You Can Scrub, But You Can't Hide -- UPDATED
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:07:13 PM EST
Dr. Ergun Caner, the disgraced former Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary (affiliated with Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell), has sicked his lawyer on a blogger in an effort to hide a truth that has already been revealed.  

Investigative blogger Jason Smathers originally got the goods and broke the story of how Caner was a prominent member of the fake ex-Muslim terrorist industry which has so infected our public life.  (Other notable fake ex-Muslim terrorists who have been promoted by the Christian Right and who have been presented as authentic experts before military and law enforcement audiences, include Walid Shoebat and Kamal Saleem.)

Caner's lawyer is now trying to get You Tube to scrub videos Smathers obtained from the U.S. Marines. Smathers points out that Caner has no legitimate claim of ownership of material in a video produced by the federal government.

(Caner's lawyer, David C. Gibbs III, is best known for his role in the Terri Schiavo case.)

Bob Allen of Associated Baptist Press writes:

A Christian blogger has reportedly filed an ethics complaint against a lawyer for claiming ownership of online video he says was obtained legally from the federal government.

Jason Smathers, who began the Witnesses Unto Me blog in the Spring of 2009, posted a series of blogs in 2010 questioning claims by popular evangelical speaker Ergun Caner that he grew up overseas and was trained to be an Islamic terrorist before accepting Christ at age 18.

Smathers tracked down legal documents showing that Caner, author of books including Unveiling Islam who told the conversion story in numerous venues including the Southern Baptist Convention, emigrated to the United States with his family at age 2 and grew up in Ohio in custody of his Lutheran mother after his parents' divorce.

One blog included video of Caner conducting two training sessions on cultural issues for United States Marines in New River, N.C., before they were deployed in 2005. The commanding officer introduced Caner as being born in Istanbul, Turkey.

Allen reports, among other things, that Caner tells the about-to-be-deployed Marines in 2005:  

"We are taught from birth, you are the infidel. You are sons of Satan."  "My madrassa (Muslim school) in Istanbul, Turkey; my madrassa in Cairo, Egypt, there's no question of what the doctrine of jihad was," he continued. "It is only when we come to America and hear westernized Islam we hear that `Oh, Islam means peace.'"

"I was sworn to jihad," Caner told the Marines. "At the age of 9 until I was 18 years old and I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I was sworn to jihad. I followed the protocols. I knew the three waves. I understood what you do before you take the death plunge, as we call it. I understand why the guys were in the bars with the hookers the night before the bombing of 9/11, because, `Eat drink and be merry; tomorrow we are forgiven.'"

As of this writing, you can still see the videos here.

Update [2013-6-19 17:36:20 by Frederick Clarkson]: You Tube has now taken down the Marine videos featuring Caner's claims quoted above, due to Caner's copyright challenge.

Update [2013-6-20 21:13:7 by Frederick Clarkson]: Bob Allen at Associated Baptist Press further reports that Caner has now filed a federal lawsuit against two bloggers who posted the videos. Allen reports:

YouTube removed the videos after Caner filed a takedown notice pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Signed into law by President Clinton in 1998, the act made certain technical amendments to U.S. law to provide appropriate references and links to U.S. treaties. It also added two new prohibitions in Title 17 of the U.S. Code, one on circumvention of technological measures used by copyright owners to protect their works... Caner claims ownership of the videos, which he says are part of a series he titled, “Top Ten Things You Need to Know About Islam” that he delivered at the military’s invitation and for which he was paid as an independent contractor.

As I wrote once before, this sort of thing -- the "testimony" of supposed "reformed Muslim terrorists" reminds me of the same smoke-and-mirror exploiters who surfaced during the "Satanic Panic" of the 1980s, making presentations to churches and police departments (and making money and gaining notoriety) claiming that they had taken part or witnesses human sacrifices, baby sacrifices, sexual abuse of children, and other atrocities, but that now that they had been "saved," they were there to tell the truth.

Since some of these idiots also went after Wiccan/Pagan groups, lumping us in with Satanists, there were some very sprightly conversations/arguments about all of this, although since this was before the Internet, it took place in the Letters to the Editor sections of various publications.

We finally managed to make one of the most irritating former sacrificer of lots and lots of people go away when a reader challenged him to turn himself in to law enforcement for the punishment he obviously deserved -- if any of his BS was true.

I read this posting with interest because it shows that opportunists like this always seem ready to jump up and seek to confirm (also for money and/or notoriety) our "worst fears" about the current (and, as it turns out, often imaginary) boogeyman of the day.

People should read this post not only as a cautionary not regarding the current level of Islamophobia, but also as a cautionary tale that should help them look past the inevitable hysterics, myths, and "Showmen" (or Showwomen) of the future when they arise to carry water for bigots and convince more moderate folks that "we must take action now!", the action, of course, being violent and damaging and, in the end, based on a whole lot of nothing.

Thanks for this post, Mr. Clarkson!

by coralsea on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 05:18:24 PM EST

He was one of the biggest liars on the ex-Satanist circuit. It was a Christian magazine that exposed Mr. Warnke, who was actually a clean-cut community college student at the time he claimed to be involved with Satanism.

by khughes1963 on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 09:14:59 PM EST
I have to say, it seems like we are going through a different version of the same play, with mostly different actors (although some of the old anti-Satanists that never existed are flogging Islam right now).

by coralsea on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 11:34:14 PM EST

Some things about this struck me.

First, since he was paid by the US military for the videos, doesn't that mean that the US government owns them (and from that - the people) and he doesn't have standing to complain?  Don't we the people have something to say about it?  At the least... I would think that only the US military might have the right to complain... and if they've been released by the military to the general public, then his complaints are baseless.

Second, since the videos are evidence of lying (and I think it could be argued since they were done for the US government... to the authorities), couldn't they be posted somewhere so that people could access them - besides places like YouTube?

Third, what about the academic use angle?  Copying and showing videos like that is legal if it's done for educational use (to make that stick, it might have to be associated with an organization - like a school - dedicated to education).  The general public DOES need to be educated about these lies.

I really hate it when the "Good Christian" types use the law to suppress the evidence of just how rotten they really are.  We all need to see that... the general public so that they learn they can't trust the dominionists (especially their claims), and those of us who have been fighting them for years need to see it for encouragement.  When you get inundated with all of the "us poor Christians are being persecuted" and "how good and holy we are and how wicked and evil those Others are", after a while you start doubting yourself and the facts - which I think they count on.  Having the evidence of evil-doing and lying really strengthens one's resolve to resist.

by ArchaeoBob on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:45:49 PM EST

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