In Dark of Night

About five years ago, I asked someone why all superheroes were apparently American. Was there a Captain Britain? If there was you never heard of him. Did Spiderman live in  France? Did the Man of Steel make his home in Auckland?  There was a Barber of Seville but was there a Batman of Seville? In that asymmetry was a message, I thought. But I never could figure out what.

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But now it’s “move over Captain America”. The new age of comic book heroes is here. Meet The 99, a collection of Muslim superheroes from around the world. And what an international lineup it is. There’s Darr the Afflicter from the USA, Widad the Loving from the Philippines, Mumita the Destroyer from Portugal and a host of others, led by the indomitable Dr. Ramzi Razem based at the 99 Steps foundation in Seville Spain.  All they teach is wholesome values. In fact one of the fans of this new league of Muslim superheroes is none other than President Obama himself.

This new generation of Crusaders — no I guess one can’t say that — are replacing the old fuddy-duddies who are trying, desperately, to remain hip. The Guardian says it has now been decided that the Green Lantern should be gay. None of that jut-jawed, two-fisted, hard-drinking he-man stuff any more. Why the enlightened people of today can’t stand to even be referred to be a masculine or feminine pronoun.

After 72 years of tackling supervillains as a straight man, DC Comics’s magical-ring-wearing superhero the Green Lantern, one of the publisher’s oldest and most established characters, is set to be reintroduced as gay …

The move follows the wedding of X-Man Northstar to his boyfriend, courtesy of Marvel Comics, this week, and the marriage of Archie Comics’s first gay character, Kevin Keller, to his boyfriend earlier this year. Although DC’s character Batwoman came out as gay in 2006, the Green Lantern will be the publisher’s most prominent homosexual superhero.

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By contrast, the new superheroes have no self-doubt. The 99 is featured on Australian TV, it touts not “truth, justice and the American way”, but something far better, the 99 attributes of Allah.

Based on the superhero comic series, this animated action series follows the adventures of 99 youngsters from across the globe who’ve come into possession of one of the 99 mystical and ancient Noor Stones (Stones of Light).

Gifted with superhuman powers, they’re gathered into teams by the benevolent Dr. Ramzi Razem, to fight injustice and evil around the world. Their goal: to realise Dr. Ramzi’s vision of a world of peace, harmony, enlightenment and diversity.

For the “99” in Dr. Ramzi’s vision of world peace is based on the 99 attributes of Allah, as this article in Wikipedia explains.

The 99 are ordinary teenagers and adults from across the globe, who come into possession of one of the ninety-nine magical mystical Noor Stones (Ahjar Al Noor, Stones of Light) and find themselves empowered in a specific manner. All dilemmas faced by The 99 will be overcome through the combined powers and capabilities of three or more members. Through this, The 99 series aims to promote values such as cooperation and unity throughout the Islamic world. Although the series is not religious, it aims to communicate Islamic virtues which are, as viewed by Dr. Al-Mutawa, universal in nature.

The concept of The 99 is based on the 99 attributes of Allah. Many of these names refer to characteristics that can be possessed by human individuals. For example – generosity, strength, faithfulness, wisdom are all virtues encouraged by a number of faiths.

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Yet why is it that there won’t be any superheroes launched any time soon who will rival the “99 attributes of Allah” with equivalents inspired by “10 Commandments of the Bible”? Why, why? Because basing a comic hero from the Bible would instantly provoke gales of laughter from the Western elite.  For who in his right mind would premise a comic book series on a two-thousand year old book of delusions. Now the Koran, well that’s different. You get a fan club straight off based in the White House.

There is certainly nothing ipso facto the matter with Muslims trying to spread their values; nor should one suppose there is anything inherently sinister in the Green Lantern becoming gay.  But no one should imagine that the two trends taken together and amplified over time have no effect.

Stuart Green of the United States Navy observed a curious fact: the Soviets spent 85% of their entire propaganda budget not on selling any particular point of politburo policy but to change the way the West felt about itself in general. He called this method “cognitive warfare” and realized that it was about as powerful as the atomic bomb.

In an early 1980s interview, KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov claimed that theSoviet intelligence service only spent about 15% of its effort on intelligence collection.The rest was spent on the slow process of ideological subversion, or “active measures.”More than a simple dump of leaflets or strident use of loudspeakers, it was the alteration of “…the perception of reality in America to such an extent that… no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their communities and their country.”

The targets become so demoralized, so contaminated, so “programmed to think and react to stimuli in a certain pattern” that their minds cannot be changed, even if exposed “to authentic information, even if you prove that white is white and black is black.”

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The goal of cognitive warfare is the capture of certain narrative stereotypes. It’s to change what you imagine when you think of a word Close your eyes and think of the word “Christian”. What comes to mind? Republican, tea-bagger, ignorant white trash, Bull Conner. Think about “Mormon” and what comes to mind? Romney, Republican, ignorant, white polygamist. But to think about gay or to think about Muslim is to summon up images of the “Green Lantern” or “Stones of Light”?

Now imagine yourself. Don’t you just hate the image?  You’re guilty, square, uncool and hardly worthy of existence. Don’t you just wish you had one of those 99 attributes in your life?

No, not yet?  Well maybe not, but given enough input — say 15 years of it — you will not be able to help yourself. Here’s how Stuart Green put it. Once they get in your head, you can’t get it out.

Soviet active measures depended on “agents of influence,” or individuals within the target society who facilitated the process. Jean François Revel, French author and former director of L’Express Magazine, noted that “Disinformation is not simply lies. It is the art of having your enemy say what you want them to say.”

In many cases the journalists or authors do not know they are being used. The head of Soviet active measures in Tokyo explained that articles “…would be written by local, in many cases prominent, journalists who would express [them] as his or her own opinion. These kinds of things normally [would not] be traceable back to the Soviet Union.”
Bezmenov claimed that the Soviet hopes for demoralizing the American public had been “overfulfilled.” “The result you can see,” he said, “Most of the people who graduated in the ‘60s, drop outs or half-baked intellectuals, are now occupying the positions of power in the government, civil service, business mass media, and educational systems. You are stuck with them. You cannot get rid of them.” The Soviet strategy’s success was impressive, if unquantifiable. In essence, the Soviets intended for us to do it to ourselves

I am reminded of a Muslim Brotherhood-linked document exposed in the course of the U.S. v Holy Land Foundation trial, a strategic memo for internal dissemination that envisioned bringing the United States down by “its own miserable hands.”

Like in Judo, the intent is to exert a minimum of kinetic effort and have us collapse under our own intellectual weight. But itis a long-term investment; Bezmenov claims it takes 15 to 20 years before the first returns are noticeable, and it would take at least that amount of time to reverse the process. That period, by the way, is about the length of time it takes to educate one generation of activists.

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The question I now have is how many comic book heroes in five years will still be American? According to Fox News, Superman renounced his US citizenship in the 900th issue of Action Comics.

“I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my U.S. citizenship,” he says in a cell in the issue. “I’m tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy.”

Superman even questions his longtime motto: “Truth, justice and the American way.”

“Truth, justice, and the American way — it’s not enough anymore,” he states.

That’s telling them Superman. For get the “American Way”. Try the 99 attributes of Allah; it’s way cooler. But perhaps what Stuart Green is not telling us is the deepest secret; the original emerald ring is not lost. Someone has preserved it because it was foretold that someday the guardianship would fall into the hands of imposters.  You can still find it, perhaps from some old package of Crackerjack, or by wrapping a twistie round your little finger. Then from some cold and still backyard in Smallsville , you can still still stare up at the stars and say:

In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!!!

The secret is that it’s the oath that counts.


Belmont Commenters
How to Publish on Amazon’s Kindle for $2.99
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No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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