Opinions

  • Why wasn’t Dylann Roof charged with terrorism?

    Opinions July 22, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Intercept. The Department of Justice charged Dylann Roof, the white 21-year-old man who allegedly gunned down nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, with murder, attempted murder and use of a firearm, all in the commission of a hate crime. Some media outlets, lawyers, public figures and activists have called for Roof to be charged not just with a hate crime, an illegal act “motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias,” but with the separate label of domestic terrorism. Critics contend that the label of terrorism is too often only applied to Islamic extremists, and not white supremacists or anti-government anarchists. Roof’s crime certainly seems to fit the federal description of domestic terrorism, . . . It turns out there was one major obstacle in charging Roof with domestic terrorism: The crime does not exist.

     
  • A frightening proposal to intern Muslim citizens

    Opinions July 21, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Aljazeera. Terrorist violence can make the previously unthinkable suddenly seem acceptable. The levels of surveillance introduced after 9/11 could have been considered reasonable only in the climate of collective panic that the attacks induced. But this week’s reaction to the fatal shooting of four Marines and a Navy petty officer in Chattanooga, Tennessee, by a 24-year-old Muslim has to win the prize for the worst proposed civil liberties infringement to come out of a violent disruption. No matter how high tensions may have run after the Boston Marathon bombing or 9/11, few dared to propose what figures of both left and right have now suggested: the segregation and internment of Muslim citizens.

     
  • FBI needs new anti-terrorist strategy

    Opinions July 18, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Contra Costa Times. So why doesn’t the bureau, and others, adopt a policy of early intervention? Why, in the Riverside case last fall, did the FBI pay a convicted drug dealer about $250,000 to infiltrate a ragtag gang of four young men? That wasted countless hours of their agents’ time at a cost approaching $1 million, when they could have just as effectively ended their plan to join ISIS by intervening early on. Arrests, trials and convictions are more exciting, newsworthy, and justification for promotions and bigger budgets than quietly warning potential terrorists that their conduct could lead to long prison terms. But that warning would have been a lot cheaper for the government and would have saved many young people, like Ciccolo, from the ruin they now face.

     
  • The Chattanooga shootings: Can attacking military sites of a nation at war be “terrorism”?

    Opinions July 17, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Intercept. That “terrorism” in U.S. political and media discourse means little beyond “violence by Muslims against the West” is now too self-evident to debate (in this case, just the name of the suspect seemed to suffice to trigger application of the label). I’ve documented that point at length many times — most recently, a couple of weeks ago when the term was steadfastly not applied to the white shooter who attacked a black church in Charleston despite his clear political and ideological motives — and I don’t want to rehash those points here. Instead, I want to focus on a narrow question about this term: Can it apply to violent attacks that target military sites and soldiers of a nation at war, rather than civilians?

    Photo: John Bazemore/AP

     
  • Critics say bill would turn Muslim communities into “mini-surveillance states”

    Opinions July 15, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Intercept. An open letter published this week by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, signed by a coalition of 42 civil rights organizations, says that a proposed bill designed to counter violent extremism would threaten “freedom of speech, association, and religion,” while doing little to actually combat terrorism. The legislation, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on June 25, would create a new government agency, the Office of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security. Naureen Shah, the director of Amnesty International USA’s Security and Human Rights Program, says the bill would have the potential result of creating “mini-surveillance states” within Muslim-American communities, by compelling the implementation of CVE programs that use threats and incentives to encourage people to report on each other’s political views.

     
  • Fox News can’t bear the truth: Right-wing terror groups are America’s gravest threat

    Opinions July 5, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Salon. Since 9/11, more Americans have died at the hands of homegrown “white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims,” the New York Times reported this week. This might come as a surprise to most Americans. Indeed, the media narrative since 9/11, and certainly the conservative media account, has been that Jihadists are waging an escalating war on the U.S. Media Matters has been shining a spotlight on the fact that not only does Fox News downplay homegrown acts of right-wing, anti-government and white supremacist violence, treating them as rogue, isolated events (if covering the events at all), they also hype beyond proportion and common sense attacks by Muslims in America.

     
  • To combat Islamophobia, Hollywood needs more Muslims. Here’s why.

    Opinions June 29, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Bustle. When you think of famous Muslim Hollywood actors, a few comes to mind: Maz Jobrani, Aasif Mandvi… and that’s about it. That’s a problem. For decades now, Muslims have been so misrepresented in Hollywood that it’s affected every aspect of how the rest of the United States views Muslims — and there haven’t been enough members of the Muslim community in the industry to make a real change. In TV shows and films like Homeland, 24, and even Argo, you might come across certain stereotypes of Muslims without even noticing what’s referred to as the three Bs: Billionaires, Belly Dancers, and Bombers. Since, according to a 2010 TIME poll, a whopping 62 percent of Americans have never met a Muslim, much of the information and perception about Muslims are largely based on cable news and entertainment television. So, for these Americans, their knowledge on Islam comes from ISIS’ latest attacks, the Saudi billionaires featured in Adam Sandler’s Click, and a young suicide bomber’s chants before he blows himself up.

     
  • Refusal to call Charleston shootings “terrorism” again shows it’s a meaningless propaganda term

    Opinions June 19, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Intercept. That is the crucial backdrop for yesterday’s debate over whether the term “terrorism” applies to the heinous shooting by a white nationalist of nine African-Americans praying in a predominantly black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Almost immediately, news reports indicated there was “no sign of terrorism” — by which they meant: it does not appear that the shooter is Muslim. The examples proving the utter malleability of the term “terrorism” are far too numerous to chronicle here. But over the past decade alone, it’s been used by Western political and media figures to condemn Muslims who used violence against an invading and occupying force in Afghanistan, against others who raised funds to help Iraqis fight against an invading and occupying military in their country, and for others who attack soldiers in an army that is fighting many wars. In other words, any violence by Muslims against the West is inherently “terrorism,” even if targeted only at soldiers at war and/or designed to resist invasion and occupation. By stark contrast, no violence by the West against Muslims can possibly be “terrorism,” no matter how brutal, inhumane or indiscriminately civilian-killing.

     
  • Shooters of color are called ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs.’ Why are white shooters called ‘mentally ill’?

    Opinions June 18, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source:The Washington Post. The Charleston shooting is a result of an ingrained culture of racism and a history of terrorism in America. It should be covered as such. On Friday, Department of Justice spokeswoman Emily Pierce acknowledged that the Charleston shooting “was undoubtedly designed to strike fear and terror into this community” (though terrorism is not among the nine murder charges brought against Roof, so far). And now that Roof has admitted to killing those people to start a “race war,” we should be calling him what he is: a terrorist.

     
  • Charleston church massacre: The violence white America must answer for

    Opinions June 18, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Salon. The historic African-American Emanuel AME Baptist Church was assaulted by at least one white gunman on Wednesday evening in Charleston, South Carolina. At least nine people have been confirmed dead. The story is still developing. At present, Charleston authorities are reporting that this mass shooting and likely right-wing domestic terrorist assault is a hate crime. White right-wing domestic terrorism is one of the greatest threats to public safety and security in post 9/11 United States of America. Such a plain-spoken fact is verboten in mainstream American public discourse. As such, there are several phrases and words that are likely to not be used by the corporate news media in the discussions of the Charleston mass murders at the Emanuel Baptist Church. They include: 1. What is radicalizing white men to commit such acts of domestic terrorism and mass shootings? Are Fox News and the right-wing media encouraging violence?