Tuesday January 20, 2004

Another American puppet regime in the Middle East has decided to build a racist wall to intimidate its neighbours:

Kuwait's cabinet has approved the building of a new security barrier on its 217-kilometre land border with Iraq to prevent infiltrators from entering the country al-Siyassa newspaper reported on Monday.

The cabinet, which met Sunday, approved the urgent installation of the security fence that will extend in the east from the port of Umm Qasr down to the Saudi-Iraq-Kuwait border triangle in the southwest, the paper said, citing government sources.

What is it about neo-(nazi)-cons and wanting to be encircled by huge concrete walls? Is it some kind of Freudian cry for help, like the way they compensate for their (reportedly) small penises with big guns and third world invasions? Perhaps if someone had invested in a psychoanalyst for Bush and the rest of the cabal four years ago, "9/11" and the whole disastrous aftermath could have been avoided. "Now, George, we've been over this before. Your irrational fear of bearded Arabs stems back to your failure to get attention from your mother when you were three. Here, have some prozac and stop drooling over my globe."

Unfortunately noone were that farsighted. As a result we now have to "protect" ourselves from illusory enemies by erecting walls between one another - cultural walls, legal walls and physical walls. How petty, how shortsighted. I still remember a dream about a world without borders, without walls, where we will no longer be ruled by paranoia and fear. A world of peace, love and mutual understanding. What Kuwait is doing goes in the other direction, towards war, hatred and mutual distrust. At a time when the world needs a little less suspicion, and a little more hugging, the Americans and their puppet regimes now actively embrace their paranoia, and elevate hatred to a cardinal virtue.

The motive is obvious. In a world without fear, paranoia and hatred, people would see through the lies of Bush and Blair, and say no to their evil schemes. People across the world would go out in the streets and talk to each other, talk to people of other races and cultures, and they would see for themselves that we are different only on the outside. On the inside we're all the same.

In such a world there would be no need for arms races and oil wars. And Bush and his client regimes in Israel, Kuwait and other countries can not allow that to happen. So where others aspire towards a better future, they look towards the past for inspiration, towards the darkest chapters of modern history. To separate and frighten us they build miles upon miles of concrete walls, modelled after the original wall of shame, the Berlin wall. To get our support for their imperialist wars they tell wicked lies about evil "others", who hate all good, and are bent on our destruction. And to justify it all they've revived the racist ideology of apartheid. They say there are now two classes of humans, "citizens" and "foreigners". The former have all the rights and privileges. The latter almost none at all. Sound familiar? This is exactly how South Africa's right-wing government used to justify its oppression of the blacks. And the result? Entire populations in the grip of hatred and paranoia. We saw where that lead to in the 1930's.

It's time to flush away these old hatreds and bigotries, and send out a new message. Let it be shouted from every church, every mosque, every synagogue, newspaper and parliament: Tear down the walls! And hug a foreigner while you're at it.

Thursday January 15, 2004

Imagine yourself as a refugee from occupied Norway during World War 2. After a hazardous journey you make your way into a part of the free world, for instance the Soviet Union, and apply for refugee status. The authorities sympathize. They hate the Nazi's, and they know what conditions you've lived under. "But", they point out, "according to the Norwegian police, and several witnesses currently held at Grini concentration camp, in June 1942 you took part in an act of sabotage against the German forces. Furthermore, we notice that you belong to an austere Christian sect that believes the husband is the head of the family. Here in the Soviet Union gender discrimination is illegal. You are a criminal and fanatic, and must go to jail." Would this be reasonable?

Of course not. But change the words and dates a bit, and this is exactly how the Norwegian authorities have treated Mullah Krekar, a rebel leader from Iraq-occupied Kurdistan. It is perhaps unfair to compare the Baath regime to the Nazi's, (unlike a certain other regime), but they were a foreign occupant, and Krekar did the right thing by resisting them. Now he faces several years in prison for "attempted murder". Let's take a closer look at the so-called "case" against him.

The rebels in Kurdistan are divided into competing guerilla groups. The largest is known as PUK, an extremist pro-American group, essentially a death squad, the kind that always finds itself attracted to the smell of money and raw power that Washington projects. Mullah Krekar and other pious Kurds found the power worship of PUK hard to swallow, and formed various anti-Saddam guerillas along more religious lines. At first, these groups were small and ineffective, easily bullied by both PUK and Iraqi forces. But in late 2001 three of these groups merged to form Ansar al-Islam, and Mullah Krekar was elected leader. PUK and the Americans were furious! As more and more villages signed up with Ansar, Washington hatched a smear campaign. Ansar al-Islam would be dragged into the recently launched "war on terror", and demonized as the "missing link" between al-Qaeda and the regime in Baghdad. Nobody messes with Washington's puppets. Nobody.

It was a brilliant stunt. Krekar was vulnerable as a Muslim and as a Kurd. As a Muslim because, as "everyone" knows, all Muslims are evil terrorists who chop off limbs for fun, and as a Kurd because, being an enemy of PUK, he could be plausibly smeared as the friend of his enemy's enemy - Saddam. The accusations were ridiculous, as any honest person who knows anything about Islam and the Kurds will know. But Western "journalists" took the hint, and, like a pack of hyena descending on a prey, filled the media with horror story after horror story about this newly discovered devil in human form. Many of these accusations came to form a central part of the American "case" for invading Iraq, and were mentioned in Colin Powell's now notorious presentation at the UN.

The Norwegian police did not want to appear any less rabid. Krekar has had refugee status in Norway for the last ten years. He's never broken the law, speaks fluent Norwegian, and has nothing but respect for the society that has taken him under its wings - the butterfly of Europe, as he poetically put it. In short, he's a model immigrant. But when Krekar returned to Norway to visit his family in 2002, at the height of the media hysteria, the police quickly drummed up a charge of "terrorism", and had him arrested. The charge was based on insinuations, faked documents and witness statements extracted under torture. It was a mess, and it didn't take long before it all fell apart like a house of cards. After long months behind prison walls, the courts ordered Krekar released. Those of us who believe that the limited resources of law enforcement are better spent fighting white collar crime than the illusory "terrorists" of neo-conservative fantasy, hoped that the persecution would end there, that after such a humiliating defeat the authorities would leave the poor man alone.

We were wrong. Two weeks ago, Krekar was again brutally arrested. The charge was new - attempted murder of enemy PUK forces, (which somehow is "illegal" by Norwegian law) - but beneath the surface little had changed: Insinuations, faked documents and witness statements extracted under torture formed the bulk of the evidence against him. Some of it points unambigously to the real power behind the scenes: Several of the witnesses were "found" by the CIA, and many are currently held under appaling conditions by PUK. Great care had been taken to smear Krekar's character. Even some of his statements on the internet, where he advises fellow believers on religious issues, have been picked apart and twisted to portray him as an "evil" Muslim. Nothing is sacred when the prestige of top officials is on the line, and Norway's loyalty to the US is in doubt.

Krekar's lawyer Brynjar Meling has taken a brave and lonely stand against the forces of xenophobia. He has tried to point out, although with little success, that cultural practices that strike many Westerners as "fanatical" and "backwards" may in fact be perfectly legitimate from the point of view of other civilizations. And Islam has a better claim to be called a civilization than the West. They gave us classical philosophy and modern science. Now we're repaying the favor by carpet bombing their cities and imprisoning their leading thinkers.

For a while it seemed that sanity would prevail after all. A court in Oslo, displaying both rare courage and clarity of thought, rejected the arrest of Krekar, and questioned the quality of the evidence against him. The court also called for a thorough sociocultural evaluation of Krekar's beliefs, which - hold onto your funny hats - the police had shockingly failed to provide. In other words, the authorities were trying to frame a person from a culture they didn't understand, for crimes he didn't commit, with evidence made up by the Americans.

But in a country where Ibn Warraq's Why I Am Not A Muslim, a falsification of Islamic thought comparable to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, is a best seller, such a glimmer of sanity could only be brief. Perhaps the US ambassador made a call to the PM's office, or perhaps Bondevik, an experienced puppet of the Bush regime, didn't need to be reminded of his duties. Perhaps the call went directly to a sympathetic judge, and perhaps money changed hands. We may never know exactly what took place behind the stage, who pulled who's strings on who's orders. But the effect was clearly visible: barely a week later an appeals court overturned the decision to free Krekar from custody. It did so in words that might have been written by a neo-conservative. And perhaps they were. There's no justice in the shadow of Washington, and no sleep for the wicked puppets of Zionism.

You may be asking yourself: What can I do to help this poor man? Not much, perhaps, considering the powers we're up against, but we can raise some noise, and force the forces of reaction to take notice of us. As a start, I encourage you to place the image to the right on your website, where as many people as possible can see it. Krekar will probably go to prison, (unless he suffers an "accident"), but he will not be forgotten. We'll make sure of that.

End the travesty - Free Mullah Krekar!

Friday January 09, 2004

Whenever anyone brings up the dark historical antecedents for the behavior of George W. Bush, such as the similarities between neo-conservatism and nazism, imperialism and zionism, the pro-American thought police strikes back with intricate shock and awe campaigns. The intent is to confuse the public and frighten critics back in line, a tactic otherwise known as FUD - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. The more clever ones invoke something called "Godwin's law", which says that the moment you compare someone to Hitler in a debate, the debate is over. The motive is obvious, to stifle debate and criticism, and the method eerily reminiscent of Orwell's 1984. It works because what most people know about history is no more than what Hollywood taught them - and we all know who controls Hollywood.

But it doesn't take much education to escape the claws of conventional wisdom. Despite all the pompous huffing and puffing of pro-Americans whenever anyone mentions George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler in the same sentence, there are at least five obvious similarities between the two leaders:

1. Both orchestrated attacks on high-profile targets and put the blame on scary "others". Hitler burned down the Reichstag and blamed it on the Communists. Bush ordered Mossad to crash into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and blamed it on the Muslims. (Possibly he also intended to destroy the Congress building, in an eery parallell to the Reichstag fire.) The result: A terrified population rallies behind their leader, eagerly applauding any new measure he sees fit to introduce against his new "enemy".

2. Both interned their political enemies in concentration camps. Hitler's Dachau was the first of many. So, no doubt, is Bush's Camp X-Ray on Guantanamo. It's difficult to look at the images of Afghan civilians in orange uniforms walk around with bags over their heads, on what is no doubt illegally occupied Cuban soil, and not be reminded of the horrible scenes we all remember from Treblinka and Auschwitz. (It is true that these were extermination camps, not concentration camps, but how much do we really know of what goes on behind the walls in Camp X-Ray?)

3. Both launched unilateral, aggressive and supposedly "preemptive" wars against weaker countries. Ignoring the protests of all civilized European powers, Hitler and his henchman Mussolini invaded most of Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Northern Africa. Bush and his henchman Blair are similarly off to a good start with Afghanistan and Iraq, again ignoring the protests of all civilized European powers.

4. Both massacred civilians by the millions. We all know that Hitler killed several million Jews, Gypsies and other "inferior" peoples. Surely Bush hasn't gone that far yet? But as Noam Chomsky pointed out in October 2001, the Afghan war was nothing less than a silent genocide:

Western civilization is anticipating the slaughter of, well do the arithmetic, 3-4 million people or something like that. .. Looks like what?s happening is some sort of silent genocide. .. Plans are being made and programs implemented on the assumption that they may lead to the death of several million people in the next couple of weeks... very casually with no comment, no particular thought about it, that?s just kind of normal, here and in a good part of Europe.

It can't be said much clearer than that. I don't think the figures are in yet about the number of victims of the war in Afghanistan, but this can only be a reflection of the amount of work it is to count 3-4 million corpses. And considering that this was Bush's first war, while Hitler's genocide didn't get started for a few more years, we can be sure that the pupil will overdo the master in no time.

5. Both were Christians. This point is usually overlooked when historians analyze the Nazi origins of neo-conservatism, but it can hardly be a coincidence that both leaders were motivated by the same, essentially racist, breed of religious fundamentalism. When God is on your side, ("Gott mit uns" vs "May God continue to bless America"), who needs the UN, or the League of Nations?

But to be fair there are also several ways in which Bush is not like Hitler:

1. Hitler was elected.

2. Hitler rebuilt the German economy.

3. Hitler was an artist. (Bush doesn't even write his own bad poems.)

4. Hitler was not an alcoholic.

5. Hitler was a gifted speaker.

So perhaps the comparison is unfair. But it does provide us with several important insights into how Bush thinks, and what he plans to do after he steals the next election. So don't let the neo-cons steal the initiative - spread the meme: Bush = Hitler.