Scare campaign against Hezbollah echoes buildup to Iraq invasion
Published Aug 3, 2006 10:12 PM
The U.S.-funded client state of Israel is
using U.S.-built jets to rain U.S.-supplied bombs, death and terror upon the
civilian population of southern Lebanon.
But viewers who tuned into Good
Morning America July 28 were greeted by Richard Clarke, a former top Bush
administration advisor and now ABC News consultant, frothing about the alleged
threat of a terror attack on U.S. soil by Hezbollah (Party of God), the
political and military organization defending Lebanon from the U.S./Israeli
Clarke not only raised the threat of Hezbollah “sleeper
cells” inside the U.S. He also warned of armed Hezbollah guerrillas
crossing the borders from Mexico and Canada.
Offering no evidence for any
of this, Clarke claimed Hezbollah was working hand-in-hand with Al-Qaeda, the
group accused of masterminding the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon. He said both of these organizations were being
sponsored by the government of Iran.
Finally, he warned that Hezbollah,
acting on behalf of Iran, could take action to “draw the U.S.” into
a war with Iran.
Clarke gave an astounding, breathless performance.
Interviewer Diane Sawyer accepted his dramatic conclusions without a single
A more astute journalist might have asked, for
example, why the government of Iran—a developing country of 68 million
people—would so deliberately provoke the world’s nuclear superpower
into attacking it. Or why Tehran’s Shi’ite Islamic government would
be supporting Al-Qaeda, which the Bush administration claims has been killing
Iraqi Shi’ites friendly to Iran?
But no such questions were
Clarke is no lone voice
from the fringe. His alarm-filled appearance on a popular morning talk show is
part of a much bigger campaign by the Bush administration, the Republican and
Democratic political establishment, and the corporate media to demonize the
Lebanese people’s resistance movement and frighten the U.S. population
into quietly going along with whatever atrocities may come next—whether
it’s Israel’s July 30 massacre of more than 60 civilians, mostly
children, in the village of Qana, a possible UN/NATO occupation of Lebanon, or a
broader war against Syria and Iran.
In late July, the FBI notified 18,000
U.S. police agencies, “warning them to remain vigilant about
Hezbollah,” according to a report by ABC News correspondent Pierre Thomas,
even though “there is no credible intelligence pointing to an imminent
Hezbollah attack on the United States.”
Media reports on the
Hezbollah “threat” now routinely claim that before 9/11, officials
believed the group was “just as dangerous [as Al-Qaeda]—perhaps even
more so.” (Los Angeles Times, July 30) Former State Department official
Richard L. Armitage calls them “the A-team of terrorists.” And so
And the Democratic Party opposition? “I have no criticism of
the president on this issue because I think he is doing the right thing,”
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York told CNN.
“While President Bush
routinely faces criticism from congressional Democrats over the Iraq war and his
domestic policies,” the San Jose Mercury News reported July 30,
“there’s been little criticism over his stance on Israel’s
campaign against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. That has freed him to stand firm
against growing international pressure for an immediate cease-fire.”
This quick mobilization of the capitalist state to demonize Hezbollah
also provides further evidence that Washington was no surprised bystander to the
recent events in Lebanon and Palestine.
The capture of a few Israeli
soldiers was not the cause, but rather a pretext, for the brutal assaults on
Gaza and southern Lebanon. Israel, which is completely dependent on the U.S.,
economically, politically and militarily, could not have launched such a
campaign without the go-ahead from the White House.
and others have charged that the FBI’s “warning” is nothing
but a green light to amp up political harassment and threats against Arab
communities. Dearborn, Mich., has the largest concentration of people of
Lebanese descent in the U.S.—some 30,000. A local businessman was recently
forced to flee the country after the FBI accused him of giving money to
“If the FBI wants to come after those
who support the resistance done by Hezbollah, then they better bring a fleet of
buses,” Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab-American News, told the
Chicago Tribune. Some 10,000 people rallied in Dearborn against the U.S./Israeli
assault on Lebanon July 18.
The imperialist establishment is banking on
misinformation and public ignorance about the true nature of Hezbollah, an
organization that emerged more than 20 years ago as a movement of popular
resistance against the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon.
based in the Shi’ite Muslim community, it has won wide acclaim and support
from Sunnis and others in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East for its staunch
resistance to Israeli aggression and its efforts to rebuild the infrastructure
and social services wrecked by the occupiers.
Since Israel was forced to
withdraw its troops from southern Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah has become an
important national political force. It has members in the Lebanese parliament
and global recognition as a legitimate political party—except in the U.S.,
where the Clinton administration officially declared it a
“terrorist” organization in 1997.
Workers in the U.S., whose
unions are frequently labeled “criminal” by bosses, police and
government officials, especially when they go on strike to defend their members,
should understand that just because the authorities call an organization
“terrorist” doesn’t make it so.
Big lies, then and
The fear-mongering against Hezbollah eerily echoes the years and
months before the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.
within hours after the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration and its mouthpieces
tried to tie the Iraqi government of President Saddam Hussein to the tragedy.
They claimed Iraq’s secular Ba’athist government was working with
Al-Qaeda, despite their longstanding ideological and political enmity.
There was never a shred of evidence to back either claim. Of course, that
doesn’t prevent Congress from re-raising the charge any time a new opinion
poll shows growing opposition to the Iraq war.
Remember the anthrax
letter scare shortly after 9/11? News reports were full of allegations that it
was the work of Iraqi scientists. Instead, it turned out the anthrax had
originated in a Pentagon laboratory in Maryland. No one was ever charged for the
And in late 2002 to early 2003, as the Pentagon moved
steadily towards its brutal and illegal “shock and awe” invasion of
Iraq, the Bush administration held out the phantom threat of an “Iraqi
terror attack” to cow people into going along with an illegal war. It was
a wholly manufactured myth, just like “weapons of mass destruction.”
How does Hezbollah view Al-Qaeda? Asked by the Ria-Novosti news agency
about an alleged Al-Qaeda solidarity message broadcast on Al-Jazeera network, a
Hezbollah spokesperson declared it “a forgery manufactured by U.S. and
Israeli intelligence services.”
The Hezbollah spokesperson stressed
that Hezbollah has never maintained bonds with Al-Qaeda since they do not share
the same ideology or religious beliefs. “Hez bollah defends the interests
of Lebanon and the entire Arab world, whereas Al-Qaeda plays a role that helps
the U.S. administration. Its actions do nothing but damage the interests of
Islam and all Muslims,” the spokesperson concluded.
anti-Hezbollah crusade has another aim as well—to distract workers’
attention from the ever-deepening crisis of the U.S. occupation forces in Iraq.
The Iraqi resistance continues to grow day by day. The occupiers can no
longer even maintain their fragile control of Baghdad, where they and their
client regime are headquartered.
After months of hinting that significant
numbers of U.S. troops would be brought home by the end of this year, the
Pentagon now says that troop levels will actually increase in coming
months—from just over 130,000 to 135,000. (Times of London, July 29)
Every week brings new revelations of despicable crimes by U.S. military
personnel against Iraqi civilians. At least 100 Iraqis are dying violently every
day under the U.S.-led occupation. “[U.S. officials] are criminally
responsible for the hundred deaths every day. They should be tried for their
crimes, not that such trials are possible in our country,” wrote Andrew
Greeley in the July 28 Chicago Sun Times.
And the United Nations
Committee on Human Rights, echoing an earlier report by the UN Committee on
Torture, has called on the U.S. to close its secret detention facilities
throughout Europe and other parts of the world and to grant the Red Cross access
to detainees. (Reuters, July 28)
This is no time for workers and
progressives in the U.S. to be distracted by lies about Hezbollah. It’s
time to confront the terrorists headquartered in Washington and build solidarity
with the people struggling for self-determination throughout the Middle East.
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