Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum that focuses on Middle East studies. I was a political columnist for SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, The Jewish Policy Center, J-The Jewish News Weekly of N. CA, Intellectual Conservative and many others. More info at CinnamonStillwell.com.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Fort Hood Shooter: Another Lone Gunman?

In August, 2006, I wrote an SFGate column that could have been written about Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan. It's reprinted below in its entirety:
The Myth Of The Lone Gunman
Cinnamon Stillwell

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the claim has often been made that no further acts of terrorism have occurred on U.S. soil. But anyone following the news closely knows better.

While there has not yet been another large-scale attack, a number of terrorist plots have been broken up and a variety of suspicious crimes and incidents have occurred across the nation. But each time, authorities seem to have made every effort to downplay the terrorism angle.

News of the shooting rampage at Seattle's Jewish Federation building last month involved the usual avoidance of the term "terrorism." Instead, the attack was labeled a hate crime and the perpetrator, Naveed Afzal Haq, just another in a long line of lone gunmen with a history of mental instability. As Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels put it, "This was a purposeful, hateful act, as far as we know by an individual acting on his own."

While this may be true, trying to separate Haq's actions from the larger context of the war on terrorism is tunnel vision at its worst. It is not just hate that motivates such acts, but ideology. One needn't be a bona fide member of an Islamic terrorist group to share their outlook.

Haq made his motivations quite clear when he told a 911 operator during the attack that he was a "Muslim American" who was "angry with Israel" and the United States for the war in Iraq. "I want these Jews to get out … I'm tired of getting pushed around, and our people getting pushed around by the situation in the Middle East," he added.

Indeed, it was Haq's "anger" that led him to stake out the building of a prominent Jewish organization, hide behind a vestibule, kidnap a 14-year-old girl at gunpoint as she entered the building and then proceed to shoot six women, including one who was 17 weeks pregnant, almost all in the stomach. One of the victims died on the scene and several remain in the hospital.

There are also questions about Haq's background that should at least raise a flag or two. His father, Mian Haq, founded the Islamic Center of the Tri-Cities, which is affiliated with Saudi-financed Wahhabist organizations. An engineer, Mian Haq and other members of the local Pakistani American community work for the nearby Hanford Site (a nuclear reservation). The junior Haq was not known to be an observant Muslim, and a Christian evangelical organization in the Tri-Cities area claims that he was baptized last year. But Haq was clearly identifying himself as a Muslim at the time of the shooting.

The prosecutor in the case, Norm Maleng, did concede that the attack involved "the seeds from which the war on terror springs." In fact, just 48 hours before Haq's killing spree, Al-Jazeera ran a video of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri exhorting "Muslims everywhere … to fight and become martyrs in the war against the Zionists and the crusaders." And it appears that that's exactly what Haq did.

Officialdom in Denial

This was the hardly the first time that a Muslim seemingly unconnected to organized terrorist groups nevertheless acted out their agenda. Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes even came up with a term to describe this phenomenon: Sudden Jihad Syndrome.

Pipes and other scholars, such as Robert Spencer, have been tracking these cases for years. It is not certain that Islamist ideology was the motivation in each instance. But strangely enough, authorities almost always dismissed the possibility from the onset. Either that or they jumped on the "no possible known motive" bandwagon. The following examples bear this pattern out:

  • March 2006: Mohammad Taheri-azar plowed into a group of students at the University of North Carolina with his SUV. Afterward, he surrendered to authorities with a 911 call, telling them that he was trying to "punish the government of the United States for [its] actions around the world." Meanwhile, in a letter to the police, Taheri-azar spoke of exercising "the right of violent retaliation that Allah" had given him. Nonetheless, local officials and university officials immediately ruled out terrorism, leading several student groups to hold an "anti-terrorism" rally in protest.
  • September 2005: University of Oklahoma engineering student Joel Henry Hinrichs III blew himself up outside a packed stadium in what was dubbed a suicide. But it was more likely a botched suicide bombing. Beyond incriminating evidence found in his apartment, Hinrichs had connections to a local mosque and appears to have been a convert to Islam. Nonetheless, university officials and authorities studiously avoided the term "terrorism" and instead focused on Hinrichs' alleged history of personal problems.
  • January 2005: The Coptic Christian Armanious family, originally from Egypt, was found dead in their home in Jersey City, all with their throats slit. Hossam, the father, had been debating religion with Muslims on a Middle Eastern chat room and had received at least one death threat. The entire family had been involved in converting Muslims to Christianity, and the daughter, Sylvia, was particularly outspoken. When her body was found, it was discovered that she had been stabbed in the chest and the wrist, precisely where she wore a tattoo of a Coptic cross. Authorities chalked up the case not to religious hatred or terrorism but to a robbery gone bad. But questions remain about the true impetus for the murders.
  • August 2003: Saudi Mohammed Ali Alayed slit the throat of former friend and fellow Houston Community College student Ariel Sellouk, almost decapitating him in the process. The fact that Sellouk was Jewish and that Alayed had broken with him right after becoming a more devout Muslim played no part in the trial. Not only was the term "terrorism" avoided, even "hate" and "anti-Semitism" were left out of the equation. To this day, Alayed's motive remains a mystery as far as the official version is concerned.
  • October 2002: The "Beltway Snipers" John Allen Muhammed and Lee Boyd Malvo went on a killing spree across Maryland and Virginia, terrorizing the nation. Despite the fact that Muhammed was a convert to Islam and member of the Nation of Islam, authorities and media coverage focused solely on his troubled background and his ties to the military. Malvo was portrayed simply as a young victim of Muhammed's sinister tutelage. Rarely was jihad or terrorism mentioned. Later, Malvo's defense attorneys, attempting to illustrate their client's mental instability, presented the judge in his trial with Malvo's jailhouse drawings. Along with anti-American sentiments and drawings of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and the burning towers of the World Trade Center, Malvo repeatedly emphasized jihad against America.
  • July 2002: Egyptian immigrant Hesham Mohamed Hadayet walked into Los Angeles International Airport on the Fourth of July (also his birthday) and opened fire at an El Al (the Israeli government-owned airline) counter, killing an employee and a customer. Hadayet also stabbed an El Al security guard before he himself was shot. Hadayet had been known to express hatred for Jews, Israel and the United States, and according to his political asylum application, which was denied, he had been involved with an Egyptian Islamist group. The initial conclusion was that there was "nothing to indicate terrorism" and that it was simply an "isolated incident," although officials finally dubbed the case an act of terrorism almost a year later.

It's possible that in these cases authorities were simply hesitant to release sensitive information that might have threatened the investigation at hand. But in a time when average citizens can access all sorts of information for themselves on the Internet, this policy of official denial is becoming untenable.

Besides, Americans deserve to know the truth about the threats to their lives and their country. It may be uncomfortable for some to swallow, but it helps no one, least of all those within the Muslim community working for reform, to shield the public from reality. For one cannot properly fight a battle if its true nature remains obscured.

Similarly, at a certain point, authorities will need to take the blinders off and start acknowledging that lone gunmen and Islamic terrorism are not mutually exclusive. As President Bush has repeatedly emphasized, "this is a different kind of war" and therefore a different kind of thinking is needed in order to win it. Unfortunately, it is our own officials who most seem to need an update.

1 Comments:

Blogger Stop the presses/ Patrick said...

LET’S PLAY MUSLIM TERRORIST TRIAL
.
POLICE INVESTIGATE THE CRIME
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In the Fort Hood shooting of November 5, 2009, a gunman opened fire in the Soldier Readiness Center of Fort Hood, Texas—the most populous US military base in the world—located just outside Killeen, killing 13 people and wounding 30 others.
MOTIVE: Jihad

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THE VICTIMS
13 American men and women murdered. 30 American men and women wounded.
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THE OFFENDER
Major Nidal Hasan
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THE PROSECUTOR PRESENTS HIS CASE
EVIDENCE: Federal investigators were looking into months of contacts between Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and extremist imam Anwar al-Awlaki. The imam who knew three of the Sept. 11 hijackers and hailed Maj. Hasan as a "hero" after the shooting last week at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead. Anwar al Awlaki, who now lives in Yemen and runs a web site that promotes jihad around the world against the U.S.
Hasan gave a PowerPoint presentation to fellow Army doctors in 2007 in which he said, "It's getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims." He recommended that Muslim soldiers be given the option of being released from the military as conscientious objectors to decrease what he called "adverse events." Under "comments," he wrote, "We love death more than you love life."
Former Hasan colleague Col. Terry Lee as saying, "[Hasan] was making outlandish comments condemning our foreign policy and claimed Muslims had the right to rise up and attack Americans"; that Hasan admitted to being "happy" upon learning of the Muslim who killed a soldier at an Arkansas military recruitment center; and that he once said, "maybe people should strap bombs on themselves and go to Time Square." Chron.com reports that Hasan had created "Internet postings that discussed suicide bombings and other threats," and that "one of the Web postings that authorities reviewed is a blog that equates suicide bombers with a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save the lives of his comrades."
Hasan walked among the "aggressors" and yelled Allahu Akbar before punctuating his story with a burst of violence.
His name appears on radical Internet postings. A fellow officer says he fought his deployment to Iraq and argued with soldiers who supported U.S. wars. He required counseling as a medical student because of problems with patients.
We know that he often wore a long gown and skull cap, called by some "native Arab dress" but, whatever it was, it was clearly intended by him to be Muslim dress, non-American dress.
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THE PUBLIC DEFENDER TEAM: Barack Obama and General Casey.
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THE DEFENCE: Deversity,Don’t rush to judgment,Multi-culturalism, Political correctness
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THE JURY VERDICT
What is you verdict on count one? Was this murdering coward involved in a Muslim Terrorist attack.
WE THE JURY FIND THE COWARDLY DEFEND GUILTY
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What is you verdict on count two? Are President Barack Obama and General George Casey worthless piece of shit.
WE THE JURY FIND THE WORTHLESS PIECES OF SHIT GUILTY OF BEING WORTHLESS PIECES OF SHIT. WE THE JURY ALSO FIND THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA TO BE CO-CONSPIRATOR PIECES OF SHIT.

Saturday, November 14, 2009 6:41:00 AM  

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