Guardian omits key context in quote by Israel spokesman about Mads Gilbert

Mads Gilbert is a Norwegian doctor, commentator and “radical Maoist politician” who openly supported the “moral right” of Al Qaeda to murder thousands of Americans on 9/11.

Mads Gilbert

Gilbert was also one of the authors of a letter published in the medical journal Lancet during the Gaza war which accused Israel of intentionally “massacring” Palestinian women and children. The journal’s editor later apologized for the letter, explaining that it “did not convey the level of complexity that is the reality in Israel.”

More recently, Gilbert was in the news after he was banned ‘for life’ from entering Israel.

Though the Guardian and Independent both covered Gilbert’s banning, a look at the way in which they cited a quote from the Israel Foreign Ministry about Gilbert is quite revealing.

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Daily Mail characterizes Israeli tourists at Syrian look-out point as “ghoulish”

Ghoulish: Morbidly interested in death or disaster 

The Mount Bental Look-Out point in the Golan is one of the more popular Israeli mountain peaks, due in part to the beautiful views of the Golan, Mt. Hermon and Syria, and because it was the site of a battle during the Yom Kippur War in which 160 Israeli tanks successfully held off nearly ten times their number of Syrian tanks. 

Sightseers can also of course look down at the Syrian town of Quneitra and the Quneitra crossing point, the only border crossing between Syria and Israel on the Golan Heights – the sight, quite recently, of fierce fighting between rebels from the Nusra Front and Syrian government forces.

Here’s the Daily Mail’s headline, evidently inspired in part by an EPA photo of the Bental look-out point, published on Sept. 5th.

headline

Now here’s a photo (and caption), used to illustrate the Daily Mail article, of those “ghoulish” Israeli daytrippers:

photo

Here are the opening passages of the article:

Donning T-shirts, shorts and sunglasses, they stand on a mountainside platform, gazing into the distance through sets of binoculars.

But these Israeli daytrippers aren’t just admiring the landscape – they are watching a fierce battle just over the Syrian border. One that now involves ISIS.

The militant group – which released a video of their execution of American journalist Steven Sotloff earlier this week – are now just half a mile from the Golan Heights border crossing between Israel and Syria.

The Queneitra crossing has already seen fierce fighting between the Syrian army and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, with the rebels taking control of the Syrian checkpoint just weeks ago.  

Today, smoke could be seen rising from the outskirts of the town of Quneitra as the Syrian military fired at the rebels, killing at least 16

Overlooking orchards spilling down the mountainside, the platform was the perfect spot for the local daytrippers to watch battle commence.

‘I can see the terrorists at the checkpoint,’ Majd Abu Akl, a Druze Israeli farmer, looking east through binoculars to Syria, told the Financial Times.

He identified some of the men as belonging to the Nusra Front by their black uniforms, while others were driving around in UN jeeps with black ISIS flags.

Israelis, who have long considered Syrian President Bashar al-Assad their bitter foe, are now worried about the threat of the ever-nearing militants.

‘There is a battle for control on the other side of the border; we are watching it carefully,’ said Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israel Defence forces.  So far it hasn’t been pointed in our direction, but we need to be prepared for that day.’

Even if we are to assume that some of the Israelis seen in the photo came to his extremely popular lookout site specifically to watch the fighting, the big question which leaps to mind is how on earth the Daily Mail was able to establish that they came because they get perverse “ghoulish” pleasure in watching the death and destruction.

Finally, in a classic case of burying the lead, the next passage in the article highlights another dynamic related to ISIS.

It comes as a report of a gathering of ‘thousands’ of ISIS supporters at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount has increased concerns that the extremist group’s sights are focused on Israel as a future target.

So, to recap:

1. A few dozen Israeli tourists go to Mt. Bental, where those “armed with binoculars” can evidently see fighting between Islamist rebels and Syrian government forces over the Quneitra border crossing.

2. Thousands of Palestinians showed up at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to show their support for barbaric jihadists known as ISIS.

3. The Daily Mail frames the story by speculating on the ill-motives of the Israeli tourists, while brushing aside (evidently as morally insignificant) the ugly spectacle of thousands of Palestinians showing their support for ISIS. 

As our analysis of the UK media’s coverage of the region consistently indicates, not only do foreign journalists see their job as making sure that “every flaw in Israeli society is aggressively reported”, but in fact often manage to frame even the most benign and innocent Israeli behavior in the most negative light possible.

Brits for the Islamic State: Guardian publishes two pro-ISIS letters

Based on a recent poll, 7 percent of residents in the UK support the barbaric jihadists of the Islamic State (ISIS), which, though incredibly disturbing in its own right, represents a far lower level of support than in France, where 16 percent expressed their approval.

While support in Europe for ISIS presumably comes mostly from Islamists in predominantly Muslim immigrant communities, the following letters, published at the Guardian on Aug. 27 (which were in response to an op-ed titled ‘Isis: an apocalyptic cult carving a place in the modern world‘) were penned by Brits in largely white, non-immigrant communities. 

The Islamic State caliphate finally realises a dream that goes back to the 1920s when the Muslim Brotherhood was established. Syria has been its main target since the 1960s. Assassinations of government figures hardened the Assad regime’s security apparatus and freedom was sacrificed for security. Syria remains resolutely secular and the nation’s disparate minorities continue to support Assad. The Islamists could not overthrow them, even with US weaponry and Saudi finance. Now they have established a base where they can fulfil their dream of an Islamist state. Why not let them have it? Agree new borders with Syria and Iraq to replace the Sykes-Picot lines in the sand, encourage repopulation of the region with fundamentalists and fund relocation of the refugees. The state of Israel was established against a similar background of desperation mixed with terrorist cruelty – existential challenges bring out the worst in people. The west supported the Zionist dream, so why not the Islamist one?
Craig Sams
Hastings, East Sussex

John Gray (An apocalyptic cult carving a place in the modern world, 26 August) says that “to view Isis as expressing the core of one of the world’s great religious is to endorse Isis’s view of itself, which Islamic religious authorities across the world have rejected”.

I thought the point of the Enlightenment (and the Guardian) was to take nothing on authority but to think for oneself and test one’s theories rationally. Mr Gray, author of Al Qaeda and What it Means to be Modern, appears to have missed this point. Neither the views of Isis about itself nor the views of “religious authorities” are or should be determinative. I prefer to think for myself and, having read the Qur’an from cover to cover several times, I agree with Isis.
Paul Simmons
East Twickenham, Middlesex

We’ve read some outlandish letters at the Guardian before, but these are simply beyond comprehension.

We’ll leave the simply delusional comparison with Zionism, in the first letter, aside, and just note that ISIS represents a simply monstrous brand of Islamic extremism, whose members have kidnapped large numbers of women for sex slavery and engaged in the mass murder of religious minorities.  Their objective is the establishment of a worldwide Caliphate.

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ISIS Tweeted this photo showing a child holding a severed head of an executed man, with a phrase boasting that: “This is how the cubs of the Caliphate are raised up”.

The SITE Intelligence Group provides good background:

The massacres carried out by IS are an integral expression of the organization’s worldview and not random atrocities.  This ideology, while related to the jihadi-salafism practiced by al-Qaeda (AQ), is far more extreme, leading the Islamic State to claim that it is AQ that has altered the original creed and methodology of Usama bin Ladin.  Among the specific aspects that set it apart from al-Qaeda’s belief system are a requirement of absolute obedience to their so-called “caliph” with no dissention and no organizations that are separate from his control; a demand for constant warfare against anyone who supports the “apostate” regimes; and a focus on wiping out entire cultures and people groups, including Yazidis, Christians, Sabaeans, and all Shi’a.

Each piece of this abhorrent ideology comes with deliberate planning and purpose-built organizations designed to realize the new “caliph’s” vision.  For instance, in order to impose their horrific vision of society on the people of Syria, the Caliphate is forcibly inculcating ordinary Muslims, especially the young, into the Islamic State’s version of Islam.  Recent reporting from Raqqa, Syria, by Vice News, an edgy group of journalists known for their work in dangerous spots around the world, shows the use of indoctrination centers (some in former churches), mobile proselytization vans, and outdoor propaganda gatherings to introduce unwilling citizens of Raqqa to the Islamic State’s ideology and way of life.  There is also video footage of strangely compliant prisoners, all calmly agreeing that they have sinned and deserve their punishment of death or beatings.

To coerce conquered populations into living out IS’s vision, the groups has set up “shari’a police,” or the Hisba.  Based on a medieval institution sometimes known as the “Body to Command Right and Forbid Wrong,” the Hisba enforces compliance with the group’s extremist version of Islamic law.  AQ affiliates like Shabaab have set up similar units that have the authority to arrest anyone caught committing infractions against that group’s stringent legal code

IS has also created an ideologically motivated force, similar to the Nazi SS troops, to act as their shock forces in this fight.  The units, known as the “Inghimasiyun,” or “those who plunge [into battle],” recall a concept of warfare from the early days of Islam, when the most ardent of the believers would rush into the enemies’ ranks without taking care for their own lives.  In a similar fashion, accounts from Iraq and Syria suggest that the Inghimasiyun often carry out suicide bombings either as part of the planned assault or as a way to avoid capture. 

Even more disturbing than the Inghimasiyun are the so-called “Dhabiha” (or “Slaughterers”), which constitute what would be the Einsatzgruppen (Nazi death squads) of IS.  The purpose of these units, as with the Nazi “task forces,” is to carry out the massacre of enemies of the state in an organized fashion.  Unlike the Nazi units, however, the Dhabiha take care to film themselves carrying out their atrocities and post photos and videos to social media in order to terrify others into obedience.  The recent beheading of 700 tribal members involved in an attempted uprising in Dayr al-Zawr, Syria against IS fits the modus operandi of the Dhabiha, as does the posting online soon afterward of videos of the carnage.

SITE reasonably characterizes ISIS’s medieval ideology as akin to the worst totalitarian states of the last century.

ISIS is simply evil, and the thought that even 7 percent of Brits – including, evidently, some inspired by a far-left ideology – view the group favorably is truly frightening. 

How many Jews must die for Israel to claim the moral high ground?

Here’s the latest Peter Brooks cartoon published at The Times (of London) 

times moral calculus

First, note that the pile of dead Israeli bodies shows a mix of soldiers and civilians, while the Palestinian pile seems to depict only civilians.  Evidently, Brooks is uncritically accepting figures provided by the Hamas run Gaza Health Ministry (cited uncritically by the media) claiming that up to 80% of those killed in Gaza have been civilians, rather alternative figures suggesting that the number may end up being closer to 50% civilians.

However, more interesting than his statistical assumption is his specious moral calculus, one which seems to rest upon the argument that the disparity in casualties between Gaza and Israel demolishes Israel’s claim to the moral high ground. This faulty assumption is refuted by examining the disparity in casualties in other just wars, such as the Kosovo Campaign, in which NATO forces suffered no casualties during their 77 days of bombings, while over 500 Yugoslav civilians and another 500 or so combatants were killed.  

Would anyone argue that the NATO campaign (to stop the ethnic cleansing of Albanians), was morally compromised by virtue of this huge disparity pf roughly 1,000 to 0?

Of course, similar disparities in casualties were evident in the NATO operation in Afghanistan and the ongoing US drone campaign on al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan. Yet, very few would suggest that NATO lost the moral high ground by virtue of this imbalance in deaths. 

The real moral disparity in this war relates to the fact that the IDF diligently protects its own citizens while taking precautions few if any other armies would take to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties. While Hamas, on the other hand – whose leaders just repeated their mantra that they love death while Israelis love life – launches rockets almost exclusively at Israeli civilians, while intentionally placing their own civilians in harm’s way (the documented use of human shields) to protect their fighters and gain PR points when civilians are killed.  

Since the start of the war, Hamas has fired 2,830 rockets and mortars at Israeli communities, while the IDF has struck over 4200 Hamas targets.  Though of course there have been Israeli misfires, and Palestinian civilians have tragically been killed as the result of Hamas forces firing from civilian buildings, drawing IDF return fire.  Yet, despite the sensational media reports suggesting otherwise, Israeli forces don’t intentionally target Palestinian civilians. 

If the Times cartoonist is suggesting that more Israeli deaths would allow the state to lay claim to the moral high ground, he should remember that the primary duty of any country is to protect its citizens from harm, that there is neither nobility nor virtue in victim-hood, and Israelis certainty need not apologize for their effectiveness at protecting their citizens from attacks launched, let’s remember, by an antisemitic extremist group which seeks its destruction.   

 

Independent posts op-ed about Gaza by extremist who supported Al Qaeda attacks on 9/11

Mads Gilbert is a Norwegian doctor, commentator and “radical Maoist politician” who openly supported the “moral right” of Al Qaeda to murder thousands of Americans on 9/11, and who,  argued that the world’s oppressed have an inherent “moral right to attack the USA with any weapon they can come up with”.

He visited Shifa Hospital in Gaza during the 2008-09 war in Gaza and, according to NGO monitor, “repeatedly and falsely accused Israel of deliberately targeting civilians” while making “no mention of evidence that Al-Shifa hospital has been used for military purposes”.

Well, Dr. Gilbert has returned to Shifa Hospital, and has published an open letter at the Independent about his experiences:

gilbert

In the opening passage, Gilbert declares that the injured and killed – including, presumably, Hamas fighters – are all civilians and all “innocent”.

The last night was extreme. The “ground invasion” of Gaza resulted in scores and carloads with maimed, torn apart, bleeding, shivering, dying… All sorts of injured Palestinians, all ages, all civilians, all innocent.

As with his previous visit to the hospital in 2009, Gilbert has failed to acknowledge that the hospital is reportedly being used for military purposes and has actually become “a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders”. 

Concerning Israel’s treatment of innocent Palestinians, Gilbert adds:

Now, once more treated like animals by “the most moral army in the world” [sic!].

the heartless and merciless have done their calculations and planned another dahyia – onslaught on Gaza.

Of course, there’s no mention by the doctor of Hamas’s cruel, cynical and illegal policy of using the Palestinians he supports as human shields, nor the undeniable evidence that the group has placed.

The Indy’s decision to publish an extremist like Gilbert simply reinforces our view (which has been solidified while monitoring their coverage of the war) that, at least concerning the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the paper is slouching towards the Guardian.

Guardian fails to reveal that Brit arrested for terror is ‘Comment is Free’ contributor

As we first learned from Guido Fawkes, Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who became a spokesman for the “human rights” group Cageprisoners, was arrested by British police on Tuesday morning for terror offences which he is alleged to have committed in Syria.

Begg is widely believed by American intelligence officials to have been a jihadist involved with Al-Qaida and reportedly attended terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the UK “so he could assist in waging jihad against enemies of Islam.”  Begg reportedly assisted several prominent terrorists, recruited young operatives for jihad and provided financial support for terror camps.

AdditionallyBegg is believed to have been associated with the radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki, the senior al Qaeda recruiter who was involved with planning operations for the group, and later killed by U.S. forces.  Al Awlaki helped motivate at least three terrorist attacks inside the U.S. (Begg’s group actually lobbied to free Al Awlaki from Yemeni custody after he was detained in 2006, broadcast his live messages and reproduced his propaganda on their website.) 

Begg – who, you may recall, was promoted by the NGO Amnesty International – is also a frequent contributor to the Guardian’s blog ‘Comment is Free’, having penned 20 essays at the site since 2006, most of which were aimed at casting himself as an innocent victim of US and British intolerance and Islamophobia. 

profile

Interestingly, the Guardian’s report on Begg’s arrest by  (Moazzam Begg among four arrested in Birmingham terror raids, Feb. 25) didn’t even note this extremely inconvenient relationship.

While we don’t yet know the details of Begg’s alleged terror activity in Syria, if it turns out that he was fighting for jihadists it wouldn’t be at all surprising.  

As we’ve demonstrated previously, the Guardian is a media group which often promotes and defends Islamist extremists, and frequently welcomes into their ‘ ‘liberal’ salon ‘demopaths‘ such as Begg – those who cynically exploit the language of democracy when it serves their interests, and demand stringent levels of human “rights” of the West yet don’t apply these basic standards to their own behavior.

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Evidently, some Palestinian prisoners don’t evoke Harriet Sherwood’s sympathy

Sympathetic portrayals of Palestinian terrorists serving sentences in Israeli jails are something of a specialty for the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood, and her Nov. 18 report about suspected al-Qaeda terrorist Samir al-Baraq (Palestinian held without trial takes case to Supreme Court) continues in this tradition.

samir

Samir al-Baraq

Sherwood begins:

Israel‘s supreme court is set to rule on the continued detention of a Palestinian man accused of being an al-Qaida member who has been held in an Israeli jail without charge or trial for more than three years.

Samir al-Baraq has demanded to be released from “administrative detention”, the system by which Israel keeps security suspects locked up without going through a normal judicial process. The Israeli authorities are seeking a further six-month extension to the detention order.

Israel says Baraq, a Palestinian born in Kuwait, is a biological weapons expert who was planning attacks against Israeli targets when he was arrested in July 2010 while attempting to enter the country from Jordan.

According to court documents, Baraq studied microbiology in Pakistan, underwent military training in Afghanistan and was recruited in 2001 to al-Qaida by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is the group’s leader today. In 2003, he spent three months in Guantánamo Bay, the US high-security jail in Cuba, and later spent five years in prison in Jordan.

Later in her report, she quotes Baraq’s lawyer:

Baraq’s lawyer, Mahmid Saleh, told Army Radio: “If he is such a senior terrorist, then why hasn’t he been prosecuted? There is no evidence against him.”

However, in addition to the fact that administrative detention is a widely used judicial method for dealing with suspected terrorists in other democratic countries, Ynet published a more detailed report about the case on the same day that Sherwood’s piece ran, and there seems to be little doubt about Baraq’s desire to engage in violent jihad.

In 1998, Samir Abed Latif al-Baraq was a BA student in biology in Pakistan when he decided to become an ‘a-aa’dar’ and start planning for a jihad that he believed would soon begin. He went to an Islamist militants’ camp in Afghanistan and tried to convince some of his friends to go with him. It was the first of many training camps in which he would spend time in upcoming years, training to become a terrorist.

The records [interrogation transcripts from the defense establishment which Ynet obtained], shed light on the path that he chose, and how he managed to make use of his academic education to become a member of al-Qaeda’s mysterious “biological project,” and not just a regular terrorist.

When he got to the camp in Afghanistan, he and his friends quickly learned how to operate weapons and how to make and use poisons, such as cyanide. In the summer of 1998, on his way back to Pakistan, he started talking about an attack on Israel for the first time.

When the interrogators asked him about this, he responded: “Yes, this is true

Baraq also reportedly told his interrogators quite explicitly in how he planned to kill Jews.

Beyond the specifics of the case, such ubiquitous stories at the Guardian about Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prison stand in stark contrast to the dearth of stories about Palestinians prisoners in Arab countries.  Moreover, whilst Palestinian prisoners in Israel are treated as heroes by the Palestinian Authority, the PA (per a recent story by Khaled Abu Toameh) has “long been ignoring the fact that thousands of Palestinians are languishing in prisons in several Arab countries,” including in Kuwait, the country of birth for Sherwood’s Palestinian protagonist.

Toameh’s report includes the following:

The families of the prisoners held by Israel at least know where their sons are and most visit them on a regular basis.  But in the Arab world the story is completely different.  The daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi recently revealed that dozens of Palestinians have been held in Kuwaiti prisons since 1991. The families of these prisoners do not know anything about their conditions.

Kuwait expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians after U.S.-led coalition forces liberated the tiny oil-rich emirate in 1991. The move came in retaliation for the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s [PLO] support for Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait a year earlier

After liberation, the Kuwaitis also arrested many Palestinians on suspicion of collaboration with the Iraqi occupation army.

Recently, the Kuwaitis finally allowed the Palestinian Authority to reopen the Palestinian embassy in the emirate. The move came after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas apologized for the PLO’s support of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

But the Palestinian Authority leadership is apparently too afraid to ask the Kuwaiti authorities about the Palestinians who went missing in the emirate during the past two decades. Abbas does not want to alienate the Kuwaitis; he is apparently hoping that they will resume financial aid to the Palestinians.

Hundreds of Palestinians are held in various prisons in Syria, some for more than two decades. In the past year, at least two prisoners were reported to have died in Syrian and Egyptian prisons.

Again, the Palestinian Authority leadership has not even demanded an inquiry into the deaths or the continued incarceration of Palestinians in the Arab world.

A prominent Palestinian writer who spent three weeks in jail in Syria described the prisons there as “human slaughterhouses.” Salameh Kaileh [a Palestinian intellectual] was arrested in April last year on suspicion of printing leaflets calling for the overthrow of Bashar Assad.

“It was hell on earth,” Kaileh told Associated Press. “I felt I was going to die under the brutal, savage and continuous beating of the interrogators, who tied me to ropes hung from the ceiling.”

Salameh Kaileh

Salameh Kaileh

Toameh concluded thus:

For the Palestinian Authority, the plight of Palestinians in Arab prisons does not seem to be an important issue. As far as the Palestinian Authority leadership is concerned, the only “heroes” are those prisoners who are held in Israel. For the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinians who are being tortured and killed in Arab prisons are not worth even a statement.

And, neither is their plight deemed worth a story, or evidently even viewed sympathetically, by Harriet Sherwood.

Guardian’s former associate foreign editor: I know Abu Qatada – he’s no terrorist.

A Jordanian military prosecutor on Sunday filed charges against the radical Muslim preacher Abu Qatada on suspicions of being a key al-Qaeda operative in Europe.  Abu Qatada, who had landed in Amman after being deported from the UK, was charged with conspiring to carry out attacks on Americans, Israelis and other Western targets.

The following is a ‘Comment is Free’ headline and strap line which introduces a July 7 commentary‘ by the Guardian’s former associate foreign editor (and Palestinian Solidarity Campaign ‘Patron), Victoria Brittain.

victoria

Whilst I suggest you read the whole essay, here are some highlights:

the most recent phase of this long saga has left poison in our society. The home secretary, prime minister, mayor of London, countless MPs – including senior Labour party figures – have led the media in reckless and prejudiced comments, making [Abu Qatada] the most demonised individual in Britain.

The mantra of the home secretary, Theresa May, that “this is a dangerous man, a suspected terrorist”, has been repeated so often that the facts have been forgotten. No one suggests Othman is physically dangerous himself. No one has charged him with anything, except the Jordanians with the torture-tainted evidence. No one has pointed to anything controversial that he is alleged to have said since the mid-1990s.

Our security services and politicians turned this man into an Islamic counter-terrorism myth. If instead they had chosen to talk to him, as I have many times, they would have found that the man behind the myth is a scholar with wide intellectual and cultural interests. He wrote books while he was in prison. His home is filled with books. His children have excelled at school, with help and encouragement from his daily phone calls from prison.

I have been a friend of Othman’s wife and daughters for some years, and have had many opportunities to talk to him in prison and when he was at home on bail. I’ve been struck by his dignity and lack of bitterness over his family’s treatment, and I believe that, rather than being scapegoated, his moral standards could have been useful in engaging Muslim youth and healing the wounds in our divided society.

Even by Guardian standards, Brittain’s apologia on behalf of Abu Qatada is simply stunning.  And, briefly, for those who may not be completely familiar with Abu Qatada’s dossier, here’s a summary:

A 127-page report by the UK Home Office claims that from his base in London, Abu Qatada became a key al-Qaeda operative in Europe and a “godfather of global terrorism”, whose sermons and writing inspired several al-Qaeda members. Videos of his sermons were found in the Hamburg apartment of Mohammed Atta, a ringleader among the 9/11 hijackers.

Abu Qatada is accused of involvement in a failed plan known as the “millennium conspiracy” in 2000, to detonate explosives against Western and Israeli targets during millennium celebrations.

Abu Qatada became a “mentor” for international jihadists, who quoted his writings often.

In October 1999, Abu Qatada reportedly made a speech in which, as even the Guardian reported, “he effectively issued a fatwa authorising the killing of Jews, including Jewish children.”

In 1999 Abu Qatada told his congregation at Finsbury Park Mosque that Americans should be attacked, wherever they were because, in his view, they were no better than Jews.

In autumn 2002, a poem attributed to Abu Qatada appeared online praising Osama bin Laden and glorifying the 9/11 attacks.

In another sermon he is said to have stated that it was not a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-believer for the sake of Islam.

Abu Qatada is wanted on terrorism charges in the U.S., Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Algeria and his native Jordan. .

But, evidently none of this matters – not his association with al-Qaeda, or his fatwas calling for violence, including his authorising the murder of Jews and all non-believers – because, the Guardian’s former associate foreign editor assures us, Abu Qatada is a “scholar with wide intellectual and cultural interests” who has high “moral standards” and loves his children.

As we’ve argued previously, the most egregious problem at the Guardian is not, per se, explicitly Judeophobic commentary published by their contributors, but, rather, the insidious moral cover the media group often provides for the most extreme, reactionary Islamist anti-Semites in Europe and the Muslim world.  Those unable to summon outrage over an al-Qaeda supporter who sanctions the murder of innocent Jewish children in the name of Islam are – at the very least – morally guilty of abetting the most dangerous manifestations of Jew hatred.

Glenn Greenwald: Hamas and Hezbollah are NOT terrorist movements

We reported recently that Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald has been speaking at the annual Marxist-Leninist conference, and we posted a few clips of his 2011 appearance at the conference, held in Chicago.  During his talk (titled ‘Civil Liberties under Obama’), the CiF columnist defended American al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki, and downplayed the “scope” of the 9/11 attacks – which he suggested were much more limited (in the scale of violence) than what the U.S. has perpetrated in the Arab world.

Additionally, the following is a short clip from his 2012 presentation (also held in Chicago) in front of the ‘revolutionary socialist group’, where he addresses the topic of terrorism and how the word is, in his view, misused.

As Greenwald would have you believe that the sole objectives of Hamas and Hezbollah is to protect the citizens of Gaza and Lebanon respectively, here are a few facts about the putatively benign ‘anti-imperialist’ movements which may be useful:

Hamas

  • Hamas is the Arabic acronym for “The Islamic Resistance Movement” and grew out of the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood movement which arose in Egypt in the 1920s.
  • Hamas’s founding charter cites the wisdom of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to “prove” that Jews are indeed trying to take over the world, and cites a Hadith which calls for the murder of Jews.

Hezbollah

  • Hezbollah’ is a Shiite Islamist group founded in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon in 1982 as an extension of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, and adopted much of the Iranian doctrine, including the use of terror as a means of attaining its objectives.  Among the group’s goals in Lebanon is the creation of a fundamentalist Iranian-style Islamic republic and removal of all non-Muslim influences.
  • Before 9/11, Hezbollah killed more Americans than any other terrorist group:  More than 300 were murdered in six separate attacks, including 243 Marines in the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing. 
  • Hezbollah has incited its followers to carry out suicide bombings against Western targets all over the world (including in America), and the group’s leader, Hasan Nasrallah, has said the following: “Let the entire world hear me. Our hostility to the Great Satan [America] is absolute […] Regardless of how the world has changed after 11 September, Death to America will remain our reverberating and powerful slogan: Death to America.”
  • The continuing military presence of Hezbollah in Lebanon (particularly their weapons smuggling) represents clear violations of UN Resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1701 (2006), both of which call for the disbanding of all such illegal militias which threaten the sovereignty of the country.
  •  Hezbollah has engaged in terrorist acts in Europe, Africa, South America, N. America and even in Arab states – including in Yemen and Bahrain.
  • Hezbollah’s Nasrallah has explicitly stated that Jews anywhere in the world are legitimate targets. Specifically, Nasrallah has said: “If they (Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide”. (Daily Star, Oct. 23, 2002)

In addition to the risible suggestion that the two violent extremist groups are merely trying to protect Palestinian and Lebanese civilians from Israeli aggression, Greenwald was simply not telling his socialist friends the truth when he claimed the groups haven’t targeted American citizens. Moreover, as his willingness to defend even al-Qaeda operatives demonstrates, his apologias on behalf of violent Islamist extremists are clearly not limited to the Middle East. 

In contextualizing Greenwald’s columns in both Salon.com and the Guardian – where he routinely excoriates the U.S. for all number of ‘imperialist’ crimes against the Arab world and expresses sympathy for even the most violent, reactionary Islamist movements – it’s difficult not to marvel at the ideological dynamics within UK and U.S. politics whereby some genuinely see Greenwald as a “progressive” political voice.  

Glenn Greenwald at Marxism Conference: Defends Anwar Al-Awaki, calls 9/11 attacks “minimal in scope”

As was revealed in the blogosphere yesterday, Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who helped Edward Snowden launch the NSA leaks scandal, has addressed the International Socialist Organization’s  annual conference in 2011 and 2012 – and is set to address the radical group again later this year in Chicago.

The International Socialist Organization (ISO) is one of America’s main Marxist ‘revolutionary’ parties, and represents the “Marxist tradition, founded by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, and continued by V.I. Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky.”

The upcoming ISO event – which features, among other radical speakers, Ali Abunimah, as well as an anti-Zionist Jew named Sherry Wolf, who has justified Hamas terrorism, and characterized Zion­ist Jews as “white suprema­cist racists” - is sponsored by the Center for Economic Research and Social Change (CERSC).  CERSC is the publisher of International Socialist Review and Haymarket Books (which has published books by Abunimah, and sponsors the anti-Zionist blog Mondoweiss) and the publisher of Socialist Worker.

Here’s the official trailer for the 2013 event.

What follows are clips of Greenwald at the ISO Conference in 2011 speaking about Anwar al-Awlaki, and other related issues.  Al-Awlaki was an American and Yemeni Imam, and the al-Qaeda regional commander (killed by U.S. forces after Greenwald’s 2011 speech) who was a senior ‘talent recruiter’ for the group, and who likely influenced the jihadist rampage of the Fort Hood shooter and the attempted attack by the ‘Underwear Bomber‘.  

Greenwald can be heard during the video characterizing al-Awlaki as someone whose only crimes were “speak[ing] effectively to the Muslim world about violence that the U.S. commits in [Yemen] and the responsibility of Muslims to stand up to this violence.”

Here’s a clip of Greenwald later in the same speech where he expresses his hope for a weakening of the United States and its malign “imperialism”, and characterizes the 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda as very “minimal in scope”.

(Here’s his full 2011 speech. And, here is his speech to the ISO in 2012.)

As I argued recently, Greenwald is not a mere civil libertarian or a ‘progressive’ commentator but, rather, a radical, anti-American activist, who aids our enemies by amplifying their toxic rhetoric.   

Whatever may come from the debate currently underway about NSA surveillance techniques, we can not let those, like Greenwald, inspired by a palpable loathing of America frame the debate concerning how best to defend the country against reactionary Islamists extremists openly committed to the murder of our citizens. 

‘Comment is Free’ contributor Abdel al-Bari Atwan sympathizes with Osama Bin Laden

Abdel al-Bari Atwan is the editor-in chief of the London-based Arab newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, and has been named among the 50 ‘most influential Arabs’ by Middle East Magazine.  His pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist politics can be best summed up by his fanciful boast a few years ago that he would dance in the streets in London’s Trafalgar Square if Iranian nuclear missiles were to hit Tel Aviv.

iran

In fact, Atwan’s satisfaction when contemplating the murder of Jews wasn’t theoretical, and certainly was not a one-off.  

In March 2008, for instance, Atwan said that the Mercaz HaRav Jerusalem terrorist attack, in which a Palestinian gunmen murdered eight students (aged 15 to 26), was “justified”, and that the celebrations in Gaza following the attack symbolized “the courage of the Palestinian nation”.  Atwan also praised the 2011 Palestinian terror attack on civilians in southern Israel which resulted in 8 dead and 25 injured, and was even critical of Mahmoud Abbas’s recent condemnation of the abduction of Israeli soldiers, in an essay which praised Hamas for its achievement in releasing over 1,000 prisoners as part of the Gilad Shalit deal.

As my colleague Hadar Sela recently noted, Atwan is regular guest on BBC’s Newsnight. He is also, unsurprisingly, a frequent contributor to ‘Comment is Free’ – having penned 12 essays at the Guardian blog over the past two years.

Most recently, MEMRI reported, Atwan told Egypt’s Channel 2 on June 2nd that Osama Bin Laden was only “half a terrorist,” since his organization’s attacks against American forces in Saudi Arabia could not be considered terrorism, before adding:

If you support the Palestinian resistance, you do not consider [Bin Laden’s attacks] terrorism. But if you are with America, Europe, and Israel, you do consider it terrorism…It depends on your definition of terrorism.

Here’s the video:

According to Atwan, who in 2010 characterized the late al-Qaeda leader a “great man“, the question of whether or not Bin Laden was in fact a “terrorist” depends on your definition of the term.

Sound familiar?

As we’ve reported on multiple occasions, ‘Comment is Free’ correspondent Glenn Greenwald has advanced similar arguments, alternately decrying the “meaninglessness” of the word, suggesting that the term is ‘racially loaded’ and that it typically represents rhetorical propaganda exploited by the U.S. to justify ‘state violence’ against Muslims. 

However, lost in the “debate” about whether fanatics like Bin Laden are terrorists is the much more important truth regarding the ideology which inspires their tactic of terror.  The West opposes al-Qaeda, and other Islamist extremist groups, not merely because they support the use of violence against innocent civilians, but also due to the fact that their political objectives include replacing liberal, democratic governments with Taliban-style tyrannical regimes antithetical to democracy, religious pluralism, gender equality, and sexual freedom.

Terrorism, for al-Qaeda and like-minded jihadists around the globe, represents merely a ‘strategy’ in their dangerously reactionary political crusade. 

As those like Atwan and Greenwald continue to engage in such cynicism and sophistry – in an attempt to make us debate the narrow question of the meaning of the term “terrorism” – it’s vital to remember that we fight such enemies not solely due to the extremist (terrorist) methods they employ, but because their political vision is diametrically opposed to the progressive values we cherish.

Guardian report avoids obvious conclusions about radicalization of Woolwich terrorist

On May 23 we commented on a Guardian report about the terror attack on a British soldier named Lee Rigby, who was hacked to death in Woolwich by two men (including Michael Olumide Adebolajo) which buried the lead regarding Adebolajo’s radicalization under the influence of UK extremists Omar Bakri Mohammed and Anjem Choudary.

The report, by   and , made almost no mention of why both Choudary and Bakri are ‘considered’ extremists – information regarding their reactionary, pro-jihadist ideology which we provided in the post.

However, a May 26 Guardian report by Benn Quinn, Woolwich suspect’s change in character can be traced to Kenya arrest – friend, is even more stunning in its failure to acknowledge the most obvious causation concerning Adebolajo’s radicalism.

Here are the first several passages of Quinn’s report:

A fuller picture is beginning to emerge of how the alleged killers of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich were radicalised.

In the case of Michael Adebolajo, the 28-year-old filmed at the scene of the killing declaring he was fighting for “almighty Allah”, one area of focus is during and after his time at Greenwich University, where he lived in student accommodation between 2004 and 2005.

Born in Lambeth into a church-going family of Nigerian origin, he is thought to have converted to Islam around 2003.

Omar Bakri Mohammed, the cleric who founded the now-banned extremist group al-Muhajiroun, has said he tutored Adebolajo after his conversion and the young man started coming to meetings of the group at a time when anger was high over the war in Iraq. The cleric described him as a shy man who would ask questions about when violence was justified.

Another potentially significant event was Adebolajo’s arrest in 2010 in Kenya close to the border with Somalia. Kenyan authorities say they believe he was preparing to train and fight with the al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group al-Shabaab.

So, based on Quinn’s source Adebolajo’s radicalization at the point of his travel to Kenya in 2010 was not related to UK policy, and in fact was so extreme that he was willing to fight for al-Qaida linked terrorists outfit named al-Shabbab – a group which controls large swathes southern Somalia where it imposed its own strict form of Sharia law, and wages jihad against all “enemies of Islam”.

al-Shabbat logo

al-Shabbab logo

According to the US State Department, the group is responsible for the killing of thousands of Somali civilians, Somali peace activists, international aid workers, journalists, and African Union peacekeepers.

Quinn continues:

Adebolajo was later deported, but not before he was tortured, according to a friend who said the Londoner had gone abroad to study. Abu Nusaybah, who was arrested shortly after making the allegations in a BBC interview, in part attributed Adebolajo’s radicalisation to his alleged ill-treatment in Kenya.

Nusaybah said he believed that his friend became radicalised about six months ago, when he noticed what he regarded as profound changes in Adebolajo’s character, which he attributed to his experiences in Kenya and to events on his return to Britain.

Quinn neglects to note the stunning inconsistency in the friend’s claims – which implies that Adebolajo only became radical after he had already volunteered to fight on behalf of al Qaeda – and fails more generally (in the text of the report and accompanying headline) to acknowledge the timeline of what occurred.  

1. Adebolajo was from a devout Christian family but converted to Islam in 2003 at the age 19.

2. In the mid 2000s, Adebolajo was radicalized by UK radicals such as Anjem Choudary (and Omar Bakri Mohammed), and was a regular on radical marches in East London – in which demonstrators sometimes carried placards exhorting: ‘Behead those who insult Islam’ – and “often attended incendiary protests and lectures”. (Some terror experts have suggested that the language used by Adebolajo in his video right after the killing was similar to the rhetoric used by Choudary and fellow extremists.)

3. In 2010, Adebolajo made the decision to join an al-Qaeda linked terrorist group fighting to impose sharia law in Somalia.

4. In 2013 – three years after his decision to fight for al-Qaeda in Somalia – he hacks a British soldier to death in broad daylight while yelling “Allahu Akbar!”

Is isn’t really difficult to piece together a timeline, and determine that – based on the fact that he had already made the decision to fight for al Qaeda – Adebolajo was clearly radicalized prior to his trip to Kenya (not as a result of his treatment by Kenyan authorities), and, due to the influence of British Islamists, was determined to wage jihad all over the world to promote the hegemony of radical Islam.

For those not consumed with an ideologically inspired desire to avoid even the most obvious conclusions, a linear account of Adebolajo’s descent into Islamic extremism is not very difficult. 

Guardian/AP story on Tunisia’s Jews omits history of antisemitic persecution

An AP story written by Bouzza Ben Bouzza, and published by the Guardian on April 27, entitled ‘Jews ease back into Tunisia for famed pilgrimage‘, reports on a three-day Jewish pilgrimage (which took place over the weekend) to the Ghriba synagogue.  Ghriba is the oldest synagogue in N. Africa, and traces its origins to Jewish exiles who fled the destruction of the first Temple  in 586 BCE.

Rabbis at the entrance of El Ghriba synagogue Djerba, Tunisia, 1940's

Rabbis at the entrance of El Ghriba synagogue
Djerba, Tunisia, 1940’s

The pilgrimage to the Tunisian island of Djerba – where the ancient synagogue is located – is linked to the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba’Omer, and, in past years, has attracted thousands of Jews from Europe, Israel and the US.

The AP/Guardian story aptly describes some of the more interesting details of the synagogue, such as the following:

The site is rich with legend. The first Jews who arrived were said to have brought a stone from the ancient temple of Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Babylonians. The stone is kept in a grotto at the synagogue. Women and children descend into the grotto to place eggs scrawled with wishful messages on them.

The report also provides some proper historical context – such as the deadly Islamist attack on the synagogue in 2002 which significantly deterred Jewish participation in the pilgrimage for several years.  

At its peak in 2000, about 8,000 Jews came — many from Israel, Italy and France, where they or their forebears had moved over the years. Such crowds haven’t returned since an al-Qaida-linked militant detonated a truck bomb at the synagogue in 2002, killing 21 people, mostly German tourists — and badly jolting the now-tiny Jewish community.

And, the report also includes the following passage accurately citing events during the “Arab Spring” which affected the pilgrimage:

The pilgrimage was called off in 2011 in the wake of Tunisia’s revolution, when major street protests ousted longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia, and some ultra conservative Muslims called Salafis chanted anti-Semitic slogans at their rallies. Last year, the pilgrimage resumed on a tiny scale: Only 100 or so foreigners came. This year, community leaders hope 300 to 500 will have come.

However, the report then provides the following highly selective history of Tunisia’s Jews. 

Jews have been living in Djerba since 500 B.C. The Jewish population has shrunk to 1,500, down from 100,000 in the 1960s. Most left following the 1967 war between Israel and Arab countries, and Socialist economic policies adopted by the government in the late 1960s also drove away many Jewish business owners.

First, this truncated history entirely leaves out the oppression of Tunisia’s Jews during the Nazi period.

Jewish Virtual Library (JVL) explains:

In 1940, as Tunisia was subjected Vichy policy discriminatory, anti-Jewish legislation was implemented. By 1942, the Nazi’s were occupying Tunisia arresting Jewish leaders and sending many Jews to North African Nazi camps. According to Robert Satloff, “From November 1942 to May 1943, the Germans and their local collaborators implemented a forced-labor regime, confiscations of property, hostage-takings, mass extortion, deportations, and executions.” At least 160 Tunisian Jews were deported to European death camps.

Moreover, there is much about the roughly 99% decrease in Tunisia’s Jewish population during the latter half of the 20th century that the writer left out.

For instance, per JVL, even before the Six Day War antisemitic policies enacted by the Arab government caused many Jews to flee.

When Tunisia gained independence in 1956, the new government passed a series of discriminatory anti-Jewish decrees. In 1957, the rabbinical tribunal was abolished and a year later the Jewish community councils were dissolved.  The government also destroyed ancient synagogues, cemeteries, and even Tunis’ Jewish quarter for “urban renewal” projects.

Additionally, as JVL further explains, it wasn’t Tunisia’s economic policy which drove away Jews but, rather, antisemitic persecution and violence by local Arabs.

During the Six-Day War, Jews were attacked by rioting Arab mobs, while businesses were burned and the Great Synagogue of Tunis was destroyed. The government actually denounced the violence and appealed to the Jewish population to stay, but did not bar them from leaving.

The increasingly unstable situation caused more than 40,000 Tunisian Jews to immigrate to Israel and at least 7,000 more to France. By 1968, the country’s Jewish population had shrunk to around 10,000.

Whilst the Tunisian government may have historically treated their Jewish citizens a bit better than other Arab governments, the antisemitic persecution which largely served as a catalyst for the Jewish exodus certainly mirrors what occurred in the rest of the Middle East – a regional ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab lands which continues to represent one of the most underreported crimes in recent history.

Glenn Greenwald on the sage foreign policy wisdom of the ‘Underwear Bomber’

Glenn Greenwald’s response to the terrorist attack in Boston should come as no surprise to those familiar with his ‘Comment is Free’ blog, and his previous blog at Salon.com.

In addition to smearing as ‘Islamophobic’ anyone who suggested, in the early hours and days of the investigation into the attack which left 3 dead and over 200 injured, that the culprits may be Islamists, his reaction once it seemed clear that the terrorists were radicalized Chechnyan Muslims was to argue, in a fashion similar to Richard Falk, that such attacks should ‘inspire’ us to reflect on US policy in the Mid-East.

Greenwald’s April 24 post at ‘Comment is Free’, entitled ‘The same motive cited for anti-US terrorism is cited over and over‘, provides another good example of such reasoning.

Greenwald writes thusly:

In the last several years, there have been four other serious attempted or successful attacks on US soil by Muslims, and in every case, they emphatically all say the same thing: that they were motivated by the continuous, horrific violence brought by the US and its allies to the Muslim world – violence which routinely kills and oppresses innocent men, women and children.

He then quotes the complaints against US foreign policy expressed by several convicted Islamist terrorists, such as Faisal Shahzadthe Pakistani-American convicted of an attempted bombing attack at Times Square in 2010, Nidal Hasan, who will soon stand trial in a military court for the Fort Hood massacre, as well as the “Underwear Bomber”, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

bomberGreenwald cites the following grievances of Abdulmutallab, which he expressed in a US court before pleading guilty of trying to murder hundreds of people on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day in 2009:

I had an agreement with at least one person to attack the United States in retaliation for US support of Israel and in retaliation of the killing of innocent and civilian Muslim populations in Palestine, especially in the blockade of Gaza, and in retaliation for the killing of innocent and civilian Muslim populations in Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and beyond, most of them women, children, and noncombatants.”

Greenwald, while making it clear that violence is still not justified, added the following:

But it is nonetheless vital to understand why there are so many people who want to attack the US as opposed to, say, Peru, or South Africa, or Brazil, or Mexico, or Japan, or Portugal.

…so many Americans, westerners, Christians and Jews love to run around insisting that the only real cause for Muslim attacks on the US is that the attackers have this primitive, brutal, savage, uncivilized religion (Islam) that makes them do it.

As the attackers themselves make as clear as they can, it’s not religious fanaticism but rather political grievance that motivates these attacks. Religious conviction may make them more willing to fight (as it does for many in the west), but the motive is anger over what is being done by the US and its allies to Muslims.

it’s crucial to understand this causation because it’s often asked “what can we do to stop Terrorism?” The answer is right in front of our faces: we could stop embracing the polices in that part of the world which fuel anti-American hatred and trigger the desire for vengeance and return violence.

However, to add some context to Greenwald’s explanation of ‘why they hate us’, here’s a relevant passage from the court transcript at Abdulmutallab’s sentencing.

Defendant poses a significant, ongoing threat to the safety of American citizens everywhere. As noted previously, in pleading guilty, defendant reiterated that it is his religious belief that the Koran obliges “every able Muslim to participate in jihad and fight in the way of Allah, those who fight you, and kill them wherever you find them,” and that “participation in jihad against the United States is considered among the most virtuous of deeds in Islam and is highly encouraged in the Koran.”

The court sentencing document continues to explain what inspired him to jihad:

In August 2009, defendant left Dubai, where he had been taking graduate classes, and traveled to Yemen. For several years, defendant had been following the online teachings of Anwar Awlaki, and he went to Yemen to try to meet him in order to discuss the possibility of becoming involved in jihad.

Anwar Awlaki was the American and Yemeni Imam, killed in a US drone strike in 2011, who U.S. government officials believe was an al-Qaeda regional commander, and a senior ‘talent recruiter’ and motivator for the terrorist group – and who is believed to have influenced the jihadist rampage of the Fort Hood shooter.

Here’s an additional passage from Abdulmutallab’s sentencing:

Defendant by that time had become committed in his own mind to carrying out an act of jihad, and was contemplating “martyrdom;” i.e., a suicide operation in which he and others would be killed. Once in Yemen, defendant visited mosques and asked people he met if they knew how he could meet Awlaki.

Thereafter, defendant received a text message from Awlaki telling defendant to call him, which defendant did.

Defendant took several days to write his message to Awlaki, telling him of his desire to become involved in jihad, and seeking Awlaki’s guidance. After receiving defendant’s message, Awlaki sent defendant a response, telling him that Awlaki would find a way for defendant to become involved in jihad.

So, in short, the ‘Underwear Bomber’ sought out the advice of a senior leader of an Islamist movement which calls for global jihad, seeks states governed by religious autocracies similar to the Taliban in Afghanistan, advocates death for homosexuality, and believes Jews are the embodiment of evil.

The suggestion that we should listen to the foreign policy ‘analysis’ of such homicidal jihadists is akin to imputing wisdom to the suicidal rants of conspiracists and radical cults – as if we should see the “revolutionary mass suicide” initiated by Jim Jones as a learning moment about the need for “social justice”, or that the US should incorporate the militia movement-inspired complaints of Timothy McVeigh into federal policy.

The ideological proclivity of some on the far-left to empathize with those, like Abdulmutallab, who willfully embrace the most violent, reactionary and racist movements in the world represents a dynamic as dangerous as it is baffling. 

Glenn Greenwald condemns the word ‘terrorism’ as racially-loaded

Our recent posts about the Guardian’s appalling use, on at least two separate occasions, of the term “political prisoner” to characterize violent Palestinian terrorists who murdered, or attempted to murder, innocent civilians weren’t exercises in rhetorical nitpicking.  Rather, our efforts to secure the definition of the term – which reasonable people intuitively understand as ‘those who are imprisoned for their political beliefs’ – represents an attempt to fight back against the manipulation of language, in service of an extreme ideological agenda, by the Guardian and their fellow travelers.

Similarly, Glenn Greenwald’s ongoing war against the term terrorism, which most who are not influenced by the far-left understand broadly to refer to  ‘premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents’ (or some variation of this), should be understood as a broader battle against common sense and moral sobriety.

Here is a passage from his latest post at ‘Comment is Free’, on April 22, entitled ‘Why is Boston “terrorism” but not Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tuscon, and Columbine?:

The word “terrorism” is, at this point, one of the most potent in our political lexicon: it single-handedly ends debates, ratchets up fear levels, and justifies almost anything the government wants to do in its name. It’s hard not to suspect that the only thing distinguishing the Boston attack from Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook and Columbine (to say nothing of the US “shock and awe” attack on Baghdad and the mass killings in Fallujah) is that the accused Boston attackers are Muslim and the other perpetrators are not. As usual, what terrorism really means in American discourse – its operational meaning – is: violence by Muslims against Americans and their allies.

Here’s another quote by Greenwald, in a post at Salon.com in 2011:

Terrorism has no objective meaning and, at least in American political discourse, has come functionally to mean: violence committed by Muslims whom the West dislikes, no matter the cause or the target. 

Here’s a quote by Greenwald in a post at Salon.com from 2010:

The term [terrorism] now has virtually nothing to do with the act itself and everything to do with the identity of the actor, especially his or her religious identity.  It has really come to mean:  “a Muslim who fights against or even expresses hostility towards the United States, Israel and their allies.

If we’re really going to vest virtually unlimited power in the Government to do anything it wants to people they call “Terrorists”, we ought at least to have a common understanding of what the term means.  But there is none.  It’s just become a malleable, all-justifying term to allow the U.S. Government carte blanche to do whatever it wants to Muslims it does not like or who do not like it (i.e., The Terrorists).  It’s really more of a hypnotic mantra than an actual word:  its mere utterance causes the nation blindly to cheer on whatever is done against the Muslims who are so labeled.

Greenwald is attempting to essentially proscribe the word ‘terrorism’ as politically loaded, subjective, prejudiced – arguing that the urge we have to condemn such willful and intentional attacks against innocent civilians, by using such clear moral language, is necessarily compromised by a deep-seated racial animus.

First, it needs to be pointed out that Greenwald’s specific claim about the term’s “operational” use is easily refuted by the simple fact that the media, civil rights groups and federal authorities also refer to political violence which is not committed by Muslims, or Islamist groups, as “terrorism”.  Examples of groups the FBI labels terrorists, for instance, include violent anti-government right-wing groups, environmental and animal rights extremists, Sovereign citizens movementsanarchist groups, white supremacists - and even fringe extremists such as the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.

Greenwald’s mantra that terrorism is only used in reference to Muslims has no basis in fact.

Moreover, in addition to Greenwald’s specious implicit claim that use of the term “terrorism” is racially loaded, there is another factor involved – one which those on the Guardian-style Left often try desperately to avoid acknowledging in their reports and commentaries:  That while, of course, the overwhelming majority of Muslims aren’t extremists or terrorists, empirical evidence regarding the disproportionate percentage of terrorist acts committed by those influenced by radical interpretations of Islam is undeniable.

 According to the National Counter-Terrorism Center, over the past several years the overwhelming majority of terrorist-related fatalities world-wide were the result of attacks by Islamist (Sunni) extremists.

nctc

Fatalities from terrorism, charted by ideology of perpetrator: NCTC Chart, 2011 (Last year data was available)

Not only are such facts concerning Islamist terrorism uncontroversial to most people, but, interestingly, even a large majority (60%) of American Muslims polled by Pew Global in 2011 stated that they were either “Very” or “Somewhat” concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism in the U.S.  Would Greenwald suggest that even American Muslims are influenced by “Islamophobia”?

Ultimately, what Greenwald is, in effect, doing is attempting to stifle debate about the very real threat to our values posed by Islamist extremism – attempting to convince the overwhelming majority of non-ideological Americans to doubt what they know instinctively (and empirically) to be the truth.

As students of Soviet history, and communist movements more broadly, can attest to, propagandistic attempts to radically change politics by perverting ordinary language has a long and decidedly reactionary pedigree – one which genuine progressives need to furiously and passionately resist.