America: The All-Seeing ‘Big Brother’ – Government Surveillance

The iron fist of blood and empire has seized hold of the Stars and Stripes, raging a silent war against the democratic foundation of the nation’s people whose rights and liberties have been done away with and replaced with a repressive totalitarian order that, endorsed by the plutocracy, moves rapidly towards the enslavement of its own people.

The American Government’s Intelligence Community Parallels the Orwellian ‘Big Brother is Watching You”

Despite the constitutional protection and basic human rights that are supposedly guaranteed to the citizens of the American nation; there exists an overbearing hand that promises just reparation, but instead delivers a redefined notion of democracy through which the powers that be are able to monitor, seize and control the assets of the nation in order to repress and essentially enslave the people into a new form of complicit servitude.  Through the perpetuating false flag of terrorism, the war lobbies and corporate oligarchs have secured their hold on the government and undercut the power of the people over their government.  Without the tools given and cemented in the Constitution, such as government accountability and the right to protest, the American people stand as blind sheep as their sons and daughters are sent to foreign lands to fight a war for the ruling plutocracy.  As the soil of foreign lands are reaped for corporate profit, the government installs regime change to institute a new form of imperialism to secure a lasting relationship of foreign imposition and corruption.  The evidence is clear, but the American populous stands silent in fear of having the repressive eye of government enforcement turned domestically.  With the CIA, FBI, NSA and other government agencies becoming mercenaries for hire, the American populous has already fallen into the tyrannical regime that has been installed abroad.  The government has already superseded constitutional boundaries and has begun its assault on civil liberties to establish an empire of intelligence gathering and repressive prosecution.  The huddled masses have fallen complicit and complacent as re-education and prison camps are constructed in their suburbs, being occupied by civilians with familiar faces and familiar names.  With citizens being labelled as terrorists and conspiracists, the government has coalesced into a system run by the rule of martial law with no borders.  The rise of the totalitarian regime was not an over-night event; rather, the path has been secured by the evolving propaganda machine begun by Wilson and used by leaders like Nixon and Reagan to justify military build-up and crippling taxation.  Continuing under George W. Bush and Obama, the passing of the Patriot Act, the military contract to Halliburton’s subsidiary KBR to build domestic detention camps, Operation Falcon (I, II, and III), the creation of the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit, and the passing of the NDAA; the police state in the US was given a foundation through which the domestic populous was being reduced into a herd of subservient fodder for the corporate controlled machines.  So saying, this post focuses on the rise of corporate bought intelligence community being turned inwards and monitoring the actions of the domestic populous, thus embodying ‘Big Brother is Watching You’.

“He said don’t take this for the way it is.  You better watch out son, when you give in.  Before you know it, the friends you trust will have stabbed you in the back.” – Anti-Flag, “If You Wanna Steal (You Better Learn How to Lie)

The regime being instituted in America is democratic at face-value, leaving the separation of powers and popular elections; but these institutions fail to provide the values and principles of liberal democracy through which a government, for and by the people, is intended to represent.  Rather, the currency of the nation is currency, valuing capital and pursuit of such greed at the cost of the peoples’ liberties and rights.  Dissolving the notions of democracy for the purpose of plutocracy, the government has been mutated into an overbearing hand of control.  With control of all assets of the infrastructure, ‘Big Brother’ has empowered itself through various means of the law.  The argument being provided for the infringement of peoples’ lives and liberties is that of national security, the ambiguous and heterogeneous term whose definition relies on special interests groups.  The US Constitution provides the American people with certain protections and freedoms, of which the majority are being violated by the public’s complicit behavior to the government’s seizure of more power.  The premise of national security is to protect the interest of the nation, an interest intended to be reflected by the majority of the population and their representatives.  In the case of America, violating civil liberties to protect the nation is contradictory.  When a person’s rights are violated, it harms every person in the nation and thus the nation.  So saying, the argument betrays the reality that the federal powers are not interested in the protection of the people and the nation; rather, the federal powers are interested in profiteering at the expense of the people.  The Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court is an example of the system undermining the powers of the people and giving special interest groups and their lobbyists even more power in the government.  The decision not only undermines the influence of government accountability on government officials, but it reverses laws that limited the role of corporate money in federal elections, thus securing the plutocracy of narrow business leaders.  This decisions embodies the greater reality that corporations are able to fund and manipulate political decision-making in their favor, thus turning the government into their own omniscient tool to control and subdue the masses into their corporate-led herds.

“Join now!  Don’t wait!  Make death, your date!  Salute and fight!  Fight for the wealth of the few!  Wrapped in a flag and sold to you, sold as Freedom.  It’s up to you to see through the lies of those who’ve led us to endless world strife.” – Anti-Flag, “Sold As Freedom”

The interests of these corporate leaders is to profit at the expense of domestic and foreign peoples’, a means to be achieved through consolidating their power on the government by controlling and quieting the public.  The Freedom of Information Act has allowed the America’s Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to release documents that report that technology, such as cell phones, are used as surveillance tools to encroach on the public’s privacy.  The data, calls, phone numbers, photos and electronic locations, on a cell phone are being turned over to authorities without a warrant and the service providers profit from the sale.  Moreover, the citizens pay for the service and pay taxes to fund the local and federal departments who are being sold this information; thus, the public is investing in agencies dedicated to infringing on their privacy and enslaving them to a constant surveillance system.  The infringement of rights and liberties by the government for purposes of ensuring a complicit and silent public is also evident in the Patriot Act.  Initially passes under the Bush administration in response to 9/11, the Obama administration signed a 4-year extension of three of its key provisions: roving wiretaps, searches of business records and conducting surveillance on individual suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups.  Evidently the provisions being perpetuated are clear illustrations of the government’s vagrant disregard for civil liberties and gives the federal government the ability to spy on any and all citizens under the ambiguous terms, “terrorist-related activities”.  Among the tools at the government’s behest are internet service providers and cable companies.  Both of which receive federal money to disclose all the information of their customers.  The name, address, local and long distance telephone billing records, bank account and credit card numbers are provided to the government by the companies, in return for tax payer dollars.  One program still continuing from its birth under Bush’s Patriot Act is Stellar Wind.  The program is intended to mine a large database of communications of American citizens, basing a NSA Data Center in Utah.  The purpose was to intercept, decipher, analyze and store vast swath’s of the world’s communications in the center, thus becoming the government’s property to do with as it sees fit.  In short, the NSA is building the country’s biggest spy center and the $2 billion facility in Utah is to be finished in 2013 and is being constructed by businesses with ties to the former Bush administration, thus demonstrating the profiteering stance of corporations in the intelligence takeover of the public arena.

“The phrase world leaders does not describe the heads of state.  Those few in power, work only for the corporate sake.  No action, no interest, no humanity at all.  As the corporate towers rise up, they watch the people fall.” – Anti-Flag, “No Borders, No Nations”

Though Bush personally oversaw the rise of government power in his counter-terrorism policies, the Obama administration has also revamped efforts to narrow in on domestic targets.  The recent media coverage of the ‘Kill List’ list has seized international attention and demonstrated the dissolution of habeas corpus for Americans considered a threat in foreign lands.  The President has launched an assassination campaign and has made the global arena a war zone, thus signifying that all those killed are war-time casualties and reducing the recorded number of civilian casualties.  Nevertheless, domestically the passing of the NDAA for 2012 marked the passing of Title X, Subtitle D, sub-sections 1021 and 1022 which allowed for the indefinite detention of American citizens without due process or warrant.  Many of the suspects arrested have been shipped to Guantanamo Bay, others have possibly been sent to detention and re-education camps built by Halliburton’s KBR under the Bush years.  The new marks a clear parallel to the edicts of totalitarian regimes elsewhere in the world.  The new law, violating basic human rights and constitutional liberties, allow government agencies to inherently spy on daily routines and activities of Americans and then possibly detain them in Guantanamo, a clearly inhumane prison camp.  The deceleration of the NDAA has also allowed for the writing of legislation, “FAA Re-authorization and Reform Act of 2012”.  The legislation would allow for the military’s drone program to establish itself in American skies.  Though not the militaristic nature of those involved in the assassination campaign of Obama’s ‘Kill List’, these micro-drones are used by the NSA to aid in the surveillance and monitoring programs within the US.

“Welcoming with open arms and open hearts, in the end they found their arms in shackles and their hearts town out.  This country named ‘America’ is built on graves.” – Anti-Flag, “Stars and Stripes”

In retrospect, the profiteering agenda of the plutocracy has been consolidated through the seizure of government away from the people and into the lining of their pocket books, maintaining a complicit and subdued public through an increasingly overbearing intelligence community.  Mirroring the Orwellian ‘Big Brother’, the policies of the government have seized assets of telephone companies, cable companies and use military technology to advance their surveillance and monitoring system through the American nation.  So saying, the American system has become a repressive hand of totalitarian control through which the narrow business interests of the ruling classes are able to prosper and advance their agenda through the infringement and violation of rights and liberties promised under the Constitution.

America: The Police State – 1984

Reserving the right to act unilaterally, including the unilateral use of military force, the police state has expanded its Orwellian tyranny upon the American masses in a successful coup of civil rights and humanity, installing a regime reminiscent of 1984.

Representing a Modern Day 1984 Regime, the American Police State has Seized Totalitarian Control

Coalescing into a government-run by the rule of law, the police state used the occasion of the terrorist atrocities of 9-11 to discipline its own population and abuse civil rights – even the right of citizenship – to secure greater control over American life.  Parallel to the darkest days of McCarthyism, the Bush administration claimed and exercised the right to declare people to be ‘enemy combatants’ or ‘suspected terrorists’ and to imprison them without charge or access to lawyers or family until the White House concedes that the ‘War on Terror’ has been successively concluded.  Conveniently, an enemy combatant can be anyone the US chooses to attack, with no credible evidence, as Washington concedes and thus illustrates the tyrannical power being established under false charges.  Superseding constitutional rights, the new assault on basic civil liberties established an empire of intelligence gathering and repressive action comparable to the foundation of all totalitarian governments, whether Nazi or Communist.  Wielding insurmountable power to quell even the slightest anti-government rally, the tradition of protest and dissent has fallen away into a conformist subservience to those in power.  The huddled masses, complicit and complacent, allow the government to seize all assets of modern society to further its goals of hegemony domestically and abroad, a goal fueled by corporate influence to safeguard their ability to behave as monopolistically as possible.  Exercising rigid and repressive control over social, economic and political life of the population, the American police state has dissolved any and all distinctions between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.  So saying, the corporate controlled government has essentially transformed law into a flexible living instrument to be bent to their ideals.  The Patriot Act was the first major erosion of American civil liberties.  Over the past decade this erosion has only deepened, including the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act and the signing of the National Defense Resources Preparedness executive order signed by President Obama.  The NDAA now allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial any US citizen that the government labels a terrorist or an accessory to terrorism, thus expanding the definition of terrorism to include citizen activists.  The executive order authorizes widespread federal and military control of the national economy and resources during emergency and non-emergency conditions, as well as the right to install government-owned equipment in private industrial facilities.

“The government controls everything you do.  With police and Feds watching over you, you  try to stand against them and you’ll end up dead as your front door is smashed in by the ATF.  Police state in the USA, Fascism with a friendly face.” – Anti-Flag, “Police State in the USA”

The American populace has been restricted, their mobility and freedom put into question by police monitoring and enforcement so as to enforce political control outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional state.  Invoking a perpetual war, the government has created a pretext for subjecting the people to mass surveillance and invasive police searches.  Among the assets being utilized to propagate an unrelenting intrusion into the general public, is media.  To describe modern media as propaganda is to understate the extent to which conservative capitalists have seized control over the publishing of news. Parallel to the FBI, CIA, NSA and all assets of federal and state security, the media has become a source to propagate societal complacency, to proliferate a false sense of status quo.  The people have been ignorant of the fact that habeas corpus is no longer a legal protection in the US or that the US president can torture and kill American citizens.  Recent ‘Continuity of Government’ planning has removed constitutional protections and increased the militarization of civilian law enforcement.  Military troops are allowed to conduct police actions in the US cities, removing the local law enforcement which is to be responsible to local citizens.  The police state has mobilized its assets to sustain preparations for the possibility of martial law.  Another example is Operation Falcon, of which there has been 3 and have detained an estimated 10,000 dissidents.  Less than 10% of these people were reported to have any criminal records.  To date, the US Marshal’s office has issued no public statement as to whether the people arrested in Operation Falcon have been processed or released.  The US Marshal’s service has not yet disclosed the names of the people arrested in these massive police sweeps, nor what crimes they were accused.  The public has not been informed whether those detained were provided with due process of law, where they are now, or whether they have been abused while in custody.  In short, the operation appears to have been devised to enhance the power of the unitary executive by putting state and local law enforcement under federal supervision.

“You walk past an activist, who is talking on the street about political prisoners, locked up in your own home state.  And you think just for a minute, you think just a second.  Then you say, ‘That can’t be true!  Cause I live in the land of freedom, where no one gets the screw!'” – Anti-Flag, “Until It Happens to You”

A form of martial law already exists in the US and has been in place since shortly after the September 11 attacks when Bush issued Military Order Number Once, which empowered him to detain any non-citizen as an international terrorist or enemy combatant.  Today, that order extends to US citizens as well.  The dismissal of elementary human rights and needs has been endorsed by corporations, securing government contracts to evade constitutional boundaries and intrude upon the lives of suburban America.  Halliburton’s subsidiary KBR (formerly Kellogg, Brown and Root) announced in 2006 that it has been awarded a $385 million contingency contact by the Department of Homeland Security to build detention camps in the US.  Each facility had the capability of detaining 5,000 people. Attorney General John Ashcroft supported the establishment of such facilities and expressed his desire to see these camps used for US citizens deemed to be ‘enemy combatants’, a term already described as ambiguous and government-defined dependent.  The contact of the Halliburton subsidiary is part of a longer-term Homeland Security plan entitled Endgame, which sets as its goal the removal of all potential enemy combatants.  The plan corresponds to an earlier program discussed by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld under Reagan.  These man planned for the suspension of the Constitution for any ‘national security emergency’.   The police state has emerged as a living organism through which the US government can perpetuate its Orwellian regime upon the people.  Among its tools are the FBI, CIA and virtually every other agency given the authority to spy to defend Americans from foreign and domestic enemies.  These tools have all been used sooner or later to threaten civil liberties.  Nevertheless, a considerable threat to coveted constitutional rights is the American secret police network, the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit (LEIU).  The LEIU links the intelligence squads of almost every major police force in the US and Canada.  The members are not answerable to voters, taxpayers, or elected officials.  Ex-members of the LEIU admit to illegal wiretapping, breaking and entering and spying on people to gather information for their files.  Clearly this serves as an evident depiction reminiscent of the Gestapo, KGB, or any other totalitarian network of illegal monitoring.

“When there are secrets that we don’t know, then the ideal they pass as freedom in this country is a fake.  When we are left with no right or no voice to choose, then we’re not living in a free and democratic state.” – Anti-Flag, “What You Don’t Know”

In retrospect, the totalitarian regime being mascaraed as democracy is proliferating a repressive and intrusive monitoring network that outpaces the worst civil liberty violations committed by past police states in Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist Eastern Europe and even modern Communist China.  Amounting to an empire geared towards militarized actions both abroad and at home, the American police state has effectively cast out human rights and constitutional rights to further its policy agenda of perpetuating hegemony.  The only action possible seems to be a complete and total return to the social justice values of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, a necessary revolution for change to resist the privacy intrusions into domestic homes, police state in the commons and extrajudicial killings.

Obama: War in Afghanistan Coming to an End

The anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death was marked with President Obama’s secret flight to Afghanistan to sign a strategic pact with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, declaring a slow but gradual withdrawal of American troops and a promised long-term US role in Afghanistan through aid and advisers.

Obama Marks the Death of bin Laden with a Surprise Trip to Afghanistan

Beginning on October 7, 2001, a new phase of the War in Afghanistan began through Bush’s commitment of US troops under his National Security Strategy.  The strategy justified the use of US armed forces abroad to ensure US global hegemony, which was to be permanent.  Through this militaristic approach emerged Operation Enduring Freedom, a response to the 9/11 attacks, in which the US entered a decade long war in search of the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation and to remove the Taliban regime from power, a regime that came into power mainly from US arms support and aid during its years of guerrilla warfare against the incursion of the Soviet Union from 1978 to 1989.  Nearly 3,000 US and NATO soldiers have died during the Afghanistan war since the Taliban were ousted in 2001.  More than 130,000 troops from 50 countries serve in Afghanistan, according to the NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force. The US is the largest contributor, providing about 90,000 troops, followed by the UK (9,500), Germany (4,800) and France (3,600). Now, after the successful assassination of Osama bin Laden and the installation of a democratic regime under President Karzai, Obama has signed a pact discussing how the way will end and promised a steady drawdown of US troops.  The Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) may provide Afghans with reassurances that they will not be abandoned when most NATO combat troops leave as planned in 2014.  For Obama, the plan serves as an opportunity to conclude a war started by his predecessor, George W. Bush, which has become widely unpopular domestically, a move many political ambition theorists suggest will help consolidate his re-election campaign.

“My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war.  Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon.” – Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

During his speech at Bagram airbase outside of Kabul, Obama committed to pulling 23,000 troops out of the country by the end of the summer and sticking to the 2014 deadline to turn security fully over to the Afghan government.  Some US forces will remain in a post-war Afghanistan as military advisers, but both US and Afghan officials have yet to decide how many troops will continue supporting the Afghan military, and for how long.  The SPA provides a framework for the US-Afghanistan partnership for the decade after the US and allied troop withdrawal.  Specific levels of US forces and funding are not set in the agreement and will be determined by the US in consultation with allies.  With much in store for the future negotiations, the stability of Afghanistan still hangs on a precipice, clearly exemplified by the suicide bombing in Kabul during President Obama’s speech.  The blast killed 7 people outside a compound known as Green Village, illustrating the fragile state of the country.  Some of the more troubling challenges ahead include corruption in Karzai’s weak government, the unsteadiness of Afghan forces in the face of a resilient Taliban insurgency, and Washington’s strained ties with Pakistan where US officials see selective cooperation in cracking down on militants fueling cross-border violence.

“There will be difficult days ahead, but as we move forward in our transitions, I’m confident that Afghan forces will grow stronger; the Afghan people will take control of their future.” – Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

President Obama’s speech carries different messages for different audiences, one at home and one away.  The more important audience is American voters fed up with a war that will be in its 12th year on Election Day this fall.  Obama is seeking to portray his foreign policy as record as a success.  His campaign team has made bin Laden’s death a key part of that argument, and the President’s visit to the country where militants hatched the September 11 attacks on the United States reinforces that message.   Nevertheless, the message portrayed to the American people is undermined by the hard evidence coming out of Afghanistan.  Politics aside, Afghanistan will remain the third poorest country in the world.  Skepticism is shared by the European Union who have stated that Western aid that has been poured into Afghanistan will have limited impact as long as governance remained poor and corruption widespread.  Moreover, the truth of the troop withdrawal is that even after the US combat mission is concluded in 2014, thousands of US troops will remain for some years to conduct strikes and otherwise train and advise Afghan forces, and help the Afghans collect and exploit intelligence on insurgents and other military targets.  A new Pentagon report describes the capability of the insurgency to replace battlefield losses and launch high-profile attacks, even as it has lost territory to the Us and Afghan forces.  Evidently, the optimistic message given by Obama is largely campaign-drive but the plan behind the message is what is important, a gradual drawdown process through which the US will hopefully avoid another Iraqesque failure.

“As we emerge from a decade of conflict abroad and economic crisis at home, it’s time to renew America.  This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.” – Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

In retrospect, the message here is that the US is trying to reassure the American populace of an ending war, as well as reassure Afghan leaders the US would not repeat its mistake from the 1980s.  Then, Washington withdrew support for anti-Soviet militia forces in Afghanistan and set the stage for Taliban rule.  The US has been able to decimate the ranks of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda that had taken root in Afghanistan and now the US has the duty to end the war in Afghanistan responsibly, ensuring the security and stability of the country for years to come.

Religion: Islam and Violence

After the events of September 11th, the issue of Islam and violence once again came into intense discussion and debate because of its historic correlation to jihad, intolerance and terrorism.

With the Qur'an as Justification, Islam has Massacred Millions

Not aimed at presenting an ‘Islamphobia’ post, this post aims at presenting the religious dimension of violence that goes back to the heart and origin of Islam.  Despite various political, socio-economic and cultural factors contributing to the rise of violence and terrorism in fundamental Islam (as with all religions), Muslims who commit acts of violence and terror in the name of Allah can find ample justification for their actions based on the open-ended verses and teachings of the Qur’an and the saying of Muhammad (Hadith).  Islam’s doctrines and texts are associated with violence, with laws requiring the eradication of what is considered evil by Islamic standard and law, sometimes using violent means.  Throughout history, Islam’s religious texts or precepts have been used to promote violence.  Classically, and in the modern era, Muslims and their leaders, including a large number of jurists, have upheld Islamic ideas, concepts, texts and themes to justify warfare against non-Muslims.  Some suggest that the Qur’an contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with non believers for the sake of Islamic rule, verses that are mostly open-ended and therefore are not restrained by historical context of the surrounding text.  To offer a general illustration of the inherent relationship, it would do to point out that the root word for Islam is al-Slim which means submission or  surrender.  The Qur’an not only calls Muslim to submit to Allah, it also commands them to subdue people of other religions until they are in a full state of submission to Islamic rule.  Evidently, this has inspired the aggressive history of Islam and its success in conquering other cultures.

“And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the place whence they drove you out, for persecution of Muslims is worse than slaughter of non-believers, but they desist, then lo!  Allah is forgiving and merciful!  And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.” – Qur’an 2:191-193

Many claim that the verses in support of fighting in the Qur’an were for a special historical situation concerning the beginning of Islam.  They argue that since prophet Muhammad was persecuted in Mecca for the first 13 years of his ministry, he was justified in his military actions in the last 10 years of his life in Medina and for the support of the budding Islamic movement.  The problem arises however in that nowhere in the Qur’an are the commands to fight restricted to a special time period of against a special group of people.  Far from being mere history or theological construct, the violent verses of the Qur’an have played a key role in very real massacres and genocide.  This includes the brutal slaughter of tens of millions of Hindus for 5 Centuries beginning around 1000 AD with the Mahmud of Ghazni’s blood conquest.  Both he and the later Tamerlane (Islam’s Genghis Khan) slaughtered an untold number of men, women and children.  Muhammad was a military leader, laying siege to towns, massacring the men, raping their women and enslaving their children.  On several occasions he rejected offers of surrender from the besieged inhabitants and even butchered captives.  One prominent example is of the Qurayza Jews, who were completely obliterated only 5 years Muhammad arrived in Medina.  Their leader opted to stay neutral when their town was besieged by a Meccan army.  The tribe had killed no one from either side and even surrendered peacefully to Muhammad after the Meccans had been turned back.  Yet the prophet of Islam had every member of the Qurazya tribe beheaded, and every woman and child enslaved.  He actually inspired his followers to battle when they did not feel it was right to fight, promising them slaves and loot if they did and threatening them with Hell if they did not.  Evidently, Muslim armies waged aggressive campaigns and the religion’s most dramatic military conquests were made by the actual companions of Muhammad in the decades that followed his death.

“In the Jihad which you are seeking, you look for an enemy and invade him.  This type of Jihad takes place only when the Islamic state is invading other countries in order to spread the word of Islam and remove the obstacles in its way.” – Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Egyptian Islamic theologian

Aiming to avoid a concentrated view on the historic study of Islam’s birth through blood and genocide, Islam as an ideology brings contempt and violence as well.  That Islam sees itself as a theocracy has enormous ramifications for how it regards itself and for the behavior of Muslims.  First it means that Islam is not only a religion but also a political ideology, as Muhammad was a political, military and religious leader.  If the government of the Muslim community is simply God’s community, then no other governments can be legitimate.  Thus, they are all at war with God and as a result, Muslims have divided the world into two spheres known as Dar al-Islam – “the house of Islam” – and Dar al-Harb – those who are at war with God.  Second, it means that Muslims have believed themselves to have manifest destiny.  Since God must win in the end, the Dar al-Harb must be brought under the control of the Muslim government and made part of the Dar al-Islam.  Third, since the Dar al-Harb by its nature is at war with God, it is unlikely that it will submit to God without a fight.  Individual groups might be convinced to lay down their arms and join the Muslim community by various forms of pressure – economic or military.  Because of the need to expand God’s domain by wars of conquest, Islam’s ideology imposes on Muslim the duty to fight for God’s community.  This duty is known as Jihad.  The concept of holy fight or struggle has been particularly incumbent on those on the edges of the Muslim world, where there was room for expansion.  Though highly radical, 9/11 still serves as an example of the intrinsic violence involved in fundamentalism, as the terrorists believed their sacrifices as a just part of Jihad.

“He (the Messenger of Allah) did that and said ‘There is another act which elevated the position of a man in Paradise to a grade on hundred higher, and the elevation between one grade and another is equal to the height of heaven from the earth’.  He (Abu Sa’id) said: ‘What is that act?’  He replied: ‘Jihad in the way of Allah!  Jihad in the way of Allah'” – Muslim 20:4645

The examples of international directed violence committed in the name of Islam is endless.  The affiliation of violence and this religion is made most evident by the religious organizations associated with Islam; Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah.  The acquisition of the enormous land that belonged to the caliphates was through military force and the brutal suppression of opposition.  However, the golden age of the Muslim Empire began to dwindle after the death of Muhammad.  Following his death, there lacked a clear line of succession which resulted in perpetual internal war.  Sunni and Shia Islam are two major denominations of Islam and therefore, for the sake of simplicity, this post will focus on their internal violence as an illustration of the evident nature of bloodshed that is inherent to Islam.  Sunnis believe that abu Bakr, the father of Muhammad’s wide Aisha, was Muhammad’s rightful successor and that the method of choosing or electing leading endorsed by the Qur’an was in the consensus of the Ummah, the Muslim community.  Shias believe that Muhammad divinely ordained his cousin and son-in-law Ali (the father of his grandsons Hasan ibn Ali and Hussein ibn Ali) in accordance with the command of God to be the next Caliph making Ali and his direct descendants Muhammad’s successors.  This difference has resulted in a jagged schism that has left Shias and Sunnis at odds to this day.

“They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing: But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay they wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.” – Qur’an 4:89

The Battle of Siffin was the first open hostility between the two sects.  It was fought between Ali and Muawiyah I, on the banks of the Euphrates river.  Following the controversial murder of Uthman ibn Affan, Ali became Caliph but struggled to be accepted as such throughout the Muslim Empire.  Muawiyah, the governor of Syria, was a kinsman of the murdered Caliph, and wanted the murderers brought to justice.  For this reason, Muawiyah rebelled against Ali, who attempted to put down the rebellion.  The battle ended in stalemate and in thousands of casualties.  To the Shia, Ali was the first Imman.  To the Sunnis, Ali was the fourth Caliph Rashidun Caliph, and Muawiyah was the First Caliph of the Ummayyad dynasty.  The event surrounding the battle are highly controversial between Sunni and Shia, and serve as part of the split between the two groups.  More modern examples of the violence conflict are seen in Libya, Syria and Iraq.  In Libya, the tribal organization of the region has left the transitional government unable to stabilize the country because the different Islamist sects are raiding each other’s territories.  In Syria, the opposition forces are mainly Sunni Muslim whereas the leading government figures are Alawite, affiliated with Shia Islam.  As a result the opposition is winning support from the Sunni Muslim states and the regime is publicly supported by the Shia dominated Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah.  The division of Sunni and Shia Islam is also demonstrated in post-US Iraq, in which over 1,000 people have died because of a new wave of sectarian violence.  After the election of the Iraqi Transitional Government, a wave of suicide bombers, believed to be mainly disheartened Iraqi Sunni Arabs, Syrians and Saudis tore through Iraq.  Their targets were often Shia gatherings or civilian concentrations of Shias.

“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.” – Qur’an 5:33

The intolerance and hypocritical nature of Islam is evident by it Qur’an verses and history. Islam is intolerant towards the notion of gender equality.  Islam is militaristic, considering Muhammad organized 65 military campaigns in the last 10 years of his life and personally led 27 of them.  Islam is intolerant to other religions, as they discouraged such practices by slaughtering them by masses.  Islam also permitted ownership of slaved the freedom to sexually exploit slaves.  Moreover, despite the fact that Islam prohibits the killing of innocent people, the definition of innocent is rather flexible and has been graded down to the fundamental rule that if someone rejects Muhammad, they are no longer innocent.  Lastly, the incompatibility of Islam and Democracy is also noteworthy, as it bespeaks of its intolerance and tendency to favor dictatorships, repressive regimes and widespread inequality.  Under Islamic law, only Muslim males are entitled to full rights.  Islam is a theocratic system with Allah alone at is head.  Allah’s law is interpreted by a ruling body of cleric.  There is not room for a secular political system in which all people are treated as equals.  The price of challenging Islam is seen by various modern examples of its violent practices.  Hashem Aghajari, an Iranian professor, was given a death sentence because of a speech that criticized some of the present Islamic practices.  Theo van Gogh was assassinated by Mohammed Bouyeri for producing the 10-minute film Submission, critical of the abusive treatment of women by Muslims.  Ehsan Jami was nearly beaten to death in The Netherlands by 3 Muslims for his activities in the Central Committee for Ex-Muslims.  Of course, the more resonating example of Islamic terror and suppression is the Ayatollah of Iran.  Along with announcing Jihad against the US, he has also carried out such practices against Kurds in Iran and categorized the Iran-Iraq war as holy war.  The Ayatollah, along with many Wahhabi fundamentalists, have vocalized their belief in world domination through the Islamic faith; thus, the violent nature of Islam becomes rather apparent.


Yemen: Operation Troy and Anwar al-Awlaki

About 8 kilometers from the Yemeni town of Khashef, Yemeni al-Qaeda leader al-Awlaki was killed by an US drone strike, along with 3 others involved in the terrorism ring.

Anwar al-Awlaki

Along with Samir Khan, an American of Pakistani origin, the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by the same elite unit that was responsible for the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound and his assassination.  The airstrike on Awlaki’s convoy was directed by the CIA and carried out with the US Join Special Operations Command’s firepower.  The cleric was known for radical anti-American rhetoric spread on the Internet.  His use of modern media allowed Anwar to reach out and inspire people susceptible to radicalization.  His efforts resulted in the inspiration of Major Nidal Hasan, the man responsible for the mass shooting at the Fort Hood army base in Texas in 2009.  Anwar was also the supposed inspiration for the Pakistani-American man who pleaded guilty to the May 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt.  Besides his use of media outlets, Anwar also took a more direct role in planning the attempted Christmas bombing of a Detroit-bound jetliner and in the plot which sent two bombs in printer cartridges on US-bound cargo planes in 2010.

“With the attempted Detroit bombing and the aeroplane cargo bomb plots he has demonstrated his intent and ability to cause mass terror, whilst his murderous ideology was responsible for inspiring terrorist attacks in the UK and the US.  We must keep up the pressure on al-Qaeda and its allies and remain vigilant to the threat we face.”  – William Hague, US foreign secretary

To the US, Anwar was a key figure to American counter-terrorism, serving as a forefront leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).  Al-Alwaki’s death is the latest in a  run of high-profile kills for Washington under President Barack Obama.  This has been seen as the biggest blow to al-Qaeda since the killing of Osama bin Laden.  Anwar al-Awlaki was possibly the organization’s most inspirational cleric and ideologue in the Middle East.  Al-Awlaki perpetuated Osama bin Laden’s vision for the al-Qaeda movement to become self-sustaining.  He was creating franchises for terror organizations, helping al-Qaeda reach potential followers into the United States and the United Kingdom and also Southeast Asia countries such as Singapore with large English-speaking Muslim populations.  With such unique skills eliminated from the repertoire of al-Aqaeda’s remaining leaders, the losses may be extremely difficult to replace within the weakened terror organization.

Nevertheless, al-Awlaki was a US citizen, born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents who have never been charged with any crime.  Civil liberties groups have questions the government’s authority to kill an American without trial. As a global terrorist, targeting the lives of innocent civilians, the rights and liberties guaranteed to Anwar as an American was forfeit.  As a head figure for al-Qaeda, the cleric was a symbol of what the War on Terror has been combating since 2001.  As with Osama bin Laden, the call and directives for his death could not be questioned for the sanctity and security of the American nation as a whole.

“Why kill him in this brutal, ugly way?  Killing him will not solve their problem with al-Qaeda, it will just increase AQAP’s strength and sympathy in this region.” – Abubakr al-Awlaki, relative of the deceased cleric

US officials are warning that the killing of the American-born cleric, the face of AQAP, could spark retaliatory attacks.  Such symbolic deaths could easily provide the motivation for homeland attacks by “homegrown” violent extremists, which stand true concerning al-Awlaki’s role as an inspirational leader for radicalization.  With Yemen wracked by political and social unrest as protesters call for the end of President Ali Adbullah Saleh’s rule, the dissent has allowed al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to gain a crucial foothold in the southern part of the country.

In retrospect, with Operation Troy responsible for yet another death in the hierarchy of the already weakened global terrorist organization of al-Qaeda, the list of leaders for al-Qaeda has shrunk but still remains extensive and formidable.

  1. Ayman al-Zawahiri
  2. Abu Yahya al-Libi
  3. Khalid al-Habib
  4. Adnan el Shukrijumah
  5. Atiyah Abd al-Rhman
  6. Said al-Adel
  7. Mustafa Hamid
  8. Saad bin Laden
  9. Hamza al-Jawfi
  10. Matiur Rehman
  11. Abu Khalil al-Madani
  12. Midhat Mursi
  13. Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Quso
  14. Adam Gadahn
  15. Nassar Abdul Karim al-Wuhayshi
  16. Abou Mossab Abdelwadoud

 

UN: President Ahmadinejad’s Statement

On the even of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s address to the UN General Assembly today, the President of Iran declared his country to be a new model for life to the world.

Ahmadinejad’s appearance at the UN in New York comes two days after the two US hikers, held in an Iranian prison for more than 2 years, were released.  The two hikers had supposedly crossed the Iraqi-Iranian border unknowingly and were arrested on the suspicion of being American spies.  The men’s 2 year ordeal had exacerbated tensions between the US and Iran.  The release was supposed to ease relations on the even of the President’s speech , but the content of Ahmadinejad’s speech has done much the opposite, serving to aggravate Western powers and demonstrate Ahmadinejad’s radical stance, as well as his arrogance.

Today, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched a stinging attack at members of the UN, promoting walkouts by the US and various European delegations, among those being the UK and France.  In a verbal assault on the US, Ahmadinejad referred to the “mysterious” September 11th attacks as a pretext for America’s invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, serving as an illustration of America’s greed.  Many believe that Ahmadinejad was attempting to strengthen his political position in Iran, meanwhile reassuring the international community of his extremism.  Ahmadinejad had faced public humiliation during the trial of the 2 American hikers because Iranian judicial authorities refused to heed his demands.  The Iranian judicial authorities initially failed to carry out Ahmadinejad’s directive to release the men and admonished the President in public, saying that it was them who decided and not him if and when the men would be freed.  Despite the humiliation, the Iranian President got his way just days before his appearance at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Much of his speech was dedicated to asking rhetorical questions about who was responsible for slavery, colonialism and who used the atomic bomb against defenseless people.  The Iranian leader insisted that the world was in need to change, stating that Marxism, liberalism, humanism and the West could not solve man’s problems.  According to Ahmadinejad, because of Iran’s culture and “rich civilization”, it was the only nation that could offer a new model for life to the world.

“By using their imperialistic media network, which is under the influence of colonialism, they threaten anyone who questions the Holocaust and the September 11 event with sanction and military actions.” – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian President

In other parts of Ahmadinejad’s speech, he criticized European countries for paying fines to the “Zionists” because of the appalling events of Hitler’ ethnic cleansing through Eastern and Western Europe.  In continuation, the President stated that if European countries were to continue paying fines to people responsible for the mass murder and terror against Palestinian, they should also pay reparations for slavery.  The reference came as an attack for past British colonialism of what is now Iran.

Furthermore, as Iranian-Anglo relation have always been strained at best, Ahmadinejad targeted the US most often throughout the address.  He stated that the US was aimed at high-jacking the “Arab Spring” uprisings.  The statement mimics similar animosity by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamnei.  Both Iranian leaders perceived US and Western involvement in the Arabic world as hypocritical.  The Western powers were responsible for the authoritative and corrupt leaders in the first place and were now only aiding the demonstrations for the opportunity of viable resources.  The statement followed reports affirming that much of Qaddafi’s arms has been supplied by Western power, most specifically Germany (though China held much responsibility as well).

“Muslim nations in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen or other countries need vigilance today. They should not allow enemies confiscate the victories they’ve achieved.  They should not forget that those who have come to the scene in Libya (US and NATO) today and consider themselves the owners of the uprising are the same people who used to sit and drink with those who once suppressed the Libyan nation.” – Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, Iran’s Supreme Leader

In retrospect, with the US and the UN condescending Iranian nuclear buildup, as well as implementing sanction on the country for their persistent flaunting of nuclear research and military, the Iranian statement has only fueled international resentment of Iran’s political figures.

9/11: Credible Terrorist Threat

With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaching, the American community has come together to remember the loss and grief, as well as the strength and unity, that resulted from that horrific day.

Down at Ground Zero, preparations are being made for the official opening ceremony of the 9/11 Memorial, which is intended to take place on 9/10/2011. The eight-acre site is dominated by two remembrance pools, known as the “Reflecting Absence”.  The pools have been placed where the two World Trade Center Towards once stood, with two deep holes into which two-stage waterfalls pour into one central chasm.  Around the pools, ingrained in bronze panels, are the name of the 2,982 people who died in the towers, the victims on all four hijacked aircrafts and those who died in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.  Around the memorial are 400 white oak trees planted there from the other locations near where the other attacks occurred.  The most symbolic tree amongst them all is the callery pear tree that stand in the middle of the memorial.  Called the “Survivor’s Tree”, the tree was at the site of the WTC during the attack and was recovered and nursed back to health.  The tree is symbolic of America’s ability to heal and renew. 

“If most people’s memory of 9/11 is defined by the burning towers, mine is defined by those hardened firefighters sitting at Yaffa’s long bar with tears rolling down their cheeks, talking, arguing, shouting about nothing at all so they could block out their gruesome day’s work.” – Graham Boynton, reporter for The Telegraph

As the plans are being made, the ceremonies planned and the people in mourning, the government has been put on high alert because of credible threats to the US from al-Qaeda.  Starting within the last 24 hours, US authorities are trying to scramble through credible information from the CIA that three individuals have entered the US and are planning to launch a vehicle-borne attack against Washington DC or New York at some point close to the anniversary.  The news complements the previously raided information from Bin Laden’s compound, in which information was found revealing his persistent interest in attacking the US around the anniversary of the 2001 attacks. With Aymana al-Zawahiri ascending to power and pledging to avenge Bin Laden’s death, the Department for Homeland Security believes it could be possible that al-Qaeda plans on enforcing those threats. 

“Nevertheless,the President directed the counterterrorism community to redouble its efforts in response to this credible but unconfirmed information.” – White House official

Along with the New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, many US officials believe that the threat will ultimately not check out and that the threat had not been corroborated.  Nonetheless, officials are on heightened alert and are beginning to take precautionary measures.  As always, it is better for the US community and government to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that any rumoured threat is not carried out.  At this stage, being over prepared is much better than being under prepared.  New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has announced increasing security, including more bag inspections on the subway,more bomb-sniffing dogs on patrol and an increased deployment of radiation monitoring equipment.  The main focus will be on tunnels and bridges and infrastructure in general.  Naturally, much of the security will be surrounding landmark sites, houses of worship and government buildings. 

“Sometime this reporting is credible and warrants intense focus, other time it lacks credibility and is highly unlikely to be reflective of real plots under way.  Regardless, we take all threat reporting seriously, and we have taken, and will continue to take all steps necessary to mitigate any threats that arise.” – Matt Chandler, spokesman for the US Department of Homeland Security

In retrospect, much of the American community remembers the consistent reports by international media assets of the disarray in which al-Qaeda had fallen into after the death of Bin Laden, al-Qaeda’s number 1,and Atiyah abd al-Rahman, al-Qaeda’s second in command.  However, the information illustrates that the potential attacks have been extensively developed and coordinated.  Moreover, the plan does not take that many people or resources to carry out, even for a fractured organization.  No Matter the state of al-Qaeda, or any terrorist organization for that matter the organizations will always remain a threat. 

“We have to not let the terrorists win by intimidation.”– Michael Bloomberg, New York City Mayor