You are browsing the archive for Fox News.

The Irony of Lieberman’s Devotion to Prosecuting WikiLeaks

11:08 am in Uncategorized by Kevin Gosztola

*DemandProgress has a petition to stop leaders like Sen. Lieberman from outlawing WikiLeaks. Sign it.

I previously wrote about Senator Joseph Lieberman’s (I-CT) appearance on Fox News on Tuesday, December 7th, where he suggested that New York Times should be subjected to an inquiry by the Justice Department on whether they committed a crime or not by publishing or reporting on the contents of the diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks. I intentionally ignored one aspect of Sen. Lieberman’s remarks on Fox News because I felt that aspect deserved its own article.

Just after addressing whether the press reporting on WikiLeaks should face a Justice Department investigation or not, Sen. Lieberman added:

“And, again, why do you prosecute crimes? Because if you don’t–Well, first you do because that’s what our system of justice requires. Second, if you don’t prosecute people who commit crimes, others are going to do it soon and again.

As someone familiar with what Bush Administration officials did when they were in power and how there are officials who should be dragged into court to face a trial for war crimes, I instantly noted the inconsistency. This remark was laughable. But, I am conscious of the fact that it also revealed those in charge of deciding who is guilty of crimes and not guilty of crimes do not think certain violations of the law are crimes.

They think waterboarding, which has traditionally been defined as torture, an act considered to be a war crime, is permissible in some situations. They think warrantless wiretapping is acceptable if there is information to be gained that could be of use (and don’t believe they should be required to prove in the aftermath that what they gained was useful). They find little problem with a CIA, which kidnaps terror suspects and uses extraordinary rendition to send them off to countries that are known to torture suspects, like Egypt. And, they are willing to have terror suspects imprisoned indefinitely in secret prisons or, in the case of detainees at Guantanamo, they are willing to prevent terror suspects from being granted due process.

On April 23, 2009, Sen. Lieberman appeared on “Fox & Friends” on Fox News. Here is a full transcript of the interview he did with host Brian Kilmeade, who expressed his gratitude for Lieberman’s lack of interest in prosecuting former Bush Administration officials:

MR. KILMEADE: Senator Joe Lieberman urging the president not to prosecute. He’s live at the Russell Rotunda. You’re a Democrat telling a Democratic president not to prosecute a Republican — that’s not a popular move. Why shouldn’t he go forward?

SEN. LIEBERMAN : I suppose that’s what it means, Brian, to be an independent Democrat. Look, in the best of all worlds, interpreting what the president said in the clip you just ran, he was deferring to Attorney General Holder to make this decision. But the three of us — Senator McCain, Senator Graham and I — think it’s a real mistake to start breaching the possibility that you criminalize a legal opinion. I mean, you could disagree with the opinions these lawyers wrote during the Bush administration about these enhanced interrogation tactics.

I disagree with some of them. I think they are reasoned opinions. It looks to me like they and the CIA people were really trying to find out exactly what would not be torture under the law of the United States. But you know, if you’re going to start — look, we had an election last year. We got a new administration. This president has prohibited these tactics from being used against suspects in the war against terrorism. So let’s move on. If we start to go back, it raises the possibility we’re going to — we’re basically going to find lawyers who wrote an opinion, that I presume they believed in, guilty of a crime –

MR. KILMEADE: Exactly.

SEN. LIEBERMAN : We’re opening a door that’s going to make it hard for any administration in the future to get the kind of legal advice that it wants, let alone deal with people who are suspects that may have information in the war on terrorism.

MR. KILMEADE: As we hear, you know, there’s going to be a time when this party is not in power and this president is not in the White House. Do you want to go back and investigate that administration? Is it ever going to end and is it going to help anyone except for people get political points? Sena what about those ranking Democrats that knew about these enhanced interrogation tactics on the Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee? Should they be hauled in front of Congress and investigated?

SEN. LIEBERMAN : Well, I mean, there’s no end to this if you go on. That’s the point. Look, the American public, I think, wants us to do two things: One is to focus on the economy today and get going again — protect and create jobs; and two, defend America from the Islamist terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and are still looking for every opportunity to do it today. If we get into basically a political war here in Washington over what happened during the last eight years, it’s going to take our eyes and our attention and our effort off of what we really ought to be doing for the American people. There is simply nothing to be gained from it and it is going to have a bad effect on every administration of any party that follows in the generations ahead.

MR. KILMEADE: As chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, I’m sure he’s got to take your calls, Senator Lieberman .   Make that call to the Oval Office and spare us a long, drawn out investigation. Thanks so much for expanding on the letter your put out there with Senator Lindsey Graham, as well as John McCain. Always great to see you, Senator. [emphasis added]

Sen. Lieberman’s arguments against prosecuting Bush Administration officials for crimes could be used to argue against prosecuting WikiLeaks. Lieberman and others upset by WikiLeaks could choose to disagree but protect the actions of WikiLeaks just like leaders like Sen. Lieberman suggest we all should respect the actions and opinions of lawyers that created legal justification for torture. This could open a door that in the future makes it harder for the press to report on government and fulfill their role as a watchdog of government (it actually could mean more WikiLeaks-type organizations spring up because press do not find it safe to report on classified information anymore).

There could potentially be no end to this if Sen. Lieberman’s and others’ crusade against WikiLeaks gains further traction. What starts with WikiLeaks would have to move on to publications like the New York Times. And then, on to members of other press organizations that reported on the leaks. Perhaps, it would be used to specifically criminalize independent media like Democracy Now!. And then, would there be interest in extraditing individuals who work for The Guardian, Der Spiegel, El Pais, or Le Monde to the United States since they have been cooperating and working with WikiLeaks?

What is to be gained from this? There is no evidence to suggest that any real damage has occurred. No deaths have been reported as a result of WikiLeaks’ release of leaked documents. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that reactions over the harm that WikiLeaks’ release of documents would do to America were “significantly overwrought.” The gains from going after WikiLeaks will be further repression of press freedom, increased support for censorship and security that destroys the openness and democratic nature of the Internet, and criminalization of those who dissent against America.

Of course, this comparison requires one note be made: WikiLeaks has not committed any crimes. It has not been convicted of anything. On the other hand, former Bush Administration officials committed crimes (crimes the leaked diplomatic cables show U.S. government has been trying to cover up or blackmail people into not investigating).

The persecution of WikiLeaks is entirely political. Julian Assange may be guilty of a sex crime and, if that is the case, he will be prosecuted and face a fine or time in prison. But, Assange and WikiLeaks are not being hunted and strangled because their leader may have committed a sex crime. They are “Public Enemy No. 1″ because they have challenged America.

WikiLeaks has brought out into the open the contradiction that is the United States. Its leaders do little to challenge those who might use the scientific journalism of Wikileaks to repress press freedom and, at the same time, celebrate the fact that U.S. will be the host of World Press Freedom Day in 2011. Its leaders jabber about justice and making sure people are prosecuted so others do not commit the same crimes in the future and simultaneously ignore their history of complicity toward lawlessness and misconduct by U.S. government. And, they purport to be leaders of a free nation as they engage in acts of censorship, coercion and intimidation against American citizens who might take interest and express a desire to support WikiLeaks.

I suppose citizens of the world should expect nothing less from these American leaders. People that argue WikiLeaks is endangering lives and then change their argument to the leaks reveal nothing new clearly are doomed to an existence of contradiction.

Julian Assange’s Real Crime: Making It Difficult for America to Wage Superpower

6:02 pm in Uncategorized by Kevin Gosztola


WikiLeaks pledges to continue to fight government secrecy despite persecution by the U.S. and other countries. by R_SH

Political leaders like the tyrannical Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and complicit authoritarian Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have come out in full support of prosecuting the now-captured and arrested Julian Assange under the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917. Whether they can do so or not is of no concern to them, and don’t expect that to matter as the press repeats this idea that Assange could be prosecuted.

Sen. Lieberman, Senator John Ensign (R-Nev) and Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass) have introduced a bill that would “stop” WikiLeaks and make it “illegal to publish the names of military or intelligence community informants.” The bill known as the Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination Act (SHIELD) would amend the Espionage Act. The main problem with the act is, as Dave Weigel of Slate wrote, “the information being leaked, while embarrassing, hasn’t been highly classified. It’s been secret, or marked “NOFORN,” but it’s not classified.” Thus, it appears the act might currently be ineffective in “stopping” WikiLeaks or future releases of information by any individual, group or organization.

What these senators aim to do is guaranteed to further reduce the protections for journalists and members of the media in this country. It’s guaranteed to further create a political climate where journalists are faced with the possibility of coercive measures if they actually exercise the rights and privileges granted to them by the First Amendment. And, it’s that climate that ensures more and more individuals will leak materials to WikiLeaks instead of media outlets in America, who cannot give their sources guarantees they will be protected under the law.

Sen. Lieberman appeared on the Fox News Channel on December 7th to express his support for not only prosecuting Assange but also examining the culpability of media organizations like the New York Times, which have referenced in the leaked secrets in their news articles.

HOST: Julian Assange has written an editorial that points out or characterizes his organization as an underdog in the media world. And he’s saying that he is a journalist and he’s saying that he’s just providing information out there for the world’s citizens to see. He mentions that organizations like the New York Times have published his information, which you’re classifying as state secrets. So, are other media outlets that have posted what WikiLeaks put out there also culpable on this and could be charged with something?

LIEBERMAN: I have said that I believe the question you are raising is a serious legal question that has to be answered. In other words, this is very sensitive stuff because it gets into America’s First Amendment, but if you go from the initial crime–Private Manning charged with a crime of stealing these classified documents, he gives them to WikiLeaks, I certainly believe WikiLeaks has violated the espionage act. But then what about the news organizations, including the NYT, that accepted it and distributed it? I’m not here to make a final judgment on that. But to me the New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship, but whether they have committed a crime I think that bears very intensive inquiry by the Justice Department. [emphasis added]

In his appearance, Sen. Lieberman called the release of documents by Assange and WikiLeaks “the most serious violation of the Espionage Act” in America’s history.

Sen. Feinstein, in her editorial published by the Wall Street Journal , wrote, “When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange released his latest document trove–more than 250,000 secret State Department cables–he intentionally harmed the U.S. government. The release of these documents damages our national interests and puts innocent lives at risk. He should be vigorously prosecuted for espionage.”

She claimed the authority to decide whether Assange is or is not a journalist, a power she and nobody in government holds. She promoted the idea that the release has hurt people, when there is absolutely no proof that anyone has been harmed as a result of these leaks. And, she concluded, “As for the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has held that its protections of free speech and freedom of the press are not a green light to abandon the protection of our vital national interests. Just as the First Amendment is not a license to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater, it is also not a license to jeopardize national security.”

This is where we get into the real crime that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are guilty of committing. They are guilty of posing a threat to American superpower.

They have made it more difficult to wage a secret propaganda campaign to manufacture false cases for any future wars. They have made it harder to mislead Americans and other citizens of the world to believe a country poses an imminent threat to the United States. They have made it more problematic for America to use illegal detention, torture, and rendition on the world’s citizens when prosecuting the “war on terror.” They have made it more complicated for America to use spying and blackmailing when engaging countries in diplomacy. And, they have made leaders of countries in the world less willing to upset the sensibilities of people whom they govern and lie to them to prevent them from demonstrating their disapproval and outrage for going along with a ruthless superpower.

Political leaders and media pundits are disinforming the public when they talk about prosecuting Assange. Leaders like Sen. Feinstein are cherry-picking portions of a Congressional Research Service report to suit their worldview on what can and cannot be done to “protect” America. Indeed, an October report did claim there exists “ample statutory authority for prosecuting individuals who elicit or disseminate the types of documents at issue, as long as the intent element can be satisfied and potential damage to national security can be demonstrated.” But, as Evan Harper commented on one of Glenn Greenwald’s posts:

“In Feinstein’s WSJ op-ed, she claims “That he is breaking the law and must be stopped from doing more harm is clear. I also believe a prosecution would be successful,” citing a Congressional Research Service report which wrote that “there is ample statutory authority” for such a prosecution. But she very badly cherry-picked the report, which goes on to say:

‘…we are aware of no case in which a publisher of information obtained through unauthorized disclosure by a government employee has been prosecuted for publishing it. There may be First Amendment implications that would make such a prosecution difficult, not to mention political ramifications based on concerns about government censorship. To the extent that the investigation implicates any foreign nationals whose conduct occurred entirely overseas, any resulting prosecution may carry foreign policy implications related to the exercise of extraterritorial jurisdiction.’

Essentially, CRS found that a plausible reading of the Espionage Act, by itself, might find some grounds to charge Assange — but that precedent, the Constitution, and jurisdictional issues all weigh against a successful prosecution. Feinstein was grossly dishonest in eliding this.”

It’s quite telling that they would fall back on the Espionage Act as the tool that could prevent Assange and WikiLeaks from causing more damage to America’s image in the world. The Espionage Act was signed into law by Glenn Beck’s least favorite president, Woodrow Wilson, shortly after America entered World War I. The act was intended to only apply during wartime, but, like many expansions of executive power in recent American history, the act continued to be applied to dissidents who were getting in the way of military recruiting or efforts to prosecute wars.

As Neal Rockwell points out on NYC Indymedia, “Its first major test case was with a Socialist named Charles Schenck, who received a six month sentence for passing out leaflets denouncing the draft, which was upheld by the Supreme Court. There have been a number of high profile Individuals prosecuted or threatened with this law over the years. In 1918, the famed Socialist organizer Eugene Debs was given a ten year sentence for delivering an anti-war speech on the grounds that it obstructed recruitment and the war effort. His sentence was later commuted by Warren Harding in 1921, and he was released after spending thirty two months in prison. The poet E E Cummings spent a few months in jail under the Act, for speaking openly about his lack of hatred for the Germans. The Post Office was also instrumental in using this law, in that it refused to deliver materials which were deemed to violated it, thus suppressing many radical newspapers.”

Julian Assange has brought out the true spirit of America. Visa and MasterCard refuse to process donations to WikiLeaks or Assange. PayPal refuses to allow WikiLeaks to use the service for donations. Amazon censors the Wikileaks website. Tableau opts to prohibit WikiLeaks from using its graphics service for data visualizations. The School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University warns students to refrain from commenting on the leaked diplomatic cables on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter and not post links to the documents if they hope to ever work for the State Department (while at the same time pledging to host World Press Freedom Day in 2011). And, the Obama Administration and the Department of Defense orders hundreds of thousands of federal workers to not view the once secret cables.

The U.S.-led “war on WikiLeaks” has tacitly endorsed censorship of the Internet and taken steps that will move it further away from being an arena where all citizens of the world can act openly without fear of being met by unchecked political power. The crew of WikiLeaks has demonstrated that America is more interested in being a closed, conspiratorial, inefficient and totalitarian country instead of using the document dumps WikiLeaks have brought to the world to become more open and honest in government operations. And, those who have supported, aided or abetted WikiLeaks should be aware of how this all could steamroll into a situation where Americans are increasingly asked to take “loyalty oaths” in order to take jobs or use services on the Internet and face surveillance that will lead to persecution if found to be engaging in suspect political activity (indeed, a new round of witch hunts aimed at “disloyal” Americans is already being mounted by the FBI in this country).

Ask yourself: Will there be an agent at your door asking you, “Are you or are you not working in cooperation with Julian Assange and others associated with WikiLeaks?” And, if so, do we intend to stand up and mobilize and raise our voices high and defend our right to disseminate now-public information and utilize our First Amendment rights without threat of intimidation or criminalization?

Whether Julian Assange is guilty of rape or sexual molestation allegations is for the Swedish courts to decide. If he did in fact commit a crime, he will suffer the consequences. But, the charges increasingly appear to be part of a campaign of political persecution that is being endorsed and sponsored by a nation that wishes revenge on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for daring to challenge American superpower.

The Zombie Politicians and Vampire Capitalists Are Coming!

8:57 am in Uncategorized by Kevin Gosztola


Zombie Politician reporting for duty. by Truthout.org


No, I know. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had this rally a few weeks ago to “restore sanity” and they wanted people to take it down a notch for America and try to use language that would not be a conversation stopper. Colbert tried to keep fear alive, but Stewart just wouldn’t have it. At one point, a big faceoff went down between Yusuf Islam and Ozzy Osbourne over what train to get on board. Thankfully, a consensus developed and it was decided they both would get on board the “Love Train.”

The problem is this isn’t really something that is made up to conjure unfounded fear. I am not claiming Obama is a socialist with no proof of a socialist agenda. I am not claiming the government is taking over healthcare and there will be death panels. Nor am I claiming that some New World Order is plotting the demise of all the people of the world and they have some secret Skull & Bones-like fraternity where they develop and plot their next move. I am serious. The zombie politicians and vampire capitalists are coming!

Vampire capitalists made certain we the people were unable to have the ability or authority to set the terms for the 2010 Midterm Election. Their thirst for accumulating wealth through control of the political process pushed them to manipulate campaign finance regulations. Exploitation of a landmark decision on freedom of speech for corporations, the Citizens United v. FEC decision, meant money flooded the election in record amounts. Karl Rove’s American Crossroads GPS, the Koch Brothers (key financiers of the Tea Party), and the Chamber of Commerce all sought to sway the election with money that was funneled through Super PACs or 501(c)4 organizations that did not have to disclose who or what group was making donations.

With crazed zeal like that of Bela Lugosi, leaders of key industries shifted their dollars away from Democrats and moved them over to Republicans, who could be trusted to do their vampire capitalist masters’ bidding. Health insurance companies shifted dollars as a result of discontent over the actions of Democrats when passing Obamacare. Industries in the vampire safe haven of Wall Street moved their donations to another Party that could be counted on to act in their favor unapologetically and act as an infantry of zombies and further form a diabolical alliance to bring them more opportunities to suck wealth or blood from the bottom 90% in America.

Renfield-esque lobbyists were deployed as servants to these vampire capitalists. Their efforts were focused on the financial “reform” legislation. They aimed to get to politicians and agencies and render impotent the aspects that might bring enforcements, which would limit the vampire capitalists’ abilities to accumulate wealth. They targeted federal agencies like the Securities Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission so they could continue to engage in unregulated credit default swaps (like inter-species vampire capitalist sex) or predatory subprime mortgage lending (a scheme that at first involves the vampire capitalist sacrificing some of his blood or capital but usually ends in the vampire capitalist recapturing that capital from the person given capital to survive and more).

In the aftermath of the election, it is clear a zombie army of political leaders led by the bronze-faced Speaker-elect John Boehner (who tans to hide his pale skin and keep his true zombie nature secret) will waste no time when doing the bidding of vampire capitalists. He and others like him have worked in tandem with vampire capitalist astroturf grassroots organizations like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity. They have been turning more and more Americans into walking dead. Some of the walking dead have even been elected to join the ranks. People like Rand Paul and Marco Rubio saw a swell of undead go to the polls and vote for them to be their leader and go after Big Government.

The stage is set: Servants to vampire capitalists, Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan K. Simpson, who co-chair a Deficit Commission appointed by President Barack Obama, released a report demonstrating their dedication to vampire capitalism. Their one-track ideology appeared front-and-center showing they would focus on protecting the top 2%’s ability to prosper at the expense of the bottom 90%. Their report gave warning that they wanted to go after programs that benefit the working people of America, like Social Security, even when that was to be off-limits.

Vampire capitalists, defenders of the Deficit Commission say, must be able to trade freely without government getting in the way. The less restrictions and the less they are taxed or have their blood or capital extracted while they are in the midst of trying to accumulate it and dole it out to the slaves dependent on their lines of blood or capital, the better. Hence, servants to vampire capitalists Bowles and Simpson propose a corporate tax break from 35 percent to 26 percent and a decrease for the highest tax bracket from 35 to 23 percent.

Health insurance deductions, ends to home mortgage exemptions, freezes to federal salaries, bonuses and other compensations along with hundreds of thousands of government workers eliminated all ensures there will be more underlings out wandering and searching for hope. Their ability to survive will be tested as walking dead tempt them with ideological notions, which peg President Obama, liberals and government as the reason for their destitution.

Vampire capitalists and walking dead through their own media network, which helps to accumulate capital or blood for zombie politicians and vampire capitalists to use to make the world anew will continue to wield influence. Government workers will be made to seem like the undead. Bureaucrats will continue to be cast as Frankenstein’s monsters engineered by government in violation of the social order of the free market and the Calvinist doctrine, which feed both the vampire capitalists and zombie politicians. Activists or progressives will be made to seem like the undead, coming to take what little people have away by calling for Socialist redistributions of wealth.

These zombie politicians and vampire capitalists also enjoy a new breed of monster: the Mama Grizzly. Middle-aged vixens prance about enticing the walking dead with pleasures of an America that does not apologize for a country that is the most greatest nation on the planet. They stimulate the flesh-eating tendencies of the walking dead into mobilizing to take on anything they cast as threats to society, like government death panels or ACORN organizations or creeping Sharia, which would would drive a stake through freedoms the walking dead enjoy.

President Barack Obama and Democrats have barricaded themselves in rooms to privately discuss the unfolding scenario over the past weeks. Some of them are infected with clinical vampirism and nurse it privately. Others like Democrat Dick Durbin admit vampire capitalists own the place. Jim Webb seeks to inform the public about how the vampire capitalists have turned his Party into an impotent, weak and defenseless force against the march of cold-blooded vampire capitalism. And, many like Sen. Bernie Sanders and soon-to-be former Rep. Alan Grayson talk of Blue Dogs, the zombie wing of the Democratic Party which uses bipartisanship and compromise to justify an agenda that favors vampire capitalists almost exclusively.

The president thinks he must use zombie tactics to move forward. The vampire capitalists, a few of which work in his Administration (like Timothy Geithner), have him on guard and he believes that he must give them what they want. But, these tactics will not neutralize the diabolical forces that are lining up to take on his Administration.

Trips to foreign countries for outside help will not save the Democrats. Appeals to the cast of extras from a never-ending George Romero flick will not bring a halt to the dark forces. Giving a little bit of ground on tax cuts will only give them the life’s blood to thirst for more flesh and more flesh and more flesh. It will embolden them to mount hunting expeditions through oversight investigations into walking dead New Black Panther Party conspiracies. It will motivate them to target those who promote climate change hoax conspiracies, which they despise because they take away their power to eat the future and bring on the apocalypse.

The living are the only ones who can save this society rife with monsters. Zombie politicians will continue to spread viruses to others unless the living can come up with antidotes. These antidotes will not be easy to produce. The living whom I speak of must courageously confront darkness. They must stare these zombie politicians down and beat them back with proverbial clubs, guns and machetes. Go for their heads, which is after all the evil that keeps them parading onward.

A defense as well as an offense must be mounted. Do not ask permission from the top. Those who tried to save us before have been rendered powerless and need to see a force other than them in order to regain strength. The White House is a bunker that has been breached. Zombie politicians and vampire capitalists are inside and gaining power rapidly.

Meanwhile, the living with several liberal organizations that can be counted to be allies are wondering what to do next. Stupefied by the forces lining up, they waffle and putter when there can be no waffling or puttering. There is little analysis to be done. The living know what is happening and just have to find the will to act.

I’ll restate this for those confused and thinking I have just described the plot of a new Hollywood movie: Zombie politicans and vampire capitalists are here and they want what they feel they are entitled to. And, there are enough walking dead willing to help them get what blood or wealth they think government should hand out to them.

This isn’t going to be easy. Forces will not cower in the face of reason or truth, which traditionally has had some impact. the brute force of certitude and passion will have to bring victory as the living either fight or die.

Glenn Beck’s Reclaiming Honor Rally: “He’s Alive!”

11:57 am in Uncategorized by Kevin Gosztola

4942134489_b423e219a4.jpg

 

Pundit and radio show host Glenn Beck, a man who possesses an evangelical flare for expressing his opinions to viewers, held his “Restoring Honor” Rally at the Lincoln Memorial yesterday morning, which was the anniversary date of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” The rally was a conscious attempt to not only re-appropriate the history of Martin Luther King Jr. but also to push the country closer toward adhering to more principles and tenets of Biblical Law.

Participants in the rally included Sarah Palin, Marcus Luttrell, the Liberty University Choir, Tony La Russa, Albert Pujols, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece, Alveda King.

You’d be forgiven if you thought Alveda King is someone who was like a Jackson in the Michael Jackson family—someone who is out to exploit the family name for profit and honor. King has said of homosexuality, “It is statistically proven that the strongest institution that guarantees procreation and continuity of the generations is marriage between one man and one woman.” During the rally, she called for more prayer in public schools and referred to abortion as “a womb war, which threatens the fabric of our society.”

Beck and organizers chose, prior to the rally, to put on an event that could be called “non-political,” to emphasize the religious devotion and the revival of spirit that could come out of this event instead. Those in attendance were not allowed to bring in signs that Americans could potentially see on the news, which would clearly indicate what percentage of the crowd was literate and sociopathic and what percentage was not.

While Beck did say that he wanted this rally to help “reclaim the civil rights movement,” the rally indicated Beck was uninterested in the black revolutionary spirit of King that pushed him to fight for de-segregation and equality and far more interested in using King as a prop who understood how faith and belief in God could unleash goodness and greatness in America.

In his speech, Beck offered up a story on the Washington monument that one could say proved Beck is committed to an onslaught on intellectual thinking. He used a story of the Washington monument—how it was being built until the Civil War and then was finished afterward—and argued that was a true example of American triumphalism. Only Beck would suggest that something that makes logical sense indicates America has a true spirit of resilience. And, really, the only reason monuments figure into Beck’s revivals and the only reason he holds them in the presence of memorials is because they provide a nice theater for his American revisionist history to be advanced.

Really, Beck’s rally was a right wing nationalist event featuring leaders collectively trying to control the past so they could control the future. In the exact way that George Orwell would have said totalitarians can gain power, this was really an attempt to control the history of MLK Jr., to manufacture it in a way that will feed into an agenda for moving America in whatever direction they want to go in. By doing this, what Glenn was saying was that he wanted people to focus on MLK as a black preacher. He didn’t want them to consider MLK Jr., the black revolutionary. He wished to remind the audience again and again about the ways that MLK Jr believed in God, the faith he had and the leadership he had from being a believer or follower of God but ignore the liberation aspects of King’s "Dream."

Shared during the rally were Beck’s definitions of faith, hope and charity. Beck inadvertently seemed to be suggesting insanity was a synonym of faith as he said faith is “knowing and believing in something when all the circumstances surrounding you would indicate otherwise.” What he said on hope indicated he opposes President Obama’s view that hope is collective and that “we are all in this together”; his definition of hope, that it is “the parent of faith and charity,” the “light of the world,” and something that “must be rooted in truth and honor,” suggested hope was much closer to hope in the individual and not believing that the collective society could prevail. And, on charity, which he said was “opening your heart to another human being in his time of need,” Beck was giving himself cover for the fact that he does not support the economic redistribution of wealth and power that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Dream” speech was about in addition to ending segregation and granting equality and civil rights to all.

With the Special Operations Warrior Foundation sponsoring the rally, there was a confluence of faith in God with testimony on how honorable it is to serve in the military. Beck sought to compel Americans to join the military so that they could participate in a project to remake the globe that would involve confronting the forces of Satan and Christianizing the world so that it could be made new. The problem with this, as the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) would attest to, is that asserting the military is some project for God means members of the military have to give up religious freedom. The very nature of the military requires uniformity so either you have a right to believe in whatever supreme beings you want or everyone is made to believe in a certain supreme being.

An army that promotes the idea of serving Christ not only puts people in the position of having to endure the most horrendous music known to the human ear, Christian rock, but it also creates a clash of civilizations. It invites right wing fundamentalist Muslims who see a “Christian” military fighting in countries that are predominantly Muslim and choose to attack so they can defend their homeland from “Christianization.”

Also, an overtly religious military, means wars are based predominantly in emotion and do not need evidence to support their prosecution. The cost of war, casualties, and the impact on the theater of war no longer matters because your cause is just in the eyes of God. What is being done is good and you must keep fighting until the job is done; the enemy is Satan and you must press on until victory.

Beck explained one of his favorite lines in the Declaration of Independence is, “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” This was encouragement to Americans, especially those in the audience, to return America to God, to push America further toward being a country governed by Biblical law.

The media went along with Beck’s claim that the rally was "non-political" because it was religious and Beck hid the partisanship that was part of the motivation behind the rally. To anyone who believed anchors or pundits making this suggestion, the Tea Party provided staff and promotion to the rally, the National Rifle Association sponsored and promoted the event, FreedomWorks pledged to cater to attendees "political interests," Americans for Prosperity, a major organization backed by right-wing billionaire David A. Koch of the oil giant Koch Industries, provided buses to the rally, FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Patriots hosted their own corresponding events, Sarah Palin, a figure inextricably linked to the GOP, spoke at the rally, GOP members of Congress like Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) raised money for the rally, Beck used political terms like "fix the capital," "reclaim the civil rights movement," Beck planned an "education convention" as precursor to the event that would teach followers "how to be a politician."

More importantly, Americans do not like to separate religion from politics. A recent Pew Research Center poll on religion and public life indicated "they feel strongly that politicians should be religious." Sixty-one percent agreed "it was important that members of Congress have strong religious beliefs." Forty-three percent suggested churches should express their views on day-to-day social and political issues. Somewhere between seventy and ninety percent of Americans believe in God or practice a religion. An ABC News poll "found sixty-one percent believe the account of creation in the Bible’s book of Genesis" to be "literally true" and not just a "story meant as a lesson." And, "about one-third of the American adult population believes the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally word for word."

So, can a media pundit or news anchor really look in to the camera and say Beck’s rally was "non-political" without acknowledging how intertwined religion and politics is in America?

Many who are liberal, progressive or Democrat would say Beck’s rally was a distraction, that we should stay focused on the economy and not discuss this topic because it’s what Republicans want to talk about so they can win votes in the election. They would assert that Beck is trying to take a movement because Obama is in the White House. That’s not to say that is untrue, but there’s also truth in the fact that the economy can play a huge role in pushing fearful followers of Christ into people who tap into hate, prejudice and bigotry in the worst of times and attack minorities because a leader tells them those are the evildoers who are making the country impure.

There’s an analogy to be drawn to an episode of the Twilight Zone called, “He’s Alive!” It was Twilight Zone’s creator Rod Serling’s warning to Americans that as long as ignorance and hate persists so too will characters who are perpetually hungry for greatness, who are looking to exploit ignorance and hate for honor and power.

On first look, Beck’s rally seemed like an event organized so that tens of thousands of fearful easy-to-manipulate would give him a strokejob. When one goes deeper, it’s much darker than that—Beck wanted a strokejob, but he wanted that to also be part of pushing the country closer to one that abandons religious pluralism, forsakes the idea of separation of church and state, and marches onward toward the kind of closed-minded society most Americans would condemn Muslims for instituting.

Special Footage from Beck’s Reclaiming Honor Rally

10:05 am in Uncategorized by Kevin Gosztola

One camera crew on site managed to capture this video. This video indicates that there was something slightly different going on than what was seen by people who watched the rally on C-SPAN or any of the news networks that aired portions of the rally. Additionally, it happens to feature some behind-the-scenes footage of Glenn Beck from right before the actual rally.

Responding to the Toxic Anti-Islamic Fervor Growing in This Nation

6:03 pm in Uncategorized by Kevin Gosztola

The above is a video message I put together for YouTube. With the growing anti-Islam fervor that has been ratcheting up as a result of people trying to stop a "Ground Zero Mosque" from being built, I wanted to address the people who are trying to confront those who are making this country more dangerous and who are endangering this country’s national security by writing a recruiting script for right wing Muslims or Islamists.

The video is around five minutes long and below is an addendum and something to read if you do not have time for a video.

—————————————————————————


Protest of Cordoba House in NYC. Protesters carry signs reading things like "No Clubhouse for Jihadists."

So, you’ve found yourself wondering lately why people are so upset about what is the equivalent of a YMCA center being built near Ground Zero. You wonder how shuffleboard, tennis, swimming, weightlifting, and workouts in a fitness center in some interfaith community center administered by some guy named Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf could lead to stealth jihad and the imposition of Sharia Law on all Americans.

 

If you’re a person who–I don’t know–thinks, in the past week you may have chosen to jump start conversation, perhaps through a blog post or weigh into a conversation in the comments thread of an article that already had a vibrant or polarizing conversation going on. You’ve genuinely tried to get to find some truth about this "controversy" and perhaps reconcile with people’s views on the impending "Islamization of America."

 

By now, you’ve likely found it’s hard to talk to those who are opposed to the "Ground Zero Mosque," as they affectionately term it (and they probably have become fed up with you as well). The problem with reasoning with the opposition is that they are not thinking about this in terms of reality. You can explain to them that the Constitution gives Americans who have Islamic beliefs the right to build all you want, but as a Newsweek slideshow recently posted affirms, they will not think of your argument as something that applies to Muslims in America.

 

The slideshow, "Dumb Things Americans Believe," explains,
"one in three Americans," according to a 2008 First Amendment Center poll believe "the constitutional right to freedom of religion was never meant to apply to groups most folks think are extreme or fringe–a 10 percent increase from 2000."

 

Since those leading the charge against the construction of the "mosque" consider Islam to be a political system and not a true religion, since they treat it more like a cult than a religion, the legal argument–the free market property rights argument that they should be receptive to (because let’s be honest these people opposed are the same people who clamor into city plazas for Tea Party rallies to protest the socialist takeover of America)–rolls right off them like confetti at a Sarah Palin/Mama Grizzlies celebration.

 

Newsweek’s slideshow comes on the heels of a poll where around one fifth polled suggested it was possible President Obama was a Muslim. Or, as Glenn Beck hints at, he hasn’t professed his Christian faith in a manner that would lead one to channel Sinclair Lewis and say, "It can happen here," so he likely is a Muslim a Muslim who has brought change Americans will be forced to submit to and who will make it possible for Islamists to hijack local and state governments with their agenda for Sharia Law and work their way up until they eventually have Cabinet seats and have turned America into a nation for Caliphate advancement.

 

Other things people believe, which Newsweek details includes: sixty-one percent doubt the theory of evolution, twenty-one percent in witches, forty percent believe in death panels, forty-one percent believed Saddam was linked to 9/11, forty-one percent not sure Judaism older than Christianity, and twenty percent not sure Earth revolves around the Sun.

 

Recently, those who populate the wiki, Conservapedia, were found to be arguing that the theory of relativity could be proven wrong. The site provided counterexamples, one of the best being: "In Genesis 1:6-8, we are told that one of God’s first creations was a firmament in the heavens. This likely refers to the creation of the luminiferous aether." (Rachel Maddow covered this in a segment called the "War on Brains.")

 

These phantasmagoric beliefs are being spouted by people who believe in God. Does that mean religion needs to be abolished? I don’t know, but we have people like this guy who are railing on about a "climate change scam," who likely believe that climate change isn’t true because it isn’t detailed in the Bible.

 

Americans, we have an incredible dilemma. Part of our heritage has always involved confronting delusions, and now we have a pressing obligation to find a way to confront this.

 

A drunk man walked into a mosque in Queens on Wednesday evening and urinated on the prayer rugs. With a beer bottle in his hand, he proceeded to shout anti-Muslim epithets and called worshippers "terrorists."

 

That’s not some creative variation of some "A Guy Walks Into a Bar" joke. Even worse, a Muslim cab driver was stabbed Tuesday and a California mosque was recently desecrated.

 

 

 

And, Terry Jones, a pastor for the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida, plans to send "a warning" to Muslims by holding a Koran-Burning Day. Just what kind of warning does Jones expect to send? Won’t this just incite violence? Why not just take moveable letters on a church sign and make it read, "Homegrown Terrorists Welcome Here"?

 

If you’re Muslim, it isn’t news that there are a number of people in this country that fear Muslims like Nazis fear Jew bankers; they’ve been confronting this behavior and violence since 9/11 (And you thought you’d get through this without a Nazi reference?). They are the most vocal and their fundamentalist leaders’ goals are driving them to campaign to rid this country of any Muslims looking to practice their freedom of religion.

 

Americans who contend this is a distraction from the pressing economic problems–and a result of the upcoming 2010 midterm elections—minimize the way that leaders behind the creation of this anti-Islamic fury will twist and manipulate the frenzied atmosphere to continue to advance their theocratic agenda.

 

I don’t fully know what we should do now, but I do have a beginning suggestion: Our side needs its own cheesy 80s rock anthem to cheer on reason, tolerance and acceptance of all people just like the nuts who are spreading hate and fear of Muslims now have their own anthem to cheer on religious persecution of Americans.

 

President Obama on Ground Zero Mosque: A Wasted Attempt to Stand Up to Islamophobia?

9:44 am in Uncategorized by Kevin Gosztola


Jingoistic demonstration in Zucotti Park against proposed Islamic Cultural Center a few blocks from Ground Zero. Later, someone garlanded the proposed site with dirty shoes, raw porkchops, and cartoons of the Prophet. by Johnnie Utah

President Barack Obama stepped into the middle of a swirl of prejudicial vitriol and unashamed hatred surrounding the building of an Islamic cultural center several blocks away from Ground Zero.

Appearing at Friday night’s iftar dinner at the White House, held to mark the breaking of the daily Ramadan feast, in a safe space away from Islamophobic politicians and pundits who have been disinforming Americans on the building of a "Ground Zero mosque" for weeks now, Obama declared in a speech:

…Recently, attention has been focused on the construction of mosques in certain communities — particularly New York. Now, we must all recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of Lower Manhattan. The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country. And the pain and the experience of suffering by those who lost loved ones is just unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. And Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.

But let me be clear. As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are. The writ of the Founders must endure…

 

Obama’s remarks were insightful and courageous and along the lines of comments from New York City’s Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg just over a week ago. Bloomberg, too, argued "the government has no right whatsoever to deny" the right to those who wish to build a mosque and stated, "if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution."

 

"Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question – should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion?" asked Mayor Bloomberg. "That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here. This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another."

 

And, from a place of great reason, to strike a blow to unthinking people who are running around making outlandish claims about Muslims and terror babies and how Islamic people wish to impose Sharia law on America, Bloomberg stated:

"Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values – and play into our enemies’ hands – if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists – and we should not stand for that"

 

 Having people like Mayor Bloomberg to back President Obama up, Obama would be able to hold on to his defense and continue to give this well-reasoned argument to thwart the hatred of Islamophobes across the country as reporters asked him for more remarks on what he said, right?

"I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country is about. And I think it’s very important, as difficult as some of these issues are, that we stay focused on who we are as a people and what our values are all about."

 

President Obama’s position at that moment morphed into, in principle, this country should allow the Islamic center to be built, but, I do not know specifically if in this case building a mosque is a wise idea or not. The idea that "commitments to religious freedom must be unshakeable" now appeared to be shakeable if it could be proven one is making unwise decisions related to the exercising of that religious freedom.

 

How would this "backtracking" play in the conservative media echo chamber that has made the Obama Administration yield to any and every message born out of pig-headed phobia?

 

Guests and show hosts promoted this idea on Sunday that, if the cultural center would not be promoting interfaith dialogue (a standard that most Christian or Jewish institutions never have to adhere to), then there’s no way the construction of a mosque should be supported.

 

 Republican Congressman Peter King said on "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" on August 15th, "I think the president, by the way, is trying to have it both ways, because I don’t know of anyone who was saying that Muslims do not have the right to practice their religion, but with rights go responsibilities, and that’s the part of it the president did not comment on.

 

Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island said "Fox News Sunday" with Bret Baier, "the president, I think, is right to point out that our traditions do embrace tolerance for religions, all religions" but went on to say the "issue is whether the operation — this facility is really one that is designed to provide interfaith communication, dialogue, to not in some way try to repeal the reality of 9/11, which was an attack by fanatical Muslims against the United States, but to try to find those common ground between all the religious communities."

 

On the same show, Senator John Cornyn, chairman of the Republican Senatorial Committee declared this issue an "election issue" and said what was said is indicative of "the lack of connection between the administration and Washington and folks inside the Beltway and mainstream America. And I think this is what aggravates people so much."

 

ABC’s This Week host Christiane Amanpour and NPR senior news analyst Cokie Roberts accused Obama of "walking back" from statements he made in his speech. And, Liz Cheney was quoted by Mike Allen of Politico, "I guess President Obama was for the mosque before he was against it."

 

Tunku Varadarajan wrote on The Daily Beast, "At first sight, this may seem but a minor alteration in tone, or nuance. But in political terms, it is tectonic, reducing Obama in stature from a brave man, standing tall against the forces of intolerance, to a picayune, insecure trimmer who wishes to be all things to all people, a man who is so unsure of his own principles that he will seek to reinterpret words, just a day after he uttered them."

 

Varadarajan and the aforementioned congressmen are right to talk about how this was never a question of the mosque’s right to be built–at least rhetorically speaking. Amanpour’s comments on Obama "walking back" his comments directly cited a poll of Americans indicating more than sixty percent recognize the right to build the center but, in another poll, more than sixty percent think it’s wrong to build the mosque. So, the tension does not seem to be coming from people who dispute whether Muslims have a right to religious freedom or not–unless you consider this gubernatorial candidate.

 

Unless you consider the people protesting the building of one on Staten Island. Unless you consider the people protesting the building of one in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Unless you consider the people protesting the construction of one in Sheboygan County in Wisconsin. Unless you consider the people protesting the building of one in Temecula, California. Unless you consider the people detailed in Stephen Salisbury’s article "Extremism at Ground Zero (Again)".

 

Contrary to politicians and pundits, this is about the right to religious freedom. From coast to coast Americans do not want Muslims to have private property rights because they have Islamophobia that there is no way of knowing how the mosque will be funded, who will be praying and worshipping at the mosque and what activities/agenda the mosque might support. The only way to alleviate that fear is through leadership and speeches to the American public similar to the one Obama delivered Friday night and the one Mayor Bloomberg delievered over a week ago.

 

This was a teaching moment, an opportunity to stay firm and not back down, a chance to comment on the specific project itself and in doing so defend other projects around the country that have been targeted by Islamophobia in recent years. It would not have been difficult to comment on the "wisdom" in a politically savvy way; all President Obama had to do is watch Jon Stewart take on Ground Zero mosque critics last week in a segment that properly ridiculed opposition to the building of the mosque.

 

But, it appears, as with countless issues, Obama has little moral fortitude to stand up for what’s right. He offers empty platitudes until reverberations or echoes drown out his platitudes and then he stops commenting. He then proceeds to engage in obvious wordsmithing to obfuscate his stance and refuses to give further comments on the problem or issue.

 

President Obama should have just remained silent on the mosque; if he wasn’t going to stand up for the mosque project itself, he should have known he would only be empowering FOX News blowhards and frenzied Americans who fear "in 20 years there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.S. to elect the president by themselves" so they can carry out their planned jihad on America.

 

But, given the mostly forgotten fact that he removed two Muslim women at a campaign rally who were going to be sitting behind the podium because his campaign didn’t want women with headscarves to appear with Obama in photographs or on television, we should all not be surprised at Obama’s spinelessness.

Israel’s Campaign to Discredit Attacked Humanitarian Convoy

8:20 am in Uncategorized by Kevin Gosztola

Israeli censorship of activists and journalists coupled with what Israeli authorities consider the official story has successfully pushed media organizations in the U.S. and other countries to frame the story in a way exclusively beneficial to Israel. The official story usually includes the story of the Free Gaza Movement at the bottom and frames the attack as a public relations nightmare for Israel instead of a disproportionate attack on a righteous humanitarian aid initiative.

 

Numerous articles have given Israel the benefit of the doubt and published Israel’s description of the Free Gaza Movement especially the IHH, a Turkish humanitarian relief organization Israel claims has ties to al Qaeda, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups at odds with the country of Israel.

 

FOX News (and other news organizations) published reports on the raid leading with the perspective of the Israeli prime minister who said he gave "full backing to military in deadly raid against aid flotilla sailing to Gaza" and Israel’s Deputy UN Ambassador Daniel Carmon who said, "What kind of peace activists use knives, clubs and fire from weapons stolen from soldiers to attack soldiers who board a ship in accordance with international law?"

 

Carmon’s suggestion that Israel’s attack followed international law is very disputable, and the idea that peace activists caught ambushing Israeli commandos severely off guard seems patently absurd. Yet, Fox News provides little additional context to this notion expecting people to believe Israeli forces that landed on board the ship were somewhat impotent and incapable of taking on peace activists despite the fact that they may have received military combat training none of the activists have had.

 

Fox News specifically repeated Carmon’s claim that the activists were with a group with a "radical anti-Western’ orientation that supports terrorist organizations like Hamas and al Qaeda" (in fact, al Qaeda was in the Fox News headline).

 

CNN reported this as well and named the IHH Humanitarian Relief Association claiming the IHH has ties to terrorism and is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. But, there was zero context to this assertion; no explanation of how this piece of information is known except for the fact that Israel is claiming this link exists.

 

The Washington Postpublished a story on June 1st, a day after news of the incident, titled, "Israel says Free Gaza Movement poses threat to Jewish state; Aid flotilla was run by member charity with alleged ties to Islamists." Of IHH, the article reported, "Israel has been concerned about the participation of IHH, or Humanitarian Relief Fund, a large Turkish charity that raises some of its money from Islamic religious groups." But, despite the fact that the focus is the threat the Free Gaza Movement poses to Israel, there is little hard evidence published in this article to prove that the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, or al Qaeda has been using this charity that had members on board the flotilla to effectively carry out terrorism against Israel.

 

Another story published by the Telegraph in the UK titled, "Gaza Flotilla: The Free Gaza Movement and the IHH," repeats the Israeli official story and also cites an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment, who claims the organization has had ties to Hamas for a long time. Unfortunately, Hamas was democratically elected in 2005 and has controlled Palestine since. They have made several attempts to sustain truces with Israel. They are guilty of acts of state-sponsored terrorism but so is Israel.

 

The Jerusalem Post published a story, "What is the IHH?" explaining that the charity "may be linked to jihadist groups." It The story listed the Israeli NGO, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, as a source for its claim that the IHH is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Union for the Good. The Jerusalem Post, however, does not explain that the center is "dedicated to the memory of members of Israel’s intelligence community who fell in the line of duty" and puts out weekly disinformation reports on Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Hizbullah, and Iran and has close ties to Israel’s military leadership and maintains an office at the Defense Ministry.

 

A published article by Reuters on IHH, "Factbox: Turkish charity group behind Gaza-bound convoy," lists no details suggesting the humanitarian relief organization has terror ties.

  

Finally, BBC News‘ article,"Q&A: Israeli raid on aid flotilla," describes the Free Gaza Movement as:

A group called Free Gaza, an umbrella organisation of activist groups from numerous countries, and a Turkish group called the IHH (Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief). The Israeli government says the IHH is closely linked to Hamas, and is a member of another organisation, the Union of the Good, which supports suicide bombings. However, the Turkish government regards the IHH as a legitimate charity, and urged Israel to let the flotilla through.

 

The link to Hamas and the suicide bombing-supporting organization Union of the Good are only listed because the Israeli government has said so. This has to be just another tidbit from Israel’s propagandistic storyline being spread to make people around the world believe the humanitarian convoy aimed to attack or delegitimize Israel.

 

If one conducts a LexisNexis searches for articles published before May 31, 2010 that contain the words "Free Gaza," zero results appear in connection to the Freedom Flotilla. Even though the Free Gaza Movement publicized its intentions and what countries/organizations were participating, there were no alerts put out by any news organizations that this humanitarian aid initiative had terror ties to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood or al Qaeda, which one can reasonably presume means no one following this movement considered them to be a threat.

 

Prior to the raid, the Jerusalem Post reported that the Navy was preparing to block the fleet of 9 ships and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were awaiting orders from the prime minister. Also, according to YNet, Israel also was preparing a media blitz similar to what the world is witnessing now:

Israel is also preparing for the media blitz certain to follow the flotilla, which many believe will harm the state’s already floundering reputation. Foreign Ministry, IDF, and PR spokespersons are preparing interviews for global news agencies in order to explain Israel’s position, mainly that the flotilla serves the terror organization ruling Gaza and not its residents.

 

Public relations officials said Israel is also attempting to expose the true face of the organization behind the flotilla, and the fact that there is no humanitarian crisis in the Strip.

 

"This is a media-related provocation, and we have made it clear to the organizers that Israel is prepared to convey the supplies to Gaza itself following a security check," a Jerusalem official said.

James Marc Leas dissects Israel’s disinformation campaign against the Freedom Flotilla.

The Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center, with close ties to the Israeli military and an office in the Defense Ministry, is the source of much of the talking points on the Free Gaza Movement’s so-called ties to terrorism. Here is the Center’s complete list.

These talking points are what is being repeated. Their aim is to make the people of the world forget that Israel took this action against the Freedom Flotilla with the intention of deterring future attempts to deliver humanitarian aid to the starving civilians suffering under an Israeli blockade in Gaza.