Irving, Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne appeared in Glenn Beck’s bunker on Tuesday evening to defend her city’s response to Ahmed Mohamed, the ninth-grader arrested at school for making a clock. She also indicated that there’s something fishy about Mohamed and his family. I wonder where this is going.
In the week since the Dallas Morning News’ Avi Selk broke the Mohamed story, a fun cottage industry of Ahmed Mohamed conspiracy theories has sprouted up, many of them on the hairier sides of the right-wing internet. They are, briefly: that the clock was a bomb, that the clock was a “trigger” for a bomb, that the clock wasn’t even something Mohamed invented and he’s just a big phony, and/or that the whole incident was an advance attack by the harbingers of Sharia law and the foes of God-fearing Christianity as we currently practice it in these here United States. Grab your snorkel, let’s go way, way under:
“Suspiciously bomb-like,” as the very reputable Pajamas Media puts it. Or at least looked so much like a bomb as makes no difference, as the Palin family has theorized. Both Bristol and Sarah have said that Mohamed’s “contraption” looked pretty suspicious to them, as a family of expert clock-makers.
As Selk pointed out in the DMN on Wednesday, soon after the story broke, a “self-professed electrical engineer” said on Facebook that the clock totally looked like a “COUNTDOWN CLOCK.” For a bomb. That remains a popular theory.
In this telling, then, the Irving police are the heroes that prevented a kid from totally blowing up his school. At Town Hall, a fellow named Jim Hanson—more on him in a sec—claimed the clock looked just like an IED:
But as far as the other question, was the clock device he brought to school a legitimate cause for concern, the answer is an unequivocal yes. I have built and taught classes on improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and the clock he brought to school is a dead ringer for the trigger used on many of these homemade bombs.
Hanson claimed that the clock looked just like an IED “used to kill US troops in Iraq,” in that both have circuit boards.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of Ahmed’s clock and an Iranian-made IED trigger used to kill US troops in Iraq. Even more so, above is a picture of an IED training device sold to US law enforcement agencies to help them identify and learn how to deal with homemade bombs. They would have been deficient in performing their public safety duties if they had not done a full examination and investigation of the device, it’s presence at school and the person who built it and brought it there.
Again, apparently a “full examination and investigation” evidently involved detaining Mohamed, but not evacuating the school or sending in a bomb squad to detonate this terrifying pencil case.
Also unclear in this theory why the “countdown clock” counted up, like a clock, and not down, like a timer. Who could know, right?
In her appearance on Glenn Beck’s program, Irving Mayor Van Duyne advanced this one, saying Mohamed’s family has “refused to answer questions” or talk to her office or the school:
“The school and the city each had meetings with the family on Tuesday,” Van Duyne said. “The family cancelled.” They also didn’t show up for a re-scheduled meeting the following day, because they were at a press conference at their home, she said.
“We have tried to reach out to the family a number of times. And this by the way was before it ever hit the papers.”
She added that the media wasn’t “investigating both sides” of the incident. “I’ll tell you right now, we’ve heard more from the media than the child ever released to the police when we were asking him questions. He told a lot more to the reporters than he ever told to the police. There’s a problem with that. If your child was in that school, and you saw something like this come in, you would want to make sure—it is our priority to make our children safe in this school, period.”
A few moments later, Beck agreed that something was awfully funny about the media attention, and especially President Obama tweeting about the story.
“Didn’t you find it interesting the president was on a story about a school in Irving, Texas—he’s on that story before most of America is even aware of it?” Beck said, meaningfully.
“We never even got a call from anybody from the White House asking to verify any of that information,” Van Duyne added. “In fact, I don’t even think the picture of the hoax bomb was released before he tweeted out, ‘Cool clock, kid.’”
Next to Van Duyne on that Beck genius panel was Jim Hanson, who you may remember from a few paragraphs ago, and who is the executive vice president at an outfit called Secure Freedom. Secure Freedom describes itself as a non-partisan national security think tank; much of their current activities seem centered around warning that sharia law and jihad are steamrolling their way towards America.
Hanson sees the Mohamed story as a testing ground of some kind for the vague and threatening forces of Islam and their future sinister plans.
“Shocking that CAIR was there ready,” Hanson said, referring to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who gave the Mohamed family legal and media assistance. “They were ready to deploy hashtags and lawyers and everything. The kid wouldn’t answer questions when the school was asking him or the police were asking him. But the second the cameras and the microphones turn on, he’s like, ‘It’s because my name’s Ahmed, it’s because I have brown skin, it’s because I’m a Muslim.’ He was coached.”
But coached for what purpose? Secure Freedom is theorizing on their website that the clock incident was an “influence operation” and a controversy staged by CAIR to specifically target Irving and Van Duyne, who previously expressed a not-at-all-Islamophobic fear that “sharia law courts” would invade North Texas. (The “courts” she was concerned about was a mediation and arbitration service at the local Islamic center, whose own website, as Snopes points out, stated that any mediation they offered, for example in a marriage dispute, had to follow the laws of the United States.)
But what’s CAIR’s endgame, or the endgame of whichever vague and spooky Muslims are behind that kid’s clock? To Beck, Hanson had an answer for that one too.
“This was a success, it was a raging success for them,” Hanson said, not specifying who “them” might be. “They are celebrating and dancing, and they’re planning their next influence operation. Because that’s the correct term for this. An influence operation, it deploys—you take a situation and you create the appearance of something bad, to get an effect. They created the appearance of an anti-Muslim bias where there was none, where there was pure public safety concern, and they use that to portray Muslims as victims, Americans as bigots, and our system as stacked against them.”
Ahmed Mohamed is an American citizen.
Hanson said “they,” whoever they are, “will do that again.” And here, finally, the purpose of the clock/bomb/hoax became clear, at least to him: And what they’re trying to do is censor any criticism of Islam. And that allows them to do things like impose sharia tribunals, like the mayor shut down, and use Islamic law to supplant U.S. law.”
Fox News thinks maybe the whole thing was a “purposeful hoax” for Mohamed to collect money and media attention and sue for big bucks:
And In Any Case, There’s Something Weird About That Whole Family Who, May We Remind You, is Named “Mohamed”
Elsewhere in the land of people with too much time on their hands, we have people referring to Mohamed as “the son of a belligerent Muslim activist,” because Mohamed ElHassan has run for president in his native Sudan and criticized Quran-burning Florida preacher Terry Jones.
That pales next to the best Mohamed conspiracy theory, or rather, a somewhat confused set of theories about the family’s business dealings. The main one accuses Mohamed’s uncle of running something called “Twin Towers Transportation,” the implication being that the family likes to mock September 11.
That blogger does manage to find time to mention the address for said business. It’s on North Stemmons Freeway in North Dallas, in an enormous office park called...the Twin Towers.
In any case, something is certainly very fishy here, and the right-wing internet will angrily tweet pictures of circuit boards and random people with beards until it’s all sorted out.
Jim Hanson. Screengrab via YouTube/The Blaze/Mercury Radio Arts