Category: Opinion Piece


Remembering Guantanamo

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As the majority of the western world glues itself to the television to get the latest updates on the US Presidential election, a group of British protesters gathered outside the US embassy today to remember those connected to an issue that the Obama administration long seems to have forgotten about.

Yesterday, The London Guantanamo Campaign hosted its event “Demo, Truth and Justice The American Way” which consisted of speakers and entertainers who highlighted the on going human rights abuses conducted by the US and UK governments in Guantanamo Bay.

The event was attended by people like Ilyas Townsend(Justice for Aafia Campaign) who talked about the history of colonialism and it’s contemporary manifestations, Chris Nineham(Stop the War Coalition) who talked about our need to oppose Guantanamo and the connection between Islamophobia and the war in terror and Joy Hurcombe(Save Shaker Aamer Campaign) who spoke of their fight to free Britains last remaining Guantanamo detainee.

But for me the most interesting speech was from Aviva Stahl(CagePrisoners) who highlighted the intrusive entrapment methods of the FBI responsible for radicalising Muslims. This was particularly relevant to my previous article which was an interview with documentary film maker Roshan Muhammad Salih and his investigations of MI5’s intelligence gathering operation of the Muslim community in the UK.

It was a very inspirational event to be involved in, seeing people stand up for the right of others but there is another thing that I learnt. Although it is important to resist the current war on terror, we have to understand that this is simply an evolution of the cold war. Therefore our response to the war on terror must also evolve if we are to take our activism to new powerful heights and ensure that our children and our children’s children have a fighting chance in stopping imperialism and racism in all of its forms.

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I have to admit, before the atrocities committed against the Rohingya’s I never had much of an interest in Burma but the ethnic cleansing that is taking place in Arakan has sparked off a thought that has been plaguing me for a while, why hasn’t Aung San Suu Kyi said anything regarding the Rohingya’s? and what would Burma be like under Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, National League for Democracy?

Since the 1990’s economic sanctions were imposed on Burma due to it being governed by military rule. In 2010 the US lifted nearly all economic sanctions on Burma in recognition of its reforms over the last 18 months.

One of the most prominent signs of the countries move towards democracy is the release of the political dissident Aung San Suu Kyi

For many human rights organisations in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi is known as Burma’s pro-democracy leader that has come to symbolise its struggle for freedom

But now that she is no longer a political prisoner but rather, now a member of parliament, can she still be the symbol of Burma’s struggle to be free? One issue, in the eyes of many, has put her to the test: The ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya’s. According to the human rights organisation RestlessBeings the Rohingya’s have been living in Arakan (which is now part of Burma) since the 8th century but since Burmese independence in 1948, the Rohingya’s have been known as ‘Non-citizens’. The Burmese Junta have continued to discriminate against the Rohingya’s simply for their looks, their language and their religion. The Junta have placed restrictions on some of the most basic necessities including education, marriage and citizenship.

In June, the state left hundreds of Rohingya’s dead, thousands of properties destroyed and 100,000 people displaced. The UN calls the Rohingya’s one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s eerie silence on the issue makes it rather difficult to assess what her thoughts truly are on the issue. Whenever she has had the “R” situation thrown at her, her reply for the need of the ‘rule of law’ or for clear immigration laws suggest to many critics that she see’s the Rohingya’s as immigrants.

Her silence is also reminiscent of Barack Obamas silence of operation cast lead in Gaza. This also shows a political move on the side of Aung San Suu Kyi

According to the global post article referenced earlier

“Myanmar will hold general elections in 2015, and Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party hope to win enough seats in parliament to amend the country’s constitution. The NLD will need the support of the Myanmar people, who largely hold great antipathy toward the dark-skinned, poor Rohingyas they often call terrorists and infiltrators.

Politically Aung San Suu Kyi has absolutely nothing to gain from opening her mouth on [the Rohingyas],” Burmese commentator Maung Zarni told Daily Beast columnist Peter Popham. “She is no longer a political dissident. She’s a politician, and her eyes are fixed on the prize, which is the 2015 majority Buddhist vote.”

One maybe thinking that she will put in place the adequate needed changes to improve life for minorities if she were to achieve her goals in 2015 but with a majority buddhist vote it is difficult to see how she will help the Rohingya’s without loosing the support of the buddhist vote.

So what kind of change is she calling for?

In regards to job creation, she said in her statement in the International Labour Conference

“Foreign direct investments that result in job creation should be invited. Investors should adhere to codes of practices. Track records in regard to internationally accepted labour standards and environmental responsibility should be examined”

For those who don’t know, Foreign Direct Investment allows companies to invest in other industries or forms, primarily in less developed countries. This allows multinational corporations to enter foreign markets and open up new opportunities for profit. Regarding this she went on to say

“We would like potential investors to think for us as well as for themselves. We understand that investors do not come purely for altruistic reasons, we accept that investments must pay off – investments must lead to profits. But we would like these profits to be shared between the investors and our people. And, most of all, we would like to invite the kind of investment that would share the skills of the rest of the world with our young people in Burma. So, when you go back to your own countries please encourage your governments, your businesses, your workers to help us to build the kind of society that will ensure the future of our country. This is my request to all of you and, having seen the warmth with which you regarded me as a representative of the people who want democracy and human rights in Burma, I am certain that I can count on you to do your best”

According to an article on The Democratic Voice for Burma

“US business information company Dun & Bradstreet note in their May 2012 report on investing in Burma that,”a new foreign investment law has been drafted that will allow foreigners to own up to 100% equity in Myanmar based firms as well as partner with local companies in joint ventures. The new law is set to provide reassurance against nationalisation and that earnings will be repatriated freely”

It is clear that Aung San Suu Kyi has a neo liberal agenda for Burma. The problem with Neo-Liberalism is that it doesn’t deliver the benefits to the host nations while guaranteeing in the maximisation of profits to Transnational Corporations.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s Burma might improve living conditions for her people but the price she is going to pay is Burma itself.

*For more information on the Rohingya situation, please read Remember Rohingya: A Restlessbeings report

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On the 24th September 2012 the European Court of Human Rights gave its final approval to legalise the extradition of Babar Ahmad and 4 others, under charges of terrorism, to the United States.

According to the BBC

“The US says that mr Ahmad and co-accused, Syed Talha Ahsan, ran a jihadist website in London that provided material support for terrorism”

The website in question, closed since 2002, was called Azzam.com which supported Chechen and Taliban fighters.

But when it comes to supporting groups like the Taliban, Azzam.com weren’t the only ones supporting the Taliban, The US has a history of supporting them too.

It is a known fact that during the soviet invasion of Afghanistan, The CIA were training the very fighters that would go on to form the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. In fact, some reports suggest that the CIA was in direct contact with Bin Laden. Mark Custis states in his book Secret Affairs: Britains Collusion with Radical Islam

“There is no evidence of direct British or US support to Bin Laden, but one CIA source has claimed that US emissaries met directly with Bin Laden and it was he who first suggested that the Mujahideen be supplied with Stinger Anti-Aircraft Missiles” pg 138

The United States continued its relationship with the Taliban after the soviets were defeated.

In 1997, according to the BBC News, a senior delegation from the Taliban were in Texas for talks with Unocal, an international energy company that wanted to construct a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan.

In 2001 the Bush regime resumed the talks with the Taliban, arguing the Taliban to widen their government and include members of the Northern Alliance and look more favourably at the US company’s attempts to install the gas pipeline.

The Talibans refusal to work with the Northern Alliance stalled the talks which forced a response from a bush representative to the Taliban in the form of a military reprisal

This represents the hypocrisy of it all. That Babar Ahmad is being extradited to the US for administering a site that was supporting the very same group of people that the US were trying to do business deals with.

Currently Babar Ahmad is being extradited to the US, The Home Secretary Theresa May has stated that the Home Office is working diligently to extradite him and the rest as fast as possible.

For more information on the case of Babar Ahmad and to find out how to help, please click here

If you want to find out more about western connections to extremist Muslim groups please read Mark Curtis’s Secret Affairs: Britains Collusion with Radical Islam

I have just read through the preview of the Centre for Social Cohesions report called ‘Islamist Terrorism: The British Connections’ which aims to ‘Present an overview of Islamism-inspired terrorism with significant connections to the UK’. The report also goes on to collate a ‘collection of profiles of Islamism-inspired terrorist convictions and attacks in the UK between 1999 and 2009 and a statistical analysis is drawn from the data collected’.

In order to be included in the report individuals must have ‘been convicted for terrorism-related offences; committed suicide attacks in the UK; been convicted, fought or committed suicide attacks abroad and possessed significant links to the UK (having been educated there, lived there for an extended period of time or been radicalised there); or been involved in extradition cases from the UK. In addition they must have been motivated primarily by a belief in Islamism’

The report defines Islamism as; A political ideology, whose key tenets include:
• Belief that Islam is not a religion, but a holistic socio-political system;
• Advocacy of Sharia (Islamic) law as divine state law;
• Belief that a transnational Muslim community, known as the Ummah, should unite as a political bloc;
• Advocacy of an ‘Islamic’ state, or Caliphate, within which sovereignty belongs to God.
They also go on to state “Adherents are known as Islamists. The spectrum of Islamism ranges from entry-level Islamists (e.g. the Muslim Brotherhood) and revolutionary Islamists (e.g. Hizb ut-Tahrir) to militant Islamists, or jihadists (e.g. al-Qaeda), who are prepared to use violence to achieve their aims. While differing in methodology, all Islamists share the same core ideology.”

As you can see from what has been described above, the criteria used by the Centre for Social Cohesion already implicates the majority of the Muslim community as Islamists as some Muslims may not believe in all of the tenets described above consequently, but the majority of them may believe in one tenet or another in an individual capacity. One way or another, this report seems to lump all of us within the category of an islamist.

In the report, the authors also define terrorism as “The use or threat [of action] designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public […] for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause”

With those terms clearly defined, it seems clear to me that Islam is against terrorism as is defined from the CSC’s report. There are several prophetic traditions which command upholding the law of the land (As long as it doesn’t pertain to committing disbelief in God), respecting contracts, upholding any covenant of security one might have with their ruler and to even help one’s neighbour as a religious duty.

Coming from the Muslim Community perspective, extremist ideologies thrive due to a relative ignorance of Islam and how it is to be applied. Coupled with this, extremism has also flourished due to further Western Imperialist ambitions in the Muslim world.

Islam provides sustainable solutions towards redressing the grievances caused by Western Imperialism in holistic ways which can steer vulnerable young Muslims away from extremism but this is exactly one of the reasons why Douglas Murray wants PREVENT to be scrapped.

In his article “The prevent strategy: a text book example on how to alienate everyone” Douglas Murray stated “Most disturbingly of all, thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money was used not to stop fundamentalism, but simply to teach Islam” before going on to conclude that “The next government is going to have to make substantial cuts. There could be no better place to start than scrapping Prevent”

So how shall we deal with this issue then? Well how about Control orders?

As Robin Simcox states in the CSC’s report ‘Control orders’
“Abolishing control orders – as the Conservatives have threatened to do, and which was
Liberal Democrat policy66 – is a safe political move that would allow one to appear as
a staunch defender of civil liberties. However, at a time of a heightened terrorist threat,
control orders are a useful national security tool. An overstretched Security Service is
dealing with a large number of UK-based al-Qaeda sympathisers. Rather than weakening
the current national security structure, politicians should be strengthening the state’s
ability to reduce the terrorist threat; a government abolishing control orders may well be
doing the opposite. Without control orders, al-Qaeda linked controlees – like Mahmoud
Abu Rideh, Abu Qatada and Farj Hassan al-Saadi – would all find it easier to operate in the
UK and commission acts of terrorism”

Even though the preview of this report is only available for download, we can already see what conclusions that CSC will draw based on their preview alone

Recent events occurring in Pakistan shows that maybe it needs to go back to the drawing board regarding its activities as a state. Cue in Rimsha a 11-14 years old, depending on what report or article one reads, girl who is reported to have downs syndrome. She was accused of blasphemy after allegedly burning pages of the Qur’an and then gathering them for cooking. But there is more to the story, After Rimsah’s neighbour went to Imam Khalid Jadoon Chishti with the bags, the imam felt that “Burning pages with the text from the Qur’an would be enough to convict Rimsha on blasphemy charges” Said Munir Jeffrey, investigating officer in this case. So the Imam added in two more pieces of paper in order to bolster the case.

The imams actions have led to his arrest which slightly lightens Rimsha’s case as she is a minor with learning difficulties and the Imam is a mature adult who did this willingly. But this case also highlights the fact that Pakistan needs to go back to the drawing board as a nation.

Due to this case the All Pakistan Ulema Council, an umbrella group of muslim clerics and scholars, joined hands with the Pakistan Interfaith League, which includes Christians, Sikhs and other religions to call for justice for the girl Rimsha. They also demanded that justice be bought to those who made the false accusations against Rimsha.
This is a test case for Pakistan as it shows that Pakistani law is being manipulated to fit the will of a few people as Tahir Ashrafi, leader of the council, warned that “The law of the jungle” was gripping Pakistan with the police routinely being pressured in to registering blasphemy charges.

Salaams and peace to everyone I am Mizan and i am the research director for VIP minds and I am a member of a movement called the peace network.

Since tonights event is called ‘Peace Not War’. It is really important for us as a community to talk about one of the ideological undercurrents that is serving to sustain and drive western imperialist ventures abroad, specifically in the middle east.
In the last decade we have seen the rise of various Islamophobes and Islamophobic groups such as the Dutch MP and Zionist geert wilders in the Netherlands, his friend, fellow US blogger and supporter of Zionism Pamela Geller and the most successful group in Europe, the English Defence League who are also supporters of Zionism.

We are living at a time where the anti-muslim movement is really reaching its peak. Any act that is deemed anti-muslim is categorised under the term ‘Islamophobia’ but as we as a community respond to the outward manifestations of Islamophobia, in order to respond appropriately we need to understand 2 things 1) what exactly is Islamophobia and 2) where does it fit within politics today?

In order to give a definition of Islamophobia, many muslim organisations and individuals have defined it as a type of racism, but Islamophobes respond to this claim by saying that Islamophobia is not racism because Islam is not a race. In order to derive a correct definition of Islamophobia, the author and academic Chris Allen in his new book which he entitled ‘Islamophobia’ described the chronological evolution of the term and all acts related to it in the UK, before redefining Islamophobia as

“an ideology, similar in theory, function and purposes to racism and other similar phenomena that sustains and perpetuates negatively evaluated meaning about Muslims and Islam in the contemporary setting in similar ways to that which it has historically, although not necessarily as a continuum, subsequently pertaining, influencing and impacting upon social action, interaction, response and so on, shaping and determining understanding perceptions and attitudes in the social consensus – the shared languages and conceptual maps – that inform constructive thinking about Islam and Muslims as the other” (pg 190)

So Islamophobia is an ideology that depicts muslims as the ‘Other’ but why is it so big now and how does it help sustain imperialism abroad?

In their report ‘Islamophobia and anti-muslim hate crime: UK case studies 2010’ the authors Dr Robert Lambert and Dr Jonothan Githens Mazer state

“Above all the war on terror has set the tone for creating a climate of fear in the UK in which suspicion depicted towards fellow citizens who are Muslims has become intrusive and pejorative creating negative stereotyping of the worst kind” (pg 99)

So what is it about the war on terror that is creating so much hatred?

Page 362 of the 9/11 commission report states

“But the enemy is not just terrorism, some generic evil. This vagueness blurs the strategy. The catastrophic threat at this moment in history is more specific. It is the threat posed by islamist terrorism, especially the al qaeda network, its affiliates and its ideology”

In his article ‘War on ideology’ for the New York times, David brookes wrote

“The 9/11 commission report argues that we have to fight this war on 2 fronts. We have to use intelligence, military, financial and diplomatic capabilities to fight al qaeda. Thats where most of the media attention is focused. But the bigger fight is with the hostile belief system that cant be ransomed with but can only be isolated or utterly destroyed”

It is this aspect of the war on terror, the ideological war that has created an industry where funds can be allocated to groups or individuals who are critical of Islam and promote western democracy as the organisation FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) Stated in their publication ‘Smearcasting: How islamophobes spread fear, bigotry and misinformation’

“The war on terror has bolstered a class of Islamophobic self proclaimed Islamic terrorism experts”

So if i could just give you one example, on the 12th February 2009 Far Right Dutch MP Geert wilders attempted to enter the UK to show his first anti-islam film called “Fitna” at the house of lords through the invitation of 2 members of the house of lords Lord pearson and baroness cox. He was turned away at the airport as the Home office deemed his presence ‘not conducive to the public good’ but this was one of the biggest stories of that time and he got worldwide publicity for his film fitna whose viewership went in to the millions not just in the UK but worldwide. However what the mainstream press is that his views on Islam and Muslims didn’t develop due to his visits to the Muslim world as he states, they developed because in his teens, he went to Israel and stayed in an Israeli settlement which was pioneered by labour Zionists which is illegal under international law.
The exact settlement that he stayed in was called Moshav Tomer which is located near the Jordan Valley which is in itself a strategic location for Israels security. According to the grassroots Palestinian movement the Jordan Valley Solidarity

“The Israeli cabinet adopted a project to encourage young Israeli couples to settle in the Jordan Valley, including promising and plans to develop the agricultural and tourism levels in the area and to confiscate more Palestinian land for settlement expansion”

It was here where he developed his views on Israel and Muslims. This was confirmed in the BBC documentary called ‘Wilders: Europes most dangerous man’, where his long term friend who wilders met at the settlement, Arieh Eldad, a staunch supporter of Israel as an independent Jewish state and MP of the Islamophobic racist Hatikvai party was asked if Wilders needed any convincing in regards to the idea of Israel being a sovereign jewish state, Mr eldad replied
“I didn’t think i have to convince him. I thought. I thought he was very familiar with the plan and i think he realised that maybe the realistic plan to assure stable situation in the middle east where Israel is safe”
Upon returning to the Netherlands, Geert wilders became an MP. During his tenor as an MP, the dutch secret service noted he had visited the Dutch Israeli embassy over a dozen times and they suspected that he was giving them information and subsequently receiving instructions from the Israeli embassy.

In regards to his film, Fitna, which has been seen worldswide, the dutch news network in the Netherlands stated in their article ‘Wilders and the US Israel lobby’

“So what of Israel? Vrij Nederland covered that angle last year. Interesting part of the narrative was the trail behind wilders film fitna, which appeared in many scenes to be very close (if not an identical copy) of the earlier 80 minute documentary Obsession: Radical islams war against the west”
This DVD documentary called ‘Obsession: Radical Islams war against the west’ Was funded by a US pro-Israeli group called the Aish Hatorah foundation and distributed freely among 28 million newspapers in America which spread Islamophobia to get more people to vote for senator mccain and not barrack obama in the US presidential elections. The fact that wilders film fitna contains scenes from this DVD film ‘Obsession’ shows that fitna contains within it, scenes that were created for pro-israeli propaganda purposes that millions of people have been manipulated by. He said he is working on a second instalment of the film.

So Islamophobia is an ideology that is being used to sustain Imperialism, but what can we do about it? Since islaophobes want to influence policy and their messages regularly get out in to the media that influence the public, Muslim youth can get involved with various Muslim civil liberty organisations such as MPAC, Iengage etc to lobby against the many islamophobia MP’s that we have in parliament. We should also engage with the media, write letters to the editors if there is a story in the newspapers or on TV about Muslims that is simply isn’t true. However i’d just like to end of by saying that Islamophobia is an ideology that seeks to win hearts and minds, if we are to win the hearts and minds of the public, muslims should get involved in Dawah activities and organisations such as the Islamic Education and Research Academy. So in order to tackle politically get involved with muslim civil liberty organisations, lobby MP’s and write letters to the media however if you want to tackle Islamophobia from a grassroots perspective, commit acts of violence against groups like the EDL wont serve any purpose except to reinforce Islamophobia so if you want to tackle it ideologically, be good practicing muslims, do good things for your neighbours and the local community and get involved in dawah initiatives that will contextualise the misinformation that is out there about Islam and muslims because that and only that, will win hearts and minds.

For most of us shopping just isn’t a necessity, its also almost like a hobby. But as we go around buying what we need or desire isn’t it time we asked ourselves where our money is going or how it is being used by these corporations? If these questions were not asked by us in the past, it makes it that much more of an imperative to find the answers to these questions since some of the money that we spend can be used to oppress people across the world as well as to actually fund think tanks that attack multiculturalism right here at hime.

Take for example David Lewis (1924-2011) and the Lewis Family whose assets are held at the Lewis Trust Group, their private company which has worldwide interests in retail, leisure, finance and property. In retail they own one of the UK’s most well known clothing brands, River Island and in property the Lewis Trust Group has property holdings worth over £1 billion including 13 hotels in Israel and 3 in America.

David Lewis was also the president of the UK’s board of Governors at the Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress describing itself as an independent pro-market public policy think tank since 1984. Its mission is to “help Israel realize its enormous potential by freeing its economy from the shackles of this regressive system” . It is cuurently being headed by Daniel Doron about whom Benyamin Natanyahu said

“Daniel Doron is helping me fight the historic battle that is now taking place over the future of the Israeli economy”
Regarding David Lews, the Obituaries section of the Telegraph stated that

“Lewis wound down his day-to-day involvement with River Island in the 1990s to concentrate on Israeli tourism. He had been a keen Zionist since his early teens, but invested heavily in the Jewish State only relatively late in life, starting with the opening of King Solomon’s Palace hotel in Eilat in 1984. This was the first of 15 hotels that now form part of the Isrotel chain, which had a turnover in 2010 of £143 million; in 2009 the Israeli President Shimon Peres inaugurated the ‘David Lewis Promenade’ in the Red Sea resort. Lewis’s generosity was famous: he regularly paid for disabled Israeli veterans to stay in his beach hotels and was a patron for many years of the Schneider Children’s Medical Center near Tel Aviv. He was also a key supporter of the Israel Centre for Social and Economic Progress, the country’s main free-market think tank, and of Conservative Friends of Israel — where David Cameron presented him with a picture of a Lancaster bomber at one of his last public appearances”

In 2009 & 2010 the Lewis Trust Group, which is now run by the rest of the Lewis Family, donated a total of £3,005,000.00 to the Lewis Charitable trust, an organisation which was set up to meet the charitable intentions of the Lewis Family.

The trust aims to fund
• Medical research in to the possible treatment of cancer
• Jewish community general activities
• Educational funding
• General medical support

In 2009-2010 the Lewis Family Charitable Trust provided funding for the following organizations

Ben-gurion University £1,500
United Jewish Appeal £50,000
Atalef Foundation £10,000
Policy Exchange Limited £10,000
Council for a Beautiful Israel £10,000
Community Security Trust £10,000
Casa Shalom £7,037
The Jewish Leadership Council £5,000
Jewish Marriage Council £5,000
Israel Independence Fund £3,000
Ezra U Marpeh £3,000
The Zionist Federation £2,123
Anglo-Israel Association £3,100
Keshet Yahuda £14,074
Reform Judaism £30,000

To understand how the Lewis Family have supported Zionism and have supported organisations that attack multiculturalism in the UK, we need to look in to 3 organisations that they have funded in between 2009-2010
• Policy Exchange
• Reform Judaism
• Keshet Yahuda

Policy Exchange

Policy Exchange is a neoconservative orientated think tank with close ties to the Conservative party leader David Cameron. It was formed by two former Asda executives Francis Maude and Archie Norman with Nicholas Boles as its founding director and it is also part of the Stockholm Network, a network of European orientated think tanks .

Policy exchanges research is divided in to nine categories with its research on Islam and Multiculturalism coming under the remit of the Foreign Policy and Security unit. The Unit is headed by Dean Godson, former research fellow at the institute for European Defence and Strategic studies who in 1987, authored a report on using proxy forces to promote U.S strategic defence initiatives in the UK and under whose leadership the Unit continues to host events on conventional foreign policy issues but its research shifted to focus on primarily the British Muslim community .

In July 2006 Policy Exchange published its first report on Islam and Multiculturalism ‘When progressives treat with reactionaries’ written by the New Statesmen journalist Martin Bright who also wrote an article called the ‘Great Koran con trick’ claiming in it that the origins of Islam had been ‘censored for offending muslim sensibilities’. Bright accuses the Foreign Office for a policy of appeasement to radical Islam that could have grave consequences for Britain. Most of the material came from Foreign Office official Derek Pasquill who was strongly critical of Foreign Office advisor Mokbul Ali and the Muslim Council of Britain .

After the publication of “When progressives treat reactionaries” came a plethora of reports claiming to show extremism amongst British Muslims and calling for the Government to sever ties with certain individuals, organisations and to increase surveillance in the British Muslim community. One of its most notorious reports “The Hijacking of British Islam” claimed that extremism was influencing a majority of the Mosques in the UK through the subversion of extremist literature available in many of the Islaamic bookstores. The report was subsequently taken off Policy Exchanges website when the BBC uncovered that its findings were fabricated .

The reports that have followed on Islam and multiculturalism have shown Policy Exchanges preoccupation with the subject at hand is much less to do with public safety as it is for the need to promote the assertion of ‘Western values’ against not just extremism but also the very climate against which it perceives for extremism to thrive – Multiculturalism. Policy exchange received £10,000 from the Lewis Family Charitable Trust.

Reform Judaism

Reform Judaism is an organisation that aims to work with all members in the UK Jewish community to aid them in their own personal development. Although they say that they are for a two state solution in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Reform Judaism describes itself as “unequivocally Zionist. We have a non-negotiable commitment to the State of Israel and its security. We believe that the pursuit of peace is the highest ideal and priority. We are deeply committed to democracy; human rights and social justice; and religious pluralism”

One of their partner organisations is BICOM, the British-Israeli Research and Communications Centre which is a lobby and a political action group that hosts briefings with numerous media outlets in the UK. Public opinion and its image abroad has been on Israels mind for over a decade. In the Article in the Jewish Chronicle ‘So they say they’re in charge’ Simon Rocker stated

“The need for a body able to orchestrate British Jewry’s political and public ambitions became apparent to kerner following thte outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000, with its disastrous impact on Israels image. the day after the intifada began, some 50 leading jews were summoned to a briefing with the then Israeli ambassador. That evening a group of them raised an initial 250,000 fund for pro-israel lobbying and public relations. First to wave his chequebook was Poju Zabludowicz, a little known name at the time but now an emerging figure who recently entered the Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated £2 billion, and who owns 40 percent of down town Las Vegas. As Middle Easter Peace prospects sank beneath the continuing violence, the emergency campaign for Israel morphed in to a permanent new body, The British-Israel Research and Communications Centre (Bicom)”

Bicom describes itself as an independent British organisation dedicated to creating a more supportive environment for Israel in Britain. This is done by trying to create a more complete understanding of Israel and its situation. according to their website, Bicom is responsible for

• Providing daily, expert news summary and analysis of events in Israel and the regions through online publications
• Taking British journalists, opinion formers and policy makers to Israel and the Palestinian territories to learn about the issues first hand.
• Bringing analysts, journalists and politicians from the region to Britain, to share their insights with their British counterparts.
• Promoting a more balanced discourse about Israel in the British media by creating opportunities for a wide range of voices to be heard.
• Organising events and seminars in the UK aimed at deepening the discussion about Israel in Britain.
• Engaging in dialogue with British opinion formers, policy makers and the media on issues of importance to Israel and the Britain-Israel relationship.
• Providing resources to individuals and organisations in Britain who share BICOM’s agenda to promoting a better understanding of Israel.
In her article “Why i’m backing Israel” in the Guardian, BICOM CEO Lorna Fitzsimons described BICOM as a ‘Pro-Israel Advocacy group’ and promoted Israeli propoganda such as ‘Israel has always been prepared to compromise for peace’ and ‘How does a nation state defend itself against a terrorist organisation or organisations that are part of, and deliberately hide behind, ordinary citizens?
Reform Judaism promotes the work of BICOM and it received £30,000 from the Lewis Family Charitable Trust.

Keshet Yahuda

Keshet Yahuda is a pre-military academy established in 1992 in the settlement of Moshav Keshet. Its students come from all over Israel to strengthen themselves before entering the army. Keshet Yahuda is a program that deals specifically with preparing young religious jews with the many problems and challenges that they will face in the army. The Academy encourages its cadets to

• Aspire towards significant and leading positions in the IDF
• To live a life of social responsibility and,
• To develop a will to influence life in Israel

Having religious jews in the army brings many benefits to Israel as the religious Jewish soldiers are quicker to distinguish themselves then their secular counter parts – in their cruelty to the Palestinians. In their book Jewish fundamentalism in Israel the authors Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvincky state in regards to the soldiers of another religious army training program Hesder Yeshivot

“Their performance is far above the average of those in the Israeli army and their dedication is even greater. Not only the generals but also other soldiers hold this view. During the three years of the Lebanon war (1982-1985) and in the after-math of fighting in the ‘security zone’, for example, Hesder Yeshivot students carried on fighting and winning even after a high proportion of Israeli soldiers had been wounded and killed. Soldiers in Hesder Yeshivot units also distinguished themselves during the suppression of the intifada; they were noted for their cruelty to Palestinians, which was from many perspectives much more severe than the Israeli army average”

Since the IDF is being comprised more and more with soldiers of a religious orientation the Jewish rabbinate is starting to play more of a crucial role within the army. During Operation Cast Lead the substantial role of the religious officers and soldiers was, for the first time, supported by a significant presence of rabbis over there .

As stated above, the use of the religious establishment within the Israeli army is not to bring some sort of pastoral care to the soldiers, but rather to use the religious establishment for the spiritual and emotional empowerment of the soldiers to influence their behaviour in the battle field as stated in the Ha’aretz article ‘IDF Rabbinate publication during Gaza war: We will show no mercy to the cruel’

“The IDF rabbinate, also quoting Rabbi Aviner, describes the appropriate code of conduct in the field: “When you show mercy to a cruel enemy, you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers. This is terribly immoral. These are not games at the amusement park where sportsmanship teaches one to make concessions. This is a war on murderers. ‘A la guerre comme a la guerre.'””

Institutions like Keshet Yahuda are needed to aid its religiously orientated Israeli soldiers in the IDF and in between 2009-2010 the Lewis Family Charitable Trust awarded Keshet Yahuda with £14,074.

The ushering of Obama promised to bring with it an optimistic change for America and the world. With chants like “yes we can” and the use of the race card, millions of people were hoping that a change in the government would mean a change for the better for the whole world. But just under four years in to his presidency, some of the statements and the policies he has made leaves no room for discussion about where he lies – especially when it comes to the Israel/Palestine issue. But with that said and known by many, It is important for us to really understand the true implications of where he stands on this issue.

In 2009, Obama met with President Mahmoud Abbas and said

“And so what I told Prime Minister Netanyahu was is that each party has obligations under the road map. On the Israeli side those obligations include stopping settlements. They include making sure that there is a viable potential Palestinian state. On the Palestinian side it’s going to be important and necessary to continue to take the security steps on the West Bank that President Abbas has already begun to take, working with General Dayton. We’ve seen great progress in terms of security in the West Bank. Those security steps need to continue because Israel has to have some confidence that security in the West Bank is in place in order for us to advance this process and I also mentioned to president abbas in a frank exchange that it was very important to continue to make progress in reducing the incitement and anti-israel sentiment that are sometimes expressed in schools, in mosques and the public square because all those things are impediments to peace”[1]

On the 20th May 2011, Obama said, in his meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu,

“We discussed the issue of a perspective peace between Israelis and Palestinians. And I reiterated and, we discussed in depth, the principles I laid out yesterday. The belief that our ultimate goal has to be a secure Israeli state, a Jewish state, living side by side in peace and security with a contiguous, functioning and effective Palestinian state.”

Before going on to say

“A true peace can only occur if the ultimate resolution allows Israel to defend itself against threats and that Israels security will remain paramount in US evaluations of any prospective peace deal”[2]

So as you can see from these above meetings alone, The Palestinians have more conditions to meet which are all emphasised by Obama. In the latest turn of events in September 2011 the Obama administration vetoed against the creation of a separate Palestinian state in the UN, stating that “genuine peace can only be realised by Israelis and Palestinians themselves”[3]. He also went on to say “Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two-state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine”[4]

However, with all his rhetoric about a sovereign Palestinian state, the issue of a ‘secure’ Palestinian state from Israeli aggression hasn’t been emphasised. Going back to the comments above Obama has stipulated that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, why? Benjamin Netanyahu provided the answer

“We don’t want the Palestinians to change the Jewish character of the state. We want them to give up the fantasy of flooding Israel with millions of Palestinians“[5]

So when Obama calls for Palestinians to recognise Israel as a jewish state, he is calling for them to recognise its racist identity, therefore recognising the im possibility of there ever being an Arab majority on what originally was Arab land. Obama also emphasised on the Palestinians to recognise Israels security and he laid the conditions for Israels security in his meeting with Abbas where he said

“On the Palestinian side it’s going to be important and necessary to continue to take the security steps on the West Bank that President Abbas has already begun to take, working with General Dayton. We’ve seen great progress in terms of security in the West Bank. Those security steps need to continue because Israel has to have some confidence that security in the West Bank is in place in order for us to advance this process and I also mentioned to president abbas in a frank exchange that it was very important to continue to make progress in reducing the incitement and anti-israel sentiment that are sometimes expressed in schools, in mosques and the public square because all those things are impediments to peace”

In other words according to the Obama administration Mahmoud Abbas’s administration has to enforce Israels security in the West Bank. So in its core, what Obama is calling for is the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, which would mean that many Palestinians will not have the right to return to their land and that a viable Palestinian authority is one that guarantee’s Israels security no matter what Israel does or has done against the Palestinians. In order to conclude, regarding the issue of building a Palestinian state, Eric Walburg writes in his book Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games

“In February 2010, Fayyad (Abbas’s technocrat prime minister) spoke before Israels security establishment at the annual Herzliya conference where he was compared by shimon peres to David Ben Gurion. His plan to ‘build’ a state (not declare one unilaterally) is in line with netanyahu’s notion of ‘economic peace’ which proposes that development precede independence (Even as Israel prevents that very development). It implicitly accords with Israels plans for south African style Bantustans controlled by a comprador Palestinian leadership enforcing law and order in cooperation with Israel and the US”[6]

Could the U.S Invasion of Iraq really be over? If the news of Obamas weapons deal to Iraq is anything to go by, ONLY if the US is Iraqs main supplier of essential material. The US initially went to war with Iraq based on the concept of WMD’s which then later changed to regime change. Although as we knew that oil played a big part in prompting the US to war, there may have been another key motivator.

According to the Time magazine article ‘Foreign Exchange: Saddam turns his back on greenbacks’ Saddam wanted payments for its oil to be made in the Euro and no longer wanted to accept dollars for its oil[1]. The repercussions of this decision would mean that Iraq would favour European suppliers over the U.S. Iraqs move towards the Euro symbolised a growing trend where North Korea, Venezuela and other states as well as OPEC expressing interest in leaving the dollar in favour of the Euro.

It is the consequences of these decisions that motivated the US to go to any lengths to protect the dollar. So Bush’s policy towards Iraq was not about WMD’s, Human Rights or Democracy. Bush’s policy towards Iraq was about protecting the dollar[2]. Now that the last batch of soldiers are about to leave Iraq the US will exit leaving the dollar as Iraqs reserve currency. Haitham Al-Jabouri stated “the trend that the Central Bank of Iraq’s retention rate of the dinar against the dollar during the current period, this index indicates that monetary policy in Iraq is able to make the Iraqi dinar is equal to the dollar”[3]

This is also another way for the US to sustain and grow its empire by financially tying colonised states (i.e Iraq) to the Coloniser (i.e the US) as a collapse of the dollar would wipe out much of the worlds foreign currency reserves which in turn would sharply reduce the worlds money supply[4]. This therefore would make it an imperative for the colonial states to protect the dollar therefore ensuring the continuation of the system. With the Euro now out of the way, the US has secured Iraq from other forces, like Russia, therefore ensuring profits for western defence organisations like Lockheed Martin