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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

August, 2005

 

Blowback For Blair

"Oh wad some power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us !
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion."
Robert Burns ( 1759-1796 )

As the London bombings clearly demonstrated, the "Anti-Terrorism" measures being taken in Britain are as foolish, useless and almost as expensive as those supported in this country by the Bush regime. "Homeland Defense," better described as "Operation Hunker-Down" is costing us billions and offers no significant protection to Americans either here or abroad. London's 6,000 TV-closed-circuit surveillance cameras mounted throughout her subway system might, in retrospect, have identified some students of Mideast appearance with backpacks, but the police were looking for IRA terrorists at that time and missed them. Yesterday's TV images won't help those 52 dead Londoners nor the 700 injured, nor is that system any more likely to pick up the next "terrorists".
Our experience with both September 11, and the London bombings should tell us that identifying terrorists after-the-fact, spreading their bearded faces across the media and in a thousand papers, humiliating their families, deporting their Imans and creating an anti-Islamic climate of hate will do little to remove the threat to our cities, our transportation systems or even the lives of Americans and British at home and abroad. As famed columnist Robert Fisk recently reminded us, Osama Bin Laden had stated in one of his recent videotapes: "If you bomb our cities, we will bomb yours."
It was crystal clear Britain would be a target ever since Tony Blair decided to join George Bush's "war on terror" (newsindependent.co.uk 8 July 2005). There are over one billion four hundred thousand Muslims with whom we share Planet Earth, Muslims, in countries stretching from the African continent to Borneo at the distant end of the Indonesian archipelago, and day after day on the Internet, on Al Jazeera and other satellite communications, these people are confronted by our criminal behavior against their fellow Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as Gaza and the West Bank where we support Israel's daily savagery.
A recent message (11 July, 2005 ) from " NEW TREND", a Muslim magazine published in the US, is clear enough: "May Allah help the American and British people to realize that there is no way they can win against Islam. Try to understand this from the fact that less than 1% of the world of Islam has entered the war against the US/UK/Israel, while about 20% are said to be ready to join, and another 70% are simply riled up against the West but want peace (11 July, 2005)." (www.newtrendmag.org)
Mundher al-Adhami, an exile from Saddam Hussein's regime, writing in The Guardian (July 16, 20005 ), said it better than I can:
"Tony Blair talks about "them" hating 'our values and our way of life'. But I have seen atrocities like last week's London bombings taking place in Iraq over the past two years. Attacks there, as those in London, are not about hating anybody's way of life, but straightforward revenge: revenge for Falluja and al-Qaim-and for Palestine and Afghanistan, which have been subsumed in them. The war of revenge and collective punishment has arrived in London...
"Don't give me the nonsense about why do they hate us, they don't. The response to the neo-colonial adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq should surprise no one. Islamist extremism and terrorism, unknown in Iraq before occupation, now fights side by side with the more measured Iraqi resistance. It responds with callous bombs there, and now in the westÉ suicide bombers may regret the loss of innocent lives in their political, murderous acts-but they atone with their own lives and hope God forgives themÉ The logic is clear: your security is only assured if ours is. If our women and children are killed, then your women and children are killed."
The term "Islamic extremists" as employed in Washington and by Bush and our media, is but a silly cover-up. Throughout history, the human animal whenever his livelihood, his life, his family his religious group or his country was threatened, has been capable of responding violently against the perceived enemy. Oppressive rulers have described those who confronted them as "terrorists"É King George III regarded our colonial patriots as "terrorists. France's Louis XVI condemned the crowds in the Paris streets that brought down his monarchy and lead him to the guillotine as "terrorists."
Adding a religious tilt doesn't change the basic message: Bush and much of the media refer to those who today are risking their lives to fight with their fellow Muslims against our occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq as "religious fanatics," but history reminds us that not too many centuries ago when the situation was reversed and Muslims were killing Christians and threatening their holy places in Asia Minor and the Mideast, the then Catholic Pope, Urban II, while campaigning for the First Crusade, in 1095 at the Council of Claremont, urged his fellow Christians to "fight the infidel (Arabs and Turks) who have " killed and captured many and destroyed the churches." Urban II promised those who "died by the wayÉ or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sinsÉ and obtain eternal reward." (www,fordham.edu/halsall/source/urban2 )
Throughout history, young men, and sometimes women, have been willing to take up arms against perceived threats to their country, their livelihood, or their religious group. Bush and our military complain of "terrorists" from other Muslim countries entering Iraq and Afghanistan to attack our troops. Older Americans may remember that during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), some 2,800 American volunteers traveled to Europe and took up arms to defend the Spanish Republic against a military rebellion led by General Franco and aided by Hitler and Mussolini. To those volunteers who joined the "Abraham Lincoln Brigade," the defense of the Spanish Republic represented the last hope of stopping the spread of International Fascism." "Lincolns" fought alongside approximately 35,000 anti-fascists from fifty-two countries who, like themselves, were organized to "make Madrid the tomb of fascism" (www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/abe-brigade)
Ignored by Washington and most western media, as were the 15,000,000 worldwide who had marched against our invasion of Iraq, the 21st meeting of the World Tribune on Iraq quietly took place in Istanbul, Turkey on June 23-27. Some 1500 volunteers from 24 different countries gathered "to hear thorough and wrenching testimonies," (a series of WTI previous conventions had been held beginning in June 2003 in 20 different countries).
A "Jury of Conscience, led by Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy, sat in judgment." This Jury of Conscience issued a "Preliminary Declaration" after the meeting was concluded. The Declaration included: "Findings and Charges against the governments of the US and UK" such as: "planning ...and waging... a war of aggression in contravention of the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg principlesÉusing disproportionate force, indiscriminate weapons systems, failing to safeguard civilian lives, imposing punishments without charge or trial, subjecting Iraqi soldiers and civilians to torture and cruel and degrading treatment, re-writing a country's laws to allow foreign investors take over Iraq's state-owned enterprises, willfully devastating the environment, degrading the status of women, failing to protect Iraq's archeological heritage, obstructing the right to information and redefining torture in violation of international law. Details are on the Web at:
www.worldtribunal.org. ( "Z" Magazine July/August 2005 pages 3-7)
Best we Americans and the British declare "victory", remove our troops from both Afghanistan and Iraq and take that dangerous parasite, Israel off our payroll before we experience another "terrorist operation." We'd all be a safer and happier people if we had listened to Robert Burns.


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