Copyright 2011-3011 Alternative News Forum, All Rights Reserved.
March 2011 has brought Americans yet another dire omen of political and foreign policy ill winds to come: we are now inching toward becoming embroiled in Libya, against all better common sense and judgment. I do not agree with Sarah Palin on this one. Sometimes you just have to let these nations work out their own destinies without sticking your foreign policy fingers and your overbearing cruise missiles into the mix, thus making it all potentially much worse.
Anymore, what we used to call “foreign policy” in America has seemingly become just one long intellectual justification for the U.S. military machine to do whatever the hell it wants to, whenever and where ever it wants to.
Whatever happened to the will and consent of the American people in all this? It’s our money that’s being spent here.
While the US military rained down at least 100 cruise missiles onto Libya, causing more than 60 civilian casualties, Barack Obama gave a speech on human rights in Brazil. The resulting utter political and humane cognitive dissonance was loud enough to be heard back in the states all the way from South America.
As the Obama White House adds yet another overseas military Op to it’s list of “things to do when you are utterly bankrupt”, it seems more and more that the US does not exactly “go to war” in a definitive manner anymore. We just kind of kick around, hands in pockets, muse it all over, then more or less sort of “stumble in”, and fall into some kind of rote in so doing that makes me really wonder not only who’s really in charge, but what kind of thinking allows that in the shape we are in financially here at home, what orchard where money grows on trees are we now plucking from now to justify the cost of yet another military intervention?
I am sick over this, just sick over it. I am sick of death, and men and their ridiculous wars, and the insane justifications that are conjured up each time our military does this. We literally can’t afford to do this. I avoided reporting on it for a week because I just COULD NOT BELIEVE that in the wake of Iraq, that we were going to crank up yet another overseas military involvement. Our miserable UN assigned “job” as the world’s military police force has bankrupted our nation, cost thousands of precious young American lives, and is now soon to incite world war three in the Mideast if we don’t stop this.
If we are now going to intervene in Libya, it would stand to reason we would then intervene throughout the entire Mideast region. Nothing makes sense anymore.
Just the mere thought of Barack Obama making a speech in Brazil on human rights as US military intervention cranks up in Libya makes me ill with the utter sight of the duplicity of it all. I have never wanted a man OUT of the White House like I want this man OUT. It goes without saying that this is the most disastrous president I have seen in my lifetime. 2012 cannot get here fast enough for me. Vote this incompetent SOB out of the White House in 2012 before he leads us straight into a final nuclear conflagration in the Mideast that could spread all around the world.
Reposted courtesy of World Net Daily on 2.22.2011 By Alternative News Forum
FBI: Muslim Brotherhood deeply rooted inside U.S.
Terror-support group controls most Islamic groups, mosques in America
Posted: February 21, 2011
8:22 pm Eastern
By Paul Sperry
© 2011 WorldNetDaily
WASHINGTON – Staff investigators with the House and Senate intelligence committees say they areprobingthe domesticsecurity threatposed by the radical Muslim Brotherhood and, specifically, whether Brotherhood operatives have penetrated the U.S. government.
The true nature, ambitions and global reach of the Cairo-based Muslim Brotherhood suddenly have become the focus of debate in Washington, following unrest in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East.
As the Muslim Brotherhood threatens to effectively replace Egypt’s secular, pro-Western regime, the tentacles of its worldwide jihadist movement have reached deep into the Muslim communityin America. Shockingly, federal court documents reveal that virtually every major Muslim organizationin Americais a front group for the Brotherhood. They also show that its U.S. network has raised millions of dollars for Hamas, al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.
“The most prominent Islamic organizations in the United States are all controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood,” said FBI veteran John Guandolo, who worked several Brotherhood-related terror cases out of the bureau’s Washington field office as a special agent after 9/11.
While the FBI has cut off ties to some of the well-established organizations, many others continue to participate in outreach programs with the Homeland Security and Justice departments, the former special agent says. Some of their leaders are even advising the government on how to respond to events in Egypt and elsewhere.
Al Gore, top Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdurahman Alamoudi and Bill Clinton
American Muslim activists deny the Muslim Brotherhood operates inside America. Even Muslims who have attached themselves to the Republican Party have pooh-poohed the internal threat.
“There’s no Muslim Brotherhood in the United States,” former Bush administration official Suhail A. Khan insisted earlier this month at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference meeting in Washington.
However, the U.S. Justice Department has identified no fewer than 61 Muslim Brotherhood figures and entities operating within the U.S. They include:
- The Islamic Society of North America, or ISNA, the umbrella organization for most of the Muslim groups in the U.S. and Canada;
- The North American Islamic Trust, or NAIT, which holds title to most of the major mosquesin America, including one in the Washington suburbs attended by both the Fort Hood terrorist and some of the 9/11 hijackers; and,
- The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, the largest Muslim-rights group in the country.
All are heavily funded by wealthy patrons in Saudi Arabia and other Mideast nations, according to sensitive embassy cables, tax records, bank wire transfers and other documents cited in the book,“Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America,”an expose of the Muslim Brotherhood and its American front groups.
Their names were entered intoevidenceas “co-conspirators” during a federal trial which ended in 2008 with the convictions of several Muslim Brotherhood leaders on terrorism charges. The “list of unindicted co-conspirators” implicated these otherwise mainstream Muslim groups in a criminal scheme to funnel millions of dollars to Palestinian terrorists under the guise of charity.
The 11-page document, submitted by federal prosecutors as “Attachment A” in court filings,has not been widely distributed or reported by the national media. Surprisingly few members of Congress are familiar withthe list, Hill sources say.
The largest Muslim charityin America– the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, or HLF – was at the center of the Muslim Brotherhood’s terror-fundraising network. The government shut down HLF after 9/11 and recently convicted the organization on charges of laundering more than $12 million in donations for Hamas suicide bombers and their families. HLF wasformerlyknown as the Occupied Land Fund, or OLF, where it operated under ISNA and shared checking accounts with the group.
“ISNA and NAIT, in fact, shared more with HLF than just a parent organization [the Muslim Brotherhood]. They were intimately connected with the HLF and its assigned task of providing financial support to Hamas,” federal prosecutors said in a 2008 memo to a U.S. District Court in Dallas, HLF’s national headquarters.
“Shortly after Hamas was founded in 1987, as an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood, the International Muslim Brotherhood ordered the Muslim Brotherhood chapters throughout the world to create Palestine Committees, whose job it was to support Hamas with ‘media, money and men,'” the memo continued. “The U.S.-Muslim Brotherhood created the U.S. Palestine Committee, which documents reflect was initially comprised of three organizations: the OLF (HLF), the IAP [Islamic Association for Palestine], and the UASR [United Association for Studies and Research]. CAIR was later added to these organizations.”
Prosecutors concluded: “The mandate of these organizations, per the International Muslim Brotherhood, was to support Hamas.”
Fairfax County Nexus
The Muslim Brotherhood’s originsin Americago back more than four decades. In the 1960s, radical Muslim immigrants began organizingin Americaand developing a criminal underworld that largely escaped federal law enforcement scrutiny. They eventually incorporated nonprofit organizations with benign-sounding names, and told anybody who asked they were simply forming a social network or “cultural society” for Muslims.
Top Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdurahman Alamoudi and George Bush
But in the wake of 9/11, Washington allowed case agents to start connecting the dots, and they began to see a lot of overlap in the operations of the Muslim groups and their leaders – along with a lot of Saudi money and suspicious activity. This confirmed the hunches of veteran counterterrorism investigators, who believed the groups were connected in an international conspiracy against America and its key Mideast ally, Israel.
Although the groups appear independent of one another, many of them co-mingle funds and even share the same staff and office space.
For example, some 40 active Muslim charities and businesses have operated at one time or another out of the same office building in Herndon, Va. And several others have been headquartered out of the same non-descript office park in Alexandria, Va., in the shadow of the nation’s capital, as first reported in the book,“Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”
After 9/11, federal and local authorities identified more than 110 suspected shell companies, cut-outs and other fronts associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and its hub in Northern Virginia, known collectively as the “Safa Group.” Their ongoing investigation of the Herndon-based Safa Group, which allegedly funneled money to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups, generated a separate list of suspected Brotherhood entities.The 13-page document, submitted by federal investigators as “Attachment C” among court filings,includes known al-Qaida charitable fronts as well.
Both the Herndon and Alexandria nexuses are located within Fairfax County, Va., across the Potomac from the nation’s capital.
“There’s only three degrees of separation between international terrorism and what happens in Fairfax County,” observed a senior Fairfax County Police Department detective, as quoted in“Muslim Mafia.”“Our society here is totally infiltrated by the bad guys.”
Investigators also discovered the groups have interlocking boards of directors. One top Brotherhood leader, Abdurahman Alamoudi, sat on the boards of no fewer than 16 Islamic organizations, including CAIR. Many of the leaders live next door to each other on private, secluded streets.
“When we started to really look at this thing, we found it’s all the same people. It’s all the same guys,” noted an FBI official in Washington.
Investigators also confirmed that many of the groups were laundering terrorist-bound funds through a maze of business conduits. They even used religious charities and think tanks as cover to carry out their illicit activities.
Soon, case agents and the assistant U.S. attorneys they worked with realized they were dealing with a vast criminal conspiracy, and began to look for ways to roll up the entire network, including using the RICO statute commonly aimed at the mafia.
Their first big break came several years ago with the search of one of the Brotherhood leaders’ homes in Annandale, Va., following his arrest on suspicion he had cased the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and other bridges for possible terrorist attack. There, in a sub-basement of suspect Ismail Elbarasse’s basement, FBI agents uncovered a stash of secret manifestos, charters and other documents revealing the depth of the conspiracy.
After translating the Arabic-written papers into English, investigators realized they had seized the archives of the U.S. branch of the militant International Muslim Brotherhood.
The trove of papers exposes the jihadist inner workings of the U.S. Brotherhood, and outlines its broader conspiracy of infiltrating and destroying the American government “from within.”
One secret documentfound during the raid of Elbarasse’s home lays bare the Brotherhood’s ambitious plans for a U.S. takeover, replacing the U.S. Constitution with Shariah, or Islamic law.
Written in 1991 by another U.S. Brotherhood agent, Mohammed Akram Adlouni, the strategy paper describes the group’s long-term goal of “sabotaging” the U.S. system. It’s a blueprint for a stealth “grand jihad.” Under the heading, “The role of the Muslim Brother in North America,” it states:
The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within, and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by the hands of the believers, so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.
“It is a genuine conspiracy to overthrow the government,” the FBI official said, “and they have organizations to do it, and they have written doctrines outlining their plan.”
The same documentalso lists 29 organizations working in the U.S. to further the Brotherhood’s goals. In addition to ISNA, NAIT and CAIR’s forerunner IAP, they include:
- The International Institute for Islamic Thought, or IIIT, the largest Islamic think tank in America;
- The Muslims Students Association, or MSA, which actively recruits on college campuses across the country;
- The Fiqh Council of North America, which renders religious rulings, or fatwahs, based on Islamic law for Muslim-Americans; and,
- The Islamic Circle of North America, or ICNA, which recently merged with the Muslim American Society, or MAS, another Brotherhood front organization based in the Washington suburbs.
(See image below for list of top Muslim Brotherhood fronts in America.)
For years, politicians and journalists have described these organizations as “mainstream” and “moderate.” Investigators now warn they are U.S. franchises of the radical Brotherhood, established with a markedly different purpose than what they publicly claim.
Their secret manifesto is “a clear threat statement of hostile intent,” says Pentagon consultant Maj. Stephen Coughlin, “with stated objectives that overlap with al-Qaida’s.”
The U.S. Brotherhood privately refers to its own organizations as “fronts.”
“The Brothers in Egypt don’t have fronts in the same broad way we have in America,” Zeid al-Noman, a Brotherhood leader confides in one document seized by authorities.
Though the movement has been banned in Egypt, it still has popular support and operates relatively openly in that Muslim nation — something the Brotherhood is loath to do here, especially after 9/11, investigators say.
The U.S. Brotherhood even set up a committee to study the legal aspects of establishing charities in America. The charities are critical because the Brothers have used them as a “side” or “facade,” as they put it in their writings, to launder illegal payments to terrorists.
U.S. prosecutors entered the secret documents as evidence in the Holy Land Foundation terror trial. The chilling courtroom exhibits were unopposed by the defense, further attesting to their authenticity.
Terrorists in suits
The government put away several Brotherhood leaders on conspiracy charges in the case. Shukri Abu Baker, Mohammad El Mezain, and CAIR founding director Ghassan Elashi were sentenced to, in effect, life terms for funneling millions of dollars to Palestinian terrorists. Three other Brothers caught up in the investigation have also been imprisoned.
Omar Ahmad, founding chairman of CAIR, was identified at trial as an unindicted co-conspirator in the terror-fundraising scheme. Ahmad, a key Brotherhood leader, has privately told Muslim audiences the Quran should replace the Constitution as “the highest authority in America.”
“The only difference between the guys in the suits and the guys with the AK-47s is timing and tactics,” an FBI official in Washington was quoted as saying in“Muslim Mafia.”
Indeed, the former head of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’sshuracouncil was one of al-Qaida’s top fundraisers in America, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. Abdurahman Alamoudi, who infiltrated both the Clinton and Bush administrations, is now serving 23 years in federal prison for plotting terrorism.
In 1996, Alamoudi told a Muslim audience in Illinois: “Either we do it now or we do it after a hundred years, but this country will become a Muslim country.”
Alamoudi also set up the Pentagon’s Muslim chaplains program, training and certifying most of the Islamic clerics and lay leaders serving in the U.S. military today.
Sami al-Arian, a former Tampa professor, is another Muslim Brotherhood leader convicted of terrorism. One of his alleged collaborators is senior ISNA official Louay Safi, whom prosecutors named an unindicted co-conspirator in the terror case.
Unwittingly, the Pentagon invited Safi to Fort Hood to counsel troops about Islam after a Muslim officer gunned down dozens of soldiers who were preparing to deploy to Afghanistan from the Army base. Safi and ISNA continue to certify Muslim chaplains for the military.
Ret. Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, former deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence in the Pentagon, says the Muslim Brotherhood is a terror-supporting Fifth Column.
“The Muslim Brotherhood is very much alive. It is very real,”Boykin said in a recent speech.“And we need to be very concerned about it.”
‘Jihad is Our Way’
The Muslim Brotherhood proudly raises the banner of jihad. Its crest features a Quran with crossed swords. Its credo: “Allah is our goal; the Prophet is our guide; the Quran is our constitution; Jihad is our way; and death for the glory of Allah is our greatest ambition.”
Established 80 years ago in Cairo, where the “mother group” is based, the Brotherhood remains a largely secretive society which gave birth to the entire terrorist juggernaut threatening the West and Israel today. In addition to Hamas, its offspring include Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which merged with al-Qaida.
“They all share the same roots – The Muslim Brotherhood,” said Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim reformer and director of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
Before joining al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, his deputy Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed were all adherents of the transnational Muslim Brotherhood – orIkhwan al-Muslimi, as it is known in Arabic.
The former Supreme Guide of the International Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Akef, recently was asked: “Regarding resistance and jihad, do you consider Osama bin Laden a terrorist or an Islamicmujahid(freedom fighter)?”
Akef replied, “In all certainty, amujahid, and I have no doubt in his sincerity in resisting the occupation, close to Allah on high.”
Exiled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak outlawed the Brotherhood after it plotted to assassinate him, following its successful assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who signed the country’s historic peace treaty with Israel.
The Brotherhood now claims to eschew violence. But it still clandestinely supports violent jihad, while reportedly maintaining a well-armed wing of thousands of trained fighters. It seeks to free dozens of its terrorist members from Egyptian prisons.
“Elements of the Muslim Brotherhood here and overseas have supported terrorism,” FBI Director Robert Mueller confirmed earlier this month during a House intelligence committee hearing.
According to covert FBI recordings cited in“Muslim Mafia,”Brotherhood leaders in America have described suicide bombings and other mass murders in the name of jihad as “beautiful.”
“The Muslim Brotherhood has figured that they can be successful promoting radical change from within the U.S. while supporting the armed struggle outside the U.S., primarily through fundraising and closely associated Palestinian terrorist organizations,” says former FBI special agent George Sadler, who after 9/11 investigated the Brotherhood from the bureau’s Washington field office.
While its secret writings call for conquering the U.S. through political infiltration, mass conversion and immigration, it does not rule out violent jihad when the time is right and all its “infrastructure” is in place and strong, Guandolo says. To that end, the Brotherhood has set up jihad training camps inside America where its foot soldiers conduct paramilitary exercises, including firearms and other weapons training.
After 9/11, a top CAIR official in Washington led a group of young Muslim men in Northern Virginia in jihadi weapons training here and in Pakistan.
Court records reveal the group chauffeured the 9/11 hijackers’ spiritual counselor, Anwar Awlaki, to their Falls Church, Va., meetings, before Awlaki fled to Yemen, where he now directs al-Qaida terrorist attacks against America.
Earlier this month, the leader of a North Carolina terrorist ring influenced by the Brotherhood pleaded guilty to charges of waging violent jihad.
The FBI recorded Daniel Patrick Boyd, a Muslim convert, saying he would “make jihad right here in America.” Boyd allegedly cased the U.S. Marine Corps headquarters in Quantico, Va., for terrorist attack. Agents found 24 guns and more than 27,000 rounds of ammunition during a raid of his home.
They also found a copy of “In the Shade of the Quran,” a book written by the late Muslim Brotherhood leader Sayyid Qutb of Egypt, bin Laden’s spiritual mentor.
Despite public claims to the contrary, the Brotherhood is still a dangerous organization, investigators and prosecutors agree. It has stated clearly in its recently declassified U.S. charter that it considers the United States to be its enemy.
Ultimately, “the Muslim Brotherhood is in America to destroy our Constitution and replace it with Shariah,” warns a group of former military and law enforcement officials writing in “Shariah: The Threat to America,” a book published by the Washington-based Center for Security Policy. The officials are using the book to help brief lawmakers and other government officials about the threat, warning them that they are prime targets of ongoing Brotherhood influence and espionage operations.
Inside the wire
Still, the Obama administration has actively courted the Brotherhood.
During the Cairo rioting, which was organized in part by the Brotherhood, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs urged Mubarak to open elections to “important non-secular actors” such as the Brotherhood.
In a stunning policy reversal, the administration in early 2009 lifted the ban preventing Egyptian Muslim activist Tariq Ramadan from entering the U.S. Ramadan, the grandson of Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, was barred in 2004 after allegedly raising money for terrorists.
Under the advisement of a Muslim White House aide tied to the Brotherhood, Obama invited the Muslim Brotherhood to his 2009 Cairo speech to Muslims worldwide, in spite of the group’s ban.
Currently, “many Muslim advisers to the U.S. government are Muslim Brothers or sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood cause,” Guandolo said. And they are “advising the U.S. national leadership and our national security apparatus on how to respond to the events in Egypt and elsewhere.”
Republican Rep. Sue Myrick of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence accused the administration of “watering down the stated goals and ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood so they could create space to engage the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt,” as well as at home.
Democrats aren’t the only ones downplaying the threat.
Khan, an American Conservative Union board member, asserts that ISNA and CAIR are not fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood, and have not conspired to raise money inside the U.S. for terrorists.
He says they never should have been designated unindicted co-conspirators by the government.
“The federal government has looked into these accusations [and] found they’re completely baseless,” Khan claimed.
In fact, the FBI has cut off ties to CAIR’s national office and its 30 chapters across the country pending further investigation of its ties to Hamas.
“Until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and Hamas, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner,” said assistant FBI Director Richard Powersin a 2009 letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.“The FBI has suspended all formal outreach activities with CAIR.”
Mueller earlier this month reiterated the ban remains in effect: “We do not have a relationship with CAIR.”
U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis, moreover, has refused ISNA’s and CAIR’s requests to strike their names from court documents listing them as unindicted co-conspirators in the HLF trial, the largest terror-financing case in U.S. history.
His 20-page ruling, written in July 2009 and recently unsealed, cites “ample evidence” that ISNA, NAIT and CAIR participated in a “criminal conspiracy” to support Hamas terrorists. (An appellate court in Denver said in a recent opinion that the list, which was attached to the government’s pre-trial brief, should not have been published, since unindicted co-conspirator lists are not ordinarily made public. It did not, however, grant the groups’ request for a court pronouncement that they were not connected to terrorists.)
As it turns out, Khan’s late father, Mahboob Khan, helped found ISNA. Each year, ISNA bestows an annual Muslim “community service” award in his memory.
Mahboob Khan also established a mosque – MCA of Santa Clara, Calif. – which the U.S. Brotherhoodlists as one of “our organizations” in its secret manifesto seized by the FBI and recently declassified.
What’s more, Khan’s mother, Malika Khan, serves on the executive committee of CAIR’s San Francisco chapter. CAIR-SFBA recentlyposted a flyer on its website urging Muslims not to cooperate with the FBI in terrorism investigations.
Suhail Khan himself has served on ISNA and CAIR committees and panels and spoken at their conferences and other events.
Sponsored Link:The Most Important Day in America in 50 Years… It’s Coming in 2011. This day will change everything about our nation and your day-to-day life. Watch the eye-openingvideo presentation here…
Copyright 2011-3011 By Chase Kyla Hunter, All Rights Reserved.
Stephen Yates: “It’s morally repugnant to side with these regimes.”
But that is exactly what our own government’s foreign policy has been doing, either tacitly or overtly, for more than 40 years in the Mideast. I literally grew up watching successive U.S. administrations coddle, negotiate with, and finally finance the make-believe government of Palestinian terrorist Yasser Arafat. I have watched all my life as an inane, self righteous “creeping political correctness” in Washington D. C. replaced fundamental political common sense as to how our leaders have handled the swelling powder-keg of radical Islam.
In numerology 11 is considered an unstable number. Sometimes the most arcane knowledge turns out to be remarkably “right on target”.
It would appear that 2011 will be remembered as the year that the the hand of Divine Providence finally swept through the Mideast. What began as a civic brushfire is now a regional wildfire raging out of control. Politicians seem uniformly caught off guard by all of it, their commentary ponderous, their reactions all calculated, tragically ineffective, terminally insincere.
By the end of 2011 there will be millions of families in the Mideast who will mark the year as the moment that someone in their biological family was either killed or maimed for life trying to wrest their government from the hands of an appointed dictator and into the hands of the people.
The sight of Egypt‘s people ousting Hosni Mubarak after 30 years has set the hearts and soul’s of their neighbors on fire to do the same in their own countries. In Yemen, Libya and Bahrain, protesters are confronting repressive and authoritarian governments with visceral courage and the willingness to die to achieve their freedom.
Our colonial ancestors were doing that very thing on this continent back in 1776. We have lived with fundamental constitutional freedoms in America for generations, and we often forget that in three quarters of the world people have lived for the last 200 years without those God given freedoms, especially women. Most women in the world are still routinely treated not much better than cattle in Mideast countries who live under the more authoritarian slope of Sharia Law. The general rule of thumb I have observed is that the more repressive and authoritarian any ruling regime is, whether apparently excused by false piety and religious pretense or not, the less actual fundamental human rights and civil rights it’s women are allowed to exercise.
So the present sight of tens of thousands of young Mideast women standing side by side in the streets with the men, fearlessly facing down government soldiers, many still teenagers, who are clamoring to be free or literally die trying, is enough to silence any American now petulant with our own freedoms. We who are born here are granted those freedoms by birth, and we have certainly taken them for granted for most of our lives. Only those who have travelled or lived overseas can appreciate what we have here; only an American soldier returning from Iraq can bend to kiss the ground in America and thank his God in Heaven he is home.
I do not have any living relatives who have recently “died to procure and maintain my American freedoms” but thousands of other American families do have relatives who died in the Iraqi war. They are the truly heroic Americans who have suffered, are suffering and will continue to suffer the loss of their family members on some level for the rest of their lives.
Were these American soldiers’ lives actually given in Iraq that we might witness the rising tsunami of the human heart cry out for freedom throughout the Mideast? Had anyone imagined that as the seven year Iraq war finally wound down, that the hunger for democracy throughout the Mideast would rise like a phoenix in direct proportion to the historic misery of families living generationally under successive US appointed and supported dictatorships?
I wonder what passes through the mind of George W. Bush as he watches the daily news. Most all Americans know, if they read at all, that we went to war in Iraq for the procuring of oil fields and the lucrative Halliburton rebuilding contracts more than the Bush administration actually cared about the quality of life for the average Iraqi citizen. What a strange turn in the road it must be, for people like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz, to witness this sheer political pole shift, an unexpected outcome of their ugly little pre-planned Mideast war.
The sudden riveting sight of nation after nation rising up against their US backed dictators has left many Americans nearly speechless. The apparent suddenness of all of it, the explosive domino effect which is now taking place, and observing the Barack Obama White House stutter, falter and stammer over it daily gives one great pause.
It’s funny how God always has the last laugh. “Hope and Change” is coming alright, but it’s coming in all the countries where Barack Obama never ran for high office, never bowed to the Oil Princes and Sheiks of political pretense. He had bowed deeply to the Saudis when he visited, and otherwise was fairly dismissive toward the smaller nations surrounding the Oil Oligarchy’s empire. Beyond bowing, Barack Obama was too busy fighting to keep his own unpopular Presidency afloat back in the states in 2009 and 2010.
All those little nations that have been ignored and overlooked by the big boys in foreign policy for decades are now on fire with civil unrest, as waves of furious young people roar for their needs to be met, fundamental basic human needs that have not been addressed properly in decades of rule by their own insular self occupied leaders. Most of these leaders have been tacitly propped up by the murkier motives within the US foreign policy agenda, no matter which US president was sitting in the White House.
For the time being our own country’s present foreign policy may be in shambles over all of it. It would seem rather late to make a flurry of trips to the Mideast to douse the latest firestorm in world events. Many Americans, like me, are now wondering just exactly how more than 40 years of incessant, secretive US meddling in the Mideast has come to such a sudden conflagration that the coming blowback may affect our own people in yet unimagined ways, for years to come.
I am quite sure that late late at night, when he is alone with his thoughts, President Barack Obama now wishes he would have paid more attention to foreign affairs of state in 2009 and 2010, instead of ramming Obamacare down the national gullet against our will. This is a live action experience Mr. Obama. When you are the president of the United States you do not get a “do-over.”
My soul senses the opening refrain of World War Three in all of this, but I don’t want to admit it. Who would want to look and see what no one wants to witness?
Chase Kyla Hunter 2.21.2011
Related article cited:
Watching Protesters Risk It All
Published: February 20, 2011
Damon Winter/The New York Times
Nicholas D. Kristof
Times Topic: Bahrain News — The Protests (2011)
Amid Standoff, Opposition Seeks Dissolution of Bahraini Government (February 21, 2011)
As democracy protests spread across the Middle East, we as journalists struggle to convey the sights and sounds, the religion and politics. But there’s one central element that we can’t even begin to capture: the raw courage of men and women — some of them just teenagers — who risk torture, beatings and even death because they want freedoms that we take for granted.
Here in Bahrain on Saturday, I felt almost physically ill as I watched a column of pro-democracy marchers approach the Pearl Roundabout, the spiritual center of their movement. One day earlier, troops had opened fire on marchers there, with live ammunition and without any warning. So I flinched and braced myself to watch them die.
Yet, astonishingly, they didn’t. The royal family called off the use of lethal force, perhaps because of American pressure. The police fired tear gas and rubber bullets, but the protesters marched on anyway, and the police fled.
The protesters fell on the ground of the roundabout and kissed the soil. They embraced each other. They screamed. They danced. Some wept.
“We are calling it ‘Martyrs’ Roundabout’ now,” Layla, a 19-year-old university student, told me in that moment of stunned excitement. “One way or another, freedom has to come,” she said. “It’s not something given by anybody. It’s a right of the people.”
Zaki, a computer expert, added: “If Egypt can do it, then we can do it even better.”
(I’m withholding family names. Many people were willing for their full names to be published, but at a hospital I was shaken after I interviewed one young man who had spoken publicly about seeing the police kill protesters — and then, he said, the police kidnapped him off the street and beat him badly.)
To me, this feels like the Arab version of 1776. And don’t buy into the pernicious whisper campaign from dictators that a more democratic Middle East will be fundamentalist, anti-American or anti-women. For starters, there have been plenty of women on the streets demanding change (incredibly strong women, too!).
For decades, the United States embraced corrupt and repressive autocracies across the Middle East, turning a blind eye to torture and repression in part because of fear that the “democratic rabble” might be hostile to us. Far too often, we were both myopic and just plain on the wrong side.
Here in Bahrain, we have been in bed with a minority Sunni elite that has presided over a tolerant, open and economically dynamic country — but it’s an elite that is also steeped in corruption, repression and profound discrimination toward the Shia population. If you parachute into a neighborhood in Bahrain, you can tell at once whether it is Sunni or Shia: if it has good roads and sewers and is well maintained, it is Sunni; otherwise, it is Shia.
A 20-year-old medical student, Ghadeer, told me that her Sunni classmates all get government scholarships and public-sector jobs; the Shiites pay their own way and can’t find work in the public sector. Likewise, Shiites are overwhelmingly excluded from the police and armed forces, which instead rely on mercenaries from Sunni countries. We give aid to these oligarchs to outfit their police forces to keep the Shiites down; we should follow Britain’s example and immediately suspend such transfers until it is clear that the government will not again attack peaceful, unarmed protesters.
We were late to side with “people power” in Tunisia and Egypt, but Bahrainis are thrilled that President Obama called the king after he began shooting his people — and they note that the shooting subsequently stopped (at least for now). The upshot is real gratitude toward the United States.
The determination of protesters — in Bahrain, in Iran, in Libya, in Yemen — is such that change is a certainty. At one hospital, I met a paraplegic who is confined to a wheelchair. He had been hit by two rubber bullets and was planning to return to the democracy protests for more.
And on the roundabout on Sunday, I met Ali, a 24-year-old on crutches, his legs swathed in bandages, limping painfully along. A policeman had fired on him from 15 feet away, he said, and he was still carrying 30 shotgun pellets that would eventually be removed when surgeons weren’t so busy with other injuries. Ali flinched each time he moved — but he said he would camp at the roundabout until democracy arrived, or die trying.
In the 1700s, a similar kind of grit won independence for the United States from Britain. A democratic Arab world will be a flawed and messy place, just as a democratic America has been — but it’s still time to align ourselves with the democrats of the Arab world and not the George III’s.