Glenn Greenwald, the columnist famed for coming to the support of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, has chimed in on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, by hinting that Israel is to blame for influencing the police there.
Greenwald cited an Iranian activist named Trita Parsi who claimed that “excessive police violence” in Ferguson can be blamed on the fact that the county police chief took a fact-finding trip to Israel in 2011.
Parsi tweeted that St. Louis County Chief Timothy Fitch studied counter-terrorism techniques in Israel in March of 2011.
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) August 14, 2014
Greenwald capitalized on Parsi’s tweet by retweeting the linkage to Israel and noting, “St. Louis County Police Chief, in 2011, on visiting Israel to learn about police tactics from the Israelis.”
Of course, the police chief did not learn “police tactics from the Israelis,” but instead studied counter-terrorism. The two aren’t necessarily one and the same thing.
Further, the St. Louis County police chief in question, Chief Timothy Fitch, retired from the department in February of last year, so he is long gone and has played no part in the current unrest in Ferguson.
Meanwhile, who is this Iranian activist that Glenn Greenwald so favorably cited?
Trita Parsi, 40, founded the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) in 2002, and some have linked his group directly to the Iranian government. It is said the NIAC and Parsi have served as lobbyists for the Mullah-led government there.
In 2007 a journalist asserted the above linkage, prompting Parsi to sue for “defamation.” However, U.S. federal judge John D. Bates tossed the lawsuit, noting in his decision that the journalist made his assertions in good faith and there was nothing malicious in the publishing of the story. Parsi dropped his pursuit of the case afterward.
Regardless, tying Israel to what is going on in Ferguson is so tangential that it borders on anti-Semitic paranoia.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.