#TempleShooting: Killer in Sikh Temple murders identified

To say the suspected domestic terrorist was deeply disturbed is both a vast and obvious understatement:

Wade Michael Page, the tattooed white supremacist and former Army soldier police say gunned down six Sikhs in a Milwaukee-area temple before a police officer killed him, spread his message of hate through several rock bands for more than a decade before mounting his bloody rampage Sunday.

Playing guitar and singing in various bands — including Definite Hate and End Apathy — in the obscure skinhead punk scene, the 40-year-old Page spewed his lyrics at ear-splitting volume in small underground bars and on independent record labels. In an April 2010 interview with Label 56, the label that carries End Apathy’s music, Page described the message behind his songs.

“The topics vary from sociological issues, religion and how the value of human life has been degraded by being submissive to tyranny and hypocrisy that we are subjugated to,” Page said.

White power lyrics, which frequently discuss genocide against the Jews and other minorities, are so violent and twisted that the music is typically available only over the Internet, according to experts. In a song called “Self-Destruct” by End Apathy, Page growls his dismal vision of life in the U.S.

     “You betray your dignity for this miserable life,

     Refuse to think for yourself, you want to be led.”

On End Apathy’s MySpace page, band members call their music, “a sad commentary on our sick society and the problems that prevent true progress.” Other bands on the Maryland-based music label include Force Fed Hate, Final War, Absolute Terror and Spirit of the Patriot.

Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s intelligence project, said Page had been on the group’s  radar since 2000, when he tried to purchase goods from the National Alliance, a well-known hate group. She said the group has evidence that Page attended “hate events” around the country.

“He was involved in the scene,” Beirich said.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Theresa Carlson said Page was known to law enforcement authorities, but did not give details. Carlson said authorities are interested in learning what role Page’s ties to white supremacy played in his attack.

“We are looking at his ties to white supremacist groups,” she said.

Also, according to Fox News, though Page was at one time in the military, he was never stationed overseas.

Bryan Preston comments:

The man who attacked a Wisconsin Sikh temple Sunday has been identified as Wade Michael Page. He is a former Army vet who was less than honorably discharged from the service in 1998. The military has three classifications of discharge; honorable, less than honorable, and dishonorable. The vast majority of discharges are honorable. A less than honorable discharge is a strong indication that Page was a troublemaker who had built up a long record of not being a very good soldier, and that his discharge was not voluntary. He was ejected from the military in 1998.

That record is relevant to establishing that Page, who was killed by police after he murdered several innocent people inside the temple, was a very troubled man. That won’t stop the left from blaming Rep. Michele Bachmann, because she has been questioning whether the US State Department has come under undue influence by the Muslim Brotherhood, but then again that’s what the left does. When tragedy strikes, many on the left strike out at the latest boogeyman or woman on the right, never letting facts get in the way. Never mind that Sikhs have almost nothing in common with the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood, and have not been singled out by Bachmann or anyone else looking into the Brotherhood.

As prime examples, Twitchy.com has compiled a sampling of the far left’s (unsurprising) attempts at blaming the rampage on “the right wing”, and Gov. Scott Walker is one of their top vote-getters for being the “main” inspiration for the shooter.  Here are a couple of random tweets:


“Never let a tragedy go to waste.” -Liberals

American Sikhs are by and large peaceful, and unfortunately are often mistaken for radical Islamists stateside due to how they dress, their beards, etc. CNN reported on instances of “bias crimes” against Sikhs reported since 9-11, and the number – according to the Sikh Coalition, is in the 700 range:

(CNN) — Immediately after the September 11, 2001, terrorist acts, Sikhs came under attack.

Mistaken for Muslims because of their beards and turbans, they became ripe targets for zealots seeking revenge.

The first person murdered in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks was a Sikh — a gas station owner in Mesa, Arizona, named Balbir Singh Sodhi who was shot five times by aircraft mechanic Frank Roque.

In the intervening years, the Sikh Coalition, a New York-based advocacy group, reported more than 700 attacks or bias-related incidents.

Some Sikhs had their houses vandalized; others were spat upon. In some extreme cases, Sikhs were set upon by groups of people and beaten.

As the incidents waned, the community had hoped the worst was behind them — until Sunday, when a man shot and killed at least six people at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee, wounded a police officer and was himself killed by another officer’s bullets.

Though a motive has not been established as yet by the authorities, for purposes of discussion, let’s say these were “revenge”-style killings. It goes without saying that there isn’t any place in our society at all for “revenge” killings, but there’s also no place in our society for opportunistic jerk offs on either side of the aisle who use deadly tragedies in order to score political points even before the first death is reported – and in the case of the left, it’s usually by falsely portraying the perp as someone who was “immersed in right wing culture.” If they can successfully establish that, regardless of the actual facts of any given case, then their next MO is to suggest and/or imply that it’s indicative of a “right wing climate of hate” and as a result, right wing ideas should be ignored. Facts don’t matter, especially the fact that most if not all mass murderers operate by their OWN ideology independent of “left or right.”

Furthermore, there’s also no place in our society for the rank ignorance currently on display by the mainstream media and leftists when it comes to give a more complete accounting of the modern history of aggression towards the global Sikh community. Why? Because if they did, they’d have to acknowledge that Sikhs are – sadly – well-acquainted with being targeted for hate and persecution by Islamofascists. Naturally, you’ll hear next to nothing about this because it doesn’t fit the MSM’s sanitized narrative about radical Islam.

I wasn’t home yesterday at all to blog about this but I did Tweet the various reports that came through several media outlets. My heart sank as the reports that people were killed came through. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

#Curiosity Fantastic photo from Mars landing

**Posted by Phineas

Last night, America returned to Mars with the successful landing of the rover “Curiosity” in the Gale Crater region of the Red Planet. While there’s been no sighting of lost cities, canals, or Thuvia (yet), we do have this amazing image:

(Click for a larger image)

That is Curiosity about six minutes into its seven-minute descent to the Martian surface. The larger upper portion is the parachute, while the lander itself is the lower dot. The photo was shot by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, from more than 200 miles away. There’s video of the related news conference here.

After all that’s gone wrong the last few years, it’s a nice reminder of the amazing things we’re capable of. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a snapshot of one American space vehicle taken by another American spaceship — around an alien world 350,000,000 hundred of millions of miles away.

How cool is that?

Seriously, I want an art print of this.

EDIT: In my excitement, I was sloppy with the information: Curiosity’s route covered 350 million miles. Mars is closer than that in a straight line. I blame geeky excitement, and thanks to Mike in the ST comments.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Syria: Endgame for the Assad dictatorship?

**Posted by Phineas

If not the beginning of the end, having one’s prime minister run away and defect is not a sign that all is going well:

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government suffered a significant blow Monday when Prime Minister Riyad Hijab fled with his family to Jordan, two months after taking the top post.

Hijab said he defected. Syrian state media said he was fired.

“I announce today my defection from the killing and terrorist regime and I announce that I have joined the ranks of the freedom and dignity revolution,” Hijab said in a statement read in his name on Al Jazeera television.

State television, however, said Hijab was terminated and replaced by his deputy, Omar Ghalawanji.

The news came hours after state media said a bomb exploded at the state television building in Damascus, wounding several people.

Mind you, Hijab was only appointed late last June. He probably packed his bags before going to his swearing-in ceremony.

Regardless of whether he was fired or quit, this is another sign that the Assad dictatorship, often described as a mafia-government that kept the family’s Alawite sect on top of Syrian society, is crumbling faster and faster. Just three weeks ago, a bomb blast in Damascus killed the Syrian defense minister, a former defense minister, and Bashar Assad’s brother-in-law, showing that not even the core of the regime is safe from the rebels. After that, I’m sure that other Syrian officials besides Mr. Hajib have had similar thoughts of saving themselves:

Hijab’s departure followed an accelerating stream of defections from Syria’s armed forces, including that of Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlas, a former confidant and close friend of Assad’s who fled to Turkey a month ago, then went to France to join his father, a once-powerful former defense minister.

Last week, Syria’s top diplomat in Britain defected, telling the British Foreign Office that “he is no longer willing to represent a regime that has committed such violent and oppressive acts against its own people, and is therefore unable to continue in his position.”

Real power in Syria is wielded by Assad’s inner circle of friends, family and the powerful chiefs of his security forces. But the defection of the head of Assad’s government nonetheless sent a strong signal that his support is rapidly unraveling even within the ranks of those assumed still to be loyal.

Hijab, a former agriculture minister and a member of the ruling Baath Party, is a Sunni Muslim from the eastern town of Deir el-Zour, which has been in open revolt against the government for more than a year.

The Associated Press, quoting rebel leader Ahmad Kassim, said three other ministers defected along with Hijab, but that report could not be separately confirmed.

In addition, the wire service said that Turkey’s state-run news agency reported that Syria’s first astronaut had joined opposition forces. Mohammad Ahmad Faris, 61, crossed into Turkey after reaching the headquarters of the Free Syrian Army in the city of Aleppo, meeting with rebel commanders there and declaring his solidarity with the umbrella group of rebel fighters, the Anadolu agency reported.

This uprising in Syria is largely Sunni vs. Alawite, and there have been atrocities committed by both sides. Regional actors are deeply involved, the Saudis giving substantial aid to Sunni jihadist elements, while Iran has dispatched Revolutionary Guards to aid the regime. Turkey may be mobilizing an army on the border with its former province, and the Russians have sent in their marines.

Meanwhile, what’s our Smart Power team doing? We issued a statement:

Meanwhile, in Washington, the White House said the defection indicates the momentum is with opposition forces and the Syrian people.

National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said the defections are reaching the highest levels of the Syrian government and demonstrate that the Syrian people believe Assad’s days are numbered.

Vietor said the quickest way to end the bloodshed in Syria is for Assad to recognize that the Syrian people will not allow him to continue in power. And Vietor renewed U.S. calls for Assad to leave power and allow for a political transition.

Of course, and in fairness, there’s not much Clinton, who’s on her way to Turkey for talks, could do in this situation. Three years of the “Obama Doctrine” (whatever that is) have made US influence in the Middle East nearly a joke and, absent strong leadership from us, local forces and regional actors are going to look out for their own interests. Apparently we do have …er… “secret plans” to assist the rebels, though how much influence that would give us is an open and even dubious question, as is the consequences of any intervention on our part; don’t forget that Barack’s Big Adventure in Libya was a direct (and unintended) factor in the collapse of neighboring Mali.

While the Syrian regime seems to be heading for its fall, and while there are good humanitarian and geopolitical arguments for intervening (the weakening of Hizbullah being one of the latter), there are very good arguments against it, such as the risk of empowering Sunni jihadists and getting involved in another sectarian war so soon after Iraq.

Perhaps the best thing to do is just what the administration appears to be doing: call for a transition, keep everyone talking, aid the rebels a little to keep the door open with them and perhaps strengthen the hand of whatever moderates there may be, and offer what good offices we have to all sides to prevent Syria’s civil war from becoming a regional conflict.

LINK: More at Hot Air.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)