AlterPolitics New Post

What The Osama Bin Laden Video Reveals As Impetus For Terrorism: Israel

by on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm EDT in Afghanistan, Middle East, Pakistan, Politics, World

Fox & Friends recently spoke with former Head of CIA’s Bin Laden Unit, Michael Scheuer, about the Bin Laden videos obtained during the Navy Seal raid at the al-Qaeda leader’s compound.

One of the program’s hosts, after describing how Bin Laden seemed obsessed with his own self image, asked Scheuer if this is why the Obama Administration would release video tapes with no audio — merely to expose Bin Laden’s vanity:

My Question is, Clay mentioned ‘No audio on these tapes’, why did the government release them? You can’t glean a whole lot from them, there’s no audio, no real information. Is it to kind of demystify what we all know, and what people think of Bin Laden?

What the host was not anticipating was that Scheuer would use this question as an opportunity to debunk the official neocon/Fox News Channel “they hate us for our freedom” narrative:

No. No, the government has lied to the American people since 9/11. What they don’t want you to hear again is that Osama Bin Laden doesn’t care — and his organization and his allies do not care — about liberty in America, democracy in America, gender equality in America, or elections.

What Bin Laden was saying on the tape that they’re talking about almost certainly was, “We don’t care how you think or how you live. We want you out of our world, and we will attack you until you stop doing that.”

And of course Mr. Bush, Mr. Clinton, and Mr. Obama have consistently told America this is about how we live and how we think, rather than what we do.

And as you might expect, the Fox News host promptly changed the subject, probably kicking himself for having ever asked the question.

HERE’S THE FULL INTERVIEW:

YouTube Preview Image

Well, Haaretz has now reported what Bin Laden did actually say in his final video (filmed just before his death). Addressed to President Obama, the video was focused entirely on the plight of the Palestinians, and in particular US support of Israel.

Bin Laden was quoted as saying:

“America will not be able to dream of security until we live in security in Palestine. It is unfair that you live in peace while our brothers in Gaza live in insecurity.”

“Accordingly, and with the will of God, our attacks will continue against you as long as your support for Israel continues,” the al-Qaida chief said in the audio recording.

“So the message we wanted to convey through the plane of our hero, the fighter Umar Farouk, may God be with him, confirms a previous message which had been sent to you by our heroes of September 11,” bin Laden reportedly said in the minute-long recording.

Bin Laden’s statement that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict remains an impetus for terrorism, is consistent with what has already been stated by both former US President Bill Clinton and US Middle East envoy George J. Mitchell; as well as by nearly every cabinet member of the Obama Administration, who have asserted repeatedly that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is “vital to US national security interests”.

If President Obama were really serious about pressuring Israel to end the illegal settlements and embrace peace wouldn’t this new revelation be something he would add to his rhetorical arsenal in pressing the US Congress to stop undermining his Middle East peace efforts?

Wouldn’t he be using this revelation to bring the American public on board for tougher pressure on Israel? Since the 9/11 attacks, wars have been waged, trillions of dollars spent, tens if not hundreds of thousands of lives lost — all to allegedly “protect Americans from terrorism”. And here is Bin Laden (mastermind of 9/11) pointing directly at Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians as an underlying cause for his terrorist attacks.

Unfortunately, President Obama does not want this topic to be part of the public discourse in the run up to his 2012 reelection campaign. Why? Because it would complicate his efforts at winning over America’s deep-pocketed pro-Israel political donors. Imagine Candidate Obama reaffirming his ‘sacrosanct’ commitment to Israel if it were widely known that this foreign country’s intransigence posed a direct threat to our national security. He’d be accused of treason.

In fact, Obama has been trying to repair frayed ties with pro-Israel groups and Israeli officials, due to the little pressure he actually did put on Netanyahu during the last two years. By recently promoting Dennis Ross — the ‘living embodiment‘ of the Israel Lobby — to Chief White House Middle East strategist the President sent a clear message to these groups that he has transitioned away from pursuing Middle East peace to accepting the status-quo.

Here is one possibility: Obama’s new strategy for peace in the Middle East may be — get this — to just do nothing.

The UN General Assembly (the same entity which recognized Israel as a state in 1948) is gearing up to declare Palestine a state along the 1967 borders this September, and the United States holds no veto power to stop it. Any future Israeli settlement expansion, or even a resistance in abandoning the present illegal settlements, would no longer be met with “unhelpful” comments from the US State Dept, but instead with harsh sanctions by the international community.

Let’s face it, the Israel Lobby (backed by full unflinching support of the United States Congress) will punish the President politically and contest all efforts to press Israel to choose peace over apartheid. So why should he continue to bother? It would make sense for him to just sit back and watch the UN General Assembly mandate the 1967 borders as the official dividing line between Israel and Palestine.

Essentially by doing nothing, the President will pay no political price (he’s powerless to stop it), he will assure peace in the Middle East under his Presidency, thereby removing a major impetus for world terrorism — crucial to the national security interests of the United States. And equally as important, the Palestinians will finally become free — free from the oppression, the violence, the cleansing, and bigotry they’ve endured over the last sixty years.

The President may have finally found a way to get his cake and eat it too.

Is AIPAC’s Iron Grip Over The US Congress Waning?

by on Friday, December 17, 2010 at 2:43 pm EDT in Middle East, World

A new column by Josh Ruebner, who heads US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, gives a behind the scenes look at what actually transpired in the latest AIPAC-sponsored Congressional Resolution which condemns any unilateral measures to declare or recognize a Palestinian state.

AIPAC, of course, would have you believe (this message came via twitter) that everything was ‘business as usual':

By voice vote, the House passed a resolution opposing a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. No member claimed time in opposition.

Ruebner, however, reveals that “H.Res.1765 was pushed through quickly with the co-sponsorship of only 53 Representatives,” using a procedure called Suspension of the Rules.  This procedure, “supposed to be reserved for non-controversial resolutions such as the naming of a post office, prohibits the resolution from being amended and limits debate on it. In exchange for these restrictions, the resolution must get at least a 2/3 vote to pass rather than a simple majority”.

Ruebner gives us a picture of what actually occurred on the House floor:

… the resolution was done in such a helter-skelter fashion that it was put on the calendar for a vote late Tuesday night while Rep. Howard Berman, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was still drafting it. Most Congressional offices did not even see the text of the resolution until a few hours prior to the vote. Many Congressional offices were reportedly infuriated that such an important foreign policy declaration was being treated in such an inconsiderate manner. […]

Berman, who managed the debate on the House floor for the Democrats, appeared flustered and befuddled as he looked repeatedly and anxiously around the chamber for Representatives to appear magically to speak on behalf of the resolution. In the end, Berman mustered only himself and three other Jewish Representatives—Gary Ackerman, Eliot Engel, and Shelley Berkley—to offer full-throated support for the resolution. […]

These staunchly pro-Israel Representatives’ proceeded to take the podium and spew pure propaganda — the kinds of misrepresentations that are all but certain to please AIPAC and Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu.

One bright note was Representative Lois Capps’s upbraiding of Berman for his shameless hawking of this AIPAC resolution:

After rising “in very reluctant support” of what she termed “yet another one-sided resolution,” Capps decried the resolution for failing to mention “Israel’s expansion of settlements.” She noted that “Resolutions, like the one we are considering today, are clearly done for domestic political consumption much more than for having any positive impact on the conflict. We should not be ignorant of the fact that this Chamber’s pattern of passing resolutions that are one-sided can, indeed, undermine our credibility to be serious brokers for peace.

Having been put in his place by Capps, Berman called for a voice vote rather than a recorded vote. Fewer than ten Representatives then on the floor voted by “unanimous consent” to adopt the resolution, giving the illusion that the entire House gave its imprimatur to it.

Reubner’s entire post is worth reading, and can be found over at Mondoweiss.