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Saturday, December 05, 2015

The San Berdoo massacre: A few red herrings -- and one REAL mystery

Some of the mysteries surrounding the latest mass shooting are being resolved. Disturbingly, it appears that a few right-wingers have made deliberate attempts to create confusion.

We also have a new mystery -- one which I find truly confounding. The more I try to puzzle out the "twelve pipe problem," the more bizarre it seems.

We'll get to that soon. First...

The Third Man. The video embedded at the bottom of this post proves that a third person was arrested, or at least detained, during the San Bernardino horror. The person being led away in handcuffs appears to be a black man wearing normal civilian clothing. There is an object on the ground which looks like a weapon of some kind, although I am sure that it is not. The cops would have reacted quite differently if that object were, in fact, a gun.

I feel certain that this individual is the same person who (according to other news reports) was questioned and let go after the police determined that he was not involved in the shooting.

There are conflicting reports of other detainees. One putative eyewitness on Reddit said that he saw a man in black being taken into custody, while another report speaks of a man who was spotted changing out of camo gear. (As if a traditional camouflage jacket would be even slightly useful to someone shooting up a public space in San Bernardino!)

Much of this information, or misinformation, is sourced to "police scanners." This motif allows for much mischief. If you say you heard "Fact X" on a police broadcast, you will sound very authoritative -- yet your readers will have no way to double-check your information.

The mystery name. Tashfeen Malik is the femme fatale at the center of this incident. By all accounts, she appears to have manipulated her husband into an extremist ideology. Coneniently, she bragged about her admiration for ISIS in a Facebook post shortly before the massacre. It has now been confirmed that a Facebook employee discovered this post and informed the authorities.

Many people are wondering why Tashfeen was originally identified as Tayeep bin Ardogan, a name derived from that of Turkey's president. To the ears of someone from that part of the world, "Tayeep bin Ardogan" is an obvious joke name, like...well, like "Biggus Dickus" in that Monty Python movie. (Of course, to an average American, the name "Tayeep bin Ardogan" would appear no odder than would any other name from that region.)

A reader of this blog offers the following tip:
The first known public cite of "Tayeep bin Ardogan" was by Twitter use @Veruca72, a right wing blogger who was monitoring a police scanner.
"Monitoring a police scanner." There it is again: The "scanner" motif.

Here, it seems, is the Ur-Tweet which originated the hoax. Veruca72 appears to be the nomme-de-Twitter of one Anne Miller-Hyatt, who idolizes Michelle Malkin and Ben Carson.

I'm hardly in a position to criticize anyone else for yanking legs, but I confine the practice to the traditional date of April 1 -- and I would never stoop so low as to try to deceive the media about something as tragic as a mass shooting. Annie's antics demonstrate once again that the right side of the political spectrum attracts some seriously screwy individuals. I suspect that we will hear from her again.

Question: Did someone put Annie up to this stunt? Judging from her picture, she looks like a normal white housewife from an American suburb. The name "Tayeep bin Ardogan" would seem funny only to someone conversant with Middle Eastern culture. So how would she know...?

A disturbing pattern emerges. It would appear that some red herrings are actually red state herrings, and that our thriving "conspiracy" subculture is being used as a way to create confusion.

The media intrusion. One simple question: How the hell could the cops allow anything like this to happen? I cannot recall a similar situation.

The bomb that wasn't. If you are looking for a genuine mystery to gnaw on, consider this:
Meredith Davis, a spokeswoman with ATF, told KCAL9-TV the two suspects who died in a shootout with police after the mass killing in California were each armed with a long gun and a handgun.

They were wearing tactical-style clothing that was "loaded with magazines for a gunfight," she said Wednesday.

Davis said the suspects also threw a thick-gauge copper pipe out of the SUV, but no explosives were found inside.

The fake pipe bomb was equipped with a piece of material made to look like a wick.

Authorities are tracing the serial numbers on the guns and authorities will be dispatched to those addresses.
Emphasis added. Why would anyone intent on mass murder bother to create something that looks like a bomb but isn't?

Now consider the following (from here):
Twelve pipe bombs and ammunition were found at a Redlands home rented by the San Bernardino mass shooters accused in Wednesday's rampage at the Inland Regional Center.
In addition to the dozen pipe bombs, hundreds of tools for making more such explosives, and over 3,000 more rounds of ammunition were also discovered at the home, Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said in a grim morning-after inventory that suggested Wednesday's bloodbath could have been far worse.
Why would these people leave twelve real bombs at home while taking carefully-constructed fake bombs with them?

Does this situation make any sense to you? I challenge my readers to come up with a scenario which would offer a logical solution to this "twelve pipe problem."

Spying. I have no doubt that many will point to the San Bernardino outrage as the justification for continuation of the Surveillance State.

Let us heed the words of NSA whistleblower is William Binney.  He was an executive in the Agency, and is regarded as the godfather of the massive "git-it-all" eavesdropping system which currently bedevils us. His reaction:
If you want to get into the real reason politicians, companies and agencies are hard over advocates for mass/bulk surveillance, then you need to look at all the money involved. It’s about 100 Billion (that’s with a B) per year.

When NSA Director Alexander said their objective is to “collect it all”, then that simply exposed the underlying reason for all this spying. That committed the government to collecting an ever increasing year-by-year amount of data which takes an ever increasing year-by-year amount of money to do. And to achieve that, they use fear mongering and lies to mislead and bamboozle us into letting them take more and more of our money to achieve very little.

So, every time there is a terrorist attack, what we really need to do is demand that they cut the budgets of all the intelligence agencies. And, if they still keep failing, then we need to get rid of them and start the process again with new agencies and new managers. It could be as simple are removing the top 4 layers of management at an agency and replacing them with external people drawn from professional ranks not related to politics or government.
Real pipe bombs were left at the shooting site. The piece of pipe thrown out the window of the SUV may have been tossed to keep evidence of bomb-making activity out of the car so that they might evade being arrested. They obviously thought they might be able to get away at the point where they were driving the SUV. Also lengths of pipe can be weapons even without explosives when used in hand-to-hand combat. It may have been left in the car routinely for that purpose. They may not have realized how much the cops knew about their condo and their identities at that point and genuinely thought they could escape if stopped by giving a cover story. Remember that they had covered their faces during the attack. It may have been tossed to get rid of anything connecting them to the attack, not because it was a bomb.
Whatever comes out of this, you can be sure that it is unrelated to actually addressing the problem. The NYTimes editorial is really odd. It looks like some lunatic partisan whack job, whose only mission is to not have the focus be on the shooters. Calling every mass shooting act an act of terrorism? Leftwingers might want to pause before getting behind this framing. They won't though, Obama will do the same.

Gun deaths are down in America. Mass killing are on the rise. The graph for the last 8 years is pretty shocking. Creates an epidemic of fear and intolerance. You don't want to think that Obama is in the middle of this, but why not? He's just working too for the government.

It's not going to be pretty, what they come up with, in terms of surveillance and more war abroad.
Anon: Interesting thoughts, but I am not persuaded by your reconstruction of their possible motives.

Then again, I can't claim to have any better ideas. To me, the pipe bomb mystery is utterly weird and baffling.
This story seems to confirm that the shooters wore black masks, and that the ID (of the actual shooters) was more an assumption than a hard identification.

The Washington Post jumps on the conspiracy theory meme:
Good post Joe, thanks. Over at MoA, a constant theme has been for some.."It's just business, get over it." I've believed that for a while. From the NSA BS, to this nation's lust for regime change, it's all about business, and that means more $ for a few elites. God knows their not sharing much of it with their employees.
Fair points on the police scanner meme, Joe. However I would point out that the correct name of the male suspect was circulating on Twitter, attributed to police scanners, well before the media reported it, and long before authorities confirmed it. From following the (misspelled) #SanBernadino hashtag on the day of the shooting, it appeared to me that it was precisely because the man's name turned out to be correct that the Ardogan name spread so quickly. Now, perhaps that's simply a way of saying that's how disinformation works, by piggybacking something plausible but false on top of something true. But it all seemed to be happening more or less simultaneously, before any actual information had been confirmed.

One question that remains for me is, was the "hoax" Ardogan name confined to Twitter and the media, or was it something that law enforcement itself was grappling with on the day of the shootings? And did the fake name delay or obstruct the investigation in any way in those crucial first hours?

FBI director James Comey has said there's "a lot of evidence that doesn't quite make sense." You got that right. According to the Daily Mail (sorry), Malik "posted a pledge of allegiance to ISIS and its leader Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi just minutes into a deadly attack on a holiday party Wednesday." This sounds loony. How long does it take to shoot 35 people in a crowded room with semiautomatic rifles? And you stop in the middle to post on Facebook? Was he shooting while she was posting?

Law enforcement gave custody of the couple's apartment back to the landlord so he could let over 100 reporters plow through the premises, along with some of the neighbors, thus corrupting possible evidence for all time? What?

It's just more "conspiracy fatigue" justifying parents' position that the best thing is just to keep their heads down, cultivate their own gardens, and teach their kids to be nice and watch out for their own interests--because "we'll never know for sure" and thus questions are a waste of time.

WOW what timing and like the law ever stopped them before.
A man is reported to have stabbed passengers at Leytonstone tube-station in London, injuring one person badly and shouting "This is for Syria".

Might Daesh have a ready source of single-act combatants among people who are sufficiently mentally ill to carry out actions of this type but who are not actually under command; who have not been recruited into any organised structure, whether by payment, ideological indoctrination, coercion or plays on their egos; and who have not even received any communications at all from Daesh other than what is brought to them by advertising giant Google, its Youtube arm, the BBC, etc.?

If so, that would be a new step in the recruitment and utilisation of agents in enemy territory. And it is a very scary one, because a city such as London has a large number of headcases.

Here's another question, for those who have been seeking to establish whether or not Anne Miller-Hyatt was the first, as has been reported, to name the Bernardino shooter as "Ardogan"...

Take a look at this page

and note that the tweet about the attack in Leytonstone, complete with a picture (said to have "graphic content", now removed), was posted by the London Shomrim, a Jewish "police" vigilante force. (The tweet too has now been removed.)

They do seem to be quick off the propaganda mark as well as quick on the secne.
"There have been 19.82 million checks so far through November this year, and it is on pace to break the record. Black Friday saw the most background checks — 185,345 — in a single day."

At this rate, it's only going to increase.
If you want to look into crazy meme land, search around for why Obama says ISIL instead of ISIS.
"You ain't no muslim bro"

haha, let that one go viral. Really though, the rightwingers have been right in that it's the good Muslims of the world that need to get on the PR and fight it back.

Well, that, and maybe the US stop dumping off $10M worth of arms a day and drone killing citizens and what else we don't know in the ME...
b interesting question arises. If there were a substantial Vietnamese population in the US during the 1064-1974 period, and if members of that community committed stabbing attacks while shouting "This is for Vietnam" -- would the war have been shortened or prolonged?
b, I just watched that too.

That is an interesting twist on the pathology of capitalism that finds it's worm crawling out. Who can guess how it gets assimilated into the system.
Any timelines yet on all the activity?
Joseph, 11.52pm. It would have prolonged it, I think, both in that epoch and in subsequent ones.

That's even if coming to terms with an enemy based in foreign lands that is massively capable of terror attacks against one's own civilians and looks as though it will remain so capable, is reasonable. The same is true if the enemy can and does carry out such attacks behind the lines against the military, although we haven't yet seen that from Daesh.

That's why, for example, the Russian authorities came to terms with Chechen forces: General Alexander Lebed advised that the Russian military could not protect Russian nuclear power stations and therefore had to make concessions and shake hands, war over. No competent general ever bases his attitude on "kill, kill, kill" and "we've got such big testicles we can win every war we fight".

I heard a British politician on the radio, speaking in a kind of gritty voice, saying that sadly "we" are going to kill some people in Syria who "aren't the people we intend to kill". He means civilians. And he's talking about a region where 4 million people, half the population, are already refugees. How psycho have things got? Since Sun Tzu the aim of war has been viewed not as killing but as making the enemy stop fighting, ideally before a battle is fought. Many of today's western politicians - hello Ursula von der Leyen - seem to be splashing about like happy lunatics in the role of liver-eaters. I doubt many US politicians spoke like that during Vietnam.

Today in this time of advanced formal socialisation and mass communications including of an apparently active character - themselves funded and developed by the CIA and NSA - there's so little rationality. If I wasn't such a Luddite, I might say that the relations of productions were lagging behind the means of production, but whichever way we call forwards there's a big and growing contradiction between the two sets of relations and there's the increasing mass psychopathology that goes with that.

Some western figures have called for talks with Daesh. They include Jonathan Powell, who was Tony Blair's chief of staff, now a banker and British government envoy to Libya, and who may have been Langley's man in number 10. Richard Barrett, former counter-terrorism chief at MI6, has made similar points. You can read about this in the latest (post-Sinai crash) issue of Daesh's magazine, in an article entitled "Paradigm Shift". (Daesh, reading Thomas Kuhn?) That's bearing in mind that the magazine may not be 100% genuine. What a headfuck this is.

What's the gameplan? Increasing terror in the west is surely part of it. There's no end in sight.

What happens when terrorist attacks start coinciding with financial upheavals? A case worth looking at - doubtless soon to be surpassed - is this explosion at a naval base in Cyprus. The Randroid effort called Wikipedia doesn't foreground where the materials that exploded came from, but they came from a Russian-owned ship travelling from Iran to Syria that was seized by the US navy. The mysterious exposion (but can we think of a power that opposes Iranian military influence in Syria?) was estimated to cost at least 10% of the Cypriot economy and fed in to the near-collapse of Cyprus's banking system (itself heavy with money from Russia).
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