Tag Archives: terrorism

Man arrested for plot to firebomb churches

12 Oct

Last week Gregory A. Weiler II was arrested in Miami, Oklahoma for plotting to firebomb multiple churches in the surrounding area. Police found 52 Molotov cocktails in the man’s home. Weiler kept a journal and one of his entries read “Self-promote for the next 4 years while beginning list of goals written out in Oklahoma having to do with destroying and removing church buildings from US a tiny bit at a time, setting foundation for years to follow.”

So far that’s all we know.

We don’t know his motive. We don’t know his religious affiliation.

But the fact that we don’t know any of this won’t matter to people who will jump on the chance to go “Aha!!! Evil atheists trying to burn churches!!!1”

Weiler might not even be an atheist. We simply don’t know. What he does appear to be is crazy. According to Weiler’s cousin, his parents committed suicide, he suffers from drug addiction, and he has a history of mental illness. (All of which people are sure to claim stems from his atheism)

Let’s talk about crazy for a moment. There are crazy people out there in the world that do things for crazy people reasons. Unfortunately sometimes these crazy people are aligned with ideologies also held by non-crazy people. When a crazy person linked with an ideology does something horrible, it then makes all the other non-crazy people connected to that ideology look bad as well.

Proponents of said ideology will always point to the crazy person and say “they did this because they were crazy, not because of our ideology,” whereas opponents of the ideology will claim they did it precisely because of the ideology.

I think it really depends on the situation and the individual. There are situations when sane people do horrible things because of ideology and when crazy people do horrible things just because they’re crazy. Someone is not simply just “crazy” because they do something horrible. To write off every act of violence in the name of an ideology as simply the work of a crazy person is overly simplistic.

Timothy McVeigh, the deadliest domestic terrorist prior to 9/11, was not crazy. He was calm and had rational reasons for wanting to kill people. In his case it was in retaliation for the government’s crackdown on the religious cult at Waco, TX.

The 9/11 hijackers were not crazy either. Many of them were college educated and had rational reasons for attacking the US; primarily a combination of religious and political, like McVeigh.

It’s really up to a trained psychologist to examine an individual to determine if they are crazy, but most people, especially those in the media, don’t want to wait for that. It’s much easier, quicker, exciting to just write the person off as crazy or driven by ideology and then make wild assumptions and accusations from there.

The speed and impetuousness at which people point fingers at atheists whenever anyone possibly connected with the ideology does something wrong paints a picture of the situation for atheists in the US.

We’re in the situation of having to be perfect all the time, every time, constantly having to prove ourselves against a hostile population. It doesn’t matter that we make up 16% of the population but less than 1% of the prison population. It doesn’t matter that many atheists are philanthropists, leading scientists, and performers. It really doesn’t matter what good things atheists do for the country. The rest of the population is hostile to us and the moment someone seemingly linked with our ideology missteps all our accomplishments are washed away and ignored.

It’s the same situation any under-represented minority has to go through. Women breaking into the workplace for the first time had to prove themselves by being perfect all of the time. Blacks had to do the same thing. Regardless of the group, the pattern is the same:

Unreasonable, impossible, and unfair expectations followed by only scorn and disgust when any member of the group in question fails in the slightest. Eventually you overcome them through persistence, but the temptation to say “fuck you” and give in to all their stereotypes out of spite is always there.

Personally I’m inclined to just tell the critics of atheists to go fuck themselves, but I’m not planning on sticking around here anyways, so it’s not really fair to the atheists who do have to try and make a life in this place. Unfortunately there are just some people who you can’t win with. It doesn’t matter how nobly you live, they’ll always despise you.  Trying to please them is futile.


What will it take?

17 Dec

Wow, NDAA and SOPA in one week. 220 years to the day after the ratification of the bill of rights, the NDAA passed congress and is now on it’s way to the white house where Obama has said that he will NOT veto the bill. What’s the big deal? Indefinate detention of Americans SUSPECTED of being terrorists. Suspected, not “proven guilty in a court of law.” If the government doesn’t like you, all they have to do is say the “suspect” you of being a terrorist and you’re GONE!

It’s ok, I wasn’t using my basic human rights anyways.

Meanwhile, SOPA has been being rushed through congress, despite many of the legislators not understanding what it is they are passing. The bill would essentially break the internet. Copyright holders would be able to go to Internet Service Providers (whoever you get your internet from) and demand that they censor websites they don’t like. If the ISP doesn’t censor it, they can sue them. This would remove some websites from your computer’s address book, meaning not everyone’s address book was the same. (Thus, in layman’s terms, “breaking the internet”)

Claims could be filled against anyone who uses copyrighted content in any way. Think of it this way:

It is the equivalent of copyrighting letters in the alphabet and then suing people who use those letters in writing a sentence. Think of everything on the internet that references something else, be it to comment on it, or to redesign it to express another idea. All of that would be illegal if SOPA passed.

It looked like the bill might be postponed until 2012, which is what the major media outlets are reporting, but the people in favor of the bill have quietly agreed to meet on the 21st to push it through.

I see all this and I’m beyond outraged. I’m not even shocked or surprised. THIS is why I want to leave this country so badly. It’s stuff like this.

I went to go copy the URLs to these stories and post them on facebook so my friends could see what was going on right under their noses, but then I stopped. What’s the point? Nobody is going to do anything about it. Some of my like minded friends might chime in with their outrage, but it’s ultimately just a circle-jerk.

People don’t want to hear about it. It’s not immediately affecting them, so don’t bother. But what will it take?

You have no rights. You have no freedom. Your future and childrens’ futures are being stolen from you in plain view for all to see.

What will it take for people to do something? For them to stand up and fight back? Thousands already have. The Occupy Wall Street movement has been speaking out against this immoral system of disfranchisement and thievery for months, but everyone is trying their damnedest to sweep them under the rug, to paint them as fringe with no clear agenda.

What would it take for the rest of the population to wake up?

10% unemployment obviously isn’t enough. Would 20% do it? 40%? Do we need to reach the same levels as Spain and other countries currently facing financial collapse?

The bill of rights has effectively been repealed by post 9/11 legislation and yet we do nothing. What would it take? Would people need to be round up in camps? It has happened before, but there seems to be this notion that it can’t happen again. It won’t happen again. That happens somewhere else.

I’m reminded of Hartley’s famous line: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” While this may be true for a great many things, it is not true of political oppression. There is no comfortable distance seperating us from the horrors of the past. Surprisingly enough, MTV seems to understand this:

Sadly, history shows us that a people will not wake up to the danger of what is happening until it is too late.

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

There is nothing Obama can do right…

5 May

In the eyes of republicans, there is NOTHING Obama can do right. They refuse to give him credit for anything, no matter how much they might like it. It’s like an abusive relationship and Obama’s a hurt dog that keeps coming back to its master, begging to please, only to get beaten senseless at every trick preformed perfectly for the master’s amusement. I’m starting to think the president is somehow is mentally unstable.

Osama bin Laden is dead. Hunting him was one of the primary reasons (at least, officially) for why we invaded Afghanistan a DECADE ago. We hunted him down and killed him under Obama’s administration. But instead of making this an American victory, some conservatives are hell bent on making this a republican victory. (After all republicans = America and thus anything not republican ≠ America)

Lately I’ve heard a lot of talk along the lines of “Well, Obama’s not really responsible for killing Osama bin Laden since he wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger….”

You know what? If you follow that “logic” Osama bin Laden wasn’t really responsible for 9/11 because he didn’t fly the planes into the buildings… (But what am I say? Screw logic)

But now a lot of republicans are attacking Obama because apparently Osama was unarmed when we killed him. “How horrible was it that we killed an unarmed Osama bin Laden?!?!? The president is an evil evil man!”

I dare you, I fucking dare you to tell me republicans would be saying the same thing if Bush was the one who had an unarmed Osama bin Laden shot. There is no fucking way in hell republicans would be giving Bush shit for shooting Osama. They’d all be like “AMERICA!!!!! FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!111”

But no, the president is evil for killing the most evil man in the world simply because he puts a D by his name.

“You know, this really isn’t Obama’s victory because Bush was the one who started this whole thing. It’s really because of Bush’s policies that we’ve caught and killed Osama….”

I wish I was kidding, but that’s seriously what some of them are saying….

First off, Clinton (D) started the hunt for Obama before Bush ever took office, before 9/11. (But conviently ignore that unless you want to try and blame 9/11 on Clinton’s failed attempts to find Osama, at which point you’d also be ignoring the fact that the worst terrorist attack in US history happened on a republican’s watch)

Secondly, you’ll try to take credit for killing Osama because of policies enacted by Bush, but you won’t take credit for the economy crashing because of policies made by the exact same president?!?!?!

(Are you beginning to see how their minds work?)

Republicans do everything perfectly, democrats do everything horribly. Whenever something bad happens while a republican is in power, it’s the democrat’s fault. Whenever something good happens, it’s to the republican’s credit.

It’s the exact same “logic” they apply to god. God is on our side. Whenever something good happens, god did it. Whenever something bad happens, it’s because of our sinfulness and not following god. Everything happens for a reason. A tornado hits a house and kills an entire family except for one small child, “It was a miracle that the child lived! Isn’t god amazing?!” (Nevermind the fact that god allowed the tornado that just killed everyone else in the family) The game is rigged so god can never be put in a position of blame. Same is true for the republicans.

Not surprisingly, I’ve heard a lot of people attribute our killing Osama to god’s divine help. Yes laddies and gentlemen, the very same god who stood there and watched as 3,000 men,women, and children were butchered has finally decided to help us find and kill the man responsible after 10 years, $1,500,000,000,000, and 1,000,000 war dead. God works in mysterious ways eh?

Religion is like sports

30 Dec

I can’t put it any better than Sam Harris:

A nuclear free world is a myth

16 Sep

Once something is invented, it cannot be “uninvented”. This is a very simple fact that you can’t ignore. Another, equally simple fact, is that there will always be ambitious and power hungry leaders. The natural product of these two facts is that these leaders will always strive to achieve the ultimate power that is a nuclear bomb. They may do so publicly or covertly, but they will attempt to acquire the bomb. It is naive to believe the smaller powers in the world will forgo building the bomb in exchange for humanitarian aid, or not being attacked by the greater powers. It is equally naive to believe the powers that currently have stockpiles of the bomb will ever get rid of all their bombs. The distrust and deception of the cold war should show you that despite any outward appearances of complete disarmament, neither power would risk giving up all their bombs only to find the other power lied and hid a few.  Mutual distrust would insure that some bombs were hidden as an insurance policy. That alone makes a nuclear free world a myth)

I was born a year before the Berlin wall fell. I never grew up in a world where the threat of instant and total destruction was possible at any moment. I guess it’s still possible now, but it’s so unlikely that I never even think about it. There are so many other problems in the world that are actually happening for me to waste my time worrying about such a remote possibility like a nuclear war. The interesting thing about nuclear weapons is that they make themselves obsolete. I’m sure you’ve heard of M.A.D., or Mutually Assured Destruction. If you haven’t, the name pretty much gives it away. If you attack us with nuclear weapons, we attack you. We both die, so there is no point in attacking with those weapons. In order for MAD to work, you need to have a nuclear weapon hidden somewhere, and the ability to deliver it to the enemy quickly. The US currently has this in the form of missile silos and a handful of submarines hidden out under the oceans, each with enough warheads to destroy an entire continent.

MAD works for keeping countries from fighting a nuclear war, but it does not work so well for the new threat: religious fanatics. How do you fight people who gladly die, who gladly strap bombs onto their bodies? They have no capital you can capture, no government to negotiate with. They will actively seek to acquire the nuclear bomb in order to carry out what they believe to be their god’s will. MAD does not deter them, even if you threaten to annihilate the country they came from. That problem is indifferent to whether or not you get rid of your stockpile of nuclear weapons. But I digress, the main point is that nuclear weapons are hear to stay. They always will be, and leaders will always try and get them. Lowering the nuclear stockpiles of the world’s major powers is all well and good, but it doesn’t accomplish much. As long as you have the ability to kill everything on the planet, it doesn’t matter how many times over you can do it.

Build the Muslim community center!

25 Aug

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve heard about the planned Muslim community center that is going to be built 2 blocks away from ground zero. Fox news has dubbed this the “9/11 Mosque” or the “Terror Mosque”. Fox viewers, known for being easily scared, quick to anger, and slow to do their homework, did not disappoint. Thousands have shown up to protest outside of where the community center is to be built.

Fox news has repeatedly alluded to this evil person funding the mosque, how the organizations he supports fund terror, and how he builds extremist Islamic madrassas. The thing is, Fox never directly named the person they were attacking. They preferred to keep it shadowy, knowing their audience wouldn’t bother to fact check them and see who this person was. The person funding the community center is Prince Alwaleed, a Saudi. Here he is in the left of this picture:

Here’s the sweet sweet irony. Do you know who that is in the right of the picture? That’s Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News. Why is this Alwaleed (who is an evil Muslim terrorist according to Fox “news” anchors) shaking hands with Murdoch? Because he is the #2 largest share holder of News Corp and Fox!!! He owns Fox! That’s right! The evil shadowy guy the Fox reporters are demonizing is actually their boss!  Either they’re trying to hide that fact and still get people angry and worked up (in which case they’re incredibly evil and manipulative) or they honestly don’t know that the guy they’re bashing owns their company (in which case they are mind numbingly stupid).

The fact that angry Fox viewers, by watching and supporting Fox, are by extension helping Alwaleed and his community center, aside; this is really a constitutional rights issue. The 1st Amendment guarantees that the government can’t prohibit the free exercise of religion. Building a religious building on private landed, funded with private money is fair game and the right of these Muslim Americans. Ron Paul, of all people, came out to defend this point:

It just baffles me how people can go on and on about how they’re defending the constitution and our rights, and then the moment an unpopular group tries to use those rights, they go ape shit. News flash: The Bill of Rights protects everybody, not just the popular people/views. Not sure if you got the memo. Now as an atheist, I’m no fan of Islam. I’m no fan of Christianity either, but as a hated religious minority I can sympathize with the Muslims on this one. Newt Gingrich came out and said we shouldn’t let any mosques be built in the US until Saudi Arabia lets churches be built. Seriously Newt? You want us to lower ourselves to the same standard of Saudi Arabia? The fact that we do allow unpopular views to exist freely here is what makes us better than that desert hell-hole! I think a lot of the people protesting this mosque don’t understand that basic fact. We are better because we are tolerant, not in-spite of it.

I’m willing to bet you that some of those people protesting now also believe the terrorists hate us for our freedoms, that the terrorists want to take away those freedoms. If that’s true, let me ask you this: If you then try to take those exact same freedoms away from other Americans, how are you different from those terrorists that tried to them from you? How do the terrorists not win if we start taking freedoms from other Americans just because we don’t like them? How does that make us any different from the bad guys? No, this community center should go up as a giant “fuck you!” to the terrorists that would love nothing more than to see us turn on each other and start tearing down the constitution.

Political violence in the US

29 Mar

Political violence in the US quickly escalating since the passage of health care reform. People have been shattering windows, ramming cars, sending powder laced letters to representatives, even cutting gas lines! Meanwhile, politicians offer half hearted, limp wristed calls to stop the violence.

(The above incidents were all targeted at democrats, but apparently some thought it would be a good idea to do the same thing against republicans in Albemarle County…..)

All this violence is really quite disgusting. People don’t get their way, and instead of working to change things in the next election, they take to sending representatives death threats and vandalizing property. People on both sides need to calm down; this is not some banana republic, it’s the United States. I’m afraid that if things keep going the way they are now, people are going to start shooting.

Terrorism: -noun the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious

How do we fight an idea?

24 Feb

Arms keep peace. That is an old latin proverb.  For the most part of human history that has been true. You would not want to attack a powerful neighbor. Throughout the cold war the idea of MAD, mutual assured destruction, kept the United States and the USSR from launching their missiles. Yet the 21st century is a new world. Strong arms only help when your enemy has cities that could be taken or armies to be fought. But that’s not what we’re fighting now. What do you do with an enemy that has no country, no cities, no armies, an sometimes a desire to die?

The enemy is an ideology. How do you feel an idea? Bullets can’t hurt ideas. You can deploy as many troops as you want, but that will only give the enemy more targets and breed resentment in the local populations. Your security forces and soldiers can’t be everywhere at once. How do you fight these people? You can’t be in every house, every school, every place of worship where these ideas are spread. You also can’t sit back and just let them destroy you.

It’s a really tough question and I’m not sure what the answer is. I think a good direction to go in would be to try and isolate these radical groups even more by improving the lives of the people in their strongholds. If you go in and try and take over the place in an effort to stop them, they will just slip back into the shadows. The local population will just side with your enemy and try and fight you off as the oppressors. Yet if you give that local population aid, they might see that the fringe groups do not serve their best interests. The Marshall plan helped fight communism by providing at risk areas with aid, why not do the same thing with terrorism?

Should terrorists get fair trials?

9 Dec

In this short clip, FOX’s Judge Napolitano argues with Bill’O over whether the 9/11 conspirators should be given a fair trial in a NYC civilian court, or prosecuted in a military tribunal.

(I especially love the part where Bill’O admits he doesn’t care about the constitution)

From good ol’ Bill’O’s point of view, Bush declared a war on terror, therefore terrorists are enemy combatants, therefore the rights in the constitution do not apply.

If the government declares a war on terror, and that means “terrorists” are enemy combatants and thus subject to military tribunals, regardless of what the constitution demands, the extreme danger is that anyone the government declares a “terrorist” would be immediately stripped of all their rights. Bill’O has no problem doing this to some Arabs, but what if the government started prosecuting white supremacists and abortion clinic bombers in the same way? “Terrorism” does have a legal definition, and it applies to these groups as well.

Napolitano sees this, but Bill’O will have none of it. After all, Bill’O and his mindless followers are infallible, patriotic, god fearing Americans. They don’t need to be bothered by some document written hundreds of years ago.

But let me ask this: Suppose we adopted Bill’O’s view, that combatants in a war on an idea or condition (not a country) should be stripped of all rights, what would we have? What about the war on poverty? Are poor people enemy combatants? What about the war on hunger? Drugs? Crime? What about the war on Cancer?

This is where conservative readers will object: “Oh that’s ridiculous. This would only apply to terrorists! Don’t you hate terrorists?”

Yes, I hate terrorists, but if you disregard what separates us from them out of fear and hate, namely the rule of law and the constitution, then they have already one. You destroyed yourself without them firing a shot. Congratulations. No, as horrible as terrorists are, we must be better than them. We must abide by the constitution we claim to defend, even when it is most difficult and painful.

Close Gitmo and bring them here.

18 Jun

Ok, there is a lot of bullshit flying around about closing Guantanamo. The people being held there are just that, people. They are just flesh and blood. They do not have superpowers like in X-men that would make them likely to escape.

He have super max prisons here in the US that holds a variety of extremely dangerous people.

The prisoners in Gitmo would not be able to escape. Period. Yet there are a lot of people that are under the assumption that by “bringing them here” the prisoners will be let loose in their backyards, jumping over fences and blowing up their supermarkets. This is total bullshit. Nobody is even thinking of letting these guys walk around freely. It’s a totally ridiculous notion drummed up by republican fear mongers. Unfortunately, not to many of their listeners are smart enough to stop and realize just how absurd this idea is.

Notice I keep saying “prisoners” and not “terrorists”. There is one huge glowing problem with labeling everyone in Gitmo a “terrorist”, not all of them are.

There are some idiot self-righteous hicks out there that are like “Look! It’s an A-rab! He’s a terrorist! Get ‘im!” These people are so positive that they are always in the right, that they couldn’t possibly fuck up, that they god’s chosen warriors in a holy war, that there is no room to entertain the possibility that they might be wrong.

But they have been wrong! Just recently 2 men where found not to be terrorists and were released from Gitmo. Ablikin Turahun and Helil Mamut are just happy to be out of the hell they were imprisoned in for 7 years. They are now living peaceful lives in Bermuda.

You see, there are plenty of people being held in Gitmo without trials. The right to a fair trial is an inalienable human right. You cannot just assume that all of them are terrorists. You must give them their day in court. You must provide evidence of their guilt. (Innocent until proven guilty? Remember that radical hair brained idea?)

Now this is the point where I expect those same ignorant self righteous buffoons to throw up a straw man argument of “You either want these terrorists to be punished or you hate America!” No. No and stfu! It is not either this or that. If the person is given a fair trial and found to be a terrorist, then yes, by all means punish them. However, if they are given a fair trail and found innocent, let them go.

Yet there is a problem even if they are innocent. Back under Bush and the republicans, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the principles enshrined therein was used simply as paper with which to wipe one’s ass.

As a result of mistreatment and torture many of the people who were found innocent and freed have taken up arms against the U.S., and nobody can blame them for it. Hell, you would too if some country broke into your house, cuffed you, and dragged you half way around the planet only to lock you up in a shack and fake drown you for years without a trial.

So what do we do? We’ve totally fucked the lives of those who are innocent. If we release them with nothing, they will most naturally seek revenge. The only thing we can do is deeply apologize and try to compensate them by providing for their families.

Self-righteous buffoon: “Wut?!?!? Hell no! I ain’t givin em nuttin! And I sure as hell ain’t apologizin to no dirty A-rab. Kill ’em all! Let God sort em out!”

This sort of mentality will never make us safe. dumbfucksThe only way they would be “safe” following that line of “thinking” would be to kill everyone on the planet who might not be like them. I’m sure plenty of them would be willing to do just that.

No, we need to at least try to make up for the mistakes America made under Bush. Huburous and arrogance will never bring security and peace. We are not infallible super humans. A little humility and respect would go a long way in solving our problems overseas.

Gitmo is a beacon for terrorists. It lets them say to regular people who would not normally support them “Look! Look at that evil empire! Look how they kidnap our people, imprison us unjustly, and torture us! The great Satan must be stopped!”

This is what we get when we abandon the moral high ground and sink to torture and disregarding human rights. By closing Gitmo, ending torture, and stopping the injustice, we regain that high ground. We cut the legs out from under those bastards. If we show some humility and respect we disarm the terrorists. We take away any justification they might have. In short, we win.