Pamela Geller, the Marine Corps, and the Flag
by Sheila Musaji
The Great Neck, NY Patch posted an article about Pamela Geller’s upcoming talk at a local synagogue that included this statement: The Marine Corps presented Geller with the flag flown on September 11, 2011, over Camp Leatherneck, “amid the battlefields of Afghanistan during decisive operations against enemy forces in Helmand Province.”
Rosie Gray of Buzzfeed reports that the Marine Corps has responded to this claim Marine Corps: We Didn’t Give Pamela Geller A Flag As A Gift. She notes: “A Marine Corps spokesman said on Friday that the Marines had not officially given anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller a U.S. flag as a gift, contrary to a Long Island local news report. It’s entirely plausible that a Marine gave her a flag, but it wouldn’t be accurate to say that the Marine Corps gave her a flag,” said Captain Eric Flanagan, a spokesman for the Marine Corps. “The Marine Corps as a whole wouldn’t do something like that. ... According to Flanagan, individual Marines can bring home flags from where they served. “It would just be like if I were out there, I could have flown one and given it to you,” Flanagan said.”
Where could this story have come from? Geller’s bio on Atlas Shrugs, in the about section includes this: “In October 2011, the United States Marine Corps presented her with the flag flown on September 11, 2011 over Camp Leatherneck, “amid the battlefields of Afghanistan during decisive operations against enemy forces in Helmand Province.”
Actually, Geller has been promoting this story for awhile. Back October 2, 2011, she posted an article Overwhelming. She said
Tea Party Fort Lauderdale and AnyStreet.org invited me to Florida to speak yesterday. Johana Von Hohenzollern, Danita Kilcullen and Jack Gillies organized the events. The house was packed, sold out. Joining me were spectacular Americans, my dear delicious friends Joyce Kaufman (who introduced me), Katie O'Malley, Bev Perlson (Band of Mothers) ....and other conservative luminaries, including Javier Manjarres (Shark Tank), Doug Giles, Bamboo Bob, Mike McAllister (who is running for the Florida Senate against Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson), Ginger Eisenrod, Broward county coordinator for AnyStreet, Jean Morris, outreach staff for AnyStreet, Victoria Jackson, and so many wonderful vets ....
I will have more on the event, but I am traveling and in-depth coverage is impossible. But this I must share with Atlas readers, because it belongs to you as much as it does with me.
Before I addressed the crowd, I was shocked and overcome when the United States Marine Corps presented me with the flag flown on September 11th over Camp Leatherneck, "amid the battlefields of Afghanistan during decisive operations against enemy forces in Helmand Province." Can you imagine such an honor? But there's more. When a soldier at Camp Leatherneck heard that I was to be given the flag, he asked that the MP armband (seen here) that he wore before he lost his arm in combat be sent along with the flag. I was presented with both. Overwhelming.
I cannot describe to you my shock, my awe. I hardly know what to say— these items are sacred. Our freedom is written in the blood of these heroes, but they honor me with these treasures. I do not deserve such precious gifts. But I heard that a prominent Senator had requested this 911 flag, and the heroes at Camp Leatherneck said "No, we are giving it to Pamela Geller." Let me tell you, that was delicious. I will never forget that day as long as I live. Never. These men, these men to whom we owe our lives, thank you, may G-d bless you and watch over you.
At the top of her article, Geller included the photograph at the bottom of this article, which is curious as it seems very official. The certificate reads: “On this day, Lieutenant Commander Rachel Oden dedicated this in honor of Pamela Geller.”
I looked up Rachel Oden, and found this article which says that Lt. Cmdr. Rachel Oden graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1995, and is a physical therapist with the Concussion Restoration Care Clinic on Camp Leatherneck. So it appears that there is a Marine by that name who may have had the flag and given it to Pamela Geller. Whether or not Lt. Commander Oden is the one who added the dedication sentence to the certificate of authenticity, or whether the Marine Corps added, or how that dedication was placed, it is there.
So, it seems that Geller might honestly claim that a Marine gave her a flag that they had obtained when in service, or that Lt. Cmdr. Rachel Oden had given her a flag she had obtained while in service, and that might be personally touching. However, a personal gift from an individual should not be represented as an honor received from the Marine Corps. And, to include this “honor” in her biography and press releases is a deceptive tactic to make it seem that the U.S. Marine Corps is validating the work that she is doing with Atlas Shrugs, AFDI/SIOA/SION and other anti-Muslim hate groups.
(The ADL has designated Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) as a “group that promotes an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”, and characterizes Geller as someone who “disseminates virulent anti-Muslim bigotry and conspiracy theories”. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated AFDI/SIOA as an anti-Muslim hate group, and characterizes Geller as “the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead”.)
For the Marine Corps to honor Pamela Geller would have been particularly distressing as she praised those Marines who desecrated dead Afghans by urinating on them. An event that the Marine Corps and all official government agencies condemned. For example, Gen. Jim Amos, the Marine Corps commandant said at the time: “The behavior depicted in the video is wholly inconsistent with the high standards of conduct and warrior ethos that we have demonstrated throughout our history. Accordingly, late yesterday I requested that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service pull together a team of their very best agents and immediately assign them responsibility to thoroughly investigate every aspect of the filmed event.”
Here is a Second Emergency Rescue Squadron biography page on my father, Capt, Denzil Kathman. He gave me his Army and Navy pilot wings, and his Purple Heart and Air Medals - they are precious to me, and it means a great deal to have the honor of keeping them until they are passed on to the next generation. However, if I were to say that the Army Air Force gave me these items, that would not only be untrue, but would be immoral.
Pamela Geller has now attacked Rosie Gray the journalist who reported on the Marine Corps statement. Geller wrote Monsters and Liars: @RosieGray over at @BuzzFeed says I didn’t get this flag.
Geller calls Rosie Gray a “monster and liar”, an “enemy of freedom on a crusade to destroy champions of freedom by any means necessary”, propagating a “big fat lie”, a “quasi-stalker”, a “professional smear hag”, “smarmy”.
According to Geller, Gray “is saying that I didn’t get the 911 flag that I got.” Read and re-read Rosie Gray’s article, and the statement by the Marine Corps spokesman, read the article upside down and backwards. No matter what you do, you won’t find that claim made. The only claim made is that the flag was not presented officially by the Marine Corps, although a Marine may have given her the flag.
Geller is incensed that Ms. Gray calls her “anti-Muslim” - actually this section of Geller’s rant deserves consideration: Notice smarmy Rosie’s smear “anti-Islam” activist. I am not anti-Muslim or anti-anyone, and this label smears my work in defense of the freedom of speech and equality of rights for all as a campaign against a group of people. Is opposing jihad and sharia anti-Muslim? If so, then Rosie is suggesting that Muslims support jihad and the sharia, the most oppressive and brutal ideology on the face of the earth—in direct contradiction to the idea that most Muslims are “moderate.”
Geller is not anti-Muslim? Geller thinks most Muslims are “moderate”?
Actually, Rosie Gray has a lot of support for her use of the term anti-Muslim to describe Geller. The ADL has designated Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s AFDI/SIOA/SION as “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”, and characterizes Geller as someone who “disseminates virulent anti-Muslim bigotry and conspiracy theories”. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated AFDI/SIOA as an anti-Muslim hate group, and characterizes Geller as “the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead”. Many respected leaders in the American Jewish community have spoken out about their group and their ad series. In fact, journalists, Christian groups, interfaith groups, and many others have spoken out against the ad series and consider them to be anti-Muslim.
As for Geller claiming in any way, shape or form not to be engaged in a campaign “against a group of people” or that she thinks that “most” of us are moderate. That is right up there with her claim that she “loves Muslims”. In Pamela Geller: Love or pathological hatred towards Muslims? is thoroughly debunked and includes many statements by Geller herself.
Among Geller’s many past statements, Geller has said that: “There are no moderates. There are no extremists. Only Muslims.” and “I would like to feel all warm and fuzzy and embrace the moderate Muslim/ meme but they show no evidence of their existence”
RESOURCES FOR DEALING WITH ISLAMOPHOBIA SUMMARY
The Islamophobia Industry exists and is engaged in an anti-Muslim Crusade. They have a manifesto for spreading their propaganda, and which states their goal of “destroying Islam — as a culture, a political ideology, and a religion.” They produce anti-Muslim films. They are forming new organizations and coalitions of organizations at a dizzying speed, not only nationally, but also internationally. They have formed an International Leadership Team “which will function as a mobile, proactive, reactive on-the-ground team developing and executing confidential action plans that strike at the heart of the global anti-freedom agenda.”
Currently, the Islamophobia Industry is engaged in a full-scale, coordinated, demonization campaign against American Muslims and Arabs. In just the past few months we have seen a series of inflammatory provocations: There was the Innocence of Muslims film Titanic, a German satire magazine plans an “Islam” cover article to be published later this month. Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine published an issue with inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Newsweek published their ‘Muslim Rage’ cover. Terry Jones held a “trial of Prophet Muhammad”. SION held a “global” gathering in NYC to plan propaganda strategy. A group in Toronto publicized a “walk your dog at the mosque” day. AFDI/SIOA has run a series of anti-Muslim ads on public transportation across the country. AFDI/SIOA are planning to run 8 more anti-Muslim ads. There are three more films on Prophet Muhammad in the works by Ali Sina, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Imran Farasat. They are even bringing their hate messages into public schools.
Daniel Pipes is encouraging publication of “A Muhammad cartoon a day”, and says “So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”. Pipes joins Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) who published an appeal on David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?. And, both are following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Pamela Geller, who promoted just such a plan back in 2010 with her promotion of Draw Muhammad Day, even after the cartoonist who drew the first cartoon and suggested the idea, Molly Norris apologized to Muslims and asked for the day to be called off, and American Muslims had issued a defense of free speech. None of this is surprising as one of the Islamophobes laid out their strategy as “The Muslims themselves have shown us their most vulnerable spot, which is the questionable (though unquestioned) character of the ‘Prophet’ himself. We need to satirise and ridicule baby-bonking Mo until the Muslims fly into uncontrollable tantrums, then ridicule them even more for their tantrums, and repeat the process until they froth at the mouth and steam comes out of their ears.”
The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism, and it has predictable consequences. The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes.
The claim that the Islamophobes are “truth-tellers” and “defenders of freedom” who actually “love Muslims” and have never engaged in “broadbrush demonization” or “advocated violence”, or that nothing that they say could have had anything to do with any act of violence, are nonsense. The claim that they are falsely being accused of Islamophobia for no reason other than their legitimate concerns about real issues and that in fact there is not even such a thing as Islamophobia, or their claim that the fact that there are fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews or that some Muslims have fabricated such crimes “proves” that Islamophobia doesn’t exist, or that the term Islamophobia was made up by Muslims in order to stifle their freedom of speech, or that anti-Muslim bigotry is “not Islamophobia but Islamorealism” are all nonsense.
These individuals and organizations consistently promote the false what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims (including distorting the meaning of Qur’anic verses, and distorting the meaning of Islamic terms such as taqiyya, jihad, sharia, etc.).
The most commonly repeated false claims about Muslims and Islam are that:
Everyone “knows” that most or all terrorists are Muslims, and there are no Christian and no Jewish terrorists (or terrorists of any other religious stripe), and that Muslims are all militant, inherently violent, more likely to engage in violence against civilians, and more likely than other Americans to be radicalized.
Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not interested in dialogue. That Muslims don’t help Christians in need. That Muslims can’t have Christians as friends, and are anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, and intolerant of other faiths.
Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t unequivocally denounce terrorism, that American Muslim leaders have not responded to radicalization in their community, that mosques are the source of radicalization, that 85% of mosques are run by radicals, that Muslims don’t cooperate with law enforcement.
Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not equivalent to real Americans, that they are the enemy within, and a fifth column, that good Muslims can’t be good Americans, that Muslims are not loyal to America, that they are not a part of our American heritage,
Everyone “knows” that Islam itself is the problem and makes Muslims “backward”, that Muslims have made no contribution to the West, that Islam is “of the devil”, a Crescent menace, a “green peril”, that was spread by the sword, an “evil encroaching on the United States”, and not a religion.
Everyone “knows” that this is a Christian nation, which the Muslims are trying to take over, starting with getting an Eid stamp which is the first step towards shariah law which is a threat to America, and a threat to our judicial system, by purposefully having more children than others to increase their numbers, and they will be the majority in this country in 20 years. Muslims are a threat to America
Everyone “knows” that the Muslims’ goal is world domination under a Caliphate, and the proposed Cordoba House in NYC is a demonstration of supremacism and triumphalism, and that Muslims planned to open it on the anniversary of 9/11.
Everyone “knows” that Islam is a monolith and all Muslims are the same, like the “Borg”. This means that every act committed by an individual who is a Muslim is directly attributable to Islam, and never because the individual is crazy, criminal, or perverted.
The problem is that what “everyone knows” is wrong. These self-righteous and incorrect statements are usually followed by a demand that the Muslim community do something about whatever is the false flag of the day or face the inevitable consequences.
Islamophobes falsely claim to see “JIHAD” PLOTS everywhere, particularly where they don’t exist. They, like Muslim extremists, don’t understand the true meaning of the term jihad. The Islamophobes have uncovered countless examples of “shocking”, non-existent Muslim jihad plots.
Islamophobes generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam. Islamophobes consistently push demonstrably false memes such as: - we are in danger from creeping Sharia, - the Muslim population is increasing at an alarming rate, - 80% of American Mosques are radicalized, - There have been 270 million victims of “jihad” - There have been 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks since 9/11 - Muslims in government are accused of being Muslim Brotherhood plants, stealth jihadists, and creeping Sharia proponents and should be MARGINALIZED or excluded. Muslim and Arab organizations and individuals are connected to the infamous Muslim Brotherhood document or the unindicted co-conspirator label, or accused of not condemning Hamas, telling American Muslims not to talk to the FBI, of being “Jew haters”, etc.
There is a reason that many, even outside of the Muslim community see such demonization of Muslims as Islamophobic. There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”. There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that these individuals are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured prominently in: — the Center for American Progress reports “Fear Inc.” on the Islamophobia network in America and Understanding Sharia Law: Conservatives skewed interpretation needs debunking. — the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism. — the NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack: The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State. — the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security. — The ACLU report Nothing to Fear: Debunking the Mythical “Sharia Threat” to Our Judicial System — in The American Muslim TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry. There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.
See Resources for dealing with Islamophobes for many more reasons that these people cannot be trusted.
Sheila Musaji is the founding editor of The American Muslim (TAM), published since 1989. Sheila received the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2007 Islamic Community Service Award for Journalism, and the Loonwatch Anti-Loons of 2011: Profiles in Courage Award for her work in fighting Islamophobia. Sheila was selected for inclusion in the 2012 edition of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims published since 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan. Biography You can follow her on twitter @sheilamusaji ( https://twitter.com/SheilaMusaji )