Bounty Hunting, Islamophobia and Blaming the Victims
By Felicity Arbuthnot
The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity. (Andre Gide, 1869-1951.)
As the Middle East burns and is being destroyed for threatening not one Western country, that it’s people are being systematically terrorized, its great, luminous history and culture dismantled and erased, by the West or its proxy paid and hired terrorist gangs, is now well documented.
Less under the spotlight are the litany of provocations and double standards, which if directed at a majority Christian or Jewish population or any other religion or culture, would attract an avalanche of condemnation, approbation and anti-defamation legal actions.
Given the litany of derision, insults, filth and humiliation aimed at Islam, its followers, and nationals of majority Muslim countries, the impartial observer can only wonder at the tolerance shown towards those insulting and denigrating. The proportionately few freelance furious who have taken revenge pale against the ongoing, multi-national George W. Bush declared: “Crusade.”
(11th September 2001 is not included in the above comment, far too many question marks about a tragic day not alone remain, but continue to multiply, with all forensic evidence, of course – countless thousands tons of it – shipped out of the U.S. to be used as building foundations in the Indian sub-continent. Extraordinary.)
Lest we forget (as ever) it is worth re-capping on just a few of the gutter- level provocations, desecrations and insults heaped on Muslims and Islam.
The U.S. Army went to both Afghanistan and Iraq equipped with Bibles in the relevant languages to hand out to all and sundry, in town and villages, violating (Army) General Order One, which forbids proselytizing. Never mind it being brazen cheek and culturally insulting crassness.
In May 2009, in Afghanistan, when the story came to light, the army publicly burned them, the Pentagon still seemingly in denial. However a video came to light of the most senior Chaplain urging his men to be bounty hunters for Jesus, somewhat wrong footing the Pentagon.
Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, Chief of the US Military Chaplains in Afghanistan told soldiers of their responsibility “to be witness” for Christ:
“The special forces guys – they hunt men basically. We do the same things, as Christians. We hunt people for Jesus … we hunt them down”, he said.
“Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the Kingdom. That’s what we do, that’s our business.”(i)
In context, after the Iraq invasion, it also came to light that the Bush Jnr., Administration’s top-secret “Secretary of Defence Worldwide Intelligence Updates”, were “glaringly covered with quotes from the Bible”, during Donald Rumsfeld’s tenure at the Pentagon.
“The cover sheets were the brainchild of Major General Glen Shaffer, Christian and Director for Intelligence, serving both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defence.”(ii) The General’s Bible study clearly had not got as far as the “Thou shalt not kill” bit.
Then there was Abu Ghraib, the degradation, humiliation, sexual perversities, torture and murder at the hands (literally) of those of, and under, U.S. military command. Defiling of Qu’rans was reported to be an also ongoing, deliberate provocation and humiliation. As has been reported repeatedly from Gulag Guantanamo, with Qu’rans also dropped in to toilets by guards. Prisoners have been smeared with excrement. (iii)
In Iraq, defiling interiors of Mosques and the Qu’rans within are multiply recorded, as in schools, homes, offices, with claims of excrement covered walls, furniture and Holy Book by troops another recurring claim. Many Mosque defilings have also been recorded in France and the U.S.
Further, nearly three years after it first came to light (January 2010) the “Jesus rifle”, used by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan is still in use. The Pentagon declared it had ordered the erasing of a code referring to Biblical passages that had been inscribed on scopes of standard rifles carried by troops.
It now emerges that code remains on rifles used in Afghanistan (iv.) Stamped on to the metal is the code “JN8:12”, referring to the New Testament passage John 8:12: “Then spake Jesus to them saying” ‘I am the light of the world …’ “
Other rifle scopes manufactured by the Michigan-based Trijicon company carry codes identifying passages from the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, Corinthians and the apocalyptic Revelations. Some soldiers have argued that their lives are endangered, the practise reinforcing the concept of the U.S. declared “Crusade.” Indeed it does.
Mikey Weinstein, founder of The Military Freedom Foundation (v) who first drew attention to the issue after receiving numerous complaints from active duty servicemen and women responded:
“It’s constitutionally noxious. It’s an embarrassment and makes us look exactly like the tenth incarnation of the Crusades …”
In September a vicious, Islamophobic hate advertisement went up on the New York subway, arguably taking America back to the Wild West and to Mississippi’s darkest days of racial hatred. (vi)
Denmark of course, brought the world the shameful cartoons of the Prophet, reprinted from time to time, as last month in France, by another obscure publication desperately seeking limelight by any means of insult and denigration of others.
Then there is “Pastor” Terry Jones, of the “Dove World Outreach Center” – a misnoma on all counts – who espouses burning Qu’rans and who, with about twenty others burned copies on 28th April this year. His “dove” like “world outreach” also drove him to write a “book” entitled “Islam is the Devil.”
This year he also hanged an effigy of Barack Obama in front of his Dove Centre. There are surely some strange concepts of “Christianity.”
Jones was also reported by the Atlantic magazine to be involved in promotion of “The Innocence of Muslims”, a piece of screened garbage which caused riots across the globe, American Embassies to be attacked, then – as French and British and others – closed. Jones screened it on 11th September this year, declaring the day: “International Judge Mohammad Day.”
The piece of rubbish was seemingly devised by a man with three names, on parole for fraud, who is currently incarcerated again (vii.) Further hypocrisies and double standards of enormity are worth a visit.
Perhaps the biggest howl of outrage from Western commentators and Politicians was when Pakistan’s railways Minister, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour offered a bounty of £100,000 for the death of the variously named video maker, adding that a businessman from Lahore had offered to put up a further $400,000. This, the day after twenty died in Pakistan, in enraged protests at the video.
“Freedom of speech should not be used an excuse to attack Islam”, said the Minister. “I call upon these countries and say: Yes, freedom of expression is there, but you should make laws regarding people insulting our Prophet …”
The U.S. State Department, part of a government for whom assassinations and bounties have become a way of life, furiously condemned Minister Bilour for an “inflammatory and inappropriate” stance. Attempts at scaling moral high ground from an Administration which targets humanity with drones rather than law, laughs over the assassination of Libya’s leader and boasts of that of Osama bin Laden, verges on black farce.
And here is a woefully incomplete example of U.S. bounty hunts:
In 1998, under the Clinton Administration: “The CIA offered Afghanistan’s anti-Taliban opposition leader a substantial bounty … for the capture of Osama bin Laden, dead or alive.” This in spite of the fact that there was a ban on foreign assassinations at the time.
President Clinton is quoted as commenting: “At the time, we did everything we can do. I authorised the arrest and, if necessary, the killing of Osama bin Laden, and we actually made contact with a group in Afghanistan to do it.”(viii)
$25 million offered for Osama bin Laden by FBI (ix.) On invasion of Afghanistan (7th October 2001) the CIA printed leaflets for distribution across the country for knowledge of his whereabouts or capture, in Dari and Pashtu, with contact details for the Coalition Authorities. (x)
“Our hope is that the dual incentive of helping to free that country from a very repressive regime and to get the foreigners and the al-Qaeda out of there, coupled with substantial monetary rewards, will incentivise… a large number of people to begin crawling through those tunnels and caves looking for the bad folks”, commented Donald Rumsfeld.w (xi)
As Andy Worthington has written, a “chaotic assemblage of prisoners” was handed to the U.S. military from Afghanistan and Pakistan as a result of leaflets dropped from ‘planes reading: “You can receive millions of dollars for helping the anti-Taliban force catch al-Qaeda and Taliban murderers. This is enough money to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life – pay for livestock, doctors, school books and housing for all your people.”(xii)
After the illegal 2003 Iraq invasion, the U.S. offered $25 million for Saddam Hussein, the country’s legitimate President and $30 million for his two sons, Uday and Qusay. In November 2003 a further $10 million was offered for General Izzat Ibrahim al-Doury, Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council and Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party. (xiii)
“This week we will be launching a public information campaign across Iraq to promote the $10 million reward for information leading to (al-Doury’s) capture or killing”, Dan Senor, spokesman for the U.S.-led civilian authority in Iraq, told a news conference (xiv) dressed in spurred cowboy boots, stetson, a solid silver six shooter wedged in his belt, whilst whirling a hangman’s noose in his right hand. (I made the last bit up.)
Other examples of bribes for bodies by the United States includes $10 million for the leader of a Pakistani group “blamed” for the 2008 Mumbai attack (xv) which, it is pointed out: “could complicate U.S. Pakistan relations at a tense time …” and which, it might be surmised, was a matter for India to pursue and nothing to do with the U.S.
In June this year $7 million was offered for the believed leader of the Al Shabab group “accused” of attacks in Somalia, Uganda and Kenya, $5 million each for four alleged colleagues and a $3 million each for a further three (xvi.) “Al Shabab counts hundreds of foreign fighters in its ranks including foreign fighters with experience in the Iraq and Afghan wars.” (As do the U.S., the U.K. and their allies.)
This primitive, predatory practise of “dead or alive” inducements for “some mother’s son” aimed at the poor, the criminal, the opportunist, with all legality negated, is the brain child of the “U.S. State Department Rewards for Justice Program.” This Orwellianly misnamed project was, aptly, dreamed up in 1984, during the Reagan Presidency. (xviii)
“Since the inception of the Rewards for Justice program in 1984, the United States Government has paid more than $100 million to … people who provided actionable information …” informs the website. Which surely brings in to question on a vast scale captures, convictions and indeed, deaths.
“And therein is the paradox. America is simultaneously the most professedly Christian of the developed nations and the least Christian in its behavior”, wrote Bill McKibben, in Harpers. (August 2005.)
Hate speech and bounty hunting is contra to any civilized norms, but in the light of all of the above, howls of outrage at Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour’s comparatively modest offering of $100,000 for the initiator of a film which insulted an estimated 1.5 billion Muslims – over one fifth of the world’s population – out do the word hypocrisy. An apt word has yet to be invented.
“I issued a statement against one man, not against all European and American people”, he has commented. (Bangkok Post 25.9.2012) America’s bounty remit spans continents.