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  Print view: America's War on Islam: New Republican Offensive Planned
COMMENTARY:

America's War on Islam: New Republican Offensive Planned

by Stephen Lendman
Saturday, 18 December 2010

Dozens of previous articles addressed America's war on Islam, discussing victims of America's war on terror for political advantage, not for threatening national security or public safety.

Repeatedly post-9/11, bogus threats were invented to imprison innocent men and women for their faith, ethnicity, activism, prominence or charity. Clearly, it's the wrong time to be Muslim in America, Washington's target of choice to hype fear and enlist public support for imperial lawlessness, no matter the cost in reckless spending and loss of personal freedoms. Increasingly, everyone is now vulnerable for speaking out, voicing dissent, and supporting equity and justify for unpopular victims.

Against that backdrop, Obama's 9/11 address at the Pentagon was an exercise in demagoguery and deceit, saying:

"We will not sacrifice the liberties we cherish or hunker down behind walls of suspicion and mistrust....The highest honor we can pay those we lost (is keep doing) what our adversaries fear the most. To stay true to who we are, as Americans; to renew our sense of common purpose; to say that we define the character of our country, and we will not let the acts of some small band of murderers who slaughter the innocent and cower in caves distort who we are."

In fact, for nearly two years, Obama continued the Bush agenda. Besides looting the Treasury for Wall Street and other corporate favorites, he systematically strips civil liberties, violates human rights, wages imperial wars, targets dissent and democratic freedoms, and relentlessly persecutes whistleblowers, Muslims and their supporters.

In May, he designated homegrown terrorism one of the nation's top priorities, his chief counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, saying:

"We've seen an increasing number of individuals here in the United States become captivated by extremist activities or causes. The president's national security strategy explicitly recognizes the threat to the United States posed by individuals radicalized here at home."

He cited "foot soldiers," planning attacks on US soil. Obama's National Security Strategy (NSS) suggested new legal possibilities to prosecute them in military and civilian courts. In addition, new indefinite detentions procedures will be implemented to hold targets who can't be charged or tried - police state justice in "the land of the free." If ever earlier, for sure not now.

The NSS said:

"The increased risk of terrorism necessitates a capacity to detain and interrogate suspected violent extremists, but that framework must align with our laws to be effective and sustainable."

Mo matter. Military commissions will be freely used, denying targets judicial fairness, including the right to appeal even for death sentences.

"For detainees who cannot be prosecuted, but pose a danger to the American people, we must have clear, defensible, and lawful standards" to justify long-term detention without trials, despite no US or international law permitting it.

"The United States is waging a global campaign against Al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates," code language for war on Islam at home and abroad. Brennan suggested targeting terrorism is self-defense, saying they "bring death to our cities." As a result, effective action against them is essential, he said - meaning preemptively against innocent people for political advantage. "As our enemy adapts and evolves their tactics, so must we constantly adapt and evolve ours...."

Implied is that law and order no longer matter. Global wars, homeland repression, and imperial dominance take precedence - America's official agenda under both parties with full support from major media journalists, transmitting whatever information official sources want published or reported on air.

In response, Professor Marc Lynch said "how can they reconcile (the rule of law and its democratic commitment) with the way drone strikes are (indiscriminately) used, (with) military commissions, and so forth?"

And by persecuting innocent Muslims, solely for political advantage. It's been official policy for over nine years, including against lawyers who defend unpopular clients too vigorously.

Expect Worse Ahead
Incoming House Homeland Security Committee chairman, Rep. Peter King (R. NY) is a notorious Islamophobe, espousing racist, hateful, malevolent, vengeful views.

Some will come on January 3 when the 112th Congress convenes. Republicans will control the House and have more say in the Democrat-controlled Senate. They plan to press their advantage, including for the war on terror.

On December 16, New York Times writer Raymond Hernandez headlined, "Muslim 'Radicalization' Is Focus of Planned Inquiry," saying:

Rep. Peter King (R. NY), new House Homeland Security Committee chairman, announced he's "planning to open a Congressional inquiry into what he calls 'the radicalization' of the Muslim community when his party takes over the House next year."

On December 8, his web site outlined priorities, including:

  • keeping Guantanamo open;
  • preventing transfer of its detainees to America;
  • trying them in military commissions, denying them due process;
  • holding hearings on the Fort Hood attack;
  • improving passenger and cargo plane security;
  • enacting tougher border security laws to curb illegal immigration;
  • protecting Americans from terrorist attacks (by eroding more civil liberties);
  • bolstering cybersecurity protections (by subverting online freedom); and
  • identifying and combatting "domestic radicalization," against Muslims, his designated target of choice.

Like many other congressional members, King is a notorious Islamophobe, espousing racist, hateful, malevolent, vengeful views. He believes "Muslim leaders (don't) cooperate with investigations," and America has "too many mosques....We should be finding (new ways to) infiltrate (them)....The Muslim community (represents) a real threat here in this country."

Last December, he said "100% of the Islamic terrorists are Muslims," a combination of racism and clear ignorance, suggesting a difference between the two. Either way, he wants Muslims profiled, targeted, put on no-fly lists, and denied civil rights. Not all he said, just bad ones, implying they're all suspect.

Responding, the American Arab Forum's Dr. Afef Assaf said:

"King's Islamophobia represents a persistent pattern involving unrelenting attacks by self-appointed Arab or Muslim experts permeating the airwaves, media, and schools. In 2004, King claimed the vast majority of American Muslim community leaders are 'an enemy living amongst us,' and that 'no (American) Muslims' cooperate in the war on terror," adding:

"I would say (that) 80 - 85% of mosques in this country are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists. Those who are in control. The average Muslim (doesn't) come forward. They don't tell the police (anything about fellow Muslims)."

He claimed he could prove his assertions, citing fellow Islamophobe/hatemongers, Steve Emerson and Daniel Pipes, figures with no credibility whatever.

Responding further, Assaf added:

"It is pure hate speech and defamatory rhetoric when an elected official speaks so suspiciously of America's Muslim leaders and ordinary Muslims, including those in his own district. Furthermore, the media silence about such virulent rhetoric filters, or better, refracts through the prejudice of bigots in the media audience, who seek to turn the war against terror into a war against all of Islam and thus against all American Muslims...Ignorance can no longer justify hate speech and bigotry....(It should) never....avariciously enrich (and empower) a hateful Congressman," nor anyone, including top administration officials.

With King again heading the House Homeland Security Committee, Muslim leaders expressed strong opposition to his plan, calling it unfair racial profiling against an entire group.

Abed Ayoub, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Legal Director said King ignored Muslim leadership efforts against homegrown terrorism, adding:

"We are disturbed that this representative who is in a leadership position does not have the understanding and knowledge of what the realities are on the ground." Clearly his proposal "has bigoted intentions."

Salam al-Marayati, Muslim Public Affairs Council Executive Director also expressed alarm saying:

"He basically wants to treat the Muslim-American community as a suspect community," and by so doing, he's undermining community/law enforcement relations as well as spreading hate and bigotry to inflame public opinion, making it easier to unfairly target Muslims.

Unfortunately, King has plenty of congressional support on both sides of the isle. As a result, expect witch-hunt 2011 hearings, inflammatory media reports highlighting them, and more innocent Muslims unfairly targeted. Moreover, America's war on terror will keep raging out-of-control, flaunting the rule of law and democratic freedoms, ones fast eroding in America for everyone.

Before he died, Gandhi explained the "Seven Blunders of the World." Number seven was "Politics without principle," a character flaw afflicting most public officials, especially those on the extreme right from both parties.

Before he died, Gandhi explained the "Seven Blunders of the World." Number seven was "Politics without principle," a character flaw afflicting most public officials, all senior ones, right wing courts, and nearly all congressional members, especially those on the extreme right from both parties.

Culpable also are supporters wealth and power over popular need, imperial wars for global dominance, and innocent Americans targeted for political advantage and personal gain. Post-9/11, it's been so extreme, it's practically become the national sport.

A Final Comment

The October 2001 USA Patriot Act's Section 802 created the crime of "domestic terrorism," used also against environmental and animal rights activists. Earlier articles addressed numerous victims, including Marie Mason, targeted for her outspokenness against destructive genetic engineering and forestry practices. Click here for a discussion of her case.

In February 2009, she was sentenced to 21 years, 10 months in federal prison, the longest ever for a Green Scare/ecoterrorism target. She appealed for re-sentencing, but on December 16 was denied, a lawless court supporting a lawless administration to treat her harshly.

Eric McDavid was also victimized, his case discussed here.

Entrapped on bogus ecoterrorism charges, he received 19 years in prison in May 2008, despite committing no crime. His lawyer, Mark Reichel was appalled, saying:

"There has never been (been a case before) involv(ing) this much entrapment, this much pushing by an informant, by the US government and by the FBI behind it" to imprison an innocent man.

He also appealed for an en banc (full appeals court) rehearing to no avail, despite an open and shut case on his behalf. No matter. On December 8, he was denied. Apparently the full court found no merit in a case involving a gross miscarriage of justice.

It's more proof that everyone in America is vulnerable for supporting right over wrong when it opposes official policy, a sad testimony to America gone off the rails.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on December 18, 2010.

 

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