Sunday, September 5, 2010

Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: Conjoined Forces in the War Against Arab Sovereignty

image of Samira, a Iraqi-Palestinian Muslim woman with her partner Edit, an Argentinian-Israeli Jewish woman is from here. They appear in the documentary film Zero Degrees of Separation
A few facts get muddied in many discussions about what is generally termed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Here are some of those facts: one can be Jewish and Arab. The Mizrahim are Arab Jews. Their language is often a combination of Hebrew and Arabic, as the language of the Sephardim is often a combination of Spanish and Hebrew, as the language of the Ashkenazim is often a combination of German and Hebrew, or Yiddish.

There are Palestinian Jews. There are Palestinian Arabs who have been forcibly removed from Israel, but who are, in fact, just as Israeli as any other Israeli citizen. To be Muslim doesn't tell us much about whether one is Arab or not Arab. Being Arab is not synonymous with being Muslim, nor is being Palestinian.

The people of the land of Palestine and the people of the land of Israel are of the same people, historically. This was the case, generally, until the Middle Eastern people of the region were invaded by a displaced and terrorised people, likely to die if not let in: European Jews in the era of WWII. The problem with accepting into the land so many Europeans was two-fold.

1. It made the population whiter, and brought with it an ideology of white supremacy, which has since taken root producing a deeply racist state called Israel.

2. To bring into a land mass so many non-Arab people means many non-Jewish Arab people had to be displaced, forcibly, out of Israel. This is what happened to non-Jewish Palestinians.

The current conflict is not mutually terroristic. Israel has resources Palestine does not have. Israel occupies Palestine, not the other way around. Palestinians, generally, are poorer people than Israelis. And given that so many white Jews have moved to Israel in the last sixty years, class, race, and ethnic hierarchies are now infused into the political landscape, along with misogyny and heterosexism.

For some perspective, see the documentary, Zero Degrees of Separation.

If it were possible, a far less violent solution would have been to find land--I don't know where; in Switzerland, perhaps?--to make a safe zone for the persecuted Jews of Europe. The land of Israel has significant meaning for Jews, but so too does it have religious meaning for Muslims and Christians.

The issue at hand is not what could have happened, but what is happening now and how best to resolve it without pursuing on-going bloodshed and occupation of Palestinian land by the Israeli government's military forces. At issue, now, is liberating Palestine and Palestinians from Israeli occupation and terroristic activities.

Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Muslims, are, in fact, often part of the same families. Jews and Muslims who are Arab are involved in intimate relationship and always have been. "Whiteness" does not belong to the region, and has no place in the region. How to transform Israel into an anti-Apartheid, anti-racist, pro-Muslim, pro-Palestinian, pro-Arab, pro-Jewish State is one challenge before us.

U.S. radical feminist Flo Kennedy coined the term "horizontal hostility" to describe the phenomenon of oppressed groups continually fighting each other rather that addressing those who oppress them all. U.S.-Caribbean radical feminist Audre Lorde spoke eloquently of the Master's Tools, and how they will not likely construct anything other than a Master's House.

I offer the above as a preface to what follows.

What follows is from *here* @ Muzzlewatch.

U.S. Defence Department Employees and Contractors Secretly Purchase Photographs of Children Being Raped and are Not Charged with Committing Any Crime: Anything Wrong with That Picture?

image is from here

Who, exactly, is the U.S. defence department defending? What it tells us is that it is fighting terrorism--searching, scouring the globe for those awful terrorists who have no regard whatsoever for human life; terrorists who would commit atrocity without thinking twice about it. The Pentagon tells us it is in the business of rooting out this level of grotesque and inexcusable inhumanity.

But when we examine the evidence of what the Pentagon does and doesn't consider criminal, we are led to a different conclusion about is function. The new answer appears to that the Defence Department defends terrorist rapers of children and women, and terrorist murderers of people of color who live in countries our troops militarily occupy. So the Pentagon, in other words, is pro-terror, pro-violence, and pro-violation unless or until a rich white het guy who works for the U.S. government is murdered by someone other than the U.S government. (Because when the U.S. government's military murders its own soldiers, that is called, perversely, "friendly fire".)

Only to someone in tremendous denial does the fact that the Pentagon is in the business of genocidal slaughter and serial rape come across as implausible. Denial is a fundamental value, however, in a society that thrives on such abuse and deems it "necessary" for maintaining "democracy" and "freedom" (for a few rich white het men).

What are the military's rapists and rape-defenders' public reasons for participating in networks of child sexual slavery and trafficking? What governing principles are being defended when rapers and consumers of rape are defended and deemed innocent of committing any crime?

Why, if the U.S. government is genuinely against the practice of rape and child sexual assault, would the crime of possession of child pornography be overlooked by prosecutors working within the U.S. Defence Department? Why, also, are street prostitutes, poor Mexican migrant workers, U.S. Muslim citizens, and Black adults driving cars down public roads all stereotyped and flagged as criminals and terrorists? To state outright that there's a racist, classist, misogynist, and child-hating "double standard" doesn't begin to describe this travesty.

Tragically, this behavior by rich and powerful white het men is entirely consistent with the unprofessed not-so-public values of the Pentagon. Not only do their employees and contractors value and profit from the murder of innocent and generally poor people of color. They also value treating human life (that is not that of the few white rich and powerful white het men) as if it is worthless. Thus these elite predators treat as acceptable the possession of photographic evidence of child rape. Child pornography is, when it exists in computers, electronically purchased evidence which, in and of itself, is a crucial and additional part of the crime committed. To rape is child is one kind of heinous act. One might, if humane, make a case that it is an act of terrorism. To record the rape and mass distribute the violation of the child is an exponential expansion of the violation and loss of control of the children so raped.

image is from here

People who are not elites--whether U.S. male soldiers, female U.S. soldiers routinely raped by those male soldiers, civilians sexually and otherwise assaulted and traumatised in countries occupied militarily by the U.S., or trafficked and incested children--apparently exist to be used, violated, terrorised, and thrown away. Welcome to the actual ethical standards and practices of the employees and employers of the U.S. armed services: pro-terror and anti-freedom.

I found what follows at the following site/link:  

Your online resource for everything about Military Sexual Trauma

Pentagon declined to investigate hundreds of purchases of child pornography

A 2006 Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation into the purchase of child pornography online turned up more than 250 civilian and military employees of the Defense Department — including some with the highest available security clearance — who used credit cards or PayPal to purchase images of children in sexual situations. But the Pentagon investigated only a handful of the cases, Defense Department records show.

The cases turned up during a 2006 ICE inquiry, called Project Flicker, which targeted overseas processing of child-porn payments. As part of the probe, ICE investigators gained access to the names and credit card information of more than 5,000 Americans who had subscribed to websites offering images of child pornography. Many of those individuals provided military email addresses or physical addresses with Army or fleet ZIP codes when they purchased the subscriptions.

In a related inquiry, the Pentagon’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) cross-checked the ICE list against military databases to come up with a list of Defense employees and contractors who appeared to be guilty of purchasing child pornography. The names included staffers for the secretary of defense, contractors for the ultra-secretive National Security Agency, and a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. But the DCIS opened investigations into only 20 percent of the individuals identified, and succeeded in prosecuting just a handful.

The Boston Globe first reported the Pentagon’s role in Project Flicker in July, citing DCIS investigative reports (PDF) showing that at least 30 Defense Department employees were investigated.

But new Project Flicker investigative reports obtained by The Upshot through the Freedom of Information Act, which you can read here, show that DCIS investigators identified 264 Defense employees or contractors who had purchased child pornography online. Astonishingly, nine of those had “Top Secret Sensitive Compartmentalized Information” security clearances, meaning they had access to the nation’s most sensitive secrets. All told, 76 of the individuals had Secret or higher clearances. But DCIS investigated only 52 of the suspects, and just 10 were ever charged with viewing or purchasing child pornography. Without greater public disclosure of how these cases wound down, it’s impossible to know how or whether any of the names listed in the Project Flicker papers came in for additional scrutiny. It’s conceivable that some of them were picked up by local law enforcement, but it seems likely that most of the people flagged by the investigation did not have their military careers disrupted in the context of the DCIS inquiry.

Among those charged were Gary Douglass Grant, a captain in the Army Reserves and a judge advocate general, or military prosecutor. After investigators executing a search warrant found child pornography on his computer, he pleaded guilty last year to state charges of possession of obscene matter of a minor in a sexual act in California. Others included contractors for the NSA with Top Secret clearances; one of them — a former contractor — fled the country after being indicted and is believed to be in Libya.

But the vast majority of those investigated, including an active-duty lieutenant colonel in the Army and an official in the office of the secretary of defense, were never charged. On top of that, 212 people on ICE’s list were never investigated at all.

According to the records, DCIS prioritized the investigations by focusing on people who had security clearances — since those who have a taste for child pornography can be vulnerable to blackmail and espionage. The documents show that the probe then concentrated on people who had been previously suspected of or convicted of sex crimes, or had access to children as part of their Defense Department duties. But at least some of the people on the Project Flicker list with security clearances were never pursued and could possibly remain on the job: DCIS only investigated 52 people, and 76 of those on the Project Flicker list had clearances.

A DCIS spokesman didn’t return phone calls. But the agency’s own documents obtained via The Upshot’s FOIA request indicate that the decision to press investigations forward hinged largely on questions of the resources available to the investigators. “Due to DCIS headquarters’ direction and other DCIS investigative priorities, this investigation is cancelled” is a common summation in the files.

A source familiar with the Project Flicker investigations — who requested anonymity because public disclosure could jeopardize this person’s job — confirmed that departmental resources, and priorities, were decisive factors in letting inquiries lapse.

DCIS is primarily tasked with rooting out contractor fraud and investigating security breaches; its 400 staffers were already plenty busy before Project Flicker dropped 264 more names onto their caseloads. And child pornography investigations are difficult to prosecute. Many judges wouldn’t issue search warrants based on years-old evidence saying the targets subscribed to a kiddie porn website once.

“We were stuck in a situation where we had some great information, but didn’t have the resources to run with it,” the source told The Upshot. Many of the investigative reports obtained by The Upshot end with a similar citation of scarce resources:

Of course, other federal agencies, including ICE and the FBI, may have prosecuted some of the Project Flicker names the DCIS ignored. But that’s unlikely, given that some of the DCIS investigations were closed due to lack of cooperation from ICE.

In one case, involving an Army Reserve corporal in the Pittsburgh area, a DCIS agent expressed exasperation after repeatedly trying to get ICE to collaborate with him on the investigation: “Based upon the complete non-responsiveness of ICE … it is recommended that [the] matter be closed.”

As for the 212 Project Flicker names that DCIS didn’t investigate, the source familiar with the investigation said there was no systematic effort to inform their superiors or commanding officers of their suspected purchases of child pornography.

Published: September 5th, 2010 at 2:14