News Release

Attacks, Foreign Policy and Homophobia

BARRY LANDO, [in London], barrylando[at]gmail.com
Lando, who lives in London and Paris, is a former producer with “60 Minutes.” His books include Web of Deceitabout the history of Iraq. He has written for numerous publications including the International Herald Tribune, Salon, Counterpunch and Truthdig. He just wrote the piece “Terrorism: Paris & Orlando — an Existential Crisis,” which states: “Paris today is also staggered by another bloody terrorist killing. … Orlando and Paris are thousands of miles apart, but what is striking are some of the parallels between the two attackers. Though both claimed they were acting in the name of ISIS, they also both appeared to have carried out their vicious attacks on their own, on targets of their choosing. … What is startling however, is that neither in France nor the U.S. in all the endless TV coverage and ‘expert’ talking heads, in all the campaign speeches and tweets, is anyone addressing one of the major issues. That is, the problem is not just one of police resources, intelligence failures or flawed immigration laws, but foreign policy.”

VIJAY PRASHAD, Vijay.Prashad[at]trincoll.edu, @vijayprashad
Prashad is professor of international studies at Trinity College in Connecticut. He is the author of twenty books, including The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. He was just on The Real News: “Orlando Shooter Proclaimed Allegiance to Rival Terrorist Organizations.”

Said Prashad: “What’s interesting about this particular killer is that not only, of course, was he deeply disturbed in many ways, including … [being] a man with great homophobia. Not only do we know all this, but his views regarding, let’s say, what the Clinton and Trump campaigns call ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ seems rather incoherent. At some times he apparently said he was a member of Hezbollah, which is the Lebanon-based militia group, largely a Shia group. At the other moment he says that he is sympathetic to somebody with Al-Qaeda, the next minute with the Islamic State.

“Now, each of these groups is antithetical to the other. There perhaps is no greater enemy at this time of Al-Qaeda than Hezbollah, because they are fighting directly in Western Syria. … So this young man seemed deeply, deeply incoherent in his understanding of Islamic movements. I think this was largely — and I agree here with his father — an attempt by this man to make his own very ugly act something greater than what it was, which was, principally an act of extreme, radical homophobia.”

Note: Michael Tracey, a columnist at VICE, notes that Omar Mateen apparently stated that “I’m doing this to protest the U.S. bombing in Syria and Iraq and the killing of women and children.” Tracey notes that while many reported his “declaration of allegiance to ISIS” — this “bit was curiously left out.”