The Clarion Project and the ISIS ,“Dabiq” Trail
By Eva Gonzales
A curious phenomenon exists where Takfiris and Jihadists, looking for recruitment and other information, are letting each other know how to access a magazine online, purportedly the official organ of ISIS, called “Dabiq”. Until fairly recently, the link to this magazine could only be traced back to Clarion Project’s website. Below is one such Twitter message directing people to the Clarion Project site.
Arisha Jasra @Arisha_Jasra May 10My sisters, you should all read this interview with Umm
Basīr al-Muhājirah. A strong woman indeed. http://media.clarionproject.org/files/islamic-state/islamic-state-dabiq-magazine-issue-7-from-hypocrisy-to-apostasy.pdf
Why is the Clarion Project entwined with “Dabiq” and overtly providing a forum and contact point for Jihadists wanting to join ISIS or to get more information about ISIS? Clarion Project boasted that they exclusively present to their readership each new edition of the magazine. They attributed this exclusivity to one of their staff members apparently having discovered this magazine on the “Deep Web”. The “Deep Web” is simply the content of databases and other web services that cannot be indexed and searched by conventional search engines.
Nevertheless, a number of blog sites have sprung up which share all the editions of the magazine, but, it appears that until more recent times, all links for the English version of the magazine went back to the Clarion Project and searches for the translated versions went to an archive site.  According to a report on 6 June, 2015, BBC News stated that Dabiq used Amazon to sell the magazine  and, later on they stated that they have a “high end media apparatus”. 
The magazine, according to Clarion Project, is written in English and then rapidly gets translated into other languages after publication. It is rather odd for an Islamic publication, notably the organ or ISIS, to be published officially in English and sophisticated English at that.
Some might say that this is a good way for intelligence services to track would be recruits by identifying their IP numbers once they access the magazine on the Clarion Project’s site. But then, if this was an ISIS magazine designed to attract recruits, promoting it in the “Deep Web” would not be successful. Clearly, Jihadi hopefuls were more likely to share Clarion Project’s link to read the magazine as indicated in the twitter message above. 
What and who is The Clarion Project and, given their history of producing highly “inflammatory” and “volatile” anti-Islam movies, what was their objective in promoting the alleged media outlet of ISIS before anyone else had? An interesting money trail of donors for various anti-Islamic movies indicates that a mix of Settler Zionist, right and left wing actors of various faiths and sects fund and support Clarion Project.  These various players for different reasons share a mutual interest in their hatred of Islam and concerns about extremism.
Let us look at the stated aims and objectives of Clarion Project. Firstly, Clarion Project has strong links to the right-wing Israeli group Aish HaTorah and is listed in government records as a foreign non-profit entity. According to the Delaware Department of Corporations, Robert (Rabbi Raphael) Shore, Rabbi Henry Harris and Rebecca Kabat incorporated Clarion Fund and, the three are reported to have served as employees of Aish HaTorah International. On their site they state “Founded in 2006, Clarion Project (formerly Clarion Fund Inc.) is an independently funded, non-profit organization dedicated to exposing the dangers of Islamist extremism while providing a platform for the voices of moderation and promoting grassroots activism.” They explain that “Clarion Project draws together Middle East experts, scholars, human rights activists and Muslims to promote tolerance and moderation and challenge extremism.”
Clarion Project’s advisory board has included a number of neo-cons and right wing forces, including Frank Gaffney, former Reagan administration official and founder of the Center for Security Policy, Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum and staffers under Douglas Feith who worked in the Donald Rumsfeld Pentagon during the invasion of Iraq. On March 16, 2016, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz announced he would name Frank Gaffney to be one of his National Security Advisors. These are a curious mix of people, representing some even more curious religious/strategic groupings and interests.
The most “effective” and notorious works of Clarion Project have been their movies about Islam, most of which have in some way or other caused public disruption or violence. Their first cinematic endeavour, back in 2005, when the organisation was called “Clarion Fund”, was the film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War on the West.” Over 28 million copies of the film were distributed in strategic, swinging voter seats in the 2008 Presidential election race against Obama. This was the second time that in Presidential elections an anti-Muslim film emerged exactly seven weeks before the polls opened. 
Funds, it is claimed, came from a right-wing GOP donor, Barre Seid. The sum is recorded as coming from “Donors Capital Fund” in Virginia, to the tune of almost $US18 million.  Another donor, it is reported, denied involvement in providing funds and now sits on the Board of Clarion Project.  The movie attracted massive, often violent protests throughout out the world and in Pakistan a bounty was put on the head of the filmmaker. 
In 2013, the Clarion Project released “Honor Diaries”, written and produced by Paula Kweskin, an Israeli human rights attorney, featuring Muslim women including Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ayaan, for example, whose views are not accepted amongst the most moderate of Muslims, and, instead of seeking proper understanding and interpretation, relegates Islam to the lowest level of understanding and debasement, revealing that she possesses little understanding of the true meaning of the Quran and the roots of misunderstandings that can lend themselves to Jihadists finding justification in the texts to go on Jihad. Ayaan was the Executive Producer of this movie. Those involved in this movie read like a Who’s Who of right wing and Islamaphobic names. Again, as with the previous Clarion Project productions, there was much protest and commotion world-wide and, it was reported that “[w]hile these are issues that deserve public attention, the group behind the film has a strong anti-Muslim track record that has been thoroughly documented”. 
Another movie attracted wide outcry and attention when it was revealed it was shown in a loop continuously for three months in a police department. Investigation arising from that revelation revealed the role of Clarion Fund and some donors. 
There have been a number of other movies produced by Clarion Project. “The Clarion Project’s extensive track record of releasing anti-Muslim films speaks of its agenda, and further demonstrates the need to question the objectivity of any endeavor that can be traced back to the group.”
This brings to question about who may have been behind the production of a film in 2012 called “Innocence of Muslims”. Is there possibly a link with Clarion Project? It is difficult to ascertain, yet, its intent and nature truly fits the footprint of Clarion Project. Needless to say, the funders and organisers of this movie, the moment Ambassador Stevens was hacked to death in Benghazi allegedly in response to this movie, disappeared in the dark leaving an unemployed late middle aged Egyptian or perhaps Israeli Christian Arab by the surname of Nakoula, who had been convicted in the past of fraud, to be the fall guy. Nakoula, who admitted at first to a $US5 million dollar funding for the movie and then a $US5 thousand dollar payment to make the movie was, according the various news reports, immediately removed from society and the media and incarcerated.
It is claimed that a scandal involving another Clarion Project movie, “The Third Jihad” http://archive.is/PaBF, which again Ayaan Hirsi Ali is involved in and whose co-producer named as Erik Werth, was involved in, has been involved in the production of “Innocence of Muslims”. Well prior to his work with “The Third Jihad”, Werth was arrested after he claimed to be a secret service agent and threatened to have an airline employee arrested.
Now let us turn to the worldwide, violent and furious reaction to the 2012 movie, “Innocence of Muslims”, which all the prominent politicians in the Obama regime immediately held responsible for the brutal murder of Ambassador Stephens in Benghazi on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. Is there more to the story than meets the eye? We may never know as the Hillary Clinton email scandal looks like there will never be full disclosure of the murky events in Libya. The movie seems to have been used as a cover for Jihadists recovering their fellow terrorists who had been incarcerated in the building where Stevens was.
An article suggests Hillary’s involvement in funding this movie via the Muslim Brotherhood but this is not a logical argument. 
Is it possible that Clarion Project played a role in “Innocence of Muslims” given their background with making such movies?
It displays all Clarion Project hallmarks. The deposits of money discussed in this article hint at Israeli connections using Christian Palestinians, with the USA relevant department giving immunity to a possible player in all of this by returning Nakhoula’s former criminal associate to Palestine instead of prosecuting him in the USA. The suggestions make sense of Nakoula, described as the actual movie maker, being “owned” by the USA Federal government as a “snitch” after convictions for fraud. A man described as a “consultant” for the movie, Steve Klein was involved as well. An ex-Marine, Klein had been active in anti-Muslim and extremist groups for decades.
Given the history Clarion Fund and those it is closely associated with in producing anti-Islam movies, and, given they specialise in “exposing”, albeit in a skewed and biased manner, Islam, it is not too far-fetched to question whether Clarion Fund was behind the “Innocence of Muslims” movie. Just taking a step further and the question can be posed as to whether there were some intended outcomes touted for this movie over in Benghazi that fateful day on 11 September 2012.
Who are the people behind Clarion Project and, if they were behind the movie, “Innocence of Muslims”, what could be their motives? Or, were they just contracted to make such a movie? Alternatively, was this movie used as a cover to raise violence and scandal and to implicate the Obama regime in turning a blind eye to massive high end weapons transfers from Benghazi to Jihadist terrorists in Syria, courtesy of Ambassador Stevens? There were also reports of countless urgent requests from the embassy and consulate in Libya for security assistance.[17 ]
Obama and Clinton, on the subject of not providing US military protection, and instead contracting Takfiri Jihadists as security guards, were ridiculed as leftists, pandering to Islam by the media outlet Frontpage Mag’s Daniel Greenfield. Greenfield works closely with Clarion Project employees such as Ryan Mauro and Board members of Clarion Project, Clare Lopez, a former operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency and Frank Gaffney. 
Clare Lopez and others from her side of politics, wrote countless articles lambasting Hillary Clinton and her failures of protecting Ambassador Stevens “where the consulate had very little security and no domestic law enforcement in the city making it a ridiculously easy target.” The possibility of Ambassador Stevens being involved in smuggling weapons to Jihadists in Syria was mentioned in this article but stopped short of suggesting that Stevens may have been silenced. 
In further articles of those aforementioned, mention was made of the dirty business of co-operating with and employing Jihadists and engaging in regime change projects.  Clarion Project’s Claire Lopez spelt out about what the Obama regime’s man in Libya, Christopher Stevens, was engaged in; working with Al Qaida and facilitating the flow of arms into Syria such as MANPADS.  Two Clarion Project members of the board, Clare Lopez and Frank Gaffney, elaborate on what they think has been happening in Libya which negatively implicates the Obama regime. ,,
As evident from the series of strongly worded articles, particularly by Clarion Project Board member Clare Lopez, Clarion Project has been eager to blame everything that has happened in Benghazi on the Obama regime in the most damning manner possible.
A possible but awful scenario comes to mind; what if those elements against the Obama regime, worked together with their kindred spirits at the Clarion Project to use the movie “Innocence of Muslims” as a way to capitalise on the fury it would generate in order to disgrace and taint the Obama regime and even perhaps bully it into submission on certain agenda?
Perhaps it was never envisaged that the violent backlash to this movie would go as far as the murder of Christopher Stevens in Benghazi. Or, was it more sinister than this and aimed at exposing the complicity of the Obama regime in working with Jihadists to achieve regime change goals, including high end arms running? Whether they would have engaged in similar activities if the GOP was in government is another matter. Or, perhaps it was about their own people not having the contracts and upper hand.
Now we turn to the issue of manipulation by media of public opinion, influencing election outcomes, setting up scenarios or capitalising on situations for the benefit of this curious mix of right wing actors. We can see the double role Clarion has played in highlighting issues to do with sections of militant Islam, but clearly, none of their “work” is done for the benefit of understanding and bridge-building between Islam and the Christian and Judaic world. Clearly it is done for political and other considerations and for domestic, national and international purposes.
Given the track record of Clarion Project and its media pieces it releases, it is not too preposterous to suggest that maybe the purported ISIS magazine “Dabiq” is actually just another creation of Clarion Project and hence used as a tool for these powerful right wing actors who populate the Board of Clarion Project and its many like minded partners. If that is the case, then the content of this magazine could be written and presented in a manner that benefits the agenda of these people and their partners. This is not to say that I subscribe solely to the “CIA created ISIS” notion, after all, Brzezinski who is the father of the strategic practice of co-opting Jihadists, knew all too well that this strategy was only possible for as long as radical, militant, ideological elements would see a win/win situation with their Jihadist and political aspirations and those of the American or other Western “partners”.
The point being made here is not about who is behind ISIS but a possible cynical plot where messages are fabricated in a fabricated magazine and used opportunistically by political figures and others in order to gain some notoriety, “badge of honour” or some sort of credentials or to generate “black propaganda” to further their own agenda.
“Dabiq”, as demonstrated at the outset of this article, including the interesting circumstances described, has all the hallmarks of the work of Clarion Project. It was fortunate for investigation purposes that every link for “Dabiq”in the early days only
led consistently back to Clarion and the translations to an archive link which triggered this whole investigation.