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Commentary :: Sister Cities

Occupation Israeli Style

Occupation is a dirty business and while the mainstream
media does not want to draw the parallels between Israeli
occupation and US occupation, the images and tactical
similarity is not lost on the Arab and Muslim world.
Occupation has its own logic.
The Logic of Occupation - by Jaffer Ali

The deluge of coverage of the prisoner abuse scandal is rather puzzling. Everyone seems to be acting like Claude Rains in Casablanca. You might recall he was disingenuously "shocked" that gambling was taking place at Rick's casino.
Soon after declaring this shock and shutting down the casino, a croupier slipped him his winnings.
The shock over torturing Iraqi prisoners is all a show. How many people reading this BELIEVE that torturing Iraqis is new? How many people believe that this was just an isolated incident of six wayward soldiers who had not been trained properly?

There are twenty open cases of systematic torture under investigation that we know of right now. But this is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Americans are coming face-to-face with what occupation means. Succinctly put; occupation destroys the moral fiber of both the occupied
and occupier.

French television got a hold of stolen footage from an American helicopter "blowing away" a few of the occupied. Using its 30 mm guns, a scrambling Iraqi holding "a tube-
like implement" was severely wounded. He was crawling, apparently no threat to anyone anymore (30 mm caliber are extremely destructive to human flesh) and the helicopter circled over him.

We next hear the words, "Hit him"...and the wounded Iraqi moved no more. Occupation is a dirty business. Rules of engagement are thrown out the window, especially when the occupied have a different color skin, have a different religion, and everything about them is, well, different.

Slap a label of "terrorist" on THEM and all is permitted. Ask Ariel Sharon, Bush's spiritual master and supreme role model.

Occupation has its own logic. Strike... counter-strike. The rubbish of winning the "hearts and minds" never changes. Initially occupiers like to think of themselves as morally superior. Why not? Having superior weaponry confers arrogance. Whoever has the bigger gun is more powerful. I
think Freud said this first.

From whom did our soldiers get urban warfare training? Of course this was to be in the closet, but search Google and you find the secret is out; Israel has been training US
personnel in the fine art of occupation. Here are some links, but you can do your own search. [See second article]

Techniques learned at the super-secret Guantanamo Camp
X-ray have just moved from this hemisphere to Iraq. Nothing
new here.

Yes, occupation has its own inexorable logic. If any reading this wishes to dispute my version of the facts, let me suggest that the "facts" matter less than the perceptions of Arabs and Muslims all over the world.

Let me explain. Presently the impressions are clearly concretized in the psyche of the Arab and Muslim world. While "we" (I am an Arab-American) as a group may not be monolithic, the overwhelming majority of 1.3 billion people
have made up our minds; the US occupation and Israeli occupation are two sides of the same coin.

Israeli occupation of Palestinians and US occupation of Iraq have now become inextricably linked in the psyche of Arabs and Muslims. The main point of contention in the collective
Arab and Muslim psyche is a disagreement concerning which of Bush and Sharon is the puppet and which the puppet- master.

Karl Rove is one of the savviest political operatives in US politics. He prides himself on "defining the political
opponent" before they can define themselves. Unfortunately for the occupier, the face of US occupation has now been defined.

It is a brutal face. It involves "shock and awe". It involves installing convicted felons in the provisional government (Ahmed Chalabi). It is further defined by rhetoric of freedom and then closures of newspapers that do not fit the editorial sensibilities of the occupier.

The face of occupation is not a friendly face, but one that is increasingly at odds with rhetoric. Speak of freedom then
ignore it for Palestinians in Israel. Speak of the rule of law, and then sanction the extra-judicial assassinations Israel commits.

The Arab and Muslim psyche make linkages where Bush and his team fail to do so. Unfortunately, most of my fellow Americans also fail to make the necessary connections.

Instead, along with Tony Blair, the Bush team is still applying the age old practice of politics by division. Compartmentalize issues... compartmentalize tribes... divide and take events out of context. Condoleeza Rice speaks about
a generational commitment to changing the face of the Middle East. But her proclamations don't stand up to the domestic olitical imperatives of getting re-elected.

If ignorance were a virtue, we would most certainly have the most respectable policy team in the history of our country. The lap dog pundits/apologists are peculiarly resplendent in their grandiose delusions. They seem so silly
that I now routinely feel sorry for them. It is as if Baghdad Bob has cloned himself into dozens of Bush-minions.In the topsy-turvy world of the Bush administration,
de-Baathification quickly becomes re-Baathification. How many of Saddam's generals are now part of the "team?" Before the war, the UN inspectors were routinely denigrated for not
finding WMDs. Now, after a year of unfettered access to Iraq, our past rhetoric of condemnation is forgotten.
The once "embedded' and compliant media knows they were taken for a ride. They enjoyed it for a time because they relished their access. They were part of the team. But now the media seems to understand that there are problems of
being embedded and doing one's job as the fourth estate.
As the media herd moves against the multitude of mistakes and dissembling, we now are seeing the logic of occupation playing out in the glare of media headlines.
Israeli link possible in US techniques- By Ali Abunimah

CHICAGO, Illinois: The head of the American defense contracting firm implicated in the torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison has close ties to Israel and visited an Israeli "anti-terror" training camp in the occupied West
Bank earlier this year.
Jack London, chairman, president and CEO of CACI International Incorporated, traveled to Israel in January this year as part of a high-level delegation of US Congressmen, defense contractors and pro-Israel lobbyists, sponsored and paid for in part by the Jerusalem Fund of
Aish HaTorah, a pro-Israel lobbying and fundraising group, and Greenberg Traurig, LLP, a prominent Washington law and lobby firm.

The purpose of the visit, according to a CACI press release, was "to promote opportunities for strategic partnerships and joint ventures between US and Israeli defense and homeland
security companies."
As one of the highlights of the visit, London was presented ith the Albert Einstein Technology Award by Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz at a gala dinner at Jerusalem city hall, for "achievements in the field of defense and national security."

Delegates also spent several hours in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights with Housing and Construction Minister Effie
Eitam, a former Israeli general, who is notorious for his view that Israel should "transfer" - that is, expel - all the Palestinians.

According to the official itinerary for the Jan. 11-17 Defense Aerospace Homeland Security Mission, obtained from the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah, London's trip included a visit to Beit Horon, "the central training camp for the
anti-terrorist forces of the Israeli police and the border police," in the occupied West Bank. The visitors were also "briefed by top experts," and were able to "witness exercises related to anti-terror warfare."

Two CACI employees, Steven Stephanowicz and John Israel, were named in the leaked report by US Major General Antonio
M. Taguba on the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison. Taguba wrote that Stephanowicz, a 'contract US civilian interrogator,' "allowed and/or instructed MPs (military police), who were
not trained in interrogation techniques, to facilitate interrogations by 'setting conditions' which were neither authorized or in accordance with applicable regulations/policy. He clearly knew his instructions equated to physical

John Israel, an interpreter, did not have the appropriate Security clearance, according to Taguba.
Although Taguba recommended that Stephanowicz be terminated
and his security clearance revoked, a May 5 statement from
CACI confirmed, "at present, all CACI employees continue to
work on site providing the contracted for services to our
clients in that location." It added: "We have not received
any information to stop any of our work, to terminate or
suspend any of our employees."

Although no evidence has emerged directly linking CACI's
Involvement in the Abu Ghraib atrocities to Israel, it has
long been known that the US military has been interested in
"learning" from Israel's experience attempting to suppress
the Palestinian uprising.

In March 2003, for example, the AP reported that the "the
(US) military has been listening closely to Israeli experts
and picking up tips from years of Israeli Army operations
in Palestinian areas and Lebanese towns."

This cooperation has included briefings of US personnel by
Israeli officers, and, according to AP, "In January and
February (2003), Israeli and American troops trained
together in southern Israel's Negev Desert ... Israel has
also hosted senior law enforcement officials from the US
for a seminar on counterterrorism."

Meanwhile, more evidence has emerged undermining the US
thesis that the abuses at Abu Ghraib was the work of a
"few bad apples." The Guardian reported that the "sexual
humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was not
an invention of maverick guards, but part of a system of
ill-treatment and degradation used by special forces
soldiers that is now being disseminated among ordinary
troops and contractors."

This system, known to insiders as "R2I," short for
resistance to interrogation, also includes such methods as
"hooding, sleep deprivation, time disorientation and
depriving prisoners not only of dignity, but of fundamental
human needs, such as warmth, water and food." These are all
techniques long employed by Israel.

The visit of the US delegation that included the CACI head
exposes a rarefied web of influence sharing in which US
government officials and congressmen, defense contractors
and lobbyists parcel out huge contracts, and siphon
significant portions off to Israel.

As Batya Feldman of Israel's Globes financial news service
put it, the visit provided Israeli companies with "an
excellent opportunity to encounter big bucks in homeland

To help Israeli companies pry some of these "big bucks"
loose, the visit included seminars for Israeli companies
given by US pro-Israel lobbyists called "How to Approach
the Homeland Security Department," and "How to Sell to the
US Defense Department."

Israeli participants would have had a chance to test the
Helpful tips, since present on the trip were Assistant
Secretary for Homeland Security Robert Liscouski and many
leading US legislators, including top members of the US
House and Senate Armed Services Committees, which jointly
oversee tens of billions of dollars in military spending.

Other articles of interest on the Middle East

Israelis train Abu Ghraib Personnel

The Abu Ghraib Spin

Fantastical Occupation

Chicken hawk Groupthink - by Jim Lobe

Here we go again; Syria sanctions

Decapitated man's family angry - AP,0,7401208.story

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