The Enemies of Freedom 26

The West is extremely selective about which enemies of freedom it opposes and which it supports, to the extent that it is a necessary conclusion that liberty is not a real factor in western foreign polcy. As part of the western world, it is the hypocrisy of my own wider community that most troubles me.

But equally, the enemies of freedom may themselves be pro or anti-western, or vacillate for personal advantage. Karimov and Gadaffi are among the latter and arguably Putin. Ahmadinejad is the mirror of Obama in the hypocrisy of his calls for freedom. Assad is proving as adept as his father in killing those striving to be free. But I want to focus in particular on Hamas who are using open violence against the young educated population of Gaza and against journalists, and whose reign of terror in Gaza is shamefully ignored by much of the British left.

Those who have known Palestinians and followed their cause for as many decades as I, understand that it took colossal forces to warp Palestine’s impressive civil society until it could produce an ugly excrescence like Hamas. Those forces were produced by the vast pressure of the Israeli crushing of the population of Gaza in a long, slow but relentless and very deliberate genocide. But understanding how it happened does not make Hamas any more acceptable. If the young people of Palestine are ever to know freedom, they have to throw off not only the vicious Israeli deathlock, but also the violent, narrow, religious nutters of Hamas and the perjured, fat, corrupt sell-outs of Fatah.

The only good news is that a significant proportion of young Palestinians do seem to know that.

Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

26 thoughts on “The Enemies of Freedom

  • Suhaylsaadi

    I agree, Craig. 'My enemy's enemy' is the refuge of despair, but a good proportion of the Left in the West (but not in the Middle East or South Asia) seems to seek solace in such delusions. And so people will apologise for Islamists in the UK and elsewhere, for example, when really they ought to be demonstrating solidarity with those who respect human rights and strive for progressive politics, wherever and under whatever regimes those people might be living. It is the only way. What is happening now in the Middle East demonstrates that the previously (apparently) silent majority is rising and that the majority is progressive and that the people want freedom from economic and political servitude, from cronyism, and that they do not want the psychosis of neoliberalism/neoconservatism, nor do they want ongoing necolonialism, nor do they want the nativist cult of Islamism. They want to write the terms of their own future. And so should we, of ours.

  • YugoStiglitz

    Deliberate genocide? Really? I understand the meaningful objections to Israeli policy in Gaza – but genocide? Wow.

    I fail to see how Israeli actions in Gaza are in any way similar to Turks slaughtering the Armenians, the Germans slaughtering the Jews, and the Hutus slaughtering the Tutsis, etc.

    Rhetoric that is so inflammatory only makes the situation worse.

    With such hatred pointed at them, I'm thankful that the Israeli government hasn't in fact committed genocide.

    • Suhaylsaadi

      There is a valid argument to be had, Yugo, over the use of the emotive term, 'genocide', I would agree. There is similar controversy over the use of the term, 'apartheid' (though a number of prominent figures in the South African freedom struggle have used that term with reference to the situation in Palestine-Israel). Language is contested and therefore it is important. However, Israel most certainly is not a 'victim' state, which, in my interpretation, is the essence of the last sentence of your depiction. An old tactic, this – Israel-as-victim; 'poor little Israel, look at it on the map, look how small and slim it is, and it is besieged on all sides by Arab barbarians' – well, even among supporters of the (existence of) the state of Israel and increasingly among Jewish people in the West, it simply won't wash anymore. I am pleased, though, that you are thankful that the Israeli state hasn't wiped-out the Palestinian people; I am glad that you are concerned for the welfare of the Palestinian people. Perhaps, soon, the wave of revolt sweeping across the Middle East will spread to Palestine. Perhaps, once the key Arab states are democracies, it will be more difficult for Israel to resist 'real change, change that we can believe in' and maybe too unrepresentative and dictatorial Arab leaders, most of whom clearly don't give a damn about the Palestinian people, will stop using Israel as an excuse for oppressing their own people. A new paradigm, then? I hope so.

    • Craig_Murray


      My view on this was clarified when a nice lady gave me a copy of her memoir, the Prickly Pears of Palestine. I don't hate Israel except in the sense I hated apartheid South Africa.

  • Ishmael

    Good news & Bad news, There is a huge machine in space. Russians have developed a piece of technology, i'm pretty sure it is very advanced and may pose a threat in the very short future. The owner of the machine is unknown at this time.
    I hope you dont mind the aggressive words following and I hope you allow this article, i'm not angry……………………………… just annoyed..

    CIA analyst's you fucking arseholes , I am sick to FUCKING death of me giving you intelligence and your analyst's fucking it up. DOUCHEBAGS.
    I AM FUCKING sick of getting your arse out the fire. FUCK OFF. I want you to do the honourable thing and pay me for the top rate intelligence I gave you. I have something just now and it will be 72 percent up front, payable in 67 percent GOLD bullion, plus an honourable payment for previous stuff. I gave you my stuff when I was freelance and an opportunity to contact me. Did your analists mess that one up..well? I was interested in writing for you then but have since drifted off in other high value areas to set operations up

    Sorry for jacking your site and going off topic

    If anyone wants to discuss these matters please tell me so.

    • YugoStiglitz

      As a member of the CIA, let me be the first (and hopefully not the last) to apologize.

    • Clarq

      Ishmael, I'd like to discuss this; I like watching satellites in the evening sky. We can continue here (if no one objects to us going off-topic), or my IntenseDebate profile links to my e-mail addresses. Is your second paragraph a quote, and if so, where from?

      It would seem very difficult to conceal which country is constructing a large piece of orbital hardware, as components have to be launched from somewhere, and rockets are quite conspicuous. I also suspect it would be in contravention of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.

  • Ishmael

    Good news & Bad news, There is a huge machine in space. Russians have developed a piece of technology, i'm pretty sure it is very advanced and may pose a threat in the very short future. The owner of the machine is unknown at this time.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    The US is most focused on its long term interests in oil and the currency that oil is traded in. If there are truly democratic uprising across the Middle East and the people’s representatives act conscionably and freely in pursuit of the people’s interest, such as in Saudi Arabia, then dollar domination may be under serious threat.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    The acts of aggression being undertaken against Libya, are necessary actions, and from Washington’s perspective is strategically vital to stave off really revolutionary changes in and around Saudi Arabia. Washington really wants to dominate the power over the oil producing countries near Iran and maintain control over oil resources. Payment in dollars is paramount in the Washington agenda. Continuation of these “freedom revolutions” could ultimately constitute a threat to Washington’s true interests in the Middle East.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    My humble view is that a lot of the action and reaction to events in the Middle East protests revolves around Washington’s concern that the dollar remaining as long as possible as the world’s reserve currency. Control over what happens to oil resources is intricately and inextricably linked to this foreign policy focus on what may broadly be termed “energy security”. Democracy, as a prime concern and objective is a ruse, but it serves a convenient political purpose in professing concern about the peoples representative rights, but really is a useful mask for Washington’s true objectives. The peoples’ interests and welfare in the Middle East is a back seat driver to the front seat focus on oil and currency interests. The status quo’s survival, viewed in this context, tells us more about Washington’s moves than any official foreign policy pronouncements about concerns about the Arab peoples and Western professed support for democracy.

    • Suhaylsaadi

      Yes, I think that this is a coherent analysis, Courtenay. All the more reason, then, for people in Egypt to keep on pushing for more real liberation, as they are doing as we write. As so often, Egypt will be the litmus test. It has relatively little oil but geographically is the 'hinge' b/w Maghreb and Mashriq (Western and Eastern Arabic-speaking countries), it is the most populous and most culturally dominant state among the Arab countries. It also has the longest history of struggle for both independence (C19th Mohammed Ali, etc.) and participatory politics.

    • ingo

      I could not agree more Courtney, the overarching goal seems to hang on keeping control over international finances, make sure the rotten dollar edifice does not come down.
      democtracy and energy security seemingly have nothing to do with each other. I also view this current action in libya as the starting shoot to a major Magreb upheaval, serving the oil producers and those unable to change tack.

      Europes largest future energy project, desertec, designed to wean us off oil and nuclear in the long run, has been sabotaged by this timely delay via warfare.
      I'm concerned that debates about the exit startegy could slip, as yet, this is an open ended UN action with no end in sight, a worrying prospect for the EU's energy drive's and a possible rift developing between the EU and the US, not to speak of the other 'dependent' front seat drivers.
      Thanks for this lucid analysis Craig, I think that Hamas feels insecure by the outbreak of democracy in Arab countries, too much freedom challenges their power position, in Gaza as much as in the Westbank, loss of vision and control within future generations threatens their continuance.

  • mark Golding

    People seek solace in the delusion of an enemies enemy because altruistic society is paralysed by a spectrum of ego, bios and greed transmuting into torture, war and death, obscured with a translucent mask of deception. Obama came to power on a wave of ‘change’ that was just an illusion because the first particle of change has to occur within ourselves; not until we realise our symbionic connection to nature and the universe our earth exists in, constantly changing as emergent processes, while our own stupid identity and reasoning is nothing more than temperal at that point in time. Our integrity is only as good as the integrity of everything else around us. The Iraq war, one million slaughtered is disgusting, small boys in Afghanistan murdered while collecting firewood is disgusting, yet we are paralysed, we don’t know what to do to realise a world without war or poverty. We are conditioned to accept the status quo. We respond with remarks of hatred, anti-semetism without realising we don’t need religion, we don’t need a political system, we don’t need a monetary system; we are slaves to these mythical systems designed to achieve permanent conflict and debt and supported by government conspiracies not fringe cult ideology, together with fiscal manipulation intended to prevent people rioting out of hunger.

    Democracy and freedom are myths, that is until we recognise we are all on the same frequency.

  • TFS

    Even more so that Obama doesn't have the authority as Commander in Chief of the USA military to unilaterally decide to take the USA to war. I believe he stated as much in 2007. Amazing the change of perspective once you have the 'Power' aint it?

    Only Congress can authorise this, 'Treason' perhaps, maybe time to remove his Nobel Peace prize. As for the UK, haven't the UK learnt anything from the Blair era. Shouldn't it be the Cabinet who authorise this sort of action?

  • Germanicus

    Good post Craig. We shoudl condemn Hamas (and Fatah) not in spite of the fact that we support the Palestinian cause, but because of it. Hamas are a lousy organisaiton from very many points of view – moral, social, ethical and tactical. Hizballah, though very far from perfect, are head and shoulders above them in just about every respect.

    What I wish for the Palestinians to do is adopt a 'Neither Fath nor Hamas' approach. Dissolve the lousy, collaborationist PA, set up an interim govt which is not beholden to Israel or the west (as is the case with the PA) and declare their aim that of a one-state solution, with equal rights for all, Jewish, Muslim, Christian or whatever.The 'two state solution' urgently needs to be shown up as the charade it is.

  • DJL

    Have you read Scotta Attran's Talking to the Enemy book? Very important reading, in my opinion.

  • CheebaCow

    I don't disagree with anything that Craig wrote in this post, and I'm certainly thankful I don't live in a country that has a government similar to Hamas. However I do have a question and a comment.

    I remember when Hamas first came to power, reporting (that I trust) stated that a large part of Hamas' success was that they were able to provide far more community and social services than Fatah. Has this changed in recent years? Also I don't think we should allow Hamas to be used as an excuse by Israel to deny the Palestinians freedom from occupation.

  • jjb

    I suggest that Hamas has not been allowed to mellow, least it becomes acceptable as interlocutor.
    An ugly face amongst the enemies of the west is badly needed, so the PR machine has a (minimal) attachment to reality.
    Hamas is NOT the problem in Gaza, we all know that.

    • Germanicus

      Of course Hamas are not the primary problem in Gaza – the root problem is the Israeli occupation, and latterly the brutal and illegal siege. However, even if they are not THE problem they are still A problem – as are Fath in other parts of the OPT. Hamas are socially regressive, morally dubious and tactically and politically incompetent. Like I've said, it's time for the Palestinians to abandon internal feuding, give up on the farce that is the 'peace process' and call for a one-state solution. Hamas and Fath, unless they reform, would be an irrelevance in this scenario.

  • Ian

    It is tragic and heartbreaking what has happened to the Palestinians, one of the most subjugated and dispossessed people on the planet. Where are the no-fly zones for them? The cruelty of Israel and its supporters is staggering, shameless and utterly inhumane. To keep abreast of events and discussions Mondoweiss is a very good blog, and Gilad Atzmon has a refreshing abitlity to tell it like it is, from the heart.

  • David

    i missed this piece from the guardian published a couple of months ago, but it is interesting, and as someone who has seen this regime in action and lived under it for a number of years and who admires Craigs efforts, I think you will see it adds a lot of weight to what Craig was telling the world , and what i also know to be true.

    The post-Soviet state of Uzbekistan is a nightmarish world of "rampant corruption", organised crime, forced labour in the cotton fields, and torture, according to the leaked cables.

    But the secret dispatches released by WikiLeaks reveal that the US tries to keep President Islam Karimov sweet because he allows a crucial US military supply line to run into Afghanistan, known as the northern distribution network (NDN).

    Many dispatches focus on the behaviour of Karimov's glamorous and highly controversial daughter Gulnara, who is bluntly described by them as "the single most hated person in the country".

    She allegedly bullied her way into gaining a slice of virtually every lucrative business in the central Asian state and is viewed, they say, as a "robber baron". Granted diplomatic status by her father, Gulnara allegedly lives much of the time in Geneva, where her holding company, Zeromax, was registered at the time, or in Spain.

    She also sings pop songs, designs jewellery and is listed as a professor at Tashkent's University of World Economy and Diplomacy.

    The British ambassador in Tashkent, Rupert Joy, was criticised by human rights groups in October when he helped boost Gulnara's image by appearing with her on a fashion show platform.

    But the US secret cables go some way towards explaining western ambivalence. They detail how the dictatorial president recently flew into a rage because the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, presented a Women of Courage award in Washington to a newly released Uzbek human rights campaigner, Mutabar Tadjibayeva.

    Karimov's displeasure was conveyed in "icy tones", which alarmed the embassy: "We have a number of important issues on the table right now, including the Afghanistan transit (NDN) framework."

    On 18 March 2009, the US ambassador, Richard Norland, submitted to a personal tongue-lashing from Karimov with an "implicit threat to suspend transit of cargo for US forces in Afghanistan via the Northern Distribution Network".

    Norland claimed to have calmed Karimov down on that occasion, but warned Washington: "Clearly, pressuring him (especially publicly) could cost us transit."

    Gulnara, wryly dubbed the "first daughter" by the diplomats, appeared on the embassy radar in 2004.

    Describing trips to sample Tashkent's raucous nightlife, diplomats said she had been spotted at 3am joining her younger sister Lola in a booth surrounded by four large bodyguards.

    Lola had arrived in a Porsche Cayenne four-wheel drive – "one of a kind for Tashkent" – and danced all evening with her "thuggish-looking boyfriend" in a club she appeared to own. It served large quantities of imported hard alcohol, the diplomats noted, "which is against the law".

    Dispatches over the next five years chronicle Gulnara's extraordinary rise, allegedly making local businesses offers they could not refuse.

    US businessmen claimed, for example, that after they rejected Gulnara's offer to take a share in their Skytel mobile phone firm, "the company's frequency has been jammed by an Uzbek government agency".

    Gulnara acquired interests in the crude oil contracts of Zeromax in "a deal with [a] local mafia boss", the embassy said. She also got hold of shares in the Coca-Cola bottling franchise after it was subjected to a tax investigation, they claimed.

    "Most Uzbeks see Karimova as a greedy, power-hungry individual who uses her father to crush business people or anyone else who stands in her way … She remains the single most hated person in the country."

    Neil Livingstone, a Washington businessman closely involved with Zeromax, denied to the Guardian that Gulnara had interests in the company, which has recently had its assets seized in Uzbekistan, following unfavourable publicity alleging corruption by the Karimov family.

    He said: "Had we had the relationship with the government or the daughter that was rumoured … we would not now be in serious financial straits. I have never met the president's daughter or even spoken to her."

    Gulnara did not respond to requests for comment, sent to her own website and to the Uzbek embassies in both London and Washington, but she has reportedly denied claims that she fully or partly owned Zeromax.

    The US diplomats paint a harsh picture of overall life in Uzbekistan, largely corroborating allegations made by the former UK ambassador Craig Murray, who was forced out of his job in 2004 after denouncing the regime.

    The US embassy reports there are "close connections between organised crime and the government of Uzbekistan". Both public and private sector jobs are routinely "bought", they say.

Comments are closed.