Why It’s A Conspiracy I Tell Ya’!!

So what has Michelle Malkin all a twitter now? Why this article. What part about that article? Why this part,

The accused, dressed casually in jeans or jogging pants and t-shirts, sported traditional Muslim male beards. Most were Canadian citizens or residents.

Police described them as coming from a broad “strata” of society. Some are students, some are employed, some are unemployed. The adults range in age from 19 to 43.

See after noting that all of these guys had the traditional Muslim beards, are all male, the grave sin of the Globe and Mail is to say that they come from a “broad strata” of society. This makes them out to be…well not your typical Muslim terror cell. Never mind that just prior to this the same article notes that these men all had the “traditional Muslim beards” which Malkin herself thought was significant. The same article also notes that the men requested Korans which Malkin also saw as noteworthy.

Frankly, I’m not sure what the outrage is about here. Seems the article that Malkin is decrying has provided almost all the details she seems to think are somehow noteworthy. The idea that they come from a “broad strata” does not have to mean that there are no similarities amongst these men. For example, I could go out and randomly select 10 men and then find similarities, I’d also likely find differences as well.

Malkin also points to a post by Allahpundit over at Hot Air about this supposed “broad strata”, but I see nothing to confirm nor undermine the statement. Allahpundit does have a link entitled, “Poor, uneducated, underprivileged, disenfranchised:“, but the problem is that I haven’t seen anything saying these people were “poor, uneducated, underprivileged nor disenfranchised”. In fact, the term “broad strata” would seem to suggest just the opposite, that some of the people are educated, not poor, privileged and enfranchised.

Allahpundit also has a link to the Counter Terrorism Blog which has an interesting tidbit.

On May 29, CSIS officials testified as to the growth of such “homegrown” terrorists in Canada; Jack Hooper, the CSIS Deputy Director of Operations stated that “We are seeing phenomena in Canada such as the emergence of homegrown, second- and third-generation terrorists” and that “We have cases of white Anglo-Saxon male Protestants converting to the most radical forms of Islam“.

What is interesting is that last bit. It suggests that Malkin’s seeming fixation on the typical Muslim male could be a potential problem, if it is adopted as a general policy. There are Muslims who are not Middle Easterners. In fact, there are people who are of the same ethnic/racial background as Malkin herself (Filipinos from the island Mindanao). Having a policy that focuses on just the Middle Eastern male creates a very serious loop hole in security measures against terrorism. This loop-hole can be easily found by using the “Carnival Booth strategy” where the terrorists send people through security screenings to learn who can and can’t get through. This basically allows the terrorist to learn who to send on a mission. Hence the need for random checks.1 In short, Allahpundit suggests that terrorists could very well be coming from a “broad strata” of society, if not now, maybe in the future.

But, never mind all that, because the Media and Law Enforcement is out on some sort of Evil Social Engineering crusade or something and only Michelle Malkin and her trusty sidekicks can stop them. Or something like that.
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1This doesn’t mean a security policy can’t use profiling, just that profiling by itself is potentially vulnerable to being circumvented.

FILED UNDER: Media, National Security, Terrorism, , , , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. Kevin Hayden says:

    Excellent points, Steve. Malkin demonstrates an OC disorder in always trying to define every event through the lens of race or nationality. Had she been a pundit long ago, I’m sure she’d determine that Timothy McVeigh’s family had some foreigner blood in the lineage which caused him to go crazy and attack America.

    I don’t doubt the existence of enemies across the globe, but I don’t view it as akin to rabies that only runs in the blood of Middle Easterners, Arabs or Muslims. Thankfully, even in Middle Eastern societies with wackjob governments eager to see us fall, I don’t see evidence that a majority of their citizens would be willing to do us harm.

  2. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Verdon, why is it you are always making excuses for the left? Could it be, that you lean that direction?

  3. John Burgess says:

    Rather than “potentially vulnerable to being circumvented,” I’d say “particularly vulnerable.”

    If security is looking in one direction, the smart guy is going to come from another.

    To assume that terrorists are dumb, stuck-in-a-rut morons, unable to learn and modify their behavior, is to beg to be killed.

  4. The only step left is to inter them!!! Put them all in camps, I tells ya!! CAMPS!!!

  5. Len says:

    Malkin is funny. I read her for humor. But I’m laughing at her, not with her.

    She’s kind of the “shock jock” — Howard Stern, if you will — of the right-wing blogosphere.

    I’m pretty sure she kisses the feet of a life-size Ann Coulter doll before going to bed every night.

  6. Amplez says:

    ‘Broad Strata.’ This is the same as the London bombers, which Canada had involvement in at least two terrorists. The reason they tell you these people have money is because alot of us don’t. It’s difficult to understand.

    Conterterrorismblog is retired CIA operations officers and they have their own agenda. That may include work with CSIS or other foreign securtiy forces.

    As far as Phillipine terrorist, those countries seem to indentify with the FBI who opened their first overseas offices there. Terror is more controlled.

    ‘Carnival Booth Strategy’ won’t really work because the screeners randomly abuse people and, no, you can’t figure it out.

    The crusade may exist because Malkin needs to save us all, but, unfortunately, there is’nt much there brainwise so its not fun.

  7. Here I had thought they were busily competing for the same angry demographic. So, folks who went to their sites to see a cat fight are now going to have to watch girl on doll action? Euuuuwwwww, gross….

  8. Seav says:

    Manilla Bulletin Online has a new article.

  9. Kathy says:

    Thank you, Steve. I was thinking along the same lines when I read Malkin’s post.

  10. Steve Verdon says:

    Verdon, why is it you are always making excuses for the left? Could it be, that you lean that direction?

    Why yes I do. I want the government out of my wallet and out of my bedroom.

    As for this issue I don’t see it so much as Right or Left, but as What Works. I think there may very well be a place for profiling, and on that Malkin is right, however, relying on profiling alone as Malkin seems all to in favor of, is as John Burgess notes, is to beg to be killed.

    �Carnival Booth Strategy� won�t really work because the screeners randomly abuse people and, no, you can�t figure it out.

    I didn’t say that, I noted that the Carnival Booth strategy can lead to circumventing profiling, not random searches.

  11. Adam says:

    You’re exactly right. For the most part, terrorists in Europe and the US have lately been converts to Islam and life-time citizens and residents of “the West.” It’s disaffected, alienated youngish men that become terrorists, not poor brainwashed Saudis who had their house bombed by the UN.

  12. cryinginthewilderness says:

    Are you saying that these are not Islamic terrorists or that that is not worth mentioning in the news?

  13. John Poleshek says:
  14. Bithead says:

    Broad strata? It would appear somebody’s not reading their own blog. Let’s take a little snippet from a couple of posts ago:

    . Fahim Ahmad, 21, Toronto;

    2. Zakaria Amara, 20, Mississauga, Ont.;

    3. Asad Ansari, 21, Mississauga;

    4. Shareef Abdelhaleen, 30, Mississauga;

    5. Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43, Mississauga;

    6. Mohammed Dirie, 22, Kingston, Ont.;

    7. Yasim Abdi Mohamed, 24, Kingston;

    8. Jahmaal James, 23, Toronto;

    9. Amin Mohamed Durrani, 19, Toronto;

    10. Steven Vikash Chand alias Abdul Shakur, 25, Toronto;

    11. Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, 21, Mississauga;

    12. Saad Khalid, 19, of Eclipse Avenue, Mississauga.

    (What was that quote from the news conference about the individuals not reflecting on any one community?)

    Steve, your argument is weak, bordering on the nonexistent, and consists of little more than your typical frothing at Malikin.

    Malkin is correct; what you call her fixation on the typical muslim male is in fact the heart of the matter.

    Unless, perchance, you’d like to defend the TSA doing cavity searches on 70 year old grandmothers in the name of security, while ignoring people like, for example, Yasim Abdi Mohamed, in the name of being ‘culturally sensitive’…

  15. LJD says:

    I want the government out of my wallet and out of my bedroom.

    The real question is why you need to have your wallet in the bedroom.

  16. Steve Verdon says:

    Are you saying that these are not Islamic terrorists or that that is not worth mentioning in the news?

    Neither.

    John,

    I think OC referred to Obsessive-Compulsive.

    Bithead,

    Steve, your argument is weak, bordering on the nonexistent, and consists of little more than your typical frothing at Malikin.

    No, the fact that they are all Middle Eastern does not mean that they aren’t from a “broad strata”. Just as White, Black and Asian are not monolithic groups that are homogenous neither are people of Middle Eastern descent.

    Malkin is correct; what you call her fixation on the typical muslim male is in fact the heart of the matter.

    No, it is of minor importance at best. As I’ve noted Al Qaida and terrorists come from a wide array of racial/ethnic backgrounds. It is even concievable that someday a terrorist for Islamic extremism will be white.

    Unless, perchance, youâ??d like to defend the TSA doing cavity searches on 70 year old grandmothers in the name of security, while ignoring people like, for example, Yasim Abdi Mohamed, in the name of being â??culturally sensitiveâ??â?¦

    Don’t be such a flaming moron Bithead, you are much smarter than this. Where did I say that is what should done?

  17. Steve Verdon says:

    The real question is why you need to have your wallet in the bedroom.

    Well, my wallet is usually in my pants…which and my bedroom is where I tend to take said pants off….

    I assume that further information is more than you want to know.

  18. Steve Verdon says:

    By the way Bithead, just in case you haven’t noticed I go after what I see as idiocy. I go after Kevin Drum for an example from the Left, and Michelle Malkin on the Right. Why them? They are high profile. Lots of people read them.

  19. LJD says:

    O.K. Steve, I guess you do have a sense of humor.

    The Evil Social Engineering crusade you speak of is very real for the left. You seem to elaborate on it quite well in your comments. They see no diversity in a room full of white people, while they may be from different backgrounds, means, education, regions, they are all white. Adding one of every race to the group does not necessarily make them ‘diverse’ especially if they’re all from the same block, or in the same school. The left thinks it DOES make for more diversity.

    I think some of the arguments you’re getting from other posterrs is that regardless of the origin, skin color, etc. of the terrorists, they all (converts included) tend to share names like Mohammed, Ahmed, etc., and a distinctive appearance that can be used to screen their ‘potential’.

    The argument is not necessarily about weighing the meaning of ‘broad strata’ but that the media, in their PC desire to be ‘sensitive’ to the terrorists, went out of their way to avoid the obvious connections.

  20. Bithead says:

    LJD:

    The Evil Social Engineering crusade you speak of is very real for the left. You seem to elaborate on it quite well in your comments. They see no diversity in a room full of white people, while they may be from different backgrounds, means, education, regions, they are all white. Adding one of every race to the group does not necessarily make them â??diverseâ?? especially if theyâ??re all from the same block, or in the same school. The left thinks it DOES make for more diversity.

    I think some of the arguments youâ??re getting from other posterrs is that regardless of the origin, skin color, etc. of the terrorists, they all (converts included) tend to share names like Mohammed, Ahmed, etc., and a distinctive appearance that can be used to screen their â??potentialâ??.

    Exactly so. However, you seem to go astray, here:

    The argument is not necessarily about weighing the meaning of â??broad strataâ?? but that the media, in their PC desire to be â??sensitiveâ?? to the terrorists, went out of their way to avoid the obvious connections.

    And so does Steve Verdon.
    The fact is, this is not a broad strata, as Verdon suggests, but rather, a narrow one, that Verdon refuses for whatever reason, to identify.

    Steve;

    Unless, perchance, youâ??d like to defend the TSA doing cavity searches on 70 year old grandmothers in the name of security, while ignoring people like, for example, Yasim Abdi Mohamed, in the name of being â??culturally sensitiveâ??â?¦

    Donâ??t be such a flaming moron Bithead, you are much smarter than this. Where did I say that is what should done?

    When you refuse to identify a narrow portion of the spectrum as being problematic. Far from being “idiodic”, Malkin is willing to correctly ID the specific grouping as such.

    What remains, then, is why you’re not, and what you would call a ‘narrow spectrum’.

  21. Steve Verdon says:

    I think some of the arguments youâ??re getting from other posterrs is that regardless of the origin, skin color, etc. of the terrorists, they all (converts included) tend to share names like Mohammed, Ahmed, etc., and a distinctive appearance that can be used to screen their â??potentialâ??.

    The argument is not necessarily about weighing the meaning of â??broad strataâ?? but that the media, in their PC desire to be â??sensitiveâ?? to the terrorists, went out of their way to avoid the obvious connections.

    I don’t dispute any of this, for the most part. My comments in the OP, were about a policy that looks at Middle Eastern males only and that such a policy is subject to circumvetntion. As John Burgess notes, it is where we beg to be killed, because of such a stupid policy. So random searches still have a use, and important use. But people focus on the 70 year old lady and conclude that such a policy is stupid.

    As for the Media, it was also the Law Enforcement people too. In fact, they were to ones who used the term, the Media merely repeated it.

    As for the evidence that they aren’t from a broad strata, I see none, at least so far. All the links to the “narrow strata” aren’t very helpful of highlight that the people are different (e.g. a student of health sciences, a computer programer, unemployed, employed, etc.).

    Bithead,

    Broad strata can have a variety of meanings. Sure these guys are mainly of Middle Eastern decent, but as I noted, focusing on just this group can be problematic. I’m not saying don’t focus on such a group, just don’t become overly focused on the race/ethnicity issue that seems to pervade Malkin’s writings. Doing so is not only rather distasteful, but stupid.

    Think about it, your a terrorist mastermind. Your latest batch of terrorists got nabbed prior to making anything go bang. They are all of middle eastern descent. Do you:

    A. Go with the same predictable pattern?
    B. Go with something completely different?

    Can terrorists send in a bunch of Filipino or Indonesian terrorists? What about some white muslims that have recently joined one of the more extreme sects? The palestinians have been using women in their suicide bombing missions, why not Al Qaida? Looking only at males of Middle Eastern descent as potential terror suspects is like looking for your car keys under the street light. Sure they might be there, but then again maybe not. A prudent policy would be to have better screening in general and random searches. Even if it means searching the 70 year old grandma from Cheboygan.

    Malkin on the other hand is all about Muslims…look at the Muslims, MALE muslism, from the Middle East!! Leave grandma alone and start profiling now!

  22. Bithead says:

    Broad strata can have a variety of meanings. Sure these guys are mainly of Middle Eastern decent, but as I noted, focusing on just this group can be problematic.

    Malkin on the other hand is all about Muslims�look at the Muslims, MALE muslism, from the Middle East!! Leave grandma alone and start profiling now!

    She does so, because that’s where the problem lies.

    I await one example from you …. one …. that runs contrary to that perception. You may argue all day long, about theory. We’re dealing in fact.

  23. Steve Verdon says:

    I await one example from you �. one �. that runs contrary to that perception. You may argue all day long, about theory. We�re dealing in fact.

    And that is the problem, because when we see this example, it will most likely be when it has bitten us on our collective asses and several thousand people are dead.

    Basically you are looking backwards, looking at past patterns and then predicting them forever into the future. When the trend changes we will be caught with our pants down if we base a policy on this kind of thinking.

  24. Bithead says:

    Not likely. The fact is, there are damned few who do not fall into that grouping that are willing to sacrifice themselves, simply because there are not many islamic radicals who do not fall into that grouping.

    And the radicalism we’re dealing with means that trend won’t change. It hasn’t, in the last several thousand years, Steve.

  25. Steve Verdon says:

    Bithead,

    We are fighting Al Qaida all over the world. There has been on American who has been trained at Al Qaida camps and reportedly even met Bin Laden. There are an Al Qaida affilliates in South East Asia and the Phillippines. The idea that they could put together a group that is non-Middle Easter strikes me as a very real possibility. Focusing on just the Middle Easterners is a mistake.

    And the radicalism weâ??re dealing with means that trend wonâ??t change. It hasnâ??t, in the last several thousand years, Steve.

    Nope, you are wrong. Indonesians are not Middle Easterners. I can’t believe I need to give you a remedial geography lesson.

  26. Bithead says:

    You keep pointing to exceptions.

    We are fighting Al Qaida all over the world

    Yep. We sure are.And it still comes down tot his: When have those actually attacking us and our freinds not fit the profile?

  27. Steve Verdon says:

    Bithead,

    There are the Bali Bombings, the Marriot Bombin in Jakarta, the Jakarta Embassy Bombing, all by Jemaah Islamiyah. Indosnesia is not in the Middle East.

    Then there is the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) out of the Phillippines. There are connections between ASG and Middle Eastern terrorist groups and Jemaah Islamiyah.

    Then there are the Chechens who blew up that school in Chechnya. There is some evidence linking them to Al Qaeda as well.

    In short there is plenty of evidence suggesting that there could be change in the trend.

  28. John Burgess says:

    Bithead: Just a few examples…

    Richard Reid (not a notably Islamic name, though he is Muslim) is ethnically English/West Indies. He doesn’t look “Middle Eastern” unless you equate that with “swarthy”. But “swarthy” doesn’t exactly fit, either. I know Arabs who are of blue-eyed and fair skinned countenance such that unless you know them you’d think they were Germans, or even Celts.

    Jose Padilla (not a notably Islamic name, either) is ethnically Latin American (I don’t know what countries his ancestors come from). Had he not drawn attention to himself through his travels, he would have been invisible to the strict profiling that Malkin and others promote.

    David Hicks (not a notably Islamic name) is Australian and also fair complected. He’s in Guantanamo (via Afghanistan).

    So, are 70-y/o Scandanavian grandmothers from Sheboygan a threat? Maybe not. Or maybe not yet. You may choose to decide they represent no threat. Random TSA searches at least offer the possibility of catching the rogue granny. A tight focus on “Middle Eastern males between 18-30” would absolutely miss her, with 100% inaccuracy.

    I think the guys who planned 9/11 (as well as the 5/12 Riyadh bombings, the 7/7 London bombings, etc.) are pretty clever. Fiendishly clever, but certainly not stupid. They are not limited to recruting “Middle Eastern males between 18-30” (and the London guys weren’t even Arab, BTW).

    Yes, there is high probability that they will recruit from pools of people like themselves. But that is not 100% guaranteed.

    High probability targets of screening (MEmb18-30) might even be caught, with targeted screening. That’s certainly a good thing. But a system which, by design, will not catch Annie Gertrudsdotter who has a major bone to pick with a political system, is faulty–by design.