Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:8AM
I want the CIA agents and the Pentagon agents, who torture people, innocent people, in Guantanamo, in Bagram, in other prison hellholes… I want the people at the top, the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, the president of the United States, past and present, I want them prosecuted.”
The US ambassador to Libya and three other staff members have been killed and one Libyan security guard has been injured in clashes at the US embassy building in Benghazi. The clashes broke out on Tuesday night after outraged people held a demonstration against a blasphemous anti-Islam movie produced in the US that insulted Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Witnesses said the protesters attacked and set fire to the consulate building, while gunmen and security forces clashed. Rocket-propelled grenades were also fired at the US consulate. Meanwhile, thousands of Egyptians gathered in front of the US embassy in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, to express their anger over the movie. The protesters scaled the walls of the embassy, pulled down the US flag, and called for the expulsion of the US ambassador to Cairo. They also asked the US government to apologize to the Muslim world over the release of the offensive movie. Press TV has conducted an interview with Stephen Lendman, writer and radio host from Chicago, to further discuss the issue. Lendman is joined by Sabri Malek, spokesperson of the Libyan Democratic Party from London, and Marwan al-Ashaal, an international lawyer from Cairo. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview. Press TV: Apart from this US-made anti-Islam film, there is a list, let us review some of them. A few days ago Channel Four in Britain broadcasted a documentary that questioned some of the basic facts about Islam. Prior to that, we had the American soldiers in Afghanistan who burned copies of the Holy Book of Muslims (Holy Qur’an) and disrespected the dead bodies of Afghans, and in 2010 we have this Florida pastor who burned copies of the Qur’an. Are these events, do you think, simply isolated and disconnected in terms of their attacks on Islam or do you see a concerted effort to demonize it? Lendman: It has been going on for so many decades. Go back to Israel. It has been going on in Israel for many, many decades; pre-1948 before Israel became a state. I mean Muslims were targeted. Muslims were vilified. It has gone on in America for many, many years. It got intense beginning with the Gulf War. It got much more intense post 9/11. Islamophobia, the word, where it was invented I am not sure, but let us just speculate that it came out of America. America declared “war on Islam.” Muslims were declared “public enemy number one.” Why? Because to wage permanent imperial wars, to wage America’s “war on terror,” America needs to incite fear in its enemies. So during the Cold War it was Communists and now it is Muslims. What really angers me is more than this film. The filth, that it is, is bad enough -- absolute blasphemy. But what really angers me is what America has done to Muslims for so many years, especially since the Gulf War in 1991 throughout the 1990’s. Post 9/11 and the new millennium not a word from Obama or Hillary Clinton or other US officials even hinting at the millions, I emphasize millions, of Muslims that have been murdered, murdered by Americans in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya, in Syria, sabotaging Iran, proxy wars in Somalia for over two decades, in Yemen, Palestine. I could go on and on and on. This is the real crime. Never mentioned, never discussed. Headlines about four US officials being killed, tragic I agree. What about the millions of Muslims never mentioned? Press TV: Prosecutions should be made, obviously in this case, as the US has said that they are going to pursue, but why have not there been prosecutions made in the past on people who have provoked Muslims and Islam? Not to mention insulting them such as this Pastor Terry Jones in Florida who is still running around. Why are not people like him being prosecuted? Whereas you said that as a result of these wars for example in Afghanistan and Iraq, so many people have died. It does not show that there is seriousness when it comes to these types of acts and this particular one obviously was going after maximum impacts. Lendman: The prosecutions that I am concerned about have not happened and will not happen. I am not so concerned about a pastor who does this, that or something else, or even a filmmaker who produces filth. I am concerned about people who commit mass murder. America is no friend of Libya. Ambassador Stevens, tragic death. He was no friend of Libya. He was Libya’s enemy. A puppet government was installed by America, not elected, installed by America, to run Libya. America and its allies murdered tens of thousands, maybe well over a hundred thousand Libyans, ravaged the country; destroyed the country. I want the people responsible for that prosecuted. I want the CIA agents and the Pentagon agents, who torture people, innocent people, in Guantanamo, in Bagram, in other prison hellholes. I want them prosecuted. I want the people at the top, the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, the president of the United States, past and present, I want them prosecuted. They are the criminals. The other people are minor, minor actors. They are guilty whatever they are guilty of. People who kill somebody, they should be prosecuted. A filmmaker should be scolded. Let us go after the big ones who really deserve what they will never get. Press TV: Stephen Lendman, our guest there [Marwan al-Ashaal] is calling for realignment in terms of reassessing the relationship between the governments in the Middle East with the United States, but how is that going to happen when you have their closest ally, given that it is Israel. I mean in terms of what has occurred in this anti-Islam movie, do you think that this may be is an example of how pro-Zionist groups are pitting the US against Muslims? Do you think that that is one view of looking at this? Lendman: Well, I look across the Middle East, starting with Israel and also the Saudis and the Qataris and these nations and most of the others, Jordan, Morocco, the government in Yemen, the new government in Somalia, it goes on and on. These countries are allied with America’s imperial campaign to conquer the Middle East. Israel wants to be the regional hegemon. America wants to be the overlord, overlord above Israel, and to be a global hegemon. The idea that the Saudis and the Qataris are working against America’s interests in Libya I find absurd on its face. Saudi Arabia and Qatar were very closely allied with America’s imperial war on Libya -- same thing going on in Syria, all of the subversion and mischief going on against Iran. These countries are tied with America’s imperial machine, and they certainly are tied with Israel whether or not they have formal diplomatic relations. This is an ugly thing. How do you get this to change? Oh my goodness! I wish I had the answer to that. It seems like an uncuttable Gordian Knot. It is up to the people. That is what it comes down to. If people want real change in the region, they have to take it upon themselves. I deplore violence. I want to see change come about non-violently. I want to see it happen in America. MY/HSN