Most of us generally think of the U.S. as a country that has made significant strides in combating racism, even if it still has a long way to go. Israelis and their supporters sometimes try to downplay Israeli racism by comparing it to the unfortunate phenomenon of American racism. But as shown by the aftermath of the recent murders of five family members in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, any suggestion of a rough equivalence is obscene.
First, let us go back a generation and recall the 1989 murder in Boston of Carol Stuart, a pregnant lawyer. She and her husband Charles were shot in their car as they returned from childbirth class; Carol died and Charles was seriously wounded in the abdomen. Charles told police that a black gunman with a raspy voice had entered the car in a hijacking attempt and shot them both. The Boston Police reacted fiercely by targeting virtually the entire African-American male population of the Mission Hill neighborhood where the crime occurred. Men and youths were stopped, frisked, searched, interrogated, some even stripped naked on the street. The police apparently intended to wreak such havoc that eventually someone who knew something would crack and provide a lead on the killer. To that end, they were “successful,” inducing a tip and arresting a known robber named William Bennett as the murderer. Charles Stuart then picked Bennett out of a lineup. If that were the end of the Stuart saga, it would have been outrageous. Only those who worship at the altar of police authority could justify the brutalization of an entire community in response to a crime, however horrible, committed by an individual. The racist overtones of the police response were unmistakable as well. It would have been inconceivable for the police to commit such mayhem against any white community if Stuart had identified a Caucasian as the assailant. As it turns out, the story took an expected and dramatic turn a few months later when Stuart’s brother told the authorities that Charles had murdered his wife and fabricated the black gunman with the raspy voice. Charles committed suicide before the police closed in.
Fast forward 20 years to Itamar and the nearby Palestinian village of Awarta. In the wake of the grisly discovery of the five bodies, the Israelis, assuming the perpetrator to be a Palestinian from Awarta, launched a retaliatory/investigative response on the village that could best be described as the Boston Police on supersized steroids. The Israeli Defense Forces immediately arrested 20 “suspects” and eventually detained hundreds, holding dozens in jail for at least several days. International activists reported that the IDF took over about 30 homes for their own housing, either expelling the residents or forcing them to crowd into one room. They arbitrarily searched and vandalized hundreds of homes, including defecating on beds, and physically attacked numerous villagers. The Jewish settlers themselves sought revenge, hurling stones at random Palestinians. Even PM Netanyahu got into the act, announcing the construction of 500 new housing units for settlers as payback for the crime, as if the entire Palestinian community were responsible. Of course, the fact that all of the settlements are considered illegal by every country on Earth except one never even entered the discussion.
The Boston Police received some much-deserved flak from the public when the dust settled on the Stuart tragedy. It would be nice, but probably unduly optimistic, to think that such heavy-handed tactics could not be repeated today in the U.S. But the orgy of collective punishment unleashed by the IDF, the settlers, and the government went light-years beyond what the Boston Police dared to impose in Mission Hill. Can anyone imagine the police rounding up dozens of innocent blacks, occupying dozens of apartments housing black families, allowing white vigilantes to stone African-American residents? Can anyone imagine Boston’s mayor unveiling a housing plan that targeted the entire African-American community as payback for a black-on-white crime?
It now appears that the initial presumption that the murders in Itamar were committed by Palestinian(s) may also be incorrect, but regardless of how that plays out, the responses of Israel’s settlers, army and government have demonstrated that millions of Palestinians are subject to ruthless and arbitrary treatment at the hands of Israelis – private citizens, army, and government alike – who presume to exercise unchallenged authority over them. The U.S. surely has not resolved its own racial disparities, but at least such brazen public displays of foul racism here would be unthinkable. The Israelis don’t even bother with a fig leaf. How long will Israel continue to enjoy the near-unanimous support of U.S. lawmakers, which requires willful blindness to a system of ethnic superiority that we are proud to have abandoned decades ago?
The Syrian revolution uses a strikingly familiar logo. The Otpor fist was originally used in Serbia in 2000, and handed off to the various movements trained by the US funded CANVAS organization, including the Tunisian & Egyptian youth movements- now the Syrian Youth Revolution.
“A prominent Syrian opposition figure says the country is “a bomb, ready to explode” as protesters demand freedom and an end to president Bashar al-Assad’s “cancerous regime,” reports Australia’s ABC News. This prominent Syrian opposition figure is “human rights activist” Haitham Maleh, of the Human Rights Association of Syria, recently released from a Syrian prison.
Haitham Maleh, and Muhannad al-Hassani, another activist whose plight is being used to stir up unrest, both received “pro-bono” legal services from the CFR stacked “Freedom Now” organization. Freedom Now receives funding from the Moriah Fund, the Lantos Foundation which includes Israeli President Shimon Peres as an “adviser,” Real Networks Foundation (which also funds Democracy Now) and the Charles Bronfman Prize which proclaims on its website “Jewish Values. Global Impact.” Freedom Now also receives “pro-bono” legal support from the Pillsbury law firm, a CFR corporate member.
Freedom Now specializes in “political prisoners” from various regions around the world that attract the attention of globalist ambitions. Leveraging these “human rights abuses” affords the globalists a perceived moral high ground from which they can exert pressure on target nations. This is very similar to the operation being run by Chatham House globalist Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff, who is defending western-backed Mikhail Khodorkovsky to ratchet up pressure on Russia, and Thaksin Shinawatra to exert pressure on Thailand.
Understanding who these “human rights activists” are, who is supporting them, and the role they play in the latest round of the Western-backed “Arab Spring,” we can better understand articles like the Jerusalem Post’s ‘More than 100 killed in Syrian anti-government rallies.’ In the very first paragraph, the article concedes that the reports were cited from human rights activists and witnesses, thus a continuation of the absurd, unsubstantiated reporting seen earlier in Libya where unverified reports by the criminally irresponsible corporate media laid the groundwork for an equally criminal military intervention.
It is important to remember that Syria was included under George Bush’s “Axis of Evil” and mentioned in a 2007 speech by US General Wesley Clark as slated for destabilization and regime change.
Other actors amongst the Syrian unrest to be wary of include the London-based Syrian Human-Rights Committee whose hearsay statements posted on its website are cited by corporate news media in outlandish reports of violence that also include “activists say” after each allegation.
The clownish London-based Syrian Human Rights Committee puts on a poorly staged demonstration outside the Syrian Embassy in England. As silly as the SHRC looks, a good majority of the information the mainstream media reports on from Syria comes from “human rights organizations” like this.
There is also Kamal Labwani, who in 2005 was arrested in Syria after returning from a trip to Europe and the United States where he met with government officials, journalists, and “human rights” groups in his effort to “change” the Syrian government. Amongst these officials Labwani consorted with was George Bush’s Deputy National Security Adviser J.D. Crouch.
Considering that the United States had openly declared Syria a rogue-state, and in a speech by John Bolton, was targeted by possible US military action, Syria’s accusations that Labwani was guilty of “communicating with a foreign country and inciting it to initiate aggression against Syria” doesn’t seem so far fetched. In most nations the punishment for treason is death, under Syria’s “cancerous regime” Labwani got 12 years.
Once again, we see an entire movement fomented and propelled by Western-backed opposition in tandem with the corporate owned media. This is all part of a now irrefutable larger plot consuming the Middle East and Northern Africa.
Just as we saw in Egypt and to a greater extent in Libya, the initial phases of unrest in Syria are marked by purposefully sloppy and confused reporting giving the destabilization efforts on the ground a chance to stampede the government from office. Should this stampeding fail, the truth will begin to trickle out, and the West’s involvement will become more overt.
The House Homeland Security Committee’s hearings on “Muslim radicalization,” which began on March 10 and expected to be held periodically for 18 months, are objectionable on a number of grounds.
To begin with, the hearings are championed and chaired by a politician, Congressman Peter King, who is known for his notoriously negative attitude toward Muslims. In an interview with Politico, for example, Mr. King argued that there are “too many mosques in this country. . . . There are too many people sympathetic to radical Islam. . . . We should be looking at them more carefully and finding out how we can infiltrate them.” In an earlier interview with radio and television host Sean Hanity, he had said that 85 percent of the mosques in this country are controlled by “extremist leadership,” a claim that has been roundly refuted by evidence:
“American Muslims recognize the validity of the democratic process and are eager to participate in it to shape the political environment in which they live. Recent surveys on political attitudes within the community have clearly indicated that American Muslims will participate quite vigorously in the coming presidential elections and will also engage the political process at multiple levels. For example, a recent study of Detroit Muslims showed that over 93% of those surveyed were determined to vote. A survey by the Washington DC based Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) found that 93% of its respondents were registered to vote; of them, 92% were determined to vote.”
Not surprisingly, King’s insistence that 85% of American mosques have “extremist leadership” has come under criticism by many law enforcement officials, counter-terrorism professionals, civil rights organizations, religious/interfaith leaders, editorial boards, the American Civil Liberties Union, and more.
Second, by focusing exclusively on Muslims, King and his cohorts close their eyes to the more numerous instances of violent acts committed by non-Muslims. Using the FBI statistics, Franklin Lamb points out that between 1980 and 2005 only six percent of terrorist incidents in the US were committed by Muslims while 94% were committed by non-Muslims. “The FBI claims that of the 83 terrorist attacks in the United States between 9/11 and the end of 2009, only three were clearly connected with the jihadist cause (3.6% of total).” Lamb further points out that “The picture is similar in Europe. Of a total of 1,571 terrorist attacks in the E.U. from 2006-2008 only 6 were committed by Islamist terrorists which translates to less than 0.4% of all attacks, which means 99.6% of all attacks were committed by non-Muslims.”
In light of this evidence, it is not surprising that a number of critics have characterized King’s hearings on the “Radicalization of Muslims” as witch hunting or McCarthyism, comparing them with earlier prejudices and persecutions of other ethnic and religious minorities such as Catholics, Jews, African Americans, Asian Americans, and others.
Third, and more importantly, the champions of Muslim hearings completely fail the elementary principle of any problem-solving endeavor: a sound diagnosis of the problem. They make no effort to shed light on the submerged factors or causes that may contribute to some Muslims’ suspicion of security forces, or some misguided acts of violent behavior. Instead, they (implicitly) attribute such suspicions or behaviors to their religion, or the “pathological problems of the Muslim mind.” Rather than asking “Why convulsive reactions of the disenfranchised Muslims (or other ethnic/religious minorities) sometimes take religious form,” they ask “What is in Islam that leads to such convulsive reactions?”
While extreme, King is unfortunately not alone in demonizing Islam and/or Muslims. His is simply a more blatant case of a broader narrative of Muslim-bashing. Mainstream media reports, editorials, political pundits, and talk shows tend to harp on the narrative—some directly, like Fox News, others in subtle ways—that the roots of “Muslim radicalization” must be sought in Islam itself, or in their “hatred of our way of life,” as President George W. Bush famously put it.
The pernicious view that “they hate our way of life” is essentially a popularized version of the so-called theory of “the clash of civilizations,” which was initially expounded by Samuel P Huntington in the early 1990s. Huntington sets out to identify “new sources” of international conflicts in the post–Cold War world. During the Cold War years, major international conflicts were explained by the “threat of communism” and the rivalry between the two competing world systems. In the post–Cold War era, however, argue Huntington and his co-thinkers, the sources of international rivalries and collisions have shifted to competing and incompatible civilizations, which have their primary roots in religion and/or culture. In other words, international conflicts erupt not because of imperialistic pursuits of economic advantage, territorial conquests, or geopolitical ambitions but because of “Muslim’s inability to change.”
A more insidious version of Huntington’s “clash of civilization” is Richard Perle’s strategy of “de-contextualization.” Perle, a leading neoconservative militarist (and a prominent advisor to Israel’s ultra-nationalist Likud Party) coined the term “de-contextualization” as a way to explain both the desperate acts of terrorism in general and the violent tactics of the Palestinian resistance to occupation in particular. He argued that in order to blunt the widespread global criticism of the Israeli treatment of Palestinians, their resistance to occupation must be de-contextualized; that is, we must stop trying to understand the territorial, geopolitical and historical reasons that some groups turn to terrorism. Instead, he suggested, the reasons for the violent reactions of such groups must be sought in the arenas of culture and/or religion.
Like Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” theory and Perle’s “de-contextualization” strategy, King’s “radicalization of Muslims” is part of a well-orchestrated effort to divert attention from the root causes of terrorism, and attribute it to “Islamic way of thinking.” There are both economics and political forces behind this insidious effort at demonization of Muslims.
Economic interests behind the effort are vested largely in the military-security industries that have mushroomed around Homeland Security. There is a whole host of security-based technology industries and related businesses that have rapidly spun around the Pentagon and the Homeland Security apparatus in order to cash in on the Pentagon’s and Homeland Security’s spending bonanza. For example, as William Hartung and Michelle Ciarrocca point out, “Air Structures is introducing fortified vinyl domes for quarantining infected communities in the aftermath of a potential bioterror attack, Visionics is looking into designing facial recognition technology, and PointSource Technologies is developing a sensor to detect biological agents in the air or water.”
Just as the notorious military-industrial complex is known for inventing external enemies in order to justify the continued escalation of the Pentagon budget, so does Homeland Security need enemies and “threats to national security” in order to justify both its parasitic role and its lion’s share of our tax dollars. In light of the fact that Homeland Security has become an effective money-making machine in the hands of some of the powerful technology corporations, it is no accident that King, one of the most Islamophobic members of Congress, is selected to chair the Homeland Security Committee of the House of Representatives.
The politics of the witch-hunting Muslim hearings are equally dubious. In his pursuit of higher office and re-election, King is known for groveling to the Christian Right and the Israeli lobby. His McCarthy-type hearings suit this nefarious purpose well. While monetary and military support for the colonial policies of the state of Israel is essential to garnering the electoral clout of the Jewish and Christian Zionism, demonization of Muslims is also viewed to be an added service to these powerful groups. Muslim-bashing has indeed become a major component of the support for Israel.
While an extreme case, King’s political strategy of pandering to special interests at the expense of social cohesion and long-term national interests is tragically not rare. It includes most American politicians. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of the members of the US Congress, as well as the President, routinely compete with each other in doing the bidding of the military-industrial-security-Israeli lobbies.
Bigotry, intolerance and xenophobia also play an important role in the demonization of Muslims. Not only is the anti-Muslim propaganda divisive and detrimental to social peace and stability, it is also disingenuous. I suspect that King and his Islamophobic cohorts are afraid not so much of the US “Muslim radicalization/terrorism,” or of the absurd view that “Muslims may establish the Sharia judicial system in America,” as they are of the Muslims’ steady advancements and achievements in all fields of the American socio-economic and political life—that is, of their gradually becoming part of the American mainstream.
Not only does the insidious view that Islam is “incompatible” with change and Western values tend to sow the seeds of ignorance, hatred and social tension, it also fails the test of history. The history of the relationship between the modern Western world and the Muslim world shows that, contrary to popular perceptions in the West, from the time of their initial contacts with the capitalist West more than two centuries ago until almost the final third of the twentieth century, the Muslim people were quite receptive of the socio-economic and political models of the modern world. Many people in the Muslim world, including the majority of their political leaders, were eager to transform and restructure their societies after the model of the capitalist West. The majority of political leaders, as well as a significant number of Islamic experts and intellectuals, viewed the rise of the modern West and its spread into their lands as inevitable historical developments that challenged them to chart their own programs of reform and development. John L. Esposito, one of the leading experts of Islamic studies in the United States, describes the early attitude of the political and economic policy makers of the Muslim world toward the modern world of the West:
“Both the indigenous elites, who guided government development programs in newly emerging Muslim states, and their foreign patrons and advisers were Western-oriented and Western-educated. All proceeded from a premise that equated modernization with Westernization. The clear goal and presupposition of development was that every day and in every way things should become more modern (i.e., Western and secular), from cities, buildings, bureaucracies, companies, and schools to politics and culture. While some warned of the need to be selective, the desired direction and pace of change were unmistakable. Even those Muslims who spoke of selective change did so within a context which called for the separation of religion from public life. Western analysts and Muslim experts alike tended to regard a Western-based process of modernization as necessary and inevitable” (The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 9.)
In light of this background, the question arises: What changed that entire earlier receptive and respectful attitude toward the West to the current attitude of suspicion and disrespect?
The answer to this question rests more with the policies of the Western powers in Muslim lands than the alleged rigidity of Islam, or “the clash of civilizations.” It was only after more than a century and a half of imperialistic pursuits, and a series of humiliating policies in the region, that the popular masses of the Muslim world turned to religion as sources of defiance, mobilization, and self-respect. In other words, for many Muslims the recent turn to religion represents not so much a rejection of Western values and achievements as it is a way to resist or defy the oppressive policies and alliances of Western powers in the Muslim world.
Most of today’s regimes in the Muslim world such as those ruling in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt (even after Mubarak), Jordan, Kuwait, and a number of smaller kingdoms in the Persian Gulf area are able to maintain their dictatorial rule not because their people want them to stay in power but because they are useful to some powerful interests abroad.
It is not surprising, then, that many people in these countries are increasingly asking: Why can’t we elect our own governments? Why can’t we have independent political parties? Why can’t we breathe, so to speak? Why are our governments so corrupt? Why are our people, especially Palestinians, treated like this? Why are we ruled by regimes we don’t like and don’t want, but cannot change? And why can’t we change them? Well, the majority of these countries’ citizens would answer, “Because certain powerful interests in the West, especially in the United States, need them and want them in power.”
Nor is it surprising that many people in the Muslim world, especially the frustrated youth, join the ranks of militant anti-U.S. forces and employ religion as a weapon of mobilization and defiance. Correlation between U.S. foreign policy and such reactions was unambiguously acknowledged by the members of the United States’ Defense Science Board, who wrote in a 1997 report to the Undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and science, “Historical data shows a strong correlation between U.S. involvement in international situations and an increase in terrorist attacks against the United States.”
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh, author of The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2007), teaches economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.
Bahraini authorities have razed a hospital for providing medical services to injured anti-government protesters.
The Shahrakan Maternity Hospital was bulldozed by army forces on Friday and there are no reports about the condition or whereabouts of the injured.
Bahraini authorities earlier destroyed the Pearl Square in the capital Manama, which was the epicenter of anti-government protests.
Also on Friday, Bahraini security attacked anti-government protesters in the city of Sitra using teargas, buckshot and stun grenades. Many protesters have been reportedly injured.
Witnesses say authorities have closed all medical centers in the area and no ambulance is allowed to take wounded protesters.
Reports coming from Bahrain say at least 30,000 people attended the protest rally in Sitra.
Thousands of anti-government protesters have also poured into the streets in Bilad al Qadem, a village on the outskirts of Manama, to attend the funeral procession of Hani Abdulaziz, a protester who was killed earlier this week.
According to witnesses, mourners were surrounded by hundreds of security troops and an army helicopter was hovering over the funeral procession in Bilad Qadem. However, there were no reports of clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in the village.
The recent brutal crackdowns in Bahrain come as the United Nations’ human rights office has called on Manama not to use military force on protesters.
Thousands of anti-government protesters poured into the streets across Bahrain on Friday, dubbed the “Day of Rage.”
Since the beginning of anti-government demonstrations in Bahrain at least 20 protesters have been killed and many others have gone missing.
“[Depleted uranium tipped missiles] fit the description of a dirty bomb in every way… I would say that it is the perfect weapon for killing lots of people.” – Marion Falk, chemical physicist (retd), Lawrence Livermore Lab, California, USA
In the first 24 hours of the Libyan attack, US B-2s dropped forty-five 2,000-pound bombs. We do not know if these massive bombs, along with the Cruise missiles launched from British and French planes and ships, contained depleted uranium (DU) warheads. But if past evidence of their deployment by the US and British military is any guide, they may well be part of the bombardment Libya is now experiencing.
DU is the waste product from the process of enriching uranium ore. It is used in nuclear weapons and reactors. Because it is a very heavy substance, 1.7 times denser than lead, it is highly valued by the military for its ability to punch through armored vehicles and buildings. When a weapon made with a DU tip strikes a solid object like the side of a tank, it goes straight through it, then erupts in a burning cloud of vapor. The vapor settles as dust, which is not only poisonous, but also radioactive.
An impacting DU missile burns at 10,000 degrees C. When it strikes a target, 30% fragments into shrapnel. The remaining 70% vaporises into three highly-toxic oxides, including uranium oxide. This black dust remains suspended in the air and, according to wind and weather, can travel over great distances. If you think Iraq and Libya are far away, remember that radiation from Chernobyl reached Wales.
Particles less than 5 microns in diameter are easily inhaled and may remain in the lungs or other organs for years. Internalized DU can cause kidney damage, cancers of the lung and bone, skin disorders, neurocognitive disorders, chromosome damage, immune deficiency syndromes and rare kidney and bowel diseases. Pregnant women exposed to DU may give birth to infants with genetic defects. Once the dust has vaporised, don’t expect the problem to go away soon. As an alpha particle emitter, DU has a half life of 4.5 billion years.
In the ‘shock and awe’ attack on Iraq, more than 1,500 bombs and missiles were dropped on Baghdad alone. Seymour Hersh has claimed that the US Third Marine Aircraft Wing alone dropped more than “five hundred thousand tons of ordnance”. All of it DU-tipped.
Al Jazeera reported that invading US forces fired two hundred tons of radioactive material into buildings, homes, streets and gardens of Baghdad. A reporter from the Christian Science Monitor took a Geiger counter to parts of the city that had been subjected to heavy shelling by US troops. He found radiation levels 1,000 to 1,900 times higher than normal in residential areas. With its population of 26 million, the US dropped a one-ton bomb for every 52 Iraqi citizens or 40 pounds of explosives per person.
William Hague has said that we are in Libya ” to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas”.You don’t have to look far for who and what are being ‘protected’.
In that first 24 hours the ‘Allies’ ‘expended’ £100 million on DU-tipped ordnance. The European Union’s arms control report said member states issued licences in 2009 for the sale of £293.2 million worth of weapons and weapons systems to Libya. Britain issued arms firms licences for the sale of £21.7 million worth of weaponry to Libya and were also paid by Colonel Gadaffi to send the SAS to train his 32nd Brigade.
For the next 4.5 billion years, I’ll bet that William Hague will not be holidaying in North Africa.