Tag Archives: terrorism

Cop Killer Thought He Was Jesus; Christian Law to Kill Gays

Maurice Clemmons Christian Terrorist Extremist

No sooner did a photo of alleged cop-killer Maurice Clemmons appear in the news than the screeching began. “He’s a Muslim” “He was radicalised in prison” “He’s another domestic terrorist!” Presumably this is because his visage is swarthy and he’s not smiling a genial smile, although the smile wouldn’t be necessary if he were paler in hue.

Once it became apparent that the late Maurice Clemmons was a Christian, nobody cared anymore. Most news article failed to mention it. Those that did buried it several paragraphs down the page. Because somehow when a American who practices Islam mows down soldiers, it’s terrorism, extremism, and an indictment of Islam, but when an American who practices Christianity mows down police officers, it is none of those things. And Mr Clemmons wasn’t just a cultural Christian, he thought he was Jesus.

“The whole time Clemmons kept saying things like trust him, the world is going to end soon, and that he was Jesus,” a Pierce County sheriff’s report said.

Clemmons was charged in Washington state earlier this year with assaulting a police officer and raping a child, and investigators in the sex case said he was motivated by visions that he was Jesus Christ and that the world was on the verge of the apocalypse.

Within a couple days after the Fort Hood shooting, we knew more about Major Nidal Hasan than we’ve ever known about any spree killer, ever. The media gave us its analysis of a PowerPoint presentation he gave to his colleagues, encouraged us to gasp at his email exchange with an American imam in Yemen (and I still haven’t heard a single peep from anyone complaining that we spied on an American citizen’s correspondence with an American citizen–which was judged by the FBI to be innocuous), and found a blog comment on the internet that sounded like he might have written it and attributed it to him. I imagine there are hundreds or thousands of people posting on the internet every day who say things that sound like something I would say. Please don’t attribute them to me. Thanks.

Christian evangelical minister ex-governor Mike Huckabee did not actually pardon Clemmons, so what I wrote the other day is not accurate. Huckabee recommended clemency, basically making him eligible for parole. Huckabee was prudent enough not mention the religious angle in any explanation for this clemency, so we can’t actually know that Huckabee gave Clemmons another chance because he felt he had truly repented and accepted Jesus into his heart.

Salon article on Huckabee’s dealings with Maurice Clemmons.

Huckabee has proudly declared on many occasions that he disdains the separation of church and state, insisting that his strict Baptist piety should serve as the bedrock of public policy. Nowhere in his record as governor was the influence of religious zeal felt more heavily than in the distribution of pardons and commutations, as his own explanations have indicated. During those years he granted more commutations and pardons than any governor during the previous four decades, many of them surely justified as a response to excessive penalties under the state’s draconian narcotics laws. But others were deeply controversial, especially because so many of his acts of mercy appeared to depend on interventions by fellow Baptist preachers and by inmate professions of renewed Christian faith.

No doubt word spread among the prison population that the affable governor was vulnerable to appeals from convicts who claimed to be born again. Clemmons too was among those who benefited from Huckabee’s tendency to believe such pious testimonials. “I come from a very good Christian family and I was raised much better than my actions speak,” he explained in his clemency application in 2000. “I’m still ashamed to this day for the shame my stupid involvement in these crimes brought upon my family’s name … I have never done anything good for God, but I’ve prayed for him to grant me in his compassion the grace to make a start. Now, I’m humbly appealing to you for a brand new start.”

New York Times article about Huckabee’s clemency issues.

Mr. Huckabee, who rode a brand of prairie populism to finish second in the Republican presidential primaries in 2008, granted more than 1,000 pardons or clemency requests as governor. As his reputation for granting clemency spread, more convicts applied. Aides said he read each file personally.

In most cases, he followed the recommendation of the parole board, but in several cases he overrode the objections of prosecutors, judges and victims’ families. And in several, he followed recommendations for clemency from Baptist preachers who had been longtime supporters.

Robert Herzfeld, then the prosecuting attorney of Saline County, wrote a letter to Governor Huckabee in January 2004, saying his policy on clemency was “fatally flawed” and suggesting that he should announce specific reasons for granting clemency. Mr. Huckabee’s chief aide on clemency wrote back: “The governor read your letter and laughed out loud. He wanted me to respond to you. I wish you success as you cut down on your caffeine consumption.”

After the Fort Hood shooting, public figures called for ousting Muslims from the US military. They shouted that Maj Hasan was allowed to remain in the Army due to “political correctness” and claimed that Muslims are a protected class in the United States. As if Maj Hasan wouldn’t have been able to shoot anybody if he’d been kicked out of the army, which by the way he had been trying to leave for years, to no avail. As if any Muslim can commit any kind of crime in the US without his religion making the headlines.

Meanwhile, some Christians in America are howling that they are the underclass, that everyone makes fun of them, that public entities sometimes acknowledge that there is some religious diversity in America. The “war on Christmas” is a good example.

Here’s a scientific study whose conclusions will come as no surprise to most:

For many religious people, the popular question “What would Jesus do?” is essentially the same as “What would I do?” That’s the message from an intriguing and controversial new study by Nicholas Epley from the University of Chicago. Through a combination of surveys, psychological manipulation and brain-scanning, he has found that when religious Americans try to infer the will of God, they mainly draw on their own personal beliefs.

Obviously, this is what Huckabee was drawing on when he was pardoning Christians and what Bush was drawing on when he decide to war on Muslims and when he looked into Putin’s eyes and “saw his soul.”

And along those lines, let’s talk about religion and its pernicious effects on the law. Take Uganda. It has no state religion, but the majority religion makes up 84% of the country and influences the legal and political system there. On top of that, a powerful and wealthy foreign country dominated by coreligionists has been exporting religious materials of the most extreme flavor to Uganda, and foreign fundamentalists attended a conference there earlier this year that led to an anti-homosexuality bill that if passed would impose the death penality for “aggravated homosexuality.”

Many speakers at that conference think that homosexuality is an illness that can be cured. One wrote a book that equates Nazism and homosexuality and one works at a foundation which ostensibly “cures” homosexuals.

“They told us all things are going wrong because the family is being neglected. Not having more children is one of the things that they said are going wrong. Homosexuality is a way of stopping us from having more children,” said Senyonjo.

Macauley, who fled Nigeria last year after receiving death threats for hosting a gay-friendly church, added that the harsh law comes in a context of perceived challenges to men’s role in society. Women’s increased agency, including deciding whether to have children and how many, is experienced as a threat by some men. A relationship between two men raises the fear that one of the men will behave “like a woman” in the household, which undermines any supposedly natural definition of men’s position in society.

One of these imported fundamentalists probably also met with a number of Ugandan parliamentarians.

A bill has since been drafted and was tabled on Oct 14 in Uganda’s parliament, legalising not only the persecution of lesbians and gays but also of straights that “support” them. The bill applies to Ugandans inside and outside the country. It nullifies Uganda’s ratification of any international treaties that support LGBTI human rights and explicitly rejects the notion that homosexuals have human rights.

Any parent who does not denounce their lesbian daughter or gay son to the authorities face fines of 2,650 dollars or three years’ imprisonment. Any teacher who does not report a lesbian or gay pupil faces the same punishment.

Senyonjo believes that the Ugandan law stems from the urge to protect patriarchal arrangements: “It is men who want the law. They have a very loud voice. The church is still very patriarchal. They want the man to be the head of the family. Even at weddings they say the man is the head and the woman has to be obedient.”

Shariah Christian law truly is harsh and blood-soaked. If only the close-minded fundamentalists who can’t get it enacted here in the US wouldn’t export it to the rest of the world. We excoriate Saudi Arabia for funding fundamentalist schools around the world, but turn a blind eye to Christian proselytizing of the most foul kind.

Alhamdulillah we have a wall of separation between church and state here in the US! Let’s hope politicians such as Huckabee, Palin and Bachmann are never able to tear it down.

——————-
For readers outside the US who may not know who Mike Huckabee is, he is a former candidate for president who in a Gallup poll published in early Nov 2009 was the Republican frontrunner for a presidential run in 2012.

71% of Republicans say they would seriously consider voting for Mike Huckabee.

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Round-Up of Disheartening Stories

Found all of these of Huffington Post, which I don’t usually link to, but since there was such a big batch of them, all the links are to HuffPo.

1. The Ku Klux Klan will hold a rally right before a University of Mississippi football game. This is in protest of the university chancellor’s decision to prevent the band from playing, “From Dixie with Love,” because the fans have a habit of chanting “the south will rise again” when it is played.

The KKK is the US’s longest-running hate group, formed by sore losers immediately after the Civil War. And they’re still active today, beating and shooting folks, and encouraging their followers to attend today’s “tea parties.”

2. A Vatican researcher, working “without the support of the Vatican,” insists she can prove that the shroud of Turin is really truly Jesus Christ’s death wrapping.

3. There’s a new outlandish billboard, this time equating President Obama with a turban-wearing jihadist. Side note: the billboard meister claims that the words “We are a christian nation” appear in the constitution.

4. Congressman Peter King, who has been a personal friend of, a collaborator with, and spokesman for Irish Republican Army terrorists and who nevertheless insists that only Muslims are terrorists, wants our lawmakers to pass a resolution honoring Christmas. Why did he bother?

I would not have brought this resolution if they hadn’t brought the Ramadan and the Diwali resolutions.

Because congress acknowledged religious diversity in the United States!

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Compare and Contrast

Msnbc news reporting on two different men.

Person A-

A quart-sized container of homemade explosives is cheap, deadly and difficult to detect — and that is exactly why the type of chemical bomb feared to be at the heart of a terrorism investigation worries law enforcement so much.

Person B-

discovery Thursday of several vials of ricin

As little as 500 micrograms of ricin, an amount about the size of the head of a pin, can kill a human, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The only legal use for ricin is cancer research.

Person A-

Now, according to law enforcement officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation, authorities are concerned that [xxx] may have been trying to put together a plot to detonate similar devices in backpacks, possibly on crowded commuter trains in New York.

Person B-

Authorities believe they recovered all the ricin in several vials found last week from the motel near the Las Vegas strip where [xxx] had stayed.

No results of the ongoing searches were announced at a press conference late Sunday morning, but FBI Special Agent Timothy Fuhrman said “There is no indication of any terrorist act or activity.”

Person A-

Investigators said they found notes describing how to make bombs in the handwriting of an airport shuttle driver arrested as part of a terrorism investigation, and they also discovered his fingerprints on materials — batteries and a scale — that could be used to make explosives.

Person B-

police said that firearms, an “anarchist-type textbook” and castor beans were found in the motel room. The book was tabbed at a spot containing information about ricin.

Why is one a terrorism suspect and not the other?

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White Terrorist Arrested!

I don’t know what to make of this story. It seems to have been barely mentioned by the media, and I only noticed it tucked away in a tiny corner of a big website with lots of headlines.

On the one hand, it’s the first news story I recall seeing that uses any permutation of the word “terror” in conjunction with a white guy. But I can’t call it a major story, because almost no one has reported it or seen it.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. authorities on Monday arrested seven people from North Carolina who have been charged with plotting to carry out terrorist attacks overseas, including in Kosovo, Jordan and the Gaza Strip.
U.S. prosecutors said the ringleader of the group, Daniel Patrick Boyd, trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 1989 to 1992 and used that experience to set up his own organization to train fighters, raise money and carry out attacks abroad.

Three of the seven arrestees are whitey-white Americans. I think that might be the reason that the next paragraph in the article was this:

U.S. official told reporters that there was no indication that Boyd’s group was connected with an international militant organization or that they were planning attacks in the United States.

I keep seeing these disclaimers in news stories about white American men.

All seven face up to life in prison if convicted.

They were charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad. Boyd and others also face weapons charges.

Additionally, the indictment accused Boyd and several of the others in the group with practicing with weapons they acquired — mostly rifles and armor-piercing bullets according to the U.S. official — and trying out military-style maneuvers.

Here’s some more of what’s weird about this story:

In 1991, Boyd and his brother were convicted of bank robbery in Pakistan. They were also accused of carrying identification showing they belonged to the radical Afghan guerrilla group, Hezb-e-Islami, or Party of Islam. Each was sentenced to have a foot and a hand cut off for the robbery, but the decision was later overturned.

Their wives told The Associated Press in an interview at the time that the couples had U.S. roots but the United States was a country of “kafirs” — Arabic for heathens.

Sabrina Boyd said in her statement that her husband was in Afghanistan fighting against the Soviet Union “with the full backing of the United States government.”

It’ll be interesting to see what comes of this. So far it doesn’t look likely to overshadow the story of the New Jersey rabbi kidney extortionist and his coconspirators.

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When is it Okay to Build a Dirty Bomb at Home?

This article appeared in the Bangor Daily News, and given the subject matter, I expected the same information to appear in other media outlets, such as CNN, Reuters, AP, etc.

This is deadly serious stuff. A cache of radioactive materials suitable for building a dirty bomb was found in a home in Maine.

The report posted on the WikiLeaks Web site states that “On 9 December 2008, radiological dispersal device components and literature, and radioactive materials, were discovered at the Maine residence of an identified deceased [person]…”

It says that four 1-gallon containers of 35 percent hydrogen peroxide, uranium, thorium, lithium metal, thermite, aluminum powder, beryllium, boron, black iron oxide and magnesium ribbon were found in the home.

Also found was literature on how to build “dirty bombs” and information about cesium-137, strontium-90 and cobalt-60, radioactive materials. The FBI report also stated there was evidence linking [the man in question] to [extremist] groups…

[His wife], 31, told investigators that her husband spoke of “dirty bombs,” according to the report, and mixed chemicals in her kitchen sink. She allegedly told police that [her husband] subjected her to years of mental, physical and sexual abuse. She also said that [he] was “very upset” when Barack Obama was elected president.

Holy flurking schnit! This is exactly the kind of sleeper-cell, enemies-among-us scenario that we’ve been afraid of for years. This is the perfect opportunity for all those people who have been warning us about immigration and porous borders and people-who-don’t-look-like-us and they-hate-us-for-our-freedoms to stand up and shout, “You see?! I told you so! It has happened!”

Can you believe this article never mentioned “terror” or “terrorism” or “terrorist”? Despite the makings of the dirty bomb and the ties to the extremist group and the wife being beaten and treated poorly? Just the poor treatment of the wife, alone, demonstrates that this fellow is not One of Us, but a throwback to an earlier, less-enlightened time, perhaps the seventh century.

Surely this enemy of America, this man who has no respect for human life, this man who planned and schemed and worked to kill Americans indiscriminately can be called a terrorist.

Surely the major news sources will be all over this explosive story.

But no. Because the man in question is not an illegal immigrant, an immigrant from the third world, a taxi driver who doesn’t speak English to our satisfaction, a polygamist, an Arab, someone who speaks Arabic, or even dark-skinned. His name is James Cummings. Ergo, not a terrorist.

The bright side is that he is no longer among the living, as his widow shot him dead a couple months ago.

——
You may be reminded of that other non-terrorist, the guy who manufactured Ricin and had it in his hotel room in Vegas, Roger Von Bergendorff. It didn’t take authorities long at all to determine that his Ricin fetish was not related to terrorism. I mean, all they had to do was look at the guy.

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Ersatz Erstwhile Extremist Admits Obfuscation

Alternate title: Faux Former Fighter Forswears Fable

UK Muslim Tells Court He Fabricated Islamist Past. When I read the Reuters headline my first thought was that Walid Shoebat admitted he’s a liar, but it turns out it’s not him, it’s the other guy, Hassan Butt.

LONDON (Reuters) – A British-born Pakistani man who said he had links to al Qaeda and had sent young men for terrorism training in Pakistan has told a court that he was lying about his past.

Hassan Butt, 28, told Manchester Crown Court he had fed stories to the media and that his portrayal of himself as a terrorist planner who later renounced violence in order to fight Islamist extremism was a fabrication.

He made the confession in December during the trial of a former friend, Habib Ahmed, who was subsequently convicted of belonging to al Qaeda. Restrictions on the reporting of the case have only now been lifted following the conclusion of another trial involving Butt’s wife.

“At no point have I ever been training, have I ever been a jihadi,” Butt told the court, according to a transcript of the proceedings.

Questioning Butt about his past, prosecutor Andrew Edis asked: “So, you were a professional liar then?”

Butt replied: “I would make money, yes.” He had, he said, told stories that “the media wanted to hear.”

The confession will come as a surprise to many as Butt was for years regarded as a leading Islamist who had subsequently turned himself into a proponent for “de-radicalizing” young men in order to combat extremism.

He has been widely profiled in newspapers, magazines and in television documentaries, and even met members of the government to discuss his plans for combating radicalism.

In a Reuters interview in April last year, Butt said he had spent a decade inside Islamist factions, during which time he said he had sent recruits to Pakistan. He said he began questioning his beliefs after the July 2005 attacks by suicide bombers on London in which 52 people were killed.

A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester police said Monday there were no charges against Butt and he was a free man. He did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.

It is not clear why Butt would have fabricated so much of his past, and even gone to the lengths of stabbing himself in the arm to make it look like he had been attacked by Islamists for speaking out against extremism.

Well, no, it’s not clear, but I think viable possibilities are that he’s what we call an attention whore, he saw an opportunity and he took it, he is one more person who saw a way to make a lot of money, etc.

Butt sounds like a funny name, but it’s not that funny. It means “duck.” I guess that is still kind of funny.

Butt (بط) means duck

Butt (بط) means "duck"

And to tweak Mantiq al-Tayr, here is a duck being enjoyed by a cat.

Cat enjoys duck

Cat enjoys duck

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Wild Fire by Nelson DeMille

The downside is that there are no Middle Eastern terrorists in this one, and Asad “The Lion” Khalil is just a memory whose name gets brought up a couple of times by our old friend, protagonist John Corey.

John Corey is one of those characters who I get a kick out of in print or on screen, but who I would stay far away from in real life. He’s a police officer cum federal agent who never follows a rule that isn’t absolutely convenient. Yet his abrasive humor is sometimes funny, and I like funny.

The name of the book does not derive from the seventies song that has something to do with a horse. It’s supposedly the code name of an ultra super secret government program. Remember how, during the cold war, supposedly the USSR wouldn’t nuke the US because if they did, we’d nuke them right back? This was the principle of deterrence, or as DeMille calls it over and over again in the book, mutually assured destruction. Remember how Dr Strangelove made fun of this concept?

Wild Fire in the book is a supposedly current government program wherein the US has supposedly warned all the corrupt governments of the “Land of Islam” that if any weapon of mass destruction is used against the United States, the United States will automatically launch dozens of nukes against basically the whole Muslim world.

You can probably see flaws already. There’s the fact that we’d probably miss hitting anybody actually involved with the attack, that it might not have been Muslim terrorists in the first place, that we’d kill hundreds of millions of innnocents, that millions would be non-Muslims, anyway, that remaining Muslims would still be around and able to seek vengeance, that governments of Muslims countries can’t necessarily prevent a small band of determined bad guys from carrying out a terrorist attack (after all, we couldn’t), that irreplaceable wildlife and historical artifacts would be destroyed forever, etc.

Sure, you can see those flaws, but apparently most of the characters in this book can’t. Nor can the author, who mentions in an author’s note at the beginning of the book, “I personally believe that some variation of Wild Fire (by another code name) actually exists, and if it doesn’t, it should.”

The funniest thing of all is that most of the characters in the book who think Wild Fire is a good idea are motivated by their desire not to be wanded at the airport. Not to say that any of them ever have been. In fact, it’s very unlikely that any one of them has ever been inconvenienced in flying, since they are a megabillionaire, a couple of military generals, a presidential advisor, a CIA agent, and John Corey. And I think a good, baseline rule of humanity is that if you are willing to have hundreds of millions die, many of them in a really horrible ways, so that you don’t have to maybe get wanded at the airport someday, you need to immediately kill yourself.

DeMille cleverly explains how such an asinine program ever could have come to be: it was started during the Reagan years.

Now, the main antagonist, the megabillionaire, is insane. So that makes sense. It doesn’t explain why so many other characters also think that Wild Fire is a hunky-dory idea. Maybe the fact that they refer to “The Land of Islam” as “Sandland” repeatedly is a clue. It’s as if they see it as a cartoony place that nobody ever goes except people who dress funny and eat funny food. But no, they all do take time to reflect that a massive nuclear attack on “The Land of Islam” would kill millions of non-Muslims along with all those bad, bad Muslims who are all responsible for terrorism everywhere in the world. But hey, shorter lines at the airport.

DeMille, having stated that he hopes we have a system to automatically launch nukes at “The Land of Islam” in case we are attacked with WMD, nevertheless cheerfully thanks a Bob Atiyeh in the Acknowledgements. “Sure Nelson, no hard feelings about your desire to obliterate my homeland.”

DeMille wrote the book wrong. He should have had everyone sane and rational except for the bad guy. Instead, he had the presidential advisor, the generals, and the CIA man all on board with the nutcase’s plan from the get-go. Except for the CIA guy, you’d expect all of them know better than to buy any of this:

Even when the United States was attacked on its own soil–the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center–we did nothing. He looked at Harry. “Correct?”
“Yeah…but that changed things–“

Did nothing? We caught the perpetrators and put them in jail, where the are now.

“…Wild Fire is a pro-active response. It is a gun to the heads of Islamic countries–a gun that will go off if they fail to keep their terrorist friends from going nuclear. Undoubtedly most, if not all, terrorist organizations have been warned of this by the Islamic governments that harbor, aid, and have contact with them…”

Neat. All terrorist organizations, besides being Islamic, are also harbored and aided by Islamic governments, their friends. That’s why Wild Fire works!

And here’s his answer to the question of the environmental impact of dozens of nukes:

“I told you, the answer to global warming is nuclear winter. Just kidding. Look, the effects of fifty or even a hundred nuclear explosions detonating across the Mideast have been studied extensively by the government. It won’t be that bad.”

Hey, that puts my worries to rest.

This guy here has a review of the book from back in January 2007, not long after it first came out. You have to scroll down a ways to get to it.

Naturally, Madox is a right-wing nut — what would American fiction writers do without the standard right-wing nut? — but John Corey is something of a right-wing nut himself. For that matter, one has to wonder the same thing about DeMille himself, since in his foreword, speaking in his own voice, DeMille candidly says that he hopes a plan like Wild Fire exists.

Really? A plan to respond to the destruction of an American city by killing a hundred million Muslims all over the world? I suppose DeMille really means that he hopes we have told the heads of the governments of Muslim countries that such a plan exists, so they’ll keep a tight rein on the terrorists that operate in so many Islamic countries.

But to really carry out such a plan would be a monstrous crime against humanity on a par with Hitler’s and Stalin’s and Pol Pot’s. Especially since some Islamic terror groups are so fanatical that they might accept the deaths of a few hundred million Muslims as an acceptable risk — betting, of course, that the United States would never actually make good such a threat.

Bonus:

I do wish, however, that writers like DeMille would stop using the pathetically lame device of trying to persuade us that a couple of lovers (or a husband and wife) are really really really in love, by explicitly showing them having sex in some weird circumstance. In Wild Fire, it’s lovemaking on a Long Island beach in icy weather; apparently DeMille thinks it’s extremely significant to their characterization that we know who’s on top and other details.

And yet somehow we manage to get by without knowing which hand they use to hold the toilet paper, so DeMille must know there are some intimate details we just don’t need to know. Come on, my fellow novelists, don’t throw in meaninglessly detailed sex scenes — if it doesn’t tell us something that matters to the story, then get over it. You’re not twelve years old anymore, faunching over the Sears catalog, and nowadays explicit sex in fiction is a trite waste of time.

Word.

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