By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
In 1924 a KKK leader, grand dragon D. C. Stephenson gave a speech in Indiana. “We are going to Klux Indiana as she has never been Kluxed before!…And the fiery [omitted] is going to burn at every crossroads in Indiana, as long as there is a [omitted] man left in the state!”
I omitted the KKK’s reference to certain racial and religious terms as part of the US Justice department’s new policy to omit references to terrorist groups, allegiance to groups or religions or who actions of these groups are in the name of. As US Attorney General Loretta Lynch noted “What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda…We are not going to hear him make his assertions of allegiance.” This is part of US President Barack Obama’s view that labeling intolerance and extremism is unacceptable. “What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change?” He claims that labeling something doesn’t help military strategy.
In the wake of the Orlando massacre by Omar Mateen the FBI has redacted and censored his 911 calls in which he explained his ideology. “I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted],” the scrubbed document notes. Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ron Hopper said during a Monday news conference, that people must not know who Mateen supported or why he carried out his crime. “[Mateen] does not represent the religion of Islam, but a perverted view…Part of the redacting is meant to not give credence to individuals who have done terrorist attacks in the past. We’re not gonna propagate their violent rhetoric.”
The concept of the FBI’s re-writing of history and fact is a deliberate attempt to obscure and obfuscate about the nature of the hate crime carried out in Orlando.
If we were to re-write all history along these lines we can imagine how it would look. The KKK in history books would be described as having “a huge rally attended by media from several states to deliver the KKK’s anti-[omitted] , anti-[omitted], anti-[omitted] message.” Adolf Hitler would no longer be an extremist racist, with allegiance to Nazism, and a message of hate, but rather his works would be redacted, mollified, scrubbed, sanitized and made tolerant.
Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the [omitted]: by defending myself against the [omitted], I am fighting for the work of the [omitted]”
Hitler we would be told was just representing a perverted view, we must not read what he said or challenge his ideas, because it might somehow inspire other people, or offend Germans or Christians, who made up the bulk of his supporters and on whose behalf he claimed to be acting. Hitler wrote “The ignorance of the broad masses about the inner nature of the [omitted], the lack of instinct and narrow-mindedness of our upper classes, make the people an easy victim for this [omitted] campaign of lies.
But we must not stop with Hitler. The Inquisition must be stripped of its Catholic connections, so that it is not working on behalf of the [omitted] and not killing people because they are [omitted] and not carried out by [omitted] who believed in [omitted]. And the Crusades, we must say was just men who swore allegiance to [omitted] and set off to conquer [omitted] and killed along the way people from [omitted] groups and also [omitted]. When they went to battle they carried with them a giant [omitted] that they believed was [omitted].
We must not learn about the reasons behind the Dred Scott decision and US slavery and we must not mention that those enslaved were from [omitted] race or that the excuse for enslaving them was largely due to a religious reason, as well as racial reasons, in instead slavery will be sanitized as just people owning people.
History books should be redacted of all mentions of why people do things, the ideas they swear allegiance to, the religious motivations they have. Abortion clinic bombers and people who hate homosexuals will be turned into tolerant men who just do things for no reason.
The FBI has decided that simply because they believe an ideology is “perverted” that therefore it cannot be named. It should be hidden away, dismissed, as if pretending it doesn’t exist, will make it go away. As if the more you say “Islam is a religion of peace”, it will make those who “pervert” this dogmatic refrain, change their view. Obama says there is no evidence that naming Islamic State and labeling it will help defeat it. But what evidence is there that pretending its motivations are not what they are and it is not inspired by anything, will make it go away. Was the KKK defeated by simply pretending it wasn’t burning [omitted] on people’s lawns, it was just burning some wood, it wasn’t acting based on a [omitted] ideology, but just some men who got together and “perverted” something and killed other people.
You can ignore racism, bigotry, intolerance, xenophobia, and hatred, but ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. They ignored Hitler also in the 1920s and mocked him as a rabble-rouser. Don’t give his movement press or credence, ignore it. They said.
*** Update: according to ABC, the FBI has now released a transcript without the redactions after a media backlash ***