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Sixty percent of global drone exports come from Israel — new data

Originally published at The Electronic Intifada

Israel has supplied 60.7 percent of the world’s drones since 1985, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

As a result, Israel is the single greatest source of drone proliferation in the world.

In second place is the United States, which accounts for 23.9 percent of global drone exports, followed by Canada at 6.4 percent, France at 1.6 percent, Austria at 1.4 percent, Italy at 1.1 percent, Germany at 1 percent and China at 0.9 percent.

Conversely, the United Kingdom is the world’s number one importer of drones. Between 2010 and 2014, the UK bought 55 drones from Israel and six armed drones from the US, which accounted for one third of global drone deliveries in that time period.

The vast majority of the drone market is comprised of surveillance drones.

The US, UK and Israel are the only countries in the world known to have used armed drones, deployed exclusively against nonwhite predominantly Muslim populations in nations and territories that have been pillaged and destroyed by Western conquest.

The besieged Gaza Strip has served as the leading testing ground for both armed and surveillance drones.

Tested on Palestinians

Over the last decade, Israel’s use of robotic warfare against Palestinians has escalated dramatically, with each new military assault on Gaza relying more heavily on drones than the last.

Last summer, Israel’s 51-day bombing campaign against Gaza killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, including more than 500 children.

Based on data collected by the Al Mezan Center for Human rights, a Corporate Watchinvestigation found that at least 37 percent of those killed, or 840 people, died in drone strikes alone.

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Corporate Watch chart of drone deaths in Gaza by year.

Lost in the numbers is the psychological terror inflicted on the people of the Gaza ghetto, especially children, by the constant presence of drones buzzing overhead with the capacity to rain death on those below at any moment.

This has been wildly lucrative for Israeli arms companies, which exploit Israel’s frequent military assaults as opportunities to expedite the testing of their products on human subjects.

Easy access to a captive Palestinian population to experiment on allows Israeli arms producers to market their products as “combat proven,” a coveted seal of approval that gives Israel a competitive edge in the international arms trade. Israel’s repression technology is then exported to regimes that are similarly invested in subjugating the poor and marginalized.

This dystopian arrangement has paved the way for Israel, a country the size of New Jersey, to rank among the globe’s top arms exporters.

A case in point is Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military technology firm, which produces 85 percent of the drones that make up the Israeli army’s vast arsenal.

The Hermes 900, a drone manufactured by Elbit, was deployed operationally for the first time against Palestinians in Gaza last summer, even though it was still undergoing testing. Nicknamed the Kochav — which is Hebrew for “star” — the Hermes 900’s blood-soaked performance garnered widespread praise at Israel’s annual drone conference, held less than a month after the Gaza slaughter.

The Hermes 900 is a more advanced version of the Hermes 450, an aerial attack and surveillance drone that was used by the Israeli army to deliberately target civilians in Gaza during Israel’s previous onslaught in late 2008 and early 2009, according to Human Rights Watch.

The Hermes drone was also used to kill civilians in Israel’s attack on Lebanon in 2006, including Red Cross workers, ambulance drivers and dozens of people fleeing their homes in a desperate search for safety from Israeli bombardment.

Marketed in the company brochure as “combat-proven” and “Fighting terror for over a decade,” the Hermes 450 boasts “a class-leading safety and reliability record.”

Apparently impressed by the aircraft’s capacity for bloodshed, the Brazilian government purchased a fleet of Hermes drones to help crush the massive protests that erupted across Brazil against the 2014 World Cup.

Thales UK — a subsidiary of the French company, Thales, which is ranked as the eleventh largest arms producer in the world — signed a $1.6 billion joint venture with Elbit Systems in 2011 to develop a new drone fleet called Watchkeeper for the British military.

The Watchkeeper is being modeled on the Hermes 450, which has been deployed by the British army in Afghanistan.

Elbit might be Israel’s largest drone producer, but it’s hardly the only Israeli company selling equipment tested on Palestinians to regimes around the world.

According to an investigation by Drones UK, Israel has exported drone technology to at least fifty different countries, enabling atrocities and fueling war.

With America’s blessing, Israel sold drones and fighter jets to Sri Lanka, which were used to commit atrocities against Sri Lanka’s ethnic Tamil minority.

South Korea recently purchased the Heron drone, which is produced by Israel Aerospace Industries and has been deployed for surveillance and target acquisition in Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Gaza.

In addition to helping crush World Cup protests, Israeli drones have been used by Brazilian police to invade the nation’s favelas.

In certain instances, Israel has sold drones to both sides in a given conflict. Both Russia and Georgia — between whom a conflict took place in 2008 — were armed with Israeli drones. Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have reportedly both used Israeli drones.

Meanwhile, Israel’s drone exports to India have provoked a drone “arms race” with neighboring Pakistan, according to the organization Drones UK.

Israel invented drones

Israel was instrumental in pioneering the modern drone due largely to the ideology at its core.

Israel’s creation as a majority Jewish state was precipitated by the pre-meditated ethnic cleansing of 750,000 indigenous Palestinians by Zionist militias in 1948 — which Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, or catastrophe. Israel has spent every day since then consolidating and expanding its Jewish majority in historic Palestine, which has required tremendous levels of violence, including the ongoing containment and exclusion of the native Palestinian inhabitants still under its control.

The Israeli economy has been built around advancing this goal, giving rise to a booming “homeland security” industry that caters to the designs of Zionism and then repackages occupation-style repression for export and profit.

Drone technology has been crucial to this endeavor.

After suffering heavy losses in its 1973 war with Egypt, the Israeli regime, for the first time in its existence, was met with backlash from an Israeli Jewish public unaccustomed to high soldier casualties.

It was in the aftermath of the 1973 war that the Israeli government began investingheavily in drone technology, minimizing the risk to its soldiers, effectively pacifying future opposition to endless war, expansion and conquest.

Israel Aerospace Industries, known as Israel Aircraft Industries at the time, and the Israeli company Tadiran were tasked with designing drones for real-time intelligence collection in the occupied Sinai.

Soon enough, IAI invented the Scout drone, which was deployed in 1982 to coordinate targeting during Israel’s deadly invasion of Lebanon. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Israel tested and refined a variety of drones on the people of southern Lebanon in an attempt to crush armed resistance to its occupation. With each operation came another wave of advancements in drone technology.

With the start of the second intifada and Israel’s forced withdraw from southern Lebanon in 2000, the occupied West Bank and Gaza became Israel’s primary testing grounds for drone warfare.

Israeli drones provided hidden attack helicopters with coordinates to fire on during Israel’s ruthless 2002 attack on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. As early as 2004, Israeli drones were raining down missiles on the Gaza Strip in targeted assassinations of Palestinians fighters.

Though the US started utilizing and investing in drone technology before Israel, Israel was always one step ahead.

It’s no coincidence that Abraham Karem, an Israeli citizen, designed the Predator drone, which has been deployed by the US military and the CIA to carry out targeted assassinations that have left hundreds of innocent people dead. The Iraqi-born Karem received a degree in aeronautical engineering at the Haifa-based Israel Institute of Technology — better known as the Technion —  and got his start at IAI before immigrating to the US after he was blackballed by the Israeli government for starting his own drone company.

Today, Gaza is surrounded with Israeli drones by air, land and sea.

In addition to the surveillance drones that hover overhead, the walls of the Gaza cage will soon be reinforced by Border Patroller, an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), or land drone, armed with remote-controlled weapons. Designed by the Israeli company G-NIUS, a joint venture between Elbit Systems and IAI, the Border Patroller, like the walls it fortifies, will prevent the Palestinian refugees of Gaza from escaping their cage.

The Protector, produced by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, is an unmanned sea vehicle (USV), or boat drone, that roams Gaza’s coast to obstruct Palestinian fishermen from making a living.

If the proliferation of Israel’s aerial drones is any indication, it won’t be long before land and sea drones spread to all corners of the globe.

As long as Israel’s economy is shaped by the subjugation and elimination of Palestinians, it will continue to function as a factory for cutting-edge repression technology that sustains racism and inequality around the globe.

Why can’t media describe Chapel Hill murders as terrorism?

Crossposted from The Electronic Intifada

Today marks one week since 23-year-old Yousef Abu-Salha’s younger sisters — Yusor, 21, and Razan, 19 — were murdered by their neighbor. Yousef told The Electronic Intifada over the the phone from North Carolina that he has no doubt their murder was an anti-Muslim hate crime.

The women were executed along with Yusor’s husband, 23-year-old Deah Barakat, in the newlywed couple’s condominium.

All three were remarkable individuals devoted to helping the disenfranchised at home and refugees abroad. As their social media posts demonstrate, the plight of Syrian and Palestinian refugees were particularly near and dear to their hearts. In fact, Razan and Yusor were of Palestinian descent, which has been largely glossed over in the media coverage of their deaths.

Originally from the port city of Jaffa, the Abu-Salha family was driven out of historic Palestine by Zionist militias in 1948. Yousef’s father was subsequently born in Jordanand raised in Kuwait. His mother, whose maiden name is al-Azzeh, was born in al-Bireh, a city in the occupied West Bank.

Yousef and Yusor, both born in Jordan, are dual Jordanian-American citizens. Their parents immigrated to the United States when they were little. Razan was born in 1993. The family was living in Virginia Beach at the time. Soon afterwards, the Abu-Salhas moved to North Carolina, eventually settling down in Raleigh, where the children spent most of their lives.

After learning there had been a shooting, Yousef said his parents immediately suspected that Yusor and Deah, who weren’t answering their phones, had been shot by the neighbor they had on so many occasions expressed fear of. The families rushed to the apartment complex for confirmation of their worst fears. But for five grueling hours, police refused to tell them whether their loved ones were shot and if so, whether they were alive or dead.

The agonizing suspense was captured in a video report by the local news station WNCN, in which Deah Barakat’s father is seen pleading with officers to tell him whether his son is dead or alive.

It came as “a huge shock” when Yousef learned that Razan had also been killed. “I had no idea that my youngest baby sister was visiting,” he said.

By Wednesday morning, the police declared that the shooting was motivated by an ongoing parking dispute, a conclusion that appeared to be based almost entirely on the killer’s account.

“Gun toting” atheist

Craig Stephen Hicks, the 46-year-old white man who executed Yusor, Razan and Deah with what the family says were bullets to the back of the head, hated religion.

A self-described “gun-toting” atheist, Hicks’s Facebook postings were devoted almost exclusively to expressing hostility towards religion. Commenting on Christians, Muslims and Jews, Hicks said in one post, “I wish they would exterminate each other!”

According to residents, Hicks was a threatening and aggressive neighbor who acted as a self-appointed watchman of the condominium complex obsessed with parking spaces and noise. He called the local towing company so frequently about parking issues that the company stopped responding to his calls and had him banned.

“Yusor and Deah told us that one time [Hicks] knocked on their door and told them they were being too loud, with his gun at his waist,” recalled Yousef. “I knew in my head this was hate because of who my sister was and how she looked — she wore the headscarf proudly,” he added, noting that the violent harassment didn’t begin until Yusor moved in with Deah. “Even then my sister sympathized with him. She said maybe this man has been influenced negatively by the media and she was going to show him the truth about Muslims by showing him kindness.”

Yousef added that Deah, Yusor and their friends saw Hicks brandish several different guns. So Yousef was not suprised when law enforcement discovered an arsenal of more than a dozen firearms in Hicks’ home, along with several loaded magazines and a massive cache of ammunition.

Deah and Yusor went out of their way to avoid angering Hicks.

“Deah used to send us a picture of the parking map and highlight the numbers we could park in,” recalled Yousef.

But it wasn’t enough to stop Hicks from invading their home and murdering them in cold blood. Nor has Hicks’ barbaric crime compelled the media to reflect on its role in inciting against Muslims and Arabs.

“It’s a shame that you turn on a major news channel and you see a news story about ISIS and then they’ll cover our story and they do an okay job, but immediately after it will be another story about these radical groups,” remarked Yousef. “I think it sends US citizens a bad message that these Muslims are all the same.”

Withholding gruesome details

Meanwhile, authorities have kept a tight lid on the manner in which the three victims were killed.

Yousef said the family is “as clueless” as the public. However, he did see the bodies of the three victims before burial. “It appeared that Deah and Yusor put up a fight,” he said.

Deah Barakat’s brother, Farris, told the website BuzzFeed that he noticed some of Deah’s teeth were knocked out, a cruel irony given Deah’s profession in dentistry.

In the call to 911 dispatchers, a woman reported hearing around eight gunshots and “more than one girl screaming and then there was nothing and then I heard about three more shots go off.”

Though police have yet to release a coroner’s report or play-by-play of how the crime unfolded, some insight can be gleaned from search warrants released on Friday.

“According to the search warrants, a woman flagged down police and directed them to Barakat’s and Yusor Abu-Salha’s condo, saying her friend was bleeding,” reportedWRAL. “When officers arrived, they found Barakat dead in the front doorway bleeding from the head; one of the sisters was found in the kitchen, and the other was in the doorway to the kitchen. Police found eight shell casings in the living room of the condo and a bullet somewhere inside, according to a second warrant.”

Three days after the murders, Deah Barakat’s sister, Suzanne, revealed that police had yet to interview her family members, adding that it was “insulting, insensitive and outrageous” to blame the triple homicide on a parking dispute, especially since “on the day of the murders, the parking spot that was ‘disputed’ had no car in it.”

That changed on Saturday, when, according to Yousef, the families met with local and federal law enforcement officials, who are now investigating whether the murders were motivated by hate. Chapel Hill police chief Christopher Blue sincerely apologized to the families for the initial police statement, according to Yousef. The family, he added, was satisfied and understanding.

Double standards

Appearing on CNN, Suzanne Barakat slammed the inconsistent application of the “terrorism” label:

Had roles been reversed and the man was Muslim, was of Arab descent, was of South Asian descent, this would have immediately been labeled an act of terror. I haven’t heard anyone use the term terrorist here. Why the double standard? He has terrorized our families. He has terrorized our lives. He has terrorized our community locally, nationally and internationally and it’s time that people call it for what it is.

Suzanne’s analysis was proven right the very next day, when a gunman opened fire at a Copenhagen café during “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression,” an event hosted by the Swedish artist Lars Vilks. Three police officers were injured and a film director was killed.

Danish police believe the target of the shooting was Vilks. Vilks has faced threats on his life in the past over his offensive drawings of the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a dog, artwork that has gained him international notoriety.

Hours later, the gunman opened fire outside a synagogue, injuring several police officers and killing a Jewish security guard who was standing watch outside a bat mitzvah.

Within hours the Obama administration issued condolences and offered assistance.

In stark contrast it took Barack Obama three days to utter a word about the execution-style murder of three Muslims in his own country, and he did so only after being shamed for his silence on the international stage.

Still, Obama’s condolences meant the world to Yousef. “I broke down in tears when I read his message and the fact that he quoted my sister was really humbling,” he told me, adding that the family feels no animosity towards Obama for waiting so long to speak out. “We know President Barack Obama is a busy man.”

While the Abu-Salha and Barakat families continued to demonstrate forgiveness and understanding, the corporate press devolved into hysterical fear-mongering at the first sign of violence potentially committed by a Muslim.

Danish authorities immediately categorized the attacks as “terrorism” based on nothing more than the suspected ethnicity of the still unidentified gunman and the identities of his victims. And the international press corps followed suit.

The suspected gunman, who was killed in a shootout with police, was later identified by local media as Omar el-Hussein, a Danish-born 22-year-old with a violent criminal past unrelated to religious extremism. Two weeks prior to his shooting spree, el-Hussein was released from prison where he was serving time for stabbing a passenger on a commuter train. A petty criminal with possible gang affiliations, el-Hussein exhibited characteristics common to mass shooters. According to people who knew him, he suffered from anxiety and never quite fit in.

There is no indication he was involved in a larger terror cell and the head of PET — Denmark’s domestic security agency — concluded that he never traveled to Syria or Iraq as a Jihadist fighter and had no known ties to last month’s Paris attackers. And his motives remain unknown.

Yet the overwhelming consensus among media outlets and Western government officials is that his was an act of terrorism by an Islamic radical.

Meanwhile, media outlets have managed to portray Chapel Hill killer Craig Stephen Hicks as a defender of freedom in spite of his murderous rampage. The Associated Press ran the headline ”Shooting suspect slams religion while defending liberty” in a piece profiling Hicks, which ends by citing the “precious video link” Hicks shared on his Facebook page of a “dachshund puppy, repeatedly dinging a small silver bell with its paw to receive a treat.”

“Murderous misfits”

If the reaction to the Denmark attacks isn’t evidence enough of a glaring double standard, then the response to the recently foiled mass shooting plot in Canadacertainly is.

Over the weekend Canadian authorities thwarted a Valentine’s Day attack on a Halifax shopping mall. The three attackers — all white youths, including one American woman who traveled to Canada specifically to carry out the attack — were prepared to kill as many citizens as possible and then themselves.

But Canadian officials refused to categorize the suspects as terrorists.

“I would classify it as a group of individuals that had some beliefs and were willing to carry out violent acts against citizens, but there’s nothing in the investigation to classify it as a terrorist attack,” declared Brian Brennan, a commanding officer with the Nova Scotia Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“The attack does not appear to have been culturally motivated, therefore not linked to terrorism,” proclaimed Justice Minister Peter MacKay, who described the suspects as “murderous misfits.”

Contrary to official claims, the suspects left an online trail of social media posts that show an infatuation with Nazis and Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the teenagers who killed twelve people and injured another 21 at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.

According to her online presence, Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath, the American woman believed to be the leader of the band of so-called “murderous misfits,” is an avowed neo-Nazi with deep admiration for Adolf Hitler, white separatists and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

Had an American Muslim with an online jihadist profile traveled to another country to carry out an attack in concert with local Muslims, it’s difficult to imagine the press corps and law enforcement ruling out terrorism and “cultural motivations” as factors.

“Open season” on Muslims

While many united in horror against the Chapel Hill murders, Islamophobes seem to have hardened in their hatred.

A Muslim school in Rhode Island was vandalized with graffiti over the weekend that said ”Die Pig” and “Fuck Allah Now This Is A Hate Crime.”

A 55-year-old white man named Darryl Ferguson set fire to the Quba Islamic Institute in Houston, Texas, on Friday morning. The fire came just days after a masked manthreatened people outside of the building.

Hours after the Chapel Hill murders, Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez of Lake Elsinore, California, implored her followers to “#StandUpAgainstIslam” in a tweet about the death of Islamic State hostage and Palestine solidarity activist Kayla Mueller.

In Bothell, Washington, a Hindu temple was tagged with a swastika and the words “get out” —  possibly by someone who confused a Hindu house of worship for a mosque. A middle school down the block was similarly vandalized with a swastika and the words ”Muslims get out.”

As Suzanne Barakat pointed out, it is “open season” on Muslims in the US, thanks in large part to incitement from politicians, vilification in the media and the dehumanization of Muslims in movies like American Sniper, which inspired a deluge of death threats aimed at Muslims and Arabs.

In spite of this hateful climate, Yousef said his family is comforted and inspired by the outpouring of love for Yusor, Razan and Deah.

“We are getting pictures of vigils marches and prayers from everywhere — South America, Australia, South Africa, Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan,” he said. “There are people that we used to pray for and cry for, and now they’re praying for and crying for us.”

The lives of his sisters and brother-in-law, he added, are “a testimony to the world of the true representation of the headscarf and Islam.”

“They did not die in vain,” Yousef declared. “They are influencing the world.”

Podcast: Dahr Jamail on Extinction, Disease & Other Dangers Caused by Climate Disruption

For this week’s “Unauthorized Disclosure” episode:

Kevin Gosztola and Rania Khalek are joined by Dahr Jamail, Truthout writer, to talk about his monthly “Climate Disruption” dispatches. He provides an overview of thresholds that have perilously been crossed as a result of human-caused climate disruption. He highlights methane blowholes, disease and even describes electromagnetic war games the Navy has engaged in to the detriment of wildlife and humans.

As the talk becomes more gloomy due to the reality of climate disruption, Jamail talks about dealing with depression and how scientists, institutions and even governments are fighting back against these dangerous developments.

During the discussion portion, we talk about the Chapel Hill murders, the FBI targeting anti-oil sands activists and Chelsea Manning being granted hormone therapy by the Pentagon.

The podcast is available on iTunes for download. For a link (and also to download the episode), go here. Click on “go here” and a page will load with the audio file of the podcast. The file will automatically start playing so you can listen to the episode.

Below is a partial transcript.

RANIA KHALEK: We have been following your reporting on climate change. I don’t know where to begin. It’s terrifying. Especially the last couple of months, scientists are warning extinction is coming and twenty-six percent of mammals face extinction. Why don’t you start us off because I don’t think a lot of people really follow climate change issues that closely except for when there is a big hurricane or a natural disaster? Why don’t you start by filling us in on the more general aspects?

DAHR JAMAIL: I agree. It’s really challenging for me to write about this stuff. That’s why one of my recent pieces entailed basically pulling together a bunch of quotes from climate scientists because everyone who is following this closely—whether it’s scientists producing the actual studies or people like me who are reporting on it and other journalists reporting on it or people who read it and make a priority to read it on a regular basis—Depression is a very real thing that we have to deal with.

So, I’ve been writing about that because what is happening, and I have to come to terms with this every month when I come out with my “Climate Dispatch,” which is basically a global survey. I look around the world and try to pull together the most recent scientific studies that come out showing how far along we are, linking various species extinctions or extreme climate events or other factors, like the drought in California, linking those to climate disruption and things.

Just some broad brush strokes to give people some general idea of how far along we are. It’s common knowledge in the brunt of the scientific community that we have entered the sixth great mass extinction on the planet and this is due primarily climate disruption and human-caused climate disruption as well as deforestation by corporate capitalism and mass consumption causing habitat loss for so many species and habitat pollution, etc. In my most recent climate dispatch, I cited how experts are already warning us to expect 30-50% of all current species to go extinct by 2050. So, that’s almost nearly all half of current species extinct in thirty-five years ago.

Another report listed several key species that we expect to see go extinct this year, like the Sumatran elephant, the Javan rhinoceros, the mountain gorilla, the leatherback sea turtle, etc. That’s on the back of another stunning new study that was published in the journal, Science, one of the most prestigious journals out there, also talking about how we’re causing a massive extinction event—and those are their words—in the oceans.

And one of the scientists in that study said, “I honestly feel there’s not much hope for normal ecosystems in the ocean without another dramatic shift away from current business as usual fossil fuel economy.” So, those types of things. I’ve written a lot about the methane releases that are already happening in the Arctic; methane being a hundred times for more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 over a twenty-year time scale. And the problem with the methane releases in the Arctic is this is a runaway feedback loop that basically can’t be stopped. So, several things happening across the planet that are really kicking things into overdrive into an already pretty dismal situation.

KEVIN GOSZTOLA: Now, is this a scientific term or this something you came up with? It’s anthropogenic climate disruption. Is that your term or a scientific term?

JAMAIL: I actually stole it from my wife. [laughter] She’s an artist and a lot of her work is informed by climate disruption and she’s also a pretty heavy science bent herself. She came up with it. I have seen it used in some scientific literature. I tend to go with it by preference because a lot of climate deniers and the Republicans, you’ll see them say, well, climate change happens all the time.

This isn’t some—And it’s true. Climate changes every day. It always and always will. So, if we want to cut that nonsense out and use a very specific term, anthropogenic climate disruption (i.e. human-caused climate disruption)—because it’s not climate change. Our actions are literally disrupting the planet. That’s why I use that because it is very, very specific, and it can’t be argued.

GOSZTOLA: Along those lines, could you get into—Because I think it was really flooring and just incredible to read this whole thing that we, and I think you were alluding to it if not specifically mentioning it, that we’ve gone beyond four of the nine “planetary boundaries” and that this is really horrible for humanity that some of these have been crossed?

JAMAIL: Yeah, that’s right. It’s just another wake-up call that shows that on really so many levels we have literally gone beyond what this planet is able to withstand. For example—one thing I haven’t written about, although I have an article coming out on overpopulation—It’s been argued that the planet basically has a viable carrying capacity, i.e. how many people can live on the planet without causing major disruption or damage or overconsumption, is probably just under 1 billion people. Considering that we’re pushing 7.3 billion now is one boundary. I haven’t really written about that, again, but that would just be one example.

Other things: It’s very clear right now. You look around. There is not enough clean water on the planet for everybody on the planet to have safe, clean potable drinking water on a daily basis. There’s not enough food. Some of that is displaced. We have the 1%, of course, hoarding and having more than enough of everything and yet, what is it? Over a billion people a day—and that’s a very conservative estimate. I’ve seen some estimates as high as 2 billion. Almost a third of the planet doesn’t get enough to eat on a daily basis.

We look at survivability and certain temperature changes in certain parts of the globe. The Middle East, for example, their temperature changes and other areas around the globe like that, where they’re starting to become unlivable. I’m not sure that addresses directly and specifically the question you asked, but it was to give people some idea that we really have pushed through so many of the livable boundaries on the planet let alone what the planet can even take as far as what is an amount of CO2 in the atmosphere that is not going to impact life on Earth whatsoever, of methane that’s not going to impact life on Earth.

Clearly, those are two more boundaries we’ve passed through and left in the dust.

KHALEK: One thing I found really scary—It’s really overwhelming how 250,000 additional people are projected to die every year between 2030-2050 from climate disruption. There’s not enough clean water, like drinkable water. You mention all these mass extinctions taking place. But I think the scariest thing about it is there doesn’t seem to be any momentum building to do anything to mitigate what is happening. It seems like we’re past the point of stopping some of this stuff.

JAMAIL: There are, I mean. And I plan on writing an article about this in the not so distant future. There is a lot of pushback. There is a lot happening regarding people and even some governments that are taking some extraordinary steps. The divestment movement, not just the divestment, the BDS regarding Palestine and Israel, but there’s the climate change divestment movement, where there is a big movement trying to pressure governments and institutions and universities to take all of their holdings and divest it out of fossil fuel-based holdings. So, that’s gaining momentum, where we have major, major universities around the planet that are doing that; major companies, some instances, governments are starting to do that.

And that’s picking up steam. For example, the country of Denmark is getting almost of half of its electrical power just from wind. Then we have other European that are setting pretty dramatic goals in the very near term of we will get off 20-30% of the fossil fuels that we are currently on within like 5-10 years. Very, very aggressive goals. There is some of that. We don’t hear about that in the corporate press. You know, CNN every other commercial is sponsored by Chevron or Exxon Mobil. But that kind of thing is happening.

One of the things I wrote about recently was how the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists recently moved their doomsday clock to three minutes to midnight, the closest its been since the height of the Cold War due to how far along we are with climate disruption but also because of the threat of nuclear war with what’s happening in Ukraine with Russia. So, that coupled with other large bodies of climate scientists that are literally begging their governments to stop pushing for more drilling. Stop pushing for more fossil fuels. There is a lot of pushback that unfortunately doesn’t get as much press as business as usual.

GOSZTOLA: Could you talk about—and I think it’s rather fascinating and imagine many people haven’t considered this as fueling climate change—I think you’ve done a couple pieces on methane blowholes. Can you go into that?

JAMAIL: I’ve written quite a few articles on what is happening up in the Arctic regarding methane. It’s also starting to happen down in some parts of the Antarctic too. I did an article on that, which came out last month, in the middle of January, called “The Methane Monster Roars,” and I interviewed several of the leading scientists that are studying what’s happening there. And one of them, who probably put out the most shocking information and quotes,

Podcast: Jason Leopold on Guantanamo & Prying Loose Documents from ‘Most Transparent Administration Ever™’

Here’s Kevin with the details for this week’s episode of Unauthorized Disclosure:

A military memo shows that that personnel at Guantanamo recognized that force-feeding Guantanamo prisoners on hunger strike violated medical ethics and international law.

Jason Leopold, a VICE News journalist, reported on the document, which he obtained, and explained it could be important in the case of a Navy nurse, who refused to force-feed at least one prisoner and now faces possible discharge.

His lawyers told Leopold, “It is highly significant that the Department of Defense explicitly acknowledges that force-feeding at Guantanamo is contrary to medical ethics.” And, “This is the first disclosure we have seen admitting that.”

Leopold joins the “Unauthorized Disclosure” weekly podcast to talk about this latest scoop. He highlights secrecy at Guantanamo Bay as well as his effort to get the uncensored executive summary of the Senate report on CIA torture released. He describes how the full torture report may never be seen by the public if some officials in government have their way. Plus, as an expert on navigating the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process to get documents he needs for reporting, he addresses some of the complexities he deals with daily.

During the discussion portion of the show, the FBI listing the brother of a US citizen challenging the No Fly List as a “most wanted terrorist,” former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling being convicted and a vile sex crime ring with influential people who are working to cover up what happened, like Alan Dershowitz. He has a history of attacking sex abuse victims.

The podcast is available on iTunes for download. For a link (and also to download the episode), go here. Click on “go here” and a page will load with the audio file of the podcast. The file will automatically start playing so you can listen to the episode.

Podcast: Journalist Marcy Wheeler Reports on Trial Against Former CIA Officer Jeffrey Sterling for Alleged Leak

From Kevin:

A jury continues to deliberate on a verdict in the trial against former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who is accused of leaking details about a CIA operation that involved a Russian asset, who secretly provided Iran with flawed blueprints for a nuclear weapon. The government claims he leaked the details to New York Times journalist James Risen.

The government initially charged Sterling with committing ten felonies, seven of which fall under the Espionage Act. The other charges include mail fraud and obstruction of justice. The mail fraud charge he faced was dismissed by the judge last week.

The jury has already asked Judge Leonie Brinkema some substantive questions about elements of the charges.

Marcy Wheeler, one of the only journalists who has been covering this leak trial each day as it has unfolded, appears on “Unauthorized Disclosure” this week. Her reports have been published by http://www.exposefacts.org“>ExposeFacts.org.

Sterling is known to have blown the whistle on this operation called “Operation Merlin” through proper channels in the government. The government’s prosecution, Wheeler explains, has been a “farce” when it considering the damage done to press freedom. She explains why Sterling probably should have been put on trial in Missouri and not Virginia. She also offers a recap of the arguments in the case, what the government claims about Sterling and what the defense has said to rebut what amounts to largely circumstantial evidence.

During the discussion portion of the show, hosts Kevin Gosztola and Rania Khalek talk about the fawning over a dead tyrant, King Abdullah and Speaker John Boehner inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to provide a rebuttal to the State of the Union. The first book published by a Guantanamo prisoner is highlighted, with excerpts read on air. And Khalek discusses her efforts to expose the propaganda in the film, “American Sniper.”

The podcast is available on iTunes for download. For a link (and also to download the episode), go here. Click on “go here” and a page will load with the audio file of the podcast. The file will automatically start playing so you can listen to the episode.

Israel defender Alan Dershowitz has long history of attacking sex abuse victims

Originally published at The Electronic Intifada

There are two groups of people Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has spent his career resolutely defending. The first is Israeli war criminals. And the second is accused and convicted rapists.

As rape allegations against Dershowitz intensify, his increasingly bellicose denials, steeped in brazen hostility towards child victims of sexual abuse, are raising eyebrows.

With smear tactics that closely resemble the manner in which he attacks Palestinian victims of Israeli violence, Dershowitz rejected the latest allegations as fabrications, telling Local 10 News that his accuser, Virginia Roberts, is a “serial liar” and “prostitute.”

At the age of fifteen Roberts was groomed into sexual slavery by Dershowitz’s close friend and client, billionaire hedge fund financier and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.  Just one of dozens of underage girls Epstein procured, Roberts was lent out to Epstein’s powerful associates for sexual exploitation and blackmail.

She recently named two of those associates as Alan Dershowitz and Britain’s Prince Andrew in an ongoing lawsuit against the federal government for its scandalous handling of the case.

In a sworn affidavit filed in a Florida court on 21 January, Jane Doe #3, who has identified herself in media reports as Virginia Roberts, provided new details about Dershowitz’s alleged role in sexually abusing her when she was a minor.

“Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz was around Epstein frequently,” declares Roberts in the filing. “Dershowitz was so comfortable with the sex that was going on that he would even come and chat with Epstein while I was giving oral sex to Epstein.” Roberts added that she had sex with Dershowitz “at least six times,” specifying where and when the encounters took place.

When Local 10 News reporter Bob Norman pushed backed against Dershowitz’s characterization of a child molestation victim of Jeffrey Epstein as a “prostitute,” Dershowitz responded, “She was not victimized … she made her own decisions in life.” He also questioned whether the now 31-year-old Roberts is fit to be a mother.

Weeks earlier Dershowitz labeled Roberts a “serial prostitute” whose testimony could not be trusted “against somebody with an unscathed reputation like me.”

While Dershowitz’s hysterical misogyny may seem puzzling, it is hardly out of character.

Pattern of hatred

For decades Dershowitz has positioned himself as a strong advocate for accused and convicted rapists, child molesters and wife killers under the guise of protecting the civil liberties of the accused. However, a deeper examination of his work reveals a pathological pattern of hatred against victims of rape that appears to have been overshadowed by his advocacy for torture and Israel.

In August 1994, Dershowitz shamelessly capitalized on the notorious rape allegations against three Duke University basketball players, which turned out to be fabricated.

“The problem of false rape reports is a serious one,” wrote Dershowitz in The Washington Times, characterizing the rare episode as emblematic of false flag rape reports by spiteful, selfish women coddled by a society that privileges alleged victims of rape to the detriment of innocent men across the country. “The time has come to stop patronizing calculating women who use rape accusations to serve their own selfish interests,” Dershowitz proclaimed.

Dershowitz went on to cite as proof a highly questionable study carried by out by Purdue University sociologist Eugene Kanin, which found that 41 percent of rape allegations were false. Kanin’s finding was based on police records of rape reports over a nine-year period (1978 to 1987) from a police department in an unidentified small midwestern town. Despite the shady methodology, lack of transparency on source material and criticism from several scholars, Kanin’s study has long been invoked by “men’s rights activists” (MRAs) as evidence that women often lie about rape in a system rigged in their favor.

In reality, false rape reports are extremely rare. That’s not to say that false allegations are unimportant or that they should be ignored. But Dershowitz’s proposed solution in his Washington Times column was to criminally prosecute women suspected of filing false rape charges, a practice that has exacted a disastrous toll in the UK.

That same year, Dershowitz published a little known book titled, The Abuse Excuse: And Other Cop-outs, Sob Stories, and Evasions of Responsibility, a collection of short essays warning of a trend in violent criminals, particularly women, blaming their actions on past victimization.

Throughout the book Dershowitz conjures up a cartoonish image of “radical feminists” as a scourge on equality, free speech and the civil liberties of innocent men. He portrays radical feminist leaders as a combination of anti-pornography campaigners Catharine Mackinnon and Andrea Dworkin coupled with Lorena Bobbitt, the woman who notoriously severed her husband’s penis while he was sleeping in 1993.

Naturally, The Abuse Excuse has been embraced by MRAs for its hostility towards women. In a glowing review of that book published at the MRA website A Voice for Men, the author implores his fellow MRAs to “go to your local library and pick up a copy,” adding, “I think it should be required reading for all MRAs.”

Flipping through the book, one can see why.

In a chapter titled, “Wives Also Kill Husbands — Quite Often,” Dershowitz rails against “radical feminists” for concealing the deadly spousal violence wives (especially Black wives) inflict on their husbands across America.

There is no question that men can be and are victims of domestic violence (as well as sexual violence) at the hands of female perpetrators; this problem is, of course, much less common than violence by men against women. But Dershowitz’s tall tale of a feminist conspiracy to disappear male victims doesn’t square with reality.

In a chapter titled “Censorship from the Left,” Dershowitz warns his readers that “Several feminist groups recently persuaded the New York Court of Appeals to create a new crime — marital rape.” He followed up, as he often does after declaring something awful, with the disclaimer, “there is nothing wrong with making it a crime for a husband to rape his wife,” but he insisted that it must be enacted by popular vote through the legislature.

In another chapter, Dershowitz blasts female university students for “intimidating professors into teaching only what their most radical feminist students want to hear.” He warns of an all-powerful campus movement of radical feminists imposing a “new tyranny of censorship” so extreme, “even many tenured professors do not want to incur the wrath of organized feminists on campus.”

Dershowitz later whined that his female students at Harvard were “trivializing real sexual harassment” after some complained that he devoted a disproportionate amount of his rape law lectures to false rape allegations. “They found the atmosphere of my classroom hostile because I spent two days discussing false reports of rape and because I made arguments in favor of disclosing the names of complaining witnesses in rape cases,” he said.

Dershowitz claimed that the angry feminist students even threatened to press “hostile-environment sexual harassment charges.” Even though the supposed charges were never filed, he warned that feminists were infringing on free speech by expanding the definition of sexual harassment.

Defending church cover-up

In 2002 — a time when, according to Jeffrey Epstein’s housekeeper, Dershowitz frequently stayed at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion where the rape of children was taking place daily and in his presence — Dershowitz took up the cause of child pornography viewers. In his column for the magazine Penthouse, Dershowitz invoked the language of individual rights to argue that watching “kiddie porn” doesn’t make one a bad person and therefore should not be a punishable offense.

In 2005, after three teenage boys were convicted of statutory rape for receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl at the Milton Academy, a ritzy Massachusetts boarding school attended by Dershowitz’s daughter, Dershowitz slammed Massachusetts’s statutory rape laws, a fair argument considering the close ages between the boys and the girl (the boys were between the ages of sixteen and seventeen and the sex was consensual). But that wasn’t all. Dershowitz went even further, agitating for the state to “considerably” lower the age of consent, which was sixteen years, The Boston Globe reported at the time.

Dershowitz went on to defend the Catholic Church’s inaction and cover-up of child molestation in 2010. Writing in FrontPage Magazine, a far-right outlet published by slavery apologist David Horowitz, Dershowitz told readers that children sometimes lie about rape. “It’s easy to forget, in the face of real victims with real complaints, that there have also been false accusations as well,” said Dershowitz.

Smearing a whistle-blower to protect a child molester

In the weeks leading up to the 30 December 2014 court filing that named him as a rapist in Jeffrey Epstein’s sex slave scheme, Dershowitz was trying to overturn the guilty verdict of convicted child rapist and award-winning Hollywood director Roman Polanski. It was one of the few times he failed.

Before that, Dershowitz was busy protecting Hasidic Brooklyn cantor and child molester Baruch Lebovits from punishment by defaming the father of one of Lebovits’s victims.

Lebovits was convicted in 2010 on eight of ten counts of child molestation and faced up to 32 years in prison. That conviction was overturned on a technicality after Alan Dershowitz joined his legal team. Dershowitz declared at the time, “our client was a victim of an extortion plot,” a foreshadowing of his response to rape allegations against himself. “I’m an innocent victim of an extortion conspiracy,” Dershowitz has insisted.

In Lebovits’ case, the extortion claims advanced by Dershowitz turned out to be a lie. Nevertheless, Lebovits was released back into the community last October after a short sixteen-month stint at Rikers Island on incredibly reduced charges.

Sam Kellner, the father of one of Lebovits’ many victims who brought the child sex abuse scandal to the attention of the authorities, was viciously slandered by the Lebovits family. Using fabricated evidence, the Lebovits family accused Kellner of trying to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from Baruch Lebovits in exchange for recanting his son’s testimony. Kellner was eventually indicted.

Alan Dershowitz played a central role in spreading the smear against Kellner, which was crucial to Lebovits’ defense. Though the charges against Kellner were eventually dismissed after it was determined that the accusation was fabricated, Dershowitz has continued to promote the wild falsehood against Kellner, whose reputation and family life were nearly destroyed by the episode.

For Dershowitz, this thuggish manipulation was par for the course.

Smear campaign

During his time as lead attorney on Jeffrey Epstein’s defense team, Dershowitz mobilized a pre-emptive smear campaign against Epstein’s underage victims, mining their pages on the social network MySpace for comments relating to marijuana and alcohol use, which he printed out and compiled into dossiers for the police and state attorney’s office in a salacious attempt to tarnish the credibility of Epstein’s accusers.

Dershowitz hired private investigators to track and dig up dirt on at least one of the underage girls who accused Epstein of rape. The girl, a high school student, reported that one of the private investigators had impersonated a police officer while asking her questions. In a letter from Dershowitz to the Palm Beach police chief, obtained by The Guardian, Dershowitz attached a copy of the girl’s MySpace page, noting “her apparent fascination with marijuana,” and expressed fears “that she, an accomplished drama student, might try to mislead [the private investigators] as successfully as she had misled others.”

In light of his penchant for bullying, harassing, intimidating and smearing rape victims and their advocates with mafia-like precision, it should come as no surprise that Dershowitz has also been a leading voice against rape shield laws, which restrict defendants from using the past sexual behavior of an alleged rape victim to discredit them.

In 2011, Dershowitz was enamored as former head of the International Monetary Fund and accused rapist Dominique Strauss-Kahn successfully impugned the character of his accuser (an immigrant hotel maid) by publicizing inconsistencies in her background that had no connection to whether or not he raped her. Commenting on the Strauss-Kahn case, Dershowitz argued that the press was “dead wrong” not to name alleged rape victims.

“It is absolutely critical” for media outlets to publish names, argued Dershowitz, “so that people who know the victim or know her reputation can come forward to provide relevant information.”

Persecuted by “vindictive feminists”?

Dershowitz does not extend his appeal for transparency to people who pay for sex.

In a column published in The Gainesville Sun in January 1985, Dershowitz held “vindictive feminists” responsible for the arrest of track and field Olympic Gold medalist Edwin Moses in a Los Angeles police sting on Sunset Boulevard that had swept up dozens of people for allegedly soliciting sex workers. Dershowitz reasoned that feminists were so angry over the punishment dished out to sex workers, they were using their omnipotence over the criminal justice system to coerce police departments into punishing male customers.

While portraying middle and upper class men who solicit sex as the true victims of prohibition, Dershowitz disparaged sex workers as practically subhuman criminals. “There really is an enormous difference in impact between the arrest of a professional prostitute and the arrest of an otherwise law-abiding citizen who occasionally seeks to taste the forbidden fruit of sex for hire,” argued Dershowitz.

“For the prostitute, an occasional arrest is an expected occupation hazard. The quick arraignment, bail and fine are regarded as a cost of doing business. She is back on the street hustling her next john within hours. Certainly there is little stigma or embarrassment in being arrested; the street-walker publicly advertises what she’s doing every time she puts on her ‘uniform’ and takes to the sidewalks,” he continued.

“For the john, the public arrest can be a catastrophic event. It can ruin a marriage, destroy a reputation, scar his children, terminate a career.”

“American Sniper” spawns death threats against Arabs and Muslims

Originally published at The Electronic Intifada

Following the release of the film American Sniper in theaters across the US, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has warned of a “significant rise in violent hate rhetoric targeting the Arab and Muslim-American communities.”

While the ADC believes the threats “are directly linked to the negative media coverage and hateful propaganda launched against the Arab and Muslim communities following the attacks on the Charlie Hedbo offices in France” earlier this month, the civil rights organization notes that racist threats have intensified in the wake of American Sniper, with moviegoers taking to social media to express their desire to murder Arabs and Muslims after leaving the theater.

Having both watched the movie and read the book on which it is based, I am not the least bit surprised by the incitement it has spawned. American Sniper is brilliant propaganda that valorizes American military aggression while delivering Hollywood’s most racist depiction of Arabs in recent memory, effectively legitimizing America’s ongoing bombing campaigns across the Middle East.

Unrepentant mass killer

American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood, is based on the autobiography of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, reputedly the deadliest sniper in American history.

Replete with hatred, bigotry and unrepentant bloodlust, Kyle’s book boasts of killing 160 Iraqi “savages” during his four deployments in Iraq following the illegal US invasion and occupation in 2003.

“Savage, despicable evil. That’s what we were fighting in Iraq,” Kyle writes in his book.

“I only wish I had killed more,” he writes, adding, “I loved what I did…It was fun. I had the time of my life.”

“They hated us because we weren’t Muslim. They wanted to kill us, even though we just booted out their dictator, because we practiced a different religion than they did,” adds Kyle, who goes on to confess, “I don’t shoot people with Korans – I’d like to, but I don’t.” In Kyle’s mind, all Iraqis who resisted the invading US soldiers were irrationally violent religious fanatics.

In stark contrast, Hollywood sanitizes Kyle, humanizing him as a complex, likable and anguished hero.

Hateful

Following the movie’s debut in select theaters on Christmas Day, author and journalist Max Blumenthal and I were deluged with death and rape threats for tweeting our disgust with Hollywood’s glorification of a mass killer and exposing the racism and lies espoused by Kyle. Although Kyle’s most ardent supporters claim to hate ISIS and al-Qaeda, they often call on these terrorist groups to behead critics of US military aggression.

The movie has since broken box office records, grossing $105 million during its nationwide opening and garnered accolades from across the political spectrum (Vice-President Joe Biden said he wept at the Washington, DC premier). In addition, the movie scored six Academy Award nominations.

Frustrated by the glorification and whitewash of a racist mass killer, I posted passages from Kyle’s book on Twitter, highlighting his hateful and homicidal statements and drew attention to the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim threats the movie was inspiring, all of which I compiled into a Storify that went viral.

Image by Rania Khalek

The reaction to the movie has since snowballed into a partisan bickering match, with celebrities chiming in.

Actor Seth Rogen compared American Sniper to Stolz der Nation (Nation’s Pride), a fictitious Nazi propaganda film about a glorified Nazi sniper that appears at the end of the Quentin Tarantino movie Inglorious Basterds (the Nazi sniper is shown mowing down American and British soldiers with great efficiency and apparent moral superiority). Documentary maker Michael Moore also stirred controversy when he tweeted that snipers “aren’t heroes,” though he later clarified he was not referring to American Sniper, which he liked. Nevertheless, a who’s who of rightwing celebrities, pundits, politicians and worshippers of US military aggression have whipped up a blindly patriotic frenzy, firing back against the movie’s critics.

Meanwhile, growing criticism of American Sniper appears to be damaging its chances of winning at the Oscars, with Academy members expressing concern that the film glorifies a “sociopath.”

Racist atrocity porn

While the canonization of Kyle on the big screen is appalling, the movie’s whitewash of the US destruction of Iraq and its racist portrayal of Arabs has proven to be far more dangerous.

The US destruction of Iraq left an estimated one million Iraqis dead, 4.5 million displaced, five million orphaned, some two million widowed and birth defects and cancer rates significantly worse than those seen in the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Japan at the end of the Second World War. The US war on Iraq also fueled the rise of ISIS. This immeasurable suffering is completely erased from the narrative presented in American Sniper.

In the opening scene of the film a conflicted Chris Kyle (played by Bradley Cooper) is perched on a rooftop with an Iraqi mother and child in the crosshairs of his sniper scope. He watches the mother give the child a grenade to throw at a US marine convoy. He reluctantly seeks permission to shoot.

Suddenly the screen cuts to Kyle as a child hunting with his father in Texas. Another scene shows him at church. Next he’s at the dinner table.

“There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs,” saysKyle’s father. “Now, some people prefer to believe that evil doesn’t exist in the world…those are the sheep. And then you got predators who use violence to prey on the weak. They’re the wolves. And then there are those who have been blessed with the gift of aggression, and the overpowering need to protect the flock. These men are the rare breed that live to confront the wolf. They are the sheepdog.”

For the rest of the movie Kyle is the sheepdog, the protector, the hero. And Iraqis are the evil wolves he must put down to protect the lives of his fellow “sheepdogs.”

Next we see Kyle as an adult. We watch him fall in love, get married and join the SEALs. Then the Twin Towers fall and he is deployed to Iraq, a narrative that leaves the poorly informed with the impression that Iraq was involved in the 11 September 2001 attacks, the very lie that the Iraq war was predicated on. This false narrative is reaffirmed when al-Qaeda appears in Iraq on Kyle’s first tour in 2003, a revisionist history that conflates indigenous armed resistance to a foreign occupier with a terrorist group that attacked the United States. In a country where 43 percent of Americans still believe that Iraq was connected to the 11 September 2001 attacks, perpetuating this falsehood, even if unintentional, is reckless.

Eventually, we return to the scene in the movie’s opening. Kyle shoots the child to save the Marine convoy. The mother runs towards the felled child, collects the grenade and prepares to launch it in the direction of the soldiers. Kyle shoots the woman dead at mid-launch. The grenade explodes before it reaches the soldiers.

“There was a kid who barely had any hair on his balls, his mother gives him a grenade and sends him out there to kill Marines,” says an agonized Kyle. “That was evil like I’d never seen before.”

This black and white, good versus evil theme continues throughout the movie’s entirety. US soldiers are humanized. They have names and families, fiancés and children. And they return home with deep physical and psychological wounds, whereas the local Arab population, including the women and children, are depicted as terrorists. The only time Arab women and children are innocent victims is when they are being brutalized by scary Arab men, but even they are nameless figures.

Marlow Stern at The Daily Beast provides a cogent summary of the movie’s depiction of Arab characters:

The “savages” consist of [Abu Musab] al-Zarqawi, who’s introduced via the infamous clip of him decapitating [American radio-tower repairman] Nick Berg; his No. 2, “The Butcher,” who brutally executes an informant’s young son by drilling his head with a power tool, and stores people’s heads on shelves; and Mustafa, a Syrian Olympic sharpshooter who videotapes his kills and hawks bootlegs of them on the street. Mustafa is, like all classic villains, dressed in black, doesn’t utter in a word, and is single-minded in his pursuit of Kyle – he has a poster of Kyle’s bounty, $180,000, on his wall, and spends his spare time spinning an armor-piercing bullet on a table.

In the end, it wasn’t Iraqi “savages” that killed Kyle. A fellow soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder shot Kyle dead at a Texas gun range in 2013, a fact the film glosses over before cutting to footage from Kyle’s real-life funeral. Some may have even left the theater with the impression that Kyle was killed in Iraq.

Where are the moderates?

As the threats against Arab and Muslim-Americans and critics of American Sniperescalate in their ferocity, one is left wondering: Where are the American moderates? Why haven’t the movie’s director, producers and actors condemned the violent extremism their film is inciting?

(Jim DeFelice, one of the co-authors of the book American Sniper, condemned the threats of violence unleashed after I implored him to in a debate on Uprising Radio.)

Under the threatening circumstances, the ADC is encouraging Arab, Muslim, South Asian and Sikh-American communities to be on alert and report any hate crimes to the authorities.

“If you are placed in physical danger because of your ethnicity, religion or national origin: Call the police (dial 911 in most communities), and/or click here to contact your local FBI office. It is the FBI’s job to investigate hate-motivated crimes and specific threats of violence. You can also report a hate crime to the FBI online using this form,” says the ADC advisory.

“If you feel you have been a victim of a hate crime, of if any individual or place of worship needs any assistance with any of the above, including dealing with law enforcement, please contact the ADC Pro-Bono Legal Department at 202-244-2990 or legal AT adc DOT org.”

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