The Coastal Post - September, 1995

McCarthy Redux


President Truman on March 22, 1947, issued Executive Order No. 9835 to search out any "infiltration of disloyal persons" in the U.S. government. Truman's executive order required the Department of Justice to list organizations it decided were totalitarian, fascist, communist or subversive. Not only membership but also "sympathetic association" would be considered in determining disloyalty. Shortly after this Order, Senator Joseph McCarthy recognized the publicity value of this campaign and the great witch-hunt was on. Between the launching of this security program in 1947 and December, 1952 some 6.6 million people had been investigated. Not a single case of espionage was uncovered, although about 500 persons were fired because of "dubious loyalty." Many people were socially ostracized and their professional careers destroyed. Truman would later complain of the "great wave of hysteria" sweeping the nation, a wave which he had himself initiated.

Americans are today watching a replay of that McCarthy hysteria. Our government, to fill the emotional void created when the"Soviet threat" disappeared, has with Israel's assistance created "terrorism," especially "Muslim terrorism" as the new enemy. Anyone who follows history understands how necessary it is for some governments to be able to identify "enemies." Having an "enemy" excuses massive largess in arms expenditures and the recruitment of military personnel, allows a government to manipulate trade, tariff and commercial legislation to suit its perceived commercial interests and provides excuses for legislating to restrict and even punish its own citizens to "protect them" against these artificially-created dangers.

Just so, swept along by this media-encouraged tide, Congress has passed the "Comprehensive Terrorism Prevention Act." Besides removing many of the safeguards to personal liberty written into both our Constitution and Bill of Rights, this measure permits our president to identify foreign countries, organizations or individuals as "terrorists," and having issued this edict, to implicate Americans who contribute to or are sympathetic with these peoples or causes as criminals.

This week's headlines demonstrate how dangerous this "New McCarthyism" is becoming. On July 27th, our Immigration Service took into custody as he arrived at Kennedy Airport Dr. Mousa Mohamed Abu Marzook, a Palestinian engineer and businessman who has also been politically active with Hamas, an organization identified as "terrorist" by President Clinton. Marzook has lived in this country for 14 years, has had a green card since 1990. He lives in Virginia with his Egyptian wife and six children, all of whom are American citizens. Marzook has traveled extensively in the Mideast on political and business trips and recently represented Hamas at a meeting in Teheran.

Our government is now threatening to extradite this engineer to Israel, a country that sees Hamas as an enemy and responsible for "terrorist acts" against its people. Rabin is working feverishly to prepare the legalese for this extradition, saying: "We have to prove things in a way that will persuade the American judicial system."

Such an action would not only seriously threaten the peace process, but subject Marzook to physical and emotional abuse. Israel is internationally criticized for torturing her political prisoners. In April of this year, Rabin issued an order permitting "more than moderate physical pressure" when questioning alleged Islamic activists. Two weeks later, Abdul Samad Hreizat, a Palestinian, was beaten to death during interrogation.

Most Americans know little of Hamas, a socio-political group organized by the Muslim Brotherhood when the Intafada or "protest" started in 1987. Hamas supports Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza which face continued persecution by Israel. Although Israel is a signatory of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and has thus accepted responsibility for both economic and humanitarian support for her "occupied people," she has in fact routinely cheated and stolen from the Palestinians.

Israel taxes her Arab workers for unemployment and health insurance which is seldom paid out. In fact, Arafat is suing Israel for the over-$2.5 million workers retirement funds due his people but never paid. When the Intafada started, Israel responded by withdrawing even further her meager assistance.

To meet this on-going humanitarian and economic emergency, Hamas began collecting monies worldwide to care for Palestinian widows and orphans, support clinics and schools, house the aged, the care for the thousands of families whose husbands and brothers are suffering in Israeli prisons. Shamir and then Rabin tried to take advantage of this desperate situation to bribe a subgroup of Hamas, arm them, and then use them to weaken Arafat's position by competing with his PLO. Eventually, realizing they had been betrayed by Israel, and that Arafat was fast becoming Israel's Quisling, this militant subgroup initiated violence against both Israel and then Arafat. The moderates in Hamas, amongst whom is Dr. Marzook, have been attempting to negotiate both with Israel and Arafat to establish a Palestinian authority more responsible to their people and force Israel to live up to its promises made in Oslo, most of which Rabin has broken.

The Muslin world recognizes Marzook as a man of peace and an important figure in the ongoing negotiations between Hamas and Israel and Hamas and Arafat. Mideast groups issued a strong protest against the recent U.S. arrest. Marzook recently attended the Muslim Conference in Hartoum where an American friend of mine interviewed him at length. There is no evidence he has been involved in violence, though Steve Emerson, the American TV producer responsible for that notoriously-distorted and anti-Arab hate piece, "Jihad in America," claims he once taped Marzook encouraging threats to Israel. As the New York Times noted on August 4, "The Federal authorities, frustrated in their attempts to demonstrate that Mr. Abu Marzook is a terrorist, are adopting a different approach, hoping to uncover violations of banking laws in a rush to prosecute him."

In arresting Marzook, the U.S. is playing into the hands of those in Israel and their U.S. supporters who oppose land for peace. This is a dangerous move on Clinton's part, and may severely threaten the peace process. Such resurgences of McCarthyism in the Clinton administration will prove more and more damaging, both to the American people and our neighbors around the world.