Pamela Geller Spreads Loon Hoax: “Nigerian Muslims Crucify Cat Over Muhammad Film”

Pamela Geller, premiere anti-Muslim loon hoax perpetrator loves creating fictional stories and passing them off as real news. She has a particular penchant for fabricating stories about Nigerian Muslims, in her racist eyes all Africans look the same.

Recall her attempt to frame the Congo gas tanker explosion over a year ago in which hundreds of Congolese were incinerated as an instance of Nigerian Muslim on Christian violence. Anything goes for Geller if it dehumanizes Muslims, the more so to incite her followers towards her Ayn Rand inspired view of Muslims as “savages.”

In her recent lie against Nigerian Muslims she claims they crucified a cat in protest of the anti-Muslim movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” (h/t: Robert4 & Paul)

Nigerian Muslims Crucify A Cat on the Cross to Protest Freedom of Speech

September, 17, 2012

An anti-freedom, anti-life, culture produces little else other than new and different ways to kill, murder torture, destroy. That is their contribution to humanity — anti-humanity.

“Muslim Youths In Nigeria Crucify A Cat On The Cross To Protest Anti-Islam Film” Nigeria News

Geller is frolicking in hate land again, her post has been picked up in the Islamophobia echo chamber with JihadWatchIsrael ForumExposing Liberal Lies and thousands of others reproducing her blogpost. The above picture originated in Ghana not Nigeria, and surfaced nearly a year ago, reported by Ghanaweb.com in the article “Society for animal protection decries crucifixion of cat” and on the Cat Defender blog,

October 22, 2011

There are numerous reasons to be thankful to the Internet but the use of it as a forum in order for cat-haters to showcase the end products of their unspeakable cruelty and moral depravity is not one of them. The recent posting on Facebook of a photograph of a bound, black and white cat that was crucified by Ghanaian youths is a good case in point. (See photo above.)

Whereas the fate of big cats, elephants, primates, and other endangered and abused animals justifiably garners widespread attention from conservationists around the world, little attention is paid as to how companion and farm animals are treated on the “Dark Continent.” It therefore is difficult to gauge from afar whether the shocking manner in which this particular cat was abused is indicative of how most cats in Ghana are treated or whether this is merely as isolated case of moral degenerates seeking worldwide acclaim.

The photograph was posted online by someone who calls himself Kwabina Daniels, a.k.a. Popkon Sika-one. He possibly could be one of the youths shown in the photo but even that has been called into question by the Ghana Society for the Protection and Care of Animals’ (GSPCA) plea for the public’s assistance in identifying those pictured.

“To Facebookers and friends of the supposed perpetrator of this cruel act, it was fun and perhaps the most award-winning picture,” David Nyoagbe and Amasaba Adul-Yakeen Aluizah of the GSPCA said in a joint statement released to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on October 5th. (See “Society for Animal Protection Decries Crucifixion of a Cat.”) ”It took friends of animals all over the world who begun (sic) criticizing this dastardly act for the picture on (the) Facebook page to be taken off.”

To its credit, the GSPCA promptly condemned the killing and even went so far as to add that cats should be fed regularly, provided with veterinary care and sufficient space in which to exercise, and not be subjected to either threats or molestation. Beyond that, however, its position is a good deal more ambiguous.

The GSPCA concluded by accusing the youths of insulting Christianity. “If this is not blasphemy, then what is?” it plaintively asked in the GNA article cited supra.

For whatever it is worth, the CIA World Factbook claims that nearly sixty-eight per cent of Ghanaians profess to the Christians as opposed to only sixteen per cent who claim to be Muslims.

There is no evidence that these youth who crucified the cat were Muslims. Considering that Ghana is a predominantly Christian nation a more reasonable assumption would be that the perpetrators of this crime are Christian–such an assumption based on no evidence would however still be wrong.

It’s beyond disgraceful that Geller would use such a crime to dehumanize Muslims–it’s despicable. Such actions are par for the course with the anti-Muslim movement that seeks above everything to obsessively subjugate Muslims and crush/erase their religion from the face of the earth.

Anti-Islam Filmmaker Becomes a Martyr to the Right

(h/t: CriticalDragon)

Anti-Islam Filmmaker Becomes a Martyr to the Right

by Adam Serwer (Mother Jones)

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the Egyptian-born Coptic Christian who appears to be behind the amateurish anti-Islam film that sparked violent protests at Western embassies in Arab and Muslim countries around the world last week, doesn’t exactly have a family-friendly background. His criminal record includes financial fraud and drug convictions. But spurred on by conservative web king Matt Drudge, conservatives have turned Nakoula into a martyr for free speech.

As Roy Edroso documents in the Village Voice, conservatives are now claiming that Nakoula’s recent arrest for potentially violating the terms of his probation is proof the Obama administration is caving to violent protests around the world. Popular conservative blogger Glenn Reynolds demanded Obama resign for “sending — literally — brownshirted enforcers to engage in — literally — a midnight knock at the door of a man for the non-crime of embarrassing the President of the United States and his administration[.]” The “brownshirts” are the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, whom Reynolds is comparing to militia of the Nazi Party in Germany. Powerline blogger Scott Johnson declared ”I am Nakoula Basseley Nakoula,” (a reference to the anti-Red Scare film Spartacus). Pajamas Media blogger Roger Simon wrote ”Hillary Clinton, I insist that you have me arrested. I am thinking of making a movie about Mohammed.”

Speakers at the annual Values Voters gathering of mostly Christian religious conservatives on Saturday were drawing similar conclusions. “The big headline this morning is ‘federal authorities investigate Christian filmmaker because of this film,” Fox News commentator Todd Starnes told attendees during a panel on religious freedom. “Where are the federal investigations into shows like South Park which has denigrated all faiths?” During another Values Voters panel, titled “Islam 101,” the Christian Broadcast Networks’ Eric Stalkelbeck warned that “things continue the way they’re going with the infringement on free speech, this panel we’re having today, you might not have it in a few years. We might get lead out in cuffs.”

The common claim here is that criticism of Islam is somehow becoming illegal. But very few of Nakoula’s conservative fans note that he is being investigated not because he made a film critical of Islam but rather because his production of the movie under the pseudonym “Sam Bacile” may have violated the terms of his probation. After being convicted of bank fraud in 2010, Nakoula was “banned from using computers or the Internet or using false identities as part of his sentence.” Starnes and Stalkelbeck conventiently omitted this fact from their jeremiads about persecution of Christians. Reynolds mentions it in passing and dismisses it as pretext. Johnson and Simon don’t mention it at all.

The irony here is that Americans can and do say just about anything they want about Muslims. Broad, simplistic criticisms of Muslims, while usually more sophisticated than Nakoula’s film, are actually pretty frequent in American society (seeNewsweek‘s latest cover). Some Muslims, by contrast, do face restrictions on their free speech: Those who express extremist ideaswithout engaging in violence may find themselves subject to prosecution for materially supporting terrorism. You don’t often see conservatives complaining about that.

Some of the Obama administration’s decisions do raise free-speech concerns, however. Thegovernment’s inquiry to YouTube about whether the video violated the site’s terms of service was potentially coercive. So was the call that Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made to a fringe Florida pastor to urge him to stop supporting the film. It’s also fair to ask whether or not Nakoula’s probation terms could be used as pretext to punish him indirectly, and to note that Nakoula is not responsible for the actions of those who have reacted to the video’s content with violence.

Those are all fair points. What’s not fair is to claim Nakoula was arrested for criticizing Islam without noting that he very well might have violated the terms of his probation. It’s possible that the Obama administration is influencing the LA County Sheriff’s Department in order to restrict Nakoula’s freedom of speech. The burden of proof for that claim lies with the people making it, and thus far conservatives haven’t offered much more than rage-filled speculation.

But conservatives who already believe the Obama administration is persecuting Christians and kowtowing to Islamists don’t need to see proof to know that Nakoula is a free-speech martyr. ”In this assault on religious freedom in this country, is Christianity being singled out?” Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Center, asked Starnes’ panel at Values Voters on Saturday. The audience laughed knowingly. “That was kind of a softball question” Perkins acknowledged. “That was so easy the audience could answer it.”

Newsweek Publishes Islamophobic ‘Muslim Rage’ Cover In Response To Embassy Attacks

The impeccably loony self-styled scholar and hateful fraud Ayaan Hirsi Ali is at it again with another incendiary Newsweek article.:

Newsweek Publishes Islamophobic ‘Muslim Rage’ Cover In Response To Embassy Attacks

by Ben Armbruster (Think Progress)

Anti-Islam rhetoric in the United States has heated up this week in the wake of the violent protests in the Middle East. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough joined in the backlash this morning, saying the entire Muslim world hates the United States “because of their religion.”

Newsweek picked up on this theme, today releasing its new cover story by with the headline “MUSLIM RAGE” and a photo of angry Muslims:

Somali-born Dutch AEI scholar Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the cover story’s author. In the article, Hirsi Ali claims that extremist Muslims “are not a fringe group“:

The Muslim men and women (and yes, there are plenty of women) who support — whether actively or passively — the idea that blasphemers deserve to suffer punishment are not a fringe group. On the contrary, they represent the mainstream of contemporary Islam.

In a speech back in May, Hirsi Ali expressed sympathy for one of the justifications for Norwegian anti-Muslim terrorist Anders Breivik‘s attacks, explaining that Breivik said “he had no other choice but to use violence” because his fringe views were “censored.” Breivik was convicted of mass murder last month, which he admitted to perpetuating in order to save Europe from a “Muslim takeover.”

As this blog has previously noted, in a 2007 interview with Reason Magazine, Hirsi Ali called for Islam to be “defeated.” The interviewer asked: “Don’t you mean defeating radical Islam?” Hirsi Ali replied bluntly: “No. Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace.”

UPDATE

Newsweek responds: “This weeks Newsweek cover accurately depicts the events of the past week as violent protests have erupted in the Middle East (including Morocco where the cover image was taken).”

UPDATE

Hirsi Ali has also previously said that “Islam is a cult,” “there is no moderate Islam,” and that “we are at war with Islam.”

EDL to screen anti-Islam film in East London

EDL to screen anti-Islam film in East London

by Sunny Hundal

The English Defence League are planning to screen the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ film trailer in East London next month.

EDL head Tommy Robinson said on Twitter today that it would be screened on October 27th, in Walthamstow.

Given how awful the film is, it is more likely to bore the hell out of its audience than anything else.

Anti-racist group Hope Not Hate’s Nick Lowles says that if the screening goes ahead then “he should immediately be prosecuted for incitement”.

The Labour MP for Walthamstow Stella Creasy tweeted in response:

antics of EDL designed to cause distress -urge all to remain calm whilst investigate & not let them slur Walthamstow as place of tension.

I don’t agree that screening the film should be cause for prosecution in itself. Under that logic, Liberal Conspiracy would also be liable as we also published the trailer.

However, the screening does give an enterprising group of British Muslims an opportunity for a good stunt to show their contempt for the EDL, without falling for his attempt at trolling.

Kamal Saleem tells Values Voter Summit that Clinton plans to ‘Shut Down’ Churches, College Professors work with Terrorists

Kamal Saleem has his scared face on

It seems ex-terrorist fraud Kamal Saleem is up to his old over-the-top lying tricks again. (h/t: Critical Dragon)

Kamal Saleem tells Values Voter Summit that Clinton plans to ‘Shut Down’ Churches, College Professors work with Terrorists

Submitted by Brian Tashman on Fri, 09/14/2012 – 6:00pm (Right-Wing Watch)

We have been covering the absurdbizarre and paranoid rantings of phony ex-terrorist Kamal Saleem as he emerged on the Religious Right scene, and today he had his biggest platform yet at the Values Voter Summit, where he was preceded by Ohio congressman Jim Jordan and a video message by Mitt Romney. Saleem told conference goers his made-up story about his time as a terrorist working for Lebanon, Syria, the PLO, Libya, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and even Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, until he moved to the U.S. to wage “cultural jihad.” He claimed he and his fellow terrorists “met the professors” at American universities and colleges, which “were our playgrounds,” in order to help “the professors to establish new curriculum purposefully” to brainwash students to change “your children to hit your nation with everything they’ve got.”

Later, Saleem said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is working with Islamic countries to eviscerate the Constitution and ”subjugate American people to be arrested and put to jail and their churches and synagogues shut down,” which he says will happen early next year!

 

Canada: “Walk Your Dog In Front of the Mosque Protest” a Miserable Failure

An update to a previous feature we wrote about anti-Muslim groups organizing a” Canada: Walk Your Dog in Front of the Mosque Day” protest, it has turned out to be a miserable failure. Only 20 demonstrators showed up with about three dogs. They were greeted by a few Muslims who brought their own dogs, as well as other Muslims who engaged them in conversation.

The biased anti-Muslim news network the Toronto Sun reports that,

 A much anticipated dog walk protest outside an east-Toronto mosque Friday turned out to be a hopelessly neutered event.

Around 20 demonstrators turned up outside the Salahuddin Islamic Centre for the Walk Your Dog in Front of a Mosque protest.

Around 20 humans and three dogs – two retrievers and a pomeranian — turned up for the two and a half hour event and converged at the entrance of the mosque, located on Kennedy Rd. south of Eglinton Ave. E.

Hindu nationalist and promoter of anti-Muslim violence Ron Banarjee blamed the low turn out on the “weather and traffic,”

“We wish we had a better turnout, but there were extenuating circumstances,” said organizer Ron Banerjee, citing traffic and rain for the poor attendance.

It seems some of the protesters are still under the impression that only Westerners are kind to animals and tolerant of other people,

One Catholic demonstrator turned up with his pomeranian.

“Being kind to animals and being tolerant of other people shouldn’t be limited to the West,” he said.

Muslims at the mosque were of course bewildered by the protest, saying they don’t see the point, except to cause “friction” between communities,

A group of Muslims belonging to the mosque — men dressed in long thobes and women in burkas – met the demonstrators.

Tabasum Hussain, a Muslim woman, called it pointless.

“I don’t really see the benefit or what it’s supposed to achieve, other than cause friction,” said Hussain, who claims to have had dogs as pets. “There is nothing in Islam to say that we should ill-treat dogs.”

Towards the end, one Muslim arrived with two friendly Siberian Huskies. All the while, both sides bickered about religious and cultural differences, at several points reverting to name calling.

Funny how the Toronto Sun tries to equivocate and say both of these groups are equally at fault. They do point out that there was a rabid anti-Muslim at the event though they characterize Eric Brazou as “anti-Islamist,” I don’t think he makes a distinction,

The event also attracted its share of rabid anti-Islamists. Eric Brazau, a convicted felon once arrested for allegedly harassing a group of Muslim women, turned up to make “a stand.”
“If we look at what is happening around the world today … how is it that we can say that there is no problem with Islam?” he said, referring to recent attacks on U.S. embassies in countries such as Libya and Sudan.

See video of the protest, you can see two Muslims with their dogs as well (h/t: ArabFury):

Inside the strange Hollywood scam that spread chaos across the Middle East

The Guardian has confirmed that the filmmakers are closely affiliated with Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. (h/t: Jai)

Inside the strange Hollywood scam that spread chaos across the Middle East

by Max Blumenthal (The Guardian)

Did an inflammatory anti-Muslim film trailer that appeared spontaneously on YouTube prompt the attack that left four US diplomats dead, including US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens? American officials have suggested that the assault was pre-planned, allegedly by of one of the Jihadist groups that emerged since the Nato-led overthrow of Libya’s Gaddafi regime. So even though the deadly scene in Benghazi may not have resulted directly from the angry reaction to the Islamophobic video, the violence has helped realize the apocalyptic visions of the film’s backers.

Produced and promoted by a strange collection of rightwing Christian evangelicals and exiled Egyptian Copts, the trailer was created with the intention of both destabilizing post-Mubarak Egypt and roiling the US presidential election. As a consultant for the film named Steve Klein said: “We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen.”

The Associated Press’s initial report on the trailer – an amateurish, practically unwatchable production called The Innocence of Muslims – identified a mysterious character, “Sam Bacile”, as its producer. Bacile told the Associated Press that he was a Jewish Israeli real estate developer living in California. He said that he raised $5m for the production of the film from “100 Jewish donors”, an unusual claim echoing Protocols of the Elders of Zion-style fantasies. Unfortunately, the extensive history of Israeli and ultra-Zionist funding and promotion of Islamophobic propaganda in the United States provided Bacile’s remarkable statement with the ring of truth.

Who was Bacile? The Israeli government could not confirm his citizenship, and for a full day, no journalist was able to determine whether he existed or not. After being duped by Bacile, AP traced his address to the home of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a militant Coptic separatist and felon convicted of check fraud. On September 13, US law enforcement officials confirmed that “Sam Bacile” was an alias Nakoula used to advance his various scams, which apparently included the production of The Innocence of Muslims.

According to an actor in the film, the all-volunteer cast was deceived into believing they were acting in a benign biblical epic about “how things were 2,000 years ago”. The script was titled Desert Warrior, and its contents made no mention of Muhammad – his name was dubbed into the film during post-production. On the set, a gray-haired Egyptian man who identified himself only as “Sam” (Nakoula) chatted aimlessly in Arabic with a group of friends while posing as the director. A casting notice for Desert Warrior listed the film’s real director as “Alan Roberts”. This could likewise be a pseudonym, although there is a veteran Hollywood hand responsible for such masterpieces as The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood and The Sexpert who goes by the same name.

Before Nakoula was unmasked, the only person to publicly claim any role in the film was Klein, an insurance salesman and Vietnam veteran from Hemet, California, who emerged from the same Islamophobic movement that produced the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik. Styling themselves as “counter-Jihadists”, anti-Muslim crusaders like Klein took their cues from top propagandists like Pamela Geller, the blogger who once suggested that Barack Obama was the lovechild of Malcolm X, and Robert Spencer, a pseudo-academic expert on Muslim radicalization who claimed that Islam was no more than “a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers”. Both Geller and Spencer were labeled hate group leaders by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Klein is an enthusiastic commenter on Geller’s website, Atlas Shrugged, where he recently complained about Mitt Romney’s “support for a Muslim state in Israel’s heartland”. In July 2011, Spencer’s website, Jihad Watch, promoted a rally Klein organized to demand the firing of Los Angeles County sheriff Lee Baca, whom he painted as a dupe for the Muslim Brotherhood.

On his personal Facebook page, Altar or Abolish, Klein obsesses over the Muslim Brotherhood, describing the organization as “a global network of Muslims attacking to convert the world’s 6 billion people to Islam or kill them”. Klein urges a violent response to the perceived threat of Islam in the United States, posting an image to his website depicting a middle-American family with a mock tank turret strapped to the roof of their car. “Can you direct us to the nearest mosque?” read a caption Klein added to the photo.

In 2011, during his campaign to oust Sheriff Baca, Klein forged an alliance with Joseph Nasrallah, an extremist Coptic broadcaster who shared his fear and resentment of the Muslim Brotherhood. Nasrallah appeared from out of nowhere at a boisterous rally against the construction of an Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan on September 11, 2010, warning a few hundred riled-up Tea Party types that Muslims “came and conquered our country the same way they want to conquer America”.

Organized by Geller and Spencer, the rally was carefully timed to coincide with the peak of the midterm congressional election campaign, in which many rightwing Republicans hoped to leverage rising anti-Muslim sentiment into resentment against the presidency of Obama.

Through his friendship with Nasrallah, Klein encountered another radical Coptic separatist named Morris Sadek. Sadek has been banned from returning to his Egypt, where he is widely hated for his outrageous anti-Muslim displays. On the day of the Ground Zero rally, for instance, Sadek was seen parading around the streets of Washington, DC, on September 11, 2010, with a crucifix in one hand and a Bible implanted with the American flag in the other. “Islam is evil!” he shouted. “Islam is a cult religion!”

With another US election approaching, and the Egyptian government suddenly under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood, Klein and Sadek joined Nakoula in preparing what would be their greatest propaganda stunt to date: the Innocence of Muslims. As soon as the film appeared on YouTube, Sadek promoted it on his website, transforming the obscure clip into a viral source of outrage in the Middle East. And like clockwork, on September 11, crowds of Muslim protesters stormed the walls of the US embassy in Cairo, demanding retribution for the insult to the prophet Muhammad. The demonstrations ricocheted into Libya, where the deadly attack that may have been only peripherally related to the film occurred.

For Sadek, the chaos was an encouraging development. He and his allies had been steadfastly opposed to the Egyptian revolution, fearing that it would usher in the Muslim Brotherhood as the country’s new leaders. Now that their worst fears were realized, Coptic extremists and other pro-Mubarak dead-enders were resorting to subterfuge to undermine the ruling party, while pointing to the destabilizing impact of their efforts as proof of the government’s bankruptcy. As Sadek said,“the violence that [the film] caused in Egypt is further evidence of how violent the religion and people”.

For far-right Christian right activists like Klein, the attacks on American interests abroad seemed likely to advance their ambitions back in the US. With Americans confronted with shocking images of violent Muslims in Egypt and Libya on the evening news, their already negative attitudes toward their Muslim neighbors were likely to harden. In turn, the presidential candidates, Obama and Romney, would be forced to compete for who could take the hardest line against Islamic “terror”.

A patrician moderate constantly on the defensive against his own right flank, Romney fell for the bait, baselessly accusing Obama of “sympathiz[ing] with those who waged the attacks” and of issuing “an apology for America’s values”. The clumsy broadside backfired in dramatic fashion, opening Romney to strident criticism from across the spectrum, including from embarrassed Republican members of Congress. Obama wasted no time in authorizing a round of drone strikes on targets across Libya, which are likely to deepen regional hostility to the US.

A group of fringe extremists had proven that with a little bit of money and an unbelievably cynical scam, they could shape history to fit their apocalyptic vision. But in the end, they were not immune to the violence they incited.

According to Copts Today, an Arabic news outlet focusing on Coptic affairs, Sadek was seen taking a leisurely stroll down Washington’s M Street on September 11, soaking in the sun on a perfect autumn day. All of a sudden, he found himself surrounded by four angry Coptic women. Berating Sadek for fueling the flames of sectarian violence, the women took off their heels and began beating him over the head.

“If anything happens to a Christian in Egypt,” one of them shouted at him, “you’ll be the reason!”

The tragic consulate killings in Libya and America’s hierarchy of human life

 

(h/t: Saladin aka Big Boss)

The tragic consulate killings in Libya and America’s hierarchy of human life

by Glenn Greenwald (Guardian UK)

Protesters attacked the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Tuesday night and killed four Americans, including the US ambassador, Chris Stevens. The attacks were triggered by rage over an amateurish and deeply hateful film about Islam that depicted the Prophet Muhammad as, among other things, a child molester advocate, a bloodthirsty goon, a bumbling idiot, and a promiscuous, philandering leech. A 13-minute trailer was uploaded to YouTube and then quickly circulated in the Muslim world, sparking widespread anger (the US embassy in Cairo was also attacked).

The anti-Islam film was written, directed and produced by an Israeli real estate developer living in California, Sam Bacile. He claimed, in an interview with Haaretz, that the film “cost $5m to make and was financed with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors”. Its purpose, as described by the Israeli newspaper, was to show that “Islam is a cancer” and to provide a “provocative political statement condemning the religion”. It’s hard to believe that the film – which is barely at the level of a poorly rehearsed high-school play – required $5m to make, but the intent seems clear: to provoke Muslims into exactly the sort of violent rage that we are now witnessing.

Events like this one are difficult to write about when they first happen because the raw emotion they produce often makes rational discussion impossible. A script quickly emerges from which All Decent People must recite, and any deviations are quickly detected and denounced. But given the magnitude of this event and the important points it raises, it is nonetheless worthwhile to examine it:

1) The deaths of Ambassador Stevens, a former Peace Corps volunteer and a dedicated Arabic-speaking career diplomat, and the other three American staff, are both a tragedy and a senseless outrage. Indiscriminately murdering people over a film, no matter how offensive it is, is an unmitigated wrong. The blame lies fully and completely with those who committed these murders.

2) Sam Bacile and his cowardly anonymous donors are repellent cretins for producing this bottom-feeding, bigoted, hateful “film” that has no apparent purpose but to spread anti-Islamic hatred and provoke violent reactions. But just as was true of the Qur’an burnings by Pastor Terry Jones (who, unsurprisingly, has a prominent role in promoting this film), or the Danish Muhammad cartoons before that, it is – and it should be – an absolute, unfettered free speech right to produce films no matter how offensive their content might be.

The US has steadily eroded free speech rights in the name of fighting terrorism by criminalizing pure political speech it deems dangerous and prosecuting Muslims who express those prohibited ideas. Attempts to constrain the rights of individuals to produce anti-Muslim films like the trash produced by Bacile and friends are just as dangerous and wrong as all other efforts to constrain free speech. Free speech is a vital liberty – arguably, the central one – and what it means, at its core, is that the right to express even the most repellent and inflammatory ideas is just as inviolable as the right to express inoffensive or conventional ones.

3) It is hard not to notice, and be disturbed by, the vastly different reactions whenever innocent Americans are killed, as opposed to when Americans are doing the killing of innocents. All the rage and denunciations of these murders in Benghazi are fully justified, but one wishes that even a fraction of that rage would be expressed when the US kills innocent men, women and children in the Muslim world, as it frequently does. Typically, though, those deaths are ignored, or at best justified with amoral bureaucratic phrases (“collateral damage”) or self-justifying cliches (“war is hell”), which Americans have been trained to recite.

It is understandable that the senseless killing of an ambassador is bigger news than the senseless killing of an unknown, obscure Yemeni or Pakistani child. But it’s anything but understandable to regard the former as more tragic than the latter. Yet there’s no denying that the same people today most vocally condemning the Benghazi killings are quick and eager to find justification when the killing of innocents is done by their government, rather than aimed at it.

It’s as though there are two types of crimes: killing, and then the killing of Americans. The way in which that latter phrase is so often invoked, with such intensity, emotion and scorn, reveals that it is viewed as the supreme crime: this is not just the tragic deaths of individuals, but a blow against the Empire; it therefore sparks particular offense. It is redolent of those in conquered lands being told they will be severely punished because they have raised their hand against a citizen of Rome.

Just compare the way in which the deaths of Americans on 9/11, even more than a decade later, are commemorated with borderline religious solemnity, as opposed to the deaths of the hundreds of thousands of foreign Muslims caused by the US, which are barely ever acknowledged. There is a clear hierarchy of human life being constantly reinforced by this mentality, and it is deeply consequential.

This is a vital process for enabling and justifying endless aggression. It is a way of dehumanizing those who are killed by the US while venerating American lives above all others. As the media watchdog group Media Lens put it today:

“A crucial task is to perceive how our compassion is channeled towards some and away from others. It’s the foundation of all mass violence.”

The death of Ambassador Stevens and the three Americans who died with him is as tragic as the constant killing of innocent people by the US, but not more so.

4) The two political parties in the US wasted no time in displaying their vulgar attributes by rushing to squeeze these events for political gain. Democratic partisans immediately announced that “exploiting US deaths” – by which they mean criticizing President Obama – “is ugly, unwise”.

That standard is as ludicrous as it is hypocritical. Democrats routinely “exploited US deaths” – in Iraq, Afghanistan, and from 9/11 – in order to attack President Bush and the Republican party, and they were perfectly within their rights to do so. When bad things happen involving US foreign policy, it is perfectly legitimate to speak out against the president and to identify his actions or inaction that one believes are to blame for those outcomes. These are political events, and they are inherently and necessarily “politicized”.

It’s one thing to object to specific criticisms of Obama here as illegitimate and ugly, as some of those criticisms undoubtedly were (see below). But trying to impose some sort of general prohibition on criticizing Obama – on the ground that Americans have died and this is a crisis – smacks of the worst debate-suppressing tactics of the GOP circa 2003. (To his credit, one of the Democrats making those claims today subsequently acknowledged his error and wrote: “Obviously there’s nothing wrong with criticizing the president, even during a crisis.”)

But in this case, what the GOP and Mitt Romney did is substantially worse. As the attacks unfolded, Romney quickly issued a statement, based on the response of the US embassy in Egypt, accusing Obama of “sympathiz[ing] with those who waged the attacks” (the Obama White House repudiated the statement from the embassy in Cairo). The chairman of the GOP, Reince Preibus, unloaded on the world this disgusting tweet: “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic”.

These accusations were all pure fiction and self-evidently ugly; they prompted incredulous condemnations even from media figures who pride themselves on their own neutrality.

But this is the story of the GOP. Faced with a president whose record is inept and horrible in many key respects, they somehow find a way to be even more inept and horrible themselves. Here, they had a real political opportunity to attack Obama – if US diplomats are killed and embassies stormed, it makes the president appear weak and ineffectual – but they are so drowning in their own blinding extremism and hate-driven bile, so wedded to their tired and moronic political attacks (unpatriotic Democrats love America’s Muslim enemies!), that they cannot avoid instantly self-destructing. Within a matter of hours, they managed to turn a politically dangerous situation for Obama into yet more evidence of their unhinged, undisciplined radicalism.

5) Drawing conclusions about Libya, and the US intervention there, from this situation would be unfair and far too premature. This does, however, highlight the rampant violence, lawlessness, militia thuggery, and general instability that has plagued that country since Gadaffi’s removal from power. Moreover, given all the questions, largely ignored, about who it was exactly whom the US was arming and empowering in that country during the intervention, and what the unexpected consequences of doing that might be, it is vital to know how the attackers came into possession of rocket-propelled grenades and other heavy weaponry.

This event also serves as a crucial reminder, yet again, that merely removing a heinous dictator is not proof that the intervention was successful, just or worthwhile. To assess that question, one must know what will follow in that country, for its people, once the intervening powers have removed the government. Declarations of victory and vindication over the intervention in Libya have always been premature, self-serving and baseless – precisely because that crucial fact is yet unknown. We can only hope that Tuesday’s events do not presage a depressing answer to that question.

In sum, one should by all means condemn and mourn the tragic deaths of these Americans in Benghazi. But the deaths would not be in vain if they caused us to pause and reflect much more than we normally do on the impact of the deaths of innocents which America itself routinely causes.

UPDATE: There are two developments in this story which, though they do not affect any of the observations I made, should be noted as they are at odds with some of the earlier reports: (1) although the Haaretz report was (and remains) quite definitive that the filmmaker is an Israeli named Sam Bacile, doubts have now been raised about the identity of the actual filmmaker, and (2) an anonymous US official claims that the attack was preplanned to coincide with 9/11, and the attackers exploited the protests over the film as a diversion. Neither of those claims is proven.

White Plains: Protesters denounce Geller’s ads as Islamophobic

White Plains MTA Protest
Photo credit: Angela Gaul | Frank Brodhead of Hastings and French Conway of Dobbs Ferry hold up signs calling for an end to Islamophobia during a rally and press conference in downtown White Plains. (Sept. 6, 2012)

It’s nice to be reminded of the many people of good will, who recognize a hate campaign for what it is and stand up for the rights of all their fellow citizens, including Muslims.

Protesters denounce Metro North ads as Islamophobic, call on MTA to rethink campaign

lohud.com, Journal News

WHITE PLAINS — As supporters held up signs protesting Islamophobia, a coalition of community leaders and residents gathered downtown Thursday to denounce anti-Muslim advertisements posted at Metro-North stations throughout Westchester County.

The coalition revealed its plan to counter the anti-Islamic campaign, calling on Metro-North to distance itself from the advertisement and donate revenue earned from its publication to an organization that combats extremism.

Paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative — a group led by Pamela Geller — the ads associate the religion of Islam with 19,250 terrorist attacks carried out by extremists since Sept 11, 2001. Printed in large block lettering on a dark background, an asterisk denotes that number is rising, and a slogan below reads: “It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”

“The bigotry and hate this ad directs at Muslims and Islam is totally unacceptable in Westchester or anywhere else,” said Priscilla Read, a community activist who helped organize the event. “Our purpose is to raise awareness about what this ad represents, and mobilize action in support of our Muslim neighbors.”

Geller told The Journal News the advertisments highlight the reality and magnitude of Islamic jihad and the mainstream media’s cover-up of it.

Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to publicly denounce the signs, suggesting a disclaimer be placed on Metro-North platforms saying the agency does not support the advertisement.

Marjorie Anders, a spokeswoman for Metro-North Railroad, said it does not endorse the viewpoint expressed in the ad but refrains from banning advertising based on its message. Anders added that the railroad relies on advertising to generate revenue. MTA chairman and CEO, Joseph Lhota, has indicated the agency will discuss its policies on political ads later this month.

“When I first saw the word Islamorealism, I thought, ‘Hey, maybe these people actually met some Muslims,’” said Rev. Gawain de Leeuw of St. Bartholomew’s Church in White Plains. “But I know these people. I know they are opportunists who seek to prey on the fears and worries of hard-working Americans. But what they don’t know is that this will not work. Toleration is a part of our American DNA from the very beginning.”

Related Stories:

Pam & Bob: Welcome to the Bay, Where We Don’t Tolerate Hate

Mondoweiss: Another Morphing Muni ad and a Hat Tip to Ayn Rand

TheReligionOfPeace.com: Working to Streamline the American Empire’s “War on Terror”

“Exclusive”: U.S. groups helped fund Dutch anti-Islam politician Wilders

How much of this is really “exclusive?” That the Islamophobia industry has been funding Wilders and his cronies across the Atlantic has been known now for quite some time. It is a good development however that Reuters is picking up on this. (h/t: Wilfredo A. Ruiz)

Also see: NETHERLANDS/USA | Conservative US groups helped fund Dutch far right politician: Reports (h/t: Jai)

Exclusive: U.S. groups helped fund Dutch anti-Islam politician Wilders

By Anthony Deutsch and Mark Hosenball

AMSTERDAM/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Anti-Islam groups in America have provided financial support to Dutch politician Geert Wilders, an anti-immigration campaigner who is seeking re-election to the Dutch parliament this week.

While this is not illegal in the Netherlands, it sheds light on the international connections of Wilders, whose Freedom Party is the least transparent Dutch parliamentary group and a rallying point for Europe’s far right.

Wilders’ party is self-funded, unlike other Dutch parties that are subsidized by the government. It does not, therefore, have to meet the same disclosure requirements.

Groups in America seeking to counter Islamic influence in the West say they funded police protection and paid legal costs for Wilders whose party is polling in fourth place before the Sept 12 election.

Wilders’ ideas – calling for a halt to non-Western immigration and bans on Muslim headscarfs and the construction of mosques – have struck a chord in mainstream politics beyond the Netherlands. France banned clothing that covers the face in April 2011 and Belgium followed suit in July of the same year. Switzerland barred the construction of new minarets following a referendum in 2009.

The Middle East Forum, a pro-Israeli think tank based in Philadelphia, funded Wilders’ legal defense in 2010 and 2011 against Dutch charges of inciting racial hatred, its director Daniel Pipes said.

The Middle East Forum has a stated goal, according to its website, of protecting the “freedom of public speech of anti-Islamist authors, promoting American interests in the Middle East and protecting the constitutional order from Middle Eastern threats”. It sent money directly to Wilders’ lawyer via its Legal Project, Pipes said.

Represented by Dutch criminal lawyer Bram Moscowitz, Wilders successfully defended himself against the charges, which were brought by prosecutors in Amsterdam on behalf of groups representing minorities from Turkey, Morocco and other countries with Muslim populations.

The case heard in October 2010 was filed in response to Wilders’ comments in the Dutch media about Muslims and his film “Fitna”, which interlays images of terrorist attacks with quotations from the Koran and prompted protests by Muslims in Islamic countries worldwide. The court found he had stayed within the limits of free speech.

Pipes declined to say how much his group paid for Wilders’ defense.

Moscowitz declined to discuss payments for Wilders’ defense, citing client confidentiality.

Wilders said in an emailed statement that his legal expenses were paid for with the help of voluntary donations from defenders of freedom of speech.

“I do not answer questions of who they are and what they have paid. This could jeopardize their safety,” Wilders said.

VISITS TO THE UNITED STATES

Wilders, 49, first became a member of the Dutch parliament for the pro-business Liberal Party before winning nine seats for his own Freedom Party in 2006, campaigning against Islam, which he calls a threat to Dutch culture and Western values.

He called Islam a violent political ideology and vowed never to enter a mosque, “not in 100,000 years”. His party won 24 seats in the 150-seat lower house in June 2010.

He has been under 24-hour security for eight years after receiving death threats from radical Muslim groups in the Netherlands and abroad. Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik cited anti-Islamic comments by Wilders in an online manifesto that sought to justify his crimes. Wilders has denounced Breivik and his actions.

David Horowitz, who runs a network of Los Angeles-based conservative groups and a website called FrontPage magazine, said he paid Wilders fees for making two speeches, security costs during student protests and overnight accommodation for his Dutch bodyguards during a 2009 U.S. trip.

Horowitz said he paid Wilders for one speech in Los Angeles and one at Temple University in Philadelphia. He declined to specify the amounts, but said that Wilders had received “a good fee.”

When Wilders’ Philadelphia appearance sparked student protests, Horowitz said, he paid a special security fee of about $1,500 to the Philadelphia police department. Horowitz said he also paid for overnight accommodation for four or five Dutch government bodyguards accompanying Wilders on the trip.

Wilders said in response: “I am frequently asked to speak abroad. Whenever possible I accept these invitations. I never ask for a fee. However, sometimes the travel and accommodation expenses are paid. My personal security is always paid for by the Dutch government.”

Pipes and Horowitz denied funding Wilders’ political activities in Holland. Both run non-profit, tax exempt research and policy organizations which, under U.S. tax laws, are forbidden from giving direct financial backing to any political candidate or party. U.S. law does allow such groups to support policy debates financially.

During Wilders’ visit to Los Angeles, where Horowitz runs an organization called the David Horowitz Freedom Center, Horowitz said he organized an event at which Danish cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed were auctioned. He said he did not remember how much money this event raised or what happened to the proceeds.

Horowitz agreed with the Dutchman’s repeated, public comparison of the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Comparing the two works was a “fair analogy,” Horowitz said. He said Wilders was “fighting the good fight.”

Horowitz said U.S. backers helped Wilders raise money to pay legal fees to fight a ban from visiting Britain in 2009, where he planned to screen Fitna. The British government said at the time: “The Government opposes extremism in all its forms. The decision to refuse Wilders admission was taken on the basis that his presence could have inflamed tensions between our communities and have led to inter-faith violence.”

Wilders won an appeal in the British courts in October 2009 when the ban was overturned.

Wilders has other supporters in the United States, such as Pamela Geller, who runs Stop Islamization of America and has backed Wilders in public statements. Geller remains a supporter. She says she does not provide Wilders with financial assistance.

Wilders has not revealed how his political activities are paid for. Former Freedom Party officials have said he has no personal funds and almost entirely relies on foreign donations.

Like other Dutch political parties, members of parliament for the Freedom Party have been allocated 165,000 euros ($211,200) per year for expenses. Former Freedom Party officials speaking on condition of anonymity said the money, nearly 4 million euros per year, went to the party and has not been accounted for.

Wilders said in his emailed response that former Freedom Party officials making such allegations were bitter and spiteful. “These people have other motives than telling the truth,” he said.

“Our party has a sixty euro annual budget. The rumors about millions of euros in sponsoring are complete nonsense. A Freedom Party-related foundation receives donations from Dutch or foreign sources, but these are modest amounts of money and certainly never millions,” it continued.

The Dutch government turned down requests for additional information about Freedom Party finances.

“I do not possess relevant information or documents” about the Freedom party finances or campaign contributions because the party does not receive subsidies, Dutch Minister for Internal Affairs Liesbeth Spies said in a written response.

(Editing by Janet McBride)