Arab and Islamic Affairs Expert at New America Foundation, Brookings, Ties to CNN

Barfi_CNNBy James F. Tracy

Western news media are abuzz with reports on the latest alleged murder of an American journalist by the “Islamic State.” A professionally-produced video of the beheading of Steve Sotloff was presented for public consumption by the private intelligence contractor SITE Intelligence Group of Bethesda Maryland. “SITE” stands for Search for International Terrorist Entities.[1]

[Image Credit:]

US intelligence officials cannot presently authenticate the video, and in the past SITE has been accused of being overzealous in its pursuit of purported terrorist groups with unusually savvy internet skills and access. As former director of the CIA’s bin Laden Unit Michael Scheuer remarks, “Much as Al Jazeera underplays terrorist threats, the SITE Institute at times overplays them.”[2]

SITE has also been linked to the Department of Homeland Security, major US government players, and may have ties to the Israeli intelligence community. As Kurt Nimmo reports,

One of SITE’s founders, Rita Katz, is a government insider with close connections to former terrorism czar Richard Clarke and his staff in the White House, as well as investigators in the Department of Justice, Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Homeland Security, according to SourceWatch. Her father was executed in Iraq as an Israel spy, a fact that suggests a connection to Israeli intelligence.[3]

Another facet of the story calling into question its authenticity is the Sotloff family’s choice for a spokesperson. “The family knows of this horrific tragedy and is grieving privately,” one Barak Barfi told the Miami Herald. “There will be no public comment from the family during this difficult time.”[4]

Barak Barfi is in fact a “research fellow” at the New America Foundation, “where he specializes in Arab and Islamic affairs,” according to New America’s website.[5] Barfi was formerly a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. In 2011 Mr. Barfi strongly advocated the overthrow of the Muammar Qaddafi government in Libya,[6] and has advanced similar arguments against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime.[7]

Barfi_CSPAN“Barak Barfi is indeed the spokesperson for the Sotloff family,” New America Foundation media relations representative Jenny Lu Mallamo confirmed to this author in an email response to a September 3 query.[8]

[Image Credit:]

While touting itself as “non-profit” and “non-partisan,” the New America Foundation is in fact a well-heeled think tank and advocacy organization backed by powerful globalist figures and entities including Bill Gates, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the Ford Foundation, the US Department of State, and the US Agency for International Development.[9]

Barfi works within NAF’s Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative headed up by CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen. The author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden—From 9/11 to Abbottabad, Bergen promotes the official myth and state propaganda line concerning bin Laden’s apparent decade-long existence following his reported death in 2001.[10]

Along these lines, Bergen plays along with the corporate media’s widely held notion that ISIS is a spontaneous phenomenon that receives little-if-any Western support.[11]

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Barfi’s role as “spokesperson” of the Sotloff family vis-à-vis his links to New America, Brookings, and CNN are left entirely unexamined by the same corporate media outlets vigorously promoting the supposed Foley and Sotloff beheadings as genuine. Such propaganda efforts are paving the road toward renewed Western intervention in the region, and perhaps even the supreme casus belli—another staged attack on US soil on or around the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11.


[1] Glenn Garvin, “Video Shows Beheading of Pinecrest Journalist Steven Sotloff,Miami Herald, September 2, 2014.

[2] Benjamin Wallis-Wells, “Private Jihad: How Rita Katz Got Into the Private Spying Business,” New Yorker, May 29, 2006.

[3] Kurt Nimmo, “Sotloff Video Found By Group Responsible for Releasing Fake Osama Bin Laden Video,” Infowars, September 3, 2014.

[4] Garvin, “Video Shows Beheading.”

[5] “Barak Barfi,” New America Foundation, accessed September 3, 2014.

[6] Barak Barfi, “The Overlooked Strategy That Could Finally Bring Down Gaddafi,” New Republic, May 27, 2011.

[7] Barak Barfi and Aaron Y. Zelin, “Al Qaeda’s Syrian Strategy: Can Islamic Jihadists Win Hearts and Minds in the War Against Assad?Foreign Policy, October 10, 2013; Marc Perelman interviews Barak Barfi, Research Fellow at the New America Foundation, France 24, December 6, 2013 .

[8] James F. Tracy to Jenny Lu Mallamo, email communication, September 3, 2014.

[9] “Our Funding,” New America Foundation, , accessed September 3, 2014.

[10] Anthony Sampson, “CIA Agent Alleged to Have Met Bin Laden in July,” UK Guardian, October 31, 2001.

[11] For example, see Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, “Now ISIS Has Drones?”, August 24, 2014.

Republished at on September 4, 2014.

Leave a Reply

45 thought on “Sotloff Family Spokesman is Media Pundit”
  1. As I said in a previous comment. It’s 2001 all over again except the cast has been updated.

    Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda are just so yesterday.

    Besides Bin Laden died in 12/2001 oops I mean 4/2012….and according to our Dear Leader Al-Qaeda is “on the run”.

    So now to gain support from his base, he (obama)must convince the Dem’s/Liberals that his new commitment to “Defeat ISIS” is the right decision.

    Thus, I hate to say, I suspect/expect an event in the making….you finish the sentence.

    1. Scrap my last comment ” So now to gain support from his base, he (obama)must convince the Dem’s/Liberals that his new commitment to “Defeat ISIS” is the right decision.”

      The Hollywood Crowd is already on board. So war must be a GOOD thing now…?

      Obama makes his statement to fight ISIS and Hollywood the SAME day is calling for war?

      From The Blaze (the pop-up)

      1. Bewise…the Getty Images angle to recent historical documentation would be interesting to search. I began to collect and record who the picture takers were in Sandy Hook and Getty Images was a frequent player.

        What is the history of Getty Images…..anyone?

    2. You are dead-on with this analysis. Plus, it’s Halloween season. The original Halloween massacre was the Cheney/Rumsfeld takeover (front men for the Bush Regime) on October 31/1975 or thereabouts.

  2. Just as with Foley, Sotloff was not listed on this June, 2014 CNN article detailing all Americans held hostage.

    Caught a strange interview on Fox today about a close friend of Sotloff, who actually only recently started email communication with him and while they planned on meeting, they hadn’t yet.

    Couldn’t find that one, but this one is even more interesting. Matthew VanDyke was introduced as a filmmaker and friends of both Foley & Sotloff. He has lost two good friends in two weeks.

    Here the Hufpo tells us “Matthew VanDyke fought against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in the Libyan civil war as an American freedom fighter and soldier in the National Liberation Army.”

  3. Ric, I suspect the same that an event is in the making. The missing airplanes from Libya is a good starting point for the next false flag. Although I suspect that now that ISIS has threatened Russia, we may finally see their true purpose-to provide further interference in Russian affairs beyond the Ukraine crisis.

  4. Thank you Dr. Tracy. Quite revealing. Much appreciation and respect for your work in countering the ongoing propaganda, especially given how the public is being psychologically prepped for the next 9/11. It’s all so laughably transparent now, from the fake beheadings to the absurd shootings with people like Cassidy Stay.

      1. Maybe so, maybe no. One thing’s for sure — they’re both lying, duping delighters. That’s all that really matters, and I think the debate over their identities tends to take the focus away from their treasonous deeds.

  5. This beheading report is a complete and utter fabrication. I’m not surprised that the family is not speaking. The plea by Sotloff’s alleged mother that they aired prior to the alleged act validates this is a fraud. The woman in the video is Susan McCormack who also works at A Step Ahead Prosthetics in New York under another alias. The James Foley beheading farce has actors that are associated with this same particular group of alleged frauds.

  6. It’s odd that even MSM continue to express caution about the validity of the videos.

    I find another interesting polarity here – supposedly we don’t like Syria and Assad, so ISIS in opposition to that regime was “the enemy of my enemy” (and thus my friend). For the BMB hoax, the perps were touted as Chechens who were in opposition to Russia. I find this a kind of interesting arrangement, much like pro- versus anti-Castro Cubans in many of the scenarios back fifty years ago, in the deliberate obfuscations of the 60’s. As David Ferrie says in the movie JFK “Switching sides, switching sides – everyone was always switching sides.” Three-card monty.

    1. The Yankees and Red Sox want to tear each other apart. Their most ardent fans hate each other. The stronger the hate, the richer the owners get. Free agency comes, players switch sides and learn how to hate somebody else.

  7. Sometime after 5 am this morning while waking up and packing lunches, was shocked to hear what I thought was Sotloff’s mother complaining our leader delayed announcing his death for political benefit.

    Of course, never could find that piece on the foxnews internet, which is normally reliable.

    Suppose this report would support what I thought I heard and was censored.

    1. Paulstal mentions the video artifacts that may indicate a green screen. But I found the original and don’t see the artifacts there, so I don’t think that they used a green screen — but it’s a moot point and doesn’t detract from the other glaring evidence that this is staged. Here’s the original video link, which still exists — I found this link at — WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC FAKERY AHEAD:

    2. MSM had to admit the Foley beheading video was a fake but said he was killed later and then quickly change the subject. This is AFTER the White House said the FBI authenticated it!

      Now the new Sotloff video is identical to the Foley video with fade to black effects when they behead him as to not offend anyone with the gore. ISIS are such nice guys unlike Al-Qaeda.

      The White House instantly claims its the real deal.

      Now, are we going to see Sotloff’s siblings laughing on nation television as Foley’s did?

      2001 again. New Cast AND we get new videos everyday of the terrorists like with the Bin Laden videos..really?

      I guess they figure after 13 years of GMO’s, Chemtrails and prozac/Ambien our brains are so destroyed most have forgotten…..

      1. I agree, Ric. Some of these “Crisis Actors” are starting to get “type cast”. I suppose the supply hasn’t caught up with the demand.

        I notice (to my chagrin), that there is a TEE VEE station that plays “Ancient Aliens” pretty much 24/7. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a version of that soon, as the “booga factor” wears thin for the “Islamists”.

        Of course that would require a whole new cadre of actors with strange ears and antennae to issue threats and scowl at the camera. Any port in a storm.

  8. Reblogged this on Cuthelain’s Weblog and commented:
    The modern corporate states have their own intelligence networks and a vastly greater infrastructure to disseminate propaganda . The ‘False Flag’ the staged terrorist or shocking media event is second nature to them. SITE an organisation founded by Rita Katz the Director of the SITE Institute, which she co-founded in 2002 . She has personally briefed government officials, including former terrorism czar Richard Clarke and his staff in the White House, as well as investigators in the Department of Justice, Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Homeland Security on the financing and recruitment networks of the terrorist movement. Many of her leads have prompted the government to investigate and take legal action against individuals and organizations suspected of ties to terrorism,” the SITE website states.
    Prior, Katz “served as Research Director” of Steven Emerson’s The Investigative Project on Terrorism[2] in Washington, DC. “Born in Iraq and a graduate of the Middle Eastern Studies program at Tel Aviv University, Katz speaks both Arabic and Hebrew with native fluency.
    The rise of these entities maybe welcomed by some in government but in my opinion have given the mercenary factions belonging to the corporate world a dangerous tool that is free of the normal safe guards.

    1. Yes, it is an “industry” and Katz is a lobbyist. Just like a similar group, “Camera”, twists Arabic language publications into translations designed to inspire fear.

      It is through a large network of these outfits, working in cooperation, that propaganda is generated to allow their bought and paid for politicians to scream for more war and money. It is a self-serving and bloody business.

      Perhaps someone should “investigate and take legal action” against such organizations who are clearly representatives of a foreign country masquerading as “private intelligence” or “think tanks”.

      These mercenary companies operate outside the law and we are funding them. It is a growth industry.

    1. Thanks Larry. The Newtown experiment will continue for years to come. They are rebuilding with dignity according to Llodra:

      And then we have the apologizer:
      DENVER (AP) — A Pueblo County commission candidate said an article posted on Facebook saying the Newtown shootings were a hoax said his remarks were misunderstood.
      The Denver Post reported Saturday ( ) that Tom Ready apologized for hurting those affected by the December 2012 shootings in the Connecticut city that killed 20 children and six adults at an elementary school.
      The article posted by Ready claimed the shootings were a hoax intended to drum up support for tougher gun control laws. Ready told the Post he simply “pushed a button” to link the article to his page to encourage discussion.
      Ready said he didn’t do a good job Wednesday during a debate where he defended posting the article.
      Ready’s remarks went viral on the Internet.

      1. Perhaps he should have posted this to his website:

        As I’ve said many times, the school information is a bit of a show stopper. The rest we’ve been over ad finitum. It’s always amusing to me how someone can be intimidated into “belief”. To me “belief” is something one has or doesn’t.

        I suppose it has more to do with getting someone to SAY they believe. Maybe we need an “Anderson’s Creed”. Those who question the CNN Magisterium will be summarily “excommunicated”.

  9. A co-founder of New America Foundation was Michael Lind, a past editor or staff writer on New Republic, Harper’s, the New Yorker, and The National Interest. He wrote a powerful ideological book THE NEXTAMERICAN NATION which appeared to influence American ideology.

    He claims there were three forms of historical American national culture. The first, Anglo-America was mostly British and Germanic influence created by immigration. The second, after the Civil War was Euro-America, where southern and Irish European immigration expanded the White population.

    The Third American was Multicultural America which he strongly disapproves of, which legitimated Hispanic, African and other cultures. He is for a national Colorblind America with a strong military, the militarism of which he only hints at in the text. His book, I think, influenced the Colorblind approach to racism, which drove it deeper into the psyches of both the rightish and leftish organs and parties.

    But the nationalism no doubt got him the support of the large corporations, and helped form the background ideological context of the War on Terrorism. The Colorblind approach covered up America’s historical racism, and he explicitly legitimated US homicidal imperialism to unite the American people around Patriotism. New America Foundation continues to drive American ideology, and apparently has found new areas to expand into. A good article presented to expose their historical role.

  10. It appears that the strategy being followed involves the creation of a Thirty Years’ War-type of destructive-constructive dialectic culminating in the fragmentation of the major independent, non-aligned (with the American lead market-state system) states and powers in the Middle East. In the place of large nationalist, powerfully rivalrous regional states would be created ethnic/sectarian client statelets a la the Gulf States, militarily independently impotent. These permanently manageable non-nationalist, non-ambitious (militarily), almost thoroughly subjacent entities would of course necessarily form part of larger military and economic discipline-imposing zones and organizations: a Middle Eastern “Nato”-type alliance lead by the U.S./Saudi Arabia/Israel and of course a European Union-type neoliberal (or “market state”) economic bloc. In such a way and through such horrendous “birthing pangs” a (religio-culturally) “post-medieval” and (politically) post cold war-nationalist Middle East would arise, one finally approximating Europe, East Asia, and North America in its religio-cultural post-modernity and market-determined political “consensus,” albeit with a stronger residual flavoring of religiously-derived social conformity, a la Japan’s. The risks for the strategists of this longue durée scenario: a thoroughly demoralized, anarchized, and criminalized neocolonial society reminiscent of Central America’s and of other parts of Latin America.

    1. Loic, I aint as smart as you. I think, if you are not a plant, you have something to offer. But, geez, it takes like, I dunno, a half hour or so to try to understand what your bottom lines are. Would you dumb it down for a poor schmuck from South Philly…please?

      And I am running out of ibuprofen (…headaches after reading Loic).

      If youz other guys and gals here get Loic, then ignore this, Loic.

      I will keep trying to brace up.

  11. That is what Israel wants, Loic, a chaos of powerless statelets that it can dominate. This is the basis in the Middle East of Washington’s Divide and Ruin policy. I have a very good thesaurus, Loic, so I can translate most of your comments into English, but I’m still not sure that I capture all the nuances. I don’t see how this resembles the 30 year war, except for the chaos. But you are quite right, it is chaos that AngloZionism wants.

    1. The Thirty Years’ War was concluded with treaties constituting part of the Peace of Westphalia, that congress of Europe which initiated a new and enduring system of political order for some of the most ‘sectarianly’ diverse and belligerent parts of the Continent, thereby contributing much to the overcoming or graduation from sectarian conflict in Europe–a station or condition of “modernity” the Middle East has, of course, yet to achieve.

      1. “The reason historians will treat the various conflicts of the 20th century – the First World War, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, the wars in Korea and Vietnam and the Cold War – as one conflict is the same reason historians treat the many conflicts that comprise the Thirty Years War as a single epochal war: because the constitutional basis of the State was at issue. The Long War, like previous epochal wars, ratified the position of a new form of the State – the nation-state. Now that form – that constitutional order – is under siege.”–Philip Bobbitt

        Is not this very schema (“Now that form –[the nation-state]–is under siege.”) precisely applicable to the present Middle East?

      2. “…the region today epitomizes the ideal example of intrastate and interstate anarchy. Similar to the European system in the Middle Ages, today’s Middle East seems to be falling short of uniting its diverse communities along common norms and principles that would make the region appear to be a single society. If there is any common interstate and intrastate norm in the region around which different communities unite, it is survival. This norm has been the quintessential part of interstate and societal practices in the region since the birth of the modern Middle East following the demise of the Ottoman Empire. Rivalries have continued to shape regional politics for decades and the Arab Spring has contributed to such practices. Not to mention the traditional rivalries between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, Iran and the Gulf emirates and Turkey and Iran, recent years have witnessed the rise of societal and transnational rivalries and polarizations that have pit one particular ethnic or sectarian group against the other all over the region. The obsession with survival in the region also closely ties in with the malaise of the security dilemma. When the abundance of interstate and intrastate rivalries are juxtaposed with the lack of regional institutions or hegemonies, the end result appears to be the growth of the security dilemma — which means the measures one actor takes in order to increase its security is perceived by others as a threat to their security.”;jsessionid=7pOAuOekoWI0s+1Epw93NxV4?newsId=317613&columnistId=0

        Does this description not in itself serve as an at least partial blueprint (or an echo of such) for a hegemon’s “dynamic” utilization of recrudesced “medievalism” to dislodge Middle Eastern states from their post-colonial and Cold War defensive bastions of nation-statism, and having so achieved re-corral them in their newly atomized and disprotected ethnic and sectarian forms into new, more enduring (and perfected) strictures of hegemonic control, i.e. into globally encapsulated (or encaptured) meta-structures symptomatic of a permanent subjacent condition of economic and military discipline, dependence, and determinism?

      1. Ha, ha, ha! Sure cleared that up!

        I really don’t think that what we’re seeing is analogous to much of anything seen previously. It may look like “global politics”, but it isn’t. It is simply the Plan from a cabal of elites manifesting itself.

        Of course it is easier to destabilize, loot and murder (and make a handsome profit to boot), whilst doing it. The simple version is that, once everywhere is ruined, these opportunists will step in with “The Solution”. It will be entirely feudal.

        Once the yacht washers, and golf caddies have been identified, they can pretty much eliminate the rest. There will be an “enforcement class” who will be given “special privileges” to oppress the drones. They will quite happily perform this service as they don’t train them, they recognize them.

        The only “wild card” in this affair are the so-called “BRIC” countries. They may have other plans. If they can’t encircle and threaten them militarily, or starve them via the World Bank and IMF, they just might throw a “spanner in the works”.

        I certainly hope so. To date nothing has slowed their progress. They are, over extended, however. If their petro-dollars dry up and their drug money fails them, they may have to regroup. The irony in all this is that their masters win even if they utterly fail. In a sense they are creating their own Hell.

        So, some of these recent events do bear watching. They are strutting the globe like puffed up bantam roosters but there isn’t much substance to back it up. Their bluff is being called. If they go “all in”, they won’t last much longer. If they don’t their global Ponzi scheme will collapse. The options don’t look good.

Leave a Reply