The New York Police Department is disbanding the unit that mapped New York’s Muslim communities, their places of worship, and businesses they frequent – based on nothing but their religious beliefs and associations. To this we say: Good Riddance.
But the end of the Zone Assessment Unit – better known by its former, more apt name, the Demographics Unit – doesn’t necessarily mean an end to the NYPD’s unconstitutional surveillance of New York’s Muslims.
The NYPD’s discriminatory spying program has many components, of which the Demographics Unit was just one. (The ACLU, along with the NYCLU and CLEAR Project at CUNY Law School sued the NYPD over the program – read about our case here.) Before we celebrate the end of bias-based policing, we need to ensure that the other abusive tactics employed by the NYPD meet the same fate as the unit. For example:
- Use of informants: A wide network of NYPD informants have infiltrated community organizations, mosques, restaurants, bookstores, and more to monitor, record, and take notes on innocent people and innocuous conversations. This needs to stop.
- Designation of entire mosques “terrorism enterprises”: The NYPD has used “terrorism enterprise investigations” against entire mosques to justify the surveillance of as many people as possible. That unmerited designation has allowed the police department to record sermons and spy on entire congregations.
- Discriminatory use of surveillance cameras: Cameras have been set up outside mosques and community events – even weddings – to record community members’ comings and goings and collect license plate numbers of congregants and attendees.
- Radicalization theory: The NYPD must disavow its debunked “radicalization” theory, on which discriminatory surveillance is based. This misguided notion, which we’ve described in detail here, treats with suspicion people engaging in First Amendment-protected activities including “wearing traditional Islamic clothing [and] growing a beard,” abstaining from alcohol, and “becoming involved in social activism” – meaning, basically, anyone who identifies as Muslim, harbors Islamic beliefs, or engages in Islamic religious practices.
- Discriminatory surveillance by other units: The Demographics Unit’s discriminatory mapping activities shouldn’t be carried out by other parts of the NYPD and its Intelligence Division.
The Demographics Unit has sown fear and mistrust among hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers – creating “psychological warfare in our community,” Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York told the New York Times. Shutting it down is a welcome step, but it’s only the first one. New York’s Muslims — and all its communities — deserve more and better from their police force than bias-based policing.
This perspective is generally accepted by the left without question in contexts such as Latin America or Africa, where bitter fights against U.S. and European imperialism have been fought and, in some cases, won.
Yet, when it comes to the Middle East and Afghanistan today there is suddenly much less clarity about what radicals and Marxists should be saying. Nowhere is that more evident than in the case of Afghanistan, which has suffered under the yoke of U.S. imperialism since 2001 (with active U.S. interference in the country since at least the 1970s).
The idea that the Taliban, as a movement fighting against U.S. occupation, is a force we should be supporting is, unfortunately, a somewhat controversial position to hold, even on the far left. This is a serious mistake and speaks both to the extent to which Islamophobia has penetrated the left, as well as to the lack of understanding of the social dynamics of an oppressed and devastated country like Afghanistan.
We are all familiar with the lies and excuses used to justify the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Bush and his coterie of crooks and warmongers told us that only a military invasion could liberate the people, and especially the women, of Afghanistan from the brutal, misogynistic and “medieval” Taliban movement.
There was no mention, of course, of the substantial support offered to the Taliban regime in the late 1990s when Clinton was president and in the early days of the Bush presidency, nor of the long and ugly history of U.S. intervention in Central and South Asia, which was an important precondition for the rise of Islamism.
We should condemn unreservedly the oppression of women and the general social conservatism of the pre-2001 Taliban regime, as well, of course, as their efforts to cut deals with regional and global superpowers against the interests of the vast majority of Afghans. However, we must also unreservedly condemn the racism and Islamophobia used as an ideological fig leaf to justify invasion and imperialism, and it is the left’s weakness on this issue, which has blinded many to the new realities on the ground in Afghanistan.
Before addressing the important question of who the Taliban actually are, it is important to understand the material conditions Afghans face. Afghanistan is a devastated country. It is ranked at or near the bottom of a broad range of social indicators, such as levels of poverty, infant mortality, literacy, per capita income, prevalence of easily preventable diseases and so forth. Most major cities in Afghanistan, including the capital Kabul, are in ruins (despite claims of “reconstruction” by NATO imperialists) and decent roads, electricity, clean water, sanitation and basic social services are unheard of for most of the population, especially in the rural areas. The majority of the population ekes out a living on a subsistence basis, and the struggle for survival is the overarching concern for most Afghans.
In a nutshell, there is no Afghan working class or progressive petit bourgeoisie to speak of, and the major social classes (aside from the puppet regime and it’s assortment of bandits and thugs) are the poor peasantry and the Islamic clergy.
THE SIGNIFICANCE of this to a discussion of anti-imperialist resistance in Afghanistan should be obvious to any serious historical materialist. This question cannot be thought about in the abstract, it must be considered in light of the material realities on the ground. Such realities necessarily shape the kinds of social forces and the character of class struggle in that country and make it highly likely that any grassroots resistance will have a strongly religious character, given that the rural clergy are the only force capable of uniting the peasantry against the comprador ruling class.
The following point cannot be stressed enough; whilst the U.S. remains in Afghanistan, economic and social development will not occur much beyond current levels. This in turn means that the Taliban, as a broad-based movement of poor farmers and lower clergy, is the face of anti-imperialist resistance in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.
To put it another way, if we, as avowed anti-imperialists, intend to wait around for a resistance movement that agrees with us on every issue, including the need to fight the oppression of women, gays, racial and religious minorities, etc., we’ll be waiting a long time. The Taliban is the resistance in Afghanistan and we must support it, critically, but unreservedly.
The Taliban that ruled Afghanistan prior to the U.S. invasion no longer exists. The U.S. and NATO routinely refer to any act of resistance as the work of the “Taliban” (meaning the followers of Mullah Omar), much as every act of resistance in Iraq was the work of “Baath loyalists.”
To be sure, there are attacks being carried out by people who support the former regime, but many, perhaps most, resistance fighters have no particular loyalty to the former leadership and some are actively hostile to it.
Anand Gopal, one of the few independent journalists actively trying to find out what is actually happening in Afghanistan has written some very useful and insightful work on this, and as he points out, the ranks of the Taliban have been swelled in recent years by rural peasants who have been radicalized as a result of US/NATO brutality, including the indiscriminate air attacks which have killed thousands of Afghans.
The Taliban are increasingly espousing a strong nationalist message and, in some cases, have substantially moderated their social conservatism in order to build a more broad-based and effective resistance movement.
It is also the case that the “Taliban” is effectively a blanket term for a coalition of groups, some drawn from the tiny strata of educated middle class Afghans, which aim to eject foreign troops from their country. In short, when the U.S. and its allies use the term “Taliban” they want us to think of public stonings, music bans and ultra-conservative clerics–and if we follow their lead we do a grave disservice to the Afghan resistance and only help to perpetuate Islamophobic caricatures of “crazed, bearded extremists.”
There is no fundamental difference between the liberation theology movements in South America and the popular Islamist resistance movements in the Middle East and Asia, movements such as Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban. To be sure, the former were less socially conservative, but as religiously colored grassroots resistance movements they are essentially the same kind of manifestation of class resistance.
The left needs to ask itself why it is much more critical of Muslims expressing class anger in a religious form than of South American Christians; to my mind, unexamined Islamophobia explains much of this discrepancy.
By Paul J. Balles | August 8, 2009
More insidious than the wars with tanks and guns, aircraft and bombs, missiles and guidance systems, shock and awe campaigns. The wickedest wars are the wars for people’s minds – the propaganda campaigns that exercise thought control.
“Get control over radio, press, cinema and theatre,” said Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister. He perfected an understanding of the “Big Lie” technique of propaganda based on the principle that a lie, if audacious enough and repeated enough times, will be believed by the masses.
Western brainwashing comes from the media. Readers, listeners and viewers need to be aware of these propaganda sources. About the media in general, Steven Salaita correctly observed:
The flippancy with which US media apply the word “terrorism” to Arab populations reinforces the notion that violence in the Arab world is ahistorical and therefore senseless. Arabs in turn become a people without narratives who belong to a culture incapable of rationality.
Steve Emerson has a website and blog with as much anti-Arab ranting on it as any bigot might produce. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has implied that all Arabs are potential terrorists and therefore worthy of slaughter. American Israeli Caroline Glick, Deputy Managing Editor of The Jerusalem Post, writes two weekly syndicated columns preaching hard-line Israeli propaganda.
InThe Progressive, Ruth Conniff validated the false but widespread notion that while violence exists among both Arabs and Israelis, terrorism is exclusive to the Arabs. When Arabs fight against Israelis, the Arabs are guilty of “terrorist violence” but the Israelis are engaging in “military reprisals”.
On anti-Arab radio you hear things like “Arabs love dictators” and “Obama is an Arab,” as if being an Arab disqualifies one from humanity. If they aren’t referring to Arabs as “camel jockeys” or “rag heads”, they’re calling them as Islamo-fascists. Along with O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck give Fox news stable of anti-Arab propagandists.
Hollywood films have been vilifying Arabs for decades. Jack Shaheen revealed, in The TV Arab, how television stereotypes Arabs as “billionaires, bombers and belly dancers”.
Even as a youngster, Shaheen was disturbed by the Arab stereotypes in children’s cartoon characters.
In Shaheen’s Reel Bad Arabs, a long line of degrading images – from Bedouin bandits and submissive maidens to sinister sheiks and gun-wielding “terrorists” – have vilified Arabs since the days of silent films.
In his research, Shaheen identified more than 1150 films that defile Arabs. His newest book, Guilty: Hollywood’s Verdict on Arabs after 9/11, reveals how the film industry continues to shape American understanding of Arabs and Arab culture.
Muslim scholar Ziauddin Sardar made it clear that anti-Islamic brainwashing is not new: “From the days of Voltaire right up to 1980, thanks largely to the efforts of Enlightenment scholars, it was a general Western axiom that Islam had produced nothing of worth in philosophy, science and learning.”
That the propaganda has reached the masses should be clear from some of the slurs on the internet, examples of which are displayed here:
F**K ALL YOU SAND NIGGERS! I HOPE WE BLOW YOU ALL UP AND TAKE THE ONLY THING YOU ARE GOOD FOR OIL!
It wasn’t enough to curse Arabs. He had to shout it, writing his message in uppercase letters, revealing how effective anti-Arab propaganda has been in America.
Those who control the media control the mental attitudes of the population; Americans have been programmed to hate Arabs and Muslims and to love Israelis. How could compassionate Americans be nonchalant about their slaughter of a million Arabs in Iraq, even though they know that it was all based on lies? Decades of propaganda and brainwashing.
By Paul J. Balles | August 3, 2009
Most of us have had fears of one kind or another. Some fears are quite rational. If someone threatens you, and you have reason to believe that person will carry out his threat, your fear is rational. Not all fears are rational.
Have you ever been short of breath, shaking, nauseated and light-headed within elevators, closed rooms or crowded places? Experienced a panic attack in a high-rise building? Do you have an irrational fear of germs? Of strangers or foreigners? Of shadows? Of thunder or lightening? Of spiders? Of public speaking? Afraid of flying?
If you’ve experienced any of these, you’re suffering from a type of irrational fear called a phobia. These are some of the most common phobias. People suffer from literally hundreds of phobias.
A relatively recent irrational phobia that hasn’t even appeared on all the lists is Islamophobia – fear of Islam.
Kofi Annan told a UN conference on Islamophobia in 2004: “When the world is compelled to coin a new term to take account of increasingly widespread bigotry, that is a sad and troubling development. Such is the case with Islamophobia.”
In 1996, the Runnymede Trust established the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia. The term was defined by the trust as “an outlook or world-view involving an unfounded dread and dislike of Muslims, which results in practices of exclusion and discrimination”.
The Runnymede report identified eight perceptions related to Islamophobia:
- Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.
- It is seen as separate and “other”. It does not have values in common with other cultures, is not affected by them and does not influence them.
- It is seen as inferior to the West. It is seen as barbaric, irrational, primitive, and sexist.
- It is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism and engaged in a clash of civilizations.
- It is seen as a political ideology, used for political or military advantage.
- Criticisms made of “the West” by Muslims are rejected out of hand.
- Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.
- Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural and normal.
Of course, Muslims and others who have lived in Muslim countries know how absurd these perceptions are. Why, after more than a decade, do Westerners still believe these false assumptions about Islam? What are the sources of the baseless fears feeding these perceptions?
Many of the distorted impressions come from Zionist propaganda:
- Israel’s use of words like disputed territory rather than occupied, redeeming for stealing land, terrorists rather than resistance fighters for Palestinians, anti-Semites for critics of Israel (self-hating Jews if the critics are Jewish).
- American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) bulletins and lobbying – AIPAC’s only purpose is to ensure American support for Israel. No matter what Israel does, it cannot do any wrong.
- American Jewish Committee (AJC) newsletters – despite efforts by Jewish organizations to stifle criticism of Israel and objections to Zionism, anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. Not all Jews are Semites. Most Arabs are.
- ZOA – Zionist Organization of America.
Western brainwashing comes from the media:
- Articles by writers like Daniel Pipes, (who claims an Islamist goal is to take over the United States and replace the constitution with the Koran).
- Anti-Arab, anti-black radio broadcasts by Rush Limbaugh and Arab-hater Ann Coulter.
- TV influence of Fox News anchors, like Bill O’Reilly, labelling Arabs as anti-Semites and terrorists.
- Hollywood films have been vilifying Arabs for more than 50 years.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Fear always springs from ignorance.”
Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years. For more information, see http://www.pballes.com.
Allies in the Medieval-Modern Struggle
In his farewell address in 1796, George Washington warned the nation he had served as its first president against a “passionate attachment” or “inveterate hatred” toward any nation. Some Americans were impassioned about revolutionary France. Within a few years, agents of foreign minister Talleyrand would boast to American diplomats of French power within the United States, and demand large bribes and loans to advance relations. The correspondence was eventually published in the US, in the XYZ Affair, which embarrassed France and the French party in the US, and incited US opinion against France. The rupture was not permanent, and relations eventually resumed on dispassionate terms, to the benefit of both countries.
Since the 1992 publication of The Passionate Attachment: America’s Involvement With Israel, 1947 to the Present, by George W. Ball, undersecretary of state for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and his son Douglas B. Ball, Washington’s prescient term has become ubiquitous to describe the US-Israel relationship. No agents of Israel have ever been embarrassed by boasting of Israel’s power in the US, or by demanding loans and aid. The protestations of American diplomats at Israel’s aggrandizement and damage to US interests have embarrassed them, not the pro-Israel party, which has gone from strength to strength until quite recently.
This has produced a loose establishment diaspora of US diplomats, military and intelligence officers, politicians, academics and journalists critical of the US-Israel relationship, in Washington and elsewhere. On March 7 a quorum of these and other critics gathered in Washington, for a “National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel ‘Special Relationship.” The event was organized by the Council for the National Interest, If Americans Knew, Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, and Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. There was a full day of six panels with a total of 25 speakers. Despite the full program moderators kept the event on schedule. The ballroom of the National Press Club was filled, and the event was broadcast live on C-Span. Video of each panel and separate audio for each speaker, and near-complete transcripts, are at the IRMEP program page. The proceedings survey Israel’s influence and its damage to the US.
How does the Israel lobby influence Congress?
The first speaker on this first panel was former Congressman Paul Findley, at 92 the grand old man of Arabophile politicians, the handful honest and courageous enough to oppose what the US and Israel do in the Middle East. Findley’s advocacy for Palestine cost him the seat he held in Congress for 22 years, but he regretted not doing more, said he should have made it “the cause of the day.” He called for President Obama to issue an executive order, bypassing Congress, suspending aid to Israel until it recognized Palestinian sovereignty over the territories occupied in the 1967 war, and negotiated a two-state solution, which would require all Israeli officials to leave, and for any remaining Israelis to live as foreign nationals. He extolled the benefits to Palestinians, to the US standing in the region, and not least to Israel.
Janet McMahon of Washington Report discussed the work of pro-Israel political action committees. They hide behind innocuous names, and bundle contributions from individuals, which typically are many times the PAC contribution. Pro-Israel PACs have in the past followed AIPAC’s instructions on which candidates to donate to. AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the main congressional Israel lobby, is not a PAC and does not donate. Such advice is illegal and has been investigated but never prosecuted. Pro-Israel PACs should have ranked sixth in donations to Congress in the 2012 election cycle, as compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, but were not even in the top ten. 58% of pro-Israel PAC donations go to Democrats.
Former Representative Cynthia McKinney of Georgia delivered a taped message, recounting the pressure she and Representative Earl Hilliard of Alabama faced as members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, which contributed to their election defeats. She had advocated enforcement of US law against weapons sales to human rights violators such as Israel and other positions.
Delinda Hanley of Washington Report discussed US aid to Israel, which is the major recipient of US foreign assistance, despite a GDP per capita at the level of the European Union and high rankings in UN socioeconomic indexes. Direct aid totals over $3.1 billion annually, totaling $134 billion since 1949, plus $19 billion in loan guarantees. Tax-deductible contributions subsidize Israeli institutions and Zionist propaganda. Economist Thomas Stauffer estimates $1.6 trillion in direct and indirect costs of Israel to the US for the period 1973-2003. Israel continues to enjoy US largesse even as public needs for infrastructure and social purposes in the US rise.
Do Israel and its lobby exercise too much influence on U.S. decisions to wage war in the Middle East?
Historian Stephen Sniegoski, author of The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel, surveyed the rise of the neoconservatives in US politics and their influence on the Iraq war. This began in the 1970s, with the rightward migration of Jewish former liberals, who rose in the Reagan Administration in the 1980s. During the Clinton Administration they founded the Project for a New American Century and plotted the invasion of Iraq, and then served in the George W. Bush Administration. The 9/11 attacks provided the opening to advocate the invasion of Iraq, and to overcome resistance within the government. While the neocons include gentile radical nationalists, the movement is mainly a Jewish ascendancy in conservative politics.
Retired US Air Force Colonel Karen Kwiatowski recounted her experience in the Near East and South Asia office in the Pentagon, which hatched the Office for Special Plans, the center of Iraq war planning in the Department of Defense. NESA, in the office of the Secretary of Defense, was headed by Navy Captain William Ludy, a lowly rank for such a position, but Ludy had neoconservative connections. He told his analysts to rely solely on OSP and ignore other sources within the government. OSP was headed by neoconservative appointee Douglas Feith, and tailored intelligence to support the war. Visiting Israeli officials were very familiar with it.
Historian Gareth Porter discussed the findings of his recent book, Manufactured Crisis. The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, and the current negotiations over Iran’s nuclear power program. Israel has used the threat of war on Iran to manipulate the US and the EU over Iran sanctions and negotiations; the US is to do any fighting. The neoconservatives had intended regime change in Iraq to lead to Lebanon, Syria and Iran but Iraq backfired. The US has tried to manipulate the International Atomic Energy Agency against Iran. Israel has fabricated evidence on an Iranian nuclear program and fed it to the US through an Iranian anti-regime terrorist group, and German intelligence. The US has just re-introduced this discredited evidence in the current negotiations, raising doubts about US sincerity in reaching an agreement with Iran.
Retired Army Brigadier General James David served in the Middle East from 1967-69, among many other assignments. He emphasized the hypocrisy of ceaseless US calls for freedom and democracy, except in Palestine, where the US calls for the opposite. He also criticized Israel’s ceaseless imprecations of Palestinian and Arab threats, when it holds overwhelming power and commits heinous atrocities. He praised the boycott-divestment-sanctions movement, and the internet, noting that he found the Israeli Haaretz more informative and reliable than US media.
Does the “special relationship” transcend rule of law?
Grant Smith, of IRMEP, surveyed the history of the “Israel lobby” since the 1940s. Smith has written half a dozen books based on documents unearthed with the Freedom of Information Act. He described a pattern of systematic illegality, beginning with arms procurement and smuggling, nuclear fuel procurement and smuggling, evasion of foreign agent registration and lobbying laws, and extensive industrial and political espionage. All this has been detected by US law enforcement and intelligence agencies, but investigations have been quashed and prosecutions thwarted or limited to minor figures, through Zionist influence. Smith concluded that US law is essentially unenforceable against the Israel lobby.
Ernest A. Gallo, retired US Navy and CIA communications technician, is president of the Liberty Veterans Association. He was on board the electronic intelligence ship USS Liberty when it was repeatedly attacked and nearly sunk by Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats in the eastern Mediterranean during the June, 1967 Arab-Israeli war. 34 crewmen were killed and 174 were wounded. He described the official cover-up, including the Navy’s superficial investigation, orders to the crewmen’s families to keep silent, the surreptitious awarding of the Congressional Medal of Honor to the captain, and the failure of Congress to investigate, as it normally does any peacetime attack on a US naval ship. An unofficial investigation in 2003 by retired senior officers and diplomats found that Israel knew that the ship was American, called the attack an act of war against the United States, and said that it was covered up for fear of embarrassing Israel and confronting its lobby.
Mark Perry, an author on military, intelligence and foreign affairs, in addressing the topic of national security reporting, emphasized the terms “national interest” and “skin in the game.” He defined “national interest” as ideological, in terms of free trade, markets, and elections, and as economic, noting that 89,000 jobs in Texas depend on US relations with Qatar. He noted that the Central Command was formed in 1983 to protect US shipping, not to confront Iran. He cited the military’s emphasis on “skin in the game” in assessing allies, and noted that the skin in any war with Iran would be American. He cited the congressional testimony of then Central Command head General David Petraeus that failing to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict was the primary obstacle to obtaining respect and satisfying US interests in the Middle East.
The Jonathan Pollard case may be the exception that proves Smith’s rule. Retired Navy intelligence captain and attorney for military, intelligence and law enforcement, M.E. “Spike” Bowman worked on almost every espionage investigation from 1979 to 2009. He called Pollard one of the four worst espionage cases in that period. Israel wanted not secret but specific top secret and SCI documents (sensitive compartmented information) and had from a different source a Defense Intelligence Agency catalog of documents. By his own admission Pollard provided 360 cubic feet of material. Then Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger wanted the death penalty but it was not legally possible. Pollard is eligible for parole but will not seek it because he wants clemency so he can go to Israel immediately.
History: How did the “special relationship” come to be?
Harvard scholar Stephen Walt outlined what had changed and what had not since the 2007 publication, with co-author John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, of their celebrated book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. He recalled their basic argument that the unprecedented generosity of the special relationship, with its possible Cold War strategic value now a strategic detriment, and any moral case offset by Israel’s own oppression and aggression, could only be explained by the Israel lobby. Since then discussion has widened in the media; the Lobby was unable to have Syria bombed and Iran further sanctioned; the charge of anti-Semitism is losing its power. On the other hand, President Obama’s first term bid for a settlement freeze and two-state solution failed utterly; there was a craven response to Israel’s Cast Lead attack on Gaza; elements of the Lobby intervened publicly and radically in the 2012 elections; aid still flows unconditionally; settlements grow and grow; the two-state solution may be dead; the Lobby continues to receive great deference; establishment insider discourse is still closed, though outsiders may comment. “Reports of the Lobby’s demise are greatly exaggerated”; change does not happen overnight, and a “broad tent” of opponents is needed.
Geoffrey Wawro, a military historian at the University of North Texas, offered a broad survey of the US-Israel relationship. President Wilson initially opposed the Balfour Declaration, but was swayed by its popularity with Jewish voters. President Truman’s diplomatic advisers were thwarted by his aides, and the Palestine portfolio brought into the White House and domestic politics. Such pressure plagued Eisenhower in 1956, even as Israel withdrew from Gaza and Sinai, turned Kennedy’s independent policy into the first arms sales, and led Johnson not to call for withdrawal after June 1967, disregarding the US ambassador’s 1965 warning that Israel had to be restrained, and pressured if it made further conquests . Nixon and Kissinger declined to extract concessions from Israel during the 1973 war and greatly increased US aid afterward. Obama has failed at every attempt to address issue; Israel might agree to a settlement to blunt the BDS movement, and as prerequisite to Sunni Arab coalition against Iran.
Ohio State international law professor John Quigley discussed the impact of the special relationship on US international legal views. Despite legislation requiring that the US embassy be moved to Jerusalem, successive presidents have not done it. Otherwise, President Johnson initially opposed but then assented to Israel’s June, 1967 attack, which the Bush Administration used as “pre-emptive” precedent to justify invading Iraq in 2003. The US has claimed that Palestinian statehood can arise only from Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, but the legal criterion is recognition by the world community. The Carter Administration found Israel’s settlements illegal, which has dwindled to John Kerry finding them “illegitimate.” Ambiguous statehood status has been used to prevent the Palestinian Authority from seeking redress at the International Criminal Court. The right of return of refugees has been recognized but put off pending recognition of Israel by the Arab states, even though Egypt and Jordan do now.
Alison Weir of CNI and If Americans Knew recounted her involvement in the Palestine question, following the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa intifada in 2000. In traveling to Palestine and researching, she found a wide disparity between actual events and US media reports, and an overwhelming disparity of Israeli power and Palestinian suffering. In studying the Zionist movement in the US, she found its first influence in advocating US entry into World War I, in order to induce Britain to issue the Balfour Declaration supporting Zionism in Palestine. She noted the opposition of the US diplomatic and military establishments to Zionism, and the comprehensive Zionist mobilization to overcome it. She also noted Zionist manipulation of Jewish opinion, to overcome its non- and anti-Zionist tendency. Weir noted the lionization of journalist Dorothy Thompson for her criticism of Nazism, and her demonization when she objected to Zionism’s destruction of Palestine. All this is documented in mainstream sources cited in her book, Against Our Better Judgment.
Has the lobby captured political parties and news media?
Journalist Jeffrey Blankfort quoted anti-Zionist author Lenni Brenner’s statement that “the Left is the rear-guard of the Israel lobby.” Blankfort cited Noam Chomsky for setting parameters of criticism, and influential activist Phyllis Bennis for enforcing them in groups like US Campaign to End the Occupation. Chomsky holds that Israel is a US strategic asset, and that US has opposed a settlement with the Palestinians for its own reasons, both of which are “demonstrably false.” These parameters have influenced all US critics of Israel. Blankfort cited the left media, notably Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, for failing to report on Israel’s influence. When the Mearsheimer-Walt book The Israel Lobby appeared, Goodman did not interview the authors, but Noam Chomsky. For such reasons the US Palestine solidarity movement has been a total failure, according to Blankfort.
Alan C. Brownfeld, of the American Council for Judaism, noted that the classical Reform view of Jews as a religious minority, not a nationality, was at one time held by most American Jews. Zionism became a majority view because of Nazism and the Judeocide, and Zionism has had very negative effects on Jewish life; it is subversive of liberalism. Synagogues fly Israeli flags, and Jews are urged to make aliyah. Judaism has become idolatry, substituting Israel for God. American Jews support secularism and pluralism in the US, and obscurantist established religion and fanatical chauvinism in Israel. The American Jewish press reads as if written for an ex-patriate community. Brownfeld feels his views represents a “silent majority” of American Jews. Campus Hillel foundations are resisting official Zionist guidelines in their programming. Zionism is in retreat.
Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com noted the historic opposition of American conservatism to Zionism and its sympathy toward the Arabs. In the 1940s and 1950s, conservative publisher Regnery issued a stream of titles in that vein, which was shared by flagship journal National Review. He contrasted this with the sympathy of the left, in the views of Henry Wallace, the USSR’s support for partition and provision of arms through Czechoslovakia. The Cold War and Stalinist anti-Semitism changed the Soviet orientation, and the June, 1967 war earned criticism from the Left. The neoconservatives, Jewish former leftists, oriented the right toward Israel. The neocons were reinforced by the dispensationalist Christian Zionists, in whose eschatology Israel and the Jews are central. Raimondo finds this component of the Israel lobby the most important, but they and the neocons contend with libertarian anti-interventionism on the right.
Scott McConnell, founder of American Conservative and a former neoconservative, pointed to events at National Review to illustrate the neoconservative takeover of the right. William F. Buckley let neoconservatives dictate his treatment of editor Joseph Sobran and columnist Pat Buchanan when they were accused of anti-Semitism. McConnell found the accusations somewhat justified in Sobran’s case, and cited Buckley’s convoluted absolution of Buchanan; their arguments about Israel’s influence in the US and on US policies, and the consequences, were buried. Sobran eventually left as editor, while Buchanan was marginalized on the right. The neoconservatives effectively supervised discussion of Israel and related matters in National Review, the largest publication on the right, and young conservatives got the message.
Philip Weiss, co-editor of the Mondoweiss blog, cited examples of continuing Israel lobby hegemony in the media, including CNN’s featuring of former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren as new commentator; the triumphant book tour of Israeli author Ari Shavit, arranged by four senior Jewish American journalists, including David Remnick and Jeffrey Goldberg of the New Yorker, Leon Wieseltier, and Thomas Friedman; and acknowledgment by New York Times Jerusalem correspondent Jodi Rudoren of her Jewish background and familiarity with the “American Jewish and Israeli story”, which she has not transcended. Weiss noted positive changes also, including Friedman’s frank recognition of the Israel lobby, and the fair New York Times review of John Judis’s book Genesis, about Zionist influence on President Truman and earlier. Weiss’s journalistic instincts sense a wealth of hidden stories about Zionism to be written, which will eventually lead to high noon for the Israel lobby.
Is Israel really a U.S. ally?
Paul Pillar, 28-year veteran of the CIA and National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia, argued that alliance is based on broad congruence of interests and mutual benefits. He found that Israel’s ethnocracy is foreign to the US; that the US and Israel share some adversaries, but deal with them in different ways; that the occupation and blockade of the West Bank and Gaza are not a US interest; US aid to Israel, $234 billion in current dollars, has opportunity costs. Israel does little for the US that the US would not do for itself. Israel is not a regional military asset; Palestine is the chief grievance of terrorist suspects under interrogation; Israel is the chief source of extremism and terrorism directed against the US. If Israel were afraid of Iran it would support negotiations; denouncing Iran distracts from the occupation, and prevents Iran from becoming a western partner. US should disregard labels and look at interests in the case of each country.
Ray McGovern oversaw national intelligence estimates and the presidential daily briefing in 27 years at the CIA. He argued that “alliance” meant a mutual defense treaty, which the US does not have with Israel. The US offered such an alliance after the 1973 war, but Israel refused, because it preferred not to define its borders, and because an alliance would limit its freedom of action. McGovern noted the British Downing Street memo citing the CIA director’s statement that “intelligence is being fixed around the policy” of invading Iraq. He noted strong Israeli influence on the Bush Administration; the charges of anti-Semitism to his suggestion that Israel wanted to dominate the region; and that Israel’s assassination of Sheik Yassin in Gaza prompted the assault on US Blackwater mercenaries in Fallujah, in occupied Iraq, leading to US atrocities against the city
Philip Giraldi, a veteran of military intelligence and CIA counterterrorism, argued that not only is Israel no ally, but it is no friend, and influences policy in ways that are detrimental to the US and to itself. US officials close to the Israeli government were behind the Iraq war and the phony intelligence that justified it. Israel and its US partisans are trying to create a false casus belli and force the US into war on Iran. Congress is attempting to effectively delegate the decision to Israel. Israel’s actions are sui generis; its lavish aid is dispensed on terms favorable to it and costly to the US; it interferes in US elections; its government officials rebuke and mock US officials from the president down; its officials give alarmist briefings to Congress; it brazenly conducts espionage against the US government, including a murky operation before 9/11, and against US industry, and sells its products to anyone; 125 investigations into Israeli espionage have been stopped due to political pressure.
Michael Scheuer was scheduled to speak but did not. He headed and later advised the CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit, among many assignments. While still at the CIA he published two anonymous books, on bin Laden, and on the US “war on terror.” He has argued that US patronage of Israel was a major grievance of bin Laden, and that the Iraq invasion, which he attributed chiefly to the influence of the Israel lobby, was a huge gift to al-Qaeda. His appearance would have brought the discussion of whether Israel is a US ally to a negative crescendo.
The packed schedule and brisk moderation left little time for discussion, though overall there were few differences among the panelists, and in the allotted time few arose with the audience.
Justin Raimondo’s claim that evangelical Christian Zionists are the most powerful component of the Israel lobby was not echoed by other panelists. Mearsheimer and Walt called the Christian Zionists an “important junior partner” in their book, while emphasizing that Jewish organizations were the most important component. The Christ at the Checkpoint conference of evangelicals, held biannually in Bethlehem since 2010, was denounced vehemently by the Israeli government this year. Porter Speakman’s 2010 film With God on Our Side is another sign that evangelical support for Israel is diminishing by the day.
Ray McGovern offered the acronym “O.I.L.”, “oil, Israel and logistics” (bases) to explain the invasion of Iraq, and opined that “no one in this room would argue that Iraq would have been invaded if it had had no oil resources.” No other panelist seconded this. Mearsheimer and Walt found “logical and empirical difficulties” with this claim, and noted that the flow of oil was not endangered, that Saddam Hussein had been prevented from selling it by sanctions, which the oil companies were eager to end. Stephen Sniegoski has written of “‘War for Oil’–the Notion That Will Not Die.”
Scott McConnell argued that by the 1970s Nixon and Kissinger had accepted Israel as a strategic asset in the Cold War. Mearsheimer and Walt acknowledged the argument, but also noted that US support for Israel’s aggression had pushed the Arabs into Soviet arms, prevented a settlement, and fueled anti-Americanism in the region.
One questioner complained about the “religious dogma of the Holocaust taught in public schools which cannot be questioned,” and made some flaky comments about Jewish persecution of Germany at the 1919 Versailles peace conference and in the anti-Nazi boycott. Jeff Blankfort described the school curriculum in California, where he had worked as a teacher. He noted that the schools teach “weeks of Anne Frank” and Elie Wiesel’s Night because material is provided by Jewish organizations, and that was only in English. History teachers are required to teach more about the Holocaust (omitting such facts as the ideological and practical affinity of Nazism and Zionism) than about the genocide of the American Indians, or about slavery.
Philip Weiss then stated that “we should not be problematizing the education of the Holocaust” even if AIPAC and the ADL set the curriculum. He stated that “the West incurred a debt toward the Jews from the Holocaust and the Palestinians paid for that,” as if the creation of Israel were compensation for the Holocaust. He also stated that “one of the great discoveries of the past few years is that the West owes Palestinians a debt also,” as if the Jews, or Zionism and its supporters, do not, a point the conference was called to establish. Neither Brownfeld nor Weiss affirmed the exploitation of the Holocaust on behalf of Zionism and Israel, which has been attested by writers such as Norman Finkelstein and Peter Novick.
Next year’s summit might note the Zionization of US domestic law enforcement after 9/11, with hundreds of police delegations traveling to Israel for training and effectively, ideological conditioning. It might also note the damage to civil liberties and growth of Islamophobia from 9/11. These are domestic costs of the “special relationship.”
There was a patriotic tone to some presentations, and most of the speakers emphasized American interests. This is an observation, not a complaint. The American system of government expresses the democratic sovereignty of the American people, however corrupted and attenuated that principle is. Israel’s influence is fundamentally a usurpation of our sovereignty as US citizens. Veterans of the national security establishment, and democrats left, right and center can agree on that. They may or may not be allies in the class struggle, but they are allies in the medieval-modern struggle which Zionism has joined. As Stephen Walt noted, we need a “broad tent.”
The extent to which 21st Century American culture is imbued by anti-Arab racism
By Ernest A. Canning - 8/21/2009
As revealed [in an] Egypt Today review, Jack Shaheen’s study of early 20th Century films exposed Hollywood’s application of “the generic ‘Ali Baba kit’ comprising of lecherous, barbaric Arab men flanked by erotic belly dancers.” Just as African American men were cast as lusting after white women in the Jim Crow era, these early films depicted the “prize of every Sheikh’s harem” as “the abducted American woman who bravely fights off her sinister master’s sexual advances.”
These disparaging images morphed into an even more sinister caricature of Arabs in the post World War II era — images that coincided with the advent of the Arab/Israeli conflict, the early 70s oil embargo and the Iranian hostage crisis. Against a backdrop of a reality in which intelligent Arab women today are “succeeding in all professions,” Sheehan laments, Hollywood replaced the erotic image of the belly dancer with projections of the Arab woman “as a bomber, a terrorist.” Added to this is what Shaheen calls “’bundles in black,’ veiled women in the background, in the shadows, submissive.”
The threat of Arab/Muslim terrorists finds its ultimate embodiment in Rules of Engagement, a film which was written by former Secretary of the Navy and now U.S. Senator James Webb (D-VA); a film Shaheen describes as “the most racist.”
Shaheen described the action, which takes place in Yemen:
There are violent demonstrations at the American embassy, and the Marines, led by Samuel L. Jackson…open fire on the crowd and kill scores of Yemeni, including women and children. And in the investigation that follows, Tommy Lee Jones, the lawyer who represents the Samuel L. Jackson character, goes to Yemen to investigate….He follows [a one-legged little girl to a hospital ward where he discovers a videotape which when translated states that it is the duty of every Muslim to kill Americans.] We discover that the Yemeni civilians aren’t so innocent after all. It turns out they fired on the Marines first. And in a moment that will live in Hollywood infamy, we suddenly learn that the little girl we’ve been sympathizing with, the very girl whose humanity and innocence may have broken down our stereotypes, well, she’s no better than those other Yemeni terrorists. As a result, when Samuel L. Jackson delivers the key line — [“Waste the mother fuckers”] — we’re now on his side.
“Why does it matter? Shaheen asks. “Because in the end, the massacre of even women and children has been justified….It’s a slaughter, but it’s a righteous slaughter.” [...]
Neil Simon’s Chapter Two underscores the disparity between the presently dehumanized Arab and the formerly dehumanized African-American. The film begins with the protagonist, George Schneider, returning from London. “How was London?” his brother asks. “Full of Arabs,” Schneider replies.
“Imagine,” Shaheen states, “”if he had said, ‘Full of blacks,’ ‘Full of Jews’….”
As the Don Imus story reveals, one does not have to imagine. If Beck had openly questioned Barack Obama’s loyalty because he was an African American in the same manner that he questioned Keith Ellison’s loyalty because Ellison is a Muslim, Beck’s career would have been over.
Beck is hardly alone in his dehumanized conception of Muslims. Consider some of the words of America’s Eva Braun, aka Ann Coulter.
Writing about Muslims on Sept. 12, 2001 for the National Review, Coulter said, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” In a Dec. 21, 2005 column, Coulter wrote: :” “I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo.”
When her use of the words “camel jockeys” was challenged during an October 1, 2006 appearance on Fox News’s Hannity & Colmes, Coulter responded with sarcasm: “Oh. Yeah. No. They killed 3,000 Americans. I’ll be very careful with my language.”
In her November 30, 2006 column Coulter took the NAACP to task for speaking up for Muslims who had been subjected to racial profiling at airports. Coulter wrote:
The only reason Americans feel guilty about ‘racial profiling’ against blacks is because of the history of discrimination against blacks in this country. What did we do to the Arabs? I believe Americans are the victims in that relationship. After the attacks of 9/11, profiling Muslims is more like profiling the Klan.
The extent to which American culture is imbued with anti-Muslim racism helps to explain the ease with which the Bush administration succeeded in falsely linking Iraq to al Qaeda and 9/11. While the administration doctored intelligence, lied about WMD and links to al Qaeda, Bush and Cheney never flat-out accused Saddam Hussein of complicity in 9/11. They didn’t have to. Against a backdrop of the televised images of burning towers, grainy photos of hijackers, and black-garbed, gun-wielding terrorists in training camps, Bush and Cheney laced their pre-invasion speeches with references to terrorists, 9/11 and WMD. The terrorists attacked us on 9/11. We don’t want the “smoking gun” to come in the form of “a mushroom” cloud.
London Mayor Boris Johnson says Muslim children with suspected radical parents must be removed from their families, causing controversy amongst the city’s Muslim community.
The London mayor made the remarks in his weekly Daily Telegraph column published on Monday.
He alleged that some Muslim children were being “taught crazy stuff” similar to the views expressed by the two men who killed British soldier Lee Rigby on a south-east London street in May 2013.
In a later interview however, when asked if the children of the UK’s far-right British National Party (BNP) activists should also be removed from their families, Johnson said this should be done in “extreme” cases.
The Muslim Council of Britain warned that Johnson’s remarks risked provoking anti-Muslim sentiment across the UK.
“The people responsible for the murder of Lee Rigby were not sons of radical extremists, nor were those who committed previous atrocities. To tackle their extremism we need to look beyond the need to generate easy headlines,” the council said.
Britain’s largest force, the Metropolitan Police, recorded 500 anti-Muslim crime cases across the country in 2013.
Attacks against Muslims have soared in the UK since the murder of Rigby by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, who reportedly killed the soldier in “retaliation for the deaths of Muslims in Afghanistan at the hands of British troops.”
A federal court in the United States has rejected a civil rights lawsuit challenging the New York Police Department’s spying activities against Muslims.
On Thursday, the court in Newark in the state of New Jersey ruled that the plaintiffs had failed to show that the NYPD’s intelligence unit had discriminated against Muslims by spying on mosques and other locations in New Jersey.
The 2012 lawsuit was the first to challenge the NYPD’s spying operations against Muslim groups and individuals in the US. It had accused the police of spying on Muslims at several mosques, restaurants and schools since 2002.
The plaintiffs “have not alleged facts from which it can be plausibly inferred that they were targeted solely because of their religion,” US District Judge William Martini wrote in the decision. “The more likely explanation for the surveillance was to locate budding terrorist conspiracies.”
“The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself,” the judge added.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, which represented the plaintiffs, warned that the ruling could give the green light to more spying on Muslims elsewhere in the US.
“In addition to willfully ignoring the harm that our innocent clients suffered from the NYPD’s illegal spying program, by upholding the NYPD’s blunderbuss Muslim surveillance practices, the court’s decision gives legal sanction to the targeted discrimination of Muslims anywhere and everywhere in this country, without limitation, for no other reason than their religion,” CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy said.
One of the biggest Israeli propaganda myths is the invention of 72 virgins as a Muslim reward for suicide. This has been repeated to the western world so often that most people accept it as fact. The media wants us to believe that there cannot be anything wrong with Israelis – who must be seen as eternal victims – to cause anyone to commit suicide as a means of striking back at them.
The motivation for suicide bombings in Israel has nothing to do with Jewish treatment of Palestinians. Instead it has to do with the evilness of the Palestinians and their religious beliefs. This is the “bill of goods” they sell the western mind while at the same time faking most, if not all, the “Islamic suicide bombings” to blame on Muslims.
It is a sick and despicable mind that feels that it has a right to attack, steal, murder and cause harm to others, but if the others dare fight back they are wrong and therefore terrorists. This one sentence describes Israeli thinking and their policies. They believe they are superior and entitled and they have a right to do anything to other people and those people better not retaliate. As a result, the Israelis have done more by way of propaganda to take the legitimate fight of those who are against their wrongs and demonize them. We now have this ongoing enormous propaganda campaign to make Palestinians and anyone belonging to the same religion as Palestinians, to be seen as mindless terrorists and suicide bombers with no cause other than to do evil. And, of course, vicariously receiving 72 virgins as a reward in paradise for committing suicide to kill a few Israelis.
The Qur’an and valid authentic Hadiths are very clear about what happens to anyone who commits suicide. According to Hadiths:
Committing Suicide is a Major Sin:
Bukhari Volume 2, Book 23, Number 445: Narrated Jundab the Prophet said, “A man was inflicted with wounds and he committed suicide, and so Allah said: My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly, so I forbid Paradise for him.”
Bukhari Volume 8, Book 73, Number 73: Narrated Thabit bin Ad-Dahhak: ”And if somebody commits suicide with anything in this world, he will be tortured with that very thing on the Day of Resurrection.
There are many more Hadiths condemning suicide but I would also like to reference the Qur’an. Amongst the many verses against suicide here is one that makes it very clear that the taking of one’s life is strongly prohibited and that there is no reward for anyone who does that.
But let there be amongst you Traffic and trade by mutual good-will: Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily God hath been to you Most Merciful! If any do that in rancour and injustice,- soon shall We cast them into the Fire: And easy it is for God. Qur’an 4:29 – 4:30
So where did the reward of 72 virgins in paradise for suicide come from? Are there any Islamic teachings we can point to endorsing that?
When we look at the highest authority in Islam, the Quran, we find nothing in it endorsing rewards for suicide. Instead we find the strongest condemnation with severe punishments for those who commit suicide. When we look at Hadiths, which after the Quran is second in authority in Islam, we find nothing in the authentic Bukhari and Muslim Hadiths endorsing suicide. Instead we find strong condemnation for it.
Searching what Muslims refer to as Gharib Hadiths (weak or strange Hadiths) we do find something about 72 wives but not virgins. The Hadith we find is the following:
Sunan al-Tirmidhi Hadith 2562 says:
The Prophet Muhammad was heard saying: “The smallest reward for the people of Paradise is an abode where there are 80,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome decorated with pearls, aquamarine, and ruby, as wide as the distance from Al-Jabiyyah [a Damascus suburb] to Sana’a [Yemen]“
This is as a weak Hadith that has no Sanad — line or sequence of narration. Although listed in an authoritative collection, this particular Hadith has technical weaknesses in its chain of transmitters and is therefore not considered impeccable. As a result, Muslims are not required to believe in it. Even if the Hadith was true, there is nothing about it that says that if someone commits suicide they would get 72 virgins in paradise.
Muslims know that the description of paradise or heaven in Hadiths and Quran is allegorical. If not, then Allah would have allowed us to take our bodies with us when we die. But the vehicle by which we could enjoy the physical things (especially 72 virgins ) mentioned as being in heaven, is left behind here in this world to rot and decay away. So we know for a fact that for heavenly rewards, physical things of this world are used to describe things totally non-physical. A Hadith to keep in mind is as follows:
The Prophet said, “Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, except the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom, would like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah’s Cause).” (Sahih Bukhari, 4:52:53)
I am sure that 72 physical virgins are a small part of the whole world to be given to someone who has experienced paradise to come back to. Yet the prophet (saaw) has said NOBODY who experiences paradise would want to come back to this world even for everything this world has to offer. If a man was getting 72 physical virgins in heaven, then surely he would get more than that from the world and would be enticed to come back.
On the other hand, martyrdom in war for an Islamic cause is praised extensively as in the above Hadith. The Quran teaches (3:169):
“Do not consider those killed [while engaging] in God’s cause dead. Rather, they live with their Lord, who sustains them!”
The Quranic idiom, “killed while engaging in God’s cause” is a reference to martyrdom for acting on being a Muslim, whether as a persecuted and powerless individual or as a warrior fighting in defense of Islam, country, justice, freedom and peace. A Hadith in Sunan al-Tirmidhi states that in contrast to the suicide, the martyr does not even feel the pain of his death (Fada’il al-Jihad, 26:1663). He is also forgiven all his sins and has the right to intercede on behalf of his own family to enter Heaven. So, suicide is forbidden, killing of noncombatants is forbidden, but martyrdom is rewarded with entrance into heaven and, therefore, with great material rewards in the world to come.
What I wrote about Islam’s position on suicide is not secret, esoteric knowledge. It is common knowledge well known and can easily be discerned by anyone doing a very elementary study of the religion. Yet what we have today is the knee jerk, unconscious association of the religion of Islam with suicide bombings. Even to the point where claims of getting 72 virgins are an Islamic prize offered for suicide. This is a cruel and ugly lie about Islam that has been so widely perpetuated that it is accepted as fact.
Corrections to the association of Islam with suicide and the killing of innocents are not made in the media. Instead it is glued even tighter by reporting that NOT a person disobeying Islam, but a Muslim imbued with Islamic religious fervor committed a suicide.
We have a media that is too eager to enlighten and spread the word about crazy Muslims killing themselves for 72 virgins. We read and hear everyday about suicide bombers in Iraq killing themselves and other Iraqis with them. We are to believe that a religion that strongly condemns suicide, promises severe punishment in hell for those who commit it and has never had a strategy of using suicide to fight wars until recent contact with Israelis — somehow has spawned the most suicide killers on earth. I don’t believe for a minute that the reports about suicide killings in Iraq are true. Many independent journalists and eye witnesses have reported how Mossad and US occupational forces have staged incidents to make them appear to be Iraqi suicide killings. In fact there are many cases where the perpetrators have been caught.
Oddly enough in this saga about suicide killings we read the following headlines from Israeli newspapers: “Fewer officers to be armed as suicide becomes IDF’s top killer!!!” which you can read more about at the following links:
The leading cause of death for the Israeli Defense Forces is suicide!!! Well, well it looks like suicide is really an Israeli problem and not a Muslim one. Their IDF commit far more suicides than what is being blamed on Muslims. We already know that Israel leads the world in trafficking prostitutes and that there are hundreds of brothels in Tel Aviv. Israel has no law against trafficking people, and no law against prostitution. Who knows, maybe having access to one prostitute at a time on a soldier’s salary was not enough for those IDF soldiers. Maybe these soldiers believed the lies told about Muslims and were trying to get their 72 virgins too. See how strong an effect Jewish lies have on their own people.
Suicide bombers have become an international tragedy. One can not sit in a restaurant or wait for a bus or go for a walk downtown, in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iraq or Russia or Syria and elsewhere without fearing for one’s life from a person walking innocently by or a car that just quietly parked nearby. The Pentagon has been working for years to devise a means of countering this powerful weapon.
As far as we know, they haven’t come up with anything. So I’d like to suggest a possible solution. Go to the very source. Flood selected Islamic societies with this message: “There is no heavenly reward for dying a martyr. There are no 72 beautiful virgins waiting to reward you for giving your life for jihad. No virgins at all. No sex at all.”
Using every means of communication, from Facebook to skywriting, from billboards to television, plant the seed of doubt, perhaps the very first such seed the young men have ever experienced. … Full article
By Inayat Bunglawala | The News | February 12, 2009
He was a self-confessed al-Qaida insider who in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks was interviewed by all the major news networks eager to hear his fiery rhetoric.
Following the 7/7 bombings, he told us that he had now recognised the error of his ways and was committed to countering “Islamism”. He was going to spill the beans in a keenly anticipated book called Leaving al-Qaida relating how he had gone about recruiting British Muslims to go overseas and fight.
The American CBS network’s flagship documentary programme 60 Minutes broadcast an interview with him in March 2007 in which he talked about his “recruiting and fundraising techniques” in his extremist days.
Government ministers such as Tony McNulty sought an audience with him in order to listen to his learned thoughts on how to de-radicalise young Muslims.
Nick Cohen praised him for steering British Muslims:… away from violence while teaching wider society that radical Islam is not a rational reaction to Western provocation, but a totalitarian ideology with a life of its own.
In Manchester in April (2007), Hassan Butt, a one-time jihadist who is now opposed to extremism, was stabbed and beaten for speaking out against fanaticism. He now lives in hiding. There was only one problem with all this though – it was complete bullshit.
Hassan Butt’s admission in court that he was a “professional liar” who said what “the media wanted to hear” because all he was really interested in was making money will not have come as a surprise to many British Muslims who have long viewed him as a charlatan.
Butt “confessed he had also stabbed himself in the arm to make it appear as if he had been attacked by extremists for speaking out against violence.”
The tens of millions of pounds that the government has poured into its preventing violent extremism programme has inevitably attracted a number of self-professed “ex-Islamists” who are prepared to say exactly what the government and sections of the media want to hear ie that the rise of violent extremism in the UK has little to do with our government’s warmongering abroad and is mainly the fault of “Islamist ideology”.
Such an answer of course perfectly suits the government, which does not favour closer scrutiny of the impact of some of its actions abroad.
It also suits those like Cohen who were enthusiastic propagandists for those misbegotten wars.
With the election of Barack Obama and his warmly received call for there to be a “new partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interest” between the United States and the Muslim world, there at long last exists an opportunity to make amends for some of the disastrous mistakes of the past.
If we in the UK are to also avail ourselves of that opportunity it will require the government to do more than simply offer what are in effect bribes to those who are willing to turn a blind eye to its unjust policies.
This weekend I ran across a random copy of The Wall Street Journal and decided to see what passes for mainstream news these days. Reading it reminded me of the striking amount of terrorism propaganda being foisted upon the U.S. public. The numerous terrorism-related stories in that weekend edition of The Journal painted a confused and contradictory picture that reflects a difficulty in keeping the American public focused on terrorist threats and increasingly suspicious of their fellow citizens.
The weekend edition included five major stories about terrorism, including a shooting at a Colorado high school, the release of video from a hospital massacre in Yemen, and a review of how the Sandy Hook victims’ families are coping. In the most prominent spot, at the top left of the front page, readers found an alert for a major expose covering the Boston bombers. The fifth story was about the arrest of a Wichita man for plotting to blow up aircraft with a homemade bomb at the airport.
The new, Wichita story provides a good example of the challenges facing the FBI and corporate media in ongoing efforts to stoke the public fear. The suspect, like others in the last few years, had no previous history of terrorist activity and the FBI did everything for him.
Terry Lee Loewen was an avionics specialist at a private company working at the Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita. Allegedly, he tried to drive his car, loaded with explosives that the FBI had helped him make, onto the tarmac to cause “maximum carnage and death.” This man, whom neighbors called quiet and “normal” was supposedly working for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
The emerging story of Loewen includes a significant number of contradictory reports and unbelievable aspects. The official account is that Loewen decided to become a Muslim about six months ago and he immediately began devoting all his time to preparations for becoming a “lone wolf” suicide bomber. FBI-produced documents allegedly provide this 58-year old white man’s reasoning for his radical change of life course—“My only explanation is that I believe in jihad for the sake of Allah + for the sake of my Muslim brothers + sisters.”
Although Loewen did not enter a plea and his public defender and current wife would not comment, his ex-wife and son were contacted for interviews and neither of them had any idea about his new commitment to jihad and martyrdom. The son had spoken to his father in the last month yet, according to The Journal, “didn’t detect anything amiss” and “didn’t know about any turn toward Islam by his father.”
Although Loewen is being portrayed as a serious, jihadist Muslim, he had no known connection to any Muslim organization in Wichita or elsewhere. Apparently he was only an online Muslim and the FBI caught him making comments about his desire to wage jihad against his own country on behalf of the members of his new faith.
His neighbors couldn’t believe it and never saw anything suspicious about him or his current wife. And although his own son had no idea about it, and his ex-wife would never have predicted it, in his last six months he must have devoted every spare moment to his new mission. One might think that a new convert would take time to learn about his new religion and interact with at least one or two Muslims in his community. After all, doesn’t becoming a Muslim require more than just making a few online comments?
Not for Loewen, according to the FBI. Instead, one day he was just a solitary, radical Muslim and he immediately began spending all his free time “studying subjects like jihad, martyrdom operations, and Sharia law.” He also “studied the airport layout and took photos of access points, researched flight schedules and acquired components to make car bombs.” He was obviously very busy and totally committed.
FOX News reported that Loewen was inspired by Usama bin Laden. Investigators from the Wichita Joint Terrorism Task Force further claimed that Loewen “frequently expressed admiration for Anwar Al-Awlaki.” Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas said that Loewen’s action reminded us that we must “reaffirm our commitment” to the War on Terror.
There are certainly suspicious things about Loewen. For one thing, he had another name—Terry L. Lane. How many readers of The Wall Street Journal just happen to have other names? And Loewen was cited in 2009 for a “a concealed-carry violation at the airport.”
Nonetheless, according to his ex-wife of 10-years, Loewen/Lane was “peaceful, easy-going, quiet man” who “didn’t like confrontation; he was never one to start a fight.” She said he had left his job at Hawker Beechcraft Air Services for a time, to work at Learjet across town. She didn’t know when he returned to Beechcraft. “He was happy. He was a normal human being,” she said. And although The Journal reported that the son had no idea about Loewen’s conversion to Islam, The Wichita Eagle reported that the son told his mother that Loewen had recently become a Muslim.
Other news sources report that the son said his dad was “always really calm and a loving man” and that he “had no idea how his father came to be the main suspect in a foiled terror plot.”
Therefore the news about Loewen/Lane and this alleged new terrorist plot includes many confusing reports and makes little or no sense. A 58-year old man with no connection to any Muslim organization just decided on his own to give up his entire life to become a jihadist. He forsook all other commitments to make a martyr of himself for the benefit of “brothers and sisters” who he had never met. His family and neighbors apparently knew nothing about it.
If we can learn anything from the incident it is that the next terrorist could be anybody—you, your father, your neighbor—anyone at all. And there won’t necessarily be any signs at all other than what the FBI provides about internet activity.
This brings us to the big expose that The Journal published on the Boston bombers. Readers might wonder about the coincidence of the reporter from The Journal just happening to be a relatively close friend of the Tsarnaev family, whose two sons were accused of the marathon attack. Ostensibly, that relationship was initiated because both the reporter and the family spoke Russian and the reporter was doing research on Chechens and “Russia’s Islamist insurgency.” But the friendship was clearly much more than that. Who could have predicted that chance relationship would come in so handy for a terrorism reporter from a major U.S. news source?
Anyway, the story about the Tsarnaevs presents more contradictions. For instance, the mother of the accused bombers is portrayed quite differently than we have seen before. The woman who suddenly became a terrorist suspect herself a week after she began claiming that her sons were controlled by the FBI has most often been seen as a strict Muslim woman dressed in very traditional garb. In The Journal’s new story, however, she is “a wide-eyed rapid talker with a low-cut dress and high heels who waved her arms and teased her black hair like the pop singer Cyndi Lauper.” And she ran a business on the side giving facials.
In this new light, mother Tsarnaev could be an office girl from Jersey, or the girl next door.
But those who read the whole story realize that there is a bigger purpose behind this spread on the Tsarnaevs and it is not to describe their dress habits. It is, in fact, to reveal that the Boston bombers were conspiracy theorists. Specifically, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother were “filled with thoughts of conspiracy” including that “the Sept.11 attacks were organized by shadowy financial elites.”
We have seen this tactic before with other terrorism stories but never this blatantly. We are being told that not only can anyone be a terrorist, but it is more likely that anyone who questions the official accounts of terrorism is more likely to be a terrorist. How convenient for the military-terrorism-industrial complex. If such an approach takes hold in the minds of fearful citizens, there would be no stopping the architects of the War on Terror and no shortage of suspects to keep the whole thing rolling along.