Those Pesky Facts: The #MuslimBan Edition (UPDATED)

While President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order on immigration isn’t technically a “Muslim Ban”, it does bar entry into the U.S. for citizens of Muslim-majority nations. Specifically: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The ban is 90 days, except for “indefinitely” in the case of Syria.

Trump’s stated purpose in this order — titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” — is “to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States”. He specifically mentions the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, saying they could have been prevented if only those folks had been properly vetted. He adds: “Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001.”

Which makes it odd indeed that the countries we’re now banning entry from are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Because none of those nations are where any of our terrorists have come from.

The 9/11 hijackers were largely from Saudia Arabia, while a handful were from Egypt, Lebanon, and United Arab Emirates.

In 2002, the D.C. sniper attacks (misnamed because the killers took 17 or so lives in at least seven states) were carried out by men born in Jamaica and Louisiana, who had also lived in Antigua, Florida, and Washington.

Michael Julius Ford, the 20-year-old who killed one and injured five in a 2006 attack in Colorado, was born and raised in the U.S..

The suspect in a 2006 incident in Seattle was from Pakistan, but had lived much of his life in the U.S.

Major Nadal Hissan, who killed 13 and wounded more than 30 others in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting — the third-deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, was a U.S. Army officer born in Virginia. He served eight years as an enlisted U.S. Army soldier before graduating from Virginia Tech, doing an internship and residency at Walter Reed, and earning a medical degree.

The 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, which killed three people, was carried out by two Chechen brothers from Kyrgyzstan and who had also lived in Russia. One was a Russian citizen; the other was a naturalized U.S. citizen.

The 2014 beheading in Oklahoma was done by a longtime Oklahoma resident who was raised as a “nondenominational” Christian.

The suspect in the 2015 Chattanooga killings was born in Kuwait but had been in the U.S. since age six and was a longtime naturalized U.S. citizen.

The second-deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 was in San Bernardino, California, in 2015, where 14 people were killed and 22 injured. One of the perpetrators was born in Chicago, a lifelong U.S. citizen. The other was born in Pakistan, but lived most of her life in Saudi Arabia.

The death toll in Orlando in 2016 surpassed even that of San Bernardino, with 49 dead and 53 others wounded. The shooter, Omar Mateen, was born in New York to parents from Afghanistan. He had lived much of his life in Florida. When he finally did visit the Middle East as an adult, he never set foot in any of the nations mentioned in Trump’s order, only going to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

Are you seeing the pattern here? None of them were from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen. Not one.

These aren’t all the “mass shootings” or “mass killings” that happened in the U.S., but they’re the ones I could find that were connected to “radical Islam” in any way.

How the hell is it protecting Americans from terrorism if we’re only blocking entry for people from countries that haven’t terrorized us?

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Related, in Forbes: Why Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’ Will Make Defeat Of ISIS Harder

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Edit, 2017.02.10: Added paragraph on the 2016 Orlando shooting.

Edit, 2017.02.12: A friend posted (and then deleted) a link to this blog entry by the “Center for Immigration Studies”, which claims 72 “individuals convicted in terror cases since 9/11” are from the seven nations in Trump’s travel ban. It used as its source a Fox New story from 2016. Notably, none of these individuals (as far as I can tell) were implicated in actual terrorist attacks, but were “convicted of terrorism or terrorism-related charges between 9/11 and the end of 2014”. The blog entry named only one man — Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the dead suspect in a 2016 attack in Ohio. Notably, as of this writing, Artan hasn’t been definitively linked to terrorism, nor was anyone killed in his attack (other than himself) which involved a knife and a vehicle. Artan was shot to death by a responding law enforcement officer, who also accidentally shot another person during the response. Artan was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, according to his own story, though investigating officials claimed he was born in Somalia. IF it turns out that Artan’s attack is linked to Islamic terrorism, and IF it can be shown he was actually from Somalia, then that is one exception to my statements above, not “72”.

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10 Comments
  1. I don’t want to be seen as defending the man or the action but I have to point out that your reasoning only accounts for successful attacks on American citizens. Only law enforcement groups have knowledge of all the unsuccessful attacks that have been prevented by police intervention. But since details of those arrests would include the method (NSA surveillance programs) by which the perpetrators of the failed attacks were discovered, it’s long been the policy to withhold the existence of the police actions entirely. Or plea bargain it down to a case of being in the country illegally and deporting them

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      “Only law enforcement groups have knowledge of all the unsuccessful attacks…”

      If “law enforcement groups” have secret knowledge that a bunch of prevented terrorist attacks are from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, and that almost none are from the nations not included in the ban, the time to share that with the public would have been just before Trump issued this executive order. Otherwise, his order looks blatantly idiotic. Because all the successful attacks were done by people from countries not included in the ban (as I listed above).

      No, I don’t see you as “defending the man or the action”. And it’s certainly worth pointing out (as you did) that the American public in general isn’t as aware of international goings-on as are the professionals at various agencies.

      However, I’m the least likely person to be convinced by the argument: “the government might have secret knowledge”. It reminds me of the religious argument: “we can’t know God’s mysterious plan; just accept it”. Not that Trump (or God) has an obligation to convince me of anything… Unless they want my support.

      I do know that our current vetting process is arduous, lengthy, and thorough, and I think it should be. Probably almost everyone in the U.S. agrees that there should be some degree of investigation of every self-identified “refugee” and immigrant. But what doesn’t make sense is a blanket ban on arrivals from seven nations that have (so far) never provided a (known) terrorist attack on our soil, while completely ignoring the multiple locations that *have* provided successful terrorists.

      (And, as Dana helpfully noted below, some of the ignored nations are ones where our dear leader has business interests.)

  2. Dana says:

    Coincidentally, Trump has business interests in Saudia Arabia, the UAE (and Eygypt).

    My office worked 36 hours straight this weekend fighting for and assisting the illegally detained people at JFK this weekend. Although, I practice criminal law; my organization also has a large immigration law practice and criminal defense practitioners are required to know immigration law, as impact on one’s status in the U.S. is a direct collateral consequence of any criminal disposition. I’m very proud of my colleagues and very disappointed with how this administration is shaking out.

    So much disinformation. I feel like I’m living in Orwell’s 1984. Or Kim Jung Un’s North Korea. While I appreciate your efforts here, I feel that perhaps you’re tilting at windmills. Those of us following your blog aren’t likely laboring under the impression that our “leader” is actually connected to reality.

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      “…I feel that perhaps you’re tilting at windmills. Those of us following your blog aren’t likely laboring under the impression that our ‘leader’ is actually connected to reality.”

      Indeed. My regular audience here probably doesn’t need convincing — certainly not the people who comment. (And I appreciate Michael’s regular contributions, because he often brings up facets of a discussion that I hadn’t thought of.)

      One reason I still write here is so I can link to entries when I’m responding to someone on social media. For example, I have a few family members still following me on Facebook who might be convinced. Sure, I could post lengthy replies on Facebook, but then they get lost and are difficult to reference in the future. Here, my content is organized and searchable (and backed up to my local drives), so it’s relatively easy to formulate a longer response which I can then link to elsewhere.

      As for your office: thank you. Feel free to let them know there are blue voters trapped in Texas where our votes don’t matter, and we appreciate their efforts.

      Neither of my senators have been taking calls for a week or more, and my local rep is a lost cause. Sometimes blogging is all I can do. :-/

  3. Dana says:

    Also, keep in mind, that Steven Bannon (whose Breibart news gives a platform to the neo white supremacist movement) is now a member of the National Security Council. That does not give me any confidence that Trump’s executive orders regarding immigration are based on actual security intelligence but rather on bigotry and xenophobia.

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      Exactly.

      Over the weekend, I became extremely suspicious that Trump/Bannon have been planning these one-two punches in succession. (1) Executive order sure to rile up the left and get everyone talking. This one can always be rescinded later if necessary. It’s a throwaway. (2) Some other move that’s much more sinister but that will get buried in the press about #1, and that is more difficult to put on a sign.

      I’m not suggesting that the first move is a feint; they might actually intend on its full consequences. I just mean that the two moves were planned in concert so that the second one doesn’t get the full attention it deserves.

      Fortunately, the “opposition party” (the press) is reporting the other moves too, but people just aren’t talking about it as much.

      • Dana says:

        What really got buried and was barely covered by the media is that Trump and Putin spoke and are moving towards normalizing (i.e. lifting sanctions) US Russian relations.

        Personally, I think Trump is preparing to annex Mexico. P.M Trudeau should be worried. ;-)

        • Wil C. Fry says:

          It certainly could be more than a “one” and a “two” in the punching sequence. Why stop there? If the opponent is failing to notice and block the appropriate punches, you don’t stop and wait for them to recover — you keep pummeling. Especially if you’ve had *months* to prepare (or years, in the case of some individuals).

          Other things going unnoticed: the devaluing of national lands in the west, making it easier to sell off (assumed intent: drilling and other mineral excavation), thousands of federal employees and prospective employees (including my wife) affected by T***p’s “Day One” hiring freeze, proposed plans to eradicate (or at least cripple) Social Security and Medicaid, the ongoing efforts to defund and cripple public education, and who knows what else.

  4. Dana says:

    And a footnote: Kellyann Conway uses alternate facts to report a non-existent Bowling Green Massacre in 2011 involving two radicalized Iranian refugees in support of the current Muslim ban. She announced in Hardball with Chris Matthews that it was probably new news to most folks because it received very little media coverage.

    In fact, the Bowling Green Massacre received zero coverage because it never happened.

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