Patterico's Pontifications

12/14/2015

L.A. Times Tries to Draw Moral Equivalence Between San Bernardino Killers and One of Their Outspoken Victims

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 8:48 pm

Oh, they would deny it. But that’s what they’re doing.

The L.A. Times ran a piece on December 12 titled The shooting victim at the center of the debate about politics, religion and free speech. Yes, that’s right: the “debate.” You can see where they’re going right from jump street:

Nicholas Thalasinos wasn’t shy about his beliefs.

He took to Facebook and Twitter several times a day to opine about radical Islam, President Obama, abortion and Israel.

Thalasinos was one of 14 people killed in the Dec. 2 attack at a holiday party for the San Bernardino County Public Health Department. One of Thalasinos’ co-workers at the department, Syed Rizwan Farook, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, opened fire in what is the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil since 9/11.

And in the days after the slaughter, Thalasinos has become the focal point of an incendiary debate about free speech and the use of social media as a tool for persuading and proselytizing.

Has he now? Maybe around the L.A. Times water cooler. Out here in the real world we’re talking about trying to find ways to keep radical Islamist fanatics from killing more people.

A conservative Messianic Jew who believed in Jesus Christ as his savior while adhering to traditional elements of Judaism, Thalasinos enjoyed initiating spirited discussions about politics and religion with anyone who would listen.

He was seldom seen without his tzitzis — Jewish tassels — and was known for bright shirts, suspenders and a star of David tie clip. His social media persona was even less inhibited.

You know who had a social media persona that was even less inhibited than that of Nicholas Thalasinos? You know who also wasn’t shy about her beliefs? Why, that’d be Tashfeen Malik.

The New York Times has reported that Tashfeen Malik “talked openly on social media about her views on violent jihad. . . . She said she supported it. And she said she wanted to be a part of it.” Rather “uninhibited,” wouldn’t you say? Yet, in her zeal to place moral blame on the godbotherer Thalasinos, the rabid leftist L.A. Times reporter (I am making a guess here regarding her politics, but it’s an educated one) does not mention any of Malik’s far more incendiary postings. More from the L.A. Times article:

Two weeks before the shooting rampage at the Inland Regional Center, Stephens said, she called Thalasinos during a lunch break and overheard him talking about Islam with Farook, a fellow health inspector.

Thalasinos told her that Farook was defending Islam as a peaceful religion.

The conversation, Stephens said, was “nothing out of the ordinary. It was like an everyday conversation. It didn’t set off any bells or whistles for me.”

This is perhaps the most disgusting part of a disgusting article — as the writer goes out of her way to suggest that Thalasinos may have borne some moral responsibility for the massacre.

Keep in mind that, as he defended the peaceful nature of Islam, Farook and his wife had quite clearly planned violent jihad for quite some time. His wife’s pro-jihad postings were “old” (according to the New York Times), and we now know that they were made before she came to the U.S. in July 2014 — because it has been reported that U.S. officials did not look at them pursuant to Obama administration policy. (The L.A. Times has hidden that fact from its readers, but we know anyway.)

Why, they even occurred before her husband had a discussion with the evil Nicholas Thalasinos about the allegedly peaceful nature of Islam!

Nor was Farook himself a peaceful Muslim who suddenly became enraged upon talking to the dastardly Thalasinos. Consulting another New York Times article:

“At first it seemed very black and white to us that he changed radically when he met her,” said one of the officials who declined to be identified because of the continuing investigation. “But it’s become clear that he was that way before he met her.”

She came to the United States in July 2014, remember. So Farook had been radicalized (or, as the goofballs at the L.A. Times like to say: “self-radicalized”) for more than a year and a half before his ever-so-fateful conversation with Thalasinos.

There is no basis to imply that Thalasinos had anything to do with Farook’s and Malik’s murderous and fanatical actions. Other than being a Jew who dared think differently than these killers, he did nothing to deserve being murdered. Nor did his Facebook postings even begin to approach the violence described in Malik’s postings.

There is no moral equivalence here. None.

But that doesn’t stop the L.A. Times from trying to draw one.

Not Even The Most Innocent Are Spared

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:28 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It is being reported that ISIS has issued a fatwa to kill infants and children with Down Syndrome or congenital deformities. Reportedly, since a Sharia judge made the religious decree, at least 38 babies less than three months old have been killed by lethal injection or suffocation.

The group says it has monitored the deaths of several children with Down Syndrome and congenital deformities. They learned of an “Oral Fatwa” issued by the sharia board of the Islamic State authorizing its members to “kill newborn babies with Down’s [sic] Syndrome and congenital deformities and disabled children.”

The Fatwa was issued by a Saudi sharia judge named Abu Said Aljazrawi.

The post also reports that most of the children born with Down Syndrome have been the offspring of foreign fighters who married Iraqi, Syrian and Asian women.

Given that we already know ISIS does not value human life, and that no one is exempt from their monstrous cruelty, this decree to eliminate the most innocent of all, nevertheless, horrifies down to the bone. God help us if anyone believes that this group has some infinitesimal thread of decency in them. Because if they do, then they still don’t recognize unmasked evil when confronted by it, nor grasp that these vicious animals make their home, and exist, in the darkest depths of depravity – not unlike those who came before them.

May each little one that perishes at the hands of these monsters be lovingly welcomed home by God, where He will gently wipe every tear from their eyes.

–Dana

Steve Lopez Error on Mass Shootings Corrected

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:38 pm

It’s a tough job keeping these folks accurate, but that’s why we’re here.

That error by Steve Lopez regarding the number of mass killings in the U.S. has been corrected:

FOR THE RECORD

Mass shootings: In the Dec. 4 California section, a column about the San Bernardino shootings said the incident was the 355th multiple-death shooting in the country this year. It should have said San Bernardino was the 353rd mass shooting in the U.S. this year, not all of which involved deaths.

My original post on this was here. I’m confident this was not deliberate on his part, by the way. He explained to me by email that he misread a report about it, and I accept the explanation.

L.A. Times Buries Any Mention of DHS Policy of Not Reviewing Visa Applicants’ Social Media

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:25 pm

Richard Serrano reports in the L.A. Times:

San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik sent at least two private messages on Facebook to a small group of Pakistani friends in 2012 and 2014, pledging her support for Islamic jihad and saying she hoped to join the fight one day, two top federal law enforcement officials said Monday.

The new details indicate U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies missed warnings on social media that Malik was a potential threat before she entered the United States on a K-1 fiancee visa in July 2014.

The phrase “missed warnings on social media” suggests that federal officials were empowered to search social media to screen visa applicants for suboptimal characteristics — such as, for example, expressing a desire to kill a lot of people in service of the cause of jihad.

But, as the blog you are reading noted this morning, according to ABC News, a former senior official from Homeland Security has made a rather serious allegation — namely, that Obama’s Homeland Security guy, Jeh Johnson, prohibited immigration officials from looking at visa applicants’ social media, for fear of bad P.R.

Fearing a civil liberties backlash and “bad public relations” for the Obama administration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refused in early 2014 to end a secret U.S. policy that prohibited immigration officials from reviewing the social media messages of all foreign citizens applying for U.S. visas, a former senior department official said.

“During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process,” John Cohen, a former acting under-secretary at DHS for intelligence and analysis. Cohen is now a national security consultant for ABC News.

The Hill reported just after 6 a.m. Pacific time this morning that Cohen’s allegation has been confirmed by other officials:

One current and one former senior counterterrorism official confirmed Cohen’s account to ABC.

A DHS spokesman told ABC News that in the fall of 2014 after Cohen left, the department began three pilot programs to include social media in vetting, but officials say it’s still not a widespread policy and a review is underway.

Fall of 2014? Too late to catch Tashfeen Malik, who entered the country in July 2014.

Not only is there no hint of these revelations in Serrano’s story, but Serrano dutifully repeats the Administration’s line to the contrary:

John Kirby, a State Department spokesman, said officials are reviewing the K-1 visa screening process in light of the gap exposed in San Bernardino. Applicants must provide fingerprints and pass multiple checks of U.S. criminal, immigration and terrorism databases, as well as a consular interview, to get the visa approved.

The investigations don’t necessarily include every applicant’s social media history, however.

“If a consular officer … feels like it would be valuable or necessary to look at the social media presence of an individual, they can and do conduct those reviews,” Kirby told reporters Monday. “But it’s not absolute in every case. Each one is taken individually.”

That’s not what John Cohen says. Yet nowhere in Serrano’s mindless stenography is there even a hint that there was a deliberate policy, created by Obama’s hand-picked DHS guy for reasons of public relations, to prevent officials from reviewing social media.

Serrano’s article was first published at 3:47 p.m. today.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 6.56.09 PM

I published my post regarding Cohen’s allegation at 7:39 a.m. today.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 6.59.05 PM

Is it really possible that I was aware of this allegation more than eight hours before a Los Angeles Times reporter whose job it was to report on this issue?

Or did Serrano know, and just decide not to report it?

I don’t know the answer to that question for sure, but here’s a clue: the briefing cited by Serrano in which Kirby, the State Department spokesman, said that consular officers were allowed to look at social media. I found a transcript here — and guess what? In that briefing, someone asked about the very report I mentioned!

QUESTION: Okay. My last one here: There – obviously we know now that the DHS and the State Department has a policy which gives – affords them the right to do these background searches on social media. Was there a time in recent history, as has been reported, that they were prohibited from these types of searches for whatever reason?

MR KIRBY: I’m not aware of any prohibition in the past, as – I know you’re looking at press reports with respect to that.

So. The question remains: did Richard Serrano not know about this, even though it was reported by reputable news organizations early this morning, and brought up at the very briefing that he cites in his article? Or did he know about it, and decide not to tell his readers? (Or, did he try to tell readers, and have an editor chop the information out?)

I’m very curious to know the answer. Aren’t you?

If you want to ask him, he’s reachable by email at richard.serrano@latimes.com, or on Twitter at @rickserranoLAT

How Obama’s Homeland Security Department Elevated Political Correctness Over Saving Lives

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:39 am

Political correctness cost 14 lives:

Fearing a civil liberties backlash and “bad public relations” for the Obama administration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refused in early 2014 to end a secret U.S. policy that prohibited immigration officials from reviewing the social media messages of all foreign citizens applying for U.S. visas, a former senior department official said.

“During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process,” John Cohen, a former acting under-secretary at DHS for intelligence and analysis. Cohen is now a national security consultant for ABC News.

. . . .

The revelation comes as members of Congress question why U.S. officials failed to review the social media posts of San Bernardino terrorist Tashfeen Malik. She received a U.S. visa in May 2014, despite what the FBI said were extensive social media messages about jihad and martyrdom.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., demanded Sunday that the U.S. immediately initiate a program that would check the social media sites of those admitted on visas.”

“Had they checked out Tashfeen Malik,” the senator said, “maybe those people in San Bernardino would be alive.”

I think someone said recently that we need to make these mass shootings harder. That someone, who occupies the White House, suggested that gun control was somehow the thing we needed — even though his fool of a spokesman could not name a recent mass shooting that would have been stopped by gun control.

But you know what would have prevented the San Bernardino mass shooting?

Having someone in the Oval Office who takes the threat of Islamic terrorism seriously enough to prioritize safety over concerns about “bad public relations.”

January 20, 2017 cannot come fast enough.


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