The imam of Florence has posted a picture of habit-wearing nuns splashing along the seashore on Facebook, calling for dialogue about burqini bans… but got his account blocked instead.
The post by Izzedin Elzir got some 2,700 shares, and came in response to the French southern cities – like Cannes and Nice – prohibiting the wearing of burqinis on the beach.
The day after the imam published his post, he awoke to find his account blocked.
“It’s incomprehensible. I have to send them an ID document to reactivate it. They wanted to make sure it’s my account – it’s a very strange procedure,” the indignant imam told La Repubblica.
On Friday, his account was back in, and the imam said he hopes it wasn’t blocked because of the picture, as it urges dialogue, and “we live in a society of law and freedom.”
He also noted that the burqini had only come into fashion among Muslim women over the past few years, and he expressed regret that “some politicians in France, instead of responding to the political and economic needs of their citizens, are focusing on how Muslims dress.”
Many online commenters tended to agree with the imam, saying that “The sea is for everyone,” and describing the ban as “a psychological tool against Muslims.”
However, others disagreed, “Don’t confuse the two different situations: these are women who have CHOSEN to religious life with the rules that it imposes, the ‘others’ are FORCED to dress even on the beach,” a comment read.
It’s not the first burqini-linked scandal this week. On Thursday, Austrian politician Ahmet Demir caused uproar after publishing a photo of two nuns and joking that they were “oppressed women” in burqas. Later, he took the post down and apologized, but defended his post saying that he was attempting to convey the message that “every woman should be able to wear what they want as long as they chose the clothes themselves.”
On Tuesday, Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano told Corriere Della Serra that Italy wouldn’t follow France’s suit and ban the burqini, but will step up regulations of imams and mosques.
Two days later, Italian authorities expelled the Tunisian imam Khairredine Romdhane Ben Chedli. The 35-year-old imam was lately absolved of terrorism-related charges, but still deemed unfit to remain in his post, the ANSA news agency said.
© assila_france / Instagram
The French women’s rights minister has defended the ‘burqini’ bans introduced in three French towns, saying the swimwear is “hostile to diversity.” She has previously been criticized for comparing veil-wearing Muslims to “American negroes” who supported slavery.
“The burqini is not some new line of swimwear, it is the beach version of the burqa and it has the same logic: hide women’s bodies in order to control them better,” French Minister for Women’s Rights Laurence Rossignol told French Le Parisien newspaper.
She added that burqinis represent a “deeply archaic vision of the place of women in society and, thus, the relationship between men and women.”
“There is an idea that women are … immoral and should hide their body… A hundred years passed, but [according to burqini inventors] a woman who reveals her ankles or hair is not a woman of virtue.”
According to Rossignol, the burqini topic sparked tensions because of its political dimension.
“It is not just the business of those women who wear it, because it is the symbol of a political project that is hostile to diversity and women’s emancipation,” she said.
Burqinis have recently been a hot topic in France after several towns banned the controversial swimwear worn by some Muslim women.
The first city to ban burqinis was Cannes, with Mayor David Lisnard ruling that: “Access to beaches and for swimming is banned to anyone who does not have [bathing apparel] that respects good customs and secularism.”
His moved was followed by the mayor of another French Riviera town, Villeneuve-Loubet. This time the Muslim swimwear was banned for “hygiene reasons,” according to the town’s mayor, Lionnel Luca.
A village on the French island of Corsica became the third place in France to ban burqinis after the female Muslim swimwear reportedly caused a violent brawl between locals and migrants of North African origin there.
Earlier in August, the Pennes-Mirabeau commune near Marseille canceled a controversial pool party that had been planned by a Muslim group. The organizers, the Smile 13 group, which describes itself on Facebook as a sports and social event group for women and children, said they had received death threats, with one person even claiming they received bullets in the mail.
© assila_france / Instagram
RT | August 16, 2016
The Corsican village of Sisco is the third French locality to announce a burkini ban on beaches, in the name of “gender equality,” but Muslim women who oppose such “misogynistic” measures are targeting “western feminists” for a lack of public support.
Following bans by the French Riviera towns of Cannes and Villeneuve-Loubet citing “hygienic reasons” and linking it to terrorism, Sisco’s mayor enacted the restriction after a major brawl this past weekend in his village over the controversial swimsuit.
The debate has gripped France with Islamophobes, socialists, and feminists, among others, seemingly placed on the same side on the issue.
“Since when did wearing a burkini, in most cases a loose fitting nylon version of a wetsuit, become an act of allegiance to terrorist movements?” Huda Jawad of the Independent asked.
“Do Marks & Spencer or House of Fraser know that their attempt to raise profits and exploit a gap in the over-saturated clothing market is selling and promoting allegiance to ISIS?” she added, referring to recent clothing brands selling the swimwear.
“These daily micro, and at times macro, aggressions indicate the extent to which misogynistic Islamophobia has become normalized in Western discourse and public debate,” Jawad noted. “What hurts the most is the silence of fellow mainstream and ‘western’ feminists whose voices would have a significant impact on how these issues are framed and articulated.”
In an interview with Le Parisien, Socialist Party Minister for Family, Children and Women’s Rights Laurence Rossignol, defended the ban and said the burkini’s purpose is “to hide women’s bodies in order to better control them.”
The same minister in April compared Muslim women who choose to wear the veil to “American negroes” who supported slavery.
While many white, Western feminists defend the rights of women to be free for what they wear or do to their bodies, there has been silence concerning Muslim women who are often marginalized.
On August 9, a ‘Burkini Day’ for women at a waterpark beside Marseilles was called off after organizers received death threats.
There were no protests from white feminists, nor did they don the burkini in solidarity with Muslim women who choose to wear the outfit. … Full article
The Kevin Barrett-Chomsky Dispute in Historical Perspective – Seventh part of the series titled “9/11 and the Zionist Question” – Read the sixth part here.
Understanding of the nature of the lies and crimes of 9/11 has moved quite far in the decade between the publication of Barrie Zwicker’s Towers of Deception in 2006 and Kevin Barrett’s 2016 presentation at the Left Forum. Where Zwicker emphasized Chomsky’s connection to the US deep state, Kevin Barrett views Chomsky as a Zionist with deep attachments to Israel where he lived and worked on a kibbutz in the early 1950s.
Chomsky’s relationship with Israel is outlined in flattering terms in a fluff piece in a publication entitled Tablet, a heavily pro-Zionist venue featuring other interviews with the likes of Elliot Abrams. Abrams was an influential member of the Project for the New American Century, the neocon lobby group that in 2000 notoriously signaled the forthcoming 9/11 strikes by calling for “something like a new Pearl Harbor.”
In the Tablet interview, Noam Chomsky explained the attachments and preoccupations of his Jewish orthodox parents. In his seminal years, Hebrew was the main language of the Chomsky family, a linguistic asset that the younger Chomsky would later call upon in his career as a student of linguistics.
Noam Chomsky’s father pointed his son towards the writings of Jewish philosopher Ahad Ha’am. Chomsky looked back fondly on his father’s account of Ha’am’s advocacy of “a Zionist revival in Israel, in Palestine.” The aim of this revival would be to create “a cultural center for the Jewish people.” Chomsky elaborates, explaining Ha’am’s view that “Jews as primarily a Diaspora community needed a cultural center that has a physical presence. Ha’am was said to be very sympathetic to the Palestinians.” Ha’am wanted kindly treatment of the Palestinians but he left no doubt that they should move aside to make room for what Chomsky refers to again and again as a “Jewish cultural center.”
In the Tablet article Chomsky’s orientation towards Israel is publicly portrayed as that of a loyalist calling for a kinder gentler form of Zionism. As Kevin Barrett sees it, however, Chomsky’s willingness to criticize the Israeli state, but especially its abuses and assaults directed at the Palestinian people, should not be allowed to take away from understanding that he is a committed Zionist intent on protecting and advancing Israel’s interests.
Chomsky’s position on 9/11 has been replicated throughout much of the Left where well-funded gatekeeping, sponsored by the likes of George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, is indeed rife. There is a conspicuous absence of leading Jewish intellectuals that have publicly attempted to decipher what actually transpired in New York, Washington and the air lanes of the northeastern United States during the transformative day of September 11, 2001. Consider, for instance, the relationship of Miko Peled, Medea Benjamin, Michael Albert, David Corn, Amy Goodman, George Monbiot, Cy Gonick, Judy Rebick to the enterprise of exposing the lies and crimes of 9/11. Their evasiveness or outright hostility to the 9/11 skeptics is shared by many non-Jewish public intellectuals including Chris Hedges, John Pilger, and Tariq Ali.
Some, but especially Chomsky, have gone beyond maintaining a strategic silence to incite smear campaigns against those that have displayed skepticism towards the official narrative of 9/11. Chomsky sets the bar low in portraying the demeaned “truthers” as an undifferentiated collection of stupid, backward and decrepit souls. “Their lives are no good… Their lives are collapsing… They are people at a loss… Nothing makes any sense… They don’t understand what an explanation is… They think they are experts in physics and civil engineering on the basis of one hour on the Internet.”
These comments reflect the shockingly low level of Chomsky’s near hysterical effort to divert attention away from evidence of what really transpired on 9/11. This type of personalized attack, as if the 9/11 Truth Movement is collectively guilty of some sort of horrific thought crime, replicates on ideological grounds some of the worst attributes of racism and bigotry.
Unfortunately Chomsky’s interventions are fairly representative of the overall quality of many Zionist attacks on the 9/11 Truth Movement. As is especially clear in the writings of Jonathan Kay, for instance, Zionist smear tactics directed at 9/11 “truthers” extend many of the same themes of induced hatred directed at Muslims by the Zionist propagandists in charge of the Islamophobia Industry.
Chomsky’s critical orientation to the actions and power structure of the Israeli government is similar to his critical orientation to the actions and power structure of the United States. Chomsky’s bottom line, however, is his attachment to the Jewish state as the site of a Jewish cultural renaissance that he seeks to advance and protect.
Chomsky refuses to accept that US foreign policy and the foreign policies of the former dependencies of Anglo-American empire have become subordinate to the imperatives of Zionist lobbies as well as to the networks of media, banking and corporate power that serve them. These lobbies figure prominently in the formulation and execution of the Israeli government’s foreign policies. Organizations like the B’nai Brith or Abe Foxman’s thuggish Anti-Defamation League are in reality ideological and political proxy armies. Their role is to silence critics of the Israeli government, to brand as anti-semitic any efforts to identify fundamental disparities in access to power.
All these factors converge to expose Chomsky’s role in serving the dominant clique that emerged from the global coup d’état of September 11, 2001. Chomsky’s power-serving misrepresentations on this subject present an important window into the study of the relationship between 9/11 and the structuring of national and global hierarchies of power. What is the role of universities and the media in the connections linking 9/11 to the Zionist Question, a contemporary extension of what Karl Marx and others used to refer to frequently in European literature as the Jewish Question?
You will read “A Public Intellectual Outside the Protections of the Academy” in the next part.
There is a story about ISIS using some special metal instrument to clip or bite women’s breasts. In some version of the story, the women were breastfeeding in public. In other versions, it’s because of a failure to completely cover the body, I think one version is that the woman was not wearing gloves (!)
As you know, I’ve made it something of a life project to develop higher Bullshit Detection Quotient, and I immediately suspected, even assumed that the story was bullshit. In fact, I wrote a sarcastic comment (#8) after the story.
In that comment, I wondered whether anybody had a picture or drawing of this object called “the biter”, used to slice women’s tits. I forget when exactly, at most a month ago, I came across an article in the Daily Mail detailing the same story.
But this article actually contains a picture of the horrid instrument in question, the “biter”! It’s the second image on the page. Actually, let me embed it right here:
Now, in Google Chrome, you can right-click on an image and just do a google image search. Just right-click the above image and choose “Search google for image”. The top two results containing this photo are the wikipedia page for the “breast ripper”
and the next one is some page devoted to the most gruesome medieval torture instruments,
The “Breast Ripper” is number 2 actually, one above the rack!
So, this is the instrument used (currently!) by ISIS to cut up women’s titties in Mosul, Iraq, a museum piece of some instrument in Europe back in the time of the inquisition or something. Did they go off and break into some medieval torture museum in Germany to get their hands on one of these tit-slicing devices?
Even before finding this image and seeing what it was from the Google image search, I had very great doubts about the story. You see, I look at it this way. If they said that ISIS entered some town and raped every woman they came across, I could believe that pretty easily. Even then, it might not be true, but I am a man and can relate to it. A mass rape story, I don’t condone it or anything, but I understand it. This story of gouging women’s tits, just like the bayoneting Belgian babies story, has a strong feel of war propaganda about it. Like, if you think about it a bit, why would they do that? Obviously, any woman you do that to, that’s somebody’s sister or somebody’s mother, a childhood friend… any occupying army that did this would automatically be making enemies of so many people utterly gratuitously, no?
In any case, the story is obviously designed to rile people up. Like the bayoneting babies or whatever. Males are programmed to be protective of females and such a story is, of course, meant, quite crudely, to push our buttons, no?
I believe pretty strongly, at maybe the 98% level or so that you could go to Mosul, Iraq and ask as many people as you want about this “Breast Ripper” instrument and ISIS using it to tear up women’s tits, and nobody would know WTF you are talking about. This is a narrative constructed for a Western audience.
The “Breast Ripper” story is just part of a general narrative that exists to vilify Arabs and Muslims generally. What is striking about it is that, at least from the Daily Mail article, where they provide this photo, anybody can just right-click on the photo and do the Google image search and see that this is a medieval torture instrument. The people behind this wanted to include a picture, but of course there is none, because nobody is slicing women’s tits in Mosul, Iraq (almost certainly not…) and so they fished up the image of a medieval instrument that corresponds to that description, and then they say: “here’s your breast ripper device that ISIS is using…” Now, you might be inclined to think that they would never be so sloppy as to do something that is so easily exposed, but… they are!
It’s very problematic to be mirroring this kind of vile garbage. This is evil warmongering propaganda and spreading it would make one complicit morally.
Unsuspecting citizens are paying for a nexus of interlocking agencies that conspire to create terror, war, and police-state legislation in a War of Deception that serves to devastate humanity.
Without its arsenal of fabricated war pretexts, and its fabricated fear apparatus, the warmongering oligarchy would be denuded and reveal itself as the mass-murdering terrorist entity that it is.
Most recently, in Canada, Justice Catherine Bruce disclosed the true nature of an RCMP terror plot when she overturned terror convictions against two patsies – John Nuttal and Amanda Korody – who were set up by police operatives to commit a terrorist act for which they would otherwise be totally incapable of performing.
Bruce stated the obvious when she observed that,
“Simply put, the world has enough terrorists. We do not need the police to create more out of marginalized people who have neither the capacity nor sufficient motivation to do it themselves.”
- create an atmosphere of fear (aimed at the general public as well as politicians),
- create Islamophobia
- create a false pretext for a War on Terror (translated: illegal imperial invasions using un-Islamic terrorists as proxy armies)
- create a pretext for unconstitutional, fascist, police state legislation (C-51 legislation)
Unsuspecting, otherwise peace-loving citizens, are also being duped into paying for Private Intelligence Contractors (PICS) who receive lucrative government contracts to engage in a full spectrum of activities designed to create and sustain war crimes.
The author writes in “Full Spectrum Dominance”, Private Intelligence Contractors and “Engineered Consent” that,
Science Application International Corporation (SAIC) is likely the largest (and least known) PIC, with a huge staff (about 40,000 in 2007, likely more now), and it is fully integrated into the War Machine.
Donald L. Bartlett and James B. Steele report in “Washington’s $ Billion Shadow”, that
‘SAIC’s friends in Washington are everywhere, and play on all sides; the connections are tightly interlocked. To cite just one example: Robert M. Gates, the new secretary of defense, whose confirmation hearings lasted all of a day, is a former member of SAIC’s board of directors …’
The U.S. government, through its incestuous relationship with SAIC, effectively created false intelligence – with impunity —as a fabricated pretext to wage the illegal war of aggression against Iraq.
Fake intelligence reports were also used to pin the East Ghouta (false flag) terror event on the Assad government, and to provoke a direct U.S/Coalition military invasion to depose Syria’s democratically-elected President.
A memo from “Veterans intelligence Professionals for Sanity” (VIPS) indicated that,
some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this. In writing this brief report, we choose to assume that you have not been fully informed because your advisers decided to afford you the opportunity for what is commonly known as ‘plausible denial.’
The CIA specializes in the commission of crimes beneath which the protective shield of “plausible deniability” can be invoked should suspicions of CIA complicity be aroused.
Professor Tim Anderson and others also demonstrate, with sustainable evidence, that the East Ghouta gas attack was false flag terrorism.
The Pentagon’s use of PICS to perpetrate war crimes is now becoming normalized. According to Kate Brannen in “Spies-for-Hire Now at War in Syria”, the Pentagon publicly disclosed the terms of a contract with a PIC called Six3 Intelligence Solutions to provide “intelligence analysis services” in a number of countries, but most notably, Syria. The public may not be aware that such an intervention in Syria is illegal, or that Six3 Intelligence Solutions has a proven track record as interrogators at the Abu Ghraib torture chambers, or that it will no doubt offer the CIA plenty of “plausible deniability” to perpetrate crimes with impunity.
Whereas the government and its agencies should be using our tax dollars to “create no harm”, and to further the cause of peace and prosperity, it is clear beyond any reasonable doubt that governing agencies are creating much harm, through stealth and deception, thanks to the steady flow of tax dollars streaming into their coffers.
The sensational headlines following the arrests of Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie, as well as Ebrahim and Fatima Patel, in Johannesburg and the West Rand, have dominated the South African media over the past few weeks. The #TerrorArrests, as they have been dubbed on social media, came a month after the US embassy issued its umpteenth terror alert warning of imminent Daesh attacks in the country. Even though there are still questions around the legality of the Thulsie arrests, the word “terror” has been used freely. The South African Jewish Report claims that it dubbed the Thulsies the “Terror Twins” and the “name has stuck like glue in all media reports on the case,” gloated journalist Ant Katz.
It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the court of public opinion has already found the accused – all of whom are Muslims – guilty of being Daesh recruits. They were, it is claimed widely, planning attacks on American sites and Jewish cultural institutions.
There has been much speculation about Daesh recruitment in South Africa — indeed, around the world — but I would argue that the extremist group has no need to make any real effort to recruit anyone; the West does a good enough job in that respect. It is the West’s support for tyrannical Arab and Israeli regimes that draws people to extremism. Daesh’s use of terminology such as “Caliphate” and “jihad”, and its Hollywood-style video clips purportedly confronting the imperial invaders, also attract marginal support from the naive.
In 2003, the South African government introduced US-inspired anti-terrorism legislation, despite warnings from civil society on the impact that this would have on the Muslim community. Since then, there has been a slew of clandestine arrests and detentions of South African Muslims, in collaboration with foreign intelligence agencies like the FBI.
Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute reports that the FBI treats Muslims like “terrorists-in-waiting”, encouraging, pressurising and sometimes paying them to commit crimes that they would not ordinarily have committed. Informants trawl through Muslim communities, mosques and community centres, monitor and engage social media, and talk of radical Islam in order to identify possible targets sympathetic to such ideas. If suitable suspects are identified, FBI agents then run a sting, often creating a fake terror plot in which it helps supply weapons and targets. Then, dramatic arrests are made, press conferences held, terror “experts” paraded and lengthy convictions secured.
Are the authorities in South Africa headed in the same direction? It seems that we might well be seeing such a scenario. The investigating officer for the Thulsie case, Wynand Olivier, admitted in court that foreign intelligence agents prompted the Hawks — SA’s elite anti-terror police squad — to arrest the Thulsie and Patel siblings. So desperate were the authorities to effect an arrest that even paintball guns have been presented as “evidence” of an arms cache. More disturbing still is Olivier’s understanding of the word “jihad”, a term that has become central to the case against the Thulsies. The legal official has admitted that no Islamic or Arabic language experts were consulted to guide the authorities on the use of the word.
The word “jihad” is actually used widely by all Muslims, and refers to both individual and social struggles. In fact, if the Hawks were to monitor the use of “jihad” thoroughly, then every South African Muslim would qualify as a “terror” suspect. That is a day we must ensure never comes. The Muslim community is woven firmly within the fabric of South African society, a fact recognised by the government.
However, if we are to retain this social harmony, then the authorities must revisit the anti-terror laws we were coerced into adopting. Furthermore, an independent, enlightened and prudent foreign policy must be followed; it would be the best way to protect us all by ensuring that we do not give Daesh the metaphoric ammunition to entice gullible people to join the movement. Such a policy will be infinitely more effective at countering extremist ideology than a witch-hunt based on myths, stereotypes and misinformation.
Five U.S. citizens were denied entry to Israel after 18 hours of being detained and interrogated by Israeli border police regarding their backgrounds, political tendencies and personal relationships, the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation said this week.
The incident, which occurred July 17 but was not publicly revealed until Tuesday, is the latest case of U.S. citizens being profiled and denied entry to Israel based on the color of their skin and their background in pro-Palestine activism.
“After repeatedly asking why I was being yelled at, handcuffed, and threatened with force, I was never given any explanation for the treatment I received,” a 26-year old U.S. citizen of South Asian descent, who asked not to be named, said in a press release.
“In fact, I was told that they did not owe me an explanation, and that any rights I had as a U.S. citizen were invalid under Israeli law. The only thing made clear during the 18-hour ordeal was that their dehumanization of me was based on a ‘hunch’ rooted in nothing more than my name and ethnic background.”
The young U.S. activists were attempting to enter Israel and go to Palestine to observe the conflict on the ground and gain a better understanding of the conditions Palestinians live under amid the Israeli occupation.
“One of the delegates, Bina Ahmad, a New York City public defender and former vice president of the National Lawyers Guild, was denied entry to the country and given no reason why, then transferred to a filthy cell without knowing how long she would be held,” the statement added.
Commenting on the incident, Ahmad said she was “outraged” at what Israel did to her and her colleagues, noting such actions were unlawful.
“The deportation of a majority Muslim and people of color group is an example of how Israel engages in Islamophobia and racism, and silences debate by preventing the world from hearing the testimony of those who bear witness to the plight of Palestinians,” she said in the press release.
Describing their experience at the Israeli airport as “terrifying,” the statement added that female delegates who were detained were “asked irrelevant and intrusive questions about their personal relationships, and were held for as long as 18 hours.”
After long hours in filthy cells and interrogations for merely attempting to enter a country with which the United States has a visa waiver program, all five delegates were put on flights back to the U.S. Some were also slapped with travel bans that bar them from entering Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories for the next 10 years.
The delegates’ own government was also of no help, as calls to the U.S. Consulate’s Citizen Services resulted in no assistance. “Some officials made comments indicating they had no power over the treatment of U.S. citizens held at the airport despite visa agreements between Israel and the United States,” the statement said.
The repeated abuse of U.S. citizens of Palestinian or Middle Eastern origins has prompted the U.S. State Department to issue a travel warning for Israel that reads: “Some U.S. citizens of Arab or Muslim heritage not on the Palestinian Population Registry or otherwise prohibited from entering Israel have experienced significant difficulties and unequal and hostile treatment at Israel’s borders and checkpoints.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says projects by the Israeli and Saudi Arabian regimes to portray Iran as a threat to the world have been falling flat over the past years.
Speaking to a group of Iranian expatriates in the Ghanaian capital city of Accra on Monday evening, Zarif said Tel Aviv and Riyadh, “two like-minded regimes,” are investing heavily in Iranophobia to draw attention away from their crimes and their collaborations.
“It is obvious that the cooperation of the Zionist regime (Israel) and the Saudi regime, which are two like-minded and congruent regimes, has today become known and can no more be concealed,” Zarif said.
He said the two regimes are concerned about their collaboration having become publicly known and are thus “investing further in Iranophobia” as a means of distraction.
He said, however, that, “The world has today waken up to the fact that the danger of Wahhabism is the real threat.”
Wahhabism is an extreme ideological strand openly preached by Saudi Arabian clerics, who have the blessing of ruling Saudi authorities. It is the main ideological feature of Takfiri terrorist groups — particularly Daesh — which declare people of other faiths and beliefs as “infidels” and, based on “decrees” from clerics, rule that they should be killed.
Most Arab governments have no diplomatic relations with Israel. Egypt and Qatar are the only two Arab states to have open diplomatic ties with Israel.
Some Arab governments, however, while posing as Israel’s traditional adversaries, have been revealed to have secret ties with the Tel Aviv regime. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are two such countries.
Last week, a retired general in the Saudi military traveled to Israel at the head of a delegation, meeting with Israel’s foreign ministry director general Dore Gold Yoav Mordechai and a number of Knesset members.
Both Riyadh and Tel Aviv were and continue to be fiercely opposed to a nuclear deal between Iran and a group of six world powers.
In his Monday remarks, Foreign Minister Zarif said the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), succeeded in proving to the world the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program.
The JCPOA was struck between Iran and the US, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany on July 14, 2015.
Zarif is in Ghana on the second leg of a four-nation African tour. He was in Nigeria before arriving in Ghana and will be traveling to Guinea-Conakry and Mali on the third and fourth legs of his tour.
A Night at the Theater
One evening a gentleman decides to go to the theater. There is a play showing that is reputed to be a very funny comedy. It’s hilarious, people are raving about it.
At various points in the middle of the performance, hecklers disrupt the play, shouting disparaging insults at the actors on stage. At first, the actors on stage ignore this and carry on in their roles, but then, at some point, some of them lose patience with this, and respond to the hecklers. Let’s say it begins when an actress on the stage, who is portraying a very prim, proper lady in the play, goes completely out of character and responds to the hecklers with salty language worthy of a sailor. The audience bursts out laughing. Then other actors go out of character as well and there is hilarious repartee between actors on stage and the hecklers in the audience insulting one another.
Truth told, the whole thing is actually very entertaining, but our upstanding gentleman is kind of annoyed. He would very much like to the see the play as it is intended to be seen. But also, the whole thing is rather strange. He wonders: what is going on here? Why are these hecklers allowed to do this? Why aren’t they kicked out of the theater?
Well, this is known to be a very fine theatrical production with some superb actors and he would very much like to see it properly without any interruptions from hecklers. So, at a later date, he goes back to the theater. He buys his ticket, finds his seat…. Amazingly, at the same key moments in the play, the very same hecklers disrupt the performance, just like the first time. And there is the very same repartee between the actors and the hecklers in the audience.
Now, this man is completely perplexed. He cannot understand why the theater continually allows these hecklers to disrupt the performance. He is utterly confused. At this point, the lady sitting in the seat next to him leans over to him, smiles, and whispers: “I love this. It’s my favorite part of the show.”
The man smiles back sheepishly. He is feeling a little bit embarrassed that he was so slow to figure it out. But, of course it now dawns on him what is really going on. By jove, he’s got it!
This “Night at the Theater” story that I have outlined provides some framework for thinking about the pervasive propaganda matrix and we shall return to it. However, first, we need to go over some basics.
Shit happens. Organic versus synthetic events.
When you turn on the television and watch the news, there are, very broadly speaking, two types of news being reported: organic and synthetic events.
The concept of an organic event was perhaps best characterized by Forrest Gump, when he said: “Shit happens.” Indeed it does, a neverending flow of it. Just offhand, on the national and international levels, there is usually some sort of ongoing natural disaster somewhere: an earthquake, a hurricane, floods, forest fires… In these cases we get all the typical news reporting on the devastation and the ongoing humanitarian relief efforts… In the more local news, there are random accidents. In particular, traffic accidents happen continually. A truck collides with a bus and there are a number of fatalities. They dispatch a reporter to the scene who interviews various witnesses…
Such things make up your basic “shit happens” news. We could make the following two observations about organic events:
- It is not unreasonable to assume that the reporting of an organic event is broadly honest.
- The level of attention that an organic event receives is about commensurate with its scale.
I actually worded these points a bit carefully. For example, regarding point 1, I am quite aware that mainstream news reporting is pretty unreliable. They certainly get all kinds of things wrong continually. Still, one’s reasonable baseline assumption is that what they are telling you happened is pretty similar to what really happened. Or, in other words, the things they get wrong tend to be within the range of honest error — that is, in the case of an organic event.
As for point 2 above, just consider the fact that, on a typical day in the United States alone, about a hundred people die in traffic accidents, more or less. As such, unless it is something pretty spectacular or somebody famous is involved, a traffic accident will only be news locally. Moreover, it will only receive media attention for a short period of time. Soon, some other shit happens and then the focus shifts over to that.
Now, obviously, when it comes to understanding the propaganda matrix, it is not the organic events that we are interested in. It’s the other kind, the synthetic event. However, on occasion, it is easier to define things negatively, not by what they are, but rather, by what they are not. With a non-organic, or synthetic event, the above two observations do not apply. It is quite the opposite. Thus:
When it comes to synthetic events, the baseline assumption is that everything they are telling you and showing you is fake, at least in the absence of strong evidence. Moreover, it is utterly naive to assume that the reporting on a synthetic event is honest.
In other words, point 1 above definitely does not apply! Nor does point 2. Very typically, the first strong clue that something is a synthetic event will be that it receives a level of attention that is not at all in proportion to what one would expect. I suspect that this is an analytical tool that has been valid for a good while. For example, consider the break-in at the Watergate Hotel on 6/17/1972. This crime (though more the subsequent cover-up admittedly) is the event that led to the Watergate scandal that caused Richard Nixon to resign the presidency in disgrace. Look at the scale of the crime. Did it not receive an outrageous level of attention when compared to so many other cases of high-level criminality? Hmm…. Now, this actually works both ways. Sometimes an event receives far more attention than one would expect, but other times far less. For example, the perfectly symmetrical implosion of WTC Building 7 never being mentioned in the mainstream media is a perfect example of a key event that receives suspiciously little attention.
Let us now examine a more recent narrative that should elicit warning bells precisely due to how much attention it has received.
Is this shit for real? The case of Pastor Terry Jones
Consider the following video, a news segment from the year 2010.
I suppose most readers will remember this, at least vaguely. It is part of a saga that received an immense amount of attention over a number of years. The central character, one Terry Jones, was purportedly the spiritual leader of some 50 people in Gainesville, Florida — a dozen families more or less. (I suspect that this was a high-ball estimate of his following, since they have every reason to exaggerate this man’s importance. But certainly, he did not have more than 50 followers, most likely fewer. Like, zero maybe?) In any case, Mr. Jones would not figure in a Who’s Who of the Christian religion. He is not the Pope and he ain’t the Archbishop of Canterbury neither. As far as I can tell, the “evangelical” church that he was leading at the time is not a part of, nor is it recognized by, any major Christian denomination.
Nonetheless, as we see in the video, this man gained national and international attention via his threats to burn a Koran. Or Korans in the plural. Yes, the President of the United States was imploring this man not to burn any Korans. Hillary Clinton as well. Apparently, the Pope in Rome also pleaded with him not to do this. (I assume His Holiness did not call collect…)
The whole thing is really quite extraordinary. General David Petraeus later appears in this news segment claiming that this man’s burning of a Koran in Florida will “make his job very difficult” and will “endanger the lives of American servicemen”. It is hard to know even where to begin deconstructing the lunacy of this whole narrative. Just for starters, why does nobody ask the most obvious question about this?
How would the people in Afghanistan even know that this old geezer in Florida is burning any Korans?
Now, I have never been to Aghanistan and have no plans to visit. However, I think it is a very safe bet that the people in Afghanistan do not know about Pastor Terry Jones and his Burn-A-Koran day. I would venture the guess that you could travel the entire length and breadth of that country and ask people if they knew about this and none would. Of course not. This whole synthetic event is entirely constructed for a Western audience! The people in far off Afghanistan would know nothing about it.
Actually, I was intrigued to learn, a few years back, that the majority of people in Afghanistan do not even know about the attacks of 9/11. Consider this report or this one. Apparently, around 92% of the Afghan people have no idea about 9/11! You show them a photograph of the twin towers burning and they have no idea where or when this occurred. And they certainly make no connection between that and the U.S. invasion of their country. I found the whole thing really quite intriguing. What this really goes to show is that the whole purpose of the 9/11 synthetic event was to establish a narrative for a Western audience. The population of Afghanistan does not, by and large, even know the official pretext for the invasion of their country. No, nobody ever bothered to tell them! I have absolutely no idea how many Iraqis know what the official reason for the invasion of their country was. (Remember that? Saddam’s non-existent WMD?) I would not be surprised if it was similar to the Afghan case, where the majority of the people in Iraq do not know what the reasons for the invasion were. Or, more precisely, they may have no idea what reasons were given to the American people to justify the war.
In any case, if fewer than 10% of the Afghans even know about the towers going down on 9/11, then what percentage would know about Terry Jones burning a Koran in Gainesville, Florida? So what on earth is David Petraeus talking about? It’s as if he lives in a mental universe in which the people in Afghanistan all have cable and watch CNN and FOX News. Maybe some underling should inform him. Like so:
“Sir, these are very culturally deprived people we’re talking about, General Petraeus, Sir.”
“How bad is it? Tell me the worst.”
“Sir, this here is the veritable Heart of Darkness, Sir. Sir, most of them have never even seen Kim Kardashian’s ass, Sir.”
“My God! The Horror! The Horror…”
“Sir, yes, Sir.”
Now, to be clear, I do not believe that Petraeus really is such a fool. He knows this whole story is bullshit but is playing along. He pretends to be so concerned that the Florida pastor burning a Koran will put American troops in Afghanistan in extra danger. He understands that he is supposed to go along with this narrative. It is what is expected of him.
The way the story then developed was that Mr. Jones first relented and did not burn any Korans as planned, on 9/11/2010, but then he did burn a Koran (or maybe more than one Koran) on 3/20/2011. As we see, General Petraeus had warned of dire consequences if Pastor Jones went ahead and burned a Koran and it turns out he was right! We are then told in the various mainstream news sources that this led to riots in Afghanistan, in particular in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. There, on 4/1/2011 (is the April 1 date a coincidence?) the New York Times, America’s “newspaper of record” reports:
MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan — Stirred up by three angry mullahs who urged them to avenge the burning of a Koran at a Florida church, thousands of protesters on Friday overran the compound of the United Nations in this northern Afghan city, killing at least 12 people, Afghan and United Nations officials said.
The version of events in Wikipedia is:
A riot erupted in Mazar-i-Sharif on 1 April 2011 during the protest over the burning of the Qur’an in the US. Estimates of the number of protesters ranged from “hundreds” to as many as 2,000. The protest began near the city’s Blue Mosque shortly after Friday prayer,with protesters chanting “Death to the USA, death to Israel.” During the sermon, which is part of the Friday prayer, worshipers were told by three mullahs to begin protesting in favor of the arrest of Pastor Terry Jones, who led the Qur’an burning.
So we are told that this riot in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan took place because Terry Jones finally burned a Koran. The Afghans are not rioting because their country has been invaded and occupied by foreign troops but rather, because some utterly insignificant individual on the other side of the world burned a Koran.
The saga does not end here. Over a year later, on 9/12/2012, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, called Pastor Terry Jones on the phone and asked him to withdraw his support for a film “whose portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad has sparked violent protests.” Now the focus of the narrative had shifted over to Libya. The Libyans are not angry, apparently, that their country has been “bombed back into the Stone Age” and tens of thousands of their people are dead and their country in a state of anarchy. No, they are angry about a film that “portrays Muhammad unfavorably”. And now, of course, the Koran-burning pastor who caused a deadly riot on the other side of the world the previous year is brought back into the story….
If a tree falls in the forest…
We could have a field day analyzing and ridiculing all of this synthetic narrative. Surely you understand the overall point. This whole Koran-burning saga already stands out as a synthetic news story simply by virtue of how much attention is devoted to this insignificant personage, Terry Jones. Unless you happen to be a very famous person reading these lines, I think it is safe to say that if you or I threatened to burn a Koran, it would not be an international news story, we would not receive phone calls from the President or the Pope. No, we would be ignored. In fact, in that video it is mentioned that various people sent Korans to Jones for him to burn. Think about that. The people who send him Korans to burn know perfectly well that if they themselves burn a Koran, it has no transcendence because nobody is paying any attention. So they send the Korans to him to burn. At least that’s what is claimed, that various people sent him Korans to burn, 200 of them…
The other funny thing about the whole story is that the entire media circus that they create around this individual pretty much obliges him to finally burn a Koran or two. After all, a sword swallower must eventually swallow a sword. He cannot just continually announce that he is going to do it, though he may wait until a sufficient crowd has gathered.
So, just as Evel Knievel must eventually do his announced motorcycle stunt, so the Koran-burning pastor must eventually burn a Koran. This man’s entire protracted “fifteen minutes of fame” is based on him burning the Koran, so he eventually does so. When you think about this whole story a bit, something occurs to you: if they really, really did not want this man to burn a Koran, wouldn’t they just stop devoting all this attention to him? If you did not want Evel Knievel to do his motorcycle stunt, you would just turn off the cameras and not film him and, presumably, he wouldn’t bother. The whole point of the stunt is to attract publicity so if you don’t give him the publicity…
Roger Rabbit Redux
In an earlier essay, I coined the term Roger Rabbit Narrative to refer to these kinds of synthetic news stories that have cartoonish elements. This is an allusion to the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” in which human (i.e. real, organic) actors share the screen with cartoons, i.e. synthetic elements. So, an RRN is not a total fiction or a cartoon. Some of the elements in the story are perfectly real.
So, in this particular RRN, Mr. Jones finally burns a Koran, and 12 days later, there is a riot in northern Afghanistan in which a number of people are killed. Now, I have to assume that the riot in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan really took place. It was, I suppose, an organic event that happened for whatever local reasons and had no more to do with Pastor Jones burning a Koran than with the price of tea in China. However, news sources that so many people treat as reliable, such as the New York Times or Wikipedia, attribute this event to the Koran burning in Florida. In other words, they incorporate a real, organic event into an overall synthetic narrative. So, you see, not all the events in a synthetic story are fake. Not necessarily. However, the explanation for the event is frequently absurd, laughable. Cartoonish really. This happens because the organic event gets subsumed into the framework of the synthetic narrative. This is bound to have various glitches, which I have called RRA‘s, Roger Rabbit Artifacts.
The whole Terry Jones Koran-burning saga dates back six years and I was significantly less aware at that time. I looked at the whole thing again recently, and one of the first things I wondered was whether this Pastor Terry Jones is even a real person. It occurred to me that he might just be an actor playing the role, especially after it dawned on me that “Terry Jones” was also the name of one of the founding members of the Monty Python comedy troupe. That the Koran-burning pastor would have the same name as the director of The Life of Brian struck me as so exquisitely ironic that, initially, I thought this could not be a coincidence. Surely, I thought, this must be some kind of a little knowing wink from the people who created this narrative. Now, I am not so sure. I tend to think that it is a coincidence but, to be honest, I am hardly certain. (If another Koran-burning pastor shows up and his name “just happens to be” John Cleese or Eric Idle, then….)
Finally, what it comes down to is that, even if Pastor Terry Jones is not a completely fictitious personage played by an actor, he might as well be! I have no doubt that he was, somehow or other, recruited to play a role in a sort of Deep State Roger Rabbit production. The Koran-burning pastor doubtless has some cartoonish aspects, but the people most ludicrously caricatured in the story are surely the Muslims who run amok and kill people because they have heard that some insignificant person on the other side of the world is burning a Koran. It is as if one were to claim that Germans in 1945 were upset, not because their country had been bombed into rubble or that foreign armies were occupying their country, but rather, because somebody in Florida had burnt a copy of Mein Kampf! I don’t think that would fly. This led me to conclude that Muslims have, by now, been caricatured far more than even the Nazis have been. And that really is saying something!
So, of course the dominant narrative motif running through the story is just how batshit crazy Muslims supposedly are. Here it is their murderous reaction to the burning of a Koran. In another set of RRNs, mostly taking place in Europe, it is their reaction to offensive cartoons, culminating in the Charlie Hebdo false flag of 7/1/2015. The basic idea of the Muslims as being so irrational provides a general cover for all sorts of RRAs (Roger Rabbit Artifacts) that are visible. If the behavior of a character in the story is utterly implausible, the explanation is basically: “Waddya expect? We know dem Ay-Rabs are freakin’ crazy, so…” So, for example, in the event in San Bernardino of 12/2/2015, one of the alleged suicide attackers is a young wife with a newborn baby. This narrative is so extremely psychologically implausible that I have speculated that it must have been improvisational in nature. Probably they had planned a different story, but couldn’t use it and this was the best they could come up with under time pressure. In any case, all of these absurd plot lines are rendered plausible in the public’s mind if they can be convinced that Arabs, and Muslims generally, are just completely irrational lunatics. So, one could say that the whole “Dem Ay-Rabs are crazy” meme is sort of a general purpose prefiguration for a whole set of narratives.
All the world is a stage…
My suspicions about Pastor Jones being an actor may seem paranoid to some readers, but then again, once you study more of these synthetic events, you will come to see that such suspicions are actually well founded. You will see that, in many cases, indisputably actors really have been involved. Let us consider the case of Ms. Ginnie Watson, who was, it is claimed, present in the Bataclan Theater in Paris on 11/13/2015 when “Islamist terrorists” came in and murdered 89 people. This young lady is definitely an aspiring actress. Here is her IMDB page. Her acting career has not been terribly distinguished. For example, she had the role of “Bretonne #2″ in a French children’s film based on the popular Astérix comic book character. Consider this pastiche of some of Ms. Watson’s acting career:
Now, I would encourage everybody to watch this video and draw their own conclusions. In my view, it is an extreme understatement to say that Ms. Watson is a poor actress. It goes beyond that. When she was interviewed in the above video, she had supposedly witnessed very many people being brutally murdered only a short time before. I mean to say, it is not that she plays her part poorly; it is more like she does not even understand the role she is supposed to be playing, that of a poor girl who has just witnessed a horrific mass murder and just narrowly escaped herself. She should be completely traumatized, a total nervous wreck. No wonder her acting career never went anywhere.
If this is the first such case you have examined, you might think that Ms. Watson’s performance here is uniquely terrible. That, however, is not the case. These sorts of synthetic events are full of notorious cases of unconvincing crisis acting. In that same event in Paris, there was a girl from Australia, one Emma Parkinson, who supposedly received a bullet or two in the ass, who also gave an amazingly bizarre interview detailing her alleged experience. Just as in the case of Ginnie Watson, being trapped in a concert hall where 89 people were murdered, and herself being shot, did not seem to have much effect on her sunny disposition.
Terrible, unconvincing acting is par for the course. Consider these young people, whose mother was — so they say — gunned down by the racist white boy Dylann Roof about a year ago:
It’s part of the show!
I began this essay by telling a story about a man’s visit to the theater. For the life of him, he cannot figure out what is going on. Why are these “hecklers” allowed to disrupt the show?
In that story, the protagonist is definitely a bit on the slow side. He has to go back to the theater and see the show again to figure out what is going on. Surely most people catch on the first time round. Even so, we can be sure that people will vary quite a bit. Some will figure out that the “hecklers” are part of the show almost instantly, and the rest will take varying amounts of time.
You see, the show I described does break the normal model of how things work. Normally, there is a very clear-cut separation between two groups of people in the theater: the actors who are up there on the stage performing and the spectators who are in the audience watching the performance. Actually, there is a technical term for this in drama critique, the Fourth Wall. In this theater show, when an actor on stage directly responds to a heckler, the “fourth wall” has been breached. To realize fully what is really going on, however, the spectator must realize that this is deliberate, scripted; it’s part of the show! Until one makes that conceptual shift, one cannot really understand what is going on!
And, yes, some people will make that conceptual shift faster than others. Still, it is hard to imagine somebody going back to the theater again and again and simply never figuring it out. Yet, strangely, this is precisely what happens with Deep State theatrical productions. Most people simply never see through the various hoaxes and false narratives they are presented. In the terminology I introduced in an earlier essay, they never have their LPM, their Ludek Pachman moment.
Once you begin to perceive the propaganda matrix and perceive synthetic events and narratives, certain things that were incomprehensible become painfully obvious. For example, are you still wondering why Pastor Terry Jones receives such an inordinate level of attention over his pathetic Koran-burning stunt? Well, broadly speaking, it’s for the same reason that the “hecklers” are never thrown out of the theater in the above story. They are part of the show. If you or I go to that show and start heckling loudly, we likely will be thrown out of the theater, because we’re not part of the show!
Likewise, you or I can burn a stack of Korans and throw in some Talmuds and Bhagavad Gita’s to boot, and, most likely nobody will pay us any attention! We are not part of the show. That’s also why we can march down the street screaming “God hates fags!” at the top of our lungs and we will never receive any of the media attention that the Westboro Baptist Church does.
There are some notorious mosques in Britain that are reputed to be hotbeds of radical Islamism. One such place is the Finsbury Park Mosque in North London. Another is the Al Manaar Mosque in West London. There are in-depth journalistic exposés about this and they always ponder the question of why the imam who is preaching violent Jihad against the West is not shipped back to Saudi Arabia or wherever he came from. Well, surely it’s for the same reason that the “hecklers” aren’t thrown out of the theater. It’s all part of the show!
Exeunt Stage Right
Speaking of being part of the show, it looks like Pastor Terry Jones is no longer part of it. I did a bit of last-minute googling because I was wondering what that guy was up to, whether he was still at the church in Gainesville, whether he was still burning Korans. It turns out that, as of early 2015, Mr. Jones was running a fast-food concession in the food court of a shopping center in Bradenton, which is about 170 miles from the church in Gainesville. Yep, he leveraged his experience burning Korans to become one of the “Fry Guys” making “Gourmet Fries”.
The story was picked up by the Washington Post, which also reported that some Jihadist group had earlier put a 2.2 million dollar reward on Mr. Jones’s head. However, there was no mention of the shopping mall food court having any special security dispositions. (Maybe the reward was in Zimbabwe dollars.) The WP article actually has some fascinating tidbits. For example:
Notoriety has its benefits, he has learned, especially compared with obscurity, which he experienced in late summer when he set fire to hundreds of Korans at a protest rally and was largely ignored.
So, apparently, Jones, as recently as the summer of 2014, did set fire to a bunch of Korans. Hundreds of them. But he was ignored. (Poor fella, reminds me of when I invited everybody over for an orgy but nobody came…. Dontcha just hate that!?) Surprisingly (NOT) the article does not pose the obvious question: how come this person could merely threaten to burn a Koran in 2010 and receive national and international attention, yet four years later, in 2014, he actually does set fire to hundreds of Korans, and nobody bats an eyelid? He is kind of like a one-trick magician whose magic spell ceases to work. He sets fire to the books and thinks that he is going to get more phone calls from the President and the Pope. And then…. nothing happens… Did he just lose his mojo?
They don’t ask this question but I think there is a fairly simple answer: he is no longer part of the show! The Koran-burning schtick was getting old and the man had outlived his usefulness. (The “Muslims are nut-jobs” rhetoric is still going strong, but the “they really hate it when you burn a Koran” sub-plot seems to have given way to the “Muslims really, really hate homos” meme.) Anyway, the WP does not tell us that Pastor Jones is no longer in the show, because that would mean admitting that there is a show! The entire pretense of the mainstream media is that the show does not exist. The show is just a figment of the imagination of silly “conspiracy theorists” like myself.
Another fascinating thing was that the article casually mentions that Terry Jones does not himself eat any of the food items that he sells at “Fry Guys”. No, he himself apparently only eats organic food, does not drink soft drinks, but water and fresh fruit juice, though he does enjoy a glass of nice red wine now and then. This made me immediately wonder: if he does not himself eat the food he is selling at Fry Guys, maybe he also had no particular taste for the Islamophobic nonsense he was “selling” from his church back when he was part of the show. (Hey, I’m selling this shit to make a living, but I don’t eat the shit myself!)
“Show? What show?” The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club.
I mentioned above the concept of the Fourth Wall in drama theory, this notion of an invisible wall that separates the actors on stage from the audience. In a conventional, straight-laced dramatic production, the fourth wall always remains intact. Thus, in a John Wayne western, John Wayne never turns to the audience and says sarcastically: “Now, moviegoers, to your great surprise (knowing wink) I’m gonna git on that horse and go chase the bad guys.” Of course not. No matter how cliché-ridden the script is, it is well understood that the actors must not betray any consciousness that the whole thing is pretend. However corny your lines are, you must take your role seriously (or pretend to…) and stay in character — whether you’re the star of the show or have a very small bit part.
The mainstream media coverage of synthetic events follows the same approximate principle. In a live performance, all the performers must stay “in character”. That means that, even if somebody else in the show is screwing up, you still stay in character. For example, I linked above the video of Ms. Ginnie Watson. Ms. Watson is an actress pretending that she just survived a mass shooting. What I declined to mention was that the person interviewing her is also an actor basically; he is an actor pretending to be a journalist. Ginnie is flubbing her lines and giving a very poor performance. The interviewer does not call her out. He simply continues in his allotted role.
You see, anybody who is part of this mainstream media world, or aspires to be part of it, absolutely must maintain the pretense that these synthetic events are real. To admit that the people in the above-linked videos are just actors is essentially tantamount to admitting that these events are synthetic. A real, organic event does not have crisis actors on the scene.
Guarding the Gates
In a previous essay, I coined the term Taboo Induced Tortuous Thinking, or TITT for short. Taboo Induced Tortuous Thinking leads to Taboo Induced Tortuous Theories, i.e. TITTs, which are far-fetched explanations of events that are necessary because the correct explanation is taboo. The biggest overarching taboo in the mainstream media propaganda matrix is that the propaganda matrix even exists. This is basically equivalent, in the terminology of this essay, to claiming that all events reported in the media are organic. Synthetic events do not exist. And that is largely what the whole weaponized “conspiracy theory” construct is about.
I referred to the “blowback theory of terrorism” as a TITT. The overall purpose of this TITT is to maintain the pretense that a series of synthetic events, such as 9/11 or 7/7 in London or the more recent things in Paris and Brussels, are real, organic events. Hey, they must be, since synthetic events, except in the minds of crazed “conspiracy theorists”, do not exist, right? Now, if you want to claim that something does not exist when it does, what you have to do is ignore, suppress, or somehow explain away all the evidence that this phenomenon really does exist. I wrote extensively about this, in the section which goes over a lot of the tactics they use — TMT‘s, TITT Monger Tactics.
The people whom I have called TITT mongers are more typically referred to, in the Truth community, as “controlled opposition” or “intellectual gatekeepers”. The term “gatekeeper” actually contains an interesting metaphor. Now, starting with first principles, somebody who guards a gate is there to keep you from going somewhere, right? In this case, they are very intent on preventing you from, as I put it earlier, escaping the Roger Rabbit Mental World.
Now, any metaphor or analogy is always imperfect. Still, even a very flawed analogy can be useful, because analyzing its flaws can be illuminating in itself. So let’s see…
If you really are in a prison and there is a front gate with one or more armed guards, you know you are in the prison and you know that you cannot leave — like, on account of the pesky little problem that the guards have guns and you don’t…. that kind of thing… In short, unlike the intellectual gatekeeper, these guys will prevent you from leaving the prison by physical force.
But also, the goals of the regular prison gatekeeper and the intellectual gatekeeper differ. Yes, both kinds of “gatekeeper” want to prevent you from leaving the prison. However, the intellectual gatekeeper has an additional goal: he wants you to believe that you are not imprisoned!
Or, in other words, he must, unlike an actual prison guard, maintain the pretense that the prison is not a prison. You know, I think this is more than a slight detail. It’s a very important difference here, where the analogy breaks down.
Finally, I was thinking about a different metaphor. Suppose you book a trip to an all-inclusive resort in some exotic foreign country, a Club Med sort of deal.
It’s a beautiful place with its own private beach, restaurants, bars, and all sorts of sports and recreational activities. Nonetheless, after a few days there, you are getting pretty bored. It’s starting to feel like a gilded cage. You think you will go out and experience the real country a bit. So you think you are going to go outside the resort complex and explore a bit. When you are about to go out the front gate, somebody engages you in conversation. They ask you what you want, what you need… It turns out that the whole point of the conversation is to tell you that you have everything you could conceivably want within the resort complex and have no reason to wander outside the gate. The person is also likely to tell you that there is nothing of any interest to see outside the resort anyway. Also, the world outside the resort is dangerous and crime-ridden. You suspect that he is exaggerating quite a bit, though you don’t know absolutely for sure.
It strikes me that this is much more like the intellectual gatekeeper than the prison guard. For starters, though they want you to stay in the complex, you actually are free to leave the place whenever you want. They have no legal means to stop you. There are really basically two ways they can get you to stay:
- They convince you that you have everything you need within the complex and there is no conceivable reason to leave.
- They convince you that something terrible will happen to you if you do leave. Only a silly, foolhardy person would ever want to walk outside the gate. In that vein, they work on you psychologically, insinuating that your interest in exploring the world outside the resort means there is something wrong with you.
As regards point 1, the intellectual gatekeepers must try to convince you that all the intellectual inquiry, debate, and critique that you need, or that is needed, is within the gates that they are “guarding”. Outside of that is just “crazy conspiracy theories”. And, yes, there is what seems to be an anti-Establishment discourse. Some of these gatekeepers mount a fierce critique of U.S. foreign policy, for example. However, what you should notice, eventually, is that the critique has very well defined limits. For example, you can question the entire “War on Terror” narrative, but you cannot question the synthetic events that make up the narrative! In fact, it is presumed that synthetic events do not exist. Things like 9/11 and 7/7 are organic events, and thus, the reporting on the events themselves is assumed to be broadly honest. This is ultimately quite self-defeating: how can you really oppose these synthetic narratives while assuming that their version of all these synthetic events is truthful?!
As for point 2 above, there is an acronym (not of my invention!) for this. FUD. Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt… You know, it’s a kind of emotional manipulation, where they try to create a sort of mental fog. For example, if you conclude that Ms. Ginnie Watson (speaking of TITTs…) is a false witness, it must be because you are a terrible, unfeeling person. This kind of thing. Well, the hell with that. Are you really going to let a bunch of neocon warmongers tell you that you are an unfeeling person?
Anyway, as I said, all metaphors are imperfect. I prefer this one, the Club Med gilded cage, because, unlike an actual prison, it is perfectly clear that you can walk out whenever you want to. So I say to you: just do it. Walk out the gate. There is a world out there to explore.
Oh, and I might add, though it is entirely optional… if you run into any “gatekeepers” on your way out, tell them to go f*** themselves!
Fan mail (as well as hate mail) can be directed to revusky at gmail.
Last week America was rocked by the cold-blooded murder of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Unlike the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Orlando shooter appears to be a lone gunman who, while claiming allegiance to ISIS, was not actually working with a terrorist group. About the only thing Orlando has in common with 9/11 is the way power-hungry politicians and federal officials wasted no time using it to justify expanding government and restricting liberty.
Immediately following the shooting, we began to hear renewed calls for increased government surveillance of Muslims, including spying on Muslim religious services. Although the Orlando shooter was born in the US, some are using the shooting to renew the debate over Muslim immigration. While the government certainly should prevent terrorists from entering the country, singling out individuals for government surveillance and other violations of their rights because of religious faith violates the First Amendment and establishes a dangerous precedent that will be used against other groups. In addition, scapegoating all Muslims because of the act of one deranged individual strengthens groups like ISIS by making it appear that the US government is at war with Islam.
The Orlando shooting is being used to justify mass surveillance and warrantless wiretapping. For the past three years, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Defense Department appropriations bill limiting mass surveillance. But, last week, the same amendment was voted down. The only difference between this year’s debate and previous debates was that this year defenders of the surveillance state were able to claim that the Orlando shooting justifies shredding the Fourth Amendment.
The fact that the Orlando shooter had twice been investigated by the FBI shows that increased surveillance and wiretapping would not have prevented the shooting. Mass surveillance also creates a “needle in a haystack” problem that can make it difficult, or impossible, for law enforcement to identify real threats. Unfortunately, evidence that giving up liberty does not increase security has never deterred those who spread fear to gain support for increased government power.
The Orlando shooter successfully passed several background checks and was a licensed security guard. But, just like those who used Orlando to defend unconstitutional surveillance, authoritarian supporters of gun control are not allowing facts to stand in the way of using the Orlando shooting to advance their agenda. Second Amendment opponents are using Orlando to give the federal government new powers to violate individuals’ rights without due process. One pro-gun control senator actually said that “due process is what’s killing us.”
Ironically, if not surprisingly, one of those calling for new gun control laws is Hillary Clinton. When she was sectary of state, Clinton supported interventions in the Middle East that resulted in ISIS obtaining firearms paid for by US taxpayers!
Mass surveillance, gun control, and other restrictions on our liberty will not prevent future Orlandos. In fact, by preventing law-abiding Americans from defending themselves, gun control laws make us less safe from criminals. Similarly, mass surveillance and warrantless wiretapping erode our rights while making it more difficult for law enforcement to identify real threats.
If Congress really cared about our security and liberty, it would repeal all federal gun laws, end all unconstitutional surveillance, and end the hyper-interventionist foreign policy that causes many around the world to resent the US.
The horrific massacre in Orlando has once again thrust the specter of domestic terrorism into the limelight, and into the media space. Pundits and politicians alike have taken the incident as yet another opportunity to thump their chests about the need for even more counter-terrorism legislation, a further increase in surveillance state activity and, of course, more war abroad.
And while such opportunists posture as defenders of the American people, none care to face the inescapable reality that since 9-11, and the introduction of numerous pieces of draconian legislation ostensibly aimed at combatting terrorism, the agencies charged with surveillance and law enforcement have not managed to prevent attacks. Obviously, this raises the question of what exactly legislation such as the PATRIOT Act is really intended for if not to ‘keep Americans safe.’
But even more critical than retrospective criticism of the erosion of civil liberties after nearly a decade and a half of propaganda and fearmongering, is the need to oppose the further expansion of such legislation and domestic spying programs. Indeed, while what were once considered rights are now seen as passé, the US is staring down the barrel of a presidential election where the leading candidates are calling for even more surveillance, expanded government databases, and more billions of dollars to be poured into the NSA, FBI, CIA, DIA, and the rest of the alphabet soup that comprises Police State USA.
Clinton, Trump, and Death as Political Currency
In the immediate aftermath of the heinous slaughter in Orlando, the neoconservative-neoliberal chimera known as Hillary Clinton predictably called for an expansion of surveillance and the police state. Less than 48 hours after the attack, in a speech in Cleveland, Clinton proclaimed:
We already know we need more resources for this fight. The professionals who keep us safe would be the first to say we need better intelligence to discover and disrupt terrorist plots before they can be carried out. That’s why I’ve proposed an ‘intelligence surge’ to bolster our capabilities across the board, with appropriate safeguards here at home.
As with all things Hillary, one must carefully deconstruct the statement to unravel the distortions and empty rhetoric, and distill her actual proposal. The first part of her statement is instantly suspect as the US has already grossly inflated its intelligence budget. According to the Federation of American Scientists, the 2017 intelligence budget will reach nearly $70 billion, with $50 billion being spent on the National Intelligence Program (NIP). One would have to seriously question the logic in Clinton’s statement, namely the implied consensus about the need for more resources. How much more exactly will prevent incidents like the one in Orlando? Perhaps another $50 billion would do the trick?
The second fallacy embedded in the torrent of misinformation that is a Hillary Clinton speech excerpt is the specious argument that “better intelligence” would “discover and disrupt terrorist plots before they can be carried out.” This vacuous statement must be dismissed out of hand after one considers the fact that the alleged Orlando killer, Omar Mateen, was investigated, followed, and interviewed by the FBI multiple times (he was also introduced to FBI informants whose responsibility was likely to keep tabs on him).
So, according to Clinton the US should spend tens of billions more dollars to fund the agencies and programs that already have the ability to single out a potential terrorist, do all the leg work to establish contact with him, invest human resources into his case, and yet still be unable to stop his alleged actions. To put it in terms Hillary’s Wall Street patrons would understand: sounds like a bad investment strategy.
The third unmistakably wrongheaded statement (I only selected three sentences, so she’s 3 for 3) is the absolutely odious suggestion of an “intelligence surge” to improve the capabilities of the intelligence community. In fact, what Clinton is actually suggesting is a massive increase in contracts awarded to private intelligence firms and military contractors, though veiling it as a boost to the intelligence community. This fact is made clear by the renowned investigative journalist Tim Shorrock in his 2008 book Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing where he notes that:
In 2006… the cost of America’s spying and surveillance activities outsourced to contractors reached $42 billion, or about 70 percent of the estimated $60 billion the government spends every year on foreign and domestic intelligence. Unfortunately, we cannot know the true extent of outsourcing, for two reasons. First, in 2007, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) refused to release an internal report on contracting out of fear that its disclosure would harm U.S. national security interests. Second, most intelligence contracts are classified, allowing companies like CACI to hide their activities behind a veil of secrecy.
Think about that figure for a second: 70 percent of the intelligence budget goes to outsourcing. In other words, government expenditure on surveillance and intelligence is an indirect subsidy to private corporations. This should come as no surprise considering similar indirect subsidies to energy companies, private mercenaries, and even big retail corporations.
Of course, Clinton knows all this perfectly well. So when she calls for an intelligence surge what she’s actually doing is making clear to her military-industrial-surveillance complex cronies that she will make sure to feed the goose that continues to lay the golden eggs. Just like her speeches to Goldman Sachs served to reassure Wall Street that she was their lady, so too does Clinton use the tragic events in Orlando to give a wink and a nod to Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI International, and the rest.
As with all things Clinton, her words drip with cynicism like her hands drip with the blood of Libyans, Syrians, Iraqis, Serbians, and countless others.
It should be mentioned too that aside from just funding, Clinton undoubtedly represents a further rightward shift in terms of “anti-terror” legislation – the kinds of bills that she’d promote and sign into law as president would be, to put it bluntly, no different than the Bush era bills that she supported such as the PATRIOT Act. As Conor Friedersdorf noted in The Atlantic in 2015:
[Clinton] served in the United States Senate from 2001 to 2009. She cast votes that enabled the very NSA spying that many now regard as a betrayal. And she knew all about what the NSA wasn’t telling the public. To say now that the NSA should’ve been more transparent raises this question: Why wasn’t Clinton among the Democrats working for more transparency?
Friedersdorf is being much too kind with his concluding rhetorical question. Clinton is perhaps one of the most hawkish surveillance state proponents in the US. Her total disregard for even the basic tenets of the US Constitution, let alone domestic or international law, make her not only unfit for office, but a dangerous criminal.
And then of course there’s the trainwreck made flesh, Donald Trump, who with his typically bombastic and utterly vacuous public statements has once again managed to make the criminal Hillary into the “sensible one.” In a speech on Monday June 13, Trump reverted to his usual racist demagogy that is light on actual policy prescriptions and heavy on xenophobia, racism, and outright lies. But in the midst of the Trump madness, there are indeed kernels of policy that should be worrying.
During the speech Trump called, once again, for a ban on Muslim immigration to the US, warning of “major consequences” for the Muslim community in the country. But Trump went further saying, “We have a dysfunctional immigration system, which does not permit us to know who we let into our country, and it does not permit us to protect our citizens properly.” Again, Trump provides no specific policy prescription, but the implication from his statement is an increase in surveillance of citizens domestically, as well as presumably the codification of a deeply racist immigration system which would discriminate based on religion and/or ethnicity.
Trump continued, saying “With these people, folks, it’s coming. We’re importing radical Islamic terrorism into the West through a failed immigration system and through an intelligence community held back by our president.” Here again Trump aligns with Clinton. While supposedly the two are opposed to one another, the fact is that both accept the false assumption that our problems would be solved if only we could just stop “holding back” the intelligence community. Clinton calls for a surge while Trump calls for taking off the training wheels. Sort of like an argument about which is better Pepsi or orange juice.
The Police State Is Not the Answer
While the Demopublican-Republicrat Party continues its political posturing, the assumptions that both have internalized are what need to be excised from the body politic. It is patently absurd to call for more surveillance in a country where, thanks to Edward Snowden, we now know the following:
- The PRISM program allows “The National Security Agency and the FBI [to tap] directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, emails, documents, and connection logs.” According to cybersecurity experts PRISM uses obviously illegal tactics to “circumvent formal legal processes… to seek personal material such as emails, photos and videos.”
- The BLARNEY system is utilized extensively. According to former AT&T technician Mark Klein and former Senior Advisor for Internet Technology at the FCC Scott Marcus, “Using a device called a ‘splitter’ a complete copy of the internet traffic that AT&T receives… is diverted onto a separate fiber-optic cable which is connected to a room which is controlled by the NSA.” Therefore, unlike PRISM, which the government and its apologists attempt to justify as being used to target key individuals, BLARNEY has no such capacity. Rather, it is designed solely to collect data, all internet data, to be used and likely stored.
- The NSA has constructed enormous data storage facilities such as the Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah. As one top security official told Wired, “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.”
Naturally, there is not nearly enough space here to detail all of the myriad surveillance programs. But, taking them together with what we know of government funding to private intelligence firms, how could anyone rightly argue that surveillance should be increased? If anything, the enormous expenditure has proven utterly useless.
Indeed, the legal framework developed in the post-9/11 era including draconian legislation such as the PATRIOT Act, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and many others, laid the foundation for the systemic and systematic stripping away of civil liberties and human rights. The technical infrastructure has been steadily evolving since 9/11 as technology continues to improve, providing the intelligence agencies with ever more tools for surveillance and intelligence gathering. The continued, unrestrained neoliberal policy of privatization has created a complex network of companies, contractors, and subcontractors, usually working independently of each other, all in the service of the security state. Finally, the political landscape in the United States has so thoroughly devolved that elected officials are more concerned about stopping the whistleblowers and leakers, than about addressing America’s continued descent into a fascist police state.
Such is the state of the union in 2016. And while the aspiring Mass Murderer-in-Chief Clinton continues to attack the political snake-charmer Trump, and The Donald does what The Donald does, the bodies of 50 innocent people are being laid to rest. Must the values and freedoms that the US allegedly once stood for also be buried?
At a news conference Tuesday, I asked Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and André Carson (D-Ind.) about Hillary Clinton’s having returned money from Muslims and refusing to meet with Arab and Muslim groups in her 2000 Senate run.
Rep. Ellison indicated he didn’t know about the controversy and — while stressing his backing for Sen. Bernie Sanders, argued that Clinton was someone who has done outreach to the Muslim community. Carson lauded her as the “most traveled” secretary of state.
Ellison and Carson, Congress’ only Muslim members, spoke at the at National Press Club to discuss “Islamophobia and Hateful Rhetoric Directed At Muslims.” [See video of their response, full video (33:00) and transcript below.]
Their opening remarks focused on Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Newt Gingrich, Peter King — all Republicans.
I had gone into the event wanting to question the manner in which they spoke — or declined to speak — about U.S. foreign policy. More on that later.
But, their emphasis on Republican transgressions, some going back to previous election cycles, I thought it important to raise the issue of Clinton’s actions and asked if there wasn’t anti-Muslim sentiment in the Democratic Party as well.
I cited a recent piece by Rania Khalek, in which she writes:
Back in 2000, during a heated U.S. Senate race in New York, Clinton came under attack for accepting political contributions from Muslim groups whose members were targets of a smear campaign generated by one of the Islamophobia industry’s most discredited operatives.
Without hesitation, Clinton condemned her Muslim supporters, returned their donations and refused to meet with Arab and Muslim Americans for the remainder of her campaign…
Ellison said: “I’m not aware of the incident. … When she came to Minnesota she specifically reached out to the Muslim community and had a sit down and talked about anti-Muslim hate. … I also know that years ago when she was Secretary of State, the Black Caucus had a meeting with her and she had recently appointed a special envoy to Muslim communities, you know — Farah Pandith — and she sat Andre and I right next to Farah because she wanted to make sure we were talking and comparing notes.”
Presuming he was being forthright, it says something about Ellison’s information flow that he would not have been aware of the controversy.
He mentioned Farah Pandith. According to her bio at the Kennedy School of Government, “Special Representative Pandith served as the Director for Middle East Regional Initiatives for the National Security Council from December 2004 to February 2007, where she was responsible for coordinating U.S. policy on ‘Muslim World’ Outreach and the Broader Middle East North Africa initiative.”
Pandith reported to Elliot Abrams at the Bush National Security Council, who is well known for his longtime backing of U.S. wars in the Mideast and Latin America.
Ellison stated that Clinton has “not in any way contributed to anti-Muslim hate. In fact Huma Abedin is one of her closest aides and Huma has been the target of anti-Muslim hate herself.”
Ellison’s defense of Clinton — and by extension the Democratic Party, since I specifically asked about that, was noteworthy. At another point in the event, he talked about how every community was guilty of bigotry to some extent.
Carson, who supports Clinton over Sanders, stated that while Clinton was recently in Indianapolis, “We helped to ensure that Muslims were not only there, they were part of the process. And there were a group of Syrian-Americans who had a moment with Secretary Clinton. … She is the most traveled Secretary of state in U.S. history. … Whenever I go to embassies that have Muslim ambassadors they talk about the bridge building that was done under her leadership as Secretary of State. … [Clinton] has a special sensitivity as it relates to issues impacting the Muslim community. As it relates to unwanted surveillance … Once she becomes president you will see Muslims in very important positions in her cabinet.”
It seems at best incredibly paltry: “Part of the process.” Syrian-Americans “had a moment.” “A moment” to discuss the fate of their country of origin. Which Syrian-Americans? Doubtlessly, there are some who want more U.S. intervention of the sort that brought disaster to Libya — which Clinton oversaw and Ellison himself backed at the time. Glen Ford has noted that Ellison has also backed a “no fly” zone in Syria.
Though she’s at times criticized Republicans for scapegoating Muslims, CNN reported: “Clinton calls for more surveillance, police after Brussels attacks.”
I actually asked the first question after their opening remarks. I had hoped that I’d get another question later about U.S. foreign policy after they had staked out their positions on foreign policy in response to other questions. However, I did not get another question in.
The deeper issue is the manner in which the question of “Islamophobia” is being dealt with: It largely excludes discussion of U.S. foreign policy, the dehumanization of Muslim lives lost, especially in U.S. attacks.
At the event, Ellison stressed that most of the victims of Daesh [ISIL] were Muslims, which is of course true, but it leaves out that most of the victims of U.S. foreign policy are Muslims — and that U.S. foreign policy has helped foster Al-Qaeda and ISIS and other sectarian groups.
You have Carson talking about how Muslim officials in embassies — almost invariably of tyrannical regimes — speak fondly of Clinton. This seems at best a dubious badge of honor.
Rep. Carson spoke in his other remarks of being on the House Intelligence Committee. He also spoke of his time growing up and being critical of law enforcement. I’ve criticized anti-Muslim bias for over twenty years, but a tacit bargain seems to have been struck whereby Muslims are “tolerated” — so long as they do not seriously critique U.S. foreign policy, and those who go along with it most will clearly be rewarded most by those who control U.S. foreign policy. Indeed, the subtext of some of Carson’s remarks is that such Muslims will be rewarded with plum positions for their apologetics.
The tension here is critical. While some who have written about Islamophobia see a meaningful resolution in incorporation of Muslims into the West, this tends to ignore the incredible violence of U.S. foreign policy. For example, John Feffer, who I know and like personally, recently wrote “Sadiq Khan and the End of Islamophobia” about the recent mayoral race in London.
There is real danger of a line of thinking that in effect charts a course of Muslims being accepted in the West in a manner that neuters any meaningful crit of foreign policy. It’s a course that explicitly or implicitly folds in the Muslim community rather than using it as a messenger to meaningful open up the Western societies in terms of challenging and ending their aggressive foreign policies and bring about a more peaceful world.
In fact, this course is incredibly dangerous because it leads to the impression of having a global dialogue when none is actually taking place about the most critical issues of U.S. government violence.
As Arun Kundnani has argued: “The promise of the ‘war on terror’ was that we would kill them ‘over there’ so they would not kill us ‘over here.’ Hence mass violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Yemen, and Somalia — in the name of peace in the West. The ‘Authorization to Use Military Force’ that the U.S. Congress passed in the days after 9/11 already defined the whole world as a battlefield in the ‘war on terror’. President Obama continues to rely on the authorization to give his drone-killing program a veneer of legality. This is the old colonial formula of liberal values at home sustained by a hidden illiberalism in the periphery — where routine extra-judicial killing is normalized.”
The remarks of Malcolm X — whose birthday just passed — and his view of the course of African Americans in the U.S. is relevant: “They have a new gimmick every year. They’re going to take one of their boys, black boys, and put him in the cabinet so he can walk around Washington with a cigar. Fire on one end and fool on the other end. And because his immediate personal problem will have been solved he will be the one to tell our people: ‘Look how much progress we’re making. I’m in Washington, D.C., I can have tea in the White House. I’m your spokesman, I’m your leader.’ While our people are still living in Harlem in the slums. Still receiving the worst form of education.”
Sam Husseini: You’ve mentioned Trump and Cruz and Carson. I think all the names that you mentioned are Republicans that you feel are guilty of some form of Islamophobia. Rania Khalek, an Arab-American writer recently had a piece recounting that in her 2000 run, Hillary Clinton — after there were allegations that she was taking quote-unquote Muslim money — returned the money and refused to meet with members of the Muslim-American and Arab community. How do you respond to something like that? Is the Democratic party itself clear of Islamophobic sentiment as well?
Keith Ellison: I can only speak on what I know about — and I’m a Bernie supporter. And I support Bernie running all the way through the election. And — but have to be honest and tell you I’m not aware of that, right?Husseini: You don’t know about this?
Ellison: Well I’m not aware of the incident. I’ll tell you what I’m aware of I know that when she came to Minneapolis, Minnesota — and this is just being fair and honest. When she came to Minnesota she specifically reached out to the Muslim community and had a sit down and talked about anti-Muslim hate. I know about that.
I also know that years ago when she was Secretary of State, the black caucus had a meeting with her and she had recently appointed a special envoy to Muslim communities, you know — Farah Pandith — and she sat Andre and I right next to Farah because she wanted to make sure we were talking and comparing notes.
Now, I don’t want to say something didn’t happen when I don’t know — when I don’t have information. But I can say that if that did happen there’s weight with her reaching out as well.
Again, I’m not trying to discredit anyone’s experience, I don’t have any information on it. But I can tell you she did some things and has not in any way contributed to anti-Muslim hate. In fact Huma Abedin is one of her closest aides and Huma has been the target of anti-Muslim hate herself and I have never sensed that Secretary Clinton is backing herself away from her association with Huma Abedin. So.
Again, I’m a Bernie guy. I’m standing up there — if you wanna talk who should be president I believe it’s Bernie Sanders, but fair’s fair and true’s true and she has no record that I’m aware of of anti-Muslim hate.
Andre Carson: As a Clinton guy (laughter)
Ellison: Did I mention that —?
Carson: As Keith stated, one of her chief advisers and closest confidants is Huma Abedin who is phenomenal. She’s a friend of mine. Secretary Clinton was in Indianapolis a few weeks ago. We helped to ensure that Muslims were not only there, they were part of the process. And there were a group of Syrian-Americans who had a moment with Secretary Clinton. If you look at her history as not only as first lady of Arkansas but first lady of the United States of America, and even Secretary of State. She is the most traveled Secretary of state in U.S. history. Let’s make that clear.
Whenever I go to embassies that have Muslim ambassadors they talk about the bridge building that was done under her leadership as Secretary of State. When I go to Muslim communities across the country and communities are divided — some are Feeling the Bern and some like me are climbing up that Hill. But they respect Secretary Clinton because she has a special sensitivity as it relates to issues impacting the Muslim community. As it relates to unwanted surveillance as it relates to outright discrimination. And I believe and we can talk about this later, that once she becomes president you will see Muslims in very important positions in her cabinet.