“I’m The Law Today [N-Word]” – Cop Fired After Making Racial Post Online






Claire Bernish | The Free Thought Project

McKeesport, PA — An officer on the job for only a few weeks has been fired by the McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Police Department after an old social media post surfaced showing her in a uniformed selfie captioned with a racial slur.

“I’m the law today n**ga,” now-former Officer Melissa Adamson, who is white, wrote atop her vanity selfie in a post to social media.

Predictably and understandably, the Internet exploded in fury over the image — alerting the mayor of McKeesport to the inexcusable post.


“As Mayor of McKeesport, I feel compelled to publicly address an issue that has come to my attention via social media. A past social media post surfaced a few hours ago involving a recently hired part-time police officer, who has been training as a probationary employee for just a few weeks. This post displays a degree of conduct and character that is far different from what I would expect from an officer in this city,” Mayor Michael Cherepko wrote on the City of McKeesport Facebook page.

“It is absolutely unacceptable. Without hesitation, my office and the police chief’s office immediately concluded that this officer’s actions will not be tolerated in the City of McKeesport. She has been relieved of her duties, and her employment has been terminated.”


While social media debated whether or not the white officer meant the slang version of the racial slur with actual, racist intent, others questioned the slight authoritarian bent Adamson seemed to convey.

Her uniform in the picture bore insignia from the Pitcairn Police Department.

Because that uniform appeared to have long sleeves, Pitcairn Police Chief Scott Farally told WTAE, the picture was most likely taken months ago in colder weather. Farally had not been made aware of the image prior to Tuesday, but told the station an investigation would have been launched if he had.


“The Pitcairn Police Department holds high integrity for the community we serve and this type of conduct will not be tolerated,” Farally posted to the borough’s Facebook page, after outcry forced him to respond publicly.

On September 20, Adamson resigned from the Pitcairn force to join McKeesport, the chief added.

For her part, Adamson insists the image has been leaked maliciously by a former colleague who wishes to ruin her career in law enforcement.

“An altercation happened between me and a former police officer and he’s bringing up his dirt, ruining my career, which has been done,” Adamson exclusively told WTAE.

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The now-disgraced former officer explained the racial slur was a common way people in her social circles addressed each other, and wasn’t intended to have spiteful overtones.

“Everyone that knows me knows I don’t have a racist bone in my body,” Adamson asserted. “And people who don’t know me, I can understand why it was misconstrued to where it looks racist, but like I said everyone who knows me knows I’m not racist.”

Now, Adamson’s only remaining job in Versailles Borough will be the subject of an emergency meeting by officials to determine what disciplinary action, if any, should be undertaken.

“I don’t want this to affect how I do my job,” Adamson said. “I don’t want people to look at me differently, thinking that I can’t build myself up to the standard of a police officer. Again, it was a stupid mistake. It shouldn’t have been posted in general, regardless of how my intentions were.”

“I’m sorry for who I did offend. It was not my intention,” she continued. “I can’t express how sorry I am for how I made you feel — emotionally, physically — again, it wasn’t my intention.”

Adamson’s snap judgment without hesitation in originally posting such an image to social media evidences precisely the same indiscretion — and later, regret — which seems to drive so many officers to pull the trigger without thoroughly evaluating a situation. Worse, the racial slur, in general — regardless of her actual intent — at the absolute minimum displays cultural and general insensitivity.

Thanks to the Internet and the power of social media, an officer with a highly questionable decision-making skills might have to find another occupation not involving a badge and deadly weapon.

Check out The Free Thought Project for more.

Source Article from http://filmingcops.com/im-law-today-n-word-cop-fired-making-racial-post-online/

BREAKING: US Senate Overwhelmingly Overrides Obama’s Veto of ‘Sue the Saudis’ 9/11 Bill

(RT) The US Senate voted 97-1 to override President Barack Obama’s veto of the bill that would allow Americans to potentially sue Saudi Arabia for 9/11. This is the first veto override during the Obama presidency.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) was the only one who voted to sustain the veto, The Hill reported.

Obama vetoed the bill last week, explaining that the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” (JASTA) would erode the doctrine of sovereign immunity and expose the US to lawsuits around the world.

The override vote was the “single most embarrassing thing the Senate has done” in over two decades, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

JASTA, which passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate, allows US judges to waive sovereign immunity claims when dealing with acts of terrorism committed on American soil – potentially allowing lawsuits against Saudi Arabia over the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

The issue appears to cross party lines, with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) pushing for a veto override while Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) is concerned it would “end up exporting [US] foreign policy to trial lawyers.”

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has argued that allowing JASTA to become law could lead to US being sued in foreign courts and subjected to an “intrusive discovery process.”

This could put Washington in the “difficult position of choosing between disclosing classified or otherwise sensitive information or suffering adverse rulings and potentially large damage awards for our refusal to do so,” Carter wrote to House Armed Services Committee chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) earlier this week, according to the Military Times.

The House is expected hold a veto override vote later on Wednesday.

If Obama’s veto is successfully overridden in the House, it would be 111th time in US history that this has happened, and the first in Obama’s presidential term.

The first-ever veto override took place in March 1845 and involved President John Tyler’s attempt to build military ships without the approval of Congress. Andrew Johnson (1865-1869) holds the record for most vetoes overridden at 15, while Harry Truman (1945-1953) and Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) are tied at second place with 12.

Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/senate-overrides-obamas-veto-saudi-911/

Conspiracy Theorists Were Right — Congress to Expand TSA in Other Forms of Travel Like Bus & Train

No one’s favorite government agency, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, will be harassing innocent travelers on buses and trains, if new legislation — unsurprisingly proposed after rather questionable ‘attacks’ in New York City and New Jersey on September 18 — passes as expected.

Several U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle apparently want to make travelers lives’ a veritable hell of red tape and insidious surveillance by increasing putative ‘security’ for rail lines, highways, and marine routes by adding presence and screening procedures at Megabus depots, Amtrak stations, and more.

As perpetually-terrified as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security likes to keep the population, considering the TSA’s phenomenally negative reputation at airports — passengers missing flights due to long lines, free molestations, confiscations of breast milk, and countless other good times — it’s highly doubtful the proposed legislation will receive more than tepid public support.

Bloomberg reports [emphasis added]:

“A bipartisan bill introduced Thursday by Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) would require the TSA to use a risk-based security model for these transport modes and to budget money based on those risks. It would require a wider use of the agency’s terrorist watch list by train operators and more detailed passenger manifests along with tighter screening of marine employees. The legislation would also increase the TSA’s canine use by as many as 70 dog-handler teams for surface transportation.”

Despite the blatant Orwellian overtones, senate sponsors insist the American public not get ruffled feathers — because, trust them, it’s not at all what you think.

“This is very much not creating for bus or rail transportation the [security] model that exists for aviation,” asserted spokesman for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Frederick Hill, as quoted by Bloomberg.

Hill’s statement — considering the ill-reputed TSA has literally never captured a single terrorist — is debatably a good or terrible thing; though the idea of mandatory background screening to board a Megabus intimates the latter.

Besides the non-fatal bombs detonated and discovered in areas around New York City and New Jersey, the senators cited the DHS Office of Inspector General’s recent report sounding alarm bells over the lack of security in, well, every other system of transport in the United States besides aviation, which the TSA obviously already makes unbearable.

Without a hint of irony, the OIG notes DHS is responsible for securing all forms of transport in the nation “to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce,” while noting 80 percent of its 2015 budget went toward aviation programs and just 2 percent to non-aviation transportation systems. Auditors found budgetary allocation issues regarding security and risk needing to be remedied, and the lawmaker-sponsors and TSA agree.

If the bill passes, it will address “gaps in TSA’s approach to assessing security risks and will help the agency better fulfill its role as a hub of analysis, planning, and information,” Thune explained in a statement.

Upon close inspection, however, the bill would do little more than create a more extensive secondary domestic surveillance network. For years, reports and investigations of the TSA have revealed innumerable issues — not the least of which is a culture of fear among agents, who might otherwise expose yet more issues, of supervisory retaliation.

“No one who reports issues is safe at TSA,” Mark Livingston, who works with the TSA’s chief risk officer, told Congress in April, as quoted by NorthJersey.com. “I am concerned that TSA employees responsible for transportation security, intelligence and analysis fear their supervisors more than they fear a potential terrorist threat.”

Moreover, the agency’s airport ubiquity hasn’t been bereft of glaring security mistakes and practices antithetical to the safety their presence ostensibly guarantees.

Agents, for example, laughably claim our water bottles, soda cans, and, yes, even breast milk containers and pimento cheese, pose an insurmountable risk to passenger safety and must be handed over prior to entering the terminal — but confiscated materials sit in filled-to-the-brim bins in screening areas. If all of those beverage containers somehow actually did contain, say, explosive material, the TSA would be responsible for building a bomb of epic proportions.

More to the point, TSA agents tested by DHS auditors last year more than flunked the test — weapons and fake explosives were allowed to pass 95 percent of the time — missing 67 of 70 individual attempts.

Inordinately long lines at airport security checkpoints in the spring peaked travelers’ anger and forced the question, Is the TSA necessary at all?

In the name of safety and security — or, more accurately, under the premise of terrorism — Americans have been groped, X-rayed, fondled, detained, robbed, searched, brutalized, sexually assaulted, and generally humiliated by state agents in a nation where a person is 58 times more likely to be killed by an officer of the law than by a terrorist.

With a host of problems still plaguing the TSA, the only possible motive for such a vast extension of its powers would have to be keeping better tabs on civilians.

This Big Brother approach to national security, though proven flawed continually — even in the placement and detonation of non-fatal bombs cited as motivation for the bill — will eke into our private lives until we have nowhere to go, nowhere to escape its eyes. Until we collectively stop allowing fear to guide our most important privacy concerns, government agencies will test how much we’ll give — but they will never stop trying to take.

Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/conspiracy-theorist-tsa-increase-travel/

Seizure granny Hillary teeters on the brink of a medical crisis at the first debate… and the Don noticed it!

Seizure granny Hillary teeters on the brink of a medical crisis at the first debate… and the Don noticed it!

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A concerned Donald Trump can be seen at the above link mouthing the word “seizure” to his family and campaign advisors in the front row at Monday’s first Presidential debate.

After what appears to be a medical episode played off by Hillary Clinton’s frozen smile, shaking head and upper torso with her eyes closed, Trump looks out to his team and describes what he feels is unfolding on the debate stage, enhanced video clearly shows.

We have sent this to a lip reading expert for analysis. She confirmed our analysis that Trump does indeed mouth the word seizure. You be the judge. Tell us what you think below.

Also...

Related…

Is Hillary a seizure granny with early dementia and one eye already impaired by a past medical crisis of that sort…

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News has been emerging about an earpiece and wiring Hillary Clinton wore during the 1st Presidential Debate. Was she being fed lines of commie propaganda by her Jewed handlers or was this an anti-seizure device of some sort to correct her recurring imbalance due to inner ear/seizure/dementia problems or possibly an emergency line of communication to her handlers if she froze on stage after suffering a seizure?

Source Article from https://firstlightforum.wordpress.com/2016/09/28/seizure-granny-hillary-teeters-on-the-brink-of-a-medical-crisis-at-the-first-debate-and-the-don-noticed-it/

Transcripts: Orlando terror attack triggered by U.S. drone strike killing ISIL commander

by WorldTribune Staff, September 28, 2016

Terrorist Omar Mateen told a police negotiator that his attack on an Orlando nightclub was motivated by a U.S. drone strike in Iraq, transcripts made public by police show.

The conversations between Mateen, who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub, and an Orlando police negotiator on June 12 were kept secret by FBI and local police until Sept. 23.

Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 others at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12. Mateen, 29, died after a shootout with police. /AP
Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 others at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12. Mateen, 29, died after a shootout with police. /AP

The transcripts were released by Orlando police after a Florida court hearing held in response to a lawsuit filed by several news organizations, the Washington Free Beacon reported on Sept. 28.

During an exchange in the early morning hours of June 12, an Orlando Police Department negotiator identified only as “Andy” asked Mateen, who was speaking by cell phone from inside the club, to tell him what was going on.

“Yo, the air strike that killed Abu Wahid a few weeks ago… that’s what triggered it, okay?” said Mateen, who earlier in the conversation identified himself as a follower Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

Abu Wahid, ISIL’s military commander for Iraq’s Anbar province, was killed in a drone strike on May 6.

“They should have not bombed and killed Abu Wahid,” Mateen told the negotiator. “Do your f—ing homework and figure out who Abu Wahid is, okay?”

Mateen also praised one of the bombers of the 2013 Boston Marathon, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and another domestic terrorist whose name was transcribed as unintelligible in the released transcript.

The transcript shows that, at other points, Mateen told the negotiator that the United States needed to stop all bombing in Iraq and Syria.

The Beach noted that: “Initial reports from several news outlets reporting on the mass shooting variously described Mateen as gay, a ‘homophobe’ and a ‘wife beater,’ despite his having made claims of allegiance to the Islamic State.”

The New York Times, for example, stated in an editorial three days after the shooting that the “precise motive [of Mateen] remains unclear.” The editorial then said it was “evident that Mr. Mateen was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians.” Investigators later dismissed as a false claim that Mateen was driven to the killing spree by gay self-hatred.

The FBI later revealed it had investigated Mateen twice but claimed there was a lack of evidence he was linked to Islamic terrorism.

FBI and Orlando police spokesmen declined to comment when asked why the full transcript was not made public earlier.

Rep. Mike Pompeo, Kansas Republican and member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said during Mateen’s first call with the crisis negotiator, the terrorist explicitly stated U.S. involvement in Syria and Iraq motivated the attack.

“This fact differs dramatically and widely from the initial media and police reports,” Pompeo said. “It is important for us to understand why that was the case. If officials intentionally sought to downplay the threat from radical Islamic terrorism, that would not only be wrong, but would also be a disservice to the American public.”

Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism expert, said the newly-released policy transcript “completely destroys” the White House policy narrative of so-called “lone wolf” terror attacks.

“Omar Mateen isn’t a random individual discontented from a broader conspiracy,” Gorka said.

“Justifying the attack as a response to our targeting of Abu Wahib, the ISIL head of the Al Anbar Lions, reemphasizes to reality that this is a borderless war in which the individual neutralization of high value targets will not bring us ultimate victory,” Gorka said. “Only the delegitimization of the ideology that men like Mateen adhere to can do that.”



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Source Article from http://www.worldtribune.com/transcripts-orlando-terror-attack-triggered-by-u-s-drone-strike-killing-isil-commander/

Moscow goes ‘all out’ against rebels in Aleppo

by WorldTribune Staff, September 28, 2016

The U.S. accused Russia of “barbarism” and European leaders alleged war crimes were committed as Moscow launched heavy airstrikes in recent days to back Syrian regime forces attempting to take full control of Aleppo.

“Russia has decided to go all out because it no longer believes in the possibility of collaborating with the United States in Syria,” said Fabrice Balanche, a Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Men carry babies through the rubble of buildings in Aleppo destroyed in an airstrike. /AFP
Men carry babies through the rubble of buildings in Aleppo that were destroyed in an airstrike. /AFP

A U.S.-Russia brokered ceasefire, dubbed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as the “last chance” to end the five-year conflict, went into effect across Syria earlier this month. It fell apart within a week.

Aleppo, the country’s most populous city, has been divided between government control in the west and rebel control in the east since mid-2012.

UK-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that more than 150 people have been killed by Russian and Syrian airstrikes on Aleppo since the government of President Bashar Assad announced its offensive last week.

The casualties include 11 civilians killed on Sept. 27 in raids on the neighborhoods of Al-Shaar and Al-Mashhad, according to the Observatory.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, at an emergency session of the UN Security Council on Sept. 25, accused Russia of “barbarism”, while both the British and French envoys alleged the bombing of Aleppo constituted possible war crimes.

The violence in Aleppo was on an “absolutely unacceptable scale,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sept. 27, adding that it was up to Russia and Syria to ensure humanitarian aid could reach the battered city.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also condemned the air campaign.

“The appalling attacks on Aleppo have shaken all of us, and the violence and the attacks we have seen… is morally totally unacceptable and is a blatant violation of international law,” Stoltenberg told a news conference in Bratislava.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Sept. 27 that medical facilities in east Aleppo were on the verge of “complete destruction”.

“Over the last weekend alone, more than 200 people were injured and taken to understaffed health facilities in east Aleppo,” a spokeswoman said in Geneva. The WHO called for “an immediate establishment of humanitarian routes to evacuate sick and wounded from the eastern part of the city.”



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Source Article from http://www.worldtribune.com/moscow-goes-all-out-in-joint-offensive-with-syria-against-rebels-in-aleppo/

Citigroup becomes last big U.S. bank to join payments network

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Citigroup Inc on Wednesday became the last of the big U.S. banks to agree to allow customers to send instant payments by mobile phone over an industry network that is competing with upstart Venmo.

Citigroup said in a statement that it will begin offering the service early next year over the clearXchange network.

ClearXchange has emerged as the industry’s rival to Venmo, a non-bank payment service of PayPal Holdings Inc, which is winning fans among young adults who use it to split apartment rents and dinner tabs.

The connection would take place about the same time that the bank consortium operating clearXchange plans to rebrand the network as Zelle. [L1N1B61T8]

The network was started five years ago as a joint-venture of Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co Over time, other banks, including Capital One Financial Corp and U.S. Bancorp joined the network.

Until now, Citigroup stayed with a service called Popmoney that has connected smaller banks and is operated by Fiserv Inc . In August, Fiserv said it would work to connect Popmoney banks to clearXchange banks.

Fiserv acted to make it easier for individuals to send money to one another without regard to where they keep their bank accounts.

During the years the banks have taken to create one network, Venmo has blossomed as a kind of social network with a critical mass of millennial generation users.

(Reporting by David Henry in New York; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source Article from http://news.yahoo.com/citigroup-becomes-last-big-u-bank-join-payments-213601210–sector.html

Cyber firm challenges Yahoo claim hack was state-sponsored

By Dustin Volz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A cyber security company on Wednesday asserted that the hack of 500 million account credentials from Yahoo was the work of an Eastern European criminal gang, adding another layer of intrigue to a murky investigation into the unprecedented data heist.

Arizona-based InfoArmor issued a report whose conclusion challenged Yahoo’s position that a nation-state actor orchestrated the heist, disclosed last week by the internet company. InfoArmor, which provides companies with protection against employee identify theft, said the hacked trove of user data was later sold to at least three clients, including one state-sponsored group.

Reuters was unable to verify the report’s findings. Yahoo declined comment. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the hack, did not return a call seeking comment.

A U.S. government source familiar with the Yahoo investigation said there was no hard evidence yet on whether the hack was state-sponsored. Attribution for cyber attacks is widely considered difficult in both the intelligence and research communities.

The task is made especially challenging by the fact that criminal hackers sometimes provide information to government intelligence agencies or offer their services for hire, making it hard to know who the ultimate mastermind of a hack might be.

Yahoo said last week that it only recently discovered the intrusion, which it blamed on a state-sponsored actor without providing technical evidence. Nation-state hackers are widely viewed as possessing more advanced capabilities than criminal groups, a perception that could benefit Yahoo as it works to minimize fallout from the breach and complete its sale to Verizon Communications Inc.

InfoArmor concluded the Yahoo hackers were criminal after reviewing a small sample of compromised accounts, Andrew Komarov, the firm’s chief intelligence officer, said in an interview.

The hackers, dubbed Group E, have a track record of selling stolen personal data on the dark web, and have been previously linked to breaches at LinkedIn, Tumblr and MySpace, Komarov said.

“They have never been hired by anyone to hack Yahoo,” Komarov, who is from Russia, said. “They were simply looking for well known sites that had many users.”

In an illustration of the confusion about who carried out the hack and why, an NBC News report Wednesday interpreted Komarov’s findings as pointing to the Russian government as the ultimate perpetrator.

A Wall Street Journal report, which said that InfoArmor was able to crack encrypted passwords for some Yahoo accounts provided by the newspaper, came to the opposite conclusion.

(Reporting by Dustin Volz; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball and Joseph Menn; Editing by Jonathan Weber and David Gregorio)

Source Article from http://news.yahoo.com/cyber-firm-challenges-yahoo-claim-hack-state-sponsored-213902785–sector.html

Re: Charles Le Brun and the ‘Arab Winter’

The recent rise and use of the term “Arab Winter” by those on the left- and right-wing seems to unite different and opposite worldviews regarding the prospects of democracy, freedom and equality in the Arab/Muslim world. The “Orientalist” worldview, argued by Edward Said (1935-2003), is a possible explanation for this ideological unity. The unifying assumptions are embedded in the discourse of modernisation and modernity which is outlined by the contemporary Iranian scholar Ali Mirsepassi roughly as follows:

  • That the contemporary conditions of non-European peoples are defined in terms of Europe’s feudal past and historical experience.
  • As a result, non-European peoples are “essentialised” as a singular group according to the European cultural qualities and values regardless of their geographical and historical difference.
  • Thus, this discourse makes the assumption that there is only one essential path to modernity and modernisation that is essentially European in quality and value.

Thus, regardless of the left or right positions on the ideological spectrum, any divergence of Europe’s pathway to modernity by non-European “Others” is prejudged as a failure or regression. This is especially true in relation to the role of religion in public life and the success of Islamist political parties in the post-2011 Arab revolt. Classing Arabs and Muslims as a non-European “Other” category provides a platform that unites left and right ideological positions, exposing the shared roots of European bias regarding freedom, equality and democracy. European art provides a wonderful opportunity to interrogate this claim.

The 1660 Baroque masterpiece “The Family of Darius before Alexander” by Charles Le Brun (1619-1690), for example, provides a glimpse into the timeless ideological unity of left and right in relation to the non-European “Other”. The painting was commissioned by Louis XIV (1638-1715) in the year that he acceded to the throne of France. The painting was displayed in Versailles, the encampment of French aristocrats at that time. By commissioning the painting, Louis XIV intended to signal to them as a class his ambition and vision of France under his rule. As a propaganda painting, the parable of the powerful, good and civilised king in the person of Alexander the Great (365-323 BC) provided Le Brun with the perfect symbolism to paint the future despotic and tyrannical reign of Louis as virtuous and benevolent.

The left side of the painting portrays Alexander and a companion standing side by side and dressed in a similar fashion. A small clue distinguishing which of the two figures is Alexander is the small pin with an image of his face on his companion’s cape. The physical gestures are the most telling in the painting; most notable is the extended right arm of Alexander, a signal to the Persians that he, not his companion, is Alexander. Similarly, his partner’s raised right hand, waving no, indicates to the Persians that he is not the emperor. The open left hand of Alexander offers clemency and mercy toward the Persian court. Alexander is thus depicted as a civilised monarch who chooses mercy over plunder in dealing with his defeated enemies. Le Brun’s intention is to communicate, through a few gestures, the timeless values of freedom and equality embodied in Hellenistic civilisation, and he extends them to Louis XIV who, during his reign, proved to be tyrannical and despotic.

The right side of the painting provides us with a glimpse of the despotic order and value of the Persian non-European “Other” that exists in the European imagination as shared by both left- and right-wing ideological positions. Though it is a known historical fact that Alexander was fascinated with Persian culture, Le Brun’s painting as a propaganda tool disregards this. The painting depicts Alexander and his companion seemingly surprised by the Persians’ prostration, something alien to Hellenistic culture even in times of defeat. Confused by the values of freedom and equality in the conqueror’s culture, the queen mother throws herself at Alexander’s feet, begging for clemency. The queen, with Darius’s heir in her lap, appeals directly to Alexander’s human side, with her daughters following suit. The second daughter seems to be breaking the rules by looking curiously at the victorious emperor, while the dark-skinned maid urges her to follow her mother’s example. Skin tone is an indicator of hierarchy in Persian culture, the exception to the rule being the standing person with fair skin, who is a Greek slave captured in an earlier war.

Le Brun depicts the innate hierarchical system of the Persians even in times of crisis by standing ranked according to their status. The barbarism of the non-European “Other” is emphasised further by the practice of wailing and tearing of their clothing as depicted by the two eunuchs standing half-naked. The artist aims to communicate that these are the cultural practices that Alexander is set to end, setting the non-European “Others” free from their own barbaric culture. Even though Alexander’s fascination with Persian culture infuriated his fellow Greeks, Le Brun’s intention is to draw a parallel between Louis and Alexander versus the non-European “Other”.

Le Brun’s painting is still relevant today in understanding the unity of left and right ideologies in assessing the 2011 Arab revolts as an “Arab Winter”. This is especially true regarding religion in public life and the success of religious parties that the 2011 Arab revolts brought to power.

Regardless of who was in favour of Western intervention in the Arab world and who was against it, both the left and right view the Arab revolt in a fashion similar to Le Brun’s depiction of the non-European “Other”. Those who favoured military intervention and the deposing of tyrannical and brutal dictators such as Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi saw the “Arab Spring” turn into an “Arab Winter” because Arab culture lacks the cultural prerequisites to be free and equal. Not surprisingly, Donald Trump declared recently that dictators such as Bashar Al-Assad of Syria and Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt are worthy of US support because they know how best to “rule that part of the world”. During his election campaign, Trump has pointed out constantly that removing Saddam from Iraq and Gaddafi from Libya led to the rise of ISIS. Other neoconservatives argue that the intentions were noble but blame the lack of the cultural prerequisite of Western liberty and individualism for the failure of liberty to take place in “that part of the world”.

The left generally argues that interventions in the Arab world to remove dictators are primarily motivated by profit and not by human rights. The argument is that interventions are disastrous to non-European “Others” – even if their brutal dictators massacre them – and that once the non-European cultures mature and develop working class consciousness, they will be able to free themselves from the barbaric and despotic shackles of their culture and religion. In other words, Arabs must suffer until they are mature enough to free themselves accordingly.

Le Brun’s propaganda painting exposes the commonalities between the left- and right-wing ideologies that assume non-European cultural inferiority by communicating the superiority of the civilised Louis XIV as the new king of France. The non-European “Other” represents an essentialised entity defined by the lack of European culture and values. Both left and right ideologies infantilise non-European culture as a remnant of Europe’s feudal past. As a result, both the left and right assume one type of modernity that is essentially European in culture, value and history. The label “Arab Winter” is actually the product of a European culture viewing itself in the mirror, and not about a non-European “Other”.

Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160919-charles-le-brun-and-the-arab-winter/#comment-2923897518

Re: Charles Le Brun and the ‘Arab Winter’

The recent rise and use of the term “Arab Winter” by those on the left- and right-wing seems to unite different and opposite worldviews regarding the prospects of democracy, freedom and equality in the Arab/Muslim world. The “Orientalist” worldview, argued by Edward Said (1935-2003), is a possible explanation for this ideological unity. The unifying assumptions are embedded in the discourse of modernisation and modernity which is outlined by the contemporary Iranian scholar Ali Mirsepassi roughly as follows:

  • That the contemporary conditions of non-European peoples are defined in terms of Europe’s feudal past and historical experience.
  • As a result, non-European peoples are “essentialised” as a singular group according to the European cultural qualities and values regardless of their geographical and historical difference.
  • Thus, this discourse makes the assumption that there is only one essential path to modernity and modernisation that is essentially European in quality and value.

Thus, regardless of the left or right positions on the ideological spectrum, any divergence of Europe’s pathway to modernity by non-European “Others” is prejudged as a failure or regression. This is especially true in relation to the role of religion in public life and the success of Islamist political parties in the post-2011 Arab revolt. Classing Arabs and Muslims as a non-European “Other” category provides a platform that unites left and right ideological positions, exposing the shared roots of European bias regarding freedom, equality and democracy. European art provides a wonderful opportunity to interrogate this claim.

The 1660 Baroque masterpiece “The Family of Darius before Alexander” by Charles Le Brun (1619-1690), for example, provides a glimpse into the timeless ideological unity of left and right in relation to the non-European “Other”. The painting was commissioned by Louis XIV (1638-1715) in the year that he acceded to the throne of France. The painting was displayed in Versailles, the encampment of French aristocrats at that time. By commissioning the painting, Louis XIV intended to signal to them as a class his ambition and vision of France under his rule. As a propaganda painting, the parable of the powerful, good and civilised king in the person of Alexander the Great (365-323 BC) provided Le Brun with the perfect symbolism to paint the future despotic and tyrannical reign of Louis as virtuous and benevolent.

The left side of the painting portrays Alexander and a companion standing side by side and dressed in a similar fashion. A small clue distinguishing which of the two figures is Alexander is the small pin with an image of his face on his companion’s cape. The physical gestures are the most telling in the painting; most notable is the extended right arm of Alexander, a signal to the Persians that he, not his companion, is Alexander. Similarly, his partner’s raised right hand, waving no, indicates to the Persians that he is not the emperor. The open left hand of Alexander offers clemency and mercy toward the Persian court. Alexander is thus depicted as a civilised monarch who chooses mercy over plunder in dealing with his defeated enemies. Le Brun’s intention is to communicate, through a few gestures, the timeless values of freedom and equality embodied in Hellenistic civilisation, and he extends them to Louis XIV who, during his reign, proved to be tyrannical and despotic.

The right side of the painting provides us with a glimpse of the despotic order and value of the Persian non-European “Other” that exists in the European imagination as shared by both left- and right-wing ideological positions. Though it is a known historical fact that Alexander was fascinated with Persian culture, Le Brun’s painting as a propaganda tool disregards this. The painting depicts Alexander and his companion seemingly surprised by the Persians’ prostration, something alien to Hellenistic culture even in times of defeat. Confused by the values of freedom and equality in the conqueror’s culture, the queen mother throws herself at Alexander’s feet, begging for clemency. The queen, with Darius’s heir in her lap, appeals directly to Alexander’s human side, with her daughters following suit. The second daughter seems to be breaking the rules by looking curiously at the victorious emperor, while the dark-skinned maid urges her to follow her mother’s example. Skin tone is an indicator of hierarchy in Persian culture, the exception to the rule being the standing person with fair skin, who is a Greek slave captured in an earlier war.

Le Brun depicts the innate hierarchical system of the Persians even in times of crisis by standing ranked according to their status. The barbarism of the non-European “Other” is emphasised further by the practice of wailing and tearing of their clothing as depicted by the two eunuchs standing half-naked. The artist aims to communicate that these are the cultural practices that Alexander is set to end, setting the non-European “Others” free from their own barbaric culture. Even though Alexander’s fascination with Persian culture infuriated his fellow Greeks, Le Brun’s intention is to draw a parallel between Louis and Alexander versus the non-European “Other”.

Le Brun’s painting is still relevant today in understanding the unity of left and right ideologies in assessing the 2011 Arab revolts as an “Arab Winter”. This is especially true regarding religion in public life and the success of religious parties that the 2011 Arab revolts brought to power.

Regardless of who was in favour of Western intervention in the Arab world and who was against it, both the left and right view the Arab revolt in a fashion similar to Le Brun’s depiction of the non-European “Other”. Those who favoured military intervention and the deposing of tyrannical and brutal dictators such as Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi saw the “Arab Spring” turn into an “Arab Winter” because Arab culture lacks the cultural prerequisites to be free and equal. Not surprisingly, Donald Trump declared recently that dictators such as Bashar Al-Assad of Syria and Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt are worthy of US support because they know how best to “rule that part of the world”. During his election campaign, Trump has pointed out constantly that removing Saddam from Iraq and Gaddafi from Libya led to the rise of ISIS. Other neoconservatives argue that the intentions were noble but blame the lack of the cultural prerequisite of Western liberty and individualism for the failure of liberty to take place in “that part of the world”.

The left generally argues that interventions in the Arab world to remove dictators are primarily motivated by profit and not by human rights. The argument is that interventions are disastrous to non-European “Others” – even if their brutal dictators massacre them – and that once the non-European cultures mature and develop working class consciousness, they will be able to free themselves from the barbaric and despotic shackles of their culture and religion. In other words, Arabs must suffer until they are mature enough to free themselves accordingly.

Le Brun’s propaganda painting exposes the commonalities between the left- and right-wing ideologies that assume non-European cultural inferiority by communicating the superiority of the civilised Louis XIV as the new king of France. The non-European “Other” represents an essentialised entity defined by the lack of European culture and values. Both left and right ideologies infantilise non-European culture as a remnant of Europe’s feudal past. As a result, both the left and right assume one type of modernity that is essentially European in culture, value and history. The label “Arab Winter” is actually the product of a European culture viewing itself in the mirror, and not about a non-European “Other”.

Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160919-charles-le-brun-and-the-arab-winter/#comment-2923896498