(AP) GREELEY, Colo. Federal agents raided meat processing plants in six states Tuesday and arrested an unknown number of suspected illegal immigrants in an identity theft investigation, temporarily suspending operations at all six plants.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the workers were being arrested on administrative immigration violations and, in some cases, criminal arrest warrants stemming from a nearly yearlong investigation.
ICE chief Julie L. Myers told reporters in Washington that agents had uncovered a scheme in which illegal immigrants and others had stolen or bought the identities and Social Security numbers of possibly hundreds of U.S. citizens and lawful residents to get jobs with Greeley-based meat processor Swift & Co.
Six Swift processing facilities were raided Tuesday, in Greeley; Grand Island, Neb.; Cactus, Texas; Hyrum, Utah; Marshalltown, Iowa; and Worthington, Minn., representing all of Swift’s domestic beef processing capacity and 77 percent of its pork processing capacity.
The United Food and Commercial Workers union said in a statement it planned to ask a judge to halt the raids, but there was no immediate word on when or where the request would be filed.
No charges had been filed against the company.
“Swift has never condoned the employment of unauthorized workers, nor have we ever knowingly hired such individuals,” Swift & Co. President and CEO Sam Rovit said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., an outspoken advocate of stricter immigration laws, said Swift officials should be prosecuted if they were involved in hiring any illegal immigrants.
“My hope at this point is that the U.S. government has the courage to prosecute the Swift & Co. executives who may have been complicit in their hiring,” Tancredo said in a statement.
Since 1997, Swift has been using a government pilot program to confirms whether Social Security numbers are valid. Company officials have previously said one shortcoming may be questions about the program’s ability to detect when two people are using the same number.
Hundreds of workers’ family members gathered outside the plants, with some trying to deliver documentation to relatives inside. In Greeley, cars lined the street leading to the plant, and a handful of protesters jeered at city police officers directing traffic.
One sheriff’s deputy described the scene outside the Utah plant as a circus.
“They’ve got three buses, a bunch of transport vans, a lot of cars and 150 or so agents,” chief Cache County deputy David Bennett said.
Bennett said ICE officials didn’t notify the sheriff’s department about the raid. “They didn’t ask for our help,” he said. “We were lucky to find out.”
Moore County (Texas) Sheriff Bo DeArmond said he, too, got no advance warning of the raid in Cactus.
Armond said Cactus, though relatively small and remote, is not immune from identity theft.
“It’s everywhere,” he said. “The only way they can get a job is by getting a Social Security number, ID, all that other stuff. They’ll do whatever they can to get a job.”
At Grand Island, Police Chief Steve Lamken said he refused to let his officers take part in the raid.
“When this is all over, we’re still here taking care of our community and if I have a significant part of my population that’s fearful and won’t call us then that’s not good for our community,” he said.
Swift & Co. describes itself as an $8 billion business and the world’s second-largest meat processing company. The Hyrum plant can process up to 2,200 cattle a day, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Hyrum city Administrator Brent Jensen says that plant employs more than 1,000 people.
In Washington, Myers said ICE had uncovered several different rings that may have provided illegal documents to the workers. Some immigrants had genuine U.S. birth certificates, Myers said.
ICE officials at the plants in Greeley and Worthington said the total number of arrests might not be released until Wednesday.
Steven Emerson exposes the activities of jihad groups in the U.S. For this, American Muslim groups and all other groups that profess to oppose that jihad activity should hail him as a hero. Instead, MPAC, for one, has singled him out for particular vilification. And now this piece, “Ex-CNN reporter’s lecture here will bring protest as some call him anti-Muslim” by Stephanie Innes in the Arizona Daily Star (thanks to Davida), is an invitation to the kind of fascist disruption tactics that Muslim groups plotted against Brigitte Gabriel in Michigan recently.
Some community members are angry about an upcoming lecture by controversial author and former CNN reporter Steven Emerson, claiming Emerson is anti-Muslim.Emerson, who wrote the 2002 bestseller “American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us,” is scheduled to speak at Tucson’s Jewish Community Center Monday evening as part of the University of Arizona’s Shaol Pozez Memorial Lectureship Series.
“The organizations that sponsored this man are not helping peace between the Muslim and Jewish faiths,” said Muhammad As’ad, a Muslim who plans to protest the talk Monday. “This is going to be a very upsetting scene.”
UA officials say they are aware of the opposition, but the talk is part of the series’ goal of rigorous discussion resulting in a better understanding of important issues.
According to literature promoting his talk, Emerson is expected to speak about how militant Islamic individuals and groups have insinuated themselves into Western society. He contends that Islamist extremists living in the U.S. often pretend to be moderate while secretly carrying out a terrorist agenda in funding, organizing and coordinating the activities of radical Islamic groups.
Emerson’s critics say the UA’s Arizona Center for Judaic Studies, which is sponsoring Emerson’s talk, should not be sanctioning “anti-Muslim rhetoric.”
“I think he’s a racist. … He runs around and scapegoats Muslims,” said Racheli Gai, a member of the local Women in Black group, which is an international peace network. She’s also a co-founder of the Tucson Peace Walk — an annual walk and gathering of Muslims and Jews.
As a Jew, Gai said she’s very angry that the Jewish community is supporting Emerson. Co-sponsors of the lectureship series include the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Gai said she expects a group of Christians, Jews and Muslims will be protesting outside the center….
Emerson is the founder and executive director of The Investigative Project, which keeps a database of intelligence on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups.
Emerson has been told of the controversy surrounding his visit and is not surprised.
He’s accustomed [to] opposition, having faced accusations of being anti-Islamic, and has even received death threats in the past, Wright said.
If you go: Terrorism and national-security expert Steven Emerson is scheduled to give a lecture titled “The Grand Deception: Militant Islam, the Media and the West,” at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road.
Go, if you’re in the area — particularly if you have law enforcement experience. Don’t let the bullies win the day.
Feds targeting employers of illegal workers
By Joe Cantlupe
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE December 10, 2006 WASHINGTON – It was among the best sushi restaurants in Baltimore, but something was seriously wrong about Kawasaki’s. While the owners showcased their finery in the dining room, the illegal immigrants who worked there were paid less than $2 an hour and lived in garbage-filled rooms above the restaurant, where they had no clean water.
“Downstairs, the restaurant looked beautiful. Upstairs, it was filthy,” said Julie L. Myers, assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
So federal authorities did something that has been almost unheard of in recent years: They filed criminal charges against the owners of the large Kawasaki restaurant, accusing them of exploiting cheap, illegal labor so they could buy Lexuses and real estate. Eventually, the government seized more than $1 million in assets from the owners, who also had two other restaurants.
It is part of a trend that developed as Congress and the White House debated what to do about illegal immigration. Across the country, officials also have rounded up undocumented workers at companies ranging from a huge pallet manufacturer with offices in California to a company that performed cleaning services for Wal-Mart stores nationwide.
But critics are skeptical, saying that political pressure from employers to maintain the status quo is overwhelming and that the Bush administration is making only a small dent in the problem of illegal immigrants in the workplace.
Some employers, meanwhile, complain that a focus on enforcement, without changes in immigration law that address labor shortages, is hurting their bottom line.
Over the years, the federal government has had a spotty record on work-site enforcement. The reasons included a general tolerance for illegal immigration in low-skill jobs, the difficulty of prosecuting cases and the relatively low fines that result.
Without much fanfare, federal authorities say they started making a major push last spring on workplace enforcement. At the time, Republicans in Congress were calling for tougher enforcement measures, while President Bush was trying to persuade them to take an approach that included a path to citizenship for many illegal workers.
“We are currently doing some very significant work-site enforcement operations and starting to look at criminal penalties,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. The Department of Homeland Security includes Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE.
The numbers are starting to show: In the past year, ICE has arrested 716 employees and employers on immigration-related criminal charges, such as knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and money laundering, up from 25 in 2002. Those found guilty can be sentenced to prison.
Administrative violations, which generally involve the apprehension of illegal immigrants at work sites, increased to 3,667, up from 485 in 2002, according to ICE. Violators can be fined.
“They are trying to ramp things up to the extent they can. Work-site enforcement is an essential element to gain control over illegal immigration,” said Deborah Meyers of the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute, who said she supports the ICE plan.
“This is about creating a new norm for employers. Before, they weren’t serious about investigations. It’s about people buying into it and changing the norm.”
But Steve Camorata, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, which seeks stronger limits on immigration, isn’t convinced, noting that there are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. He doesn’t see many lasting changes ahead for enforcement and said there is political pressure to look the other way in areas where the work force might include large numbers of illegal immigrants.
“If they bring more prosecution of egregious violators, that’s fine and useful and important,” Camorata said of ICE. “But we’re not sure the administration is serious about enforcement. The truth of the matter is the enforcement system is broken. When you look at the numbers, the numbers aren’t very high.”
The government’s investigations constitute a “big jump from the previous year, but from a tiny base,” said Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California San Diego.
Some employers say the focus on enforcement is unfair.
“It’s a major concern – people seeing clients being audited and our members raided and audited at a higher level,” said Laura Reiff, spokeswoman for the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, a business group. “(Authorities) are going after companies involved in construction, critical infrastructure, drugs, food supply, hotels and restaurants. There is an enforcement mentality. It puts us in a major bind without comprehensive reform.”
Meanwhile, the intensity of the political debate surrounding immigration over the past year seems to have subsided, with Democrats poised to take over the Senate and the House next month.
House Republicans pushed for stronger enforcement of immigration laws. President Bush and a group of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate wanted a guest-worker program and ways for undocumented workers to gain legal status, along with greater enforcement.
Eventually, Congress passed a bill to extend a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border by 700 miles, but tougher work-site enforcement provisions were not included.
“Reformers – Republicans, Democrats and the president – know that’s not the answer or the whole answer,” said Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who supports a wider approach. “The only way we will ultimately get control is with a combination of tougher enforcement on the border, but more important, in the workplace.
“The challenge is to get a workable system up and running in a timely way,” Jacoby added, “rather than rushing to implement something that does not work.”
Other experts agreed.
“My guess is that if the new Congress wants comprehensive immigration reform, a tougher employer sanctions regime will have to be part of it,” Cornelius said.
While politicians debate what might be ahead, Chertoff insists that the government is taking steps to make sure it complies with the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. The law requires employers to examine at least two forms of identification for all new workers and ensure they reasonably appear to be genuine.
The Bush administration’s 2007 budget proposes $41.7 million in new funds for work-site enforcement and an additional 171 agents.
“This is a big shift in strategy for us,” said Dean Boyd, a spokesman for ICE. “We recognize the focus is not necessarily to arrest (illegal immigrants), but to punish corporations and the employers who hire them.”
Negotiate with Iran?
How many Americans do they need to kill before we get the point?
By Andrew McCarthy
National Review Online
December 8, 2006
The Iraq Study Group’s call for negotiations with Iran and Syria as “a way forward” has been widely derided. It is, abjectly, a return to September 10th thinking – to the days when terror masters like Yasser Arafat were feted as statesmen at White House galas, when terror organizations like al Qaeda operated with impunity from well-known safe havens, and when our government’s idea of countering atrocities was the filing of indictments against a handful of savages.
It is wrong, though, to lay that rap on the sages of this bipartisan, blue-ribbon panel. When it comes to “dialogue” with Iran, the ISG merely recommended a more transparent version of what the Bush administration has already been doing, just as its predecessors had long and naively done.
To be sure, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, President Bush conveyed the right message: Terrorists and their state facilitators, animated by a murderous, totalitarian ideology, cannot be negotiated with. They must be defeated. If not, they are emboldened. That translates, always, into dead Americans.
The administration followed through on its rhetoric with respect to al Qaeda – the public would have accepted nothing less. But as for Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah, the approach has been strictly old school – as in, recklessly passive. That is a growing catastrophe. In their relentless anti-American jihad, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and al Qaeda are one. There is no rational justification for negotiating with Tehran’s mullahs or Syria’s Bashar al-Assad that would not equally validate a sit-down with Hezbollah’s Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, or with bin Laden himself.
Still, negotiating, appeasing, and looking the other way is exactly what we have been doing. And long before the ISG ever got involved.
IRAN AND HEZBOLLAH
Fresh from its 1979 siege of the U.S. embassy and the humiliating hostage-taking that ensued, the Islamic Republic of Iran – through the intercession of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps – created Hezbollah in 1982. Primarily based in Lebanon, where American forces were massed to calm the bloody aftermath of Israel’s expulsion of Arafat’s PLO, the “Party of God” (Hizb Allah) claimed in its manifesto to be
the vanguard … made victorious by God in Iran . There the vanguard succeeded to lay down the bases of a Muslim state which plays a central role in the world. We obey the orders of one leader, wise and just, that of our tutor and faqih (jurist) who fulfills all the necessary conditions: [Ayatollah] Ruhollah Musawi Khomeini. God save him!
Over the quarter century that followed, Hezbollah received billions in aid from Iran, as well as aid, logistical support, and safe haven from Sy ria, with which it works hand-in-glove to strangle Lebanon and wage war against Israel.
Hezbollah’s founding quickly resulted in a spate of kidnappings, torture, and bombing. (See this useful timeline from CAMERA.) In April 1983, for example, a Hezbollah car bomb killed 63 people, including eight CIA officials, at the U.S. embassy in Beirut . More infamously, the organization six months later truck-bombed a military barracks in Beirut , murdering 241 United States Marines (and killing 58 French soldiers in a separate attack). These operations, like many other Hezbollah atrocities, were orchestrated by Imad Mugniyah, long the organization’s most ruthless operative.
On December 12, 1983, the U.S. embassy in Kuwait was bombed, killing six and wounding scores of others. The bombers were tied to al-Dawa, a terror organization backed by Iran and leading the Shiite resistance against Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime (with which Iran was at war). The leader of Dawa’s “jihad office” in Syria at the time was none other than Nouri al-Maliki – now the prime Minister of Iraq (and who, having opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, currently squabbles with American authorities, draws his country ever closer to Iran and Syria, and professes his support for Hezbollah). Among the “Dawa 17” convicted and sentenced to death for the bombing was Imad Mugniyah’s cousin and brother in law, Youssef Badreddin. (Badreddin escaped in the chaos of Saddam’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.)
Meanwhile, in 1984, Hezbollah bombed both the U.S. embassy annex in Beirut, killing two, and a restaurant near the U.S. Air Force base in Torrejon, Spain, killing 18 American servicemen. On March 16 of that year, Hezbollah operatives kidnapped William Francis Buckley, the CIA’s station chief in Beirut. He was whisked to Damascus and onto Tehran where he became one of the hostages whose detention led to the Iran/Contra affair. Under Mugniyah’s direction, Buckley was tortured for 15 months, dying of a heart attack under that duress.
Hezbollah hijackers seized a Kuwait Airlines plane in December 1984, murdering four of the passengers, including two Americans. Six months later, Hezbollah operatives hijacked TWA Flight 847 after it left Greece. The jihadists discovered that one of their hostages was a U.S. Navy diver named Robert Stethem. They beat him severely and then shot him to death before dumping his body onto the tarmac of Beirut airport. In early 1988, Hezbollah kidnapped and ultimately murdered Colonel William Higgins, a U.S. Marine serving in Lebanon.
IRAN, HEZBOLLAH & AL QAEDA
By the late 1980s, the Sunni Islamic terror network that would become known as al Qaeda was emerging in Afghanistan out of the mujahideen’s jihad against the Soviet Union. It was directed, of course, by bin Laden, with key assistance from Ayman al-Zawahiri, the emir of the Egyptian al-Jihad organization, which would ultimately be folded into the al Qaeda network.
One of al-Jihad’s most capable operatives was Ali Abdul Saoud Mohamed. A shadowy former Egyptian army officer (who ultimately emigrated to the U.S. and served in the American army for three years), Ali Mohamed became a top al Qaeda trainer and bin Laden’s personal bodyguard.
At bin Laden’s direction, Mohamed conducted surveillance in 1993 at various potential bombing targets, including the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Five years later, al Qaeda used his handiwork to bomb that embassy – the same day it struck the U.S. embassy in Tanzania. The bombings claimed over 240 lives.
Mohamed was ultimately charged with participation in al Qaeda’s war against the United States . When he pled guilty in 2000, among the startling revelations he made was the following:
I was aware of certain contacts between al Qaeda and al Jihad organization, on one side, and Iran and Hezbollah on the other side. I arranged security for a meeting in the Sudan between [Imad Mugniyah], Hezbollah’s chief, and Bin Laden. Hezbollah provided explosives training for al Qaeda and al Jihad. Iran supplied Egyptian Jihad with weapons. Iran also used Hezbollah to supply explosives that were disguised to look like rocks.
In hindsight, disclosure of an Iran/Hezbollah/Qaeda partnership should have come as no surprise. In the aforementioned spring 1998 indictment, the Justice Department alleged that bin Laden had “stated privately … that Al Qaeda should put aside its differences with Shiite Muslim terrorist organizations, including the Governmen t of Iran and its affiliated terrorist group Hezballah, to cooperate against the perceived common enemy, the United States and its allies.” Thus, the indictment explained: “Al Qaeda also forged alliances … with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezballah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.”
This concord, according to the 9/11 Commission’s review of U.S. intelligence files, traces back to the early 1990s. The invaluable terrorism researcher Thomas Joscelyn relates that the alliance was corroborated by testimony from a former al Qaeda member, Jamal al-Fadl (at the East African embassy-bombings trial in 2000). Bin Laden, according to al-Fadl, met at a guesthouse in Riyadh City with an emissary named Nomani, representing Iran’s mullahs. It would be mutually beneficial, they concurred, to put aside their Sunni/Shiite divide and work together against the common enemy: America and the West. Other Iranian contingents, the 9/11 Commission notes, visited al Qaeda’s headquarters in Sudan – bin Laden and his top aides having been transported there under Mohamed’s protection.
Subsequently, the Commission states (p. 61), “senior al Qaeda operatives and trainers traveled to Iran to receive training in explosives. In the fall of 1993, another such delegation went to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon for further training in explosives as well as intelligence and security.” That instruction, held at Hezbollah camps, included al Qaeda’s top military committee members and several operatives who were involved with its Kenya cells long before the 1998 embassy bombings.
The deadly fallout from this collaboration becomes increasingly clear. On June 25, 1996, a bomb was detonated near the American Air Force dormitory at the Khobar Towers complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The resulting massacre claimed the lives of 19 U.S. airmen (nearly 400 other people were wounded). In this land teeming with al Qaeda operatives and supporters, Hezbollah had been conducting surveillance on the target since 1993.
In responding – with an indictment – five years later, the Bush Justice Department announced that “the Iranian government inspired, supported, and supervised members of the Saudi Hizballah. In particular, … [Hezbollah] defendants reported their surveillance activities to Iranian officials and were supported and directed in those activities by Iranian officials.” Those officials, it is clear, acted with impunity: No Iranians were ever charged for Khobar, and no meaningful U.S. action against Iran was ever taken. In the interim, it has emerged that the operation was likely carried out with al Qaeda complicity. This was the conclusion of the CIA, reported fleetingly by the 9/11 Commission (at p. 60 & n.48).
Meanwhile, according to al-Fadl (the aforementioned informant), among the top al Qaeda leaders who received instruction from Iran and Hezbollah in the early 90s was Saif al-Adel. As al Qaeda’s chief of military operations, Adel was not only a driving force behind the 1998 embassy bombings. He is, in addition, a longtime bin Laden intimate, largely responsible for al Qaeda’s infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and Yemen (where the U.S.S. Cole was bombed in October 2000, killing 17 U.S. sailors), and believed to have trained some of the 9/11 hijackers.
Regarding 9/11 itself, suggestions at this point of an Iranian/Hezbollah role are sketchy but highly intriguing, while indications of Iran ’s purposeful facilitation of al Qaeda are strong. As the 9/11 Commission summed up the state of play (at pp. 240-41):
[T]here is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers. There also is circumstantial evidence that senior Hezbollah operatives were closely tracking the travel of some of these future muscle hijackers into Iran in November 2000.
Declining to draw the obvious inference, the Commission speculates that perhaps “Hezbollah was actually focusing on some other group of individuals traveling from Saudi Arabia … rather than the future hijackers.” It admits, however, that this would be “a remarkable coincidence.” Speaking of remarkable coincidences, the Comm ission also details at least two occasions when senior Hezbollah operatives were on the very same Iranian transit flights as the future hijackers.
Leaving these provocative dots unconnected, the Commission says it “found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack.” That, of course, is far from a clean bill of health: The vast majority of al Qaeda members, including, the Commission concedes, many of the hijackers themselves “were probably not aware of the specific details of their future operation” during the time of their Iranian transit flights.
IRAN: AL QAEDA’S SAFE HARBOR
The sheer barbarity 9/11 prompted a vigorous American military response, routing the Taliban in Afghanistan and causing the terror network’s top ranks – i.e., those not killed or captured – to return or flee. In the aftermath, al Qaeda, as usual, found shelter from the storm in Iran. Among the many operatives still harbored in Iran – under what the mullahs laughably call “house arrest” – are Saif al-Adel and bin Laden’s own son, Saad. Indeed, the author Richard Miniter contends that Osama bin Laden himself fled to Iran for a time in 2002.The superb terrorism analyst Dan Darling relates that European intelligence services attribute the Iran/Qaeda safe-haven arrangement to the close tie between Zawahiri and Ahmad Vahidi (Commander, in 2001, of Iran’s elite Qods – or “Jerusalem” – Force).
With a soft place to land, al Qaeda reconvened the remnants of its shura (or “consultative”) council and reinvented itself. At a November 2002 summit in Iran, one of its top strategists, a Syrian named Mustafa Setmariam Nasar (aka “Abu Musab al-Suri”), urged that terrorist operations would now have to be dispersed outward to the network’s tentacles, rather than run from hubs like those al Qaeda once enjoyed in Sudan and Afghanistan. In “Current Trends in Islamist Ideology” (Vol. 2), an invaluable Hudson Institute series, terrorism researcher Reuven Paz describes Nasar as adamant that al Qaeda should redouble its efforts to attack the United States with weapons of mass destruction – to the point of openly urging Iran and North Korea to press on with their nuclear projects in the expectation that jihadists will one day reap the benefits. As Nasar has put it:
The ultimate choice is the destruction of the United States by operations of strategic symmetry through weapons of mass destruction, namely nuclear, chemical, or biological means, if the mujahideen can achieve it with the help of those who possess them or through buying them.
Here, it is worth pausing to recall a meeting just this spring between Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Sudanese strongman Omar al-Bashir, conducted even as Iran was being pressured (at least, what passes for pressure) to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Publicly and defiantly, Khamenei asserted, “Iran’s nuclear capability is one example of various scientific capabilities in the country,” and promised that “[t]he Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to transfer the experience, knowledge and technology of its scientists.”
Meanwhile, Adel and Saad bin Laden have thrived in the safety of their Iranian redoubt. Using the Saudi cells Adel had been instrumental in building, they orchestrated the May 12, 2003 suicide bombings of three Riyadh housing complexes, a direct challenge to the House of Saud so reviled by bin Laden. Perhaps more significantly, Adel had a house guest in 2002: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
AL QAEDA – AND IRAN – IN MESOPOTAMIA
Zarqawi was also placed under “house arrest” by Iranian authorities. The Jordanians had long sought Zarqawi in connection with a plot to bomb an Amman hotel on the eve of the Millennium, as well as the October 2002 murder of an American diplomat, Laurence M. Foley. Jordan thus sought Zarqawi’s extradition. Iran did not merely reject Jordan’s demand; it gave Zarqawi safe-passage into Iraq.
The rest is history: Zarqawi proceeded to lead the ranks of “al Qaeda in Mesopotamia” in a ruthless jihad – bombings, torture, beheadings, and the fomenting of sectarian strife. To this day, the rampage continues, with Iraq at the abyss despite Zarqawi’s killing by U.S. forces six months ago.
Zarqawi, however, does not begin to describe Iran’s contribution to the anti-American war effort. As the Iraq Study Group acknowledged even as it proposed negotiations, Iran has armed and trained the militias that still, day after day, fight and kill U.S. and coalition troops. It has done so brazenly, and simultaneously with the hands-on support it provided to its forward militia, Hezbollah, in this summer’s jihad against Israel – transparently, a proxy war against the United States.
DEATH TO AMERICA
In a startling October 2005 speech at Iran ’s annual “World Without Zionism” conference, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his audience, “We are in the process of an historical war between the World of Arrogance and the Islamic world, and this war has been going on for hundreds of years.” He elaborated:
In this very grave war, many people are trying to scatter grains of desperation and hopelessness regarding the struggle between the Islamic world and the front of the infidels, and in their hearts they want to empty the Islamic world. … They [ask]: “Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?” But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved.
“ Very soon,” he haughtily proclaimed, Israel, “this stain of disgrace will vanish from the center of the Islamic world – and this is a ttainable.”
Is it any surprise Reuters and the German press reported this summer that the Iranians dispatched Saad bin Laden to the Lebanese border to assist Hezbollah’s attacks against Israelis? You’ll be shocked, I’m sure, to learn – as we mull negotiations with the Islamic Republic – that hundreds of Revolutionary Guards personnel reportedly joined in the fighting.
By the way, the Iranians have developed a missile called “Zelzad 1.” Its namesake is a Koranic verse that tells of a conflagration that precipitates Judgment Day. The missile is emblazoned with the slogan: “We will trample America under our feet. Death to America .”
Meanwhile, less than a month ago, MEMRI recorded Yahya Safavi, a commander of the Revolutionary Guar ds Corps, repeatedly referring to the United States as “the enemy” in an interview on Iranian television. “The Americans,” Safavi brayed, “have many weaknesses. In fact, in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they clearly displayed their strengths and weaknesses. We have planned our strategy precisely on the basis of their strengths and weaknesses.” He added that Iran had been studying “the enemy” and determined that there wasn’t “any motivation among the American forces in Iraq. They are very cowardly…. When their commanders encounter a problem, they burst into tears. We did not see such spectacles in the eight years of the Iran-Iraq war. I can therefore say that our advantage over the foreign forces is moral and human.”
The bravado echoes what top Iranian officials have been saying for years. “We have a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization,” claimed Hassan Abbassi, a Revolutionary Guard intelligence advisor, in 2004. “[W]e must make use of everything we have at hand to strike at this front by means of our suicide operations or by means of our missiles. There are 29 sensitive sites in the U.S. and in the West. We have already spied on these sites, and we know how we are going to attack them.” It was nothing new. Ayatollah Khamenei, who, as we have seen, brags about the potential of Iran’s nuclear program, has also insisted:
We have no need for a nuclear bomb. We have overcome our enemies so far, without the nuclear bomb. The Iranian people have been defeating America for the past 25 years, is it not so? America has been defeated by the Iranian people during the past 25 years. What has it been defeated with? Have we defeated America using a nuclear bomb, or by our determination, will, faith, and awareness? The world of Islam has been mobilized against America for the past 25 years.
The peoples call, “death to America .” Who used to say “death to America ?” Who, besides the Islamic Republic and the Iranian people, used to say this? Today, everyone says this.
Yes, everyone. But Iran, unlike “everyone,” has been at war with us for a quarter-century. The Islamic Republic hasn’t the slightest misgiving about it, and it is certain – with all the millennial zeal radical Islam can muster – it will win. It is, the jihadists believe, their destiny. It is what their religion commands.
In contrast, the United States declines to recognize what is plain to see. What, in fact, one must work overtime not to see.
This is not merely a failing of the Iraq Study Group. True, the notion that Iran will be brought around by negotiations is harebrained. But the ISG is simply taking its lead from the Bush administration. The president once famously, and, as we have seen, with abundant justification, placed Iran smack in the middle of the “Axis of Evil.” But the disintegration of order in Iraq – prominently fomented by Iran – has made appeasement of the Islamic Republic the order of the day.
SEPTEMBER 10th ALL OVER AGAIN
It is September 10th all over again. To its credit, the administration at least branded Iran as the culprit behind the vicious act of war at Khobar Towers, something the Clinton administration willfully suppressed in its quest for the Holy Grail of an Israeli/Palestinian settlement – the very fool’s errand now reprised by the ISG. But the Bush response to this state-sponsored carnage was the filing of an indictment, an exercise the administration once belittled as woefully insufficient to deter terrorists. No Iranians were named, and no defendant charged was ever extradited for prosecution.
Iran’s bold interference in Iraq – acts of war, killing and menacing American troops – has been ignored. Further, Iran’s patent hand behind Hezbollah’s war against Israel was not merely ignored; it was denied – for a time, the administration refused to admit that there was even a war going on, much less that Iran was pulling Hezbollah’s strings.
And finally, there is Iran’s nuclear program. The president has publicly maintained that Iran must not be permitted to obtain nuclear weapons. Yet, the administration’s tactic of choice in this facedown has been classic appeasement.
The ISG wants us to talk to the mullahs? How can we blame them? That’s exactly the course the administration has chosen for the life-and-death challenge of the jihadist nuke. To mollify “the international community,” for which no evil is beyond “dialogue,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pushed for an end to the inconvenience of American moral clarity. We should abandon this notion that Iran is an implacable enemy, she insisted. We should join with our “partners.” Let’s reason with the mullahs. Ply them with breathtaking incentives: security assurances; economic aid; high-technology; aviation, energy, telecommunications and agriculture assistance.
The Bush Doctrine? You’re with us or against us? Unrealistic. No need, after all, to sour the mood by demanding an end to Iran’s terror mongering. And sticks to go with these carrots? No, not to worry. The Iranians would surely be moved to comply, and, if they didn’t, why, surely the Russians and the Chinese would back some sticks … notwithstanding that Iran is into them like a shylock.
You know, of course, the result. The Iranians laughed at us. So impressed were they by this nuanced display of soft power that … they sicced Hezbollah on Israel, armed up their Iraqi militias, and blithely went on building their nukes.
ISG Chairman James Baker, a foolish man, looked Congress in the eye on Thursday and explained his master plan. Did it seem foolish to propose negotiations with Iran, our relentless enemy? Sure. But, the “realist” doyen puttered, if we invite them to negotiate about Iraq’s future, and they demur, why, we’ll expose their intransigence for all the world to see.
Right. They slaughter and abet the slaughter of our marines, our airmen, our sailors, William Buckley, Robert Stethem, William Higgins, and countless others. They tell us their defining goal is a world without America, a world in which our allies are wiped from the face of the earth. But, at long last, we’ll know who they really are … if they don’t show up for a meeting.
Blue-ribbon panels can afford such juvenilia. They are, after all, unaccountable. What’s the administration’s excuse?
What makes a superpower super is power. If we don’t use it, what’s left? Iran believes they will destroy us and acts on that conviction every day. We … seek negotiations.
I’m not a hugger, but I hugged my four-year-old son as I wrote this. We abdicate now. We turn a blind eye as our implacable, insatiable enemies pick off our best and our bravest. We shrink from the duty a quarter century of mayhem imposes. We don’t have the will.
It will be for my son, and yours, to face down this challenge. A challenge that endures because we offer to talk while they plot to kill.
– Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
Everyday, American Congress for Truth (ACT) is a 501c3 non profit organization on the front lines fighting for you in meeting with politicians, decision makers, speaking on college campuses and planning events to educate and inform the public about the threat of radical Muslim fundamentalists to world peace. We are committed to combating the global upsurge of hate and intolerance.
Inside the unlikely coalition of the U.S.’s sworn enemies, where Communists link up with Islamic radicals
Hezbollah, Chávez and London’s ‘Red Ken’
By ANDREW HIGGINS
December 9, 2006; Page A1, WSJ
[DON’T MISS THIS VERY INFORMATIVE WSJ ARTICLE]
[..] “We all have the same goals,” explains Dr. Sayid, who now works in a Hezbollah clinic. The first of these goals is “resistance” against Israel, which during the summer war battled Hezbollah militiamen just outside Dr. Sayid’s village. He says resistance also has a broader target: America, its allies in the Arab world and beyond, and global capitalism.
When the Cold War ended a decade and a half ago with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mr. Sayid and others like him around the world mourned the apparent triumph of U.S. military, economic and ideological might. Many Americans rejoiced, with some embracing the theory that the demise of Marxism marked “the end of history,” a period when ideological conflicts would give way to a world united in acceptance of a model typified by the U.S.
Al Qaeda’s attacks on New York and Washington in September 2001 didn’t fundamentally alter this conviction. Political Islam was seen as a grave threat but seemed limited in its appeal by its dependence on religious zeal. Such assumptions are now under strain as secular rebels, antiglobalization militants and other strains of revolt rally to the banner of “resistance” offered by Islamist groups such as Hezbollah.
Religion, excoriated by Karl Marx as the “opiate of the masses,” has become a great mobilizing force — even for zealous atheists. The phenomenon extends beyond the Middle East to Europe, Latin America and Africa, too. Causes that a few years ago seemed moribund or at least passé — socialism, Third World solidarity, strident anti-Americanism — have been injected with the fervor, though rarely the actual faith, of Islamic radicalism.
“We are all here to fight American hegemony,” Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s deputy chief, told hundreds of secular activists from around the world who gathered last month in a Beirut conference center. They were there to celebrate his Islamic movement’s “divine victory” over Israel this summer and cheer a broader battle against America’s vision for the world. Mr. Qassem was dressed in flowing robes and a cleric’s turban. Many in his audience wore T-shirts or badges featuring portraits of Che Guevara, clenched fists and other emblems of secular radical chic.
Adding to its revolutionary cachet, Hezbollah is now battling to oust Lebanon’s pro-American government. Along with assorted allies, the Islamist group staged a huge peaceful rally in central Beirut Dec. 1 and is the driving force behind a mass sit-in near the offices of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, a pro-business former banker. The protesters, encamped in tents for a week now, vow to stay until the government falls. Stoking fears the showdown may spiral into serious violence, Hezbollah has called for another mass demonstration Sunday.
Some of Hezbollah’s biggest fans are in Europe. There, the hard left, demoralized by the collapse of communism, has found new energy, siding with Islamist militants in Lebanon, in Iraq and in a wider campaign against what they see as an American plot to impose unrestrained free-market capitalism.
“We are all Hezbollah now,” read posters carried through London this summer during an antiwar protest march. Earlier, London Mayor Ken Livingston, once known as “Red Ken,” invited a controversial Egyptian cleric to the British capital, arguing that his views have been distorted by the West.
In deeply Roman Catholic Latin America, Hugo Chávez of Venezuela has become the exemplar of a new populism that sees common cause with Iran and Hezbollah. Mr. Chávez, re-elected in a landslide last Sunday, has met Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad several times and this summer was given the Islamic Republic Medal, Iran’s highest honor. Amid the rubble of Beirut’s southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold, portraits of Mr. Chávez now hang alongside pictures of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Hezbollah put them up after Mr. Chávez denounced President Bush as the devil in a September speech to the UN. “Gracias Chávez,” they say.
Africa, too, is boarding the bandwagon. A summit of the 53-nation African Union this summer in Gambia featured two special guests: Mr. Chavez and Mr. Ahmadinejad. Back in Tehran, Mr. Ahmadinejad in November hosted Zimbabwe’s authoritarian Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, an erstwhile devotee of Mao Zedong. Fulminating against President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr. Mugabe said likeminded countries must “fight against these evil men and their evil systems.”
In the U.S., the principal target for both Islamist and leftist anger, there has been little sign of any ideological realignment of the kind seen elsewhere. The anti-American movement overseas poses scant immediate threat to U.S. pre-eminence. Still, it could complicate American diplomacy, particularly in the Middle East, where the Iraq Study Group and others are urging Washington to reach out to Iran and Syria, both vocal foes. It also risks emboldening America’s many critics in Europe and Latin America, aggravating friction on a host of issues from the Israel-Palestine dispute to trade.
With America’s reputation badly blemished across much of the globe, widespread anger at Washington’s foreign policy is fusing with local grievances in an unstable mix of discontent. The result is a motley assemblage rife with contradictions and competing agendas. The Islamist-led protest movement has none of the central organization once provided by the Comintern, the body set up by Vladimir Lenin to coordinate global communism. Nonetheless, it is giving voice and a sense of common cause to those opposed to America’s plans.
Leading the way in embracing it are mostly fringe groups with names redolent of the 1960s: The Global Peace and Justice Coalition, The Socialist Workers Party, The League for the Fifth International. While such outfits are quirky, they “magnify trends in the mainstream,” says Nick Cohen, a British writer who is publishing a book next year about the alliance between Islamists and leftists, “What’s Left?” Karl Marx, he says, would be horrified.
“The sight of Godless communists in alliance with Islamo-fascists is one of the wonders of the modern world,” Mr. Cohen says.
Mainstream left-of-center parties still generally shun Islamists but chunks of their support base don’t. Mr. Blair in Britain, for example, has come under fire within his own Labour Party for supporting President Bush’s troubled Middle East policy, which critics say demonizes Islamist groups. In Spain, the socialist prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, has reached out to Muslims, propounding what he calls “an alliance of civilizations” and voicing sympathy for Hamas and Hezbollah. He has good relations with Mr. Chávez, Fidel Castro of Cuba and Bolivia’s populist leader, Evo Morales.
At the Beirut conference last month, a Mexican Marxist denounced America for “colonizing” New Mexico. A South Korean foe of free trade raged against American beef. A Turk fumed about American military bases. A Frenchman denounced American genetically engineered foods and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. There were even a few Americans. One thundered against big business, another against the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A big part of Hezbollah’s appeal is simply that, unlike other tarnished icons of revolt, it can point to successes. It has defied Israel’s military, by far the region’s most powerful. It prodded Israel to end its 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000 and unexpectedly bloodied Israeli troops in clashes this summer.
Hezbollah shows that “resistance,” whether fuelled by religion or secular zeal, “can break governments and roll back the American project,” says John Rees, a former editor of the journal International Socialism and a leader of Britain’s anti-Iraq war movement. Hezbollah, he says, isn’t a terrorist outfit but a social movement seeking better living conditions for its supporters. “It is better to think of it as an AFL-CIO with guns,” he says.
An American who traveled to Beirut in November to cheer Hezbollah, who identified himself as Bill Cecil, summed up the appeal of Islamism to non-Muslims: “Your enemy is our enemy; your victory is our victory,” he told a conference. Mr. Cecil, an activist for a radical group in New York, later appeared as a guest on the breakfast show of Hezbollah’s television station, al-Manar. America, he told a veiled female presenter, is “not a democracy … but a dictatorship of giant corporations.” America “needs a government that provides for the people like Hezbollah helps people here.”
Nowhere is the Islamist-leftist axis more potent than in Lebanon. The three-day Beirut jamboree, which featured fiery anti-American oratory and field trips to buildings bombed by Israel, was hosted jointly by Hezbollah and the Lebanese Communist Party, once-bitter enemies now united by what they proclaim as common goals.
Sitting beneath a portrait of Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara in his Beirut office, Khaled Hadadeh, the general secretary of the Lebanese communists, admits that Hezbollah and the Communist Party hated each other for years. “We started out in blood,” says Mr. Hadadeh, a Sunni Muslim by birth but now a firm atheist. Che Guevara, he says, “is our symbol, like Jesus Christ or Mohammed.”
Hostility to Israel and the U.S. now trumps past differences. The Communist Party disbanded its own armed wing at the end of Lebanon’s civil war in 1990, but 12 of its members died fighting alongside Hezbollah this summer, Mr. Hadadeh says. Piled in the corner of his office are trophies of this summer’s war: an Israeli army helmet, an Israeli rifle and a Hebrew newspaper.
Mr. Hadadeh says he has met Mr. Nasrallah 15 times and admires him greatly. At their most recent meeting in a secret location this fall, he says, they discussed not just the recent war with Israel but also the need to develop “a counter-project to the neo-liberal model,” the free-market policies backed by Washington.
Responsible for working out what this might mean is Ali Fayad, a political science lecturer and head of Hezbollah’s in-house think-tank, the Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation. Mr. Fayad, who joined Hezbollah in the 1980s while still a student, now sits on the politburo of an organization that mimics the rigidly hierarchical structure of the Soviet Communist Party. Israeli bombs destroyed Mr. Fayad’s offices, so his center now works from new premises in a half-built apartment block. Well-versed in Western economic and political theory, he runs a staff of more than a dozen researchers and has led the militant group’s outreach to foreign supporters.
Despite such volatile tensions, Mr. Fayad still sees Islam derailing America’s ambitions. Hezbollah’s success in Lebanon, the debacle in Iraq and the victories of populist anti-American politicians in Latin America, he says, show that “it is now the end of ‘the end of history.’ ” A recent article by Richard Haass, former director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department, has strengthened his conviction that America is in retreat, Mr. Fayed says. Writing in the U.S. foreign-policy journal Foreign Affairs, Mr. Haass declares that America’s post-Cold War hopes for the Middle East have failed and that the region’s “American era…has ended.” Mr. Fayad is in no doubt about what comes next: “It is an Islamic era in the Middle East.”
Among those grappling with this new perception of reality is Joseph Samaha, a secular Christian, former radical socialist and one of Lebanon’s most-thoughtful intellectuals. Over the summer he became editor in chief of Al Akhbar, a new newspaper sympathetic to Hezbollah. He scoffs at Westerners who cheer radical Islam as “naïve.” But he concedes that Islamists now represent the only viable alternative to corrupt, authoritarian regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. “It is sad, but it is like that,” he says.
The ideological reshuffling marks a curious reprise: Russia’s early Bolshevik leaders, many of them Jewish, worked hard to cultivate Muslims, seeing them as a useful ally against Britain and other European colonial powers then ruling over large Muslim populations, notably in India and Indonesia. The alliance led to doctrinal gymnastics as Soviet theorists sought to reconcile atheism with the Quran. Some even argued that the Prophet Mohammed was a precursor of Karl Marx.
For much of the 20th century, however, the left and Islam were bitter enemies. Spain’s right-wing dictator, Gen. Francisco Franco, recruited Moroccan Muslims to fight Soviet-backed foes in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. In 1962, Saudi Arabia, worried by Egypt’s tilt toward Moscow, created the Muslim World League to rally Islam against communism. Three years later, Islamic groups in Indonesia joined in an army-led mass slaughter of communists. Anticommunist fervor reached its peak in the 1980s, when thousands of Muslims flocked to Afghanistan to battle the Soviet occupiers.
Much the same enmity existed in Lebanon. When Dr. Sayid, the surgeon, first joined the Lebanese Communist Party in the late 1970s, Mr. Nasrallah, now Hezbollah’s leader, also was getting into politics — partly out of disgust at the spread of atheistic communism.
In an autobiographical account of his early years published in an Iranian newspaper, Mr. Nasrallah recounts how his own village was “turning into an area for the activity of intellectuals, Marxists and especially supporters of the Lebanese Communist Party.” He left the village and joined a group called Amal, a Shiite organization.
Iran’s Islamic revolution of February 1979 and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan at the end of that year soured communist-Islamist relations further, provoking often-bloody clashes in Lebanon and elsewhere.
Iran’s new Islamic government launched a brutal crackdown on the Soviet-backed Tudeh party, a leftist group that had helped topple the American-backed Shah. And Iran sent Revolutionary Guard zealots to Lebanon to help set up Hezbollah and injected the new group with their own fierce enmity to atheism and communism.
Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 accelerated the rise of Islamist groups. It uprooted Yasser Arafat’s secular Palestine Liberation Organization, which had bases in Lebanon, and left Hezbollah as the main force of “resistance.”
Dr. Sayid moved to Minsk in the then-Soviet republic of Belarus to study medicine. He says he went there as a true believer and was appalled when Mr. Gorbachev began his program of “perestroika,” or economic restructuring, and the Soviet system started to unravel. The reforms, he says, were a “counter-revolution.”
In Lebanon, meanwhile, a vicious civil war raged. Moscow put its weight behind the nominally socialist and mostly secular forces of Walid Jumblatt, leader of the country’s small Druze sect, an offshoot of Islam. In Dr. Sayid’s village and other areas of southern Lebanon, previously strong support for the Lebanese Communist Party wilted as Hezbollah became the dominant force. Hezbollah’s reputation was boosted by its fierce resistance to Israel and its provision of medical care and other services.
In its first public manifesto issued in 1985, Hezbollah declared itself hostile to “both the USSR and the U.S., both capitalism and communism, for both are incapable of laying the foundations for a just society.” Though focused on the struggle with Israel, the manifesto also sought a wider audience, addressed to “all the Oppressed of Lebanon and the World.” Eventually the Lebanese Communists began cooperating with Hezbollah, attracted mainly by its power but also finding common cause in its emphasis on championing the poor.
Amid the unraveling of the Soviet Union, few outside Lebanon paid much attention to the global pretensions of Hezbollah. Then came the al Qaeda attacks on America of 2001. Washington, traumatized, launched a “war on terror” against what it viewed as a small group of homicidal religious zealots.
As anger at the U.S. mounted in 2003 ahead of the invasion in Iraq, the snowballing antiwar movement took on a curious aspect, particularly in Europe: an alliance of forces that previously loathed each other.
Mr. Rees, the British radical who attended last month’s Beirut conference, played a big role, allying his own organization, the Socialist Workers Party, with the Muslim Association of Britain, a group that says it wants to bridge Muslim and non-Muslim communities yet is accused by critics of siding with radical Islamic groups. The two organizations spearheaded the antiwar campaign in Britain. Today, Mr. Rees says he has reservations about some of his Islamic allies’ views, particularly those regarding women and homosexuals.
“If there were a level playing field, I might choose different allies,” he says. But he says America’s own policies left him with no choice: “I find myself on the same side as Hezbollah, as Chávez. I didn’t choose them. America did.”
At a big Islamic festival this summer supported by London’s mayor, Mr. Livingston, Islamist activists and left-wing politicians declared their solidarity. “Muslims and the left must and can come together, because we face the same enemies — imperialism, colonialism and racism,” said Redmond O’Neill, a senior aide to Mr. Livingston.
In Aytaroun, the Lebanese village near the border with Israel, Dr. Sayid, the Soviet-trained physician, has abandoned the socialist dreams of his youth. Communism, he concedes, “is not going to take root in this soil.”
He has quit the Communist Party and now serves Hezbollah, working at a Hezbollah hospital bedecked with Islamic inscriptions and portraits of Iranian ayatollahs. When the war started this summer, his wife, an Orthodox Christian from Belarus, and three children left for her homeland. Dr. Sayid stayed behind to treat the injured, including Hezbollah fighters.
On a recent afternoon, Dr. Sayid sat with a group of Hezbollah activists in the office of the local mayor, also of Hezbollah. The mayor was wounded in the leg during the war and Mr. Sayid has been treating him.
One of the group showed off pictures of Hezbollah’s “divine victory” — an Israeli tank on its side, an Israeli warship in flames. Dr. Sayid says he is “not fully in agreement” with Hezbollah. But he believes it can succeed where communism failed. “It is strong. People support it.” Hezbollah, he says, “shows the world America is wrong.”
Write to Andrew Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Erik Rush
“I’ll go so far as to say that someone who is not keeping an eye on a group of six imams chanting in an airport waiting area and then spreading out on a plane and behaving in a disruptive manner, well that person is swimming so far upstream against the basic human wiring of common sense and survival instincts that if one could just capture the contrary energy, the synaptic maelstrom going on inside their feverish, brainwashed, nonjudgmental little skull you could power the massive turbines of the very 757 you’re flying on.”
– Comedian, actor and social commentator Dennis Miller, on Fox News.
It just keeps getting worser and worser…
I included the Dennis Miller quote simply because I think it’s brilliant. The ungrammatical statement I made that follows reflects the percentage of Americans who I believe wouldn’t have been keeping an eye on a group of six imams acting suspiciously on an aircraft. Whether the men were making a dry run (as did the 9/11 hijackers), looking to cash in on a civil suit, seeking to stir up the ire of the politically-correct, or simply being troublesome for hate’s sake, the reaction of the passengers who did take notice and the subsequent actions of the crew and the airline were most assuredly called-for.
But no. We have now the idiots who would have ignored the imams supporting the contention that they were being persecuted, profiled, singled out. The passengers on that plane should have taken no more notice of them than a group of flight attendants. That there is serious debate (let alone probable litigation) taking place as to the propriety of US Airways’ actions in Minnesota is manifestly insane.
For the record: I’m still not sure what an “imam” is exactly. The media’s proclivity for ascribing innocuous and inaccurate terminology to our enemies has frustrated me for years. I surmise that they’re some kind of Islamic cleric, but the requisites for same are fuzzy at best. Is there study of some kind involved, or is it just the beard, headgear and a worship of chaos and destruction? The Iranian terrorists who held American citizens hostage during the Carter Administration were referred to in the media as “students.” It’s altogether possible that guys who’ve attended Taliban training camps and have links to Al-Qaeda now qualify as holy men in the eyes of the press, progressive politicians and their deluded base.
A black man is shot to death by police in New York City and of course it’s murder before one solid fact gets out. In a perverse cosmic coincidence, within days of that shooting a Hispanic man is killed by police in a community near where I live. Due in no small measure to the breadth of coverage the New York story received, this instantly became a murder case as well, despite the fact that the deceased was brandishing a firearm.
These two men may have indeed been murdered in the legal sense; the point is that before the blood has congealed (let alone formal investigations being completed) in such instances there professional activists appear calling for riots, and a media feeding frenzy ensues that does far more to foment than inform. In the face of racially-heated news stories, these fools have lately developed the practice of giving airtime to the New Black Panther Party, whose slogan just happens to be “Freedom or Death.” Freedom from what? I’ve no idea. These are individuals who honestly believe that the first thought of each and every white person upon awakening is how to stick it to blacks that day.
A visit to their website (which made me feel like I needed a shower, by the way) quickly revealed that nearly all their principals possess – guess what – Muslim names. Given broadcast media venues, their spokesmen typically bark barely coherent ‘Sixties-era incongruencies about whites murdering black children and shout down flustered network correspondents.
When I seriously consider the motivations of the press and the far Left, it becomes sadly apparent that they would both view an outbreak of nationwide race riots as simply delicious. Again – insane and destructive, but think of the money they’ll make and the power they’d respectively gain!
A millionaire pop star flashes her privates and it’s a “publicity stunt.” In a sane society, she’d be charged with indecent exposure, her fan base would evaporate in a twinkling and she’d be pitied as a poor, unbalanced creature. After all, such acts used to be equated with unimaginable desperation or mental instability. In the context of our society at present and our current challenges, the fact that this titillates to the tune of top search engine rankings is the sickest part of all.
Now, I don’t bring all this up because of the recent political shift in our government, but I wager that we’ll see more overt evidence of societal decay as a result. Within hours after the midterm election, far Left elites became markedly more emboldened – as did our enemies abroad – in case no one has noticed.
I could go on and on with anecdotes across several areas of our society which illustrate the unthinking, delusion and sheer lunacy that is spreading across the country – and the grey matter of Americans – like some variety of voracious, flesh-eating bacteria. Moral relativists and other enemies at home and abroad have more and more success using our freedoms as the very weapons with which they are beating us to death, yet most of America remains too intimidated to speak out or act.
Fear, frustration and months of propaganda brought about one of the most potentially dangerous political developments of our time. They said “Bush lied” loud enough and long enough – and people finally bought it, despite there being no evidence whatsoever to support the statement, and cyclopean heaps of evidence to refute it.
Fear, avarice, and an apathetic public (the part which has not been misled outright) keep the system in place. It’s all well and good for social commentators – even famous ones – to tell it like it really is every now and then. As I said in my column Proretrogressives and the Last Wake-up Call, it’s going to take hardcore grass-roots initiatives to bring about the changes necessary to preserve our nation via political reformation and media negation: Boycotting corporations that support destructive lobbyists (even if they do produce a neat hybrid vehicle or a shampoo you swear by), calling out pretenders amongst the conservative ranks, refusing to settle for the nominations and elections of worthless, weak party hacks who happen to have the right parenthetical letter after their name, and going toe-to-toe with poverty pimps and class envy purveyors even if it means being called unpleasant names by mudheads in one’s community.
The brainwashed and the apathetic aren’t going to wake up on their own, either. Do you want to see your spouse and children gang-raped by laughing terrorists and then have your throat cut? No? Then get on board, because that’s what we’re up against.
What we really need is a president who is willing to tour America saying that, as during the days of the rail stop campaign – and decorum be damned.
Erik Rush is a New York-born columnist and author who writes a weekly column of political fare. He is also Acting Associate Editor and Publisher for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. An archive containing links to his writing is at www.ErikRush.com . His new book, “It’s the Devil, Stupid!” is available through most major outlets. His new book, Annexing Mexico, is scheduled for release shortly.
Dan Gordan in his article, Slick Jim Baker’s solution: Buy the bastards off! makes some trenchant points.
[..] The problem is that the Study Group is disconnecting the war in Iraq from America’s most pressing problem in the Middle East; not America’s war on terror, but Middle East Terrorists’ war on America.
I am not referring to the war in Iraq, that is a battle in a larger war. That is the war that Islamo Terrorist groups have declared on us. Whether we like it or not, whether we want it or not, whether we deserve it or not, we are in it. It was not born of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, nor Afghanistan, nor on 9/11.
[..] Regardless of what you think or don’t think of the war in Iraq you will delude yourself if you believe that it is not a major battle in the ongoing war pitting Islamo Terrorism against us. You will delude yourself at your peril. Do not believe me, listen to the terrorists themselves. As soon as the Iraq Study Group’s report was out, here was the response of Abu Ayman, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad, “The report proves this is the era of Islam and of Jihad. It is not just a simple victory it is a great one…it is no doubt that Allah and his Angels were fighting with them against the Americans. It is a sign to all those that keep saying that America, Israel and the West in general cannot be defeated on the ground, so let us negotiate with them…the next step would be a total defeat on their (American) land.”
Thus when the Iraq Study Group states on its opening page that its object is to find a bipartisan approach “to bring a responsible conclusion to what is now a lengthy and costly war” they are in fact divorcing Iraq, which is but a mere battle, from the larger war in which it takes place. In so doing, they not only guarantee defeat in that battle, but they greatly enhance the prospects for defeat in that larger and I promise you far lengthier and far costlier war in which we are now engaged. [..]
|Reagan and the Art of Leadership|
|By Jeffrey Lord|
|Published 12/12/2006 12:08:40 AM|