Join 3,426 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Hizbollah supporters arrested for Cigarette smuggling.
July 21, 2000 10:30 PM   Subscribe

Hizbollah supporters arrested for Cigarette smuggling.

The men may have netted up to $10,000, and according to an "confidential Canadian source" were under orders to buy night vision goggles for Hizbollah, which is considered a terrorist group by Israel and the United States. Their leader is said by another(?) source as being "very comfortable around weapons."

I don't think it's a coincidence that this story is coming to our attention during the peace talks at Camp David. There's nothing in any article I have read on this story giving any substantial proof that these people and their arrest were really front-page events. Does anyone else feel that reportage of the Middle East, and indeed US policy, is clouded and indeed skewed, perhaps in much the same way as the States' Cuba policy?
posted by chaz (11 comments total)

 
"Calloway said a gas station and bank accounts were among items seized in the raids."

They seized a gas station? "Yeah, Herbert, let's just load this old thang into the truck, there we go, careful it's a tad heavy."

This is at best a legitimate bust against people singled out for their political/religious beliefs and/or race, and at worst an unsubstantiated frame. And did I mention how silly interstate commerce laws are? C'mon, "contraband cigarettes"?

So, yes, US policy and reporting are bigoted, skewed, inaccurate, and idiotic. "But what's the NEWS, man?"
posted by fable at 11:23 PM on July 21, 2000


U.S. Policy is more open and liberal than most of the world governments and their censored presses. We are not perfect but we allow for more diversity without fear of repression or imprisonment. If you look at the moslem world it is becomming more fanatical in its repression of women, in Iran putting innocent Jews on trial with false charges of treason. The U.S.A. seems to have the world beat in giving it's citizens the most political freedoms.
posted by Honest John at 8:57 AM on July 22, 2000


Not the point, John. Saying "We're not as bad as they are" isn't a very good defense. We should live by our principles, not our prejudices.

Here in Chicago a Muslim group sought to buy a church that had not been sold after two years on the market. The neighbors suddenly developed great concern that the city didn't have enough recreation facilities and persuaded the city to spend $200,000 of their money to buy out the Muslims' purchase contract. Meanwhile one of the leaders of the opposition appeared on a local news show and declared that she considered Islam a "false religion". (What does that mean -- that it's really just a big international nonprofit?) Lovely, wonderful, "open and liberal", "diverse", America. That's what you're defending.

Ten thousand dollars for cigarettes? Oh, yeah, that'll buy a LOT of SCUD missiles.
posted by dhartung at 10:01 AM on July 22, 2000


If you look different and you want to make a living smuggling cigarettes, you should not pick the Carolinas as the base for your evil scheme. Considering how important tobacco is there, I'm surprised to find out that cigarette smuggling is not a capital offense.

Before anyone sheds a tear about how these people were "singled out for their political/religious beliefs and/or race," keep in mind the fact that Hezbollah singled out Americans for suicide bomb attacks -- 63 killed in the 1983 U.S. embassy bombing in Beirut and 241 more at the Marine barracks in Beirut Airport -- and numerous kidnappings in Lebanon.
posted by rcade at 12:15 PM on July 22, 2000


1. I buy smokes at JR tobacco in Statesville on occasion, so I guess that makes me a 'terrorist by association'. Cool.

2. If these guys were smart they would have sent the cigs to New York, which has the highest tobacco taxes in the country (I think).

3. As usual, I wish the pathetic Charlotte 'news' media would shut the hell up and not flog a story to death just to get some national attention. They can't even be bothered to get their facts straight most of the time.
posted by Mr. skullhead at 5:20 PM on July 22, 2000


If you look different ...

Different from who, rcade? From you? From "Americans"? From the people in their neighborhood? Who has the right to live in a neighborhood? Who has the right not to be a suspect because of the color of their skin?
posted by sudama at 12:00 AM on July 23, 2000


Good grief sudama, you get your chain yanked so easily. If you're going to smuggle goods in or out of China, a six-foot-nine redhead shouldn't be your first choice as a courier. Your willful ignorance of other folk's intended points is soooo tiresome.
posted by nikzhowz at 12:19 AM on July 23, 2000


oh. nevermind.
posted by sudama at 1:57 AM on July 23, 2000


Mr Skullhead wrote "As usual, I wish the pathetic Charlotte 'news' media would shut the hell up and not flog a story to death just to get some national attention. "

Ahem..I live in Australia and it was given prominent attention here too. We are neither in the American continent or the Middle East. My point being, this story was judged newsworthy on an international scale.
posted by murray_kester at 2:32 AM on July 23, 2000


Different from who, rcade? From you? From "Americans"? From the people in their neighborhood? Who has the right to live in a neighborhood? Who has the right not to be a suspect because of the color of their skin?

You're never going to elevate the rest of us to your state of enlightened multi-racial bliss by being so reactionary, Sudama. I don't think less of these people for being a different race. I think less of them for being stupid enough to smuggle cigarettes in the Carolinas -- the nation's No. 1 exporter of oral carcinogens -- and for supporting a terrorist organization.
posted by rcade at 1:40 PM on July 23, 2000


rcade, I didn't care for your choice of words, and still don't. I don't think they speak to a bias on your part, but I think they speak to a cultural and language bias which most people aren't aware they propagate. When you talk about "difference", there is an implied norm. Whiteness being the unstated, invisible norm in the US is a significant component of racial oppression. Maybe if you had said "conspicuous" instead of "different" I would have seen your intended meaning right away and not flown off the handle as it were. In any case, I take your point, and I'm sorry about my knee-jerk response.
posted by sudama at 2:56 PM on July 23, 2000


« Older Unleash your idea virus....  |  Pentagon to modify gay policy... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments