by Alice Salles
In June, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a heavily redacted snippet of the transcript of Omar Mateen’s calls with the 911 dispatchers and police. Mateen, the murderer behind the brutal June killing of 49 nightclub goers in Orlando, Florida, had called 911 amid the massacre, and negotiators then called the killer several times throughout the evening.
At the time of the transcript’s release, the public denounced the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) for censoring the Orlando shooter’s pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS). Claiming the omission was meant to ensure would-be terrorists wouldn’t have a “publicity platform,” officials added the transcripts had distracted the public from “the hard work that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have been doing to investigate this heinous crime.”
But when the FBI released the full transcripts in September, the documents offered us a closer look into the motives behind Mateen’s actions, which had also been confirmed by one of the hostages. Unfortunately, few pundits dared to bring that information up on primetime television.
Now that the full audio recordings of the calls between the shooter and 911 dispatchers have been made public, Mateen’s comments regarding U.S. military interventions abroad are being brought up again.
The audio recordings were released following an order from Circuit Judge Margaret Schreiber. Orlando city attorney Darryl Bloodworth recently promised the city would no longer keep the tapes under wraps, which prompted the judge’s order. The city had been the number one obstacle between journalists and the tapes, claiming their release would “be a violation of a Florida law that makes photographs, videos or audio recordings showing ‘the killing of a person’ exempt from disclosure, available only to family members.”
In one of the released calls, Mateen can be heard insisting the police negotiator tell “the US government to stop bombing,” and when the negotiator asks Mateen to tell him where he is, he answers, “No, because you have to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq.”
The U.S. government, Mateen continues, “[is] killing too many children, they are killing too many women, OK? … So what am I to do here, when my people are getting killed over there? You get what I’m saying?” When asked about “what is going on tonight,” Mateen adds:
“What’s going on is that I feel the pain of the people getting killed in Syria and Iraq and all over the Muslim [unidentified word].”
As Mateen is pressed to give the negotiator more information, he becomes more hostile and hangs up repeatedly. Asked for his name, Mateen responds with the following:
“You’re speaking with the person who pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
At one point during the conversation, Mateen asks the negotiator to call him “Mujahedeen, call me the Soldier of God.”
While several calls were made, Mateen resisted giving the negotiator any further information, repeatedly referring to the U.S. bombings of Iraq and Syria and even going as far as to accuse the United States of collaborating with Russia, “and … killing innocent women and children.”
On June 12, 5 a.m., Orlando police and Orange County deputies entered Pulse nightclub and killed Mateen in a shootout. The audio released by the city is one of over 200 other phone calls made to 911 during the shooting. These recordings remain under review by Judge Schreiber, TC Palm reported.
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