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Boston Marathon Bombing and Calls for Anti-Islamist Vengeance

Marathon attack

Bystander prays after Marathon attack (John Tlumack/Boston Globe)

Two bombs exploded near the end of the course of the Boston Marathon today, killing three people including an 8-year-old child. 140 were injured with a number involving amputations. News reports say that while no one has yet been arrested, one man of Saudi nationality seen running injured from the scene has been questioned by authorities in the hospital.

Though wags such as Bill Maher and, undoubtedly, Pam Geller and her happy anti-Muslim warriors have jumped to the premature conclusion that this is the work of Islamic terrorists, we must assume at the very least that such a possibility is quite credible.

Child wounded in Boston bombing

Two-year-old child wounded in bomb blast. Medic’s caption: “My bravest patient today.”

If this turns out to be true (with the emphasis on “if”), the U.S. will be justified in turning the full weight of the Justice Department and FBI on capturing and trying these individuals. But be clear about what I am NOT saying: there is no justification for putting them on a kill list and slaughtering them in by drone missile attack either in Afghanistan or a New York City cafe (remember the U.S. senator who asked John Brennan whether we could expect drone attacks on U.S. soil?). I am NOT approving a SEAL Team 6 Bin Laden style assassination either.

The perpetrators, whoever they are and whatever their motivation, must be apprehended and treated according to the dictates of U.S. law (not Gitmo justice either).

Now a word about the lunatic observations and imprecations of some of the commentariat. One of the most shocking, but not unexpected, comes from Bill Maher:

Its horrible, but this time, let’s not overreact, wallow, erect monuments to terrorism; let’s handle it Israeli-Munich style

Maher typically opens his mouth first before his brain has had a chance to catch up. We do not yet any confirmation of the identity, ethnicity, or motives of the bombers.

But even if it turns out that Maher is right, do we want to pursue a Munich-style vengeance operation by liquidating the perpetrators? Let’s recall the fallout of the Mossad’s series of assassinations: in at least one instance a Norwegian-Arab waiter was killed in a case of mistaken identity in Lillehammer. Are we so confident in the skills of our assassins and drone operators that we’re certain they won’t kill innocent civilians in such an operation?

In short, Maher is a moral cretin who represents the worst that U.S. media have to offer.

Now to an important issue raised by this attack which you may never see a MSM journalist address. It is a point many Muslims on Twitter have raised repeatedly: does the U.S. believe it can pursue a policy of unregulated murder in Arab lands without Muslims feeling duty bound to respond in kind?

To be clear, I am NOT justifying terror attacks against the U.S. I am merely pointing out that there is an almost ironclad law of human nature–that was goes around comes around. To quote Newton’s third law of motion:

“To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction…”

That means that while we Americans may believe that we are supremely powerful and may impose our will on the world, those on whom we impose it may have ideas of their own about that. Neither are we omnipotent, nor can we defy the laws of physics as interpreted by Sir Isaac.

As I’ve often written here about both Israel’s and U.S. counter-terror policy: there is always a price to be paid. Obama’s cynical calculation has been that there is much more to be gained than lost politically in out-Bushing Bush in the national security arena.

In that, he may’ve picked up a trick or two from Israeli leaders, who never pay a price for being too aggressive in attacking Palestinians and Arab states in pursuit of Israel’s national security objectives. Hence the plentiful Arab blood spilled over the years during wars and invasions Israel has often provoked.

While for us drone strikes are called “counter-terror” operations, Muslims experience them as terrorism. It doesn’t matter to them that Barack Obama claims such strikes adhere to U.S. law or that we claim to be a nation of laws. To the victims, we are terrorists. Viewing this from their point of view is this judgment invalid?

This would be a good time to return to the letter ten U.S. human rights NGOs sent last week to Pres. Obama, warning him that U.S. drone counter-terror policy was a violation of international law and should be stopped. If we want a safer world including a safer United States, stop killing Muslims. It should be remembered that of the several thousand Muslims killed in such strikes over the past decade several hundred were innocent civilians.

It is inexcusable to kill civilians, whether they be American or Middle Eastern Muslims. All who do it, including us, will face the music. It is of course tragic whether an 8 year old boy in Boston or Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16 year old son are the victims. They always seem to pray the price instead of the adults like the Boston bombers and Barack Obama, who set these acts in motion.

UPDATE The Washington Post reports that the Saudi national questioned by police is a witness, not a suspect in the attack. He suffered serious third degree burns and also voluntarily allowed the authorities to search his apartment.

The Saudi embassy also confirmed that another Saudi visiting the Marathon with her family suffered shrapnel wounds. Which means that no matter who carried out the attack, they ensnared Muslims in it as well.

There has been no further evidence offered that the attackers were Islamists.

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{ 50 comments… add one }
  • Robin April 15, 2013, 9:53 PM

    Salams Richard, you may want to resource this also, and as well the Saudi ambassador has released a condemnation statement.

    http://www.arabnews.com/news/448240

  • Torrez April 15, 2013, 9:58 PM

    It’s refreshing to hear rational voices that don’t promote further violence and hatred. We need more people like Richard Silverstein that can see issues from all perspectives. Times like this we all need to have more empathy for our fellow humans including Muslims, Americans, Jews, and other citizens of the world.

  • Blabbaer April 15, 2013, 10:43 PM

    A man who was reported as being a Saudi was injured, presented at hospital, and now it has become an Islamic attack and revenge against Muslims must be extracted. I would say that the evidence at this stage is pretty slim but that won’t stop the US Islamophobes. One thing you can be sure of, however, if it turns out the Saudi was a perp, Saudi Arabia will not receive any retribution, as we witnessed after earlier attacks (you know which one I mean).
    But, as Mr Silverstein quite correctly says, you reap what you sow. Despite the upscaling of security, the establishment of Homeland Security, the airport checks, the intrusions etc etc. This still happened. The US may feel secure against a conventional attack but it will never secure itself against asymmetrical warfare. Chickens come home to roost.

  • Robin April 15, 2013, 11:20 PM

    Just what retribution do you want Saudi Arabia (Saudis) to receive if it were to be him?

    • Blabbaer April 15, 2013, 11:28 PM

      Cease selling huge amounts of armaments to the Saudis for a start But Saudi petrol is too important so it will never happen.

      • Damien Finter April 16, 2013, 2:05 AM

        And the arms trade is equally important..its what opium was to the Hong Kong mafia in the 19th century…the means of returning the currency.

      • mary April 16, 2013, 3:40 AM

        That makes no sense. The Saudi government is not responsible for what individuals do. If an American planted some bombs in Tel Aviv, would you expect Israel to sever ties with the US in response?

        BTW, the US is less dependent on Saudi oil but more happy with the lucrative arms contracts with Saudi Arabia.

        The SPLC maintains quite an extensive list of hate groups inside the US – and there are no Muslim groups listed. Gellar and her friends should contemplate that fact.

        Another sad fact is that if this happened in a place like Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, etc., no one would even be discussing it. Somehow it’s only outrageous to this degree when it’s Americans who are the target. The US may or may not be experiencing another instance of blowback like 9/11; I tend to doubt it because this was a small scale attack and could have conceivably been done by an individual. One nurse at the scene was interviewed by CNN, and he happened to be an Iraq War veteran; he said this was a typical IED attack such as what was common in Iraq. He mentioned that attacks involved two or three devices exploding in a sequence. I thought this was an interesting piece of information.

        One other thing – the news media is definitely fearmongering in showing footage of the explosions, people screaming and running, over and over. It’s very damaging psychologically.

        • Damien Finter April 16, 2013, 4:06 AM

          Actually, Mary, the Saudi government is responsible for harbouring the Wahhabi Sunni fundamentalism, in bed with Christian and Zionist fundamentalists for sectarian reconfigurations that suit their hegemonic imperial fantasies.. ….otherwise I think we’re in agreement.
          They are also co-creators of al CIAda with the usual death-squad engineers. I see they are manoeuvering to destabilise Venezuela and roll back the social gains of Chavez in their ‘backyard’…that PNAC full spectrum dominance is what it says on the flag…totalitarian global control for the extractive corporate ‘players’. We’re just their casino chips.
          If there is Saudi involvement..then its Pentagonian/Mossad approved.

        • Daniel April 16, 2013, 5:49 AM

          Indeed, Guardian journalist Paul Owen notes in that publication’s rolling online coverage of Boston that:

          ‘Last month the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group, wrote to US attorney general Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, warning of the “looming dangers” and “growing threat” of “non-Islamic domestic terrorism”.

          In a report, the SPLC said the number of “militias and radical antigovernment groups” had grown from 149 in 2008 to 1,360 in 2012. The current moves towards some limited forms of gun control in the US were “likely to swell the ranks of antigovernment groups”, the SPLC said, as similar moves had in the 1990s.

          The group also said “hate groups” opposed to immigration might be inflamed by current moves towards granting citizenship to illegal immigrants, and warned: “The resources devoted to countering domestic hate and radical antigovernment groups and those they may inspire do not appear commensurate with the threat.”’

          Furthermore, it DID indeed happen — and far worse — somewhere else, almost at the same time: CNN reports that at least 42 are dead, and more than 250 are wounded, in a series of bombings in Iraq on Monday, spread out over six provinces. But hardly anyone is talking about it; I understand why the Boston bombing is more newsworthy, but the dissonance is striking none the less.

          • Damien Finter April 16, 2013, 6:53 AM

            Its a daily occurence in Iraq…the ongoing Bush wars leave a trail of expanding destruction…but Halliburton, and whatever Blackwater and their ilk brand themselves today, have rising share prices..the great god Moolah is back in seventh heaven and all is well in Wall St….this will justify further clenching of the security solution fist…cui bono?

  • Kevin Herbert April 16, 2013, 1:22 AM

    You’re a credit to your Jewish heritage Richard.

    I salute you

  • Damien Finter April 16, 2013, 1:59 AM

    Meantime the daily carnage of similar atrocities in Iraq etc. are totally ignored…time the Cheyney gang were hoist by their own petard of moral grandstanding. War crime courts needed.

  • Fred Plester April 16, 2013, 3:23 AM

    “Running injured from the scene” doesn’t strike me as proof of guilt in the circumstances, where several dozen people with minor injuries were running in all directions. Almost every nationality under the sun is encouraged to take part in these events, too.

    There seems to have been someone on a roof, setting the devices off by cellphone. His nationality may be a lot more pertinent.

  • Yani April 16, 2013, 6:18 AM

    The explosive was gunpowder… it wouldn’t surprise me if it was someone that objected to gun law reform.

    • Fred Plester April 17, 2013, 12:17 AM

      Black powder exists as blasting powder, which is very fine gunpowder.
      It still needs a strong container (or a hole drilled in rock) to make a violent explosion.
      In the UK, black powder is subject to tighter restrictions than modern smokeless gunpowder, because although it has about half the energy, it can make a violent explosion if packed right, and it’s also much easier to ignite.

      In the US, there’s a sort of black powder substitute called “Pyrodex” which has the right characteristics for shooting antique guns, but which doesn’t leave so much residue.

      Explosions were very powerful for black powder, so quite a lot of it, I would suggest, or it was used as a “booster” to make a detonation pulse strong enough to set off something else, which is common.
      Backwoods Swedish habit is to soak black powder in nitro-glycerine. Never heard of this happening elsewhere and it may be something to do with Darwin.

      I thought it either had to be black powder in a strong container or something like Amatol because of all the white smoke: most modern military explosives produce greasy sooty smoke.
      (Porton Down did some work on the toxicity of smoke and soot from plastic explosive once.)

      I think the US has laws on storing black powder if not on buying it.

      Pressure cookers as containers have been seen in Afghanistan (mostly in the past), but not usually with black powder in.
      Obviously easier to detect than a plastic container full of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil.

      Suggest someone saw no sense in mixing up bathfulls of hydrogen peroxide when he could buy black powder readymade in tins.*

      These tins won’t necessarily be easy to destroy without trace.

      * As the authors of Islamist websites have realised, the long planning and preparation of explosives is part of the attraction of armed struggle to western converts, so they offer various intricate recipes for explosives to keep them interested in details and collecting ingredients and so distract them from what they are actually going about.
      The four from Luton convicted this week were not “brains of Britain” or even brains of Islam.
      The black comedy “Four Lions” actually has this process about right.

  • pabelmont April 16, 2013, 6:50 AM

    When I heard about the bombings — or “device”-ings, because for some reason bombs are called “devices” these days, perhaps recalling “infernal machines” or “infernal devices” — I thought what an appropriate time it was for Americans to think about the fact that we, in America, have an event of this sort once in 10 years (or a bit more often if you could the attempts and the school-shootings), but people subject to American war-plane bombings and drone missile attacks experience these things daily, and therefore live with DREAD daily, a very uncomfortable way to live. Speaking for myself, who lives very close to the NYC 9-11 events, I do not live in dread of bombings, and it seems to me that the daily life of the New Yorkers I see is NOT a life spent in dread.

    An Israeli friend of mine — a holocaust survivor who survived due to having been hidden as a small child with a Catholic family — told me that in her view, what was worst about the holocaust was the knowledge of being hunted down, the daily dread. And she allowed that Rwanda and Pol Pot and so on were ALSO holocausts, to be counted alongside the Jewish experience in Europe in 1940s.

    What’s worst about our drone attacks, therefore, in my view, is not the killing or destruction, not the illegality (as I imagine), not the racist overlay, but the DREAD felt by the victims.

    And we Americans should be opposing the drone attacks (and wars) (and torture) (and unreasonable sanctions regimes w.r.t. Cuba, Iran, N-Korea, etc.) because of the ON-GOING DREAD, FEAR, etc. which we encourage. and, of course, any blow-back which we may experience.

    • Damien Finter April 16, 2013, 7:00 AM

      And of course…although you don’t spell it out overtly

      DREAD=TERROR

      So who is the real terrorist?

    • Fred Plester April 17, 2013, 12:23 AM

      When it was happening daily in the UK, nearly all the funds for the people doing it came from American cities, particularly Boston and Tampa. It wasn’t unknown for off duty policemen and firemen to pass a bucket around a bar, collecting money for the cause, without any real thought for what it was like at the other end of the process.

      Sadly, now they know. Hopefully, things in America won’t progress anything like as far.

  • mary April 16, 2013, 6:58 AM

    At this point I am totally nonplussed by Obama’s and other “lawmakers” reluctance to call this a terrorist attack when it so obviously is. I can’t help wondering if they are completely brainwashed by their own propaganda and are therefore unable to utter the words “terrorist attack” without the word “Islamic” being tacked on.

    • Daniel April 16, 2013, 7:22 AM

      People are more than panicky enough without officials making it worse. You yourself decried the “fear-mongering” of the media moments ago. I fail to see what would make this situation so much better by using the word terrorism (which I agree that it appears to be).

      In fact, I would argue the word “terrorism” is charged in a certain way and has played a very problematic role in Western public life in the past decade and a half, especially when used by officials. Personally I’m not thrilled about the prospect of returning to the days when it was shouted from every rooftop and blasted from every headline, every single day — compressing people’s thought, narrowing their vision and clouding their moral and political judgment.

      If you need proof that people are already freaking out just fine without Obama’s help, see this article:

      http://www.salon.com/2013/04/15/worst_reactions_to_the_boston_explosions/

      I, for my part, am relieved to see the very cautious response by top US officials so far.

      • mary April 16, 2013, 9:08 AM

        It is just as likely that the word “terrorism” has simply lost all coherent meaning because, like other words such as “jihad,” it has been retooled as a weapon of fearmongering. Personally, i refuse to be told what I should fear, either by direction or by implication.

        In the classic definition, this was an act of terrorism. It was aimed at a civilian population and its purpose was to instill dread and fear. Because the perpetrator is unknown, the mystery aspect heightens the fear. The feeling of being unsafe and vulnerable makes people very impressionable, of course. The endless looping of video, the bystander interviews being shown over and over, no one needs to say that meaningless word.
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/16/boston-marathon-explosions-notes-reactions

        Greenwald: “The reaction to the Boston attack underscored, yet again, the utter meaninglessness of the word “terrorism”. News outlets were seemingly scandalized that President Obama, in his initial remarks, did not use the words “terrorist attack” to describe the bombing. In response, the White House ran to the media to assure them that they considered it “terrorism”. Fox News’ Ed Henry quoted a “senior administration official” as saying this: “When multiple (explosive) devices go off that’s an act of terrorism.”

        Is that what “terrorism” is? “When multiple (explosive) devices go off”? If so, that encompasses a great many things, including what the US does in the world on a very regular basis. Of course, the quest to know whether this was “terrorism” is really code for: “was this done by Muslims”? That’s because, in US political discourse, “terrorism” has no real meaning other than: violence perpetrated by Muslims against the west. The reason there was such confusion and uncertainty about whether this was “terrorism” is because there is no clear and consistently applied definition of the term. At this point, it’s little more than a term of emotionally manipulative propaganda. That’s been proven over and over, and it was against yesterday.”

        • Daniel April 16, 2013, 9:34 AM

          I’m not sure what you’re arguing.

          I maintain that it was appropriate for Obama to leave out the word “terrorism” from his initial statement. The absence of excess drama and hysterics was a sobering counterweight to the reckless histrionics of the media landscape.

          Even so, the administration did make it clear through its officials — from the moment Obama stepped off the podium, actually, not later “in response” as Greenwald claims — that the White House was viewing it as a case of terrorism.

          Then, mere hours later, first Hagel and then Obama personally and explicitly referred to the bombings as terrorism.

          So I don’t see the “brainwashing” that you’re talking about.

          A better example, in my view, of the racist and occidentalist connotations of the term “terrorism”, is how the Norwegian right-wing extremist and Islamophobe, Anders Breivik, is since 2011 to this day consistently referred to as a “mass killer” or “mass murderer” in Western media rather than a “terrorist”, even though it is abundantly clear, both from his own confessions, from his manifesto and from various investigations. that he bombed the Oslo government quarter and slaughtered left-wing activist teenagers for clearly expressed political and ideological reasons — fulfilling all the possible technical criteria of terrorism.

          His designation in the media mirrors the erroneous and shameful assumptions among much of the media and loudmouth commentators across the world that it was some jihadist, a “typical terrorist”, who was responsible for the Norway attacks, before all the facts became clear.

          Every effort should be made to avoid the same mistake — already being repeated by entire swathes of the commentariat — in this case of Boston, and in every case.

          • mary April 16, 2013, 11:10 PM

            I wasn’t arguing anything other than why the word “terrorism” was not used. Your puzzlement over my use of the term “brainwashing” also makes no sense. When people begin to believe their own B.S., that is a form of brainwashing, if you will. The word “brainwash” in popular usage means to convince someone of something that may not be true. OK?

            Greenwald is right – the term “terrorism” has lost all meaning, and I personally think we have the Iraq war and the Israelis to thank for it. Insurgents and those who resist occupation of their land are labeled “terrorists.” a similar loss of meaning can be said about the word, “jihad,” which has become a word used to describe violence committed by Islamic extremists.

          • Daniel April 17, 2013, 2:27 AM

            Yeah. I understand what the word “brainwash” in popular usage means. I can read, and if you can read too then you’ll see that I was remarking not about the word itself but the line you wrote:

            ‘I can’t help wondering if they are completely brainwashed by their own propaganda and are therefore unable to utter the words “terrorist attack” without the word “Islamic” being tacked on.’

            I was saying I don’t see it, given that the term terrorism has now been amply applied to the Boston attacks more or less since the get-go, apart specifically from Obama’s initial statement, which I think was a wise choice.

            As for Glenn “David Duke For President” Greenwald, I don’t agree that the term “terrorism” has lost all meaning. I do agree that it has been greatly abused, and employed as an ideological tool in the so-called War on Terror and the occidentalist crusades of the 2000s, as I argued earlier. It has been completely warped in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But it is hardly useless. Rather than to abandon the concept of terrorism — the concept, broadly defined, that deliberately attacking innocent civilians for political or ideological reasons is always something legally and morally unacceptable — and rather than to allow it to be hollowed out and expropriated by fascist authorities across the world, we should, on the contrary, be vigilant about how it is used and not used, issue corrections where it is mis-used, and apply it legally or technically where it is appropriate, whether to the actions of individuals, of organizations, or of states and state officials, such as the Gaza Massacre.

            I believe the term and concept of terrorism will be an important battlefield in future international law — and in scholarship seeking to understand the mechanisms of power, authority and violence — and we mustn’t surrender it. We must, however, make sure it doesn’t go back to the Orwellian ubiquity that we saw in the previous decade.

          • Elisabeth April 17, 2013, 12:28 PM

            Your point about Breivik and the term ‘mass killer’ instead of ‘terrorist’ is very good. I am ashamed to say I had not even noticed it consciously until you just pointed it out.

    • Deïr Yassin April 16, 2013, 12:58 PM

      I read the following said by Obama Thuesday morning in the briefing room at the White House:
      “Anytime a bomb is used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror.”
      He of course said so in relation to the Boston bombing, but it made me think about Gaza and Afghanistan…. I guess most Americans are too self-absorbed to grasp the hypocrisy in such a statement.

  • fiddler April 16, 2013, 8:42 AM

    It is inexcusable to kill civilians, whether they be American or Muslim.

    Ouch! I do hope you see yourself what’s wrong with that phrasing.

    • Richard Silverstein April 16, 2013, 9:41 PM

      I didn’t mean that “Americans” can’t be Muslim. I meant a dichotomy between Americans (again who may be Muslim) and Muslims under attack in the Middle East by U.S. drones.

  • Fred Plester April 16, 2013, 12:02 PM

    It’s now obvious that the Saudi casualty is not seen by the FBI as a suspect and that he was detained solely to placate the citizen who grabbed him. He may in fact be a pretty good witness and is certainly cooperative.

    This is a week of many anniversaries meaningful to America’s home-grown extremists, and there were only two actual devices, (the rest were just panics) both of which were packed in pressure cookers. (Anyone’s definition of a strong container capable of getting a high energy shockwave out of a crude explosive.)

    I think the chances of any Jihadee involvement are probably nil, though the explosive recipe could have come from one of their websites as easily as from an anarchist or neo nazi website. So it’s probably just one person, leaving sod-all clues and he’ll probably only be caught if he wants the fame and notoriety.

  • dickerson3870 April 16, 2013, 1:07 PM

    RE: “Though wags such as Bill Maher and, undoubtedly, Pam Geller and her happy anti-Muslim warriors have jumped to the premature conclusion that this is the work of Islamic terrorists, we must assume at the very least that such a possibility is quite credible.” ~ R.S.

    MY COMMENT: Although it is certainly possible that this is the work of Islamic terrorists, this Atlanta wag can’t help but see certain similarities to the Centennial Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
    Also, this bombing occurred on April 15th, the last day for filing tax returns in the US. This is a date that has become very significant for right-wing extremist groups in this country (but it does not seem particularly significant for Islamic terrorists). Consequently, I am reminded somewhat of the February 2010 incident where a single engine plane was crashed into an Austin, Texas office park that housed FBI and IRS offices killing two people in addition to the pilot.
    Of course, anything is possible, but it is sad that American’s can’t even wait a few hours so as to collect some information (and give it a little thought) before they begin wildly speculating about the perpetrators. It is even sadder (and not entirely coincidental) that the mainstream/corporate media encourages and disseminates this nearly instantaneous speculation based upon so precious few facts. But, I guess it “pays the bills”, especially the lavish, inflated salaries of their upper management and celebrity news presenters*.

    * SEE: The Day That TV News Died, By Chris Hedges, Truthdig, 3/24/13
    LINK – http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_day_that_tv_news_died_20130324/

  • Nessim April 16, 2013, 5:50 PM

    Mr. Silverstein
    Having lived in many countries that underwent at times great intestinal upheavals and having seen both end of government reactions, let me say in no uncertain way, TO SIMPLY STICK TO THE HIGHROAD “JUST BECAUSE” THERE IS A HIGHROAD is not conducive to realpolitik.
    At times governments MUST do battle at the same field as their enemies
    There are times for the highroad and there are times when the lowroad is just the ONLY way to either deter of put an end to treacherous ideology.
    I am not specifying any israeli lowlife of the many secret services branches of the israeli government.
    you must never leave your quiver without arrows ONLY because the highroad requires it
    somewhere it is said = if you want to eat fish you gotta get your feet wet, fish won’t clock it at the grocery store for as much as you will it
    sorry, to demean someone else’s opinion and on top to call him names is not much different from what i hear on fox.
    please don’t call me names – i am a 69 year old veteran of the ’56 suez war, of the late 60′s tupamaros revolution in Uruguay and of the “70s in Canada (Montreal more precisely – white gloved FLQ idealists that resembles nothing of the current terrorism attacks methods) and of the second intifada in Israel.
    again, i am sure you will fully disagree with me, i expect it, but to call me cretin because i may even agree with Mr Maher even i would feel insulted if i’d be labeled as naive
    Thank you for the opportunity

    • Jafar Siddiqui April 17, 2013, 1:33 AM

      Nessim, this does not compute. If you are 69 years old now, then you were only 12 during the 1956 Suez War, were you a child warrior?

      • Nessim April 17, 2013, 4:45 PM

        nitpicking is beneath you – never said “fought’ said lived thru – also for you “smartperson” the jewish community in Egypt at that time was still REELING YES REELING from the anguish of the germans at El Alamein –
        Those WWII days were still curling my parents bloods and yes i do remember many a decision taken at home that reflected the still vivid fears. – so please leave your unbecoming remarks somewhere else.
        rather than critiquing or criticizing my “point” you selected a tangent to criticize the person rather than his idea, quite small indeed, one for criticizing the person rather than his writing AND for not being able to effectively put forth an opinion ANY opinion, small minds indeed
        congrats

        • Jafar Siddiqui April 17, 2013, 6:00 PM

          Hey Nessim, don’t jump off your pram, I only asked a question.

          You ARE full of contradictions though. First you criticise Richard for calling you names, then you turn around and call ME names in response to a polite inquiry.

          THEN you correct me by saying, “never said “fought’ said lived thru’, but I see that you ACTUALLY said, “i am a 69 year old veteran of the ’56 suez war”. Personally, I don’t give a damn whether you “lived thru”, fought or cowered through the Suez War or , whether you scalped people, shot them or ran like Hell.

          It seems to me that you not only lack manners, but you also are given to conflating reality with fantasy.

      • Richard Silverstein April 17, 2013, 9:04 PM

        He’s not a very good liar & embellishes his life story as convenient.

    • Richard Silverstein April 17, 2013, 9:01 PM

      To “cretin” I’ll now add liar. That you are a veteran of the 1956 War, the Tapamaros movement and the Quebec radical separatist movement beggars belief. Did you also ride motorcycles with Che???

      • Nessim April 18, 2013, 12:21 AM

        click

  • Binyamin in Orangeburg April 16, 2013, 9:06 PM

    Re Maher’s comment:
    During Operation Wrath of God, the Mossad’s death squad unit, Caesarea/Kidon, assassinated between 20 and 33 Palestinians who they claimed perpetrated the Munich Massacre.
    Twenty years later, the chief of the Mossad at the time, Zvi Zamir, admitted that only one of those assassinated had actually had anything to do with Munich.
    The goal of the operation was to increase the price any Palestinian would pay for joining the Palestinian resistance. Munich was a pretext.

    The definitive book on the Mossad’s terror campaign, Striking Back, concludes that any PLO operative wandering unprotected around the Europe was as good as a genuine terrorist for that purpose.

    FYI, the mastermind of Munich, Mohammed Abu Daoud, returned home to Ramallah after Oslo and lives there now in retirement. All three Black September terrorists who survived the shootout in Munich are alive and well today.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Wrath_of_God

    • Deïr Yassin April 17, 2013, 4:09 AM

      Abu Daoud died in Syria in 2010.
      By the way, many of the Black September members were Christians, the leader of the operation in Munich, Luttif Afif aka ‘Isa (the name for Jesus in Arabic) was born in Nazareth to a Jewish mother and a Christian father, and the code name was “Iqrit & Bir’im”, two Christian villages whose inhabitants were expelled by Hagannah in ’48. It sure was ‘Islamic’ terror :-)

      • Binyamin in Orangeburg April 17, 2013, 1:54 PM

        I stand corrected.

        Wow, I did not know the leader of the Munich Black Septembrists was, under Halachic law, Jewish!

  • mary April 16, 2013, 11:16 PM

    One notable thing – no terrorist group has stepped forward to claim responsibility for this bombing, which I think is odd. If this tragedy was meant as some kind of political statement, why isn’t it being made?

    • Fred Plester April 17, 2013, 12:26 AM

      The Animal Liberation Front, for example, waits both for the perps to be in the clear, and for them to see which way public perceptions will jump, before claiming anything.

      There will probably be a claim, attached to a small socio-economic essay of ten thousand pages or so, in due course.

    • Daniel April 17, 2013, 1:53 AM

      I find it notable too.

      However, I read somewhere recently that historically, it often takes several days even for well-established groups to come forward and claim responsibility (three days after the arrest of Abdulmutallab, four days after Fort Hood), etc.

      But I agree that it’s odd. To me it suggests either a lack of clear political motive (and instead mental illness on the part of the attacker, which doesn’t strike me as likely) or a lack of wherewithal on the part of the perpetrator(s) (indicating it is a small, not well-organized group, or even a single individual).

  • Jafar Siddiqui April 17, 2013, 1:39 AM

    Hello Richard,

    You said about the US Drone attacks in Pakistan, ” It should be remembered that of the several thousand Muslims killed in such strikes over the past decade several hundred were innocent civilians”.

    I would suggest that at the most generous, the US probably got half a dozen people who were a threat to the US…no more.. Some of the rest were all “suspects” who naturally, deserve to ne killed because they are suspects! The balance were either people killed under the “Signature target” license or, were deemed guilty because they dared to be in the proximity of “suspects”.

    I am DEEPLY disapppointed in Obama.

    • mary April 17, 2013, 7:01 AM

      Obama has decided that any male victims in the vicinity of a drone strike are combatants and so, voila! No more “bystanders,” they’re all on the books as guilty.

      This makes me so sad, that the list of motives for a blowback-style bombing in the US is so long.

      Personally, at the moment I’m of the opinion that whoever is responsible for this bombing is an American and possibly a member of the 1,007 extremist groups in a database kept by the SPLC.

    • Richard Silverstein April 17, 2013, 8:56 PM

      @Jafar Siddiqui: I should’ve made clearer that the 300+ civilians killed by drone strikes are the numbers acknowledged by the U.S. as errors. That doesn’t mean that the 3,000 others killed were indeed terrorists. It only means the U.S. claims they were.

  • Jafar Siddiqui April 17, 2013, 8:45 AM

    It really doesn’t matter whether the perpetrator/s were Muslim or not, the fact that everyone needs ot focus on is that a crime of huge proportions was committed and they need to focus on how to stop it. Unfortunately, if the bomber/s are not Muslim, the Feds will still comtinue to “monitor” us Muslims and if the bombers ARE Muslim, then we have pretty much had it; the Feds will, as the popular saying goes these days, “double down” on us and the REAL Americans will start to take matters in their own hands…while “experts” like Pipes, Emerson, Spencer, Geller et al, will crow about how right they have been all along, about Islam and Muslims.

    I was going to blog (www.penjihad.com) about the fact that perhaps now, Americans can visualize how it must feel for the fmailies and parents of people who have been injured, killed and torn to shreds by our Drones in Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and other places. I was going to suggest that Americans should rally to stop Drone attacks, but then I thought my comments will be taken as support for the bombers and we will once again, go off on a tangent, so I didn’t.

    • mary April 17, 2013, 11:16 AM

      Yes it matters, especially to Muslims living in the US. It’s a matter of safety, of not being subjected to harassment, assault, and worse. I know one Muslim in NYC who got fired from his job at a prestigious tailoring business after 9/11 because he “looked too much like a Muslim.” I have a friend, a woman who was living in Florida on 9/11, who was assaulted because she wore the hijab. Muslims all over the world are waiting to see how America will vent its wrath.

      At this writing, a suspect has been arrested and he is described by CNN as “brown skinned.”

      • mary April 17, 2013, 11:26 PM

        CNN caused a big uproar yesterday by giving false reports without verifying them with the Boston Police Dept. No one was arrested.

  • Fred Plester April 18, 2013, 11:28 AM

    Marathons have been targeted before, the Belfast Marathon especially so (From the START Consortium Background report.)

    http://start.umd.edu/start/publications/br/STARTBackgroundReport_BostonMarathon2013.pdf?utm_source=START+Announce&utm_campaign=aaf10ee73f-Boston+Marathon+Background+Report&utm_medium=email

    Marathon-Related Attacks

    April 2008: Colombo, Sri Lanka

    On April 6, 2008, a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam militant blew himself up, killing 14 civilians, including the minister of highway and road development, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. The attack occurred as the minister was flagging the start of a road marathon. The attack injured 83 others in Weliweriaya, northeast of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

    January 2006: Lahore, Pakistan

    1. On Jan. 28, 2006, in a series of related incidents, protesters of a marathon in which women and men would participate together in Lahore, Pakistan, set at least two buses on fire with unspecified weapons. The protesters were supporters of the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal, or the United Action Forum coalition. There were no casualties and no reported claims of responsibility.

    2. In a related incident, on Jan. 27, 2006, marathon protesters threw stones at policemen and at public property, and set four buses on fire with unspecified weapons. The protesters were supporters of the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal, or the United Action Forum coalition. At least four people were injured in the protests, two of them police officers.

    May 2005: Gideon’s Green, Northern Ireland

    On May 2, 2005, suspected Irish Republican Army members planted a pipe bomb at Gideon’s Green, Newtownabbey in Belfast along the route of the Belfast Marathon. It was disabled before it could harm anyone, including the target of the attack, Chief Constable Hugh Orde. An unidentified perpetrator called in a warning about the bomb indicating that Hugh Orde was the intended target of the attack.

    May 2003: Belfast, Northern Ireland

    On May 5, 2003, a substantial bomb was left in a van by two masked men in Belfast, North Ireland, in front of the motor tax office a few hours before the annual Belfast marathon. The owner of the van called the police who defused the bomb before it exploded. Police suspected that the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA) was responsible for the incident.

    May 1998: Belfast, Northern Ireland

    On May 3, 1998, suspected Irish Republican Army (IRA) militants fired two Mark 6 mortars at the Grosvenor Road Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) station in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The mortars, however, did not detonate and no injuries or damage were reported. The discovery of the mortars disrupted the Belfast Marathon, which was to be held the day after this incident.

    November 1994: Manama, Bahrain

    On November 25, 1994, protestors attacked participants of a marathon along the al-Budayyi’ Highway using a number of blunt objects, including sticks and rocks. Three marathon runners were injured, including a British national and a person from Saudi Arabia. While the specific motive for the attack is unknown, it is believed that the perpetrators were protesting the route of the marathon because of its proximity to a site believed to be the remains of a mosque. Protesters were also angered by the dress of female participants in the race.

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