Tag Archives: terrorism

Patriotism Run Amok

20 Jun

It’s not a good day for the self-described “patriot” movement. On the one hand, you have two bitter middle-aged men who decided to put their hatred to use, and decided to build a mobile death ray to kill Muslims and other undesireable ethnics in secret, while they slept.

The Tea Party is Totally Reasonable

Luckily, the synagogues that these two geniuses approached contacted the police, and the armchair terrorists were caught before they could do any harm. As an added bonus, one of them is a member of “Tea Party Patriots“, and named, pro-se, co-plaintiff on the lawsuit to repeal the NY SAFE Act – a lawsuit that is as clumsily written as you’d expect from a collection of pro-se litigants. Why would they think that Jewish congregations would be totally cool with committing mass murder and terrorism? 

On the other hand, a founder of the Arizona-based “Minuteman Militia”, which protects our country from an influx of dangerous brown people, stands accused of serial molestation of girls under the age of 10. 

Remember how the right wing had a conniption fit because the Obama White House dared to suggest that right-wing terrorism was a genuine threat to America?

Me, too.  

Niagara Falls Error Suspects

19 Apr

Friday in Niagara Falls, this happened

[View the story “Two Guys from Massachusetts Drive to Niagara Falls” on Storify]

Two Guys from Massachusetts Drive to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls! Slowly I turned…

Storified by Alan Bedenko· Fri, Apr 19 2013 11:28:01

Falls and the State Police have shut down Elmwood and 19th in the city while the State Police’s "robot" checks out a suspicious car.Niagara Gazette
Latest WTF RT @WGRZ: Police: 2 Russian nationals pulled over in Niagara Falls; 4 suspicious backpacks in car, robot & bomb techs on scene.jimgeraghty
FBI joint terrorism task force working with NYSP in the Falls @WGRZ go to WGRZ.com for latestHeather Ly
Suspicious car with Mass. plates being investigated fb.me/23nxWmG6NNiagara Gazette
RT @WGRZ: Police source: 2 Russian nationals pulled over in Niagara Falls; 4 suspicious backpacks in the car, robot & bomb techs on scene.jmartpolitico
What’s the difference between a backpack and a suspicious backpack? @WGRZ @NiagaraGazetteAlan Bedenko
UPDATE: Large police presence around vehicle on Elmwood & 19th in #NiagaraFalls. Car has Mass. plates. Unsure if connected to #Boston.WGRZ
Police are interviewing two Turkish brothers who drove into Niagara Falls this morning in a vehicle with Massachusetts plates.The Buffalo News
Caution tan people with Mass plates: lay low today.Alan Bedenko
So, Niagara Falls car with "2 Russian nationals" "suspicious backpacks" & Mass plates is really 2 Turkish guys. @WGRZ @NiagaraGazetteAlan Bedenko
Source says activity in #NiagaraFalls is routine traffic stop. vehicle has Mass. plates. Extensive search out of caution. Nothing found yetWGRZ
Russian, Turkish. Same difference. @WGRZAlan Bedenko
Residents near Elmwood & 19th Ave. in #NiagaraFalls asked to stay inside as police search vehicle with Mass. plates.WGRZ
State Police has bomb detection unit at 19th & Elmwood in #NiagaraFalls. Nothing found yet. Scene remains calm.WGRZ
Scene from 19th and Elmwood in the falls @WGRZ pic.twitter.com/J2aCAt1l1DHeather Ly
Niagara Falls Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto said two men are being detained as Falls and State Police… fb.me/wvePZfGYNiagara Gazette
UPDATE: 2 men in custody as investigation into Mass. car continues in Falls fb.me/2DH3ygEJeNiagara Gazette
Troopers say two people in vehicle were NOT armed, are cooperating, pulled over by NFPD acting on tip from resident @WGRZHeather Ly
Turkish-American sightseeing brothers from Massachusetts arrested in Niagara Falls, police suspect they did not "click it".Alan Bedenko
Police in #NiagaraFalls telling residents to move 100 feet back from vehicle with Mass. plates. Scene remains calmWGRZ
Look! @WGRZ has found two more "suspicious" Russians! Here is a photo: img.ly/ueho @ChrisSmithAV @BuffaloPunditJosh Potter
BREAKING: Possible photo of Turkish man pulled over in Niagara Falls. api.monosnap.com/image/download…Alan Bedenko
This just in, @WGRZ has photos of Niagara Falls suspects. moviesmedia.ign.com/movies/image/a… @J_Potter @buffalopundit @trendingbuffaloChristopher Smith
Mayor Paul Dyster on the car investigation: "There are many rumors circulating, none of which are based on fact…. fb.me/2mmxFCPSmNiagara Gazette
Updated story from Niagara Falls, where two brothers of Turkish ancestry were stopped this morning: bit.ly/11qTsrOThe Buffalo News
tow truck pulled up to car in Niagara falls, command unit now blocking view. ATF NYSP NFPD all here. Public moved back a block .@wgrzDave McKinley
Robot now being used to approach suspicious car w/ Mass plates in #NiagaraFalls..@wgrzDave McKinley
State police "robot" is still investigating car from Massachusetts. Press and bystanders have now been moved down… fb.me/2Dzj22FCONiagara Gazette
UPDATE from #NiagaraFalls: Robot removed backpack, pillow & clear plastic bag of objects from suspicious car. Now opening passenger doorWGRZ
UPDATE: Bomb squad continues to investigate Massachusetts car as crowd is pushed back fb.me/2TQnEiPAGNiagara Gazette
#NiagaraFalls update: Robot removed 2nd backpack from vehicle w/Mass plates. Also took out a pillow & plastic bag of objects.WGRZ
.@wgrz robot drops 2nd backpack removed from car w/Mass plates in NF. Papers blowing all over. Earlier, robot ran over 1st backpack. WhoopsDave McKinley
Niagara Falls bomb robot cannot handle Kafka-esque municipal ennui, detonates itself, video at 11.Christopher Smith
Bomb Robot elected Mayor of Niagara Falls, promptly indicted. #niagarafallsbombrobotAlan Bedenko
Police say suspicious packages have been removed from the Massachusetts car on Elmwood. "I have seen at least 3 or… fb.me/zOETdAhRNiagara Gazette
Police add that the two men being detained are cooperating with authorities.Niagara Gazette
.@wgrz removed from stopped carw/Mass plates in #NiagaraFalls by police robot so far: 2 backpacks, 2 sleeping bags, 1 satchel, 1 plastic bagDave McKinley
Suspicious packages removed from Massachusetts car; detained men cooperating with authorities fb.me/yIFncGe5Niagara Gazette
#NiagaraFalls police say they have NOT found anything suspicious in the packages removed from car with Mass. plates. Still searching trunk.WGRZ
"So far, everything is going good," police at scene say of packages removed from Massachusetts car. Investigators… fb.me/2aP2nx2qsNiagara Gazette
.@wgrz fully donned bomb squad member now inspecting items removed from vehicle w/Mass plates in #NiagaraFalls. Put a device over one itemDave McKinley
A member of the State Police bomb squad is now investigating the Massachusetts car. He’s opened the driver’s-side… fb.me/AQqSznyaNiagara Gazette
PIC from #NiagaraFalls: Several items removed from car are on sidewalk pic.twitter.com/kqZcNNUe7SWGRZ
LIVE: News conference in #NiagaraFalls on car with Mass. plates stopped at 19th & Elmwood on.wgrz.com/17LAsuqWGRZ
Police officials say nothing found in Mass. Car in Niagara Falls but paper and clothingWGRZ
#NiagaraFallsRobot is now new spokeman for @WGRZ’s annual 2PackABackPack campaignChristopher Smith
Police only saying two men are in 20s, traveling to visit WNY, cited with failure to stop at stop sign, use turn signal @WGRZHeather Ly

Humanity and Society

16 Apr

Yesterday, unknown person or persons perpetrated an unspeakable and senseless crime against innocents in an American city.  Three people are dead, over a hundred injured – people who got up yesterday morning, got dressed, went over to Boylston to watch people finish a marathon. People like you and me. Videos showed timed, coordinated bombings going off along the Boylston Street terminus of the Boston Marathon, designed to inflict massive carnage in crowded groups of celebrants. 

There’s no sense in trying to speculate who might be behind it until there’s actual news reported about it. For instance, one would have been dramatically misinformed had he relied on the horrible Murdoch rag the “New York Post” for news about the attack. 

Some people are insufferably horrible – especially those cynical vampires who make their living by being conspiratorial, paranoid idiots. 

Boston was my second hometown, and I’m sick over this. We live in a dangerous world with a lot of crazy people, and there’s absolutely no way that we can always prevent bad people from doing horrific things, no matter what we do. 

But if you’re one of those people who see a tragedy and immediately speculate – without any proof, evidence, or information – as to the perpetrators or cause of a horrible terrorist act like this, you’re just a horrible person. Is it hillbilly militiamen protesting tax day? Is it brown-skinned people with accents? If those are the questions you’re asking right away, you’re an idiot.

If, like conspiracy salesman Alex Jones, you’re suggesting that the government is behind it, you deserve nothing but scorn and humiliation.  If, like newly minted glibertarian but former Bush supporter, Patriot Act backer, Iraq War microphone belligerent, and security-porn enthusiast Tom Bauerle, you warn against “liberties” being taken away, you’ve missed the point of anything important about humanity. When you think about how a tragedy such as this affects your personal comfort, while 400 miles away an 8 year-old dies and people struggle with catastrophic injuries, you’re sort of a monster.  

Humanity makes me sick when innocent people are murdered or attacked without cause or provocation, but also when it worries about how others’ misfortune might affect their individual political prejudices.

The 11th Day of September

11 Sep

On this September 11th, let’s remember the dead, but also re-examine how we responded to the one that took place a decade ago. Perhaps we should heed the words of this famous New Yorker: 

Georgia Militia: Let’s Rain Ricin on Washington

1 Dec

In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security issued a report warning of the risk to American lives from right-wing extremists.

The American Limbaughist commentariat blew a gasket, accusing the DHS of a sweeping indictment of all conservatives. Never mind that it was prepared during the Bush Administration.

Since that time, we’ve had a guy fly a plane into an IRS office, an abortion providing OB/GYN shot to death in Kansas, people shot by a neo-Nazi at the Holocaust Museum,  and many other acts of murder and mayhem perpetrated by the violent, extremist right wing in this country. The Southern Poverty Law Center has a comprehensive list.

The most recent one involved four old tea party / right wing / militia types who wanted to manufacture ricin and sprinkle it across the whole of Washington, DC to murder as many innocent men, women, and children as they could.

Is it isolated madmen doing this? Sure. But they’re fueled in part by anti-government rhetoric and other nihilist propaganda that comes from the American right nowadays. Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, a former ultra right-wing anti-jihadist type has had a complete re-awakening in recent years and now dedicates his time to exposing this type of rhetoric.

Either way, we needn’t attack the DHS for investigating, researching, and assessing risks to our safety – regardless of how closely aligned the prospective perpetrators are to our way of thinking.


Osama and the use of “bin” as a homophone of “been”

2 May

Lucky for me I’m jet-lagged, so it’s not too off-putting getting up at 1:30 in the morning to hear the news that international bogeyman – our generation’s Carlos the Jackal – Osama bin Laden, has been eliminated in Abbottabad, Pakistan. One can only wish there was a Costellobad nearby.

Bin Laden has for some years been a largely ceremonial head of just about any grouping of disaffected Islamic youth who decide that extremist jihadism is a great way to rebel against society or their parents. His elimination is a day of celebration and remembrance, and I’m grateful not for what some commentators are referring to as “closure”, but instead for the sheer revenge factor. With bin Laden’s elimination, almost all of the people who planned the 9/11 attacks are either in custody or dead. That’s a fundamentally good thing, with credit going to both the Obama and Bush administrations.

Qaedatards pledge an oath of personal allegiance to bin Laden, and there’s really no one with his stature or charisma to replace him in that terrorist social network. Could al Qaeda be finished?

Since that fateful day in 2001, the United States has been fighting what has been termed a “war on terror”, but that’s an impossible war to wage. Terror is a feeling, not an army. Terrorism is something that has existed since time immemorial, whereby people or groups wage irregular attacks against military and civilian targets alike in order primarily to make people afraid, and secondarily to make some oft-facile point. Terrorism as a tactic is something that cannot be “defeated” in the traditional sense of fighting wars. It is something that needs to be monitored, infiltrated, prevented when possible, and punished when not. The best way to combat terror is to keep calm and carry on, and to remain vigilant against it.

In retrospect, I think, the biggest shock from 9/11 was how ineffective and sieve-like our security apparati were. We Americans have a short attention span, which means we tolerate window dressing (color-coded threat levels) over real effective change. We consolidated many agencies under the “homeland security” umbrella, and they’re supposed to be working together and sharing information.

I think bin Laden’s elimination, and the upcoming 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks should lead to some “closure” of a real sort. The money, effort, and attention we pay to fight three separate and distinct wars in Asia and Africa could be so much better spent on solving longstanding issues here at home. Reforming the tax code to make it more fair and simpler, ensuring that Americans have access to quality health care that doesn’t bankrupt them, and otherwise saving or redirecting trillions of dollars spent now on multiple quagmires.

What I’m trying to say in a roundabout way is that Osama’s death won’t end terrorism. No act or omission by our government or military can ever end terrorism, any more than a war on drugs will end drug use. It’s a largely symbolic milestone.

But what a symbolic milestone it is. The killing of a mass murderer is a great thing to celebrate. The upcoming days will reveal more details about this operation and we’ll consume them with glee and awe. But since we’re the last superpower, we’re a huge target – both collectively and individually. Extremists and murderers will continue to want to become infamous by killing us.

Live your life. Be happy. Do things. Travel. Read. Write. Draw. Paint. Buy. Make. Invent. Love. Discover. The best way to defeat terror is to be. And to not be afraid.

(Image courtesy of Marquil at EmpireWire.com)

HUAC 2: Electric Xenophobaloo

10 Mar

Shorter Peter King: Irish terrorists good, Muslim terrorists bad.

King is a despicable and disgusting xenophobe who is a rank hypocrite.  Let’s be 100% clear – King contemporaneously supported a terrorist organization that indiscriminately blew up innocent Britons during the 70s – 90s. It’s ok if someone supported an Irish republican desire to be free from the UK, or decried British oppression – but blowing people up was decidedy not ok.  Peter King has now decided to put all of American Islam on trial in Congress, and to further denigrate an entire population based on the terrorists acts or thoughts of a miniscule minority.  It is King who is un-American.

Image courtesy of Marquil and EmpireWire.com

Wrong by 1000%

13 Dec


A Connecticut D-Bag in Federal Court

6 May

Thank God this idiot was inept enough to make a FAILbomb, and thank God the cops sprung into a real-life version of 24 and caught him literally within hours. Even if they did lose him when he made his way to JFK.

The fact that he left his house keys in the ignition of the Pathfinder probably helped confirm they had the right guy.

The no-fly list has been beset with allegations of law-abiding people being inexplicably added to it and then having little or no recourse. This Faisal character was added to it the morning of his arrest, but Emirates didn’t check an updated list before checking him in and letting him board. Before take-off, Emirates transmits a passenger manifest to a federal agency, and Shazad’s name was a hit – he was removed from the aircraft before it left the gate.

So, the no-fly list worked, as did the failsafe. What they need to tighten up is ensuring that the airlines have and use the most up-to-date list.

What I’m curious about is whether he got pulled aside for secondary screening when going through security. Did his lack of reservation and paying in cash make him get pulled aside?

Anyhow, here’s Colbert:


Quote of the Week

25 Mar

From Ohio Representative Steve Driehaus:

“Leader Boehner suggested that if I vote yes on this bill and go home to the west side of Cincinnati, that I could be a dead man…. It really calls into question his ability to lead. He should be a statesman.”

Driehaus confronted Boehner about the interview on the floor of the House. “I told him it was inexcusable,” Driehaus said. “It doesn’t really matter the way you meant it, nor the way I accept it. It’s how the least sane person in my district accepts it.