Elizabeth Warren: Bomb, Bomb Iran!

Another one bites the dust, and so fast, too! Progressives bitter about Obama have already lost their latest celebrity, Elizabeth Warren, to the fever swamp of war hysteria, and she ain’t even elected yet.

The Boston Herald reports the US Senate candidate, running against centerfold Scott Brown for Ted Kennedy’s old seat in Massachusetts, is a hawk on Iran — including the “no options off the table” bit. In fact, she doesn’t just have a particular hate-on for Iran, she’s a big terror war supporter in general: “Our number one responsibility is to protect Americans from terrorism, that’s our job, so being tough on terrorism is enormously important.” And it gets worse — she loves our bloated military so much she made her own child join it. That’s a woman who cares.

Warren is also not sure if it’s a good idea to strip “homegrown terrorists” of their citizenship — she hasn’t read her opponent’s bill proposing such, so really, how could she have an informed opinion? Seems only rational.

I guess according to Little Miss Social Contract, you know that that factory you built backed up by public resources? You should probably use it to make weapons to help the empire murder foreigners. Progress!

h/t Charles Davis @charlesdavis84

Everything is Terror Now. Didn’t You Know?

Apparently even the Dutch, those most contemplative guardians of high civilization, have begun using Washington’s crude definition of “terrorism” — that is, Anything We Don’t Like. Sunny Ofehe, a Netherlands resident and activist from Nigeria’s Niger Delta region, was brought up on charges of sabotage of oil pipelines, people smuggling, and fraud. It’s irrelevant whether or not these charges are true; Ofehe says they are a conspiracy against him and his case should be dropped while a Dutch judge says they’re not and the case will continue.

Notable here is the classification of even the bombing of pipelines as “terrorism.” Pipeline bombings, whatever their merits, are not done to strike fear, and they are not targeted at civilians — these are two indisputable requisites for terrorism. They are carried out specifically to damage the corrupt Nigerian central government that siphons the resources of the Niger Delta region and recklessly despoils its delicate ecosystem. And also to make it less profitable for foreign oil companies to make their ill-gotten profits as well — in this case, shock of shocks, Royal Dutch Shell.

The Niger Delta is home to several insurgent groups, rebels who demand they benefit from the loot that flows to elites in the capital and profiteers in Amsterdam.

Similar to American terror cases, judges refuse to allow Ofehe to see evidence against him. This stretching of the definition of terror makes it ever easier for the government to shut down inconvenient dissent.

News Flash: Those in charge are looking out for their own interests, whether in the Netherlands, Nebraska, or the nether regions of Nigeria. They just have different ways of managing the plebes.

Obama Doesn’t Quite Hate Freedom Enough for Some Republicans

Every time I see these unfortunately ambiguous wire story headlines — “Key US lawmakers assail Obama on detainees” — I think some American lawmakers are finally standing up to the executive-run torture-state and its gulags. A closer look is always disappointing. They’re not attacking Obama for his attacks on our liberties, they’re bitching that he isn’t stealing and undercutting them enough.

The representatives, all Republican, are upset that Somali national Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, imprisoned for months on a US Navy ship “somewhere in the Gulf region,” could be given a real criminal trial in New York. Warsame is accused of belong to militant Muslim organizations deemed “terrorists” by the United States. Increasingly, the GOP expresses its dislike of the ancient Anglo-Saxon legal concept of habeas corpus as well as its utter lack of faith in the ability of the American system of justice to operate competently. They don’t even want terror suspects to touch American soil to be tried.

In a recent breathtaking admission, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell unironically proclaimed that the trial of Casey Anthony, a mother who probably accidentally killed her daughter but was found not guilty of premeditation and walked free, is evidence our justice system isn’t fit to try terror suspects. McConnell, and many other Americans lately, seem to think intimation — she like, totally did it, come on, duh — can be admitted as actual evidence used to convict someone of murder.

What they’re saying is that the courts don’t produce enough guilty verdicts. Do we need to point to other countries that decided to “remedy” this “problem”?

Antiwar.com of course agrees Warsame shouldn’t be tried in the United States. Or by the United States. His alleged “crimes” — “providing material support,” a nearly meaningless charge that can include giving someone a ride or buying textbooks for children in “enemy” madrassas — had nothing at all to do with this country. Al-Shabaab are a Somali problem (caused by previous US intervention), and “al-Qaeda” in Yemen is also a local issue America’s military nonetheless loves to bring home. Warsame should be immediately released, compensated for his suffering, and his kidnapping should be considered an international crime.

And these lawmakers should be immediately removed from office for willful violation of American bedrock civilizational concepts.

UN: US Is ‘Rights Violator’ — but Not How You Think

This is a confusing article on Guantánamo,” a friend of mine pointed out when I sent him the link. It’s a piece about the Obama Administration allegedly “admitting” its “human rights shortcomings,” as reported by the United Nations. As I scanned the article for any mention of the violation of any actual rights, I noticed my head involuntarily shaking back and forth in disbelief.

“The report noted that although the U.S. now has an African-American president and that women and Hispanics have won greater social and economic success, large segments of American society suffer from unfair policies and practices.

“High unemployment rates, hate crime, poverty, poor housing, lack of access to health care and discriminatory hiring practices are among the challenges the report identified as affecting blacks, Latinos, Muslims, South Asians, Native Americans and gays and lesbians in the United States.”

The horror of comparatively high unemployment! But seriously, for two reasons, this is an offensive article. The first and lesser is that while there are certainly some crappy apartments (I have lived in some), discrimination in hiring, and other “challenges” faced by non-white non-males in this country, I can’t imagine to what countries this is being compared in a serious manner. Is the United States government a rights violator because we don’t all have unlimited and free and excellent health care at a finger snap? Or because some Americans beat others up for dumber reasons than normal? No.

The second and far more shocking is that the United States is indeed an extreme rights violator in its various wars on things on which one cannot really make war. The War on Drugs is an ongoing hideous failure which, together with the War on Poverty, has gutted America’s inner cities — if we’re being honest these two are more responsible for crappy apartments than the fact that we all don’t have government-subsidized palaces and penthouses. It has also made a nightmare of several Latin American countries and plays no small part in the suffering of Afghanistan.

But the War on Terror is truly where Washington earns the most rights scorn. Prison camps, rendition, torture, assassinations, domestic spying, environmental destruction, and the foreign wars which necessitate all of it are America’s shame. We cover it so often in these pages I don’t need to detail it all — just look at the top of the page any random day.

I assume the UN has nothing to say on these issues due to its at least passive involvement in these international criminal debacles. Much easier to point the finger about alleged pay disparities between the genders than call its largest donor and host nation a regime full of torturers and death profiteers.

Somali-American ‘Terrorists’ Victims of Unfortunate Labeling

I wish it weren’t always necessary to lay out the recent history of Somalia every time it comes up. But it seems with every current event — like US bombings and piracy — Americans are starting with a fresh mental slate. And so it is with the recent cases of Minnesota-raised Somali youths taking up the cause of “jihad” in Somalia. Ever since Western-backed dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991, the Somali people have been victimized by foreign intervention.

First the events that led to “Black Hawk Down” — again, Americans only know about it because other Americans were killed invading Mogadishu. Once the US withdrew, and the UN’s staff was reduced to minimal aid duties, an equilibrium of power began to emerge, in which armed groups splintered and one rarely had more power than the other. Eventually the Somali economy, once at the brink of nonexistence, roared with innovation, delivering power, water, telecommunications, trash pickup, health care, shipping, and even Coca-Cola to the masses.

But US influence wasn’t absent: warlord (and former US Marine) Hussein Farrah Aidid and certain other of his colleagues began receiving millions in cash payments to “fight al-Qaeda.” Naturally this simply inflated their power so that they could once again muscle out their militia competitors. The situation worsened until the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) militias joined forces to rid the country of these American-financed warlords — who subsequently fled to Nairobi together with former apparatchiks of the Barre regime to make up the “Transitional Federal Government,” (TFG) the 14th such attempt by the international community to foist a central government upon the Somalis.

The West considered the ICU a terrorist organization affiliated with al-Qaeda, though it was run by some rather moderate elements who simply looked to impose order; strict as they may have been, Somalis considered them better than the US-financed warlords. Their ascendancy ended a liberal period in Somali life, but it was a reaction to foreign intervention. Not being known as good losers, the Bush Administration made an agreement with Ethiopia that it would invade its traditional enemy neighbor and install the TFG to power. As the ICU melted away to become an insurgency — shades of Iraq and Afghanistan; this is the new way of war — the militant splinter Islamist group al-Shabab flourished in the environment of all-out war.

The TFG now controls only a few blocks of Mogadishu and the road to the airport, after al-Shabab took even the government’s erstwhile base of support in Baidoa. Islamists of various shades control many other swathes of the country. Clan-based militias have re-arisen to take up local power vacuums. The economy is once again destroyed after years of war and, where it does exercise power, a hideously corrupt and confiscatory government. This gave rise to fisherman dabbling in piracy to feed their again-impoverished communities. And it also provoked outrage among the Somali diaspora, leading some of the more impressionable elements into holy war against the Ethiopian occupation — into the ranks of “al-Qaeda-linked” al-Shabab.

And now we have the government using the loaded term “terrorists” to describe these Minnesotan Somalis, who never lifted a finger against the United States, the West, or anyone but those occupying their homeland. And the New York Times parrots this use in the headline, and to literally describe the government’s charges. Credit where it’s due, sort of: the article contains the terms “insurgency” and even “occupation,” and the invasion is described correctly as US-backed and the Somali disapora’s outrage is noted as a reaction (as opposed to the natural inclinations of ungrateful freedom-hating Islamonuts).

How are we ever supposed to know who truly threatens us if the government is keen to toss the “terrorist” label at anything, anywhere in the world, that shoots? A Somali-American interviewed says that the undue attention on this small group with absolutely no relation to US national security is making “an underdog out of al-Shabab, which is aiding recruitment. ‘They are reinforcing it.'”

Because They Were Just Tourists, You See

Of course, any act against the United States government is an act of terrorism. Just read the first graf of this Jeff Stein blog post:

He may yet turn out to be the avatar of Iranian democracy, but three decades ago Mir-Hossein Mousavi was waging a terrorist war on the United States that included bloody attacks on the U.S. embassy and Marine Corps barracks in Beirut.

So he was waging this terrorist war on the United States. In Beirut. Beirut, Lebanon. And what were these Americans doing? Oh, just minding their own business:

[W]hy were American and French troops in Beirut in 1983, the mid-point of Lebanon’s 15-year civil war (1975-1990)?

Israel’s 1982 Invasion of Lebanon

On June 6, 1982, Israel, led by gen. Ariel Sharon, invaded Lebanon. The goal was to destroy the Palestine Liberation Organization’s operation in Lebanon, where it had established itself as a full-fledged state-within-a-state: The PLO controlled most of West Beirut and most of South Lebanon.

Israel’s invasion was brutally, tactically efficient but strategically disastrous. In 18 weeks, according to the Red Cross, some 17,000 people, most of them Lebanese civilians, were killed in the invasion. The PLO was routed. But Israel created a power vacuum in its place. That vacuum was immediately filled by a new Shiite militia in South Lebanon receiving weapons and money from Syria and Iran, a group that called itself the Party of God, or Hezbollah.

Meanwhile the PLO agreed in August 1982 to exit Lebanon. To ensure a safe exit, the United States, France and Italy sent a multinational force to Beirut. By August 30, Yaser Arafat and the PLO were out of Beirut. Some 6,000 PLO fighters were evacuated, mostly to Tunisia. The Multinational force was gone by Sept. 10. Four days later, the U.S. and Israeli-backed Christian Phalangist leader and Lebanese President-Elect Bashir Gemayel is assassinated at his headquarters in East Beirut.

From Blunder to Massacre

On Sept. 15, Israeli troops invaded West Beirut, the first time an Israeli force enters an Arab capital, supposedly to maintain the peace. The invasion did the opposite. Israel bused dozens of Christian militiamen to the southern suburbs of West Beirut then unleashed the militiamen—many of them from villages that, several years earlier, had been the scene of massacres by Palestinians—into the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. The militiamen’s orders were to find remaining Palestinian militants hiding in the camps.

But there were no such laggards. Israel knew that the Christian militiamen would attack civilians. Which they did, for two days and nights, under Israeli supervision. To enable the killings at night, Israeli forces launched flares into the night sky.

The Multinational Force Is Asked to Return

In the wake of the massacre, the Lebanese government of Amin Gemayel, brother of Bashir, asks the multinational force to return to help ensure peace. The Marines, the French paratroopers and the Italians land in Beirut again on September 24.

At first the American forces acted as objective peacekeepers. But gradually, the Reagan administration gave in to pressure by the Gemayel government to take its side against Druze and Shiite Muslims in central and southern Lebanon. American troops, welcomed with rice and roses in the Shiite slums of Beirut, slowly became pariahs in Shiites’ eyes. Mistrust turned to outright belligerence once American forces used their firepower to shell Druze and Shiite positions in the mountains surrounding Beirut.
Continue reading “Because They Were Just Tourists, You See”