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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pretexts unleashed global license to kill

Waves of violence, wasted years
Editing, re-reporting, comment by Carolyn Bennett

Nine/eleven (9/11) became a potent pretext for U.S. global “wars” on terror-terrorist-terrorism — prepackaged, capriciously defined, selectively applied, and covertly neutralized, tortured, murdered.

The U. S. “terrorist” pretext morphed into global license, encouragement and excuse for just about any bully with backing and weapons — principally, and indeed led by, the United States of America — to engage in unchecked aggression against perceived or manufactured “enemies,” whatever and whomever the bully wanted to attack. Name them journalists, medics, workers of all kinds, protesters and their exercise of free speech and assembly; states and heads of state, sects and tribes, families, comparatively powerless peoples, geographical and political regions, drugs.

In these ten years under war-on-terror rules of the U.S. realm (as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt?), any person or entity U.S. officials labeled “threat,” targeted as “terrorist,” ostracized as dissenter from the prevailing dogma or entrenched delusion was subjected to the strong arm of a Strongman (where have we heard that Noreiga/Saddam Hussein-ism?): abusive U.S. power and violence.

[Strongman \'strȯŋ-"man\ n (1859), Merriam Webster says, is “one who leads or controls by force of will and character or by military methods.”]   

A Chinese press editorialized this week, “‘The West has used the so-called fight against terror as a cheap excuse to intervene in other nations’ internal affairs’ … [and] ten years after the 9/11 attacks, the campaign against terrorism [is] ‘far from over,’ with terrorists changing tactics and increasing ‘collaboration with separatists and religious extremists.’” This was some of the 911 insight of the week. 
New York City Britannica image

Between the Lines’ 9/11 weekend lead

September 11, 2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States that dramatically changed the political and security landscape of the nation. Across the country this week, public observances, prayer services and other events commemorate the deaths of 2,977 victims that terrible day.

The George W. Bush government — instead of treating “the al Qaeda organized terrorist attack as a heinous crime” to be subjected to law under established national and international criminal justice systems — responded with a declaration of war.

The U.S. president’s “desire to retaliate against the attack with overwhelming force and to remove the [Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein’s regime led the United States into two wars: first in Afghanistan then in Iraq — the latter nation with no provable connection to the September 11 attacks. A decade later, the United States is still embroiled in conflicts in both countries.

“Putting the United States on a war footing has had critical consequences not only domestically and internationally but also for the civil liberties of [detainees] held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay and other U.S. Central Intelligence Agency- run secret prisons.”

Constitutional Rights attorney Vincent Warren on 9/11 pretext and consequences

“When President George W. Bush entered the first decade of the 21st century,” Warren said, “he shredded the Constitution.

“Barack Obama is the president at the end of the decade and he [has refused] to put the Constitution back together again.…”

The ten-year power grab by the Executive, beginning with George W. Bush and continuing with Barack Obama, Warren said, “signals one of the most deeply troubling aspects of the potential fall of American democracy — the idea that there is literally no branch of government and no ability of the people to check the power of the president.”

Deutsche Welle’s 9/11 interviews

Samira Hussein is a social worker of Palestinian origin who lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Her story “illustrates,” Deutsche Welle reports, “that there is a long way to go before being a Muslim in the U.S. is as straightforward as being a Catholic.” In her years in the United States, “she has had many bad experiences, starting with the first Gulf War —

‘In the beginning, they vandalized our family cars, they slashed the tires, they broke our patio door, our front door, back door. … We were insulted, humiliated, called names, we had trash thrown at us, dead birds ... you name it we experienced it.’

Syrian Waled Hafiz is a member of a local charity, the Montgomery County Moslem Foundation. He said, “discrimination in the region is relatively mild —

‘People in [his] area are better informed. … [but] if you go to Texas or West Virginia, people still don’t know where Syria and Jordan are or who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks and they don’t want to know.’

Something as uncomplicated, as uncontroversial as a community center became heatedly controversial.

Spokesperson for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Ibrahim Hooper spoke last year with Deutsche Welle at the time of a “community center controversy.” Hooper said —

‘There has been a mosque in the neighborhood of the World Trade Center for 30 years and it has never been an issue before.… There is nothing inherently controversial about having an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan where you can’t even see ground zero from the site.’

He “characterized the controversy as being ‘manufactured by a small and vocal group of Muslim-bashers’ pandering to people’s basest fears. … The rhetoric of people taking over, of undue influence — was wrong when it was used to target the Jewish community and it is wrong when it is used to target the Muslim community.’”

Hooper concluded with Deutsche Welle by saying, “‘I don’t think constitutional rights should be subjected to mob rule, or even majority vote. Rights are rights. You either have them or you don’t.’”

Voices across the Atlantic on 9/11

“The past 10 years were full of missed opportunities,” Patryk Pawlak writes. Pawlak is a research fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies in Paris and works on EU-U.S. relations and U.S. foreign policy.

“Following 9/11,” Pawlak said, “the United States failed to capitalize on the wave of positive energy and support coming from all over the world. Rather than using that energy to strengthen its global leadership, the U.S. launched a ‘global war on terror’ that resulted in new divisions and criticism, even among the most loyal allies in Europe.

“Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, extraordinary renditions and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have become the symbols of post 9/11 America. Despite the election of Barack Obama [and his] message of hope, there has been little change in the situation. Improvement in ties with Muslim communities worldwide suggested in Obama’s Cairo speech never materialized.…

“The well-crafted rhetoric of homeland security and the ‘war on terror’ has affected fundamental concepts of sovereignty, rule of law and justice. It has also increased societal acceptance of [acquiescence to] policy measures that under different circumstances would encounter extensive and severe criticism for their intrusion into civil liberties.

“The use of new technologies, many of which bear significant implications for privacy and data protection (e.g. biometric identifiers, ethnic profiling), has shifted the balance toward the security side of the equation; and, paradoxically, the way of life [Western] governments claim to be defending [at home and abroad] is slowly disappearing.”

Voices across the Pacific on 9/11

An editorial reported yesterday by Press TV and first published by the Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency “accuses Western countries of applying ‘double standards’ in their global anti-terrorism campaign.…

“‘The West has used the so-called fight against terror as a cheap excuse to intervene in other nations’ internal affairs’ … [and] ten years after the 9/11 attacks, the campaign against terrorism [is] ‘far from over,’ with terrorists changing tactics and increasing ‘collaboration with separatists and religious extremists.’”
Geopolitical Asia incl Southwest/Central Asia Britannica image

9/11 WARS of aggression
counter attacks, backlash, resistance, suffering

Latin America speaks to U.S./NATO on near eastern affairs

Since the middle of March, hundreds of people including security forces have died in Syria’s conflict. Syrian opposition leaders accuse security forces of being behind the killings; the Syrian government blames the deadly violence on foreign-backed armed gangs.

Latin America’s Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) yesterday warned NATO against military action in Syria and criticized the Western alliance’s intervention in Libya.  Leaving a meeting in Caracas, the ALBA foreign ministers called NATO’s move in Libya a ‘dangerous precedent’ [Reuters] and  warned the Western military alliance against taking advantage of Syria’s political problems as a pretext to attack the country.
Britannica image

Under U.S. occupation — Iraq
Bombings and other forms of violence increased in Iraq soon after the U.S. invaded that country in 2003.  Despite the presence of U.S. forces in this oil-rich country, sporadic attacks “remain common in Iraqi cities.”

This week Iraq North — at least six people died among them security forces • Mosul, 400 kilometers north of Baghdad — two soldiers died (Friday) when gunmen opened fire at a checkpoint • Yermuk — two police officers died in a separate incident when gunmen opened fire • Northern Mosul — a civilian died and three people suffered wounds when a bomb exploded near a police station • Western Mosul — another man died when gunmen opened fire, continuing targeted assaults on security forces.

The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed by the governments of the United States and Iraq mandates that Washington withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of December 2011.

Under U.S. hostility/proxy aggression — Palestine (West Bank)
Tel Aviv began building a wall in 2000, a wall the UN International Court of Justice deems illegal and says this wall should be removed. The separation barrier cuts Palestinian villagers off from vast stretches of their land and separates the West bank from the rest of the occupied territories.

For years, Bilin has been the site of weekly protests against Israel’s separation barrier.

Amidst protests this week, Israeli troops yesterday fired tear gas at Palestinian and international activists protesting Israel’s illegal separation wall in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli attack on anti-wall protesters in the village of Bilin, near the West Bank city of Ramallah reportedly left many people injured among them international activists.

This week’s demonstrations not only protested the wall but expressed support for Palestinian statehood, the petition to be presented to the United Nations this month by the Palestinian Authority (PA). The 66th UN General Assembly, scheduled to open September 20 will vote on Palestinian statehood, which would include the West Bank and Gaza, with East al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital.

U.S. Fifth Fleet base — Bahrain
Since the middle of February, thousands of anti-government protesters have been staging demonstrations in Bahrain, demanding political reforms and a constitutional monarchy. Protesters demands, following the rulers brutal crackdown on popular protests, evolved to include ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family dynasty.

With the backing of Saudi Arabia, scores of people have died and many others have been injured in crackdowns on peaceful protesters in Bahrain.

Yesterday, according to reports, a protest rally near the capital was organized by the opposition bloc al-Wefaq and drew protesters from all over the Persian Gulf sheikhdom to join the ‘Friday of determination’ rally.

Major oil fields Britannica image
Bahrain • Saudi Arabia • United Arab Emirates • ISRAEL • USA — Political analyst Rodney Shakespeare said in a Thursday interview with Press TV that “the ‘Zionist regime’ of Israel is controlling the United States foreign policy in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.”

Shakespeare said, “‘The USA will support these torturing totalitarian, autocratic, crypto maniac and totally immoral regimes in every respect as long as they support the Zionist entity.’”

Rodney Shakespeare chairs the Committee against Torture in Bahrain.

U.S.-allied (?) — Jordan
Since January, Jordan has faced anti-government rallies demanding reforms and an end to corruption.

King Abdullah II tried to appease protesters in June and announced some concessions, including the formation of future governments to be based on an elected parliamentary majority rather than one appointed by the monarch; but the king later said putting an elected government in place might take two to three years.

Anti-government protesters this week took to the streets of Jordan’s capital, Amman, to demonstrate their rejection of constitutional reforms proposed by the Royal Commission saying the proposed amendments do not meet their “demanded reforms.”  Proposed reforms include the creation of an independent commission to oversee elections, lowered age of candidates for parliament from 35 to 25, and a limit on the jurisdiction of the military state security court.

Pakistan & Afghanistan Britannica image

Under U.S. attack — Pakistan
Last year as it was being bombed, Pakistan was hit by the worst floods in its history. In that disaster, more than 1,750 people died, and, according to Oxfam aid organizations, an estimated 18 million people were affected. More than 800,000 families today remain without permanent shelter. More than a million people still need food assistance.

This week heavy monsoon rains and flash floods have left more than 182 people dead. In Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh, more than five million others have been displaced.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) released a statement today saying, according to Press TV, “31 children and 79 women were among the dead. An initial survey conducted by the PDMA had said 200,000 affected people were residing in official relief camps.”

Southwest/Central Asia Britannica image
Under U.S. attack — Afghanistan
Despite the presence of nearly 150,000 U.S.-led forces, insecurity is rising across Afghanistan. After announcing the start of the spring offensive, the Taliban reportedly have stepped up attacks.

Late Thursday, eight people died (including three police officers) and four others suffered wounds when a bomber detonated an explosives-laden car at the entrance to a police compound in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand.

Friday, according to icasualties dot org, the 2011 death toll for coalition military personnel rose to 428. In the Friday incident, according to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), three U.S.-led NATO soldiers died in an attack in eastern Afghanistan.

On a near-daily basis, the security situation in Afghanistan worsens, with foreign and Afghan forces falling prey to Taliban militants.

Facts released on Thursday said an American soldier in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in July had shot dead a BBC reporter.

The reporter was BBC Pashto service journalist Ahmed Omed Khpulwak. He was 25 years and had taken refuge in a bathroom after heavy fighting broke out in Tarin Kowt’s market following suicide bombings. The U.S. solider, according to the state-run BBC — “allegedly mistook Ahmed Omed Khpulwak for a suicide bomber.”

Sources and notes

“Legacy of Fear: 9/11 and the Erosion of Civil Liberties” — interview with Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, conducted by Melinda Tuhus, September 7, 2011, http://btlonline.org/2011/seg/110916af-btl-warren.html

Vincent Warren

Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Vincent Warren has spearheaded a public campaign ‘Beyond Guantanamo: Rescue the Constitution’ coinciding with CCR’s landmark Supreme Court victory in Al Odah v. U.S. and Boumediene v. Bush, which held that the detainees at Guantánamo Bay have a constitutional right to the writ of habeas corpus.

Cases Warren has litigated include • Gratz v. Bollinger, companion case to the landmark Supreme Court decision to uphold affirmative action in college admissions. • Dasrath v. Continental Airlines on behalf of plaintiffs removed from an airplane shortly after 9/11 because they were perceived to be Arab or Muslim, and • White v. Martz, a class action lawsuit that helped create Montana’s first statewide public defender system.

Warren monitored South Africa’s historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings and worked as a criminal defense attorney for the Brooklyn Legal Aid Society. He took his law degree at Rutgers School of Law.

Before his tenure at CCR, Warren was national senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) where he led constitutional and impact-litigation to advance civil rights and liberties.


The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is a national legal and educational organization dedicated to advancing and defending the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Warren oversees CCR’s groundbreaking litigation and advocacy work, which includes —
  • Combating the illegal expansion of presidential power and policies such as illegal detention at Guantanamo, rendition, torture and warrantless wiretapping;
  • Holding corporations and government officials accountable for human rights abuses; and
  • Challenging racial injustice and mass incarceration

“The trials of being Muslim and American: Muslims living in the U.S. have been through a lot since 9/11Although individually many Muslims living in the United States consider themselves well integrated, the events of September 11 seriously damaged their collective image,” August 8, 2011, http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15184178,00.html

“Bitter debate over ‘ground zero mosque’ marks 9/11 anniversary: Plans to build the mosque near ‘ground zero’ touched a nerve — A plan to build an Islamic cultural center and prayer room in the shadow of ‘ground zero’ has set off a virulent debate between advocates of religious freedom and those who decry the move as incendiary,” September 11, 2010,  http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5989447,00.html

“Ten years after 9/11, fears trump freedoms: The oft-stated phrase that 9/11 has changed our lives is true, argues Patryk Pawlak, marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks, he examines how they have tipped the delicate balance between security and freedom,” September 9, 2011, http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15377165,00.html

Patryk Pawlak is a research fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies in Paris working on EU-U.S. relations and U.S. foreign policy

“‘West using war on terror to intervene,’” September 9, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/198308.html

MIDDLE EAST- Persian Gulf

“ALBA warns against NATO move in Syria,” September 10, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/198348.html

“Six killed in separate attacks in Iraq,” September 10, 2011,  http://www.presstv.ir/detail/198325.html

“Israel attacks anti-wall protesters in WB, September 9, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/198303.html

“Bahrainis hold mass anti-regime rally,” September 9, 2011,

“Scores of protesters have been killed — many under torture — and numerous others have been detained and transferred to unknown locations during the regime's crackdown. In mid-March, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates deployed military forces to Bahrain to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on the popular protests,” September 9, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/198228.html]

Jordan rejects govt.-proposed reforms,” September 9, 2011,


“Heavy floods claim 182 lives in Pakistan,” September 10, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/198388.html

“Bomb attack kills 8 in south Afghanistan,” September 10, 2011,  http://www.presstv.ir/detail/198322.html

“Afghan forces kill 3 Taliban militants,” September 10, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/198385.html

“3 NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan,” September 9, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/198310.html

“U.S. soldier kills BBC's Afghan journalist,” September 8, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/198139.html


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