Saturday, February 12, 2011

Protests Offer Chance to Build New Pact with Arab World

by David Horovitz

Natan Sharansky, whose walk to freedom across Berlin’s Glienicke Bridge precisely 25 years ago presaged the collapse of the Soviet Union, has urged the free world to give its backing to the Arab masses who are out on the streets bidding to be rid of their autocratic leaders.

“If the free world helps the people on the streets, and turns into the allies of these people instead of being the allies of the dictators, then there is a unique chance to build a new pact between the free world and the Arab world,” Sharansky said in an extensive interview that appears in Friday's Jerusalem Post. “And we, Israel, will be among the beneficiaries, simply because these people will then be dealing with their real problems.”

The 63-year-old Sharansky, the dissident icon of the campaign to free Soviet Jewry who went on to become a deputy prime minister here and now chairs the Jewish Agency, acknowledged that Israel has “reasons for concern” amid the current regional instability.

“We are a small country. We can be destroyed in one day if we lower our guard,” he said.

“But, on the other hand, while we continue to be on guard,” he urged, “let’s be glad that what’s happening now on the Arab street is happening before the Muslim Brothers control the entire Middle East... Let’s be glad that it is happening in countries which are still very dependent on the free world.”

Led by the US, the West should use that leverage, said Sharansky, to ensure that Arab peoples’ demands for democratic reforms are heeded. “If I was in the Senate, I would immediately pass a law maintaining US assistance to Egypt on condition that 20 percent of it goes to democratic reforms,” he suggested.

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David Horovitz

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Leftist Dupes: From the Communist Brotherhood to the Muslim Brotherhood

by Paul Kengor

As President Obama encourages an immediate “transition” from Hosni Mubarak to whatever might replace him in Egypt, hope again springs eternal among the American Left. The president has made clear that he supports the presence of the Islamofascist Muslim Brotherhood in the new government, and it appears that no one in the halls of power has sense to persuade him otherwise. Even his director of national intelligence, James Clapper, “clarified” for the Congress on Thursday that the ultra-Islamic Brotherhood is “largely secular” with no “overarching agenda.” The progressive dream, clearly, is that the Muslim Brotherhood will take power and build yet another revolutionary anti-American utopia — which will ideally follow in the footsteps of other recent great Muslim Sharia paradises, from Hamas to the Ayatollah. Forgive me for not sharing in the optimism.

Instead, I thought I’d offer a walk down memory lane, recalling the Left’s pattern of judgment regarding other leading “revolutionaries” of the past 100 years. Who are some of these dictators, these monsters? Join me, if you will.

A fitting to place to start is Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, first communist dictators of a truly Evil Empire. From the outset, numerous American “progressives” were enchanted with the “Great Experiment” in the Soviet Motherland. I could fill a book with examples. (In fact, I have.) Here, I’ll offer just a few.

Corliss Lamont, ACLU member, Columbia University professor, leading atheist/”humanist,” who embraced every leftist cause under the sun from the 1920s to the 1990s, made an early pilgrimage to Moscow. He loved what he saw, recording his observations in a book he co-authored with his wife. Probably nothing moved the Lamonts quite as much as their moment near the rotting breast of Lenin, who, by the time the Lamonts arrived in Moscow, had been dead and encased in a glass-covered box for eight years. They recorded:

Lenin’s face is strong, calm, and refined in the fundamental sense. His hand rests on a red pillow and his hands, clasped on his chest in a tranquil way, appear delicate and intellectual. The short yet forceful beard is reddish. We have to keep moving, though we want to stop and look longer and more carefully…. [I]t is not enough.

No, it was not enough; the Lamonts ached for more, and so they got in line again to revisit Lenin. They paid “homage,” “taking strength from [Lenin’s] impersonally beautiful and resolute face,” which was “perfectly natural and wholly desirable.”

In general, the Lamonts returned home to America to report the “great deal of happiness,” the “new human nature” they had discovered in communist Russia. “[T]he new world of the twentieth century is the Soviet Union,” they glowed to their progressive comrades. “And no one who is seriously interested in the progress of the human spirit can afford to miss it.”

Some “progress.” As the Lamonts wrote those words, Stalin was ramping up his forced famine, his Great Purge, and launching his annihilation of tens of millions of human spirits. Few in the USSR would miss it—the mass murder and criminality, that is.

But that wasn’t the feeling among the American Left. Among them was Corliss Lamont’s colleague, Dr. John Dewey, pillar of Columbia Teachers College, and founding father of American public education. The Bolsheviks adored Dewey, immediately translating into Russian several of Dewey’s major works before the Russian Civil War had even ended. The respect was mutual, and John Dewey couldn’t wait to make his own pilgrimage to the USSR, which he did in the summer of 1928, preceding the Lamonts’ visit. When Dewey returned, he filed a six-part series in The New Republic.

Dewey’s TNR dispatches on Russia were almost lyrical, as he waxed poetic about what he had experienced. Dewey discovered a “kind of completed transmigration of souls,” an “impression of movement, vitality, energy. The people go about as if some mighty and oppressive load had been removed, as if they were newly awakened to the consciousness of released energies.”

In Dewey’s mind, the Bolsheviks had thoroughly liberated the Russian people. “[T]the essence of the Revolution,” reported the Columbia professor, was “in its release of courage, energy and confidence in life.”

So taken was Dewey that he almost swooned: “My mind was in a whirl of new impressions in those early days in Leningrad. Readjustment was difficult, and I lived somewhat dazed.”

Dewey had been frustrated by having “heard altogether too much about Communism, about the Third International [the Comintern], too much about the Bolsheviki.” No, averred Dewey, what needed to be understood was that the Bolsheviks had ushered in not any sort of dangerous dictatorship, but, rather, a “revolution of heart and mind” and a “liberation of a people to consciousness of themselves as a determining power in the shaping of their ultimate fate.”

Dr. Dewey also praised “the orderly and safe character of life in Russia” under Stalin. Indeed, said the unflinching professor, there was no country in all of Europe in which “the external routine of life is more settled and secure.”

The faculty at Columbia was hardly the only place enchanted by Lenin and Stalin. Some of the finest minds from Britain’s literati were likewise impressed.

“I’ve never met a man more candid, fair, and honest,” marveled author H. G. Wells upon his return from a meeting with Joe Stalin in 1934, at the start of the Great Purge. “Everyone trusts him.” Wells had likewise been impressed by Vladimir Lenin, whom he called a “frank,” “refreshing,” and “amazing little man,” who had “almost persuaded me to share his vision.”

Fully persuaded was Wells’ fellow socialist, George Bernard Shaw, who piped up with an even more outrageous assessment after meeting with Stalin: “[W]e cannot afford to give ourselves moral airs when our most enterprising neighbor [the Soviet Union] … humanely and judiciously liquidates a handful of exploiters and speculators to make the world safe for honest men.”

Shaw was deadly serious; this was not sarcasm scribbled for some tasteless stage comedy.

But it wasn’t merely the intellectuals. America’s iconic president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was impressed by “Uncle Joe.” Amazingly, Stalin so hoodwinked President Roosevelt, that FDR openly mused that Stalin had even taught FDR, Churchill, and all the rest of them something about the “way in which a Christian gentleman should behave.” Where might Stalin have gained this alleged virtue? FDR, the Episcopalian elder from Hyde Park, looked upward for an answer: Perhaps it had been the dictator’s youthful training for the “priesthood.”

Of course, it wasn’t merely old men in the Kremlin that impressed the American Left. Our intellectuals, from writers to hippies, were ga-ga like giddy schoolgirls over certain Latin American communists.

For some of these men, the attraction to these caudillos seemed to border on the sexual. After meeting Che Guevara, I. F. Stone, who founded the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee with Corliss Lamont, recorded: “He was the first man I had ever met whom I thought not just handsome but beautiful. With his curly, reddish beard, he looked like a cross between a faun and a Sunday school print of Jesus.” Stone carried on, speaking of Che as “like some early saint, taking refuge in the desert.”

Similar urges were expressed of Che’s partner in crime, Fidel Castro, whose presence transformed ‘60s “yippie” Abbie Hoffman. “Fidel lets the gun drop to the ground, slaps his thigh and stands erect,” marveled Hoffman at the sight of Castro. “He is like a mighty penis coming to life, and when he is tall and straight, the crowd immediately is transformed.”

When the image of a giant penis was not satisfying enough to the Left’s exalted imagery of Fidel, the likes of Norman Mailer invoked the specter of “the ghost of Cortez … riding Zapata’s white horse.”

As usual, outdoing all others in its undo praise of Castro was the Bible of the American Left: the New York Times. Most egregious was a remarkably influential page-one article in the Sunday, February 24, 1957 issue, where reporter Herb Matthews assured Americans that Castro’s “program” “amounts to a new deal for Cuba, radical, democratic and therefore anti-communist.” Matthews was confident that Castro would bring “social justice” to Cuba. Granted an exclusive interview with a Castro hiding in the Sierra Maestra mountains, Matthews excitedly reported that Castro spoke with “extraordinary eloquence.” “His is a political mind rather than a military one,” reported the Times’ journalist. “He has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice, the need to restore the Constitution, to hold elections. He has strong ideas on economy, too.”

What unbiased source did Matthews cite for these remarkable claims? Fidel Castro, of course. “Above all,” Castro promised the New York Times, “we are fighting for a democratic Cuba and an end to dictatorship.” Castro assured that he desired a “free, democratic Cuba.”

Yes, yes, but that’s old Cold War stuff—or mostly, at least. These guys are all long gone now, Mailer, Hoffman, Matthews.

Well, how about this post-Cold War assessment of the last remaining true bastion of Stalinism; that is, North Korea and its dictator, Kim Il-Sung, offered by an elected American president, Jimmy Carter?

Carter made a June 1994 trip to this prison state. Carter was totally hoodwinked, filing this incredible account of life in North Korea:

People are busy. They work 48 hours a week…. We found Pyongyang to be a bustling city. The only difference is that during working hours there are very few people on the street. They all have jobs or go to school. And after working hours, they pack the department stores, which Rosalynn visited. I went in one of them. It’s like Wal-Mart in American stores on a Saturday afternoon. They all walk around in there, and they seem in fairly good spirits. Pyongyang at night looks like Times Square. They are really heavily into bright neon lights and pictures and things like that.

In truth, North Korea is a sea of darkness. As a well-known satellite photo attests (click here), the country at night is draped in black, in empty contrast to South Korea. Within one year of Carter’s gushing appraisal, two to three million North Koreans (out of a population of 20 million) starved to death. They weren’t packing Wal-Mart; they were eating grass, bark from trees, and, in some cases, human corpses.

Should I go on? The tragedy of the Left is its consistent gullibility as it moves from one international totalitarian threat to another, from the Cold to the War on Terror—as has been ably demonstrated in these pages by the likes of Jamie Glazov, David Horowitz, and others, whether documenting Jimmy Carter’s statements about Hamas or various other liberals’ encomiums about Middle East Islamists.

And when they’re not praising our enemies, liberals are blasting American leaders who try to confront those enemies.

Who could forget when, on May 10, 2004, Ted Kennedy went to the Senate floor and declared: “President Bush asked: ‘Who would prefer that Saddam’s torture chambers still be open?’ Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam’s torture chambers reopened under new management—U.S. management.”

Or, recall the unforgettable words of Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who compared the thankless work of U.S. military interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay facility to the work of “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime—Pol Pot or others—that had no concern for human beings.” This was not a flip comment by a Durbin caught on tape outside a nightclub after a few drinks. Durbin said this on the floor of the U.S. Senate, reading from a text, on June 14, 2005, amid the single worst stretch of killings of American soldiers by terrorists inside Iraq. The terrorists’ goal was to subvert support for America’s mission in Iraq and the War on Terror. Durbin had helped the cause.

Believe me when I say that this is merely a sample of what could be a multi-volume set chronicling the Left’s fatal misjudgment of a long line of dictators and brutal regimes, where jaw-dropping naïveté has led to the replacement of moderately repressive regimes with something far worse, from Nicaragua to Iran.

Could Egypt be next? Could Mubarak give way to the Muslim Brotherhood? I have many thoughts on that complex situation. But I know one thing for certain: Based on a long, long line of fatal deceit, I don’t trust the American Left to get it right.

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Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College. His latest book is Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

When Terrorists Become State Leaders

by Anna Geifman

[FrontPage Editor's note: The following is the first half of chapter 8 of Anna Geifman's powerful new book, Death Orders, which exposes the chilling parallels between Soviet and Islamic terrorism. Unfortunately, as Professor Geifman explains, events unfolding today in Egypt are all too familiar, harkening back to the Bolshevik takeover of Russia in 1917. Part II of chapter 8 will appear in our next issue.]

We must execute not only the guilty. Execution of the innocent will impress the masses even more.

–Bolshevik Commissar of Justice Nikolai Krylenko

Execute mercilessly.

–Lev Trotsky´s telegram to comrades in Astrakhan´, March 1919

The first time in history terrorists seized control of a state in 1917–in Russia, the birthplace of modern political extremism. There, adherents of a totalist ideology, men with extensive radical background and subversive experience, set out to rule by way of genocidal “Red Terror” against designated “class enemies.”1 A similar situation developed next in Afghanistan, where the Sunni Islamist Taliban held power from 1996 to 2001, relying on state-sponsored violence against “enemies of Islam´. In recent years, Hamas has been using similar methods for consolidating Islamist rule in Gaza. Radical Shiite Hezbollah has made major advances in controlling Lebanon. Present-day dramatic events in Cairo are alarming indeed: are Egypt´s own jihadists to imitate the terrorists-come-to-power scenario? The concern is valid especially because Egyptian developments over the past two weeks seem to replicate—sometimes to astonishing detail—the initial events of the 1917 revolution in Russia. Is Egypt to emulate a fateful twist of transitory politics in a far-away land hundred years ago, where following the collapse of the autocratic regime, the extremists usurped control via a coup that toppled the ineffectual provisional government? Since then, the cardinal feature of the newly-established Soviet rule was its dependence terrorist mentality and on unremitting state-sponsored political violence. Terror manifested itself immediately after the Bolshevik takeover and escalated into sanguinary years of the Russian Civil War of 1918-1921 and beyond.

* * *

Lenin and his associates relied on the pre-1917 terrorist mentality and practices while building their “Communist paradise.” Aside from defending expropriations as legitimate methods of revolutionary fundraising, prior to the Bolshevik takeover, Lenin had urged his followers to establish armed combat detachments for the purpose of killing the gendarmes and Cossacks and blowing up their headquarters. Since 1905, he also advocated the use of explosives, boiling water and acid against soldiers, the police, and supporters of the tsarist regime.2 Throughout the empire the Bolsheviks took part in terrorist activities, including those of major political significance, such as the 1907 murder of celebrated poet and social reformer Count Il’ia Chavchavadze, arguably the most popular national figure in turn-of-the-century Georgia.3

Having taken over the Russian administration, Lenin and Trotsky labeled opponents of violence “eunuchs and pharisees”4 and proceeded to implement government-sponsored machinery of state terror—projecting the conspiratorial and semicriminal nature of the Bolshevik fraction onto the new dictatorial regime. The Bolsheviks endorsed a policy they called the “Red Terror”—an instrument of repression in the hands of the revolutionary government– as a precondition for success in a seemingly visionary endeavor by a handful of political extremists to establish control over Russia’s population. For this purpose, the Bolsheviks must to “put an end once and for all of the papist-Quaker babble about the sanctity of human life,” Trotsky proclaimed.5

In their rhetoric, Lenin’s followers presented the Jacobin policies as a model for their own version of La Terreur, and themselves as descendents of the French radicals. “Each Social Democrat must be a terrorist à la Robespierre, Plekhanov was heard saying, and for once Lenin was in full agreement with the Menshevik’s plan: “We will not shoot at the tsar and his servants now as the Socialists-Revolutionaries do, but after the victory we will erect a guillotine in Kazanskii Square for them and many others.”6 In the Bolshevik view, terrorization from above was also an expedient tool in restructuring the traditional society in accordance with the Marxist doctrine.

Building on the notion of “motiveless terror” of the 1905 era, the Bolsheviks launched their campaign of state-sponsored coercion against groups of individuals designated as “class enemies” of the proletarian dictatorship, with extermination now being “class based.” In one of the first references to their new course, on 2 December 1917, Trotsky declared before a revolutionary gathering: “There is nothing immoral in the proletariat finishing off the dying class. This is its right. You are indignant . . . at the petty terror which we direct against our class opponents. But be put on notice that in one month at most this terror will assume more frightful forms, on the model of the great revolutionaries of France.”7

State terror as an ideological weapon the Bolsheviks justified as a rejoinder to a wide range of anti-Soviet activity allegedly perpetrated by a myriad of their internal and foreign enemies–Russian reactionaries, interventionists, and counterrevolutionaries of various leanings–all supposedly out to destroy the communist regime. The “accusation of terrorism . . . falls not on us but on the bourgeoisie. It forced terror on us,” Lenin claimed the exigency for killing in self-defense, echoing the paranoid defensiveness of the terrorists during the underground period.8 In reality, he had planned mass repressions a decade before he has had a chance to introduce them as a state policy, as early as 1908 dreaming of “real, nation-wide terror, which reinvigorates the country.”9

The Bolsheviks established their notorious political police, the Cheka (Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counterrevolution and Sabotage), months before any organized opposition to the Soviets had had a chance to develop.10 The Cheka began its operations formally, if secretly, almost immediately after the Bolshevik takeover — on 7 December 1917, and would soon become a primary instrument of the Red Terror, in accordance with Lenin’s pronouncement in the following month: “if we are guilty of anything, it is of having been too humane, too benevolent, towards the representatives of the bourgeois-imperialist order.”11 By the first half of 1918, after the Cheka had already had its debut in repression, “counterrevolutionary organizations . . . as such were not observed,” acknowledged its deputy director, Iakov Peters, known as “Peters, the Terrorist.” 12 At the same period, in June 1918, the first Cheka head, “Iron Feliks” Dzerzhinskii declared that terror was “an absolute necessity,” and that the repressive measures would go on in the name of the revolution, “even if its sword does by chance sometimes fall upon the heads of the innocent.”13

Originally, the Bolsheviks had envisaged the Cheka as an investigative, rather than repressive agency; its primary function was to gather intelligence and prevent offenses against the state. Having no official judiciary powers, the Cheka was legally required to leave prosecution, indictment, and final sentencing of political offenders to the new Soviet courts, the so called revolutionary tribunals, introduced in late November 1917.14 But the tribunals’ tendency to linger on proprieties threatened the efficiency of Lenin’s envisaged rule “unrestricted by any laws.” As a solution, the Bolshevik leadership extended the Cheka’s original mandate. Whereas its central offices in Petrograd and Moscow temporarily abstained from executing political nonconformists, on 23 February 1918, Dzerzhinskii urged provincial and district cadres to set up local Cheka bureaus, arrest counterrevolutionaries, and “execute them wherever apprehended.” Enemies of the revolution would be “mercilessly liquidated on the spot,” the authorities announce publicly.15

Accordingly, the Cheka bureaus in the periphery began to resort routinely to summary judiciary procedures. Unlimited by even the most cursory legal norms, they meted out arbitrary, often impetuous and unwarranted punishments, including death sentences.16 Their primary focus at the moment was on combating economic felony, such as “speculation,” which “encompassed practically any independent commercial activity,” and “sabotage,” i.e. refusal of technical experts and professionals to offer their services to the Bolshevik-controlled economy.17

In July 1918 the Bolsheviks massacred the Russian imperial family— a dramatic episode of primary psychological significance, which took place six weeks before Red Terror was inaugurated as an official policy. The Soviets relegated responsibility for the decision to murder of the Romanov family in Ekaterinburg to local revolutionary activists. In truth, the secret order to execute former tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, their five children, a valet, cook, parlor maid, and family doctor was issued in the Bolshevik headquarters in Moscow and carried out by a special Cheka squad. It was not for nothing that Lenin was a great admirer of Nechaev, the expert in bonding a subversive group with the accountability for a collective crime. Lenin, too, understood that when his party was in danger of being abandoned by many vacillating supporters blood would “cement its deserting following.” Trotsky supported Lenin’s decision as “not only expedient but necessary. The severity of this punishment showed everyone that we would continue to fight on mercilessly, stopping at nothing. The execution of the Tsar’s family was needed not only to frighten, horrify, and instill a sense of hopelessness in the enemy but also to shake up our own ranks, to show that there was no retreating, that ahead lay either total victory or total doom.”18 From then on, the extremists had to sustain slaughter; otherwise, in their own eyes, past bloodletting would be meaningless and deplorable.

On August 30, 1918, Moisei Uritskii was assassinated as the head of the Cheka in Petrograd. As a questionable coincidence, on the same day government sources issued an announcement about an attempt on Lenin’s life in Moscow. The Bolsheviks interpreted these attacks as a coordinated action of a large-scale conspiracy—an unfounded assumption that elicited their instantaneous and inundating fear. Panic-stricken, Lenin’s followers mitigated their apprehension by unleashing a mass campaign of violence. The Red Terror did not begin but dramatically magnified at this time, encompassing retaliation and revenge, marked by infinite cruelty–against real, alleged, and potential adversary: “Without mercy, without sparing, we will kill our enemies by the scores of hundreds, let them be thousands, let them drown themselves in their own blood. For the blood of Lenin and Uritskii . . . let there be floods of blood of the bourgeoisie–more blood, as much as possible.”19

Under such pretext, after 30 August 1918 the Bolsheviks no longer bothered to conceal brutality. The Cheka arrested civilians randomly and executed them arbitrarily in a sweeping effort to liquidate class enemies—a loosely-defined category that the Bolsheviks continuously expanded. A prominent Cheka officer Martyn Latsis made a newspaper declaration: “Do not look in the file of incriminating evidence to see whether or not the accused rose up against the Soviets with arms or words. Ask him instead to which class he belongs, what is his background, his education, his profession. These are the questions that will determine the fate of the accused. That is the meaning and essence of the Red Terror.”20 Soon, the Soviets developed a favorite “counter-counterrevolutionary measure”–hostage-taking.

The radicals’ attitude toward the use of hostages shifted from People’s Will’s explicit denial of any intention to punish their enemies by kidnapping their family members, to lonely voices advocating as early as 1903 the capturing of government officials and representatives of the bourgeoisie for the purpose of using them as bargaining chips in later negotiations with the authorities.21 After 1905, revolutionaries in the Baltics did seize civilian hostages,22 and prominent Bolshevik Vladimir Bonch-Bruevich proposed to St. Petersburg Committee to grab “a couple of so grand dukes” to blackmail the authorities.23 The extremists would occasionally turn against and hurt family members to threaten their enemies; in a notable incident, the terrorists murdered the father of a police informer to use his funeral as an opportunity to assassinate the son, their real target.24

In September 1918, as an initial step of the intensifying Red Terror, the Bolsheviks shot “in reprisal” 512 hostages, most of them “high notables” of the old regime. Simultaneously, the government decreed: in order to intimidate and punish the opposition, class enemies and their relatives would be sent to concentration camps.25 By 1919 their number increased dramatically, prison camps serving as trial models for the Gulag

The practice of hostage-taking became routine. Used as slave labor, imprisoned families of counterrevolutionary suspects were also potential “execution material.” The Cheka firing squads shot these civilians regularly as a collective punishment,26 occasionally “emptying” entire prisons of inmates.27 Sometimes the Chekists did not even bother to waste the bullets, as in the Kholmogory camp, where bound prisoners were drowned in the nearby river.28 In June 1918 the public was notified that in case of a single shot at the Bolshevik supporters in Astrakhan’ “bourgeois hostages” will be executed “in 24 minutes.”29

Faced with a wave of starving workers’ strikes and peasant uprisings, the government directed its wrath against the very groups whose alleged, if more than questionable, backing had served as an argument for the Bolsheviks´ political legitimacy. In two months of terror, between 10,000 and 15,000 summary executions took place, marking “a radical break with the practices of the Tsarist regime.” In almost 100 years, between 1825 and 1917, the imperial courts issued 6,321 politics-related death sentences, not all of which were carried out.30 As we have seen, before the revolution, the terrorists came to be responsible for exactly as many casualties among state officials in a single decade, invalidating a claim that “violence, alas, was reciprocal.”31

Alienation and anxiety, so prominent in the clandestine milieu, seem to have been even more pronounced when the extremists usurped power in Russia. Escalating brutality of the extremist clique that came to exercise tenuous control over the enormous country bore a concomitant–and mounting–dread of criminals before imminent retribution. Few, if any among the Bolshevik leadership believed that their regime would outlast the two-month revolutionary experience of the Paris Commune; yet, all were determined to hold on to power at any cost—for as long as possible, until they would surely be overthrown and again forced into a position of haunted runaways.32 Psychologically, they had not changed from the underground days when, perceiving themselves as the persecuted, liable for annihilation, the radicals propelled onto the enemy their fear and belligerence. In fact, as their “power increased, so did the Bolshevik sense of danger,” perception of a looming catastrophe, and urgency to harm. “We have never made a secret of the fact that our revolution is only the beginning, that its victorious end will only come when we have lit up the whole world with these same flames,” said Trotsky, anticipating the millennial cataclysm–from Hungary to India. Having declared ruthless war on the international bourgeoisie, Lenin avowed that the wounded “wild beast” is bursting with “fierce hate . . . and ready to throw itself at Soviet Russia any minute to strangle it.”33 And if in the 1905 era the extremists did not shun from victimizing people they were allegedly liberating; as government, they did so with redoubled intensity.

Psychologist Karen Horney described the tendency to dominate “disguised in humanistic forms,” as well as the quest for power as a protection. It is “born out of anxiety” associated with feelings of inferiority, weakness, and helplessness–glaring among the extremists. It has an additional benefit “as a channel through which repressed hostility can be discharged”34 Finally, it “strengthens group identity, since the hated other can be collectively shared and collectively destroyed.” The group then “comes to see itself as exclusive, possessing a boundary the hated other may never pass or threaten . . . the border separates the pure from the impure . . . the polluted from the good,” the saints from the villains.35 The dualistic, black-and-while formula that all goodness is within, and all badness is outside inevitably had to translate into violence, in accordance with Lenin’s challenge: “each man must choose between joining our side or the other side”36 Like other variants of totalism, Bolshevism presumed the impossibility of a “third path” or neutrality:37 “One who does not sing along with us today is against us,” first official Soviet poet Vladimir Maiakovskii, eulogized Lenin’s reprisals.

Repressions against other political parties began as early as 28 November 1917 with the ban of the Kadets. Still supporting a parliamentary democracy, and still not realizing that the dream was over, they were the first among the liberal public intellectuals to pay for their collaboration with the extremists, who now declared them enemies of the people. From then on, Kadet publications were closed and supporters arrested. Lenin’s excuse—which he offered to simulate at least a minimal legitimacy—was that the Constitutional Democrats were not socialists.

In June 1918 the Bolshevik barred the SRs and the Mensheviks from the political process for alleged counterrevolutionary activities, and by late summer Lenin was already applying terror against former socialist comrades, many of whom were apprehended and incarcerated. Of course they were not counterrevolutionaries, Lenin frankly admitted to Swiss socialist Fritz Platten, “But that’s exactly why they are dangerous–just because they are honest revolutionists.”38 Long before the Soviets legalized the on-going practice in their Penal Code, persecution extended from renowned figures of the socialist opposition to members of their families, including children. The youngest daughter of Chernov, leader of the now-outlawed SRs, was eleven years old when she spent weeks of semi-starvation in an icy cell of the infamous Lubianka prison.39

In the first months after the Bolshevik takeover, Lenin had no choice but to put aside his dream of a single-party regime and grudgingly acknowledged the necessity to allot fractional authority to radical dissenters from the PSR–Left Socialists-Revolutionaries (Left SRs). The Bolsheviks invited them to join the coalition government, in which the Left SR received four Commissar positions. They also held high posts within the Soviet repressive organs, including the Cheka, where a Left SR representative served as its deputy director. In their effort to eradicate “counterrevolution,” the Left SR were no less extreme than their comrades, the Bolsheviks.

On July 6, 1918, two Cheka functionaries, Left SRs Iakov Blumkin and Nikolai Andreev, assassinated the German Ambassador in Moscow, Count Wilhelm von Mirbach. Lenin immediately proclaimed the terrorist act to be not only an attempt to drag the Soviet Republic into a new war with Germany, but also a motion for a full-fledged “counterrevolutionary uprising.” He proceeded to arrest approximately 450 members of the Left SR faction on charges of conspiracy and treacherous violation of the two-party alliance. Most likely, the Left SR leadership, although yielding none to the Bolsheviks in extremism, had no intention of rebelling against the coalition, but Mirbach’s assassination did give Lenin an opportunity to provoke the exchange of fire between former partners and to fulfill his underlying purpose of establishing the Bolshevik dictatorship.40

At the other end of the world nearly a century later, the extremists are following similar patterns of eliminating political rivals. On 25 July 2008, an explosive device detonated in Gaza outside the Hilal Café, frequented by leading Hamas activists. The explosion occurred next to a vehicle belonging to the militants´ commander Nihad Masbah. Along with him, the blast killed four of his comrades and a 4-year-old girl; over twenty others were wounded. Against all expectations, the Hamas leadership did not blame Israel and instead assigned responsibility for the attack to Muhammad Dahlan, former PA Authority National Security Advisor under the Fatah Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Following the explosion, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah vowed to “seek justice” and punish all guilty. Abbas repeatedly denied the allegation that Fatah was behind the terrorist act in Gaza and proposed to initiate an independent inquiry to investigate the bombing—offer Hamas promptly rejected.

Instead, the Hamas combatants immediately began to make arrests throughout the city, apprehending 160 people aligned with al Fatah. The arrests set off a wave of fighting between Hamas and Fatah factions. Over the next two days, Hamas continued its repressive operations in Gaza, arresting in total almost 200 Fatah activists. Fatah retaliated: The Jerusalem Post reported that its forces rounded up dozens of pro-Hamas politicians and sympathizers across the West Bank, including 54 people in Nablus. On 28 July Hamas banned the distribution of three Fatah-affiliated newspapers and arrested some journalists.

It was not the first or the only time Hamas combatants set out against the Fatah membership. On 17 June 2009, Fatah TV marked the second anniversary of the Hamas military takeover of Gaza by issuing a graphic video, featuring a screaming Fatah activist, drugged along on the ground and beaten by Hamas fighters with a bone-crushing bat, incited by their comrades with screams “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Great).41 It would be fair to state—which the video did not—that in the areas controlled by Fatah, its militants have treated the Hamas rivals in similar ways. 42 For the Fatah leaders “nemeses were neither the Jews nor their Zionist benefactors” but “brother Palestinians,” men who repudiated allegiance to the faction that claimed the right to Arafat’s political legacy.43

None of this is new: in 1905, Russian extremist groups, helped by thugs, protected Bolsheviks from Mensheviks and the SRs, and vice versa,44 their major concern being the control over party treasures. After 1917, terrorists in power finally got a chance to settle old scores. With Israel as common enemy, extremists contest political control in the not-yet-established Palestinian state and fight for its meager economic resources. To suggest that in July 2008 the situation in Gaza is similar to that in Moscow in July 1918 is to emphasize the point: the terrorists in the PA demonstrate the relentless determination to establish a dictatorship, for which had previously aspired the Bolsheviks–with great success.

By the fall and winter of 1918-19, Bolshevik terror achieved “a level of indiscriminate slaughter never before seen.”45 Persecutions aimed at virtually anyone representing the old regime’s upper classes, the bourgeoisie, and the intelligentsia. A vicious atheistic campaign to obliterate the Russian Orthodox church and religion in general brought about unremitting aggression vis-à-vis the clergy and the devout adherents of all persuasions.46 Instigated by their perpetual dread of military conspiracies, the Bolsheviks made special effort to locate and apprehend former imperial army and navy officers; thousands them were executed without a trial.47 With a revealing ballpark figure of victims ranging between 50,000 and 140,000, violence “served the Bolsheviks…as a surrogate for the popular support which eluded them. The more their popularity eroded, the more they resorted to terror.”48

Among perpetrators of state-sponsored terrorism, fanatics relied on “revolutionary conscience” to justify their urge to annihilate “class enemies,” but side by side with the visionaries operated the extremists of a new type–a wide variety of hooligans, criminals and the “scum of the society.” The “revolutionary riffraff” readily joined the developing Soviet nomeklatura and the Cheka, to render a genuine new “social prototype.”49 Among them were individuals who in the post-1905 period had “entered the realm of political dissent after a squabble with the authorities, a boss, or a commanding officer. Still others turned their quixotic ideals of ‘revolutionary’ justice into sheer criminal acts. Finally, there were those for whom the Revolution meant money in their pockets, a lucrative business venture.” Having served sentences for various crimes, these “thieves and ordinary swindlers” walked out of prison posing as political convicts in 1917, and “reintegrated into post-revolutionary Russian society quite swiftly thanks to their bogus revolutionary credentials”—reaping benefits under the auspices of the Bolshevik environment.50 Soviet authorities were well aware that the very nature of repressive activities attracted “corrupt and outright criminal elements,” and Dzerzhinskii bluntly complained: “only saints and scoundrels” offer their services to the Cheka, but “the saints are running away from me, and I am left with the scoundrels.”51

As in 1905, recruiters provided the lofty slogans of freedom fighters to justify felonious acts now carried out in the interest of the state.52 It was especially difficult to differentiate between revolutionary and criminal practices in the periphery, where mass murder, robbery, blackmail, rape, beatings, torture, and startling sadism assumed astounding proportions—the “Red banditry,” accompanied by incessant drinking and drug use by members of the Cheka and the tribunals.53 Few regional or district Cheka officials were held accountable for their actions, and the only criteria for appointment to the revolutionary tribunals were undivided loyalty to the new regime and the ability to read and write. Consequently, sixty percent of the “proletarian judges” were individuals with incomplete secondary schooling; many used their positions “to pursue personal vendettas” and to extort bribes from families of the accused. People were executed “by accident:” a person would be shot because his family name was confused with a similar one. In some cases namesakes were killed together purposely; the Chekists did not wish to waste time on lengthy investigation.54 What “now goes on in the provinces is not Red Terror at all, but crime, from beginning to end,” a prominent Bolshevik Mikhail Olminskii protested in 1919.55

We obviously cannot reduce mass ideologically-justified violence to psychopathology of individual participants; yet, it would also be erroneous to ignore rampant, irrational, and frequently uncontrolled brutality that permeated the Bolshevik Terror. The behavior of its numerous practitioners suggests of a psychological instability a possible catalyst for viciousness. In prevailing circumstances of a political crisis, mental aberrancy and perversions, including sadism, assumed revolutionary form—as they had had a decade earlier. As then, emotionally damaged individuals gravitated towards extremism and confirmed a strong connection between psychological imbalance and aggressive impulses, of which medical professionals had been aware for decades.

Psychosis might have been as exceptional among the extremists as it was outside the revolutionary milieu, but terrorists of the pre-revolutionary epoch suffered from a variety of other mental illnesses, including acute paranoia, severe depression and recurrent manic episodes. Some, like Dora Brilliant, exhibited a tendency towards hysteria and experienced emotional breakdowns.56 Others would not miss a chance for an aggressive act.57 Quite a number of combatants periodically found themselves in psychiatric hospitals. Particularly widespread was serious pathological behavior among teenage terrorists, some of whom received treatment for psychiatric disorders.58

“Unbalanced,” “turbulent, “completely abnormal,” “mentally deranged,” and “crazy” called the revolutionaries their psychologically deviant comrades; one referred to them as “cannibals.”59 Sometimes precisely due to their evident aberrancy and proclivity for aggression, recruiters were eager to enlist them for terrorist acts. Thus, Lenin treasured Kamo: recognizing that his loyal “Caucasian bandit” suffered from a mental illness and required clinical treatment; the Bolsheviks counted on his wild temperament to provide constant inflow of expropriated cash.60 Not entirely original would then seem the idea to employ for terrorist purposes two Iraqi women with the Down syndrome: the “crazy ladies” were strapped with remote-control explosives and dispatched to detonate them in crowded Baghdad markets on the morning of 8 February 2008, killing at least 99.61

Relatively few qualified as mentally deranged, let alone insane, but their attitude towards brutality did blur the boundaries between normalcy and pathology. Tat’iana Leont’eva, daughter of the vice-governor of Iakutsk and terrorist-fanatic of more than questionable emotional stability, murdered an elderly man, in her confused mental state mistaking him for Minister of the Interior Durnovo. Having been informed of her error, she expressed regrets but added: “In these difficult times it does not matter if there is one person more or less in the world.”62

Dzerzhinskii, who personified the Bolshevik Red Terror, before the revolution had been diagnosed with and reportedly treated for a mental illness then referred to as “circular psychosis” (Bipolar Affective Disorder).63 Several of his chief lieutenants after 1918, including the notoriously vicious investigator Romanovskii, were drug addicts and unquestionable sadists.64 The inmates in the “Death Boat,” as they called the central Cheka prison in Moscow, found themselves in the hands of a former criminal-turned-Bolshevik hero, a raging “terror of the jail,” nicknamed the “Commissar of Death.”65

“Only a truly ill patient in a state of madness behaves this way,” confirmed medical experts in Germany after a thorough evaluation of Kamo following his imprisonment in 1907. He “easily loses mental equilibrium and then enters a state of obvious insanity. . . . .We are dealing with a type of mental disorder that most accurately is attributable to a form of hysteria,” was the doctors’ verdict.66 In the prerevolutionary years, Kamo was obsessed with a scheme of testing the loyalty of rank-and-file combatants by fear and torture–until he finally had a chance to put it into practice amid the anarchy of the Russian Civil war. During a training exercise in 1919, the Red fighters under his leadership were attacked and captured by “the Whites”—in reality Kamo’s lieutenants wearing enemy epaulets. The make-belief captors flogged their prisoners and staged mock hangings. Some Bolsheviks broke under torture, and Kamo was ecstatic: his method of separating the “real Communists” from the cowards worked marvelously.67

Those predisposed to sadism needed it in amplified doses after they had begun to take part in routine bloodshed manifest during the Red Terror. They have “contracted the execution habit” and became addicted to gore as if to narcotics; killing has “become necessary to them,” as if it were morphine. They cannot sleep unless they have shot someone dead and “volunteer for the service,” revealed a contemporary reporter. Some were clinically mad; others, including aberrant juveniles as young as 14, were “half-idiots.” 68

Local Cheka committees became notorious for specific forms of torture, which they claimed as their expertise, such as scalping prisoners in Khar’kov, or burying them alive in Kremenchug. In Ekaterinoslav, the Cheka officers specialized in crucifixions, and in Kiev they liked the joke of putting a captive in a closed coffin with a decaying body. “Throughout the country, without investigation or trial, the Chekists . . . tortured old men and raped schoolgirls and killed parents before the eyes of their children. They impaled people, beat them with an iron glove, put wet leather ‘crowns’ on their heads, buried them alive” and “locked them in cells where the floor was covered with corpses.”69

“Homicide rates increase dramatically following all wars, the same for victor or loser nations,” 70 and so it did in Russia after years of bloodshed during WWI. Lenin’s policies contributed further to dramatic devaluation of human life. Still, no matter how much people were conditioned to cruelty, it was apparently not a trivial matter for the Bolsheviks to find enough volunteers to jail, guard, interrogate, torture, and execute. To maintain “purity of the cause,” the idealists occasionally refused to follow orders; for example, to examine 19 cases of alleged counterrevolutionaries and shoot them all, regardless of the outcome of the investigation.71 People were too “sentimental,” complained Peters, when charged with recruitment of the rank-and-file Cheka cadres.

There is a great deal of evidence that genes play a significant role in aggressiveness. Animal breeding studies have shown that it is possible to select for violent behavioral traits, and family studies have confirmed that hostility is highly heritable. Some genetic mechanisms responsible for aggression have been revealed by molecular genetics; however, the importance of environmental factors has also been highlighted by researchers.72 The Bolsheviks were at work on forging the environment conducive to murder from their earliest days in power.



[1] The Jacobins, while responsible for the “Reign of Terror” during the French Revolution, had not, like the Bolsheviks, engaged in violence prior to the fall of monarchy. This article is based on research from Anna Geifman, Death Orders: The Vanguard of Modern Terrorism in Revolutionary Russia (Santa Barbara, CA—Denver, Colorado—Oxford, England: Praeger Security International, 2010).

[2] Lenin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, vol. 11 (Moscow, 1959), 340-343; Chuzhak, “Lenin i ‘tekhnika’ vosstaniia,” Katorga i ssylka, 12 (73) (1931): 77.

[3] Discussed in Geifman, Thou Shalt Kill: Revolutionary Terrorism in Russia (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), 92-96.

[4] Trotsky cited in Walter Laqueur, Terrorism (Little, Brown, & Co.: Boston-Toronto, 1977), 68.

[5] Cited in Hugh Phillips, “The War against Terrorism in Late Imperial and Early Soviet Russia,” in Isaac Land, ed., Enemies of Humanity (Palgrave Macmillan: New York, 2008), 219.

[6] Cited in V. A. Posse, Moi zhiznennyi put’ (Moscow-Leningrad, 1929), 321.

[7] Cited in Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (Vintage Books: New York, 1990), 791-792.

[8] Cited in Cited in Nathan Leites, A Study of Bolshevism (The Free Press Publishers: Glencoe, IL, 1953), 355.

[9] Cited in Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century (W. W .Norton & Co Inc, 1999), 98.

[10] On the general history of the Cheka see Leonard D. Gerson, The Secret Police in Lenin’s Russia (Temple University Press: Philadelphia, 1976) and George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1986).

[11] Cited in Leites, A Study of Bolshevism, 353.

[12] Cited in Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 805, 790.

[13] Cited in Robert D. Warth, “Cheka,” The Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History (MERSH), vol. 6 (Academic International Press), 218.

[14] James Bunyan and H. H. Fisher, The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1918: Documents and Materials (Stanford University Press: Stanford, 1934), 297-298.

[15] Cited in Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 800-801, 804-805.

[16] Richard Sakwa, The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union, 1917-1991 (Routhedge, 1999), 75.

[17] Cited in Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 800-801, 804-805.

[18] Cited in Ibid., 787.

[19] Ibid., 820.

[20] Cited in Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick. The State within a State: The KGB and Its Hold on Russia – Past, Present, and Future (Farrar Straus & Giroux: New York, 1994).

[21] Noi [Noah] Zhordaniia, Moia zhzn’ (Stanford, 1968), 80; Zeev Ivianski, “The Terrorist Revolution: Roots of Modern Terrorism,” David C. Rapoport, ed., Inside Terrorist organizations (London, 1988), 133.

[22] “Kronika vooruzhenoi bor’by,” Krasnyi arkhiv 4-5 (11-12) (1925): 170.

[23] V. Bonch-Bruevich, “Moi vospominaniia o P. A. Kropotkine,” Zvezda 6 (1930): 196.

[24] Report of 26 May [8 June] 1906, Archive of the Russian secret police (Okhrana), Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University, CA [cited hereafter as Okhrana], XIX-13; Petr Zavarzin, Rabota tainoi politsii (Paris, 1924), 128.

[25] Warth, “Cheka,” 218.

[26] See, for example, Mikhail Osorgin, Vremena (Sredne-Ural’skoe knizhnoe izd-vo: Ekaterinburg, 1992): 577. Numerous cases of execution of family members are cited in Mark Kramer, ed., The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, 1999).

[27] Orlando Figes, A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891–1924 (Penguin: New York, 1998). 647.

[28] Robert Gellately, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe (Knopf, 2007), 58-59.

[29] Sergei Mel’gunov, “Krasnyi terror” v Rossii, 1918-1923 (“PUICO:” Moscow, 1990), 108.

[30] See numerous examples in Ibid., 50-51, 96-106; Nicholas Werth cited in Mark Kramer, ed., The Black Book of Communism, 78; see also 86-88.

[31] O. V. Budnitskii, “’Krov’ po sovesti’: terrorizm v Rossii (vtoraia polovina XIX-nachalov XX v.,” Otechestvennaia istoriia, 6 (1994), 204.

[32] Leites, A Study of Bolshevism, 406. “Haunted, above all, by the specter of a fierce backlash of the sort that had struck Russia after 1905, the Bolsheviks had few qualms about using terror to thwart this historical possibility, nay probability. This fear and resolve became obsessive once the socialist revolution miscarried in central and western Europe” (Arno J. Mayer, The Furies: Violence and Terror in the French and Russian Revolutions (Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ, 2001), 255. Lenin’s associates who had provided for the party by expropriations, immediately after the Bolshevik takeover made financial preparation for the time when they would again be forced into the underground (see Geifman, Thou Shalt Kill, 256).

[33] Cited in “Story of the Red Flag,”; cited in Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Armed: Trotsky, 1879-1921 (New York-London: Verso, 2003), 378-379; cited in Leites, A Study of Bolshevism, 406-7, 414.

[34] Karen Horney, Neurotic Personality of Our Time [W. W. Norton and Company, Inc.: New York, 1937], 166.

[35] James M. Glass, Psychosis and Power. Threats to Democracy in the Self and the Group (Cornell University Press: Ithaca, 1995), 129.

[36] V. I. Lenin, Speech Delivered At An All-Russia Conference Of Political Education Workers Of Gubernia and Uyezd Education Departments, 3 November 1920, Collected Works, 4th English Edition, vol. 31 (Progress Publishers: Moscow, 1965), 340-361.

[37] Discussed in Leites, A Study of Bolshevism, 43-44, 360, 387.

[38] Cited in Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 792n.

[39] Olga Chernov-Andreyev, Cold Spring in Russia (Ardis: Ann Arbor, 1978), 209-230.

[40] Analysis of the Bolshevik-Left SR break up in Lutz Hafner, “The Assassination of Count Mirbach and the ‘July Uprising” of the Left Socialist Revolutionaries in Moscow, 1918, Russian Review, vol. 50, 3 (July 1991): 324-344.


[42] Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, “Fatah Broadcasts Graphic Images of Hamas Torture,” 18 June 2009,

[43] See Bruce Hoffman’s analysis of his interview with a senior Fatah representative in Hoffman, “How the Terrorists Stopped Terrorism,”

[44] Sandra Pujals, “The Accidental Revolutionary in the Russian Revolution: Impersonation, Criminal Activity, and Revolutionary Mythology in the Early Soviet Period, 1905-1935” Revolutionary Russia, vol. 22, no. 2 (2009), 184.

[45] Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 792.

[46] See, for example, M. G. Nechaev, Krasnyi terror i tserkov’ na Urale (Izd-vo Permskogo gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskogo institutta: Perm’, 1992).

[47] Mel’gunov, “Krasnyi terror” v Rossii, 46.

[48] Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 838, 792.

[49] Pujals, “The Accidental Revolutionary,” 181.

[50] In a random sample of personal files of self-proclaimed revolutionaries, rejected from membership in the Society of Former Political Prisoners and Exiles of the Soviet Union, approximately 80 percent mentioned criminal activity before and/or after the revolution (Ibid, 1, 3-4, 9).

[51] Cited in Warth, “Cheka,” 218.

[52] In a different context, philosopher Ernest Gellner would summarize the recruiters’ logic as follows: “you are safe with us; we like you the better because the filthier your record the more we have a hold on you.” (1991 interview with Ernest Gellner conducted by John Davis of Oxford University for Current Anthropology [vol 32, No. I, Feb. 1991],

[53] See, for example, V. I. Shishkin, “Krasnyi banditizm v sovetskoi Sibiri,” Sovetskaia istoriia: problemy i uroki (Novosibirsk, 1992); Mel’gunov, “Krasnyi terror” v Rossii, 139-144.

[54] Examples in Ibid., 115.

[55] Cited in Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 798-99, 826.

[56] Amy Knight, “Female Terrorists in the Russian Socialist Revolutionary Party,” Russian Review 38 (2) (April 1979): 149-150.

[57] See, for example, Roizman, “Vospominaniia o Frumkinoi,” Katorga i ssylka, 28-29 (1926): 383.

[58] V. Kniazev, “1905,” Zvezda 6 (1930): 235, 241, 243.

[59] Cited in Geifman, Thou Shalt Kill, 170, 323, 325, 209.

[60] Ibid., 168.

[61] “Down syndrome bombers kill 99 in Iraq,” 1 February 2008,

[62] Rech’, 149 (9 September 1906): 2.

[63] G. A. Aleksinskii, “Vospominaniia, ” 15, Nicolaevsky collection, Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University, CA [cited hereafter as Nic.]. 302-3.

[64] See, for example, Chernov-Andreyev, Cold Spring in Russia, 215.

[65] Osorgin, Vremena, 575.

[66] A. Zonin, “Primechaniia k st. Medvedevoi ‘Tovarishch Kamo’,” Proletarskaia revoliutsiia [cited hereafter as PR] 8-9 (31-32) [1924]: 146.

[67] Dubinskii-Mukhadze, Kamo, 5, 195-96; Medvedeva Ter-Petrosian, “”Tovarishch Kamo,” PR 8-9 (31-32) [1924]: 141-42.

[68] Cited in Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 823. For examples of “executioners’ illness” see Mel’gunov, “Krasnyi terror” v Rossii, 143-144.

[69] Albats and Fitzpatrick. The State within a State, 95. Cheka tortures described in Mel’gunov, “Krasnyi terror” v Rossii, 120-130.

[70] Research by Dane Archer cited in Zimbardo, “Vantage Point: Faceless terrorists embody ‘creative evil’,” Stanford Report,

[71] Osorgin, Vremena, 586.

[72] See, for example, Keiron Walsh, “Genetic Factors in Aggression” (30 October 2009), I am grateful to Dr. Tatyana Leonova at the Rockefeller University for acquainting me with scientific research on this topic.

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Anna Geifman

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The History Lesson So Desperately Needed By Israel’s Detractors

by Paul Schnee

Unable to defeat Israel on the battlefield or intimidate her by decades of terror her Muslim tormentors have anxiously turned to a different strategy. In defiance of the mountains of historical and archeological facts, let alone the biblical evidence, they have embarked on a strenuous effort to turn history upside down and wage a campaign to prove that Israel and the Jews have no legal right to the Land of Israel and that it should always have been a land over which Islamic supremacists hold dominion.

Their insatiable appetite for historical revision, bolstered by an American president who conveniently suffers from historical amnesia, has led them into the realm of lawfare, where if you torture the facts long enough eventually the facts will tell you anything you wish to hear.

However, as Howard Grief pointed out in his essay, “Legal Rights and Title of Sovereignty of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel and Palestine under International Law,” before the Arab Palestinians’ romp of fantasy can be realized they need to disprove the legitimacy of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the Mandates System established and governed by Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations contained in the Treaty of Versailles and all the other peace treaties made with the Central Powers, i.e. Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey.

The Covenant was the idea of president Woodrow Wilson and contained his program of Fourteen Points of January 8, 1918 while Article 22, which established the Mandates System, was largely the work of Jan Christiaan Smuts who formulated the details in a memorandum that became known as the Smuts Resolution, officially endorsed by the Council of Ten on January 30, 1919 in which Palestine as envisaged in the Balfour Declaration was named as one of the mandated states to be created.

The official creation of the country took place at the San Remo Peace Conference (1920) where the Balfour Declaration was adopted by the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers as the basis for the future “administration” of Palestine which would henceforth be recognized as the Jewish National Home.

Grief goes on to say that the moment of birth of Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty thus took place at the same time Palestine was created a “mandated” state since it was created for NO other reason than to “reconstitute” the ancient Jewish state of Judea in fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration and the general provisions of Article 22 of the League Covenant. This meant that Palestine from the start was legally a Jewish state that was, in theory, to be guided toward independence by a Mandatory or Trustee, also acting as Tutor (this turned out to be Great Britain) and who would take the necessary political, administrative and economic measures to establish the Jewish National Home.

The details for the planned independent Jewish state were set forth in three basic documents which may be termed the founding documents of mandated Palestine and the modern Jewish state of Israel that arose from them. These were: the San Remo Resolution of April 15, 1920; the Franco-British Boundary Convention of December 23, 1920; and the Mandate for Palestine conferred on Britain by the Principal Allied Powers and confirmed by the League of Nations on July 24, 1922.

These founding documents were supplemented by the Anglo-American Convention of December 3, 1924 respecting the Mandate for Palestine. It is of supreme importance to realize that these documents are the source of Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty over the land of Israel under international law. Therefore, it is impossible to “occupy” territory you already own regardless of the mistakes made by successive Israeli governments during the intervening years and, alas, there have been plenty of them but none significant enough to have revoked their root of title or legal sovereignty.

No matter how long or how often they repeat their lies the Arab Palestinians simply have no case. As for the policies being proposed in the United Nations, the European Union, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and the Oval Office they are a stark reminder of Goethe’s observation that there is nothing so frightful as ignorance in action.

For 63 years Israel has been an embattled outpost of Western values surrounded by genocidal enemies whose undiminished goal is her extinction. She is on the front lines against the relentless march of Islamic totalitarianism which threatens to provide us all with a one-way ticket back to the seventh century. On that journey we would be treated to all the brutality, all the cruelty and all the barbarism enshrined in Islam’s title deed, namely the Koran itself. We must go where the evidence leads.

The annihilation of Israel would be a vital step in the eventual establishment of an Islamic caliphate in the region comprised of Iran, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt. As Israel goes so surely will go the rest of us, so for her own survival, as well as for ours, Israel must proclaim her right as she was given that right and defend that right whenever it is challenged and whatever the cost.

“What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted!
Thrice is he arm’d that hath his quarrel just,
And he but naked, though lock’d up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.”

Original URL:

Paul Schnee

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Assad Avoids Unrest

by Ryan Mauro

Syrian President Bashar Assad is one of the few Middle Eastern leaders who have been spared the wrath of his people following the overthrow of Tunisian President Ben Ali. This isn’t because he is well-liked. It is because his Baathist regime has worked hard to stamp out any potential beginning of an uprising and the opposition cannot organize, but that is something the West can and must change.

The secular democratic opposition picked Saturday, February 5 as their “Day of Rage,” though some protests were planned for the previous day. It was obvious that Assad knew he had trouble headed his way. He talked about an agenda of “reform” and increased heating oil subsidies by 72 percent and a $250 million aid package for poor families. There was an unconfirmed report of a self-immolation by a female student at Aleppo University and several tribes endorsed a democratic uprising. Facebook groups calling for regime change sprung up, including one called “The Syrian Revolution” that had 13,000 supporters. Demonstrations at the Yarmouk refugee camp and in Old Damascus were dispersed and a statue of Hafez al-Assad at Latakia was reportedly beheaded.

The Baathists worked diligently to prevent any demonstration from forming, unlike in Tunisia and Egypt where they were initially permitted. Facebook and YouTube had been blocked until this week, making it further difficult to organize. Antennas were seen being confiscated from roofs in Aleppo and the security services immediately dispersed any gathering. The army was deployed to the Kurdish areas of Aleppo and 2,000 members of Hezbollah were imported from Lebanon, substantiating an earlier report from the Reform Party of Syria, which added that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards had joined the army’s Battalion 108 in Damascus, Aleppo and Qamoshli.

One protest organizer said that security personnel showed up at every gathering, filmed those present and asked for identification from each person. Internet cafes were ordered to document who was using their computers in the week up to the “Day of Rage.” An activist named Suhair Atassi took part in a candlelight vigil supporting the protestors in Egypt and was attacked. When she went to file a report at the local police station, she was accused of being an Israeli agent.

As the “Day of Rage” neared, the Internet was slowed down or altogether inaccessible in some areas. Thousands of mobile phones were reportedly unable to get service. A group of protestors that met at a café before marching toward the parliament were locked inside the building for hours. The Reform Party of Syria reported that protestors in Hasakeh were attacked, some with pipes, and arrested. About 20 were reportedly arrested in Qamoshli and others were detained in Homs. Ultimately, the opposition was unable to assemble and the “Day of Rage” fell flat.

“The security forces have effectively suppressed civil society and scared people into submission,” said Mazen Darwish, whose Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression was shut down by the regime in 2009.

There are multiple reasons for the failure of the “Day of Rage” beyond the inability to access social networking websites and the immense security measures. The opposition suffers from a lack of organization and others feared sectarian conflict or violence by regime thugs like seen in Egypt. There has also been little international support for the opposition or media coverage of their struggles over the years.

“You can’t sit in Europe or the U.S. behind your screen and create a revolution as easy as clicking a mouse to create a Facebook group,” Ahed al-Hendi, the Arabic program coordinator at told FrontPage. He was imprisoned and tortured as a student in Syria and now lives in the United States.

The Syrian regime has successfully frightened the West out of supporting its dissidents by taking advantage of the perception that the only alternative is the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. In the days leading up to the “Day of Rage,” the Reform Party of Syria’s website was hacked and verses from the Koran were posted.

The regime has allowed extremists like the late Abu Qaqa to assemble anti-American, radical Islamic protests attended by government officials while preventing any such demonstration by secular forces. Qaqa’s former second-in-command believes he was an agent of the regime. The Syrian government also organized riots following the publication of the cartoons mocking Mohammed in February 2006 to persuade the West that “This is what you will have if we allow true democracy and allow Islamists to rule,” in the words of a confidential source in a document released by Wikileaks.

The Reform Party of Syria estimates that the Islamists are only about 20 percent of the population. Ahed al-Hendi told FrontPage that he also thinks the strength of the Islamists in Syria is overestimated, saying the country is very diverse.

“I don’t think the Muslim Brotherhood would take over in a country like Syria. I lived most of my life in Syria and I have met lots of Sunnis who consider applying Sharia law in Syria to be a joke despite the fact that most of them are observant Muslims,” al-Hendi told FrontPage.

However, the fact remains that the secular opposition has been unable to organize as well as the Muslim Brotherhood. The Syrian regime was worried enough about the Islamist threat to abandon its tactic of allowing their voices to be periodically heard and arrested an Islamist activist named Ghassan al-Najjar in Aleppo.

The failure of the “Day of Rage” does not mean that Assad is safe. His regime consists of Allawites, which are only about 10 to 13 percent of the entire population. Its status as a secular dictatorship alienates both secular democrats and Islamists. A poll last year found that the top issue for Syrians is political freedom followed by corruption. About 60 percent feel the economy is “bad,” nearly 60 percent describe the human rights situation as “bad” or “very bad” and 47 percent feel that Syria is headed in the wrong direction. Despite all of the regime’s propaganda, only six percent rated the possibility of war as their top issue. About 80 percent of the population wants the state of emergency to be lifted.

The survey also found that 62 percent had heard of the Damascus Declaration, a document signed by the leading opposition figures calling for a transition into a democracy. Only 9 percent expressed disapproval of it, while 47 percent approve and 31 percent are neutral, indicating that they have not had access to enough information about it. These statistics indicate a longing for an alternative that will implement democratic reform, but the numbers do not let us determine the level of Islamist sentiment among the population.

In the days following the failed “Day of Rage,” the regime lifted the ban on Facebook and YouTube. This shows that Assad is still concerned and is trying to appease the youth. This is a decision that Assad will come to regret and inevitably reverse as it will allow the opposition to better organize. The time is ripe for a change in U.S. policy towards Syria that recognizes the regime’s many weaknesses.

Unlike the governments of Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Yemen, the one in Syria is a fierce enemy of the United States. The West needs to help the secularists organize so they can assist the Syrian people in demonstrating their anger over the lack of political freedom, the state of emergency and the corruption. Bashar Assad isn’t dismissing the power of his population and neither should we.

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Ryan Mauro is the founder of, the National Security Adviser for the Christian Action Network and an analyst with Wikistrat. He can be contacted at

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The Danger of the Muslim Brotherhood

by Irfan Al-Alawi

Hosni Mubarak has come to a wretched pass, and it is impossible not to sympathise with crowds of ordinary people demanding democratic change. But Westerners are being led by their ignorance and good-hearted idealism to believe in a "reasonable" transformation of the Muslim Brotherhood [MB] and, as a consequence, the alleged standing of the MB as an appropriate participant in the democratisation of the Islamic lands. The MB has always believed that the West could be swindled into assisting the rise of the Brotherhood to power, and the recent effort to convince America and Western Europe that the MB represents a "tame" form of radical ideology has gone on for several years. Moderate Muslims are not fooled, and Westerners should not let themselves be gulled [sic] into promoting an outcome in Egypt that would open the way to a Muslim Brotherhood state there.

Western media coverage and political commentary on the Egyptian events frequently leaves Muslim moderates dismayed. It is shocking to observe the wide success of the MB's campaign to present itself as an acceptable option for the government of Egypt.

At the beginning of February, for example, a five-word rumour spread among British Muslims: "Kamal al-Helbawy has left London." Al-Helbawy, since his arrival in Britain in 1994, has served as the main representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West. He was officially designated the MB's spokesperson from 1995 to 1997.

Al-Helbawy leaving Britain would mean only one thing: that the MB is preparing to take power in Egypt, and that al-Helbawy will enjoy a prominent role in the process. Still, during the Egyptian crisis, al-Helbawy has stayed in London, giving interviews to Western media claiming that the MB is now faultlessly democratic in its ideology and does not seek domination over Egypt or the establishment of an ideological Islamist state there. Both in Egypt and outside the country, the MB is patient, and biding its time.

Moderate Muslims, however, are repelled and alarmed by the blandishments of al-Helbawy and other MB agitators. Al-Helbawy, while in the UK, became a master of ambiguous discourse, even equating the radicalism of the MB with the conservatism of Margaret Thatcher. But those facing the threat of fundamentalist infiltration in the British Muslim community, as well as the influence of extremism in American Islam; in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and in Turkey no less than in Egypt, see through the masquerade.

The MB is too well-organized and powerful to be ignored or suppressed, or its possible future hegemony wished away, in the Egyptian crisis. If Egypt is to become democratic, the MB must be politically defeated. Notwithstanding its current democratic camouflage, the MB remains a movement based in takfir: accusations of apostasy from Islam, based on differences in religious interpretation and observance, as a pretext for violence against Muslims with whom they disagree. In this, the MB is allied with the Saudi Wahhabis, who inspired Osama bin Laden; the Afghan and Pakistani Deobandis, from whom came the Taliban, and the Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and its satellites, now busy sowing bloodshed in South Asia. For takfiris, apostasy from Islam includes refusal of the illegitimate calls by radicals for 'jihad' against non-Muslims. Yet, in denying the sinful nature of their terrorism against the moderates, Sufis, Shias, and others who dissent from them, as well as of their incitement against non-Muslims, the takfiris have taken themselves out of traditional Islam.

Along with their devotion to violence against the living, takfiri groups including the MB, Wahhabi fanatics, Taliban, and South Asian jihadis are most infamous for their vandalism against the cultural legacies of Muslim societies. A mob attack on the Egyptian Museum in Cairo during the current upheaval resulted in the beheading of two Pharaonic mummies. Western media commentators on this despicable event have treated it as the common mischief of a mob, but moderate Muslims see parallels between this act and the long history of devastation of the Islamic heritage of Arabia by the Saudi Wahhabis, the destruction of the Bamian Buddha effigies by the Taliban, and the recent wave of bomb attacks on Sufi spiritual shrines in Pakistan and India.

If Egypt leaps into a political void allowing the MB to gain power, it is likely that the despoliation of the country's national museum will be no more than a harbinger of widespread cultural loss, social disorder, and Pakistan-style carnage. Egypt is a land known for its Sufi shrines and other Islamic monuments, in addition to its pre-Islamic heritage. All would be at risk if the MB gains the upper hand. The soothing words of MB advocate al-Helbawy must be judged against the background of his own personal history as the first executive director of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) in 1982. WAMY, as an arm of the Muslim World League (MWL), has been a leading agency in the global spread of Wahhabism and stands accused by various governments of financing terrorism. While Saudi King Abdullah has sought to rein in the extremist activities of MWL and WAMY, a career including high responsibility in WAMY is not a recommendation for al-Helbawy. In the US, the head of the WAMY office in 2002 was listed as Abdula bin Laden, younger brother of Osama, the terrorist chief.

One of the most outrageous defenders of the MB to Westerners – much more effective, one must fear, than al-Helbawy – has been a British Muslim named Ed Husain. The author of a memoir, The Islamist, and formerly a leading personality in a British anti-Islamist think-tank, Quilliam (previously known as the Quilliam Foundation), Husain migrated to the US where he was honoured with a post as senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR). Few Americans seemed to recognize, or care, that in his book Husain effusively praised Hamza Yusuf Hanson, who claims to be one of the world's outstanding Islamic teachers but who cooperates with Saudi Wahhabis and other Islamist radicals, supposedly because Hanson is deeply moved by concern for Muslim unity. Ed Husain has also, incredibly, praised the role of Deobandi preachers in potentially countering extremism among British Muslim youth, even though the Deobandis are associated with the Taliban and the commission of horrible atrocities in South Asia.

In a CFR conference call on February 2, Ed Husain outdid himself by his fulsome arguments in defence of the MB in Egypt. According to Husain, the MB has been demonized'" in Western media, which leads to its being "lionised" among Muslims. This attempt at a clever justification for the MB's role in Egypt is absurd. The MB has built up its network of Egyptian supporters by agitation in mosques, schools, neighbourhoods, and professional associations, backed with Saudi Wahhabi funding, not because it has been discussed in the West. Husain sought to deny the history of the MB's attraction to European fascism, as well as its goal of an Islamist state, and even claimed falsely that "for the last 40 years" the Brotherhood has been "committed to a process of nonviolence."

The Muslim Brotherhood remains dangerous to Egypt and the world.

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Irfan Al-Alawi

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Arab Dictators and Radical Islam

by Khaled Abu Toameh

For decades, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and other Arab dictators used to tell Americans and Europeans that if they did not support them, the result would be Muslim extremists coming to power.

This is why these dictators never took drastic measures against Islamic fundamentalist groups in their countries. Even though Egypt and some Arab countries occasionally cracked down on these groups, they always made sure that the Islamists would stay around.

In Egypt, for example, the Muslim Brotherhood organization had been outlawed for many years. However, this did not stop the organization and its supporters from operating under different labels.

In Jordan, similarly, the authorities played a cat-and-mouse game with Islamist groups and their followers. One day the Muslim Brotherhood in the kingdom would be good guys, on another day they would be bad guys.

This pattern gave the Muslim Brotherhood a chance to grow and win over more supporters, as the local people became more and more disgusted both with their dictators and the Western governments who supported them

Instead of focusing their attention on the Islamists, Arab dictators chose to chase secular reformists, liberals, democrats, newspaper editors and human rights activists; by suppressing the emergence of these people, the Arab dictatorships paved the way for the rise of radical extremists.

This is the reason the Islamist groups in the Arab countries are much more organized than the pro-democracy Facebook youth who launched the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Unlike the Islamist groups, the anti-government demonstrators in Egypt and Jordan still do not have leaders. Mohammed ElBaradei, who enabled Iran to build up its nuclear program by misrepresenting it to the West, has not succeeded in presenting himself as a charismatic leader of the opposition in Egypt.

In Tunisia, the youth who brought down the regime of President Zine al-Abidin Bin Ali also still do not have a leader.

In the absence of secular leadership, it is all too likely that the well-organized Islamist groups would, sooner rather than later, come to power.

The Arab dictators have only themselves to blame for the rise of radical Islam. For many years, these dictators incited their constituents against Israel and the West in order to divert attention from problems at home.

Ironically, as the dictators crushed any real democratic opposition -- to continue claiming to the West that radical Islam was the threat -- their constant rhetoric of incitement in the media and mosques actually drove many Arabs toward Hamas, Hizbullah, Al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood as the only alternative to these regimes.

The next time an Arab dictator tells Americans and Europeans that radical Islam is the only alternative to his corrupt secular regime, they should check to see what measures he has taken to contain the extremists.

Moreover, the Americans and Europeans need to ask why the Arab dictatorships continue to pursue the people wanting democracy, and not the radical Islamists.

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Khaled Abu Toameh

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Mubarak Out, Brotherhood Remains Primed

by IPT News

With Hosni Mubarak stepping down Friday, Egypt's future remains uncertain. Egypt's Supreme Council of Armed Forces has taken temporary power with expectations of elections still set for the fall.

"Egypt is free!" chanted the hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

A U.S. official, described by CNN as involved in Egypt discussions, called Mubarak's resignation "obviously a welcome step" that opens the door to "an unpredictable next chapter."

The future role of the Muslim Brotherhood remains uncertain. The Brotherhood, a fundamentalist Sunni movement, seeks to spread Islamic law throughout the world. Its members have indicated a desire to revoke Egypt's peace treaty with Israel and increase support for Hamas and other terrorist groups.

In a statement in Wisconsin Thursday, President Obama said this is "a moment of transformation" in Egypt and that the United States supports an "orderly and genuine transition to democracy" there. But earlier that morning, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper seemed to minimize the concern – and mischaracterize the Brotherhood -- by describing it as "a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence."

U.S. officials may be able to blunt some of the Brotherhood's influence in that transition by helping Egypt's secular opposition movements build competitive political organizations, writes Ayyan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim who once belonged to the Brotherhood.

The U.S. was preparing an aid package for Egyptian opposition groups before Mubarak stepped down, Time magazine reports. It wasn't clear who would receive the money. "White House officials declined to say whether any of the new money would go directly or indirectly to the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's most prominent Islamic party," Time reports.

It's not clear how deep the group's support is among Egyptians. A poll commissioned by the Washington Institute for Near East Studies indicates tepid support for the Brotherhood and other radical Islamists within Egypt's population centers of Cairo and Alexandria.

Only 4 percent said they strongly approve of the group, while 11 percent approved somewhat. A third of the respondents, however, said they didn't know how they felt. As Hirsi Ali argues, the Brotherhood has the most sophisticated political infrastructure and messaging. Part of that message is an argument that opposing the Brotherhood would be "a rejection of Islam altogether."

"The Muslim Brotherhood will insist that a vote for them is a vote for Allah's law," she writes. "But the positions of power in government will not be filled by God and his angels. They will be filled by men so arrogant as to put themselves in the position of Allah. And as the Iranians of 2009 have learned to their cost, it is harder to vote such men out of office than to vote them in."

It has enjoyed significant electoral success as recently as 2005. In parliamentary elections that year, Brotherhood members running without party affiliation won 88 seats out of 444. Only 26 Brotherhood candidates survived the first round of balloting in November, and the group boycotted a subsequent round claiming the ballot was rigged.

Statements from Brotherhood officials about the future are cagey.

After issuing some conflicting statements in the early stages of the protests, Brotherhood officials have coalesced around the message that they are not seeking power and would not offer a candidate to succeed Mubarak.

That doesn't mean it won't seek to drive Egypt toward a more religion-driven society. In a column published by the New York Times Wednesday, Brotherhood official Essam El-Errian made it clear that, for all the flowery praise of liberty, their notion of democracy must involve theology.

"As our nation heads toward liberty, however, we disagree with the claims that the only options in Egypt are a purely secular, liberal democracy or an authoritarian theocracy," El-Errian wrote. "Secular liberal democracy of the American and European variety, with its firm rejection of religion in public life, is not the exclusive model for a legitimate democracy."

Religion is "an important part of our culture and heritage," he wrote, so any just Egyptian state "draws on universal measures of freedom and justice, which are central Islamic values. We embrace democracy not as a foreign concept that must be reconciled with tradition, but as a set of principles and objectives that are inherently compatible with and reinforce Islamic tenets."

Similarly, Brotherhood leader Kamal Helbawy told an Australian interviewer that religious law would come to Egypt "if the majority in the Parliament would like to see Islamists in power and agree on Islamic law and Sharia, the Muslim Brotherhood will be happy to implement that without any negative impact or effect on non-Muslims."

But the group's own bylaws are more absolute. Article 2 says the group "seeks to establish Allah's law in the land by achieving the spiritual goals of Islam and the true religion." That includes "the need to work on establishing the Islamic State, which seeks to effectively implement the provisions of Islam and its teachings."

Last September, Brotherhood General Guide Muhammad Badi called for the Quran to be the constitution of the state.

The Muslim Brotherhood has a long history of overplaying its political hand and leaving behind ill will, writes Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. In 1952, it supported the Free Officers Movement coup that brought down the Egyptian monarchy and gave rise to the current government. But from 1952 to 1954, it sought to spread its ideology in the Egyptian military. In 1954, when Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew the President Mohammad Neguib's government, he purged the Brotherhood, hanging some of its members and sending others to jail.

When Anwar Sadat became president of Egypt following Nasser's death in 1970, he freed many of its members in exchange for the organization's renunciation of violence. But by the late 1970s, the Brotherhood concluded Sadat was insufficiently pious and the two sides had a falling out. Sadat began re-jailing its members and sending others to Afghanistan.

History shows that revolutions started by the masses against government oppression can be hijacked by more ruthless opportunists, former Clinton administration National Security Council member Kenneth Pollack warns.

After nearly three weeks of laying low and proclaiming no interest in leading the next government, Mubarak's departure triggers a new phase in which political maneuvering will say more than anything.

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IPT News

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