Jan 032013
 

PressTV
Webster Tarpley

 
In Charles Dickens’ celebrated short story A Christmas Carol (1843), the Malthusian miser and London stock exchange speculator Ebenezer Scrooge is told by the ghost of his deceased partner Jacob Marley that “it is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow men, and traveled far and wide” for the purpose of doing good works of charity and thus alleviating human suffering.

In this spirit, let us briefly examine the economic condition of humanity at the close of 2012.

Our finding is sadly that the ongoing world economic depression continues to increase the needless privations of the vast majority of the inhabitants of this planet. The great scourges of mankind remain poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, disease, unemployment, homelessness, inadequate sanitation, low social mobility, and exclusion — and many of these are getting worse.

27,000 children die each day from needless poverty

The tragic condition of humanity is perhaps most dramatically reflected in the fact that between 22,000 and 27,000 children die each day due to poverty, largely in the form of starvation, malnutrition, and diseases like diarrhea which can be cured for a few pennies. The upper end of this range corresponds to one needless childhood death caused by poverty every three seconds. Total needless childhood deaths from poverty, these data suggest, must be approaching at least 10 million per year – a yearly total which by itself rivals any of the great genocides of world history. Of the 2.2 billion children who live in today’s world, one billion live in poverty. This is the estimate from the most recent United Nations Human Development Report.

And these figures only include children. Estimates for total daily avoidable mortality, including children, suggest a level of 40,000 to 50,000 fatalities per day — for a yearly hecatomb of over 18 million deaths.

We need look no further for the severest condemnation of the existing economic systems of the world, including especially the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Bank for International Settlements, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the international system of privatized central banks, and similar entities.

Three billion people on less than $2.50 per day

These deaths occur in the world in which about a billion people try to survive on less than one dollar per day. 2.6 billion people or 40% of the world’s population are struggling to subsist on less than two dollars a day. It is a world in which a total of 3 billion people or 50% of the world total must try to get along on less than $2.50 per day. For all the talk of a growing middle class made possible by globalization, 80% of humanity receives less than $10 per day. At the other end of the scale, the most prosperous 20% of the world’s population account for 75% of total world income, and this distribution becomes even more extreme when permanent assets are considered.

Almost a billion malnourished worldwide

Closely correlated with needless death and needless immiseration is the problem of world hunger. According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome, there are in 2012 some 925 million persons experiencing hunger and malnutrition. Some 578 million of the hungry live in the Asian and Pacific countries, followed by 239 million malnourished in sub-Saharan Africa. Even in the developed countries, the FAO lists 19 million hungry. We should recall that, in the United States, some 50 million people rely on food stamps for their survival, meaning that they may have as little as $1.50 to spend per meal and per person.

The FAO’s world hunger estimates are very likely too low. This agency assumes that world hunger was about at its current level in 2008, and then rose to over one billion people in 2009, before returning to approximately the 2008 level in 2010. but this may turn out to be wildly optimistic, and perhaps deliberately so.

Another big factor in economic immiseration is the current high level of world unemployment. Here the statistics are even sketchier. The CIA assumes a world unemployment rate of 9.1%. The United Nations International Labor Organization (ILO) sets this rate at about 6% — meaning about 200 million current jobless — but at the same time concedes that in many developed countries – such as the United States and the nations of the European Union – the combined figure for unemployment and underemployment is in the neighborhood of 30%. These are depression levels by any reckoning.

Especially dramatic is the situation of youth unemployment. According to the ILO, almost 70 5 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 were unemployed, yielding a global youth unemployment rate of 12.7%, up one full percentage point from pre-depression levels. Young people are currently three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. In Greece and Spain, 50% of youth are jobless.


The ILO notes a global tendency for discouraged workers to drop out of the labor market in despair, thus disappearing from the official unemployment statistics on which these estimates are based. Almost 29 million workers dropped out of the labor force in 2011, according to their figures, On a world scale, more and more of those previously employed are now exiting the labor force: The employed portion of the population has declined from 61.2% in 2007 to 60.2% in 2010. This is no ordinary shrinkage, but rather represents the largest decline recorded since these statistics started being kept in 1991. The ILO thinks that this data series is headed for a double dip, with a new all-time record low set to be registered during 2013.

The ILO concludes that the world requires a minimum of 600 million new productive jobs to be created over the coming decade. This is once again doubtless a lowball estimate, but at least gives some basis for programmatic discussions. Who could finance the creation of 600 million new productive jobs, with the high level of capital investment per job which this implies? Surely it cannot be the private zombie banks, which barely manage to keep themselves and their mass of toxic, kited derivatives in existence through massive infusions of money from governments and privatized central banks. It is unlikely to be the national treasuries, which are already under heavy pressure to maintain the existing social safety nets. As the Woytinsky-Lautenbach program and the experience of American Lend-Lease suggest, capital investments on such a scale can only come through the nationalization of the central banks, requiring them to provide the necessary trillions in 0% long-term loans and bonds for infrastructure, manufacturing, construction, energy production, agriculture, scientific research, and other productive activities.

1.1 billion lack clean water

This work is especially urgent because the lack of modern hard and soft infrastructure plays a central role in the continuing immiseration of mankind. Fully 1.1 billion people in developing countries today lack adequate access to clean water. One third of all children, or 640 million kids, exist without adequate shelter. One fifth of all children, or a total of 400 million, do not have access to safe water. One seventh of all children, or 270 million, are denied access to adequate health services.

The United Nations report on the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2013, published on December 18, 2012, points to a significant slowdown in the already anemic levels of world economic activity. This reflects first of all the devastating impact of the austerity imposed by the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, and European Commission (the “troika”) on the depression-stricken economies of southern Europe. It also tries to factor in the grave danger of a similar deflationary shock in the United States, under the rubric of the “fiscal cliff,” imposed by reactionary Republicans and Obama’s Wall Street Democrats. Another major factor is the marked downturn of the Chinese economy, a byproduct to a large extent of the ongoing recessions in much of Europe.

Political instability rooted in economic immiseration: Egypt

The world economic depression has of course been a major factor in the youth unemployment and food price inflation which have played a central role in the destabilizations commonly known as the “Arab Spring.” Those destabilization had been prepared by the austerity demands of the IMF on countries like Libya and Syria. As the imperialists had intended, the new regimes left in the wake of those destabilizations are weaker than their predecessors, and thus even more likely to sell out to the demands of the international financiers. A case in point is the new Egyptian government of Mohammed Morsi. Morsi capitulated to the IMF on the critical question of food and fuel subsidies in the last week of November, setting the stage for a major crisis of his regime. Under Morsi’s sellout to the IMF, the price of a liter of gasoline has gone from 2.75 Egyptian pounds to five Egyptian pounds – a price hike sure to cause riots in any country. The IMF has forced Morsi sea to set a goal of reducing fuel subsidies by one third, cutting them by $5 billion to a level of about $11.4 billion. At the same time, Morsi is supposed to increase the sales tax as part of a transition towards a value added tax (VAT), which translates into a massive shift towards regressive taxation, the most socially destructive type. In addition, new levies on personal property and telecommunications our plan. This is the freshest example of what not to do.

What the world needs, by contrast, is a decisive repudiation of neoliberal economics, a rejection of austerity measures, and a reaffirmation of the priority of a social safety net, combined with measures to shift the cost of the world depression off the backs of working people and onto the parasitical bankers who created the depression in the first place. The centerpiece of a world recovery program will be the nationalization of the existing central banks and their transformation into Hamiltonian national banks dedicated to providing masses of extremely cheap, long term loans and bond purchases for the purpose of reviving infrastructure and a broad array of tangible, physical production, thus turning the world economy away from the hyper-financialization and casino economy of recent years.

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Nov 272012
 

Insists Move ‘Temporary’ and Aimed to Protect Constitutional Committee

AntiWar
Jason Ditz

Faced with an ever-growing backlash over last week’s power grab, Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi struggled to defend his edict, insisting that the move was “temporary” and not intended to centralize power in his hands.

Rather, in a new statement Mursi insisted that the move was meant to limit the power of the judiciary, and was primarily aimed at avoiding the “politicization” of the court system while keeping them from ousting the committee penning the new constitution.

Yet the edict went well beyond protecting the committee, claiming unilateral power for the president to do anything he deems necessary and insisting the court can’t even theoretically review anything he does. To the extent it renders the court totally powerless it would seem to limit interest in its politicization.

Making the move temporary does seem to be a key part of the edict, and assuming it remains temporary it may placate some critics. The edict only sought to define presidential power until the new constitution is written, with the assumption that the constitution itself will define them afterwards.

“Temporary” measures in the Middle East have a tendency to last for decades, however, as with the “emergency law” in place in Egypt before the revolution, which granted Mursi’s predecessor Hosni Mubarak similar unchecked power. The longer it takes to get a constitution in place, the more Egyptians are likely to bristle at the power Mursi is now claiming for himself.

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Nov 172012
 

MondoWeiss
Alex Kane

Palestinian Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniya (R) and Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil hold the body of a Palestinian baby boy who was killed in an Israeli air strike
 Palestinian Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip
Ismail Haniya (R) and Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil
hold the body of a Palestinian baby boy who was killed
in an Israeli air strike on November 16, 2012 during a visit

You know the drill by now: an escalation occurs in the Gaza Strip that is automatically blamed on Palestinian fighters. The New York Times does it, as the Electronic Intifada’s Maureen Murphy points out, and now the Washington Post prints a story with a similar narrative.
Here’s how the Post reports on how the bombardment in Gaza started:

The latest round of fighting began Saturday, when militants from a non-Hamas faction fired an antitank missile at an Israeli jeep traveling along the Israel-Gaza border, injuring four Israeli soldiers. Israel responded with shelling and firing that Gaza medical officials said killed at least four people, including two children, and wounded about two dozen others. Militants then fired about 130 rockets and mortar rounds at population centers of southern Israel over several days. After mediation from Egypt, the flare-up appeared to have waned by Tuesday.

But that’s now how “the latest round of fighting began.” The Institute for Middle East Understanding published an excellent timeline that shows how the fighting actually began:

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8
Following a two-week lull in violence, Israeli soldiers invade Gaza. In the resulting exchange of gunfire with Palestinian fighters, a 12-year-old boy is killed by an Israeli bullet while he plays soccer.
Shortly afterwards, Palestinian fighters blow up a tunnel along the Gaza-Israel frontier, injuring one Israeli soldier.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10
An anti-tank missile fired by Palestinian fighters wounds four Israeli soldiers driving in a jeep along the Israel-Gaza boundary.
An Israeli artillery shell lands in a soccer field in Gaza killing two children, aged 16 and 17. Later, an Israeli tank fires a shell at a tent where mourners are gathered for a funeral, killing two more civilians, and wounding more than two dozen others.

As you can see, the escalation began when Israel killed a 12-year-old boy. The rockets and missiles fired in response were what the Gaza-based militant group Popular Resistance Committees called a “revenge invoice.”

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Nov 162012
 

PressTV

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country will back Egyptian efforts to put an end to the Israeli aggression in the besieged Gaza Strip.

In a telephone conversation with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Friday, Putin said Russia planned to support Cairo’s efforts directed at normalizing the situation in the Palestinian territory, the Kremlin said in a statement.

The remarks come after Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Qandil visited the Gaza Strip on Friday, where he urged the world leaders to stop Tel Aviv’s attacks.

Qandil promised to intensify Egypt’s efforts to “stop this aggression and achieve a lasting truce.”

On Thursday, President Morsi also condemned the Israeli aggression as “unacceptable” and warned it could lead to instability in the region.

Some 25 people have been killed and more than 250 others injured in the new wave of attacks since November 14.

The Israeli regime frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the acts of aggression are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, in violation of international law, disproportionate force is always used and civilians are often killed or injured.

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Nov 162012
 

Electronic Intifada
Ali Abunimah

Smoke rises after an Israeli air strike in Gaza city on 15 November 2012.

An Israeli minister has called for the army to bomb Gaza until the population flees en masse into Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, and for water and electricity supplies to be cut, a clear case of incitement to war crimes.

Israel Katz, Israel’s transport minister, was quoted on the Orthodox website B’Hadrei Haredim on 11 November:

Israel must act in Gaza with a very clear policy. The leadership of the Hamas, which is responsible for all the attacks and shooting, must be eliminated. Beyond that, we must detach from Gaza in a civilian manner – electricity, water, food, and fuel – and transition into a policy of deterrence, just like in Southern Lebanon.”

Why don’t they shoot at us from Southern Lebanon and do from Gaza? Because there is no clear boundary with Gaza. Because the civilian link with Gaza is unreasonable. Gaza should be considered a border, and every time we are hurt, hurt back [retaliate]. When I see Palestinian citizens escaping into Sinai, the way Lebanese citizens escape toward Beirut when there is a round of fire against Israel – we will then know that the deterrence has been achieved.”

Calling for war crimes

Katz, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, appears to be inciting war crimes of the kind Israel committed in Lebanon and previously in Gaza.
In July 2006, hundreds of thousands of civilians in Lebanon fled their homes to escape an indiscriminate Israeli onslaught that left 1,200 people, mostly civilians, dead, and the country’s infrastructure devastated.

Israel’s bombardment of the civilian areas came to be known as the “Dahiya doctrine” after the southern suburb of Beirut that was leveled by Israeli attacks.

According to the UN-commissioned Goldstone Report, Israel applied the “Dahiya doctrine” again during its 2008-2009 attack on Gaza. The report said on page 23:

The tactics used by Israeli military armed forces in the Gaza offensive are consistent with previous practices, most recently during the Lebanon war in 2006. A concept known as the Dahiya doctrine emerged then, involving the application of disproportionate force and the causing of great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilian populations.

The Goldstone report noted that Israeli officials had explicitly articulated the goals and methods of this strategy.

Such use of indiscriminate and “disrproportionate” force (there is no such thing as proportionate force against civilians), calculated to destroy civilian infrastructure and cause suffering, amounts to a war crime.

Now, just as in those previous cases, Israeli ministers are not shy about publicly stating their criminal intent, confident of the international impunity and complicity that has so far protected them from accountability.

Israel’s current assault, which it began by breaking a truce with Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza, has claimed at least 22 Palestinian lives in recent days, with dozens of injuries.

Sixteen Palestinians have been killed since 14 November, the latest a 10-month old baby named Hanin Tafish. Yesterday, Israeli bombardment killed 11-month-old Omar Masharawi, the son of a BBC staffer in Gaza.

Three Israelis were killed this morning in retaliatory rocket fire from Gaza.
With thanks to Dena Shunra for spotting and translation.

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Oct 132012
 

Russia Today

Thousands of supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi battled for control of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the recent revolution. Over one hundred protesters are reported injured in the violence.

Supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi fought for control of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the recent revolution.

Protesters hurled rocks and bottles at each other, fists flew and gunshots were heard during the melee in downtown Cairo on Friday. The ongoing conflict is the first major street fight between liberals and Islamists since Morsi’s election in June.

Bel Trew, a Cairo-based journalist, told RT about the chaotic scene unfolding on Tahrir, saying she had “personally witnessed rock throwing, several very heavy head injuries, Molotov [cocktail] throwing; we have heard gunshots, though I can’t confirm that myself as I wasn’t able to see.”

She also said there were small fires by a museum adjacent to the square caused by petrol bombs and fireworks. Trew believes the violence is unlikely to end soon, as “there has been no police presence whatsoever, even though in Morsi’s 100-day plan, he did say that he would up security in the country and reassure people that they wouldn’t see scenes like this.”

The Health Ministry said 110 people had sustained light to moderate injuries, state media reported.

Mounira Public Hospital chief Muhammad Shawky said earlier in the afternoon that his hospital had received at least ten injured protesters, the Egypt Independent reports. One man was hospitalized after receiving a serious eye injury, while nine others were treated for minor wounds and later released. Since then, the number reported injured has continued to increase without any signs of abating.

Eyewitnesses said many of the injured had been pelted with rocks.

Egyptian protesters hold a national flag as they walk past a burning bus during clashes in Cairo on October 12, 2012 (AFP Photo / Str)
Egyptian protesters hold a national flag as they walk past a
 burning bus during clashes in Cairo on October 12, 2012 

Some 2,000 people poured onto the square on Friday after tensions erupted between pro- and anti-Morsi forces when a court acquitted Mubarak-era officials accused of ordering camels to charge against protesters during last year’s uprising.

The February 2011 incident, known as the “Camel Battle,” left nearly a dozen people dead. It was one of the bloodiest incidents in the 2011 revolution that toppled the Mubarak regime.

The so-called “Judgement Day” protest on the square had originally been organized by left-leaning activists hoping to draw attention to their disaffection with President Morsi and the Constituent Assembly. Islamists arrived to protest the contentious “Camel Battle” ruling, which saw 25 figures in the Mubarak regime set free.

While all sides to the conflict were united in their opposition to the acquittal, long simmering tensions between the rival parties quickly spilled over.

The coalition of liberals and secular-minded groups was particularly concerned with Islamist control of the body drafting the country’s new constitution.

Fighting commenced after Muslim Brotherhood supporters tore down a podium belonging to a group chanting anti-Morsi slogans, AFP reported.

“Down, down with rule by the guide,” Morsi’s detractors chanted in reference to Mohammed Badie, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi officially resigned from the Brotherhood upon assuming office, but his opponents believe that he maintains control over the president.

Egyptians inspect a burnt bus which was set on fire during clashes on Tahrir square in Cairo on October 12, 2012 (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)
Egyptians inspect a burnt bus which was set on fire
during clashes on Tahrir square in Cairo on October 12, 2012

On Friday Morsi was in Egypt’s second largest city, Alexandria, where he vowed that the former regime’s figures would be held accountable in spite of Wednesday’s ruling.

Morsi moved to dismiss the country’s prosecutor general – a Mubarak appointee – following the controversial verdict. The prosecutor, Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud refused to resign and accept an offer to be Egypt’s envoy to the Vatican.

Egyptian opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi confront government supporters (top) in Tahrir square in Cairo on October 12, 2012 (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)
Add caption
“As long as a majority of people who are setting up the new constitution are Islamists, they will naturally seek to create an Islamist state, and at this stage I don’t see how that could be avoided.”

Egyptians help to evacuate a wounded man during clashes of opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi with government supporters in Tahrir square in Cairo on October 12, 2012 (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)
Egyptians help to evacuate a wounded man during clashes of opponents of the
 Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi with government supporters in
Tahrir square in Cairo on October 12, 2012
Anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators tackle a Muslim Brotherhood member and supporter of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi at Tahrir Square, the focal point of the Egyptian uprising, in Cairo October 12, 2012 (Reuters / Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
Anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators tackle a Muslim Brotherhood member
and supporter of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi at Tahrir Square, the focal
 point of the Egyptian uprising, in Cairo October 12, 2012 
Pro and anti-Morsi forces clash in Cairo October 12, 2012 (Reuters / Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
Pro and anti-Morsi forces clash in Cairo October 12, 2012 

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Sep 232012
 
Ahram

Official documents obtained by Al-Ahram daily indicate that imprisoned Habib El-Adly’s fortunes are around $3 billion, including a ‘fleet’ of fancy cars and dozens of villas  

Egypt’s former minister of interior Habib El-Adly reportedly owns 42 palaces and villas, 75 feddens and a ‘fleet’ of luxury cars, state-owned Al-Ahram daily newspaper reported on Saturday.

Al-Ahram has obtained official documents which will be handed to the country’s illicit gains authority that include details about El-Adly’s wealth, which is estimated at LE18 billion ($3 billion).

El-Adly and ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak are currently serving life sentences for failing to prevent the killing of protesters during last year’s uprising.

Most of the former interior minister’s properties are located in Sharm El-Sheikh, the North Coast, Mohandiseen and Zamalek, all in wealthy neighbourhoods.

El-Adly owns a villa in satellite 6 October City surrounded by a bulletproof glass façade, according to Al-Ahram.

It is reported that there are other undisclosed properties that have been registered under the names of his relatives.

In July 2011, El-Adly was sentenced to five years in prison for squandering public funds in the infamous number plates case. Earlier that same year the former interior minister was handed a 12-year sentence for corruption charges related to using his senior position to illegally gain profits.

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Sep 222012
 
Global Research
Prof. James Petras

The so-called “Arab Spring:” is a distant and bitter memory to those who fought and struggled for a better world, not to speak of the thousands who lost, life and limb.  In its place, throughout the Muslim world, a new wave of reactionaries, corrupt and servile politicians have taken the reins of power buttressed by the same military, secret police and judicial power who sustained the previous rulers.[2]

*      *      *
Introduction

Death and destruction is rampant, poverty and misery has multiplied, law and order has broken down, retrograde  thugs have seized political power, where previously they were a marginal force.  Living standards have plunged, cities are devastated and commerce is paralyzed.  And presiding over this “Arab Winter” are the Western powers, the US and EU, – with the aid of the despotic Gulf absolutist monarchies, their Turkish ally and a motley army of mercenary Islamic terrorists and their would-be exile spokespeople.

The legacy of imperial intervention in the Muslim world during the first decade of the 21st century, in terms of lives lost, in people displaced, in economies destroyed, in perpetual warfare, exceeds any previous decade, including 19th and 20th century colonial conquests.  Much of the latest Western mayhem and violence has been compressed in the period dubbed the “Arab Spring” between 2011 – 2012.  Moreover, the worst is to come.  The Western overseers have gained strategic positions of power in some countries( Egypt ), are engaged in prolonged ruinous wars in others ( Syria ) and are preparing for even bigger and more destructive military intervention in still others ( Iran ).

The “Winter of Muslim Discontent” covers an entire arc from Pakistan , Afghanistan in South Asia, through the Gulf region and the Middle East to North Africa .  In the throes of the worst economic crises to hit the West since the 1930’s, the Western imperialist regimes have squeezed their people, mobilized personnel, arms and money to engage in simultaneous wars in five regions and two continents – in pursuit of overthrowing political adversaries and installing clients, even if it results in the destruction of the economy and uprooting of millions.

Let us begin with Egypt , where the Arab Spring has become a case study in the making of the New Imperial Order in the Muslim world.  To attribute the mass violent rebellions across two continents and two dozen Muslim countries to a US made film which desecrates the Prophet Mohammed is the height of superficiality.  At most the film was the trigger that set off deeply rooted hostilities resulting from two decades of US led ravaging and destruction of the Muslim world and more particularly, rage flows from Washington ’s crude intervention against the promise of the Arab Spring.

Egypt:  The Making of a Client State

From day one, in February 2011, Washington sought in every way to prop up the Mubarak dictatorship as thousands of protestors fighting for freedom were killed, wounded or jailed in the major plazas and streets of Egypt .  When Mubarak was forced out of power, Washington sought to retain its influence by turning to his Generals, and backed the military junta which seized power.  As the military dictatorship became the target of huge pro-democracy demonstrations, Washington backed a political power sharing agreement between the dominant pro-Western neo-liberal sector of the Muslim Brotherhood and the military, excluding any but the most superficial democratic and socio-economic reforms demanded by the poor and the working and middle classes.

With the election of President Mohamed Morsi, Washington secured the most fervent advocate of savage “free market” capitalism and the second best (after Mubarak) advocate of retaining Egypt’s status as a US client state in the Middle East.  Morsi, following in the footsteps of Mubarak and in accordance with the Washington and Tel Aviv, closed the trade routes between Gaza and Sinai, traveled to the Non-Aligned Movement in Teheran to deliver the Saudi-Gulf message calling for support of the Western backed armed mercenaries ravaging Syria .  Later he announced plans to privatize publicly-owned enterprises, reduce the deficit via elimination of basic subsidies to the poor, de-regulate the economy to increase the flow of foreign capital and end labor strikes[3].  As a reward for his servility and to ease the process of remaking Egypt as a pliable Western client state, Washington, Saudi Arabia, the IMF, Qatar and the EU have offered Morsi over $20 billion in loans, debt relief and grants[4].  Morsi’s rule depends on playing the ‘spiritual card’ to retain the support of the impoverished Muslim masses, while pursuing a staunch neo-liberal economic strategy and neo-colonial foreign policy.

Given the recent revolutionary pro-democracy and nationalist fervor, Morsi looks for ways to deflect rising socio-economic discontent with his neo-liberal economic policies by adopting an apparently pious Muslim posture – condemning “the film” ridiculing the Prophet and tolerating assaults on the US Embassy in Cairo … which angered Clinton and Obama, who expect total subservience, especially
toward the symbols and substance of everything US[5].

From Morsi’s perspective, a one day blow-off of steam aimed at the US Embassy, was the price for his larger agenda of putting an end to the revolutionary democratic and nationalist aspirations of the masses who overthrew Mubarak, especially when Morsi has every intention of “continuing his (Mubarek’s) economic agenda with a stated policy to battle corruption”[6].  Egyptian Muslim and secular populace are profoundly disenchanted with the Brotherhoods betrayal of their promises of welfare, jobs, prosperity and nationalist foreign policy .The “film” served as a “legitimate pretext” to unify their forces:  the protest against “the film” was in reality about the larger socio-economic and political cleavages emerging and the tremendous boost in US influence in Morsi’s Egypt .

Libya

The Obama regime led the aerial and maritime war that devastated Libya ’s economy, destroyed its national integrity and allowed a plethora of foreign and domestic terrorist fundamentalist groups to seize control over vast regions of the country[7].  Washington and the UE parachuted a motley group of client ex-pats into government – without any supporting state institutions.  The Islamic fundamentalists, the clans, the gangs, the tribalists, monarchists and dozens of other local warlords who the EU and Washington funded, armed and imported to overthrow Gadhafi did much more – they destroyed the entire fabric of organized civil society, the state and public authority.  In the face of a Hobbesian chaotic world of warring fiefdoms, many people turned to their primary groups – family, clan, religious authorities, which could offer some minimum protection in the home, street and workplace.  The assault on the US consulate was only one of thousands of violent assaults against property and national, regional and local authorities[8].  The very police, military and ministries are infiltrated by competing armed religious and secular factions seeking to secure scarce oil revenues for their particular group.

The Consulate protest and the assassination of the US Ambassador and Special Forces was merely the most publicized act of murderous violence spawned by the US and EU military intervention.  They thought, either out of total ignorance, arrogance or naiveté that they could arm the fundamentalists to do the dirty work of killing off Gadhafi and once their “mission was completed”, they could be discarded like a used condom (or shipped off to Syria as shock troops) and could be replaced by neo-liberal technocrats who would run the country as a Western client state:  turning the oil fields to EU and US oil companies.  Instead Washington and the EU have alienated all sections of Libya society: the millions of beneficiaries of stable secure, secular and prosperous Gadhafi ruled Libya ; the mass of armed Muslim fanatics who demand a fundamentalist state and feel their sacrifices have been pushed aside; the warlords and contrabandists of arms, who demand respect for their territorial acquisitions[9].  And above all the vast majority of all Libyans who have been impoverished by the war and who looked on with indifference or satisfaction as the armed gangs bombed the US Consulate.  The violent protest over the amateur film denigrating the Prophet was clearly the pretext for a vast accumulation of popular and elite grievances which resulted from armed Western intervention.

Yemen

The seizure of the US Embassy in Yemen follows 33 years of US arming and financial backing of the brutal Ali Abdullah Saleh dictatorship, months of drone warfare and the repression of mass peaceful protests.  The on-going pro-democracy movement in Yemen , which attained massive proportions, has been blocked by US-Saudi intervention and has left in its wake thousands of dead, wounded and jailed Yemenese citizens.  The seizure of the US Embassy, ostensibly over “the film”, had far deeper and more comprehensive causes:  popular discontent with the decades-long US-Yemen alliance and a phony US-promoted “democratic transition”. As in Egypt , Tunisia , as well as in Yemen – personnel changes are designed to sacrifice the incumbent dictator in order to save the client state apparatus (police, military, judiciary) which is the mainstay of US and Saudi power in the Gulf region.       In all the “transitions” the US and EU rely on pliable and servile Muslim politicians to harness religious beliefs to their neo-liberal and pro-imperial policies.

Tunisia

In the case of Tunisia , the Washington-EU leveraged the Islamic Ennahda party in power in order to abort the pro-democracy transformation.  They subsequently heavily subsidized the “free-market” Moncef Marzouki regime which has totally ignored the basic demands which led to the uprising:  mass unemployment, the concentration of wealth and subservience to EU-US foreign policy especially with regard to Palestine , Libya and Syria .  The Islamic regime and party played the usual double game of condemning “the film” and smashing the protest, knowing full well that the street protest could ignite a much more significant demonstration against the regime’s total neglect of the original democratic socio-economic agenda.
Somalia and Sudan
Massive violent protests and attacks against the US embassy have taken place in Somalia and the Sudan .  Washington has been deeply and directly militarily involved in Somalia for over two decades, shifting from a failed marine occupation to financing African military surrogates, including Ethiopia , Kenya and Uganda .  They also engage in drone aerial assaults.  As a result of US military intervention, Somalia is a divided, destroyed and destitute country, where piracy flourishes and three quarters of its people are refugees.  The “film protests” are merely the tip of an ongoing national liberation war pitting radical Islamists against Western backed surrogates and the “moderate” Muslim puppet Sharif Sheik Ahmed regime.

Sudan is the site of a massive protest and violent attack on the US and European embassies.  The ruling elite in the Sudan, subject to US and UE sanctions and a Washington-Tel Aviv-UE funded and armed separatist movement in the oil rich southern Sudan, signed off on an accord which reduced its oil revenues by eighty percent.  As a result of Sudan ’s appeasement of the Western separatist surrogate, living standards in Khartoum have plunged, inflation is rife, unemployment is increasing and the regime has turned its guns from the separatists to its own people.  The attacks on the US Embassy have more to do with the division and impoverishment of the country than with “the film”.  At most the latter served as a ‘trigger’ to ignite the profound frustration against a regime which once upheld the national integrity of the country and of late sacrificed its natural wealth to gain favor with Washington .

Pakistan

Pakistan was the site of mass popular protests in its urban centers as well as in the northeastern periphery.  The embassy attacks and flag burning reflect an ongoing and deepening resentment against more than a decade of US ground and aerial intrusions, violating Pakistanian sovereignty.  The drone bombing of dozens of ‘tribal villages’ has aroused the rage of millions.  The US war waged against Islamic strongholds, its armed intrusion to capture bin Laden and its billion-dollar funding of massive Pakistan military sweeps has led to thousands of deaths and millions of refugees.  Pakistan is a country seething with anger and deep  hostility to anything associated with the USA .  The film merely fed into the cauldron of growing militant, religious and nationalist discontent.  This convicted felon, the pro-US President Zarda and his gestures of protest over the film have no credibility:  He is marking time before he is ousted.

Lesser protests of “the film” took place in Malaysia , Indonesia , Nigeria and elsewhere where the US has been less ubiquitous in interfering in the military and political order.

The size, scope and violence of the protests against “the film” are highly correlated with the depth, destruction and destitution directly linked to US military and political intervention.

Conclusion

Faced with a sharp and militant backlash to its on-going counter-revolutionary offensive in the Muslim world, Washington is demanding that its ‘new’ Muslim clients increase “security” – strengthen the police state and crack down on mass protest movements[10].  Washington is once again on the defensive.

The shifting relations of power, between popular movements and the US-EU, have once again become more acute.

In the first phase, Washington and its EU allies were caught by surprise and severely challenged by the mass pro-democracy movements which overthrew or threatened their client rulers in Tunisia, Egypt, Somalia, Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere – what was dubbed the “Arab Spring”.

The second phase was the Western reaction to countermand, to halt and reverse the popular pro-democracy movement, via alliances with malleable Islamic leaders ( Egypt , Tunisia and Yemen ) and by launching and escalating armed struggles via Islamic extremists in Libya and Syria .  They also buttressed the despotic royal regimes in the Gulf.

Barely a few months later the neo-colonial clients, imposed by the US and EU, revealed its fragile foundations:  The fraudulent “transitions” produced servile, rulers incapable and unwilling to address the socio-economic demands of the pro-democracy movements.

The third phase of the struggle now pits a more complex scenario than the earlier “binary conflict” of dictatorship versus democracy.  Today we witness conflicts between neo-liberal Islamists in power against secular and Muslim trade unionists and the poor fundamentalist Muslims fighting for the US (Syria) and against the US (Libya) while secular (Syria) and Islamist (Iran) regimes joining forces facing Western-backed Islamist mercenaries and nuclear-armed Jewish threats.  Whether it is Pakistan , Somalia or the Sudan – wherever the US has gained client states it has imposed war policies that impoverish the masses.

The Islamic terrain of struggles for both the imperial powers and the popular masses reflects the discrediting and decimation of secular rulers and popular civil society organizations.  The religious institutions have become the refuge, the cloak and the war cry of the dispossessed and the property classes.

A careful study of the two decades of US and EU wars in the Muslim world, finds little evidence of “corporate” oil influence in the conduct of imperial wars.  Instead they are essentially imperial military wars.  What we see everywhere is the large scale destruction of the means of production; the massive dis-accumulation of capital; the massive displacement of millions of productive workers, scientists and engineers who produce wealth.  What investors are going to make large scale, long term investments in Afghanistan , Yemen , Somalia , Syria and Libya when their property and lives are in danger from bands of warring ethno-religious warlords armed and trained by US Special Forces?

Big investors do not confide in the stability of corrupt, servile, unpopular client regimes buttressed by the US and EU.  Investors count ten lost years in Iraq at a cost of billions in oil profits.  The US was not at war for oil as some benighted leftist pundits claim.

Military imperialism has led to ruin and rule followed by ruin and run.  The only, and obvious beneficiary of the Western wars on the Muslim countries, is the Jewish state of Israel , whose billionaire political influentials and political acolytes in the Pentagon, Treasury, National Security Council, Congress and the US mass media designed and promoted these disastrous wars against the Muslim world.  Most recently they have promoted the US counter-attack, turning the ‘Arab Spring’ into a ‘Muslim Summer of Discontent’.

There is and there will be no closure on the wars as long as Israel claims supremacy in the Arab world.  The US , is and will be, in permanent war with the Muslim world as long as its foreign policy and political structures are influenced by the Israeli-Zionist power configuration.

No empire prior to the US has sustained such huge financial losses and gained so little in economic rewards.  No previous empire has destroyed so many countries without establishing a single viable productive colonial or neo-colonial regime .Yet to read and hear from our most prominent journalists that the massive, widespread and violent Muslim protests against the symbols and substance of US imperial power are about an “amateur film defaming the prophet” boggles the mind.  The pundits ignore the fact that mass unrest and anti-imperial assaults preceded and will follow the ‘film’ incident.  A decade of savaging a dozen countries and dislocating tens of millions from Libya to Pakistan , passing through Somalia , Syria , Iraq , Pakistan and Yemen has left an indelible mark on the consciousness of those who suffered and those who struggle and especially among the new generation of pro-democracy fighters who will not accept the roll back of their Arab Spring.

The world-wide protest is not merely opposed to “the film” and the mediocre anti-Muslim reactionaries who produced it, but of the entire political and cultural Islamophobic ambience in the US which nurtures this kind of film.  Beginning with the massive round-up of thousands of innocent Muslims by uber-Zionist Michael Chertoff, head of Homeland Security,  continuing with the FBI surveillance and infiltration of hundreds of mosques and following the Zionist sponsored rabble rousing campaign in New York City against a cultural center and the purge of a highly respected Arab-American educator; and the rabid weekly anti-Moslem Christian-Zionist rants to 40 million US followers; and the AIPAC-promoted US Treasury appointments, and subsequent sanctions against independent Muslim countries, Muslims have a solid bases for believing that Islamophobia is embedded in US culture.  No thoughtful Muslim in the world believes the film was an aberration since Hollywood ’s pro-Israel film and TV moguls have always demonized and grotesquely caricatured Muslims, portraying them as blood-thirsty villains, ignorant barbarians and worthless playboy sheiks.

Obama’s sending of the Marines and warships to defend the missions merely reinforces the image and reality that the US presence in the Muslim world  is based on force and arms.  There are no critical reflections in US political circles on the larger cultural and political issues involved at home and abroad which arouse the passion and rage now spreading to 20 Muslim nations and beyond.

Islamophobia is not simply an attitude of a minority of marginal extremists, it is part and parcel of  policies engaging in large scale on-going wars against a dozen Muslim nations, in policing millions of US Muslims and in arming a Jewish state engaged in uprooting Palestinians and threatening to bomb 75 million Iranian Muslims.

Notes
[1] FT Reporters, “Rage at Amateur Film Spreads”, Financial Times, 9/14/12, p. 2.
[2]James Petras, The Arab Revolt and the Imperialist Counterattack, ( Atlanta : Clarity Press 2012) 2md Edition
[3] Borgou Daragahi, “Investment Drive Aims to Boost US Influence in Morsi’s Egypt ” FT 9/10/12, p. 4.
[4]ibid
[5]FT 9/13/12, p. 10.
[6]FT 9/10/12, p. 10
[7]FT 9/13/12, p. 11
[8]FT 9/13/12, p. 4
[9] Mel Frykberg, “Consulate Attack was just the Latest in Rising Violence in Libya ” McClatchy Washington Bureau, 9/12/12.
[10]  FT 9/14/12, p. 2.  Roula “Fool ya” Khalef a reliable mouthpiece of the US echoes Clinton ’s commands in her diatribe “Islamist Leaders (sic) have power and Responsibility to Defuse
Tensions”

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Sep 192012
 
Consortium News
Ray McGovern

Exclusive: The new conventional wisdom, in the wake of angry protests roiling the Middle East, is that Muslims are either way too sensitive or irrational. How else to explain the fury over an offensive anti-Islam video? But the video was just the spark that ignited a long-smoldering fire, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

“Why Is the Arab world so easily offended?” asks the headline atop an article by Fouad Ajami, which theWashington Post published online last Friday to give perspective to the recent anti-American violence in Muslim capitals.

While the Post described Ajami simply as a “senior fellow” at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, Wikipedia gives a more instructive perspective on his checkered career and dubious credibility.

An outspoken supporter of the war on Iraq, Ajami was still calling it a “noble effort” well after it went south. He is a friend and colleague of one of the war’s intellectual authors, neocon Paul Wolfowitz, and also advised Condoleezza Rice. It was apparently Wolfowitz or Rice who fed Ajami’s analyses to then-Vice President Dick Cheney, who cited Ajami’s views repeatedly in speeches.

The most telling example of this came in Cheney’s VFW address on August 26, 2002, in which the Vice President laid down the terms of reference for the planned attack on Iraq. Attempting to assuage concerns about the upcoming invasion, Cheney cited Ajami’s analysis: “As for the reaction of the Arab ‘street,’ the Middle East expert Professor Fouad Ajami predicts that after liberation, the streets in Basra and Baghdad are ‘sure to erupt in joy in the same way the throngs in Kabul greeted the Americans.’”

Author and scholar Fouad Ajami.

In his writings, Ajami did warn, in a condescending way, that one could expect some “road rage … of a thwarted Arab world – the congenital condition of a culture yet to take full responsibility for its self-inflicted wounds.” He then added:

“There is no need to pay excessive deference to the political pieties and givens of the region. Indeed, this is one of those settings where a reforming foreign power’s simpler guidelines offer a better way than the region’s age-old prohibitions and defects.”

No One Better?

Ignoring the albatross of tarnished credentials hanging around Ajami’s neck, the Post apparently saw him as just the right academician to put perspective on the violence of last week in Middle East capitals. As for his record of credibility: Well, who takes the trouble to go to Wikipedia for information on pundits?

Nor were the Post’s editors going to take any chances that its newspaper readers might miss the benefit of Ajami’s wisdom. So the Post gave pride of place to the same article in Sunday’s Outlook section, as well. What the Post and other mainstream media want us to believe comes through clearly in the title given to the article’s jump portion, which dominates page 5: “Why a YouTube trailer ignited Muslim rage.”

Setting off the article were large, scary photos: on page one, a photo of men brandishing steel pipes to hack into the windows of the U.S. embassy in Yemen; the page-5 photo showed a masked protester, as he “ran from a burning vehicle near the U.S. embassy in Cairo.”

So – to recapitulate – the Post’s favored editorial narrative of the Mideast turmoil is that hypersensitive, anti-American Muslims are doing irrational stuff like killing U.S. diplomats and torching our installations. This violence was the result of Arabs all too ready to take offense at a video trailer disrespectful of the Prophet.

Nonetheless, it seems to be true that the trailer did have some immediate impact and will have more. According to an eyewitness, the 30 local guards who were supposed to protect the U.S. consulate in Benghazi simply ran away as the violent crowd approached on Tuesday night.

Wissam Buhmeid, the commander of the Tripoli government-sanctioned Libya’s Shield Brigade, effectively a police force for Benghazi, maintained that it was anger over the video trailer which made the guards abandon their post.
“There were definitely people from the security forces who let the attack happen because they were themselves offended by the film; they would absolutely put their loyalty to the Prophet over the consulate. The deaths are all nothing compared to insulting the Prophet.”

Predictably, Islamophobes and Muslim haters with influence over Western media coverage are citing the violence as the kind of “irrational” over-reaction that “exposes” Islam’s intolerance and incompatibility with democratic values and demonstrates that Islam is on a collision course with the West.

It is no surprise that Ajami gives no attention to the many additional factual reasons explaining popular outrage against the U.S. and its representatives – reasons that go far deeper than a video trailer, offensive though it was. Ajami steers clear of the dismal effects of various U.S. policies over the years on people across the Muslim world – in countries like Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Tunisia, Libya, Afghanistan. (The list stretches as far as distant Indonesia, the most populous Muslim state.)

Last week’s violence not only reflects the deep anger at and distrust of the U.S. across the Islamic world, but also provides insight into the challenges posed by the power now enjoyed by the forces of extremism long held in check by the dictators toppled by last year’s wave of revolutions.

Cui Bono?

Who are the main beneficiaries of misleading narratives like that of Ajami. He himself concedes, “It is never hard to assemble a crowd of young protesters in the teeming cities of the Muslim world. American embassies and consulates are magnets for the disgruntled.”

So, does that mean the notorious video trailer is best regarded as a catalyst for the angry protests rather than the underlying cause? In other words, if the video served as the spark, who or what laid the kindling? Who profits from the narrative that neocons are trying so hard to embed in American minds?

Broad hints can be seen in the Washington Post’s coverage over recent days – including a long piece by its Editorial Board, “Washington’s role amid the Mideast struggle for power,” published the same day Ajami’s article appeared online.

What the two have in common is that the word “Israel” appears in neither piece. One wonders how and why thePost‘s editors could craft a long editorial on the “Mideast struggle for power” — and give editorial prominence to Ajami’s article — without mentioning Israel.

Presumably because the Post’s readers aren’t supposed to associate the fury on the Arab “street” with anger felt by the vast majority Arabs over what they see as U.S. favoritism toward Israel and neglect for the plight of the Palestinians. The Israeli elephant, with the antipathy and resentment its policies engender, simply cannot be allowed into the discussion.

In the circumstances of last week, Israel may be less a centerpiece than the ugly Islamophobia that has found a home in America. But these factors tend to build on and reinforce each other. And the indignities suffered at the hand of Israel certainly has resonance is the larger context of Muslims who feel their religion and culture are under attack in a variety of ways.

“Why Do They Hate Us?”

On Saturday, during a live interview on Al-Jazeera, I tried to inject some balance into the discussion. I noted that one key reason for the antipathy toward the U.S. among Muslims is the close identification of the U.S. with Israel and the widespread realization that support from Washington enables Israel’s policies of oppression and warmongering against the Palestinians and its regional neighbors.

[As an example of that Israeli brutality and American complicity, an op-ed in Monday’s New York Times detailed how U.S. diplomats in 1982 acquiesced to Israeli actions in Lebanon that led to the massacre of defenseless Palestinian civilians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.]

As to “why they hate us,” I had time to recall three very telling things I had mentioned in an earlier article on this sensitive topic.

1 — From the 9/11 Commission Report of July 2004, page 147, regarding the motivation of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: “By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experience there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”

2 — The mainstream-media-neglected report from the Pentagon-appointed Defense Science Board, a report that took direct issue with the notion that they hate us for our freedom. Amazingly, in their Sept. 23, 2004, report to Rumsfeld, the DSB directly contradicted what Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush had been saying about “why they hate us.” Here’s part of what the DSB said:

“Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf States. Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.”

The New York Times ignored the Defense Science Board’s startling explanation (as it has other references to the elephant plopped on the sofa). On Nov. 24, 2004, the erstwhile “newspaper of record” did publish a story on the board’s report — but performed some highly interesting surgery.

Thom Shanker of the Times quoted the paragraph beginning with “Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom’” (see above), but he or his editors deliberately cut out the following sentence about what Muslims do object to, i.e., U.S. “one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights” and support for tyrannical regimes.

mply a matter of shortening the paragraph. Rather, the offending middle sentence was surgically removed.The Times then included the sentence immediately after the omitted one. In other words, it was not si

Equally important — and equally missing — there is never any sensible examination of the motives that might be driving what Cheney called this “same assortment of killers and would-be mass murderers [who] are still there.” We are left with Ajami’s image of hypersensitive or irrational Muslims unwilling to confront their own cultural failings.
3 – On May 21, 2009, just four months after he left office, Dick Cheney gave a speech at the neocon America Enterprise Institute and blurted out some uncharacteristic honesty. He explained why terrorists hate “all the things that make us a force for good in the world — for liberty, for human rights, for the rational, peaceful resolution of differences.”

However, no longer enjoying the services of a functionary to vet his rhetoric, Cheney slipped up (and so did the reporters covering the event).  Expanding on the complaints of the terrorists, Cheney said:

“They have never lacked for grievances against the United States. Our belief in freedom of speech and religion … our belief in equal rights for women … our support for Israel (emphasis added) — these are the true sources of resentment.”

“Our support for Israel” – a true source of resentment. Cheney got that part right.

One Brief Shining Moment

My mind wandered back to June 2004, when former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer published his insightful book, Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror. The book won him interviews with the likes of NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, and – to his credit – Scheuer rose to the occasion with candor rarely heard in mainstream media before or since.

On June 23, 2004, he told Mitchell:

“It’s very hard in this country to debate policy regarding Israel … bin Laden’s ‘genius’  lies in his ability to exploit those U.S. policies most offensive to Muslims – our support for Israel, our presence on the Arabian peninsula, in Afghanistan and Iraq, our support for governments that Muslims believe oppress Muslims.”

Scheuer went on to say that bin Laden regarded the war on Iraq as proof of America’s hostility toward Muslims, and of the reality that America “is willing to do almost anything to defend Israel. The war is certainly viewed as an action meant to assist the Israeli state. It is … a godsend for those Muslims who believe as bin Laden does.”
In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” he added that failure to change American policies to better match realities in the Middle East could mean decades of war. Only if the American people learn the truth could more effective strategies be fashioned and implemented, he added.

By and large, the truth-telling did not happen, so there has been but negligible pressure from the American people. The situation today differs little from then.

Indeed, in the same time frame of Scheuer’s book, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld grappled publicly with a troubling “unknown” that followed along the same lines, i.e., “whether the extremists … are turning out newly trained terrorists faster than the United States can capture or kill them. It is quite clear to me that we do not have a coherent approach to this.”

Since then, eight years have come and gone – with still no coherent approach and with continued media camouflaging of the bedrock reasons as to “why they hate us.”

Among the chief beneficiaries of this woodenheaded approach? One can look at the military-industrial-congressional-media-security complex, especially the war profiteers and their favored politicians who stoke fear of the “evildoers.” All the better to scare you with.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served for 30 years as an Army intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst.  He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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