Islamophobic violence in the USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

Muslims discover dead pig at entrance to mosque by ICNA Houston – ABC News

5 December 2012

HOUSTON (KTRK) — A disturbing discovery was made outside of a Houston area mosque and now Islamic community leaders are calling it a hate crime. A dead pig was left in front of the mosque Tuesday in Cypress.

Ilyas Choudry says worshippers at the Islamic Outreach Center in Cypress found a mutilated dead pig Tuesday night near the doorstep of their five-month-old mosque.

“They were totally surprised to see this,” he said.

Leaders at the mosque say the dead pig was placed there sometime after worshipers left following afternoon prayer and arrived back for evening prayer. Muslims don’t eat pork and regard the pigs as an unclean animal. Some in the Muslim community are questioning if this was a gesture of hate.

“I think it borders on being a hate crime at least from our prospective, because we’ve seen these before and generally when people put pigs or have dead animals, it’s really something hateful,” said Mustafaa Carroll with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The Islamic Outreach Center says it has not had any problems with neighbors before.

By Tom Carter in the USA:

Mounting violence against Muslims in America

19 February 2015

A series of attacks on Muslims in the US have occurred in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in France and executions carried out by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria. These events have been seized on by governments around the world, including the Obama administration, to promote anti-Islamic sentiment so as to justify expanded military interventions in the Middle East and stepped up domestic repression.

On February 10, three Muslim-American students—Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19—were found shot in the head, execution-style, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The two young women were wearing traditional hijabs when they were killed.

The man who turned himself in to authorities in connection with the murders had previously brandished guns at the victims and threatened them. Before the shooting, Yusor Abu-Salha told her father, “Daddy, I think he hates us for who we are and how we look.”

On February 12, an Arab-American man was brutally attacked by two white men at a Kroger supermarket in Dearborn, Michigan. The attackers also taunted his daughter, who wears a hijab, making references to ISIS and Muslims. The attackers called the man and his daughter “r–head” and said, “Go back to your country.”

This video from Texas in the USA says about itself:

Quba Islamic Institute On Fire Southeast Houston, US

15 February 2015

An Islamic Center in Houston southeast side has been damaged by fire. Investigators are trying to determine whether the fire was arson.

No injuries have been reported in the blaze that erupted before morning prayers on Friday in a storage area of the Quba Islamic Institute mosque and school. Officials at the institute said investigators told them the fire was intentionally set. Muslim worshipers have described the incident as particularly troubling after the Chapel Hill attack that left three Muslim students dead. The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on state and federal authorities to investigate the fire as a possible hate crime.

The Tom Carter article continues:

On February 13, the Quba Islamic Institute in southeast Houston, Texas was the target of an arson attack that destroyed a substantial portion of the building and caused an estimated $100,000 in damage. On February 17, police in Austin, Texas arrested a man for threatening to bomb an Islamic center as well as a Middle Eastern restaurant.

Last month, a “Texas Muslim Capitol Day” event (the declared purpose of which was to “engage American Muslims in the political process”) was attacked and disrupted by anti-Muslim thugs. Another attack was organized on “Muslim Day” in Oklahoma City. The attacking group’s Facebook page screamed, “Get Islam Out of America.”

The rate of hate crimes against Muslims in the United States stands at five times what it was before September 2001. A recent poll found that out of all religions, Americans harbor the most negative feelings towards Muslims.

The American political and media establishment bears a significant portion of the responsibility for these trends.

A recent report by the Center for American Progress entitled “Fear, Inc. 2.0, The Islamophobia Network’s Efforts to Manufacture Hate in America” exposes a veritable “Islamophobia industry” operating on the periphery of the American state. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent over the past decade to promote anti-Muslim bigotry through a shady network of politicians, journalists, foundations, “activists” and “experts.”

This Islamophobia network enjoys close ties with police departments and the intelligence agencies. Anti-Muslim bigotry, the report indicates, can often be found “masquerading as law-enforcement counterterrorism training.” The training materials and “experts,” according to the report, encourage police and intelligence agents to see “a terrorist plot in every mosque.”

The intentional whipping up of anti-Muslim bigotry has intensified internationally in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks last month. As the World Socialist Web Site has explained, the campaign to vilify Muslims serves definite political ends.

Anti-Muslim hysteria provides a justification for imperialist mayhem abroad as well as a wedge with which to attack democratic rights at home. Policies can be pursued in the climate of such hysteria that would otherwise be unthinkable. And, as with all such campaigns against racial and religious minorities throughout the twentieth century, murderous and fascistic elements are mobilized that, in a crisis, can be unleashed against the working class as a whole.

In cultivating the conditions for an intensification of anti-Muslim violence within the United States, a particularly reprehensible role has been played by the racist, homicidal film American Sniper. The film features an elite US soldier heroically slaughtering Iraqi “savages” for God and country.

Chris Kyle, the real-life sniper behind Clint Eastwood’s pro-war propaganda film, boasted of killing more than 300 people. (He was apparently also a pathological liar who bragged about having shot and killed dozens of “looters” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and to have participated in other events that are unlikely ever to have happened).

During a military investigation of allegations that Kyle killed an unarmed civilian in Iraq, Kyle said, “I don’t shoot people with Korans. I’d like to, but I don’t.”

In the current toxic social climate, and in the absence of any progressive outlet for social discontent, American Sniper has met with a certain and disturbing response. “American sniper makes me wanna go shoot some f—ing Arabs,” wrote one individual on Twitter. “Nice to see a movie where the Arabs are portrayed for who they really are,” wrote another, “vermin scum intent on destroying us.”

Another individual wrote, “Great f—ing movie and now I really want to kill some f—ing r–heads.” And another: “American sniper made me appreciate soldiers 100x more and hate Muslins (sic) 1000000x more.”

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee described a “drastic increase” in hate speech on social media following the film’s release. It is not difficult to see how these kinds of responses can translate into real violence.

A revealing episode was provided by the “National Prayer Breakfast” on February 5. Bowing to pressure from the right, Obama utilized the occasion (a reactionary spectacle under any circumstances) to denounce “ISIL, a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism, terrorizing religious minorities like the Yezidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions.” Obama also mentioned the Crusades and the Inquisition as examples of “terrible deeds” committed in the name of religion.

Obama’s appearance fueled an ongoing campaign by the Republican right denouncing the White House for not going far enough in vilifying Muslims. Obama was criticized on the grounds that his invocation of the Crusades and the Inquisition “throws Christians under the bus.”

“The words ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ do not come out of the president’s mouth,” declared Republican Senator Ted Cruz. “The word ‘jihad’ does not come out of the president’s mouth. And that is dangerous.”

“The president’s comments… at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore told reporters. “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States. This goes further to the point that Mr. Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share.”

The engines of anti-Muslim agitation in the United States do not include only the usual suspects: the Republican Party, the military, AM talk radio, police, the intelligence agencies, Fox News, the Murdoch press, religious zealots, billionaire reactionaries, the Tea Party and so forth.

Instead, anti-Muslim prejudice has been lent a certain respectable gloss by so-called “liberal” and “left” sections of the political establishment. These layers either endorse the vilification of Muslims, acquiesce to it, or make hand-wringing scholarly inquiries into whether or not Islam is “inherently violent.”

“The rash of horrific attacks in the name of Islam,” read a front-page article in the New York Times on January 9, “is spurring an anguished debate among Muslims here in the heart of the Islamic world about why their religion appears cited so often as a cause for violence and bloodshed.” The article then weighs arguments—for and against—the proposition that Islam is “inherently more violent than Judaism or Christianity.”

No significant section of the political establishment in any of the imperialist countries has shown itself capable of taking a principled stand in opposition to the promotion of anti-Muslim sentiment. That task falls to the socialist movement, which stands for the international unity of the working class, defends its democratic achievements, and rejects all attempts to whip up national, ethnic or religious bigotry.

The author also recommends:

New York City police, CIA in massive spying operation among Muslims
[26 August 2011]

Great horned owl webcam in the USA


This video says about itself:

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) calling for its mate on Dixon Branch of White Rock Creek in Dallas, Texas. This particular owl was hooting a territorial call for another owl that can be faintly heard some distance away beginning after the call around the 1:50 mark. The owls call to each other in a duet before finding each other for night hunting and nest building.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Our newest Cornell Lab Bird Cam just went live—Great Horned Owls from Savannah, Georgia (thanks to our partners at Skidaway Audubon).

This cam was initially planned to broadcast from an established Bald Eagle nest nearly 80 feet above the coastal Georgia salt marshes. But last month a pair of Great Horned Owls moved into the nest instead. So, we’ll go with the owls.

Right now the female is incubating two eggs, which should hatch around the end of January. Don’t miss your chance to get to know these secretive denizens of the darkness as they raise owlets in the coming weeks.

Owl species in North America: here.

Rare Kemp’s turtle beached in the Netherlands


This video from the USA is called Saving the Kemp’s Ridley Sea TurtleTexas Parks and Wildlife [Official].

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Rare turtle beached

Today, 12:18

At Den Helder beach last weekend a rare sea turtle washed ashore. Soon after that, the animal died, because it was starving. The turtle had not eaten for months.

According to director Marc Damen of Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam this is a Kemp’s turtle. That is a rare animal: since 1957 it had been seen five times in the Netherlands. The turtle is native to the Gulf of Mexico. It is threatened in its existence there.

Probably it had sailed in ballast water of a container ship. Damen: “If the ships reach the open sea, then they take in ballast water. And before they, for example, enter the port of Rotterdam, they will drop that ballast water. Probably the turtle had been sucked up.”

See also here.

CIA torture, Michael Brown and Eric Garner


This video from the USA says about itself:

On November 25th [2014], protesters took to the streets in Houston, Texas, to protest the non indictment of Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Torture, police killings and the militarization of America

12 December 2014

The fact that the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s report exposing CIA torture has been released in the United States as the country is being swept by angry protests over a series of vicious and unpunished police killings has been little noted by the American mass media.

What are treated as unrelated stories are, in fact, two facets of the same phenomenon: the growth of a massive and criminal police state apparatus that enjoys absolute impunity. The crimes carried out abroad and the crimes carried out at home have a common source in an economic and social system that is in deep crisis and whose overriding features are social inequality, militarism and a relentless assault on basic democratic rights.

The cops who shot down unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, strangled to death Eric Garner in Staten Island and killed defenseless individuals in Cleveland, Phoenix and elsewhere go unpunished as prosecutors employ a deliberate system of exoneration by grand jury to prevent them from ever being called to account for their crimes.

The actions in the Senate report are sufficient to require the immediate arrest and prosecution not merely of the CIA’s killers and torturers, but of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice and other top officials who authorized and oversaw a system of depravity and violence in violation of both US and international law.

Yet no one in the US Congress, the Obama administration or any other section of the American ruling establishment suggests that such prosecutions are even remotely possible. On Thursday, Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan, himself implicated in the crimes, organized a press conference from CIA headquarters in Langley to defend the “enhanced interrogation” torture program and denounce the Senate report.

It was Cofer Black, the former director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, who told an approving congressional committee in 2002 that “there was ‘before 9/11 and after 9/11.’ After 9/11 the gloves came off.”

The phrase, conjuring up the image of a bare-knuckled brawl, became a favorite cliché within both the Bush White House and the US military command. It was translated into far more gruesome forms of violence, ranging from waterboarding to hanging people from manacles and “rectal hydration.”

But the “gloves” that were taken off had more far-reaching implications. They involved dispensing with any adherence to the US Constitution, the Geneva Conventions or other bodies of domestic and international law.

The gloves came off not just for the interrogators at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and CIA black sites scattered across the globe, but for every level of the state, down to the local police.

USA: Tamir Rice’s Death Ruled A Homicide By Medical Examiner: here.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report on its years-long investigation of the Central Intelligence Agency’s immoral torture-based interrogation methods says the CIA got no information that stopped terror attacks. Which is not surprising. Scientists have been telling us for a long time that torture is a lousy way to get people to tell you the things you want to know.. “The scientific community has never established that coercive interrogation methods are an effective means of obtaining reliable intelligence information.” Martin Robbins leads off his indignant post at The Lay Scientist with this quote from a 2006 report of the Intelligence Science Board, formed to give scientific advice to US intelligence services. The Board was abolished in 2010, ostensibly for the sake of efficiency and the budget. I can’t help wondering if it was dumped because it told intelligence agencies–a misnomer if ever there was one–things they didn’t want to hear. Such as: torture doesn’t work: here.

So, torture does not work to get reliable information. But according to Richard Seymour, it does work in other ways for anti-democratic tendencies.

Protest Meanings Expand Beyond Ferguson And New York: here.

Judge Limits Use of Tear Gas Against Protesters in Missouri: here.

Pygmy sperm whale rescued in Wales


This video from Texas in the USA is called Pygmy sperm whale rescued in Galveston.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rare whale successfully rescued after stranding on Welsh beach

A stranded young six-foot Pygmy Sperm Whale has been successfully been refloated off a beach at Anglesey, North Wales and last seen heading towards the Irish Sea.

Sea Watch volunteer and BDMLR marine medic Ben Murcott, was the first to arrive at the Newborough beach on Anglesey after the alarm was raised. He and other trained volunteers assessed its condition and kept it comfortable until they were satisfied it could cope with being refloated. It was then carried out to the sea on a stretcher and allowed to reacclimatise to the water before being released to swim away.

The Pygmy Sperm Whale is one of two species of the Kogia Whale, the other of which is a Dwarf, and sightings of either is unusual in UK waters.

“Dwarf Sperm Whales are tropical species, occurring in the Atlantic off the West African coast whereas pygmy sperm whales normally range further northwards as far as the Bay of Biscay, said Dr Peter Evans, Director of Sea Watch.

“There are only seven previous records of dwarf sperm whale in all of Europe and although pygmy sperm whale has been recorded more often, there are still only about a dozen records from the UK, and only one previous one from Wales.”

To find out what you should do if you find a stranded cetacean please click here

For more information on what is involved in becoming a marine mammal medic click here