Ron Paul Institute Publishes a Charlie Hebdo 'False Flag' Piece

Defending the decision, RPI director levels various baseless accusations


Yesterday, the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity made the affirmative decision to republish a piece by Paul Craig Roberts that RPI affixed with the headline: "Charlie Hebdo Shootings: False Flag?" Here's how it begins:

The Charlie Hebdo affair has many of the characteristics of a false flag operation. The attack on the cartoonists' office was a disciplined professional attack of the kind associated with highly trained special forces; yet the suspects who were later corralled and killed seemed bumbling and unprofessional. It is like two different sets of people.

Usually Muslim terrorists are prepared to die in the attack; yet the two professionals who hit Charlie Hebdo were determined to escape and succeeded, an amazing feat. Their identity was allegedly established by the claim that they conveniently left for the authorities their ID in the getaway car. Such a mistake is inconsistent with the professionalism of the attack and reminds me of the undamaged passport found miraculously among the ruins of the two WTC towers that served to establish the identity of the alleged 9/11 hijackers.

What would be the false-flaggers' motivation?

Just recently France had voted in the UN with Palestine against the US-Israeli position. This assertion of an independent French foreign policy was reinforced by the recent statement by the President of France that the economic sanctions against Russia should be terminated.

Clearly, France was showing too much foreign policy independence. The attack on Charlie Hebdo serves to cow France and place France back under Washington's thumb.

Later in the column, Roberts sneers at the official 9/11 story, asserts that "the CIA has more control over French intelligence than does the President of France," and ends with this flourish:

Americans are a pitifully misinformed people. All of history is a history of false flag operations. Yet Americans dismiss such proven operations as "conspiracy theories," which merely proves that government has successfully brainwashed insouciant Americans and deprived them of the ability to recognize the truth.

Americans are the foremost among the captive nations.

Who will liberate them?

Roberts' history of false-flag assertions is certainly well known to Ron Paul himself.

In April of last year, RPI reprinted a Roberts piece concluding that "elements of the US government blew up three New York skyscrapers in order to destroy Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah and to launch the US on the neoconservatives agenda of US world hegemony." Afterward, Paul appeared on The Independents, and upon being questioned about it by Kmele Foster said:

Well, it's just that people should have a right to express their viewpoints. If you read 99 percent of the article it was a fantastic article. But that doesn't mean that […] I endorse what he says, obviously! So I think that's a little bit overkill with political correctness. People know my position, I've stated [it] on national television enough times. But Paul Craig Roberts has some very good views on war and civil liberties, and he shouldn't be excluded because he takes this particular position. But that wasn't the thrust of the article. So I think that, to me, the people who overly criticize something like that probably are the ones who have the problem.

As I pointed out in this blog post at the time, a more accurate percentage-count of 9/11 trutherism in Roberts' piece was 30, not one. And I disagree, publicly now as privately then, with the notion that "the people who overly criticize something like that probably are the ones who have the problem." The people who have the problem are the ones who work for the Ron Paul Institute and are genuinely interested in persuading a wider audience about their anti-interventionist message. Roberts' piece will intrigue that narrow readership fond of fact-lite, rancidly-posited dot-connecting exercises, and repel just about everyone else.

On Twitter last night, RPI Executive Director Daniel McAdams went on a protracted rant against critics of the piece, writing "I should only run pieces that agree with the NYT and Hollande version of the event?," telling Antiwar.com's Justin Raimondo that he sounds "like a neocon," stating (falsely) "Matt Welch whose only foreign policy statement ever on Fox has been to disagree with RP and non-intervention," and then referencing my non-existent (to my knowledge!) "CIA buddies in Budapest," where McAdams and I both once lived. It's both a telling and deeply unflattering tic to defend publishing an implausibly conspiratorial rant by leveling ludicrous accusations against people who call attention to it.

I have tremendous respect for Ron Paul, who has been named a "Hero of Freedom" by both the magazine I edit and the television show I co-host; you can read a Q&A I conducted with him on foreign policy as recently as October. And I have the opposite of respect for some of the people who have written and published some seriously bizarre commentary over the years in organizations that carry his name. Bad arguments–including/especially any from me or the staff of this magazine–do not deserve a free pass merely by dint of being ideologically simpatico. 

UPDATE: I neglected to mention that Paul Craig Roberts used to write for Reason; you can see two of his archived pieces, from 1991, here. We have also written about him plenty since then; start here.