Monday, August 25, 2014

Hamas is not the only government that executes informants. Don't they all?

By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I am not a supporter of Hamas but the bias in the US media’s coverage of the conflict in Gaza is incredible.  I should remind the reader though that Hamas came to govern Gaza through an election that was considered to be very democratic by many world figures including former US president, Jimmy Carter and not all nations consider Hamas terrorists. Bolivia's Morales for instance has just declared Israel a terrorist state.

I get the Wall Street Journal every morning and it is rare that you see any pictures or any front/center page feature that would include Hamas or show the devastation caused by the Israeli’s superior weaponry.  But this weekend the WSJ has a front page picture of Hamas military figures, heads covered to protect their identity from being targeted by Israeli fire or future assassination and they are standing over hooded figures on their knees about to be executed for being informers.

The caption beneath the image points out that these Hamas “militants”, they are never given a title that indicates they are military personal because the US and its allies apply the “terrorist” label to the Gaza government.  The caption explains that Hamas executed 18 suspected informants Friday in public, in “crowded streets” the captions reads.  I assume these are the same “crowded streets” that the Israeli’s fire their guided missiles into and drive their tanks through.

It’s a horrible thing to have to think about over morning coffee but there is a war going on. albeit it a very one sided war, just do a body count---the US and Israel against occupants of a camp.  But which military is it that doesn’t execute what they would call ”traitors” in wartime?  All militaries do it.  But we are not supposed to think of Hamas as having an army as they are simply a bunch of terrorists.  Americans would have no idea of the extent to  which Hamas has provided social services and other important functions in the Zionists' largest outdoor prison or that they were elected in part as a rejection of the Palestinian Authority known to be a corrupt organization far too willing to make deals with the US and Zionism.

It reminds me of the coverage given to the necklacing of snitches by the freedom fighters under the South African Apartheid regime.  This involved putting a tire soaked in gasoline around the collaborators neck and then setting fire to it.  There is violence from all sides during this type of conflict but there are generally differences between the sides. One the oppressor and aggressor, the other the victim of this aggression in all its forms.

So we can’t look at violence without looking at who is committing it and why; all are not equal. All military's execute traitors in time of conflict.

In the movie, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, about the Irish civil war, those resisting British occupation were forced to execute a young guy that worked for a British landlord and was an informer. It was someone they all knew and some they had grown up with, but the consequences of informants actions in times like these are dire. I can’t imagine doing it but I have never been in the position to have to consider it.

I just watched the movie Omar. It is about life in the Occupied Territories, not Gaza, but it gives a real look into how informants are cultivated; what the Zionist regime does to find informants. They arrest hundreds upon hundreds of Palestinian men and young boys in the Occupied Territories. They have loved ones and girlfriends and it is through the occupiers’ ability to harm your children and those you love that they can turn you in to an informant. I strongly recommend this film.

So we should not be fooled by the Wall Street Journal and the US mass media trying to portray Hamas as any more brutal than any other military organization and government in times of conflict and Gazans and all Palestinians are the victims we need to remember.

Another little nugget of information in this weekend’s Journal informs us that the US is considering air strikes in Syria against ISIS, the most recent organization that Americans have to fear. Communists have gone, Somali warlords are nowhere to be found, the nebulous al Qaeda has lost favor, the Iranian Mullahs are on the back burner as they are on the same side as the US re, the Sunni religious fanatics, the Taliban, whose officials were all on the payroll of the US government until 1999 and the murderous African Bees that were about to invade us have all been relieved of their duty and so ISIS is now the greatest threat to the American way of life.

Ben Rhodes, who is Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser explains why we need to spend a few hundred billion dollars rooting out ISIS in Syria:  “If we see plotting against Americans, we see a threat to the US emanating from anywhere, we stand ready to take action against that threat.”  And this will be done even if national sovereignty is breached. US imperialism has no respect for borders and national sovereignty.  I am just grateful our government eliminated the threat from Grenada some years ago and Panama, and the Congo and Chile and Somalia and Afghanistan and……..

So a journalist has been beheaded, an unpleasant thing for sure.  And religious fanatics are gaining ground in Iraq and have done so in Syria.  Of course, the Baath Party to which Assad and Hussein belonged, was a primarily a secular party.  When I was in Iraq in 1971, the Iraqi's were kind to me. I saw women without facemasks and women were even in government. Hussein, with the CIA’s help, maintained power through violence, much less violence I might add than the US invasion has brought to the nation, and he rid the country of communists, leftists, those fighting for democratic rights etc. with help from the Pentagon. Some time later. the imbecile Bush calls for the Islamists to “bring ‘em on” and bring em on they did.  Tough talk from a draft dodger.

So ISIS in Syria is a threat to America as is the beheading of a journalist.  We know this is the case because Obama’s spokesperson says so.  With the beheading in mind Rhodes adds that, “We’ve made very clear time and time again that if you come after Americans were going to come wherever you are, and that’s what’s going to guide our planning in the days to come.”  Any Muslim kills an American, we’ll bomb the place no matter what your national origin or whose country you might be in at the time.

This is not quite true of course as the number of people on the planes that downed the World Trade Center buildings were Saudi’s. I don’t think there was one Iraqi among them. No matter, a half million Iraqi’s must die, their country bombed in to the stone-age and, most importantly, their oil industry privatized.  The Saudis, the regime that has religious police, beheads people, flogs women in public for going outside unaccompanied?  Good guys those Saudi’s.

But wait a damn minute here.  Isn’t the shooting of unarmed black men and youth almost on a daily basis a “threat to America”? It's certainly a serious threat to the millions of young black American men. Isn’t 2.4 million incarcerated in prisons a threat to America?  And what about the thousands that die each year simply through lack of access to health care? Isn’t that a threat to the social fabric of our society?   The murder of youth by the police, the slums, the crumbling infrastructure. Is this not a threat to America?

Chase Madar commented on the militarization of the police in his article on Tom Dispatch last December, “…..campus cops at Ohio State University now possess an MRAP; that is, a $500,000, 18-ton, mine-resistant, ambush-protected armored vehicle of a sort used in the Afghan War and, as Hunter Stuart of the Huffington Post reported, built to withstand ‘ballistic arms fire, mine fields, IEDs, and nuclear, biological, and chemical environments.’”   Madar, The Criminalization of Everyday Life 12-8-13

Just what we need, more armored vehicles in our neighborhoods.

Obama portrayed himself as the anti-war president.  After all, these predatory wars are not popular with the American people. The brunt of these wars in terms of personal loss is born by a small section of US society.  But now the Wall Street Journal tells us, “Support for expanding US military strikes against the militants in Syria is growing outside the administration.”  Apparently Zalmay Khalilzad former US ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan (plum jobs eh.) under Bush, Retired Marine Corps general John Allen and Ryan Crocker (wonder if he’s related to the banking family) US ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan under Obama are all “urging attacks”.

So “outside the administration” doesn’t mean American workers and the middle class that have been under assault for some time. This rather populous group of Americans has not been so supportive of these corporate wars the US government wages. The threat from ISIS is not that they will harm us on our way to work, it is that if these religious fanatics come to power in one or more of the Middle East countries or even re-shapes the geographical map as the British and League of Nations did, western capitalism will lose its lucrative position with regards to oil as well as important political allies.  Losing a journalist is of little consequence to the likes of Dick Cheney or the US ruling class.  Safeguarding profits, access to raw materials and political power is what matters and the struggle for global dominance in this realm will only intensify especially with regards to Russia and China.

The US ruling class, while the fanatics in ISIS are a bit over the top, has no problem dealing with such extremists.  The Saudi’s are notorious killers.  The ruling class of Bahrain, a feudal absolute monarchy really just staved off a movement for more democracy and an end to religious discrimination in the presence of 30,000 US troops.  I don’t have to remind readers of all the murderous killers Washington has financed and armed. The Zionist assault on Gaza and the theft and destruction of Palestinian land, homes and farms is made possible through US taxpayer support.

It’s up to us though.  The 1% is arming the police for an intensified war at home as they drive our living standards further downward. The struggle of US imperialism to preserve its global dominance will have to be paid for by US workers and the middle class, the poor cannot sink much further in to poverty so prison is always waiting for them.  We can bet that all urban centers have these huge, beefed up armories around them.  If the cops in some tiny town in New Hampshire have military style equipment we know the NYPD does.

These comments in the WSJ show very clearly what spokespersons like Obama mean when they talk of a shift in position from forces “outside of the administration”. They mean sections of their class, of the 1%. If it was down to the vast majority of Americans, we’d support a decent transportation system, an education system free to all that works, health care, jobs and housing as opposed to another military venture. We'd support real peace between workers of different nations, but only capitalists of different nations negotiate with each other, workers have no state and no independent global organizations; we have no voice.

US foreign policy is a disaster and a threat to world peace. US capitalism’s claim that ISIS is a threat to the American way of life is phony. The 1% are concerned these religious fanatics will threaten corporate profits and their plunder of the region.  If ISIS, like the Saudi ruling class is willing to share the loot, Washington will find a way to make friends.


Sean said...

A brilliant article Richard. Thank you. Sean.

Sean said...

A brilliant article Richard. Thank you. Sean.