Re: who are you to call anyone that?

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Posted by rabbi yitzhak from ( on Monday, September 09, 2002 at 7:42PM :

In Reply to: who are you to call anyone that? posted by Lilly from ? ( on Monday, September 09, 2002 at 3:46PM :

I called him a good role model for radical muslims. You got a problem with that? lol

yes i have read some of his writings. it's anti-American, Anti-Israeli Arab propaganda. He apparently thinks that South American terrorism is more dangerous to the United States that Islamic terrorism.

Oh and he thinks that Israel should leave Israel -- the Occupied Territories -- as a compromise, so that the Palestinians can live in peace. He's very moderate.

And look at this:

"As for the assertion that the "locus of terrorism" has shifted from the
Middle East to South Asia, and particularly Afghanistan, your entire case seems to rest on assertions that Usama Bin Ladin is operating a vast, international terrorism network. It is difficult for observers to evaluate these claims, because you do not publish any substantial evidence or
sources, merely assertions."

Seems kind of dated, with all the videotapes that were found, the Taliban, the al qaeda fighters captured including Walker... all just assertions. Let me guess... the Mossad bombed the Towers, Saddam is starving with his fellow Iraqis, radical islam does not exist, we are not living in the West, and Osama is a computer-generated monster! Sure bring him to a convention.

Open Letter to Albright re: New Report on Global Terrorism
Lexington Area Muslim Network
The author is an activist in Chicago, IL.


by Ali Abunimah

From: Ali Abunimah <>

Dear Secretary Albright,

I read with interest the State Department's latest report, "Patterns of
Global Terrorism: 1999," published on May 1. I would like to thank you for
this report, and assure you of my full support for all genuine efforts to
combat terrorism, and to bring those who deliberately harm innocent people
for political gain to justice. To the extent that you actually do this,
you can be certain of my full and unequivocal backing.

Allow me, however to make a few comments about your report, publication of
which was widely reported in the media.

1) The main conclusions of your report are not supported by the data you

The introduction to the report and the conclusion most widely covered,
states that, "The primary terrorist threats to the United States emanate
from two regions, South Asia and the Middle East. Supported by state
sponsors, terrorists live in and operate out of areas in these regions
with impunity. They find refuge and support in countries that are
sympathetic to their use of violence for political gain, derive mutual
benefit from harboring terrorists, or simply are weakly governed."

Yet, the statistics and narrative you provide about anti-US attacks, and
"terrorist" activities in and from these regions tell a different story.

Of the 169 anti-US attacks reported for 1999, Latin America accounted for
96, Western Europe for 30, Eurasia for 9, and Africa 16. The Middle East
accounted for only 11, and Asia for 6. Most of these attacks were
bombings. The figures you provide for the total number of terrorist
attacks by region indicate that in recent years, Latin America and Europe
have each accounted for a greater number of terrorist attacks than either
the Middle East or Asia. 1999 is consistent with this pattern.

The chapter on the Middle East does not provide any insight into why your
report headlines that region as presenting one of the two major threats to
the United States today. On the contrary, it details widespread and
"vigorous" "counter-terrorism" efforts by Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Yemen,
Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Although you continue to list Syria,
Iran, Iraq and Libya as "state sponsors" of terrorism, the report does not
detail any activity by these states that would support the conclusion that
the Middle East region represents one of the two main threats to the
United States.

To the extent you allege that "terrorist" activity persists in the Middle
East, this is principally directed not at the United States, but at
Israel, a country that is illegally occupying the territory of several
others. You also categorize resistance against combatant Israeli
occupation forces in Lebanon as terrorism, [this activity is cited in the
section on Lebanon, and the section on Iran accuses that country of
encouraging Hizballah and other groups "to use violence, especially
terrorist attacks, in Israel to undermine the peace process"].

The definition of Hizballah's activities as "terrorist" is at odds with
the internationally recognized right to resist foreign occupation, but it
could possibly be justified if you were at least applying a consistent
standard. Yet, while you term Hizballah a "terrorist" organization, you do
not use this designation for the Israeli-controlled "South Lebanon Army,"
a sub-state group that frequently carries out attacks on Lebanese
civilians, seizes and tortures noncombatant hostages, and threatens and
uses other forms of violence and coercion against Lebanese civilians.

The continued designation of certain countries as "state sponsors" of
terrorism appears to be politically motivated. Your report states, for
example, "A Middle East peace agreement necessarily would address
terrorist issues and would lead to Syria being considered for removal from
the list of state sponsors." This may suggest to seasoned observers that
Syria's continued designation as a "state sponsor of terrorism" is simply
a stick to get Syria to sign an agreement with Israel consonant with US
preferences, rather than a designation arising from an objective analysis
of that state's policies. This view may be supported by the fact that you
do not allege any activities being planned from Syria, and you say that
Syria "continued to restrain" groups operating in Damascus from any but
political activities.

The section on Iran claims that that country was "the most active state
sponsor of terrorism" in 1999. Yet all the alleged activities were
directed not at the United States, but were assistance to groups fighting
the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon. Iran's other alleged principal
activity was assistance to the PKK, the group fighting Turkey's repressive
policies against Kurds. Again, none of the reported activities appear to
directly threaten the United States.

None of the other sections on Middle East countries list any activities by
states or groups that would seem to justify the assertion that the Middle
East represents a major threat of terrorism to the United States.
Certainly this assertion is not borne out by the actual data on terrorist
attacks and casualties, which consistent with recent years, shows the
Middle East accounting for a relatively tiny number of "anti-US attacks,"
and US casualties.

As for the assertion that the "locus of terrorism" has shifted from the
Middle East to South Asia, and particularly Afghanistan, your entire case
seems to rest on assertions that Usama Bin Ladin is operating a vast,
international terrorism network. It is difficult for observers to evaluate
these claims, because you do not publish any substantial evidence or
sources, merely assertions. We do know that in cases where the US
government has made specific claims, these have often turned out to be
exaggerated or false. Investigative reporting by The New York Times and
others, of which you are surely aware, severely and compellingly
questioned the factual basis, and process of President Clinton's decision
to bomb the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, Sudan in August
1998. I also note that the United States government chose not to contest a
lawsuit brought against it by the owner of that factory who sought to
recover control of his assets, frozen by the United States on the grounds
that he was linked with Mr. Bin Ladin. Hence, in the absence of any
compelling evidence to the contrary, the US government's past record with
regard to claims about Mr. Bin Ladin suggests that a responsible observer
should at the very least be deeply skeptical. Some observers have
suggested that the threat from Mr. Bin Laden has been deliberately
exaggerated to justify limits on civil liberties in the United States, and
an expanded US role in the Middle East.

Again, as in the case of the Middle East, the principal events in South
Asia, such as the hijacking of an Indian airliner and bombings in India
and Pakistan which claimed many lives, were unrelated to the United
States, and seemed to be related to local or regional conflicts such as
that in Kashmir or Sri Lanka.

In conclusion, it appears from the data in your report, that the only
region where a large number of anti-US attacks is occurring or originating
is Latin America, and particularly Colombia. Yet, this country is not
designated as a major threat to the United States. The reasoning for this
is absent.

2) The report makes disturbing assertions that may fuel anti-Muslim
prejudice in the United States and around the world

The report assures the reader that, "Adverse mention in this report of
individual members of any political, social, ethnic, religious, or
national group is not meant to imply that all members of that group are
terrorists. Indeed, terrorists represent a small minority of dedicated,
often fanatical, individuals in most such groups. It is those small
groups--and their actions--that are the subject of this report."

Yet it appears to do quite the opposite. For example it states:

"Islamist extremists from around the world--including North America;
Europe; Africa; the Middle East; and Central, South, and Southeast
Asia--continued to use Afghanistan as a training ground and base of
operations for their worldwide terrorist activities in 1999. The Taliban,
which controlled most Afghan territory, permitted the operation of
training and indoctrination facilities for non-Afghans and provided
logistic support to members of various terrorist organizations and
mujahidin, including those waging jihads in Chechnya, Lebanon, Kosovo,
Kashmir, and elsewhere."

This paragraph appears to cast any Muslim person fighting any battle, for
any reason as an "Islamic extremist." It also uses the Arabic words
"jihad," and "mujahidin," which have very specific definitions, to be
synonyms for terrorism. Is it not possible to imagine that a Muslim in
Kosovo, or Chechnya could be engaged in a legitimate battle? [I certainly
think the United States would have thought so when it provided substantial
state sponsorship to groups in Afghanistan and when it designated such
people as "freedom fighters," using them to fight against Soviet
intervention. Unfortunately the report is silent about US state
sponsorship of these groups, so again it is difficult to evaluate how much
of the presently observed phenomena are a direct result of United States
activities in South Asia over the past two decades. Certainly an objective
analysis would have to take this into account.]

Careless references to Islam, "jihad" and "terrorism" are unfortunate and
damaging. This report comes in the context of US officials late in 1999
openly linking the Muslim feast of Ramadan with an increased threat of
"terrorism" around the world. The threat did not materialize, but the
hysteria generated by the government warnings was particularly damaging to
Arab Americans and Muslims in the United States who already face enormous
obstacles due to sterotyping and misrepresentation in popular media. The
panic and media sensation created by the arrest of an Algerian man at the
United States-Canada border, allegedly for carrying explosives, reportedly
caused an increase of harassment of Arab Americans and Muslims by airlines
and others, and allegations by law enforcement officials, later retracted,
that other Arabs arrested at the border for visa violations were terrorist

3) The definition of "terrorism"

The report states:

"The term "terrorism" means premeditated, politically motivated violence
perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or
clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience."

This definition may be overly narrow, since it defines "terrorism"
principally on the basis of the identity of its perpetrator rather than by
the action and motive of the perpetrator. Hence, if Israel launches a
massive attack on Lebanon and deliberately drives several hundred thousand
people from their homes, openly threatens and targets civilians, and
states that all of this is intended to pressure the Lebanese or Syrian
government, as Israel did in April 1996, it does not fall under the
definition of terrorism, solely because you recognize Israel to be a

If, by contrast, Lebanese people organize themselves to resist an
internationally condemned foreign occupation of their soil, you term this
"terrorism," even when such people restrict their targets to enemy
combatants in occupied territory.

May I suggest that you broaden your definition of terrorism to include
state terrorism? While terrorism as you define it is certainly disturbing,
compared with the number of victims of state terrorism, it is a relatively
minor concern. If you included statistics for state terrorism, observers
could then objectively evaluate, for example, PKK activities on the one
hand against premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated
against noncombatants carried out by the Turkish government. Or we could
out into perspective a "jihad" by "Islamic extremists" in Chechnya against
premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against
noncombatants by the Russian army.

This would provide the public with a fuller picture of the problem, and
analysts and policymakers with better information to make policy
recommendations which could end the political conflicts, injustices, and
occupations which in nearly every case seem to generate the phenomenon
known as "terrorism."

I thank you for taking the time to read this letter.


Ali Abunimah

: Have you ever read anything Abunimah actually wrote, not an interview in which his thoughts are contorted by some supposedly "center" right wing ideologue? You are falling for propaganda.

: The conservatives throw their nets far & wide to catch every gullible fish.

: Try experiencing this saying: "To look at someone again (twice)."

-- rabbi yitzhak
-- signature .

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