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Tag: terrorism

Believe It Or Not, Giuliani Once Had A Finest Hour

Rudolph Giuliani was always somewhat off-center, even in his glory days as New York City mayor. But people who recall him then were stunned by his decline into a conspiracy-mongering swamp creature of Trump world. The 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 lets us remember that on that day of horror, Giuliani was on the chaotic scene, passing out courage and hope.

At 10 a.m. on 9/11, I was in New York on a train being kept underground in Penn Station. The two planes had just hit the World Trade Center.

The conductor came on the loudspeaker telling us repeatedly that "this is the safest place you can be right now." We didn't all have cellphones then, but a guy in the back of the car did and informed us that the Pentagon had been hit and the first tower, and then the second, had come down. The conductor asked us to pray for the people in the World Trade Center.

We were scared and shuddered imagining the terror downtown. We didn't know at that point who did it, why or whether they had stopped. We wanted to get out of town, but the train wasn't going anywhere because the tunnels were being searched for bombs.

The conductor came on one last time and told us to stay calm, take our bags and leave the train. We ascended into the light and a totally transformed city, country and world.

A public filled with dread needed consoling. President George W. Bush was incommunicado most of the day. But Giuliani was there among the smoking debris, the only visible political figure offering solace and, even more importantly, reassurance that life would go on.

He spoke eloquently about the collective grief. Asked how many had died, he said, "The number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear."

But he also pleaded with New Yorkers to keep faith in the future. "Tomorrow, New York is going to be here," he said.

The most calming thing he said that afternoon, though, was that two of the subway lines were again operating and named which ones. Yes, it was going to be OK.

Giuliani became "America's Mayor," hailed as the ash-covered leader of 9/11. Time magazine made him "Person of the Year," and Queen Elizabeth gave him an honorary knighthood.

The backstory of Giuliani's role in 9/11 was less inspiring. One reason he became the hero of the streets was that he had pushed to place the Office of Emergency Management headquarters in the worst possible location, on the 23rd floor inside the 7 World Trade Center building. The office was created in response to the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and the site was considered among the top targets for terrorists.

Giuliani has long had a strained relationship with the truth but went over the deep end in 2019 by peddling a theory that Ukraine tried to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election. He forever disgraced himself by pushing lies that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump — culminating in his speech on Jan. 6, calling on Trump supporters to engage in "trial by combat" right before they ravaged the capital.

Giuliani had already fallen far. In 2018, he attended a game at Yankee Stadium, and when the announcer said, "The New York Yankees wish a very happy birthday to Mayor Giuliani," the crowd burst out with boos.

There's been much speculation about what happened to him. In New York City, he could have had bridges, roads and schools named for him. All that's left is a memory of Giuliani's finest hour urging battle against fear in the darkness of 9/11.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com

Trump Signals That His Coup Plotting Isn’t Really Over

Reprinted with permission from DC Report

The violent mob Donald Trump sent to attack and loot our Capitol receded during the night, but his efforts to overthrow our government continue. Trump signaled in a Tweet that even after he leaves office his criminally seditious behavior will persist.

This is "only the beginning of the fight to make America Great Again!" Trump declared at 3:49 a.m. Thursday. (An aide tweeted his message after Twitter locked Trump's own account for spreading dangerous lies.)

While Trump's middle of the night statement also promised a peaceful transition of power when Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20, it came without a critical word about the chaos and violence Wednesday by fanatical Trumpists in California, Kansas, Georgia, Oregon, Washington, and Utah.


Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, among others, defended or excused Trump's solicitation of mob violence. Eight senators and a majority of House Republicans voted to reject the certified election results from two states. Hawley should be ousted by the rest of the Senate, not the least because Hawley gave a raised fist in solidarity with the mob as he entered the Capitol Wednesday.

Support for Rioters

Trump's baseless claims that he won by a landslide in November—for which he produced no evidence in 60 failed lawsuits—are believed by a large share of Republicans. A poll during the siege found that 45% of Republicans support the mob attack while more than two-thirds of the GOP believe the violence and looting pose no threat to our democracy.

If other polls support this finding it is a powerful measure of how much enduring damage Trump has inflicted on our democracy by promoting disrespect for the rule of law. That Republicans, of all people, would support lawlessness and violence after decades of "law and order" sloganeering shows their fervor for authoritarian rule.

Propaganda favoring Trump plays a major role in the willingness of many Republicans to excuse Trump's criminal behavior and contemptuous violation of his oath of office.

Primetime hosts on Rupert Murdoch's Fox News repeatedly told the lie Wednesday evening that Capitol invaders were not Trumpist thugs, but Antifa posing as Trump supporters or at least some of them were Antifa. Fox News even posted a story excusing Trump's attempted coup. Fox politics writer Brooke Singman wrote:

"Trump said 'these are the things and events that happen,' referring to violent protests that sent the U.S. Capitol Building into lockdown when a 'landslide victory' is 'vicously [sic] stripped away from great patriots,' while urging America to 'remember this day forever'. "

Trump's Felonies

Trump's remarks at the rally, where he told the mob to go to the Capitol while he headed in the other direction to the security of the White House, make him liable for prosecution for at least three federal crimes: inciting insurrection, sedition and advocating the violent overthrow of the government. He could be liable for criminal conspiracy charges and local District of Columbia criminal charges.

Adding to the liability for criminal charges over the attack were the words used to rile up the crowd by his son Don Jr. and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who called for "trial by combat."

While some Capitol Police engaged in combat with the attackers, and one lone uniformed agent was forced to retreat up stairways as a menacing crowd closed in on him, some Capitol Police held doors open for the invaders and others smiled at them, video showed.

Had the invaders been Black instead of white it is likely the attack would have been met with batons, handcuffs and even indiscriminate gunfire by Capitol Police. As CNN reporter Omar Jimenez tweeted: "I saw more arrests during protests in Minneapolis this summer than I have watching people storm the US Capitol."

Racists In The Capitol Police?

That conduct raises questions about whether racist and fascist groups have infiltrated the Capitol Police, just as they have many local and state police agencies.

Extensive video, including Congressional security cameras, can be used to identify the perpetrators of the first sacking of our Capitol since the British attacked in 1814. Every one of these insurrectionists must be identified, arrested, indicted, tried and if convicted given long prison sentences.

The most important question that should be asked of Merrick Garland, the federal appeals court judge Biden is nominating to be attorney general, is whether he will commit to ensuring the prosecution of every one of these criminals.

Other than making deals to leverage some perpetrators into admitting guilt to the most serious crimes in return for very slight reductions in sentences, these enemies of America should be shown no mercy by our Justice Department. They also should all be tried in Washington, D.C., where they committed their many felonies.

Beyond D.C.

A variety of actions by Trumpists from Atlanta to the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday showed how deeply their desire to overthrow our government permeates American society. Posing as patriots, these people spout conspiracy theories, make remarks showing they lack even a junior high school civics understanding of our Constitution, and many call for violence against minorities, notably Muslims and Black Americans.

Some of what these American brown shirts did Wednesday:

  • Armed Trumpists marshaled outside the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City.
  • In Sacramento police arrested 12 Trumpists for illegal possession of pepper spray during protests at the California State Capitol.
  • In Salem, Ore., Trump's Proud Boy thugs fought outside the state Capitol, prompting police to declare an unlawful assembly. A woman burned in effigy Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat.
  • In Olympia, Wash., Trumpist thugs broke down the fence at the governor's official mansion while Gov. Jay Inslee and his family were inside.
  • In Atlanta, armed Trump thugs gathered outside the Capitol, prompting state police to hustle Brad Raffensperger, the top state elections official, out of the building, partly out of concern about the presence of a former KKK leader who now directs one of Trump's faux patriot support groups. Officials in Fulton County, which surrounds much of Atlanta, suspended vote counting because of safety concerns.
  • Trump's thugs also harassed random people. In Los Angeles, a Black woman walking down the street was surrounded by a score of Trump's thugs who menacingly demanded she declare who she voted for in the November elections.
  • In Topeka, Kansas some demonstrators, echoing Trump's baseless claims he really won the November election by a landslide, entered the state Capitol, but were peaceful.
  • On an American Airlines flight from Texas to Washington, "flight attendants are struggling to control a plane full of Trump supporters as they display a pro-Trump projection and harass others passengers bound for D.C.," freelance journalist Maranie R. Staab reported, posting a video to authenticate her story.

That a poll found many Trumpers support the insurrection Wednesday is not surprising if they rely only on supposed new organizations that act as propaganda arms of Team Trump.

Fox News hosts on Wednesday evening described the violent mob not as Trump supporters, but leftists posing as Trumpists, a conspiracy theory with even less factual basis than Trump's delusional claims of election fraud.

What Trump made clear early Thursday morning is that after his term ends on Jan. 20, he will continue his efforts to overthrow the government he swore on oath to defend.

The question of the day is what Democrats, now that they control the House, Senate and White House, will do to protect our democracy? Will they decide to let bygones be bygones and move ahead, or will they do their duty and bring Trump and those who committed crimes on his behalf to justice?

West Virginia GOP Legislator Charged In Capitol Riot

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

At least one Republican state lawmaker has been arrested and federally charged as part of the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, the Department of Justice announced on Friday.

West Virginia state Del. Derrick Evans filmed himself inside of the Capitol, breaking into the building with the mob of Trump supporters.

He's one of 12 GOP state lawmakers who were either at the rally where Trump incited the mob to head to the Capitol, or were in the Capitol itself as part of the insurrection — according to a list compiled by FiveThirtyEight's Nathaniel Rakich.

Some of the lawmakers claimed they were not part of the violence. But their presence ties them to the horrific events the country watched unfold and is leading to calls for their resignations.

The Republican lawmakers are:

Tennessee state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver: At 6:41 p.m., as law enforcement was still working to clear the building of the violent insurrectionists who broke in as part of a now-failed coup attempt, Weaver tweeted a photo from earlier in the day at the Capitol praising the mob.

"Epic and historic day gathering with fellow Patriots from all over the nation DC," Weaver tweeted.

Weaver admitted to the Tennessean that she was "in the thick of it" and falsely claimed that there "wasn't any violence going on here."

But Trump supporters were captured on video assaulting journalists and law enforcement officials by countless media outlets and individuals at the scene, in reports that traveled around the world. One Capitol Police officer is now dead from injuries sustained trying to protect the hundreds of lawmakers and workers inside, in addition to four others who died.

Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase: A leading contender to be the Republican nominee for governor of Virginia, Chase posted an image of the pro-Trump mob gathered outside of the Capitol to Facebook, writing, "DC Rally! SHARE what the media won't show you!"

She later defended the violent coup attempt in a video, saying, "I will tell you that while I do support peaceful protest, that I believe that we the people have had enough, and when you back good people, law-abiding citizens, into the corner, they will push back when you give them no other options."

The Virginia Democratic Party called Chase's comments "despicable" and "what the whole @VA_GOPhas become."

West Virginia state Del. Derrick Evans: Like Weaver, Evans was one of the insurrectionists who illegally entered the Capitol.

The New York Times reported that in a since-deleted video posted to his Facebook Page, Evans screams "We did it!" upon entering the building, adding "Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!"

Evans also ignored demands from Capitol Police officers to leave, shouting "Patriots inside, baby!" according to the Times.

He has been charged by the Department of Justice for his role and is now facing calls to resign.

Michigan state Rep. Matt Maddock: Maddock and his wife, Meshawn Maddock, spoke at the rally before the violent insurrection took place.

Meshawn retweeted a video of the mob walking toward the building and said it was "the most incredible crowd and sea of people I've ever walked with."

A local Michigan Patch site reported that Meshawn claimed she left before the violence started.

Missouri state Rep. Justin Hill: Hill, a former police officer, did not attend his own swearing-in at the Missouri state Capitol to attend the rally and later the violent insurrection at the Capitol.

In a post on Facebook, Hill claimed that he went to the Capitol but left "immediately" when he heard that someone had been shot and suggested that the violent insurrectionists inside were not Trump supporters — a lie right-wing media and some Republican lawmakers are pushing.

Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano: A local news outlet reported that Mastriano led a bus of Trump supporters down to the rally, where Trump called on his supporters to "fight" and march to the Capitol, where the violence began.

Mastriano told a local news outlet that, "At no point did we enter the Capitol building, at no point did we tread upon the Capitol steps, and at no point did we tread upon police lines. Obviously, we're there together and we don't want to get caught in any violence, so we left out of there."

Nevertheless, his Democratic colleagues are calling for his resignation.

"Doug Mastriano is a sitting senator who actively organized a violent insurrection in an attempt to prevent a peaceful transfer of power. Sen. Corman & GOP leadership should call for his immediate resignation. If not, he should be removed from all committee or leadership positions," Democratic state Sen. Tim Kearney tweeted.

Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem: Finchem tweeted on Jan. 1 that he was traveling to Washington, D.C., to "fight for President @realDonaldTrump," adding that he was going to be at a protest at 10 a.m. at the Capitol building, where the insurrection occurred.

Finchem later tweeted a photo of the mob on the steps of the Capitol with the caption, "What happens when the People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud."

That language appears to directly support the insurrection that took place.

Finchem later complained that he could not get food delivered to his hotel room after attending the violent insurrection because of law enforcement activity.

Alaska state Rep. David Eastman: Eastman was at the rally earlier in the day where Trump incited the mob but claimed that he did not go to the Capitol, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Still, Eastman traveled from Alaska all the way to Washington, D.C., to attend a rally, whose sole purpose was to egg on the effort to force Republican members of Congress to block President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

Eastman told the Daily News that he thought the riot and break-in was "pretty terrible."

Democratic state Rep. Sara Hannan told the outlet that she heard from constituents who wanted Eastman to be expelled for attending the rally, but said he would not be because he had a First Amendment right to attend a rally.

"If his picture shows up having breached and vandalized the Capitol buildings ... then I think there should be repercussions," Hannan told the Daily News. "But as far as his right to protest, that's an American's right."

Incoming Nevada state Assemblywoman Annie Black: A local news outlet in Nevada reported that Black was at the Capitol when the violence broke out but did not go past the security line "to avoid being associated with the mob."

Like Eastman, Black traveled a long distance to attend a rally that was specifically trying to pressure Congress to overturn a free and fair election. Yet she condemned the violence, later trying to blame it on "rogue Trump supporters or outside agitators" — the same kind of blame-shifting rhetoric that has been seen on right-wing media outlets.

"Whoever these people were, whether they were rogue Trump supporters or outside agitators, they should be identified, arrested, charged, prosecuted, and severely punished," Black told 8NewsNow.

Illinois state Rep. Chris Miller: Miller posted a video to Facebook at the rally before the mob breached the Capitol.

He used violent rhetoric, calling the rally a "great cultural war to see if we will survive, whether if we will remain a free people."

He spoke of the "dangerous Democrat terrorists" who are "trying to destroy our country."

Miller's wife is Rep. Mary Miller, also a Republican, who is now facing calls to resign after she spoke at the rally and said "Hitler was right" to recruit youth into his Nazi movement.

Outgoing Georgia Rep. Vernon Jones: Jones attended the rally that preceded the violent insurrection, where he officially declared that he was leaving the Democratic Party and joining the GOP.

"Moments ago, I announced that I am officially joining the Republican Party," Jones tweeted. "Now more than ever, the Republican Party is in desperate need of leaders that know how to fight. I know how to fight."

Jones took a selfie at the march to the Capitol with Finchem, one of the other GOP lawmakers at the insurrection.

Outgoing Arizona state Rep. Anthony Kern: Kern posted photos traveling to the District of Columbia for the rally urging a coup, tweeting on Jan. 4, "DC Hear We COME!!!!!! #StoptheSteal"

Kern went to the rally where Trump fired up his supporters to go to the Capitol. He tweeted a photo of himself outside of security fencing, and it's unclear whether he went inside.

Kern lost reelection in 2020.

Former Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone: Saccone is no longer in the state Legislature, but he was also part of the violent mob at the Capitol.

He said in a since-deleted Facebook post that, "We are storming the capitol. Our vanguard has broken through the barricades. We will save this nation. Are u with me?"

Saccone lost a special election to Democratic Rep. Connor Lamb in 2018. Saccone went on to lose a GOP primary in a different United States House district in Pennsylvania later that year.

The violent insurrection that occurred on Wednesday was spurred on by Trump himself.

Trump called for Republicans to fight 20 times in his rambling one-hour-and-13 minute-long speech, in which he called on his supporters to march to the Capitol to "give our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don't need any of our help, we're going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country," according to a transcript.

Trump is likely to be impeached for a second time over the incitement.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

VIDEO: Thugs Who Attacked Capitol Were Prepared To Take Hostages — And Execute Them

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The people who besieged the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday were not merely rioters and insurrectionists. Some of them appear to have been intent on taking hostages and murdering them, and there are signs that the attempt was carefully planned out.

Photo evidence shows people who entered the building came prepared to take hostages, and to bind them with zip ties. Witnesses say talk was rampant about executing Vice President Mike Pence—who only an hour before the riot had declined to follow Donald Trump's urgings and object to the Electoral College results—as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.


Capitol insurrectionists chant 'Hang Mike Pence!', vow to return to 'finish the job' www.youtube.com

The rioters could be seen on video chanting "Hang Mike Pence!" as they entered the Capitol. Getty Images photographer Win McNamee captured the startling image of a masked and armed man clambering about Senate chambers—where Pence had been presiding over the proceedings only an hour before—with a parcel of premade zip cuffs. Other photosshowed multiple invaders carrying restraints—in one case was a man identified as a military veteran with a security clearance.

Reuters photographer Jim Bourg, who was with the rioters, reported:

I heard at least 3 different rioters at the Capitol say that they hoped to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him by hanging him from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor. It was a common line being repeated. Many more were just talking about how the VP should be executed.

Journalist Andrew Feinberg reported that the rioters went on the hunt for Pence, Pelosi, and Schumer upon gaining entry to the Capitol. White nationalist Tim "Baked Alaska" Gionet livestreamed himself invading Pelosi's office and vandalizing it while making mock phone calls from it.

The entire scenario these invaders seemed to have in mind bore more than a passing resemblance to the plot dreamed upby the members of Michigan's "Wolverine Watchmen," who before their arrests by the FBI for conspiring to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer actually planned to invade the state Capitol in Lansing, take public officials hostage, and then televise or livestream their executions.

And there are indications that the invasion of the Capitol was carefully planned, perhaps with the participation of the Oath Keepers, a far-right group that specializes in recruiting and radicalizing military and law enforcement veterans. The organization's leader and founder—who as a speaker at previous pro-Trump rallies in Washington, D.C. and had urged Trump to use the Insurrection Act in order to declare martial law—was spotted at Wednesday's rally, and members of the group not only were seen appearing to prepare for the assault on the Capitol, but were seen on video shot by journalist Ford Fischer playing a key role in the initial breaching of its security perimeter.

Oath Keepers have played a leading role in whipping up groundless conspiracist hysteria over what they call the "stolen election"—and even before the election had called for Trumpto declare martial law. Rhodes urged his members to prepare for "civil war," and after the election, Oath Keepers' rhetoricveered into outright threats of violence against public officials and journalists.

Whichever former law enforcement officials might be involved in these schemes are seemingly oblivious to the existence of federal laws that make even planning to kidnap members of Congress a crime punishable with life imprisonment (namely, 18 U.S. Code § 351).

Nothing appears to deter these extremists, who are currently basking in massive online adulation by their far-right brethren for the attack on American democracy as Jared Holt, analyst for the Atlantic Council, explained to Greg Sargent of The Washington Post.

"By all measurable effects, this was for far-right extremists one of the most successful attacks that they've ever launched," Holt said. "This will be lionized and propagandized on likely for the next decade."

Moreover, he explained, the insurrectionists' success in overtaking the building will be a long-term talking point for the radical right: "These communities are discussing the attack as some sort of validation that it actually is possible for them to exert their power like this and achieve results. They're talking about this as the first stab in a greater revolution."

Certainly, the insurrectionists Wednesday had no doubts that they would be returning with even greater violence in mind. Multiple rioters verbally attacked police officers trying to hold the line, telling them, as one of them did afterwards: "Traitors get the rope. Traitors get the noose. Wait till we come back with rifles, motherfucker. You think that's an idle threat?"

One of the Capitol invaders interviewed by Fischer blamed Mike Pence for the day's violence, notably the shooting of an insurrectionist near the House chambers by a Capitol Police officer.

"We're not putting up with this tyrannical rule!" he shouted. "If we gotta come back here and start a revolution, and take all of these traitors out, which is what should be done, then we will."

‘Boogaloo Boi’ Seeking Civil War Is Arrested For Deadly Attack On Deputies

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

It's becoming clear that the "Boogaloo Bois" who have been filling Facebook and other social media platforms with their increasingly violent scenarios about engaging in a civil war—beginning with civil authorities as the chief targets, expanding to include racial and ethnic minorities, and finally including their ordinary neighbors—are not content to merely keep fantasies online.

A 32-year-old Air Force sergeant with special combat training tried to make the "Boogaloo" a reality this week in Santa Cruz, California, when he embarked on a killing rampage targeting law enforcement officers, ambushing two sheriff's deputies, killing one, and severely wounding another. He then was stopped by a determined neighbor before he could get any farther. On the hood of his car, he had scrawled in blood: "I became unreasonable" and "Boog."

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Trump Aide’s Attack On Obama Backfires

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

One of the “justifications” that officials in President Donald Trump’s administration have been using to defend the killing of Qasem Soleimani is that the Iranian military commander was planning “imminent attacks” against the United States, even though that explanation has crumbled since it was first rolled out.

On Friday, Hogan Gidley (principal deputy press secretary to Trump) reiterated the administration’s “imminent attacks” assertion without evidence, but he then went on to hit back at critics by saying that when President Barack Obama “killed” al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Libyan dictator Moammar Gadaffi, he did so “without congressional approval.”

This factually challenged claim drew a lot of criticism on Twitter for Gidley.

Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio, responding to Gidley, tweeted that Gadaffi, the late Libyan dictator, “was not killed by the United States” — and the 2011 operation that killed bin Laden, according to Desiderio, came under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).

“Reporters are asking questions about the ‘imminent attacks’ because that was the administration’s stated justification for taking out Soleimani,” Desiderio added.

The Washington Post’s Shane Harris tweeted that Obama’s administration “consulted members of Congress in advance of killing bin Laden.” And Gadaffi, Harris pointed out, was “killed by a mob,” not Obama.

Susan Hennessey, executive editor of Benjamin Wittes’ Lawfare website and a legal/national security analyst for CNN, said of Gidley’s tweet, “Beyond this being factually false, it also completely ignores the fact that Obama was candid with Congress about the factual underpinnings of the threat, whereas Trump appears to be obfuscating and lying.”

She also pointed out that the drone killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen who U.S. officials said was a member of al Qaeda, was in fact very controversial and generated pushback against Obama even from within his own party.

@ICanBeAHandful, in response to Gidley, tweeted, “Is pathological lying a requirement to working in this administration? Have you gotten a performance bonus?” And @spdustin posted, “Osama bin Laden wasn’t a general of a sovereign nation,” while @sadielou01 posted, “Where does the WH find you guys? Do you all have to have flunked history for consideration?”

@Joshtpm chastised Gidley, “Dude, can you do the basic level of homework to know that ‘Obama’ didn’t kill Gaddafi? He was caught by a rebel militia and executed, you ridiculous goof.”

Defending Airstrike, Pence Falsely Blames Iran For 9/11 Attack

Attempting to justify the Trump administration’s decision to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Mike Pence falsely claimed that Iran was involved in planning for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“Assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States,” Pence wrote, referring to Iran’s Quds Force, which was under the leadership of Soleimani.

Pence’s claim is at complete odds with the official findings of the 9/11 commission, which exhaustively investigated and examined the attack.

“We have found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack,” the report noted. “At the time of their travel through Iran, the al Qaeda operatives themselves were probably not aware of the specific details of their future operation.”

Pence also incorrectly stated the number of terrorists involved in the worst terrorist attack in American history, which claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people.

There were 19, not 12, hijackers who committed the attacks. Most of the attackers were from Saudi Arabia, with the others coming from Egypt, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. Not Iran.

Pence made his allegation as part of a thread describing Soleimani as involved in “plotting imminent attacks” against American diplomats and military personnel.

That assertion is contradicted by Pentagon officials who spoke to the New York Times.

“National security experts and even officials at the Pentagon said there was nothing new about Iranian behavior in recent months or even weeks,” the Times noted.

The paper also reported that “one Defense Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning, said that there was nothing new in the threat presented by the Iranian general.”

In 2004 when he was serving in the House of Representatives, Pence falsely claimed that “weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.”

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

In 2019, America Saw The Human Cost Of Fox News’ Nativism

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

On August 3, a gunman entered a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and murdered 22 people and injured 26 more. In addition to telling police that he drove from a Dallas suburb with the intention of targeting “Mexicans,” the shooter allegedly left a manifesto spelling out his rationale for carrying out the attack — which turned out to be virtually identical to anti-immigrant talking points heard nightly on Fox News.

The shooter’s major ideological influence was the “great replacement” theory: the idea that sinister left-wing forces are bringing Mexicans and other immigrants to the United States to replace white people. We saw that rhetoric on Fox and other conservative media time and time again both before and after the shooting. It was no secret that it was and is a white nationalist conspiracy theory.

Here’s a sampling of Fox’s nativist rhetoric just from this year, before and after the shooting:

Nothing on Fox News changed after El Paso, just as nothing changed in 2018 after another right-wing conspiracy theory inspired a synagogue shooter in Pittsburgh.

The “great replacement” rhetoric is still there. Just days after the shooting, Tucker Carlson declared the notion that white supremacy is a real problem in the U.S. is a “hoax.” The network went out of its way to blame the shooting on video games because, from the Murdochs on down, the network pushes white nationalism to serve President Donald Trump’s agenda. Just look at how the network buried the story of top Trump adviser Stephen Miller’s racist emails.

Anyhow, here’s a list of top Fox News advertisers.