The Muslim Bogeyman

Science Officer Spock: “Evil does seek to maintain power by suppressing truth.”

Dr. Bones McCoy: “Or by misleading the innocent.” ((Star Trek, “And The Children Shall Lead,” Season 3, Episode 4.))

Right off the bat, monopoly media commentators attributed the killings of Charlie Hebdo staff to Muslim terrorism.

There is to be a further clampdown on the way of life in France. The right-wingers in government applauded this. “Public freedom and the freedom of certain individuals” will have to be restricted, UMP parliamentary group Christian Jacob said. ((See RFI, “Valls promises anti-terror clampdown after Charlie Hebdo attacks,” 14 January 2015.))

Those who don’t remember their history are condemned to repeat it. Following the Oklahoma City bombing, monopoly media quickly pointed its finger at Islamic terrorists. ((Penny Bender Fuchs, “Jumping to Conclusions in Oklahoma City?” AJR, June 1995.))

Seldom have so many been so wrong—so quickly. In the wake of the explosion that destroyed the Murrah Federal Office Building, the media rushed—almost en masse—to the assumption that the bombing was the work of Muslim extremists. ((Jim Naureckas, “The Oklahoma City Bombing: The Jihad That Wasn’t,” FAIR, 1 June 1995.))

Racist vigilantes responded by attacking brown-skinned people. ((See J.A. Progler, “The Utility of Islamic Imagery in the West.”))

Immediately after planes began crashing into the World Trade Center buildings on NYC’s 9-11, Saudi Osama bin Laden was pegged as the mastermind of the attack. The US responded by launching lethal attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to the tens-of-thousands who’d perish in Afghanistan, over a million Iraqis would die based on dodgy dossiers and “fix[ing] the intelligence and facts.” ((See “The Downing Street Memos.”)) If the US government could lie about the casus belli for attacking Iraq, should anyone believe such a source about the alleged perpetrators? ((See David Ray Griffin, “Was America Attacked by Muslims on 9/11?”)) The US has a long history of warring based on concocted pretexts. ((See Kim Petersen, “Grasping at Straws: Searching for a War Pretexts,” Dissident Voice, 3 March 2003.))

Flash forward to the western-Saudi backed mercenary jihadists attempting regime change in Syria. US president Barack Obama was quick to declare a redline had been crossed by the government of Bashar Assad’s use of poison gas. Russian president Vladimir Putin insisted, quite reasonably, on evidence of the Syrian government being behind the gas attack. ((Al Jazeera and agencies, “Putin demands US provide Syria attack proof,” Al Jazeera, 31 August 2013.)) In fact, the US tried to prevent a United Nations investigation into the gas attack. ((Gareth Porter, “In Rush to Strike Syria, U.S. Tried to Derail U.N. Probe,” Dissident Voice, 27 August 2013.))

Subsequently, video evidence pointed to a false flag gas attack carried out by the jihadists. (( “Leaked video reveals Syrian rebels are to blame for Ghouta chemical attack,” Sputnik News, 19 September 2014.))

Why do the masses fall for (or not resist) the pretexts to wage war?

Nazi official Herman Göring provided a rationale in an interview with psychologist Gustave Gilbert from his Nuremberg cell in 1946:

Göring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

The Nazi regime had demonized Communists and Jews.

angleview_DVToday, western lands paint Muslims with the brush of terrorism. In France, and throughout much of the western world, the message came through that “they are being attacked” by Muslims. What followed was a Nobel Peace Prize moment: ((Kim Petersen, “Does Norwegian Nobel Committee Have the Integrity and Guts to Do the Right Thing?Dissident Voice, 12 August 2013.)) a photo-op staged by western political heads, many of whom could be denounced as terrorists.

To be “brought to the bidding of the leaders” the public needs to be tuned in to the message. That is the function of monopoly media (the term Ben Bagdikian uses to refer to the concentration of media in few hands). ((Ben Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly (Boston: Beacon Press, 1983).)) Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky’s Propaganda Model explained how the monopoly media shapes public opinion. ((Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (New York: Pantheon, 2002).))

In the context of the present day, Göring would likely frame it as “the leaders of the country” using the monopoly media manage “to drag the people along” into war.

This abuse of the monopoly media, using pretexts to drum up jingoistic fervor for waging war, is disinformation — what many consider to be a high crime. ((See Kim Petersen, “Disinformation: A Crime against Humanity and a Crime against Peace,” Dissident Voice, 17 February 2005.))

How are the “common people” to avoid the trap of war?

Obviously they have to learn to distinguish between information, disinformation, and propaganda. They need to ask who benefits from acts labeled as terrorism?

They need to distinguish between state and retail terrorism because state terrorism is far more lethal than retail terrorism. And it is necessary to distinguish between the so-called terrorism of oppression and the “terrorism” of resistance. ((See Douglas Valentine, “The Big, Meaningful Difference between State and Retail Terrorism,” Dissident Voice, 8 January 2015.)) When an oppressed people resist the terrorism of their oppressors, is it just to refer to those using the weapon of their oppressors to be committing “terrorism” — as if there is some equivalency between oppressors and the resistance? The old adage is that one fights fire with fire. Or should those who resist oppression be forced to fight their oppressors with one arm tied behind their backs? Logically and morally, those who suffer under oppressive circumstances have a right to resist the oppression — even violently — because oppression is inherently violent, and if it were not for the incipient violence, there would never have been a need to resist. ((For a discussion, see Kim Petersen, “Ending Violent Resistance: Target the Oppressor, Not the Resistance,” Dissident Voice, 23 October 2010. ))

The public needs to ascertain what media is reliable. What should the “mainstream media” be? This term is abused in that it is usually used to refer to state and corporate media. However, when, in reference to monopoly media, one asks “cui bono?” — then the answer is not the public, it is those who profit from shaping information. There is independent media out there, media that eschews advertising and the strings it has to advertisers. Find reliable sources of information.

Practice open-mindedness but with requisite skepticism. Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out. This is especially so for the education system. Wrote educator John Gatto:

Mass education cannot work to produce a fair society because its daily practice is practice in rigged competition, suppression, and intimidation. The schools we’ve allowed to develop can’t work to teach nonmaterial values. ((John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 1992): 77.))

Develop a set of moral principles. ((Education also plays a role here. “The business of the educator—whether parent or teacher—is to see to it that the greatest possible number of ideas acquired by children and youth are acquired in such a vital way that they become moving ideas, motive-forces in guidance of conduct. This demand and this opportunity make the moral purpose universal and dominant in all instruction—whatsoever the topic.” John Dewey, Moral Principles in Education (NY: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1909): location 92.)) Use your moral principles as a guide to determine what is just and unjust in the world. Apply these principles to trusted information sources. Act on injustices.

Preceding the Charlie Hebdo massacres are numerous massacres against Palestinians met with, at best, silence by western politicians and, at worst, support for the Israelis carrying out the violence; genocide against Palestinians and Iraqis; wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya; drone attacks in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen; attempts at regime change in Iran and Syria; support for suppression of democracy and the masses in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, etc. The common denominator in all these cases is the victims of western terrorism and violence are Muslims. Yet in a perverse example of doublespeak, the victims of terrorism are depicted by monopoly media as the terrorists.

And, if there are no Muslim terrorists or terrorist acts to be found, the FBI will create a Muslim bogeyman, usually some hapless chap. The Intercept journalists explain:

First, they target a Muslim: not due to any evidence of intent or capability to engage in terrorism, but rather for the “radical” political views he expresses. In most cases, the Muslim targeted by the FBI is a very young (late teens, early 20s), adrift, unemployed loner who has shown no signs of mastering basic life functions, let alone carrying out a serious terror attack, and has no known involvement with actual terrorist groups. ((Andrew Fishman and Glenn Greenwald, “Latest FBI Claim of Disrupted Terror Plot Deserves Much Scrutiny and Skepticism,” The Intercept, 18 January 2015.))

Decry the scapegoating of Muslims. Decry the killing of Charlie Hebdo staff. Decry also the racism that underlies the Charlie Hebdo publications. Decry the litany of western crimes against Muslims and people that don’t share all western values. Decry all violence not borne of resistance to oppression.

One does not have to believe in the Koran or adore Muslim sartorial. One might well take issue with Sharia. One can, and should, disagree with sexism within Islam (and any other religion). However, one should, in general, be tolerant of differences.

Be vigilant for seeming false flags. ((Paul Craig Roberts, “Charlie Hebdo,” 13 January 2015; “Charlie Hebdo: Report from Europe,” 17 January 2015. )) Do not allow false flags to become a pretext for overt racism, oppression, and warring! Muslims are not bogeymen!

One must abhor the killing, love Muslims, and love all humanity.

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at Read other articles by Kim.