Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Talk Radio Hate Crime Vandalism

Exclusive to Dear Free World

About two weeks ago, before I started this blog, I noticed some very ugly graffiti in one of my employer's washrooms that was accessible to the general public.

The graffiti was written in a heavy, black marker in large font, and entirely defaced several stall walls.

The graffiti began by attacking "liberals" in the United States that didn't understand the danger this country was facing. It explained at length why all Muslims and Arabs supposedly hate us, why they were supposedly all potential terrorists, and they would supposedly all kill us if they had the chance, and it was therefore supposedly OK to kill all of them on the basis of religion. It went on at great length (using up two walls), and even included quotes from the Koran authorizing followers to kill "infidels", except that "infidel" was replaced with "Christians" in his version.

It was obviously written in response to the Iraqi prison scandal, attempting to justify the war crimes that occurred there.

This was, of course, both a hate crime and an example of vandalism. There were all sorts of legal ways this "gentleman" could have expressed his opinion, however ugly they are. He could, for example, have started a blog rather than vandalize a public bathroom.

The "gentleman" is, of course, mistaken. Many Arabs and Muslims are, in fact, helping us in the war on terrorism. My understanding is that there are very few non-Muslim Farsi and Arabic speakers in the United States, and that our federal government was rather in need of them for intelligence work following 911. I understand that vast majority of American Muslims have been very loyal to this country for the opportunities and freedom of religion our country has provided them.

Of course, unfortunately, a tiny minority of Arabs and Muslims have come under the influence of war profiteers (related article [1]) and hate mongers in their own culture just as some of "our" people (i.e., non-Muslim Americans, the group I belong to) have come under the influence of war profiteers (related article [2]) in our own.

This does not justify war crimes. Certainly nothing can justify the cruel, inhuman torture of taxi drivers and ordinary Iraqis seized in random raids on the mere suspicion they might possess some intelligence. High ranking U.S. military officers informed the IC Red Cross that 70-90% of the people being held at Abu Gharib were completely innocent. Our soldiers, the extremely well-paid private contractors that supervised them, and the highest levels of the Bush Administration that authorized these atrocities, or turned a blind eye to them, were completely out of control. Or so the best facts I am able to assemble strongly suggest. They suggest an Administration willing to engage in war crimes rather than admit to serious mistakes and disappoint its war profiteering campaign contributors.

Conservative AM talk radio, owned and controlled by the same media companies whose illegal combinations it seems are being deliberately ignored by the FCC, at first said these war crimes were just college "fraternity hazings." If people die or are raped at fraternity hazings, the fraternity leaders go to jail. If college administration covers up for that fraternity, the administrators go to jail, at least in the United States. The evidence suggests the Bush Administration covered up for these war criminals. They certainly were not anxious for these cases to go to trial before the November elections. They never believed those explosive photographs they had classified would become public.

Conservative AM talk radio, anxious to keep the Bush Administration in White House, talk hate. You could see it on the conservative blogs as well. The liberals were at fault. The media was dominated by "liberals" trying to brainwash the American public. (The media is controlled by very conservative corporations. True, most Americans are Democrats, and some large corporations try to appeal to that market niche.)

"Liberals" hated this country, or so the conservative AM talk radio demagogues, under the influence of their pay masters in corporate America, kept telling the public. And we ended up this "gentleman" who felt so threatened by the "liberal" bogeymen in America that he felt compelled to complete vandalize a public washroom.

It's dangerous to have an unstable person like this running around. And it was obviously a hate crime as well as vandalism. So I reported it to the police. It's not clear how seriously they took it. However, I also reported it to the facilities maintenance people, who, I was told, would make a full police report prior to removing the graffiti.

It is not clear whether a formal police report was ever filed. However, I have never seen facilities here move so quickly. The graffiti was removed seemingly overnight; I did not even have a chance to take a digital photograph for the press or for this future blog. This is clearly not an image we wanted to project to the public.

I brought the issue up the next day in a meeting of our group here. We are a moderate workplace in a moderate community here in Southern California. Everyone agreed that it was a hate crime, it was vandalism, and a person doing something like this was obviously unstable and dangerous. Three years ago we would have considered this a hate crime. Today we would still consider this a hate crime-most of the world's 1 billion Muslims are more or less living in peace with us, and some are actively help us in the war on terror. Preaching this type of hatred was likely only to lead to both additional terrorism and additional, unconscionable anti-Islamic and anti-Arab violence. Everyone agreed. "What was written there was unconscionable," said a senior person. Everyone agreed that calling the police was the right thing to do.

Seeing this was one of things that convinced me to start a blog. We must end this divisiveness in America.

"Liberals" do not hate America, but have a substantial disagreement about what policy is best for America (and whether the Bush Administration even knows what it is doing as he seems to be ignoring even their best conservative advisors in favor of the advice of self-interested war profiteers and such persons).

For that matter, I am not sure I would even consider myself a true "liberal." I have supported Republican candidates, even recently for local office, when I believed they would do a better job than their "liberal" challengers.

I supported Bush after 911; even "liberal" former President Clinton did. He told of us, quite correctly, how important political unity is in a time of great danger. Ultimately, however, we are a democracy. A democracy is, as I have explained repeatedly in this column, simply a system of processing information in order to make social decisions to complicated for any single individual to decide for himself or herself. Debate, and a free press, is needed for that system to operate. Otherwise we shall simply have government of the war profiteers, by the war profiteers, and for the war profiteers, which it sometimes seems is what we have now.

Earlier today, the graffiti resurfaced on the same bathroom stall. This time it was concise, but in the same large handwriting, and same thick black marker. It no longer attacked Arabs, focusing this time on "liberals":

"F****** liberals - you hate America? [new line] Go to Iraq like Nick Berg did," the graffiti read. Nick Berg was the private American humanitarian recently graphically beheaded on videotape in Iraq by al Queda in an effort to fog our reason.

It's not clear if this is hate crime- he is clearly threatening "liberals", and feels threatened by "liberals," but he didn't attack a religion or ethnic group. It is certainly still vandalism, and done by the same person that committed the earlier hate crime vandalism.

This time I photographed it. Perhaps I will post it here someday.

I will again report it to the police, facilities, and small-time local media here. It's not clear if they will do anything, besides quickly erase it again.

I hope our community leaders, or at least the local media, will better educate the public against this scourge of conservative talk radio demagogues and their self-interested, war profiteering masters (related article [2]). 911 (related article [3]) was suffering enough.