by Iqbal Jassat
America’s destructive wars on Muslim countries launched in the wake of 9/11 under the misplaced rubric known notoriously as ‘War on Terror’ (WoT), spawned mindless death and bloodshed on an unprecedented scale.
The George W Bush regime, heavily infested with neoconservatives and likudniks, contemptuously ignored and willfully disregarded sovereign status of Muslim lands by launching invasions, bombings, perpetrating massacres and ultimately occupying them.
In a gross display of the abuse of power, America shamelessly sought to demonstrate its position as a military superpower to refashion the world in its image.
Since the unmistakable target of US aggression was Islam and Muslims, it adopted the wornout Israeli strategy by dehumanising victims as “terrorists”.
The tactic was designed to fool the world by claiming that the war was not on “good Muslims” but only the “bad ones” depicted as “terrorists”.
Against this backdrop, one is reminded of the extent of maliciousness associated with the WoT paradigm and abuse of justice flowing therefrom.
A classic example in this regard is the case of what became known as the “Holy Land Foundation 5”.
Fourteen years ago, five highly respected US-based Palestinian academics were unfairly targeted and jailed for providing humanitarian aid to orphans and widows in Palestine.
They have been described as the “Holy Land 5” who were actively involved in the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation (HLF).
The HLF was at the time, the largest Muslim welfare and charity organisation in the US until it was singled out and hounded by the Bush regime and Israeli forces.
Using the cover of the WoT, and fuelled by hostile zionist agencies who profiled the HLF as a “nest of terror”, the US authorities shut it down in December 2001.
The case against the “Holy Land 5” led to the wrongful conviction and unjust long-term imprisonment of five highly respected Palestinian men.
Three of them, Mufid Abdulqader, Ghassan Elashi, and Shukri Abu Baker remain in prison to this day.
Two others, Abdulrahman Odeh and Mohammed El-Mezain, sentenced to 15 years each, were released in 2020 and 2022 respectively.
An intriguing yet deplorable aspect of the highly politically-charged case is the fact that these men were convicted on false charges of “providing material support to terrorism,” despite the fact that they were never even accused of funding the legitimate armed resistance to Israeli occupation and colonization.
According to various reports including by Samidoun, the same charities funded by the Holy Land Foundation were also funded by the International Red Cross and even USAID, the US Agency for International Development.
In other words, the criteria for aiding or funding “terrorism” ought to have been applicable to the International Red Cross and USAID, rendering them “guilty” as well.
However, as is known, the Holy Land Foundation was selectively targeted as borne out by the fact that after failing to convict the HLF5 in their first attempt, the US judiciary allowed untested “evidence” by an anonymous Israeli intelligence agent.
The ‘War on Terror’ has and remains a playbook on how to subvert justice to gain political goals.
The dubious, torture-produced “evidence” by a faceless Israeli spook against the HLF5 was typical sensationalism and anti-Palestinian bigotry.
Though subversion of American politics by Israel is a well-known documented fact, it cannot remain unchallenged.
By the same token, the ill-conceived path of destruction known as the WoT, needs to be derailed and its perpetrators brought to justice.
And the case of the three men who remain behind bars, deserve a global campaign to secure their freedom.
Iqbal Jassat is Executive Member of the Media Review Network, Johannesburg, South Africa