Tuesday, 14 June 2016

More on Orlando shooting

UK Column News: Orlando Mass Shooting & The Accelerated Police State (13th June 2016)

Breaking international news and analysis including the record-breaking mass shooting event in Orlando, Florida.


Questions Grow on Orlando Shooter, a ‘Regular’ at Attacked Nightclub

Mateen Claimed Loyalty to Several Rival Groups

13 June, 2016

The relatively straightforward narrative of the Sunday morning Orlando attack, a single, ISIS-inspired gunman acting on the basis of the group’s anti-gay policies, seems to be falling apart with the latest reports dramatically confusing the matter, and painting gunman Omar Mateen is a much different light.

After yesterday’s shock at the ordeal began to clear, patrons at the attacked nightclub, Pulse, discovered something incredible, and totally absent from the initial reports. Mateen wasn’t some unfamiliar attacker, but rather a “regular” at the bar, who had been coming in for at least three years.

A repeat visitor who used to drink to excess at Pulse, saying he couldn’t at home because his family was “really strict,” Mateen was also on a gay dating app used by other patrons of the club, and one man reported Mateen had exchanged messages with him and a friend.

A former classmate of Mateen’s at the police academy said that he believed Mateen to be gay “but not open about it,” and that Mateen had asked him out “romantically.”

Seddique Mateen, Omar’s father and self-proclaimed President of the Transitional Government of Afghanistan, had claimed that Omar was extremely outspoken in his opposition to gay people, and expressed disgust at seeing two men kissing recently in Miami.

The two stories don’t exactly add up, but then a lot of things don’t add up about the Mateen story, particularly the government narrative of him as an apparently random person who got “radicalized by the Internet” despite not having any apparent ties to any terror groups.

Indeed, the conflicting reports about Mateen’s “signs of radicalization” suggest he hadno more than a tenuous grasp on who these Islamist factions he claimed loyalty to actually were, and had at different times claimed to be affiliated with wildly different groups.

The reports of Mateen claiming allegiance to ISIS amid the attacks are well known, but he also mentioned ties to the Boston bombers, the Tsarnaev brothers, who were said to have been inspired by an al-Qaeda magazine, as well as US suicide bomber Moner Mohammed Abusalha, who was a bomber for al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, which is actually fighting against ISIS in Syria.

The FBI says they concluded Mateen’s claim of ties to the Tsarnaev’s was made up by him, and believe he had no more than tenuous ties to Abusalha. Mateen appeared keen to present himself as much better connected than he ever was.

But making matters even more confusing, the 2013 interviews the FBI conducted with Mateen were prompted by him claiming to be a member of Hezbollah, which is a totally ideologically opposed faction to either ISIS or al-Qaeda, and indeed a Shi’ite Muslim group, as opposed to the other two, which are both Sunnis.

That is not in keeping with any of the other “ISIS-inspired” types who have been publicized in recent years, who at the very least appeared to be somewhat clear on what ISIS is, and certainly understood the difference between Sunni and Shi’a Islam.

The reports from people who knew him, whether co-workers, his ex-wife, or fellow club-goers, all tell some pretty similar stories, presenting Mateen as a man extremely prone to anger and quick to threaten violence at the slightest provocation.

During his time guarding the PGA village, co-worker Daniel Gilroy says he “talked about killing people all the time,” and was in a state of “just constant anger. His ex-wife presented him as quick to violence, and extremely abusive.
Even the Pulse patrons who remember him say he would drink to excess and become loud and belligerent. One described him pulling a knife on somebody for telling a joke about religion. He apparently had to be removed from the club several times

The truth about Mateen is likely far more complicated than anyone realized. His claim of ISIS ties are likely to be self-invented, just as his claim to know the Tsaernev brothers, or his claim before that to be a member of Hezbollah. The real question, and the one that we might never know for sure is, who exactly was Omar Mateen?

Orlando Shooter Was Reportedly a Regular at Pulse and Had a Profile on Gay Dating App

12 June, 2016

Early Sunday morning, Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, perpetrating the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Mateen, his father explained the next day, had repeatedly been angered by the sight of two men kissing. But according to witnesses, Mateen was also a regular at the club and exchanged messages with at least one gay man on a gay dating app.

Orlando Nightclub Gunman's Father Says Son Was Angry After Seeing Two Men Kissing
It’s the same guy,” Chris Callen, who performs under the name Kristina McLaughlin, told the Canadian Press. “He’s been going to this bar for at least three years.”

Ty Smith, who also goes by the name Aries, also said he’d seen Mateen being escorted drunk from the club, Pulse, on multiple occasions.

(He’d get) really, really drunk... He couldn’t drink when he was at home—around his wife, or family. His father was really strict... He used to bitch about it,” Smith told the Canadian Press.

Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent,” Smith also explained to the Orlando Sentinel, which spoke with at least four clubgoers who remembered seeing Mateen at Pulse at least a dozen times. “We didn’t really talk to him a lot, but I remember him saying things about his dad at times... He told us he had a wife and child.”

Both Callen and Smith, who are married, tell the Canadian Press they stopped speaking to Mateen after he threatened them with a knife, apparently after someone made a joke about religion.

He ended up pulling a knife,” Callen said. “He said if he ever messed with him again, you know how it’ll turn out.”

Mateen, who was married in 2009, was abusive and unstable, his ex-wife says. They were married for just a few months before her parents rescued her from their home in Florida, leaving most of her belongings behind. It’s still unclear if he was married again after their divorce was finalized in 2011.

Ex-Wife of Alleged Orlando Shooter Says He Was Unstable and Abusive
MSNBC host Chris Hayes also says he spoke to a man who claims both he and a friend received messages from Mateen via a gay dating app. The full story is set to air tonight on Hayes’ show, All In. 

Omar Mateen committed the most horrific act of anti-gay violence on U.S. soil. But there was a time when he had gay friends, a high school classmate says.

FORT PIERCE, Florida — Years before he shot up an Orlando gay club in what became the largest mass shooting in American history, Omar Mateen regularly picked up lunch from a drag queen at Ruby Tuesday. He may have even gone to see a drag show or two, a former high school classmate told The Daily Beast.

About 10 years ago, Mateen, a few years out of high school, was working at the supplement store GNC. Samuel King, a year ahead of him in high school, was working next door at the restaurant chain. Mateen was a few years out of playing football in high school while King, who is openly gay, had long, flowing extensions, and prettier hair than most of his female co-workers.

He always had a smile on his face,” King told The Daily Beast on Sunday.

Maybe it’s because he was working in customer service.”

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