Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor to President Trump, is the woman who brought us the term “alternative facts” to describe alternative interpretations of the truth presented by Trump’s White House. She has been practising her own term by justifying Donald Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries by blaming two Iraqi refugees for a massacre in Bowling Green, Kentucky that never happened. Speaking to Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball she said, on Thursday:
“I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalised and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre.
“Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”
The media didn’t cover it because it never happened. In May 2011, two Iraqi refugees who had been mistakenly admitted to the United States in 2009, Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, were arrested in Bowling Green and charged with plotting to send weapons and money to al-Qaida operatives abroad. They were never charged, or even accused, of plotting a terrorist act in the United States. The two men were convicted of the charges they did face and are now serving life sentences in prison. Furthermore, President Obama never imposed a six-month ban on Iraqi refugees as Kellyanne Conway states. He simply slowed down the process of the immigration of people from Iraq following the mistakes made with Alwan and Hammadi.
Senator Rand Paul has also been spreading the “alternative facts” when he also referred to ‘the attempted bombing in Bowling Green, where I live.” Surely if Senator Paul lives in Bowling Green then he should have known that no such massacre took place.
Ms Conway corrected herself on Friday morning when she tweeted that she meant to say “Bowling Green terrorists” not “Bowling Green massacre.” She has not corrected her claim that President Obama imposed a six-month ban on Iraqi refugees. She later returned to the Bowling Green massacre issue when she tweeted a response to a tweet by Bill and Hillary Clinton’s daughter Chelsea Clinton, who tweeted:
“Very grateful no one seriously hurt in the Louvre attack … or the (completely fake) Bowling Green Massacre, Please don’t make up attacks.”
To which, Kellyanne Conway, got personal:
“You can’t ‘invent’ quality candidates either. I misspoke; you lost the election.”
Whether you believe that Ms Conway misspoke, spoke out of ignorance of the facts, or deliberately twisted the facts for political gain is up to you. However, with the growing prevalence of lies and so-called “alternative facts” coming out of the White House, it is hard to accept that she simply misspoke as she said she meant to say “masterminds behind the Bowling Green terrorists,” which simply makes no sense as the two Iraqis were the only people. They weren’t the masterminds behind anyone else in Kentucky.
SEE BOTTOM OF POST FOR UPDATE ON THIS STORY…
TRUMP FURIOUS AFTER U.S. JUDGE TEMPORARILY HALTS TRAVEL BAN
Donald Trump is up-in-arms over a Judge’s ruling that the travel ban is unconstitutional as it does not allow refugees with valid visas due process after they have been refused entry under Trump’s travel ban. The Judge in Seattle, James Robart, also said that it was unconstitutional as the travel ban was targeting a specific religion, i.e. Islam and this constituted religious discrimination. Outside the courtroom in Seattle, the Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said:
“We are a nation of laws. Not even the president can violate the constitution. No one is above the law, not even the president.
“This decision shuts down the executive order immediately – shuts it down. That relief is immediate, happens right now. That’s the bottom line.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it would comply with the order, the State Department reversed tens of thousands of visa revocations that had prevented people travelling, and airlines were informed by Customs and Borders Protection to allow those with valid visas from the seven affected countries to board planes to the US. The DHS, in a statement by acting press secretary Gillian Christensen, said:
“In accordance with the judge’s ruling, DHS has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the executive order. DHS personnel will resume inspection of travellers in accordance with standard policy and procedure.”
Nevertheless, the Trump White House are in confusion and anger over the Judge’s decision, bringing into question the roles of senior aide Steve Bannon and policy chief Stephen Miller who were both instrumental in the drafting of the travel ban. Donald Trump, however, was adamant:
“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”
“When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot , come in and out, especially for reasons of safety &.security – big trouble!”
“Interesting that certain Middle-Eastern countries agree with the ban. They know if certain people are allowed in it’s death & destruction!”
Trump’s travel ban had imposed temporary travel bans on all refugees from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia, and claimed that it was necessary for national security. The order also discriminated in favour of Christian refugees. The White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, said:
“The president’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people,”
This ruling by Judge Robart has given heart to the many groups, organisations and individuals fighting the travel ban. A group of lawyers in Virginia called Dulles Justice, said of the Judge’s ruling:
“For now, this should mean a safe return home for countless travellers from around the world, from Legal Permanent Residents to visa holders.
“And for refugees fleeing persecution or violence, it should mean we’ll be able to welcome them to this great country.
“The White House has already announced their intention to counter this order with a request for an emergency stay. We, too, have no intention of backing down.”
The Senate leader of the Democrats, Chuck Schumer, criticised Trump’s language towards the Judge, whom he called a “so-called” Judge, and said that the President’s tweets on the issue show “a disdain for an independent judiciary that doesn’t always bend to his wishes and a continued lack of respect for the constitution”. Judge Robart was appointed by George W. Bush. Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are among a small number of dissenters in the Republican party and they have noted that the travel ban will erode good relations with its allies. The travel ban has been widely criticised around the world.
The ruling by Judge Robart will, of course, come under attack from the Trump administration who will almost certainly find a way to have it reversed, but for now it is giving Trump and his advisors sleepless nights and that can only be a good thing. Judge Robart’s comments on the discrimination and unconstitutional nature of the travel ban are extremely important and hopefully will highlight to those who haven’t given much thought to the ramifications of the ban that it is going against the constitution and everything the United States has stood for in terms of religious freedom, tolerance and diversity of beliefs and values. It will also give heart to those who are opposing the power of Donald Trump’s White House and will possibly incite some more opposition to the ban from within the Republican party. In the immediate future it gives the opportunity of up to 100,000 (the State Department estimates 60,000) people who once again can fly to the United States on reinstated Visas which the travel ban revoked. These include people trying to return home to the United States from holiday and work and a little Iraqi girl who was prevented from entering the US for life-saving surgery in New York because of the travel ban. She is now expected to make it to New York, where she has been promised free treatment.
SOME LINKS TO OTHER TRUMP-RELATED STORIES…
- I’ll dress like a woman when you act like a president, police officer tells Trump (BBC News, London)
- Der Spiegel: Trump beheading cover sparks criticism (BBC News, London)
- London protest against US travel ban – as it happened (The Guardian, London)
- Donald Trump retains direct tie to businesses, documents show (The Guardian, London)
- Donald Trump’s pick to head up US army withdraws over potential conflicts of interest (The Independent, London)
- EU Malta summit: European leaders rebuff Theresa May’s offer to act as ‘bridge to Donald Trump’ (The Independent, London)
- Trump Picks Wall Street Over Main Street (The New York Times, New York)
- Trump Executive Order on Voter Fraud Quietly Stalled (ABC News, USA)
- London Protesters Call for UK to Withdraw Trump Invitation (ABC News, USA)
Update: Tuesday 7 February 2017 – Kellyanne Conway caught out in her lie over non-existent “Bowling Green massacre”
When Kellyanne Conway, an advisor to President Trump, tried to justify the President’s Muslim travel ban s.he cited a non-existent terrorist attack in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She blamed two Iraqi refugees for the massacre. In reality, the two men had been arrested for trying to secure weapons and funding for al-Qaeda in Iraq. They were convicted and sentenced to life in prison. However, they never undertook any terrorist attack in the US, though the FBI has stated they “admitted using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against U.S. soldiers in Iraq and … attempted to send weapons and money to al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) for the purpose of killing U.S. soldiers.” Ms Conway, however, decided to claim that they carried out a massacre of US soldiers in Kentucky. When she was pulled up on the fact that the massacre never happened she said that she misspoke and meant to say the “Bowling Green terrorists” not “Bowling Green massacre.”
It has now emerged, however, that she gave two other interviews prior to her misspeaking to MSNBC’s Hardball, in which she also makes the specific claims that there was a massacre in Bowling Green. When discussing why President Obama imposed a temporary slowdown on the processing of refugees from Iraq in 2011, she told Cosmopolitan magazine on January 29:
“He did that because two Iraqi nationals came to this country, joined ISIS, travelled back to the Middle East to get trained and refine their terrorism skills and come back here, and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre of taking innocent soldiers’ lives away.”
Although the two men were involved in attacks on US soldiers in Iraq, they never went back to the Middle East after being allowed into the US in 2009. The FBI also suggested that they were not planning an attack in the US. Ms Conway repeated the lie to TMZ on the same day as the Cosmo interview:
“He did that because, I assume, there were two Iraqis who came here, got radicalized, joined ISIS, and then were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green attack on our brave soldiers,”
The Independent newspaper in London pointed out that Ms Conway’s statement that they were the “masterminds” could plausibly be referring to the plot to send money and weapons to Iraq, but that the word masterminds generally implies a complex terrorist attack plan. Her other similar statements clearly demonstrate that she did not misspeak and that she intended to imply that the two Iraqi men were training in the Middle East and that they then came back to the US and carried out a massacre of soldiers in Kentucky.
Ms Conway, of course, was trying to justify President Trump’s Muslim travel ban, which the President says will prevent domestic terrorism. With the lack of any real examples of foreign nationals from the seven countries Donald Trump has imposed a ban on refugees coming from actually coming to the US and carrying out a terrorist attack, it seems the White House has to make them up to keep the public in fear and therefore have them accept his travel ban. Aaron Blake, of the Independent, concluded:
“Perhaps it could be excused as a slip of the tongue. But in context, it’s just more evidence of a White House messaging operation that doesn’t have its shoes on the right feet. Time and again in the last two weeks, Trump’s top messengers have gotten their facts wrong, mixed their messages and struggled to defend their boss. There simply doesn’t seem to be any plan.”