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Friday, November 13, 2009


Six degrees of separation...from terrorism?

The headlines and articles scream: "one of the biggest counterterrorism seizures in U.S. history," as the U.S. seizes four mosques and one skyscraper in Manhattan. Why? Because they are "owned by a nonprofit Muslim organization long suspected of being secretly controlled by the Iranian government." And what's wrong with that? Well, the second step of the allegation is that the foundation "illegally funneled millions in rental income to Iran's state-owned Bank Melli." Now that, per se, would actually (apparently, anyway) be illegal under U.S. law, because it is illegal to do business with that bank from the U.S. But what does this have to do with "counterterrorism"? One step more: "Bank Melli has been accused by a U.S. Treasury official of providing support for Iran's nuclear program." Whoops, we've reached a dead end, because Iran's nuclear program has nothing whatsoever to do with "terrorism."

Not in the linked article, but elsewhere, one can of course read of "Iran's support for Hamas and Hezbollah," which in the U.S. corporate media is taken as equivalent to supporting "terrorism." That's nonsense, but even if it were true, what does the news tell us about the actual money involved in the seizure?

Rents collected from the building help fund the centers and other ventures, such as sending educational literature to imprisoned Muslims in the U.S. The foundation has also invested in dozens of mosques around the country and supported Iranian academics at prominent universities.
Terrorism? Only if educated Muslims strike terror into the heart of Americans.

As far as the effects of this action, we're told this will be "a sharp blow against Iran." Really? The rent collected on the skyscraper in Manhattan is $4.5 million a year. Let's see. Iran has a GDP of $830 billion, of which 60% ($500 billion more or less) is government-owned. $4.5 million is exactly...0.0009% of Iran's budget. Yup, that's going to put a big dent in their nuclear program and their support for Hamas and Hezbollah, all right. Not.

The purpose of this seizure was not to strike "a sharp blow against Iran." It was to continue to wave the red cape of "terrorism" in front of the American people, and to put the kibosh on any possibility of a diplomatic rapprochement with Iran. Striking fear into the hearts of American Muslims, and intimidating them from contributing to any Muslim charities lest they be branded a "supporter of terrorism," was no doubt a bonus.

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