Monday, August 29, 2011
Silencing Critics of Islamic Extremism
In a staggering expose, the Center for American Progress has released a 130-page report revealing that organizations which investigate Islamic radicalism are funded by money, not sunshine. One of the report’s authors, Faiz Shakir, was immediately invited to come on Keith Olbermann’s show to discuss this amazing discovery.
The Center for American Progress’ campaign for donor transparency, however, stops at its own doors. While its own budget is many times that of the organizations that its report targets — the CAP’s policy is to keep the identities of its own donors secret.
The CAP report attempts to suppress dialogue on Islamic terrorism with the charge of Islamophobia, but the center itself is part of a conservaphobia and Israelphobia network. An industry that pays quite well, as its annual budgets in the tens of millions show. The CAP report attempts to suppress dialogue on Islamic terrorism with the charge of Islamophobia, but the center itself is part of a conservaphobia and Israelphobia network. An industry that pays quite well, as its annual budgets in the tens of millions show.
Where does the money for the Center for American Progress come from? From shady billionaires, like Herb and Marion Sandler, listed by Time Magazine (together) as one of the 25 people to blame for the financial crisis, and George Soros, convicted in France of insider trading.
That dirty money goes to pay people like Faiz Shakir, Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matt Duss, Scott Keyes and Lee Fang — the authors of the report. And their collective credibility is about what you would expect from an organization whose known donors include a rogue’s gallery of the financial industry.
Lee Fang has been described as a serial fabulist for repeatedly manufacturing conspiracy theories that aren’t actually supported by the evidence, like the claim that the Chamber of Commerce was using “foreign money” to influence elections. Fang generates talking points for the Left by making wild claims, and then moves on.
Fang isn’t the only liar of the report’s authors. Faiz Shakir tried to falsely pass himself off as a conservative blogger to get on a Republican senator’s press list. He exploited the tragic murders in Norway to promote the false claim that Breivik had cited Robert Spencer 162 times, when actually Breivik’s 1,500-page manifesto had pasted in hundreds of documents, one of which was an independently assembled collection of quotes from Spencer, Tony Blair and others on Islam.
How much credibility should be assigned to Shakir, who offered to provide “comment and analysis” on the links between Breivik and Spencer — based on conclusions he drew from using the “Find” function in Word, without realizing that most of the hits he was getting were from one document that Breivik didn’t even write?
The idea behind the CAP report was probably lifted by Wajahat Ali, from a Max Blumenthal piece that Ali posted on his blog, Goat’s Milk, back in 2010. The Blumenthal article used many of the same talking points to write about an Islamophobia “network” funded by Jewish donors.
The piece is similar enough to the CAP report that Blumenthal should probably be credited as an author, but the report does not appear to even mention him. That’s not so odd, as Blumenthal’s article charged that “representatives of the Israel lobby and the Jewish-American establishment” had conspired to conduct a crusade against mosques and Islam.
Blatant bigotry and Blumenthal’s rants about baby killing rabbis would have made him too dangerous to credit, but his influence is present in the CAP report, from its opening statistic that blames researchers into Islamic extremism for a 10-point drop in Muslim approval, to its conspiracy theories about an “Islamophobia network” funded by some of the same foundations that Blumenthal had mentioned last year. The same dated material that Shakir and Ali are now trying to pass off as a major scoop.
Israelphobia is a common denominator among the majority of the report’s authors.
It shows up in Wajahat Ali’s writings as he conducts an interview with the Israel Lobby’s Walt and Mearsheimer, and denounces Israel’s “egregious crimes” and America’s “slavish loyalty” to it.