Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Leaked cables show Netanyahu’s Iran bomb claim contradicted by Mossad


Gulf between Israeli secret service and PM revealed in documents shared with the Guardian along with other secrets including CIA bids to contact Hamas
Read the leaked document here

Binyamin Netanyahu’s dramatic declaration to world leaders in 2012 that Iran was about a year away from making a nuclear bomb was contradicted by his own secret service, according to a top-secret Mossad document.
It is part of a cache of hundreds of dossiers, files and cables from the world’s major intelligence services – one of the biggest spy leaks in recent times.

Brandishing a cartoon of a bomb with a red line to illustrate his point, the Israeli prime minister warned the UN in New York that Iran would be able to build nuclear weapons the following year and called for action to halt the process.
But in a secret report shared with South Africa a few weeks later, Israel’s intelligence agency concluded that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons”. The report highlights the gulf between the public claims and rhetoric of top Israeli politicians and the assessments of Israel’s military and intelligence establishment.

The disclosure comes as tensions between Israel and its staunchest ally, the US, have dramatically increased ahead of Netanyahu’s planned address to the US Congress on 3 March.

The White House fears the Israeli leader’s anticipated inflammatory rhetoric could damage sensitive negotiations between Tehran and the world’s six big powers over Iran’s nuclear programme. The deadline to agree on a framework is in late March, with the final settlement to come on 30 June. Netanyahu has vowed to block an agreement he claims would give Iran access to a nuclear weapons capability.
The US president, Barack Obama, will not meet Netanyahu during his visit, saying protocol precludes a meeting so close to next month’s general election in Israel.

The documents, almost all marked as confidential or top secret, span almost a decade of global intelligence traffic, from 2006 to December last year. It has been leaked to the al-Jazeera investigative unit and shared with the Guardian.
The papers include details of operations against al-Qaida, Islamic State and other terrorist organisations, but also the targeting of environmental activists.

The files reveal that:

The CIA attempted to establish contact with Hamas in spite of a US ban.
South Korean intelligence targeted the leader of Greenpeace.
Barack Obama “threatened” the Palestinian president to withdraw a bid for recognition of Palestine at the UN.
South African intelligence spied on Russia over a controversial $100m joint satellite deal.
The cache, which has been independently authenticated by the Guardian, mainly involves exchanges between South Africa’s intelligence agency and its counterparts around the world. It is not the entire volume of traffic but a selective leak.

One of the biggest hauls is from Mossad. But there are also documents from Russia’s FSB, which is responsible for counter-terrorism. Such leaks of Russian material are extremely rare.
Other spy agencies caught up in the trawl include those of the US, Britain, France, Jordan, the UAE, Oman and several African nations.

The scale of the leak, coming 20 months after US whistleblower Edward Snowden handed over tens of thousands of NSA and GCHQ documents to the Guardian, highlights the increasing inability of intelligence agencies to keep their secrets secure.
While the Snowden trove revealed the scale of technological surveillance, the latest spy cables deal with espionage at street level – known to the intelligence agencies as human intelligence, or “humint”. They include surveillance reports, inter-agency information trading, disinformation and backbiting, as well as evidence of infiltration, theft and blackmail.

The leaks show how Africa is becoming increasingly important for global espionage, with the US and other western states building up their presence on the continent and China expanding its economic influence. One serving intelligence officer told the Guardian: “South Africa is the El Dorado of espionage.”

Africa has also become caught up in the US, Israeli and British covert global campaigns to stem the spread of Iranian influence, tighten sanctions and block its nuclear programme.
The Mossad briefing about Iran’s nuclear programme in 2012 was in stark contrast to the alarmist tone set by Netanyahu, who has long presented the Iranian nuclear programme as an existential threat to Israel and a huge risk to world security. The Israeli prime minister told the UN: “By next spring, at most by next summer, at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move[d] on to the final stage. From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb.”

He said his information was not based on secret information or military intelligence but International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports.

Behind the scenes, Mossad took a different view. In a report shared with South African spies on 22 October 2012 – but likely written earlier – it conceded that Iran was “working to close gaps in areas that appear legitimate, such as enrichment reactors, which will reduce the time required to produce weapons from the time the instruction is actually given”.

But the report also states that Iran “does not appear to be ready” to enrich uranium to the higher levels necessary for nuclear weapons. To build a bomb requires enrichment to 90%. Mossad estimated that Iran then had “about 100kg of material enriched to 20%” (which was later diluted or converted under the terms of the 2013 Geneva agreement). Iran has always said it is developing a nuclear programme for civilian energy purposes.

Last week, Netanyahu’s office repeated the claim that “Iran is closer than ever today to obtaining enriched material for a nuclear bomb” in a statement in response to an IAEA report.

A senior Israeli government official said there was no contradiction between Netanyahu’s statements on the Iranian nuclear threat and “the quotes in your story – allegedly from Israeli intelligence”. Both the prime minister and Mossad said Iran was enriching uranium in order to produce weapons, he added.

“Israel believes the proposed nuclear deal with Iran is a bad deal, for it enables the world’s foremost terror state to create capabilities to produce the elements necessary for a nuclear bomb,” he said.

However, Mossad had been at odds with Netanyahu on Iran before. The former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who left office in December 2010, let it be known that he had opposed an order from Netanyahu to prepare a military attack on Iran.

Other members of Israel’s security establishment were riled by Netanyahu’s rhetoric on the Iranian nuclear threat and his advocacy of military confrontation. In April 2012, a former head of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, accused Netanyahu of “messianic” political leadership for pressing for military action, saying he and the then defence minister, Ehud Barak, were misleading the public on the Iran issue. Benny Gantz, the Israeli military chief of staff, said decisions on tackling Iran “must be made carefully, out of historic responsibility but without hysteria”.

There were also suspicions in Washington that Netanyahu was seeking to bounce Obama into taking a more hawkish line on Iran.
A few days before Netanyahu’s speech to the UN, the then US defence secretary, Leon Panetta, accused the Israeli prime minister of trying to force the US into a corner. “The fact is … presidents of the United States, prime ministers of Israel or any other country … don’t have, you know, a bunch of little red lines that determine their decisions,” he said.

“What they have are facts that are presented to them about what a country is up to, and then they weigh what kind of action is needed in order to deal with that situation. I mean, that’s the real world. Red lines are kind of political arguments that are used to try to put people in a corner.”

Monday, February 23, 2015

Livni: Bibi Tearing US-Israel Relationship to Pieces

On tour of northern border, Zionist Camp chairpersons Livni and Herzog attack Netanyahu for defense decisions and other 'failures.'


Zionist Camp Chairpersons Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni toured the northern border Monday, making it a point to continue their attacks on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. 
"Bibi's failure against Hamas in the Gaza envelope severely impairs our deterrence against Hezbollah on the northern border," Herzog charged. 
"Bibi failed in security, just as he failed in housing, the cost of living, and reducing social inequalities," the Labor leader continued. "Netanyahu is running away from responsibility - we take responsibility - and your security is our responsibility."
Livni added that "Israel's security and our power to deter attacks is based on a strong army and our relationship with the United States, that the same Netanyahu would tear to pieces." 
"I took part in the decision-making process for three wars and dozens of operations. I saw up close how important the international community is to give the IDF the scope to win," she added. 
The Zionist Camp's choice for Defense Minister, Amos Yadlin, made similar comments recently, noting that Iran and Hezbollah saw Israel's hesitancy during Operation Protective Edge and decided to strike. 
"Countries in the region saw that Hamas was not hit strongly enough, how Israel granted immunity to its leadership instead of hurting it, and how the government conducted negotiations for a ceasefire. This is a violation of Israel's deterrence and we need to restore it," the former IDF General said. 
Bringing the discussion Monday to the future elections, Livni stressed that if Netanyahu is elected prime minister again, "he will send IDF soldiers to fight battles with their hands tied behind their backs - without legitimacy to fight, without freedom of movement, and with legal threats from the International Criminal Court at the Hague." 
"This will significantly hurt our ability to win a war militarily and politically," she added. 
Livni then addressed financial matters, forcefully stating that Labor-Hatnua "will also change Israel's priorities. All the money thrown down the drain to settlements, we will transfer to the periphery and the confrontation lines."

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Shameful Record of Republican Child Molesters


  • Republican aide, Alan David Berlin, was arrested on charges that he wanted to engage in sex acts with a 15 year old boy while dressed in a panda costume.

  • Fox News producer Aaron Bruns pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years for possessing child pornography.

  • Republican activist and former presidential campaign chairman Jeffrey Claude Bartleson was arrested on charges of sexually molesting a 5-year old boy.

  • Republican activist and former chairman of the Christian County Republicans Royce Fessenden pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree child molestation and one count of second-degree statutory sodomy.

  • Republican parole board officer and former legislator George Christian (Chris) Ortloff pleaded guilty to attempting to lure 11- and 12-year-old girls to have sex with him.

  • Republican legislator Robert A. McKee pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.

  • Republican chief of staff Eric Feltner pleaded guilty to showing pornography to a 13-year old girl.

  • Republican presidential campaign official Matthew Joseph Elliott was convicted of sexual exploitation of a child.

  • Republican city councilman John Bryan killed himself after police began investigating allegations that he had molested three girls, including two of his adopted daughters, ages 12 and 15.

  • Republican legislator Ted Klaudt was charged with raping girls under the age of 16.

  • Republican congressional aide Jeffrey Nielsen was arrested for having sex with a 14-year old boy.

  • Republican County Commissioner Patrick Lee McGuire surrendered to police after allegedly molesting girls between the ages of 8 and 13.
  • Republican prosecutor Larry Corrigan was arrested for soliciting sex from 13-year old girls.
  • Republican Mayor Jeffrey Kyle Randall was sentenced to 275 days in jail for molesting two boys -- ages ten and 12 -- during a six-year period.
  • Republican County Board Candidate Brent Schepp was charged with molesting a 14-year old girl and killed himself three days later.
  • Republican Congressman Mark Foley abruptly resigned from Congress after "sexually explicit" emails surfaced showing him flirting with a 16-year old boy.
  • Republican executive Randall Casseday of the conservative Washington Times newspaper pleaded guilty to soliciting sex from a 13-year old girl on the internet.
  • Republican chairman of the Oregon Christian Coalition Lou Beres confessed to molesting a 13-year old girl.
  • Republican County Constable Larry Dale Floyd pleaded guilty to charges of soliciting sex from an 8-year old girl. Floyd has repeatedly won elections for Denton County, Texas, constable.
  • Republican judge Mark Pazuhanich pleaded no contest to fondling a 10-year old girl and was sentenced to 10 years probation.
  • Republican Party leader Bobby Stumbo was arrested for having sex with a 5-year old boy.
  • Republican petition drive manager Tom Randall pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 14, one of them the daughter of an associate in the petition business.
  • Republican County Chairman Armando Tebano pleaded guilty to fondling a 14-year-old girl.
  • Republican teacher and former city councilman John Collins pleaded guilty to sexually molesting 13 and 14 year old girls.
  • Republican campaign worker Mark Seidensticker is a convicted child molester.
  • Republican Mayor Philip Giordano is serving a 37-year sentence in federal prison for sexually abusing 8- and 10-year old girls.
  • Republican Mayor Tom Adams was arrested for distributing child pornography over the internet.
  • Republican Mayor John Gosek was arrested on charges of soliciting sex from two 15-year old girls.
  • Republican County Commissioner David Swartz pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 11 and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
  • Republican legislator Edison Misla Aldarondo was sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping his daughter between the ages of 9 and 17.
  • Republican Committeeman John R. Curtain was charged with molesting a teenage boy and unlawful sexual contact with a minor.
  • Republican anti-abortion activist Howard Scott Heldreth is a convicted child rapist in Florida.
  • Republican anti-abortion activist Nicholas Morency pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer and offering a bounty to anybody who murders an abortion doctor.
  • Republican campaign consultant Tom Shortridge was sentenced to three years probation for taking nude photographs of a 15-year old girl.
  • Republican racist pedophile and United States Senator Strom Thurmond had sex with a 15-year old black girl which produced a child.
  • Republican pastor Mike Hintz, whom George W. Bush commended during the 2004 presidential campaign, surrendered to police after admitting to a sexual affair with a female juvenile.
  • Republican advertising consultant Carey Lee Cramer was sentenced to six years in prison for molesting two 8-year old girls, one of whom appeared in an anti-Gore television commercial.
  • Republican fundraiser Lawrence E. King, Jr. organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.
  • Republican lobbyist Craig J. Spence organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.
  • Republican Congressman Donald "Buz" Lukens was found guilty of having sex with a female minor and sentenced to one month in jail.
  • Republican fundraiser Richard A. Delgaudio was found guilty of child porn charges and paying two teenage girls to pose for sexual photos.
  • Republican Congressman Dan Crane had sex with a female minor working as a congressional page.
  • Republican Judge Ronald C. Kline pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on his home computer.
  • Republican congressman and anti-gay activist Robert Bauman was charged with having sex with a 16-year-old boy he picked up at a gay bar.
  • Republican Committee Chairman Jeffrey Patti was arrested for distributing a video clip of a 5-year-old girl being raped.
  • Republican activist Marty Glickman (a.k.a. "Republican Marty"), was taken into custody by Florida police on four counts of unlawful sexual activity with an underage girl and one count of delivering the drug LSD.
  • Republican legislative aide Howard L. Brooks was charged with molesting a 12-year old boy and possession of child pornography.
  • Republican Senate candidate John Hathaway was accused of having sex with his 12-year old baby sitter and withdrew his candidacy after the allegations were reported in the media.
  • Republican preacher Stephen White, who demanded a return to traditional values, was sentenced to jail after offering $20 to a 14-year-old boy for permission to perform oral sex on him.
  • Republican talk show host Jon Matthews pleaded guilty to exposing his genitals to an 11 year old girl.
  • Republican anti-gay activist Earl "Butch" Kimmerling was sentenced to 40 years in prison for molesting an 8-year old girl after he attempted to stop a gay couple from adopting her.
  • Republican Party leader Paul Ingram pleaded guilty to six counts of raping his daughters and served 14 years in federal prison.
  • Republican election board official Kevin Coan was sentenced to two years probation for soliciting sex over the internet from a 14-year old girl.
  • Republican politician Andrew Buhr was charged with two counts of first degree sodomy with a 13-year old boy.
  • Republican legislator Keith Westmoreland was arrested on seven felony counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition to girls under the age of 16 (i.e. exposing himself to children).
  • Republican County Councilman Keola Childs pleaded guilty to molesting a male child.
  • Republican activist John Butler was charged with criminal sexual assault on a teenage girl.
  • Republican County Commissioner Merrill Robert Barter pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual contact and assault on a teenage boy.
  • Republican activist Parker J. Bena pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on his home computer and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and fined $18,000.
  • Republican parole board officer and former Colorado state representative, Larry Jack Schwarz, was fired after child pornography was found in his possession.
  • Republican strategist and Citadel Military College graduate Robin Vanderwall was convicted in Virginia on five counts of soliciting sex from boys and girls over the internet.
  • Republican city councilman Mark Harris, who is described as a "good military man" and "church goer," was convicted of repeatedly having sex with an 11-year-old girl and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
  • Republican businessman Jon Grunseth withdrew his candidacy for Minnesota governor after allegations surfaced that he went swimming in the nude with four underage girls, including his daughter.
  • Republican campaign worker, police officer and self-proclaimed reverend Steve Aiken was convicted of having sex with two underage girls.
  • Republican director of the "Young Republican Federation" Nicholas Elizondo molested his 6-year old daughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.
  • Republican president of the New York City Housing Development Corp. Russell Harding pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer.
  • Republican benefactor of conservative Christian groups, Richard A. Dasen Sr., was found guilty of raping a 15-year old girl. Dasen, 62, who is married with grown children and several grandchildren, has allegedly told police that over the past decade he paid more than $1 million to have sex with a large number of young women.
  • Republican Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the rape of children in Iraqi prisons in order to humiliate their parents into providing information about the anti-American insurgency. See excerpt of one prisoner's report here and his full report here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New report says conservative chumps sent $50 million to right-wing ‘scam’ groups like SarahPAC


Conservatives are finally starting to notice that sham activist groups are ripping off Republican donors, after dismissing “liberal” reports about the scams.
Jonah Goldberg, the syndicate columnist and National Review Online blogger, points to a report on Rightwing News, which commissioned a study of 17 “big name conservative groups.”
Many of those groups have already been identified as sleazy in numerous reports, but the conservative website admits many of those were likely shrugged off by GOP donors and activists.
“The problem with the articles that have come out so far is that most of them have come from liberal outlets and have only discussed limited aspects of a few organizations,” wrote John Hawkins, of Rightwing News. “That naturally led people to wonder if they were reading hit pieces.”
The 170-page report showed the vast majority of money spent last year by prominent conservative political action committees was “siphoned off to vendors, wasted, and just plain old pocketed by people in these PACs.”
Two Super PACs – Tea Party Army and Republicans for Immigration Reform – gave no money at all to candidates through independent expenditures or direct contributions, the study found.
Eight other groups – including The National Draft Ben Carson for President, Tea Party Express, SarahPAC, and Tea Party Patriots – gave less than 10 percent of their expenditures to candidates.
The bottom 10 groups surveyed spent more than $54 million last year but contributed slightly more than $3.6 million to Republican candidates.
“I doubt the average donor was under the impression that only a nickel out of every dollar he or she gave went to getting tea party friendly candidates elected,” Goldberg said, noting that the prominent Tea Party Express gave only 5 percent of its expenditures to GOP candidates.
Goldberg said he “got a lot of grief” for bringing up the issue recently while filling as host of Bill Bennett’s radio show, although Ann Coulter has made similar claims in the past about individual “hucksters” such as Newt Gingrich and Liz Cheney.
Coulter was more concerned about labor union contributions to the Republican Main Street Partnership than she was the paltry campaign spending.
Only four groups surveyed gave more than half of their expenditures to candidates – although researchers noted that one of those groups, American Crossroads, uses so many employees or their surrogates as vendors that it’s impossible to determine their outside expenditures.
“The conservative movement has a right to expect more than this from the PACs that are representing it,” Hawkins concluded.

Dems Brandish New Counterproposal In Social Security Fight: Tax The Rich


“If Republicans are serious about extending the solvency of Social Security beyond 2033," Sanders said, "I hope they will join me in scrapping the cap that allows multi-millionaires to pay a much smaller percentage of their income into Social Security than the middle class."
Lifting or doing away with the cap is one of those reforms that has been proposed for some time in academic and think tank circles, but it is now becoming the default Democratic response to any Republican proposals that might lead to benefit cuts. Then-Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced legislation last Congress that would have gradually eliminated the tax cap.
One of the co-sponsors of that bill was Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), now ranking member of Senate Finance's Social Security subcommittee. Brown spoke in favor of the CAP report last week and told TPM that he would soon introduce legislation of his own. The CAP report said that because of growing income inequality, the percentage of the collective national income taxed for Social Security had fallen from 90 percent to 83 percent. Raising the cap in 2015 to again tax 90 percent of the nation's applicable income would close Social Security's $11.1 trillion shortfall over the next 75 years by more than one-fourth, according to CAP.
It's an idea that appeals to liberals and even centrist deficit hawks, at least to a point. But not to conservatives. House Budget Chair Tom Price (R-GA), who has said he'll include Social Security reforms in his forthcoming FY 2016 budget, did not include it among the reforms he floated last month.
"We do not support increasing taxes on the American people," a Republican aide told TPM when asked about Sanders's proposal.
The cap does exist for a good reason, policy experts told TPM. Social Security benefits are paid in part based on how much people pay into the system. Without a cap, it's possible that multi-millionaires and billionaires would accrue huge Social Security benefits by the time they retire. The cap also arguably helps politically by keeping Social Security as a social insurance program instead of welfare where the rich pay in to help the poor.
Sanders' announcement didn't specify how he would address the effect that raising the cap would have in increasing benefits for the wealthy, but his office said a bill is forthcoming. There have been proposals to counter that effect, such as increasing the cap only for employer contributions while keeping it for employees. Sanders' proposal appears to be designed to address another issue: Not raising taxes on the middle class (as defined by $250,000 a year for a family). So income from $118,500 to $250,000 would still be tax-free, allowing Democrats and President Barack Obama to keep a campaign promise.
But the particulars probably don't matter much. Any bills proposed by Sanders or Brown aren't going anywhere in a Republican-controlled Congress.
"This is where I’d say 'The odds of Republicans being willing to raise taxes, including raising the taxable maximum amount subject to Social Security payroll taxes, are slim and none… and Slim just left town!'" Jason Fichtner, who studies Social Security issues at the conservative Mercatus Center at George Mason University, told TPM in an email.
But Democrats believe it will give them some leverage in the political debate. Past polling has found strong public support for raising the tax cap. As Brown told TPM last week, Democrats might not be able to advance legislation on their own, but they are still trying to win the political debate.
"The history says that the more the public finds out about the Republican position on Social Security, the more we win," he said. "Our hope is always, sure, win the political debate for the next election. That of course is a byproduct, but what really matters is to win the debate so that the public begins to understand the contrast between the two and push the Republicans to do the right thing here."

KKK Group Issues 'Call To Arms' Supporting Alabama Chief Justice


"We call upon all Klansman and White Southern Nationalist to help in the massive protest's coming, Not by wearing your colors, but by joining in with the Christian community's protests that are surly coming against tyrannical Federal judges," Waller said.
However, the group realized its support may have made an implication about its relationship with Moore and clarified that he is not a member of the Klu Klux Klan.
"The UDWK has read many posts in the media put out mostly by Homosexual reporters and Atheists that claim Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is a member of the KKK, and activly sought and gained our support. To answer in short, these are lies and typical of that crowd. We simply agree with anyone, who stands against Tyranny, stands for the word of God, and believes in the American Constitution as it was originally written," Waller wrote on the group's website.
"We regret any problems our post may have caused the Chief Justice or his Family. Roy Moore is not a Klansman, but he is a man, who believes in God," Waller continued. "This Country is sick of the spineless people who put out such lies. We need more Justices who do not see the Constitution as a living breathing document to be shreded (sic) and Amended at will."
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the United Dixie White Knights is a KKK faction in Mississippi, but the SPLC does not list the group as an active Ku Klux Klan group.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Washington D.C. rabbi secretly filmed more than 150 women in ritual bath: Prosecutors


Prosecutors believe that a prominent Washington D.C. rabbi may have secretly filmed 152 women before being arrested last year, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
Barry Freundel was originally accused of videotaping six women without their knowledge as they took a ritual bath, known as the mikvah, inside the Kesher Israel Synagogue, where he served as head rabbi for 25 years before being fired last December. But according to the Post, federal prosecutors said in a meeting on Wednesday that they were trying to identify 88 women who were shown in Freundel’s video.
Freundel also allegedly recorded another 64 women between 2009 and 2011. While Freundel is currently charged with misdemeanor voyeurism, he cannot face additional charges in connection with the recording of these women because the alleged incidents fall outside of the statute of limitations.
WJZ-TV reported that prosecutors said they have evidence that Freundel hid cameras in a clock radio and other items for use in filming the women, and that some of the women involved were students in a religious studies course he taught at Towson University. Freundel allegedly offered extra credit to students if they used the mikvah, even if they were not Jewish.
The rabbi also faces a class action civil lawsuit filed by a group of more than 20 women who are also among the 88 women Freundel is accused of filming in his criminal case. If convicted there, he could spend a year in prison for each victim.
“Many of these victims are likely to be apprehensive in coming to court and being publicly identified as a victim. And that could work in his favor,” said attorney Steve Silverman, who is representing the women filing the civil suit. “But it only takes 20 victims to come forward, and you’re looking at 20 years.”
After his firing, Freundel refused an order to vacate a home owned by the synagogue last month. He is due back in court on Feb. 19.

Angry, armed and white: The typical profile of America’s most violent extremists


Police in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, say they’re investigating the role racial hatred played in the killing of three Muslim students by suspect Craig Stephen Hicks. They’re saying the 46-year-old white man had a history of fights over a parking space with the victims, suggesting the killings could be reduced to road rage.
Meanwhile, Hicks’ social media posts show that he was an ardent atheist who equally mocked Muslims and Christians, an avid defender of the Constitution’s separation of church and state, and a gun nut who posted pictures of his revolver. The Associated Press quoted neighbors who say “he always seemed angry and frequently confronted his neighbors” and “his ex-wife said he was obsessed with the shooting rampage movie Falling Down” and showed “no compassion at all.”
The Wall Street Journal further reported that the father of two victims, who were sisters, “said this man was hateful. He was picking fights, knocking on their door.” The Journal also said Hicks obsessively called tow truck companies to have his neighbors’ cars towed, and once even met tow truck drivers in the street waving a gun.
We can safely say that Craig Stephen Hicks fits the profile of the most common type of domestic violent extremist—a white man with grievances and guns. Whether he was provoked by road rage, rage against neighbors who wore traditional Muslim clothing, or other simmering grudges and pathologies, his alleged killing of three young Muslims underscores a trend that mainstream U.S. media avoids: that the face of violent extremism in America since 9/11 is predominantly white. Muslims in America, while not exempt from crime, simply do not compare.
There’s no shortage of crime statistics confirming this. A 2001-2015 “Homegrown Extremism” analysis by the New America Foundation parsed the “ethnicity, age, gender and citizenship” of people who killed or violently attacked others, whether they were motivated by jihadist philosophies or other “right wing, left wing or idiosyncratic beliefs.” Of 448 extremists counted, white men who were U.S. citizens outnumbered every other demographic by wide margins.
“Quite a few reports agree, that more Americans have been killed by the radical right since 9/11 than by jihadists,” said Mark Potok, spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes and focuses on the radical right. “Obviously, if you go back one day to 9/11 (2001), nearly 3,000 people were killed.”
Potok said some hate crimes can be simple and spontaneous, while others are more complex to unravel.
“When you look at Chapel Hill, it seems to be a classic case of a very tangled-up motive,” he said. “Who’s to say how much a parking dispute played, or how much this man’s antipathy toward religious people, or Muslims in particular, played a part. The women [who were killed] told their father he didn’t like the way they dressed.”
Chapel Hill police may never determine the precise role racial or religious hatred played, he said, if they can find enough other evidence to try and convict Hicks of murder. That’s because it may be easier to prove he stalked and shot them, no matter what the motives, than to prove what was going on inside his head. “The criminal penalty is often about the same,” Potok said.
The FBI lists nearly 6,000 hate crime incidents in 2013, its latest statistics. Only a fraction of these make the national news, like the Chapel Hill murders. But the big picture, as CNN’s national security reporter, Peter Bergen, reported last April on the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, is that “since 9/11, extremists affiliated with a variety of far-right wing ideologies, including white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists, and anti-government militants, have killed more people in the United States than have extremists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology.”
Right-wing media, such as Breitbart.com, doesn’t want to hear that analysis. It attacked Bergen—who also works with New America Foundation—for “gimmick” statistics, such as counting “Andrew Joseph Stack, who flew a plane into an IRS office in Austin, Texas, in 2010.” It wrote, “This is surprising given that Stack’s manifesto/suicide note included attacks on the ‘monsters of organized religion,’ GM executives, health insurance companies, wealthy bankers, [and] ‘presidential puppet GW Bush.’”
On Thursday, GOPUSA.com sought to replay that script and portrayed Hicks as a liberal, by reporting his Facebook likes included Rachel Maddow, gay marriage groups, Neil deGrasse Tyson and others. That relabeling is absurd on many levels, because Hicks appears to fit the pyschological profile of violent extremists—regardless of their ideological stripes—and that includes many white Americans.
As the Violence Policy Center noted Thursday, Hicks had a state-issued concealed handgun permit and was a “champion of Second Amendment rights.” Moreover, on Thursday, SPLC issued a report, “Age of the Wolf,” which focuses on how unstable individuals—not organized groups—have become the predominant domestic threat.
The report examines extreme violence in America between April 2009 and February 2015 and found “that domestic terrorism and related radical violence—as opposed to terrorist attacks emanating from overseas” is what plagues the nation. The report comes as the White House will host a summit on violent extremism next week.
“There’s no question the jihadist threat is a tremendous one,” SPLC wrote. “But that is not the only terrorist threat facing Americans today. A large number of independent studies have agreed that since the 9/11 mass murder, more people have been killed in America by non-Islamic domestic terrorists than jihadists.”
SPLC found that “almost half of the attacks during the period apparently were motivated by the ideology of the antigovernment ‘Patriot’ movement, including ‘sovereign citizens,’ whose movement has been described by the FBI as ‘domestic terrorist.’” The other half were from people with “ideologies of hate, ranging from white supremacy to misogyny to radical Islamism.”
Most assailants were not young like the Boston Marathon bombers, but “were clustered most heavily between 30 and 49 years of age, although a surprising number were older than that,” it said. “This suggests that perpetrators spend many years on the radical right, absorbing extremist ideology, before finally acting out violently.”
That summation strongly resembles Craig Stephen Hicks.
“The one thing we know is that the psychology has always been the same,” Joe Navarro, a former FBI agent and co-founder of the agency’s Behavioral Analysis Program, said in a Q&A in the SPLC report. “By that, I mean you have individuals who are collecting wounds, they’re looking for social ills, or things that have gone wrong, and they are nourishing these things that they’re ideating, that they’re thinking about. The solution for them is violence.”
“What they have in common is that once they begin to ideate this philosophy, whatever their passion is, whatever their hatred is, whatever their ideology is, they certainly all begin to communicate this to people around them,” Navarro said. “And when we go back and do the post-event analysis, we find that they were talking about this, they were telling people about this, and the people either ignored it, didn’t pay attention or didn’t think it would go any further.”
Potok, the SPLC spokesman, said that domestic law enforcement did not want to believe that white people could be terrorists—or even violent extremists—until Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma federal building in 1995. Then they shifted gears and focused on many domestic anti-government and ideological groups. But that focus changed, he said, after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, as law enforcement again saw radical Islam as the primary threat.
Just as the Violence Policy Center hopes the Chapel Hill killings will push politicans to reconsider concealed handgun permit laws, SPLC hope the threat of lone-wolf violent extremists—especially white right-wingers—will prompt police and mainsteam media to stop demonizing Muslims.
“But no,” David Neiwert wrote in a recent AlterNet piece, “Why Doesn’t American Media Freak Out When the Terrorists Have White Skin?” “Instead, we are having conversations in Europe and America about how to deal with Muslims.”