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Category Archives: War on Terror
The Anti-Defamation League’s latest dance with Islamophobia emerged in Arizona in the midst of a debate on a bill enshrining the rights of business owners to deny service to gays and lesbians. The ADL used specter of Muslims using the legislation to discriminate against non-Muslims to help kill the legislation.
Katie Miranda introduces us to a new word – dronesplain. It’s a verb for condescendingly excusing or justifying drone strikes, most commonly seen with politicians and media commentators. Above, Time magazine’s Joe Klein dronesplains to New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.
“We will put pressure on America, and our protest will continue if drone attacks are not stopped,” said an angry Imran Khan, leader of Pakistan’s third largest political party, the PTI (the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf). He was speaking on Saturday, November 23, to a crowd of over 10,000 protesters who blocked the highway used by NATO supply trucks taking goods in and out of Afghanistan. The latest protests in Pakistan show that even when the US hits its mark, as in the case of the last two strikes in Pakistan that killed key leaders of two extremist cells, they’re still counterproductive.
Showtime’s hit TV series “Homeland” is about Obama’s war on terror. Similar to 24, a popular show during the Bush era, it provides a means for the national-security state to publicize fantasies of terrorist threat, while setting new norms of acceptability on issues like surveillance and political violence. It not only sells the public on the notion that the War on Terror has become a permanent state of emergency, but that educated, sober, ethical, and smart people are in charge and that we should trust them to guard us.
n 2009, after a previous trial resulted in a hung jury, Shukri Abu Baker was sentenced to 65 years in a United States prison after being convicted of having a role in distributing over 12 million dollars through the charity The Holy Land Foundation in material support to the designated terrorist group Hamas. Richard Potter shares his powerful correspondence with Abu Baker from prison.
The media has failed to do its job of humanizing the civilian casualties that accompany President Obama’s deadly drone program. But that’s beginning to change. New films, reports and media coverage are finally giving the American public a taste of the personal tragedies involved. And on October 29, the Rehman family—a father with his two children—came all the way from the Pakistani tribal territory of North Waziristan to the US Capitol to tell the heart-wrenching story of the death of the children’s beloved 67-year-old grandmother.
Members of Students for Justice in Palestine at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law slam the suspension of students Khalil Vasquez and Tafadar Sourov for their anti-militarization activism.
What Comes Next: The one state/two state debate is irrelevant as Israel and the US consolidate Greater Israel
We are excited to share Noam Chomsky’s addition to our series “What Comes Next?: A forum on the end of the two-state paradigm.” Chomsky argues the one state/two state debate is crucially flawed because it ignores a third option that Israel is pursuing with constant US support – the consolidation of Greater Israel. This reality not only means Palestinians will continue to live under an ongoing occupation, but also that any hopes for a regional peace settlement with Iran is highly unlikely.
The peace group CODEPINK recently discovered that every year for the past four years, a pot of $10 million has been allocated for Pakistani drone strike victims. However, instead of going to victims of drones, the funds are getting farmed out to US-based non-governmental organizations to provide humanitarian assistance for Pakistanis who are not drone victims and are not even living in the tribal areas of Waziristan where the US is carrying out the strikes.
Abdeen Jabara, above, was hardly shocked when the scandal over the National Security Agency’s global surveillance dragnet broke in June. He has no reason to be–he has personal experience with the NSA’s surveillance capabilities. A court battle that started in 1972 eventually forced the secretive surveillance agency to acknowledge that it pried into the life of Jabara in an effort that began in August 1967.
In smear campaigns waged in the last decade, right-wing Islamophobes used Israel as a cudgel to attack the legitimacy of a Boston mosque and Brooklyn school. Those campaigns illustrate how, when Israel enters the equation, many Jewish groups, public figures, and institutions (including those that claim to oppose Islamophobia) take positions based on their implacable commitment to Israeli policies.
The American Civil Liberties Union’s federal lawsuit against the New York Police Department’s surveillance program opened yesterday in a federal courtroom. No decision was issued yesterday, which was the first hearing among many concerning the NYPD’s spy program. But it provided a window into the contrasting positions of the city and the ACLU and their plaintiffs, who were all spied on by the NYPD.
Revelations that the New York Police Department spied on the extremist group Kahane Chai shed light on how the NYPD treats terrorism differently based on the community the threat emanates from. In the course of investigating Kahane Chai, the NYPD never set foot in a synagogue. But when it comes to the Muslim community, mosques are fair game. “It appears to me that there is a double standard being applied,” civil rights lawyer Jethro Eisenstein said. Above, an NYPD observation post outside a Queens mosque.
In a statement timed for the Jewish New Year, the Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition re-commits itself to being an ally and partner with the Muslim community and all communities challenging Islamophobia, racism, and injustice.
The spying unleashed on the heart of Brooklyn’s Muslim community has been intense. Muslims in Bay Ridge take it as a given that the police are around them, peering into their religious centers. But that doesn’t mean prominent Muslims in the area are taking renewed revelations that the New York Police Department labeled mosques as “terrorist enterprises” in stride. They’re upset and angry. Above, Zein Rimawi sits in the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, which has been under surveillance since 2003.
Medea Benjamin presents a 10-point plan would significantly reduce terrorist threats, save U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars and make Americans more admired in the world. After a decade of wielding the military stick, it’s time for some carrots.
There he said it, Secretary of States John Kerry, commenting on the Egyptian coup: “The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people. The military did not take over, to the best of our judgment – so far.” Where did Kerry make his pronouncement? In another “democratic” country run by the military with the help of US aid – Pakistan.
Cornell West, on HBO’s Real Time, reiterated his criticism that President Obama is a “war criminal” for killing innocent people through drone strikes. He went on to make a simple, but rarely heard observation, that if you “have an empire, you’re going to have war crimes.” Critical voices like his are an exception in the mainstream. For the most part, establishment liberals have either been silent or have cheered as Obama has expanded the national security state. West chastises these liberals as “morally bankrupt” for giving Obama a pass for the same problematic policies that Bush was roundly criticized for.
Steven Emerson, an anti-Muslim ideologue, is currently suing Cyrus McGoldrick, an American Muslim community organizer and human rights activist, over a sarcastic tweet that McGoldrick sent to two friends. No “reasonable person,” McGoldrick’s lawyers maintain, “could have understood that joke as stating an actual fact about Emerson,” which is fundamental to a “viable libel claim.” Even a loyal supporter of Emerson has publicly acknowledged that the tweet was a joke. Emerson is part of a network of Islamophobes that is well-funded, connected to right-wing Israeli politics, and an integral part of the U.S. “war on terror.”
Will the war on terror at home ever end? Not anytime soon. The revelations from Edward Snowden reveal that the war on terror at home continues to grind on, capturing in its dragnet millions of Americans and foreigners, many of them innocent of any crime. But the revelations have also sparked a conversation over the domestic costs of this forever conflict, which include privacy erosion, monitoring of communications and crack downs on dissent.
Here’s a perfect story to illustrate the U.S.-Israeli collaboration in the “War on Terror.” Haaretz reports officials from the Israeli Medical Association are on their way to the United States to “present policy makers there with their methods of handling hunger strikers” in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Above is a video of the actor Yasiin Bey (formally Mos Def) undergoing the force feeding procedure the U.S. is currently using with hunger striking prisoners. Warning, the video is very difficult to watch.
‘Courage is Contagious’: Glenn Greenwald electrifies Chicago crowd speaking on Snowden, journalism and the NSA
Friday night in Chicago Glenn Greenwald addressed the Socialism 2013 conference live via Skype and reflected for the first time on the past month in the wake of his interview with Edward Snowden, and subsequent disclosures regarding the National Security Agency’s spying on American citizens. In an impassioned introduction, journalist Jeremy Scahill called Greenwald the “conscience of America” and attacked his critics in the beltway press corps.
The backlash against the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) program of spying on Muslims in the Northeast is growing. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a federal lawsuit yesterday that seeks to halt the surveillance program and have it deemed unconstitutional. Meanwhile, legislative efforts in New Jersey and New York City aimed at reining in NYPD excesses have advanced.
Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference debates a resolution that would end the use of drones and other forms of extra-judicial killing.
The recent exposure of National Security Agency monitoring of Americans’ emails, live voice communications and stored data cast suspicion once again on private surveillance contractors linked to Israeli intelligence services. One firm called Narus has provided the NSA with technology for almost a decade that enabled it to obtain and analyze at least 80 percent of communications made by Americans over online and telecom channels. What was Narus’ role in the latest scandal, and how far back does its history of spying go?