Notes from The Bunker by Gary H. Johnson, Jr.
Fear, Inc: Connecting the Dots (Live Blog – Day 4)
September 4, 2011; 9:00 P.M. EST – Over the last three days, we have covered a good deal of ground here at The Bunker. What began as a two day project has developed into what may take ten days to just touch on the surface of the network of hucksters and dhimmi influence peddlers involved in Fear, Inc. The Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund released the 130-page report with the specific aim of re-shaping the debate around Sharia, to marginalize the voices of five key experts in the anti-jihad community and to isolate what the CAP leadership has decided to portray as vitriolic rhetoric from bloggers and validating voices.
All told, I have invested roughly 15 hours in the project over three days of live blogging and have yet to deal with the text of the report. In essence, the first two days of live blogging dealt with the reality that the real target of the charges of anti-Muslim hate- and fear-mongering were leveled by the Center for American Progress to attack one man – David Yerushalmi.
Yerushalmi has, as one strong legal mind, virtually single-handed these last five years, waged battles against the encroachment of Shariah Law and norms into the U.S. Justice system by jousting with Islamic Finance and Family Law. Yerushalmi’s landmark case against AIG’s bailers at the Fed and his assistance with the advancement of the American Laws for American Courts legislation at the state level are problematic to the Muslim Brotherhood legal experts in CAIR, MPAC, MSA, MAS, ISNA, ICNA, and other active lobby fronts, who have been forced to defend their political and non-political activities, since the fallout of the HLF trials. The network of Muslim Brotherhood linked organizations in America and around the world and the over arching thrust of their agenda have recently met with a number of roadblocks. Indeed, CAIR has been forced to drop their 501 (c) 3 status in recent months.
The progressive leaders of the west hold a vested interest in the Obama administration’s U.S. – Muslim Engagement Initiative. The MENASA, the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia region holds as much wealth and potential, combined, as does China. To tap into this wealth, the progressive left is willing to recognize Islamic Finance as a legitimate form of commerce. The Islamic Finance system is new, and the regulatory mechanism of the practice has not been standardized to allow global trade, because the Shariah Advisory Boards have not yet developed a harmonized accounting methodology. Practices are different from Sunni to Shia, school to school, tribe to tribe, region to region, country to country, bank to bank, hawala to hawala. The Islamic Finance system is built on the practice of establishing a Muhtasibate; but, without a Muhtasib, schemes fall into categories but operate at times with different standards of Shariah Compliance. 2.5% of the profit of any endeavor is immediately allotted to the poor of the Muslim Umma. And only a small percentage of funds (5% or less) can be invested in operations or services or products deemed haram, such as alcohol, gambling, or pork.
At present, a power struggle in the elite Arab/Muslim world is developing to determine who the Muhtasib will be that will rise as the steward of the Global Caliphate. Progressives, Democrats and multi-culturalists have accepted these protection taxes and racist prohibitions of Islamic Finance as a form of “socially responsible investing” or “ethical investing” because these investments do not allow usury, interest bearing loans. They refuse to admit that the protection tax is drawn through an unregulated set of pathways and can, via Hawala networks and Zakat charities, finance crime syndicates, human smuggling, drug running, the illegal arms trade, Islamic terrorism and can act as a money laundering coin toss. The left wing establishment’s lust for punishing the wealthy has led them to accept the principle of the Islamic protection tax – the bully tax, the mafia shakedown, the jizya. In full, the progressive agenda and the conservative agenda which calls out the Jizya tax as immoral are at odds on the matter.
The progressive agenda to fundamentally transform America has four primary voices in the think tank community: 1) the Center for a New American Security (CNAS); 2) the Brookings Institute; 3) the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR); and 4) Center for American Progress (CAP). Six key organizations add support to these influence peddlers: 1) The Soros funded Open Society Institute; 2) The Century Foundation (TCF); 3) the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP); 4) J Street; 5) USIP; and 6) the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC). All told – these ivory towers of progressive thought and action form an ivory wall when combined with the collective Union power of SEIU, AFL-CIO, and the NLRB, yield the favor society of the Democrat, liberal, progressive machine – the left wing establishment. Combined, the organizers at the top of the ivory wall work with, literally, hundreds of millions of dollars every year and activate their connections at the highest levels of local, state and federal governance to push legislation and shape policy – a process which is foisted on the American people by hundreds of lobby firms (partisan and bi-partisan; foreign and domestic) and an agency-driven, main-stream media machine. At the same time, activist judges, an activist Justice Department and organizations like the ACLU, La Raza, CAIR and the NAACP challenge the supremacy of the U.S. Constitution. This short list of influence peddlers and policy-shaping actors and favor society players – these power brokers of the Democratic Establishment – stand as an ivory wall between we the people and Washington, D.C.
These 17 organizations are coordinating their efforts to ensure the Obama Administration will gain a second term. The Center for American Progress sits at the nexus of these organizations and their leadership. These 17 organizations are threatened by the grassroots power of the anti-jihad and tea party movements in America. These two movements are aligned in their dedication to U.S. sovereignty, the supremacy of the U.S. Constitution, free market capitalism, individual liberty, religious tolerance and government accountability.
Frank Gaffney, Daniel Pipes, David Horowitz, Steven Emerson, and David Yerushalmi have been targeted by the Democratic Establishment. The establishment goal is to muzzle these scholars by any means necessary, including character assassination and de-funding.
The Fear, Inc. report is an assessment of the Democrat Establishment’s problem. It charges seven conservative financiers with funding the key figures in the “anti-Muslim” movement. According to the report, $42.6 million over the last decade or so has flowed to these thinkers via their blogs and policy organizations, generating what the authors frame as a profitable propaganda industry, which drew the likes of Brigitte Gabriel and Pamela Geller to the cause. A number of validating voices, like Walid Phares and Zuhdi Jasser have joined in the effort, creating an echo chamber that drives the heated discussion about radical Islam, jihadist terrorism and the Shariah threat to America. Fear, inc. claims that these five figures are waging a misinformation campaign that promotes a war of civilizations paradigm. The message is pumped through the blogosphere and onto talk radio where Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh provide a platform for the ideas. Eventually, in high profile cases like the Ground Zero mosque, FOX News and other media outlets cash in on the controversy.
In the opinion of the Democratic Establishment, the tea party movement and the anti-jihad movement must be marginalized to allow time for the progressive agenda to take root. In this, the tea party movement was branded as terrorist and racist; the anti-jihad movement experts were called out for their lack of “formal” Islamic training and branded as hate merchants.
This is what the American people have witnessed as the Summer of Discontent 2011 wore on.
The Congressional Black Caucus launched the racist charges on the Tea Party Movement in mid August after the media labeled the Tea Party Congressmen as terrorists, willing to blow up the economy, as the debt ceiling crisis reached its height. The leader of that charge was none other than CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, the intellectual champion of the progressive movement at CFR.
The move to brand the leaders of the anti-Shariah movement as “The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” was leveled in the August 26th release of Fear, Inc. after supposedly six months worth of research, writing, fact checking, and other efforts. My live blogging efforts the last three days have uncovered the beginnings of the movement. But, what should be made clear is that the move to label the anti-jihad community as Islamophobes began in earnest over eight months ago, with a panel discussion in Washington D.C. called “Islamophobia and Beyond.”
This panel, which took place on January 15, 2011, included two of the authors of the Fear, Inc. report: Wajahat Ali and Faiz Shakir. Shakir and Ali were already in the process of putting their talking points together on this panel discussion – a panel which included CAIR’s Director of Government Affairs, Corey Saylor. As the legislative director of CAIR, Corey Saylor holds a vested interest in striking down the activities of Gaffney, Horowitz, Emerson, Spencer, and (especially) Yerushalmi.
The panel discussion can be found on YouTube, but for your convenience, I will spend the rest of my evening posting each individual feed to this blog and making a few remarks here and there – feel free to comment at any time and let me know your thoughts on this organizational meeting of the minds.
It is important to realize that the Council on American Islamic Relations is on the receiving end of virtually every missile shot from the anti-Shariah community and the surrounding echo chamber. Corey Saylor’s presence on this panel…and the resultant Fear, Inc. eight months later is no coincidence.
Enjoy the show.
Notice, Faiz Shakir is leading the dialogue.
9:30 P.M. EST – Rational versus irrational fear primes the panel discussion. Martin Luther King is quoted. According to Shakir, it is rational to fear terrorism, but irrational to fear “the other”– the myth of a dehumanized group of people. Glenn Beck’s statement that upwards of 10% of all Muslims are terrorists is considered a ridiculous claim by Shakir.
Jared Loughner and Timothy McVeigh are brought up as examples of white terrorists. The panelists show concern over FBI infiltration into mosques and prepare the way to discuss the MPAC report which states that around 1/3 of the al Qaeda related plots in America have been stopped by tips from Muslim Americans.
The discussion turns to political Islam. The concept of Islam as a monolith is discussed in terms of satellite television and the impact of the anti-political Islam rhetoric in other countries.
According to CAIR’s representative, Peter King’s call for a discussion/hearing of Radical Islam in the House of Representatives will end in a stacked deck. King, has said there are too many mosques in America and that 85% of the Muslim leaders in America are enemies of the state. Frank Gaffney’s credibility is attacked due to his comments over a crescent patch on military uniforms. The key is that the media spotlight on the King hearing will be an opportunity to show both sides of the issue – Terry Jones is immediately brought in, and then the video slips a little bit and the problems phase is cropped into the Solutions phase… Katy Couric’s call for a Muslim Cosby Show is used as an opportunity to introduce Wajahat Ali, who immediately clarifies his understanding of the Ground Zero Mosque. Ali states that Muslims are going through their Hazing period. He defines taqiya as hiding one’s true nature – to be chameleon-like. 60% of Americans don’t know a Muslim.
Islam is presented as rage boy – the angry violent Muslim. No Muslim American husband, the good Muslim American student…no nuance in the news coverage of Muslims. Ali then launches in to the nature of fiction and speaks to everyone like their children…
Immediately, the connection is made between the problems of the Islamic community with the FBI and the Hispanic community’s problems with ICE.
10:00 P.M. EST – Corey Saylor states that the faith community should be out in front in actively defying injustice. MLK was a reverend. 30% approval rating is proof that the faith leaders have not led well, since at 9/11 the Pew poll showed a 40% approval rating. Oklahoma banned Shariah Law. CAIR filed a lawsuit with constitutionally based arguments – but the hate mail was overwhelming. We should talk more about constitutional issues.
The media as a participant in Islamophobia?
Islam is always in the equation, but politics is often removed when the press creates a story. This process often creates platforms that legitimize the viewpoint of people like Pamela Gellar in the Park 51 Ground Zero Mosque issue.
Islamophobia became a smart campaign strategy in the 2010 election, so the Muslim leadership has to hold the media accountable for bigoted content.
The discussion moves to Q & A. Corey Saylor takes this moment (6 minute mark) to state his disagreement with the rational versus irrational fear construct of Faiz Shakir, saying that there should be no concept of rational fear of Islam. He states that his Christian upbringing does not allow him to believe that Bosnian rape camps of Muslim women was not based on Christianity and terrorism is not based on Islam.
One thing suggested to change American opinions is to join in the civic activities beyond the Muslim culture. The Muslim Americans have to call out double standards – as one of seven million Muslim Americans…
Faiz Shakir admits that a small group of Muslims are proclaiming Islam as the reason for their terrorism and crimes and his goal is to confront that fear as a community. Wajahat Ali agrees with Faiz – radicalized elements do exist. Mentions Virginian 5 who went to Pakistan to engage in terror training. That threat is a threat to all communities. All terror and extremism, including the Hutari (who were exposed by a Muslim) should be combated.
Soon the question went back to the why are women not represented on the panel. The discussion heads back to the hijab and burqa discussion.
Wajahat Ali tries to field the question and states that the problems and politics involved in the hijab issue for women in public, private and professional life, the natural limitations and whether or not it is a cultural bias in the media to the lack of advancement for women in professional endeavors.
11:00 P.M. EST – One panelist declares that Muslims should operate in their own political space and join in coalitions rather than awaiting democrat or republican party support. The alternative of organizing around shared interests is to abnegate the responsibility of living in civil society.
Corey Saylor jumps in to talk shop. Muslims must be sure to never ally themselves with a single party since neither will stay in power for extended periods of time. Republicans should reminded that Muslim community has many with conservative lean, while Democrats should not be allowed to treat Muslims in a begrudging manner. (far end of the stage, back of the bus)
Black Muslim author rises to grand stand about the fact that he is ashamed of the Black Muslim community’s silence against the beasts of White Supremacy and Imperialism.
The attitude that shines through is that immigrants are always targeted in America – America went after Japanese during and after World War II, Muslims are the new target for hatred.
Islam is not a monolith. Islam may be an organizing principle of some terrorist organizations, but Islam is not the cause of terrorism. The talking points continue during the Q&A.
Corey Saylor talks about action alerts for his CAIR community. To create the news don’t react to the news. Park 51 hit us out of the blue. We are moving toward hiring more lawyers so we can file more lawsuits. Federal judge in Oklahoma put a stay on the bill due to CAIR’s lawsuit efforts.
Wajahat Ali asks the leaders of the Muslim community whether their son or daughter has been encouraged to be a journalist to help guide the media. This is a failure of the Muslim community, and the solution is for the Muslim community to “bum rush the stage” and take their place by taking advantage of the Islamic community’s wealth, racial diversity and advance by supporting talented Muslims.
Education, teachers, activists and leaders who join forces on interfaith issues, responsible media personalities like Jon Stewart and Keith Olbermann…Guardian, Huffington Post, Salon…all are characterized as allies to the Muslim community. The goal is to always have people say “that was just one crazy person” rather than saying oh, that is Islamic terror.
Why is Islamophobia on the rise more now, than it was? Highlight the Clarion fund and others supporting rising Islamophobia?
A gay atheist then rises and asks why he is called an islamophobe for expressing my disgust about Islam’s treatment of homosexuality?
The panel discusses undo marginalization and skirts the issue. Moves on quickly to changing times.
60 years ago everyone on the stage would have all been subjects of the British crown. Things have changed rapidly. We all have to build and create content to demonstrate our involvement.
Did anyone else read Top Secret America? By Dana Priest – everyone should read it. The CIA has been unaccountable for generations.
This line of thought leads to the claim that intelligence gathering is a threat to all Americans.
The Top Secret America intelligence outfits is where people like Frank Gaffney pimp their psuedo expertise according to one panelist. Billions of dollars go to these information and intelligence gathering outfits that you don’t even hear about. These “fusion centers” are advised by unaccountable defense contracting; the Washington Post has called into question the expertise of bigots who profit off of their bigotry by supplying information to these outfits. At the local level, we have opportunities to resist intelligence collections activities via 4th Amendment and set the agenda, proactively.
Corey Saylor jumps in – wrote a report for CAIR on Islamophobia – the tone has changed. Southern Poverty Law Center is reporting growth in white supremacist groups. The problem is – Fort Hood shooting, the Christmas bomber, Park 51 – a series of events have shaped the media to negatively portray Islam and Muslims. Clarion took the worst of Islam, made a DVD, and with the help of financiers in swing states attempted to scare people into voting Republican – Salon’s Justin Elliot reported on the Clarion fund and made everyone aware of the millions backing Obsession, the video.
A discussion of European versus American Islamophobia follows a good question – Corey Saylor dodges the question – keeps his response to America and focuses on the fact that America is the best place in the world to be a hated minority – after 40 years, U.S. government apologized for Japanese-American internment and that is the model Muslims should learn from according to the CAIR Director. Faiz Shakir looks at it and says that in Europe secularism is being challenged by the Islamic faith and negative attitudes are due to the secular culture shock. The assessment comes forward that it took a decade of FBI alienation before people in America began believing the misinformation of the anti-Muslim experts.
A Gallop poll of 1 billion Muslims showed that Muslims love American values, democracy, freedoms, work ethic, but are opposed to U.S. foreign policy and the way Muslims are portrayed in the media.
Wajahat Ali continues to discuss his play and its value to its white test audience and how they connected by walking in a Muslim’s shoes. But more importantly, he immediately tells people how they can help, by supporting CAIR and recognizing that the Center for American Progress, which organized and sponsored the panel discussion, gets it.
11:30P.M. EST – The report Corey Saylor wrote for CAIR, discussed in this January panel was called Same Hate, New Target: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States. The 61-page report claims to cover January 2009 through December 2010.
This report is co-sponsored by the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The Center for Race and Gender is responsible for the special sections on Park 51 and the 2010 election. CAIR is responsible for all other material in the report. This report was finalized on Dec. 1, 2010.
The fact that the Race and Gender division of UC Berkeley sponsored this program is nothing new. For years, UC Berkeley has been publishing a quarterly newsletter called Faultlines that has focused on Islamophobia for at least the last three years. It should give all those critics of CAIR and the Fear, Inc. report to recognize the leap that has been made by the pro-Shariah activists in America - Islamic clerics and activist leaders are focusing on reaching out on gender and race relations studies in the California University system and are bridging the LGBT community by working with Center for American Progress and through reports like Same Hate, New Target are actively courting the gay community, by cultivating ties to personalities like Maddow on MSNBC. The mantra is becoming clear. First the Irish, then the Blacks, then the Jews, then the Japanese, then the Hispanics, then the Gay and Lesbian community and now the Arab/Muslim community have been met with scorn and derision and violent misapprehension. Breaking through the natural xenophobia of America's culture is a natural process according to the activists, chafing to follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Jr. to overcome the natural prejudice of White America.
No one seems to ask why the report did not surface in the media until June of 2011 though complete in December 2010.
“This report shows that Americans who embrace pluralism must act together to prevent Islamophobia from being accepted in mainstream society,” said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor, one of the report’s co-authors. “Islamophobia is the new face of an old hate that has targeted minorities throughout our nation’s history.”
The opening paragraphs of the report by Corey Saylor of CAIR and the UC Berkeley Race and Gender program lay down the markers of the path that Center for American Progress will walk in its creation of Fear, Inc.:
American Muslim reflections on Islamophobia in the United States occur in full recognition that virtually every minority in our nation has faced and in most cases continues to face discrimination.
Islamophobia is close-minded prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims. An Islamophobe is an individual who holds a closed-minded view of Islam and promotes prejudice against or hatred of Muslims. It is not appropriate to label all, or even the majority of those, who question Islam and Muslims as Islamophobes.
Some individuals, institutions and groups deserve recognition for their outstanding contributions to pushing back against Islamophobic trends during the period covered by this report: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Loonwatch.com; Congressional Tri-Caucus; Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN); Jon Stewart, Aasif Mandvi and The Daily Show; Keith Olbermann and Countdown with Keith Olbermann; Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report; Media Matters for America; interfaith leaders; and Rachel Maddow and The Rachel Maddow Show.
Some individuals, institutions and groups were at the center of pushing Islamophobia in America during the period covered by this report: Pamela Geller and Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA); Robert Spencer and Jihad Watch; Brigitte Gabriel and Act! for America; Frank Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy (CSP); Steven Emerson and the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT); Newt Gingrich; the four members of Congress who called for an investigation of Muslim Capitol Hill interns; Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda and other violent extremists; and Daniel Pipes.
Notably, Daniel Pipes, Steven Emerson, Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Brigitte Gabriel, Frank Gaffney and Newt Gingrich are grouped withe Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in the category of individuals, institutions and groups pushing Islamophobia. As an example of the main report, one section on page 56 asks “Why Make Islam the Enemy?” to which Corey Saylor responds:
In the 2010 midterm campaign season, elements of the Tea Party movement employed masterfully crafted ads to transform Islam into a singular, monolithic, and all-encompassing ideological and civilizational threat. A “threatening” ideology called Islam was constructed as the new evil.
Meanwhile, Islamophobes were able to cast themselves as defenders of liberal democratic principles by focusing their campaign around this constructed ideology rather than individuals or a group of individuals. The problem, they were able to say, was not your Muslim neighbors and friends, who were as deserving of universal rights as anyone else, but the ideology of violence espoused by Islam.
The institutions and individuals producing and disseminating Islamophobia in the United States are seeking to disenfranchise the growing American Muslim community. This is done by casting Islam as something to be feared and as the un-American other. If successful, this campaign will lead to isolation and distrust of the American Muslim community by the broader American society.
This isolation can push American Muslim youth toward disenchantment and marginalization, which can be manipulated into senseless extremism and violence.
Hence, Islamophobia can be seen as designed, in part, to attempt to promote radicalization in the American Muslim community, providing further rationalization for the “domestic war on terror” and all the funding and resources connected to it.
At a time of deep economic recession, Islamophobia provides opportunistic politicians and partisan elites an easy target—an “alien” religious group who call themselves “Muslims”—to present to the American people, who are frustrated about job losses, foreclosures, and future uncertainty.
In the 2010 midterm elections, “Islam” and “Muslim” became a trope for opposition to healthcare reforms, unemployment, dependence on foreign oil, increases in defense spending, high deficits, delays and body scanners at long airport security lines, and death visited upon our troops who are spreading democracy in distant and “backward” Muslim lands.
According to this line of reasoning, the tea party movement and anti-jihad community have pushed the Islamophobia rhetoric as a scare tactic for political gain without reckoning with the possibility that the isolation it naturally causes can lead to radicalization. In effect, the Islamophobes, Saylor claims, are responsible for the extremism and violence of disenchanted and marginalized youth. It has nothing to do with the Islamic ideology, societal realities simply allow disaffected individuals to be manipulated into senseless crime.
Interestingly, in the eight months between the completion and release of the CAIR report on Islamophobia, the Gender and Race program at UC Berkeley sponsored, in April 2011, a two day event to discuss the issue:
Sponsoring Organizations included: Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at the Center for Race and Gender, Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Institute of International Studies, GTU Center for Islamic Studies, Zaytuna College, American Cultures Engaged Scholarship, SFSU Arab and Muslims Ethnicities and Diaspora Initiative, Boalt Law School Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Law and American Muslims for Palestine.
CAIR’s website discusses Islamophobia, citing as its earliest reference on the topic a 1997 report by Runnymede Trust out of the UK called “Islamophobia: A Challenge for All of Us” and mentions the fact that it began its civil rights activities in America after wrongful accusations of middle eastern involvement in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
The discussion of Islamophobia is nothing new. CAIR’s report allows the UC Berkeley group to craft the section on Shariah Laws in American Courts section to distance itself from attacking Yerushalmi directly.
Judging from the panel discussion and the long stream of well timed report releases, the entire Islamophobia accusation process, tied into the California activist college professor network, needed only to link financiers to the accused experts to establish the victim status of the Islamic community in America. In this, the victim card is pulled by Fear, Inc. Dozens of professors at Berkeley, SFSU, and other schools could debate men like Robert Spencer and Daniel Pipes – but these debates are never organized…why? Because the professors are activist pseudo-intellectuals, masquerading as experts and teaching nothing but victimization and oppression studies. For instance, an advisor to the Islamophobia project at the UCB Center for Race and Gender, a Professor of Rhetoric named Professor Judith Butler is actually a raving anti-Zionist activist. Indeed, Butler is a feminist lesbian, seeking to rearrange the language of English to suit her polysyllabic tastes. When professors like Butler are given a salary and tenure, it irreparably harms the California University system. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars has Professor Butler received from the tax payers of California? Dozens of worthless activist professors of the Butler stripe dot the intellectual community fighting for the rights of the victimized Islamophobes while simultaneously damning and denouncing the Israelis for the crime of practicing self-defense against a terrorist enemy.
Tune in to The Bunker for more on Center for American Progress on Live Blog – Day 5.