Posted tagged ‘media bias’

Another terror attack in Jerusalem

June 18, 2017

Another terror attack in Jerusalem | Anne’s Opinions, 18th June 2017

Border Police Sgt. Hadas Malka Hy’d, murdered outside the Old City

After a few weeks of deceptive quiet, Palestinian terrorists carried out another terror attack on Friday night at their favourite haunting ground, Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) outside the Old City walls of Jerusalem. The attack was similar to previous attacks, involving both shooting and stabbing in a coordinated attack, and Border Police Sgt. Hadas Malka was murdered in the attack, stabbed to death as she tried to draw her weapon:

The Border Police officer killed in a coordinated stabbing and shooting attack in two areas in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday evening was identified late Friday as Hadas Malka, 23. The three attackers, all of whom were members of Palestinian terrorist groups, were shot dead in the course of the attacks.

Malka was critically injured in a stabbing attack on Sultan Suleiman Street near Damascus Gate on Friday evening. She was transferred to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in Jerusalem where she underwent emergency surgery but later succumbed to her injuries.

She fought her attacker for several seconds while attempting to draw her weapon, according to a Border Police statement. Nearby troops shot and killed the assailant.

According to the Border Police statement, Malka was part of a group of officers responding to sounds of gunfire near their area of patrol close to Damascus Gate, when she was attacked.

The gunfire was coming from an attack seconds earlier in which two assailants attacked Border Police troops with a homemade Carl Gustav sub-machine gun and knives, at Zedakiah’s Cave in the Muslim Quarter. Some reports said the gun used by the attackers jammed, preventing further casualties. The two attackers were killed.

While on her way to the scene, Malka was accosted by a third attacker.

“Hadas fought her attacker for several seconds, while he stabbed her repeatedly and while trying to reach for her weapon,” the statement read.

Nearby troops opened fire and killed the attacker.

At least four more people were injured in the attacks, including another cop. They all sustained light to moderate wounds and were being treated in hospital.

Hundreds of people attended Hadas’s funeral last night including several politicians and police brass:

Participating in her funeral were family, friends, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud), opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog (Zionist Union), Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh, Border Police Commander Major General Yaakov Shabtai, Human Resources Department Head Major General Gila Gaziel, Ashdod Mayor Yehiel Lasri, and various MKs, regional council heads, police commanders, ministers, and Jews of all stripes and factions.

“Hadas’ memory will never leave us,” Erdan said. “We will do everything to ensure that just as her life was worthwhile, her death will be the same. We will continue to develop our land, and to protect Zion, our home.”

“We will continue to walk in Hadas’ path. We will not surrender and we will not bow our heads before these accursed terrorists. We will pursue our enemies and those who seek our downfall.

“Hadas, you were one of our best fighters.”

“Dear Hadas! Today you join a long list – over 1,460 – of fallen police officers,” Alsheikh began. “Your life and personality were a microcosmos of the entire police force.”

“I learned that you were a different species of fighter. You fought out of a feeling of mission, out of a desire to contribute. You insisted on transferring to the Border Police and becoming one of us. As soon as you finished your mandatory service, you signed on for five years of voluntary service. You wanted to take an officers’ course, and you remained faithful to yourself and to the values you learned at home. Your friends say you were an entire world. You were moral, you loved Israel and its people.

Shabtai said, “Four hundred ninety one Border Police officers have fallen since our founding. Each of these was an entire world. This one is Hadas – a symbol of patriotism and ZIonism.”

“Hadas’ commanders say she was an excellent fighter, who aspired to excellence, and who dotted every i and crossed every t. On Friday night, three evil terrorists came to kill, to kill Jews.

“Hadas and her partners worked bravely to neutralize the terrorists, who were armed with a rifle and knives. Unfortunately, Hadas paid with her life.

Hadas’s friends mourned her as a “true Wonder Woman“:

Hadas Malka, 23, the Border Police officer stabbed to death by a Palestinian assailant in a terror attack outside Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday evening, had sent a final selfie to her friends just minutes before the attack, wishing “Shabbat Shalom to my loving friends.” Those friends on Saturday remembered her as loving and fearless — a “real-life Wonder Woman,” said one.

Hadas Malka Hy’d

The friends spoke of how Malka had been in the navy, but wanted to be a combat soldier and transferred to the Border Police where she did the rest of her mandatory military service and then extended it 15 months ago and became an officer.

They also recounted how she was never afraid, despite all the attacks that have occurred in and near the Old City in Jerusalem, where she was on duty. “No one will come approach me … They won’t dare even come close to me,” she would tell them, according to Ynet.

Amit Azulai, a friend of Malka’s, told Channel 22 that Malka was “a real-life Wonder Woman… good-hearted and optimistic.”

What a terrible loss to her family, her friends and the people of Israel. May the memory of Hadas Malka Hy’d be for a blessing and may her family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

As for the terrorists:

The Shin Bet security service named the three assailants as Adel Ankush, 18, Bra’a Salah, 19, and Asama Ahmed Atta, 19, all from the West Bank village of Deir Abu-Mash’al near Ramallah.

All three had been arrested for or involved in “popular terror activity,” a Shin Bet statement read.

The attack was carried out by “two Palestinians from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a third from Hamas,” Hamas said early Saturday, dismissing a claim of responsibility by Islamic State.

Israeli officials cast doubt on both claims, saying there was no indication of IS involvement, and that the attack did not appear to have been directed by any group.

The ISIS claim, if true, would make it the first ISIS attack on Israel.

But a more important truth hides behind these claims of responsibility, as Israellycool points out:

So here we have IS, Hamas and PFLP claiming the murderers belonged to them, while the father of one of them claims otherwise. Clearly, at least one of the terror organizations is lying, yet they do so because it enhances their reputation.

Imagine that – boasting of killing a woman as being good for business. Sick does not begin to describe it. Yet we are somehow supposed to sit down and negotiate peace with such people?

No, we should negotiate with the PA, you might say. Well, this is what Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah had to say about the attack:

Fatah “condemns the war crime carried out by Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem against three Palestinian teens,” spokesperson Osama al-Kawasme said in a statement. Fatah added that “the international community’s silence emboldened Israel to further spill the blood of Palestinians.”

Back to the terrorists claiming responsibility – IS and Hamas are Islamist terror organizations (the PFLP is secular Marxist). The IS statement makes clear their views on why killing Zionists Jews is a good thing:

“Let the Jews expect the demise of their entity at the hands of the Caliphate soldiers,” it said, calling the attack “revenge for God’s religion and for the violated sanctities of Muslims.”

Nope, not anger and frustration over the so-called “occupation.” This is about Islamic plans to re-establish a Caliphate.

Hamas are the same.

Israellycool then talks about the vile international media response to the attack:

Yet AP ends the report as follows

Palestinians say it stems from anger over decades of Israeli rule in territories they claim for their future state.

Are we surprised? We are not. Are we disgusted? Yes we are! The BBC lived down to its antisemitic reputation as its initial headline read:

This led Donald Trump Jr., the President’s son, to blast the BBC for its bias:

Trump Jr. immediately tweeted back: “You mean after they stabbed a female Israeli police officer to death… right? This is as close to being misleading as possible.”

“Need a new term for this nonsense. Sort of the opposite of victim blaming. How about Culprit Coddling? Maybe Criminal Cozying? Thoughts???,” he tweeted.

The battle was “won” by Binyamin Netanyahu who demanded that the BBC change its headline to accord with reality:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to reproach the BBC after the British news channel released what the premier deemed to be a biased report describing Friday’s terror attack, which resulted in the death of a 23-year-old border policewoman.

According to the MFA, prompted by the ministry’s request, the BBC has since changed the headline of the article.

The current headline now reads: “Israeli policewoman stabbed to death in Jerusalem.”

The tweet that the media outlet published on its official handle and which linked to the article with its previous headline has since been removed.

This is not the first time Israel lashes out at the BBC for what it says is a biased coverage of the conflict.

You can read about that spat here – but nothing changes, the BBC, AP and most of the rest of the international media continue with their anti-Israel bias, blaming the victim (Israel) and exonerating the perpetrators, while slanting their headlines and reports to cast Israel into the worst possible light.

It is a fight that never ends, almost like our fight against the terrorists.

The NYT legitimizes a Palestinian murderer

April 20, 2017

The NYT legitimizes a Palestinian murderer | Anne’s Opinions, 19th April 2017

Now that the Pesach festival is over, normal programming can now resume. The general violence and terrorist activity endemic to the region continued over the holiday, both in Israel and the wider Middle East: from Butcher Assad’s chemical bombing of his own people, President Trump’s bombing of Syrian targets (in which he apparently gave advance warning to the Russians), a Palestinian terrorist stabbed a British exchange student to death on the Jerusalem Light Rail – we send our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Hannah Bladdon who was so viciously murdered – and a massive horrific bombing attacks on two Coptic churches in Egypt in which dozens were killed.

What could be more appropriate therefore for the New York Times than to give the Palestinian mass-murderer Marwan Barghouti a platform (where else?) to spout his evil philosophy.

Palestinian mass murderer Marwan Barghouti – the man that some in the West would like to see as the next Palestinian President

Aussie Dave at Israellycool was spot on with his remark that the NYT “wiped the blood off the hands of a terrorist”:

Describing him as a “Palestinian leader and parliamentarian” – without any reference to his murderous legacy – at the bottom of the piece.

Sure, they later added in this editor’s note:

Editors’ Note: April 17, 2017

This article explained the writer’s prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Mr. Barghouti declined to offer a defense at his trial and refused to recognize the Israeli court’s jurisdiction and legitimacy

But only after they were hammered by many prominent people and organizations – or at least those who have a problem with providing a platform for a terrorist without disclosing he is a terrorist.

Just as a reminder, here is more on this “Palestinian leader and parliamentarian”:

Marwan Barghouti is currently serving 5 life sentences for orchestrating three shooting attacks that killed 5 people: one attack in Jerusalem (June 12, 2001) in which Greek monk Tsibouktsakis Germanus was murdered by terrorist Ismail Radaida and another unidentified terrorist, another attack at a gas station in Givat Zeev near Jerusalem (Jan. 15, 2002) in which Yoela Hen, 45, was murdered by terrorists led by Mohammed Matla, and one shooting and stabbing attack at the Sea Food Market restaurant in Tel Aviv (March 5, 2002) in which Eli Dahan, 53, Yosef Habi, 52, and Police Officer Sergeant-Major Salim Barakat, 33, were murdered by terrorist Ibrahim Hasouna. When arrested by Israel in 2002, Barghouti headed the Tanzim (Fatah terror faction). After he was convicted and imprisoned, he was re-elected member of the Palestinian Authority parliament.

It is obvious that the danger in providing such a forum for an evil mass murderer such as Barghouti is that it legitimizes and normalizes this behaviour. After all, if his words appear in such an illustrious organ then they must be OK, right?

Aussie Dave quotes what Barghouti wrote in a self-serving attempt to gain sympathy, and probably to maneuver himself into position for a leadership attempt:

Having spent the last 15 years in an Israeli prison, I have been both a witness to and a victim of Israel’s illegal system of mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners. After exhausting all other options, I decided there was no choice but to resist these abuses by going on a hunger strike.

Some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners have decided to take part in this hunger strike, which begins today, the day we observe here as Prisoners’ Day. Hunger striking is the most peaceful form of resistance available. It inflicts pain solely on those who participate and on their loved ones, in the hopes that their empty stomachs and their sacrifice will help the message resonate beyond the confines of their dark cells.

Let’s talk about the terrible abuses suffered by those poor innocent murderers and terrorists in Israeli prisons. First, here is a 25 minute Israeli TV channel 2 item on the situation “suffered” (we should all be so lucky) by Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails – which you can watch directly on Israellycool too.

Having watched it, here is Kay Wilson in a blistering attack on Barghouti and his miserable article:

See for yourselves the “hunger strike” because of the “appalling conditions” that Palestinian prisoners are protesting, via the likes of The New York Times – a paper that sees it fit to publish an article by the leader of the hunger-strike, a mass murderer named Marwan Barghouti – defined shamelessly by the newspaper as a “parliamentarian.”

Click on the link at the bottom of this post to see the conditions Israel awards those who murdered, or tried to, murder her innocents.

3’15 – TV with 10 channels in their cell

4’40 – Monthly pocket money from the Palestinian Authority. In addition to an average monthly murder stipend of about 4,000 Shekels that goes to their families.

4’50 – Table Tennis. (Yes, you read that correctly).

5’54 – Private storeroom of food always on hand.

6’30 – Prison official says that they eat this food when on “hunger strike,” and that hunger-strike only means refusing the 3 daily prison meals.

9’15 – Free dental clinic (no such thing for Israelis).

9’20 – Immediate appointments in hospitals should the need arise. (Something that many Israelis can only dream of).

9’50 – Community Islamic prayers.

10’50 – Visits with families and lawyers.

13’01 – Murderers gathering in their cell to tuck into humus and snacks that are always available should the need to hunger strike arise.

15’15 – Library. Terrorists get a free education and study for degrees in jail.

15’45 – Games, BackGammon etc…

15’27 – More food stash, should the need to go on hunger strike arise.

19’17 – One of the most notorious terrorists refuses to be interviewed because “he doesn’t want to be seen as shaved, looked-after and respectable in appearance.” These are his exact words. They have to keep up the public image of Israel supposedly treating them badly.

21’40 – Smaller cell with TV, audio headset, coca-cola, kettle, 2 nice pillows… & despite it all, the terrorist promises that the violence must continue.

By publishing an article by Marwan Barghouti, who lies about the conditions, The New York Times are giving a platform to a murderer, perpetuating lies and hate, and in doing so aiding and abetting more inevitable bloodshed.

See for yourselves.

That paper disgusts me. Shame on them.

Kay also posts some screenshots from the TV program of the “terrible abuses” if you don’t want to watch the entire film. It would take a heart of stone not to cry (/sarcasm):

Really, the TV program should have been entitled “How to get fat while on a hunger strike”.

And in case you haven’t heard enough about this revolting specimen whom the West are always encouraging Israel to recognize as a leader of the Palestinians, here is journalist Tom Gross on Marwan Barghouti’s crimes:

Although Barghouti was convicted on just three counts — of the murder of three Israeli civilians (and wounding of 31 others) in an attack on a Tel Aviv seafood restaurant, of the murder of one Israeli civilian in a terrorist attack on a gas station, and of the murder of a Greek orthodox monk (who was shot dead after being mistaken for an orthodox Jew) — he was (as I know from my time reporting on Barghouti’s terrorism while I was a Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News) also responsible for orchestrating the murder of dozens of other civilians, in a series of acts from which he has expressed no remorse. Not that you would know this from the New York Times’ coverage.

Among his other terrorism, Barghouti also ordered the January 17, 2002 shooting attack of a bat mitzvah celebration at a banquet hall in Hadera, in which six Israelis were killed and 26 injured, including many children. And the shooting spree the following week on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem, in which two Israelis were killed, and 37 wounded.

Meanwhile, in its headline today, The Times of London describes convicted terrorist Barghouti as an “activist” while downplaying his terrorist activities.

On his website Tom Gross goes into more detail:

In an article for the Times of Israel, Israeli center-left opposition leader Yair Lapid said of the New York Times:

“The attempt by the New York Times ‘to be balanced’ amuses Barghouti. He understands that this sacred attempt at balance creates equal standing between murderer and murdered, terrorist and victim, lie and truth…

“The reality is that a convicted terrorist is inventing stories about those who imprison him, as prisoners do all over the world, including in the United States.

“Instead of saying to him – as a responsible newspaper should – that if he doesn’t have a shred of evidence to support his stories then they can’t be published, the New York Times published them in its opinion pages and didn’t even bother to explain to its readers that the author is a convicted murderer of the worst kind.”

The Israeli press watchdog Mida also publishes a detailed bio of Marwan Barghouti while Honest Reporting also writes about the New York Times disgrace.

The Israeli prison service has now moved Barghouti to another jail and put him in solitary confinement in response to his incitement to hunger strike.

Watch out for the next NYT article decrying Israel’s mistreatment of the poor innocent murderer.

But in my opinion, if those terrorists really want to go on hunger strike, I say let them! Make sure their not-so hidden stashes of food are confiscated and their benefits removed immediately. I hope they starve themselves to death.

For White House Counterterror Adviser, Media Attacks Are Latest Theater of Battle

February 27, 2017

For White House Counterterror Adviser, Media Attacks Are Latest Theater of Battle, Washinton Free Beacon, February 27, 2017

Sean Hannity, Sebastian Gorka during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 23, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Hosted by the American Conservative Union, CPAC is an annual gathering of right wing politicians, commentators and their supporters. (Photo by Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto) *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***(Sipa via AP Images)Sebastian Gorka / AP

Today, Gorka sits at the apex of power in the White House as an aide to White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. As deputy assistant to the president, Gorka is the key national security figure on the Strategic Initiatives Group, currently led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and made up of mainly business experts.

************************************

World War II bomber pilots liked to say if you’re not taking flak, you’re not over the target. By any measure, Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism adviser to President Donald Trump, is in the eye of an unprecedented flak storm from liberal press outlets. The enemy fire proves he must be doing something right thing.

“Look, these attacks are just too predictable,” Gorka said in an interview. “As they say in the military, ‘you’re only taking flak if you’re over the target.'”

For Gorka, the most revealing aspect of the many column inches devoted to the criticism is that “it’s never truly about our policies or the issues that matter most.”

“It’s always personal, always ad hominem,” he said in an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “That tells you all you need to know about the other side’s true weakness. They can’t win on the merits of their case, so they ‘play the man, not the ball.'”

For the new president, Gorka is an antidote to the politically correct counterterrorism policies of the past eight years under Barack Obama.

The shift has set off controversy. Several news articles about Gorka in recent weeks were laced with personnel attacks, innuendo, and caustic comments from critics. The media assault came from the upper levels of the mainstream press including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Other lesser publications such as Politico piled on. Vanity Fair labeled him Trump’s “jihad whisperer.”

All promoted a common—and to many observers false—narrative asserting that Gorka, deputy assistant to the president and member of the new Strategic Initiatives Group, is unqualified, anti-Islam, racist, fascist, or worse.

“I would be very concerned if the likes of Politico, the New York Times, and Washington Post were not attacking me. And Trump voters would be too,” Gorka said.

Gorka said the goals for the new Trump administration’s counterterrorism program and policies are simple. “As the president said [Friday] we will ‘obliterate’ groups like ISIS and wipe the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the earth,” he said.

The media attacks prompted friends and supporters of Gorka on Capitol Hill and in the military and special operations community to voice their support.

“The bottom line is Sebastian Gorka’s work is a necessary tool for all special operations forces in developing critical thinking,” said an Army special operations officer familiar with Gorka’s counterterrorism lectures in Tampa, Florida, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The officer said Gorka has been most valuable in helping hundreds of commandos properly identify and understand the nature of the threat posed by Islamist terrorists.

“Our biggest threat we face is tied to radical Islam,” the officer said. “We teach our Special Forces how to think, not what to think. [Gorka’s] speeches have been 100 percent factual and the reason he has spoken so often is that he has been able to connect with warrant officer candidates.”

“We’ve lived the last decade and a half of war and this is our lives. Having someone like Mr. Gorka who connects with our groups, gives us a solid foundation.”

Retired Army Lt. Gen. John M. Mulholland, a career Special Forces officer, said he has known Gorka from his counterterrorism lectures.

“Seb has always been first and foremost a patriot, dedicated to this country,” Mulholland said in an interview. “He has been very supportive to us in helping us understand the threat so we can apply our capabilities to support the nation against the unconventional warfare threat, in this case, the terrorism threat.”

Mulholland, former deputy commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, said Gorka has helped special operations commandos to better understand the terrorism threat environment.

“Seb is one of those guys we always turn to to help us understand the threat, and he’s a great friend and supporter of our community and our mission and in helping us in our own endeavor to master the environment,” he added.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland, former commander of the Army Special Operations Command, also praised Gorka.

“What distinguished [Gorka] was the time he took to understand how the special operations soldiers, many who had multiple tours in the fight, saw the challenges and were dealing with them,” Cleveland said. “As a result, his instruction was crisp, relevant, and a useful part of their education on how to think about today’s threats, especially terrorism.”

Gorka also took part on some occasions on the commander’s advisory group sessions that included former senior civilian and military officials and academic experts.

“These events provided outside opinion on command doctrine and organizational proposals, and I greatly appreciated Dr. Gorka’s participation,” Cleveland said.

Retired Marine Corps. Col. Raymond C. Damm, a professor at Marine Corps University, said recent news stories attacking Gorka harkened back to a period “yellow journalism.”

“They were a hatchet job based on innuendo and painting a story a way you want it to be received,” Damm said.

Damm said Gorka taught at the Marine Corps University and “he made us better because he made us think.”

“Dr. Gorka can be polarizing because he does not follow the party line,” Damm said. However, Gorka helped Marines to better understand what motivates the terrorist threat. “And I am sorry, but being nice to them is not the answer,” Damm said. “They are scary and hate us because they have been taught to hate us their entire lives.  Iron sharpens iron. Dr. Gorka made us better while he was here.”

Stephen Sloan, professor emeritus at the University of Oklahoma, said he has known Gorka since the 1990s.

“Over the years, I have served as an informal adviser on his dissertation and was one of his mentors as he pursued his career,” Sloan said. “Sebastian has always impressed me as a man of integrity who has strong feelings and is willing to state them. I believe his concerns about the threat of terrorism as to what he regards to be the new totalitarianism, in part, reflects his family history. His father was imprisoned and almost killed as a result of his opposition to Soviet occupation in Hungary.”

Sloan said Gorka has strong loyalties to America and is proud of his work with the U.S. military and “is concerned about meeting threats to U.S. national security. I appreciate and respect his dedication.”

Sloan said he does not agree with some of Trump’s policies and is concerned about Gorka’s views on how to respond to terrorism. “However, even though we may disagree during this time of intense political debate, I support his right to state his opinions without being condemned,” he said.

The unusual political attacks were not confined to newspapers. On social media, a little-known counterterrorism expert, Michael S. Smith, has launched verbal broadsides against Gorka on Twitter. Smith also tape recorded a call from the White House adviser questioning why Smith was criticizing Gorka so loudly when he had never met him.

The criticism prompted Rep. Robert Pittenger (R., N.C.), chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism, an advisory group Smith said he worked for, to issue a statement of support.

“Dr. Sebastian Gorka is a friend and trusted adviser on efforts to combat radical Islamic terrorism and increase the safety and security of American families,” Pittenger said in a statement.

Pittenger said Gorka has spoken to more than 600 parliamentarians from 60 nations on how to combat terrorism financing, money laundering, and other national security topics.

“Dr. Gorka has provided expert testimony at these forums and I applaud President Trump for bringing him to the White House,” he said.

Clark Fonda, an aide to Pittenger, said he knew Smith from the caucus. “We used to reject his input regularly,” he said. “I always found him to be unprofessional and a burden to work with, but I was absolutely stunned to see he would record a phone call and distribute it to Newsweek.”

Fonda said Smith also falsely billed himself as a current adviser to the Congressional Taskforce on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare headed by Pittenger.

“He never ever contributes to what we do,” he said. “I haven’t even spoken to him in the two years I’ve been here.”

Rep. Trent Franks (R., Ariz.) also backed Gorka. “I have followed the recent press and social media attacks against Dr. Sebastian Gorka and am compelled to respond with disgust at the attempt to libel this American patriot,” Franks said in a statement.

Franks criticized media attacks falsely labeling Gorka as anti-Semitic. “Having called upon his expertise on counterterrorism repeatedly in Congress and used his analysis to inform our work, I can attest that Dr. Gorka is the staunchest friend of Israel and the Jewish people,” he said.

“Sebastian Gorka’s service to the nation, his reputation, and his national security credentials are all unimpeachable and I am thrilled he is now serving in the White House as deputy assistant to President Donald J. Trump.”

Gorka has emerged in recent years as one of America’s most outspoken counterterrorism experts. He has been a professor of military theory at the Marine Corps University as well as a vice president of the Institute of World Politics.

His military consulting work has included frequent lectures at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in North Carolina and at the U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida.

He also was a national security editor at Breitbart.com and is a frequent Fox News Channel contributor.

Today, Gorka sits at the apex of power in the White House as an aide to White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. As deputy assistant to the president, Gorka is the key national security figure on the Strategic Initiatives Group, currently led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and made up of mainly business experts.

The mission of the SIG, as it is called, is to provide the White House with greater long-term strategic options in coordination with the National Security Council that normally is focused on dealing with day-to-day issues and crises. It also brings in outside experts.

Gorka came to the attention of Donald Trump in 2015 and worked with the campaign. It was Gorka who is said to have helped Trump criticize the politically correct counterterrorism formulations of the Obama administration.

Obama demanded that government abandon the use of the term radical Islam. Instead, politically correct terms were ordered in describing terrorism, including “workplace violence” for domestic attacks, and “violent extremism”—all in an effort to avoid using the word, Islam.

Trump loudly proclaimed during the presidential campaign that the threat and enemy to be countered under his counterterrorism policies and programs would be radical Islamic terrorism.

Along with his wife, Katherine Gorka, who is an adviser at the Department of Homeland Security, the Gorkas are now one of the most important power couples in Washington.

Gorka is said to have been a key advocate for the Trump executive order banning travelers from seven states linked to terrorism.

For Gorka, the current state of international terrorism, including both al Qaeda and the Islamic State, are all part of what he has termed the “global jihadist movement” a totalitarian movement not unlike the Cold War ideological foe of Soviet communism.

The 2012 book, Fighting the Ideological War, co-edited by Katherine Gorka, includes a chapter by Gorka that seeks to identify radical Islamic terror’s threat doctrine and how to attack it.

“Although we have proven our capacity in the last 10 years kinetically to engage our enemy at the operational and tactical level with unsurpassed effectiveness, we have not even begun to take the war to al Qaeda at the strategic level of counter-ideology—to attack it at its heart—the ideology of global jihad,” he wrote.

Defeating global jihadism requires clearly understanding the enemy and then attacking its ideology, he argues, something that has been lacking in U.S. government efforts.

Gorka’s bestselling book, Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, concludes that despite differences among the Islamic terror groups they all share a vision of an Islamic supremacist worldview that poses a danger to western civilization.

At a recent Heritage Foundation event, “iWar: Waging Warfare in the Information Age,” Gorka said U.S. operations against terrorism for the past 16 years have been “whack-a-mole”—finding and killing terrorist leaders that are replaced by others.

Gorka said critics who call his style of aggressive counterterrorism programs and their advocates “Islamophobes” are absolutely wrong.

“Half of my students were Muslim and are on the front line and paying a heavy price, more than we are in America,” he said. “This is a war inside Islam, a war for the heart of Islam—which version will be preeminent.”

The United States needs to help western-oriented Muslim states, like Jordan and Egypt, to help defeat the radical jihadists, Gorka says.

Gorka, 46, grew up in England and was part of an intelligence unit of the British Army Reserve. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Corvinus University in Budapest. He spent four years as a member of the faculty at the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall Center in Germany.

At the White House, Gorka is working to establish new strategies and policies he hopes will shift the focus to both military and intelligence to the counter-ideological realm.

One of the first steps said to be under consideration is declaring the Muslim Brotherhood, a key element of the global jihadist movement, to be a terrorist organization.

Under Obama, the U.S. government formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood as the U.S. government’s key alternative to be supported in the war against al Qaeda and later the Islamic State. A secret directive outlining the pro-Muslim Brotherhood policy, known as Presidential Study Directive-11, could be declassified in the future as a first step in the designation of the group as a terrorist organization.

Gorka’s outspoken views on terrorism and Islam and his high profile media appearances have made him a lightning rod for liberal left news outlets.

The New York Times falsely suggested Gorka, the British-born immigrant of Hungarian émigré parents, had Nazi sympathies—despite that fact that Gorka’s father fought against both the Nazis and the Communists in Hungary.

The Post sought to portray Gorka as a minor counterterrorism specialist on the “fringes” of Washington and sought out obscure critics to denounce him. One former CIA analyst told the newspaper he was “nuts” while knowing little about Gorka.

Politico‘s profile of Gorka quoted “puzzled” security experts who criticized him for his outspoken views on Islam, jihad, and the counterterrorism views that closely align with the new president.

The Wall Street Journal quoted numerous think tank terrorism experts who said they did not believe Gorka was part of the “mainstream” of experts.

Gorka said in the interview that victory needs to be defined in the war on terrorism.

“Personally, I want the black flag of jihad to become as despised around the globe as the black, red and white swastika flag of the Nazis is today,” he said. “Then we will have won.”

Off Topic | Wayne Barrett, Donald Trump, and the Death of the American Press

February 23, 2017

Wayne Barrett, Donald Trump, and the Death of the American Press, Tablet MagazineLee Smith, February 23, 2017

(Please see also, Off Topic:  A Purblind Press, Unable To Admit Error, Boycotts the President. — DM)

How did we get from ‘Village Voice’ reporters digging up everything there is to know about a flashy New York real estate salesman to not knowing anything about the President of the United States and his ties to Russia?

So when does the other shoe drop? Who’s going to break the story proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that the president of the United States is so deeply connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the White House has become a Muscovite colony in all but name?

Time to use some common sense—it’s not going to happen, there is no story. The narrative that Donald Trump is effectively Putin’s prison wife is an information operation orchestrated by Democratic hands, many of whom served in the Obama administration, sectors of the intelligence community, and much of the American press. The purpose of the campaign is to delegitimize Trump’s presidency by continuing to hit on themes drawn from the narrative that Russia “hacked” the election and stole it away from Clinton.

The narrative is contorted because it’s not journalism. It’s a story that could only make sense in a profoundly corrupted public sphere, one in which, for instance, Graydon Carter is celebrated for speaking truth to power with an editor’s letter critical of Trump in a magazine that has no other ontological ground in the universe except to celebrate power.

Oh, sure, there are regular hints that there’s still more to come on Trump and his staff’s ties to Russia—the big one is about to hit. But the steady sound of drip-drip-drip is the telltale sign of a political campaign, where items are leaked bit by bit to paralyze the target. Journalists, on the other hand, have to get their story out there as quickly, and as fully, as possible because they’re always worried the competition is going to beat them to it.

No, if Trump really was in bed with the Russians, the story would already be out there, and I’m pretty sure it would have had a Wayne Barrett byline.

When I worked at the Village Voice in the mid-1990s, my office was right around the corner from Barrett’s and his bullpen of interns, a team that kept the heat on local politicians like Rudy Giuliani, Ed Koch, and others. Barrett was the first journalist who wrote at length about Trump, starting in the mid-1970s. His biography, Trump: The Deals and the Downfall, was published in 1992, and reissued in 2016 as Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, the Reinvention.

When Trump won the nomination and the pace of Trump stories picked up, Barrett became something of an official archivist, with reporters visiting his Brooklyn house to go through his files in the basement. Anyone who wanted to know what Trump’s deal with Russia was, for instance, would want to talk to Barrett because either he or his team of interns, 40 years’ worth, would have it. After all, New York City is the world capital for information on Russians, even better than Israel—because even though the city got a smaller number of post-Cold War immigrants, New York got a higher percentage of mobsters.

Let’s compare the institution of Wayne Barrett, a subset of the institution of journalism, to the so-called Russia dossier, the document placing Trump in a shady underworld governed by Putin and other Russian thugs. The former includes not only Barrett’s body of work over nearly half a century, but that of the hundreds of journalists he trained, and many thousands of sources whose information is, therefore, able to be cross-checked.

The latter, a congeries of preadolescent pornographic fantasy and spy tales, was authored by a British intelligence officer who has gone to ground since the dossier was made public. The dossier started as work made for hire, first paid for by Republican opponents of Trump and then the Clinton camp, and is sourced to Russian “contacts” who are clearly using the document as an opportunity to proliferate an information operation for perhaps various and as yet unknown purposes. The former is journalism. The latter, part oppo research and part intelligence dump, is garbage. Clearly, it is also the new standard in the field, which is why journalists on both sides of the political spectrum are boasting about their willingness to let their bylines be used as bulletin boards for spy services and call it a “scoop.”

Barrett had Trump on a whole variety of issues, but check the records yourself—up until the day of his death, the day before Trump’s inauguration, there’s nothing on Trump and Putin. Does this mean Trump is totally clean? Who knows? But the journalists now clamoring like maniacs about Trump’s ties sure aren’t going to find it. They’re thin-skinned hacks outraged that Trump dared violate the inherent dignity of that most important of American political institutions, the presidential press conference. And as we all know, this is the apex of real journalism, where esteemed members of the press sit side by side with other masters of the craft to see who gets their question televised.

Does Trump really believe the media are “an enemy of the people”? Please. Let’s remember how he rode his wave to fame on the back of the New York Post’s Page Six (and Graydon Carter’s Spy magazine). He still speaks regularly to the head of CNN (aka “Fake News”), Jeff Zucker, who put him on The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice at NBC, where Trump sat atop the Nielsens for 13 years. Trump uses his Twitter feed to boost his replacement Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ratings because the president still has a credit as executive producer. No, Trump, doesn’t hate the media. Like Howard Stern, he sees himself as the king of all media. What he’s doing here is playing gladiator in front of an audience that wants to see the lions slain.

Maybe Trump deserves the heat with the fake Russia stories. He backed the Obama birth certificate story, and what goes around comes around. But the American public sure doesn’t deserve a press like this.

Trump adviser Steve Bannon calls the media the opposition party, but that’s misleading. Everyone knows that the press typically tilts left, and no one is surprised, for instance, that The New York Times has not endorsed a Republican candidate since 1956. But that’s not what we’re seeing now—rather, the media has become an instrument in a campaign of political warfare. What was once an American political institution and a central part of the public sphere became something more like state-owned media used to advance the ruling party’s agenda and bully the opposition into silence. Russia’s RT network, the emir of Qatar’s Al Jazeera network—indeed, all of the Arab press—and media typically furnished by Third World regimes became the American press’ new paradigm; not journalism, but information operation.

How did this happen? It’s not about a few journalists, many of whom still do honor to the profession, or a few papers or networks. It’s a structural issue. Much of it is because of the wounds the media inflicted on itself, but it was also partly due to something like a natural catastrophe that no one could have predicted, or controlled.

***

I was at the Voice when the meteor hit. Like many papers back then, dailies and weeklies, the Voice made its money on classified advertising. The New York Times, for instance, had three important classifieds sections—employment, automotive, and housing—but if New Yorkers really wanted to find a great apartment, they’d line up at the newsstand on 42nd Street to get a copy of the Voice hot off the press.

And then the internet came along, and it was all there in one place—for free. The press panicked. The Voice’s publisher at the time, David Schneiderman, announced to the staff that the paper was going free. It made no sense, he argued, to keep charging $1 for what consumers could get on the internet for nothing.

Here’s how the staff heard it: Who would want to pay $1 a week to read Nat Hentoff on civil liberties, Robert Christgau on music, Michael Musto on New York nightlife—or Wayne Barrett on the follies of real-estate mogul Donald Trump? That is, who would want to pay $1 a week to feel themselves a part of what the Village Voice had made them feel part of for decades? But at the time, devaluing content was in fashion—which meant, as few saw back then, the profession was digging its own grave.

The American press’ new paradigm: not journalism, but information operation.

In midtown, Tina Brown had taken The New Yorker, a notoriously sleepy rag that entry-level assistants stacked in a corner of their studio apartments to spend a rainy Saturday with a 10,000-word Ved Mehta article, and turned it into a hot book that everyone from Bill and Hillary Clinton to Harvey and Bob Weinstein was talking about. “Buzz” was Tina’s catchword, and she made her writers stars. But something else was happening on the business side that wasn’t good for the content providers.

Before Brown, The New Yorker made its money by selling the magazine to readers who wanted to feel like a part of the world only The New Yorker made available, a cozy world reflected by the modest, but very profitable, number of subscriptions, which hovered around 340,000. Advertising was an afterthought. It may have been the only magazine in history at which the business side held ads because there wasn’t space for them, or because, well, Mr. Shawn might not like them.

Condé Nast owner Si Newhouse, who bought The New Yorker in 1985, and publisher Steve Florio turned the business model on its head when Brown came on in 1992. Forget about making readers pay for content; instead, bill advertisers for access to your readers—charge them for eyeballs. They slashed the subscription price dramatically and readership swelled by many hundreds of thousands. This enabled the sales team to bump up ad rates to levels on par with other Condé Nast glossies, essentially fashion catalogs, that enjoyed much larger readerships, like Vogue, GQ, and Glamour.

The paradox was that The New Yorker lost money because each of the new subscriptions was costly. Paper, printing, and postage are expensive, and even the new ad rates couldn’t cover the costs now that circulation had grown to something like 800,000—not monthly like Vogue, but weekly.

Instead of paying for the cost of high-level reporting and editing, subscribers now cost The New Yorker money. In Brown’s last year at the magazine, The New Yorker lost $10 million—a giant black hole that her successor would endeavor mightily to fill while retaining the magazine’s new subscribers, who had little knowledge of or attachment to the magazine’s prior mix of literary reporting and sophisticated whimsy. If the subscribers didn’t feel interested and flattered, the magazine was sunk.

With a new media model that devalued content, no one had a very clear picture of the problems ahead. The future was further obscured by what seemed to be an astonishing reflorescence of the press, with tiny internet startups throwing lavish parties in Manhattan bistros and paying writers Condé Nast-level fees. The internet was the messiah, everything was great—until the IT bubble burst and media giants like TimeWarner stopped throwing money at a platform they didn’t understand. So now who was going to pay?

For the next decade, the media couldn’t decide which slogan of the moment carried more weight—“content is king” or “information wants to be free.” Sure, you can give away “information,” but someone has to find some way to cover expenses, and yet no one had figured out how to make internet advertising work. Maybe you really could charge for content. Of course you could—The New Yorker had done it for decades.

Even if you bring your own glass to a lemonade stand, there is no 8-year-old entrepreneur who is not going to charge you for his product. Why didn’t media grandees get it? When they saw their ad-based business model collapse, why didn’t they do the logical thing and raise the price on consumers? Sure, they’d lose some readers and have to cut some staff and departments, but they’d have established a fundamental defense of the product, the industry, and the institution itself—news is worth paying for.

As the old Chinese saying has it, the first generation builds the business, the second generation expands it, and the third spends it all on Italian shoes, houses in the Hamptons, and divorces. For the most part, the people inheriting these media properties didn’t know what they were doing. It took The New York Times more than a decade to settle on billing consumers for its product—after giving it away, charging for it, giving it away again, then billing for “premium content,” etc. By then, it was too late. Entire papers went under, and even at places that survived, the costliest enterprises, like foreign bureaus and investigative teams, were cut. An entire generation’s worth of expertise, experience, and journalistic ethics evaporated into thin air.

In January, Bannon told the Times that the press doesn’t “understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.” But the Times had already acknowledged its blunder in a letter to its readers after the election. However, neither Bannon nor the Times seemed to grasp the logistical reasons for the failure—it wasn’t because the paper of record slants left, or because it was too caught up in its own narrative. It’s in large part because it had long ago cut the regional bureaus in the South, the Midwest, etc., that would’ve forced reporters to speak to Americans outside the urban bubble and thereby explain to readers what the world looks like once you wander off the F train.

By the time two planes brought down the World Trade Center towers in September of 2001, everyone in the industry knew the media was in big trouble. The Iraq War partially hid and then later amplified that fact. The media spent millions it didn’t have for coverage it gave away free of a war that the press first supported and then turned against. If journalists prided themselves on their courageous about-faces, to much of their audience it further discredited a press whose main brief is not to advocate for or against, but to report facts.

This is the media environment that Barack Obama walked into—where Post columnist David Ignatius was no more important a media figure than Zach Galifianakis, on whose precious and often funny internet show Between Two Ferns the president marketed the Affordable Care Act. I suspect the Obama White House was a little sad that the press we’d all grown up with was basically dead. As Ben Rhodes, former national security adviser for strategic communications, told The New York Times Magazine, “I’d prefer a sober, reasoned public debate, after which members of Congress reflect and take a vote. But that’s impossible.”

He was right. What was once known as the prestige media became indistinguishable from the other stuff that Facebook gives away. Was it The New York Times or BuzzFeed that published that video about cats terrorized by cucumbers? Or was it Fake News because, in fact, cats aren’t scared of vegetables? It doesn’t matter where it came from, because there is no longer any hierarchy in the press. The media, as Thomas Friedman might say, is flat.

Obama didn’t kill journalism, but he took advantage of it in its weakness, because he knew the press would do anything to feel relevant again. All those 27-year-olds at the Times, the Washington Post and others hired as bloggers—“who literally know nothing,” as Rhodes told the Times Magazine—when the foreign and national bureaus were closed, they didn’t know it wasn’t OK to be a journalist and a political operative at the same time. They thought it made them more valuable, even patriotic, to put themselves in the service of a historic presidency. And they’d replaced for pennies on the dollar all the adults who could have taught them otherwise.

That’s the raw material out of which the Obama administration built its echo chamber, the purpose of which was to drown out the few remaining vestiges of journalism in order to sell the president’s policies. And there really were real journalists still putting in the hours, still doing the work, but the echo chamber, a relentless, frenzied chorus of incoherent and nearly illiterate prose, shouted them down.

Yes, it would have been nice if the American public had a chance to discuss a policy of vital importance to our national security, like the Iran nuclear deal, but the press congratulated itself for silencing those who dissented from Obama’s signature foreign-policy initiative. These weren’t simply critics or opponents of the White House, they weren’t just wrong; no, they were warmongers, beholden to donors and moneyed interests and lobbies, they were dual loyalists.

But it was all OK for the press to humiliate and threaten Obama’s opponents in accordance with the talking points provided by Obama administration officials—they were helping the president prevent another senseless war. That’s for history to decide. What everyone saw at the time was that the press had put itself in the service of executive power. This was no longer simply tilting left, rather, it was turning an American political institution against the American public.

Now with Trump in the White House, commentators on the right are critical of those angry with the press for calling out Trump on the same stuff that Obama got away with. Let’s be above it, they argue. Just because Obama did it doesn’t make it OK for Trump to do it. Fine, obviously, call out Trump—but this isn’t about playing gotcha. It’s about a self-aggrandizing press corps gaslighting the electorate. The public is astonished and appalled that the media has now returned after an eight-year absence to arrogate to itself the role of conscience of the nation.

It’s not working out very well.

Consider the Washington Post, whose new motto is “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” which presumably was OK’d by owner Jeff Bezos, the man who closed virtually every independent bookstore in America. Here’s a recent story about riots in Sweden:

Just two days after President Trump provoked widespread consternation by seeming to imply, incorrectly, that immigrants had perpetrated a recent spate of violence in Sweden, riots broke out in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood in the northern suburbs of the country’s capital, Stockholm.

You’ve probably never seen the phrase “seeming to imply” in the lede of a story in a major American newspaper before—a news story. So did Trump imply, or seem to imply? How are readers supposed to parse “incorrectly” if the story is about the reality of riots in a place where Trump “seemingly” “implied” there was violence? So what’s the point—that Trump is a racist? Or that Trump can see the future?

The press at present is incapable of reconstituting itself because it lacks the muscle memory to do so. Look at the poor New Yorker. During the eight years of the Obama administration, it was best known not for reported stories, but for providing a rostrum for a man to address the class that revered him as a Caesar. Now that the magazine is cut off from the power that made it relevant, is it any wonder that when it surveys the post-Obama landscape it looks like Rome is burning—or is that the Reichstag in flames?

The Russia story is evidence that top reporters are are still feeding from the same trough—political operatives, intelligence agencies, etc.—because they don’t know how to do anything else, and their editors don’t dare let the competition get out ahead. Why would the Post, for instance, let the Times carve out a bigger market share of the anti-Trump resistance? And what’s the alternative? Report the story honestly? Don’t publish questionably sourced innuendo as news?

And still, you ask, how could the Russia story be nonsense? All the major media outlets are on it. Better to cover yourself—maybe it’s true, because the press can’t really be this inept and corrupt, so there’s got to be something to it.

I say this not only out of respect for a late colleague, but in the hope that journalism may once again merit the trust of the American public. Wayne Barrett had this file for 40 years, and if neither he nor the reporters he trained got this story, it’s not a story.

Lt. Col Tony Schaffer Revels Who Was ‘Directly Behind’ Mike Flynn Phone Call Leaks

February 15, 2017

Lt. Col Tony Schaffer Revels Who Was ‘Directly Behind’ Mike Flynn Phone Call Leaks, Fox News via YouTube, February 15, 2017

 

Chutzpah: AP Decries “Softball” Questions

February 14, 2017

Chutzpah: AP Decries “Softball” Questions, Power LineJohn Hinderaker, February 14, 2017

Now that we have a Republican president, the press has gone oppositional. Today, the Associated Press complains that President Trump isn’t taking antagonistic enough questions during his press conferences: “News conferences raise issue of Trump seeking softballs.”

President Donald Trump managed to avoid questions about hot-button issues facing the White House — such as the future of national security adviser Michael Flynn and a North Korean missile launch — in a news conference Monday where selected reporters asked non-challenging questions and other, shouted-out inquiries were ignored.

Heh. The president ignores “shouted-out inquiries”? Who can forget “What about your gaaaffes”?

The president selected his questioners: Scott Thuman from Washington’s local ABC News affiliate and Kaitlan Collins of The Daily Caller, a conservative website founded in 2010 by Fox News Channel anchor Tucker Carlson.

Thuman asked Trump about his relationship with Trudeau, given the two men have outlined policy differences, and whether there were any areas where Trump had changed his stance on issues following their conversation. The president offered no specifics.

Collins asked Trump what he saw as the most important national security issues facing the nation.

Good questions. Kaitlyn Collins took no grief from the AP. Asked about her question, she responded:

“Personnel questions are interesting, but our readers want substance. They don’t want Washington bull—-. They want to know where the next war is going to be,” Collins told The Associated Press by email later in the day.

What’s funny about the AP’s pique, of course, is that for eight years Barack Obama rarely answered questions from the press, and when he did, he almost never got anything except softballs. See, for example, Freedom of the Press to Kiss A**, Obama Dodges the Big Questions, and The White House Press Corps Bids a Slobbering Farewell to President Obama.

Now, suddenly, the AP and other Democratic Party news outlets have woken from their slumber and are telling us their job is to fight the new administration. I doubt that anyone is fooled.

A Tale of Two Talks: Free Speech in the U.S.

February 14, 2017

A Tale of Two Talks: Free Speech in the U.S., Gatestone InstituteDouglas Murray, February 14, 2017

The proximity of these two events, the difference in the arguments and the vast chasm of difference between the outrage and violence against one, and the great silence and complicity with the other, tells us much about what we need to know about the state of free speech — and academia — in America today.

***********************************

During his talk at Georgetown University, Jonathan A.C. Brown condemned slavery when it took place historically in America and other Western countries, but praised the practise of slavery as it happened in Muslim societies, explained that Muslim slaves lived “a pretty good life”, and claimed that it is “not immoral for one human to own another human.” Regarding the vexed matter of whether it is right or wrong to have sex with one of your slaves, Brown, who is director of the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, said that “consent isn’t necessary for lawful sex”.

No mob of anti-sharia people has gone to Georgetown, torn up telephone poles, set fire to things or smashed up the campus, as mobs did at Berkeley.

Milo Yiannopoulos has never argued that the Western system of slavery was benevolent and worthwhile, and that slaves in America had “a pretty good life”. He has never argued against consent being an important principle in sexual relations. If he had, then the riots at Berkeley would doubtless have been far worse than they were and even more media companies and professors would have tried to argue that Yiannopoulos had “brought the violence upon himself” or even organized it himself.

Sometimes the whole tenor of an age can be discerned by comparing two events, one commanding fury and the other, silence.

To this extent, February has already been most enlightening. On the first day of the month, the conservative activist and writer Milo Yiannopoulos was due to speak at the University of California, Berkeley. To the surprise of absolutely no one, some of the new anti-free speech brigade attempted to prevent the event from happening. But to the surprise of almost everyone, the groups who wish to prevent everyone but themselves from speaking went farther even than they have tended to of late. Before the event could even start, Yiannopoulos was evacuated by security for his own safety. A mob of 150 people proceeded to riot, smash and set fire to the campus, causing more than $100,000 of damage and otherwise asserting their revised version of Voltaire’s maxim: “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to your death my right to shut you up.”

2301When conservative activist and writer Milo Yiannopoulos was due to speak at the University of California, Berkeley on February 1, a mob of 150 people proceeded to riot, smash and set fire to the campus, causing more than $100,000 of damage. (Image source: RT video screenshot)

The riots at Berkeley caused national and international headlines. Mainstream media, including Newsweek, also attempted to do their bit for an event they would ordinarily deride as “fake news.” Following a segment on CNN, Newsweek ran a piece by Robert Reich, the chancellor’s professor of public policy at Berkeley and a former Clinton administration official, arguing that “Yiannopoulos and Brietbart [sic] were in cahoots with the agitators, in order to lay the groundwork for a Trump crackdown on universities and their federal funding.” This conspiracy theory would involve Yiannopoulos arranging for 150 masked fanatics not merely to trash a campus on his orders, but to continue to remain silent about it in the days and weeks after the event.

In Newsweek, Reich wrote, “I don’t want to add to the conspiratorial musings of so many about this very conspiratorial administration, but it strikes me there may be something worrying going on here. I wouldn’t bet against it.” And so, a tenured academic made an implausible as well as un-evidenced argument that his political opponents not merely bring violence on themselves but actually arrange violence against themselves.

All of the violence and all of these claims were made in February in the aftermath of a speech that never happened. But consider how little has been said and how little done about a speech that certainly did go ahead just one week later at another American university — not by a visiting speaker but by a resident academic and teacher.

On February 7, at the University of Georgetown, Jonathan A.C. Brown, the director of the entirely impartial Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown, gave a 90-minute talk entitled “Islam and the Problem of Slavery”. Except that the white convert to Islam, Jonathan Brown, apparently did not think that there is a particular problem with slavery — at least not when it comes wrapped in Islam. During the talk (which Brown himself subsequently uploaded onto YouTube) the lecturer condemned slavery when it took place historically in America, Britain and other Western countries, but praised the practice of slavery in Muslim societies. Brown explained how Muslim slaves lived “a pretty good life”, claimed that they were protected by “sharia” and claimed that it is “not immoral for one human to own another human.” Regarding the vexed matter of whether it is right or wrong to have sex with one of your slaves, Brown said that “consent isn’t necessary for lawful sex” and that marital rape is not a legitimate concept within Islam. Concepts such as “autonomy” and “consent”, in the view of the Director of the Alwaleed Center at Georgetown, turned out to be Western “obsessions”.

Of course, Jonathan Brown’s views on Islam are by no means uncommon. One could easily demonstrate that they are all too common among experts in Islamic jurisprudence. Among such people, debates over where and when you can own a slave and what you can or cannot do with them are quite up to the minute, rather than Middle Ages, discussions to have. But until this moment, there have been no protests at Georgetown University. Under a certain amount of online pressure, from the few websites to have reported Brown’s talk, Brown has attempted to clarify or even reverse some of his views. But no mob of anti-sharia people has gone to Georgetown, torn up telephone poles, set fire to things or smashed up the campus, as mobs did at Berkeley.

Here is a stranger thing. Nothing that Yiannopoulos ever said as a visitor speaking to a room full of people has ever come near the level of what Brown said to his ordinary class of credit-seeking students. Yiannopoulos has never argued that the Western system of slavery was benevolent and worthwhile, and that slaves in America had “a pretty good life”. He has certainly spoken out vociferously against the claim that there is a “rape culture” on American universities. But he has never argued against consent being an important principle in sexual relations. If he had, then the riots at Berkeley would doubtless have been far worse than they were, and even more media companies and professors would have tried to argue that Yiannopoulos had “brought the violence upon himself” or even organized it himself.

The proximity of these two events, the difference in the arguments and the vast chasm of difference between the outrage and violence against one, and the great silence and complicity with the other, tells us much about what we need to know about the state of free speech — and academia — in America today.