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.
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.
A Sikh man and a Pakistani-American man were arrested at gunpoint after fellow bus passengers claimed they were discussing a bomb threat in Arabic – even though they were speaking Punjabi. The Sikh Coalition has filed a complaint against the accusers.
Daljeet Singh, an asylum-seeker from India, began chatting with Mohammed Chotri, a Pakistani-American man, while the two were traveling on a Greyhound bus in February. The two conversed in Punjabi.
When a woman on the bus claimed she heard the word “bomb” mentioned in their conversation, she urged the bus driver to pull onto the side of the road. The bus was passing through Amarillo, Texas, at the time.
The driver dialed 911 and two other passengers restrained the men in their seats until police arrived and arrested them at gunpoint, the Hindustan Times reported.
The men were detained for 30 hours and eventually released after being cleared of criminal wrongdoing by the FBI and the Potter County Attorney’s Office.
The Sikh Coalition has filed a complaint against the woman, identified as Tianna Lynn Decamp, which urges her prosecution due to the fact that she “knowingly reported a false and baseless bomb threat.”
The complaint also urges for criminal charges to be filed against passengers Anthony Lamar Lillie and Kelly Michael Morris, for “unlawfully restraining Mr. Singh on the bus.”
“By filing this complaint, we hope to bring attention to the crisis facing minority communities today. The list of things brown people can’t do on public transportation is growing — we can’t get a can of Diet Coke, we can’t switch seats on a bus or a plane, we can’t speak in a language other than English, really we can’t be human beings,” Gurjot Kaur, senior staff attorney for the Sikh Coalition, told NBC News.
Singh said in a statement that the only crime he committed was “wearing a turban, having a beard, and speaking in a different language to another brown man on a bus.”
“I still cannot believe that this happened to me in America,” he said.
Potter County Attorney Scott Brumley told the Globe-News that he will review the complaint before deciding if any charges should be filed.
The February incident occurred the same month that a Sikh actor, model and designer was barred from taking a flight to New York after refusing to take off his turban. Just two months prior, a passenger on a Delta flight falsely believed a breastfeeding Sikh mother posed a terror threat.
A new United Nations report published this February has criticised prevalent approaches to countering ‘radicalisation’ as ineffective, conceptually flawed, and more likely to reinforce extremist narratives than prevent them.
The report to the UN Human Rights Council is authored by Ben Emmerson QC, the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights.
Emmerson is a leading British lawyer, deputy High Court Judge, and British judge on the Residual Mechanism of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
His new report to the UN criticises “[m]any programmes directed at radicalisation” for being “based on a simplistic understanding of the process as a fixed trajectory to violent extremism with identifiable markers along the way.”
Despite volumes of research and huge expenditures, he points out, “there are no authoritative statistical data on the pathways towards individual radicalisation.”
To make matters worse, Emmerson concludes, “States have tended to focus on those [approaches] that are most appealing to them, shying away from the more complex issues, including political issues such as foreign policy and transnational conflicts.” This has led to a misguided “focus on religious ideology as the driver of terrorism and extremism”, and an escalating resort to repressive and discriminatory measures targeted at Muslim communities.
Far from preventing extremism, this is fuelling it. Emmerson refers to an earlier warning from the UN Human Rights Commissioner that “any more repressive [an] approach would have the reverse effect of reinforcing the narrative of extremist ideologies”, and warns that this is precisely what is now coming to pass.
80% of terrorism studies are bullshit
Yet this important UN report barely scratches the surface of how truly crap the state of the science is when it comes to understanding what ‘radicalisation’ even is, let alone countering it.
Over thirty years ago, Alex P. Schmid, former Office-in-Charge of the UN’s Terrorism Prevention Branch and Albert Jongman of Leiden University’s PIOOM Foundation (Interdisciplinary Research Programme on Root Causes of Human Rights Violations) reviewed over 6,000 academic studies of terrorism published between 1968 and 1988. Shockingly, as they explained in their seminal book Political Terrorism, they found that “perhaps as much as 80 percent of the literature is not research-based in any rigorous sense.”
Of course, that’s a very polite, typically academic way of putting it.
The thing is, when an academic tells you that your work is “not research-based in any rigorous sense”, what she’s basically saying is that your work has very little, if any, scholarly merit. It doesn’t actually make an original contribution to knowledge.
In short, for all intents and purposes, it’s bullshit.
When evidence is lacking: recycle
In any other discipline, academic research that is “not research-based in any rigorous sense” would mean you fail to get your degree — let alone fail to get published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Not in terrorism studies.
In terrorism studies, decades of ‘scholarship’ that is “not research-based in any rigorous sense” is being continuously recycled to regurgitate ‘new’ theories and policy recommendations which, however, have little if any evidential support.
By 2001, Professor Andrew Silke of the University of East London — a counter terrorism specialist who advises the UN and the UK government’s Cabinet Office — wrote in the journal Terrorism and Political Violence that the situation had still barely improved.
Despite decades of scholarship, he concluded, terrorism studies still struggled “in its efforts to explain terrorism or to provide findings of genuine predictive value.”
Most of the ‘scientific’ literature on terrorism, Silke found, recycled information from previous secondary sources, with only about 20% of publications offering genuinely original and novel data.
When Silke updated his analysis of the field in his contribution to the 2009 Routledge anthology, Critical Terrorism Studies: A New Research Agenda, he found that despite some marginal progress, the field was still characterised largely by an over-reliance on secondary sources and a dearth of empirical data.
Numerous other terrorism experts have admitted this problem. A 2006 report by the NATO Programme for Security in Science, Tangled Roots: Social and Psychological Factors in the Genesis of Terrorism, examined 1535 academic papers on terrorism between 2000 and 2004. It concluded:
“… a careful review reveals that genuine new data was reported in less than 10% of that subgroup.”
Other reviews have been even more damning. That year, a major study of the literature in Campbell Systematic Reviews concluded that “only 3% of articles from peer-reviewed sources appeared to be based on some form of empirical analysis.” Another 1% consisted of case studies, and the remaining 96% consisted essentially of “thought pieces.”
Which means that a whopping 96% was recycled bullshit.
That was ten years ago, so have things gotten better since then?
Pseudo-science echo chamber
In 2011, Professor Adam Dolnik, Director of Terrorism Studies at the Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention (CTCP) at the University of Wollongong in Australia, observed in Perspectives on Terrorism that the continual dependence on secondary sources means that terrorism studies represents a “highly unreliable closed and circular research system, functioning in a constantly reinforcing feedback loop.”
The continual transmission of contradictory truisms within the field, has meant that terrorism experts are not really advancing knowledge of terrorism or extremism, and how to deal with it — they’re just repeating the same stale assumptions and prescriptions again and again.
Of course, that’s not to say that all terrorism research is useless. There is good research going on — but it’s few and far between, and the best work doesn’t necessarily impact on policy.
In any other discipline, the chronic inability to produce meaningful and original contributions to knowledge would justify wholesale dismissal as the work of cranks and pseudo-scientists.
Unfortunately, the one saving grace is that when the best counter-terrorism specialists are able to apply scientific standards to the field, among the most consistent findings is that the field is full of very serious, beard-stroking, speculative conjecture dressed up as ‘theory.’
In 2013, a background note by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague conceded that, despite some important improvements in the gathering of empirical data:
“A lack of research based on primary sources has been one of the major impediments to progress in the field of (counter-) terrorism studies… As numerous leading experts have warned, the consequences of an overreliance on secondary sources of information, such as newspapers, has led to a great amount of theorising based on a perilously small empirical foundation.”
That year, the Scientific Approach to Finding Indicators of and Responses to Radicalisation (SAFIRE) project of the leading Pentagon contractor RAND Europe similarly found that despite offering “numerous insights into the process of violent radicalisation… only a minority of the literature consisted of empirical and/or causal research, which could explain the causes of violent extremism and terrorism.”
Ironically, this has the effect that all these wonderful “insights” may really just be reflections of the prejudices of those involved in the research:
“In other words, one can only have limited confidence that the results from the literature accurately reflect the characteristics of the violent extremist and terrorist population, and not the assumptions and biases of those that have reported the characteristics of violent extremists and terrorists to the researchers.”
This is another polite, academic way of admitting that the bulk of the literature is full of unsubstantiated, self-referential bullshit — while also trying to project a semblance of scholarly credibility.
“The lack of causal research in relation to factors associated with violent extremism and terrorism suggests that the findings from the literature cannot, on the whole, be used to explain what drives people to violent extremism or terrorism or to predict outcomes,” concluded the SAFIRE report.
Translation: the, ahem, “findings” from the literature cannot, on the whole, be treated as actual scientific “findings” that can “explain” or “predict” anything concerning extremism or terrorism.
Forensic psychiatrist and former CIA operations officer Marc Sageman was far more harsh in his 2014 review published in Terrorism and Political Violence.
“Despite over a decade of government funding and thousands of newcomers to the field of terrorist research, we are no closer to answering the simple question of ‘What leads a person to turn to political violence?’” he lamented.
He blamed this “state of stagnation” on government funding of academic research while still withholding access to sensitive primary source information guarded by the intelligence community:
“This has led to an explosion of speculations with little empirical grounding in academia, which has the methodological skills but lacks data for a major breakthrough… Nor has the intelligence community been able to achieve any breakthrough because of the structure and dynamic of this community and its lack of methodological rigor. This prevents creative analysis of terrorism protected from political concerns.”
Sageman’s answer is for governments to give academics access to sensitive data gleaned from the intelligence community, such as evidence from interrogations of detained extremists and terrorists. That’s assuming that, somehow, such intelligence is not itself compromised or politicised.
This was, of course, the case with much of the 9/11 Commission Report. My first book, The War on Freedom: How & Why America was Attacked, September 11, 2001, was among 99 books made available to the 9/11 Commissioners as part of their investigations. It was also the first book read by the Jersey Girls, the well-known group of 9/11 widows who had played a key role in the 9/11 Family Steering Committee, which set out key lines of inquiry for the Commission to explore.
Yet according to NBC News, more than a quarter of the final report’s footnotes refer to interrogations of detainees acquired by torture, including three alleged senior al-Qaeda leaders who were repeatedly waterboarded.
“This has troubling implications for the credibility of the commission’s final report. In intelligence circles, testimony obtained through torture is typically discredited; research shows that people will say anything under threat of intense physical pain.”
Among these sources, one of the main ones is ‘Abu Zubaida’, whose real name is Zain al-Abidin Mohamed Hussein. Zubaida in particular is repeatedly referenced throughout the 9/11 Commission Report, where he is described as a key operational planner of the 9/11 attacks, a senior al-Qaeda lieutenant and operations chief, a close associate of Osama bin Laden, and so on.
But according to Daniel Coleman, a 31-year veteran FBI agent intimately familiar with Abu Zubaida’s case, the terror suspect was, in fact, mentally ill:
“Looking at other evidence, including a serious head injury that Abu Zubaida had suffered years earlier, Coleman and others at the FBI believed that he had severe mental problems that called his credibility into question. ‘They all knew he was crazy, and they knew he was always on the damn phone,’ Coleman said, referring to al-Qaeda operatives. ‘You think they’re going to tell him anything?’… Much of the threat information provided by Abu Zubaida, Coleman said, ‘was crap.’”
Coleman would also tell Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ron Suskind:
“This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality.”
Zubaida’s claims under torture led to multiple new arrests of other alleged senior al-Qaeda leaders and whole new reams of investigation, much of which also ended up as part of the narrative put out in the 9/11 Commission Report. Dozens of other ‘terror suspects’ detained at Guantanamo (and eventually released without charge) had been linked to him.
Yet by 2009, even the US government was forced to concede that its entire narrative about Zubaida was basically, largely, bullshit. According to the transcript of court proceedings that year:
“The Government has not contended in this proceeding that Petitioner [Abu Zubaida] had any direct role in or advance knowledge of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.”
Er, say what?
The US government went on to concede that Zubaida was not involved in any other previous terrorist attacks, was not actually a member of al-Qaeda, and was not even a member of the Taliban.
“… for purposes of this proceeding the Government has not contended that Petitioner had any personal involvement in planning or executing either the 1998 embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, or the attacks of September 11, 2001…
“… the Government has not contended in this proceeding that Petitioner was a member of al-Qaida or otherwise formally identified with al-Qaida… Respondent does not contend that Petitioner was a ‘member’ of al-Qaida in the sense of having sworn bayat (allegiance) or having otherwise satisfied any formal criteria that either Petitioner or al-Qaida may have considered necessary for inclusion… Nor is the Government detaining Petitioner based on any allegation that Petitioner views himself as part of al-Qaida as a matter of subjective personal conscience, ideology, or worldview… The Government does not contend in its factual return that Petitioner was a ‘member’ of the Taliban…”
The government thus effectively erased the entirety of its own narrative about the operational planning behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks, rendering the vast bulk of the 9/11 Commission Report’s findings null and void.
No wonder Zubaida remains indefinitely detained without charge in Guantanamo — imagine the impact of a trial forcing the US government to release him: it would amount to an official admission that the White House-sanctioned narrative of the 9/11 operation is largely a torture-driven fantasy of CIA and Bush administration sadists.
So what exactly, then, is the US government contending? Not much, according to the court transcript:
“Rather, Respondent’s [the US government’s] detention of Petitioner [Abu Zubaida] is based on conduct and actions that establish Petitioner was ‘part of’ hostile forces and ‘substantially supported’ those forces.”
Whatever this means — and the US government has still refused to charge Zubaida, who is currently detained in Guantanamo — it is somewhat consistent with Suskind’s conclusion:
“Zubaydah was a logistics man, a fixer, mostly for a niggling array of personal items. Like the guy you call who handles the company health plan, or benefits, or the people in human resources. There was almost nothing ‘operational’ in his portfolio. That was handled by the management team. He wasn’t one of them.”
So essentially, this is the sort of deeply compromised ‘intelligence’ that terrorism scholars imagine might help them do more scientifically robust research.
Further translation: it’s pretty much all bullshit. So please give us more funding to try and turn this decades of mounting bullshit into gold; and some more ‘intelligence’ because at least then we can maintain a semblance of credibility by pointing to ‘primary sources.’
Dithering over Violent Extremism (DVE)
No wonder, then, that the policy recommendations that emerge from the field appear to have achieved very little — if not failed dramatically.
This is unambiguously clear from the practical results of a burgeoning sub-field of terrorism studies: preventing or countering violent extremism (PVE or CVE).
Understandably, given governments’ eagerness to be seen by their publics to be ‘doing something’ about terrorism, a veritable industry has ballooned around the urgent task of creating community-level strategies that stop people from being radicalised in the first place.
But like the wider field of terrorism studies, the scientific evidence that prevailing PVE/CVE strategies actually work is thin, to say the least.
You won’t hear government spokespersons admitting this in any formal capacity — but internal assessments and reviews tend to show that privately, the bankruptcy of existing CVE programmes is widely, if reluctantly, recognised.
There have been at least two internal evaluations of the UK Government’s flagship Prevent programme — the Channel Project — which tasks public sector workers to detect signs of potential extremism in schools, hospitals, local authorities, universities, and other forums. Under Channel, referrals to the police of individuals who appear to be ‘vulnerable’ to radicalisation results in an assessment process, and an ensuing social intervention of some sort to prevent radicalisation.
Unfortunately, the government’s formal evaluations of Channel have not been published. But in 2010, internal Home Office slides admitted:
“… hard evidence of intervention projects capability [was] not yet established.”
That year, I’d been invited by a senior police officer in charge of the Channel Project to an internal exercise, to see how the programme worked, and to provide advice on its implementation. One of the problems that stood out, and that I’d highlighted in previous conversations with the officer, is that the model of ‘vulnerability’ to radicalisation was so vague as to potentially encompass most normal people.
‘Risk indicators’ included amorphous generalities like, sudden changes in behaviour — for instance, the way you dress or appear, an interest in politics or foreign affairs, a sudden interest in religion, or activism, or even a shift in a person’s friend circle. Basically, most teenagers.
Legitimate terror suspect
A senior Home Office counter-terrorism official at the exercise with responsibility for managing the national Prevent strategy told me that the vast majority of referrals to Channel would, after being assessed, be dismissed as not requiring any intervention.
“In fact, we see this as a success of the programme,” he said enthusiastically. “The more referrals that come in and are dismissed, the greater the success.”
I looked at him skeptically.
“What you’re saying is that millions of pounds of taxpayers money will be spent on training, organising and assessing pointless referrals of endless numbers of perfectly innocent people who are not at risk of radicalisation,” I said.
The Home Office official nodded, still trying to look enthusiastic.
“Meanwhile,” I continued, “people who are actually developing a real interest in violent extremist ideologies, or even planning terrorist activity, are going to adapt very quickly and do everything they can to avoid being referred.”
The official, and his colleagues who were present, were all genuinely perplexed, but the visage of enthusiasm had now been replaced by the sort of strained look of someone who needs to fart really badly but is trying not to let it out loudly.
“Okay, but what else are we supposed to do?” was what the Home Office official eventually told me in exasperation after we discussed this obvious conundrum.
That was six years ago. Sadly, no one at Channel seems to have taken my advice.
A parliamentary inquiry into both Prevent and Channel by the Select Committee for Communities and Local Government did draw extensively on my criticisms as part of its 2010 report, but the Tory-led government simply ignored most of its recommendations.
From a presentation by Dr. Brian Hughes, School of Psychology, National University of Ireland
The lack of evidence that Channel could ever do more than alienate the very communities that need to be engaged applies to the UK Prevent programme more generally.
“It remains exceedingly difficult to gauge the real success of Prevent,” concluded a 2015 study in the Journalism of Terrorism Research, published by St. Andrews University’s Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence. The paper went on to admit that:
“… very few effective tools aside from anecdotal evidence exist to measure one’s vulnerability to becoming involved in extremism and the effect certain programs may have at reversing such processes… it is unclear as to whether such programmes have actually been successful in deterring extremist ideology.”
Reinforcing Violent Extremism (RVE)
But it’s not just the UK Prevent programme — the entire CVE field is a confused and somewhat redundant mess.
Eight years ago, a team of criminologists at George Mason University systematically reviewed global counter-terrorism strategies. To describe their findings as ‘dire’ would be a disservice to the gravity of their analysis:
“Overall, we found an almost complete absence of evaluation research on counter-terrorism strategies and conclude that counter-terrorism policy is not evidence-based… there is an almost complete absence of evaluation research on counter-terrorism strategies. This is startling given the enormous increases in the development and use of counter-terrorism programs, as well as spending on counter-terrorism activity.”
The few evaluations that did exist either proved that prevailing counter-terrorism strategies didn’t work, or that they were worsening the risk of radicalisation:
“Even more disconcerting was the nature of the evaluations we did find; some programs were shown to either have no discernible effect on terrorism or lead to increases in terrorism…There has been a proliferation of counter-terrorism programs and policies as well as massive increases in expenditures toward combating terrorism. Yet, we know almost nothing about the effectiveness of any of these programs or continue to use programs that we know are ineffective or harmful.”
Yet there has been little, if any, progress since then. In 2014, Steven Heydemann, Vice President of Applied Research on Conflict at the US government-funded United States Institute for Peace, offered the following scathing evaluation of the CVE sector. Despite rapid growth, he wrote:
“CVE has struggled to establish a clear and compelling definition as a field; has evolved into a catch-all category that lacks precision and focus; reflects problematic assumptions about the conditions that promote violent extremism; and has not been able to draw clear boundaries that distinguish CVE programmes from those of other, well-established fields, such as development and poverty alleviation, governance and democratisation, and education.”
One of the most comprehensive reviews of the state of the research on countering extremism was undertaken last year by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. The review was commissioned by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) office, and the resulting document reported straight back to those departments.
The report’s findings are disturbing.
“Most literature addressing counter‐terrorism, counter‐insurgency, and/or countering violent extremism does not include empirical evaluations of specific policies,” it concluded.
“While multiple authors hypothesise that countering extremist narratives is critical to reduce the appeal of violent extremism, there has been very little scholarship in terms of empirical studies to test the efficacy of counter‐narratives in general or of specific strategic communication programs or content.”
As if to hammer this message home, the START report added that there is a serious “shortage of empirical analyses of counter‐terrorism, counter‐insurgency, and CVE policies and programs.” And generally, “within the literature as a whole, there is a shortage of rigorously designed empirical analyses.”
One of START’s flagship projects is the Influencing Violent Extremist Organisations (I-VEO) Knowledge Matrix, an online tool for counter-terrorism practitioners which “identifies and gauges the level of empirical support for more than 180 hypotheses about influencing VEOs [Violent Extremist Organisations], from positive incentives to punitive actions.”
Founded in 2012, I-VEO’s lead investigator, Gary Ackerman, described it as “explicitly designed to be a one-stop shop for capturing and synthesising the breadth of existing scientific knowledge related to influencing VEOs and to highlight those areas where, despite often vigorous assertion, the empirical evidence is lacking.”
Unfortunately, three years later, this US government-funded project showed that most CVE approaches completely lack evidential support.
“As previously found under the I‐VEO effort, many hypotheses regarding influence operations have either not been empirically tested or have been supported merely through anecdotes,” concluded the 2015 START literature review. “This is especially true regarding non‐coercive strategies.”
Amazingly, out of the 183 counter-terrorism methodologies explored in the database, 50 “did not have any relevant empirical evidence to support or contradict” them, while “fifty-seven of the hypotheses had multiple qualitative and/or quantitative studies with contradictory conclusions.”
In the end, there were only six counter-terrorism hypotheses that received “the highest level of empirical support.”
So utterly crap, in other words, is the state of the scientific literature on countering extremism, that policymakers have been left floundering — which is perhaps why they are quite literally making shit up as they go along. In the understated words of the START report to the DoD and DHS:
“The state of play in the academic literature regarding counter‐terrorism, counter‐insurgency, and countering violent extremism creates difficulties for providing robust guidance to policymakers regarding policy options.”
Translation: basically, most of our “findings” consist of unsubstantiated bullshit, so it’s difficult to give governments decent counter-extremism advice which isn’t, well, unsubstantiated bullshit.
The few empirically robust findings that can be extracted from the available data, however, raises serious questions about the direction of prevailing PVE/CVE approaches — and whether they might actually be making things worse.
“A majority of studies with evaluation find that use of coercive methods such as repression (especially when used exclusively and indiscriminately) tend to produce backlash effects,” noted the START report to the Pentagon. “Indiscriminate” repression in particular is “unlikely to work in the long‐term and may produce backlash effects that result in more, rather than less, political violence.”
No shit, Sherlock.
The report also found that the practice known as ‘target hardening’ — visibly strengthening the security of a building or infrastructure to prevent or reduce the risk of a successful attack — “may make attacks on those targets less likely”, but may also “result in violent extremists shifting their targeting strategy rather than reducing their overall level of violence.”
In other words, more intrusive security measures like increasing anti-terror powers, flooding the streets with more cops, and trying to monitor everyone will only lead terrorists to adapt, by innovating new techniques to avoid detection.
How not to make friends and influence extremists
It comes as no surprise, then, that in his report, UN Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism, Ben Emmerson, documents how PVE/CVE strategies have so far disproportionately targeted and alienated Muslim communities.
Criticising “the elasticity of the term ‘violent extremism’, and the lack of clarity on what leads individuals to embrace violent extremism”, Emmerson concluded that as a consequence, “a wide array of legislative, administrative and policy measures are pursued, which can have a serious negative impact on manifold human rights. In addition, targeted measures to counter violent extremism can stigmatise groups and communities, undermining the support that governments need to successfully implement their programmes, and having a counter-productive effect. They can also be used to limit the space in which civil society operates, and may have a discriminatory impact on women and children.”
This has in some cases served to exacerbate “conditions conducive” to terrorism or violent extremism, including “prolonged unresolved conflicts, dehumanisation of victims of terrorism, lack of rule of law and violations of human rights, ethnic, national and religious discrimination, political exclusion, socio-economic marginalisation and lack of good governance.”
The other empirically robust findings of START’s I-VEO Knowledge Matrix are worth noting. One is that: “If the adversary sees that there are no benefits to restraint, it will work against the deterring party.”
Another is that where there are “multiple” violent extremist organisations, negotiating with just one of them is unlikely to work, as it “may lead to increased bad behavior by VEOs left out of negotiations.”
In other words, there should be obvious incentives to ceasing violence, and those incentives should be offered to all the relevant groups, rather than attempting to play off different groups against each other — which is likely to escalate, not ameliorate, extremism.
Perhaps most significantly, the START database also found abundant empirical evidence that:
“On the whole, positive inducements seem more effective than negative ones in deradicalizing/disengaging.”
The very concept underlying prevailing PVE/CVE approaches, then, is deeply questionable. And finally:
“Political reforms can lower VEO activity.”
This, of course, ties into the issue of developing tangible “benefits” in return for the reduction of violence, and addressing deeper causal factors by inculcating social and political reform.
Other empirical studies provide further grounds for recognising that the current PVE/CVE trend is going nowhere, fast.
One New York University study of terrorist attacks between 1980 and 2008 across 56 countries found that high levels of unemployment correlated significantly with increased instances of terrorism, especially in countries which had already experienced previous terrorist attacks.
A University of Texas empirical analysis of 2448 suicide terrorist incidents from 1998 to 2010 found that “foreign occupation and government transition are greatly associated with suicide terrorist attacks.”
The researchers also concluded that government social services were an important alleviator of transnational suicide attacks, but that “military spending is not effective at curbing transnational suicide terrorism,” raising questions about providing foreign counter-terrorism assistance “to countries beset with such attacks.”
In 2011, a study by the London School of Economics and University of Essex, published in the Journal of Peace Research, examined terrorist attacks on Americans by foreigners between 1978 and 2005.
Their model showed that US military support to foreign governments had “substantively strong effects on foreign terror on Americans.” A significant rise in military aid, for instance, produced an increase in anti-American terrorism by 135%.
The new Government Actions in Terrorist Environments (GATE) dataset provides further insights. A preliminary University of South Carolina study found that with regard to Palestinian terrorism, “when significant, [Israeli] repression is associated with more [Palestinian] terrorism (backlash) and conciliation is associated with less terrorism. This finding is especially strong when the actions are indiscriminate and during the Second Intifada.”
Similar conclusions applied for the wider region:
“For the remaining Middle Eastern countries, repression is either ineffective, or associated with more terrorism; and conciliation is either ineffective or associated with less terrorism.”
Likewise, in Canada, “al-Qaeda inspired extremism was very sensitive to actions by the Canadian Military in Afghanistan.”
Last year, a paper in the Journal of Deradicalization published by the Modern Security Consulting Group in Berlin, examined the evidence of causation between different types of military intervention, and the radicalisation process, including the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the US-led drone programme, and coalition strikes against ISIS. The paper, noting that this issue has been largely overlooked in the wider terrorism literature, found that:
“… intervention by a foreign power can encourage the process of radicalisation, or ‘de-pluralisation’ — the developing perception that there exists only one solution, extreme violence — to take place. However, it finds that the type of intervention plays a critical role in determining how individuals experience this process of depluralisation; full-scale intervention can result in a lack of monitoring alongside frustrations (about lost sovereignty for example), a combination which paves the way for radical ideology. Conversely, airstrikes present those underneath with unequal and unassailable power that cannot be fairly fought, fuelling interest in exporting terrorism back to the intervening countries.”
The critical role of state repression, then, is absolutely clear from the available data — but has had little tangible impact on the narcissistic echo chamber of state counter-terrorism strategies.
The state we’re in, but ignore
This suggests that much of what passes for ‘research’ in terrorism studies on the intricacies of the radicalisation process is fundamentally misguided.
Pinpointing multiple pathways to violent radicalisation, numerous overlapping risk-factors and complex interlinked causes has borne little fruit, because the whole enterprise is premised on the assumption that the focal point of analysis should be an internal, psychological change applying to an individual.
As a result, the wider historical, social, cultural, economic, political and ideological context of the radicalisation process has been neglected.
The failure of terrorism studies is not simply a matter of lack of data, but down to the bankruptcy of its very foundational assumptions, the very framing of the problem, and the questionable political and ideological context of that framing: state counter-terrorism policies.
And this brings us back to the central question of empirical analysis. To what extent have self-styled ‘terrorism experts’ really engaged with the empirical reality of terrorism?
The answer is not at all: because the vast bulk of terrorism studies is obsessed exclusively with the radicalisation of individuals, and networks of individuals. But the biggest perpetrators of terrorism, defined as political violence against civilians, are states themselves.
The problem is that primary sources of empirical data on terrorist incidents are either governments themselves, or government-sponsored think tanks and academic groups — which means that they systematically exclude data on terrorist incidents perpetrated by those governments.
A University of Illinois study by political scientist Gregory Holyk — a senior researcher for ABC News’s leading public poll provider Langers Research Associates — compared the lethality of US state terrorism and non-state terrorism between 1968 and 1978. The study found that “the mean number of people killed in state-sponsored terrorist events was significantly greater than the mean number killed in non-state terrorist events,” and cast doubt on the “focus on non-state terrorism in the literature.”
In her seminal 2009 Routledge study, State Terrorism and Neoliberalism: The North in the South, Professor Ruth Blakeley, Head of the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent, provided a further wealth of evidence on the vast extent to which Western states perpetrated terrorism during and after the Cold War. The death toll of this continuum of terror far outweighs the scale of atrocities by al-Qaeda and ISIS.
Even less palatable is the ongoing role of Western states in allying with other state-sponsors of Islamist terrorism, such as Pakistan, the Gulf states and Turkey — all of which have been implicated by credible primary source data in deliberately supporting extremist terrorist groups — for geopolitical purposes.
The emerging sub-field of ‘critical terrorism studies’, pioneered by the likes of Blakeley and others, is beginning to subject conventional academic discourses on terrorism to critical scrutiny. Researchers are opening up new historical, sociological and empirical approaches to understanding both non-state and state-terrorism.
Unfortunately, there’s still a long way to go before this research is able to do more than shine a somewhat unsavoury light on the mountains of shameless bullshit that has accumulated over the last few decades.
Dr Nafeez Ahmed is an investigative journalist, bestselling author and international security scholar. A former Guardian writer, he writes the ‘System Shift’ column for VICE’s Motherboard, and is a weekly columnist for Middle East Eye.
He is the winner of a 2015 Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian work, and was twice selected in the Evening Standard’s top 1,000 most globally influential Londoners, in 2014 and 2015.
Nafeez has also written and reported for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, New Internationalist, The Ecologist, Alternet, Counterpunch, Truthout, among others.
He is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Faculty of Science and Technology at Anglia Ruskin University, where he is researching the link between global systemic crises and civil unrest for Springer Energy Briefs.
Rahmaan Mohammadi, a 17 year old student from Luton, explains how he was reported to the counter terrorism police for his pro Palestine activism. Mohammadi was speaking at a Stop the War Coalition event in London on March 10.
I met Dr. Kevin Barrett as planned at a small bookstore near the Notre Dame Cathedral landmark in Paris France. On that day, December 11, 2015, the Paris bookstore was the site of a significant academic conference entitled “Islamophobia and the Erosion of Civil Society.”
Hours earlier I had exited the last class of the fall term in my third-year Globalization Studies course at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada. I had driven to Calgary, hopped a flight to Dallas, and then transferred onto a big American Airlines 777 for the trans-Atlantic flight to the City of Lights now under martial law.
For the second time in 2015 Paris had been rocked by violent episodes attributed to the independent actions of Islamic terrorists. After the first event last January, Dr. Barrett had coordinated the emergency responses of a team of analytic observers, myself included.
Together we uncovered the outlines of an outlandish fraud of an externally-engineered false flag terror event. Dr. Barrett assembled the revelations in his edited book entitled We Are Not Charlie Hebdo. Now a sequel volume was in the making as Kevin and I met up in the Paris bookstore where the inner workings of the “Islamophobia Industry” were the subject of scholarly investigation.
The majority of contributors to Dr. Barrett’s book on the first Paris shooter event of 2015 concluded that the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo cartoon office and on the customers of a Jewish Deli were not as they were made to seem in the mainstream media. The evidence pointed to a continuation of the same type of state-manufactured violence directed at civilian populations in Western Europe during the Cold War by the NATO’s overseers of Project Gladio.
The aim of Project Gladio was to discredit the politics of progressive reform by misrepresenting the nature of NATO-concocted episodes of seemingly arbitrary violence directed at civilian populations.
Violent events were engineered by right-wing agents of NATO’s occupation of Western Europe to make it appear that left-wing progressives were subject to the control of psychopathic extremists intent on foisting their will on society through coercive methods.
A new wave of false flag terrorism is underway with the objective of turning public opinion against groups slated for state-sanctioned assaults, including aggressive warfare.
As demonstrated by the deep state politics of Project Gladio, false flag terrorism has long been a standard psy-op deployed by the Western intelligence and counter-intelligence agencies to affect public perception, attitude, and behaviour.
The deployment of false flag terrorism to bring history’s course into conformity with the objectives sought by strategic planners has become the particular specialty of the Israeli deep state.
The most ambitious false flag terror episode ever occurred on September 11, 2001 in the orchestrated strikes on three World Trade Center Towers, on the Pentagon and on the remnants of integrity in our governing structures. The overwhelming weight of evidence derived from these events points squarely at those in charge of the powerful networks of global influence aligned with the expansionary aspirations of Likudnik Israel.
The lies and crimes of 9/11 provided the pretext for the transition from Cold War’s demonization of socialism, as manifest in the engineered terrorism of Project Gladio, to the demonization of Muslims through what might most accurately be described as the Global War of False Flag Terrorism (GWOFFT).
The 9/11 strikes were central episodes that created the core narrative and imagery for a multi-faceted psychological operation that continues yet. This 9/11 psychological operation has been frequently characterized as a global coup d’état. The 9/11 global coup d’état was engineered to entrench neoconservative agendas aimed at concentrating more power in the world’s dominant banking, military, media and academic cartels together with the plutocrats that control them.
In the Global War of False Flag Terrorism, ruling elites everywhere have attempted to entrench their regimes of fraud and corruption by characterizing their critics and opponents as terrorists, as potential terrorists or as terrorist sympathizers.
Without a doubt it is the Jewish state of Israel that gained most from replacing anti-communism with anti-terrorism as the primary purpose and preoccupation of the world’s dominant military-industrial complex. The key to manufacturing consent for this shift has been the incitement and political exploitation of hatred towards Muslims. This engineered hatred of Muslims is often described as Islamophobia.
Convening in Paris to Shed Light on the Islamophobia
The study of Islamophobia brought together scholars from Europe and North America at the conference in the Paris bookstore. This convention of scholars was organized under the auspices of the Race and Gender Studies Center at the University of California in Berkeley.
The Chair was Prof. Hatem Bazian, Professor of Islamic Law and Theology at Zaytuna College in Berkeley. Part of the U of C, Zaytuna College is the first Muslim liberal arts institution of higher learning in the United States.
Prof. Bazian had assembled about a dozen scholars at various stages in their movement through the academic procedures of tenure and promotion. Generally speaking the assembled scholars have taken on some of the most difficult and fraught subjects covered in our university curricula. To study the institutional workings of the cynical business of purposely turning public attitudes against Muslims is an especially difficult academic mission in the poisoned atmosphere of these times.
In spite of our criticism of their work, the dozen or so colleagues who gathered at the Paris bookstore on December 11 deserve much respect and recognition. These colleagues have persisted in following a very contentious line of investigation in spite of the serious professional recriminations often thrown their way by critics who think nothing of destroying academic careers to advance political agendas.
Kevin Barrett and I took part in the proceedings with the anticipation that we would co-host our own alternative conference the following day at a hotel near the Charles De Gaulle Airport.
This plan was a response to the rejection of Dr. Barrett’s paper that was originally accepted as part of their conference.
Dr. Barrett’s proposed contribution highlighted the frequent exclusion of Muslim perspectives from officialdom’s accounts of the originating events triggering the 9/11 wars.
Dr. Barrett’s academic credentials in the subject matter of the conference are of course very strong as evidenced by the initial warm welcome extended to his offer to contribute to the conference’s scholarly proceedings.
Then came the events of Friday November 13th 2015, when the world was told Islamic terrorists had murdered over a hundred victims at a concert at the Bataclan music venue, at the Stade de France and at other Paris locations. In the wake of this development Dr. Barrett was informed by Professor Bazian,
“Due to state of emergency in France and the on-going active operations, the organizing committee is not able to accommodate your paper at this point in time. Our supporters on the ground are under extreme emergency conditions and the whole program is under stress due to it.”
In spite of the declared state of emergency in Paris the organizers had pressed ahead with the conference minus the contribution of Dr. Barrett. No explanation was given of why it was deemed alright to go forward with the other presentations but not the one containing Dr. Barrett’s interpretation of Islamophobia. The exclusion of Dr. Barrett, a Muslim himself with advanced degrees and many publications in Islamic Studies, could be seen as an expression of the very same forces that the Paris event had been convened to identify and analyse.
Rather than step aside without a protest, Dr. Barrett took part in the proceedings. I had joined him with the expectation that the next day we would try to put right the lapse that unfortunately seemed indicative of a more general failure of the academy.
How is it that, generally speaking, professors in our institutions of higher learning have failed so conspicuously to sort out truth from falsehood, accurate reporting from fraud, when it comes to explaining the origins and ongoing impetuses of the 9/11 wars?
Why have we in the academy mostly failed to rise to the responsibility of our higher calling when it comes to the vital job of identifying the thick web of lies and misrepresentations used to justify the post-9/11 surge of aggressive warfare abroad, the betrayal of human rights and civil liberties at home?
How has this treason of the intellectuals been transacted at the very moment society is most in need of evidence-based research to sort out fact from fiction when assessing the claims and assertions of the permanent war economy’s primary protagonists?
Through efforts like those of Dr. Barrett’s in his personal and public truthjihad, there have been significant breakthroughs in illuminating fraudulent reporting by presstitutes that often disseminate the disinformation essential to realizing the subversive agendas of false flag terrorism. Less has been done, however, to highlight the failures of academy to identify the lies and crimes entailed in the wholesale smearing of Muslims essential to the dark objectives of the Global War of False Flag Terrorism.
Islamophobia is the essential mental ingredient in the atmosphere of fear produced by the psychological geo-engineers pushing forward the Global War of False Flag Terrorism. In the words of Prof. Bazian, Islamophobia has to do with “the construction of an imagined and staged world rooted in the mind.”
The dissemination of the imagery of self-directed, self-financing Islamic terrorists acting autonomously out of no other motivation than their own religious zealotry constitutes the core lie of this malevolent psychological operation. The demonization of Muslim people, Muslim religion, Muslim cultures and Muslim countries forms the basis of the scaffolding on which a global and unbridled police state is being constructed.
This background helps explain how it is that Dr. Barrett and I had converged at the Paris bookstore on the eve of our effort to host our own conference of world-class thinkers expert in deciphering the inner workings of the Global War of False Terrorism. In taking on this responsibility we were moving into the vacuum of truth telling that the academic community has created, for the time being at least, by failing to come up with a viable evidence-based explanation of the origins and ongoing genesis of the 9/11 wars.
On December 11, 2015, the effort to go beyond the issues explored by the academics assembled in the Paris bookstore would take form the next day in a four-hour event entitled “False Flag Islamophobia” broadcast live on No Lies Radio. This event, in turn, helped encourage and hearten some of the contributors to Dr. Barrett’s new book.
Introducing the Islamophobia Industry
Sociology Professor David Miller of the University of Bath in Great Britain was one of the senior contributors to the conference at the Paris bookstore. Miller is a prolific scholar whose work on Islamophobia emerges from his important investigations into the relationship between corporate power and public relations as pioneered by the so-called father of media spin, Edward Bernays.
This approach permeates Miller’s Spinwatch website and his co-authored volume published in 2008, A Century of Spin: How Public Relations Became the Cutting Edge of Corporate Power.
In 2011 I had seen Professor Miller offer up a very interesting presentation in the Westminster Parliament in London England. His address in the Mother of All Parliaments helped give rise to his co-authored publication, The Cold War on British Muslims.
Professor Miller’s presentation in Paris on 11 December 2015 continued the development of themes that have brought on significant wrath from elements of the Jewish-Israeli lobby in Great Britain.
Along with Professor Bazian, Miller has been prominent in identifying the financing and workings of an interlinked complex of agencies that Nathan Lean and others have dubbed the “The Islamophobia Industry.”
According to the Legislating Fear report of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the dozens of agencies that make up this hate-inciting industry are funded to the tune of several hundreds of millions of dollars. In the words of Bazian, the aim of the well-funded endeavour is “to use fear and hate-mongering to lull our intellect to sleep” and “to implant negative and racist ideas about Muslims and Islam in our collective consciousness.”
Prominent among the core institutions of the trans-Atlantic Islamophobia Industry are the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, the Henry Jackson Society, the Quilliam Foundation, the Gladstone Institute, Daniel Pipe’s Middle East Forum, Campus Watch, Islamist Watch, Pam Geller’s Atlas Shrugs, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin’s AMCHA Initiative, the Clarion Project, the David Horowitz Freedom Center and CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting.
These and many other agencies whose mission is to incite Islamophobia, derive their funding from a variety of sources including the family foundations of the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Sarah Scaife, Harry Bradley, Irving Moskowitz and Canada’s Bronfman dynasty. As noted above, the Gladstone Institute has made the work of Professor David Miller, including the content of his website Spinwatch, a particular target of its pro-Zionist defense of the Islamophobia Industry.
Much of the work of David Miller and his colleagues in exposing the pro-Zionist activities of the anti-Muslim hate purveyors involves tracing the money fuelling the Islamophobia Industry. This follow-the-money approach could very easily extend to tracking down the sources of financing for the staging of expensive false flag terror events.
Throughout the academic presentations I witnessed at the Paris bookstore, there was a persistent resistance by all the presenters to engage in some sort of reckoning with the anti-Muslim thrust of the false flag terrorism currently imposed upon us.
In every presentation there was the same conspicuous absence of interest in investigating the primary engine of contemporary Islamophobia, namely the engineering of false flag terror events to be blamed on Muslim fundamentalists said to be acting alone for no other reason than their religious extremism.
According to Kevin Barrett’s record of the event, when it came time for questions and answers I posed my query as follows:
“This is all very interesting, but I’m not hearing any of you get to the root of why there is all this Islamophobia. There is now a huge literature on the fact that these big terror attacks are contrived. It was 9/11 and all of the subsequent events that have created the wave of Islamophobia. I know it’s not a good career move, but: Why can’t we talk about this? Why can’t we –”
I emphasized in my question the observation that the dominant forces animating Islamophobia lie in the extravagant media misrepresentations of false flag terror events. Again and again these episodes of false flag terror are presented as the independent, self-directed work of Islamic extremists acting exclusively out of religious zealotry rather than the actions of mercenaries paid to create the political currency of fear necessary for the maintenance of the permanent war economy.
These misrepresentations form the very core of the activities of the Islamophobia Industry as composed by agencies such as the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. An outgrowth of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the FDD was created a mere two days after the events of 9/11.
It fell to Professor Miller to respond to my question. He began by taking exception to my suggestion that some “psychopaths” might be involved as “assets” in the execution of false flag terrorism. Miller indicated that, in his estimation, Islamic terror events were by and large the product of considered actions on the part of alienated Muslims who had experienced devastating consequences from various forms of hostile invasion into the lives of their own families, communities, and nations.
Their violent responses, he indicated, were often the product of long reflection and preparation by mostly intelligent individuals prone to be especially sensitive to the gross abuses of human rights directed at Islamic populations both within the West and on its resource frontiers.
In retrospect Miller’s response was a classic illustration of the “blowback theory” of 9/11. Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire is the name of an iconographic text by a former CIA analyst, Chalmers Johnson.
Although Johnson’s Blowback was first published in 1999, the volume became a bestseller after the events of September 11, 2001. Johnson believed the United States was imperiled by the flood of recriminations that would almost inevitably arise from those most negatively affected by the secret incursions of American empire.
Many seized on the central argument of Blowback to explain what had transpired on 9/11. I include myself in that category. Until my friend and colleague, the late Mohawk activist Splitting The Sky, insisted in 2008 that I look into the evidence of what did and did not happen on 9/11, I adhered to the blowback theory.
I mistakenly believed that the 9/11 attacks were the work of Indigenous peoples resisting repeated rounds of imperial assault on their lands, their persons and their ways of life. I recall it was difficult for me to put this interpretation aside once I began looking at the overwhelming evidence that the various agencies charged to protect us were in fact deeply involved in perpetrating the lies and crimes of 9/11.
The response of Professor Miller to my question seemed to demonstrate the continuing allure of the Blowback theory of 9/11 in spite of the conclusions that have emerged from the elaborate citizens’ inquiry into the events of September 11, 2001. The outcome of the citizens’ inquiry demonstrated long ago that the evidence does not support the thesis that all the destruction on 9/11 can be traced back to the independent actions of 19 Saudi jihadists acting to realize a plan hatched by Osama bin Laden.
I found it very instructive to witness how a group of otherwise courageous and conscientious scholars skated around any direct engagement with the origins and genesis of the Global War of False Flag Terrorism. Our collective failure to force on our governments and institutions some basic reckoning with the lies and crimes of 9/11 have made our societies vulnerable to a seemingly endless repetition of the same scenario of manipulation through the incitement of fear towards Muslims. The key to creating these fears lies in the parade of recent false flag terror events in, for instance, London, Madrid, Bali, Ottawa, Paris and San Bernardino to mention only a few.
The event at the Paris bookstore might be characterized as a frontier zone marking the boundary between permitted and prohibited academic discourse. Their proceedings therefore provided an instructive window illuminating the more general failure of the academy to deal in deep and systematic ways with the full extent of the travesty. The potential of humanity is grossly undermined by the absurdity of a never-ending war being waged “on Terror”. The War on Truth is the most essential feature of the Global War of False Flag Terrorism.
The Islamophobia Industry and the Deep State Operations of the False Flag Terror Industry
I have learned a lot at the Paris conference and in my subsequent research into the leads provided by the scholars who participated. Professor Miller and others called my attention to, for instance, the dual preoccupations of the same funders and lobby groups that simultaneously instigate hatred to Muslims even as they invest in and promote Jewish settlements on the expansionary frontiers of the Israeli warrior state.
I found particular value in the content of a report by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network entitled, The Business of Backlash: The Attack on the Palestinian Movement and Other Movements of Justice. The document explains in detail the financial, ideological and political community of interests wedding the arms and media industries in the United States to the military and security establishment of Israel.
The channeling of vast treasuries of public funds from the USA to Israel has the effect of creating huge slush funds that end in the coffers of American politicians and in the corporate proprietorships of war profiteers.
The authors go on to explain that this coalition of shared interests is pointed against all manner of progressive movements including environmental groups as well as the decolonization struggles of Blacks, Latinos and Indigenous peoples. It seems the same techniques deployed to cast an aura of criminality over the freedom movement of oppressed Palestinians is being applied more broadly.
Accordingly, the demonization of whole populations by practitioners of the Islamophobia Industry casts a very broad shadow. The hate inciting smear campaigns support oppressive structures of top-down power running contrary to the exercise of even the most fundamental principles of universal human rights.
The Islamophobia Industry’s assault on human rights extended to an attack on the academic freedom of Professor Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, one of the more prominent participants in the proceedings at the Paris bookstore. Abdulhadi is Director of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora Initiative at San Francisco State University in California. Recently she has was targeted by a formidable array of Islamophobes led by Tammi Rossman-Benjamin’s AMCHA Initiative.
The attack on Professor Abdulhadi was discussed in The Business of Backlash. Her Zionist detractors accused the Palestinian-American academic of being “a terrorist supporter as well as a supporter of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.” She was said to embody “all that is wrong with radical elements of academia who have all but hijacked the social science and humanities fields. Her obsessive focus on Israel and monomaniacal demonization of the Mideast’s only democracy betray a troubling pattern of Judeophobia and overt anti-Semitism.” http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/222457/terrorists-campus-ari-lieberman
A formidable coalition of academic colleagues and civil rights organizations rallied to the defense of Professor Abdulhadi who was represented by the lawyers of the Palestinian Solidarity Legal Support network. Abdulhadi’s participation in the Paris conference as a working professor attests to their success in persuading the administration of San Francisco State University to fend off the malicious attempt to end this important scholar’s academic career.
It seems very strange that those who participated in the academic conference in Paris, like those who authored The Business of Backlash, could make themselves so expert on the relationships between the Islamophobia Industry, Jewish Settlements on the West Bank and the deep state machinations of the Israeli-American power elite but not extend their investigations further.
The evidence has become overwhelming that what is portrayed in the media as self-motivated, self-financing, self-directed Islamic terrorism is rather the outcome of a complex network of connections linking intelligence agencies, paid assets, mercenaries and other private sector contractors connected to the operations and objectives of the pro-Zionist Islamophobia Industry.
As my reading on the Islamophobia Industry progressed I came to see the most visible agencies of public hate mongering towards Muslims as but the tip of the iceberg of far larger structures of deceit and corruption. Beneath the overt activities of the Muslim-bashing agencies lie the covert deep state entities devoted to generating the false flag terror events on which the parasitic Islamophobia Industry feeds.
This connection can be well illustrated in the reincarnation after 9/11 of the Project for the New American Century as the pro-Zionist, anti-Muslim Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
The basic aim of this whole sordid complex of deep state and public agencies is to transform Israel’s Arab and predominantly Muslim regional enemies, the Palestinians, into one element of a larger global entity presented as the antithesis of the West’s self-proclaimed “freedoms.”
Composed of the worldwide community of Muslims, the ommah was instrumentalized in public mythology as the aberrant “other” to be guarded against, pacified and sometimes vanquished. The wholesale demonization of Muslims served the purpose of providing the war machine with a new enemy to replace the defunct enemy of the Soviet Union.
The Memes, Symbols and Demonology Deployed in Generating Hatred Towards Muslims
The same banking-military-media establishment that benefited most from the permanent war economy on the capitalist side of the Cold War was reborn, re-energized and refinanced with the launching of the Global War of False Flag Terrorism. In this fashion a degree of continuity was maintained as the same national security establishment created to fight communism was re-deployed in a very strange operation involving both the creation of, and opposition to, Islamic terrorism.
In the decade and a half since 9/11 a powerful Islamophobia Industry has set the tone for the entire mainstream media. In the process, the imagery of Islamic jihad has been rendered an essential part of the visual vocabulary of popular culture. The project of generating fear of Muslims in mainstream media draws on many tried and true techniques of the Public Relations Industry.
The integration of Islamophobia into popular culture often invokes archetypes and symbols from religious mythology like, for instance, the stereotypical demonology of witchcraft and devil worship. Resort is made to mental imagery rooted in children’s fables such as Peter and the Wolf.
To convey these messages, instant-made-for-TV “terrorist” experts regularly conjure up terms such as “Lone Wolf Terrorist” even as they warn us against the “Homegrown Terrorists” said to be lurking amongst us. In such theatres of normalized hate speech, whole populations are wedged, divided and turned against each other to grease the gears of fear and distrust as primary lubricants for political and commercial exploitation.
The lies and crimes of 9/11 lie at the origins of a Great Transformation for the worse. To fail to deal with what did or did not happen in the Mother of All False Flag Terror Events is to give credence to the interpretation that the saga of misrepresentation essential to the Global War on Terror’s genesis did not begin until 2003.
According to that gatekeepers version of reality, the administration of George W. Bush was an innocent victim of Islamic attacks until the executive branch began floating the lie that the government of Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction in order to justify the US-led invasion of Iraq.
Much of the responsibility for publicizing the false assertions that Saddam Hussein’s government possessed weapons of mass destruction has been laid at the doorstep of the New York Times and the work of its star reporter Judith Miller.
Miller’s primary sources on this story included Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Douglas Feith, all prominent Israeli-American members of the Project for a New American Century.
In a major report in 2000, PNAC anticipated the events of 9/11 by proclaiming that the realization of their neoconservative agenda could not be achieved “absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event– like a new Pearl Harbour.”
Is it credible that a handful of Saudi Muslims led by Osama bin Laden, armed with nothing but box cutters, a smattering of flight training and intense jihadist zeal, acted independently to bring about the elaborate high-tech crime that took place on 9/11?
Is it credible that the neocon cabal controlling both the Israeli government and the Bush White House was fortuitously presented by self-directed jihadists with precisely the catalytic event it needed to institute its ambitious agenda of police repression at home and military expansion abroad.
Is it credible that the neocon establishment was only a respondent to, rather than an author of, the cataclysmic events of 9/11? If the events of 9/11 were indeed a surprise attack on power symbols of American prowess in warfare and commerce, why was no one responsible for such a stupendous breach of national security fired for such a spectacular failure? How is it that so many of those who accuse the Bush-Cheney regime of lying about so many subjects refuse to explore the extent of the lies whose effect is to protect the actual perpetrators of the 9/11 crimes?
Part of the problem in the official cover story of 9/11 is that the custodians of the fable keep on changing it to suit the changing currents of political expediency. In the early days following 9/11, the culprits were said to be Osama bin Laden and his coterie of Islamic extremists in al-Qaeda.
Then the demonology of 9/11 shifted so that somehow Saddam Hussein and his Iraqi government were made to epitomize the jihadist extremes of Islamic terror. Once Saddam was captured and executed the world was briefly introduced to a person or persons identified by the name Khalid Sheik Mohammed. For a time it seemed that the US executive branch would conduct a show trial in New York of Khalid, the supposed “mastermind of 9/11” to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the infamous day.
The plan to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed for war crimes was abandoned. This prisoner remains jailed in the US concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay on the island of Cuba. There he has been tortured through water boarding many dozens of times in order to elicit all manner of confessions including some that found their way into the 9/11 Commission report in the United States.
The creation of an official government report, whose conclusions are drawn from supposed evidence obtained from illegal torture, is itself a war crime. Accordingly, those academics, jurists, politicians, journalists, and other public intellectuals who accept the 9/11 Commission report as accurate and satisfactory are rendered complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Instead of conducting a show trial, the government of US President Barack Obama opted to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by announcing that US Navy Seals had hunted down and killed Osama bin Laden at a compound near Abbottabad Pakistan.
In this fashion bin Laden was posthumously returned to the role assigned him by the White House and media agencies within hours of the 9/11 strikes without any formal investigation whatsoever.
According to Seymour Hersh, the White House’s story on bin Laden’s elimination “might have been written by Lewis Carroll.” Bin Laden was supposedly buried at sea. What sense would it make simply to execute the man that would be far and away the world’s foremost authority on international jihadism if the mythological demonology attending the 9/11 psychological operation was actually true.
The elimination by the Democratic Party President of the Republican Party President’s initial 9/11 patsy cleared the way for a new phase in the Global War of False Flag Terrorism overseen by Barack Obama.
This Democratic Party version of the neocon plan for global domination restored al-Qaeda to a role something like it had played in the 1980s as a part of the mujahadeen proxy army army serving US geopolitical strategies. Where al-Qaeda helped overthrow the US-backed puppet regime in Afghanistan in the 1980s, in the second decade of the twenty-first century al-Qaeda was reborn as a mercenary instrument of NATO’s assault on the Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi.
The instrumentalization of mercenary armies paid to fight under the banner of Islamic religion has grown in scope so that this historical trajectory lies at the very heart of the international showdown for control of the lands and resources of Syria. Under heavy Israeli pressure, the US government with backing from the governments of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar has built up al-Qaeda’s successor, Jabhat al-Nusra. The aim of this sponsorship of Islamic theocrats hostile to Bashir al-Assad’s more secular and pluralistic Russian-backed Syrian government is to balkanize the region and possibly to prepare the ground for the eastward and northward expansion of Israel.
This US backing of al-Qaeda-related fighters was spun as support for a “moderate opposition” to the Assad government. This scenario unfolded concurrently with the rise, in Iraq and Syria, of the entity known variously as the Islamic State in the Levant, ISIL, ISIS, and more recently Daesh.
The evidence has become overwhelming that this fighting force is financed, armed and organized in part to embody the memes of hatred and extremism essential to the operations of the Islamophobia Industry and the main protagonists of the Global War of False Flag Terrorism.
The close connection in the international oil business linking governments of Turkey, Israel and the non-state entity dubbed the Islamic State, highlight the many layers of complicity in a very strange operation. The US government presents itself publicly as the world’s leading opponent of Islamic terror while it cultivates, assists and facilitates the very forces it says it is fighting.
In a recent post on his website, Voltairenet, Thierry Meyssen has described the prevalent blindness to what has been really taking place in the region of Syria and Iraq. He lays bare the dynamics of a dangerous game that involves “pretending, like NATO, that these [Islamic fighting] groups are independent formations which have suddenly materialised from the void, with all their salaries, armament and spare parts. More seriously, the jihadists are in fact mercenaries in the service of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar…. to which we must add certain multinationals like Academi, KKR and Exxon-Mobil.”
A Reversion to Old Styles of Imperialism in the Name of Anti-Terrorism?
Since bin Laden was supposedly buried at sea by the US Armed Forces in 2010 the role once assigned to al-Qaeda as the all-purpose boogyman of Islamic terrorism has now been re-assigned to the non-state entity dubbed the Islamic State. When acts of false flag terrorism take place as in Ottawa in October 2014, or in Paris in November of 2015, or in San Bernardino a month later, the authorities in charge of pseudo-investigations are prone to announce almost immediately a connection to ISIS/ISIL Daesh.
The criminal law is thereby put aside and the violent events are immediately elevated to “acts of war” justifying quick retaliation by Armed Forces. Within hours of the Friday the 13th Paris event, for instance, French President Francois Hollande was ordering the French Air Force to intervene in Syria.
While the supposed target was ISIS/ISIL/Daesh encampments and strongholds, there is reason to see the real objective of the supposed anti-terror attacks as the overthrow of the Assad government. This French military intervention could thus be interpreted as a resort to France’s old imperial role in the part of the Middle East assigned it by the Eurocentric Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.
The point of this foray into the recent history of the Global War of False Flag Terrorism is to encourage colleagues in the academy to address, document and explain the unfolding patterns of deception so integral to the process of enlarging the unaccountable powers of the covert deep state, diminishing the overt role of the public state. I extend this encouragement especially to the colleagues that Dr. Barrett and I met in the Paris bookstore at the event entitled “Islamophobia and the Erosion of Civil Society”.
These colleagues and their networks of academic collaborators have made a good start in identifying the institutionalization of hate mongering in the Islamophobia Industry. The time has come, however, to connect the visible workings of this Zionist enterprise of anti-Muslim provocation to the deep state operations in the ongoing Global War of False Flag Terrorism.
Dr. Hall is editor in chief of American Herald Tribune. He is currently Professor of Globalization Studies at University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada. He has been a teacher in the Canadian university system since 1982. Dr. Hall, has recently finished a big two-volume publishing project at McGill-Queen’s University Press entitled “The Bowl with One Spoon”.
By Richard Hugus | Aletho News | February 25, 2016
There is an interesting kind of inversion in Zionist propaganda whereby that which the Zionist accuses his enemy of doing, he is doing himself. Sometimes it is called projection, but in this case it is not a psychological flaw; it is done consciously for the purpose of deceit. So another word seems appropriate. Here is a case in point.
On February 22, 2016 a group called Americans for Peace and Tolerance held a news conference at the State House in Providence, in which they urged Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo to take back an offer she made last November welcoming Syrian refugees coming to the state.
This group, which claims to promote peace and tolerance, is an active supporter of Israel, which has for its entire history brought war to the world by demonizing Arabs and Muslims. When one of the most recent wars – in Syria — creates refugees, the group makes a stand for tolerance by holding a press conference to declare that Syrian refugees should not be tolerated. According to spokesman Charles Jacobs, the refugees “may pose significant dangers to Rhode Islanders, especially to the Jewish community here.” So, the people who created the wars, which in turn created the refugees, now want to be protected from having to be exposed to the refugees they created.
Americans for Peace and Tolerance are not Americans; they’re Israelis. They’re not for peace, but war. They’re not tolerant; they’re intolerant. They accuse others of hatred and violence when in fact this is their own stock in trade.
Reporting on the press conference by the Providence Journal and the Brown Daily Herald failed to point out that Americans for Peace and Tolerance is a Zionist front working for Israel. Its founder and only prominent member is Charles Jacobs, who has founded and provided the membership for other similar groups for the same purpose. These include CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (promoting Zionist media analysis), the David Project (promoting Zionist campus activism), and the American Anti-Slavery Group (promoting the Zionist attack on Sudan).
If there is a threat posed by refugees coming to the US from the Middle East, it is not that the refugees hate Jews here and wish to do them harm; it is that they understand from long experience what Zionism has done to their people, culture, and lands in the name of the Jewish state, and that they can bring this understanding to people in the US who know nothing about it. This could be all the more harmful because critical financial, military, and diplomatic aid comes from the US. Of particular worry would be refugees and leaders from Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Syria, or Sudan able to reach, talk to, and educate regular people in the US who have no idea of the racist genocide the US government is supporting. Wherever outspoken Arabs and Muslims have spoken up in New England, they have been attacked by the FBI, immigration authorities, and the court system until they are silenced by jail or deportation. Amer Jubran and Tarek Mehanna are two such examples.
On February 22nd, Charles Jacobs told the Brown Daily Herald :
“Syrian schools teach the country’s children a hatred of the West — “especially of Jews.”
“Here is a study that shows that Syrians learn to despise Jews in schoolrooms across the country. They also learn about being jihadis, anti-Chrisian, and anti-democracy. The reporter got several studies from me, but declined to look at them. So let the reader decide: http://www.impact-se.org/docs/reports/Syria/Syria2001.pdf ”
The study cited was put out in June 2001 by the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, another friendly-sounding group, based in Israel. The Center is described by Miftah as “a Jewish organization with links to extremist and racist Israeli groups that advocate settlement activities in the Palestinian territories, expulsion (transfer) of Palestinians from their homeland, and claims that Palestinians are all ‘”terrorists’ and that peace with them is not possible.”
The Executive Summary of the study lists a number of offensive positions taken in the Syrian school curriculum. For example:
“Zionism is depicted as a racist and aggressive movement based on false assumptions that the Jews are one people connected to Palestine. Zionism exploits the Jewish religion in order to exercise control over vast areas of the Arab homeland.”
This is supposed to be the outrageous hate speech in Syrian textbooks. In fact, it’s the truth.
One Itamar Marcus is cited for his work in preparing the study. According to Sourcewatch, “in recent years Marcus has been making a living translating and disseminating defamatory communications against Israel, extracted by his staff from Palestinian publications. Marcus, a settler, used to work for David Bar Illan, Benjamin Netanyahu’s PR chief.”
Below are other examples cited in the study as outrageous teaching of hatred in Syrian textbooks:
“An Arab people is uprooted from its land and incoming strangers are used by Imperialism and Zionism as a tool of oppression against the liberation movements in the region.” (Reader and Literary Texts, Grade 7, p. 207)
“Our land was invaded by alien people who had come from distant lands…” (Reader, Grade 5, pt. 2, p. 45)
“The Zionists… had homes in their distant homelands… [but] the oppressors insisted on taking our own home.” (“The Small Lemon Tree”, Short Stories, Grade 5, p. 12)
All true, and richly so. It would be a good antidote to the ignorance about Israeli racism in the US if such textbooks could be brought into US schools. We should be thankful to the study authors for letting us know about them.
Underscoring another method of Israeli propaganda — the importance of constant fear, The Brown Daily Herald reports:
“We will not bow to tyranny and evil,” said former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-MI, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who joined Americans for Peace and Tolerance at the State House. “There will be no more Boston massacres, no more San Bernardinos.”
This is where Israeli propaganda dovetails with highly charged political events staged by darker forces within the Israel and US governments. The real Boston massacre was in 1770; the fake Boston massacre was in 2013. San Berdardino was also a false flag. So was 9–11. These events are now earning their keep by becoming valid coin in support of the war on terror. Their purpose was to under-gird the phoniest war in human history, as planned by the neocons working for Israel in the US. Without these staged events, Rep. Hoekstra would have no sound bite, and Americans for Peace and Tolerance would have no fear with which to threaten us.
Israeli propaganda is conducted with a sophisticated understanding of human psychology and culture. Its inversion of reality mixes us up by confronting us with the unthinkable. Would an organization professing noble goals actually promote lies? Could people who claim to be victims actually be aggressors? Could people in positions of authority plan massive attacks on innocent people in order to make us hate their political enemy? Could that enemy have been created out of whole cloth for decades on end? Could someone who says they’re against hate actually be in the business of causing hate? Could people smeared with the “canards” of owning the banks and media actually be guilty of these canards? Were these canards defined as such in order to preempt accusation? Could government officials, who appear to be sane, actually be psychopaths capable of committing false flags? Is it crazy to believe these things when the rest of the world apparently doesn’t?
According to the mainstream press, one of the alleged attackers during the November 13, 2015 Paris false flag allegedly said, “This is for Syria!” Here is the feat: Get the public to associate a monstrous mass murder with the legitimate cause of Syria, a nation under relentless outside attack, and you destroy any sympathy for that cause, vilify anyone who might speak in favor of it, justify unheard-of police repression, and further the original war on terror, all at the same time. A complete and utterly cynical deception.
Israeli agents such as Charles Jacobs exploit the meme of victimhood established long ago for Jewish people in order to further the attack being carried out by Zionists against those who really are victims – in this case, the Syrians who have had to flee their attacks, their attempt to steal more Arab land, and, it would seem, their attempt to rule the world.
A schoolboy has been questioned by anti-terrorism police because he wore a “Free Palestine” badge to school, The Independent newspaper reported.
Rahmaan Mohammadi’s teachers at Challney High School for Boys in Luton referred him to police under Prevent – the controversial government anti-radicalisation programme.
The pupil was also wearing pro-Palestine badges and wristbands. He had previously requested permission to fundraise for children affected by the Israeli occupation.
Mohammadi said he had previously been warned by police not to talk about Palestine in school, and claimed that staff members approached his 14-year-old brother and pressured him to tell him to “stop being radical”.
Former cabinet ministers have urged the government to set up an inquiry into the way UK counter-terror laws are affecting the humanitarian work of Islamic charities, many of which operate in Syria.
Two former international development secretaries have discussed the issue with parliamentary officials and have written to the Commons International Development Select Committee to call for an inquiry into complaints that Islamic charities are being treated unfairly.
Clare Short, who was international development secretary from 1997 to 2003, and Andrew Mitchell, who served in the same job from 2010 to 2012, have responded to concerns that Muslim charities are being discriminated against by banks or members of the authorities who worry funding could make its way to extremist organizations.
Almost one-fifth of government development aid goes to charities, and Islamic charities are some of the few British aid organizations that can operate in Syria.
Short wrote that the issue needed examining.
“This is an issue that needs clarifying and sorting out. It has been around as a problem for some time, but it has been getting worse and worse. We have got this enormous capacity in the UK of these Muslim humanitarian charities, yet they are struggling with one hand behind their back. We need a proper scrutiny and examination bringing all this out. It is preventing efficiency.”
Mitchell said: “These are some of the few charities that can get into Syria and help the benighted people of that country, yet they are being held back due to misunderstandings and banking bureaucracy.”
Commons International Development Committee chair Stephen Twigg said he would examine the request “very sympathetically.”
One charity which has complained of discrimination is Islamic Relief, one of the largest Muslim charities, who say their work is being hampered. The charity is funded by the Department for International Development, yet has had one of its bank accounts closed by HSBC.
Other charities have reported the closure of bank accounts, Pay Pal accounts and the blocking of financial transactions.
The government set up a working party to examine any issues after the complaints were made.
Short and Mitchell also travelled to Turkey to see some of the charity work by the Muslim Charities Forum, an umbrella organization for nine charities, being done to get aid into Syria. They returned with praise for the organization and its work.
Omayma El Ella, the operations manager of the Muslim Charities Forum, explained that there was no one to hold to account for the problem.
“No one is accountable for what is going on right now. Every time we speak to the government about this, they say it is a private sector issue and they cannot get involved. That is not good enough anymore. We are told no one will be prosecuted for ‘benign engagement’, but what is ‘benign engagement’? That has not been clarified.”
“Unfortunately today, these neoconservatives whose philosophy is that intellectuals should be in the service of tyrants who rule using big lies and mass murder, have taken over the academy and they don’t belong in the academy,” said Kevin Barrett, who has a Ph.D in Arab and Islamic studies and is one of America’s best-known critics of the so-called war on terror.
“Transparency and freedom are the ideals of the academy; because the neoconservatives reject these ideals, they have no business in the academy” Barrett told Press TV on Monday.
On Saturday, an American female professor at a Christian university who got in trouble after wearing the hijab and saying Muslims and Christians worship the same God has agreed to leave the school.
Wheaton College, located near Chicago, Illinois, and political science professor Larycia Hawkins have reached a confidential agreement in which they will “part ways,” the college said in a statement.
“This seems to be a very strange kind of phenomenon that a professor should not be allowed to teach at a university,” said Barret, who himself was fired from the University of Wisconsin for accusing the US government of being involved in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“The whole idea is ludicrous but apparently not in Wheaton College, where Islamophobia appears to be mandatory,” he added. “Anyone who doesn’t hate Muslims with all their heart and soul apparently is not welcome to teach at Wheaton College.”
“It’s a disgrace and an outrage and travesty and anybody who cares about freedom in America should head straight to Chicago to protest, to go and occupy the offices of the administration [of Wheaton College] there.”
A 20-year-old boy accused of being the first white Briton to join Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) has distanced himself from allegations suggesting he is a terrorist, calling the claims “awkward.”
More than one year ago, Jack Letts – dubbed ‘Jihadi Jack’ – converted to Islam and traveled to Syria. He has since been accused of fighting for IS, but his family has dismissed these reports, insisting he is carrying out “humanitarian work.”
It is also claimed that Letts is now living under the name Abu Mohammed and has a wife and son.
In private Facebook messages seen by the Independent, Letts denied the claims and said: “It’s sort of awkward when the media thinks your ISIS and you’re not.”
“Maybe they got bored worrying about what colour socks certain celebrities wear and took out the frustration on me? [sic]” he wrote on the social media site.
The suspected terrorist then went on to accuse the media of publishing lies about him because of his faith.
“The formula with the media is simple: English guy became Muslim + went to the Middle East + followed Islam = ISIS + eats babies x evil,” he said.
“It doesn’t help, admittedly, that bare [lots of] different people have used my fb account [some of whom are extreme etc.. and only got my password through one guy I stupidly trusted].”
Responding to allegations that he has been in contact with Omar Hussain, the former supermarket worker from High Wycombe who left Britain to fight for Isis in 2014, Letts said: “I just read that I met with some guy called umar in some article. First time I learn this amongst the other lies [sic].”
Mocking tabloid newspaper reports, he added: “One of the funniest articles was the one were the last sentence was ‘Jack Letts and ISIS have been contacted for comment. Like me and ISIS have like a shared office in which we receive requests for comment and were still thinking about whether to reply or not.”
Earlier this week, Letts’ mother Sally dismissed reports suggesting her son is a terrorist, saying they are “absolutely ridiculous.”
“He is not a member of ISIS, he is very probably not the first white convert that has gone out there. He does not have a son and is not known as Abu Mohammed,” she told the Evening Standard.
“We spoke to him yesterday and he said he had never had a weapon in his life. He went out there for humanitarian purposes to help kids in Syrian refugee camps.
“It is not as if he is hiding – he tells us what he has for breakfast. All this is absolutely ridiculous, it is shocking,” his mother continued.
‘Did talk passionately about ISIS’
However, according to the Mail Online, Letts is a frontline fighter for the terrorist group.
One anonymous source, believed to be a friend of Letts, claimed he started to “talk passionately about ISIS” after he befriended a group of Muslim boys at school.
“He started befriending a group of Muslim boys at the school and that exposed him to Islam. I noticed he started becoming very preachy and was using Arabic, which was strange because I only ever saw him as a typical Oxford boy,” the source told the paper.
“He did talk passionately about ISIS, but I always assumed he meant he opposed them, not that he would join them.”
Some 800 British citizens are thought to have traveled to Iraq and Syria and there are growing fears about them returning to the UK to plot terror attacks in Britain.
Earlier this month, Home Secretary Theresa May announced nearly 400 of the 800 Britons who traveled to Syria since the start of the civil war have returned.
“Since the start of the conflict in Syria, more than 800 people from the UK who are of national security concern are thought to have travelled to the region, and we believe that around half of those have returned. Those who have travelled include young women and families,” May told the House of Commons.
‘Great need to strengthen EU’s response to terror’
In a report published on Monday, International police agency Europol warned that IS is preparing to bring mayhem to the streets of Europe, similar to the suicide bombings and shootings which left 130 people dead in Paris in November.
Apart from the jihadist group’s main bases in Syria, it has “smaller-scale training camps in the EU and Balkan [region],” Europol found.
The report says there is “every reason” to expect another IS-led terror attack in the coming months, as the group has a new “combat style capability.”
“There is every reason to expect that IS, IS-inspired terrorists or another religiously inspired terrorist group will undertake a terrorist attack somewhere in Europe again, intended to cause mass casualties amongst the civilian population,” Europol said in the report.
In a statement, Europol stressed that the threat of further terror attacks in Europe remains high, but added that there is a “great need” within the EU to “strengthen our response to terror.”
The publication of Europol’s report comes after the release of IS’ new propaganda video, showing the alleged Paris attackers participating in murders in a desert.
The attorney for one Virginia resident accused of backing ISIS says the plot was manufactured by three government informants. He claims federal agents are targeting Muslim Americans for fake terror plots, so they could take credit for stopping them.
“They had three informants in this case that were looking for people to get in trouble,” Ashraf Nubani told reporters on Tuesday, after the preliminary court hearing for Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan, arrested Friday on charges of aiding and abetting terrorism.
Elhassan, 25, is a US permanent resident of Sudanese origin. The government charges him of aiding Joseph Hassan Farrokh, 28, who allegedly wanted to join Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). The federal complaint against the men says that Farrokh planned to travel via Richmond International Airport, to Jordan and then to Syria.
Nubani argued that the entire plot was cooked up by federal law enforcement, eager to present itself as doing something to stop terrorism.
“They create cases, and then they prevent them from happening,” Nubani said.
According to the complaint against Farrokh and Elhassan, three government informants were involved in the plot. One of them, identified only as CHS#3, is a convicted felon who received a reduced sentence in exchange for his cooperation. He has worked for the FBI since 2012, receiving over $10,000 in compensation.
Another informant, CHS#1, posed as an “ISIL facilitator” who told Farrokh he could help him join the terror group overseas. The third informant, identified as CHS#2, was introduced as a trusted “brother,” member of the terror group.
At a meeting in November, the informants told Farrokh he would need to swear an oath of allegiance, known as the Bay’ah, to the self-proclaimed Caliphate. It was CHS#1 who read out the oath, with Farrokh repeating after him.
Farrokh was arrested on January 15 at the Richmond International Airport, and charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization. Elhassan, a taxi driver who took Farrokh to a nearby shopping center – from which Farrokh took another cab to the airport – was arrested in Woodbridge, Virginia later in the day. Federal agents said he lied to them about Farrokh’s intentions, and charged him with aiding and abetting, as well as lying to the government.
Elhassan came from a “regular family,” Nubani said, according to the Washington Post, adding that “some people are Islamophobic, and they’re whipping up fear against Muslims.”
Investigative reporters have been pointing out for years that the majority of alleged terrorist plots foiled by the FBI involve FBI’s own informants acting as masterminds, catalysts and facilitators, leading along or entrapping suspects who are often mentally ill or socially inept.
Since the 1980s, when Britain’s Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service started operating in Colombia, special forces on all sides have been killing rival drug gangs and even counter-narcotics police units. This amounts to a proxy drug-smuggling network, which Britain has aided for decades.
Cocaine is a huge industry, worth some $60 billion per annum. Coke is mainly a middle-class drug, used by politicians, models, film stars, and people in music, media, and other industries. More importantly, coke and other drug monies are untraceable and can be used for military black ops. A great deal is known about the US Central Intelligence Agency’s s role in drug running. Alfred McCoy’s The Politics of Heroin , Gary Webb’s Dark Alliance, and Douglas Valentine’s The Strength of the Wolf are vital exposés. Much less is known about MI6’s role. … continue
This article will examine some of the connections between the US and UK National Security apparatus and the appearance of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory beginning after the accident at Three Mile Island. … continue
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