When the identities of the terrorists responsible for San Bernadino massacre were revealed, the familiar sick feeling was revisited once again. Worst fears came true as the attackers were not only Muslims but also Pakistani. Since past several days, more information has come to light. As we learn more about the attackers, though, something peculiar has begun to take place.
When fact of Tashfeen Malik’s Pakistani nationality was reported, the popular response was to point out that she was born in Pakistan but was raised in Saudi Arabia. In other words it is not a fault of Pakistan that she became extremist it is a fault of Saudi. Now Saudi is saying that she was only there for two short visits. Then a copy of her CNIC was leaked. This was quickly dismissed even by liberals as photoshop.
— Ali Salman Alvi (@alisalmanalvi) December 7, 2015
However now it has been explained that the CNIC is not a photoshop, it is the internal version used by law enforcement officials.
Other conspiracy theories are also being heavily reported by the usual hyper-nationalist disinformation walas, creating more confusion and leading people to believe that even though they have watched the entire event unfold in great detail. Actually it is often the details that are used to create confusion. For example, I have seen many friends on social media asking if this woman was such a conservative Muslim why were her legs exposed and they point to the photos from the death scene. However they are ignoring the simple explanation that police had to search the bodies for bombs and other weapons!
While hypernationalist disinformation agents are spreading these conspiracy theories, there is a very real conspiracy that is proven to be taking place under our noses. Real journalists investigating Tasfheen Malik’s background have been threatened by agency men to stay clear or suffer consequences, and her professors have been warned not to speak to media.
Three professors at Malik’s university said they had been advised not to talk to the media, while men claiming to be from Pakistan’s security agencies told reporters to drop their investigations into her background on pain of arrest.
Now we are learning that Pakistan intelligence agencies were aware of militant extremism being promoted at Bahauddin Zakariya University, and now it has also been revealed that Tashfeen Malik also attended al-Huda in Multan.
Conspiracy theories and logic-twisting denials have become routine in our society. Rather than face the terrible facts of what is happening around us, we choose to ignore it and blame some foreign conspiracy. In this case we are witnessing the activation of conspiracy theories at the same time as agencies are threatening real reporters. The question is hard not to ask…Who is really trying to hide what?