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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
April 24, 1995, V3, #75
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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Oklahoma Bombing Considered the Pearl Harbor of US Terrorism
By Alan Silverman (Los Angeles)
In recent years paramilitary groups have proliferated in the
American west, with many setting up secretive outposts. University
of Idaho political science professor Lisa Carlson says paramilitary
groups are well established but they tend to avoid publicity and
"One of the reasons they wall themselves up and, in the case of
Hayden Lake, Idaho, they have barbed wire all over the place is
that, by definition, if you're not on the inside you are an
outsider ... And if you don't spout the exact ideological line and
don't adhere to all of their philosophy and present it with zeal
then, by definition, you are not presenting them in the best way."
The B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League, which tracks the
activities of so-called "hate groups," describes the militias as
"armed and dangerous (taking) aim at the federal government." An
ADL fact-finding report [October 1994] says they have no
centralized structure, but share a philosophy of massive resistance
against the federal government, especially its enforcement of gun
control laws. These self-proclaimed "patriots," explains Carlson,
consider themselves leaders of a new American revolution:
"The growth of these groups is, in part, a reaction to the growth
of the federal government. There has been, in fact, a direct
linkage between the growth of the federal government and the
perceived erosion of state authority and individual rights."
Social psychologist Richard Ofshe says paramilitary groups may hold
ideals in common with political parties; but the deadly
distinction, according to the University of California Berkeley
expert on cults, is their view of the means to achieve the ends:
"Some groups will do it in a way that makes them absolutely
mainstream. Others will do it in a way that puts them on the
fringe, but is still legitimate. And other groups may do it in a
way that is wholly illegitimate from the very beginning. You have
to look at the way the group is organized and what they say in
private that they are willing to do and what they seem to be
organizing themselves to do."
It is their combination of revolutionary ideology and huge weapons
arsenals, though protected by the Constitution, that attracts the
attention of government agencies like the FBI and Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. However, Ofshe believes most
American paramilitary groups unlikely to commit a massive act of
terror like the Oklahoma City bombing:
"We're talking about groups in the United States as opposed to
groups that are pressing political aims and have accepted terrorism
as a tool of that. Based on my experience, it is pretty unlikely
that group that is public, that is pressing a political agenda in
a public way, is also likely to be simultaneously fostering
University of Idaho scholar Lisa Carlson agrees, noting that the
historical pattern of American paramilitary violence has been aimed
not at institutions, but at selected individuals: "Violence on this
particular scale is something that I think is at odds with what the
militia, in fact, is trying to achieve, because if they want to be
left alone, the worst thing they can do is commit violence against
the federal government, which will then try to come and get
them...thereby, perhaps, confirming their own worst nightmare."
The 1994 ADL report warned that some of the most vehement militia
leaders had begun to draft terrorist campaigns. They see America
headed toward tyranny and, in the words of the ADL study, "The
answer, say these extremists, is ultimately, necessarily,
Paradise Regained, Paradise Lost
By Don Canaan
Tomorrow marks the 13th anniversary of the return of the Sinai by
Israel to Egypt--a day of mourning by many of the 2,000 settlers
who settled and later were forcibly evacuated from the seaside city
of Yamit on the Mediterranean.
Chaim and Sarah Feifel, former Cincinnatians, arrived in Yamit in
1976 and wanted their future grandchildren to remember them as
pioneers who started a new Israeli city. Now they're looking back
at the days when paradise was regained and subsequently lost.
From their home in northern Israel, south of Haifa, the Feifels
Yamit was former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan's dream--a
projected seaport and city of 250,000 founded on the Sinai sand
dunes overlooking date palm trees and the blue Mediterranean--a
populated buffer between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on the other side
of the Suez Canal.
Some alternate historians say Moses and the children of Israel
passed near the site of Yamit 3,500 years ago as they wandered for
40 years through the Sinai Desert on their way to the proverbial
land of milk and honey.
Since April 25, 1982 only the whine of the desert wind weaves its
currents through the crevices of destroyed homes, businesses and
monument--a memorial to the young men who died during the 1967 Six
Christians, Jews and Muslims died during three Arab-Israeli wars
and battles that took place in the Sinai 39, 28 and 22 years
ago--Egyptian and Israeli--young people who fought and died in that
desolate, forsaken desert wasteland.
The modern-day chariot carrying Egyptian President Mohammed Anwar
al-Sadat hugged the intermittently green coastline of Sinai on its
historic mission to Jerusalem.
Israelis glancing upward into the clear night sky saw merely a jet
banking gently to the northwest.
It was only later that the Feifels, along with other new children
of Israel who had moved to the city of Yamit realized their dreams
were about to die.
Sadat wanted peace with Israel, but its price, Sadat insisted, had
to include the removal of the Feifels and other old and new
Israelis from Sinai's sands.
They had came to this Eden spotted with rusting Egyptian and
Israeli tanks and fertilized with the blood of humanity.
Some Yamit residents threatened to kill themselves if they were
forcibly removed from what they referred to as paradise. Others
threatened to secede from Israel.
Official Israeli government policy was that the settlers had to be
removed and the army came and forcibly removed the remaining
diehard residents. The Jerusalem Post described the scene:
"Apocalypse had arrived in Yamit and in the dust and noise and
destruction one could wander freely. Dozens of bulldozers and giant
mobile air hammers were loose in the city like a pack of predatory
One resident told reporter Abraham Rabinovich, "We received sand
dunes and made palaces. Let's see what they (the Egyptians) can do
with the dunes."
The Post's Joshua Brilliant reported Yamit's last day: "A huge
blast engulfed the 5,000 square meter commercial center in a cloud
of blue-grey smoke, which rose like a mushroom."
Former Adath Israel Cantor Chaim Feifel described life in the
seaside resort before the army came. "It was an exciting time. You
were building a new community with your own hands. With Camp David,
it all came to a stop."
Red, purple and white flowers--counterpointing the embryonic city's
myriad blue and white Israeli flags--hugged closely to the
cream-colored prefabricated concrete slabs being smashed by the
piledrivers and bulldozers.
April 25, 1995 marks the 13th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal
from Yamit and Sinai and peace between long-term enemies.
That gift of peace silently glided overhead as the Sabbath
disappeared and the stars appeared. At 8:01 p.m. Sadat's jetliner
landed at Ben-Gurion Airport and the first minutes of a then
potential peace came to the Middle East.
Old enemies became new friends. The crowds roared its approval when
Sadat shook hands with Moshe Dayan. A person standing nearby,
according to the Jerusalem Post, said Sadat told Dayan, "Don't
worry Moshe, it will be all right."
The peace treaty between the two nations was signed on March 26,
1979 and on April 25, 1982, the events that had started on a
November day at Camp David came to fruition. Sinai was returned to
Egypt. Yamit was bulldozed to the ground.
But Anwar Sadat did not live to see that day. He had been
assassinated seven months before.
Sarah Feifel reflected on the events that resulted from the
appearance of the two omens in the sky--44 hours apart. "After Camp
David, I walked down to the beach and wept. I went through all the
stages of mourning."
Amidst the rubbage and wreckage of destroyed dreams, the sun sets
each night on paradise gone astray.
As you recall this article Tuesday, remember the youngsters who
suddenly grew up--and who, even more suddenly, died.
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