…manipulating horrific tragedies…

…for gain – personal, political, military and financial?…

For those savage atrocities committed so routinely in the US, it has become easier to predict who is the decent, lovable person – but for some bad breaks in life – even though the perpetrator of the atrocity. Tragedy with a footnote.

The Guardian provides some context that most US media ‘conveniently’ downplay, San Bernardino shooting victim ‘had argued with killer about Islam’. Some key excerpts,

Farook, 28, and Malik were Muslims and Thalasinos, a Messianic Jew, took issue with Islam. He wrote fiery posts online and used a derogatory term to describe Muslims. He had also argued with Farook, a fellow health inspector.

Their relationship came under scrutiny on Friday when lawyers for Farook’s family cited workplace tension as a possible factor in the country’s deadliest mass shooting in three years. “Someone made fun of his beard. He was a very isolated, introverted individual with really no friends that we could identify,” David Chesley told a news conference in Los Angeles.


One would think that the workplace would feature prominently, given continual and deteriorating personality conflicts. Of one of the protagonists in the work place tragedy,

“This hits too close to home,” Moore, 34, said. She described Thalasinos as a sweet and friendly gentleman who wore colourful outfits – bright red or purple shirts, a pair of suspenders and a black hat.

[bold added for emphasis]

To emphasise the pattern, again, Jim Naureckas of the fairblog, as he highlights the NYT’s cynical coverage, In New York Times, Blue Eyes ‘Wince and Cloud’ at the Terror of a ‘Gentle Loner’. A key, indicting paragraph with a powerful last sentence,

The reporting on terrorist violence is intensely political—starting, of course, with which acts of terror are given the “terror” label in the first place. Some terrorism is presented as a violation of the normal order of things that demands an outraged, usually violent response. Other kinds of terrorism are offered with a sort of shrug to indicate that they aren’t to be taken too seriously—the sort of thing that is carried out by “gentle loners,” by men who are imperfect but good. Our blue eyes wince and cloud.

[bold added for emphasis]

Of note is that the couple went specifically to the husband’s place of employment, more disgruntled and humiliated than terror-prone, even as terror was the consequence. But for the cynical exploiters of tragedy there is always another angle – given the type (race or religion or national origin) of perpetrator. And subsequent visual images confirm the obvious: the grieving, actual and photo-opportunists, framed between the US flag and a cross or between lit candles and a cross.

Prof Juan Cole in a post over at the common dreams blog takes aim at the quality of corporate journalism, especially with regard to Muslims (and, to a lesser extent, other minorities), Roof, Dear and Tashfeen Malik: The Double Standard of “Self-Radicalized Lone Wolf Terrorists”   To the point,

Federal officials are now investigating the San Bernardino massacre as an “act of terrorism” rather than just workplace violence.

But when Dylann Roof allegedly shot nine persons dead at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015, there was strong resistance on the part of officials to speaking of that as terrorism.

Likewise, Alleged Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Dear was not called a terrorist by politicians on the right despite his clearly political goals.

What is the difference between these three?

With that rhetorical question, we turn to the the predictable, the inevitable, the obvious. So then what opportunities does this particular tragedy present to a gun-obsessed and very, very violent ‘Western’ society?

Well, back to common dreams and its staff writer, Andrea Germanos for the obvious, “We’re in the Business of Killing Terrorists and Business is Good”. No rocket science in this,

As the U.S. military continues its war against the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL), the Air Force is reportedly dropping so many bombs that it is struggling to find more.

We’re in the business of killing terrorists and business is good,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said in statement quoted by USA Today on Thursday.

[bold added for emphasis]

And the cruel joke, the fact, is that in the highly profitable business, there are more planes than targets in Syria to attack, aside death and destruction and displacement. Or some hope for post-war re-construction and some pipeline or energy exploration contracts for Western benevolence meted out on the people of Syria – sort of like Libya?

So, then, the bombing by one imperial and other former colonial powers is certainly guaranteed not to provoke further anger and resentment, not just in the Middle East but in other abused countries worldwide? And there is that cast of characters for the Presidency of the US, characters, of whom all but possibly one would fail the selection process, and very early, in most civilised countries? Yet there remains that resoluteness in the decision against introspection and resulting action.

…the motives (and involvement) of corporate media in the unsavoury business of war laid bare for all the world?…