Ninth Anniversary of 9/11
A Matter of Conscience
For weeks the media have fomented hysteria about a
Centre to be built near Ground Zero in New York City. Then came the
threat to burn 200 Qur'ans on the 9th anniversary of 9/11 by a pastor
in Gainesville, Florida whose followers number but thirty.
In Canada, first came the police violence against the
which continues with accusations of conspiracy against many youth. This
was followed by the arrests of Muslims under the guise that they are
terrorists and soon after the arrest of Tamil asylum seekers under the
hoax that they too could be harbouring
Commentators and mass media from both countries have led
conclude from all these events that dangerous extremists are in our
midst but that champions of freedom, democracy and rights are to be
found in whom we should entrust our fate. Who are these defenders of
freedom? None other than U.S. President
Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, General David H.
Petraeus who is the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan,
and Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Defence Minister Peter Mackay.
Buried in all this commotion and not considered a problem is U.S. state
terrorism and Canada's
participation in U.S. imperialism's striving for world hegemony.
Many prominent individuals within the U.S. and from
world, including leaders of the main U.S. religions, have denounced the
extremist Florida pastor and pronounced themselves in favour of
"American values." Obama said the planned burning of the Qur'an is
"completely contrary to our values as
Americans" and "a recruitment bonanza for al Qaeda." Hillary Clinton
called it "a disrespectful, disgraceful act." General Petraeus said the
move "could endanger troops and the overall effort in Afghanistan."
Mackay dutifully agreed and Harper chimed in with the assurance that
"my God and my Christ is a tolerant
God, and that's what we want to see in this world."
This staged melodrama pressures people to support
versus "unlawful Muslims." We are told that if "Muslims" are "unlawful"
they must be opposed yet treated as innocent until proven guilty, but
no matter what, we must defend the national interests of the United
States by upholding "American
values." In this vein, we are reassured that Islam is not the enemy;
extremists are the enemy. How do we identify the extremists? We are
told they are the ones who do not support the values put forward by the
state. They are the ones who are a danger to U.S. national interests
and must be declared unlawful. This
ugly scenario repeats the McCarthy era when anyone deemed "un-American"
was declared a threat to national security and subject to civil death.
A typical "liberal" method is at play. It creates two
then declares the state the champion of the Golden Mean. In this way
through sleight of hand, U.S. state terrorism becomes the "Golden
Mean." Wars against Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond are needed and
justified to defend U.S. national interests,
just as Israeli state terror is excused as self-defence in Palestine.
So too, the practice of renditions, torture and the use of secret
evidence are all justified under the doctrine of state secrets and
Typically, a heinous rightwing extreme is floated, such
Terry Jones, to make the case that "hate crimes" and extremists must be
denounced and prosecuted. It is all done to rally the official "left"
and liberal opinion behind the passing of new laws to declare
"un-American" opinion a hate crime. This includes
criticism of Israel and Zionism, which are to be considered
"anti-Semitic," and also what Tony Blair calls "revolutionary
communism" that allegedly preaches class hatred.
A win-win situation for President Obama is it not. He
nothing to stop Pastor Jones while massive demonstrations take place
abroad against the burning of the Qur'an. Then he and all the other
champions of the "war on terror" would continue to make statements
against extremism and the danger this
act has created for our troops. This would then be used to justify
passing "anti-hate" legislation in the near future criminalising all
those who hold un-American views. Or he could ban the Qur'an burning
and present himself as a champion of tolerance for defending American
values. Then in the near future, he could
use the furor and action against Pastor Jones to justify legislation
banning freedom of speech, association and beliefs.
Meanwhile, the international plot has thickened as it is
that Pastor Jones has withdrawn his threat to burn the Qur'an in
exchange for his demand that a Muslim Community Centre not be built
near Ground Zero.
The U.S. administration, the government of Stephen
Harper, the media
of both countries, certain religious leaders and many others are trying
to make a case that all those who do not espouse what are called
"American" or "Canadian" values must be deemed unlawful or extremists
and deprived of their civil rights.
This is to declare lawful the condition of civil death. The citizenry
is thereby deprived of its right to conscience for opposing U.S. wars
of aggression, state terrorism and intolerance, while some rightwing
extremists are promoted to celebrity status.
People should not line up in defence of "American" or
values in the name of protecting national security, opposing extremists
or any other reason. What is required is to reject the self-serving
arguments that U.S. authority in its military or civilian garb has the
indisputable right to settle all matters
in the world based on its own self-serving interests. The cause of the
peoples of the world for peace and justice is not favoured by taking
sides pro or con any equation or melodrama the U.S. state
developments must not be permitted to pass. On this
anniversary of 9/11, the U.S. has some 11,600 private contractors and
50,000 troops in Iraq after its alleged disengagement. It commands
150,000 U.S. and other NATO forces in Afghanistan. It is routinely
bombing Pakistan and threatening
Iran and the DPRK. Outside the U.S., it has almost one thousand
military bases in sixty-five countries in the world; it continues to
practice torture and renditions to torture, and flouts civil rights in
the name of national security. Canada is following suite. The massive
disinformation campaign over extremism indicates
that this anniversary of 9/11 catches the U.S. in such a deep all-round
crisis, including a profound economic and credibility crisis in which
the U.S. system is mired, that it has unleashed the greatest assault
since the McCarthy era on the conscience of its own people and that of
the peoples of the world.
It is indeed a matter of conscience, the conscience of
humanity, which the U.S. state is criminalizing. It must not pass!
On this occasion, let us reiterate our opposition to all
individual and state terrorism; demand an end to the war in Afghanistan
and that Canadian troops be brought home now, and that the U.S.
immediately withdraw all its troops from foreign lands.
Humanity needs fundamental measures to end state
terrorism and all
violence, abuse and torture wreaked upon the innocent peoples of
Palestine, Afghanistan and all others suffering from imperialist
predatory war and oppression.
TML Daily, Vol. 40 No. 149 / September 10, 2010