Posts Tagged ‘Margaret Kimberley’

Freedom Rider: Endless Terror

May 20, 2010

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report, May 19, 2010

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Few people are willing to make the connection between the killing of Muslims by the United States government and the inevitable hatred of the American people that is unleashed.”

The United States government continues to kill Muslims like roaches in its never-ending war of terror. It shouldn’t come as a surprise when that violence spawns revenge directed against this nation. Nonetheless, every act or attempted act of terror against Americans is met with shock and defiance in the face of American instigated violence.
Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistan-born American citizen, is in custody for attempting to detonate a car bomb in New York’s Times Square. Fortunately, Shahzad was an untrained amateur who thought he could set off an explosion with ordinary fire works. He also didn’t have enough common sense to know that he should leave town immediately instead of waiting for two days before attempting his escape.
No damage was done to life or property and the suspect is in custody, but every attempt not only endangers us all but brings untold damage to American’s civil liberties. Senator Joseph Lieberman is proposing legislation that would strip citizenship from terror suspects. His goal is to prevent the use of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution which protects against self-incrimination. It is all a canard, because the right to remain silent can be exercised by citizens and non-citizens alike.
Senator Joseph Lieberman is proposing legislation that would strip citizenship from terror suspects.”
Shahzad’s biography has been analyzed and his every move scrutinized. Few people are willing to make the connection between the killing of Muslims by the United States government and the inevitable hatred of the American people that is unleashed. It isn’t very complicated. Shahzad was angry about the continued killings of his people and he wanted to inflict the same suffering on Americans.
While politicians out do one another with demagoguery, the simplest cause of terrorism is ignored. The fear which always follows an attempted attack should be an impetus for Americans to think about the fear and terror their government visits upon the rest of the world. Instead, the same hand wringing and whining about “why they hate us” are the rule.
Why was Shahzad angry? Undoubtedly because thousands of Pakistanis and Afghans have been killed by American drone attacks. If we were at all encouraged to think beyond the “spectrum of thinkable thought” we might be able to speak with some intelligence on this issue. Instead we see Barack Obama and the rest of the Democrats succumbing to Republican demands to destroy our civil liberties at home and continue mass death abroad.

Court decisions are clear that the renunciation of American citizenship must also take place before it can be taken away.”

Attorney General Eric Holder made the rounds of Sunday morning talk shows and made it clear he is bowing to lies and the political expediency that follows: “I think we have to give serious consideration to at least modifying that public-safety exception [to the Miranda protections. And that’s one of the things that I think we’re going to be reaching out to Congress, to come up with a proposal that is both constitutional, but that is also relevant to our times and the threats that we now face.”
Senator Lieberman’s proposed Terrorism Expatriation Act (TEA) goes even further. The constitution has very strict rules regarding the removal of American citizenship. Sworn allegiance to an enemy is insufficient cause to strip citizenship. Court decisions are clear that the renunciation of American citizenship must also take place before it can be taken away. It is shocking that Lieberman, an attorney, would peddle this nonsense that even if passed would be struck down by the courts. For now, the always cringing Democrats aren’t saying very much. Of course they always allow Lieberman, a Democrat who endorsed the Republican candidate without punishment from his party, to do whatever he likes.
Both the Clinton and Bush administrations prosecuted terror cases in criminal court, with all rights of suspects being preserved. All of these cases resulted in convictions and at the time, no protest from Republicans. The cry for the awful enemy combatant designation in the cases of Shahzad and Umar Abdulmultallab should spark outrage and debate about American actions abroad. While political demagoguery becomes the norm, our government’s acts of terror continue with little protest.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is repeating the demand that Pakistan speed up the killing of its own people in order to satisfy her government’s demands.”

Now the Obama administration claims that the Pakistan Taliban were responsible for this act. We don’t know if that is true, we don’t know if their claims that Shahzad is talking are true either. We can only be certain that political considerations come first. Now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is repeating the demand that Pakistan speed up the killing of its own people in order to satisfy her government’s demands. The Shahzads in Pakistan and in the United States will also be like ticking time bombs, growing more and more angry about the deaths of their people and more determined to strike back.
The sickening propaganda which makes invasion and occupation appear acceptable and even beneficial continues with little opposition. As long as the country lives under the grip of empire building and white supremacy, the rest of the world will be in danger and Americans will be endangered by the inevitable repercussions.
One day our luck will run out. A terror attack will not be carried out by someone trying to ignite his shoe or explosive placed in his underwear. The car bomb or other apparatus of death will be expertly put together and Americans will die. It isn’t right that anyone should die violently, but it isn’t worse for Americans to die under such circumstances than it is for people in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Of course, our government and media won’t say that. The end result will be an even louder cry for death from the nation that is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.
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Israel Is Boss

March 19, 2010

Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report, March 19, 2010

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Corporate media pretend U.S.-Israeli relations are in “crisis,” just as they have many times in the past. It’s all a charade, a play for national and international audiences. In real crises, relationships are called into question. But there has never been any question about who is in charge of this “partnership”: Israel. And don’t you dare forget it.

Freedom Rider: Israel Is Boss
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The Obama administration, like every other presidential administration in the last sixty years, does what Israel wants it to do.”
The United States may invade and occupy Iraq, undermine elected presidents in Haiti and throw its weight around in numerous ways in numerous parts of the world. Yet there is one country it does not dare to confront. Of course, the nation in question is Israel.
Continues >>

Af-Pak Is Obama’s War

May 18, 2009

Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report, May 18, 2009

President Obama, who campaigned behind a thin veil of peace, dragged two heads of client states into the White House to demand “that both Afghanistan and Pakistan allow their citizens to be murdered and or displaced in the thousands” – or else. Obama read Presidents Zardari and Karzai “the riot act” to let them know who is boss in the military theater called “AfPak.” Obama claims to “want to respect their sovereignty, but” – there’s always the imperial ‘but’ – America has “huge national security interests” in the region. Afghanistan’s Karzai later wondered, “How can you expect a people who keep losing their children to remain friendly?”

Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis and Afghans are now refugees or living under the constant threat of American military violence.”

Two central Asian nations bordering one another, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have the grave misfortune of being American client states. They get lots of money and political support, if they’re lucky, but always with terrible strings attached. The current President of the United States, Barack Obama, is demanding that both Afghanistan and Pakistan allow their citizens to be murdered and or displaced in the thousands. In order to accept that a huge body count is necessary, we are told that the two countries, nicknamed AfPak, are on the verge of being over run by the Taliban or al-Qaeda or both.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have been rebranded with a name seemingly devised by a Madison Avenue marketer who could just as easily be referring to a health insurance company or an overnight delivery service. Americans don’t know very much about the rest of the world, but they have a vague notion that brown-skinned Muslims are a crazy bunch who must be kept under control by Washington. So AfPak it is, and the bloodshed instigated by the United States continues. Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis and Afghans are now refugees or living under the constant threat of American military violence.

President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan were recently summoned to Washington for the purpose of being informed that their opinions do not count. It doesn’t matter if their countrymen and women don’t want to be chased from their homes or maimed by killer drones and bombing missions. Uncle Sam read them the riot act and dared them to complain. Obviously they didn’t, because the slaughter began anew as soon as the photo ops ended.

Uncle Sam read Zardari and Karzai the riot act and dared them to complain.”

Obama always knows how to make the terrible sound benevolent. In this case he says that we “must defeat al-Qaeda.” Most Americans had never heard of the word al-Qaeda until September 11, 2001 and will forever connect it with the death of 3,000 people. It is useful for Obama to phrase his assault in terms that will win him popular approval.

The Obama administration has openly undermined Ali Asif Zardari, the elected Pakistani president. Zardari’s main claim to legitimacy comes via his in-laws, the Bhutto family. If he were not Benazir Bhutto’s widower, this convicted embezzler, known as Mr. 10%, would not be president. Nevertheless, he is the president of a country that is allegedly an ally, and he should be treated with the respect he is due.

Yet the New York Times reports that Zardari has been told that his opposition will be courted and if necessary put into power with him if he balks at slaughtering his people on Washington’s command. In his 100 days press conference, Obama made himself crystal clear. “We want to respect their sovereignty, but we also recognize that we have huge strategic interests, huge national security interests in making sure that Pakistan is stable and that you don’t end up having a nuclear-armed militant state.”

Not only are we supposed to be whipped into a frenzy at the very mention of words like al-Qaeda and Taliban, but we are now supposed to believe that Pakistan is on the verge of a mysterious “collapse” and that its nuclear weapons will fall into the hands of terrorists who will carry them around in briefcases, as in the plots of Hollywood thrillers. Zardari gets the thumb screw treatment, and we get outright lies.

How can you expect a people who keep losing their children to remain friendly?”

“Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s president, is equally hapless and helpless in keeping his people safe from the demands of the United States. He has long complained about civilian deaths caused by attacks on the Taliban and he repeated himself in vain on Meet the Press. “Our villages are not where the terrorists are. And that’s what we kept telling the U.S. administration, that the war on terrorism is not in the Afghan villages, not in the Afghan homes. Respect that. Civilian casualties are undermining support in the Afghan people for the war on terrorism and for the, the, the relations with America.  How can you expect a people who keep losing their children to remain friendly?” Obviously, such a people will not remain friendly but that has never been America’s concern. National Security Adviser James Jones said as much. “We can’t fight with one hand tied behind our back.”

Once again the United States repeats its long history of killing people and claiming it is for their own good. Afghanistan and Pakistan are just the latest on that awful list. While that dynamic doesn’t change, neither will the reaction of people around the world. They do hate us, and they have good reason to do so.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com.

Endless War

March 5, 2009

by Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report, March 4, 2009

Why are more Republicans happy with Obama’s policies on government secrecy, wiretapping, non-withdrawal from Iraq, unqualified support for Israel and a host of other policies than most of the Democratic party’s own base?

What do they know that many of us don’t, or perhaps do not wish to know?
“There will still be American troops in Iraq, up to 50,000 of them.”

If John McCain and other Republicans are happy about an Obama administration initiative and Democrats are not, it is safe to say that something very bad is taking place. That something is Obama’s announcement that he will continue the occupation of Iraq indefinitely.

Of course, the president didn’t actually use any of those words. In a speech delivered at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, President Obama announced, “…by August 31, 2010 our combat mission in Iraq will end.”

As always, the president chose his words very carefully. The parsing was so clever that it fooled many people into celebrating when there is no reason for joy. There will still be American troops in Iraq, up to 50,000 of them. “As I have long said, we will retain a transitional force to carry out three distinct functions: training, equipping, and advising Iraqi Security Forces as long as they remain non-sectarian; conducting targeted counter-terrorism missions; and protecting our ongoing civilian and military efforts within Iraq. Initially, this force will likely be made up of 35-50,000 U.S. troops.”

It isn’t clear how “conducting targeted counter-terrorism missions” will not be considered combat. Congressman Dennis Kucinich pointed out the obvious problem with the president’s words. “You cannot leave combat troops in a foreign country to conduct combat operations and call it the end of the war. You can’t be in and out at the same time.”

“Obama never expressed any intention of fully withdrawing from Iraq.”

Obama’s one time political rival, Republican senator John McCain, was extremely pleased with the president’s timetable and with the level of troop commitment. “I believe that the administration should aim to keep the full complement – 50,000, as briefed by Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen – and not succumb to pressures, political or otherwise, to make deeper or faster cuts in our force levels.” While McCain and other Republicans waxed enthusiastically, Congressional Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer, who are not known for progressive politics, expressed concern about the number of troops scheduled to remain in Iraq.

While Democrats openly questioned the president’s policy, Republicans were enthusiastic supporters. During the presidential campaign John McCain was excoriated by Democrats when he said the United States should continue its presence in Iraq for 100 years. It was easy to sneer at the hapless McCain, but the Obama plan could lead to an American presence that may not last 100 years, but for a very long time nonetheless. The snickering directed at McCain should also have been directed at Obama, who never expressed any intention of fully withdrawing from Iraq.

His statement at Camp Lejeune was a repetition of his words on the stump as a presidential candidate. He reminded his foolishly smitten yet now disappointed supporters that he was an anti-war candidate only in their dreams. “Well, what I would say that is that they maybe weren’t paying attention to what I said during the campaign.”

The damage done by the complete capitulation of many progressives to Obama is now bearing fruit. He is able to dismiss them and his own party without suffering any political damage. He said as much in a PBS interview with Jim Lehrer.

JIM LEHRER: You’re not the least bit uneasy over the fact as John McCain and John Boehner, the Republican leader of the House, have praised your plan while the Democrats are criticizing it?

BARACK OBAMA: You know, I don’t – I don’t make these decisions based on polls or popularity. I make the decisions based on what I think is best.

In other words, the Democrats can go to hell. He doesn’t care what they think. He doesn’t have to care what they think because they gave him carte blanche to say and do anything he wanted during the campaign. McCain and Boehner are now his cheerleaders and Democrats have to be happy with whatever their leader deems to be acceptable.
“Many more will die in the name of fighting terror.”

Dennis Kucinich, among those who can be ignored, made another important point about the Obama plan. “We must bring a conclusion to this sorry chapter in American history where war was waged under false pretense against an innocent people. Taking troops out of Iraq should not mean more troops available for deployment in other operations.”

The other operation is of course in Afghanistan, where an additional 17,000 troops are headed. Afghanistan is also under occupation, its civilian population is the target of U.S. military action that has killed thousands of human beings. Many more will die in the name of fighting terror, and to benefit the same corporations that will turn their country into another cash cow for war profiteers.

Barack Obama proves that there is only one political party in this country when foreign policy decisions are being made. George W. Bush may no longer be in the White House, but because of capitulation to the Obama administration, his grand plan for endless war will be a reality for a very long time to come.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com.


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