Posts about Terrorism

Not a dry eye in the house

Donald Rumsfeld as announced a, well, odd memorial, a tonedeaf commemoration, a tasteless tribute planned for the Pentagon the fourth anniversary of 9/11. Says the NY Daily News:

The Pentagon will hold a massive march and country music concert to mark the fourth anniversary of 9/11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an unusual announcement tucked into an Iraq war briefing yesterday.

“This year the Department of Defense will initiate an America Supports You Freedom Walk,” Rumsfeld said, adding that the march would remind people of “the sacrifices of this generation and of each previous generation.”

The march will start at the Pentagon, where nearly 200 people died on 9/11, and end at the National Mall with a show by country star Clint Black.

He lost me with the Clint Black concert.

I can understand a walk — a candelight vigil by daylight. I can understand a display of patriotism — this is the Pentagon and that was an attack on our nation. On a different day, I could go so far as to understand a concert to raise money for the Pentagon memorial, even a country-western concert with some good, old American pride.

But a county-western concert on the day and in the place of the tragedy? What’s next: line-dancing on the graves?

Here’s the official FAQ. The event has big and surprising sponsors, even the Washington Post:

Q: Who is supporting the Freedom Walk?
R: The America Supports You Freedom Walk enjoys the support of Stars and Stripes newspaper, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Subway, Lockheed Martin, The Washington Post, WTOP Radio Network, and ABC WJLA-TV Channel 7 & NewsChannel 8, among others.

And it turns out this will be coming to a town near you, with or without Clint Black:

Q: Why is DoD organizing this event?
R: Since September 11, 2001, the Pentagon has provided citizens with opportunities to commemorate September 11 in meaningful ways. The America Supports You Freedom Walk is the fourth September 11 commemorative activity sponsored by the DoD. The goal for the 5th anniversary in 2006 is for each state to host a Freedom Walk in order to provide an opportunity for as many citizens as possible to reflect on the importance of freedom.

Here’s the DoD press release. Here’s the site where you register to walk.

: Check out this video interview on About.com (where I also work) with the cast and crew of the Dukes of Hazard: The director says he was inspired to make the movie by 9/11 because what we need is a good, shit-kicking American movie.

Can’t wait to see Daisy at the memorial concert.

: LATER: Michele Catalano:

The word “crass” immediately comes to mind. Call me crazy, but I just don’t think that a commemoration of 9/11 should be mixed in with a “support the troops” march. You know what this is? A thinly veiled pro-war rally. And concert! …

It’s four years later. I think at this point we should be diminishing the pomp and circumstance of the commememorations, not addding to it. The purpose of the event is “to remember the victims of September 11, honor our troops and celebrate our freedom.” I don’t think it’s right to do those things together. It’s an opportunistic move designed to make people feel good about a war that a lot of people don’t feel good about it. Mixing the “let freedom ring” chorus in with the funeral dirge that is still ringing in the hearts of the victims’ families is just shy of vile.

I do support the troops. I do cherish my freedom. And I do like a good concert. But how those things fit in with remembering those who died on September 11, 2001 is beyond me. I think that at this point, the administration has chosen to remember the event, not the people. They’ve chosen to celebrate the start of a time of war rather than memorialize the end of nearly 3,000 lives.

Tolerating individualism

Irshad Manji writes a brave and brilliant and troubling op-ed about Muslim hate and speech in The Times.

It’s troubling, for me, because she makes compelling arguments for Tony Blair’s new policies of zero tolerance for inciting terrorism — in other words, for speech that incites terrorism. The speech and the speakers they attack are truly hateful and dangerous. But I still do not know how to rationalize this with my American belief in the sanctity of free speech. Isn’t free speech what we’re fighting for?

Manji says:

But if these anti-terror measures feel like an overreaction to the London bombings, that’s only because Britons, like so many in the West, have been avoiding a vigorous debate about what values are most worth defending in our societies….

Neither the watery word “tolerance” nor the slippery phrase “mutual respect” will cut it as a guiding value. Why tolerate violent bigotry? Where’s the “mutual” in that version of mutual respect? …

She gives an example of speech that cannot be tolerated: Omar Bakri Muhammad — who is no longer tolerated in England — issues a fatwa against Terrence McNally for his play depicting Jesus as a gay man.

He has even lionized the July 7 bombers as the “fantastic four.” He is a counselor of death, and should not have been allowed to remain in Britain. And thanks to Mr. Blair’s newfound fortitude, he has reportedly fled England for Lebanon.

The Muslim Council of Britain, a mainstream lobbying group that assailed Mr. Blair’s proposed measures, has long claimed that men like Mr. Bakri represent only a slim fraction of the country’s nearly two million Muslims. Assuming that’s true, British Muslims – indeed, Muslims throughout the West – should rejoice at their departures or deportations, because all forms of Islam that respect the freedom to disbelieve, to go one’s own way, will be strengthened.

Amen. But now here is the best of it: Manji proposes the value that “could guide Western societies”:

individuality. When we celebrate individuality, we let people choose who they are, be they members of a religion, free spirits, or something else entirely….

Of course, there may be better values than individuality for Muslims and non-Muslims to embrace. Let’s have that debate – without fear of being deemed self-haters or racists by those who twist multiculturalism into an orthodoxy. We know the dangers of taking Islam literally. By now we should understand the peril of taking tolerance literally.

: I can’t help but contrast what she says with this, from an American political leader:

…there is no such society that I’m aware of where we’ve had radical individualism and it has succeeded as a culture.

That, of course, comes from our own Rick Santorum railing against the evils of radical individualism.

Americanism, modernity, enlightenment, civilization, tolerance, individualism. They are worth fighting for. The Bakri’s of the world are worth fighting. The only question is how.

Treason

British authorities are looking at charging Muslims clerics with treason, says the Guardian:

The formal process will begin this week of “examining the potential for charging” three prominent Islamic clerics for existing offences including solicitation to murder and incitement to treason, the attorney general’s office confirmed yesterday.

The director of public prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, will meet senior Scotland Yard officers to discuss the cases of Omar Bakri Mohammed, founder of al-Muhajiroun, who has said he would support hostage-taking at British schools if carried out by terrorists with a just cause; Abu Izzadeen, spokesman for al-Ghurabaa – “the Strangers” – who said the suicide bombers in London were “completely praiseworthy”; and Abu Uzair of the Saviour Sect, one of the successor organisations to al-Muhajiroun, who has claimed that the “banner has been risen for jihad inside the UK”.

Preaching terrorism

The Sunday Times of London had a reporter infiltrating a Muslim hate group three weeks before the 7/7 bombings. The paper’s summary:

An undercover investigation has caught leaders of a radical Islamic group inciting young British Muslims to become terrorists and praising the Tube bombers as “the fantastic four”.

A Sunday Times reporter spent two months as a recruit inside the Saviour Sect to reveal for the first time how the extremist group promotes hatred of “non-believers” and encourages its followers to commit acts of violence including suicide bombings.

The reporter witnessed one of the sect’s leading figures, Sheikh Omar Brooks, telling a young audience, including children, that it was the duty of Muslims to be terrorists and boasting, just days before the July 7 attacks, that he wanted to die as a suicide bomber.

After the attacks that claimed 52 lives, another key figure, Zachariah, justified them by saying that the victims were not “innocent” people because they did not abide by strict Islamic laws. In the immediate aftermath the sect’s leader, Omar Bakri Mohammed, said: “For the past 48 hours I’m very happy.” Two weeks later he referred to the bombers as the “fantastic four”….

The Saviour Sect was established 10 months ago when its predecessor group Al-Muhajiroun was disbanded after coming under close scrutiny by the authorities. Its members meet in secret in halls, followers’ homes and parks. They are so opposed to the British state that they see it as their duty to make no economic contribution to the nation. One member warned our undercover reporter against getting a job because it would be contributing to the kuffar (non-Muslim) system.

Instead, the young follower, Nasser, who receives £44 job seekers’ allowance a week, said it was permissible to “live off benefits”, just as the prophet Mohammed had lived off the state while attacking it at the same time. Even paying car insurance was seen as supporting the system. “All the (Saviour Sect) brothers drive without insurance,” he said.

Full story is here.

As they chatted the reporter was asked if he would be willing to wear a “strap” — slang for a suicide bomb belt. He laughed the suggestion off nervously and was relieved when everyone smiled….

Referring to the speed with which police issued closed-circuit television pictures of the suspects in the London attacks, Bakri suggested that they should have covered their faces to conceal their identity from prying CCTV cameras. This sparked a discussion with his right-hand man, Anjem Choudhury, which was taped by our reporter.

Choudhury: “It’s CCTV, sheikh; that’s the killer. You can’t go anywhere without them monitoring you now: down the street; out the station.” …

It’s a well-reported and frightening picture from inside a Muslim hate cult. Read the rest.

Kicking them out

Tony Blair announced new measures against terrorism in Britain today and they are focused on finding and deporting people with connections to terrorism and taking action against speech that would incite terrorism. The latter is tricky here, what with our First Amendment. I’m not sure how one can craft laws to get rid of these people without basing it on speech. But I do want to get rid of them.

But here in New York, the twits at the New York Civil Liberties Union are fighting the bag searches on the subways. Would they try this for airplanes? Oh, I’m afraid they would.

But at least we have a sense of humor, we New Yorkers. I saw this billboard remix on the R yesterday:

A war, indeed

I was not comfortable with apparent attempts to back away from the words “war on terror” to say we were in a struggle against violent extremism (without saying exactly which kind of extremism that is). I didn’t get the shift and didn’t buy the argument that the Pentagon changed the wording because they didn’t want us to think that soldiers are the solution. It is a war. And terrorists are the enemy.

Now it seems that Bush, too, didn’t like this odd Republican attempt at PC.

President Bush publicly overruled some of his top advisers on Wednesday in a debate about what to call the conflict with Islamic extremists, saying, “Make no mistake about it, we are at war.”

In a speech here, Mr. Bush used the phrase “war on terror” no less than five times.

You expected maybe the Donald Rumsfeld fan club?

The Observer thinks it has found big news in a report that the London bombers didn’t like the war in Iraq:

One of the men accused of taking part in the failed terror attacks in London on 21 July has claimed the bomb plot was directly inspired by Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war.

In a remarkable insight into the motives behind the alleged would-be bombers, Hussain Osman, arrested in Rome on Friday, has revealed how the suspects watched hours of TV footage showing grief-stricken Iraqi widows and children alongside images of civilians killed in the conflict. He is alleged to have told prosecutors that after watching the footage: ‘There was a feeling of hatred and a conviction that it was necessary to give a signal – to do something.’

“Remarkable insight?” How about obscene spin?

But quite convenient spin, it is, for those who would try to blame Britain for the attack on Britain.

Yet in this next paragraph, there’s an entirely different obscene spin:

But some of the Italian media reports told a conflicting story. Some reports quoted Osman as saying: ‘I hardly know anything. They only gave me a rucksack to carry on the tube in London. We wanted to stage an attack, but only as a show. Who gave me the explosive? I don’t know. I didn’t know him. I don’t remember. We didn’t want to kill, we just wanted to scare people.’

As if we should believe and give credence for a moment what these terrorists say.

: Meanwhile, on this side of the ocean, The Times tries to understand more of the terrorists:

Mr. Khan, Mr. Tanweer and Mr. Hussain were part of a larger clique of young British-raised South Asian men in Beeston, a neighborhood of Leeds, who turned their backs on what they came to see as a decadent, demoralizing Western culture. Instead, the group embraced an Islam whose practice was often far more fundamentalist than their fathers’, and always more political, focused passionately on Muslim suffering at Western hands.

In many ways, the transformation has had positive elements: the men live healthier and more constructive lives than many of their peers here, Asian or white, who have fallen prey to drugs, alcohol or petty crime. Why Mr. Khan, Mr. Tanweer and Mr. Hussain in particular crossed a line that no one had before, how they and Mr. Lindsay linked up, or whether their plot was homegrown or steered from outside, remain mysteries, at least to the public.

But the question asked since their identities were revealed after the bombings continues to resonate: what motivated men reared thousands of miles from the cradles of the Muslim world, without any direct experience of oppression themselves, to bomb fellow Britons, ushering in a new chapter of terrorism.

Many here see answers in the sense of injustice at events both at home and abroad that is far more widespread among Muslims than many Westerners recognize; in the rigid and deeply political form of Islam that increasing numbers of educated European Muslims are gravitating to; in the difficulty some children of Muslim immigrants in Europe have had in finding their place or direction.

Note all the PC language and thinking in that excerpt: Muslim suffering… The religion has positive elements…. They were the first to go bad and everyone else is good… They have trouble finding their place….

And then there is the most misused word of all: injustice.

The injustice of terrorism is against the victims.

: I am not saying that we should not report what these slime say — especially if it leads us to bin Laden et al. Neither am I saying that we should not investigate their lives, just as we investigate the lives of murderers and criminals.

But enough of this effort to portray them as angry young men with motives that could possibly make sense or for a moment justify their actions. They are murderers. They are terrorists. They have no cause.

Just asking

Are Britain’s police smarter than ours or are the terrorists who attacked London dumber than the ones who attacked New York?

Whichever, it is wonderful that British authorities have captured the terrorists. Let us hope they lead back to the murderers’ creators.

: Commenters point out it’s all those video cameras that helped. Yes. In New York, they’re talking about getting rid of subway conductors on some lines (which always struck me as a waste anyway). Various opponents complained that would hurt security (though most of the conductors I see would be easy to outrun). Mayor Bloomberg’s answer: Video cameras.

Yes, let’s cam New York.