January 17, 2014

The Jawa Report: Celebrating 10 Years of Offending People Who Need to Be Offended **Sticky**

UPDATE: Welcome back friends and neighbors. Two related posts for the 10th anniversary --
The Jawa Report: 10 Years of Fatwas & Death Threats!
10 Years Ago Today: My Shout Out and Thanks to Bloggers and Friends

Two days from today will be our ten year anniversary. I started this blog on Jan. 19, 2004 with this post:

If you think this is offensive, just wait til I really get going!
People used to email me constantly demanding -- DEMANDING!!111!! -- that I take this or that down. Don't you know you might offend someone? But they didn't get it, I wanted them to react that way. I wanted them to be offended.

For me, in the midsts of two shooting wars, you don't worry about offending the sensibilities of your enemies. Previous generations understood this. Have you ever watched the old Looney Tunes cartoons from WWII? They didn't pull any punches. In fact, many of these cartoons are now considered so offensive that Warner Bros. didn't renew the copyright on them and doesn't include them in their usual syndication deals. They're "banned" for being too offensive.

As one of my historian colleagues reminded me sometime in 2004: we didn't fight Nazis, we fought the Germans. There was no Nazi Army, there was only a German Army. It was only after WWII was over that we started talking about good "Germans" vs bad "Nazis". It was historical revisionism within a few years of the actual war. I do not mean to say there weren't a lot of Germans who opposed Hitler, only that it didn't matter. A guy with a gun pointed at your head who is a Nazi is no different at that moment than a guy with a gun pointed at your head who is really sorry to be killing you, but you know, orders.

So, we fought Germany and Germans were the bad guys. Call it a casualty of war, but dehumanizing your enemies is a necessary evil. It's hard to pull the trigger when you think of the guy at the end of the barrel as no different than your buddy next to you.

Unfortunately our present generation is so ignorant of history and so far removed from the actual labor of war in which the lives of men and women are on the line that they mistake legal and semantic disagreements as actual important issues. As one Marine famously put it, "America isn't at war. The Marine Corps is at war. America is at the mall."

But I guess that's what you get when you have whole generations of Americans who have never had to bear the burden of war and who's only experience with actual "work" consists of reading, writing, and pointing and clicking.

And so as Leftists whined, fretted, and gnashed their teeth over every little mistake made by our military and confused their criticism for something important and this blog was born. It was born out of frustrationg with Leftists who were pointing fingers at our men women in uniform and of Muslims in denial about the depths to which people within their own ranks were sympathetic to an evil and totalitarian ideology.

On the second day I blogged, I wrote a longer defense of what I was doing. I think it's worth reprinting most of it here as I celebrate 10 years:

The question for me is this: How dangerous is the Islamist movement?

In my view the answer is: Very dangerous.

This is no small matter and I think it is one that divides the country. In some ways the division between Cold Warriors and the Dovish libs were largely differences of perception. IF communism was a REAL threat to the US, THEN the investigations into communist party members in the State Department were a good thing. However, IF communism was NOT a very large threat to the US, THEN we should let commies, or democrats, or whoever work in the State Department. Liberals did not really believe that communism was such a large threat while conservatives generally saw it as such (forget the left, to them communism was GOOD, or at least better than bourgois capitalism).

Today, we must ask ourselves if the Islamist movement threatens our nation, its interests, and the world. In my view the answer is YES, YES, YES. Islamists wish to replace friendly regimes with hostile ones. They wish to replace secular law with Sharia. They wish to take back lands once ruled by Islam (from Spain through India). In the long run they envision a world ruled by Islam. Yes, it is true that they would allow Christians and Jews to privately worship, but would ban conversions and religious free speech. Christians and Jews are to be ruled as second-class citizens. If that isn't bad enough, they also wish to vanquish Buddhism, Hinduism, and animism from the world--totally.

With that in mind, we need to dig deeper and ask, Q:What is the ideological source of those that wish to create the world-wide Caliphate? A: Islam.

Another way in wich our war against Islamists is similar to the Cold War is the way in which liberals and conservatives disagreed on the role of Marx. Many libs and lefties were always so eager to diss the Soviet Union but wished to somehow shield Marx from any culpability in Stalin's crimes. The kind of standard answer to any one blaming Marx was to say something like, "Well, Marx didn't want it to be this way." or "Marx never came up with a good plan for the transition from Socialism to Communism." Which of course is all well and true if not totally irrelevant because in Marx's writing we find the ideological justifications for the crimes of Stalin and Mao, Lenin and Castro. Think about it, if the capitalist class really was exploiting the proletariat than what is the big deal with killing those who are the oppressors? And what is the big deal if reactionary forces are sent to reeducation camps? Since Marxism is "science," those people who don't beleive in it are under false consciousness and ought to be reeducated. Right?

Many political scientists and historians look at Stalin's crimes as somehow seperate from Marxist ideology. For them, Stalin didn't really beleive in Marx but just used communism as a way to further his own personal ambitions. Have these people actually ever read Stalin's writings? Are they unaware of Stalin's devotion to Marx? In my view it is a lazy view of history that begins with an assumption of individual motives and never looks beyond that.

In our day, this intellectual laziness is even worse than during the Cold War. The intellectual elite wishes to blame certain extremists in Islam without blaming Islam itself. It is simply too difficult to beleive, for this crowd, that other human beings might actual perceive the world in a way that is totally inconceivable to Western sensibilities. To them, Stalin was just after power--it is inconceivable that Stalin might have done the things he did because he thought it was the RIGHT thing to do. To them it is similarly inconceivable that terrorists do the things they do because they think it is the RIGHT thing to do. Ok, some of them will admit that Islamic terrorists are religiously motivated, but that somehow that is not rooted in mainstream Islam. Have these people ever read the Koran? Do they know nothing of the example of Muhammed?

So far I have ellaborated two assumptions that go into writing this trifle of a blog:
A) The war against Islamists threatens the short-term security of the US and the long term survivability of Western culture.
B) The root cause of Islamism is Islam. Not poverty. Not oppression. Not Zionism. Islam.

Last, and really the gist of this blog is this:
C) In a real war, against real enemies, we need some good old fashioned, sweet down-home, funny, bigotted propoganda. Tell me, what would the "greatest generation" think of liberal wusses cringing at words like "kraut" and "nip"? Remember all those great bugs-bunny cartoons demonizing the Nazis? "Nazis is zee craziest people!" Rip-roaring fun with a message: the enemy is real and we are better than they.

So, poke fun at Islam. Make fun of Muhammed. Paint our enemies in the worst light possible. Tell jokes about them. Create art that ridicules them. Sing songs not suitable for prime-time. Offend people that need offending.

We will have no WILL to fight if we do not beleive that are cause is right and no STOMACH for the horrors of war if we do not beleive that our enemies are real.

Since writing those words 10 years ago I believe this blog has made some of the right enemies so we've been somewhat successful at what we were attempting to do.

There was a brief period of time between maybe 2004 - 2005 when blogs were going to change the world. I never bought into that. I always thought of myself as "just a blogger". But "just a blogger" seemed better than the alternative, which was to sit back and do nothing. It was during this time when blogs were the new black that we were involved to a minor extent in a number of minor media scandals. Those included exposing major news outlets hiring stringers with ties to terrorists and in the phenomenon of "fauxtography". In fact, the post that drew more attention in 10 years than any other was the one which exposed a photo taken by a stringer in Lebanon as doctored proving that, in fact, many of those covering the war with Israel had an agenda. Reuters later fired the stringer and was forced to recall the photo (see pic at beginning of this post above). Hooray for blogs!

But I didn't start this blog to change the world. I started it to directly confront our enemies. To annoy them. To make fun of them. To be a thorn in their side. And that's what I've done.

For instance, did you know this blog was blamed for Muslim riots and banned in India? This because we pointed out the irony of a fake story circulating in the Muslim world that a Quran got flushed down a toilet. India blamed those riots on people saying things. A few years later the Mumbai blasts woke them up and they turned towards those actually responsible: violent Islamists.

You'd think the lesson would have been easily learned, but sadly, history does repeat itself and ... Benghazi.

But we weren't content with just offending nation-states. No, we wanted to offend actual terrorists. One of the ways we did this was just to mess with them. One time noted eHadi Samir Khan decided to hotlink some of our images. What that means is that he wanted to show one of our images from our server on his webpage. So, naturally we switched the image so that the al Qaeda supporters that visited his webpage would see this.

And for that the future propaganda minister for al Qaeda in the Arabian Penninsula threatened my life and the life of my family. He wrote this in 2007:

So let them laugh now, but we will be the ones laughing in the afterlife.

O Allah kill Rusty Shackleford and terrorize his family.

Samir got droned sitting next to Anwar al-Awlaki in 2011. Who's laughing loudest now, Samir?

Who else have we butted heads with over the past 10 years?

The Taliban, because we got their website shut down dozens of times:

For a long time now the official site of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan - Taliban has been shut down-- due to the exposure and prosecution it was closed by the enemies of Islam.
How about the various goons at Revolution Muslim who have taken us on? Zachary "Abu Talhah" Chesser, now serving 25 years for attempting to join and aid al Shabaab. Jesse "Younes Abdullah" Morton, now serving 12 years for threatening the creators of South Park.

And last, but certainly not least, is Joseph "Yousef al-Khattab" Cohen who threatened both me and Howie on a number of occassions including once when he decapitated a goat in my honor and in an earlier video mocking Daniel Pearl in which he used Star Wars action figures to make the general point about his hopes and dreams for my head to be removed from an otherwise intact neck:

Despite a sudden change of heart about "terrorism" which coincided precisely with the arrest of several of his friends -- including that of Carlos "Death to all Juice" Almonte (whom you'll remember The Jawa Report was first to identify) -- Yousef has plead guilty to making online terroristic threats.

Yousef is awaiting sentencing, and despite his plea bargain and rumors that he'll walk he tells me that he's going to serve some time.

Then there's Colleen "Jihad Jane" LaRose, just sentenced to 10 years in prison for her role in a plot to kill Lars Vilks. Yeah, we crossed paths.

And who can forget the half Nazi, half Islamist supremacist Emerson "Goatly" Begolly and his buddy Mohammad Hassan Khalid and their devotion to men with mustaches and what I thought of their sexual orientations? Of all the lines delivered by all the jihadis in all the years I've been confronting them, nothing made me laugh harder than to see them fretting about me in a federal indictment.

Begolly = Abu Nancy, Khalid = Hassan

Begolly is now serving 8.5 years and Khalid is still awaiting sentencing for his role in the Jihad Jane plot.

And in a very Forrest Gump like moment I accidentally crossed paths online with a guy claiming to be the leader of al Qaeda in England. He urged Muslims to take up arms and kill the Prime Minister for their "war crimes". I even testified at his trial in the UK using my pen name. It was ... surreal. He's now serving 5 years.

So, mess with The Jawa Report go to prison! Or, in the case of Samir Khan, get droned.

Ok, it's not such a straight forward relationship. I can't really take credit for any of these people being in jail, law enforcement and intelligence agents get credit for that. I only point this out to illustrate that if one of the reasons I started this blog was to directly confront our enemies then I seem to have picked the right enemies.

After 10 years of directly confronting evil we have never done anything illegal. Which is why when the New York Times characterized me as a "cyber-vigilante" I was left scratching my head. Vigilantes take the law into their own hands. When we and our readers asked private companies to follow the law or their own Terms of Service when hosting the websites of terrorist organizations then how, exactly, is that being a "vigilante"? Nor is directly confronting terrorists and their supporters anything resembling vigilantism.

On this front we've been especially successful. We been instrumental in the takedown of dozens and dozens of websites belonging to terrorist organizations designated by the State Department. Those websites include the Taliban (literally dozens of them), al Qaeda, and many, many al Qaeda affiliates.

Some have criticized us over the years as being engaged in a kind of "whack-a-mole" with terrorist websites. Okay, maybe. But what's the alternative: letting the moles have at the yard?

You sit back and do nothing. Me? I'm going to do all I can to confront evil.

I always liked Christopher Hitchen's response to Michael Totten as to why he felt he needed to deface signs belonging to a fascist party in Beirut:

call me old fashioned if you will, but my line is that swastika posters are to be defaced or torn down. I mean, what other choice do you have?
For their reward the pair were beat up by the fascist thugs.

But I agree with that sentiment. I have never been one with either the inclination nor the ability to refrain from confronting evil when it needs to be confronted and it is in my power to do so.

Moreover, what I'm doing here isn't really all that important on the grand scale of things. The men and women in Afghanistan are the ones really confronting evil. Me, using a pen name, from the safely of my internet connection, what am I really doing?

In one sense I am not much better than the leftists and Islamist apologists that I started this blog to counter. They criticize the real heroes safely removed from reality by an internet connection. I confront those we fight from that same safety.

But if I am unable to carry a rifle the least I am able to do is defend those that do. And if I am not in the position to kill the enemies of America, then I am honor bound to do what I can do to make their lives moderately less pleasant.

I started this blog with the intent of being a minor nuissance. I think I've done that here. It's a low bar, I know, but this is a blog. A web log. A personal diary of my thoughts and the thoughts of a few of my friends. I never expected it to last 10 years. I never expected to do anything more than amuse myself and maybe a few of my friends. The fact that I've been able to do any good with it and have any impact at all means I've exceeded all of my hopes and expectations for it.

Thank you all for making this blog a success and for your support over the years. I literally couldn't have done any of it without you.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:09 PM | Comments |