Sunday, 17 June, 2018

Donald Trump resurrects discredited pigs' blood fable in Barcelona terror aftermath

Emergency workers stand on a blocked street in Barcelona Spain Thursday Aug. 17 2017. A white van jumped up onto a sidewalk and sped down a pedestrian zone Thursday in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district swerving from side to side as it plowed Donald Trump resurrects discredited pigs' blood fable in Barcelona terror aftermath
Melinda Barton | 18 August, 2017, 03:32

Donald Trump has seemingly referenced a highly controversial and dubious legend about killing Islamic militants with bullets drenched in pig's blood - in the wake of the Barcelona terror attack.

After a relatively conventional response to the attack in which he went on to Twitter to call on the people of Barcelona to be "tough and strong" and offer U.S. help, he posted another, more cryptic, tweet, saying: "Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught".

The story has been found to be unsubstantiated by numerous fact-checkers in the media.

Why? Trump has referenced this story repeatedly at rallies both during his campaign and his presidency as a way to give credence to his claim that the US should "go much further" than waterboarding suspected terrorists.

At the time that Trump tweeted about Barcelona, details about the driver had not been released by police, though it is possible that the president was privy to more information than the public. One man is reportedly in custody in the investigation.

But the attack still prompted President Trump to tweet out his prescription for dealing with radical Islamic terror: "Study what General Pershing. did".

Earlier this week, Trump said he needed to get all "the facts" before singling out hate groups for condemnation after violent protests sparked by a white supremacist rally left one woman dead in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. An alleged Nazi sympathizer who had attended the rally is charged with second-degree murder in the case.

But the significant point is not that the story is apocryphal, many pointed out-it is that the story is "bigoted" and "vicious nonsense". The president on Tuesday explained that his initial reaction had been muted because he did not have all the "facts" in the case and wanted to be cautious.

He said the United States would never give up in tracking down terrorist suspects and holding them to account for their actions, adding: 'Terrorists around the world should know that the United States and our allies are resolved to find you and bring you to justice'.

"He took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men and he dipped 50 bullets in pigs' blood - you heard that, right?"

According to Trump back then, Pershing had managed to halt Muslim attacks in the Philippines where he was based by shooting Islamic militants with bullets dipped in pig's blood - pork being a taboo in Muslim culture. The survivor was told to go back and tell his people what happened. This time, he altered the number of problem-free years from 25 to 42.

McCoy's documentary is the culmination of five years of research about the general, which included multiple trips to the Library of Congress and National Archives. The "Moros" (ethnic Muslims who lived in the Southern Philippines) fought against foreign rule for hundreds of years and rose up against the United States when the nation claimed rule of the island. Pigs are deemed impure by the Koran.

The tale has circulated across the Internet for years.