Paul R. Dunn / The Wisdom Fund – 2006-09-08 23:40:17
Islamic Fascism: The Propaganda of our Times
Paul R. Dunn / The Wisdom Fund
SOUTERN PINES, North Carolina (September 6, 2006) — In October and November of 2005, and in May, June and August of 2006, the President of the United States used the term “Islamic Fascism” in major speeches to define the creed of America’s enemies. The pejorative term has been used by many propagandists on the far right to equate modern Islam with the sordid pasts of Italy and Germany under Mussolini and Hitler.
It is a simplistic propaganda term used by writers Christopher Hitchens, Stephen Schwartz, and others who conveniently portray a unity of belief and purpose within the ranks of our diverse enemies where none actually exists. It is the current mantra of the neoconservatives who pushed for the Iraq war. Its promoters seek to establish a moral equivalency between the World War II democracies on the one side and the Fascist evil on the other.
They want the US position in Iraq to be seen as opposing the modern evil of “Islamic Fascism.” The use of this phrase fosters Islamophobia, and is designed to denigrate much of the Islamic world.
Sir Ian Hamilton wrote that “Propaganda as inverted patriotism draws nourishment from the sins of the enemy. If there are no sins, invent them!” And Joseph Goebbels claimed “Propaganda has only one object: to conquer the masses. Every means that furthers this aim is good; every means that hinders it is bad.”
General George C. Marshall believed American boys going overseas needed an honest definition of the “ism” they were fighting against. He issued Army Orientation Fact Sheet No. 64, which read, “Fascism: is government by the few, and for the few.” Webster’s definition of Fascism is far more precise: “A governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce and emphasizing aggressive nationalism and often racism.”
Mussolini coined the term “Fascism.” He was a journalist and a war-wounded political activist who believed Italy had been shabbily treated by its allies after World War I. During a period of intense domestic political strife, Mussolini and his band of black shirts were granted power by the King. They’d promised national unity and discipline.
The symbol he chose for his political party was the ancient Roman fasces, a bundle of rods containing an axe with the blade projecting. It had been borne before Roman magistrates as an emblem of official power in the time of Caesar. He reigned from 1922 until 1943.
Benito Mussolini’s philosophy was “All for the state; nothing outside the state; nothing against the state.” He believed “Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation, and it affirms the immutable, beneficial and fruitful inequality of mankind.” The common street slogan for Italian Fascists was “Order, hierarchy, discipline.”
Fascism was adopted in Germany by Adolf Hitler, who greatly admired Mussolini. Hitler’s National Socialist German Worker’s Party gained power in 1933 by exploiting dissatisfaction with the punitive terms of the Versailles Treaty, the Great Depression’s economic malaise, fear of communism, and latent a nti-Semitism.
His trademark symbol was the swastika, and his aim was the suppression of all opposition through a dictatorship over all cultural, economic, and political activities of the German people. The Nazi credos: supremacy of Hitler as Fuehrer; virulent anti-Semitism; the natural supremacy of the German people; and world domination. The Nazi slogan: “Hitler over Germany. Germany over the world.”
The German philosopher Martin Heideggger announced in an open letter to the students of Freiburg (November of 1933): “Doctrines and ‘ideas’ shall no longer govern your existence. The Fuehrer himself, and only he, is the current and future reality of Germany, and his word is your law.” Hitler vowed, “Those who see in National Socialism nothing more than a political movement know scarcely anything about it. It is more even than a religion. It is the will to create mankind anew.” George Seldes, analyzing matters in 1934, concluded, “In Soviet Russia the state owns industry; in Germany and Italy, on the contrary, i ndustry owns the state.” Playwright George Bernard Shaw called Fascism, “Capitalist Dictatorship.”
The Spanish Fascists, who assumed power in 1939 under Dictator Francisco “El Caudillo” Franco, adopted the absurd slogan, “Long Live Death. Down with intelligence.” Generalissimo Franco, who was only able to win the bloody Spanish Civil War with massive German and Italian military aid, remained neutral during World War II. Serving as Regent from 1947 to 1975, he planned for a peaceful transition of government after his death.
He designated Prince Juan Carlos to be constitutional monarch. Oppressive Fascism in Spain ultimately gave way to a moderate liberal democracy, which would have been anathema to the far rightist, Franco.
Are America’s enemies in any way like the Fascists of the twentieth century? Do they promote the idea of industrial concentration, world domination, and dictatorship? Do they have a single leader whose writings and speeches inspire them to action? Do they share common goals? Bin Laden, with a price on his head and hiding in a cave, is hardly such a leader. He is considered the enemy of all moderate Muslim leaders. History will fail to find valid parallels between Fascism, Fascist governments and the disparate forces opposing us in Iraq and around the world.
Enver Masud has written, “As for ‘Islamo-Fascism,’ Islam does not meet the definition of Fascism. When the community of Muslims (the Ummah) had a central authority (the Caliphate) it was neither totalitarian nor Fascist.” He argues that only a tiny minority of zealots within Islam are calling for a “return to a Caliphate.” And Eric S. Margolis, in “The Big Lie About ‘Islamic Fascism,” debunks the term. He argues that “Fascism demands a succession of wars, foreign conquests, and national threats to keep the nation in a state of fear, anxiety and patriotic hypertension.” None are elements of the modern disorganized Muslim world.
The trouble with catchy propaganda phrases like “Axis of Evil” and “Islamic Fascism” is that they have to be able to stand the test of time. “One Nation Under God” and “A government of the people, by the people and for the people” have stood up well and served to unite Americans of all parties and faiths.
Does anyone know of a slogan the so-called Islamic Fascists are promoting? The White House has lumped under the Islamic Fascist umbrella such totally diverse elements as Al-Qaeda, the Iranian government, the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hammas, and Hezbollah, yet none label or consider themselves Fascist. And more to the point, their followers do not profess a Fascist agenda.
Critics of the use of the term point out that to a Muslim, the term is both offensive and historically without merit or accuracy. Muslims universally perceive Allah as their true leader, not some self-professed worldly Fascist. There are neither members of the Aryan Nation nor Skin-Heads who idolize Hitler to be found within their ranks.
Even during World War II, very few prominent Arab leaders announced sympathy for Hitler and his racist ideology, although many were strongly anti-colonial Britain.
The fiercest fighting in Iraq now involves Muslim-on-Muslim terror as Sunnis and Shiites wage what increasingly more analysts see as a sectarian civil war for power (and oil revenues) to fill the vacuum that was caused by Saddam Hussein’s removal from power by the United States. The concept of suicide bombing, looting, assassination, and armed insurrection by citizens against the ruling state authority is the very antithesis of the historic meaning of Fascism.
The fact that the highly-fragmented Arab and Muslim worlds are now significantly anti-American certainly was not caused by a call for Islamic Fascism. It flows from the US invasion of an Arab state, Iraq, the stationing of non-Muslim troops within the Islamic Holy Land of Saudi Arabia, and blind support for Israel against indigenous Palestinians.
Anti-US sentiment was further heightened when we supplied, and then resupplied, arms, bombs, and aircraft to Israel for its massive retaliatory war against the mostly-Muslim citizens of Lebanon, none of whom were professed Fascists.
J.B. Priestly, in The Root Is Fear, wrote “Almost all propaganda is designed to create fear. Heads of governments and their officials know that a frightened people are easier to govern, will forfeit rights they would otherwise defend, are less likely to demand a better life, and will agree to millions and millions being spent on ‘defense.'”
Between now and Election Day, we’ll see Karl Rove’s minions flaunt the Islamic Fascist line repeatedly and unabashedly to garner votes. It may be good propaganda but it is lousy history.
Paul R. Dunn is a columnist for The Pilot newspaper of Southern Pines, North Carolina, and the author of Touching Raw Nerves: A Liberal Yankee Columnist Takes on Conservative Dixie. He has provided op-ed articles for The New York Times. He may be reached at: email@example.com
 Justin Raimundo’s 9-4-06 Antiwar.com essay, “Our Fascism And Theirs: In The Bizarro World Of The Neocons, It’s Always 1939”: http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=9647
 Jim Lobe’s 9-2-06 Asian Times Online /Inter Press Service essay, “Fascists? Look Who’s Talking”: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HI02Ak04.html
 William Rivers Pitts’ 9-2-06 Truthout essay, “Fascist Appeasers”: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/090106R.shtml
 Enver Masud’s 8-31-06 TheWisdomFund.org essay, “‘Islamic Fascism’ Is An Oxymoron”: http://www.twf.org/News/Y2005/1025-Oxymorons.html
 Keith Olbermann’s 8-30-06 Truthout/MSNBC video and transcript, “There Is Fascism, Indeed”: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/083106Z.shtml
 Charlie Reese’s 8-29-06 Antiwar.com essay, “Bigotry And Ignorance Of Islam”: http://www.antiwar.com/reese/?articleid=9608
 Eric Margolis’ 8-28-06 EricMargolis.com essay, “The Big Lie About ‘Islamic Fascism'”: http://www.ericmargolis.com/archives/2006/08/the_big_lie_abo.php
The Further Dangers of Secrecy:
A Federal District Court Interprets the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to Allow Spying on thosw Who Are Neither Spies Nor Terrorists.
Jennifer van Bergen, JD / Findlaw.com
(September 5, 2006) — Last December, a New York Times article revealed the existence of an NSA domestic spying program. Also that month, the Bush Administration admitted that, indeed, the NSA was wiretapping Americans’ overseas phone calls, when the calls were placed to phone numbers or people the government suspected of having a connection to terrorism. 
Previously, President Bush had claimed that his Administration did NOT wiretap without “getting a court order before we do so” – presumably from the court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), enacted in 1978 to regulate and limit presidential spying. The Administration’s December 2005 admission, however, showed that, in fact, it was bypassing the FISA Court – and bypassing Congress, which enacted FISA. As a result, many observers argued that the President had violated the constitutional separation of powers by infringing on Congress’ territory, and potentially violated the Fourth and First Amendments as well, by infringing on people’s privacy and rights to free speech and association.
It was in this context that an August 14, 2006, decision by Judge T.S. Ellis III of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia was handed down.  If other courts follow this decision, then there may be little reason, anymore, for the Administration to even bother to bypass FISA – for the ruling broadens a critical definition in FISA to such a degree that one wonders whether the law offers much limitation any more. In so doing, the ruling betrays both FISA’s intent, and, like the NSA program, the First and Fourth Amendments.
FISA: THE BASIC FOURTH AMENDMENT PROBLEM
Before Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act, FISA seems to have been fairly strictly applied, as was Congress’ original intention, to investigations that involved primarily foreign intelligence. There was a clear division between criminal investigations, which required a showing — borrowed from Fourth Amendment jurisprudence — of probable cause of criminal activity to obtain a warrant, and foreign intelligence investigations, which did not require that showing.
Foreign intelligence investigations did and do, however, require a showing of probable cause that the target is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power – or is aiding and abetting such a person. Even so, this showing may not comply with the Fourth Amendment.
The Fourth Amendment protects “the right of the People . . . [to] be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures,” and guarantees that “no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause.” The phrase “probable cause” in the Fourth Amendment has consistently been interpreted since the American Revolution to mean “probable cause of criminal activity.” Moreover, while the Fourth Amendment guarantees a “right of the People,” the “People” may extend beyond U.S. citizens, to residents and visitors. No wonder, then, that the FISA Review Court noted in a 2002 opinion that “a FISA order may not [after all] be a ‘warrant’ [as] contemplated by the Fourth Amendment.” 
The FISA Review Court defended FISA warrants, nonetheless, by noting that “the main purpose of ordinary criminal law is … to punish the wrongdoer and deter other[s]” and that punishment under foreign intelligence investigations “is really a secondary objective; indeed, punishment of a terrorist is often a moot point.” But the fact is, FISA warrants do often lead to punishments and jail time, and even terrorists may be caught at the plotting stage (as in the recent U.K. liquid explosives conspiracy) – so the FISA Review Court’s defense of FISA warrants is quite unconvincing.
At a minimum, FISA was skating on thin Fourth Amendment ice when it allowed searches and seizures in the absence of traditional probable cause: probable cause as to criminal activity. And the Fourth Amendment – of central importance to the Framers – cannot be taken lightly: British abuse of searches and seizures in the Colonies during the 1760’s was a “primary goad to the Revolutionary War,” writes constitutional scholar Jethro K. Lieberman in his encyclopedic book, A Practical Companion to the Constitution.
THE POST-9/11 AMENDMENTS TO FISA
Ironically, even as the Administration has insisted on bypassing FISA, Congress twice amended the law, post-9/11, to broaden its scope and adapt it to the war on terror. It is particularly troubling that the Bush Administration secretly bypassed Congress by simply ignoring FISA when Congress had proven itself ready and willing to amend FISA.
In 2001, via the USA PATRIOT Act, Congress amended FISA so that it could also be applied to information that was not primarily foreign intelligence. The unfortunate result was that the government could pick and choose which probable cause standard would apply – and thus had the ability to make an end-run around the Fourth Amendment’s standard of probable cause as to criminal activity, even in cases that did not involve primarily foreign intelligence. Here, the Fourth Amendment ice got much, much thinner; indeed, in the opinion of many critics, it cracked.
Another post-9/11 expansion of FISA came with the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA), which enacted a “lone wolf” provision to expand the definition of “agent of a foreign power” to include any non-United States person who “knowingly engages in sabotage or international terrorism, or activities that are in preparation therefor, for or on behalf of a foreign power.” This expansion was much less troubling than the PATRIOT Act’s expansion of the FISA “primary purpose” standard, however, for the IRTPA applies only to foreign persons committing crimes — a focus that is consistent with the original focus of FISA.
EXPANDING THE DEFINITION OF “AGENT OF A FOREIGN POWER”
Again, the standard under FISA for a foreign intelligence investigation (or, since the USA
Patriot Act, an investigation with a “significant” foreign-intelligence purpose) is probable cause that a target is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power (or an aider or abettor thereof) – not probable cause that a crime has been or is being committed.
It’s possible that the target who falls under this definition may be committing a crime, since the definition of “agent of a foreign power” includes any person who “knowingly engages in clandestine intelligence gathering activities on behalf of a foreign power . . . in violation of the criminal statutes of the United States,” whether at the direction of a foreign intelligence service or not, as well as those who aid or abet any person conducting such activities.
But importantly, it’s not necessary that the target who falls under this definition is committing a crime. He, she, or it may simply be a foreign power, a faction of a foreign nation, a foreign-based political organizations, or an officer or employee of a foreign power.
That’s where last month’s court decision comes in.  In brief, in that decision, the court interprets the definition of “agent of a foreign power,” in FISA, to include individuals who are, well, NOT agents of a foreign power.
In the case before the court, the targets of surveillance were lobbyists who allegedly broke a U.S. law by passing on “national defense information” to “persons not entitled to receive it,” including members of the media, foreign policy analysts, and certain foreign officials. But the government concedes that while the lobbyists are claimed to have passed on material to agents of a foreign power, they were not themselves agents of that power.
One lobbyist was additionally charged with aiding and abetting the communication of national defense information to persons not entitled to it – simply because he provided a fax number to which a DOD employee (a co-defendant in the case on the other charges) could fax a document the employee had prepared which contained “national defense information” that was not itself classified but was derived from a classified document.
The next step on the slippery slope? It could be warrantless surveillance of reporters like the ones who allegedly received the lobbyists’ information. After all, this is an Administration that has threatened criminal investigations of leaks to the New York Times.
If this happens, the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement will have become entirely meaningless.
Indeed, if President Bush can continue to direct the NSA to engage in domestic spying on citizens without any warrants at all, FISA or otherwise, perhaps the Fourth Amendment – and maybe the whole Constitution – should just be jettisoned. -
Jennifer Van Bergen, J.D., is a journalist and author of THE TWILIGHT OF DEMOCRACY: THE BUSH PLAN FOR AMERICA (Common Courage Press, 2004). She writes frequently on civil liberties, human rights, and international law. She will be speaking on “Accountability Day”, September 17, 2006, at Camp Democracy in Washington, DC ( http://www.campdemocracy.org ). She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
 A recent decision in a lawsuit against AT&T, which cooperated in the NSA’s secret spying program, indicates that the program may have even wider reach: http://writ.lp.findlaw.com/hilden/heptingvatt72006ord.pdf
 Opinion in “United States of America v. Stephen J. Rosen and Keith Weissman” (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, August 14, 2006): http://writ.lp.findlaw.com/commentary/usrosen81406opn.pdf
 Ibid; see endnote  above.
 Also see my recent articles on this same topic: [A] Jennifer Van Bergen’s 8/18/06 TomPaine.com article, “The Wiretap Dance”: http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/08/18/the_wiretap_dance.php
[B] Jennifer Van Bergen’s 8/11/06 TomPaine.com article, “Criminal Administration”: http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/08/11/criminal_administration.php
 And see some of my ground-breaking earlier articles:
[A} Jennifer Van Bergen’s six-part series, “Repeal The USA PATRIOT Act,” starting on 4/1/02: http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/04.02A.JVB.Patriot.htm
[B] Jennifer Van Bergen and Charles Gitting’s three-part series, “Bush War: Military Necessity Or War Crimes?”, starting on 7/14/03: http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/071403D.shtml
 Finally, check out the five-star book reviews of Jennifer Van Bergen’s “The Twilight of Democracy: The Bush Plan For America” (Common Courage Press, 2004): http://www.amazon.com/Twilight-Democracy-Bush-Plan-America/dp/1567512925/sr=1- 1/qid=1157546037/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-9813744-4228727?ie=UTF8&s=books.