Unless you’ve been asleep the last couple of days you’ve seen or heard the news that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) is in Cd. Juárez across the border from El Paso. Now step back, take a deep breath and let your pulse return to normal. ISIS is not on the US-Mexico border notwithstanding the sensationalized headlines the news media is pushing lately. Let’s take a step back and understand what’s going on here before everyone starts to demand that the US military be mobilized to deal with the imaginary threat. Of course, Perry’ already mobilized his weekend warriors, the Texas guard, to meet this latest threat but unfortunately for him he hadn’t yet been briefed on this latest headline to feed his political wants and thus he wasn’t able to use it to his advantage. However, not withstanding Rick Perry’s posturing let’s clear up the fog of political and economic misinformation.
There are no Islamic terrorist camps in Mexico training people to do harm to the US.
The sensationalized headlines are serving a purpose. It is the purpose of lining pockets with money. It is not about keeping the US safe. Money is what is behind the latest, in a long line of sensationalized headlines about terrorists massing on the US-Mexico border. Let me share with you who is benefitting financially from the fiction.
The whole story of ISIS being in Juárez originated from a single source. It is a non-profit that relies on sensationalism to drive funds to its operations. From there, the El Paso Times, KFOX TV and KVIA picked it up and ran with it. Of course FOX news and fringe “seal the border shut” groups picked up the story and ran with it as well. However, other than the original source, no other news outlet has independently collaborated the story. Instead Homeland Security has reiterated that there is no evidence of ISIS on the border. Because there is no collaborated information I believe it’s important that we examine the source of the sensationalized headline.
Judicial Watch, a self-styled “conservative, non-partisan education foundation” non-profit focused on promoting “transparency” and “accountability” in government and politics, ran a 481-word blog on August 29, 2014. In its unattributed blog post, the website asserted that “Islamic terrorists groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez [sic] and planning to attack the United States with car bombs”. The blog post then goes on to state that unnamed “high-level federal law enforcement” types have “confirmed” to the blog that a “warning bulletin” was recently issued. It adds that everyone has been “placed on alert” and that travel warnings have been issued. Of course sensationalism requires some specific keywords to make it sound official so in between “ISIS” and “explosive devices” the reader gets a dose of “famously crime-infested narcotics hotbed” as the description of the border city that is the supposed source of the upcoming attacks.
What you do not get in the entire piece are verifiable facts that the reader can use to ascertain the validity of the whole story. Not one individual is quoted nor is any document produced or even referenced to support the thesis of the whole piece. What the reader gets, instead, are “warning bulletins” and “travel warnings” and even law enforcement being put on “alert”. Yet the context, of each of these supporting pieces, is conveniently ignored.
Travel warnings, warning bulletins and security alerts are a normal response to a post-911 reality for an upcoming three-day US holiday so close to the tragedy of 911. This is a normal response to a standard operating procedure that has been ongoing for years now. Absent any credible, third party source supporting any portion of the non-profit’s essay then all it is a rumor based on someone’s need to get attention.
Therefore the question that needs to be asked is why would Judicial Watch publish this piece? Simple, it needs money. Right now the largest headlines are about ISIS and the US’ response to the threat. US citizens for the most part shrug their shoulders because subconsciously they understand that the threat is far from the US mainland and they have more pressing domestic problems then what is happening far away. Throw into the mix a little intrigue about terrorists a stone-throw away from the US mainland and immediately it grabs everyone’s attention. Heightened attention draws money.
Judicial Watch’s expenses have steadily increased by at least a million a year since 2009. Its donations have also increased as well. Its reputation, though, as compared to other similar non-profits has not kept up. According to Charity Navigator, Judicial Watch’s revenue growth has been outpaced by its expenses since 2009. As pointed out by Charity Navigator, since the recession many charities have trimmed expenses to meet declining donations. Judicial Watch’s expenses, on the other hand, have grown higher than their revenues. Thus, it becomes obvious that Judicial Watch needs to bring attention to it in order to attract new donors.
What better way is there to bring attention to an organization then to manufacture fear of imminent threat to the US mainland? Fear drives eyeballs and money eventually follows. This is precisely why the El Paso Times and all of the other news media outlets ran the headlines – to bring attention to them as well. None of them bothered to point out the context behind the headlines because it would have defeated the sensationalized headlines.
Now you know how money is the only truth behind the fiction of ISIS on the US-Mexico border.