Commentary: A history of the car bomb (Part 2).
By Mike Davis
April 14, 2006
From the Archives
The Poor Man’s Air ForceA History of the Car Bomb (Part 1)
I did not read part one but part two is an interesting read from Mother Jones.
If the accounts in the media are true, and University North Carolina graduate Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar in fact committed an act of terrorism by driving a rented SUV into a crowd of students then he has to be the dumbest terrorist in the world. Now I would not condone any terror attack in America for any reason and do not endorse any method of terrorism; but damn, you mean to tell me that this fool couldn’t come up with a better idea for committing a terror act than driving his car into some anonymous students? I thought there are websites out there that could teach you how to be a better terrorist or something. This fool is going to spend the rest of his life in prison not for being a terrorist but for being an idiot.
Daily News on Ayman and UBL
Every once in a while almost everyone will say something that I agree with. President Bush said some things I liked about the Dubai Ports deal and even the late Rabbi Meir Kahane drops some gems in his books. Ayman Zawahiri is quoted in the New York Daily News as saying that the Danish cartoons and the reaction are a symbol that the values of society have changed and that “Muhammad (pbuh) and Jesus (pbuh) are no longer sacred in society….and the holocaust and homosexuality are.” Now I agree with him to a point; the cultural elites who control the media and most of what we read have an utter disregard for all things sacred and religious and there is nothing they love more than disrespecting religion and religious figures. It is also true that the cultural elite have tired to make homosexuality something sacred and will try and intimidate anyone who will question homosexuality and try and blackball them ( in other words anyone who will publicly say what almost everyone believed fifty years ago before the secular elites hijacked academia and the media). In regards to the holocaust I will disagree with Zawahiri as I believe that the public cannot allow those who would openly deny factual events to get a pass.
The paper also quotes a Pakistani businessman in jail in Guantanamo Bay as saying that Usama bin Laden referred to himself as a prophet. That is something I find hard to believe and anyone familiar with Islamic akeedah, specifically the branch that bin Laden and many of his followers come from, it would be almost impossible for UBL to claim that and not get his head chopped off.
Are We Living on the Same Planet???
So yesterday I read online that a 4 bedroom home is on sale in Brooklyn for 1.6 million and it is described as a “steal” and I ask myself if I am living on the same planet as these people. Do you know what kind of monthly mortgage payments you have to pay on that? To be a 1.6 million house you have to be rich and I just cant see how that many people are making that much money. I think that most of these people buying these overpriced urban homes, which they then put a ton of money in after they buy it, have to be some kind of trust fund babies or they are juts spending all their money on their homes. That was reinforced last night on the subway as two annoying Bobos were talking about the steal they got in Brooklyn Heights. What is the steal? An apartment for $4,700 a month!!! Now I know I am not living on the same planet.
It looks as if the federal government has screwed-up again. For three -years we all thought that Jose Padilla was being held as an enemy combatant, with no legal rights as declared by the president, because he had planned to ignite a “dirty bomb” in the streets of an American city and blow-up apartments buildings. The public was led to believe that he was such a serious threat that he could not be trusted in the American criminal justice system. Rather, fearing what would happen in our court system, the Bush Administration fought bitterly through the courts to keep Padilla held as an enemy combatant with no legal rights even though he is an American citizen showing their contempt for the courts in the process.
From the beginning everyone who was watching closely knew this case was about precedent; Bush wanted to show us that he had the right to hold American citizens with no due process if he deemed them to be enemy combatants. No need for all of the formalities and precedent it was time to go back to the days of the Wild West where the sheriff could be the judge, jury and executioner. While critics thought that this action was draconian and un-American, we at least thought that Padilla was being held on strong evidence and the media had all but convicted him of the dirty-bomb plot. Well, it turns out that the Padilla case belongs right along with the WMD case in Iraq and other blunders of this administration.
Having its hand forced by the prospect of an upcoming negative court ruling the federal government finally issued an indictment against Padilla and gave him his day in court. Strangely, this man who was supposedly dining with bin Laden, a full fledged al-Qaeda member, and a dirty bomber was not charged with any of those things.
What was he charged with? Padilla was charged with training in a camp in Afghanistan to go and fight against the brutal Russian invasion of Chechnya; that is hardly terrorism, maybe naive and foolish, but not terrorism. A major difference exists between those who seek to physically defend oppressed Muslims by military means from invading armies and those who seek to bomb and kill innocent civilians.
The government also alleges that Padilla was a part of a cell, and what did this so-called cell supposedly do? They raised money to give to charities helping suffering Muslims in Chechnya, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Since when did donated to those in need become terrorism? Of course the government alleges (more than likely falsely based on the evidence) that some of the charities had connections to terrorism, and some have been shut down; but since when did the onus come on the donator? Donations sent to these charities were given with the intention of helping orphans, widows and the distressed; the Muslims who I know that donated to these charities didn’t even connect their giving to the political situations in these areas or any political groups. Will all of the hundreds of thousands of American-Muslims who donated to these charities be prosecuted?
If this is all the government has then a great injustice has been committed against Padilla, and those around him, and this will only add to the growing amount of injustices that this government has perpetrated against its Muslim citizens. However, living in the climate we are in (where men such as Sheikh Ali al-Timimi are serving life in prison for having a unique opinion) I have no doubt that if Padilla and the rest of the brothers go to trial they will be convicted; that is American justice under the Bush Administration.
Let this also be a lesson to all American-Muslims; beware of the knock at the door in the middle of the night. We are no longer safe and we are no longer free. We are living under siege.
On a final note it is interesting to see why Padilla was charged with this and not John Walker Lindh. Lindh kept his white privilege even as he fought alongside the Taliban (whom I despised). Americans said he was naïve and misguided (hardly the case, but he was no terrorist either) and Padilla is a Puerto Rican ex-gang member that could strike the fear into white Americas hearts and be so easily vilified in the mainstream media and was made into an unsympathetic character. The media looked at Padilla and decided not to give him any benefits of the doubt and the Bush Administration knew that is precisely what would happen. Call Padilla the anti-Chalaby; call the media duped twice.
I first met Ahmed Abu-Ali at the Dar al-Hijrah Masjid when he was a young teenage student at the Islamic Saudi Academy. He was a bright student and went on to become the class valedictorian.
Ahmed would sit at the back of the Dar al Hijrah Masjid in Falls Church, VA and study his school books and then read the Quran and books of tasfeer. He was a shy young man with a baby face and he didn’t like to talk too much. It took me a few times of meeting with him to really get to know him. He was born in America and came from a prominent Palestinian family in the DC area who are very active in the Muslim community.
Over the years I got to know Ahmed much better as we would hang-put on occasion and attend the same classes at various Masjids. One year we also worked together as camp counselors at the Dar al Hijrah Youth Camp in Virginia and we shared our frustration in dealing with unruly and spoiled suburban Muslim kids.
Originally Ahmed had planned to go into medical school and become a doctor; but then he decided that he would devote himself full-time to religious studies and he began attending the Institute for Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America in Fairfax, VA and would later attend the Islamic University of Medina in Saudi Arabia.
I never knew Ahmed to be a violent or extreme person, as a matter of fact he once held me back from attacking a group of Sudanese Dinkas who at punched a Muslim brother in front of the Sudanese embassy, but Ahmed was searching. Like many young serious Muslims who grew-up at Dar al Hijrah or around MAS circles (Muslim American Society) he was frustrated by their lack of adherence to the Sunnah on a number of matters and felt their ideology was overly political. When he began attending classes of Salafi scholars and lectures he appreciated the knowledge of the Sunnah they presented; but didn’t like their almost total ignoring of the political. When Ahmed was accepted to school at Medina he hoped to make the most of his opportunity and gain knowledge that would be beneficial to himself and the Muslim community. I believe, that if he would have completed his studies that Ahmed would have been a major scholar of the deen in years to come.
For those of you unfamiliar with his story he was arrested while taking his final exams in Medina in 2003. He was held in Saudi custody for two-years where he claims he was tortured, and medical professionals have attested to that fact, and eventually sent to the US for prosecution; and this is where things get complicates in my opinion.
There are certain Muslim organizations and leaders who I believe wanted to make the case of Ahmed a cause celeb and wanted to highlight some particular issues on the back of Ahmed. Rather than having his welfare foremost in their minds they had their political agendas in mind.
The government of Saudi Arabia stated that they held Ahmed for two-years at the request of the US and were ready to release him at any time. Representatives of Ahmed in the US demanded that he be released or charged. The government, who until then were content to have him in a Saudi jail, had no plans to charge him, but when their bluff was called they came up with a terrorism indictment that alleged while in Saudi Arabia Ahmed became involved with al-Qadea members who discussed terrorist attacks in the US with him including a plan to kill the President of the United States..
In their rush to get Ahmed out of Saudi Arabia, where they believed he was being tortured and where they believed his rights as an American citizen were being denied, the supporters of Ahmed forgot that if he came to the US it was almost a guarantee that he would spend the rest of his life in an American jail. In Saudi Arabia Ahmed would have eventually been released and been able to go to Jordan. That is the culture of the region; few spend life in prison for anything and many are relesed when the rulers change. These brothers showed a faith in the US criminal justice system based on fantasy; any Muslim going before an American jury, for anything, in these days is in big trouble. When you are going before a jury on terrorism charges in the backyard of the capitol then you are almost guaranteed to be convicted and we have seen that time and time again over the last three years.
Those around Ahmed failed him in this regard. However his family only had the best intentions in their hearts and were just given bad advice by those around them. I am afraid that when his mother walked into an American courtroom wearing a full-veil and his father with a full beard and their son named Ahmed sat on trial it was all over before it started.
This is a tragedy, and I am not talking about in the sense of innocence or guilt, I am talking about the tragedy of a brilliant young man who will in all likelihood be spending the rest of his life in an American prison who at most mouthed off a little bit, but never hurt anyone.
Sometimes you have a conversation with someone and you can’t think of the right responses to their words until after you have already parted and then you cannot wait to see them again so that you can say what you wanted to say in the previous discussion but then it seems out of place so you forget about it.
In a conversation yesterday in which I was complaining about the erosion of civil liberties in America a man said to me “it’s not as bad as you think ….but just wait and see if there is another terror attack and see what happens.” Now I must say that I agree with him completely on both points; Muslims, who are in all actuality now oppressed in America, on occasion exaggerate some things (this does not mean that our feeling of being targeted are not real because they are) and I also believe that another terrorist attack will be used as a pretext for the right-wing nuts in Congress and in the Justice Department to pass the draconian legislation cooked up by their think tanks and being called for by the digital-brownshirts.
Where we differ is in that I feel that another terrorist attack will probably expose the ills of American society more than it will expose the ills of the Muslim community. Now let us take these facts into consideration; America has invaded a sovereign Muslim nation and killed at least 100,000 people, the US continues to be an enabler to the worst elements of Israeli society, the US is systematically attacking and oppressing the American-Muslim community, and the US is fighting any form of the Islamic movement anywhere in the Muslim ummah and yet since 9-11 there has not been a terrorist attack of any note on American soil. Is this because of aggressive law-enforcement? The facts say otherwise. The facts show that law-enforcement has not stopped a single act of significant terrorism since 9-11. Muslims who have been arrested are largely locked-up on trumped-up or bogus charges, and with the exception of Jose Padilla and the group in LA, have absolutely nothing to do with anything in the US. Now how one can indict the entire Muslim community based on the acts of a few is an indictment on the indicters.
It is time for certain people in law-enforcement, the Republican Party, and in the Goebellian right-wing media and think-tanks to realize that there is no terrorist threat in America from American-Muslims and of there was, as pissed off as Muslims are, they would have already blown some shit up. Now there may be a threat from some Muslims living abroad with ill-will towards America (because of our polices not our freedom) but that is hardly an excuse to investigate every Muslim you can find in the US.
The real threat in America is what it always has been and that is the White-Right. This is the White-Right that has brought us the terrorist act of the Civil War, Jim Crow, the KKK, the police and prison industrial complex, country music and the election of George W, Bush and a Republican congress.
Blogigng is therapy, I write so I won’t go crazy with all the anger I have inside.
Looking for good news? Maybe we have gotten some in Algeria where President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has announced an amnesty for those involved in the fourteen year long civil-war which began after Algeria canceled elections that the Front for Islamic Salvation was poised to win at the behest of the US and France which led to a brutal civil-war that led to 150,000 deaths with atrocities committed both by Islamists and the French and US proxy-armies.