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Kamikaze Joseph Stack: A Terrorist by Any Other Name

Joseph Stack's attack

Joseph Stack's attack

A man flies a plane into a federal building in a suicide mission in which he wishes to sacrifice himself for a political cause or objective, he must be a Muslim! Not so fast, Joseph Stack seems to have blown that idea to bits, highlighting a fact we have pointed out Ad nauseum, terrorism isn’t a Muslim only brand.

Joe Stack’s story is interesting for a number of reasons,one of them being the confusion on whether or not what he did is terrorism, though it fits the definition of terrorism to the letter,

premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets

News media outlets are a perfect example of the confusion over whether or not to label this an act of terrorism, or whether to label Joe Stack a terrorist. The confusion seems to stem from the fact that Stack is a middle aged White male who isn’t Muslim. If he had been Muslim there would be no confusion, instantly pundits would be in unanimous agreement that this is terrorism.

Glenn Greenwald breaks down the hypocrisy and the double standards quite succinctly, (I recommend all read his article, Terrorism: The Most Meaningless and Manipulated Word)

The New York Times‘ Brian Stelter documents the deep reluctance of cable news chatterers and government officials to label the incident an act of “terrorism,” even though — as Dave Neiwert ably documents — it perfectly fits, indeed is a classic illustration of, every official definition of that term.  The issue isn’t whether Stack’s grievances are real or his responses just; it is that the act unquestionably comports with the official definition.  But as NBC’s Pete Williams said of the official insistence that this was not an act of Terrorism:  there are “a couple of reasons to say that . . . One is he’s an American citizen.”  Fox News’ Megan Kelley asked Catherine Herridge about these denials:  “I take it that they mean terrorism in the larger sense that most of us are used to?,” to which Herridge replied: “they mean terrorism in that capital T way.”

The things that make you go hmmm.

Think about that for a second, he is an “American citizen,” so he can’t commit terrorism? Jose Padilla was an American citizen, the una-bomber was an American citizen, Timothy McVeigh was an American citizen. Are they all exonerated because they were American citizens?

Megan Kelley’s words are even more illustrative of the Islamophobia that is commonplace now and buried deep within the American psyche, the “terrorism that we are used to” meaning terrorism can only be commited by Muslims. The “capital T,” might as well be a capital M for Muslim.

Joseph Stack is now being considered a hero and a martyr against big government and the intrusive tax system. Facebook pages and Twitter accounts are abuzz proclaiming Stack a “true American hero.”

The silence from Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who must be busy with their new Orwellian organization Freedom Defense Initiative is deafening. Other Conservatives are busy boohooing against the Left and claiming that they are being painted unjustly as “extremists and terrorists.” Now isn’t that ironic?

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  • TYO

    I get annoyed at right wing conservatives who forget that their number one hero Reagan during his administration in the 1980s was the one funding the anti-Soviet Afghans, and since Pakistan was the one who picked whom to support (“Ghost Wars”), many of the were fanatics. But under that conservative Republican administration they were then seen as fellow co-religionists against the Godless communists. The Afghans even made it into a Rambo movie. The irony is that the USSR saw the danger of those fanatics rising in Afghanistan:
    “Reagan can’t be blamed for ignoring the threat of Osama Bin Laden. Not for another few years would any analyst see Bin Laden as a significant player in global terrorism; not till the mid-1990s would his organization, al-Qaida, emerge as a significant force.

    However, Reagan—and those around him—can be blamed for ignoring the rise of Islamic militancy in Afghanistan and for failing to see Gorbachev’s offer to withdraw as an opportunity to clamp the danger. Certainly, the danger was, or should have been, clear. Only a few years had passed since the Ayatollah Khomeini rose to power in Iran—the shah toppled, the U.S. Embassy employees held hostage, the country turned over to the mullahs, the region suddenly destabilized. Reagan beat Jimmy Carter so decisively in the 1980 election in part because of the hostage crisis.

    Gorbachev had accepted that Afghanistan would become an Islamic country. But he assumed that Reagan, of all people, would have an interest in keeping it from becoming militantly, hostilely, Islamist.”

    I think that more people should have helped during the 1990s. But then I get frustrated when some Muslims then say they don’t want us there. Then you have the likes of the Pakistanis who bitch about their feeling of abandonment. What crap. If those three countries were the only ones who recognized the Taliban. Then it seems to me Afghanistan was under the Pakistani control just as they wanted it. Let’s not forget the assasination of Masood just before 9-11 “In April 2001, Nicole Fontaine invited Massoud to address the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. In his speech, Massoud warned that the Taliban had connections with al-Qaeda and that he believed an important terrorist attack was imminent.[29]… News of Massoud’s death was reported almost immediately, appearing on the BBC, and in European and North American newspapers on September 10, 2001. However, the news was quickly overshadowed by the September 11, 2001 attacks the following day, which appeared to be the terrorist attack that Massoud had warned against in his speech to the European Parliament several months earlier.

    The timing of the assassination, two days before the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, is considered significant by commentators who believe Osama bin Laden ordered the assassination to help his Taliban protectors and ensure he would have their protection and co-operation in Afghanistan. The assassins are also reported to have shown support for bin Laden in their questioning of Massoud. The Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Mujahideen leader Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, an Afghan Wahhabi Islamist, have also been mentioned as possible organizers or collaborators of the Massoud assassins.[32] Massoud was a strong opponent of Pakistani involvement in Afghanistan. The assassins are said to have entered Northern Alliance territory under the auspices of the Abdul Rasul Sayyaf and had his assistance in bypassing “normal security procedures.”[32]”

    The US could have provided even more humanitarian aid and more for the women and other ethnic groups, sure. But what about the other 56 OICs? Shouldn’t they have done even more than the US to help them, being Islamic countries themselves? I find it hard to believe that if all the other Islamic countries wanted to they could not have uplifted the Afghan women and protected the ethnic groups like the Hazaras. FYI in “Taliban” it reports that “there was no coherent US policy, except to go along with what Pakistan and Saudi Arabia wanted” p177

  • Imad

    @ TYO:

    You’re right of course; I made a big mistake condemning only the U.S. And USSR only. I a tually knee about Saudi Arabia and pakistan and the ISI. I forgot to mention them I guess.

    Your last paragraph sums it up best; and I am glad you’ve shown me my error. I promise to take it into consideration next time I think about afghan affairs. My two pet peeves about some American people are when they act as if we had no role in supporting Islamic fundamentalism, and when ppl think the war in Afghanistan should be continuing for the sake of the afghan people. My problem with the second thing is that, if we cared so much about their rights and all that, we wouldve stopped the Taliban in 1996, when they were massacring hazaras and destroying womans’ rights.

    Is my statement correct?

  • TYO

    Glad to know you are not anti-American. I am kinda tired of people everything always is all America’s fault and only America’s. And I say this as a liberal, which no doubt to some on the conservative far right would be a shock (as if they are the only ones who love our country).

    I am well aware of America’s involvement in Afghanistan in the 1980s. I am familiar with “Taliban” by Ahmed Rashid, and “Ghost Wars” by Steve Coll. That was no secret. The USSR invaded, and my country supported those who were fighting them. You say America should not have intervened. Perhaps you are right and the anti-Soviet Afghans should have been left alone to fight the USSR without US money and weapons($2 billion), and an array of intelligence, military expertise and advanced weapons.

    But you know, the US was not alone. You condemn the US, but not Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. You know the three countries who recognized the Taliban when they took over are? Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirate. You know what their role was in Afghanistan?: “[I]t really swelled between 1981 and 1985. Essentially, under Bill Casey, the CIA created a three-part intelligence alliance to fund and arm the Mujahadeen, initially to harass Soviet occupation forces and eventually they embraced the goal of driving them out. The three-way alliance in each of the parties had a distinct role to play. The Saudi, their intelligence service primarily provided cash. Each year the congress would secretly allocate a certain amount of money to support the CIA’s program. After that allocation was complete, the US Intelligence liaison would fly to Riyadh and the Saudis would write a matching check. The US role was to provide logistics and technological support as well as money. The Saudis collaborated with Pakistan’s intelligence service, ISI, to really run the war on the front lines. It was the Pakistani army, in particular the ISI, that picked the political winners and losers in the jihad, and who favored radical Islamist factions because it suited the Pakistan’s army goal of pacifying Afghanistan, a long-time unruly neighbor to the west, whose ethnic Pashtun nationalism the army feared. The army saw Islam not only as a motivating force in the anti-Soviet jihad, but as an instrument of Pakistan’s regional policy to control Afghanistan. The US acquiesced with all of this in part because they thought that the only purpose that brought them to the region was to drive the Soviets out, and they didn’t really care about local politics. But also because after Vietnam, the generation of CIA officers involved in this program were scarred by their experiences in Southeast Asia, and they essentially operated under a mantra of no more hearts and minds for us. We’re not good at picking winners and losers in a developing world. Let’s let the Pakistanis decide who carries this jihad forward. That’s how the favoritism of the radical Islamic factions was born and nurtured.”

    But it seems to be just easier to blame all of it on the US even though the USSR invaded, even though China sold the weapons used to fight the Soviets, even though money came from Saudi Arabia too, even though Saudi Arabia and Pakistan took the lead in the war on the front lines and even though the Taliban long after the Soviets left – the USSR doesn’t even EXIST anymore — are the ones still making the people of Afghanistan live in the Middle Ages in 2010.

    By the way I find the US right wing fundamentalist rather hypocritical. They looooove to blame the left, but it was the religious right who supported Muslim fundamentalists for decades not only in Afghanistan but anywhere where there was a secular and left leaning government: “In the Cold War period, I think there was a real belief, certainly by Bill Casey, who was a devout catholic and by the Saudi royal family, that the support of religious networks and organizations against soviet supported either communist or leftist governments was not only good tactics, but it was also righteous. It was the battle of the faithful against the godless was really, I think, at some personal level, how Casey and some of the Saudis saw it. As you say, that wasn’t spontaneous idea. It was rooted in approaches that governments had taken, the British and the United States, when secular socialist governments had risen in the Middle East earlier. ”

    It is not right to blame the US for Afghanistan like you did.
    Plus it is mind blowingly hypocritical of of the US right to act as if they had nothing to do with supporting their fellow fundamentalists against secular and left leaning governments. Both are examples of cherry picking.

  • Imad

    @ TYO:

    judging from ur last statement, u must think I’m anti amercan. I definitly am not, I love this country but it’s policies with Afghanistan since 1979 were an utter failure. I am glad America is helping rebuild Afghanistan but like I said, I’m pretty sure that Afghanistan would turn out a lot different if America, coupled with the USSR, did not intervene and leave them to their own affairs.

  • Imad

    @ TYO:

    whether you like it or not, America was funding fanatical Muslims and setting up training camps for training them. Long story short, the Taliban were students of these schools and fought in the USSR Afghan war. Also, in October 2001, the Taliban offered negotiations to hand over bin laden, if only America provided evidence of bin laden being guilty of 911, and stopped air strikes in Afghanistan. Bush did not accept te offer and went on with the invasion. Taliban and all those fanatical Muslims would have a LOT less influence in Afghanistan, let alone the world, if they were not funded by America. If we cared so much about rights in Afghanistan, we wouldve stopped the Taliban in 1996, when they massacred hazaras and their oppression of women started.

  • TYO

    It is terrorism to me, just like 9-11. The fact that Stack was not doing it out of religion doesn’t change that.

    “By following their idiot ways, I now recognize osama bin laden and his hijackers as heroes, becase the American govt played a major role in causing Afghanistan to shatter into tiny pieces. ”

    You do that.

    The Taliban pretty much wrecked Afghanistan. And if they had not harbored AQ in Afghanistan from where they launched their terrorist attacks, we would not be there now.

    Since we are there there are efforts to help them rebuild:
    U.S. Military Experiments With Empowering Afghan Businesswomen

    Talk about the good along with the problems with the US.
    Hold those terrorists in Afghanistan accountable for their own actions.

  • Imad

    @ HGG (again)

    I have to admit I didn’t even read the essay and I jus read the first few paragraphs Now (what better to do at 1:35 and u can’t sleep?) I immediatly stopped when he cited verse 8:60, which is of course one of those violent verses that cannot be understood by just READING it. I always laugh tho when ppl cite 8:60, cuz the verse rite after says “if the enemy incline toward peace, then u also incline toward peace.” (paraphrase)

    from what I can tell, Spencer is just pissed cuz CAIR made an ACCURATE statement (I don’t trust CAIR a lot myself) and is now spitting shit cuz he can’t stand the thought of his readers pondering WHAT IF ROBERT SPENCER IS WRONG? If a lot of ppl call this guy a terrorist, then they’ll think that. Unfirtunatly, they have too much faith in Spencer.

  • Imad

    @ HGG:

    I’d rather have a shiny apple computer freeze before I read such disgusting garbage.

    Denying he’s a terrorist is stoopid. Writing an essay of that length to do just that is a waste of time… And also stoopid. But saying only Muslims can commit terrorism… Is infinitly beyond… Stoopidity.

    Once again we see a combination of bigotry brought about by the American’s idea of our monopoly on morality.

  • To the question about CPAC coverage, we will have a feature tomorrow on the charade that was Scamela Geller and the Third Rail panel.

  • Jim

    @ Livingengine

    I’ve read and reread your post and one or two things spring to mind. Firstly, if you’re going to use words you don’t properly understand, at least use a spell check first. When you use the word ‘obviscate’, and I’ll assume you mean obfuscate, it seems you’re accusing Loonwatch of suggesting that we accuse this loon of ‘jihad’, although it seems you have not the first grasp of the meaning of the word. What Loonwatch is suggesting, in fact, is that different principles appear to be applied to an idiot who is Muslim and one who isn’t. Imagine for a moment the outcry if this particular moron were a Muslim. Consider the security blanket which would have been thrown over flying schools, private airfields etc, the calls for all people of middle eastern appearance flying light aircraft or looking for flying lessons to be reported to Homeland Security. You know the script. Instead, it seems the attitude of the news media is “Attack, what attack?”

    A similar circumspection should be applied to abbreviations. ‘i.e.’ (Latin, ‘id est’) literally means ‘that is’. So what you’re actually saying is ‘…..terror and Muslims that is jihad…..’ Since Muslims are not literally Jihad, then this makes no sense.

    Livingengine, if in future you should feel the need to enter the intellectual equivalent of a gunfight, make sure you don’t arrive firing blanks.

  • HGG

    “The silence from Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who must be busy with their new Orwellian organization Freedom Defense Initiative is deafening”

    But he sent the verbose and pompous, yet oh-so-devoid of either style or wit Hugh to post about it

    The gist of the article is basically that Stack wasn’t a terrorist, because only Muslims are terrorist.

    I may be wrong in my interpretation. Let me know if I am.

  • Imad

    @ Any CPAC Coverage?:

    just saw the video of Robert Spencer and two things stand out: one, his sense of humor (“everybody knows Islam is a religion of peace” in a sarcastic tone with everyone laughing) and two (and more important): when he says “the truth is on our side.” What a phony, and I love the way he speaks; he’s no way near as a powerful speaker as the famous ones, like MLK. His voice is timid like a school presentation.

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