The Rush to Blame Muslims and the Meaningless Term “Terrorism”

Glenn Greenwald on point as always:

Via Loonwatch:

The omnipotence of Al Qaeda and meaninglessness of “Terrorism”

(updated below – Update II)

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):

So if this is somehow not considered “terrorism”, are we admitting that whether something is “terrorism” is solely a function of who did 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 preliminary evidence suggests, 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 NYTarticle 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.

The Norway massacre and the nexus of Islamophobia and right-wing Zionism

via Loonwatch: http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/07/the-norway-massacre-and-the-nexus-of-islamophobia-and-right-wing-zionism/

A great piece from MondoWeiss.

The Norway massacre and the nexus of Islamophobia and right-wing Zionism

by Alex Kane (MondoWeiss)

Details on the culprit behind yesterday’s massacre in Norway, which saw car bombings in Oslo and a mass shooting attack on the island of Utoya that caused the deaths of at least 91 people, have begun to emerge.  While it is still too early for a complete portrait of the killer, Anders Behring Breivik, there are enough details to begin to piece together what’s behind the attack.

Although initial media reports, spurred on by the tweets of former State Department adviser on violent extremism Will McCantslinked the attacks to Islamist extremists, it was in fact an anti-Muslim zealot who committed the murders.  An examination of Breivik’s views, and his support for far-right European political movements, makes it clear that only by interrogating the nexus of Islamophobia and right-wing Zionism can one understand the political beliefs behind the terrorist attack.

Breivik is apparently an avid fan of U.S.-based anti-Muslim activists such as Pamela GellerRobert Spencer and Daniel Pipes, and has repeatedly professed his ardent support for Israel.  Breivik’s political ideology is illuminated by looking at comments he posted to the right-wing site document.no, which author and journalist Doug Sanders put up.

Here’s a sampling of some of Breivik’s comments:

And then we have the relationship between conservative Muslims and so-called “moderate Muslims”.

There is moderate Nazis, too, that does not support fumigation of rooms and Jews. But they’re still Nazis and will only sit and watch as the conservatives Nazis strike (if it ever happens). If we accept the moderate Nazis as long as they distance themselves from the fumigation of rooms and Jews?

Now it unfortunately already cut himself with Marxists who have already infiltrated-culture, media and educational organizations. These individuals will be tolerated and will even work asprofessors and lecturers at colleges / universities and are thus able to spread their propaganda.

For me it is very hypocritical to treat Muslims, Nazis and Marxists differ. They are all supporters of hate-ideologies…(page 2-3)

What is globalization and modernity to do with mass Muslim immigration?

And you may not have heard and Japan and South Korea? These are successful and modern regimes even if they rejected multiculturalism in the 70′s. Are Japanese and South Koreans goblins?

Can you name ONE country where multiculturalism is successful where Islam is involved? The only historical example is the society without a welfare state with only non-Muslim minorities (U.S.)…(page 7)

We have selected the Vienna School of Thought as the ideological basis. This implies opposition to multiculturalism and Islamization (on cultural grounds). All ideological arguments based on anti-racism. This has proven to be very successful which explains why the modern cultural conservative movement / parties that use the Vienna School of Thought is so successful: the Progress Party,Geert Wilders, document and many others…(page 13)

I consider the future consolidation of the cultural conservative forces on all seven fronts as the most important in Norway and in all Western European countries. It is essential that we work to ensure that all these 7 fronts using the Vienna school of thought, or at least parts of the grunlag for 20-70 year-struggle that lies in front of us.

The book is called, by the way 2083 and is in English, 1100 pages).

To sums up the Vienna school of thought:

-Cultural Conservatism (anti-multiculturalism)

-Against Islamization

-Anti-racist

-Anti-authoritarian (resistance to all authoritarian ideologies of hate)

-Pro-Israel/forsvarer of non-Muslim minorities in Muslim countries

– Defender of the cultural aspects of Christianity

– To reveal the Eurabia project and the Frankfurt School (ny-marxisme/kulturmarxisme/multikulturalisme)

– Is not an economic policy and can collect everything from socialists to capitalists…(page 20)

Daniel Pipes: Leftism and Islam. Muslims, the warriors Marxists Have Been praying for.

link to www.youtube.com

The following summarizes the agenda of many kulturmarxister with Islam, it explains also why those on death and life protecting them. It explains so well why we, the cultural conservatives,are against Islamization and the implementation of these agendas… (page 27)

We must therefore make sure to influence other cultural conservatives to come to our anti-rasistiske/pro-homser/pro-Israel line. When they reach this line, one can take it to the next level…(page 41)

Breivik’s right-wing pro-Israel line, combined with his antipathy to Muslims, is just one example of the European far-right’s ideology, exemplified by groups such as the English Defense League (EDL).  The EDL, a group Breivik praisesalong with the anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders, share with Breivik an admiration for Israel.

Anti-Muslim activists and right-wing Zionists share a political narrative that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a “clash of civilizations,” one in which Judeo-Christian culture is under attack by Islam.  Israel, in this narrative, is the West’s bulwark against the threat that Islam is posing to Europe and the United States.  The nexus of Islamophobia and right-wing Zionism was clearly on display during last summer’s“Ground Zero mosque” hysteria, which culminated in a rally where Geller and Wilders addressed a crowd that included members of the EDL waving Israeli flags.

This comment by Breivik is one example of the twisted way in which Islamophobia and a militant pro-Israel ideology fit together:

Cultural conservatives disagree when they believe the conflict is based on Islamic imperialism,that Islam is a political ideology and not a race.

Cultural conservatives believe Israel has a right to protect themselves against the Jihad.

Kulturmarxistene refuses to recognize the fact that Islam’s political doctrine is relevant and essential. They can never admit to or support this because they believe that this is primarily about a race war – that Israel hates Arabs (breed).

As long as you can not agree on the fundamental perceptions of reality are too naive to expect that one to come to any conclusion.Before one at all can begin to discuss this conflict must first agree on the fundamental truths of Islam’s political doctrine.

Most people here have great insight in key Muslim concepts that al-taqiiya (political deceit), naskh (Quranic abrogation) and Jihad. The problem is that kulturmarxister refuses to recognizet hese concepts.They can not recognize these key Muslim concepts. For if they do so erodes the primary argument that Israel is a “racist state” and that this is a race war (Israelis vs. Arabs) and not defense against Jihad (Kafr vs. Ummah)

Breivik’s admiration for the likes of Daniel Pipes is also telling, and should serve as a warning that, while it would be extremely unfair and wrong to link Pipes in any way to the massacre in Norway, Breivik’s views are not so far off from some establishment neoconservative voices in the U.S.  For instance, both Pipes and Breivik share a concern with Muslim demographics in Europe.  In 1990, Pipes wrotein the National Review that “Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene…All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.”

Pipes was appointed by the Bush administration to the U.S. Institute of Peace, andsits on the same board than none other than the Obama administration’s point man on the Middle East, Dennis Ross.

Pipes’ and Breivik’s concern about Muslim and Arab demographics also recall the remarks of Harvard Fellow Martin Kramer, who infamously told the Herzliya Conference in Israel last year that the West should “stop providing pro-natal subsidies for Palestinians with refugee status…Israel’s present sanctions on Gaza have a political aim, undermine the Hamas regime, but they also break Gaza’s runaway population growth and there is some evidence that they have.”

Adding to the Israel/Palestine angle here is the fact that the day before the attack on the island of Utoya, a Palestine solidarity event was held there.

Why Breivik, and his accomplices if he had any, would attack young Norwegians remains unclear.  But it probably had something to do with Breivik’s belief that European governments, and the Norwegian government, were run by “Marxists” allied with Islamist extremists who were bent on destroying Europe through “multiculturalism.”

Of course, support for Israel and its current right-wing policies do not automatically translate into support for extremist right-wing violence.  But Palestinians, and the larger Arab and Muslim world, know far too well the consequences of Islamophobia and far right-wing Zionism.  Now, it seems that Norwegians do too.  While much remains to be learned about the attacks in Norway, it has exposed the dangerous nexus of Islamophobia, neoconservatism and right-wing Zionism, and what could happen when the wrong person subscribes to those toxic beliefs.

Alex Kane, a freelance journalist currently based in Amman, Jordan, blogs on Israel/Palestine at alexbkane.wordpress.com.  Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

Robert Spencer in Damage Control After Terror Attack in Norway

Spencer is working hard to disassociate himself from one of his fans

Spencer is working hard to disassociate himself from one of his fans

Robert Spencer in Damage Control After Terror Attack in Norway

The anti-Muslim loons of the world are in a major bind right now. Their intolerant anti-Muslim attitude and constant fear-mongering is responsible for the horrible terrorist attack that occurred in Norway at the hands of self-professed Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller supporter Anders Behring Breivik. Recent reports suggest that Breivik was inspired by the writings of anti-Muslim bigots like Spencer and Geller, as well as others in the anti-Muslim circle such as Bat Ye’or and Fjordman.

Spencer himself has come out and attempted to dismiss the connection between Breivik’s violence and his own anti-Muslim bigotry, saying “no one has explained or can explain how this guy’s supposed anti-jihad views have anything to do with his murdering children.” A fair question in light of the tragic violence that Breivik was responsible for.  Did the anti-Muslim hatred inspire the violence in Oslo?

Spencer lays out his version of the logic this way, saying:

1. Freedom fighters preach free speech, freedom of conscience and equality of rights for all people, against Sharia and Islamic supremacism that denies those rights, advocating only legal means of protest and dissent.

2. Some nutcase who allegedly expressed allegiance with the freedom fighters kills people, none of whom are preaching Sharia or Islamic supremacism.

3. Media assumes that #1 caused #2 and blames freedom fighters.

The obvious problem with Spencer’s logic is that it does not include his and other anti-Muslim loons’ consistent denunciations of “leftists” as jihad-enablers. This is a key tenant of the so-called anti-jihadist movement. They hate the left, or more specifically, anyone who treats Muslims with a smidgen of fairness and tolerance. Spencer and Geller consistently and constantly portray the left as those who would sell out the West to the scary Mooslems. Spencer’s hate site Jihad Watch is filled with posts denouncing the “Leftist/Jihadist alliance,” warning his readers of how the left will happily allow the Mooslem hordes to overthrow the West and “dhimmify” its population.

Breivik adopted this view of the left.  Paul Woodward notes that Breivik argued “that cultural conservatives should not identify their main opponents as Jihadists, but instead should focus their attention on those he regards as the ‘facilitators’ of Jihadists, namely, the proponents of multiculturalism.” It was these liberals and “multi-culturalists” that were the target of his rampage.

Therefore, a more logical set-up would be as follows:

1. Anti-Muslim bigots vilify Muslims as a threat to Western culture and civilization, and argue that the left is most responsible for allowing Muslims to undermine Western civilization.  In fact, the left is more the enemy than the anti-jihadists themselves!

2. A right-wing self-proclaimed anti-jihadist chooses the capital of a famously liberal, leftist, and socialist country as the target for his attack.

3. Media is perfectly justified in establishing a link between #1 and #2.

When you preach bigotry and fear on a daily basis, don’t be surprised when one of your followers takes the next logical step.  But Robert Spencer has a reason to feign surprise and indignation over what his hatred has incited, as the link between his hate-writing and this act of terrorism becomes clear:  Richard Silverstein notes that the right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik cited Robert Spencer 46 times in his manifesto.  He was clearly quite the fan.  This certainly seems to be right-wing anti-Muslim terrorism inspired by the king of Islamophobia himself, Robert Spencer.

Robert Spencer and Co. Linked to Oslo Bomber Anders Behring Breivik

Anders Behring Breivik
Oslo Bombing Suspect Anders Behring Breivik

We’ve been screaming from the top of our lungs about how these crazed radical anti-Muslim Islamophobes are inciting violence through their hate-mongering. Anders Behring Breivak, arrested as a suspect in the attack has written glowingly of Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer, SIOE, and the EDL. Charles Johnson of LGF reports that he had a link with Fjordman who was a guest writer on Geller’s blog.

What Just Happened in Oslo, Norway? (UPDATES)

This explainer is being updated as more news emerges. Click here for photos from the sceneand here for details about the man arrested in connection with the attacks. For the latest news updates, click here.

The basics: A massive explosion hit Norway’s government hub in central Oslo on Friday, killing at least seven people and injuring at least 15 others. The six-story building that was most heavily damaged included the oil ministry and is next to the building that houses the office of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. The PM was unharmed in the blast and is now operating out of an undisclosed location. Witness testimony and damage at the scene are consistent with reports of a car bombing. The New York Times reports:

Stunned office staff and civil servants working in the vicinity of the bombed building said two explosions could be heard in close succession. The sound of the blasts echoed across the city just before 3:30 p.m. local time. Giant clouds of light-colored smoke continued to rise hundreds of feet into the air over the city…

Photos and television footage showed windows blown out in the 17-story office building across the street from the oil ministry, and the street and plaza areas on each side were strewn with glass and debris.

The first person on the scene “described it as ‘worse than a war zone,'” says Joe Sivilli, who’s talking to Mother Jones’ Tim McDonnell from on the ground in Oslo. Sivilli, who speaks Norwegian fluently, works at a home-brewed beer shop about 2 kilometers away from the site of the bombing. He says he felt a “rumble, like a small earthquake,” when the bomb went off, but assumed it was just “construction or something like that.” He’ll be monitoring the Norwegian-language media for us as this story develops.

Wasn’t there another attack? A gunman dressed as a policeman reportedly opened fire this afternoon at a Labour party youth camp on the island of Utoya, about 15 miles outside of Oslo, killing at least 80 people(police officials previously reported at least 10 casualties, but had expect that number to rise). Police have a suspect in custody. Prime Minister Stoltenberg was due to visit the camp tomorrow morning, according to NRK, Norway’s national public television broadcaster. (Stoltenberg has attended gatherings at the camp almost every year in recent memory.) On Friday evening, police found undetonated explosives on the island.

Close to 700 teenagers had gathered on Utoya, and initial reports suggested that some tried to flee by swimming. CBS News reports that Kurt Lier, Oslo’s assistant chief of police, “had little information about what had happened on the island, but said if people are leaving island swimming, it is a ‘long swim.'” Hans-Inge Langø, a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), says the “timing and targets [of the attacks are] too similar for this not to be connected.” The AP reports that Norwegian police say the two events were definitely connected.

The Pamela Connection:

UPDATE 1, Saturday, July 23, 12:16 a.m. EDT: Blogger Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs is reporting that the Oslo bombing/shooting suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, posted often on a Norwegian anti-immigration site and recommended a post by the prominent anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller, who spearheaded the US drive against the planned “Ground Zero mosque.” (We’ve previously covered her activities herehereherehere, and here.) LGF also asserts a link between Breivik and one of Geller’s guest bloggers, Fjordman.

Geller responded on her own website: “This is just a sinister attempt to tar all anti-jihadists with responsibility for this man’s heinous actions…this is war. And the left is vicious, amoral and depraved. They mean to win, and that is the only way they know how.”

UPDATE 2, Saturday, July 23, 11:06 a.m. EDT: Oddmy Estenstad, an employee of agricultural retailer Felleskjøpet, tells CNN that Utoya shooting suspect Anders Behring Breivik bought six tons of fertilizer from the company in May:

She did not think the order was strange at the time because the suspect has a farm, but after Friday’s explosion in Norway’s capital, Oslo, she called police because she knew the material can be used to make bombs.

“We are very shocked that this man was connected to our company,” said Estenstad. “We are very sad about what happened.”

UPDATE 3, Saturday, July 23, 11:09 a.m. EDT: According to the UK’s Daily Mirror, Anders Behring Breivik has been “preliminarily charged with acts of terrorism.” Norwegian police say the 32-year-old Breivik appears to be an extreme right-wing, Christian fundamentalist, due to postings on his website. NRK reports that the suspect is a member of an Oslo gun club, and “was exempted from military service, and thus…has no special education [from the Norwegian] Armed Forces.”

UPDATE 4, Saturday, July 23, 11:19 a.m. EDT: Norwegian media report on eyewitness accounts of the Utoya massacre. The Los Angeles Times also has the story:

Media reports say the gunman apparently used a handgun and a machine gun, and that police arrived at the island possibly 90 minutes after the shooting started. At midmorning Saturday, police were still searching the island for more bodies.  One wounded survivor, Adrian Pracon, described the gunman as “calm and controlled,” shooting people who tried to escape the island by swimming to the mainland…Pracon described his attempt to escape. “We started running down to the water and people had already undressed and started swimming.”

Pracon said he began swimming, but “after 150 meters … I realized I wouldn’t make it so I went back and saw him standing 10 meters from me shooting at the people who tried to swim over.”