Archive for Hypocrisy

Washington’s High-Powered Terrorist Supporters

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2012 by loonwatch

Glenn Greenwald, the first nomination for induction in the Anti-Loon Hall of Fame

Greenwald is like the canary in the coal mine, warning about the grave threat to our civil liberties and the abuse of the rule of law at the hand of the political elite:

Washington’s high-powered terrorist supporters

by Glenn Greenwald (Salon.com)

We now have an extraordinary situation that reveals the impunity with which political elites commit the most egregious crimes, as well as the special privileges to which they explicitly believe they — and they alone — are entitled. That a large bipartisan cast of Washington officials got caught being paid substantial sums of money by an Iranian dissident group that is legally designated by the U.S. Government as a Terrorist organization, and then meeting with and advocating on behalf of that Terrorist group, is very significant for several reasons. New developments over the last week make it all the more telling. Just behold the truly amazing set of facts that have arisen:

In June, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 6-3 ruling in the case of Holder v. Humanitarian Law. In that case, the Court upheld the Obama DOJ’s very broad interpretation of the statute that criminalizes the providing of “material support” to groups formally designated by the State Department as Terrorist organizations. The five-judge conservative bloc (along with Justice Stevens) held that pure political speech could be permissibly criminalized as “material support for Terrorism” consistent with the First Amendment if the “advocacy [is] performed in coordination with, or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization” (emphasis added). In other words, pure political advocacy in support of a designated Terrorist group could be prosecuted as a felony — punishable with 15 years in prison — if the advocacy is coordinated with that group.

This ruling was one of the most severe erosions of free speech rights in decades because, as Justice Breyer (joined by Ginsberg and Sotomayor) pointed out in dissent, “all the activities” at issue, which the DOJ’s interpretation would criminalize, “involve the communication and advocacy of political ideas and lawful means of achieving political ends.” The dissent added that the DOJ’s broad interpretation of the statute “gravely and without adequate justification injure[s] interests of the kind the First Amendment protects.” As Georgetown Law Professor David Cole, who represented the plaintiffs, explained, this was literally “the first time ever” that “the Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment permits the criminalization of pure speech advocating lawful, nonviolent activity.” Thus, “the court rule[d] that speech advocating only lawful, nonviolent activity can be made a crime, and that any coordination with a blacklisted group can land a citizen in prison for 15 years.” Then-Solicitor-General Elena Kagan argued the winning Obama DOJ position before the Court.

Whatever one’s views are on this ruling, it is now binding law. To advocate on behalf of a designated Terrorist group constitutes the felony of “providing material support” if that advocacy is coordinated with the group.

Like most assaults on the Constitution in the name of Terrorism during the Obama presidency, criticism of that Court decision was rare in establishment circles (that’s because Republicans consistently support such assaults while Democrats are reluctant to criticize them under Obama). On the day the Humanitarian Law decision was released, CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer interviewed Fran Townsend, George Bush’s Homeland Security Advisor and now-CNN analyst, and Townsend hailed the decision as “a tremendous win for not only the United States but for the current administration.” Here’s how that discussion went:

BLITZER: There is a related case involved that the Supreme Court came out with today and I want to talk to you about this. The Supreme Court ruling today in the fight against terrorism . . . .The 6-3 decision by the Supreme Court, the justices rejecting the arguments that the law threatens the constitutional right of free speech. You read the decision, 6-3, only three of the Democratic appointed justices decided they didn’t like this. They were the minority. But the majority was pretty firm in saying that if you go ahead and express what is called material support for a known terrorist group, you could go to jail for that.

TOWNSEND: This is a tremendous win for not only the United States but for the current administration. It’s interesting, Wolf, Elena Kagan the current Supreme Court nominee argued in favor of upholding this law. This is an important tool the government uses to convict those, to charge and convict, potentially convict those who provide money, recruits, propaganda, to terrorist organizations, but are not what we call people who actually blow things up or pull the trigger.

BLITZER: So it’s a major decision, a 6-3 decision by the Supreme Court. If you’re thinking about even voicing support for a terrorist group, don’t do it because the government can come down hard on you and the Supreme Court said the government has every right to do so.

TOWNSEND: It is more than just voicing support, Wolf. It is actually the notion of providing material support, significant material support.

BLITZER: But they’re saying that if material support, they’re defining as expressing support or giving advice or whatever to that organization.

TOWNSEND: That’s right. But it could be technical advice, bomb-building advice, fundraising.

So Fran Townsend lavishly praised this decision — one that, as Blitzer put it, means that “If you’re thinking about even voicing support for a terrorist group, don’t do it because the government can come down hard on you.”  And while Townsend was right that the decision requires “more than just voicing support” for the Terrorist group, the Court was crystal clear that such voicing of support, standing alone, can be prosecuted if it is done in coordination with the group (“the term ’service’ [] cover[s] advocacy performed in coordination with, or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization“).

But look at what is happening now to Fran Townsend and many of her fellow political elites. In August of last year, The Christian Science Monitor‘s Scott Peterson published a detailed exposé about “a high-powered array of former top American officials” who have received “tens of thousands of dollars” from a designated Terrorist organization – the Iranian dissident group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) — and then met with its leaders, attended its meetings, and/or publicly advocated on its behalf. That group includes Rudy Giuliani, Howard Dean, Michael Mukasey, Ed Rendell, Andy Card, Lee Hamilton, Tom Ridge, Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark, Michael Hayden, John Bolton, Louis Freeh — and Fran Townsend. This is how it works:

Former US officials taking part in MEK-linked events told the Monitor or confirmed publicly that they received substantial fees, paid by local Iranian-American groups to speaker bureaus that handle their public appearances.

The State Dept. official, who is familiar with the speech contracts, explains the mechanism: “Your speech agent calls, and says you get $20,000 to speak for 20 minutes. They will send a private jet, you get $25,000 more when you are done, and they will send a team to brief you on what to say.”

As but one example, Rendell, the former Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania and current MSNBC contributor, was paid $20,000 for a 10- minute speech before a MEK gathering, and has been a stalwart advocate of the group ever since.

Even for official Washington, where elite crimes are tolerated as a matter of course, this level of what appears to be overt criminality — taking large amounts of money from a designated Terrorist group, appearing before its meetings, meeting with its leaders, then advocating on its behalf — is too much to completely overlook. The Washington Times reported on Friday that the Treasury Department’s counter-Terrorism division is investigating speaking fees paid to former Gov. Rendell, who, the article notes, has “become among [MEK’s] most vocal advocates.” According to Rendell, “investigators have subpoenaed records related to payments he has accepted for public speaking engagements” for MEK. As the article put it, ”some observers have raised questions about the legality of accepting payment in exchange for providing assistance or services to a listed terrorist group.” Beyond the “material support” crime, engaging in such transactions with designated Terrorist groups is independently prohibited by federal law:

David Cole, a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, noted that “any group that’s on the list is also, by definition, on the Treasury Department’s list for specially designated global terrorists.”

Anyone in the United States is prohibited from engaging in any transaction with such an entity,” he said.

While Mr. Cole stressed his personal belief that individuals have a “First Amendment right to speak out freely” for an organization like the MEK, he said that “it is a crime to engage in any transaction, which would certainly include getting paid to do public relations for them.

Rendell has a lot of company in the commission of what very well may be these serious crimes — including the very same Fran Townsend who cheered the Humanitarian Law decision that could be her undoing. After someone on Twitter wrote to her this weekend to say that she should be prosecuted (and “put in GITMO indefinitely”) for her “material support”of MEK, this is how — with the waving American flag as her chosen background — she defended herself in reply:

How reprehensible is the conduct of Fran Townsend here? Just two years ago, she went on CNN to celebrate a Supreme Court decision that rejected First Amendment claims of free speech and free association in order to rule that anyone — most often Muslims — can be prosecuted under the “material support” statute simply for advocacy for a Terrorist group that is coordinated with the group. And yet, the minute Fran Townsend gets caught doing exactly that — not just out of conviction but also because she’s being paid by that Terrorist group — she suddenly invokes the very same Constitutional rights whose erosions she cheered when it came to the prosecution of others. Now that her own liberty is at stake by virtue of getting caught being on the dole from a Terrorist group, she suddenly insists that the First Amendment allows her to engage in this behavior: exactly the argument that Humanitarian Law rejected, with her gushing approval on CNN (“a tremendous win for not only the United States but for the current administration“; This is an important tool the government uses to convict those . . . who provide []  propaganda, to terrorist organizations”).”

What is particularly repellent about all of this is not the supreme hypocrisy and self-interested provincialism of Fran Townsend. That’s all just par for the course. What’s infuriating is that there are large numbers of people — almost always Muslims — who have been prosecuted and are now in prison for providing “material support” to Terrorist groups for doing far less than Fran Townsend and her fellow cast of bipartisan ex-officials have done with and on behalf of MEK. In fact, the U.S. Government has been (under the administration in which Townsend worked) and still is (under the administration Rendell supports) continuously prosecuting Muslims for providing “material support” for Terrorist groups based on their pure speech, all while Fran Townsend, Ed Rendell and company have said nothing or, worse, supported the legal interpretations that justified these prosecutions.

The last time I wrote about these individuals’ material support for MEK, I highlighted just a few of those cases:

  • A Staten Island satellite TV salesman in 2009 was sentenced to five years in federal prison merely for including a Hezbollah TV channel as part of the satellite package he sold to customers;
  • a Massachusetts resident, Tarek Mehanna, is being prosecuted now ”for posting pro-jihadist material on the internet”;
  • a 24-year-old Pakistani legal resident living in Virginia, Jubair Ahmad, was indicted last September for uploading a 5-minute video to YouTube that was highly critical of U.S. actions in the Muslim world, an allegedly criminal act simply because prosecutors claim he discussed the video in advance with the son of a leader of a designated Terrorist organization (Lashkar-e-Tayyiba);
  • a Saudi Arabian graduate student, Sami Omar al-Hussayen, was prosecuted simply for maintaining a website with links “to groups that praised suicide bombings in Chechnya and in Israel” and “jihadist” sites that solicited donations for extremist groups (he was ultimately acquitted); and,
  •  last July, a 22-year-old former Penn State student and son of an instructor at the school, Emerson Winfield Begolly, was indicted for — in the FBI’s words — “repeatedly using the Internet to promote violent jihad against Americans” by posting comments on a “jihadist” Internet forum including “a comment online that praised the shootings” at a Marine Corps base, action which former Obama lawyer Marty Lederman said ”does not at first glance appear to be different from the sort of advocacy of unlawful conduct that is entitled to substantial First Amendment protection.”

Yet we have the most well-connected national security and military officials in Washington doing far more than all of that right out in the open — they’re receiving large payments from a Terrorist group, meeting with its leaders, attending their meetings, and then advocating for them in very public forums; Howard Dean, after getting paid by the group, actually called for MEK’s leader to be recognized as the legitimate President of Iran  – and so far none have been prosecuted or even indicted. The Treasury Department investigation must at least scare them. Thus, like most authoritarians, Fran Townsend suddenly discovers the importance of the very political liberties she’s helped assault now that those Constitutional protections are necessary to protect herself from prosecution. It reminds me quite a bit of how former Democratic Rep. Jane Harman — one of the most reliable advocates for Bush’s illegal spying program — suddenly started sounding like a life-long, outraged ACLU member as soon as it was revealed that her own private communications were legally surveilled by the U.S. Government.

One can reasonably debate whether MEK actually belongs on the list of Terrorist organizations (the same is true for several other groups on that list). But as a criminal matter, that debate is irrelevant. The law criminalizes the providing of material support to any group on that list, and it is not a defense to argue after one gets caught that the group should be removed.

Moreover, the argument that MEK does not belong on the Terrorist list — always a dubious claim —  has suffered a serious blow in the last couple of months. An NBC News report from Richard Engel and Robert Windrem in February claimed that it was MEK which perpetrated the string of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, and that the Terrorist group “is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service” (MEK denied the report). If true, it means that MEK continues to perpetrate definitive acts of Terrorism: using bombs and guns to kill civilian scientists and severely injure their wives. Yet Townsend, Rendell, Dean, Giuliani and other well-paid friends continue to be outspoken advocates of the group. Even the dissenters in Humanitarian Law argued that the First Amendment would allow “material support” prosecution “when the defendant knows or intends that those activities will assist the organization’s unlawful terrorist actions.” A reasonable argument could certainly be advanced that, in light of these recent reports about MEK’s Terrorism, one who takes money from the group and then advocates for its removal from the Terrorist list “knows or intends that those activities will assist the organization’s unlawful terrorist actions”: a prosecutable offense even under the dissent’s far more limited view of the statute.

But whatever else is true, the activities of Townsend, Rendell, Dean, Giuliani and the rest of MEK’s paid shills are providing more than enough “material support” to be prosecuted under the Humanitarian Law decision and other statutes. They’re providing more substantial “material support” to this Terrorist group than many people — usually vulnerable, powerless Muslims — who are currently imprisoned for that crime.  It’s nice that Fran Townsend suddenly discovered the virtues of free speech and free association guarantees, but under the laws she and so many others like her have helped implement and defend, there is a very strong case to make that her conduct and those of these other well-connected advocates for this Terrorist group is squarely within the realm of serious criminal behavior.

Glenn Greenwald
Follow Glenn Greenwald on Twitter: @ggreenwald.More Glenn Greenwald

Iran: Yet Another Case Study in Robert Spencer’s Hypocrisy and Double Standards

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2011 by loonwatch

 

JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer just posted an article with the following title:

How to Eliminate Israel from the Planet: Iran promotes genocidal book by Muslim seminarians, published by Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance

He’s taking exception to an anti-Israeli book supposedly written by some religious students in Iran, called “How to Eliminate Israel from the Planet.”  Spencer calls this a “genocidal book.”

This is why LoonWatch exists.  We’ve been documenting what loons like Robert Spencer say so that we can pull Jon Stewart moves like the one I am going to pull now…

The reader is referred to Robert Spencer’s post in March 2010 wherein he promoted a “genocidal video” calling for “wiping Pakistan off the map” and nuclear annihilation of Pakistan:

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer: Wipe Pakistan Off the Map

And my article on the topic back then:

Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller Promote Video by Militant and Genocidal Group

When Iranians/Muslims call to “wipe Israel off the map” or “eliminate Israel from the planet”, then it is a “genocidal book” and all freedom-loving people must be outraged by this.  When anti-Muslim extremists call for the same against Muslims, then that’s a “genocidal freedom-loving video” that all freedom-loving people must support.  As George Orwell put it: “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.”

(Image at the top of the page comes from an earlier article exposing Robert Spencer: LoonWatch Exclusive: Robert Spencer’s “f**kallah.com” & “f**kislam.com”)

Anti-Muslims and Politicians Find Common Cause with Iranian Terrorist Organization

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2011 by loonwatch

The surreal world of anti-Muslim Islamophobia knows no bounds. Islamophobes and the political class that panders to them have been caught with their pants down–figuratively for once. Since 9/11, these traffickers in hate have profited from the development of an industry of “terror expert professionals,” consisting of so-called: “ex-terrorists,” “ex-Muslims,” “scholars,” “think tank gurus,” pontificating on the incompatibility of Islam and Democracy, the danger of a growing Muslim populace in the West, the need to be suspicious of Muslims, Muslims’ susceptibility to terrorism, etc.

This narrative belies reality, Muslims who commit terrorism are an extreme minority, in fact what is most glaring in the face of this propaganda is what Charles Kurzman terms, The Missing Martyrs (book review to come soon). For all the hackneyed anti-Muslim diatribe and hypotheses of an omnipresent and ever dangerous “Islamic terrorism,” what is remarkable is the absence of “would-be martyrs,” let alone a threat level that is blown out of all proportion. The Arab Spring has, more than anything else, dealt a stinging, if not lethal blow to the harbingers of doom.

What is most irksome is that the real radicals, the ones who draw us into endless war, increase hostilities amongst communities, and hob nob with anti-freedom organizations are the same individuals projecting their worldview onto Muslims.

Where else (with the exception of perhaps a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel) could we witness a House Homeland Security Sub-committee Hearing being chaired by a Congressman who once was the most outspoken advocate of a terrorist organization. Rep. Peter King’s involvement with the IRA while they were targeting and murdering civilians is well known, and the hypocrisy and double standard of him chairing hearings on “American Muslim radicalization” is painfully evident.

This however is not the only, or even the most glaring example we can turn to of Congressmen or former high ranking government officials supporting or advocating on behalf of a terrorist organization.

Congressmen (including Democrats) and former government officials have met with the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an organization that was designated a terrorist group in 1997 when the list was first compiled, and is STILL ON THE LIST–for now.

MEK has a very aggressive and organized lobby effort in Washington D.C. According to one House staffer, the MEK is “the most mobilized grassroots advocacy effort in the country — AIPAC included.” Their mission is to be delisted as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), push the USA to foment war with Iran, i.e. “regime change,” and have themselves installed into power. Sound familiar?

They attempt to pass themselves off as the sole legitimate opposition to the Iranian regime, going so far as to claim that they are the Green Movement or the government in exile. Now there is a quiet push to have them delisted from the FTO list:

Members of Congress led by Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) have introduced a resolutioncalling on the Secretary of State and the President to throw the support of the United States behind an exiled Iranian terrorist group seeking to overthrow the Iranian regime and install themselves in power. Calling the exiled organization “Iran’s main opposition,” Filner is urging the State Department to end the blacklisting of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) — a group listed by the State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The resolution currently has 83 cosponsors and is gaining significant ground.

Such a move would have disastrous repercussions for the USA, and would inevitably lead to blowback considering what the MEK is about:

[F]or the record, here are the facts about the MEK (you can find this and more at www.mekterror.com):

  • The State Department reports the MEK is a terrorist group that has murdered innocent Americans and maintains “the will and capacity” to commit terrorist attacks within the U.S. and beyond. [1]
  • The MEK claims to have renounced terrorism in 2001, but a 2004 FBI report states “the MEK is currently actively involved in planning and executing acts of terrorism.” [2]
  • RAND and Human Rights Watch have reported that the MEK is a cult that abuses its own members. [3] [4]
  • MEK has no popular support in Iran and has been denounced by the Green Movement, Iran’s peaceful democratic opposition movement.[5]

Iran’s Opposition Green Movement Rejects the MEK

  • The leaders of the Green Movement, Iran’s true popular opposition movement, have denounced the MEK and warned that the Iranian government seeks to discredit Iran’s opposition by associating it with the MEK:
  • “The Iranian Government is trying to connect those who truly love their country (the Greens) with the MEK to revive this hypocritical dead organization.” – Mehdi Karroubi, Green Movement leader. [6]
  • “The MEK can’t be part of the Green Movement. This bankrupt political group is now making some laughable claims, but the Green Movement and the MEK have a wall between them and all of us, including myself, Mr. Mousavi, Mr. Khatami, and Mr. Karroubi.” – Zahra Rahnavard, Women’s rights activist and wife of Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Mousavi[7]

Iraqi National Congress Redux?

  • The MEK claims it is “the main opposition in Iran,” yet similar to Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress that helped bring the United States into war with Iraq, the MEK is an exiled organization that has no popular support within Iran[8]
  • RAND reports that the MEK are “skilled manipulators of public opinion.” The MEK has a global support network with active lobbying and propaganda efforts in major Western capitals. [9]
  • Members of Congress have been deceived and misinformed into supporting this terrorist  organization:
  • In 2002, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen led efforts for the U.S. to support the group, prompting then-Chairman and the Ranking Member of the House International Affairs Committee, Henry Hyde and Tom Lantos, to send a Dear Colleague warning against supporting the MEK.  They cautioned that many Members had been “embarrassed when confronted with accurate information about the MEK.” [10]
  • In the current Congress, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) have each introduced resolutions calling for MEK to be removed from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list.

A Capacity and Will to Commit Terrorist Acts in the U.S. & Beyond

  • The Bush administration determined in 2007 that “MEK leadership and members across the world maintain the capacity and will to commit terrorist acts in Europe, the Middle East, the United States, Canada, and beyond.” [11]
  • The Canadian and Australian governments have also designated the MEK as a terrorist organization. The Canadian government just reaffirmed its designation in December.[12] [13]
  • An EU court removed the MEK from its list of terrorist organizations, but only due to procedural reasons.  According to a spokesperson for the Council of the European Union, the EU court “did not enter into the question of defining or not the PMOI [MEK] as a terrorist organization.” [14]

Saddam Hussein’s Terrorist Militia

  • The MEK received all of its military assistance and most of its financial support from Saddam Hussein, including funds illegally siphoned from the UN Oil-for-Food Program, until 2003. [15]
  • The MEK helped execute Saddam’s bloody crackdown on Iraqi Shia and Kurds. Maryam Rajavi, the MEK’s permanent leader, instructed her followers to “take the Kurds under your tanks.” [16]

A Cult That Abuses Its Own Members

  • Human Rights Watch reports that MEK commits extensive human rights abuses against its own members at Camp Ashraf, including “torture that in two cases led to death.”[17]
  • RAND report commissioned by DOD found that the MEK is a cult that utilizes practices such as mandatory divorce, celibacy, authoritarian control, forced labor, sleep deprivation, physical abuse, confiscation of assets, emotional isolation, and the imprisonment of dissident members. [18]
  • RAND concluded that up to 70% of the MEK members at their Camp Ashraf headquarters were likely recruited through deception and are kept there against their will. [19]
  • The FBI reports that the MEK’s “NLA [National Liberation Army] fighters are separated from their children who are sent to Europe and brought up by the MEK’s Support Network. […] These children are then returned to the NLA to be used as fighters upon coming of age.  Interviews also revealed that some of these children were told that their parents would be harmed if the children did not cooperate with the MEK. ”[20]

A History of Anti-Americanism

  • One of the founding ideologies of the MEK is anti-Americanism—the MEK is responsible for murdering American businessmen, military personnel, and even a senior American diplomat[21]
  • The MEK strongly supported the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, vigorously opposed their eventual release, and chastised the government for not executing the hostages[22]

The MEK was Not “Added” to the FTO List as a Goodwill Gesture to Iran

Delisting MEK: Disastrous Repercussions

The MEK is opposed by the Iranian people due to its history of terrorist attacks against civilians in Iran and its close alliance with Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war.

  1. The greatest beneficiaries of delisting MEK would be Ahmadinejad and Iranian hardliners who seek to link the U.S. and the Green Movement to MEK.
  2. U.S. support for MEK would be used as a propaganda tool by hardliners to delegitimize and destroy Iran’s true democracy movement.
  3. American credibility among the Iranian people would be ruined if the U.S. supported this group.

This should all gives us pause. Do the elected and former government officials who support delisting the MEK know the troubling anti-American, terrorist history of the MEK? If they do, then how in good conscious can they actively push to delist them?

The scenario that keeps coming to mind is cover for war or a possible Israeli attack against Iran. A possibility that seems ever more likely as MJ Rosenburg wrote recently:

A longtime CIA officer who spent 21 years in the Middle East is predicting that Israel will bomb Iran in the fall, dragging the United States into another major war and endangering US military and civilian personnel (and other interests) throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Earlier this week, Robert Baer appeared on the provocative KPFK Los Angeles show Background Briefing, hosted by Ian Masters. It was there that he predicted that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is likely to ignite a war with Iran in the very near future.

Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Robert Spencer’s link to the MEK. Spencer frequently spews insults at Reza Aslan for being a board member of the NIAC. In his “expert” opinion true Iranian Freedom organizations oppose the NIAC, and view them as tools of the Mullahs.

A contemptuous claim if it wasn’t so laughable, considering that the NIAC has frequently spoken out against the Iranian regime and has thrown its weight completely behind the Green Movement.

Spencer comes to this conclusion based on the opinion of his friends in a group called the PDMI or Pro-Democracy Movement of Iran. No one really knows how many people are in the PDMI, all they have is a blogspot website which Spencer links. The website is quite strange, it has an image of former Iranian dictator Reza Shah, and also articles supporting the MEK. Is it another MEK front group? One recent article from July 15 is titled “Iran, Mujahedin-e Khalq, and the US State Department,” by Hamid Yazdanpanah, who writes:

[W]hat has consistently been a go-to practice in appeasing Tehran? The harassment and terrorist listing of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK)…the terrorist designation of the MEK arose purely out of appeasement of the Iranian regime…The terrorist designation of the MEK has not only failed to appease the Iranian regime, it has resulted in severe harm and restriction for an organization devoted to the liberation of the Iranian people. The State Department has a moral and legal obligation to undo this grave error and delist the MEK.

It looks as if on top of all the conspiracies, hatred, and anti-Freedom ideas that Spencer pushes he is also linked to the terrorist MEK. Human Events, another website Spencer writes for contains articles supporting the MEK, such as this one by James Zumwalt. Can we now begin every piece on Spencer with, “The MEK linked Robert Spencer…”?

Sadly, this chimera world in which the Islamophobes and their allies turn everything upside down or sweep it under the rug hoping no one will find the truth is real. We are confronted with an organized mechanism of propaganda seeking to profit from endless war, occupation, hatred, hypocrisy and double standards. We are in an age in which the Supreme Court has upheld a “criminal prohibition on advocacy performed in coordination with, or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization,” and yet our Congressmen, and their lobbyist friends can get away with doing exactly that when it suits their purposes!

*Update: There are more Islamophobes involved in the cynical nexus of bringing legitimacy to the MEK. One such longtime advocate has been neo-Conservative Daniel Pipes, who rather seems like a mild Islamophobe these days. For his support of the MEK see, Daniel Pipes: My Writings on the Mujahedeen-e Khalq. (hat tip: NassirH)

Who Has the Right to Speak Out Against the Ban on Women Driving in Saudi Arabia?

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on June 22, 2011 by loonwatch

In Saudi Arabia, women still do not have the right to drive.  Recently, a group of Saudi women have challenged this ban, running the risk of prosecution and punishment by their government.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton initially refrained from being too hard on the Saudis, arguing instead for “quiet diplomacy.”  It is now being reported that Clinton has abandoned this approach and has issued a public statement of support for Saudi Women for Driving.

However, the initial reluctance to issue a public statement and the mildness of the issued public statement make us wonder if the United States has tempered its criticism based on its (perceived) national interest and regional “needs.”  The Saudi government may well be the most ultra-conservative and fundamentalist regime since the Taliban’s Afghanistan, but the Saudi leadership is subservient to American power–and is therefore acceptable.

Simply put, the Saudis are our favorite type of tyrants–U.S. friendly tyrants–ones we can work with and do business with.  Of course, if they ever get out of line like our former-friend-turned-enemy Saddam Hussein did, then we can always invade and occupy them.  But for now, as long as they do our bidding, we could care less if they repress their people, whether it be women or Shi’ites.

From time to time, the U.S. will be forced to issue public statements against certain actions of Saudi Arabia, just as it sometimes does against Israel.  But these statements will not be too forceful, and certainly won’t be the “ratcheting up of rhetoric” of war and aggression that would take place had this been Iran that was involved.

I should clarify, however, that I don’t want the United States or Clinton to “ratchet up” the rhetoric of war and aggression against Saudi Arabia.  As a peacenik, I don’t support any of America’s wars, let alone want yet another Muslim country to be invaded.  I’m merely commenting on the double standard of American foreign policy, which is even more apparent in the way the U.S. talks about the “Arab Spring” democratic movement in Libya versus in Saudi Arabia and neighboring Bahrain.

*  *  *  *  *

Certain right-wing elements support the ratcheting up of the rhetoric of war and aggression against Saudi Arabia, with some even advocating the use of military force.  On the other hand, conservative Muslim Hebah Ahmed has argued on CNN that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t meddle in the internal affairs of Saudi Arabia at all and that foreign intervention will be resented by the Saudi citizenry.

The first view, calling for an aggressive posture against Saudi Arabia, would of course be counter-productive.  The opposing view espoused by Hebah Ahmed–that only Saudis and Saudis alone have a right to speak out against the women driving ban–is also wrong.

First things first, it is worthwhile to point out a few errors in Hebah Ahmed’s analysis.  She opens up by saying “this is not a religious issue.”  She is correct in saying that there is nothing in Islam that prohibits women from driving.  Quite the opposite in fact.  The early Muslim women in the time of the Prophet Muhammad freely “drove around” on camels and horses.  Neither the Islamic prophet or his disciples forbade this.  There is absolutely no reason then, argue most Muslims, to prohibit women from driving.

However, Ahmed is incorrect in saying that the Saudi ban on women driving is not a religious issueat all. In fact, the Saudi clerics have forbidden women from driving based on religious grounds.  They have used a contested and open-ended concept of Islamic jurisprudence, sadd al-dhara’i (which means “blocking the means” to sin), to ban women from driving.  What this means is that it is licit to forbid something which in and of itself is not sinful because that something will likely lead to something else that is sinful.

The principle of “blocking the means” is a contentious one, and accounts for the differing Muslim views on various issues.  The principle has a very limited role and is used sparingly especially amongst the more liberal minded, whereas it is used expansively and widely by ultra-conservative Islamic clerics who ban everything from university education to women driving.

The late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, known as Ibn Baz, issued the following religious verdictforbidding women from driving:

People have spoken a great deal in the al-Jazeerah newspaper about the issue of women driving cars. It is well known that it leads to evil consequences which are well known to those who promote it, such as being alone with a non-mahram [stranger] woman, unveiling, reckless mixing with men, and committing haraam [forbidden] actions because of which these things were forbidden. Islam forbids the things that lead to haraam [forbidden] and regards them as being haraam [forbidden] too.

Not only was Grand Mufti Ibn Baz the highest religious authority in the country, but he is highly respected by the group and religious sect followed by Hebah Ahmed.  This is not to say that Hebah Ahmed necessarily agrees with every view espoused by Ibn Baz.  Yet, it is clearly incorrect to say that this is not a religious issue at all!

It is very much a religious issue: the debate is between a more tolerant Islamic interpretation on the one hand and ultra-conservative interpretation on the other hand.  In the specific case of women driving, the Saudis are alone in the Islamic world in forbidding it.  Clearly, we all should support the more tolerant view.

Hebah Ahmed also argues that this is a “cultural issue” and that Saudi women may have different views on it.  This is not merely a cultural issue: it is a basic issue of human, civil and women’s rights.  You are either on the side in support of an inherent right or you are defending a backward rule.  Whether or not some Saudi women may be on the latter side is irrelevant.  Ahmed argues that any movement must “come from within Saudi Arabia”, not forced onto it by the outside.  Yet, this is exactly the case here: it is Saudi women who are involved in the protest.

*  *  *  *  *

Yet, I share some of Hebah Ahmed’s discomfort with the idea of Hillary Clinton issuing a public statement on this issue.  This leads me to the question of: who has the right to speak out against the women driving ban in Saudi Arabia?

The United States has very little credibility in the Islamic and Arab world.  This is due to a policy of inconsistency, double standards, and hypocrisy in the region.  The U.S. has one standard for human and civil rights abuses in Iran and a completely different one for Israel.  One of the many pretexts for invading Iraq was that Saddam Hussein attacked, killed, and displaced Kurds in the late 1980′s.  When Israel attacks, kills, and displaces Palestinians, the U.S. not only doesn’t impose sanctions on Israel or attack it, but in fact continues to fund Israel and shield it from international criticism.

The examples of U.S. hypocrisy in the region are endless, and are well-known in the Islamic and Arab world.  Perhaps the greatest hypocrisy of all is that the United States posits itself as the defender of human rights in the world–often chastising other countries for their abuses in this regard–while at the same time the U.S. is involved in more wars of aggression and occupation than any other country in the world.

It is a fundamental human right to live, and the U.S. takes this right away from hundreds of thousands–if not millions–of people by dropping bombs on their heads.  In fact, the right to life is the most sacred and most important human right.  The United States lost its human rights credibility when it embarked on a path of Endless War–of military occupation and world domination.

Those involved in or those who defend the taking away of the most fundamental of human rights from thousands or millions of people have absolutely no right to speak about human rights in another country.  This applies to Hillary Clinton, and it also applies to the right-wing elements who support Endless War on the one hand and criticize other countries for their human and civil rights abuses on the other hand.

So, who then has the right to speak out against the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia and other such human and civil rights abuses in the world?  Surely, it is those few, lone voices who speak the truth no matter who it is for or against.  Throughout history and in every nation have there been such truth-seekers, those who refuse to become ideologues or propagandists.  These are people like Glenn Greenwald, who will hold his own government accountable for what it does wrong, even holding a Democratic president’s feet to the fire.  These are people who are not beholden to governmental power, or to national or religious affiliation or affinity.  They are beholden to nothing but the truth.

The holy book of the Muslims, the Quran, well describes the maxim followed by such people:

Stand up firmly for justice, as witnesses before God, even if it be against your own selves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor. (Quran, 4:135)

When American officials and pundits can only see what is wrong with others, especially their perceived enemies–while simultaneously ignoring the same in themselves and their allies–this is not standing up for justice.  Neither is it standing up for justice when certain conservative Muslims see everything wrong with the United States and Israel but ignore the wrongs committed by a regime that follows their particular interpretation of Islam.

Yet, neutral observers who consistently oppose injustice–those who “stand up firmly for justice…even if it be against [their] own selves…or [their] kin”–have every right to speak out against the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia.  Such truth-seekers and upholders of justice–whether they be inside of or outside of Saudi Arabia–should condemn the Saudi government (and the clerical establishment that provides religious justification) for forbidding women from such a basic human right.

*  *  *  *  *

Because Saudi Women for Driving itself requested Hillary Clinton to issue a public statement, it is of course reasonable that she did.  Yet, the hypocrisy of America criticizing others for human rights abuses while simultaneously being one of the worst offenders should not be lost.

It should also be noted that U.S. concerns over women’s rights in the Islamic world will quite naturally (and correctly) be seen as “colonial feminism.”  The U.S. does, after all, have a long history of using the excuse of human rights to justify its wars of aggression, occupation, and domination.  This is the white elephant in the room and no matter how unjust, discriminatory, and oppressive these Muslim regimes are, nothing will allow the United States to have a moral superiority over them until these wars of aggression–“the supreme international crime”–are brought to an end.

We should not let ourselves be cowered into defending injustice due to false claims of “patriotism” nor should Muslims do so based on a sense of religious “brotherhood.”  To the latter aspect, Muhammad–the Islamic prophet–specifically commanded Muslims to “help your brother [even if] he is an oppressor…by preventing him from oppressing others” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol.3, Book 43, #624).

We ought not be silent on U.S. crimes because we have been browbeaten with the need to be “patriotic,” nor should Muslims or people of any other religion have another separate standard for their own “Ummah.”  Justice has one standard which should be applied to all, irrespective of nationality or religion.

Being vocal when crimes are committed by one’s opponents while silent when the same is done by oneself or by one’s allies or ideological group is not justice; it is nothing but ideologue-driven political opportunism.

Spencer’s Hypocrisy With Election Violence

Posted in Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2011 by loonwatch

Spencer’s Hypocrisy With Election Violence

Robert Spencer, or “Police Blotter Bobby” as we have come to know him here, is completely hypocritical when it comes to Muslims and violence. His “IIT,” or “Islamophobe in Training,” Marisol blogged about theviolence in Northern Nigeria in the wake of the victory of the Christian candidate Goodluck Jonathan. Mr. Jonathan said that the violence was “not a spontaneous reaction,” and “I don’t want to accuse anybody but we believe that people must be behind this.” That can mean anything.

Marisol, however, translated that statement into this conclusion:

[…]

the inclination toward violence was already there, waiting for another excuse to make a show of force and abuse non-Muslims. And as with those “protests,” we have seen that even the flimsiest of pretexts will do. If it is not one excusedu jour, it might be the next day’s “provocation” or “humiliation.”

These incidents would not happen — and would not keep happening — if not for an able and willing populace, and pre-existing hatred and intolerance of non-Muslims.

Here, of course, there is another angle. It is quite reasonable for President Jonathan to surmise that many Muslims in the north were poised and ready to let loose once the votes were counted. The election results show the Muslim candidate didn’t stand a chance, but that didn’t matter: if the Muslims could win the election, Islamic law could advance that way. If they lost, they would attempt to advance Islamic law the old fashioned way, demanding concessions through violence and threats.

Complete nonsense and betrayal of the facts on the ground. According to an analysis on the very same BBC article Marisol cited, which was not in the post, said this:

Both the winner of Nigeria’s election, Goodluck Jonathan, and his main rival, Muhammadu Buhari, have called for calm following the post-poll riots in the north. But the tensions cannot be plastered over.

Most of those behind the rioting have been unemployed young men – uneducated and deprived. Often they are only remembered by politicians at elections, when they are sometimes paid to do their bidding. They could send any conflict out of control, because it provides them with an opportunity to loot and attack the people they perceive as their enemies.

Irrespective of political party and region, 12 years of civilian rule have brought little change to the lives of Nigerians. But the north is far behind the south in terms of development, education and the availability of economic opportunities. Good governance, not political platitudes from the elite, is what many say is needed for the future.

Nothing about Islam, violence, Islamic law, Sharia, etc. But, of course, the “scholars” at JihadWatch will never tell you this.

What’s more, they were completely silent about the election violence in nearby Ivory Coast. For over four months, violence has raged in that African nation after Alassane Ouattara defeated incumbent Laurent Gbagbo. But, Gbagbo refused to step down, and as a result, thousands were killed and millions displaced.

But, since this has nothing to do with Islam, they don’t seem to care at all. Can you really take Spencer seriously?

Shameless Political Exploitation, Academic Hypocrisy at Front Page Magazine

Posted in Feature, Loon People, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2011 by loonwatch

Just because a person has a PhD in one field does not make them an authority in another field. For example, a person with their PhD in Chemistry does not make them an authority in Physics, even if they know a lot about Physics. This is because academia has a system of checks and balances through peer-reviewed scholarship that makes sure the university or organization is presenting the most authentic information possible. In our case, many anti-Muslim loons come from a variety of academic fields but they cannot speak with authority on issues involving Islam and Muslims. Simply, they do not possess the requisite knowledge.

For our latest example, observe Jamie Glazov, the editor of Front Page Magazine (part of the same Horowitz-Spencer closed information system). He boasts of his “PhD in History with a specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy.” He must really know what he is talking about when it comes to Muslims, right? But is he fluent in any classical Islamic language: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu? Is he proficient in at least two or three of them, as required by many Islamic studies departments in the United States? Is he proficient enough in a European research language (French, German) to be able to consult what prior scholars of Islamic studies have said? From the look of his daily Muslim-bashing, the answer is no.

Recently, Glazov exploited the tragedy of an Iraqi woman, Noor Almaleki, to use the generic Islamic villain as a stick to bash the Democrats:

The honor killing trial begins in Phoenix today (Monday, Jan.24) of Faleh Hassan Almaleki, an Iraqi Muslim immigrant who killed his 20-year-old daughter, Noor Almaleki, on October 20, 2009, because she had become too Westernized…

After killing his daughter, Almaleki himself boasted that he had to take Noor’s lifebecause she had dishonored his family by her “Western” behavior. Evidence reveals that Almaleki had tried to impose strict Islamic codes on Noor and that he had attempted to force her into an arranged marriage when she was 17…

Almaleki was trained from birth to see the world through the lens of Islamic misogyny, where women are the property of men. Under the vicious and sadistic system of Islamic gender apartheid, women’s autonomy must be suffocated on all levels.

First, notice from the outset that Mr. Glazov makes no distinction between different interpretations of Islam; between the extremist acts of a single individual and what many mainstream Muslim scholars, leaders, and institutions have said on the issue of honor killings, specifically Muslim women scholars, specifically in Iraq.

Second, Glazov forgets to remind his readers that the citizens of Iraq are not living under normal conditions like most people. Perhaps he forgot about the ongoing Iraq War, the military occupation, and, among other things, the chaos unleashed by private military contractors. Glazov wants you to think that Iraqis are living normal, comfortable lives; therefore, their erratic behavior, such as this case, can only be explained by Islamic teachings,  rather than the complex reality-based mix of social, economic, cultural, and historical factors (studied by sociologists) which shed light on why people do things. Glazov would rather just explain this tragedy as just another manifestation of the monolithic Islamic “monster” (his expression, not mine).

Third, to suggest that women are viewed as “the property of men” is just a flagrant canard. It belies what the Quran clearly states:

The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise. [Quran 9:71]

O you who believe, it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dower ye have given them, except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them it may be that you dislike a thing, and Allah brings through it a great deal of good. [Quran 4:19]

It further ignores an objective history of early and contemporary Islam. Again, I am curious to see how he explains the fact that a Muslim country like Pakistan, allegedly under “Islamic gender apartheid,” has twice elected a woman Prime Minister.

Fourth, the fact that he “had attempted to force her into an arranged marriage” is a violation of a basic tenet of Islamic jurisprudence on marriage. As recorded in the Prophet’s traditions:

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “A matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her, and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission.”

[Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7 Book 62 Number 67]

If he really wanted to force her into marriage, then this is strong evidence that the man was acting against Islamic teachings, not in accord with them. But remember Spencer’s Islamophobic indoctrination principle: whenever a Muslim does something evil, that is true Islam; but when Muslims speak out against evil, they are acting against Islam.

Glazov is following Spencer’s manual to the letter, and then it starts really going downhill:

It is in the Left’s interest that the murders of thousands of innocent Muslim girls like Noor, Aqsa and the Said girls, and the monstrous Islamic ideology that engendered such murders, are pushed into invisibility. For the Left, it is crucial that historical amnesia is imposed on these uncomfortable matters (i.e. the extermination of Muslim girls), for the truth about Islamic honor killing makes it difficult for the Left to pursue its top priority: waging war on capitalism and on its own host society. Indeed, if an adversarial culture and religion turns out to actually be evil, then we might have to admit that there is something good and superior about our own civilization and that it is worth defending. This notion is anathema and unfathomable to the Left — and it explains why leftist feminists like Naomi Wolf engage in a romance with the burqa.

This was the whole point in the first place: to attack the Left (i.e. Democrats). It is all part of the evil Left-Moozlim alliance. The Left is part of the murdering Islamic machine, we are told. The Left is waging war on everything you hold dear, we are warned. No nuance, qualification, specification, or clarification. It is simply Us vs. the Left (and Islam). So, really it’s all about dirty far-right politics as usual; demonizing the enemy, don’t give them an inch.

After examining Glazov’s article in light of the facts, this can be taken as another example of Muslim-bashing with a false academic veneer. We have already seen how fake scholar Robert Spencer, whose masters degree is in early Christianty, makes him in no way an authority on Islam. He cannot stand up to peer-reviewed scholarship (i.e. for his anti-Muslim theories to actually be scrutinized by facts); even his own professor warns about him. Similarly, Glazov’s seemingly impressive credentials in no way validate anything he says. He does not speak the primary languages; it seems he has not even checked sources in English.

I find it offensive that Glazov exploits this tragedy for politics as usual. I have a very hard time believing Glazov really cares about Muslim women when he spends his days and nights bashing them for political gain. Today it is Noor Almaleki; tomorrow it will be the next anti-Muslim story (with Noor’s case all forgotten). I don’t buy it.

Nevertheless, what should we expect from someone who thinks “just nuke ‘em” Pamela Geller is a “modern-day freedom fighter”?

 

Robert Spencer Opposes Egyptian Democracy, Smears Obama

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2011 by loonwatch

Robert Spencer cannot stand that democracy is at the doorstep of the Arab world. In his latest hit piece, Spencer follows the lead of Frank Gaffney’s paranoid fearmongering by greatly exaggeratingthe role of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest Islamist organization:

Game over: Barack Obama has endorsed a role for the Muslim Brotherhood in a new, post-Mubarak government for Egypt.

Game over! The end is neigh! The sky is falling! Why? Because President Obama’s spokesperson Robert Gibbs said that a post-Mubarak Egyptian ruling group “has to include a whole host of important non-secular actors that give Egypt a strong chance to continue to be [a] stable and reliable partner.” In other words, the Obama administration would no longer like to continue the undemocratic policies of Hosni Mubarak that outlawed peaceful democratic opposition to his pro-torture regime.

This is the nature of democracy. Everyone should be allowed to participate peacefully in a free and fair election, even candidates or parties we disagree with. For the record, the Muslim Brotherhood has officially and consistently renounced terrorism and embraced democracy. However, Islamophobes like Spencer have always been very selective and self-serving in their advocacy of freedom.

Nevertheless, Mohamed Elbaradei, the noble-prize winning nuclear watchdog and a possible key leader in the new interim government, completely rejects the arguments of those who exploit fears of the Brotherhood to stifle Egyptian democracy:

ElBaradei himself says he is willing to work with the Muslim Brotherhood, denying that they want to replicate Khomeini’s Iran.

“The Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with the Iranian model, has nothing to do with extremism as we have seen it in Afghanistan and other places. The Muslim Brotherhood is a religiously conservative group. They are a minority in Egypt,” he told CNN.

“I have been reaching out to them. We need to include them. They are part of the Egyptian society, as much as the Marxist party here,” he said.

He rejected the idea that Islamic fundamentalists are set to undermine Egypt.

“This is a myth that was sold by the Mubarak regime — that it’s either us, the ruthless dictators, or… the al Qaeda types,” he said.

In reality, Obama is simply putting America’s democratic rhetoric into practice. The Muslim Brotherhood has a right to peacefully participate in Egypt’s new political landscape, even if you strongly disagree with their platform. Let the voters decide. That’s democracy!

However, even if the Brotherhood is the “prototypical Islamic supremacist, pro-Sharia group of the modern age,” rather than a conservative religious group, as Spencer claims, the reality is that the organization is simply too weak to overtake the secular opposition.

Analyst Abulhimal is convinced Egyptians would not let the Muslim Brotherhood seize power — not least because the military would stand in its way.

“Neither the people nor the secular leaders would allow the Muslim Brotherhood to take it, and more importantly the army would never allow the Muslim Brotherhood to take it,” he said. “If the army said, ‘We would support the people in the street and we would have a deal with President Mubarak to have an orderly transition,’ as the Americans said yesterday — this would definitely not include the Muslim Brotherhood.”

A similar sentiment is repeated in Justin Elliot’s excellent interview at Salon with Nathan Brown, a political science professor at George Washington University and director of its Institute for Middle East Studies:

We’ve got a big headache in Egypt. The regime in its current form is toast. Our regional policy has been based on a very close working relationship with the Egyptian government since 1974, so we’ve got fundamental rethinking to do. The Brotherhood is part of that headache. It’s not the biggest part. Is there cause for concern? Yes. Is there cause for fearful reaction? Absolutely not.

So, on both theoretical and practical grounds, Spencer has misrepresented the Islamist Brotherhood boogeyman to quietly push for the dictator’s victory in Egypt. Anshel Pfeffer of Haaretz calls it like it is:

The late Arab-American scholar Edward Said appears to have been right. We’re all suffering from Orientalism, not to say racism, if the sight of an entire people throwing off the yoke of tyranny and courageously demanding free elections fills us with fear rather than uplifting us, just because they’re Arabs…

People are scaring us with talk of an Islamist takeover of our big neighbor. The Muslim Brotherhood will certainly play an important role in any political democratic structure that emerges in Egypt, and that has to be dealt with. But then, we also have religious fundamentalists in the [Israeli] government. That is the price of a parliamentary democracy. And the previous U.S. administration was intimately linked to fundamentalists, but that’s okay too, because evangelical Christians love Israel.

Of course, Spencer’s double standards concerning democracy and the presence of fundamentalists in government abound (Jewish/Christian fundamentalists good, Muslim fundamentalists bad). What about the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel? This is a legitimate concern, but it appears the worst case scenario is avoidable. Pfeffer continues:

Hundred of Egyptians who were asked about that [peace treaty] this week on the streets of Cairo said that they support continued diplomatic relations between Israel and Egypt. Even among supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, it was difficult to find someone calling for the Israeli Embassy to get out of the country, though there were a few.

It is clear that democracy is on the march in Egypt and the Arab world, despite armies of fake democrats like Spencer who feed us specious arguments about why unelected dictators who torture are better for America’s security than a free and fair Egypt. Ultimately, whatever happens will determine what the future holds not only for Egypt, but for America and the world.

At this moment America has an important decision. As Dr. Maher Hathout expressed it in the L.A. Times:

The United States today has a clear choice. It can stand with the people or with the dictator.