The `Mad Dog' in the Middle East

By Rahnuma Ahmed

What Dr Alan Sabrosky has done is bell the cat. Except that it’s a dog, and not a cat.One that’s utterly mad. Insane.
In the words of late General Moshe Dayan, who went on to become Israel’s defense minister, and later foreign minister, Israel’s security depended on its being viewed by others as a mad dog.
Dr Sabrosky, who has been calling for a new investigation on 9/11 for some time, said in a recent radio interview (March 19), it would have been impossible to stage 9/11 without the full resources of both the CIA and Mossad. Nine-eleven, he said, served the interests of both the agencies. “They did 9/11. They did it.”
“ is 100% certain that 9/11 was a Mossad operation. Period.” (Full transcript). Now if Dr Sabrosky had been let’s say, a Pakistani, or worse still, an Iranian, one could have pooh-poohed. A loony, like all mollahs are. If he’d been Muslim, one could have labelled him an anti-Semite. After all, the Iranian president denied the holocaust. That’s what the western media said and they’d never lie, would they? Crazy dictator with nuclear weapons. Will deny being from his mother’s womb next. Pathetic.
But unfortunately Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D, university of Michigan) is a ten year US Marine Corps veteran. A Vietnam war vet. An American of Jewish ancestry. He’s not only a graduate of the US Army War College, he was director of studies there. For five and a half years. Now if he says he’s convinced the Israelis did it… it’s to say the least, pretty difficult to ignore. Although the mainstream western media, the beacons of the free world, are doing their darndest best. Do a google search on Dr Sabrosky plus any of these beacons New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian… BBC, CNN websites, your search will come to nought. It’s only in the alternative press. A few blogs. Pravda online. Less than a handful of 9-11 truth websites (no, not all, interesting, eh?). It’s only in these places that you’ll come across links to his interview. And his recent article, `The dark face of Jewish nationalism’ (March 12, 2010).
Jewish nationalism is unique, he writes. Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu had said at a Likud gathering “Israel is not like other countries.” For once, he was speaking the truth. What makes its nationalism distinct to that of other countries?all the rest have both positive and negative aspects, both unifying and extremist features?Jewish nationalism is extremist per se. Among both secular and practising Jews. It is a real witches brew of xenophobia, racism, ultra-nationalism and militarism, a mixture that cannot be contained within a `mere’ nationalist context. Its `others’ have to be pushed out. Either into camps, or out of the country. Second, Zionism undermines civic loyalty among its adherents in other countries. Loyalty to Israel supersedes the loyalty to the country to which one belongs. Whether US or UK, or any other. For instance, Rahm Emanuel. He’s the White House chief of staff. The second most powerful person in the US. He served in the Israeli army but not in the US armed forces. Once independence is achieved, and this is the third feature of Jewish nationalism, it’s not unusual to have normal relations with the former occupying power. But no, not in the case of Israel. It has a long list of enemies. They have become America’s enemies too. Lastly, nationalist movements usually don’t displace the indigenous population wholesale, instead, they incorporate. They accommodate. The Americans are an exception, look what they did to the Indians/native Americans. Maybe that’s why most of them don’t care about what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians.

In his radio interview with Mark Glenn and Phil Tourney (USS Liberty survivor), Sabrosky explains, most Americans don’t care much about what happened to the USS Liberty. For those who don’t know, I add, Israel attacked the US Naval ship USS Liberty in 1967 during the Six Day war. It was a false flag operation (like 9-11), the plan was to blame the attack on Egypt, to drag the US into the war. President Johnson seems to have known about it in advance; 34 Americans were murdered, 173 were wounded. Sabrosky says, That’s history. But 9-11 isn’t.
It has led directly to 60,000 Americans dead and wounded. In other countries, “hundreds of thousands of people.” Killed, wounded, made homeless. Tourney is sore about the Liberty, while Sabrosky himself is sore about Vietnam. But Americans are sore about 9-11 which is an “open wound.” He says, If Americans ever know that Israel did this, they’re gonna scrub them off the Earth, and they’re not gonna give a rat’s ass?forgive my language?what the cost is. They are not going to care. They will do it. And they should.
When Glenn asks Dr Sabrosky what is the reaction in US army circles (his work is being read by people in the Headquarters Marine Corps and at the Army War College) to his conviction that 9-11 was a Mossad operation, he answers, at first, astonishment. Disbelief. He does not get into arguments, he says. Who was flying what, who was where, whether there was nano-thermite (high-tech energetic materials prepared under military contracts in the USA, part of secret military research) or not, “those things are true, but they’re incidental.” What is necessary is to tell people that three buildings went down, the third was not hit by a plane. He then shows them an interview with a Danish demolitions expert, Danny Jowenko. It shows WTC7 going down. I tell them, “Now you understand that if one of the buildings was wired for demolition, all of them were wired for demolition.” And that, says Sabrosky, is the tipping point. At that point, people get angry. Really angry. And they say, “They did it, didn’t they.” He replies, “Yep?they did it.
” While asking Dr Sabrosky what he thinks is going to happen, Glenn says he himself thinks that Israel is going to pull off another 9-11, “sooner than any of us realize or would like to envision.” That powerful people think so too, such as the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen who cut short a trip to Europe several years ago (July 2008), quickly flew to Israel, to warn them that there should not be “another USS Liberty part two.” That a part two would already have occurred if increasing numbers of people had not been talking about 9-11. He adds, “I think that Israel has been watching all of this and has been saying, “We need to kind of let things cool a little bit for now?if we try to pull another one off right now then that’s it: we’re going to blow our cover.”
Sabrosky butts in saying, If Americans ever truly understand that they’ve been had, Israel will be history. “It’ll be a bloody, brutal war.” Israeli leverage, he explains, is confined to political appointments?to the Congress, to the White House. And to the media (“the mainstream media have paid more attention to Sarah Palin’s wardrobe than they have to dissecting blatant falsehoods”). But “the military has not been bought.” It is loyal. If it ever really, really deeply understands this, that they did 9-11, that the US government could in any way be involved in high crimes and treason against the people of the United States, “Israel’s going to disappear. Israel will flat-ass disappear from this Earth.”
And what does he think is going to happen soon? “We’re going to have a war with Iran.” The Arab street is going to explode. There are American forces, American units, like the 5th fleet headquarters in Bahrain, there’s going to be a long casualty list. If the Iraqi resistance had not been so strong, the attack on Iran, which was the “big prize” all along, would have happened in the second Bush administration. The pattern, he’s convinced, was: Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq 2003, Iran 2005, Syria 2007. The time frame now is a bit different, and although he’s not sure as to how it’s playing out, they are trying to “create an excuse for a war.”
I myself find it interesting that the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently wrote a letter to Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General (April 13, 2010) urging him to appoint an independent fact-finding team, a trustworthy one, to launch a comprehensive investigation into the “main culprits” behind the September 11 attacks since that is the “principal excuse” for attacking the Middle East. For NATO’s military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. For making policies and launching military actions on the “pretext of fighting terrorism.
” Israel is a “monster,” Dr Sabrosky has written elsewhere (`I Express My Jewish Identity in Cuisine, Not in Foreign Policy’ July 9, 2009). And although more and more American Jews are speaking out, it might be too little too late. “Excising this ultra-Zionist/neo-con cancer is not going to be easy.” Maybe what needs to be done, an option that general Dayan had neglected to note, is to “kill that mad dog before it can decide to go berserk and bite.”
Extreme nationalism begging extreme solutions.
Published in New Age, April 26, 2010

Lalon and Terror. Re-configuring the Nation's Political Map during Emergency

by rahnuma ahmed

Drifting in cage and out again
Hark unknown bird does fly
Shackles of my heart
If my arms could entwine
With them I would thee bind
— Fakir Lalon Shah, ?Khachar bhitor ochin pakhi,?
translation by Shahidul Alam.

Baul sculpture, and the nation’s most powerful man

‘No decision is taken without the the army chief’s consent, that’s why we informed him,’ said Maulana Noor Hossain Noorani, amir of Khatme Nabuwat Andolon Bangladesh and imam of Fayedabad mosque, at a press conference. `He didn’t like the idea of setting up an idol either, right in front of the airport, so close to the Haji camp. It was removed at his initiative’ (Prothom Alo, 17 October).
The `it’ in question was a piece of sculpture, of five Baul mystics and singers. Titled Unknown Bird in a Cage, it was being created in front of Zia International Airport, Dhaka. Madrasa students and masjid imams of adjoining areas were mobilised, Bimanbondor Golchottor Murti Protirodh Committee (Committee to Resist Idols at Airport Roundabout) was formed. A 24 hour ultimatum was given. The art work, nearly seventy percent complete, was removed by employees of the Roads and Highways Department, and Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh.
Artists, intellectuals, cultural activists, writers, teachers, students, and many others have since continuously protested the removal of the sculpture, both in Dhaka, and other cities and towns of Bangladesh. They have demanded its restoration, have re-named the roundabout Lalon Chottor, and accused the military-backed caretaker government of capitulating, yet again, to the demands of Islamic extremists, and forces opposing the 1971 war of liberation.
Soon after its removal, Fazlul Haq Amini, Chairman of a faction of Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ) and amir of Islami Ain Bastabayan Committee (IABC) said at a press conference, if an Islamic government comes to power, all statues built by Sheikh Hasina’s government (1996-2001) will be demolished, since statues are `dangerously anti-Islamic’. Eternal flames, Shikha Chironton (Liberation War Museum), and Shikha Anirban (Dhaka Cantonment) will be extinguished. Paying respect to fire is the same as worshipping fire.’ What about statues built during Khaleda Zia-led four party alliance government (of which he had been a part). ‘Where, which ones?’ Rajshahi University campus was the prompt reply. `Why didn’t you raise these questions when you were in power?’ ‘We did, personally, but they didn’t listen. We were used as stepping stones.’ Amini also demanded that the National Women Development Policy 2008, shelved this year after protests by a section of Muslim clerics and some Islamic parties, should be scrapped (Prothom Alo, 18 October).
Noorani and his followers demand, a haj minar should be built instead, and the road should be re-named Haj road. ‘Men from the administration and the intelligence agencies,’ he said at the press conference, `wore off their shoes, they kept coming to us.’ (Prothom Alo, 17 October). Now where had I read of close contacts between Khatme Nabuwat and the intelligence agencies?
I remembered. A Human Rights Watch report, Bangladesh: Breach of Faith (2005) had stated that KN had close links to the ruling BNP through the Jamaat-e-Islami and the IOJ, its coalition partners. I remembered other things too. It was the same Noor Hossain Noorani who had said, Tareq Zia, Senior Secretary General of the BNP, was their “Amir and same-aged friend,” and had threatened police officials saying Tareq would directly intervene if Khatme Nabuwat’s anti-Ahmadiya campaign was obstructed. According to reports, highup intelligence agency officials (DGFI, NSI) had mediated contacts between the ruling party and the KN. He had met the DGFI chief in Dhaka cantonment thrice, Noorani had thus boasted to Satkhira reporters in 2005, a statement never publicly refuted by the intelligence agency (Tasneem Khalil, The Prince of Bogra, Forum, April 2007, issue withdrawn, article available on the internet).
What links does the present military-backed caretaker government, and more so, its intelligence agencies, have with these extremist groups? I cannot help but wonder. Is there more to what’s happening than meets the eye?
Other questions pop into my head. The Baul sculpture was not advertised, as public art should be. No open competition, no shortlisting, no selection panel. On the contrary, the contract seems to have been awarded as a personal dispensation. The only condition seems to have been that the sculptor must get-hold-of-a-sponsor. High regard for public art, for Baul tradition, listed by the UNESCO as a world cultural heritage, and for procedural matters. Particularly by a government whose raison d’etre is establishing the rule of law, and rooting out corruption.

Simplifying the present: from `1971′ to the `Talibanisation’ of Bangladesh

British historian Eric Hobsbawm terms what he calls the ‘short twentieth century’, The Age of Extremes (1994). I can’t help but think, things seem to be getting more extreme in the twenty-first century.
In his most recent book, On Empire. America, War and Global Supremacy (2008), Hobsbawm traces the rise of American hegemony, the steadily increasing world disorder in the context of rapidly growing inequalities created by rampant free-market globalisation, the American government’s use of the threat of terrorism as an excuse for unilateral deployment of its global power, the launching of wars of aggression when it sees fit, and its absolute disregard of formerly accepted international conventions.
The US government’s role in not only contributing to the situation, but in constituting the conditions that have given rise to extremes, of being the extreme, is disregarded by many Bangladesh scholars, whether at home or abroad. Most of these writings are atrociously naive, exhibiting a theoretical incapacity to deal with questions of global inequalities in power. Authors repeatedly portray American power — in whichever manifestation, whether economic or cultural, military or ideological — as being benign. Two images of Bangladesh are juxtaposed against each other, a secular Bangladesh of the early 1970s, the fruit of Bangladesh’s liberation struggle of 1971, and a Talibanised Bangladesh of recent years. `National particularities’ and ‘the dynamics of domestic policies’ are emphasised (undoubtedly important), but inevitably at the cost of leaving the policies of US empire-building efforts un-examined.
One instance is Maneeza Hossain, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, who, in her 60 page study of the growth of Islamism in Bangladesh politics, tucks in a hurried mention of US’ supply of weaponry to Afghan jihadists, and moves on to call on the US to shake off its `indifference’ to Bangladesh, to use its ‘good offices’ to help democratic forces within Bangladesh prevail (The Broken Pendulum. Bangladesh’s Swing to Radicalism, 2007.
Ali Riaz, who teaches at Illinois State University, author of God Willing. The Politics of Islamism in Bangladesh (2004) provides another instance. International reasons for the rise of militancy are the Afghan war, internationalisation of resistance to Soviet occupation, policies of so-called charitable organisations of the Middle East and Persian Gulf, and (last, it would also seem, the least) `American foreign policy’. A token mention showing utter disregard towards 1,273,378 Iraqi deaths, caused by the invasion and occupation. 1971 was genocidal, but so is the Iraq invasion. On a much larger scale. Unconcerned, he goes on, policy circles in the US are `apprehensive’ about militancy in Bangladesh. Even now. The solution? He advocates open debates, particularly between the intelligence agencies and the political parties (Prothom Alo, 3 February 2008).
And then one comes across Farooq Sobhan who claims that president Bush has ‘taken pains’ to convince Muslims that the war against terror is not a war against Islam or a clash of civilizations (no, it’s a crime against humanity). Rather petulantly, he asks, why has Bangladesh, a Muslim majority country, not figured prominently on the US ‘list of countries to be wooed and cultivated.’ Further, he writes, “High on the US agenda has been the issue of Bangladesh sending troops to Iraq“. Sending ‘troops’, like crates of banana, or tea? Surely, there are substantive issues — of death and destruction of Iraqis and Iraq, of war crimes — involved.

Re-configuring Politics during Emergency

Creating a level playing field so that free and fair national elections could be held, that’s what the military-backed caretaker government had promised. Twenty-two months later, after failed attempts at minusing Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina, with their respective parties in shambles, thousands of party workers in prison, constitutional rights suspended due to the state of emergency, economy in tatters, police crack-downs on protests of garments workers, jute mill workers, women’s organisations and activists, on human chains against increasing prices of essentials, the only two forces to have remained unscathed are the Jamaat-e-Islami, and Muslim clerics, Islamic parties and madrasa students, those who protested against the Women Development Policy, agitated for the removal of Baul sculptures, recently caused havoc in the DU Vice Chancellor’s office protesting against newly-enforced admission requirements. Are these accidental, or deliberate governmental moves? I cannot help but wonder.
Several western diplomats — members of the infamous Tuesday Club, particularly ambassadors from United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and the EU representative — and also the UN Resident Coordinator actively intervened in Bangladesh politics prior to 11 January 2007, in events that led to the emergence of the present military-backed caretaker goverment. Renata Dessalien did so to unheard degrees, leading to recent demands that the UN Resident Coordinator be withdrawn.
In a week or so, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon arrives in Dhaka, to see for himself electoral preparations, and extend support for the government. A visit that has nothing to do with politics, we are told. In the eyes of many observers, Ban is one of the most pro-American secretaries general in it’s 62-year history. He has opposed calls for a swift US withdrawal from Iraq, and is committed to a beefed-up UN presence in Baghdad. The UN staff committee has protested Ban’s decision saying it would `make the institution complicit in an intractable US-made crisis’ (Washington Post, 24 September 2007).
In the name of bringing ‘beauty’ to politics in Bangladesh, the lineaments of political reconfiguration undertaken by this military-backed caretaker government are becoming ominously clear: mainstream political parties in shambles, Jamaat-e-Islami intact (`democratic party,’ Richard Boucher, US Assistant Secretary of State, 2006), Muslim clerics and Islamic forces re-emerging as a political force under state patronage, and the exercise of rampant power by western diplomats.
A beast in the guise of beauty? Time will tell.

On the Flight Path of American Power

I borrow the title from British-Pakistani historian Tariq Ali’s coming event: `Pakistan/Afghanistan: on the Flight Path of American Power,’ to be held at Toronto, November 14.
Seven years after the US led invasion, Pakistan, America’s strong military ally, is now “on the edge” of ruin. Pakistani political analysts repeatedly warn Bangladeshis that they see similar political patterns at work here: minusing political leaders, militarisation, milbus, National Security Council etc etc. I do not think that an Obama win will make any difference to the American flight path for unilateral power. As atute political commentators point out, Obama and McCain differ on domestic policies, not substantively on US foreign policy. A couple of days ago, president Bush signed the highest defense budget since World War II.
Maybe there should be an open public debate in Bangladesh, as Ali Riaz proposes, but with a different agenda: are we being set on America’s flight path to greater power by this unconstitutional, unrepresentative government, one which is more accountable to western forces, than to us?