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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Reverand Wright Redux

Here we go again, more attacks on Obama via Reverend Wright. Let it be known, I am not a major Obama fan whatsoever, but as a mere citizen I find these attacks absolutely ludicrous.

So let's break it down:

Obama weathers Wright storm as new details emerge

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A controversy over Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's former pastor has not hurt Obama, a new poll found on Thursday, even as more potential trouble surfaced involving his church.

A poll by the Pew Research Center said videos of sermons by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Obama's subsequent speech on race in America last week have attracted more public attention than any events thus far in the 2008 presidential campaign.

The March 19-22 survey of 1,503 American adults found that despite the flap, Illinois Sen. Obama had maintained a 49 percent to 39 percent advantage over New York Sen. Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

While he seemed to have weathered the storm so far, the poll said most voters aware of the sermons were offended by them.

Wright argued from the pulpit that the September 11 attacks were payback for U.S. foreign policy and expressed anger over what he called racist America.


Firstly, the comments referred to here are taken out of context. Secondly, one needs to refer to the book written by Chalmers Johnson, "Blowback". The term "blowback" is a CIA term.

For Americans who can bear to think about it, those tragic pictures from New York of women holding up photos of their husbands, sons and daughters and asking if anyone knows anything about them look familiar. They are similar to scenes we have seen from Buenos Aires and Santiago. There, too, starting in the 1970s, women held up photos of their loved ones, asking for information. Since it was far too dangerous then to say aloud what they thought had happened to them--that they had been tortured and murdered by US-backed military juntas--the women coined a new word for them, los desaparecidos--"the disappeareds." Our government has never been honest about its own role in the 1973 overthrow of the elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile or its backing, through "Operation Condor," of what the State Department has recently called "extrajudicial killings" in Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America. But we now have several thousand of our own disappeareds, and we are badly mistaken if we think that we in the United States are entirely blameless for what happened to them.

The suicidal assassins of September 11, 2001, did not "attack America," as our political leaders and the news media like to maintain; they attacked American foreign policy. Employing the strategy of the weak, they killed innocent bystanders who then became enemies only because they had already become victims. Terrorism by definition strikes at the innocent in order to draw attention to the sins of the invulnerable. The United States deploys such overwhelming military force globally that for its militarized opponents only an "asymmetric strategy," in the jargon of the Pentagon, has any chance of success. When it does succeed, as it did spectacularly on September 11, it renders our massive military machine worthless: The terrorists offer it no targets. On the day of the disaster, President George W. Bush told the American people that we were attacked because we are "a beacon for freedom" and because the attackers were "evil." In his address to Congress on September 20, he said, "This is civilization's fight." This attempt to define difficult-to-grasp events as only a conflict over abstract values--as a "clash of civilizations," in current post-cold war American jargon--is not only disingenuous but also a way of evading responsibility for the "blowback" that America's imperial projects have generated.

"The term “blowback” first appeared in a classified government document in the CIA’s post-action report on the secret overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953. In 2000, James Risen of the New York Times explained: “When the Central Intelligence Agency helped overthrow Mohammed Mossadegh as Iran’s prime minister in 1953, ensuring another 25 years of rule for Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the CIA was already figuring that its first effort to topple a foreign government would not be its last. The CIA, then just six years old and deeply committed to winning the cold war, viewed its covert action in Iran as a blueprint for coup plots elsewhere around the world, and so commissioned a secret history to detail for future generations of CIA operatives how it had been done. . . . Amid the sometimes curious argot of the spy world—‘safebases’ and ‘assets’ and the like—the CIA warns of the possibilities of ‘blowback.’ The word . . . has since come into use as shorthand for the unintended consequences of covert operations.”

The attacks of September 11 descend in a direct line from events in 1979, the year in which the CIA, with full presidential authority, began carrying out its largest ever clandestine operation—the secret arming of Afghan freedom fighters (mujahideen) to wage a proxy war against the Soviet Union, which involved the recruitment and training of militants from all over the Islamic world. Various members of the current Bush cabinet were complicit in generating the blowback of 9/11. Former general Colin Powell certainly knows why “they” might hate us. He was Ronald Reagan’s last national security adviser and then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the George H. W. Bush administration. Others include former secretary of defense Dick Cheney, former National Security Council staff official Condoleezza Rice, former Reagan confidant and emissary to Saddam Hussein Donald Rumsfeld, former Pentagon official in both the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations Paul Wolfowitz, and many more. Throughout the 1980s, these officials designed and implemented the secret war in Afghanistan and then, after the Soviet Union’s withdrawal, made the decision to abandon America’s Islamic agents." (source)

Are we as a nation not able to have a mature conversation about the possible repercussions of our foreign policy? The CIA does! They even coined a term for it!

Furthermore, the ENTIRE sermon given that day is necessary to watch. Reverend Wright is simply discussing "blowback" amongst other issues. But then again, maybe it's only the US who has the right to retalliate for anything, because God only knows, no matter what we do, we are ALWAYS right. And NO NO NO I am not justifying 9/11, I am TRYING to have a mature conversation about REPERCUSSIONS. I am 100% committed to non-violence by ALL PARTIES.


(Reuter's article continued)

The new survey was released as new information came to light about Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, which Obama attended for two decades.

A Christian publication called Baptist Messenger reported that the church published a pro-Hamas, anti-Israel opinion article in a church bulletin in July.

It said the church republished the article from The Los Angeles Times. In the article, an official from the Palestinian group Hamas defended the group's refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist.

Baptist Messenger said the column was posted on Wright's "Pastor's Page."


Here is the article from the LA Times which is referred to.

Hamas' stand

An official of the movement describes its goals for all of Palestine.
By Mousa Abu Marzook, MOUSA ABU MARZOOK is the deputy of the political bureau of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement.
July 10, 2007
Damascus, Syria — HAMAS' RESCUE of a BBC journalist from his captors in Gaza last week was surely cause for rejoicing. But I want to be clear about one thing: We did not deliver up Alan Johnston as some obsequious boon to Western powers.

It was done as part of our effort to secure Gaza from the lawlessness of militias and violence, no matter what the source. Gaza will be calm and under the rule of law — a place where all journalists, foreigners and guests of the Palestinian people will be treated with dignity. Hamas has never supported attacks on Westerners, as even our harshest critics will concede; our struggle has always been focused on the occupier and our legal resistance to it — a right of occupied people that is explicitly supported by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Yet our movement is continually linked by President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to ideologies that they know full well we do not follow, such as the agenda of Al Qaeda and its adherents. But we are not part of a broader war. Our resistance struggle is no one's proxy, although we welcome the support of people everywhere for justice in Palestine.

The American efforts to negate the will of the Palestinian electorate by destroying our fledgling government have not succeeded — rather, the U.S.-assisted Fatah coup has only multiplied the problems of Washington's "two-state solution."

Mr. Bush has for the moment found a pliant friend in Abu Mazen, a "moderate" in the American view but one who cannot seriously expect to command confidence in the streets of Gaza or the West Bank after having taken American arms and Israeli support to depose the elected government by force. We deplore the current prognosticating over "Fatah-land" versus "Hamastan." In the end, there can be only one Palestinian state.

But what of the characterization by the West of our movement as beyond the pale of civilized discourse? Our "militant" stance cannot by itself be the disqualifying factor, as many armed struggles have historically resulted in a place at the table of nations. Nor can any deny the reasonableness of our fight against the occupation and the right of Palestinians to have dignity, justice and self-rule.

Yet in my many years of keeping an open mind to all sides of the Palestine question — including those I spent in an American prison, awaiting Israeli "justice" — I am forever asked to concede the recognition of Israel's putative "right to exist" as a necessary precondition to discussing grievances, and to renounce positions found in the Islamic Resistance Movement's charter of 1988, an essentially revolutionary document born of the intolerable conditions under occupation more than 20 years ago.

The sticking point of "recognition" has been used as a litmus test to judge Palestinians. Yet as I have said before, a state may have a right to exist, but not absolutely at the expense of other states, or more important, at the expense of millions of human individuals and their rights to justice. Why should anyone concede Israel's "right" to exist, when it has never even acknowledged the foundational crimes of murder and ethnic cleansing by means of which Israel took our towns and villages, our farms and orchards, and made us a nation of refugees?

Why should any Palestinian "recognize" the monstrous crime carried out by Israel's founders and continued by its deformed modern apartheid state, while he or she lives 10 to a room in a cinderblock, tin-roof United Nations hut? These are not abstract questions, and it is not rejectionist simply because we have refused to abandon the victims of 1948 and their descendants.

As for the 1988 charter, if every state or movement were to be judged solely by its foundational, revolutionary documents or the ideas of its progenitors, there would be a good deal to answer for on all sides. The American Declaration of Independence, with its self-evident truth of equality, simply did not countenance (at least, not in the minds of most of its illustrious signatories) any such status for the 700,000 African slaves at that time; nor did the Constitution avoid codifying slavery as an institution, counting "other persons" as three-fifths of a man. Israel, which has never formally adopted a constitution of its own but rather operates through the slow accretion of Basic Laws, declares itself explicitly to be a state for the Jews, conferring privileged status based on faith in a land where millions of occupants are Arabs, Muslims and Christians.

The writings of Israel's "founders" — from Herzl to Jabotinsky to Ben Gurion — make repeated calls for the destruction of Palestine's non-Jewish inhabitants: "We must expel the Arabs and take their places." A number of political parties today control blocs in the Israeli Knesset, while advocating for the expulsion of Arab citizens from Israel and the rest of Palestine, envisioning a single Jewish state from the Jordan to the sea. Yet I hear no clamor in the international community for Israel to repudiate these words as a necessary precondition for any discourse whatsoever. The double standard, as always, is in effect for Palestinians.

I, for one, do not trouble myself over "recognizing" Israel's right to exist — this is not, after all, an epistemological problem; Israel does exist, as any Rafah boy in a hospital bed, with IDF shrapnel in his torso, can tell you. This dance of mutual rejection is a mere distraction when so many are dying or have lived as prisoners for two generations in refugee camps. As I write these words, Israeli forays into Gaza have killed another 15 people, including a child. Who but a Jacobin dares to discuss the "rights" of nations in the face of such relentless state violence against an occupied population?

I look forward to the day when Israel can say to me, and millions of other Palestinians: "Here, here is your family's house by the sea, here are your lemon trees, the olive grove your father tended: Come home and be whole again." Then we can speak of a future together. (source)

Now, I personally find nothing at all factually wrong with that article, NOTHING. Furthermore, it was published in the LOS ANGELES TIMES.

In addition, Trumpet Newsmagazine, of which Wright is the chief executive officer, published an article written by Wright in which he described the crucifixion of Jesus as "public lynching Italian style."

"(Jesus') enemies had their opinion about Him," Wright wrote in a eulogy of the late scholar Asa Hilliard in the November/December 2007 issue, according to "The Italians for the most part looked down their garlic noses at the Galileans."


Here is the complete text of that eulogy. Read about Asa Hilliard HERE

I don't know about you, but I want to hear the inflection and metaphor in one's speech. Was he referring to "garlic eaters" and bad breath as a racist epitat, or was he saying something else, that the Roman occupation of Palestine stunk? I might be way off here, but that's what I read, because again, I don't jump to conclusions, but look to the nuance of intention when using metaphors.


Obama was asked about the latest information about Wright during a CNBC interview.

"I've, I think, talked thoroughly about, you know, the issue with Rev. Wright. And, you know, everybody, I think, who examines the church that I attend knows that it is a very traditional, conventional church," he said.

He said Wright had made some "troubling statements and some appalling statements that I have condemned."

The End...................................................(source)

Now can we get on to something much more important, that would be the issues. Better yet, listen to Reverend Wright APART from Obama, and try to REALLY listen without prejudiced ears.

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