By Sajjad Shaukat for Veterans Today
11 people were killed and four police officers, including two others wounded by a man who was armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle and three handguns, opened fire inside a synagogue, in the US city of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania on Saturday (On 27, 2018) morning.
The New York Times, wrote on the same day, “The incident is among the deadliest against the Jewish community in the United States, the assailant stormed into the Tree of Life Congregation, where worshipers had gathered in separate rooms to celebrate their faith, and shot indiscriminately into the crowd, shattering what had otherwise been a peaceful morning.
The assailant, identified by law enforcement officials as Robert D. Bowers, fired for several minutes and was leaving the synagogue when officers, dressed in tactical gear and armed with rifles, met him at the door. Mr. Bowers exchanged gunfire with officers before retreating back inside and barricading himself inside a third-floor room. He eventually surrendered.
Mr. Bowers, 46, was injured by gunfire, although the authorities said it was unclear whether those wounds were self-inflicted or whether the police had shot him. He was in stable condition Saturday at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Federal Officials charged Mr. Bowers with 29 criminal counts.
They included obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs—a hate crime—and using a firearm to commit murder. He also faces state charges, including 11 counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation. The authorities said that he had no previous criminal history.”
According to the CNN, “The gunman made anti-Semitic statements during the shooting, a law enforcement official said. Social media postings that are believed to have come from Bowers are a focus of the investigation. Shortly before the shooting, in an account on the Gab social media platform that authorities are investigating, the suspect is believed to have posted he “can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered.
Screw your optics, I’m going in….A law enforcement source told CNN investigators believe social media postings on the Gab account belong to Bowers. The language on the account matches the suspected motivation behind the shootings…In a statement, Gab disavowed “all acts of terrorism and violence” and said its mission was to defend free expression and individual liberty online for all people.”
After being alerted to the suspect’s profile on the platform, Gab said it backed up the data, suspended the account and contacted the FBI…The FBI will be the lead investigating agency, said Hissrich, who said the shooting would be prosecuted as a hate crime, “being that it is a Jewish synagogue.”
The Telegraph reported on October 28, 2018: “Robert Bowers, the suspect in the deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, appears to have no criminal record. Yet his social media history makes disturbing reading, full of anti-Semitic anger and hate. Shortly, before he burst into the place of worship yelling “all Jews must die” message on Gab, a social media platform popular with free speech advocates and white supremacists….
The cover photo featured the neo-Nazi symbol “1488.” The first two numbers refer to the white supremacist “14 Words” slogan, while “88” stands for “Heil Hitler” since “H” is the eighth letter of the alphabet…In other posts he featured memes containing false conspiracy theories suggesting the Holocaust.
In another post reported by The New York Times, Bowers said he did not care for President Donald Trump, because he “is a globalist, not a nationalist.”
Regarding the Pittsburgh shooting, BBC which also quoted the statement of the US President said on October 28, 208: “President Donald Trump said “a lot of people” had been killed and injured in a “wicked act of mass murder”. Federal investigators are treating the shooting as a hate crime.
The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish non-governmental organisation that fights anti-Semitism, said: “We believe this is the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States…Later on Saturday, Mr Trump appeared at the Future Farmers of America Convention in Indianapolis, saying: “There must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism.
It must be condemned and confronted everywhere and anywhere it appears…Mr Trump has also said that the incident had “little to do” with US gun laws…“If they had protection inside, maybe it could have been a different situation.” Former US President Barack Obama voiced a different position on the ongoing gun law debate, tweeting: “We have to stop making it so easy for those who want to harm the innocent to get their hands on a gun….
The BBC’s Dan Johnson in Washington says the shootings come at a tense time in the US, after a week in which mail bombs were sent to critics of Mr Trump, ahead of crucial mid-term elections next month.”
However, the shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh cannot be seen isolation; it is due to negative impact of ‘Trumpism’.
Since Donald Trump became the president of the United States, his emotional, contradictory and extremist policies have resulted into negative impact on the US in particular and the world in general. Taking note of his flawed internal and external policies, some Americans call him a stick man, while some call him a mad man.
America is witnessing an unusual cataclysm under unbridled unleashing of ‘Trumpism’. President Donald Trump’s erratic behavior has continued unabated with discourteous questions like “Is President a crazy person?—are flooding some sections of international media.
While, President Trump’s approval rating generally lagged well behind his predecessors with NBC News, Wall Street Journal poll, indicating him at 43 percent with 53 percent continue to disapprove Trump’s performance.
On the moral front, the American media has unreservedly commented about the colorful personality of the President Trump. In this regard, a wider coverage was extended to fifteen women alleging Donald Trump for sexual harassment. According to another story, an adult movie star Stormy Daniels (who reportedly had an affair with Trump before he ascended to the US presidency) filed a lawsuit against Trump, alleging that he and his attorney Michael Cohen “aggressively sought to silence” her when she planned to make her story public in late 2016.
In a very sensation, Karen McDougal (former model) filed a lawsuit to get out of her 2016 non-disclosure agreement, becoming the second woman accusing the president or his allies of trying to bury news about a Trump extramarital affair.
On the administrative front, after the unceremonious exit of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and elevation of John R. Bolton as National Security Advisor; the list of resigned or fired White House staff was burgeoning with the names of stalwarts like Mike Flynn (National Security Adviser), Sally Yates (Acting US Attorney General) , Walter Shaub (head of US Office of Government Ethics), John McEntee (President’s Personal Aide), Michael Dubke (White House Communications Director), Reince Priebus (Chief of Staff), Sean Spicer (White House Press Secretary), Michael Short (Senor White House Assistant Press Secretary), Anthony Scaramucci (White House Communications Director), Steve Bannon (Chief Strategist), Sebastian Gorka (Deputy Assistant to President), Tom Price (Health Secretary), Ms. Omarosa Manigault (Senior African American Aides), James Comey (FBI Director), Andrew McCabe (FBI Deputy Dir), Rob Porter (White House Staff Secretary), David Sorenson (White House Speechwriter), Ms. Hope Hicks (White House Communication Director and one of Trump’s most trusted and longest-serving aides), Ms. Dina Powell (Deputy National Security Adviser), Gary Cohn (Top Economic Adviser), Steven Goldstein (Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs), Rick Dearborn (Deputy Chief of Staff), Ezra Cohen-Watnick (Senior Director for Intelligence programs, National Security Council) etc. American media is full of buzz about similar fate for Robert Mueller (American Attorney). In nutshell, the American administration is virtually “hired, exploited and fired” as “The Trump Organization” employees. Latest list include several top officials, including the resignation of Nikki Haley-Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations.
Besides, due to the fanatic and racist statements of the President Donald statements, domestic terrorism has rapidly increased in the US.
In this respect, CNN reported on August 17, 2017, “White nationalist and neo-Nazi hate groups have made headlines over…the violent clashes in Virginia, but what does their influence look like outside of Charlottesville? President Donald Trump denounced violence “on many sides” after protesters and counter protesters clashed. But the President faced bipartisan criticism for failing to call out the racist and white supremacist views of those who had traveled from across the country for the event…
The number of hate groups in the United States has ticked up since the 2016 presidential campaign began…Meanwhile, the number of anti-Muslim groups skyrocketed and other types of white nationalist, neo-Nazi and neo-Confederate groups reversed their pattern of decline to tick upward…The number of total hate groups has risen 17% since 2014, to 917 organizations…presidential campaign that flirted heavily with extremist ideas” for the recent uptick in these groups.”
Citing Alt-America, under the caption, “The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump” by Dan Neiwert, The Guardian wrote in November 26, 2017, “Domestic terrorism in America–acts that are plotted and executed on American soil, directed at US citizens, by actors based here–spiked dramatically…
The large majority of these crimes were committed by rightwing extremists–some 115 in all, compared to 63 cases of Islamist-inspired domestic terror, and 19 cases of leftwing-extremist terrorism. Rightwing extremist terrorism was more often deadly than Islamist extremism…For at least a generation; rightwing homegrown extremists have been far and away the largest source of terrorism in the United States.”
In its report, the FBI has showed an overall increase in reported hate crimes of more than 4% from 2015 to 2016. Anti-Islamic (anti-Muslim) crimes accounted for 307, up 19% from the previous year. That was the biggest percentage rise. The FBI also tracks religously motivated crimes against Eastern Orthodox Christians, other Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Buddhists.
In race categories, African-Americans were targeted the most—in about half of the reported 3,489 racially driven incidents in 2016. The FBI said 1,200 incidents were motivated by bias against victims based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Despite it, the fundamentalist President Donald Trump has continued criticizing CIA, FBI, judiciary, media and some other key institutions. For example, in the recent past President Trump has alleged CIA for interference with his agendas and termed its officers as “Sick People.”
In America, CIA, FBI and Department of Homeland Security which are working as “a state within a state” or “shadow Government” or “Deep state means,” are also clandestinely working against one another. They do not respond to the civilian political leadership-the President and the Congressmen who are also fighting a war of nerves against each other.
On the external front, American performance under Trump has been viewed by intelligentsia, academia and analysts as “disastrous and preposterous”. They enumerated his various initiatives.
He pulled out of international trade agreements, imposed travel ban on the Muslims, battled NATO over money, pulled out of Paris climate accord, abandoned the Iran nuclear deal, recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, ordered missile strike on Syria twice, imposed sanctions on Russia and remained firm on negative approach towards Mexico.
Notably, in the modern era of interdependence of world’s countries and interaction of people in various field, like his other political follies, President Trump’s announcement of the ‘trade wars’ by imposing a 25 percent tariff on all steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on all aluminum imports into the USA on March 1, this year has started a new debate in the world regarding a prospective global trade war in wake of EU-US differences over WTO, including other trade issues and tough laws for the immigrants.
China, EU and Japan have rejected Trump’s trade wars-strategy. Especially, in response, Beijing and EU member states also announced the measures against the imports from the US. Now, China is special target of the trade war.
Some analysts feel that Trump does not really believe in much beyond his own awesomeness. Some believe that Trump has been utterly incompetent. He is said to have refused to disclose tax returns, as every president has done more than 40 years.
It is noteworthy that Israeli intelligence agency Mossad played a key role in terror assaults which occurred in the US and Europe in the last three years, as Israel want to prefer a nuclear war between Russia and the US-led West to avoid the two-state settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Atomic war could also erupt between Pakistan and India, as New Delhi also avoids solution of the Kashmir issue. While fanatic leaders are in power in the America, India and Israel, their connivance may culminate into ‘clash of civilizations’, particularly between the Muslim and the Christians worlds.
Undoubtedly, shooting at Synagogue in Pittsburgh is part of negative impact of ‘Trumpism’ which has resulted into acceleration of domestic extremism in the US. Coupled with rift among America’s security agencies and key institutions, ‘Trumpism’ will take the US to the “state of nature” when there was a war of “all against all” in the sense of Thomas Hobbes who described, “life in such a state is too short and fraught with suffering and insecurity.” Negative impact of ‘Trumpism’ may also envelope the entire world by dividing Christians and Muslims, Hindus and Muslims, Jews and non-Jews and American Jews and non-Jews on religious lines and ethnic lines.
It is the right hour that loyalist Americans, non-Zionist Jews and peace-loving citizens of every other religious community should play their positive role for global peace by coping with the negative impact of ‘Trumpism’.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations
Email: [email protected]
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