It’s Never “Too Soon” For Idiotic Xenophobia

UPDATE: The Colorado Independent's John Tomasic follows up with members of the local Muslim community, who are upset about media coverage of the story that mentioned the case of Homaidan al-Turki:

The theory — that al Turki or his sympathizers orchestrated a hit on Clements after the chief denied his request to serve out the remainder of his sentence in Saudi Arabia — was never supported with evidence. And now Colorado Muslims are decrying early coverage of the shooting as irresponsible and predictably biased against members of their religion. They say the media overplayed the al-Turki angle at the expense of other theories.

Northeast Denver Islamic Center Imam Abdur-Rahim Ali said the lines separating mainstream journalism from opinion outlets like Fox News have become too porous.

“You’d expect this kind of speculation from Fox News but not from The Denver Post,” the state paper of record, he said. Ali is demanding the paper apologize…

Ali said The Post owed it to readers, even in the rush of reporting the fast-evolving story, to be more well informed about the system housing prisoners in the state. According to Department of Correction statistics easily accessible online, only 34 of 20,140 Colorado inmates hail from predominantly Muslim countries. Those statistics should have raised red flags about the probability that the Clements shooting would be connected to one of those foreign-born prisoners.

We would say this criticism is warranted, with the caveat that the al-Turki case was not the lede of the Denver Post's story as it was in the right-wing Colorado Observer. The Observer also went into much further detail about the supposed "threat" in this case, in fact derived from a seven year old Wikileaked State Department memo. The point about the relative scarcity of prisoners from Muslim nations in Colorado compared to others (like, say, white supremacists) is undeniable for anyone covering this story.

—–

The killing of Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director Tom Clements Tuesday night has shaken state employees at all levels, in particular DOC employees, as well as other members of Gov. John Hickenlooper's cabinet who knew and worked with Clements. Tributes praising Clements' professionalism, good faith, and friendliness have come in from across the political spectrum.

Unfortunately, this tragedy gave local conservative media outlets and politicians an opportunity to put well-worn prejudices on display. The right-wing Colorado Observer's Tyler Sandberg, a former GOP campaign hand, breathlessly reported in the hours after Clements' death:

A senior official who made headlines last week for blocking the transfer of a convicted Saudi rapist was slain at his home last night…

Last week, Clements turned down the request for transfer of convicted rapist Homaidan al-Turki to Saudi Arabia. In 2006, al-Turki was convicted of repeatedly raping an Indonesian maid that he kept as a virtual slave in his basement in Aurora for four years.

In addition to his sex crimes, al-Turki has been tied to al-Qaeda member Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike for his role in the planning of numerous terrorist attacks against the United States. Al-Turki’s publishing company owned the rights to a number of Awlaki’s jihadist sermons and he was reportedly in contact with the now deceased terrorist...

This line of speculation was eagerly subsidized by Sen. Greg Brophy via social media:

brophyobs

Brophy is linking to Sandberg's Observer story. The "State Department warning" Sen. Brophy is referring to is actually a 2006 diplomatic cable exposed by Wikileaks, warning of possible repercussions related to this case–certainly nothing new, or in any way related to Clements' killing. Not that you'd have any way of knowing that from Sen. Brophy's Tweet, of course.

After a couple of days of actual investigation, a team of Denver Post reporters tell us today:

Colorado corrections officials are investigating whether a paroled white-supremacist prison-gang member [Pols emphasis] at the center of the investigation into the execution-style slaying of state prison chief Tom Clements was ordered by the gang to do a "hit," a source told The Denver Post on Thursday.

Oh. So, not a plot by swarthy Muslim terrorists then?

This is the moment when responsible news outlets would post an update to their story, reassuring anyone who happens to Google it up in the future that no, DOC Director Tom Clements was most likely not assassinated by Muslim terrorists. And responsible politicians at this point would probably put out a Tweet clarifying what they said about that supposed "State Department warning."

But looking at this in hindsight, "responsible" is not what comes to mind.

24 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ClubTwitty says:

    Thanks for this diary.  Brophy and all the other people professing to be adults that engaged in this paranoid fear-mongering need to 1) be ashamed and 2) publicly apologize.  I am not holding my breath as such requires integrity and, as I mentioned, being an adult.  I have been posting comments on this since yesterday calling them out.  Glad to see it getting some attention.  It’s despicable, and laughable coming on the heels of the great RNC soul-searching.  "Why do Americans think we are crusty old men and wing nuts?"  (Could it be all our messaging appeals to crusty old men and wing nuts? or should we spend $10 mil to go talk at them other folk?)

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      if we would just go along with Brophy on his DST initiative he could get regular sleep

    • roccoprahn says:

      The apology won't happen, Club, but the way the story's now evolving is clearly exposing brophy, 'tyler sandberg", and others involved in this idiotic narrative as the worst type of political opportunists….fear mongers.

      Again, no less.

      The white supremacist angle won't be followed up by "tyler sandberg" or "the colorado observer".

      Guarantee that.

      Highly unlikely boyles will be interested in it now either.

  2. Albert J. Nock says:

    I looked closely at the Texas picture of that black Caddy, yet I could not confirm or deny the Colorado Plate # as Mr. Tabor,lol.

     

    Just imagine if this case were to have gone cold rather than such a speedy conclusion. The rumors alone would have fragmented society. I have a theory that in this modern age, the government steps in and "creates" a plausible ending when they think the unknown or the actual truth is too much for us regular folks to handle.

    I hate to be conspiracy theorist, but it all seems too convenient.  At minimum, traffic police of every State, should do everything they can to preserve the witness so the truth may come to the surface. Organ donors (riddled with bullets?) don’t make good fact finders…

     

     

  3. Tyler Sandberg says:

    You have no idea what you're talking about, Pols, as usual. Police were looking into the al-Turki angle, as KDVR also reported, after me. So it doesn't really fit your conservative = xenophobe argument. I know that simplistic race-baiting bullshit may work for most of your readers but it flies in the face of the facts. 

    Ultimately, you picked the wrong conservative writer to go after when it comes to crying Muslim xenophobia. You might want to have researched my background just a bit before digging into your bag of stale stereotypes. 

    I've forgotten more about Islam and the Muslim world than it's likely you'll ever know. My degree is in religious studies, with a concentration on Islam. I spent a number of years living and working in Muslim countries, advising political parties in Malaysia, including Islamic ones, on democratic development, doing field research in India on Hindu violence against Muslims and ways for the government to better protect the Muslim minority population, and covering the 2009 election in Kashmir — a place where threats of retaliatory violence from Islamists are real.  

    How could that be possible? How could I not fit into your tired old stereotype about all conservatives being xenophobes? Sorry to burst your bullshit bubble, Pols. 

    Next time you decide to cry racism, you might want to spend just a few minutes researching your target. It would leave you looking less foolish.  

    What's ironic here is you are attacking me for allegedly buying into a simplistic stereotype about Muslims, when really it's you buying into a stale and simple line about conservatives.

    http://kdvr.com/2013/03/20/source-clements-murder-investigation-will-look-at-saudi-prisoner-connection/

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      so, hae you updated your story? Simple, "Any speculation that the killing of Tom Clements was related to Mr al Turki has been shown to be very unlikely in the face of this white dude. Imshallah"

      • +1000

        Until and unless the Observer prints such an update as a prominent part of a prominent story updating the case (as real facts become available), I'll assume Mr. Sandberg is here only to make a pathetic defense of the way he emphasized the case.

    • JeffcoBlue says:

      Hey, Mr. Religious Studies guy, were you the one that came up with the "War on Islam" video when you were working for Jane Norton? Your credibility is about zilch with her on your resume.

      And have you updated this story like Pols asked to say that it wasn't Muslim terrorists? Because FOX 31 has continued to write stories now that it's clearly not a Muslim. It probably doesn't interest you as much now…

    • JeffcoBlue says:

      Where did you go, Sandberg? I'm talking about this video:

      Was this your idea? Did you at least object? Is this how you learned to treat other religions in school?

      Kiss my ass, Sandberg.

    • Curmudgeon says:

      I'd be a lot more likely to buy all the hilarious badass posturing and claims of expertise if you had the stones to just admit you were wrong on this one, Tyler.

    • ClubTwitty says:

      Well, I studied ethics.  So I am qualified to back up Pols on this. And let me embellish at bit, in layman's terms: Unethical fearmongering bullshit, designed to appeal to your low-information xenophobic reactionary base.  Shameful.  An embarrassment. 

    • ArapaGOP says:

      Good job, Tyler. I wish more would show up to challenge the Pols smear merchants.

      • Curmudgeon says:

        Showing up to challenge doesn't seem to be you right wing nutjobs' problem, Guppie…. but backing up your challenges, or Hell, even answering direct questions…that seems to be downright impossible for ya. Your buddy Tyler being a prime example.

        But, when it comes to dropping an intellectual turd and dash-waddling away….yeah… you're a freaking Gold Medalist.

  4. BlueCat says:

    On the plus side, this is the first I've heard the terrorist rapist theory while the  suspected white supremacist story with some actual likely indications has been all over TV and today's paper so probably not much hysteria generated in the short time theory A was being floated or even briefly investigated as a looking at all options kind of thing. 

    I have another theory.  Nockwurst might actually not hate to bring up an anti-government conspiracy theory.  Just guessin'.

  5. roccoprahn says:

    Nope!

    This stuff resonated once. When 19 highly motivated maniacs slammed our own airplanes into our most prestigious buildings, in a bold, unprecedented cheap shot sucker punch attack, the first reaction of a shaken, incompetently led, republican led nation was to go the rout "tyler sandber" has chosen to make his grift.

    Absolute panic

    In ten years we wasted a ton of money, shed the blood of the most precious and priceless of our culture, those National Treasures that make up our United States Military, and we broke our economy. But our Military and Intelligence operatives killed Bin Laden. We cracked Al Qaeda's spine. And we kind of returned to sanity.

    "tyler sandberg" type rhetoric no longer panics us into irrational behavior…….well most of us any way.

    I never judge a man on how he makes a living. All of us do what is neccessary to feed out families, clothe our children, provide for our loved ones. "tyler sandberg" has every right to provoke, agitate, stir the xenophopbic, small minded, race baiting, knee jerk responses so easily predictable in the hard wired  "dan caplis" pinko generation through the spin vehicle that is the "colorado observer'.

    I haven't read anything by "tyler sandberg" that encites riots or "manchurians" anyone into goober acts.

    But………………………….this is just not the United States of October, November, December of 2011. Yeah, there are really bad guys out there. Some are mid eastern types. Some are a single Muslim that shoots up a United States Military base. Some are real deal terrorists like the 9/11 hijackers and white neo nazi Tim Mcvea. Some are crazy survialist's white kids that use semi automatic assault weapons to murder our children. Some are crazy white college age kids that shoot up our theaters and set booby traps in their own apartments.. Some are crazy white men that shoot up a crowd at a Congresswoman's Town Hall.

    'tyler sandberg" is doing what he has to do to make a living.

    It's ugly. Nasty. Lots of hate there. Is he reaching out to a small "niche" that's ready, willing and eager to assume this is "jihad"? Oh yeah, and he's not being coy about it. This is what "tyler sandberg" is. He's basically telling those who will buy it "evil guvbmint, run by the demmycrats, can't he'p ya. Ya bittar bye them thar guns and bye 'em quick".

    Is his outburst in CoPols this AM understandable? Hell yeah!

    Cruising through "the colorado observer" will tell you everything you need to know about "tyler sandberg" and his modus aperandi.

    In the end, a very competent investigation will tell us exactly what happened.

    God Bless Mr. Clements and his family.

  6. roccoprahn says:

    Paging “sandberg”, paging “sandberg”.,

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