Over the weekend, NSA author and journalist for The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald posted a tweet in which he claimed the St. Louis County police chief visited Israel “to learn about police tactics from the Israelis.”
St. Louis County Police Chief, in 2011, on visiting Israel to learn about police tactics from the Israelis https://t.co/aYaqRcud3A
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 14, 2014
Greenwald linked to a tweet from Iranian-American activist and author Trita Parsi, who in turn posted a press release from 2011 in which Police Chief Timothy Fitch announced his trip to Israel to study counter-terrorism, not police tactics. Furthermore, police officials from across the nation attended the counter-terrorism seminar, presented by the Anti-Defamation League. Fitch was quoted in the press release describing the St. Louis Terrorism Early Warning Group, which collects information from various levels of law enforcement “with the primary goal of gathering and sharing information concerning homeland security.”
There’s nothing in the press release about “police tactics” related to what we’ve observed in Ferguson, MO. Furthermore, Fitch retired back in February and was replaced by the current police chief Colonel Jon Belmar, who ostensibly deserves a huge chunk of the blame for the bellicosity of the police in Ferguson.
This is yet another example of how Greenwald awkwardly shoehorns events into his well-known agenda. Long before the crisis in Gaza, Greenwald has taken a vocal anti-Israel position and, in this case, clearly thought he could dovetail the awfulness in Ferguson with his posture on Israel. Though I hasten to note that he’s not outright “blaming” Ferguson on Israel as other publications have claimed. But he is, in fact, hamfistedly linking the two in order to make an obvious point about Israel.
And, naturally, his loyal disciples are eating it up. The tweet has been retweeted 906 times and favorited 295 times. So the ongoing trend of repeating Greenwald’s serially misleading blurbs as fact continues unabated. True to form, Greenwald attacked anyone calling out his tone-deaf tweet as being illiterate or an idiot.