Earlier this year The Guardian interviewed the same Essam el-Arian as part of an article about the MB's goals. He sounded much like any politician does in a news interview.
In May, the Washington Post interviewed him. Large parts of the interview were published, and again there was little that was exceptional in that interview. The questions were softball, and the answers published include a few suspicious ellipses (. . .) within the text, but he still sounds like a sane man.
Today, we see a Michael Totten interview with him - no editing, and the questions are a bit more pointed (as well as Totten doing followups.)
The guy is a complete nutcase.
He refuses to answer anything, he pushes bizarre conspiracy theories, and some of the stuff he says would not be out of place if the interview was with a mental patient.
Here's a small part:
Esam El-Erian: The media and think tanks play a very important role. You created a ghost, a monster, this terrorism. You magnify terrorism, and we face its vengeance. You in the media link every Arab, every Muslim, to terrorists. We were pushed to take off our shoes in your airports.This is not just a politician who is trying to avoid answering; this is just a loony who is not used to anyone asking him something beyond the norm.
MJT: I have to take off my shoes, too.
Esam El-Erian: Why?
MJT: I don’t like it either.
Esam El-Erian: You make people live in terror.
MJT: Who does?
Esam El-Erian: You do. The media.
MJT: Who is living in terror?
Esam El-Erian: Your politicians. Your media. Your media.
MJT: We don’t live in terror. I don’t know a single person in the media who lives in terror.
Esam El-Erian: Can you answer one question? Why don’t we hear about trials for September 11?
MJT: Because the people who did it are dead. They killed themselves in the towers.
Esam El-Erian: Four thousand innocent people were killed, and there has been no trial.
MJT: That’s because the people who did it are dead.
Esam El-Erian: Nobody was put in a cage to face a trial.
MJT: They were on the planes. They blew themselves up in the towers.
Esam El-Erian: No. Who was behind it?
MJT: Osama bin Laden. And we just killed him, too.
Esam El-Erian: We know you have about 600 people in Guantanamo Bay. None of them have faced trials. Why? This is a very big mystery.
MJT: Well, what do you think happened? What’s your theory?
Esam El-Erian: And another 4,000 Americans were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. You have almost 10,000 innocent Americans killed. Never mind the millions killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. You never put anyone on trial. Who is behind all this? Who made the conspiracy? Is Osama bin Laden alone? Who is behind Osama bin Laden?
Armin Rosen: Who do you think is behind Osama bin Laden?
Esam El-Erian: I want to know!
MJT: What’s your theory?
Esam El-Erian: You have the documents now that Osama bin Laden is dead.
MJT: What’s your theory?
Esam El-Erian: I don’t know.
MJT: You have a theory.
Esam El-Erian: I want to know. That is the question.
MJT: Everybody has a theory. What’s yours?
Esam El-Erian: Why 10,000 Americans killed? Why? Without any investigation.
MJT: Why does it have to be a conspiracy? It really isn’t that complicated.
Esam El-Erian: Is Osama bin Laden alone, or is somebody with him?
MJT: Why does anyone have to be behind Osama bin Laden?
Esam El-Erian: This must be investigated in America! There is this case in the U.K. about hacked telephones. 160 news people were fired.
MJT: [Laughs.] That has nothing to do with Osama bin Laden.
Esam El-Erian: A very old newspaper was closed. There was no drop of blood. If 10,000 Americans don’t expect to have a full investigation about the killings in New York, Iraq, and Afghanistan, we want to know.
MJT: Look, it really isn’t that complicated. Osama bin Laden had some support in Saudi Arabia and from Pakistan’s ISI.
Esam El-Erian: Look, sir. It is not enough that Osama bin Laden admitted in public that he did it. Osama bin Laden can’t do it alone.
MJT: He had some support in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Esam El-Erian: If you’re saying Saddam Hussein supported him, it’s a lie. Colin Powell said Saddam Hussein had biological weapons, but this was a lie. Colin Powell now regrets this.
We want to know.
MJT: What is it that you don’t know?
Esam El-Erian: You tell me.
MJT: This isn’t complicated.
Esam El-Erian: Yes, it’s complicated. I agree!
MJT: No. It’s not complicated.
Read the whole thing. The craziness starts immediately as he answers questions that were never asked from the get-go.
And it makes one wonder - did the other Western media outlets that interviewed El-Erian edit his responses so he doesn't sound like he is in a psychiatric hospital? Do other major political figures of any stripe say equally crazy things, and if they do, are they also being sanitized before being presented to Western audiences?
The part of the interview about Palestinian Arabs was interesting as well:
Esam El-Erian: Can you imagine a democratic Syria or a democratic Jordan assimilating Palestinians in their lands? They cannot. It is a matter of time. Those people must go back [to Israel]. You prevent Mexicans by force from secret immigration.The Muslim Brotherhood, representing mainstream Islamist politics, is saying that the reason that the Palestinian Arabs they claim to love cannot be naturalized as Arab citizens of other countries is because "they take our jobs." And the Arab nations cannot have their Palestinian brothers in their lands.
MJT: Only illegal immigrants, not legal immigrants.
Esam El-Erian: This is illegal. We cannot have non-citizens in our lands. They take our jobs.
MJT: Palestinian refugees have been living in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan for more than 60 years.
Esam El-Erian: No! Even if they’ve been there for 200 years, they must go back [to Israel].
So it isn't that they want the Palestinian Arabs to "return" to Israel because they love them. They just want them the hell out of their lands because they hate them!