A USB memory stick carrying the Stuxnet malware is believed to have provided intruders with access to Iran’s nuclear program. The same technique was used in November 2008 to break into CENTCOM, providing a foreign government with unfiltered access to the Pentagon’s command of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Did both attacks come from the same source?
Earlier this week, Reuters reported:
Cyber warfare has quietly grown into a central pillar of Israel’s strategic planning, with a new military intelligence unit set up to incorporate high-tech hacking tactics, Israeli security sources said on Tuesday.
Israel’s pursuit of options for sabotaging the core computers of foes like Iran, along with mechanisms to protect its own sensitive systems, were unveiled last year by the military intelligence chief, Major-General Amos Yadlin.
The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has since set cyber warfare as a national priority, “up there with missile shields and preparing the homefront to withstand a future missile war”, a senior source said on condition of anonymity.
Back in 1997, when the US did not overtly support political assassinations, President Clinton intervened to save the life of Khalid Meshaal. The Hamas political bureau chief had been poisoned by Mossad operatives (carrying stolen Canadian passports) on the streets of Jordan’s capital, Amman.
Clinton wasn’t trying to help Hamas but knew that a peace treaty he had helped broker between Israel and Jordan would be in jeopardy if Prime Minister Netanyahu thought he could disregard the sovereignty of Jordan and carry out assassinations with impunity. Likewise, neither King Hussein nor the Canadian government believed that Israeli actions showing a flagrant disregard for the authority of their respective governments could go unanswered.
Netanyahu would probably have found Clinton’s pressure unpersuasive were it not for the fact that the Israeli operatives had already been arrested. In exchange for their release, the Israelis supplied the antidote that saved Meshaal’s life while also releasing the Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
Then came 9/11.
Before long, Yassin had been assassinated, the US was using Israeli methods of torture in its campaign against an amorphous Islamic threat, Israel’s own war crimes were sanctioned by the US in the name of the war on terrorism, and the use of stolen foreign passports by Mossad agents committing murder on foreign soil provoked nothing more than a diplomatic slap on the wrists.
When suspected Israeli agents were reported this week to be conducting surveillance on the NSA in Utah, the national security breach did not provoke a murmur in the national media — even though a string of similar incidents prior to 9/11 raised questions about whether Israel could have had foreknowledge of the attacks.
The willingness of this and the previous administration to allow Israel to disregard international law shows that even if the Israel lobby can no longer flourish like a night flower, its power is barely diminished. Even so, the appearance of the Stuxnet malware should be a wake-up call to every government around the world that refuses to place Israel’s national interests above its own.
In its conception, Stuxnet can be viewed very much like a targeted killing — but one designed to attack silently and leave no trace of its origin.
It’s creators understood that they had designed an exceedingly dangerous weapon and so they made sure its damage could be contained. But it seems not to have worked according to plan and so caution got tossed out of the window. Apparently, Israel did what it has done so many times before: pursued what it regarded as its own interests with an utter disregard for the international consequences.
The original infection method, which relied on infected USB drives, included a counter that limited the spread to just three PCs, said [Liam] O Murchu [operations manager with Symantec’s security response]. “It’s clear that the attackers did not want Stuxnet to spread very far,” he said. “They wanted it to remain close to the original infection point.”
O Murchu’s research also found a 21-day propagation window; in other words, the worm would migrate to other machines in a network only for three weeks before calling it quits.
Those anti-propagation measures notwithstanding, Stuxnet has spread widely. Why?
Kaspersky’s [Roel] Schouwenberg [a senior antivirus researcher] believes it’s because the initial attack, which relied on infected USB drives, failed to do what Stuxnet’s makers wanted.
“My guess is that the first variant didn’t achieve its target,” said Schouwenberg, referring to the worm’s 2009 version that lacked the more aggressive propagation mechanisms, including multiple Windows zero-day vulnerabilities. “So they went on to create a more sophisticated version to reach their target.”
That more complex edition, which O Murchu said was developed in March of this year, was the one that “got all the attention,” according to Schouwenberg. But the earlier edition had already been at work for months by then — and even longer before a little-known antivirus vendor from Belarus first found it in June. “The first version didn’t spread enough, and so Stuxnet’s creators took a gamble, and abandoned the idea of making it stealthy,” said Schouwenberg.
In Schouwenberg’s theory, Stuxnet’s developers realized their first attempt had failed to penetrate the intended target or targets, and rather than simply repeat the attack, decided to raise the ante.
“They spent a lot of time and money on Stuxnet,” Schouwenberg said. “They could try again [with the USB-only vector] and maybe fail again, or they could take the risk of it spreading by adding more functionality to the worm.”
O Murchu agreed that it was possible the worm’s creators had failed to infect, and thus gain control, of the industrial systems running at their objective(s), but said the code itself didn’t provide clear clues.
What is clear, O Murchu said in a news conference Friday morning, is that Stuxnet evolved over time, adding new ways to spread on networks in the hope of finding specific PLCs (programming logic control) hardware to hijack. “It’s possible that [the attackers] didn’t manage to get to all of their targets [with the earlier version],” O Murchu said. “The increased sophistication of Stuxnet in 2010 may indicate that they had not reached their target.”
With the proliferation of Stuxnet, Schouwenberg said that the country or countries that created the worm may have themselves been impacted by its spread. But that was likely a calculated risk the worm’s developers gladly took.
And that risk may have been quite small. “Perhaps they knew that their own critical infrastructure wouldn’t be affected by Stuxnet because it’s not using Siemens PLCs,” Schouwenberg said.
The danger now posed by Stuxnet is not simply through its direct proliferation but by virtue of the fact that it provides a blueprint that can be adapted by other parties who would otherwise lack the resources to create malware this sophisticated from scratch.
What might have been conceived as a tool to prevent the creation of a weapon of mass destruction could itself be turned into a WMD.
The Washington Post reports:
“Stuxnet opened Pandora’s box,” said Ralph Langner, a German researcher whose early analysis of the worm’s ability to target control systems raised public awareness of the threat. “We don’t need to be concerned about Stuxnet, but about the next-generation malware we will see after Stuxnet.”
Sean McGurk, director of the U.S. National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center at the Department of Homeland Security, said that the department posted its first report to industry recommending steps to mitigate the effects of Stuxnet on July 15. But “not even two days later,” he said, a hacker Web site posted the code so that others could use it to exploit the vulnerabilities in Microsoft.
“So we know that once the information is out in the wild, people are taking it and they’re modifying it,” he said.
In other words, what started as an Israeli cyber attack on nuclear installations in Iran could end up crashing the US powergrid or causing havoc anywhere else on the globe.
Even before Stuxnet loomed over the horizon, serious warnings were being issued about the United States’ vulnerability to a crippling cyber attack, yet thus far none of those raising the alarm have pointed to the ways in which Israel’s cyber warfare capabilities may now indirectly or directly threaten the United States and its interests.
Medical historian Susan M. Reverby stumbled upon the Guatemala research while exploring the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study in the United States. Threvelation has forced President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to express shock and revulsion over the unconscionable involuntary use of Guatemalans as medical subjects.
There seems to be no proper epithet to describe the experiments that the United States, between 1946 and 1948, performed on 1,500 Guatemalans, who were infected with injections of syphilis and gonorrhea without their consent.
Perhaps the adjective “crime against humanity,” utilized by President Alvaro Colom when asked for his opinion on the subject, barely touches on the seriousness, albeit still imprecisely, of such aberrant facts as the U.S. revealed yesterday
The results of a study on what had been done by her compatriots came to light this year, when Professor Susan Reverby of Wellesley College uncovered archival documents that commented on the experiment conducted by the once embattled U.S. doctor of public health, John Cutler.
[Editor’s Note: According to the documents prepared by Dr. Cutler and revealed by Professor Reverby, prisoners, soldiers and inmates in mental asylums in Guatemala were intentionally infected, sometimes by using prostitutes provided by the scientists, sometimes by pouring the germs onto skin abrasions caused by the researchers.]
The aim of the study in Guatemala, which was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Pan American Sanitary Office, the precursor of the Pan American Health Organization, was to investigate new ways of preventing sexually-transmitted diseases.
The vulnerable subjects of the experiments (prostitutes, soldiers, prisoners and the mentally ill), who have now been shown to have been treated like “laboratory mice,” were also encouraged to spread the disease to others, and some who contracted syphilis weren’t treated.
The findings abound in horrifying details that U.S. officials have sought to explain while offering their apologies to the Government of Guatemala.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that it was something “unethical” and expressed indignation about the “reprehensible” research, deplored “these abominable practices” and said that “the behavior shown during the study does not represent American values and our commitment to human dignity.”
And President Barack Obama, by telephone, told President Colom of his “deep regret for the experiments.” Obama gave the “unwavering commitment” of his country to ensure that current medical studies meet all international legal and ethical standards.
Now the qualifications and apologies abound, and although the facts of the case arose 64 years ago, the dignity of the Guatemalan people has been stained and their honor trampled upon. This is not likely to be remedied, despite all of the joint committees for uncovering what happened.
Although pondering the possibility of compensation is certainly fitting, it would be far more desirable that acts of this nature never occur again.
* Translated By Miguel Gutierrez
Straightaway, Obama’s promised “change” and “yes we can” became hard line foreign and domestic extremism, betraying his loyal constituency and any hope for kinder, gentler policies. His populist hypocrisy now exposed, voters are losing faith, but most remain mindless about the harm he commits daily, much of it touching them directly.
Several recent articles explain, accessed through the following links:
Many others add exclamation points about a rogue administration rampaging at home and globally, most recently involved in a failed Ecuadorean coup, and for sending FBI goon squads against Chicago and Minneapolis anti-war/pro-Palestinian activists. No arrests were made, but their homes were ransacked, agents seizing computers, cell phones, books, photos, papers, correspondence, and other possessions. They were also ordered before grand juries from October 5 – 12, potentially facing serious criminal charges for providing material support to terrorism.
The Grand Jury System
The American Bar Association (ABA) explains that grand juries review evidence to determine “whether there is probable cause to return an indictment.” Critics, however, say they’re rubber stamps for aggressive prosecutors.
In the federal system, they have “extraordinary investigative powers,” developed since the 1950s. “This wide, sweeping, almost unrestricted power is the cause of much of the criticism,” because prosecutors exploit it advantageously, manipulating proceedings for the outcomes they want, leaving targets unfairly vulnerable to indictments. The Constitution’s Fifth Amendment “requires a grand jury indictment for federal criminal charges.”
Though nominally independent, they only hear cases prosecutors choose. They also select witnesses, grant discretionary immunity, and do nearly all the questioning. Grand jury members may ask their own [questions] after witness testimonies, but their job is to judge what prosecutors present, then decide if enough evidence warrants indictment.
Conducted in secret, no one may disclose what goes on unless ordered to do so judicially. Anyone may be subpoenaed, and must answer questions unless a specific privilege is claimed, such as lawyer/client or self-incrimination. In the federal system, lawyers can’t represent their clients while testifying.
In addition, double jeopardy doesn’t apply to grand juries, but without indictments, prosecutors need Criminal Division Attorney General permission to try again. Though seldom asked, in a climate of fear, targets remain vulnerable if prosecutors intend to get them, perhaps on new grounds.
The ABA asks, “What protection does a target have against witnesses lying to the grand jury (perhaps for leniency on existing or threatened charges), or against the use of unconstitutionally obtained evidence? None,” except to challenge the evidence at trial.
Especially post-9/11, prosecutors want grant jury indictments, manipulate proceedings to get them, leaving targets vulnerable on their own. At fault is the system. It’s rigged against them, so many are hung out to dry unfairly. That’s what Chicago and Minneapolis anti-war/pro-Palestinian supporters now face, a tough road ahead if Justice Department officials are determined to convict.
Police State Thuggery
Post-9/11, an earlier article explained the path America chose, accessed through the following link:
Though well along earlier, the pace accelerated in the last decade. Obama has been as hard line as Bush, showing he’s no different from America’s worst ever leaders. He may, in fact, be the most dangerous, given the support he so far retains. None of it, of course, is deserved.
Bush made America a police state. Obama hardened it – among other ways through:
– greater intrusive surveillance;
— unjustifiable preventive detentions;
— targeting American citizens for assassination, solely by presidential edict;
— invoking the “state secrets” doctrine to block litigation against rendition, torture, and warrantless wiretapping;
— opposing Net Neutrality;
— threatening free expression and the right to dissent, including online;
— prosecuting whistleblowers as well as journalists and others who protect their anonymity or publish their revelations; and
— making anyone against US extremism vulnerable to lawless political persecutions, especially anti-war and Muslim American activists as well as lawyers who defend them too vigorously.
The USA Patriot Act eroded at least four Bill of Rights freedoms:
– due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments;
— First Amendment free expression; and
— Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches, seizures, and as a consequence privacy.
Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called it “the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by a free people.” Patriot Act legislation and today’s sophisticated technology make unconstitutional intrusions easier than ever. Obama officials have taken full advantage, besides targeting other freedoms for destruction.
Chicago and Minneapolis State Terror
September 24 raids in both cities are the latest examples – police state terror against (supposedly) constitutionally protected speech, political activism, and right of free association. No matter, innocent people may be slapped with unsubstantiated charges, then criminally prosecuted for providing material support to terrorism.
According to an FBI spokesman, raids were aimed at people “providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support” to terrorist organizations, meaning, among others, Colombia’s FARC-EP, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and Palestine’s Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – no matter their legitimacy, and except for FARC, are part of their countries’ governments.
Opposition to War and Occupation (OWO) is a Twin Cities-based education and solidarity group against America’s imperial wars. On September 27, it issued the following statement:
OWO “wholeheartedly condemns the recent FBI house raids of social justice activists in Minneapolis and Chicago on Friday, September 24, 2010. These raids are part of the long history of coordinated government repression against those who fight against imperialism and exploitation and those working in solidarity with them.”
Victims guilty only of supporting right over wrong are “systematically harassed, targeted, and even murdered in an attempt to undermine struggles for justice.” As a result, front line activists must confront state terror “with steadfast resistance to war and occupation, and all forms of state violence,” abroad and at home.
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression named October 4 as a national call-in day to Obama and Attorney General Holder, demanding an end to state repression. The Committee also called for solidarity actions outside FBI and federal buildings throughout America on October 5, the first grand jury date.
Supreme Court Endorses State Terrorism
More than ever now, US policy aims to crush dissent, destroy political opposition, and subvert democratic freedoms. On June 21, 2010, the Supreme Court’s Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project ruling advanced that disquieting agenda. In a 6 – 3 decision, the Roberts court upheld the “material support” statute’s constitutionality (18 USC, 2339B), making it a crime to support any State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), no matter how unwarranted.
At the time, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) argued that:
“the challenged provisions violate the First Amendment insofar as they criminalize the provision of forms of support such as the distribution of literature, engaging in political advocacy, participating in peace conferences, training in human rights advocacy, and donating cash and humanitarian assistance, even when such support is intended solely to promote the lawful and non-violent activities of a designated organization.”
Holder’s Justice Department disagreed, claiming the statute imposes guilt by association, harming innocent people for the illegal acts of groups they supported. Further, it doesn’t require showing intent to support terrorism or other illegal activity.
CCR countered saying, “the statute was unconstitutionally vague, and that the Secretary of State’s power to designate groups was too broad, giving the executive too much discretionary power to label groups ‘terrorist’ (with or without proof) and turn their supporters into outlaws.”
With High Court approval, Holder, like his predecessors under Bush, has run rough shot over constitutionally protected freedoms, making anyone for right over wrong vulnerable to criminal prosecution and imprisonment. It’s why now, more than ever, America is a police state, a disquieting judgment, putting even activist writers and media hosts at risk, as well as anyone against state extremism.
A Final Comment
After September 24, rallies and protests took place in dozens of US cities against the thuggish FBI raids. On September 27, hundreds mobilized outside its Chicago and Minneapolis offices. On September 28, the Chicago Sun Times headlined, “Protesters target FBI raids,” saying:
“Hundreds of protesters gathered outside FBI offices in Chicago and Minneapolis on Monday, bearing signs and shouting chants condemning recent searches of homes and offices of anti-war activists in both cities.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune published a similar report, using an AP story, not its own, that quoted one of the targets, Minnesotan Mick Kelly, saying:
“We have provided no material support. I can’t stress that long enough or loud enough, and honestly I don’t believe that’s why we’re facing this scrutiny.”
It’s for the above-cited reasons – to crush opposition to state-sponsored roguishness abroad and at home, as well as discourage potential new resisters.
An earlier article quoted Merriam-Webster’s police state definition, saying it’s “characterized by repressive government control….(the) arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police,” and in America, the FBI, CIA, and other oppressive agencies, targeting innocent people instead of protecting them.
Post-9/11 especially, George Bush took that route. In less than two years, Obama outdid him, adopting the worst of his policies, establishing more of his own, and accelerating America faster on the road to despotism. Chicago and Minneapolis raids signal worse to come unless mass outrage erupts to stops them. Otherwise, midnight or pre-dawn raids will be the norm on whatever grounds authorities charge against which there’s no defense, a possibility too nightmarish to allow.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
Police forces on their way to the fifth demolition, 13 September
So you ask yourselves: if you send 1300 troops, regular policemen and Special Patrol Unit to demolish Al-Arakib for the first time; if so much is invested in thorough demolition of the homes (how many water tanks could be brought in for the same money, how many saplings could be planted, and what fun it would be to build a real school in Al-Arakib!) at the order of the “Green Patrol”; if you then destroy Al-Arakib four more times – during Ramadan as well, and at the height of the scorching summer heat, and for the fifth time – immediately after the Muslim feast day, ‘Id al-Fitr, because there’s no time to waste: Who is behind all this? What are the politics behind these actions?
These are not the decisions of a junior clerk or the local police. There are larger forces being called in to action by someone, to crush and destroy. And who is it that is trying to “teach a lesson” to the courageous and determined people of Al-Arakib who are holding on to the land that has been theirs for generations?
It’s a lesson to all the Bedouin of the Negev: Do not dare to object when armed forces are used against you, state citizens; do not to object when one offers you some piddling compensation for abandoning your land and moving into one of the townships the authorities have prepared for you…
And a lesson for every citizen of this country as well: Do not object, do not raise your head, because the authorities in Israel have not forgotten how to forcibly overcome citizens who stand up for their rights.
So what are the politics behind all this? One factor – a very central one – is the “development program” for the Negev. The program in which the Bedouins are tossed a bone, a measly afterthought in a budget – but whose main point is the Judaization of the Negev. The Jewish National Fund in the United States has promised to bring in new immigrants – well-established, good, strong; the Jewish National Fund in Israel is planting trees in order to uproot people; The Israel Land Authority in conjunction with the police, under the instructions of the Minister of Internal Security – Avigdor Lieberman’s man, Itzhak Aharonovich – are trying with all their strength to complete an exemplary campaign of eviction and dispossession.
Al-Arakib is like a bone in the throat of those who are keen to redesign the whole northern Negev. Fine, alright, we’ve got no choice, so we’ll give recognition to a few Bedouin villages – but almost always on very difficult, if not impossible, terms. Recognition – on the condition that they move elsewhere, that they leave their land and blend in with another Bedouin community. We plan for you: We engineer the landscape, we put together and tear apart people and communities, we – the , architects of settlement and internal colonization. The other “unrecognized villages” are to disappear, be disposed of on the way to a New Negev. Al-Arakib is first on the list.
“A clean slate” for the new pioneers
And how is the New Negev being marketed? Read here one article among many that sell the promise of becoming pioneers to the Jewish community in the US. Not pioneers in the Wild West, but here, in Israel, in the Negev.
Articles like these describing the new pioneers – young couples from North America – usually begin with stories of the prefabricated caravan homes and the water brought in by tractor, and end with the interior decoration of the houses of the new pioneers. “The Negev”, explains the article on the B’nai B’rith website, “is the closest thing to the clean slate many of Israel’s pre-state pioneers found when they first came to the Holy Land”. Did you hear that, all you people of Al-Arakib, Tweil Abu-Jarwal, Wadi Na‘am, A-Sirra, all you residents of the unrecognized villages and all the Bedouins of the Negev? You don’t really exist.
Here the pioneers will cause the desert to bloom; here, where there are too many Arabs with too many babies – just as in the Galilee. Here they will also meet the people of “Or – National Missions”, which seeks to Judaize the Negev and the Galilee, and are waiting for the new pioneers with open arms. The article reassures the new pioneers that here they can find a place free from the political controversies surrounding the settlements in the West Bank. Naturally – after all, the Bedouin are transparent. They just forget to tell their readers that Sansana, founded by “Or – National Missions” and its home-base, is actually a settlement in the West Bank, on the South Hebron Hills, and was founded and expanded with the aid of the usual tricks and practices.
The article also speaks clearly regarding the Judaization of the Negev: it is a basic tenet of the way the Israeli leadership sees the Jewish State – “Not only must Israel as a whole be mostly Jewish, but every major region within it should be majority Jewish, too”.1
These are the politics of expulsion and disinheritance. Its violent arm is the operation that was signed into effect by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Minister of Internal Security, Itzhak Aharonovich – Lieberman’s man – as a plan for a “war on encroachers”. The encroachers are not the Jewish National Fund’s trees, or those who steal the Bedouins’ land, the encroachers are the Negev’s people themselves, the Bedouins. The same Bedouins who are fighting to hold on to the remnants of their land, the little that is left to them (between 5%-7% of the Negev’s territory). Netanyahu and Aharonovich have given a name to their operation: “30-Days-Limit”.
The daily paper Israel Today reports on June 23, 2010, that “the state has begun a war against encroachment on its land”.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Minister of Internal Security Itzhak Aharonovich have decided to eradicate the phenomenon of Bedouins’ encroachment of lands in Beer Sheba area. This is the first stage of a program designed to prevent usurpation of state lands throughout the country by minorities and criminals.
Israel Today has been informed that a pilot of an operation called “30-Days-Limit”, is ready to be launched. The plans for this operation include “taking Israel’s south apart” by dividing it into sectors and intelligence surveillance of those encroaching. In addition, within the framework of the operation there will be “attack-and-liquidate the encroachment” operations, which means that within 30 days, those who have encroached will be evicted. There will also be carried out a “choking” of fresh construction works for the same purpose [of encroachment], and the whole of today’s law enforcement bodies will be united – among them the Ministry of the Interior and the civil and local authorities.
It has also been decided that a commando force will be set up to deal with such matters. The Treasury has allocated for this purpose a budget for recruiting 25-30 inspectors who will be employed as demolition inspectors. That is in addition to the inspectors that are employed thus already today.”
This is unmistakably a war terminology: A “commando force” will be set up that will fight the threat attributed to “minorities and criminals” (!); construction will be “choked”, and of course –”attack and liquidate” operations will be carried out. We have all seen actions like these in Al-Arakib.
In an interview on the radio program “Good Morning South” (June 27, 2010), the Minister for Internal Security, Aharonovich, confirmed this and mentioned plans for another, farther-reaching plan, called “Eastern Wind” (Ruah Qadim) for the southern district, which will be soon submitted for discussion in the government. A plan of action against “encroachments” bearing such a name was already put into effect at the end of 2007 in the southern district of the police force.
But while Aharonovich refused to give details and tried to obscure the extent to which the operation is aimed at the Bedouin citizens, Israel Today and the right-wing Channel 7 radio station made things clear: “In the Ministry of Internal Security and in the government it is understood that the encroachment of various bodies on lands of the nation is endangering Israel’s territorial contiguity”. The connection between Netanyahu’s words on July 25, 2010 in which he warned of the Negev becoming “an area without a Jewish majority”, defining hence Bedouin presence and growth as “a real threat” – and this battle plan is very clear.
Yes, war has been declared, and the battle may be long and prolonged. Netanyahu and Aharonovich, together with the Jewish National Fund and the Israel Land Authority are those who stand behind the campaign of demolition, eviction and dispossession in the Negev. To stand up to those forces we must have determination and patience; to continue to demonstrate, to protest, to persist. All of us – Jews and Arabs – working for a life of equality in this country, can learn from our Bedouin brothers and sisters.
 There are some minor but telling differences between the versions of Uriel Heilman’s article; on his website, credited with the B’nai B’rith logo, it reads: “The government has several reasons for developing the Negev. It wants to bring jobs to rural Israel, more evenly distribute the country’s population and tip the Arab-Jewish demographic balance in the Negev and Galilee regions — where there are heavy concentrations of Israeli Arabs — more solidly in favor of Jews. This is part and parcel with how Israel’s leadership envisions the Jewish state: Not only must Israel as a whole be mostly Jewish, but every major region within it should be majority Jewish, too.” On the B’nai B’rith website, the part of the explanation we emphasized has been removed. The logic remains the same.
Diane Sawyer, Bill Weir and Lama Hasan attempted to answer a variety of dynamic questions about Islam during an ABC broadcast on Friday called“Islam – Questions & Answers.” The programme aspired to respond to five questions American viewers submitted via comments, email and video submissions: What is Islam? Why Do Radicals Feel Violence is Justified? Is Western Culture at Odds with Islam? Where is the Moderate Muslim Voice? How Can We All Get Along?
The premise of the broadcast, to explain away misconceptions in respect to Islam and Muslims in America, sounds plausible – commendable even; ABC is touted as ‘America’s News Service’ and their tagline heralds that “…more Americans get their news from ABC News than from any other source“. The delivery of the ABC ‘Islam’ special solidified many contentions, one of the most pivotal being that of the anatomy of American ignorance.
Diane Sawyer’s voice lulled viewers through a barrage of images and videos, including that of Osama Bin Laden and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
It is a simple technique used by even the most liberal of media orthodoxy; them and us, extremists versus moderates, radicals against pacifists. The clip of Osama Bin Laden was inaudible but Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s was not, a few seconds were played wherein he was heard saying ‘Al Mawt La Amreeka’ – ‘Death to America’ and then, of course, there was nothing more given. The video ABC stripped was from a speech by Hezb’Allah Secretary General, in it we can see that his statement was blatantly taken out of context.
“…I must clarify that when I say “America” I do not mean the American people, most of whom are distant and ignorant of what is going on in the world, and of what its government and army are doing in the world. Nevertheless, we consider the current administration an enemy of our nation and of the peoples of our nation, because it has always taken a position of aggression, of occupation, and of supporting Israel with weapons, airplanes, tanks, money, as well as political support, and full and unlimited protection. We consider it to be an enemy because it wants to humiliate our governments, our regimes and our peoples […] This American administration is an enemy […] If America stops interfering in our countries’ and nation’s affairs, stops its aggression, stops its occupation, stops its plundering of our resources and treasures, we will have no problem with it…,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.
When it came to interviewing Muslims and non Muslims it did not get any better; Pamella Geller, poster-child of mainstream Islamophobia, was sandwiched between ‘Bin Laden’s worst nightmare’ Irshad Manji and the self-proclaimed ‘Infidel’ Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Three convenient feminists discussing Muslim radicals, oppression of women and how moderates play a role in the religious divide. There was no robust intellectual argument, no cogent analysis, no valuable premise; it was pure celebrity glitter being flung in the faces of those less fortunate in terms of rational capability.
By giving Geller, Manji and Ali a platform to spread anti-Muslim vitriol in the shape and form of a liberated female refusenik ABC introduced them as being sources, credible or not, on Islam.
The 20/20 special on Islam in America pitched a slew of statistics including, on at least two occasions, the numbers of Muslims serving in the United States Military: “…at least 7,000 American-Muslims serve in the Armed Forces…” This venomous detail falls back into the ‘them verses us’ narrative that much of the mainstream media rehearses time and time again.
It was as if Sawyers voice-over wished to tell Americans, ‘see – they play a role in the occupation, just like us’.
There were sentimental points used as bridges between a variety of hypocritical lunacy and at times one might have considered the program genuinely aware and concerned for the plight of American-Muslims but collectively it was an unimpressive, clichéd broadcast.
Diane Sawyer was seen asking an interviewee where the ‘Muslim Ghandi’ was and to that there was no vehement reply, no defiant lambasting of such mindless drivel. “…Muslims do not have one individual who speaks on their behalf…” was the reply. Such a weak and asinine answer to Sawyers fully loaded question. And while American-Muslims put on their best suits, made-up their faces in a sea of kohl and rouge in order to present the Western world with what “moderates” look like our brothers and sisters in Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Pakistan and Afghanistan are asking where the American Ghandi is.
Time and time again we hear the incessant harping of the ignorant West, crying out for Muslims to lash out against radicals and denounce the acts of extremists, yet Americans do not ask the same of each other.
While the United States of America plays imperialist Twister, its colonialist hand in every occupation and coup d’état, it is American-Muslims who must continuously submit themselves before their Western-masters and kiss the hand that feeds them.
Lest we forget Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo: Where men, women and children were raped and tortured in ways which even the pen’s ink feels ashamed to document; such brutal perversities can only be inscribed in the blood of their martyrs and screams of their victims.
Lest we forget the slaughter of innocent Afghans and Iraqi’s for sport; US Occupation Forces collecting skulls and dismembered body parts to bring back as souvenirs, as if they had been on holiday all these countless years.
Lest we forget the cries of our beloved Jerusalem, her soil saturated in the tears of a trail of Palestinian refugees who refuse to call their luggage ‘home’; The olive trees remain tightly bound around their hands whilst they defend themselves against US endorsed ethnic cleansing and Uncle Sam approved pillage.
But, unlike the intellectually inept, we do not want an apology – we demand prosecution. The United States Administration must face its own slew of Nuremberg Trials; it must be forced to see the Iraqi Holocaust and the Palestinian Ghetto’s.
The unimpressive broadcast by 20/20 displayed nothing more than complete and unashamed blindness towards reality.
The orthodox media narrative was played out once more; while a cluster-bomb detonates in South Lebanon, a white-phosphorus shell rains across the Gaza Strip and another body is buried in Baghdad. And they ask us where our Ghandi is?
There is no ‘Muslim Ghandi’ just as there is no Palestinian Ghandi or Iraqi Ghandi or Afghan Ghandi or Lebanese Ghandi because you’ve buried them all, dead – ‘Made In America’ etched across their flesh.
BETHLEHEM — A Palestinian worker from Hebron was shot and killed by Israeli border guards on Sunday while he attempted to enter East Jerusalem near the village of Al-Isawiya.
The deceased was identified as 38-year-old Izz Ad-Din Al-Kawazba from the town of Sa’ir in Hebron. Al-Kawzaba’s cousin Salah told Ma’an that border guards shot the victim at close range, refuting police accounts that the shooting was accidental.
Al-Kawazba said he was 20 meters away from his cousin when he was shot, shortly after two groups of workers climbed over the separation wall in the Zayem At-Tur area and were chased by an Israeli border guard patrol.
He said he urged his cousin, who was with his brother Hassan, to “hurry because the soldiers were behind us.”
“Suddenly I saw a soldier approaching Izz Ad-Din extending his gun to his body and shooting. I moved backward along with dozens of other workers to check up on Izz Ad-Din. As we got close, we were surrounded by special forces who attacked us violently,” he said.
“We saw them shoving the martyr’s body in a black bag dragging it more than 50 meters. More than 100 workers were gathered and were sent to Al-Eizariya. The victim’s brother Hassan was detained,” he added.
Spokesman for Israel’s National Police Mickey Rosenfeld said Al-Kawazba was injured when a “shot was fired apparently accidentally” by a border guard officer after he “attempted to grab one of the border police’s gun.”
Al-Kawazba was transferred to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital where he later died of his wounds, Rosenfeld said, adding that an investigation “is being carried out in order to understand what took place at the scene.”
Rosenfeld said the shooting followed the detention of “15 illegal workers [who] crossed the security barrier near French Hill,” after which a chase ensued.
The death comes over a week after an Israeli settler guard shot and killed two Palestinians in the flashpoint neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem, sparking days of clashes.
Israeli soldiers attacked dozens of Palestinian, Israeli and International protestors who held a march in Hebron on Saturday evening demanding freedom of movement for the residents of Hebron. The protest was held near the Al Shuhada Street, one of many streets that are off-limits to the Palestinians in the city.
Israeli soldiers attacked reporters and attempted to move them away under the pretext that the area is a closed military zone. Troops also stationed themselves on top of several homes and used them as military towers.
The protest was organized by the Youth Coalition Against Settlements; it was held near a military roadblock at the southern entrance of the Al Shuhada Street. They carried Palestinian flags and signs demanding that Israel open the street, and stop all forms of racial discrimination against the Palestinians.
The protestors chanted slogans against the ongoing attacks carried out by soldiers and settlers in the city and its surrounding areas.
Hisham Sharabty, a local activist against settlements, stated that this nonviolent protest is an affirmation to the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, such as the right to Freedom of Movement.
Al Sharabty added that the Palestinians reject the resumption of direct talks with Israel while its settlement activities are ongoing, and that the Palestinian Authority went to the negotiation table on the principle of Land for Peace, therefore “it is unreasonable to hold talks while land theft is ongoing”.
He demanded the International Community apply pressure on Israel to oblige it to stop the construction and expansion of settlements and dismantle existing settlements in the occupied territories and occupied East Jerusalem.
The Al Shuhada Street has been off-limits to the Palestinians since 1994 as only Jewish settlers and soldiers are allowed to use it.
It is one of the most vital streets in the city as it is located in the center of Hebron and its closure separated the southern neighborhoods from the north; the army also ordered the closure of more than 500 stores since the year 2000.
The closure also isolated the center of the Old City of Hebron which led to the closure of more than 1000 stores.
There are at least 100 military roadblocks, gates and sealed roads in Hebron.