Monthly Archives: October 2010

Abu Mubarak: Fear Paralyzes U.S. Muslim ‘Leaders’

السبت، أغسطس 07، 2010

Fear Paralyzes U.S. Muslim ‘Leaders’

Fear Paralyzes U.S. Muslim ‘Leaders’

by Enver Masud

“…the “war on terror”, and the search for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, have brought the U.S. economy to the brink of collapse, and has caused a massive shift of wealth from poor and middle-class Americans to the wealthiest few.”

Following the events of September 11, 2001, Muslims in the U.S. had reason to fear the U.S. government. Nine years on, the failure of Muslim leaders to make a concerted, united effort to expose the false account of 9/11 put forth by the U.S. government is inexcusable.
Earlier this year, the Guardian (UK) reported:

in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 the US government undertook the “preventative detention” of about 5,000 men on the basis of their birthplace and later sought a further 19,000 “voluntary interviews”. Over the next year, more than 170,000 men from 24 predominantly Muslim countries and North Korea were fingerprinted and interviewed in a programme of “special registration”. None of these produced a single terrorism conviction.

Muslims were hauled away by the government to places unknown. They were not informed of the charges against them, had no idea when they would be released, and were not given access to lawyers. Several Muslim charities were raided, their offices shut down, and officers imprisoned.
The Orwellian named Patriot Act had destroyed habeas corpus. U.S. District Judge John Gleeson had “ruled that it is constitutionally permissible to round up foreign nationals on immigration charges based solely on their race, religion or country of origin. What’s more, he said they can be detained indefinitely, even after they have agreed to be removed to their home countries” wrote David Cole, law professor at Georgetown University.
While the George W. Bush administration was rounding up Muslims, and launching attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, Jews and Christians spoke out against associating Islam with 9/11.
Since then, while evidence against the official account of 9/11 has grown, so have attacks on Muslims and Islam.
Anti-Muslim bigots and political opportunists have rallied around opposition to the Islamic Center planned near Ground Zero — the site of the World Trade Center attacks.
Former Republican candidate for vice president Sarah Palin, candidates for 2010 elections, right-wing news media, and the Anti-defamation League (ADL) have jumped on the bandwagon.
Mosques are being vandalized, and the construction of new mosques opposed.
So why aren’t Muslim “leaders” using their trump card — the false account of 9/11, to fight back?
If Muslim “leaders” were to fight back by denouncing the official account of 9/11 as patently false, they would find many Americans supporting their effort.
The number of Americans who do not believe the official account of 9/11 is increasing
Nine years on, there’s overwhelming evidence that the official account of 9/11 is false, and a significant number of Americans do not believe “The 9/11 Commission Report”.
These include 220 senior military, intelligence, law enforcement, and government personnel; 1200 architects and engineers; 250 pilots and aviation personnel; 400 professors; 300 survivors of 9/11; firefighters, and their numbers keep increasing.
“A poll taken by World Public Opinion, a collaborative project of research centers in various countries managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, College Park, polled 16,063 people in 17 nations outside of the United States during the summer of 2008. They found that majorities in only 9 of the 17 countries believe Al Qaeda carried out the attacks.”
In November 2007 Scripps Howard survey found that 32% believed it was “very likely”, and 30% believed that it was “somewhat likely” that “some people in the federal government had specific warnings of the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, but chose to ignore those warnings.”
On August 30, 2004, Zogby International, an independent U.S. polling company, reported half (49.3%) of New York City residents and 41% of New York citizens overall say that some of our leaders “knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act,” according to the poll conducted by Zogby International.
On May 24, 2006, Zogby reported that 42% believe “believe the government and 9/11 Commission are covering up”, and 44% “believe President Bush exploited the 9/11 attacks (44%) or justified an attack on Iraq (44%). 43% were “not aware of World Trade Center Building 7’s collapse”, and 45% believe the “government should reinvestigate the attacks”.
There are dozens of books exposing the false account of 9/11 — books by Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Theology, David Ray Griffin, are highly recommended to those who have the patience to digest the wealth of information he makes available.
Easier to digest is the 80-page “9/11 Unveiled” which is a free download — for sources, photos, videos, referred to in “9/11 Unveiled” go to The Wisdom Fund website.
Paralyzed by fear, Muslim ‘leaders’ silent on 9/11
Despite the widespread skepticism voiced by non-Muslims, Muslim “leaders” remain silent about 9/11. They refuse even to examine the facts about 9/11, and silence discussion of those facts by members of their organization.
Their silence implies agreement with the official account of 9/11 — now thoroughly debunked by engineers, architects, pilots, and others.
These silent Muslim “leaders” include officials of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) — the organizations most often cited by establishment news media.
As far as we know, no Muslim “leader” who came with the Obama administration, or who has been funded by the Obama administration, or whose articles appear in establishment newspapers such as the Washington Post, has criticized the official account of 9/11.
Interfaith organizations in which Muslims participate have remained silent — the truth about 9/11 would drastically change the tone and substance of their dialogue.
There are, however, exceptions. Kevin Barrett’s radio shows host outspoken critics of the official account of 9/11. Several African-American, Muslim leaders have criticized the official account.
In stark contrast with U.S. Muslim “leaders”, Muslims in South Africa invited me on a 3-week, 9/11 lecture tour where they arranged radio interviews, a television interview broadcast to 20 plus countries, and for me to speak to audiences of hundreds daily in 11 cities in South Africa, and in two cities in Malawi.
A similar effort by U.S. Muslim organizations in support of the “9/11 truth” movement may have quashed, or at least diminished, the anti-Islam hysteria prevalent today.
Ground Zero Islamic Center controversy — a unique opportunity lost
The controversy over the $100 million Islamic Center being developed by the Cordoba Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement near “Ground Zero” in New York — now called Park51 — is a unique opportunity for Muslims to speak out on 9/11.
However, despite the repeated use of 9/11 by opponents of the Islamic Center, proponents of the Islamic Center have failed to point that there’s hard evidence to refute the official account — 19 Arab hijackers led by Osama bin Laden did not carry out the attacks of 9/11.
The evidence against Bin Laden and al-Qaeda promised by then Secretary of State Colin Powell on NBC’s Meet the Press, September 23, 2001, has yet to be made available to the public. The Osama bin Laden poster at the FBI website, does not claim that bin Laden was responsible for 9/11.
The Cordoba Initiative (founded 2004) last filed an IRS Form 990 in 2008 showing revenues $0, expenses $2767, and net assets of $18,255. The American Society for Muslim Advancement (founded 1998) has apparently never filed an IRS Form 990.
Officials of the Cordoba Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement will need millions in donations to build the center. Their position on 9/11 will most likely reflect the position of their donors.
ADAMS Center officials say they ‘cannot legally provide a platform’ for discussion of 9/11
The Washington DC area is home to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS); its influence extends well outside the area.
A recent exchange of emails with officials at ADAMS is an example of the pervasive fear among Muslim “leaders” to speak out, or even be seen to provide a platform for others who speak out against the official account of 9/11.
Excerpts from the first email exchange:

EM: But isn’t it also our duty to stand for truth and justice even when it may involve some personal risk? Unfortunately, when it comes to the biggest issue of our time (9/11), it appears that Muslim “leaders” are unwilling to speak out. They are unwilling to even discuss the facts with fellow Muslims.
ADAMS: …the time and place to discuss 9/11 is through political dialogues like these. While Virginia Delegates have little impact on U.S. national policy, they are responsible for legislation and regulation in Virginia that can and will affect our community… If you see our duty as being involved in these issues, why are you not signing up to attend this event?

Excerpts from the second email exchange:

EM: I’ve been trying to get ADAMS to discuss 9/11 for quite some time, and keep hitting a brick wall. I believe that the official account of 9/11 is false. I’ve been told that ADAMS does not permit political discussion, and I have stopped using the ADAMS list to try to express my views on the subject.
ADAMS: Thank you for clarifying what you meant… As a 501(c)(3) organization, ADAMS can organize or implement only those kind of political discussions that are non-partisan,…programs that are patently partisan would violate our legal status. Your message makes clear your strong partisan views about 9/11. It is your right to hold and promote such views. But all religious organizations are legally obliged to remain non-partisan, and to mount political outreach events only for the education of our community…. ADAMS therefore cannot legally provide a platform to promote personal and politicized views.

Excerpts from the third email exchange:

EM: I believe ADAMS misunderstands the role of 501(c)(3) corporations. Non-partisan means not supporting a particular candidate. A 501(c)(3) corporation may hold and expound views on any issue. The Wisdom Fund is a 501(c)(3) corporation, established in 1995, . . . as examples of public expression: (1) our quarter page advertisement in the Obama inaugural issue of the Washington Times — (bottom right), enlarged; (2) letter to the president, attorney general, etc. How can ADAMS claim to lead, and not take a position on the biggest issue of this decade — 9/11?
ADAMS: I have tried to rationally explain our position; it is clear you are not open to any position but your own. I have greeted you as a brother but your responses make clear you do not reciprocate that approach. I pray that Allah (SWT) will bless and guide you to the right path, and grant you Wisdom. Please do not respond to this e-mail. I will delete any further messages from you unread.

To summarize, ADAMS invited me to attend their dialogue with “Virginia Delegates” scheduled for July 28, then they claimed that they could not “legally provide a platform” for my views on 9/11. When I informed them that a 501(c)(3) corporation may legally voice its views — it may not support a candidate for office, ADAMS terminated the discussion.
ADAMS is not alone in shying away from 9/11.
Mosques across America have similar policies. Several invitations that I received to talk on 9/11 were cancelled after they were issued and accepted — including two attended by high-ranking officials and imams from majority Muslim countries.
America’s foreign policy establishment created the Islamic threat to advance its interests
On August 27, 1992, Leon T. Hadar, a former bureau chief for the Jerusalem Post, and an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute, wrote in “The ‘Green Peril’: Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist Threat”:

Now that the Cold War is becoming a memory, America’s foreign policy establishment has begun searching for new enemies…. Topping the list of potential new global bogeymen, however, are the Yellow Peril, the alleged threat to American economic security emanating from East Asia, and the so-called Green Peril (green is the color of Islam)….
George Will even suggested that the 1,000-year battle between Christendom and Islam might be breaking out…
Indeed, “a new specter is haunting America, one that some Americans consider more sinister than Marxism-Leninism,” according to Douglas E. Streusand….
“Islamic fundamentalism is an aggressive revolutionary movement as militant and violent as the Bolshevik, Fascist, and Nazi movements of the past,” according to Amos Perlmutter.

In 1997, former National Security Advisor to President Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, wrote in “The Grand Chessboard”:

A power that dominates Eurasia [the territory east of Germany and Poland, stretching all the way through Russia and China to the Pacific Ocean — including the Middle East and most of the Indian subcontinent] would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent. About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 per cent of the world’s GNP and about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.

The key to controlling Eurasia, said Brzezinski, is controlling the Central Asian Republics.
In the September 2000 report, Rebuilding America’s Defenses, the neocon funded Project for the New American Century (PNAC) stated:

America’s global leadership, and its role as the guarantor of the current great-power peace, relies upon the safety of the American homeland; the preservation of a favorable balance of power in Europe, the Middle East and surrounding energy producing region, and East Asia…
A transformation strategy that solely pursued capabilities for projecting force from the United States, for example, and sacrificed forward basing and presence, would be at odds with larger American policy goals and would trouble American allies.
Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor.

9/11, many now believe, was the new Pearl Harbor, the pretext for the U.S. “war on terror”, a cover for advancing perceived American interests.
In fact the “war on terror”, and the search for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, have brought the U.S. economy to the brink of collapse, and has caused a massive shift of wealth from poor and middle-class Americans to the wealthiest few.
The silence of Muslim ‘leaders’ is inexcusable, risks driving some to violence
The 9/11 Commission investigation (November 27, 2002 — August 21, 2004) was flawed from the outset. It was set up despite strong resistance from the White House.
By March 2003, with the commission’s staff barely in place, two men (Philip Zelikow, Executive Director, The 9/11 Commission, and Ernest R. May, a Harvard historian) had prepared a detailed outline, complete with “chapter headings, subheadings, and sub-subheadings” of the final report according to New York Times reporter Philip Shenon.
Zelikow served on the National Security Council under George H. W. Bush, on the George W. Bush transition team, and President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. He coauthored a book with President Bush’s National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice.
Zelikow controlled the 9/11 Commission’s access to witnesses. Testimony that did not support the official account was excluded from “The 9/11 Commission Report”.
For American Muslims, whose faith commands them to strive for social justice — “the first pillar of Islam“, and to “seek knowledge even unto China”, blind acceptance of the official account of 9/11 is deplorable.
For Muslim “leaders”, blind acceptance of the official account of 9/11, and their failure to denounce it, is inexcusable.
The renowned Indian, poet-philosopher Allama Iqbal (1877-1938), in his famous Shikwa & Jawab-i-Shikwa (Man’s Complaint and God’s Answer), wrote (translated from Urdu by Indian journalist-author Khushwant Singh):

With reason as your shield and
the sword of love in your hand,
Servant of God!
the leadership of the world
is at your command.

Excluding opposing views risks driving some to express themselves in a more violent manner.

Source:
by courtesy & © 2010 Enver Masud

Is America a Christian Country? If Jesus came back today……

I hear constantly how “christian” the USA is. It was founded on christian values.  Christians made it what it is. Yada Yada Yada.

But in my conversations and listenings to Americans talk, If Jesus were to return and walk the streets of America, and speak to Americans and even run for office.  Half the country would call him a “socialist sand nigger” and the other half would call him a “homophobe trying to force religion down people’s throats”.

 

Killings: Black on Black, Pak on Pak or whoever else

Many of us have seen the videos of the Pakistani Army shooting the six kids, or of the Pakistani Army beating the old people or of the Pakistani Army beating some more old people to death.

And virtually all of us have seen and heard of Black on Black crime, whether thru videos, news reports, songs, movies, or just living life.  This black on black crime is infamous and pathetic.

But what astounds me more than these actual crimes, is the different responses we have from them.

If a white person were to travel into a black neighborhood and kill hundreds of black men on an annual basis, there would be a huge outcry.  There would be Congressional investigations, all types of seminars, and most of all, the black community would be outraged.

If the USA military were to have shot six kids, beat old people and beat old people to death, there would be mayhem in the streets of the muslim world.

Why? My guess is that we expect white folks to act civilized. Cultured.  Better than others.  So when they do something, its bad.  But………..and this is a big BUT, But when we do it to ourselves, we care less. The world cares less.

Whether it is the slaughter in Rwanda, the streets of New York, or hidden valleys in Swat.  People expect non-whites to act barbaric with each other, yet if white folks did the exact same thing, we would be up in arms.

My point? We need to expect more from ourselves, and leave off this colonial mindset that the only lives that have meaning are those of Europeans and the only crimes that are really crimes, are when Europeans do them.

It seems to be a sad reality.

Polygyny or Bi-Sexual? Which is more American?

Within the past few days, my family has experienced a rather comical series of events.  Comical, not in the laughter sort of way, because there is little to laugh at these days.  Muslims are suffering, dying, being tortured, imprisoned, etc.  While the Ummah looks on apathetically.

This comical is similar to when Abraham’s wife, Sarah, heard the angels say they were about to punish the people of Lut, and she laughed.

In the USA, today, polygyny (man having more than one wife) is illegal.  However, teenagers go to school and tell each other how they are bisexual.

Yet, if a man marries more than one woman, and treats them both with love and caring, and raises children, and teaches them morality. He is a criminal and treated with disdain.

This is the same society that will accept a woman wearing little or no clothing. Yet mocks a woman who covers in the manner that Mary, the mother of Jesus (whom they claim to respect).

In summary; a woman covering in a manner that women have been covering for thousands of years is mocked.  A polygynous marriage, as has been the way of mankind for thousands of years.  both of these are now rebuked in society.  Yet a young girl wearing little or no clothing and bragging about how she has sex with both men and women is accepted and protected. (as is pornography)

Is there something wrong with the direction that modern-day society is going?

Muslim Brother on the “No-Fly” List

Today, I was speaking to a brother who found out he was on the infamous “no-fly” list issued by the USA.  I want to share with you what I learned.

Firstly, the brother travels a lot, and happened to raise the ire of the Beast. (ie Uncle Sam, FBI, Homeland Security, CIA, etc) and though the brother has not done anything wrong, nor has he been accused of doing anything wrong, his travels warranted the Beast to put him on the No-Fly List.

He cannot leave the country (USA).  He cannot even travel from NY to Atlanta, Georgia, because he has been deemed a threat to American security.

No trial. No charges. No evidence. Not even an accusation.  Not even a strong suspicion.  His name has been placed there and there is nothing he can do to have it removed.  He can only wait until some person decides to remove it.

He is basically a prisoner in the USA.

Another example of how the “rights” of muslims are non-existent in the USA today.  The Beast does as he pleases.  He bombs muslim countries. He kills muslim men, women and children.  He rapes and plunders.  Yet, he stands in front of the world as the leader of freedom, democracy and the civilized world.

A word to the muslim.  There is nothing in this dunya for you.  And if you thought there was something, the USA (and shaytan) are showing you that this dunya is not for you, unless you are willing to completely give up your Islam and not care about the affairs of this ummah.

As long as you restrict your Islam to praying, fasting, and talking about how peaceful Islam is, then the Beast will allow you to be Muslim. But as soon as you try to LIVE like a muslim, and speak as a muslim and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, the Beast will aim for you.

Yet, fear not.  Allah is still in charge

“It doesn’t look like America anymore”

This statement, “It doesn’t look like America anymore” was said today by a white guy, when describing his place of employment.

People ask me why I focus on race so much in America, and this is a perfect example of how much race plays in American life.  I didn’t choose the cards I have been dealt, but I try to play them as wisely as possible.

Back to the story; What is behind this statement?  Well, as anyone can tell since the last 20-25 years, there has been a resurgence of “gringoism” in the USA.  Since Ronald Reagan and the “Silent Majority” days, white folks in the USA have gone from the defensive (for about 5 years) to a major offensive.  They have regained their sense of patriotism (watch out) and are now “bringing America back” to its roots.

As one country song so eloquently put it, she is “proud of being a redneck”. So, emerges the likes of Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Oliver North, etc, all leaders of the right-wing conservative movement to bring America back to its roots.

As imaginary as these roots may be, they consist of the “original constitution”, freedom, liberty, democracy, and the “good ol’ days”.

These left-wing liberal democrats are destroying America with its loose immigration policies and letting those Mexicans in by the droves.

Well, I had to tell this guy today, as I am reminding all of you reading this, an influx of Mexicans IS AMERICA.  Mexicans are not only Americans, but they are Native Americans.  Just because the USA drew some line along the Rio Grande does not exclude ties that the Northern Indians had with the Southern Indians……..all native americans.

What he should have said was that this doesn’t look like the White America that he was taught in school.  And that would have been correct. But by far, any Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cherokee, Sioux, Ecuadorian, Brazilian, etc are all Native Americans and their presence should not change what “America looks like”.

USA Drones Kill More Innocent Muslims Than Militants

Report slams Pakistan drone strikes
Study shows US drones are not accurate in targeting “terrorists” and more civilians killed than al-Qaeda.
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2010 07:43 GMT
US think tanks admit drone strikes are focused more on the war in Afghanistan than targeting al-Qaeda leaders [EPA]

New information on the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) campaign of drone strikes in northwest Pakistan directly contradicts the image the Barack Obama administration and the CIA have sought to establish in the news media of a programme based on highly accurate targeting that is effective in disrupting al-Qaeda’s terrorist plots against the United States.

A new report on civilian casualties in the war in Pakistan has revealed direct evidence that a house was targeted for a drone attack merely because it had been visited by a group of Taliban fighters.

The report came shortly after publication of the results of a survey of opinion within the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan showing overwhelming popular opposition to the drone strikes and majority support for suicide attacks on US forces under some circumstances.

Meanwhile, data on targeting of the drone strikes in Pakistan indicate that they have now become primarily an adjunct of the US war in Afghanistan, targeting almost entirely militant groups involved in the Afghan insurgency rather than al Qaeda officials involved in plotting global terrorism.

The new report published by the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) last week offers the first glimpse of the drone strikes based on actual interviews with civilian victims of the strikes.

In an interview with a researcher for CIVIC, a civilian victim of a drone strike in North Waziristan carried out during the Obama administration recounted how his home had been visited by Taliban fighters asking for lunch. He said he had agreed out of fear of refusing them.

The very next day, he recalled, the house was destroyed by a missile from a drone, killing his only son.

The CIVIC researcher, Christopher Rogers, investigated nine of the 139 drone strikes carried out since the beginning of 2009 and found that a total of 30 civilians had been killed in those strikes, including 14 women and children.

Hundreds of civilians killed

If that average rate of 3.33 civilian casualties for each drone bombing is typical of all the strikes since the rules for the strikes were loosened in early 2008, it would suggest that roughly 460 civilians have been killed in the drone campaign during that period.

The total number of deaths from the drone war in Pakistan since early 2008 is unknown, but has been estimated by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann of the New America Foundation at between 1,109 and 1,734.

Only 66 leading officials in al-Qaeda or other anti-US groups have been killed in the bombings. Reports on the bombings have listed the vast majority of the victims as “militants”, without further explanation.

The victim’s account of a drone attack based on the flimsiest rationale is consistent with the revelation in New York Times reporter David Sanger’s book “The Inheritance” that the CIA was given much greater freedom in early 2008 to hit targets that might well involve killing innocent civilians.

The original rationale of the drone campaign was to “decapitate” al-Qaeda by targeting a list of high-ranking al-Qaeda officials. The rules of engagement required firm evidence that there were no civilians at the location who would be killed by the strike.

But in January 2008 the CIA persuaded President George W. Bush to approve a set of “permissions” proposed by the CIA that same month which allowed the agency to target locations rather than identified al Qaeda leaders if those locations were linked to a “signature” – a pattern of behaviour on the part of al Qaeda officials that had been observed over time.

That meant the CIA could now bomb a motorcade or a house if it was believed to be linked to al-Qaeda, without identifying any particular individual target.

A high-ranking Bush administration national security official told Sanger that Bush later authorised even further widening of the power of the CIA’s operations directorate to make life or death decisions based on inferences rather than hard evidence. The official acknowledged that giving the CIA so much latitude was “risky”, because “you can make more mistakes – you can hit the wrong house, or misidentify the motorcade.”

CIA ‘intelligence’

The extraordinary power ceded to the CIA operations directorate under the programme provoked serious concerns in the intelligence community, according to one former intelligence official. It allowed that directorate to collect the intelligence on potential targets in the FATA, interpret its own intelligence and then make lethal decisions based on that interpretation – all without any outside check on the judgments it was making, even from CIA’s own directorate of intelligence.

Officials from other intelligence agencies have sought repeatedly to learn more about how the operations directorate was making targeting decisions but were rebuffed, according to the source.

Some national security officials, including mid-level officials involved in the drone programme itself, have warned in the past that the drone strikes have increased anti-Americanism and boosted recruitment for the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda. New support for that conclusion has now come from the results of a survey of opinion on the strikes in FATA published by the New American Foundation and Terror Free Tomorrow.

The survey shows that 76 percent of the 1,000 FATA residents surveyed oppose drone strikes and that nearly half of those surveyed believe they kill mostly civilians.

Sixty percent of those surveyed believed that suicide bombings against the US military are “often or sometimes justified”.

Meanwhile, data on the targeting of drone strikes make it clear that the programme, which the Obama administration and the CIA have justified as effective in disrupting al-Qaeda terrorism, is now focused on areas where Afghan and Pakistani militants are engaged in the war in Afghanistan.

Most al Qaeda leaders and the Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who has been closely allied with al Qaeda against the Pakistani government, have operated in South Waziristan.

North Waziristan is where the Haqqani network provides safe havens to Pashtun insurgents fighting U.S.-NATO troops in Afghanistan. It is also where Hafiz Gul Bahadur, leader of a Pakistani Taliban faction who has called for supporting the Afghan insurgency rather than jihad against the Pakistani government, operates.

In 2009, just over half the drone strikes were still carried out in South Waziristan. But in 2010, 90 per cent of the 86 drone strikes carried out thus far have been in North Waziristan, according to data collected by Bill Roggio and Alexander Mayer and published on the website of the Long War Journal, which supports the drone campaign.

The dramatic shift in targeting came after al Qaeda officials were reported to have fled from South Waziristan to Karachi and other major cities.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration was privately acknowledging that the war would be a failure unless the Pakistani military changed its policy of giving the Haqqani network a safe haven in North Waziristan.

When asked whether the drone campaign was now primarily about the war in Afghanistan rather than al-Qaeda terrorism, Peter Bergin of the New America Foundation’s Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative said, “I think that’s a reasonable conclusion.”

Bergin has defended the drone campaign in the past as “the only game in town” in combating terrorism by al Qaeda.

Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in US national security policy.This article first appeared on the Inter Press Service News Agency.

Source:
IPS

Understanding the “Secret” Prisons

Understanding the “Secret” Prisons

Understanding the “Secret” Prisons

We have heard the terms “black site” or “secret prison” many times over on the television, read on the internet or in newspapers, however it is said with an almost casual demeanour and regularity nowadays that it appears almost as a footnote. For examples, see the Guardian article dated 26th September which states “Before the sentencing, Siddiqui repeated her claim that she had been abducted and held at a “secret prison” for several years.” Similarly, a BBC news article regarding Binyam Mohammed published in 2009 : “He was first held in Pakistan in 2002 – and then taken to secret prisons in Morocco and Afghanistan.” Of course, without context these statements are meaningless. It is the intention of the article to provide that context.

The first, obvious point, is that they are secret. This means no one knows ( or is not meant to know ) where (or is not meant to know where ) or what ( or not meant to know what ) happened. As such, its extremely hard to report on, and certainly that will be the excuse that the media will rely on, however there has been literally hundreds of pages of testimony received through letters, court depositions, human rights appendices and the like that means that it is impossible for us to ignore any longer, and we must endeavour to understand the perspective and context.

So if we picture the scene that we are hypothetically an Imam of a masjid, who is then grabbed from the streets on his way to prayers, bundled into a car and driven off at speed by men and women in balaclavas and sped off to an airforce base and flown to a site of torture. Only this is not hypothetical but instead relates to Abu Omar, an imam in Milan kidnapped by the CIA with the full knowledge of the Italian government. One cannot possibly imagine the terror that would be facing someone emotionally from such a kidnap, where one would be disoriented, unaware of the captors, and such like. Unfortunately, he was taken to the notorious Tura prison, just outside Cairo, and electrocuted, raped and other horrific inflictions against the person. What happened only Abu Omar knows, as well of course as his interrogators. He was finally released with no charges, and lost the hearing in his right ear as a result of this treatment. He was held for seven months in detention, and he states ; “The seven months passed like seven years. They told me I was in a place no living soul could ever find me. They told me that the Italians handed me to Egypt and no one from Italy would come to take me out of this living hell. They also ordered me to sign a document given up my political asylum in Italy.”

The case above is famous, however the case of Mohammed Shakir not so. He again was kidnapped whilst in Syria, and became a resident of a prison where it is believed Mustapha Nasr is now being held, “Palestine prison”. Mohammed Shakir was kidnapped from the streets of Damascus at the behest of the Italian government, who denied all knowledge of him. He describes his conditions “At Palestine Prison, The cell was very small, 1 meter 50 cm High, and 70cm Width. Theres no windows, covers or blankets. It’s a very old prison, and all the cells are underground. Nobody visited us here and no-one knew our news. In the whole time there, there was never a doctor. We used to pray all the time for Allah(swt) not to make us sick, because we did not have even any medication. Two brothers died from tuberculosis, one from Iraq and another from Syria. The food was so bad we could not even swallow it. The cells were so cold in Winter, Spring and Autumn because the cells were underground.” He also suffered incredible torture, undoubtedly at the behest of the Italian government.

Then there is Bagram, another site which we know the name but little of what happens there. This is where Aafia Siddiqui was held, and many of those who ended up in Guantanamo Bay. One statement of an inmate there, Ahmed Al-Darbi ,states :- “During about the first two weeks at Bagram, I was kept in complete isolation, and I did not even know I was in Afghanistan…. While I was questioned, I was kept for many hours in painful positions. For example, I would be forced to kneel with my hands cuffed above my head, often through the night, so that I was not allowed to sleep. This position caused very sharp pain in my knee-caps. If my hands began to fall or I tried to stretch to relieve the pain in my back while I knelt, the interrogators kicked me in the back… During these first two weeks, I hardly slept at all. I was purposely kept awake much of the time, and it seemed that every time I started to fall asleep, they would hit me to keep me awake. Also, during that period, I was not allowed to pray.”

To suffer treatment as this, which is only a small part, for any period of time would require immense physical strength and mental stamina. To survive conditions like these for years, as others have done, is a near-miracle. How many of those did not make it out those doors at Bagram, how many bodies are in the mountains of Afghanistan, dumped in the night by US captors? The nature of a secret prison free from accountability is that we will never know.

Of course the stories of Guantanamo have been documented, proven and truly horrendous, yet its becoming clear that the secret prisons are indeed the caverns of hell themselves, with Guantanamo the end of the road of this satanic map.

To expect those who have suffered these prisons for 5, 6, 8 years, as Adel ben Mabrouk, Aafia Siddiqui, Moez Fezzani have, to now have a fair trial and to take their testimony as evidence is to insult the justice system itself. How can anyone remain sane, form a defence, call witnesses, and argue in a coherent manner after the most inhumane torture afflicted on them beggars belief. However, this is what the USA would like you to believe through the conviction of Aafia Siddiqui, only ever seeing her captors for 6 years. Or what Italy want you to believe with Adel, Moez and Riadh Nassari, all of whom are in prison awaiting a trial when they should be the prosecutors for the crimes this war-on-terror has committed! How many more are in these secret prisons?

Its perhaps no secret that some of this has become public, in order to create an atmosphere of Orwellian subjugation. Only by standing up to this oppression can this be stopped. We can’t possibly imagine what these prisons are like, however to find the truth we must make those who committed these atrocities be accountable for their actions and never forget, as the detainees who suffered (and suffer) also will never forget. Until we see Rumsfield, Bush, Obama, Blair, Brown, Miliband, Berlusconi, Prodi, Mubarak, Assad, Zardari, Karzai, Musharraf and all the other criminals around the world in the dock, we must convey to those who listen the nightmare of the secret prisons.

Umar Abdullah, 10th October 2010

FBI Entrapment is Affecting Muslim Men Unfairly

FBI Entrapment is Affecting Muslim Men Unfairly(video of interview)

AMY GOODMAN: Prosecutors and defense attorneys made their final arguments this week in the trial of the Newburgh Four, a high-profile case that has made national headlines as a potent example of so-called homegrown terror. The four men from Newburgh, New York, are charged with plotting to bomb a synagogue and a Jewish community center in the Bronx. US Assistant Attorney David Raskin says the four are, quote, “criminally minded” people who, quote, “wanted to do something to America.” But the defense argued they were entrapped by government agents and not predisposed to commit a terrorist crime.

The case of the Newburgh Four bears many of the same characteristics of two other recent so-called homegrown terror cases involving Muslim men: the case of the Fort Dix Five, where five men from suburban New Jersey were convicted last year of conspiring to kill American soldiers at the Fort Dix Army base, and a case in Albany, New York, where a pizzeria owner and the imam of a local mosque were convicted of money laundering and conspiracy to support terrorism. In all three cases, Muslim men were arrested on terror charges. In all three cases, no terrorist crime was actually committed. In fact, no one was killed or injured. And all three cases rely heavily on hundreds of hours of surveillance secretly recorded by a paid government informant.

Well, Democracy Now!‘s Anjali Kamat and Big Noise Films’ Jacquie Soohan spent months tracking these three stories. Anjali Kamat files this report.

    KRISTINE JOHNSON: Motivated by hate and bent on killing their neighbors. 

    REPORTER: According to the FBI, this was a plot to blow up two synagogues and a community center, all in the Bronx.

    ANJALI KAMAT: On May 20th, 2009, four African American men from the city of Newburgh, New York, were arrested outside a synagogue in the Bronx. Known as the Newburgh Four, they made national headlines as stark examples of “homegrown terror.”

    REPORTER: Prosecutors describe the suspects as extremely violent men who embraced every opportunity for terrorism.

    ANJALI KAMAT: More than a year after their arrest, the Newburgh Four are now facing trial in Manhattan for conspiracy to use of weapons of mass destruction and anti-aircraft missiles. But the case has raised serious questions about the government’s role in creating and then foiling fake terror plots.

    REPORTER: The suspects were duped. The bombs and missile were fake, supplied by the FBI and NYPD.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Alicia McCollum is the aunt of David Williams, one of the Newburgh Four. Since his arrest, she has tried to mobilize support for her nephew. Taking the train to the first day of the trial in August, she is visibly upset.

    ALICIA McWILLIAMS-McCOLLUM: I was restless last night. I couldn’t even sleep. You know, it was just so much. You know, you think about the family and what you’re getting ready to go through, and it’s like this whole year of fighting for the case, and now it’s like finally happening and we’re going to trial. And just worried, you know, that the governemnt want to make a case so bad that my nephew can go away for life, so it’s just been like heavy on my mind last night. Very heavy.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Like the other members of the Newburgh Four, twenty-nine-year-old David Williams lived in the economically devastated city of Newburgh and had served prison time on drug charges and petty criminal offenses. All four men were converts to Islam, and one of them, Laguerre Payen, is a Haitian-born immigrant and a paranoid schizophrenic.

    Alicia says she was shocked when she heard that these four men were being called terrorists.

    ALICIA McWILLIAMS-McCOLLUM: Well, I got a call at 3:00, 2009, in May, 3:00 at night, and my sister said they kicked in Lissy house. I’m like, “Who kicked in Lissy house?”

    They was like, “The FBI.”

    I’m like, “The FBI? What are you talking about?”

    She was like, “David. It got something to do with David. It’s on the news.”

    So I turned the news, and I’m looking at Bronx 12. It kept saying “Bronx Terror.”

    NEWS ANCHOR: Federal agents moved in tonight and say their suspects are homegrown would-be terrorists.

    ALICIA McWILLIAMS-McCOLLUM: I was cursing my TV out. They kept showing David. They kept showing David, I’m like, “Oh, my god!” It was horrible. You know, I’m like, “Homeland Security? The FBI? Bloomberg?” We did not turn from the news.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Approaching the courthouse, Alicia, a devout christian, says a prayer.

    ALICIA McWILLIAMS-McCOLLUM: Keep your hands on me, Father. Guide me through these six weeks, Lord. Give me strength. Give me strength.

    ANJALI KAMAT: The Newburgh case is only one of several high-profile terrorism cases in the New York-New Jersey area. Less than a three-hour drive from Newburgh is the quiet suburb of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. In May of 2007, it was the center of an FBI raid.

    NEWS ANCHOR: Police arrested six men and charged them with planning to attack the Fort Dix Army base.

    REPORTER: Four of the six were of Albanian descent, and they’re suspected of being Islamic fundamentalists.

    GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: This is a new kind of terrorism. It is not only coming from outside the United States in, but it is also growing inside our own country.

    FBI SPECIAL AGENT J.P. WEISS: These homegrown terrorists can prove to be as dangerous as any known group, if not more so.

    BURIM DUKA: It all happened from when me and my brothers and a couple of friends, we went to a Poconos trip.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Burim Duka is the younger brother of three of the men convicted of conspiring to attack the nearby Fort Dix Army base. He explains that the FBI began following them after the family took their annual vacation to the Pocono mountains in northern Pennsylvania in 2006.

    BURIM DUKA: We were going to the Poconos once a year, around the beginning of the year, in wintertime. We would go either in January or February. For one week, we used to go.

    Smile for the camera.

    We went skiing. We were playing soccer in the snow. We were doing a lot of stuff. And then me and my brother, Eljvir Duka, we went to Circuit City. We wanted everyone to have copies of how much fun we had.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Burim Duka and his brother Eljvir had taken their home video to Circuit City to make DVDs. Included in the footage are scenes of the brothers and their friends firing guns in what they claim was simply target practice. As they shoot, the young men are heard to say, “Allahu Akbar,” an Arabic phrase that means “God is great.” When they’re not shooting, they just seem to be having fun, throwing snowballs and posing for the camera.

    BURIM DUKA: What’s happening, brother?

    BROTHER: What’s up, man? Allahu Akbar.

    ANJALI KAMAT: The clerk at Circuit City, however, decided to turn the video over to the local police.

    BURIM DUKA: That’s how the case all started, from the clerk at Circuit City. He turned it in to the police. The police turned it in to the FBI, and they started following us from then.

    ANJALI KAMAT: When the men were arrested in 2007, federal prosecutors said their trips to the Poconos, as well as a later excursion to play paintball, were all part of their training for jihad. They said the group was plotting to attack the Fort Dix Army base near their home. Two years later, five of the men on the Poconos trip, all in their twenties, were convicted of conspiring to kill American soldiers at Fort Dix.

    The Duka family are Albanians from the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. Ferik and Zurata Duka came to the United States in 1984 and lived in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, with their three sons, Dritan, Shain, and Eljvir. As their family grew larger, they moved to New Jersey, and the boys joined their father in his roofing and construction business. At the time of their arrest, Dritan and Eljvir Duka were married with six children. Now, with three of the brothers in solitary confinement in the supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, the children live with the grandparents.

    We visited the family in July and met Lejla Duka, a twelve-year-old who insists her father, Dritan Duka, is innocent.

    LEJLA DUKA: I know they’re innocent. We all do. But people out there just don’t want to look into the evidence. Hopefully they’ll come home.

    ANJALI KAMAT: The three Duka brothers, along with their Palestinian American friend Mohamad Shnewer, are serving sentences of life plus thirty years.

    Hanan Shnewer is the sister of Mohamad Shnewer. She’s also married to Eljvir Duka. She says the men are not terrorists.

    HANAN SHNEWER: They’re not that kind of people. They’re normal people, not maniacs like the way they made them seem. Mostly I think it’s Muslims are now a target for American government, and that’s mostly the purpose, I know.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Two hundred miles from the Duka house, Fatima Hossein, covered in a full veil, is busy running a pizzeria in downtown Albany. While caring for her six children, aged four to eighteen, she works from morning to night making pizza. She and her husband, Mohammed Hossein, are Bangladeshi immigrants. Her husband was arrested in 2004 along with the imam of the local mosque in a money laundering scheme the FBI claims was related to terrorism. Fatima still has trouble explaining what happened to her family.

    FATIMA HOSSEIN: This is not easy answer to tell that, what happened. It still is, to me, look like something like broke on your head. My husband, he’s really hardworking man. I think—I wish you can have a chance to meet with him. Everybody know him, all the local people, as he’s delivery man, fixing house, taking care of family. His life turned different, like tragedy.

    JAMES COMEY: Last night, FBI agents in Albany, New York, arrested two men: thirty-four-year-old Yassin Muhiddin Aref and forty-nine-year-old Mohammed Mosharref Hossein.

    ANJALI KAMAT: In August of 2004, Mohammed Hossein and Yassin Aref, neither of whom had any criminal record, were arrested and accused of being terrorists. Two years later they were convicted of money laundering and conspiracy to support terrorism and sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

    REPORTER: The Muslim community is standing strong and speaking out as two of their members learn their fate.

    SHAMSHAD AHMAD: They are not terrorists. They had no criminal record. They had no interest of any violation of laws that are so. Simply, they were tricked.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Supporters of the two men say Mohammed Hossein thought he was just getting a loan from a Pakistani man who had recently befriended him. He enlisted the imam, Yassin Aref, who was a Kurdish refugee from Iraq, to witness the loan. What they didn’t know at the time was that the National Security Agency had been secretly wiretapping Yassin Aref’s phone calls, and the loan was part of an FBI sting operation. The generous Pakistani man was in fact an FBI informant.

AMY GOODMAN: Homegrown terror or entrapment? We’ll come back to this documentary by Democracy Now!‘s Anjali Kamat and Jacquie Soohen of Big Noise Films. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: We return now to Anjali Kamat and Jacquie Soohen’s “Homegrown Terror or Entrapment?” This is Democracy Now!, as we return to a report on the FBI’s use of undercover informants in domestic terror cases. The report focuses on the Newburgh Four case, where jury deliberations are set to begin today over whether four African American men from Newburgh, New York, are guilty of conspiring to attack a synagogue and Jewish community center in the Bronx. The report also looks at two older cases, that of the Fort Dix Five, five young men from suburban New Jersey who were convicted last year of conspiring to attack US soldiers at the Fort Dix Army base, and a case in Albany, New York, where two men were convicted in 2007 of money laundering and conspiring to support terrorism.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Like the case of the Fort Dix Five and the Newburgh Four, no terrorist crime was actually committed in Albany. No bombs went off. Nothing was blown up. No one was killed or even injured. All three cases rest on fake plots concocted by the FBI and rely heavily on hundreds of hours of surveillance video and audio secretly recorded by a paid government informant. 

    Karen Greenberg from New York University’s Center on Law and Security says informants have become a crucial part of the post-9/11 domestic counterterrorism strategy.

    KAREN GREENBERG: The use of informants in the fifty most high-profile terrorism cases since 9/11 is 62 percent. The conviction rate for those cases that involved informants is almost a hundred percent; it’s 97 percent. So that gives you a kind of sense of how important they are and how useful they’ve been.

    ANJALI KAMAT: The FBI did not respond to our request for an interview, but we did speak to a former FBI agent who worked with multiple informants during his thirty-five years at the bureau. James Wedick told us that informants are unreliable sources.

    JAMES WEDICK: Look, informants are the most dangerous individuals on the planet. If you don’t monitor them, something can go wrong.

    ANJALI KAMAT: A former street agent, Wedick says the line between uncovering terrorist plots and creating them has become increasingly blurry.

    JAMES WEDICK: I’ll venture to say in 90 percent—90 percent of the cases that you see that have occurred in the last ten years are garbage.

    ANJALI KAMAT: In Albany, the FBI used an informant named Shahed Hussain. He was a Pakistani businessman who fled his country after being arrested three times on charges that included murder. He wound up in Albany, New York, in 1994, where he set up an illegal license scheme while working as a translator at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Shamshad Ahmad is the president of the As-Salaam mosque in Albany.

    SHAMSHAD AHMAD: Living in a suburb where there are other Pakistanis, he was known to them. And people did not have a good opmnion about him. They knew that he is cunning, he is deceptive, he cheats. Later on, we found out that he was also known in the community that he can arrange illegal licenses.

    ANJALI KAMAT: The feds caught on to Shahed Hussain’s license scam, and in 2003 he was arrested in a sting operation. But as Muslim communities in America came under increased scrutiny after 9/11, Shahed Hussain proved to be very useful. He was a Muslim willing to spy on fellow Muslims in exchange for amnesty. Instead of sending him to jail or deporting him, he got off on a plea deal, and the FBI hired him as an informant.

    KAREN GREENBERG: When you’re dealing with informants, you’re dealing with people who have been convicted of or threatened with conviction or found in the act of some kind of criminality. And there is everything in their interest to make sure that they do what the FBI wants.

    ANJALI KAMAT: In the summer of 2003, the informant showed up at Mohammed Hossein’s pizzeria in Albany, posing as a wealthy businessman with ties to militant groups in Pakistan. Mohammed Hossein’s wife Fatima recalls how persistent the informant was in trying to befriend them.

    FATIMA HOSSEIN: This person keeps coming to me, coming to me. And after a couple time, I told my husband, I says, “Look like he’s keep coming, keep coming. I don’t know what is his intention or anything.”

    ANJALI KAMAT: The informant drew Mohammed Hossein into extended debates about jihad. Across hours of secretly recorded conversations, the informant repeatedly brought up American foreign policy and the role of militant Islam.

    KAREN GREENBERG: The defendant is recorded saying, “Look, this is not—I’m not really into violent jihad. That’s not really what I’m about.” And the informant keeps coming back and saying, “Are you sure? Are you sure?”

    ANJALI KAMAT: Then, as Mohammed Hossein’s pizza business began to fail, the informant made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

    FATIMA HOSSEIN: Economically we was little bit crisis situation, so we didn’t go bank. And he was saying, “Brother, I am your brother. If you need some money, so I can be—maybe you can borrow from me and give it to me.”

    ANJALI KAMAT: The informant offered Mohammed Hossein a loan of $45,000 and a gift of $5,000. The imam of the mosque, Yassin Aref, was brought in to witness the loan. At a few points, the informant told the men he was a member of the Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad, or JEM. On one occasion, he showed the pizzeria owner Mohammed Hossein a part of a missile and later made obscure references to a fictitious JEM plot to assassinate a Pakistani diplomat in New York with a missile.

    KAREN GREENBERG: He did say it was for weaponry. I think it was for a missile in this case. And he did say that it was for a terrorist cause. And so, you know, that part of it is very discomforting, that, you know, preying upon people’s vulnerabilities and pushing them to this point is unsettling.

    ANJALI KAMAT: It’s unclear from the recordings how much the men understood that the money for the loan had been allegedly laundered from weapon sales to a terrorist group. But Mohammed Hossein’s acceptance of the loan and Yassin Aref’s witnessing of the loan formed the basis for the government’s case against the two men.

    Promises of money played a key role in the Newburgh case, as well. James Wedick says it’s not uncommon for the FBI to send informants into poor communities.

    JAMES WEDICK: What they’re looking for is money, because they’re desperate. They’re looking for a job. They’re looking for some way to feed their family. And so, they’re there because this informant is flashing money around, driving a fancy car, and maybe living in a fancy apartment. And they, too, want part of that prize.

    ANJALI KAMAT: By 2007, the informant in the Albany case, Shahed Hussain, showed up in the impoverished largely African American community of Newburgh. He arrived at the Al-Ikhlas mosque one day, flush with funds and driving a BMW.

    IMAM SALAHUDDIN MUHAMMAD: We called him Maqsud, because that’s who he said he was.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Salahuddin Mustafa Muhammad is the imam of the mosque in Newburgh. He remembers the informant well. Posing again as a wealthy Pakistani businessman with ties to the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, Shahed Hussain followed a remarkably similar script to the story he told in Albany.

    IMAM SALAHUDDIN MUHAMMAD: I started hearing from different members of the community that he was talking stuff about jihad and something about a group in Pakistan and telling the brothers they should go over and help them in Pakistan because he’s a part of some group.

    ANJALI KAMAT: The imam recalls that one man was willing to listen to the informant’s stories and happy to be driven around in his car and treated to free meals. James Cromitie is a forty-four-year-old petty criminal who had been in and out of prison numerous times.

    The FBI began secretly recording conversations between James Cromitie and the informant in October 2008, after the informant reported that James had made extremist anti-American statements. The informant promised James $250,000 to help him carry out a plot to bomb a synagogue and a Jewish community center in the Bronx and attack military planes at the Stewart International Airport near Newburgh.

    Within a few months, the informant was urging James to recruit more people to act as lookouts while they carried out the plot. That’s when Alicia McCollum’s nephew David Williams entered the scene. At the time, his twenty-year-old brother, Lord, had just been diagnosed with a deadly liver disease. The doctors said he needed a liver transplant to survive, but the family couldn’t afford the surgery.

    ALICIA McWILLIAMS-McCOLLUM: You know, I’m like, OK, Lord was sick, OK. He needed money, alright. I’m like, ooh, he got caught up in a bad situation. Then I heard “informant.” Informant?

    ANJALI KAMAT: The informant had promised to give David Williams at least $25,000 and drove him to visit his brother in the hospital.

    ALICIA McWILLIAMS-McCOLLUM: He’s a manipulator. I’m from the streets. He’s a manipulator. He’s a con artist.
    This is a damn bad motion picture. They should be ashamed of theirself.

    ANJALI KAMAT: In court, the government has admitted that the FBI picked the targets and supplied the men with the fake bombs and the missile. But the government says the fact the men actually planted the bombs near the Riverdale synagogue is evidence of their willingness to commit terrorism.

    KAREN GREENBERG: The big story is who took the lead here, who created the story of the crime that was going to ensue, and who made it happen.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Karen Greenberg says the way the trial is going, it’s the informant who’s in the spotlight.

    KAREN GREENBERG: If we’re ever going to have a public debate on the use of informants in terrorism cases, this is the case, more than any of the other cases we’ve seen.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Alicia McCollum believes her nephew and the rest of the Newburgh Four were entrapped by the FBI.

    ALICIA McWILLIAMS-McCOLLUM: This is entrapment. You’re going to send an informant into an impoverished community, the most impoverished county, to do your trickery. You ain’t stumbled upon a cell. Nobody ain’t tell you that someone was plotting to do anything. You created a crime!

    ANJALI KAMAT: The government maintains this was a sting operation and the four men were not entrapped. They say the four are militant Muslims who can be heard actively planning for the attack in the recordings made by the informant. But James Wedick says the recordings alone don’t prove anything.

    JAMES WEDICK: You can get anyone to say anything on any given day, if you just try long enough. And that’s what some of these informants do.

    ANJALI KAMAT: He warns that the FBI’s use of unscrupulous informants in poor communities is a dangerous business.

    JAMES WEDICK: You just can’t continue to, you know, to get a select group of people who are responsible for petty crimes, give them huge amounts of money, and send them into a small minority community, desperate because of the recession and work not being there, and suggesting people commit crimes, and not expect an explosion to happen, because they’re desperate for money and the informant is offering huge rewards.

    ANJALI KAMAT: The imam of the Newburgh mosque isn’t surprised by what happened here. It’s happened before to the African American community, he says. This just reminds him of COINTELPRO, the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program.

    IMAM SALAHUDDIN MUHAMMAD: I believe that what we are seeing today with the FBI surveillance and the FBI allowing for agent provocateurs to enter into Muslim communities is the same thing that happened in the ’60s with a lot of the black nationalist organizations. That’s what I see happening today in the Islamic community. The FBI, they are sending these agent provocateurs into the community, and they are cultivating and nurturing and actually creating situations that would never have occured if they didn’t have their man in there to do that.

    ANJALI KAMAT: To what extent are informants driving these cases? We spoke to one informant who agreed to an on-camera interview on the condition we don’t show his face. His name is Mahmoud Omar, and he was one of two informants the FBI used in the Fort Dix case. He acknowledged that he was central to the government’s case against the Duka brothers and Mohamad Shnewer.

    MAHMOUD OMAR: I can say American government lucky he have me this time, and if he don’t have me, we didn’t know something can happen.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Would it have been possible without your help?

    MAHMOUD OMAR: No, of course not. Somebody have to do it, and I did it. Nobody can—I did. I’m the one did everything.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Mahmoud Omar is an Egyptian national who has lived in the United States since the mid-1990s and was arrested and imprisoned for bank fraud in 2001. He was facing possible deportation when he agreed to work for the FBI as an informant on this case.

    Former FBI agent James Wedick acknowledges that the FBI often has to resort to people with criminal pasts to work as their informants. But the well-established exception, he says, is lying.

    JAMES WEDICK: If they are liars or they’ve got something in their past that suggests they’re liars, like a bank fraud conviction, you can’t use that individual.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Wedick says that in addition to dropping charges and helping with immigration troubles, the FBI typically offers informants large sums of money to work for them.

    JAMES WEDICK: If you think he’ll lie just because he wants to tell you a lie, he’ll lie easy for $200,000.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Mahmoud Omar was paid over $200,000 plus expenses for the three years that the FBI hired him to befriend the young men who had gone to the Poconos and record their conversations. At the trial, the informant testified that the men wanted to attack soldiers at Fort Dix. He said one of the men, Mohamad Shnewer, spent most of his time watching videos glorifying Islamist violence.

    But Burim Duka says it was the informant who urged them to download the videos onto Shnewer’s computer.

    BURIM DUKA: Ninety-seven percent of the videos that Mohamad Shnewer had on his computer were downloaded from Mahmoud Omar. Mahmoud Omar was telling Mohamad Shnewer, “Download this video. Download this video.” And I guess he was trying to get Mohamad Shnewer’s anger to build up. He used to tell us, like, the older people overseas, they’re fighting against the people that are attacking the Muslims. He goes, “Older people are fighting. What about us? We’re young. We’re strong. How come we’re just sitting at Dunkin’ Donuts drinking coffee?”

    ANJALI KAMAT: The informant denies he was the one driving the plot forward and says twenty-one-year-old Mohamad Shnewer was the ringleader.

    MAHMOUD OMAR: I’m not taking Mohamad to anywhere. Mohamad, he knew where we’re going to go.

    ANJALI KAMAT: So it was his idea.

    MAHMOUD OMAR: I have nothing I do with that. I’m just only recorder.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Today, more than a year after the sentencing, the informant defends his role in the Fort Dix plot and says the five men got what they deserved. But Mahmoud Omar now feels like he can’t show his face in the community.

    MAHMOUD OMAR: When I face the Arab people and the Muslim people, they think like I did that for money. And this is people like Dukas family and Shnewer family. He make it like government making case. And this, of course, is not true. And he make it like I’m the one that put his kids in jail, and that’s even not true. People being in jail rest of his life, I can’t do anything about. You did that for yourself. I don’t do anything to you. I don’t tell you do anything. You did that for yourself.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Mohamad Shnewer and the Duka brothers were arrested soon after purchasing machine guns from the FBI informant. But Karen Greenberg says there’s little evidence that they would have used them to carry out a terrorist plot.

    KAREN GREENBERG: How do we draw the line between young men who are willing to do violence, who talk it up a lot, who get into a head that is not good—and, you know, you’d like to stop them from what they’re doing—and then whether they were actually going to commit terrorism? And I think what—in the Fort Dix case, again, you know, the purchasing of weapons and—is a difficult one. How much was this going to be terrorism, how much they actually identified with terrorism causes, we don’t know.

    ANJALI KAMAT: James Wedick believes it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars for the FBI to be investigating terrorist plots it helped create, whether in Fort Dix, Albany or Newburgh.

    JAMES WEDICK: It’s my opinion that while the bureau busies itself with these nonsense cases, they could have been expending these resources catching real bad guys. And that’s the problem.

    ANJALI KAMAT: This strategy has led to growing concerns that in its zeal to make the American public feel safe from terrorism, the government is racially profiling Muslims as potential terrorists.

    FARHANA KHERA: It’s based on generalized suspicion about an entire community and not based on actual evidence of wrongdoing.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Farhana Khera is the director of the group Muslim Advocates. She’s concerned that the FBI surveillance of Muslims is on the rise.

    FARHANA KHERA: I would say since the beginning of 2010 there seems to be almost a ratcheting up of scrutiny of the community. We seem to be getting even more reports of community members coming forward saying they’ve gotten a surprise visit at their home or their office from an FBI agent asking questions.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Back in Albany, we asked Shamshad Ahmad if he thinks the FBI is still watching his mosque.

    Do you believe that the mosque is still being surveyed, that people in this community are still under surveillance?

    SHAMSHAD AHMAD: I believe so, yes. I believe so. I still see some people about whom I have doubts, and I know certain peoples are being used by FBI. Some of them said that they refused, but I suspect that they refused in the beginning, but ultimately they have to accept that offer. We are not taking it lightly. We don’t consider that FBI has become, all of a sudden, angel. Reality is there that we feel that they have not changed.

    ANJALI KAMAT: The imam at Newburgh agrees that the Muslim community is still being watched and infiltrated. But next time, he says, they’re not going to be quiet if an informant comes in.

    IMAM SALAHUDDIN MUHAMMAD: This time, that if we do suspect someone, we’re telling. We’re not going to allow some individuals to get caught in a web again, because we believe that had we said something this time, that those four men would still be in the backyard somewhere. They would just be right out there, frustrated, broke, just, you know, feeling miserable and just talking. At least that person, the agent provocateur, would have had to go somewhere else, because they would have probably told him that his cover was blown.

    ANJALI KAMAT: In other places, too, people are also speaking up against what they see is a wider pattern of entrapment and preemptive prosecution of Muslims. This is Albany Common Council member Dominick Calsolaro.

    DOMINICK CALSOLARO: It just doesn’t seem right. I mean, I just don’t understand how our government, you know, can take these actions.

    ANJALI KAMAT: In April of this year, the Albany Common Council passed a resolution calling on the Justice Department to reexamine past terrorism cases to assess whether the classified evidence used by the government also contained material that might have exonerated the men, if they had been allowed to see and use this evidence. They based the resolution on a July 2009 report by the inspector general of the Department of Justice.

    DOMINICK CALSOLARO: The inspector general’s report was really key, because when you come in and the government, you know, does a study, and they themselves says you should look at these cases again, you know, it should be done. It seems like, you know, they did this, these actions, because they had to show that they were being—you know, the federal government is trying to be tough on terrorism. But the fact that if you have to send in, you know, an agent provocateur, whatever you want to call them, in order to entrap someone, who’s not doing anything illegal to begin with, I mean, where is this going? And then, where does this stop?

    ANJALI KAMAT: The families of the men are left questioning whether it’s possible for Muslims to receive a fair trial in post-9/11 America.

    FATIMA HOSSEIN: I didn’t find out what kind of terrorists we are, what we did, which part, the part that require the terrorist. Still I don’t know. They broke our trust. And I saw when I get married, my husband, he carry American flag all the way from here as a proud citizen of this country. And when he go back home, he say, “I am American.”

    ANJALI KAMAT: Even after twenty-six years of living in this country, Fatima Hossein believes she and her family will never be seen as Americans.

    FATIMA HOSSEIN: Living that long this society, still we are not part of here. I don’t know. After September 11, changed everything from everywhere.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Ferik Duka, the father of the three Duka brothers, says his faith in the American justice system has been shattered.

    FERIK DUKA: I’m surprised at the justice of this country. I came here because I believed in American justice and American freedom and American democracy. I’m upset and disturbed. How could this happen to America? Muslims, they don’t raise their voices, because they are scared. Everybody thinks, who’s going to be next? Because they can see they’re convicting people with no facts. They are good fabricators. They are professionals of making up things.

    I lost three sons. And I’m losing everything else. They destroyed me. There’s no justice no more here for Muslims.

    ANJALI KAMAT: NYU’s Karen Greenberg warns that increasing the perception that Muslims are being unfairly or preemptively prosecuted is both wrong and counterproductive to national security.

    KAREN GREENBERG: To target Muslims in what we call a democracy is not a place we want to be going. What we need is a kind of leadership that is brave enough to distinguish the issues, just like we distinguish criminals from non-criminals in other environments.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Former FBI agent James Wedick believes that the only way things can change is if the Justice Department rethinks the role of informants in terrorism investigations.

    JAMES WEDICK: If the Obama administration is interested in giving desperate people a fair shake, he’s got to make the Justice Department look at this issue involving informants and do something.

    ANJALI KAMAT: Meanwhile, families of the accused and convicted men are not waiting for the Justice Department to act. They are continuing to mobilize and fight for justice, despite the pain of losing their loved ones to prison.

    LEJLA DUKA: I decided to start speaking out to everyone because I saw many people wouldn’t want to do that, because they were scared. So I decided to defend them and my family from the name “terrorists,” which they’re not.

    ALICIA McWILLIAMS-McCOLLUM: This wasn’t no cell. This wasn’t no—”Oh, oh my god! They want to—” This was bull! This is a plot and a skit directed by the FBI. You know, we was the extras, and we didn’t get paid. Thank you very much. You know, but you’re going to use a family, and you think nobody was going to speak up. Not one person’s speaking up. People telling me what my government can do to me. Then bring it! Do what you want to do. But we coming together for justice. We’re fighting for justice.

    ANJALI KAMAT: For Democracy Now!, this is Anjali Kamat and Jacquie Soohen. Special thanks to Hany Massoud, Petra Bartosiewicz, John Hamilton, Nicole Salazar, Ayesha Hoda, and Project SALAM.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, the War and Peace Report. When we come back, Democracy Now!‘s Anjali Kamat will join us. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: For more, I’m joined now in studio by Democracy Now!‘s Anjali Kamat, with that superb investigation she did with Jacquie Soohen. We’re also joined by independent journalist Petra Bartosiewicz. She’s the forthcoming author of a book on terror in the United States since 9/11. It’s called The Best Terrorists We Could Find.

Welcome you both to Democracy Now! First, Anjali, you have spent months in Muslim communities in the New York area. Congratulations on this very important documentary that brings out the voices of people at the grassroots. What most surprised you in this investigation that you did on these three cases?

ANJALI KAMAT: Well, thanks, Amy.

I think one of the things is, you know, today we’re all seeing in the newspaper, as Faisal Shahzad was just sentenced to life in prison, the Times Square bomber, the foiled Times Square bomber—we keep hearing of threats of terrorism, homegrown terror. Last month, the co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission released a report singling out domestic terrorism as the largest threat and something that we’re not prepared for in this country. And one of the things that I was interested in was seeing news reports, when the Newburgh case started, that the informant who was used in the case had been used in a previous case. And I was like, here is an FBI informant, an undercover informant with a criminal past, coming in, and you see these communities are poor communities, vulnerable communities, one of the most impoverished areas in the country, Newburgh, New York, and these are four young African American men who were caught up in this case. How much can you call them—to what degree can you call these men terrorists? Did they commit a crime? Yes. Were they terrorists? Are these terrorist crimes? And that’s the question I wanted to investigate and set out. And one of the things I found is that you have over a thousand prosecutions since 9/11, terror-related prosecutions. Many of these cases are based on the testimony of paid government informants. Only a few of these cases are more serious, like the Faisal Shahzad case. And Petra was in the courtroom yesterday when he was sentenced.

AMY GOODMAN: Petra, we often find that one case paints or taints another case. Talk about this case. Now, here’s a case where a man pled guilty. He said he was doing this.

PETRA BARTOSIEWICZ: Yeah, I think you’ll see in the coverage, even though these two cases, the Newburgh case and the Faisal Shahzad case, unfolded literally on the same floor of a courthouse, in adjoining courtrooms, in Faisal Shahzad’s case, this is somebody who actually attempted to do something. That’s very rare. Almost no—very, very few cases have unfolded like that. And he pled guilty to that. And I think it’s interesting to look at this case as almost something that was resolved not because of some new initiatives that have been instituted since 9/11 in terms of security measures, but despite that, because in fact he was thwarted only by his own incompetence when the bomb failed to detonate. Meanwhile, you have—

AMY GOODMAN: You were in the courtroom yesterday—

PETRA BARTOSIEWICZ: Yesterday.

AMY GOODMAN: —when the sentencing happened.

PETRA BARTOSIEWICZ: That’s right. And he was without remorse. The proceeding took place very quickly. He was sentenced to life in prison. And as far as it appears, there’s—you know, there may be an appeal, but he wasn’t interested in appealing.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, he’s pled guilty. What does he say?

PETRA BARTOSIEWICZ: He sort of said this is the first salvo in a long, you know, war of—that America is going to, you know, go down. And he wasn’t particularly eloquent or original. I think he made his point at his arraignment a while back. And I think the judge said, you know, pretty accurately, “You’re thirty years old. You’re going to have a long time to think about this. It was a stupid thing to do.”

AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, right across the hallway, Petra?

PETRA BARTOSIEWICZ: Right across the hallway, a case that’s going to be considered just another homegrown terrorism case. But so different. Four defendants who had no prior criminal records, no evidence of prior terrorism involvement, no involvement with any groups—they didn’t attend any training camps. They were four poor guys from Newburgh, New York, and they were approached by an informant who worked on them for—at least the lead defendant, for four months before the tapes started rolling. And the other three defendants were brought in in the very last month. And, you know, it’s—as Anjali says correctly, they are guilty perhaps of criminal acts, but what is missing is that crucial political motivation that would bring this to the level of a crime of terrorism.

AMY GOODMAN: And what does “terrorism” mean, when you lay terrorism on that? Is it like hate crime in the sense it will just mean enhanced sentencing?

PETRA BARTOSIEWICZ: I think it does a number of things. Number one, their sentences will be far longer. I think in the Fort Dix case, they got thirty years plus life, as we saw in the documentary. So they’re going to go to prison for much longer. But it also adds to the Justice Department’s sort of statistical scorecard in the war on terrorism. These cases serve an incredibly important purpose in that they kind of justify this terrorism machinery that has come in in almost the last decade. It involves a lot of money, a lot of new investigative procedures, a lot of infringement of civil liberties. And without these cases, we really don’t have much to show. So they are important in that respect alone.

AMY GOODMAN: Anjali?

ANJALI KAMAT: And if these are the cases, if this is what we have to show, what we need to remember—I mean, who were the four defendants in the Newburgh case? It’s quite striking. One if them is a paranoid schizophrenic. An immigration judge earlier refused to deport him because of mental instability. He lived in a one-room occupancy in Newburgh’s crack alley. When he was arrested, there were open containers of urine his room, because he was too afraid to walk down the hall to use the restroom. This man, we’re supposed to believe, is a terrorist. Charge him with a crime, charge him with stupidity—one of the family members said this—charge these people with stupidity, with getting involved with stupid, you know, informants and agreeing to do things, but what actually happened? Nothing happened. No bombs went off. No missiles were fired. The bombs were fake. The missiles were fake. They were supplied by the government. They were led into this by a government informant. This is what the defense has been arguing.

AMY GOODMAN: And people would then say, “But if they weren’t fake?”

ANJALI KAMAT: And then, if they weren’t fake—I mean, this is what the government comes in and says, right? Their argument is, these four men agreed to drive the bombs up to the synagogue. They planted them there. They did not know they were fake. They assumed they were real. Now, the question is, would they—and this is what the defense has been trying to argue, this sort of entrapment defense—is, were they predisposed to commit this crime? Would they have committed this crime, would they have plotted to do this, if the government informant hadn’t put this idea into their head?

And there’s actually evidence that came out during the trial that shows that the handler, the FBI handler in the case, Robert Fuller, sent a memo in January 2009 to his colleagues, pointing out that he had told the guards at Stewart Air Base, which is one of the places where the attack was supposed to take place, telling them that if the lead defendant, James Cromitie, came there on his own, he was not a threat. He was only dangerous if he comes with the informant. I wasn’t able to get a copy of this document, because it wasn’t entered into evidence, apparently, but it was something that was mentioned in the first weeks of the trial.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, it’s interesting, Anjali. The FBI, you called them repeatedly, over and over, and they would not grant an interview.

ANJALI KAMAT: No.

AMY GOODMAN: Yet you did have an interview with this former FBI agent, who talked extremely critically about informants.

ANJALI KAMAT: Yeah. James Wedick is a very interesting figure. He was at the bureau for thirty-five years. He was a street agent. And, you know, I mean, this is the other thing. The use of informants, in its own, is not something new for law enforcement. Something that’s happened for decades, and it’s something that law enforcement—it’s a tactic that law enforcement relies on to crack investigations. They’re very important. The difference is, he says, what happened after 9/11. One of the things he told me is that after 9/11 the rule book went out of the window. You weren’t supposed to use informants in cases where there was no evidence of criminal activity. You’re not supposed to use informants when the informants have a history of lying, history of bank fraud. I mean, this is something that Petra has been working on for years.

AMY GOODMAN: Petra?

PETRA BARTOSIEWICZ: Yeah, I think you see these informants oftentimes have criminal records that they want some assistance with from law enforcement, or they’re facing deportation for other reasons. They get sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars to—from the FBI in expenses and, you know, basically, payment for their services. There have been cases where informants have been shown to be using marijuana during the course of the investigation. So—

AMY GOODMAN: And this informant in the Newburgh case was convicted of bank fraud.

PETRA BARTOSIEWICZ: Yes, among many other things. And so, any FBI agent, as Anjali is saying, will tell you that once they’re proven liars, you shouldn’t be working with them. And yet, there have been repeated cases where these informants are proven liars and then they are still used. And I think it goes to sort of a bigger dilemma for the FBI, because the question is, really, what is the FBI supposed to do in these cases when they come across someone like a James Cromitie, who seems suspicious? Should they investigate? Absolutely. Should they watch them? Yes. But should they be in the business of manufacturing plots, of manufacturing code words, of providing weapons, of basically creating these scenarios? I don’t think so. I think that that starts to stray into very dangerous territory.

And during the closing arguments of the Newburgh case yesterday, or earlier this week, one of the prosecutors was saying, “Are these defendants innocent-minded?” And I think once we start thinking about defendants in terms of “innocent-minded,” we are straying into some very, very dicey territory. And the problem is, when you’re relying heavily on informants who themselves have very shaky credibility and have an agenda that is financially motivated or legally motivated and you’re dependent on them to provide the bulk of the evidence, it’s just a recipe for disaster.

AMY GOODMAN: And you have this case, where Newburgh is now going into jury deliberations, but in the context of a man who said he was—he’s a self-proclaimed terrorist—he did try to blow up Times Square—that case happening across the street. It’s hard to imagine they don’t know that that was taking place, and that’s the context within which this very different case is taking place.

PETRA BARTOSIEWICZ: And you would think that we would be putting our resources into preventing another Faisal Shahzad from occurring, rather than spending the enormous amount of time and manpower and money that it takes to prepare a sting operation, which sometimes takes years.

ANJALI KAMAT: We just heard about the amount of money the informants were paid. The amount of money that went into each of these investigations runs into hundreds of thousands of dollars. And when you think about the fact that these are sting operations on people that you have very little evidence of any wrongdoing or intent to kill Americans or intent to carry out plots, where is our focus? What are we doing?

AMY GOODMAN: We just saw the sentencing of the Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui to eighty-six years—she’ll be serving in Texas—a case, Petra, you’ve been following.

PETRA BARTOSIEWICZ: Yeah, a very complicated case. A lot of questions remain—whether she was detained extra-legally by Pakistanis or whether the US had any involvement. None of that was answered during her sentencing. Again, same courthouse as these other cases we’re talking about today. But during her sentencing, she spoke, for the first time, extensively, to the courtroom, and what emerged was somebody who seems mentally ill, quite frankly, and the psychiatrists who have examined her have said that she is potentially schizophrenic. So, that is another very troubling case.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Anjali, we just have a few seconds, but you spent months on this investigation, traveling through communities, really bringing out the voices of people in these communities, particularly, of course, Muslims.

ANJALI KAMAT: I mean, I think the most important thing to highlight is the sense of fear that is pervasive across these communities. Muslim communities that I met across New York and New Jersey are just getting more and more paranoid about being watched, about being surveyed, about every conversation being recorded. Any new person they meet—is this an informant? Mosques are under surveillance, as we heard in the piece. Farhana Khera, the executive director of the group Muslim Advocates, said that there’s been a ratcheting up of surveillance of Muslim Americans or Muslims, immigrant Muslims, in this country. And that’s something we need to pay attention to.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Anjali, congratulations. Thank you for this report. And thank you very much, Petra Bartosiewicz, for being with us.

Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi

The Man Behind the Armor

by Nothingnew Nevermore on Friday, October 8, 2010 at 7:09am

Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi.

 

He defied the odds in an era of darkness. He set aside the criticism of those who called him crazy for wanting to do the seemingly impossible: uniting the Ummah, standing up to the Crusaders, and returning honor where it belonged. He was respected by both his friends and foes, and is perhaps one of the few men whose name evokes feelings of honor and pride in the minds of so many people in every era and place. Even the generally anti-Muslim film industry in America could not help but portray the honor and righteousness that Salahuddin was known for.

 

We all know of how he laid waste to the Crusaders and had them chasing their tails in the battles of Alexandria, Hittin, Acre, Tyre, Beirut, Nablus, Haifa, Tiberius, Gaza, ‘Asqalan, Jerusalem, and dozens of other cities and towns across Sham and North Africa. We know of Salahuddin the warrior.

 

But, who was the man behind the armor? What was he like as a person? What was he like as a Muslim? What personality does it take to carry out such heroic feats and achieve such a status?

 

 

In ‘al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah’ (13/5-6), Ibn Kathir said that at the time of his death, Salahuddin hardly had any money in his possession, and this is because:

 

“…of the immense amount of gifts and charity and kindness that he used to show the leaders and ministers under his command, and even to his enemies! I’ve already described this previously. And he was very simple in his clothing, food, drink, and transportation. He would only wear cotton, linen, and wool. It is not known that he ever approached anything forbidden or discouraged, especially after Allah blessed him with his kingdom. Rather, his greatest concern and goal was to aid Islam.”

 

Ibn Kathir continued:

 

“This is all in addition to the virtues and unique skills he possessed in the Arabic language, poetry, and history, such that it was said he had memorized ‘al-Hamasah’ (a book of poetry compiled by Abu Tammam at-Ta’i) in its entirety.

 

And he was very strict in praying on time in jama’ah. It is said that he never missed a single prayer in jama’ah for a great part of his life, even during the illness that killed him. The imam would enter and lead him in prayer, and he would struggle to get up and pray despite his weakness.”

 

He continued:

 

“And he loved to hear the recitation of the Qur’an and the reading of ahadith and knowledge. He was constant and habitual in listening to ahadith being read to him, to the point that he would hear a section read to him while he was standing between the ranks of soldiers! He would enjoy doing this and say: “Nobody listens to ahadith in a situation like this.””

 

He also mentioned:

 

“He had a soft heart, and was easily swayed to tears when he would hear ahadith.”

 

He continued:

 

“And Salahuddin was from the bravest of people, and the strongest of them in body and heart despite the illnesses and sickness his body suffered from. This was most evident during the Siege of Acre, where despite the massive numbers of the enemy, he only increased in power and bravery. They had as many as 500,000 soldiers – some say 600,000 – and he killed 100,000 of them.”

 

He also said:

 

“He was generous, well-rounded, always laughing and smiling. He would never slack off in any good that he did. He was extremely patient when doing good and worshipping Allah.”

 

In ‘Siyar A’lam an-Nubala” (15/436), it’s mentioned that al-Muwaffaq ‘Abd al-Latif said:

 

“I went to Salahuddin while he was in Jerusalem, and I saw a king who filled eyes with amazement and hearts with love, whether they were near or far. He was an easygoing person, likeable, and his companions used to try to imitate him, racing towards good actions, as Allah Said: {“And We removed any sense of pain from their hearts, making them like brothers…”} [al-Hijr; 47]

 

The first night I spent with him, I found his gatherings filled with scholars engaged in knowledge. He would listen intently and participate in their discussions. He would learn how to build walls and dig trenches, and he would then do this himself, carrying the rocks on his own shoulders.”

 

al-’Imad said in ‘as-Siyar’ (15/440):

 

“He would only wear what was permissible to wear, such as linen and cotton. His gatherings were free of vain talk, and they were only attended by the most virtuous people. He loved to hear ahadith being read with their chains of narration. He was forebearing, honest, pious, pure, and trustworthy. He would contain himself and not become angry. He would never turn back someone in need or embarrass someone who spoke in front of him. He was extremely kind and charitable, and he reprimanded me for decorating my utensils in silver, and I replied that Abu Muhammad al-Juwayni mentioned a point of view of it being permissible. And I never saw him praying except in jama’ah.”

 

Also on the same page, Abu Ja’far al-Qurtubi said that when Salahuddin was on his deathbed:

 

“I finished reciting the Qur’an at the verse: {“He is Allah, besides Whom there is none worthy of worship; the Knower of the Unseen and the seen…”} [al-Hashr; 22] and I heard Salahuddin saying: “This is true,” and he was in a coma before this. He then died, and al-Khatib ad-Dawla’i washed his body. He was brought out in a coffin, and Muhi ad-Din bin az-Zinki prayed over him. He was then returned to the room in the garden where he had been sick and was buried in a kiosk. Voices were raised in crying, and it became so loud that even the smart one would think that the whole world was screaming in a single voice. The people were so overwhelmed that some of them were distracted from praying over him. People expressed their remorse at his passing – including the Crusaders, due to how truthful and trustworthy he was.”

 

adh-Dhahabi said:

 

“And I never saw a king whose death people were sad for except him. This is because he was loved by everyone: he was loved by the righteous and the wicked, the Muslim and the kafir.”

 

The above descriptions speak for themselves.

 

This was Salahuddin. This was the man behind the armor. This was his lifestyle and character, and it was nothing other than this that served as the platform for the amazing feats across the lands that we remember him for today. It was nothing other than his lifestyle and character that made him the one chosen by Allah out of all his contemporaries to have the vision and do the deeds that would make him such a legend.

 

And this lifestyle and character is something you find common between all of the legends of Islam we have today, be they scholars or Mujahidin. You always find them paying great attention to the following: daily recitation of the Qur’an, studying of the Shari’ah, giving tons of charity, preventing a single useless word (let alone harmful or obsene) from coming out of their mouths, and living simple lives free of luxury and excessive comfort. Believe it or not, some of us actually look at these things as difficult, boring, and lacking excitement, and we ignore them out of an inability to comprehend how these would be linked to the heroic deeds that these legends became known for. However, there is no way around it: it was this lifestyle alone that made it possible for these people to live for something greater than themselves – for Islam. There is no way you can dream of defending the Shari’ah if you don’t even have the willpower to implement it on a daily basis in your own life.

 

One more thing should be mentioned: he wasn’t always like this. adh-Dhahabi said in ‘as-Siyar’ (15/434 and 436):

 

“Since his time as a ruler, he had abandoned alcohol and worldly pleasures.”

 

“He used to drink alcohol, and then repented from it.”

 

That’s right. Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi – this righteous man who singlehandedly changed the course of history – loved to drink and indulge in the dunya before he decided to take on the Crusaders. This small fact teaches us a mighty lesson: not everyone is born into a life of taqwa. The great people we love and admire who are out there were not always so great, and this gives you hope no matter how insignificant or lost you think you are that you can become something truly great one day.

 

Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki

part : 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_TQmJh1h9Q
part : 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEtuFcQ995g
part : 3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7K2tJ1O3ZcA
part : 4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiZZFMEzEo4
part : 5 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tlZ10QbGkg
part : 6 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8eJ78IM1yg
part : 7 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nP_-PsFTM08
part : 8 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1TkJdQX-Cw
part : 9 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yerDKgMiluA 

A day in the life of an Imam (Anwar al Awlaki) during Ramadaan
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1015404550543

Anwar al-Awlaki Speech Live at Another Ramadan 2008
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3988691469909642396#

Allah is preparing us for victory – Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki
http://www.islamictube.com/watch/fb0ca87e1aeca02f48b5/Allah-is-preparing-us-for-victory—Imam-Anwar-Al-Awlaki

The HereAfter By Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki Part 1 of 22
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=408943607522988173#

Hijrah – Sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki
http://www.islamictube.com/watch/fd8cba67373266062b38/Hijrah-Sheikh-Anwar-Al-Awlaki

Naseeha – Anwar Al Awlaki
http://www.islamictube.com/watch/1453773948/Naseeha-Anwar-Al-Awlaki

It’s a war against Islam – Anwar Al-Awlaki
http://www.islamictube.com/watch/1f4a879c4a5d4e5f6d88/It–a-war-against-Islam-Anwar-Al-Awlaki

Anwar Awlaki – Dawah & Trials :.
http://www.islamictube.com/watch/837866882/—Anwar-Awlaki-Dawah—Trials

7.The Book of Jihad by ibn Nuhaas – Commentary by Al Awlaki
http://www.islamictube.com/watch/ab32c26e010300ce0081/7-The-Book-of-Jihad-by-ibn-Nuhaas-Commentary-by-Al-Awlaki

*new* Anwar Al-Awlaki – PURE HAQQ – The Battle of the Hearts and Minds
http://www.islamictube.com/watch/1b5db826778917e974b2/-new–Anwar-Al-Awlaki-PURE-HAQQ-The-Battle-of-the-Hearts-and-Minds

Shaykh Anwar al-Awlaki: Allaah bereitet uns auf den Sieg vor
http://www.islamictube.com/watch/2b4cfb81b0153cee648f/Shaykh-Anwar-al-Awlaki–Allaah-bereitet-uns-auf-den-Sieg-vor

State of the Ummah 1/5 – Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Naywk9rbcS4&feature=player_embedded#!