On June 12th, 2016, the Syrian revolution visited the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. A fanatical extremist, armed with a US-made weapon, visited a public place. Innocent people, just trying to relax on a Saturday evening and enjoy their lives, were killed. Spouting loyalty to Saudi Arabia’s distortion of the Islamic faith, commonly called Wahabbism, a crazed fanatic slaughtered 49 innocent men and women.
If this event had taken place in Damascus, US media would not have called Omar Mateen a mass murderer. Rather, Mateen would be a “revolutionary” and “freedom fighter.” Meanwhile, the police who tried to stop the rampage would be described as “agents of a dictatorship.” Reports of the massacre would be dismissed as “Assad Propaganda,” and those who pointed out Mateen’s vicious actions would be dismissed as “conspiracy theorists” or “tankies” who are “brainwashed.”
In the name of toppling Bashar Assad, tens of thousands of Omar Mateens from across the region have been transported into Syria. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, and Turkey continue to ship US-made weapons into Syria in order to strengthen the crusade of foreign terrorists. US-allies are openly funding the Al-Nusra Front, previously known as Al-Queda in Syria, in hopes of bringing down the Baath Arab Socialist Party.
While commentators in the Wall Street-controlled US political establishment disagree about their analyses of the shooting, none of them will admit to the direct link to US foreign policy.
The absolute hypocrisy of both wings of the US political establishment can be demonstrated in response to the country’s mass shootings. When Dylan Roof, a young Ku Klux Klan enthusiast shot a number of African-American Christians at their church, the political right-wing downplayed the obvious political nature of the mass murder. Republican analysts attempted to change the conversation to issues like mental health, and ignored the fact that the shooter was spewing Neo-Nazi ideology.
In response to the recent shooting in Orlando, it is the political left that is downplaying the ideological motivation of the shooter. Despite the fact that the shooter’s father was a Taliban-aligned figure in Afghan politics, and the shooter swore allegiance to ISIS, the political left wants to make the conversation around Omar Mateen about mental health and gun control. The media seems to fixate on the idea that Mateen was a self-hating homosexual, motivated purely by some kind of identity crisis, while the right-wing responds with standard Islamophobia and anti-immigrant bigotry.
There is certainly no question that both Omar Mateen and Dylan Roof were mentally ill. Sane individuals don’t go on shooting sprees, and randomly open fire on unarmed people. Mateen and Roof may have both acted alone, and not be part of some wider conspiracy to commit their mass shootings, but both of them were armed with ideologies, in addition to their legally purchased firearms. The ideologies of both Wahabbism and Ku Klux Klanism have been actively promoted by Wall Street and London in order to strengthen western capitalism’s control of the planet.
Ku Klux Klanism, the Weapon of Wall Street & London
The US Civil War was really the second American Revolution. The southern plantation system was defeated. Abraham Lincoln built a beautiful coalition that included labor unions, small farmers, northern industrial capitalists, and black revolutionaries like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas.
In the aftermath of the Civil War the former slave owners in Tennessee drafted a former Confederate General, Nathan Bedford Forrest, to build the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK was a violent terrorist organization that actively sought to prevent African-Americans from voting, and to squash the talk of land redistribution and social reform that was beginning to take place during the Reconstruction period.
The primary business partner of the southern plantation owners, both before and after the Civil War was the British empire. The emerging British textile industry depended on cheap cotton from the US South. Wall Street began as a financial district by insuring slave ships, and New York City was a stronghold of pro-Confederate sentiments during the war.
As President, former Union Army General Ulysses S. Grant used federal troops to crush the Ku Klux Klan. However, after his administration, troops were pulled out of the South and the plantation owners were able to establish the Jim Crow system. The slave owners maintained their power with impoverished black and white workers laboring as tenant farmers on their plantations. British capitalists continued to receive its cheap cotton, and Wall Street blossomed as a global financial empire.
Decades later in 1915, Hollywood produced the first full-length film ever made. “The Birth of a Nation” retold the story of the US Civil War, and glorified the Ku Klux Klan as heroes. Shortly afterward, the KKK was revived in a mass hate rally in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
In the lead-up to WWI, the Ku Klux Klan mobilized the US population into a fit of national chauvinism and anti-black hate. Throughout the 1920s and ‘30s the Ku Klux Klan was utilized to violently attack labor activists and other progressives.
In the 1950s and ‘60s, the Ku Klux Klan slaughtered civil rights activists. In 1979, KKK members killed five activists from the Communist Workers Party in broad daylight at the famous “Greensboro Massacre.” Despite their actions being recorded on film by a local TV crew, the Klansmen were acquitted in court. It was later revealed that among the Klansmen in Greensboro was an undercover agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco, as well as a few FBI informers.
During the 1970s, the main spokesman for the Ku Klux Klan in the US media was David Duke. Duke eventually moved on to become a Republican and was elected to the US House of Representatives. Duke admits that he spent nine months with his father in Laos. While teaching English, Duke flew missions with “Air America,” the CIA’s air and cargo line that distributed anti-Communist propaganda across southeast Asia.
According to Duke’s writings, the Bolshevik revolution was a conspiracy by Jews to harm the white race. Much like many figures within the Poroshenko government in Ukraine, Duke believes that the Nazis were justified in invading the Soviet Union and killing 27 million people. It should be no surprise that after seizing power after the Euro-maiden riots, the ultra-Nationalists unfurled the US Confederate Flag and the Ku Klux Klan’s Celtic cross symbol in Kiev’s city hall.
The variation of white supremacist ideology, correctly called Ku Klux Klanism, that Dylan Roof embraced before slaughtering people in South Carolina is an ideology that has been actively supported by the US government and the financial elite. The Klan was formed to serve the Wall Street- and London-aligned plantation owners. The KKK was revived in 1915 with a Hollywood movie and, in its more recent incarnations, has openly cooperated with government officials to assassinate dissident activists.
Unlike other far-right and white supremacist ideologies throughout the world, the Ku Klux Klan never called for any kind of “National Socialism” or “Corporatism.” The KKK always preached the need for free market capitalism, and opposed any attempt at establishing a planned economy or restrict the activities of the financial elite. Aside from demagogic statements about Wall Street being “controlled by the Jews,” the Ku Klux Klan has never embraced any kind of economic populism, and generally champions austerity, perpetuating the myth that only African-Americans benefit from social welfare programs.
Though Dylan Roof was certainly an unstable, psychologically disturbed individual, he latched onto an ideology that has been actively promoted and enabled by Western capitalism. If Ku Klux Klanism had not been repeatedly embraced and utilized by the wealthiest and most powerful people in the United States, it would have been forgotten long ago. The same can be said for the teachings of Muhammad Ibn Al-Wahhab.
Wall Street and Wahabbism
The Wahabbi interpretation of the Islamic religion began in the 1700s with Muhammad Ibn Al-Wahhab, a fanatic who believed in establishing a repressive, autocratic government through violent means. Wahhab’s extreme interpretation of Sunni Islam would be meaningless if he were not able to work with Muhammad bin Saud, who used the teachings of Wahhab to organize his kingdom. Muhammad bin Saud’s descendents, the successive Kings of the House of Saud have embraced “Wahabbism” as a justification for their dynasty.
The British empire saw Wahabbism and the House of Saud as being very useful in enabling them to control the oil resources of the Middle East region. While it is debatable whether or not the British empire actually worked directly with Muhammad Ibn Al-Wahhab, there is no debate about the fact that they actively promoted it. The British funded, trained, and armed the House of Saud in order fight the Ottoman Empire, and to secure control of the Middle East region for themselves.
After the Second World War, the United States established a close relationship with the Saudi monarchy. All four major US oil companies—Exxon-Mobile, British Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell, and Chevron—actively do business with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia purchases weapons for billions of dollars from the United States every year.
The Wahabbi ideology remained almost exclusively on the Arabian Peninsula until the 1970s. After the OPEC boycott, when the Saudi regime began to make a much larger margin of profits, Wahabbism began to spread itself across the world with Saudi money.
In the 1980s, Wahabbism became a key aspect of US foreign policy in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden, the billionaire heir of a wealthy Saudi construction firm traveled across the Muslim world promoting Wahabbism. Bin Laden recruited thousands of young men to fight against the People’s Democratic Party and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, a Wahabbi army called the “Mujiahadeen” was built. The group poured acid on the faces of women who did not wear burkhas, and lynched teachers who taught women how to read. The United States actively supplied the Mujihadeen with weapons, and the US media portrayed the Mujihadeen as “freedom fighters” and “revolutionaries.” The Columbia School of Journalism revealed that CBS news was airing fake battle footage in order to portray the Mujihadeen as romantic revolutionaries.
Among the Afghans who aligned with the Mujihadeen in Afghanistan during the 1980s was Siddique Mateen, the father of Omar Mateen. Siddique Mateen was able to get a visa and become a resident of the United States. From the United States he broadcast political messages into Afghanistan urging hostility toward Pakistan. Siddique Mateen was also a supporter of the Taliban government, often speaking positively of it in his broadcasts.
Omar Mateen embraced the Wahabbi ideology his father had aligned himself with during the Afghan Civil War. He visited the Wahabbi homeland of Saudi Arabia on two occasions. He came to admire the Wahabbi terrorist organization known as ISIS, which currently operates in Syria.
ISIS emerged as a faction among the forces fighting against the Syrian government in 2014, and was supported by the United States and its allies in the Middle East. Israel has provided ISIS fighters with medical care in the occupied Golan Heights. A number of ISIS fighters were trained by the United States in Jordan. Most of ISIS’ weapons were manufactured in the United States, and ISIS fighters generally drive Toyota trucks, which the US supplied to supposedly “moderate” rebels in Syria.
Turkey allows its borders to remain open so supplies can flow into the hands of ISIS, and continues to conduct airstrikes against the Kurdish Nationalists who are fighting ISIS.
Fifty one US diplomats recently signed a “dissent channel” cable, urging the United States to act as ISIS air force, and smash their primary battlefield enemy, the Syrian government.
The hateful ideology that Omar Mateen embraced did not arise from nowhere. This is a brand of fanaticism and hate that was actively funded and promoted in order to serve US foreign policy objectives.
Where Do Psychopaths Come From?’
Even the question of mental health cannot be separated from US society and the financial elite that runs it.
In the United States, many myths surrounding mass shooters and their beliefs have emerged. After the 1999 Columbine Massacre, many believed that the incident was a response to bullying. The media promoted the myth that the two shooters were taking revenge after years of abuse from their peers. This was false.
The media now admits, two and half decades later, that students did not recall Eric Harris and Dyland Klebold being bullied, but rather the opposite. At least one of the Columbine killers was a known bully himself, who enjoyed mistreating his fellow students.
Mass shooters are psychopaths. They admire cruelty, and see the world as a heartless place where might makes right. Often psychopaths are victims of extreme child abuse, who come to subconsciously admire and glorify their abusers. The archetypical mass shooter tends to find life to be dull and pointless, and hopes to carry out some horrific act of cruelty and brutality in order prove their worth, before committing suicide.
Among mass shooters who are white men, a keen interest in Ku Klux Klanism is a common trait. The Ku Klux Klan’s history is particularly appealing to psychopaths, as the Klan was known for lynching. The Klan’s trademark activity was to take unarmed African-American men and extra-legally execute them in a carnival-like atmosphere. Klansmen and their supporters often posed for pictures with the dangling corpses of black men, and kept their body parts as souvenirs.
Psychopaths tend to be aroused and impressed by such activities, and admire those whose moral compass is so weak that they can so blatantly prey on the weak, and harm those who cannot protect themselves or fight back.
Much like the Ku Klux Klan, the videos produced by ISIS are very appealing to psychopaths. ISIS does not film itself engaging in fair fights. Rather, much like the Ku Klux Klan, ISIS celebrates and promotes acts of sadism and cruelty against defenseless people.
It has been widely noted that before turning to ISIS, Omar Mateen attempted to join the New York City Police Department. Omar Mateen most likely admired the NYPD because of its reputation for brutality and cruelty. Mateen failed the entrance exam, and was not permitted to join the police force that intentionally killed Ramarley Graham, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo and many other unarmed African-American men.
Like ISIS, which celebrated Mateen’s killings, the NYPD routinely packs the court rooms in support of officers who kill innocent people, and then applaud when their “brothers in blue” are acquitted. When asked about innocent people who are shot for running, or holding their wallets in the air, representatives of the police routinely blame the unarmed victims for the entire incident, and think that the officers who gun down innocent people acted heroically.
Psychopathy is particularly prevalent in the United States, to the extent that works of literature promoting this mental illness are widely circulating. Ayn Rand, the novelist and philosopher, actively encouraged people to work toward slaying all of their altruism and compassion, and to replace it with “rational self-interest.”
After immigrating to the United States from the Soviet Union in the 1920s, the young Ayn Rand admired the famed Chicagoan murderer, William Hickman. Her diaries spoke of the man who strangled his wife as if he were some kind of hero.
Ayn Rand’s novel “The Fountainhead” contains a scene in which the protagonist breaks into a woman’s home and forcibly rapes her. Rand’s prose describes the event as glorious and justified.
Rand’s psychopathy, like that of Klansmen and Wahabbis, has been widely promoted by the financial elite of the United States. Ayn Rand’s protege Alan Greenspan was at one time the most powerful figure in the US economy as the chairman of the Federal Reserve. He also served as a leader of the Council on Foreign Relations, the primary think tank of the CIA.
Rand’s writings promoting psychopathy are widely promoted on US television and in US universities. Paul Ryan, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, calls himself a follower of Ayn Rand.
There’s no question that Omar Mateen and Dylan Roof were mentally ill, but they embraced a mental illness that is being actively promoted throughout US society.
The Politics of Mass Murder
The US right-wing described Dylan Roof as mentally ill, and ignored his open preaching of fascist hate. The US political left ignores Mateen’s family ties and professed belief in Wahabbism, and insists that Mateen was only a mentally ill, self-hating homosexual.
In the aftermath of the ISIS attacks in Paris, the US political establishment revealed similarly partisan and confused responses. The US right-wing attempted to blame all of Islam for what ISIS had done, and the US Congress even passed visa regulations restricting visa for those have travelled to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The law was particularly insulting, as Iran’s Revolutionary Guards continue to risk their lives each day on the battlefields, fighting against ISIS.
The US political left responded with confused pacifist statements and calls to oppose Islamophobia. One organization held a protest saying “Police Brutality is Terrorism Too!” No one, on the left or on the right, dared point out that US foreign policy is actively enabling and supporting Wahabbism, and specifically the ISIS organization operating in Iraq and Syria.
Currently, the US Congress is debating a new law which would prevent individuals on the terrorism watch list from purchasing firearms. Neither Dylan Roof nor Omar Mateen were on the terrorism watch list when they purchased their weapons. Mateen had temporarily been on the list, but was removed in 2014.
The US Supreme Court considers the right to purchase firearms to be a constitutional right. The US Constitution clearly states that a constitutional right cannot be removed without due process. Individuals can be placed on the “terrorism watch list” for a variety of reasons including, countries they travel to and political statements they make, among other things.
While different forces seek to politicize the killing, it should be obvious that from every angle, the phenomena of the “mass shooters” is uniquely American. The ideological and psychological drive behind it is deeply rooted in the destructive nature of modern capitalism and US foreign policy.
These underlying roots must be addressed if there is any hope of ending the horrific phenomena.
Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.