Virtually everything in the media about Noor Zahi Salman, Omar Mateen’s wife, is from anonymous government sources. They lie in situations like this.
Such anonymous sourcing helped facilitate the lies used to invade Iraq and countless other horrific policies. They’re doubly dangerous during a panic, consider that after government anthrax killed people in 2001, Andrew Sullivan talked about using nuclear weapons.
And the government has a lot of incentives to lie about this case. They failed to keep people safe. So, what to do? Blame the wife. Blame the Muslims. They didn’t alert us. They are suspect. Potentially, all of them. That’s what Trump — and Clinton in more subtle ways — are saying.
I didn’t need to be in contact with people who know Noor Zahi Salman to know that, but it helps.
In fact, I am in touch with a friend of hers who is in regular contact with people around her now. This means I am probably in closer touch with the actual facts of the case than the zillion media outlets blaring whatever it is “sources” are telling them to blare at you. In so doing, they are smearing a woman who was questioned by the most powerful government in the world, smeared on the largest media outlets as a virtual accessory to mass murder — all without the benefit of a lawyer.
She is apparently telling people around her that virtually everything you’re hearing about her is a lie.
NBC claims: “The Orlando gunman’s wife feared he was going to attack a gay nightclub overnight Saturday and pleaded with him not to do anything violent — but failed to warn police after he left, NBC News has learned.”
Noor Zahi Salman is apparently saying she didn’t have any idea of an attack.
NBC claims: “In addition, she said she was with him when he bought ammunition and a holster, several officials familiar with the case said.”
Noor Zahi Salman is apparently saying she didn’t do that. She says it might be possible that they went shopping together — and she went to buy food or clothing and he might have gone to a gun store. In any case, why is this on her? Why are people focusing on her and not the “security” firm G4S that employed Mateen? How is it that the FBI is suddenly off the hook?
The Daily Beast claims: “Noor Zahi Salman also reportedly drove Mateen to the gay nightclub Pulse to case the place before he killed 49 people there on Sunday night.”
Noor Zahi Salman is apparently saying that she never drove him to the club and that in fact, she doesn’t like to drive at all.
ABC claims: “After Noor Mateen began to answer questions, agents administered a polygraph test to determine whether she was telling the truth.”
Noor Zahi Salman is apparently saying she offered to take a polygraph but the government declined.
What we apparently have is severe logrolling between media and government — where government sources hide behind anonymous quotes and media hide behind anonymous sources. So, basically, they can mutually absolve each other and publish most anything that will benefit the both of them.
Seriously, what’s the justification for using anonymous sources on this story? My justification for using my anonymous sources is that they are scared. The only thing the government sources driving this story are afraid of is that they will be held responsible for their words.
We’re not seeing a free-for-all in terms of everyone speculating as they please. There might be justification for that: Bring on the government stenographer, then bring on the false flag theorist. No, what we’re seeing are directed leaks laying out a pattern of smearing an individual, smearing a community and getting the government and media off the hook for the fact that 50 people are dead.
Some friends of Noor Zahi Salman are apparently speculating that what actually happened was that Omar Mateen was about to be outed as gay — and went nuts. This could have broader implications since “Israel surveils and blackmails gay Palestinians to make them informants.” That clearly is speculative. But far more responsible than speculation that is streaming forth from your TV.
I know more, including an allegation about how the government treated Noor Zahi Salman that would turn your stomach.
I’m not telling all I know now because I have reason to believe it might make the family and friends uncomfortable.
See what I did just there? I was forthright with you, my reader, while respectful of my sources.
Big media propagating anonymous government allegations about Noor Zahi Salman distracts from their own failure to protect the public from attacks.
Instead, it fingers the Arab and Muslim communities as responsible. And that’s a message that is being articulated in ways crude and subtle from our “leaders”:
Says Donald Trump: “But the Muslims have to work with us. They have to work with us. They know what’s going on. They know that he was bad. They knew the people in San Bernardino were bad. But you know what? They didn’t turn them in. And you know what? We had death, and destruction.”
More subtly, says Hillary Clinton: “Since 9/11, law enforcement agencies have worked hard to build relationships with Muslim-American communities. Millions of peace-loving Muslims live, work, and raise their families across America. They are the most likely to recognize the insidious effects of radicalization before it’s too late, and the best positioned to help us block it. We should be intensifying contacts in those communities, not scapegoating or isolating them.” Clinton pretends to be against “scapegoating” when that’s exactly what she just did. Most just let it slide because it’s not as crass as Trump’s formulation of much the same idea.
Most subtle still is President Obama: “Since before I was President, I’ve been clear about how extremist groups have perverted Islam to justify terrorism. As President, I have repeatedly called on our Muslim friends and allies at home and around the world to work with us to reject this twisted interpretation of one of the world’s great religions.”
I don’t know Noor Zahi Salman. I have not had the opportunity to speak to her directly. I don’t know for certain how forthright of a person she is, though even through media reports, several people who have known her have said she’s upstanding. My immediate source I believe is very reliable. Things are rushed, there maybe misunderstandings here. Noor Zahi Salman is quite likely in shock, she may be honestly misspeaking, especially when in a coercive environment before threatening government agents.
Now, would I like more sources to confirm what I’m writing? Yes, I would, but I think it would be irresponsible to let what are likely falsehoods contaminate the public mind on virtually every major media outlet given the limited capacity to communicate directly with Noor Zahi Salman at this time.
[Addendum: My source has now been in direct communication with Noor Zahi Salman. She states in a text which I have seen that she has read this article and that instead of blaming her, since she had nothing to do with the shooting, shouldn’t the people who sold the guns take some blame? She writes all she wanted “was a home, family, and peace — for the media to say these lies isn’t right.”]
[A friend, who is with her, adds: “It is not an easy time for her … and having a child ask a mother ‘where is daddy’ can’t be easy and for New York Post to show her son’s face is not right.” Text added June 16 at approx 11:55 ET a.m.]
[Correction: This article originally stated “Noor Zahi Salman is apparently ‘free’, but with an electronic bracelet.” That sentence has now been remove. In fact, my source now tells me that she doesn’t have a electronic bracelet on her, she has rather been told by the FBI to keep a phone they gave her. My source states: “The FBI was waiting for a search warrant and that apparently didn’t come as fast as they wanted so they asked if they could search the apartment. She said she had nothing to hide and signed something allowing them to take her phone, ipad, and a camera. Again, she said she had nothing to hide and they could have them. The FBI gave her a cell phone to carry with her in the mean time (and possibly in place of a bracelet as a tracking device). After she gave the authorization to take the items is when they said she was free to go.” Correction added June 16 at approx 11:05 ET a.m.]