Jihadi John, we´re back.
And it´s all because of your lack of originality. Your utter inability to do or say anything new is matched only by that of your pursuers.
You don´t have much to say; you never did. Your cellmates are speaking on your behalf -- the ones in the U.S. and Europe who are hunting you.
Cellmates because you and they are prisoners of one and the same ideology. How could it be otherwise when you come from the same social and economic milieu, the middle class?
Oh, I already know, Jihadi John, you will proclaim and defame to the stars above that you and Washington/London are diametrically opposed. For their part, they will say exactly the same thing.
We will agree with both of you.
You are indeed poles apart -- and that is precisely the problem.
Our post of December 29, 2014:
"The middle class spectrum is not straight. It bends in the form of a horse shoe. The opposite ends -- the Babbitts and the possessed, the Chamber of Commerce mainstreeters and Jihadi Johns -- are closer than you ever imagined; sometimes, they touch."
* * *
Our recent seven posts on ISIS/terrorism* received thousands of visits from around the world. In particular, our three-part series on Peter Kassig/new perspectives struck a deep cord.
Among other reasons for the large number of page views:
we took to task the FBI for not publicly identifying Jihadi John after they announced on September 25 they knew who he was.
Our purpose was not to humiliate the FBI but to challenge them. I mention humiliation because it was indeed an issue: with every passing day, the FBI and other anti-ISIS forces were losing credibility; to the contrary, Jihadi John was gaining in stature. Urgency was in the air; lives were at stake -- that is why we badgered, pestered, defied, needled, prodded and goaded the FBI to change course and do literally the unthinkable: break the omertà, the seal of silence.
What was happening was straightforward:
(i) By wearing a mask, Jihadi John was keeping his identity secret.
(ii) The FBI was keeping Jihadi John´s identity secret.
(iii) By guarding the seal of silence, the FBI was playing Jihadi John´s game. Our basic position (7):
"Assuming the FBI is not lying [about knowing Jihadi John´s identity], in terms of strategy and tactics the FBI´s position is complete nonsense. To tear off Jihadi John´s mask would instantly strip him of his mystique. He would become what he was before he joined ISIS: Wally or Billy, son of the saccharine couple two doors down -- the boy the other boys used to beat up in the bathroom between classes.
On the other hand, if you need somebody to hate... I will add parenthetically that if you need somebody to hate, you had better figure out why you need him; you are in dire trouble."
Did James Comey, FBI Director, take heed and break the omertà that was hiding -- assisting -- Jihadi John? Not even Comey´s hairdresser knows for sure. Our opinion -- make that suspicion -- will be presented below.
True to form, when his mask came off, Jihadi John deflated faster than the Wizard of Oz could say "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." Jihadi John was finally revealed to be just ... little "John" -- the shy kid the other boys, girls too, bullied.
How did we get it right?** Dear reader, you can do it. What you need is a sensitivity to a syndrome -- the syndrome of middle class rebellion, the source of terrorism.
That simple but complex, mundane reality makes all the more astonishing another reality which I will present as a question:
What took the FBI five months to see what was two feet in front of it?
We alluded above to the answer. Middle class ideological assumptions and tenets*** which dominate thinking in Western governments, media and universities, must be dethroned before new and practical insights into the most deadly phenomenon of our times can be presented and examined on a large scale, much less implemented. The reason: the prevailing conceptual framework that purports to analyze the problem is part of the problem.
The issue is by no means purely academic. As long as middle class ideology reigns and is allowed to impose powerful taboos -- notably silence -- anti-terrorist forces will play over and over again into the terrorists´ hands. He who controls the rules of the game wins the game. Nowhere was Washington´s lack of understanding of that reality more blatant than in its mishandling of Jihadi John.
What, then, are the rules?
(i) Middle class ideology is the source of terrorism.
(ii) Middle class ideology created and enforced the taboo against unveiling Jihadi John´s identity.
(iii) Both before and after the taboo was broken, middle class ideology caused the entire Jihadi John affair to be accompanied by a plethora of clumsy deeds and naive explanations by Washington and London. When smart people do and say stupid things it means unconscious factors have welled up, seized control.
Are things changing? The public unmasking of Jihadi John on February 25 is a first baby step in the right direction. The purpose of this post is to take that step one step further.
As are all ideologies, middle class ideology is rooted in the unconscious. That means it operates autonomously; it controls you, you do not control it. Only by making the unconscious roots conscious -- exposing them -- can that autonomy be broken. "The ideology that becomes fully conscious is the ideology that dies." (The Source of Terrorism: Middle Class Rebellion, p. 101)
Therein lie the rules.
* * *
Let me start by keeping a promise.
Back in August ABC broadcast a photofit portrait -- a ballyhooed creation of "new technology" -- of Jihadi John:
"The image was created by American facial recognition specialists who consult with the U.S. government based on the purported ISIS member’s eyes and the area just around the eyes not covered with the black cloth."
The image is presented at the top of this post. When we first published it (6) we commented:
"Anybody who has taken an art class (I did) knows the idea of constructing an entire face based on eyes alone is ridiculous. I challenge the FBI to find one credible artist anywhere who disputes that conclusion. Crucial clues were furnished by the photofit image? You´re joking. To prove or disprove our point, when Jihadi John is eventually identified publicly, we will publish the photofit image and the real image side by side. You, dear reader, will be the judge."
Side by side. Too old; wrong eyes (incredibly); wrong lips; wrong weight; prominent retrognathism and elongated nose missing: when all is said and done, does photofit = random fit? If so, a monkey with a dart board could have created a better likeness.
Apparently aware they were playing a very wild/wilder/wildest card, the anonymous American facial recognition specialists figured that by blurring the image and omitting key features -- forehead, ears -- they could invoke The Fudge Factor. Nothing original there: we´ve seen all this before in Washington´s playbook. CYA, Wiggle Room, Weasel Words -- the terms for the phenomenon are as endless as the phenomenon itself.
We would pass over the photofit affair were it not emblematic of the West´s overall bungling of Jihadi John. Like the intelligence services that relied on him, Photofit Man not only did not get to first base, he was not even in the state that has the county that has the city that has the ballpark where the game is being played.
Take another look. There is no way the photofit portrait could have helped identify Jihadi John. One and only one conclusion follows: Washington -- our money -- got taken for a ride. Nothing new there. However, that is not to say the portrait is worthless. On the contrary, its value is as immense as it is inadvertent. As an under-card bout to the main event, we will present shortly another case of unaware, unintentional revelation.
If Photofit Man is not Jihadi John, who is he?
Photofit Man is the corner stone of the unconscious foundation of middle class ideology in America. It was Photofit Man who shut the FBI´s mouth.
Look at him again; take your time. You may be looking at the face of the man who will conquer America.
* * *
No sooner did Jihadi John first appear on the Internet than government fumbling of his case began.
The first post (1) in our ISIS series was made a few days after ISIS released its infamous James Foley video. In their search to identify their citizen Jihadi John, we warned British intelligence (M15, M16, SIS) about American whizz-bang satellites and pricey techno gimmicks; about millions of NSA-tapped phone calls and emails; about "Pentagon understudies; of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed White House and Democrat Party B-squaders with connections," and other sundry Washington time-wasters. We concluded:
"Jihadi John has the indelible watermark of a middle class rebel turned terrorist. I realize those words are probably meaningless to you, MI6; I won´t attempt to explain them here. If you are truly interested in understanding ISIS, instead of a 100 million emails read The Source of Terrorism: Middle Class Rebellion. You will see why the queue of Jihadi Johns is long and getting longer."
Evidently, British intelligence had no idea what we were talking about, hence got beaten to the punch (see below). As George Washington would say, it wasn´t the first time. But what, in practical terms, was the alternative to D.C. gators with power red ties, with bloated bellies and expense accounts?
Our post (1) presented for the second time a highly effective, simple, fast, inexpensive procedure for identifying homegrown terrorists. It was extrapolated from The Source of Terrorism:
"Here I quote from our post of April 29, 2013 on the Boston terrorist attack by the Tsarnaev brothers:
´Our Terrorist I.D. Procedure:
1. Take out a telephone book.
2. Open it to universities and colleges.
3. Call their engineering schools.
4. Acquire lists of their present and past students and professors.
Before continuing: why engineering schools?
Mark Sageman, formerly a C.I.A. psychiatrist, concluded from his first-hand study of terrorists: ´Very often these persons have already chosen such unambiguous technical fields as engineering, architecture, computer science, or medicine. Students of the humanities and social sciences were few and far between in my sample.´ (Marc Sageman, Understanding Terrorist Networks, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2004, p. 116. Cited in The Source of Terrorism, p. 295). For the record, Dr. Sageman also concluded that terrorists were ´generally middle-class, educated young men.´ (Ibid., p. 96.)
5. Tamerlan [Tzarnaev] was a former engineering student. Dkhokhar [Tzarnaev] was a marine biology student. In this case, the FBI had photos of the suspects. The fact the FBI released the photos to the media showed it had zero leads regarding who the suspects were and hoped the general public would help. Tragically, the publication of the photos tipped off the brothers that the noose was tightening; their spree of violence ensued.
The FBI should have withheld the photos and showed them only to engineering school personnel. They would have identified and located the Tsarnaevs within hours.
6. If engineering schools do not provide leads, proceed to other hard science faculties, e.g., medicine, computer science and architecture, thereafter to all other faculties associated with middle class professions.
7. If universities and colleges provide no leads, shake the tree. Open the phone book again. Bring in all middle class professionals, e.g., engineers, lawyers, doctors and accountants, for interrogation. Somebody will know something...´
MI6: it is entirely possible, as some argue, that Jihadi John is a lumpenproletariat, i.e., a petty criminal. The Source of Terrorism discusses how extreme violence (ISIS´ trademark) results whenever lumpens hook up with middle class rebels. I think the lumpen option for Jihadi John is less likely than the one I am suggesting.
Your diligent inquiries into hard science students, teachers, technicians and professionals will doubtlessly turn up some missing persons. Where are they? The answer will lead you straight to Jihadi John within weeks.
Perhaps days. "
By every single account, Jihadi John is from the socioeconomic middle class. For regular readers of this blog and The Source of Terrorism, that finding is as fundamental as it is old hat. Indeed, it is now threatening to become trivial, hence overlooked before it had the opportunity to be analyzed and understood.
Here I will add that Jihadi John is also middle class, i.e., intermediary/transitional/marginal, in that larger sense of the term. We explored its meaning in Source and in post ( 7). To wit:
Jihadi John is said to have been originally from Kuwait. Was he? Actually, his family
"are members of a stateless ethnic group called the Bedoons who originally hail from Iraq...It raises a question - as Bedoons, did the Emwazi family consider themselves to be outsiders in Kuwait - and once again, outsiders as new immigrants to the UK?"
Tourists in their own land, even when marginal people like Jihadi John are sitting at home they are abroad. The consequence can be devastating. For starters, everybody hates a tourist. For a stinging Kuwaiti rejection of Jihadi John´s family as Kuwaitis, click here.
As emphasized in our definition of terrorist in Source (see also post (5)), when margins are piled on top of margins one of the essential prerequisites for creating a Jihadi John is fulfilled.
In addition to being of middle class origin, a second fact about Jihadi John is uncontested. He received a degree in computer science in 2009 from Westminster University in London. Look again: our Terrorist Identification Procedure has computer science in the top three university faculties to investigate.****
What the Procedure boils down to: go hunting where the ducks are. It would have discovered within weeks that, after graduation, Jihadi John went to work in Kuwait as a computer salesman, and then disappeared in 2013.
Readers are asking if I think the FBI/other intelligence services or the media used our Procedure to track down Jihadi John. On a personal level, the question is neither here nor there. I published the Procedure with the intention that it be used -- and quickly -- in the fight against terrorism, not something else.*****
I posted the Procedure on the Internet only after determining that terrorists would not change their modus operandi after reading it.****** Make that, could not change...
A middle class rebel like Jihadi John cannot be other than what he is -- a man whose thoughts, feelings, and intuitions are, to a significant extent, tools of an ideology.
Any transformation of that status would require him to make a number of unconscious elements conscious. To begin that monumental change, Jihadi John would have to do something highly original, something which no middle class rebel has ever done: say what he is -- a middle class rebel.
As noted, Jihadi John is not original.*******
* * *
We do not know how the seal of silence was broken.
Or do we?
A reading of our prior posts on Jihadi John will show this blog waged a vigorous campaign over five months to make his identity public. If the FBI changed its policy and released Emwazi´s name (see below), they are to be congratulated for doing so.
One thing is perfectly clear. We know how Emwazi was NOT identified.
Two, patently-absurd explanations are making the rounds. They need to be scuttled, and quickly.
(1) First, the British version as reported in the Express on March 1:
"Emwazi, 26, now the world’s most-wanted man after beheading British and US hostages, had been on a shortlist of suspects.
But the crucial piece of the jigsaw fell into place when when Emwazi used a laptop in Syria to download web design software which was being offered on a free trial.
Instead of buying the software with a credit card, he used a student code from London’s Westminster University when he studied computer technology.
The number contained unique information which gave his date of birth, what he studied, and where, and information on his student loan."
London, your story of the web error is so full of holes a typical teenager can play it like a flute.
(i) Emwazi was already known to be in Syria so his purchase of software there said nothing new about his location.
(ii) Crucial piece of the jigsaw? He ordered software. So what? If you, dear reader, went to Syria and downloaded the same software, that would not, by some mysterious alchemical process known only to intelligence agencies, make you Jihadi John.
(iii) Using his student code was the key error? A terrorist, a friend, a neighbor could have stolen/borrowed Emwazi´s student card. For that matter, he could have been living safely in Qatar or another Middle East nation, the victim of identity theft. Here again, Point A does not automatically get you to Point B.
The closer you look, the harder the British story falls:
(iv) The fact Emwazi was in Syria does not mean he was with ISIS. He could have been working with an aid organization or one of the U.S.-backed rebel groups fighting the al-Assad regime. In fact,
(v) that he used his student card to order software can be interpreted to mean he was NOT a terrorist at the time. Terrorists need to hide, hence do not engage in certain common Internet practices. Keep in mind something else: Emwazi is a computer expert.
In the end, whoever cooked up the British version knows it is weak/weaker/weakest. That is why all sorts of extraneous details -- what he studied, student loan, date of birth -- are flung in our faces in the hope that we will be diverted from the simple fact that the story has no beef. Zero.
I lived for two years in London. Dazzling details are the British equivalent of Washington´s Fudge Factor, CYA, Wiggle Room, Weasel Words. Nothing original there. Diversion of attention is as old as the world´s first magician.
(2) The American version of how Jihadi John´s identity was uncovered was supplied by the Washington Post. They ought to know -- it was the Post that got the scoop on Jihadi John´s identity, which they published on February 25.
On March 2 the Post gave its version of what happened; you will find it here. The headline crows "How The Post Identified Jihadi John." Does the story stand and deliver -- live up to the headline? Let´s see.
This is what Post foreign policy editor Adam Goldman says:
"We collected various bits of information about him over the last several weeks if not months. And then we picked up a first name and then we picked up, you know, part of a last name, and then it just took getting on the ground in London and knocking on doors."
In the first two seconds, Editor Goldman tries to tease us with coyness -- various bits; weeks if not months. An ankle here, a knee there ... unfortunately the stripper doesn´t have its act together; all clothing, fans, feathers fall to the floor in the first three seconds with these ungainly words:
"And then we picked up a first name..."
O.K., dear reader, look at Emwazi´s student card featured at the top of this post. There you will see his first name: Mohammed. Mohammed is Jihadi John´s first name: that is the Post´s trail-blazing revelation in the worldwide search for Jihadi John. I thought the Arab world needed a good belly laugh: there it is. This blog receives visitors from throughout the Middle East with the exceptions of Syria and Iran. I suspect that is about to change.
As for "getting on the ground," "London," "knocking on doors," there is nothing new there. Goldman is merely borrowing from the British diversionary tactic.
* * *
All of the above is not say that Editor Goldman´s explanation is another Washingtonian time-waster. On the contrary. By so artlessly hiding the truth, Goldman revealed it. And so, although the Post failed to stand, it did deliver, albeit inadvertently, i.e., unconsciously, on its self-serving headline.
Here is what I suspect really happened. It is what Washington and London are trying to cover up:
In the 1970s Deep Throat was the secret government insider who provided the Washington Post with key information that led to the Watergate scandal. Decades later, Deep Throat´s name came to light. He was Mark Felt -- an FBI agent.
Enter Deep Throat II. He followed in Felt´s footsteps. He is the FBI agent who handed Mohammed Emwazi´s name to the Washington Post.
Deep Throat II broke the seal of silence. The Post did not, as it claimed, identify Jihadi John. To be precise: the Post made public that identity which was uncovered by the FBI.
There´s the beef. All the rest -- "knocking on doors" -- is pure mayonnaise, ketchup, grease, fat.
Sidebar: Editor Goldman is hoping, praying, that by unveiling his story an inch at a time somebody will detect a detective story therein and make the movie sequel to "All The President´s Men." To wit:
Would Goldman star as himself opposite Angelina Jolie? Or would George Clooney play Goldman? Johnny Depp as Jihadi John? How about Robert Redford as Deep Throat II? Talk about a coup! Megabucks... A BMW convertible, a house in East -- not West -- Hampton. Right now, visions of sugar plums are dancing in Editor Goldman´s head. Which goes to show that when an ideology is in the driver´s seat, even in their dreams its passengers lie to themselves.
We have seen all this before, countless times: dallying mistaken for tactics; powerlessness parading as power. Looking at the Goldman video again, I suspect his boss glanced at his watch, then shoved Goldman onto the middle of the floor with the nonplussed instruction, Say somethin´. The result two minutes later was what you see in the Post´s video: a vintage performance of The Blivet Trick, i.e., the attempt to shove 10 pounds of horse shit into a five-pound bag.
Perhaps by exposing the punch line of Deep Throat II, we will make a contribution toward putting to bed early Editor Goldman´s puerile self-coquetry.
FBI, I understand your concern to protect Deep Throat II by letting the Post take the limelight and huff and puff, pretend it heroically broke the seal all by itself, viz., that it uncovered Jihadi John´s identity by dint of hard work, investigative know-how, can-do perspicacity. Unfortunately for you, as you saw with the incident of Emwazi´s first name, the Post has the same problem as the British press and your CIA colleagues across town: they are lousy liars. That outcome is inevitable wherever originality is lacking and enthusiasm turns into baseness.
Regular readers of this blog know there is nothing new whatsoever in Deep Throat II and the Post´s Jihadi John scoop. Three years ago we observed in our post "Intellectual Cowardice -- George Orwell":
"Our post of February 12 concluded of the Washington Post:
´The Post is a tool of the American government. Obama, Bush, JFK, Pol Pot, Hitler, Hoover, Lenin, Reagan, Elvis: it makes no difference who is in power, the Post does his bidding in exchange for…well, what, exactly? Money? Hot tips? Free Redskins tickets? Gotcha’ sex rumors and phony confidences? Dinner with 200 other attendees? A Rose Garden interview with softball questions? An invitation to the White House Christmas party?´
A month later, we got an answer: hot tips.
Post columnist David Ignatius wrote on March 16 that bin Laden wanted to kill Obama and General Petraeus:
´The scheme is described in one of the documents taken from bin Laden’s compound by U.S. forces on May 2, the night he was killed. I was given an exclusive look at some of these remarkable documents by a senior administration official.´
Exclusive look. Senior administration official: Boy, are we impressed! Let´s see now: U.S. forces break into bin Laden`s compound, kill him and take papers. Question: those papers are now in the hands of what government agency? If you have trouble with this one, ask the nearest seventh grader; he or she will be happy to set you straight."
When all is said and done, is the Post´s clumsy posturing to be fed hot tips, then running around like a chicken with its head cut off, worth it? Here, the proverbial bottom line is the prosaic bottom line: The Washington Post is a financial basket case.
* * *
The real losers in the Jihadi John affair, however, are nowhere near Washington D.C.
Back in December we proposed (6) an innovative project using the Terrorist Identification Procedure to break the seal of silence:
"We challenge a British newspaper and journalism class to form a pool and pick up where Peter Kassig left off ["Be Your Own Role Model"]; to get the scoop of the year, maybe of the decade; to build their careers; to make history; to do what the American and British governments failed to do: [publicly] identify Jihadi John.
A preliminary warning: be prepared to be astonished at how quick and easy identifying Jihadi John is. Such was certainly the case with the Boston Marathon attackers."
The British press and students did not adopt the project, hence failed to close the deal and break the seal. Ditto MI5, MI6 and SIS who failed to sit up and take notice of an unkind fact: they were in a race with the U.S. to publicly tear the mask off Jihadi John. Our September post (3):
"Don´t look now, SIS, but you may be upstaged by American hotdoggers. According to a report filed September 9, ´U.S. law enforcement officials believe they may have identified the masked man seen in the ISIS video of the killing of American journalist James Foley, two U.S. officials told CNN.´ Like it or not, the race is on. No guts, no glory."
Any society which lets a foreign power tell it who its citizens are is in serious trouble. Will the British journalism students who sat on their hands end up using their hands to wash windows in Yorkshire, descale boilers in Sheffield, shovel hops in a Guinness brewery?
Not necessarily. More middle class rebel terrorists are on the way; the queue of Jihadi Johns is long and getting longer. Second, third and fourth chances are in the offing to make a worldwide scoop. Stay tuned...
To conclude: no originality anywhere in Washington or London in the Jihadi John affair. Zero.
We think we know why.
* * *
And it is a frightening thought that man
also has a shadow-side to him, consisting
not just of little weaknesses and foibles, but
of a positively demonic dynamism. The
individual seldom knows anything of this;
to him, as an individual, it is incredible that
he should ever in any circumstances go
beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures
form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster;
and each individual is only one tiny cell in the
monster's body, so that for better or worse he
must accompany it on its bloody rampages and
even assist it to the utmost. Having a dark suspicion
of these grim possibilities, man turns a blind eye to
the shadow-side of human nature. Blindly he strives
against the salutary dogma of original sin, which is
yet so prodigiously true. Yes, he even hesitates to
admit the conflict of which he is so painfully aware.
-- C.G. Jung, On the Psychology of The Unconscious --
Photofit Man is a lot more than a frozen image on a screen.
Photofit Man lives! He does things.
One of Swiss psychiatrist C.G. Jung´s central tenets:
All of us have a shadow figure inside. The shadow consists of our negative traits -- we lie, steal, cheat, ad nausea -- which we do not want to consciously recognize, much less deal with.
Inevitably, stress builds up. To seek relief, the unconscious projects the shadow onto other people, places, things.
As do individuals, collectives -- entire societies -- have psychological shadow figures. They are mainly expressed in culture, popular and otherwise.
Photofit Man is a projection of the shadow of America.
In 1957, the height of the Cold War, Jung noted: "It is the face of our own shadow that glowers at us across the Iron Curtain." The Iron Curtain is gone. The shadow´s face is no longer communism and Stalin; today, it is terrorism and Photofit Man.
For Jung, the psychological shadow can also contain positive traits. There is no better known example than The Dream Woman. When we see her in the street and instantly fall head over heals -- a telling expression -- in love with her, it is because the attributes we ascribe to her are inside us. Among other things, she sells trainloads of music: "You´re beautiful, it´s true. I saw your face in a crowded place. And I don´t know what to do." James Blunt, "You´re beautiful."
For her part, she wonders why she has to be perfect.
You know immediately that unconscious projections onto Mohammed Emwazi are taking place when you see and hear all the standard commentaries that appear whenever a local middle class rebel turns terrorist:
We are told by friends and acquaintances of Emwazi that he was a "beautiful young man;" "calm and decent...the best employee we ever had;" "It's just not logical that he could be this guy. I have no answers for this;" “Only eight years ago, he was a painfully shy, nervous guy who wouldn't say boo to a goose. He was bullied and humiliated by girls. To think he has killed so many people is impossible to comprehend;” his father, according his lawyer, is "in a state of shock;" a neighbor said, "This is a big shock;" “This is a total surprise to me,” said Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour councillor for Queen’s Park. “As far as I am aware, the family is just an ordinary famiily...;" A Westminster University spokesman: " If these allegations are true, we are shocked and sickened by the news."
I could drag the personal commentaries on for 20 minutes, but won´t. Ten years ago, Source summed them up: "Every time a middle class person becomes a terrorist, the same question arises: Why? Each time, only mystery and silence remain."
What did we learn that is new from the people who knew Emwazi? Nothing. Nothing at all. Readers of Source and this blog have seen their remarks before. And we will see them again and again -- all of them -- whenever a homegrown terrorist strikes.
The simultaneous silence/mystery, i.e., Jihadi John is ultimately explainable -- no answers for this; impossible to comprehend -- results from the fact that his friends and acquaintances are looking out there for something. That something is inside them -- both halves, the shy boy and the raging monster.********
As for the guy with the overbite and elongated nose who walked and talked and ate breakfast in a West London neighborhood...
The fact that the Mohammed Emwazi whom his friends and neighbors knew is diametrically opposed to the terrorist ghoul on the Internet is precisely what gives the game away. Our post (5) noted of such ordinary/wouldn´t-say-boo-to-a-goose men:
"Our regular readers have seen all that before... A hallmark of the middle class rebel is that he is, in certain stages of his development, extremely normal. It sounds counter-intuitive but the extremism with which the rebel embraces the normal, the banal, the non-extreme, identifies him as a rebel. The Source of Terrorism (p. 213): ´the middle class rebels by conforming, i.e., conformism in extremis shows that class has overshot the mark...´ In his non-rebellion -- often, anti-rebellion -- phases, all the dynamics that characterize rebellion as we commonly know it are present, albeit latently. Only the manifestations vary...
Since all parents want their children to be good little boys and girls -- the more so, the better -- , the rebel within does not merely go unrecognized; it is actively cultivated. Which is to say: Mom and Dad had a problem long before they had children.
Actively cultivated -- how? One extreme always testifies to the presence of its opposite. The latter is usually in a latent condition. It is that presence which makes the first extreme an extreme in the first place.
I will sum up this discussion this way:
Beware the good child -- the polite and well-mannered kid, the altar boy, the youngest-ever Eagle Scout, the engineering student, the exemplary marine, the accomplished pianist, the officious bank teller and bill collector. He, not the teenager caught drinking beer or smoking a joint, is the one who climbs up into the tower at the University of Texas and shoots 48 people."
It´s time to come down hard, with both feet:
Normal; all too normal. Breathtakingly normal... Even given a thousand years, FBI, CIA, SNA, Homeland Security, SIS, MI5 and MI6, as long as your ideological blinders are on, you won´t get it. You won´t get it because that ideology prohibits you from seriously questioning and investigating, much less understanding and seeing terrorists for what they are.
The truth that eludes you and ideology that blinds you involves the middle class -- your class.
In a word: what you were told by words and deeds all around you is true -- the middle class is a source of compromise, rationality and moderation. Equally true, it is also a source of extremism, irrationality and terrorism. FBI et al, you cannot recognize the latter because middle class ideology forbids it; that is why your image of terrorists will always be blurred and with key features missing.
You cannot admit, much less comprehend, the shadow that Jihadi John constellated, because it is your shadow.
Conclusion: the need for conscious acknowledgement of the unconscious shadow is shared all around. The task is difficult at best; as Jung noted, the individual seldom knows anything of this. In particular, no FBI or CIA agent can admit to himself, much less anybody else, that he is manipulated by an ideology, that he is in any way beyond himself. That is why his response to what was just said is always the familiar Huh?
Jung´s ideas, however, are not new to America. In 1963, President Kennedy alluded on a general audience level to the shadow and the need to consciously deal with it:
"Some say that it is useless to speak of peace or world law or world disarmament, and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it. But I also believe that we must re-examine our own attitudes, as individuals and as a Nation, for our attitude is as essential as theirs."*********
Although the U.S.S.R. is dead, America´s shadow is not only alive, it is prospering. The proof is the American Government continues to need somebody to hate. It found him in Syria.
His cover gone, deflated beyond repair, don´t be surprised if ISIS cancels Mohammed Emwazi´s show. (Note to James Comey et al: there -- see how easy it was?) We will see soon if ISIS has a spare in the trunk.
America will hale Jihadi John´s disappearance as a victory. We will not join the celebration.
If you need somebody to hate, you had better figure out why you need him; you are in dire trouble.
The queue of Jihadi Johns will go on, as before.
The seal of silence, too, will go on. Such is the rule among cellmates.
NOTE: March 31, 2015. 12:05 pm. Many readers are curious about the visitors to this blog. I am, too.
I have not presented statistical information previously because it is nebulous, to say the least.
You will find at the top of this post the Google analytics data for today, as of half an hour ago. They create more questions than answers.
Who are those "not set" visitors? ISIS terrorists in Syria? FBI and CIA agents in Washington? The Federal Security Service in Moscow? Secret Intelligence Service officers in London? North Korea? Information on their providers and operating systems, language, etc., reveals nothing. Your guess is as good as mine.
Ditto the number of visitors. Yesterday, according to the site host, Weebly, 502 pages were opened. How much did the visitors read of what they opened? And which post or posts did they visit? I suspect it was mainly this post; however, Weebly says there is no way of knowing. Once more, only speculation remains.
*1. "James Foley and Jihadi John: Time/Time/Time." August 23, 2014.
2. "A New Explanation of The James Foley Video." August 28, 2014.
3. "ISIS: Winston Churchill Speaks." September 12, 2014.
4. "The ISIS Crisis: Abraham Lincoln´s Solution." October 6, 2014.
5. "Part 1. Peter Kassig and Beyond: New Perspectives." November 28, 2014.
6. "Part 2. Peter Kassig and Beyond, New Perspectives." December 14, 2014.
7. "Part 3. A New Perspective on Terrorism." December 29, 2014.
For the purposes of this post, when we cite/refer to one of the above articles, we will reference its number.
**How, in concrete terms, did we identify back in November Jihadi John as a middle class rebel?
For obvious reasons, we will not go into the entire process here. However, our post (5) gave a glimpse:
"Jihadi John committed a major blunder in declaring the dead Kassig ´doesn’t have much to say. His previous cellmates have already spoken on his behalf.´ It wasn´t the first time Jihadi John´s unconscious sabotaged him. A similar pronunciamiento, ´I´m back, Obama,´ made in the video of the beheading of Sotloff, revealed more about Jihadi John than a million FBI-tapped phone calls or 10 million CIA-intercepted emails.
Jihadi John´s sarcastic, in-your-face humor gives his game away. Without knowing who he is, we know who he is:
We noted in our post of November 12, 2010, ´Terrorist Humor, Anwar al-Awlaki, and Dandyism,´ terrorist humor is anchored in the cult of contradiction. That cult is the signature song of middle class rebellion."
***We explored in depth middle class ideology in The Source of Terrorism: Middle Class Rebellion. For an introduction, see our prior seven posts on terrorism.
****We repeated the computer science option for Jihadi John in our September post (3): "Is he an engineer? M.D.? Lab technician? Computer expert?"
*****Of course, mechanically following the steps of the Procedure will not reveal why they work any more than gazing at TV components will reveal how they form a picture.
In the CNN report cited above, correspondent Peter Bergen correctly takes note of the major component -- the socioeconomic middle class origin of most terrorists. However, he fails to get the picture, i.e., make the cause/effect relationship. Instead, Bergen abruptly switches channels and finds the major cause of terrorism to be the Muslim religion; he thus falls back on The Official Explanation (see below). For a fuller presentation of Bergen´s argument, click here.
In truth, Bergen cannot -- at least in public -- make the middle class/terrorism cause/effect connection. To do so would violate the prevailing ideological assumption of the middle class as the seat of reason, moderation, reconciliation -- and nothing else.
No Last Picture Show on CNN, then. Bergen knows what is good for him; he will stay silent and keep his job.
This blog takes a different approach:
Source (p. 14): "ISLAM IS THE SOURCE OF TERRORISM: that is The Official Explanation." We proceeded in over 40 pages to take apart that explanation one stitch at a time. Our conclusion (p. 22):
"Did the fatal weakness of The Official Explanation just come into view? I think so. If...terrorists can and do adopt all sorts of doctrines and still be terrorists, then any specific doctrine, including Islam [or Christianity] is beside the point. A fundamentalist religion can be made out of anything. A straight line will do."
It is the propensity to create a fundamentalist religion -- an absolute truth, an idée fixe -- that counts, not any given specific fundamentalist religion which results from that propensity.
******Such is decidedly not the case with other tools developed from Source which we are withholding from public dissemination.
*******Some readers will no doubt find originality in Jihadi John´s statement that after run-ins with British intelligence officers, he felt like "a dead man walking."
Sorry, that sentiment (intuition?) has been said before, and better:
1. Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) French poet and archetypal middle class rebel:
"[A] voice clenched my frozen heart:…´You do not know where you are going or why, enter everywhere. Answer everything. One will not kill you any more than if you were already a cadaver´....I have never been one of those people: I have never been a Christian; I am of the breed that sang under torture. I don’t understand laws; I have no moral sense, I am a brute:…"
([U]ne voix étreignait mon cœur gelé : [...] « Tu ne sais ni où tu vas ni pourquoi tu vas, entre partout, réponds à tout. On ne te tuera pas plus que si tu étais cadavre. » […] Je n’ai jamais été de ce peuple-ci ; je n’ai jamais été chrétien ; je suis de la race qui chantait dans le supplice ; je ne comprends pas les lois ; je n’ai pas le sens moral, je suis une brute : [...].) Arthur Rimbaud, prélude et « Mauvais sang », Une Saison en enfer, Œuvres complètes, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Gallimard, Paris, 1994, pp. 96, 97. Cited in The Source of Terrorism, pp. 150-1. My translation.
2. French poet and middle class rebel, Comte de Lautréamont (1846-1870): "The body is nothing more than a cadaver that breathes." (« Le corps n’est plus qu’un cadavre qui respire. ») Comte de Lautréamont. Les Chants de Maldoror, Œuvres complètes : Les Chants de Maldoror, lettres, poésies I et II, Gallimard, Paris, 199, p. 202. Cited in Source, p. 244. My translation.
I seriously doubt a single FBI or CIA agent ever heard of, much less read, Rimbaud and Lautréamont. That ignorance is a basis of this blog´s position: when it comes to terrorists, Washington literally -- literally -- does not know what it is talking about.
********In order for the shadow to project itself onto the outer world, the recipient of the projection must have something that serves as a trigger. In Jihadi John´s case, the trigger is obvious. Hard-working Boy Scout Devil, he is pretty much like everybody else, only more so.
The psychological shadow not only does things; it speaks. To hear a verbal effusion, click here. In this case, the trigger was the setting -- a bathroom, the place where all sorts of things come out.
Note. Another word for bathroom: john.
*********JFK´s words are not a dated, isolated case. In a speech last month James Comey took another step forward and hinted at the presence of an American shadow. In a speech on racism in law enforcement, he cited song lyrics: "Look around and you will find; no one is really colorblind."
I would caution against taking Comey´s recent introspection, as well as the FBI´s revelation of Jihadi John, too far. The presence of an exception proves the existence of a rule.