Let our people go!
| Friday, 03.28.2008, 03:07 PM

Arab American political activist Muthanna al-Hanooti was arrested and jailed this week by federal officials upon arrival at Detroit Metropolitan Airport returning from a trip to the Middle East. The following day he was charged with two counts of conspiracy and three counts of lying to the FBI about working for agents with the Iraqi Intelligence Service under Saddam Hussein.

Al-Hanooti is charged with brokering a fact-finding mission to Iraq in 2002 for three U.S. congressmen, who all later voted against authorizing the use of force against Iraq.

The government claimed in its indictment that the trip was paid for by the Iraq Intelligence Service and that al-Hanooti received two million barrels of Iraqi oil for his services to Hussein in violation of the United Nations oil-for-food program.

The indictment says al-Hanooti was an agent for Saddam Hussein's government who was paid money and oil to manipulate U.S. public and elected officials six years ago. That means he should be punished.

We don't see it that way. We see a man who worked tirelessly trying to prevent a catastrophe for his homeland and for his new country.  We see a guy who, rather than pick up a gun and kill somebody to reach his political goals, chose to participate in the American political system because he believed in it. He believed justice would be served if only more people knew the real story of what was going on in Iraq.

Al-Hanooti is a poor person, without the money or means to translate his knowledge into power or even to post bail. He's just like all the poor, disenfranchised Arabs who are at the mercy of this country's vile foreign policy in the Middle East and its vile domestic policies toward them here.

But with one major difference. He chose to play the American way. And he was right to do everything he could do to prevent this illegal war.

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq except the economic sanctions directed toward the innocent people of that country by the United States.

There was no Iraqi connection to al-Qaeda, the two holding completely opposite political and religious ideologies.

There was no Iraqi responsibility for 9/11.

There was no threat from Iraq to the United States.

George Bush can preemptively invade a sovereign country based on a multiplicity of lies. He can cause the destruction of the most ancient land in civilization, and kill millions of its men, women and children. George Bush can aid and abet Israel to lock one and a half million live Arabs up in Gaza and keep millions of others in refugee camps.  No one says anything about it. Least of all, the American media.

So Hanooti took three congressmen to Iraq. He may have been paid to do it. (He certainly had no personal funds to do it with and, unlike all the Israeli junkets "brokered" by big lobbying groups and rich people,  no organizations or individuals helping him "manipulate policy.")

So what??? How much better off would we be right now if the damn war had never started? What this country needs is more people like al-Hanooti to stand up for peace and fewer people like George Bush, who know only war.

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