Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

Boston Bombings Created In Washington? The Blood-Dimmed Tide of Blowback.
April 21, 2013

I’m a bit put off by the screechy patriotic noises emanating from the aftermath of the Marathon bombing. The local Boston commentators go on about how Boston will take two punches to deliver one, how the firefighters and cops and others ran into the bombed area to help people, as if everyone else in the world would run away and only Bostonians are noble enough to rush to the aid of the injured, and so forth and so on.

The only attempt to connect what happened in Boston to events elsewhere in the world has been to blame Islamic extremism. Not registering on the radar of these preachy screechers is the fact that if the United States had not been such a bad actor in the world this sort of thing wouldn’t have happened here.

We ripped Iraq apart for no reason and now scores of people in Iraq die in terrorist bombings every week. Week after week. That’s on the United States for destroying a stable, if unsavory, government. We have shredded Afghanistan, and continue to kill innocents, women and children, every day, and terrorist bombings there have been picking up the pace of late.

And Syria. Bloody Syria. The ugly regime of Assad has slaughtered untold tens of thousands of its citizens for two years, while the United States twiddled its thumbs. When the U.S. finally decided it might be to its advantage to intervene to stop the slaughter of innocents by the government, it first pleaded, then it made empty threats and set up useless sanctions, and then decided to send aid. Blankets and medicine to fight jets and artillery. But no weapons, none of the arms so desperately needed by the rebellion, by the people doing the fighting and dying, because…wait for it… because later on the weapons might fall into the ‘wrong’ hands. So it’s okay for Assad to engage in the mass slaughter of unarmed civilians, to send jets and helicopters and artillery against women and children in cities, to unleash some of the most vicious militias on the face of the earth against families, but not for the U.S. to provide arms and ammunition to the fighters because of some possible consequence out there in the future. The only thing such a policy accomplishes is to make sure that if the rebellion succeeds the people who fought and bled will remember that the United States sat on its hands and watched thousands die at the hands of a vicious dictator.

And why? Because when the Soviets occupied Afghanistan the United States sent arms to the rebels there and the rebels ultimately turned out to be people the geniuses in the U.S. government couldn’t control or buy off. So now the current geniuses, who probably went to the same school as those other geniuses, have decided to change the policy. In other words, they’re still thinking in terms of the Afghan-Soviet conflict and ignoring the completely different Syrian rebellion that’s happening under their noses.

No one should doubt for a minute that if Assad succeeds in crushing the rebellion the United States will just cozy up to him again. And when it does, the Syrian people will see that and they will remember.

But that’s how the United States does business in the world. Never mind the people. Love the tyrant. Love the money. Screw the peasants. That’s how it does business in the Middle East, in South Asia, in Central America, in South America, in the Far East. We shout ‘Democracy!’ and we shout ‘Liberty!’ and then we send in our corporations to rape the people and to rape the country.

And then when someone steps on our little toe, as at the Boston Marathon, because they see all of this and decide to take a bit of revenge, the United States gets offended and plays the victim of horrible, terrible, evil people. I’m surprised we haven’t bombed Dagestan or Kyrgyzstan, where the Tsarnaev family came from. Or Cambridge, for that matter. After all, that’s where these two killers lived. Must be an evil place. 

Yes, the Marathon bombings were tragic. Yes, it’s sad about the deaths and the injuries and the suffering. Yes, the Tsarnaev brothers were bad actors.

But what the people of Boston and the United States refuse to see, refuse to understand, refuse to even consider, is that the act was inevitable, if not in Boston then somewhere in America, that it was a direct result of the actions of the United States in the world. It’s called blowback, and the winds of blowback are getting stronger. They swirl into every corner of the United States and they’ll touch people who do see, who have a stake out there in the world – brothers, sisters, parents, children, cousins, a town, a village, a city – and who recognize the futility of trying to talk sense to a government that puts itself above all others and arrogantly seeks to rule the world, arrogantly ignores international law, arrogantly attacks innocents in pursuit of endless war benefiting only war profiteers and corporations who refuse to pay taxes while profiting from having their talons deep in the bowels of Congress and every Executive Administration of the last several decades.

Cry for the victims of Boston if you will, and you should. But don’t ever forget that the bombs of the Tsarnaev brothers were created in the inner circles of the United States government.

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The Boston Marathon Bombing: Some Thoughts
April 16, 2013

It’s about seven thirty in the morning, the day after two bombs exploded in the finish area of the Boston Marathon. So far three people are dead and some one hundred fifty injured.

I think this was interesting but not surprising. It was inevitable, if not at Boston then someplace else. Our culture breathes violence, encouraged by right wing politicians, fundamentalist preachers, and psychopaths of all stripes in various political subgroups, including the love-the-fetus-screw-the-child groups. We are a society of hatred and mental illness.

What is more interesting to me than the event itself is the question of who the bomber is, and why he did this.

The Weapon:

Bombs. Two of them, about a hundred yards apart, on sidewalks filled with people. The bomber planted them on the same side of the street. They weren’t there during the morning inspection by bomb sniffing dogs: either the dogs missed them, or the materials were not materials the dogs had been trained on, or the bomber planted them later during the race itself. They were, as far as I can gather now, placed on the sidewalk, ground level. There have been suggestions they were placed in trash cans, but that’s not been verified yet.

The bombs were powerful. People’s lower legs were blown away.

The bombs exploded about ten seconds apart, first the one right near the finish line, and the second about a hundred yards before the finish.

These facts suggest the following:

Choice of weapon. Anonymous. Safe, for him. If he used a cellphone to detonate them he did not have to be in the area when they exploded. The ten second gap could be explained by separate cellphone triggers: as soon as the first bomb exploded he dialed a number to trigger the second. Or it could have been that he had clock triggers that were not quite synchronized.

Placement of the weapons. As noted, he placed them where they would do maximum damage to anonymous civilians. He also placed them about a hundred yards apart and triggered them sequentially. If the sequence was intentional he might have been intending to catch people fleeing the first explosion. The placement suggests that he knew the capability of the bombs to wreak damage from where he placed them, and that he was very confident of his ability to place the weapons without being caught. Placing them at or near the finishing line grandstands suggests high levels of confidence and skill at stealth.

Unexploded weapons. Early reports from the police say that two more bombs were found, apparently in the area of the viewing stands at the finish line. These did not explode and were disposed of by the police, at least one by exploding it, according to the information the news channels are disseminating. If true, that makes four weapons. If they were also cellphone bombs, why didn’t they explode? The police say they shut down cellphone service almost immediately, which would have disabled the bombs, and also that would indicate that the bomber had not built in a backup system. It is also possible that the bombs were faulty, or that the bomber felt some remorse, or that the bomber was actually injured or killed in one of the two explosions, which might tend to eliminate cellphone triggers.

The explosives. At this point we don’t know what sort of explosive the bomber used. We do know that it was powerful, as it was contained in a small package, now suspected to be a backpack. But the fact that it was powerful suggests that the bomber is intelligent enough to either obtain powerful explosives or to manufacture the material, and that he was skilled in working with the material. Further, if he did not manufacture the explosive, he would have to have either stolen it or purchased it from a reliable source of illegal explosives. Stealing it suggests again a high level of confidence and skill at stealth. Purchasing it suggests a knowledge of criminal activity and criminal sources, as well as sufficient confidence in that knowledge that would allow him to deal with criminals without worrying about the danger of the sources implicating him in the bombings. Criminals would likely come forward with information once they realized the material they sold had been used at the Marathon. They would be better off telling what they knew rather than take the chance the bomber would implicate them in a horrendous crime that might well get them executed or imprisoned under a terrorism warrant.

Generally, the choice and use of the weapons suggests an intelligent person, someone who can plan carefully, someone with knowledge of explosives and bombmaking, someone confident enough to manufacture, plant, and explode the weapons with little fear of being caught.

These attributes suggest someone with either military training, possibly a veteran of the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts, or someone who meticulously sought out information on how to make and place bombs. In either case he is confident and skilled. If he sought the information from public sources, he would have been careful, having formed his intent, to not use one source, say, the Internet or one particular library. He would deliberately have sought his information from a number of sources in order to evade leaving an easy trail.

The Victims:

1. The bomber chose anonymous citizens as victims.

2. The bomber did not choose a government facility, a military facility, an abortion clinic, or a corporate facility.

3. The bomber chose a popular public event which draws worldwide interest.

4. The bomber did not choose an event or a venue with any political significance.

5. The bomber apparently attended the event while it was in full swing in order to leave his weapons on the sidewalks and in the area of the grandstand. He walked among his victims before killing them.

6. The bomber has not at this point released any statement about his intent or purpose which would indicate why he chose to kill anonymous people.

7. Why did he plant bombs in the grandstands? He must have known that when the first two went off that area would be cleared and that there would not be any ceremonies to disrupt. Another possibility is that he intended to blow the grandstand first, and as the people fled from there he would blow the next bomb (the actual first explosion) as people ran that way. If so, the grandstand bombs failed for some reason. Or if he intended to blow the stands last, perhaps to catch a bunch of officials or first responders, he may have been stymied by the police-ordered cellphone shutdown. Or the bombs could simply have been faulty.

The Timing:

1. April 15 is the deadline for state and federal income tax payments.

2. April 19 is important to right-wing militias.

3. April 15 is Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts, again important to right wing militias and the like.

4. The dates may well have been simply coincidental and not important. The bomber may have considered that the public, international nature of the event, and its sheer size were the significant points of interest for his purpose.

5. The explosions occurred when, according to news sources, the sidewalks at the finish area would be crowded. If the bomber was familiar with the Marathon in past years, he would likely know this, and choose that time for a maximum kill. This would also have been well past the time when the elite runners from around the world would have gone from the area. The bomber could well have achieved an even greater effect if he had blown his bombs when the groups of elite runners were finishing. Why did he wait until later? The sidewalks would have been more crowded at that time. Possibly he might have been thinking that with a denser crowd the bombs would actually do less damage, as those closest would have suffered the most damage but would also have shielded those people farther away. If that’s so, then that might indicate that the bomber is extremely thoughtful and meticulous in his planning. If not so, he may have considered it more convenient to plant the weapons at a later time when he might find it easier to leave the area due to the lower density of people.

I’ve put these thoughts together based on what the news media have put out so far. I don’t know that everything they’ve said is accurate, as it is still early in the investigation. My suspicion is that the bomber is intelligent, careful, thoughtful, and meticulous; that he is skilled at handling explosives; that he may be former military, possibly a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan; that he is confident; that he is skilled at stealth; that this is his first bombing; that his politics lean towards the extreme right-wing; that he may have a tangential connection with right-wing militias or other organizations. That there has been no statement of purpose coming from him suggests that this may be personal: that is, he’s in it for the thrill, for the sense of personal power.

This is, of course, speculation. I simply found myself asking why a person would do this, and what kind of person might do this, and I wanted to ask and examine these questions without burdening them with the emotional cloud surrounding the events. As I said earlier, I don’t find the bombing either surprising or shocking, but merely inevitable. Vile and ugly, but inevitable.

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Late news via TPM: Apparently there were no other bombs besides the two that exploded.

American Terror
May 29, 2011

May 29, 1998 Cortez, CO 

A day after stealing a water truck, three men shoot and kill a Cortez, Colo., police officer and wound two other officers as they try to stop the suspects during a road chase. After the gun battle, the three — Alan Monty Pilon, Robert Mason and Jason McVean — disappear into the canyons of the high desert. Mason is found a week later, dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot. The skeletal remains of Pilon are found in 1999 and show that he, too, died of a gunshot to the head, another apparent suicide. McVean is not found, but most authorities assume he died in the desert. Many officials believe the three men intended to use the water truck in some kind of terrorist attack, but the nature of their suspected plans is never learned.

From:
The Second Wave: Return of the Militias
Southern Poverty Law Center Special Report

American Terror
May 24, 2011

May 24, 2004 Tulsa, OK

During the attempted robbery of a Tulsa bank by Wade and Christopher Lay, a father-and-son pair of political extremists, security guard Kenneth Anderson is shot to death. Both robbers are wounded, and are arrested a short time after fleeing the bank. At trial, Wade Lay testifies that he and his son acted “for the good of the American people” and in an effort to “preserve liberty.” Other evidence shows the pair hoped to get money to pay for weapons that they intended to use to kill Texas officials who they believed were responsible for the deadly 1993 standoff between the authorities and religious cultists in Waco. In the end, Wade Lay is sentenced to death for first-degree murder, while his son gets 25 years for armed robbery.

From:
The Second Wave: Return of the Militias
Southern Poverty Law Center Special Report

American Terror
May 20, 2011

May 20, 2005 NJ

Officials in New Jersey arrest two men they say asked a police informant to build them a bomb. Craig Orler, who has a history of burglary arrests, and Gabriel Carafa, said to be a leader of the neo-Nazi World Church of the Creator and a member of a racist Skinhead group called The Hated, are charged with illegally selling 11 guns to police informants. Carafa gave one informant 60 pounds of urea to use in building him a bomb, but never said what the bomb was for. Police say they moved in before the alleged bombing plot developed further because they were concerned about the pair’s activities. They taped Orler saying in a phone call that he was seeking people in Europe to help him go underground. Orler is sentenced to more than 10 years in prison, while Carafa draws seven.

From:
The Second Wave: Return of the Militias
Southern Poverty Law Center Special Report

A Sense of Perspective: Osama Bin Laden and Claude Choules
May 5, 2011

Last Thursday, April 31, a 110-year-old man named Claude Stanley Choules died in Perth, Australia.

Choules was British, and he served over 40 years in the Royal Navy, in both England and Australia.

In 1915, at the age of 14, Choules joined the Navy, lying about his age to get in after being turned down by the army. He served in the brutal and disastrous Gallipoli campaign when the Allied forces tried to take the Dardanelles seaway from Ottoman Turkish forces.

Choules’s grandson said, “There was definitely no glory in it from his point of view. He firmly believed that war was a pure waste of time, resources and human life.”

Choules was the last surviving combat veteran of World War I.

Two days after Choules died a team of United States commandos killed Osama Bin Laden, head of the al-Qaeda organization, in a villa in Pakistan.

It could be argued that the war in which Choules served, the Great War, the War To End All Wars, continues today, that it in fact never ended, that its policies and its echoes continue to kill untold thousands of people every year.

From a November 2001 speech given by Osama Bin Laden:

Following World War I, which ended more than 83 years ago, the whole Islamic world fell under the crusader banner – under the British, French, and Italian governments.

They divided the whole world, and Palestine was occupied by the British.

Since then, and for more than 83 years, our brothers, sons, and sisters in Palestine have been badly tortured.

The actions of the Allied Powers in the Middle East following the Great War, and their continued activities in the Islamic countries during the twentieth century, created, enabled, and supported the brutal tyrannies that continue to terrorize the people there. Bin Laden and his ilk chose to fight back. 

From Gallipoli to the fall of the World Trade Center is not a big leap. Perhaps irony attaches to the deaths of these two men so close together. Perhaps not, as the war that united them is not yet done.

The United States and its allies might do well to consider what their grandchildren will reap from what their governments sow in the world today.

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American Terror
May 3, 2011

May 3, 1997 Colorado Springs, CO

Antigovernment extremists set fire to the IRS office in Colorado Springs, Colo., causing $2.5 million in damage and injuring a firefighter. Federal agents later arrest five men in connection with the arson, which is conceived as a protest against the tax system. Ringleader James Cleaver, former national director of the antigovernment Sons of Liberty group, is accused of threatening a witness and eventually sentenced to 33 years in prison, with a release date of 2030. Accomplice Jack Dowell receives 30 years and is scheduled to be freed in 2027. Both are ordered to pay $2.2 million in restitution. Dowell’s cousin is acquitted of all charges, while two other suspects, Ronald Sherman and Thomas Shafer, plead guilty to perjury charges in connection with the case.

From:
The Second Wave: Return of the Militias
Southern Poverty Law Center Special Report

Bye Bye Bin Laden, We Hate To See You Go…
May 2, 2011

Some thoughts on the demise of America’s chief boogeyman, Osama Bin Laden…

  • In a way it was good to see that he died in a firefight, fighting against the force that attacked him. That marked him as a worthy adversary and means we won’t have to listen to the baying dogs on the right crowing that he was a sniveling coward shot like a rabid dog in the street by heroic American soldiers. He wasn’t a nice guy but he was a stand up guy and if you’ve got to kill someone you’d like to think you put your life on the line against someone with the guts to fight back.

 

  • It’s interesting to watch the sleazy Republicans going out of their way to praise President Bush in regards to the killing of Bin Laden. You remember Bush, the dumbass white frat boy who screwed up the ‘mission’ almost from the day after September 11, who declared that he “didn’t care about Bin Laden” anymore after continued failure to find him, who sent armies to sledgehammer the gnat of terrorism, who single-handedly (Cheney’s hand) nearly destroyed American democracy (and may yet succeed), and who blew apart Iraq while knowing that country and its leaders and its people had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks. Apparently among their other defects the Republicans suffer diseased memory.

 

  • The choice to dump Bin Laden’s body at sea is interesting, if true. At the moment the story is unsubstantiated. Had he been buried on land his tomb would have been a shrine, a holy place to his admirers, a focus that would keep his movement alive. It would also have been a great place to gather intelligence – photos and such. Had he been rocketed into outer space, the true believers would pass on the story that he was up there with Allah, watching over the faithful and urging war against the heathen. And likely cremation would have a similar story attached to it – ashes floating around the world and such. But burial at sea? That might be a tough nut for the faithful to crack. Where do you turn to pray to Bin Laden if you don’t know where he was dropped into the briny deep? And you just know he’ll be eaten by fish, maybe even those slimy hagfish. That’s just not martyrly. No doubt there will develop somewhere a cult that drinks sea water in order to imbibe the essence of the martyr Bin Laden.

 

  • Didja notice how all the big hats, including Obama, are blithering on about continuing the war on terrorism? Gotta keep the boogeymen alive, gotta keep the citizens worked up and focused on something other than the crap that goes on at home. Who was it, Gore Vidal, who said making war on terrorism is like making war on dandruff? We’re still using the sledgehammer to chase the gnat and apparently that’s not going to change, no matter how much damage we do to our own country. Bin Laden can rest at the bottom of the sea knowing that he had the best help he could get in his goal of destroying America – he had the able assistance of American politicians and poorly educated and poorly informed  American citizens. Hell, he even had the help of two American presidents. There will always be terrorists, and the bigger the sledgehammer you use and the harder you swing it, the more terrorists there will be.

 

  • And wasn’t the entire exercise of destroying Afghanistan dedicated to getting Bin Laden? Well, he’s dead. So, we’re still there because why? To fight their civil war? There is, of course, the ultimate stupid reason, oft stated by American politicians and presidents – “so that terrorists will never again use Afghanistan to launch an attack against America”. That’s pretty much nonsense. The September 11 attack could just as easily have been planned and launched from Peoria or Omaha or New York City or London or Paris or anywhere with a phone and an internet connection. Bin Laden’s dead. Let’s cut the bullshit, bring the armies home, and get to work on saving our own country from the forces tearing it apart.

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John Paul: Patron Saint of Pederast Priests
May 1, 2011

Kevin Cullen’s column in today’s Globe does a nice job of demonstrating why the Catholic Church functions as an out-of-touch institution that doesn’t get the depth of its own evil (it’s a religion – of course it’s evil).

According to Cullen, Johnny Paul the Second knowingly ignored the foul and vile behavior of his priests as they raped and sodomized children around the world. In fact the Church protected any priest who molested children, and old JP2 went right along with the program.

From Cullen’s column:

Nine years before Bob Costello [a victim] wrote that unanswered letter to the pope, a great priest and canon lawyer at the Vatican named Tom Doyle delivered to the pope a clarion call for action. Priests were raping children all over the world with impunity, Doyle’s report found, and the church risked losing its collected fortune and its collective soul unless the pope did something about it.

Like Bob Costello’s letter, Tom Doyle’s report was ignored.

“Hundreds of thousands of lives were ruined because this pope looked the other way, and now they are falling over themselves to make him a saint,’’ Father Doyle said. “It is self-serving, and it is counterproductive, more evidence that the people who run the church don’t understand that these very actions are driving people from the church. It mystifies me. And when I think of the survivors of sexual abuse, it saddens and angers me.’’

Cullen goes on to note that Barry Bonds likely won’t get into the Baseball Hall of Fame because of his drug taint. Doyle notes…

“Major League Baseball has higher standards than the Vatican,’’ Father Doyle said. “And that’s not saying much for Major League Baseball.’’

Yeah, baby!

So today the Vatican big hats rub their arrogance and selfishness and vileness in the faces of the children raped and damaged by priests by naming a guy who covered up all the evil a saint.

Hell, on those kinds of qualifications The Lion could get his local pimp elevated to sainthood. At least he’s honest about the shit he does.

Catholics should be ashamed of themselves and their leaders for this travesty instead of acting as if something good is being done in the Vatican today. But Catholic dogma seems to suggest that it’s okay to bugger children as long as you’re a priest and make nice noises at church dinners and Sunday services.

If they really gave a damn about their children they’d be crucifying priests, cardinals, and popes instead of glorifying the scrimy bastards.

But it’s religion, so it’s okay to give the crimson criminals a free ride on the backs of children.

Johnny Paul knew. He did nothing. He’s vile.

Deal with it.

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American Terror
April 28, 2011

April 28, 2000 Pittsburgh, PA 

Immigration attorney Richard Baumhammers, himself the son of Latvian immigrants, goes on a rampage in the Pittsburgh area against non-whites, killing five people and critically wounding a sixth. Baumhammers had recently started a tiny white supremacist group, the Free Market Party, that demanded an end to non-white immigration into the United States. In the end, the unemployed attorney, who is living with parents at the time of his murder spree, is sentenced to death.

From:
The Second Wave: Return of the Militias
Southern Poverty Law Center Special Report