preserved the necessary inference that only Muslims can be Terrorists. Meanwhile, in the world of reality, of 294 Terrorist attacks attempted or executed on European soil in 2009 as counted by the EU, a grand total of one — 1 out of 294 — was perpetrated by “Islamists.”
UPDATE II: This article expertly traces and sets forth exactly how the “Muslims-did-it” myth was manufactured and then disseminated yesterday to the worldwide media, which predictably repeated it with little skepticism. What makes the article so valuable is that it names names: it points to the incestuous, self-regarding network of self-proclaimed U.S. Terrorism and foreign policy “experts” — what the article accurately describes as “almost always white men and very often with military or government backgrounds,” in this instance driven by “a case of an elite fanboy wanting to be the first to pass on leaked gadget specs” — who so often shape these media stories and are uncritically presented as experts, even though they’re drowning in bias, nationalism, ignorance, and shallow credentialism.
Here ya’ go, corporate media, suck on this!
We’re in the middle of one of the worse economic crisis of modern times,and much if not most of that is because of the careless nature of expenditure within the Defense department, according to some estimates as much as the deficit we are now hampered with. Yet the opposition party doesn’t seem at all interested in reducing the deficit by reigning in Defense department spending, instead opting to impose tax hikes on the middle class over the wealthiest Americans, and by cutting social services whose waste is a drop in the bucket compared to the Defense department. So while millions of Americans are without jobs…jobs that if you believed trickle down economics should be generated by the massive wealth accumulated by corporations like Exxon Mobile, GE, and yes our very own Defense Department, these very same entities are not being held accountable by members of government. Can anyone take elected officials seriously anymore?
A succinct, and perhaps much more palatable way of saying what we’ve tried to say so many times before, American Muslims are NOT America’s problem! For the rhythmically challenged feel free to snap your fingers and dance around in the privacy of your own home. Enjoy.
Keith Olbermann continues his assault on the faux pas journalism of Fox News. His attacks are well deserved and he along with Jon Stewart seem to be the only ones willing to point out the hypocrisy of the Murdoch machine. In the light of what happened in the UK with a Murdoch enterprise infringing on the rights of British citizens one has to wonder what is being done to viewers, readers and listeners here in the name of journalism by Fox News minions. Stay tuned.
Hat-tip to FRWritings who tweeted, ‘Conservative Christians dont have a Christian Problem, Conservative Christians Have a Reading Problem; Bible doesnt it say to Crush the Poor‘ and indeed it doesn’t. First some background. Over the past decade we, the People, have been besieged with the notion that our world is in a clash of civilization with, most notably Muslims, who want to destroy our religious traditions and foundation and replace it with this encroaching and evil “sharia law” that will plunge us into darkness, insolvency and eventual death. Even when there is no external or internal threat from a belief system that is indeed different from America’s majority, we manage to conjure it up and exaggerate it into life threatening proportions which have become easily believable by most Americans.
However, the potential for death and destruction come not from those sources the “Right” claims oppose a Christian ethos, but rather from those who falsely promote that Christian tradition. The “Right” having taken up the cause of the economy and the necessity to increase revenue through budget cuts and tax increases has decided to attach itself to budget cuts and tax increases that disproportionally affect the middle class to the exclusion of the more well off and rich of society. Companies and corporations that have reaped tremendous profits at the expense of the 90% of the US tax bracket, have refused to accept any responsibility for the US economy and have been enabled in their denial by the same Right which claims an alliance to Christian principles. These very same conservative politicians that tout the virtue of America in its clash with other civilizations have bet against America during her times of economic hardship, making hypocritical their claims of American exceptionalism and grandeur. As FRWritings said in his tweet they haven’t read the Bible at all or rather have forgotten what it says in Luke 12:48- Much will be required from everyone to whom much has been given. But even more will be demanded from the one to whom much has been entrusted. Did you read that part folks?