The Mother of Messes in Syria

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October 20, 2019

Eric S. MARGOLIS

What a mess. The imperial cooks in Washington have turned poor Syria into a poison pit of warring factions, with disastrous results for all.

Henry Kissinger once quipped that it is more dangerous being America’s ally than its enemy. A good example is how Washington used the Kurds in Syria to fight ISIS and then ditched them to face the wrath of the mighty Turkish military alone.

A great hue and cry has gone up from the US corporate media and Congress that the Kurds are being betrayed. The evangelical far right and Israel’s supporters are leading this charge. Israel has secretly been arming and aiding Kurds in Iraq, Iran and Syria since 1975 as a dandy way of splintering the fragile Arab Mideast.

But President Trump was right when he said that the Kurds had been richly paid by Washington for their services, adding ‘they are no angels.’ Some facts ignored by the US media:

– Kurds, a tribal, non-Semitic people of Persian origin are, like Palestinians, a stateless people who are sand in the eye of the Mideast. They inhabit the uplands of Syria, Iraq, Armenia, and Iran. Kurds are a handsome, warlike people renowned for their fighting abilities and courage. They have long battled neighboring Arab and Iranian tribes over pasture land and water resources.

– The Obama administration got talked into arming and financing the extremist Islamic State group by the deep state and Israel as a way of overthrowing Syria’s secular government, an ally of Iran. The US-equipped Iraqi Army sent to fight IS ran for their lives. When Islamic State threatened Baghdad, the US Air Force intervened and crushed it. Rogue elements of Islamic State ran amok, creating all sorts of atrocities. Some IS units still receive covert Israeli cross-border support.

The US found it expedient to pay Kurdish militias, known as YPG, to fight remnants of the rag-tag IS, an armed mob whose danger was wildly exaggerated by western media. IS was a perfect excuse to keep US military forces in the Mideast. Turkey helped arm IS.

– Turkey’s Kurdish minority is 15-20% of its 80 million people. The dangerous Marxist PKK movement has been calling for an independent Kurdish state since the 1980’s. I covered the war in Turkey’s southern Anatolia between the PKK and the Turkish Army, a bloody affair of bombings and massacres that left over 40,000 dead. Turks go ballistic at the very mention of an independent Kurdish state, calling Kurds ‘mountain Turks’ and Marxist `terrorists.’

Kurds were harshly repressed by various Turkish governments and their generals. But when the Ottoman Turks marched tens of thousands of Armenian prisoners to Syria during World War I, Kurdish tribes raped and massacred them in great numbers. In the 1920’s, the sainted Winston Churchill authorized use of poison gas against ‘unruly’ Kurdish and Afghan tribes.

– US attempts to overthrow Syria’s government created national chaos. The scrubby eastern third of Syria had a mixed tribal population, but the Kurdish YPG militia declared it independent from Syria, declaring a new Kurdish state called Rojava. To no surprise, a confusing melee developed between Syrian forces and Arab tribal fighters, US units, Kurdish militias, IS and tribes aligned to Damascus. Turkey, aghast at the prospects of an independent Kurdish state next door, decided to send in its army which had been demanding action against armed Kurdish groups.

Into this maelstrom strode Donald Trump, who knew nothing about Syria. There were only about 1,000 US troops in Syria, but they could call down the US Air Force based in nearby Qatar. These token troops are being withdrawn to neighboring Iraq, which remain a US-occupied nation with a puppet government, an American garrison of at least 5,000 troops, and oceans of oil.

In short, Syria is being ground up by wars for no good purpose. Turkey made a grave error by joining efforts to overthrow Syria’s Assad regime. The US, France, Britain and Israel have no business at all there. Only Russia has a legitimate geopolitical interest in Syria, which is close to its southern border. So far, Vlad Putin has played a very skillful game of big power chess in Syria while the US has blundered time and again.

ericmargolis.com

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
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The Turkish Military Incursion in N Syria: «Peace Spring» Operation

Trump Ally Graham: Syria Pullout Would Be Nightmare for «Israel»

By Staff, Agencies

US President Donald Trump’s sudden decision to pull back US troops from northern Syria drew quick, strong criticism Monday from some of his closest allies in Congress, among them South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who warned that the move would ultimately be “a nightmare” for the “Israeli” entity.

“By abandoning the Kurds we have sent the most dangerous signal possible,” Graham said on Twitter.

“America is an unreliable ally and it’s just a matter of time before China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea act out in dangerous ways. The US now has no leverage and Syria will eventually become a nightmare for ‘Israel’,” the normally close ally of the president said.

It was condemned, too, by Kurdish fighters who would be abandoned to face a likely Turkish assault after fighting alongside Americans for years against the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”].

The announcement threw the military situation in Syria into fresh chaos and injected deeper uncertainty into US relations with European allies.

Syria’s Kurds accused the US of turning its back on allies and risking gains made in the years-long fight against Daesh.

Trump defended his decision, acknowledging in tweets that “the Kurds fought with us” but adding that they “were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.”

“I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” he wrote.

If the Turks go too far, he tweeted later, “I in my great and unmatched wisdom” will destroy their economy.

Hours after the White House announcement, two senior State Department officials minimized the effects of the US action, telling reporters that only about two dozen American troops would be removed from the Turkey-Syria border, not all the US forces in the northeast of the country. They also said Turkey may not go through with a large-scale invasion and the US was still trying to discourage it.

Both officials spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss what led to the internal White House decision.

Both Republicans and Democrats in the US have warned that allowing the Turkish attack could lead to a massacre of the Kurds and send a troubling message to American allies across the globe.

US troops “will not support or be involved in the operation” and “will no longer be in the immediate area,” in northern Syria, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in an unusual late-Sunday statement that was silent on the fate of the Kurds.

There are about 1,000 US troops in northern Syria, and a senior US official said they will pull back from the area – and could depart the country entirely should widespread fighting break out between Turkish and Kurdish forces.

For the moment, the US troops are not leaving Syria, officials said.

A US official confirmed that American troops were already moving out of the security zone area, which includes the Syrian towns of Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad. That official was not authorized to speak for the record and was granted anonymity to comment.

Sunday’s announcement followed a call between Trump and Erdogan, the White House said Sunday.

The decision is an illustration of Trump’s focus on ending American overseas entanglements – one of his key campaign promises. His goals of swift withdrawals in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have been stymied.

As he faces the impeachment inquiry at home, Trump has appeared more focused on making good on his political pledges, even at the risk of sending a troubling signal to American allies abroad.

The Turkish Military Incursion in N Syria: «Peace Spring» Operation

By Staff, U-feedCenter

An infographic detailing Turkey’s 3rd military incursion into northern Syria dubbed Operation “Peace Spring”.

The Turkish Military Incursion in N Syria: «Peace Spring» Operation

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Prof. William O. Beeman: Impeachment of Trump for Democrats is A Gamble

Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:19
TEHRAN (FNA)- Prof. William O. Beeman, chair of the anthropology department at the State University of Minnesota, says some Democrats point out that Trump really has committed a crime, and if they don’t impeach him, they will be supporting his criminal action.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with FNA, Professor Beeman said, “These people fear that their own Democratic voters will punish them for not impeaching.”

He also said “for Democrats this process is a gamble”.

William Orman Beeman is an American scholar whose specialty is the Middle East;[1] he is a professor of anthropology at The University of Minnesota, where he is Chair of the Department of Anthropology. For many years he was Professor of Anthropology; Theatre, Speech and Dance; and East Asian Studies at Brown University.

Below is the full text of the interview:

Q: Following Trump’s phone conversation with Ukrainian President, the impeachment of Trump has come under serious scrutiny. Trump’s impeachment was to be postponed until after the 2020 US presidential election. Why did the Democrats activate Trump’s impeachment plan?

A: The House of Representatives has not voted to hold impeachment hearings yet. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has opened “impeachment investigations” through six House of Representatives committees. They have purposely not voted to open formal impeachment hearings to protect Democrats who were elected from districts that voted for President Trump, and who might be in danger in the 2020 elections from voters who favor Trump. However, many people expect that the impeachment hearings will be voted on soon, and that the President might be impeached before the end of November (the Thanksgiving Holiday)

Q: US Senate is said to be unlikely to get Trump removed from office. What could be the price of an unsuccessful impeachment of President Trump for the Democrats?

A: The House of Representatives impeaches a president or other government officials with a simple majority vote. The impeachment does not lead to removal. It is just a formal accusation. The Senate then tries the official, like a court, with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court trying to hearings. After this trial, the Senate can remove him or her from office with a 2/3 majority vote. Impeachment of Trump (the formal accusation) is likely to succeed in the House of Representatives The removal of the president is likely to fail in the Senate, because Republicans are the majority in the Senate, and reaching a 2/3 majority (67 Senators) voting to remove the president is likely impossible.

Many Democrats feel that impeaching the President but not removing him from office is dangerous for them. They feel that if the Senate does not remove him, he will claim that he has been exonerated, and that the impeachment itself was a partisan effort on the part of Democrats and had no merit. Democrats feel that this will result in Trump being re-elected in 2020, and the loss of Democratic seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Other Democrats point out that Trump really has committed a crime, and if they don’t impeach him, they will be supporting his criminal action. These people fear that their own Democratic voters will punish them for not impeaching.

So you see, this is a difficult political decision for Democrats. At present there is no clear outcome for the impeachment process.

Q: What are the odds for Trump’s removal. Will his impeachment lead to his dismissal?

A: No, the impeachment is just a formal accusation–an indictment. The president can only be removed by a 2/3 vote in the Senate after the impeachment is approved.

Q: How will Trump’s impeachment and its consequences affect the 2020 US presidential election?

A: Trump thinks that if he is impeached and not removed, it will help him with voters. Some Democrats agree. Other Democrats feel that the impeachment investigation itself will expose his crimes and make him less attractive to voters. So for Democrats this process is a gamble. Personally, I feel that Trump will not be removed from office, and may even be re-elected. A great deal will depend on which candidate Democrats choose to run against Trump.

US National Intelligence Acting Director Threatened To Resign If He Couldn’t Speak Freely on Whistleblower Complaint

US National Intelligence Acting Director Threatened To Resign If He Couldn’t Speak Freely on Whistleblower Complaint

By The Washington Post

The acting director of national intelligence threatened to resign over concerns that the White House might attempt to force him to stonewall Congress when he testifies Thursday about an explosive whistleblower complaint about US President Donald Trump, according to current and former US officials familiar with the matter.

The revelation reflects the extraordinary tensions between the White House and the US’ highest-ranking intelligence official over a matter that has triggered impeachment proceedings against Trump.

The officials said Joseph Maguire, who was thrust into the top intelligence post last month, warned the White House that he was not willing to withhold information from Congress, where he is scheduled to testify in open and closed hearings on Thursday.

Maguire denied that he had done so. In a statement, he said that “at no time have I considered resigning my position since assuming this role on Aug. 16, 2019. I have never quit anything in my life, and I am not going to start now.”

The White House also disputed the account. “This is actually not true,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a tweet.

The current and former officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter, told the Washington Post that Maguire had pushed the White House to make an explicit legal decision on whether it would assert executive privilege over the whistleblower complaint, which centers on a call that Trump made with the leader of Ukraine in late July.

Maguire has been caught in the middle of a fight between Congress and the executive branch over the contents of the whistleblower report since it reached his office late last month.

He has at times expressed his displeasure to White House counsel Pat Cipollone and others that the White House had put him in the untenable position of denying the material to Congress over a claim that it did not fall within his jurisdiction as leader of the intelligence community.

The contents of Trump’s call were released by the White House on Wednesday, showing that Trump repeatedly pressured Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to pursue investigations that might yield political dirt against Trump’s adversaries, including former vice president Joe Biden.

Maguire became the director of national intelligence last month after the resignation of previous director Daniel Coats and Trump’s refusal to allow the deputy director, Sue Gordon, to step into the senior job.

Since the whistleblower controversy erupted earlier this month, Maguire has been the target of harsh criticism from Democratic lawmakers who accuse him of blocking the complaint from being transmitted to Congress.

It was unclear whether Maguire’s threat had forced the White House to acquiesce and allow him to testify without constraint. But officials said Maguire has pursued the opportunity to meet with lawmakers to defend his actions and integrity

In a statement issued Tuesday evening, Maguire said, “In light of recent reporting on the whistleblower complaint, I want to make clear that I have upheld my responsibility to follow the law every step of the way.”

“I am committed to protecting whistleblowers and ensuring every complaint is handled appropriately,” Maguire added. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and Congress to find a resolution regarding this important matter.”

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Trump Impeachment Inquiry Puts State Department in the Crosshairs

Trump Impeachment Inquiry Puts State Department in the Crosshairs

By Staff, Agencies

Senior officials at the US State Department named in a whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump face the possibility of getting dragged into a partisan drama in Congress in the coming weeks, as Democrats move to impeach the president for trying to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on his political rival.

The complaint, made public on Thursday, centers on a July phone call in which Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Filed by an unnamed government official through formal whistleblower channels, the complaint alleges that the Trump administration tried to “lock down” records of the call and cover up the scandal.

The rapidly cascading ordeal poses the most significant threat yet to Trump’s presidency and is likely to consume Washington for the remainder of his term in office.

The complaint details how several key members of the State Department either listened in on the president’s phone call with Zelensky or had contacts with Ukrainian officials to “contain the damage” to US national security.

These officials are likely to become key witnesses as Democrats explore articles of impeachment against Trump based on the charges leveled against him in the document.

The officials likely to be interviewed in the coming weeks include Ulrich Brechbuhl, one of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s key deputies. According to the whistleblower, Brechbuhl listened in on the July 25 call during which Trump repeatedly demanded an investigation of Hunter Biden, who had business dealings in Ukraine. [An unnamed senior official was quoted by CBS News and Bloomberg on Thursday as denying that Brechbuhl listened in.

Other officials likely to be dragged before congressional investigators include Kurt Volker, the US special envoy to Ukraine, and Gordon Sondland, Trump’s ambassador to the European Union. According to the whistleblower, Volker and Sondland met with Zelensky’s team and other Ukrainian officials to help them “understand and respond to the differing messages they were receiving from official US channels,” an apparent reference to interactions that Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had with the Ukrainians.

In a brief press conference on Thursday, Pompeo defended the actions of his lieutenants and said they worked to support Ukraine against growing Russian influence. “To the best of my knowledge, so from what I’ve seen so far, each of the actions that were undertaken by State Department officials was entirely appropriate and consistent with the objective that we’ve had,” Pompeo told reporters.

But the scandal underscored the degree to which Trump distrusts career officials at the State Department and elsewhere in government – and the possibility that some could get dragged into the partisan spotlight.

“I want to know who’s the person, who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information? Because that’s close to a spy,” Trump said during remarks to the staff of the US Mission to the United Nations on Thursday. “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”

While the identity of the whistleblower remains unknown, the New York Times described him on Thursday as a CIA officer who had been detailed to the National Security Council and has since returned to the agency.

Whether the government is able to protect the identity of the whistleblower represents a key test for officials. Experts warn that if the whistleblower is exposed, it will have a chilling effect on others who wish to come forward to expose illegal activity, for fear that it could derail their careers.

Trump’s comments implying that the whistleblower deserves punishment – made before an audience that included US diplomats – heightens the stakes for civil servants, including those at the State Department.

“This is a crisis for the foreign service,” said R. Nicholas Burns, a former career diplomat who served as the US ambassador to NATO under former President George W. Bush. He said the impeachment saga and the Trump administration’s partisan handling of foreign policy have “weakened the foreign service” at a time when it “desperately needs solid leadership.”

The Ukraine scandal has already caused at least one casualty among the department’s civil servants: Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, who was removed from her post two months before her tour was up. Trump and Giuliani perceived Yovanovitch as insufficiently supportive of the effort to dig up dirt on Biden and his son, according to the whistleblower complaint. Pompeo did not respond to questions from reporters leveled at him as he left the briefing Thursday on why he removed Yovanovitch.

In the July 25 call, Trump described Yovanovitch as “bad news,” but current and former diplomats rushed to her defense, describing her as a consummate Foreign Service officer who was pushing for anti-corruption reforms in Kyiv before she was removed from her job.

Yovanovitch is also likely to be called as a witness in the impeachment effort. The seriousness of that effort was on display Thursday on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee grilled the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, over his decision to withhold the complaint from Congress. [Maguire and the committee sparred over the document’s release in recent weeks, with Maguire relenting and turning over the document shortly before Thursday’s hearing.]

The influential Democratic chairman of the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, had long resisted an impeachment initiative, but revelations of the president using US national policy as a lever for domestic political gain shifted the California Democrat’s position. On Thursday, he described Trump’s actions as “the most consequential form of tragedy.”

“It forces us to confront the remedy the Founders provided for such a flagrant abuse of office – impeachment,” Schiff said.

Some Republican members of Congress have described the allegations as troubling but accused the Democrats and the media of moving too fast without all the facts. “Instead of jumping to conclusions and accusations, this matter deserves thoughtful and careful consideration, which we know is highly unlikely to occur during an impeachment spectacle,” Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger said.

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Yemen: Another Shameful US Defeat Looms

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Yemen: Another Shameful US Defeat Looms

Finian Cunningham
September 9, 2019

An official confirmation by the Trump administration of it holding discreet talks with Yemen’s Houthi rebels indicates a realization in Washington that its military intervention in the Arab country is an unsalvageable disaster requiring exit.

There are also reports of the Trump administration urging the Saudi rulers to engage with the Houthis, also known as Ansarullah, in order to patch up some kind of peace settlement to the more than four-year war. In short, the Americans want out of this quagmire.

Quite a turnaround. The US-backed Saudi coalition has up to now justified its aggression against the poorest country in the Arab region with claims that the rebels are Iranian proxies. Now, it seems, Washington deems the Houthi “terrorists” worthy of negotiations.

This follows a similar pattern in many other US foreign wars. First, the aggression is “justified” by moralistic claims of fighting “communists” or “terrorists” as in Vietnam and Afghanistan. Only for Washington, after much needless slaughter and destruction, to reach out to former villains for “talks” in order to extricate the Americans from their own self-made disaster.

Talks with the Houthis were confirmed last week by US Assistant Secretary of Near East Affairs David Schenker during a visit to Saudi Arabia.

“We are narrowly focused on trying to end the war in Yemen,” said Schenker. “We are also having talks to the extent possible with the Houthis to try and find a mutually accepted negotiated solution to the conflict.”

In response, a senior Houthi official Hamid Assem was quoted as saying: “That the United States says they are talking to us is a great victory for us and proves that we are right.” However, he declined to confirm or deny if negotiations were being held.

You have to almost admire the effrontery of the American government. Notice how the US diplomat says “we are focused on ending the war” and “a mutually acceptable solution”.

As if Washington is some kind of honest broker trying to bring peace to a country stricken by mysterious violence.

The war was launched by the US-backed Saudi coalition, including the United Arab Emirates, in March 2015, without any provocation from Yemen. The precipitating factor was that the Houthis, a mainly Shia rebel group aligned with Iran, had kicked out a corrupt Saudi-backed dictator at the end of 2014. When he tucked tail and fled to exile in Saudi capital Riyadh, that’s when the Saudis launched their aerial bombing campaign on Yemen.

The slaughter in Yemen over the past four years has been nothing short of a calamity for the population of nearly 28 million people. The UN estimates that nearly 80 per cent of the nation is teetering on hunger and disease.

A UN report published last week explicitly held the US, Britain and France liable for complicity in massive war crimes from their unstinting supply of warplanes, munitions and logistics to the Saudi and Emirati warplanes that have indiscriminately bombed civilians and public infrastructure. The UN report also blamed the Houthis for committing atrocities. That may be so, but the preponderance of deaths and destruction in Yemen is due to American, British and French military support to the Saudi-led coalition. Up to 100,ooo civilians may have been killed from the Western-backed blitzkrieg, while the Western media keep quoting a figure of “10,000”, which magically never seems to increase over the past four years.

Several factors are pressing the Trump administration to wind down the Yemen war.

The infernal humanitarian conditions and complicity in war crimes can no longer be concealed by Washington’s mendacity about allegedly combating “Iran subversion” in Yemen. The southern Arabian Peninsula country is an unmitigated PR disaster for official American pretensions of being a world leader in democratic and law-abiding virtue.

When the American Congress is united in calling for a ban on US arms to Saudi Arabia because of the atrocities in Yemen, then we should know that the PR war has been lost. President Trump over-ruled Congress earlier this year to continue arming the Saudis in Yemen. But even Trump must at last be realizing his government’s culpability for aiding and abetting genocide is no longer excusable, even for the most credulous consumers of American propaganda.

After four years of relentless air strikes, which has become financially ruinous for the Saudi monarchy and its precocious Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who conceived the war, the Houthis still remain in control of the capital Sanaa and large swathes of the country. Barbaric bombardment and siege-starvation imposed on Yemen has not dislodged the rebels.

Not only that but the Houthis have begun to take the war into the heart of Saudi Arabia. Over the past year, the rebels have mounted increasingly sophisticated long-range drone and ballistic missile attacks on Saudi military bases and the capital Riyadh. From where the Houthis are receiving their more lethal weaponry is not clear. Maybe from Lebanon’s Hezbollah or from Iran. In any case, such supply if confirmed could be argued as legitimate support for a country facing aggression.

No doubt the Houthis striking deep into Saudi territory has given the pampered monarchs in Riyadh serious pause for thought.

When the UAE – the other main coalition partner – announced a month ago that it was scaling back its involvement in Yemen that must have rattled Washington and Riyadh that the war was indeed futile.

The defeat is further complicated by the open conflict which has broken out over recent weeks between rival militants sponsored by the Saudis and Emiratis in the southern port city of Aden. There are reports of UAE warplanes attacking Saudi-backed militants and of Saudi force build-up. A war of words has erupted between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. There is strong possibility that the rival factions could blow up into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, supposed coalition allies.

Washington has doubtless taken note of the unstoppable disaster in Yemen and how its position is indefensible and infeasible.

Like so many other obscene American wars down through the decades, Washington is facing yet another ignominious defeat in Yemen. When the US starts to talk about “ending the war” with a spin about concern for “mutual peace”, then you know the sordid game is finally up.

Paul Findley: A Man of Courage

Global Research, August 14, 2019

Paul Findley one of the most remarkable Congressmen that the US House of Representatives had produced since the Second World War passed away on the 9th of August 2019. He was 98 years old. He was first elected to Congress in 1960 from a district in Illinois once represented by Abraham Lincoln, his immortal hero.  Findley was elected 11 times from that constituency until his defeat in 1982.

As a Congressman, he played a significant role in the formulation of the War Powers Act which required the US president to notify Congress of foreign military engagements. He was also critical of wasteful pentagon spending. He was one of a handful of early legislators who opposed the Vietnam War.

But Findley’s “notoriety” is associated with something else. He was a consistent critic of the influence of the Israel Lobby over Congress. He could see how the Lobby shaped US policies especially in West Asia. He was very much aware of the tactics the Lobby employed to silence anyone who questioned even mildly the biasness of the US position in the Israel-Palestine/ Arab conflict.

Findley himself was a victim of the Lobby’s vicious targeting. Because of his concern over the conflict he had visited the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, who was then regarded by the US government as a “terrorist.” That visit became cannon-fodder for the Israel Lobby to mount a massive campaign against Findley which was one of the main reasons for his defeat in the 1982 Congressional election.

Following his defeat, he wrote a couple of books about the power of the Lobby in US public life and how institutions and individuals were confronting the Lobby. They Dare to Speak Out had a bigger impact outside the US than within. His next book, Deliberate Deceptions, revealed the nexus between US and Israel forged through money, corporate links and personal relationships. Findley was now perceived by the US Establishment as a staunch opponent of Israeli power over the US.

His explorations into Israeli and Zionist power in the US invariably compelled him to look into how that power determined public perceptions of Islam and Muslims in general. His tentative perspective on the issue received a boost when he was invited to participate in a workshop in Penang, Malaysia on perceptions of Islam and Muslims in the Western media organised by JUST in October 1995. That workshop, as Findley had observed many times since changed his outlook on not only Islam but also the West’s relationship with a civilization which often invoked negative sentiments especially among the ‘educated.’ He began to realise that the roots of the antagonism towards the religion and its followers were deeply embedded in the West’s history and entangled with the crusades and colonialism  and post-colonial structures of global power and dominance.

On his return he produced a Friendly Note on his Muslim Neighbour which was widely circulated and later authored a book entitled Silent No More that sought to demolish America’s false images of Islam and Muslims. The book sold 60,000 copies.

As Findley’s mission to combat ignorance about, and prejudice against, another civilisation was beginning to make some progress, it suffered a severe setback through two major events at the start of the new century. Both the destruction of the twin towers in New York on the 11th of September 2001 — the infamous 9-11 incident — which was the rationale for the US helmed ‘War on Terror’ and the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in March 2003 made bridge-building between Christians and Muslims a monumental challenge. Nonetheless, Findley persevered. He continued to lend support to the work of the Council on American—Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other such causes.

His last correspondence with me was in January 2016. He had written an article for the JUST Commentary January 20, 2016 entitled, “Truth Seeking About Islam.”  He lamented that his eye-sight was failing — though his spirit was still high.

Findley was a man of extraordinary courage. The positions he adopted on Israeli power or on Palestinian rights or on justice for Muslims in the US incurred the wrath of many. He was often isolated and marginalised. But he never abandoned his principles.

The tenacity with which he adhered to them was what made him a man of integrity and dignity. He knew the price would be heavy.  But it was a price he was prepared to pay.

It is this — his moral conduct in the face of adversity — that will be his lasting legacy.

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Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Malaysia. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

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