Terrorists Read Me
by Daniel Pipes
Translations of this item:
Richard Wagner's music inspired Adolf Hitler. Lyrics in a Beatles' song, Helter Skelter, drove Charles Manson to direct the murders of actress Sharon Tate and others. J.D. Salinger's novel Catcher in the Rye inspired Mark David Chapman to assassinate John Lennon, one of the Beatles. The 1976 movie Taxi Driver and actress Jody Foster inspired John Hinckley to try to assassinate Ronald Reagan.
This madness serves by way of introduction to the fact that authors and artists cannot conrol how theirwork is received, who will respond to it, or to what purposes it will be put.
Closer afield,. Michael Scheuer, Noam Chomsky, and William Blum had books praised by Osama bin Laden. Edward Said's book on Islam was imposed by Lebanese terrorists on an American hostage, as Martin Kramer recounts in Ivory Towers on Sand:
I too have had my share of evil readers, including a leading figure in Hezbollah, who in 2007 told David Schenker of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy that the organization follows me. Here, in reverse chronological order, follows information on other terrorists who read me..
First, on Nov. 29, 2009, he enigmatically wrote (in English) "Daniel Pipes: Leftism and Islam. Muslims, the warriors Marxists have been praying for." These words are not mine: a search of www.DanielPipes.org finds no reference to such words until this moment.
Then follows a YouTube link that goes to a page announcing :
This baffles me, as my talks have nothing to do with cooking and I have not appeared on HBO, so how could either party claim copyright infringement? Further, checking my records, I find no talk of mine that begins with "The Modern L …" So, I have no idea what this video shows, or even if I am in it.
After this link, Behring Breivik goes on to discuss the Marxist-Islamist connection, concluding:
Or, in my editing of the Google translation:
The second entry follows two days later, Dec. 1, 2009. In it, Behring Breivik listed "Disappearing Christians in the Middle East" as a source for statistics on the decline in the Christian population of Bethlehem.
Comments: (1) This, the third terrorist who reads me, appears to differ from the prior two in being a counterjihadi rather than a jihadi, if one with Nazi inclinations.
(2) As this triad suggests, an author has no control over who reads him and what possible role his writings may have in shaping the mind of a terrorist.
(3) I repeat my promise from 2009, below, "assuring that the Middle East Forum and I do not inadvertently provide guidance to terrorists."
July 24, 2011 update: Behring Breivik's manifesto, a 1,518-page, 780,000-word compendium in English titled 2083 – A European Declaration of Independence, signed with an Anglicized version of his name, Andrew Berwick, and posted on the White supremacist website Stormfront.org, has come to light. I find myself quoted and cited many times. In most cases, this occurs in the context of essays written by Behring Breivik's anonymous countryman, Fjordman. In a couple of cases, Behring Breivik quotes me directly, once about Syria and once about Muslims in Europe. On one occasion he discusses me directly, in the context of arguing that "it is imperative that the European Jewish community without delay take a stance on the ongoing Islamisation."
The day's news also brings more indications that Behring Breivik was active in Nazi circles, including the internet forum Nordisk.
July 28, 2011 update: Another reader figured out the title of the missing YouTube video: "The Modern Left and Islamic Fascism." Only problem is, I don't use terms like "Islamic Fascism" and neither remember nor find a record of ever having delivered a talk with this title.
"David Coleman Headley," né Daood Sayed Gilani.
"David Coleman Headley," né Daood Sayed Gilani.
The comment itself contains a brief, respectful, and reasonable couple of questions which I responded to a few days later. There's nothing remarkable about it. (Aug. 6, 2010)
In addition to the name, there are several reasons to think this is the butcher of Ft. Hood: He received the mailings for over half a year before his identity became notorious; he has not opened any e-mails in a while, presumably since he has been jailed; and a search for firstname.lastname@example.org on the internet finds this address associated with the Texas jihadi (for example, by the Northeast Intelligence Network)..
Comments: (1) I have never assumed that all the Middle East Forum's or my readers share our outlook. To the contrary, the lively debates carried on in the more than 100,000 published reader comments show that readers have all outlooks. Still, I never imagined that a future terrorist would subscribe himself to our writings.
(2) Why, I can't help but wonder, would Hasan have wanted to see the Middle East Forum's work? Opposition research? Or might he have been stalking us?
(3) This subscription gives new urgency to the concerns I addressed at "Am I Helping the Terrorist Enemy?" and I hereby rededicate myself to assuring that the Middle East Forum and I do not inadvertently provide guidance to terrorists.
(4) On a sad note, this news brings to the mind that I learned just two months earlier, again while doing routine chores, that my articles were still being sent to the late Daniel Pearl's Wall Street Journal e-mail address, which had been initially subscribed before his murder nearly eight years ago. (December 30, 2009)
Dec. 31, 2009 update: The editor of the comment section at www.DanielPipes.org adds to the above:
July 19, 2012 update: The "Final Report of the William H. Webster Commission on The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Counterterrorism Intelligence, and the Events at Fort Hood, Texas, on November 5, 2009" was released today and includes the following passages:
The first of these is by Supna Zaidi, "Exporting American anti-Americanism to Muslim world," The Washington Examiner, Oct. 28, 2009 and the second is by David J. Rusin, "Imam Killed in FBI Shootout Sat on Board of Muslim Lobby Group MANA," Islamist-Watch.org, Oct. 29, 2009. Both of these analyses were sponsored by the Middle East Forum's Islamist Watch project.
This analysis concludes that "Electronic surveillance of the NidalHasan@aol.com email account in the weeks preceding the shootings would not have produced any actionable evidence of imminent violence or other wrongdoing." More broadly:
Reader comments (56) on this item
Comment on this item
Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes