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13 June 2016

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Degringolade

Well thought out, well written.

Thank you

BraveNewWorld

I take an old school view to the term terrorism. If your intent is to terrorize then you are a terrorist.

On day 2 we know more about the shooter. I read some where that he has pledged allegiance to Hezbolah, Daesh and AQ over the last couple of years. The people here will understand how weird that is.

He has also been shown to be not just a homophobe but just an all around prick and had been for years. If this was an act of terrorism it would appear to be one against the gay community rather than the state. In any case the guy was for sure a sociopath. Daesh must think they won the lottery in this guy contacting them to pledge allegiance.

Lots of questions to be answered for sure, but probably my biggest one is "Does G4S not do any screening what so ever on their employees?".

But back to the original equation about what is terrorism? It is a very good question in this day and age when people label every thing terrorism. We need to push back against the misuse of the term. Is mass muderer enough? Sociopath? I don't know.

Brunswick

http://m.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/orlando-shooter-omar-mateen-was-gay-former-classma/nrfwW/

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pulse-orlando-nightclub-shooting/os-orlando-nightclub-omar-mateen-profile-20160613-story.html

http://www.juancole.com/2016/06/rightwing-homophobia-terrorism.html

So far, from what has been said, He was "investigated" by the FBI for claiming a connection to the Boston Bombers, a peripheral connection to an American ISIS suicide bomber in Syria, and claims to co-workers that he was "connected" to alQuida, ISIS and Hezboallah, which lsat time I checked, were mutually exclusive claims.

At what point in time, does it go from being a case of a disturbed lone gunman going on a rampage, go from the all too common "mass shooting event", to terrorism?

Stu Wood

Persons with screwed up minds or values will continue to inflict horrible deaths on innocent persons whether they are jihadies, those mentally off their rocker like the Conn. killer of school children or someone going postal due to perceived slights or being fired from their job. One thing that connects them all is the easy availability of high capacity firearms, especially assault rifles like the AR-15 used in Conn., San Bernadino, and Orlando. As someone who owns many guns: mainly WWII era bolt action rifles, shotguns, .22 rifles, black powder muzzle loaders, and revolvers, I can not fathom why anyone would own an assault rifle designed for use as a "spray and pray" military piece. I sometimes hear the reason as a hunting weapon but most states I know do not allow that small of a caliber to be used in deer hunting and a lot of states only allow shotguns with slugs for deer hunting as they cannot carry for over a mile and kill someone. Besides, if you can't kill the deer or whatever else you are hunting in the first one or two shots you should not be hunting. If the reason is home defense a shotgun would be a more effective weapon. Before 1934 machine guns (think Thompson machine gun in the gangster movies) were legal. The 1934 National Firearms Act limited the possession of these weapons plus silencers, sawed off shotguns and other deadly arms like grenades. Some of these weapons you can still own such as an automatic firearm like the Thomson and silencers but you have to pass a federal screening, pay a substantial fee, register the weapon, and only pass it on to someone else who also has to go through this rigorous screening. They should make the same rule for assault weapons and high capacity automatic pistols. Leave the hunters their low capacity rifles and shotguns and the target shooter his pistol. Register all the rest and make sure you have a rigorous screening of those who HAVE TO own one.


bth

Patrick Bahzad that is the most intelligent discussion of the matter I've heard all damned day. Thanks.

Larry Kart

"...the new world of entrepreuneurial terrorism 2.0 ...” Exactly. Many thanks for your insights, Mr. Bahzad.

readerOfTeaLeaves

IMVHO, Patrick Bahzad's post makes two points that are worth restating:
(1) this is not a post about gun control,
(2) this young man was 'home grown' and (apparently) from a financially comfortable family.

I am curious about the Internet, satellite tv, and social media habits of this guy, particularly as he became 'radicalized'.

Personally, I don't want to see the photos or names of any of these perpetrators, and it concerns me that the media give them far too much attention. The media needs to take a long, hard look at how their reporting may be affecting the process of radicalization.

The Twisted Genius

Great piece, Patrick, and lots of food for thought.

Today's briefing by Comey about the extent of the FBI's investigation of Mateen was eye opening. More than a year of investigation, surveillance, informants and several interviews did not penetrate his mind. His reality of supporting Hezbollah one minute and IS the next did not fit in the reality known to the FBI. There was no electronic trail or network to uncover. Thus, he was let go as just another low intellect loser. So much for our "collect it all" surveillance state.

Perhaps a feature of this new world of entrepreneurial terrorism 2.0 is the true lone wolf with a self-developed conspiratorial mind and sense of clandestinity. External inputs consist of the effective info ops of the Salafist jihadists, access to instructions on carrying out a terrorist act that can be obtained passively, clandestinely not even requiring internet searches (read books, newspapers, watch movies/news, play first place shooter games). Add easy access to weapons and maybe some steroids and voilà.

Castellio

an interesting article on screening and its failures at G4S.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/shinealight/clare-sambrook/british-security-company-g4s-confirms-that-florida-shooter-is-one-of-t

“A robust employee screening programme helps organisations minimise the risk of making inappropriate recruitment decisions,” G4S tells potential customers. “We have a wealth of experience in developing and implementing background checks and security clearance for companies in the private and public sector.”

YT

I used to slave for g4s (in singapore) back in '03 for a very brief period.

I was under this manager: a pr*ck from malaysia - a chink that became a raghead, having wed some malay wench from singapore - not very popular this cur...

Anyways, they had this white South African pr*ck that was the in-charge of operations in singapore.

A dude later told yours truly in '05 that he was terminated due to negligence-of-duties: constant drinking & whoring.

Maybe they oughta do more than just screen employees.

Emad

The line between terrorism and mass shootings looks murky to me. For example, I'm curious if this committee would've called Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) a terrorist or merely a deranged lone wolf, had he shot 50 people dead.

JiuJitsuMMA

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3639961/Orlando-terrorist-went-gay-club-Pulse-dozen-times-got-drunk-belligerent-talked-wife-kid-massacring-49-people-there.html
&
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pulse-orlando-nightclub-shooting/os-orlando-nightclub-omar-mateen-profile-20160613-story.html

1) Ex-wife said he was closeted gay & that his religious father used to call him gay & denigrate him in front of her, his police academy classmates also said he was a closeted gay who went to gay bars together & he asked 1 of them out (the friend refused his offer)

2) www.rockprophecy.com/herdthin.html -Multiple scientific studies on mammals & humans show that homosexuality/bisexuality is biologically caused by having too much of the hormone
androstenedione (a "weaker version" of testosterone)
secreted by the mother during pregnancy when the mother is under severe or chronic stress (such as starvation, , dehydration, constantly shaking the cages of the animals, etc in animal studies or living in warzones in human studies)

All fetuses start off as female but testosterone causes the fetus to develop into a male instead of remaining female.

Androstenedione disrupts that process, replacing & displacing some of the testosterone in male fetuses, causing the fetal brain to remain partially female in the area of the brain responsible for mating
while
the secretion of too much androstenedione causes partial masculinization of the
female fetal brain (which should have none or minimal levels of androstenedione/testosterone) in that part of the brain responsible for mating.

3) From confessions & psych studies, it's common that such people who are closeted gay but conflicted due to religious beliefs become tormented
&
commit suicide or murder-suicide

4) They overcompensate for their torment by being publically very anti-gay to throw off suspicion,
which
is why you see many cases of anti-gay politicans & pastors/priests getting caught
having or seeking sex gay sex (ie, Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, Hagee, the Catholic priest scandals, etc)
http://www.advocate.com/politics/politicians/2015/05/29/16-antigay-leaders-exposed-gay-or-bi

5) See country music celebrity confession of this as she came out as lesbian after she
put a gun in her mouth due to her suicidal torment of being unable to accept her being homosexual in her deeply religious social circle where she was vehemently anti-gay publically so that others wouldn't think that she was homosexual:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karen-ocamb/country-star-chely-wright_b_565302.html

6) If those certian religions were less anti-gay & more accepting instead of causing torment over being homosexual/bi, it would reduce such torment & murder-suicides

JJackson

PB
While an excellent piece I think you have not covered one important part of the equation, at least in part one of the post. The US is much higher on most jihadi's priority list than most of the European states. It may be further away and logistically more difficult to get at but there are a number of reasons I have seen for grievance
Unflagging support of Israel
US troops in and support for KSA
US military actions in Islamic states (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia et al)
Export of Western decadence (acceptance of a gay community, immodest dress for women, pornography, other religions and lax attitudes to sex)

Fairly, or unfairly, the US is viewed as the main culprit making it a special case and focus of grievance. I also think that the perceived 'better security' is just hype and geography rather than intelligence has played the greater role in protecting its population from jihadi wrath - so far. AQ’s 9/11 has been the only organized ‘success’ so far but I would expect that IS will wish to redress this at some point to show would be jihadis that joining up with them is an equally valid route to strike at the heart of the problem.

Patrick Bahzad

It starts being terrorism from the moment the individual(s) claim to act in the name of an ideology/organisation, and/or are endorsed by an organisation. That would be a very general definition.

There are however variations of what is terrorism, both in domestic and international law. The oldest commonly accepted one is established in the Treaty of Geneva of 1937.

In the US, various government agencies drafted varying specifications regarding terrorism. The FBI relies on the "Code of Federal Regulations" (28 CFR, section 0.855). CFR however was modified by the Patriot Act of 2001 which has its own version of terrorism definition under section 231, chap. 113B. You can also
add to that DHS' "Homeland Sec Act" of 2002.

In Europe, there is generally a single national legislation, complementary to pieces of European legislation for those countries currently in the EU.

Finally, there are acts of international law (UN and others) also offering a definition of terrorism. Good luck sorting it all out ;-)

Patrick Bahzad

That is your opinion and I respect that. Not everybody would agree on your recommendations though. However, it is undeniable that easy access to military grade firearms is a "catalyst" for wannabee shooters, as it makes their task much simpler.

In Europe, gun laws are much much tighter. they didn't stop individuals who were determined enough to risk getting caught while buying weapons on the black market. You may argue of course, that if European countries had similar gun laws to the US, there would be many more terrorism related shootings there. That's a counterfactual that sounds reasonable, but can't be proven.

Patrick Bahzad

TTG,

Yes, I'm very aware of the complexities involved in screening such individuals and making a judgement call on what to do about them, based on existing legislation. We are governed by the rule of law, and no LE agency can just do as they please, only because they have a hunch about an individual.

Besides, and that's the other point, screening someone at time T and finding out he's no danger to others, does not mean same individual will not constitute risk to others at T + 1,2 or X years. Once on the radar, even though not necessarily on a watch list, it's important not to loose sight of anyone. Cross-referencing data bases seems one way for flagging suspicious behaviour that might otherwise go unnoticed. The fact Mateen was able to legally buy a gun without raising any red flags (assuming it didn't) is a bit puzzling.
But there might be other explanations for this. I can't say. Fact is, task at hand is impossible to manage to European Intel agencies and +US getting increasingly stretched thin too, which is a new feature to me. Up until now, I had not heard such statements being made publicly. Maybe a wake-up call.

Patrick Bahzad

might work at time of recruitment, but what about follow-up of employees being granted special rights for access to guns. As I mentioned earlier people change. What is commonly called the "radicalization process" usually involves several steps stretching over a certain period of time.

Patrick Bahzad

It's not murky for those who work on those cases. There is a lot of (overlapping) legislation however that is true.

Those who want the line to be murky are those who do not want to concede there's a difference between "hate crimes" and acts of domestic/international terrorism. That is related to PC reasons, which I strongly reject because it's masking the reality we live in.

Knowing there are unstable individuals in the US who might lose it one day and start shooting up ppl in the street, or in a crowded place, is bad enough. Knowing these ppl might be inspired, influenced or sometimes directed by a hostile organisation which would encourage them to use WMDs of any kind if they had a chance is a totally different thing. I hope you understand the implications.

Patrick Bahzad

Well if confirmed, the shooter being conflicted about his own sexuality might very well have played a role in him choosing this specific.

However, I think that even if that was not the case, this particular individual had enough "hate" in himself to pick any other soft target and start spraying the crowd with bullets there.

LGBT are a known and visible minority, one that is particularly targeted by bigots of all kind unfortunately, especially by Muslim extremists. Nobody can deny it. On the other hand, and I'm being very cynical here, you might argue that this club was just one of the easiest and "best" targets in town that night. I'm just saying it would have been a possibility, not saying this is the reasoning here, as I suspect there are ppl in the background here whose names haven't been named yet and whose inflammatory speeches against LGBT also had a role in Mateen picking this club.


Patrick Bahzad

I plan to cover this issue and others in the follow-up piece. I beg to differ with you however on that: currently the number one target and priority for IS is France, not the US. The US are number 2 on their list, as they know it's harder to strike, but they will certainly be happy to endorse any radicalized gunman having pledged allegiance to their so-called Caliphe.

jonst

I disagree with what I take to be your main premise. Or, at least the one you proffer in your opening article. I think MOST Americans thought this was coming. And coming from home grown types. I think it is true MOST media outlets might not have, or admitted they did, anyway, as they fell over themselves congratulating each other how 'our' Muslims are more 'welcomed into the Nation and our way of life' (read: open Cumberland Farms stores or some similar commercial is how the reporters see 'welcoming'). 'working in commerce boys, one of us!'

I think the fact that many more Americans than initially thought voted for Trump indicates the way this going. This election will hinge on immigration. And all the implications that emerge from that subject. And domestic terrorism is one of them. Home-grown[s] notwithstanding.

I think your piece, while fine, and full of your usual valuable insights, should be directed at the media and Borg. A great many people on this Committee were expecting events like this. And worse to come.

I wonder how WWII would have been fought under the 'rules' of the media today?

Patrick Bahzad

Fair point. I won't disagree about the fact average Joe thought something might be coming, but my contention is not exactly what you stated.

I believe ppl in this country were not aware of the threat posed by fellow compatriots staging a terror attack on US soil. US nationals fighting abroad sure, they're not new. IS members entering the country parading as refugees, definitely something that was on may ppl's minds (maybe too much even). Foreigners granted citizenship, well we saw it in San Bernardino already.

But to see the exact same type of thing develop as witnessed on TV in Europe, I'm not sure the vast majority of Americans would have agreed, ppl on this committee notwithstanding.

Besides, you're free to check some of the comments on previous pieces I wrote about this to get a sense of ignorance prevailing among some readers. As for the Media and the Borg, they're setting the narrative, so obviously this has a bearing on what ppl are led to believe of course.

Gordon Wilson

A lot of words and emotion spent on what, according to the LA Times, Orlando Sentinel, and now The Guardian are reporting as a sexually conflicted young man who, in my view, acted out his rage with military grade equipment in a gay bar in Orlando using various Islamic radical groups for cover, justification and rationalization.

I think it is incumbent on the gun right stalwarts to come up with the solution of what we are going to do when it comes to individuals like this, whether it is mandatory insurance and licensing or whatever. The ball is clearly in your court on this. As many are wont to say, the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

What is striking is the degree to which political ideology has skewed the analysis of this and other situations, such as the Egypt Air airliner going down recently. Ideology is not a substitute for don't know. It is OK to be ignorant of the facts, and it is OK to be silent until you have them. Not every incident in life requires our input.

Patrick Bahzad

Sure, a disturbed individual, acting on his own in a case of homophobic hate crime. Sort out the gun laws and you're good to go. Case closed, next !

LeaNder

Foreigners granted citizenship, well we saw it in San Bernardino already.

Are you referring to wife? ...

*****
Notice, the following is not meant to be provocative. I agree with you that it feels France is the No1 target and not the US. Not least since we encounter much more complex organizational structure there versus the more recent US: lone wolf type of matters. Ok, I am aware of the foiled SNCF attempt.

But what makes terrorism, a different type of homegrown ideologe, of the Anders Brevik type different?

The end? Why some here may be tempted to consider matters as something like an more elaborate suicide scheme in this case.

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