The Rising Tide of Fascism in North America


galloway1We should all be used to the notion that differences of opinion, no matter how sanely and legally expressed ramadanand/or carried out are becoming less and less acceptable.  We should be used to or accustomed to that because of the previous eight years where political differences were couched in terms that produced an either for us or against us culture.  The extension of that was the “us” in the flippant and casually tossed dismissal of dissent used their power to silence expressions different from the mainstream.  I must admit there are plenty of voices of dissent and many avenues available for them  to express themselves; I must also admit there is the distinct possibility those venues most likely are being searched for to be shut down at a later date.  For now, the squashing of dissent has a very distinct flavor of fascism about it that fits the political definition of fascism to the letter.

Canada led the way in the lead up to the fascist abyss with its  announcement it would not allow George Galloway to visit that country because it claimed he gave “material support” to Hamas when he led a supply to that besieged strip of land after the Israeli invasion earlier this year.

“Specifically, we have information that indicates you organized a convoy worth over £1 million in aid and vehicles to Hamas, and personally donated vehicles and financing to (former) Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh. Your material support for this organization makes you inadmissible to Canada,”

The intended outcome of this decision is to stifle any expression of support materially or politically for the Palestinian people, not Hamas.  The Israelis have been able to tie all support for Palestinians with support for Hamas and therefore because of its undeserved terrorism designation, ostracize those who support the people of Gaza and inevitably Palestinians as a whole.  The Israelis  set up Hamas as a political straw dog on which many people rest their fate for the next so many years, while Israeli theft of Palestinian land continues until the next straw dog is set up to oppose Hamas and so on and so on.  This is not only foolhardy but dangerous, but it allows the Israeli government time  to establish some very definite “facts” on the ground while it tries to change the demographics of the region for future considerations.  Galloway’s problem is one of being too high profile a dissenter, one who might be able to influence many fence-sitters, politically as a member of British government or personally through the types of lectures he was scheduled to give in Canada.  Therefore his exposure to the world community must be limited.

The Canadians have taken a page from the US playbook where Tariq Ramadan is still being refused entry into the US because of a similar accusation.  The administration of “change”, Obama, has gone on record to argue Ramadan should not be allowed to visit America.  This after Obama himself claimed he wanted to reach out to Muslims all over the world.  The Obama administration’s support of Bush’s  denial of entry goes to show there’s not much difference between the two governments as it relates to foreign policy.

The visa ban — apparently based on Ramadan’s donations to a group linked to the Palestinian militants Hamas labeled a terrorist organization by Washington — was instituted under former president George W. Bush’s administration….the visa denial  (was)  pinned to Ramadan having donated 1,300 dollars to a Swiss charity, Association de Secours Palestinien (ASP).

The charity allegedly funded Hamas, the ruling Palestinian group in Gaza, which Washington designates as a terrorist organization.

What’s troubling about this accusation beyond it being “alleged” and not proven  is that Ramadan made known to everyone he had donated to the group at a time  before Hamas was designated as a terrorism group by the US government.   When that label was attached to Hamas, Ramadan ceased giving to the group.  In effect he is being held accountable for doing something when at the time he did it it wasn’t illegal.  But that’s not his only sin, besides those of his father and his grandfather.  Ramadan’s is a passionate voice for moderation and coexistence between a feared Islam and a reluctant West and nothing gets in the way of “fascism” like peace, so like Galloway, Ramadan’s exposure to the West must be confined to a much smaller universe like the halls of Oxford University.

It’s interesting to see the turf war going on between those who are for and against the intermingling of intellectual and political thought all over the world.  Obviously North America is still considered home for those who believe  in perpetual conflict, have an aggressive warrior mentality and believe in conquering, dominating, and eventually eliminating people deemed undesirable or unwanted.  It fit the previous administration like a hand in glove and seems to be the destiny of the Obama administration as well.  It  also fits the definition of fascism.

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“This is an action that sowed massive destruction among civilians. It is not certain that it was possible do have done it differently, but ultimately we have emerged from this operation and are not facing real paralysis from the Qassams. It is very possible that we will repeat such an operation on a larger scale in the years to come, because the problem in the Gaza Strip is not simple and it is not at all certain that it has been solved. What we want this evening is to hear from the fighters.”

Aviv: “I am squad commander of a company that is still in training, from the Givati Brigade. We went into a neighborhood in the southern part of Gaza City. Altogether, this is a special experience. In the course of the training, you wait for the day you will go into Gaza, and in the end it isn’t really like they say it is. It’s more like, you come, you take over a house, you kick the tenants out and you move in. We stayed in a house for something like a week.

“Toward the end of the operation there was a plan to go into a very densely populated area inside Gaza City itself. In the briefings they started to talk to us about orders for opening fire inside the city, because as you know they used a huge amount of firepower and killed a huge number of people along the way, so that we wouldn’t get hurt and they wouldn’t fire on us.

“At first the specified action was to go into a house. We were supposed to go in with an armored personnel carrier called an Achzarit [literally, Cruel] to burst through the lower door, to start shooting inside and then … I call this murder … in effect, we were supposed to go up floor by floor, and any person we identified – we were supposed to shoot. I initially asked myself: Where is the logic in this?

“From above they said it was permissible, because anyone who remained in the sector and inside Gaza City was in effect condemned, a terrorist, because they hadn’t fled. I didn’t really understand: On the one hand they don’t really have anywhere to flee to, but on the other hand they’re telling us they hadn’t fled so it’s their fault … This also scared me a bit. I tried to exert some influence, insofar as is possible from within my subordinate position, to change this. In the end the specification involved going into a house, operating megaphones and telling [the tenants]: ‘Come on, everyone get out, you have five minutes, leave the house, anyone who doesn’t get out gets killed.’

“I went to our soldiers and said, ‘The order has changed. We go into the house, they have five minutes to escape, we check each person who goes out individually to see that he has no weapons, and then we start going into the house floor by floor to clean it out … This means going into the house, opening fire at everything that moves , throwing a grenade, all those things. And then there was a very annoying moment. One of my soldiers came to me and asked, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘What isn’t clear? We don’t want to kill innocent civilians.’ He goes, ‘Yeah? Anyone who’s in there is a terrorist, that’s a known fact.’ I said, ‘Do you think the people there will really run away? No one will run away.’ He says, ‘That’s clear,’ and then his buddies join in: ‘We need to murder any person who’s in there. Yeah, any person who’s in Gaza is a terrorist,’ and all the other things that they stuff our heads with, in the media.

“And then I try to explain to the guy that not everyone who is in there is a terrorist, and that after he kills, say, three children and four mothers, we’ll go upstairs and kill another 20 or so people. And in the end it turns out that [there are] eight floors times five apartments on a floor – something like a minimum of 40 or 50 families that you murder. I tried to explain why we had to let them leave, and only then go into the houses. It didn’t really help. This is really frustrating, to see that they understand that inside Gaza you are allowed to do anything you want, to break down doors of houses for no reason other than it’s cool.

“You do not get the impression from the officers that there is any logic to it, but they won’t say anything. To write ‘death to the Arabs’ on the walls, to take family pictures and spit on them, just because you can. I think this is the main thing in understanding how much the IDF has fallen in the realm of ethics, really. It’s what I’ll remember the most.”

“One of our officers, a company commander, saw someone coming on some road, a woman, an old woman. She was walking along pretty far away, but close enough so you could take out someone you saw there. If she were suspicious, not suspicious – I don’t know. In the end, he sent people up to the roof, to take her out with their weapons. From the description of this story, I simply felt it was murder in cold blood.”

Zamir: “I don’t understand. Why did he shoot her?”

Aviv: “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him. With us it was an old woman, on whom I didn’t see any weapon. The order was to take the person out, that woman, the moment you see her.”

Zvi: “Aviv’s descriptions are accurate, but it’s possible to understand where this is coming from. And that woman, you don’t know whether she’s … She wasn’t supposed to be there, because there were announcements and there were bombings. Logic says she shouldn’t be there. The way you describe it, as murder in cold blood, that isn’t right. It’s known that they have lookouts and that sort of thing.”

Gilad: “Even before we went in, the battalion commander made it clear to everyone that a very important lesson from the Second Lebanon War was the way the IDF goes in – with a lot of fire. The intention was to protect soldiers’ lives by means of firepower. In the operation the IDF’s losses really were light and the price was that a lot of Palestinians got killed.”

Ram: “I serve in an operations company in the Givati Brigade. After we’d gone into the first houses, there was a house with a family inside. Entry was relatively calm. We didn’t open fire, we just yelled at everyone to come down. We put them in a room and then left the house and entered it from a different lot. A few days after we went in, there was an order to release the family. They had set up positions upstairs. There was a sharpshooters’ position on the roof. The platoon commander let the family go and told them to go to the right. One mother and her two children didn’t understand and went to the left, but they forgot to tell the sharpshooter on the roof they had let them go, and it was was okay and he should hold his fire and he … he did what he was supposed to, like he was following his orders.”

Question from the audience: “At what range was this?”

Ram: “Between 100 and 200 meters, something like that. They had also came out of the house that he was on the roof of, they had advanced a bit and suddenly he saw then, people moving around in an area where they were forbidden to move around. I don’t think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to … I don’t know how to describe it …. The lives of Palestinians, let’s say, is something very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers. So as far as they are concerned they can justify it that way.”

Yuval Friedman (chief instructor at the Rabin program): “Wasn’t there a standing order to request permission to open fire?”

Ram: “No. It exists, beyond a certain line. The idea is that you are afraid that they are going to escape from you. If a terrorist is approaching and he is too close, he could blow up the house or something like that.”

Zamir: “After a killing like that, by mistake, do they do some sort of investigation in the IDF? Do they look into how they could have corrected it?”

Ram: “They haven’t come from the Military Police’s investigative unit yet. There hasn’t been any … For all incidents, there are individual investigations and general examinations, of all of the conduct of the war. But they haven’t focused on this specifically.”

Moshe: “The attitude is very simple: It isn’t pleasant to say so, but no one cares at all. We aren’t investigating this. This is what happens during fighting and this is what happens during routine security.”

Ram: “What I do remember in particular at the beginning is the feeling of almost a religious mission. My sergeant is a student at a hesder yeshiva [a program that combines religious study and military service]. Before we went in, he assembled the whole platoon and led the prayer for those going into battle. A brigade rabbi was there, who afterward came into Gaza and went around patting us on the shoulder and encouraging us, and praying with people. And also when we were inside they sent in those booklets, full of Psalms, a ton of Psalms. I think that at least in the house I was in for a week, we could have filled a room with the Psalms they sent us, and other booklets like that.

“There was a huge gap between what the Education Corps sent out and what the IDF rabbinate sent out. The Education Corps published a pamphlet for commanders – something about the history of Israel’s fighting in Gaza from 1948 to the present. The rabbinate brought in a lot of booklets and articles, and … their message was very clear: We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land. This was the main message, and the whole sense many soldiers had in this operation was of a religious war. From my position as a commander and ‘explainer,’ I attempted to talk about the politics – the streams in Palestinian society, about how not everyone who is in Gaza is Hamas, and not every inhabitant wants to vanquish us. I wanted to explain to the soldiers that this war is not a war for the sanctification of the holy name, but rather one to stop the Qassams.”

Hat tip.

It just keeps getting worse


News from Israel that genocide was the intent of the Gazan intrusion and nothing less grows stronger everyday with the release of soldier testimony to that effect. A word on the cartoon posted below; it clearly shows a dementia that has nothing at all to do with terrorism, the use of deadly force or American interests, nor Israeli interests for that matter.  With the exception of one drawing, no one who appears in the cartoons is even remotely connected to the “terrorism” the Israelis claim they are fighting.  One of the cartoon’s panels shows a blatant act of homosexuality as an act of war which speaks to the mindset of today’s modern armies.  What it does show is a hatred for Arabs and a willingness to kill women and infants, something we’ve seen in the latest “war” in Gaza and something which is underscored with this latest news

“Rules of Engagement: Open fire also upon rescue,” was handwritten in Hebrew on a sheet of paper found in one of the Palestinian homes the Israel Defense Forces took over during Operation Cast Lead. A reservist officer who did not take part in the Gaza offensive believes that the note is part of orders a low-level commander wrote before giving his soldiers their daily briefing.

One of the main themes in news reports during the Gaza operation, and which appears in many testimonies, is that IDF soldiers shot at Palestinian and Red Cross rescuers, making it impossible to evacuate the wounde.d and dead. As a result, an unknown number of Palestinians bled to death as others cowered in their homes for days without medical treatment, waiting to be rescued.

The bodies of the dead lay outside the homes or on roadsides for days, sometimes as long as two weeks. Haaretz has reported a number of such cases, some of them as they happened. The document found in the house provides written proof that IDF commanders ordered their troops to shoot at rescuers.

It is significant to remember that those who lay bleeding to death easily within reach of rescue personnel who perhaps could have been saved were the likes of women and children.


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What do you do when you’re not wanted? BEG!


Dignity means not begging for inclusion.  CAIR and other Muslim organizations had done a somewhat decent job of not begging when it came to the federal government and it’s law enforcement arm, the FBI; that was until the FBI decided to end the love fest with CAIR and stop doing community outreach programs with them.  The FBI has been infested with Islamophobes the likes of Steve Emerson and Daniel Pipes whose hatred of anything Islamic is as rabid, demented and misguided as anyone from your local insane asylum.  As long as the federal government is under the sway of folks like the two above there’s very little CAIR can do to get the feds to change their mind.  I was a little upset therefore to read this “plea” from CAIR for the FBI to justify their breaking of relations.  I think it’s more dignified for CAIR to continue with its program of uncovering abuse directed towards Muslim Americans and working with those institutions that are willing to work with them to stop such abuse, but if anyone wants to give in to the rhetoric and racism of Islamophobes there’s nothing you can do to change that, and begging them to like you certainly won’t work.

And speaking of CAIR did you read where they have changed leadership and gone more “local” as it were.  The former head of the organization, a Palestinian-American was just the lightening rod the likes of Pipes and Emerson needed  to make and then make stick the accusation that CAIR was somehow affiliated with home grown Islamic terrorism.  Yes, we all know no such thing exists, but that didn’t stop Pipes, et.al  from slinging the mud.  Larry Shaw a North Carolina state representative is now taking over the reigns of CAIR and showing another dimension to Islam in America.

Shaw, who has served in the senate for seven terms, has a reputation for honesty and fair dealing. A champion of interfaith understanding, he has gained support in the Jewish community, too.

“I’m very much impressed with his fine personality,” says Rabbi Yosef Levanon of Congregation Beth Israel in Fayetteville. “I think he has good intentions, and I’m praying he will avoid the pitfalls that have plagued this organization.”

Indeed, some have suggested that Shaw was chosen to lead CAIR precisely because he can soften its sometimes combative image.

Khalilah Sabra, a Raleigh activist who directs the local chapter of the Muslim American Society’s Freedom Foundation and consults with Shaw on a weekly basis, says Shaw brings a uniquely American political vision to CAIR.

I don’t know what all happened to make Mr. Shaw’s leadership at CAIR possible but I think it has something to do with the group’s tarnished image, a la Mr. Pipe and Emerson.  Perhaps Shaw can transform that image and focus the vision of the group to pursuits that will make it more necessary to the American fabric.

A ‘we told you so’ moment


First off let me give props to the blogger(s) who deserves it and Mondoweiss has been the leader in exposing this story to the English reading blogspere.  One can’t say what the outcome of the news that Isreali soldiers purposefully shot and killed innocent civilians will be, but it’s now been said by those who did just that and it’s something that if not apparent by how the Gazan conflict was conducted was certainly pointed out by many people in the blogsphere.

Another squad leader from the same brigade told of an incident where the company commander ordered that an elderly Palestinian woman be shot and killed; she was walking on a road about 100 meters from a house the company had commandeered.

The squad leader said he argued with his commander over the permissive rules of engagement that allowed the clearing out of houses by shooting without warning the residents beforehand. After the orders were changed, the squad leader’s soldiers complained that “we should kill everyone there [in the center of Gaza]. Everyone there is a terrorist.”

The squad leader said: “You do not get the impression from the officers that there is any logic to it, but they won’t say anything. To write ‘death to the Arabs’ on the walls, to take family pictures and spit on them, just because you can. I think this is the main thing: To understand how much the IDF has fallen in the realm of ethics, really. It’s what I’ll remember the most.”

There is no rhymn nor reason for this murder spree committed in the name of “fighting terrorism” which has also been glossed over with “fear” and the threat, as Rupert Murdoch said just the other night that the fate of the entire western world hinges on the existence of Israel. Of course, nothing could be further than the truth; the world existed before the state of Israel, and did rather well it might be argued, just as it will exist well after Israel has become an historic relic just as it once was, but the intent of the leaders of Israel to tie their fate with that of their western sponsors has been a constant thread allowing for the West’s acquiescence towards Israeli atrocities. It is interesting to note, already spin is being generated to calm the furor about the published (read that “leaked“) accounts.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio that he believed such incidents to be exceptions, adding, “The Israeli Army is the most moral in the world, and I know what I’m talking about because I know what took place in the former Yugoslavia, in Iraq.”

Like most other Israeli analogies the Yugoslavia one is a faulty one.  That conflict which plagued Europe went on for several years, whereas the Gaza invasion was a month long intrusion.  Nevertheless the reality that civilians were targetted has been made clear.  Note the word “lead” in the reference above; this was not something that was to be made known to the public, but rather kept secret in the halls of Israeli government.  I wonder whether it was to be used to build upon or improve what was accomplished/committed in Gaza, the policy of the Israeli government has become just that dastard.  I salute those within Israeli society who exposed this story to the international public; no doubt at great risk to their position in that society.  I wish American politicians were equally courageous, because it will take that kind of courage to stop the madness known as the Israeli government from its murderous rampages.

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