Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Tangled Web Indeed!

   In 1967 Egypt, Syria and Jordan prepared to invade and annihilate Israel.  The Israelites at the time recognized the impending attack and launched a pre-emptive strike against Egypt’s amassed army.  Syria and Jordan used this as an excuse to launch their already amassed armies into Israel.  What resulted is what history calls the Six Day War.   Conducting a pre-emptive strike was Israel’s only means to victory in the impending war, and they defeated the Arab armies and secured their borders.
    You may be asking yourself what this has to do with you as a firefighter and member of the IAFF.  Allow me to explain.  As a member of Local 1285 we pay membership dues.  Our leadership pays dues on our behalf to the IAFF. The IAFF in turn pays dues to and is a member of the AFL CIO.  The AFL CIO is a very large umbrella organization with many affiliated, sponsored and partnered organizations underneath it.  Richard Trumka is the President of the AFL CIO.  You might say he is Harold’s Schaitberger’s (General president of the IAFF) boss.  The AFL CIO takes the dues we pay and conducts its business with no real input from us.  Our only form of input is through our Local Leaders who elect our regional leaders, who elect our national leaders, who would then elect guys like Trumka.  Do you even know who is above your Local President?  With that in mind, do we really have any input on what the AFL CIO does with our money?  The obvious answer is no, and that is the crux of the matter. The problem is our national union leaders know this, and use our money for things that would blow your mind.   Here is an example;
   One of the “partner organizations” that the AFL CIO gives money to is the American Center for International Solidarity.  You can find their web site here . Rest easy though because the $600, 000 a year we give through the AFL CIO is only on top of the nearly 29 million dollars it receives a year through “federal awards”  ( that’s code for US TAX dollars).  Did I mention that Richard Trumka the president of the AFL CIO is also the Secretary Treasurer of this organization they commonly refer to as the Solidarity Center?   You can see the 2010 annual report for the Solidarity Center here to confirm this information.   While you are at it though check out the interesting work we are helping pay for in Egypt.  In the report on page 5 you can find a picture of Mr. Trumka standing with a couple fine citizens of Egypt that he so graciously gave the George Meany-Lane Kirkland Award.  Or should I say, we gave, since it is our money?  The fine gentleman on the right is Kamal Abu Eita President of RETA (Independent General Union of Real Estate Tax Authority Workers) and on his left is Kamal Abbas director of CTUWS (Center for Trade Union and Workers’ Services).   Some simple google searching will lead you to some videos of these fine gentlemen. 
 This one here is Kamal Abu Eita take the time to watch it, it’s a quick 32 seconds, and it reveals so much in those 32 seconds. Watch Video Here
    So He is obviously very proud of his education that he earned in college in 1976.   He also let us know that he could not get a job because he was a “security risk” from his involvement with the “student movements”, which he is also obviously very proud of.    
   You have to be saying to yourself, get to the point already, right?  Well this is it where comes full circle to the beginning of this post.  You have to ask yourself now, well what was the “student movement” in the early 1970’s in Egypt that he was a part of?   After the Six Days war, Israel remained in control of the captured territories in order to keep “defensible” borders and prevent another war.  The incoming president of Egypt, President Sadat had promised during his campaign to once again go to war with Israel and recapture the territories it lost during the Six Days War.  He failed to do so, and this is what most of the “student movements” in the early 1970’s Arab world were all about.  It is really no big deal; it just spawned little groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah.  This of course would eventually evolve into the fight over the plight of the Palestinian people.   You say, so what. 1970’s Egypt was so long ago and so far away; it has nothing to do with me, and my union today.  Well check out this next video, that has both of our friends from Egypt in it. If you pause the video at the 44-second mark you will see on the wall behind our dutiful union organizer three little handmade placards of a flag. watch video here  That ,if you do not recognize it is the Palestinian Flag.  Now you may blow this off as just a shear coincidence that our “union friends” that we are standing in solidarity with just happen to have been born out of the anti-Israel,  anti- USA student movements of the 1970’s ,  and you may say to yourself that three little placards of a flag in a 2009 video does not prove they still feel the same way, they are just workers of the world uniting in a common struggle against imperialism.  You could also check out some current photos from this years protest, and not only see some pictures of our “union friends” in action during this protest but you can check out the in color poster taped to the wall of their meeting place. see pictures here  Don’t let it concern you though it is just a picture of the Honorable Martyr Sheik Yassin.  That doesn’t ring a bell for you, didn’t for me either, so I had to look him up, no big deal, just a leader of Hamas.  Oh it is just a poster you say, not conclusive enough for you.  You are right. My wife does have paintings of roses up in our house, but that does not mean I like roses, I get it, you are correct, not conclusive.  Well lets try something a little more current, no posters, no pictures, how about Kamal’s words. Now we have to go way back to, oh I don’t know, way back to March 7th of 2011 where once again our “union friend” was a feature interview on ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) which bye the way you can find all over the AFL CIO Blogs. see article here In this interview he said of the recent protest in Egypt,  “I had a feeling of indescribable joy at seeing my lifelong dream coming true.” “We had already started to battle and demonstrate for a revolution of this kind back in 1972, within a students’ committee. But its time had not yet come”.
    You say he was just reminiscing, well to that I say how about this quote from the same article,   “We have serious concerns about the Labour Minister. I had a sleepless night after learning from the television that the new government’s labour minister was a member of the ETUF leadership. There was no way we could accept it. The deputy prime minister then asked to meet Kamal Abbas of the CTUWS (***) who supports independent unions and offered him the post of labour minister. But we recommended Ahmed Hassan El Bouray, who has been an ILO expert.”

    So who is it that he was recommending as an expert and what is the ILO?  Well, he is an Egyptian Professor of Law and is a big time player in the United Nations, and has advised, written, chaired, and pretty much steered the UN’s middle east involvement with Labor organizations dating all the way back, according to his 5 pages of selected foot notes from his online personal resume, to , can you guess it?????  That’s right….  1970’s  Egypt, wow what a coincidence!  So what of the ILO?  This is the International Labor Organization from the United Nations. Here is a link to there latest report. Its Titled  “Working in the Occupied Arab Territories” You need not look any further than the title, if you understand the language. You see we in the west have a word for the “Occupied Arab Territories”,  we call it Israel. See the report here

   Just one more quick note, in the same 2010 report from the Solidarity Center you may want to check out the work we are doing in Pakistan with the PWF (Pakistan Workers’ Federation). Just ignore the part where they are organizing and protesting against the “United States illegal raids” into their sovereign territories, you know the ones they were hiding OBL in, and ignore the current headlines of the militant and violent protest against the USA they are currently part of in Pakistan, because hey, you know we are all just workers trying to get ahead.
    Remember this, they call Israel the Little Satan, and they call us the Big Satan. These people are not our friends.
    If standing with socialist and communist is not enough to get your attention, how about the Islamist.  Are we now going to stand bye silently while our labor organizations use our money and tax payer dollars to help organize the enemies of not just our country, but of our very way of life?
  Are we as members of Las Vegas Firefighters Local 1285 going to sit silently by while our Union stands in solidarity with the AFL CIO who continues to fund and organize the very people who danced in the street as 343 of our brothers were making the supreme sacrifice.  Is that what the IAFF has become?  Is this what we stand for?  Are we going to continue to support with our money the very people who openly state how they want to wipe Israel off the map?  Is this who we have become?
   Wouldn’t it be fitting that as the ten-year anniversary of 9-11 approaches we as firefighters kept our promise we gave after 3000 of our fellow countrymen were slaughtered, to never forget. Wouldn’t it be appropriate if we lead the way once again during dark times, and we made a sacrifice?  We as a local need to tell the IAFF, to publicly and loudly disband all ties with the AFL CIO, and if they will not, then we as a local should disband all association with the IAFF.  We do not need them, they need us.   Uniformed Firefighters of Southern Nevada sounds good to me.