On War and Terror[*]
Selected Political Columns
The woman's voice on the phone was as plaintive as a tear, as she implored the
non-responsive talk show host to please tell her, "Why do they hate us so
Her voice, while not commonly projected in the current media, resonates in the
consciousness of millions of Americans, who look at the carnage of the World
Trade Center, shiver at the violent audacity of it, and wonder, "Why?".
This is a particularly American response, one made in a culture that has no
yesterdays, and only a tomorrow of creature comforts, no-fat ice cream, and
to millions of Americans, is John Wayne, or the vaunted Founding Fathers, who
have no blemishes, nor flaws. Much of the outer world are of no import, as
they are subjects of the Empire, and thus expendable.
histories, deeply intertwined with the U.S., are of no serious consequence.
Hence, the question, "Why?".
almost willful ignorance of millions of Americans allows them to look at the
bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, and the veering jet liners of 11 September, 2001,
you, the reader, don't want to hear an answer to this rhetorical question, feel
free to turn the page, for the writer's response will not please you.
airplane bombing of the WORLD TRADE center towers and of the Pentagon didn't
begin on Sept. 11, 2001. Nor are they, as some politicians glibly suggest,
"A war against civililization." But it ain't the job of
politicans to inform you.
is the job of the media, but their central concern is to sell you, and therefore
they don't want to upset you. Their primary responsibility is not to their
readers, but to the owners, or the stockholders. And it is the interests
of the military-industrial-complex that millions remain uninformed and
suicide flights over New York, Washington and Pennsylvania had their beginning
in the mountainous
did the Afghanis pay for the weapons, in such a poor, war-ravaged country?
How many know that Afghanistan
is the world's greatest producer of heroin?
on hard dough, the Afghan *mujaheddin* traded heroin for arms with their
CIA suppliers, and the
"Golden Crescent" heroin ring was born.
the Soviets were whipped, and the war ended, the insurgents looked around and
saw, not Soviet,
but U.S. dominance in the region. They saw the U.S. military presence in
the Islamic holy places in
Saudi Arabia, its backing of anti-democratic client states, its ravaging of
Iraq, and its one-sided support
of Israel at the expense of the beleaguered Palestinians, and as they examine
the U.S., they see
the imperial similarities to the Soviets.
one of the poorest, most rugged places on earth, has a population with a male
life expectancy of 46 (45 for females!). It has a literacy rate of about
29%. It looks at the swollen opulence of
the Americans, the global reach of the American empire, and bristles.
nationalist, cultural, religious and class distance fuels a deep and abiding
hatred of American dominance.
of which the Islamic world has had a great deal since the fall of the Ottoman
Empire in 1922, and
the colonial era of the early-to-middle Twentieth Century, is a powerful force.
It brought a humbled German
to the brink of world conquest after World War I. It is not to be taken
may prove another turning point in world history, which is why we all should
learn about it.
far too many Americans, the word 'terrorism' has acquired a whole new meaning in
the dusty aftermath of 11 September 2001. The word now instantly refers to
the mental imagery of the shattered twin towers of the World Trade Center in
downtown Manhattan, or the broken edifice of the Pentagon building in
Washington, or even the smouldering mound of earth in southwestern Pennsylvania.
refer to the thousands of people, from dozens of countries, who lost their lives
when the buildings were shattered, broken and leveled into dust. But, if
truth be told, they refer mostly to Americans.
an airliner in the far-off South China Sea area develops engine trouble, and
plummets into the ocean depths, reporters always rush to inform us, "Flight
502 of a PanAm to Hong Kong went down over the South China Sea today: 15
Americans were onboard." In such a common report, it is implicitly
assumed that those of other nationalities are of lesser importance. They
don't *really* matter.
is indeed possible to look at the events of 11 September in a somewhat similar
light. For, if it is indeed found that the acts of that day may be traced
to terrorists, working out of Middle Eastern organizations, what most will
ignore is another kind of terrorism. It is waged against the poor and
powerless of many nations.
kills, maims, tortures, and destroys many thousands of people every year.
is the spectre of State Terrorism.
expect to find eye-catching exposes in the Daily Blah, or to hear about it on
your favorite network news
program in the evening on the tube. You have to look hard for this stuff.
Consider the views of John Stockwell,
a former CIA station chief (Angola), who considers the work that he was doing
overseas, on behalf
of the US government, to be supporting terrorism. He looks at the time
when a man named Bush headed the CIA:
was referring to Carilles, the terrorist airplane bomber (See The Praetorian Guard:
The U.S. Role in the New World Order, Boston: South End Press, 1991).
are the words of a man who spent over a decade in the CIA, and even served
briefly on a subcommittee
of the National Security Council, during the Kissinger era. Even though
his work had
to be cleared by CIA censors to be published, his view of how the United States
at CIA activities abroad, in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, this former
station chief offers
Afghan-trained rebels, from various Middle Eastern states, responsible for the
carnage of 11 September,
2001? Who armed them? Who trained them? Who loosed them upon
very deadly expertise are your tax dollars at work.
mean one thing, when they think of terrorism.
from the South, in Peru, Colombia, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Brazil, Cuba, El
Salvador, Chile, etc., think of something else.
from Indonesia, South Africa, Angola, Egypt, the Occupied Territories of
Laos, Cambodia, and the like, think of something else.
"Fervor is the weapon of choice of the impotent."
We are all in the midst of but the latest expression of this exercise. This was visible in the very first hours after the suicide bombings and destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the aerial strike against the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Remember when the politicians lectured the nation about, "This is a battle between good and evil"? How about, "This is against those who oppose civilization itself"?
is a close tie, but the latest figures for global demonization are Usama
bin-Ladin and the ruling clique in war-ravaged Afghanistan, the Taliban.
is interesting, when you look back a few years, is the similarity with
other historical figures, like Saddam Hussein, or Manuel Noriega of
are these disparate figures similar?
before the U.S. media machine assured us they were devils incarnate,
they boasted of their friendship with the Americans. Messrs. bin-Ladin,
Hussein and the forerunners of the Taliban were
Taliban's biggest exposure, before 11 Sept., 2001, was the destruction
of ancient Buddhist shrines in Afghanistan. When I heard of it, I
could not help but think of the acts of Pope Gregory I, of whom it is
the Taliban unique in their aversion to women? The great Church
Father, Tertullian once said of women:
6th Century Christian philosopher, Boethius once wrote, in his The
Consolation of Philosophy, "Woman is a temple built upon a
are the writers and historians who point to such Christian historical
figures and label them as "religious fanatics."
before some wag claims I am an apologist for the Taliban, I need only
point out that it was the U.S. CIA, who paved the way for them to come
into being, by their support of the destruction of the Soviet-backed
Najibullah government. Afghanistan is the way it is today, because
the American CIA, and Pakistani
us beware of religious wars.
human, we have more than enough madness to go around.
do not cease to be colonies because they are independent". Benjamin
Disraeli, British Statesman
the news that American political leaders are involved in intense
meetings with the deposed King of Afghanistan
is the revelation that the United States is trying to install a king
over another people.
wrong with this, people?
does it make sense for a nation that calls for democracy to impose, with
its guns and military might, a royal house upon a foreign people?
Zahir Shah, an octogenarian who was overthrown from the Afghani throne
back in 1973, is now
living in Rome and is being groomed to be reinstalled in Kabul by the
from his homeland for almost thirty years now (28, to be precise) why
does the U.S. want to seat him, when the Afghani people have expressed
no significant interest in his return for almost three decades?
is hard for one to resist the temptation that the U.S. wants to put in a
puppet that it can manipulate, control and rule through.
seems clear is that the U.S. is doing, this time through military means,
what it has done before in the region
the 1950s, the CIA brought about the removal of Iranian premier,
Muhammad Mossadegh, to return the Shah to power, which in turn led the
nation down the road that turned Iran into a repressive state, to keep oil
under Western control.
the Afghanis somehow too primitive (in U.S. eyes) to appreciate the
principle of democracy?
emerges from this U.S. attempt to install a potentate is the reality
that the Americans don't really
give a damn about democracy.
all of the states in the region that the U.S. calls allies are as far
from democracies as the earth
is from the moon. If the U.S. cared about democracies, why has
U.S. foreign policy for the last
half-century been the protection, sustaining and arming of
anti-democratic dictators? From Marcos
in the Phillipines, Suharto in Indonesia, the Duvaliers in Haiti, and to
Mobutu in Zaire, and
on, and on.
we need not go that far.
recent elections in Florida, which featured racial and ethnic profiling
of Black, Haitian and Jewish
voters there, and thereby denying them the opportunity to meaningfully
participate in the U.S. democracy
by voting, proves that Americans need not go abroad to protect or
is something unseemly about a nation that came into being by declaring
independence from a king
to urge a king upon a foreign people. Democracy begins at home.
this is written, the obscene whine of bombs pierces the night sky over
the capital city of Kabul, in the war-shattered nation of Afghanistan.
Once again, the American Empire has come to the Middle East, armed with
the glittering array of war.
national opinion polls assure us that this nebulous war against
"terrorists, and all who support them," is a popular one, high
opinion poll ratings mask the very real and very deep anxiety that
people feel, in their hearts, and in their guts, about the prospect of
victory. That anxiety underlies a deep distrust that
Americans have historically felt about the government. What don't they
know? What are Americans not being told? *How will this
truth, there is a good reason for this sense of anxiety, as many
Americans are, without their knowledge or okay, a part of the secret
wars that are raging around the world.
the United States was a very young, and indeed, an infant nation, a
well-known national leader hatched a secret plot to invade and overthrow
Libya. An agent of his was given tens of thousands of dollars, and
1,000 guns to raise a secret army against Libya. This U.S. State
Department official was attached to the Navy and given the title,
"Agent for the United States Fleet in the Mediterranean."
This secret agent, working without the knowledge or permission of the
U.S. Congress, entered Egypt, organized a mercenary army, and waged
war against Libya, but was not able to destabilize the government.
government agent was Capt. William Eaton. He was acting under the
secret orders of U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson, after a secret
meeting of them on December 10, 1803. (See Jerry Fresia's Toward an
American Revolution: Exposing the Constitution & Other Illusions
(Boston: South End Press, 1988), p. 102).
secret wars have dotted the history of the U.S., and made her the enemy
of millions, on several continents. For the poor in Latin America,
in the Caribbean, in Africa and parts of Asia, the U.S. is seen as a
powerful, yet schizophrenic child. She will arbitrarily remove leaders
of governments, insert agents of disorder, and wage vicious propaganda
wars against other countries through her media machine.
an alleged 'democracy', why is there even *ever* a need for
a nation that claims to represent the interests of the people, how can a
secret war be waged? The two are simply incompatible, for if the
government is (in Lincoln's famous words) "... of the people",
how can the government keep secrets from itself?
the media may manipulate public opinion to justify the waging of wars,
the real beneficiaries are rarely known, and indeed, rarely are the real
causes known. The causes are, more often than not, economic.
While citizens and soldiers wave flags, corporations wave wallets.
example, you may still find old-timers, who will tell you that the big,
"WW II", was fought against the Nazi ideology of Hitler.
Few would argue with the old geezer. But how many of us know that
American corporations traded with the Nazis, *even during the war?*
Charles Higham, in his 1984 book, Trading With the Enemy (Dell
would have happened if millions of Americans and British people,
struggling with coupons and lines
at the gas stations, had learned that in 1942 Standard Oil of New Jersey
[part of the Rockefeller Empire]
managers shipped the enemy's fuel through the neutral Switzerland
and that the enemy was shipping Allied fuel? Suppose the public
had discovered that the Chase Bank in Nazi-occupied Paris after Pearl
Harbor was doing millions of dollars worth of business with the enemy
with the full knowledge
of the head office in Manhattan [the Rockefeller family among others]?
Or that Ford trucks were
being built for the German occupation troops in France with
authorization from Dearborn, Michigan? Or that Colonel Sosthenes
Behn, the head of the international American telephone conglomerate
ITT, flew from New York to Madrid to Berne during the war to help
communications systems and improve the robot bombs that devastated
London? Or that ITT built
the FockeWulfs that dropped bombs on British and American troops?
Or that crucial ball
bearings were shipped to Nazi-associated customers in Latin-America with
the collusion of
the vice-chairman of the U.S. War Production Board in partnership with
Goering's cousin in Philadelphia
when American forces were desperately short of them? Or that such arrangements
were known about in Washington and either sanctioned or deliberately
184-5] (Fresia's book, pp. 108-90).
are wars, and there are *wars*, apparently.
Unfortunately, there are also secret wars, and the ones who
are in the battle fields, or wave flags, are the last ones to know.
[W]e have about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its
population ... Our real task in the coming
period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will have to
dispense with all sentimentality..."
should cease to talk about vague and... unreal objectives such as human
rights, the raising of living
standards, and democratization".
George Kennan, U.S. State Dept., "Policy Planning
Study 23" (1948)
live in an awkward age of war, where discussion is curtailed by the iron
curtain of fear, and the choking fog of uncertainty.
this time, when the American military is embarking on an open-ended, and
virtually unlimited expedition overseas, in search of undefined
'enemies,' and in pursuit of a goal that seems more appropriate for
international police than an imperial military, there is a strange
circumscription of national dialogue. At this time, more than any
other, U.S. foreign policy, which should be in the very forefront of the
national debate, hides in the shadows, like sellers of illicit, somewhat
tainted substances, like crack cocaine, or smut.
no less than people, can be caught up in the very real grip of madness,
as Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy well-proved over a half century ago.
Apartheid South Africa, which waged armed war against children, who were
armed with little more than the righteousness of their African
resistance, is yet another. And one need not go across the
Atlantic to see similar instances of national madness, as evidenced by
the notorious MOVE bombing in Philadelphia, where, as one cop said
ominously, "We saw the children as combatants!", or the
equally mad expressions of state terrorism as shown in Waco, Texas, or
the Ruby Ridge incidents.
to paraphrase Lord Acton's well-known axiom, "does more than
corrupts, it makes men mad."
is precisely in this time of madness, of emotional depth and mental
unhingement, that other voices need to be heard, and other perspectives
leavened into the debate. For, if madness has one cure, it is
Enver Masud may be one of the voices that adds some of that reason.
An engineering management consultant who once worked for the World Bank,
USAID in Egypt, and in half a dozen countries over the earth, Masud can
hardly be termed an 'Islamic fundamentalist' (what-ever that is), or
even a radical. He seems to be a fairly bourgeois fellow, who grew
up in an Indian Muslim family of wealth, means and
year ago, Masud wrote and published a book that was the compilation of
perhaps five years of commentaries written for the little-known
Washington, D.C.-based newspaper, Eastern Times, called The
War on Islam (Arlington, Va.: Madrasah Books, 2000).
In it, Masud critically engages, questions, and controverts many of the
big stories of the day, from the 1991 report that "Libyan
terrorists" were sent
American, British, and other sources, Masud raises important questions,
and also provides remarkable answers.
The War on Islam was published long before the
events of 11 September, 2001, it still has important lessons for those
who wish to examine an opposing view. Consider the comments he
prints of Americans who were critical of the U.S. bombings in Sudan and
(yes) Afghanistan in 1998:
"It is dangerous to divorce terrorism from politics, yet the U.S. media continue to talk about an abstract war against terrorism without mention of the issues or context that lie behind them." ; or, "Terrorism is a political act, a response to U.S. foreign policy. It is an act of war waged by people too weak to have a conventional army or one large enough to take on the United States."
first quote was written by Graham E. Fuller, former vice-chairman of the
National Intelligence Council of the CIA, for the L.A. Times (24.08.1998);
the second was by Charley Reese, an ex-soldier who does a column for the
Orlando Sentinel (18.08.1998), the title of which told the story:
"Face It: U.S. Foreign Policy Contribute to Acts of
really wonders if these guys could, or even would, write the same kinds
of things today.
is perhaps more troubling, is not whether either man would write such
thoughts today, but whether a
experience has shown, this is a very real question, that becomes even
more provocative in the face of
Aaron McGruder's strip runs in over 200 U.S. papers, roughly a dozen
have pulled the most recent strips since the events of the 11th of
I doubt few of America's papers would run the thoughts, opinions and
ruminations of Enver Masud. It is indeed, for this very reason that his
thoughts may prove valuable to thinking people in America, who really
take offense at how the corporate media treats adults like kids, who
need to be protected, not from bombs, or plummeting planes, but from
War on Islam is
published by The Wisdom Fund, Madrasah Book Division, P.O. Box 2723,
Arlington, VA 22202.)
does a war begin?
That is, as the saying goes, one of those "$64,000 questions!"
(As Mama used to say)
there are as many answers, as there are wars.
the Viet Nam War, which raged for over a decade, leaving over 2,000,000
August 2, 1964, according to American press reports, North Vietnamese
coast guards attacked two
U.S. Destroyers sailing in the Gulf of Tonkin. Within a week the U.S.
Congress passed the Gulf of
Tonkin Resolution, granting the president war powers, and the Vietnam
War was launched.
later, after the fires of war cooled to ashes, we learn the press
reports were lies.
CIA man John Stockwell wrote, in The Praetorian Guard (1991):
midnight on July 30, 1964, Norwegian-built "SWIFTS" or "NASTIES,"
with CIA crews, attacked the North Vietamese radar station on Hon Me
island and bombarded Hon Nguin the Gulf of Tonkin. The North
sent a formal protest to the United States. The frigate USN Maddox,
which was patrolling
inside North Vietnamese waters to provide cover for CIA marauders, remained
on station. Clearly provoked and pursuing the CIA marauders, North
moved to challenge the Maddox. The Maddox fired
first; the Vietnamese answered with torpedoes that missed. A
garbled version of the incident,
blaming the North Vietnamese, was trumpeted through a cooperative media
to the U.S. public and was used to justify formal moves by Lyndon Johnson
to launch the Vietnam War (which had been in open planning stages
for two years). The rest is history. (p. 81)
history written in blood, gore and genocidal death. That, however,
was then; what about now?
American eyes are now focused on Afghanistan the land ravaged by over 8 years of
war with the
1988, former U.S. national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski,
granted an interview to the French newspaper, Le Nouvel Observateur,
stating that the U.S./CIA was in Afghanistan months before the
ZB: According to the official version of history, CIA
aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, ... after the Soviet army
invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec. 1979. But the reality, secretly
now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979
that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the
opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote
a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion
this aid was
You don't regret anything today?
what? The secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the
effect of drawing the Russians
into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? (p. 76)
"Afghan trap" led to over 2,000,000 Afghan deaths, 6,000,000
exiles, and 20,000 Soviet troop
Inducements. Media manipulations. Traps. Spies. Covers.
dead. Millions exiled.
does a war begin?
Mama used to say, "Boy, that's the $64,000 question!"
the endgame emerging into view of a bomb-drenched Afghanistan that is
now apparently newly-pacified, we are seeing the re-emergence of Iraq as
justification for this new media-military targeting of Iraq is that the
country possesses 'weapons of mass destruction'!
what country doesn't?
U.S. president Bill Clinton has tried the Iraq card before, when he
charged that the Baghdad government may not be the only nation in
possession of weapons of mass destruction, but the Iraqis alone
eminent historian Howard Zinn, author of the acclaimed A People's
History of the United States,
nation in the world possesses greater weapons of mass destruction than
we do, and none has used them more
often, or with greater loss of civilian life. In Hiroshima
hundreds of thousands died, in Korea and South
Vietnam millions died as a result of our use of such weapons."
sheer hypocrisy of such a nation threatening another nation on the
basis of its possession of 'weapons
of mass destruction' is stunning. Asians and Arabs must be shaking
their collective heads in mass disbelief.
lurch to the right during his second term is now mirrored by Bush fils
as he recycles his predecessor's
lie, the old 'weapons of mass destruction' tale, a justification for
Bush the Younger's efforts
to repair Bush the Elder's failure to properly discipline Iraq for
daring to act as a sovereign state, instead
of a vassal-state (or client-state) to the U.S. Empire.
take the hypocrisy to an even higher pitch, consider that some of Iraq's
weapons were indeed weapons
of mass destruction, a fact well known to Washington because U.S.
hardware was delivered to
the Iraqis, the better to kill their Iranian enemies with. The
U.S., London and other Western countries made
mountains of wealth selling such weapons not only to Iraq, but to Iran
as well. Both sides used such weapons
with deadly efficiency in an 8-year war that left over 800,000 (and
perhaps over a million) men, women
and children slain. The U.S., smarting over the expulsion of the
Shah from Iran, and the rise of the
late Ayatullah Khomeini, rubbed their hands with mercantile glee as they
armed and egged on the
ally is today's adversary.
tomorrow, after the dust falls from the sustained bombing back to the
hard, cold Afghan
after 10 years of sustained bombing of Iraq by the West. This,
after perhaps 500,000 civilian casualties.
This, after Iraq has been bombed until it became a toxic waste dump.
The threats, targeting
and bombing of Iraq had nothing to do with Iraqi 'weapons of mass
destruction' in 1991, in
1993, in 1998 or now.
is Iraq the boogie-man of choice today?
Brig. General William Looney, who directed the bombing of Iraq in the
late 1990s, put the point out
they turn on their radars we're going to blow up their goddamn SAMs
They know we own their country. We own their airspace... We
dictate the way they live and talk. And
There it is. Oil.
isn't that a crime against international law?
in the United States, drunk on imperial pride, think of themselves as
quintessential Americans, and think of the rest of the people of the
world as something else; something lesser: the Other.
would surprise such people to learn that there are indeed millions of
people, in other countries, who see themselves
as Americans, and see residents of the United States (and Canada) as norteamericanos.
are Americans. Cubans are Americans. Argentines are Americans.
they have their own perspectives on things that have happened in the
U.S., like the planes slamming into
the twin towers of New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Although their perspectives may not merit
the attention of the big networks, or of the mega-corporate media, their
perspectives provide valuable insights
into how they think, and how they see the norteamericanos.
Consider how Chileans reacted.
Ariel Dorfman saw it as a morbid kind of déjà-vu:
the last 28 years, Tuesday September 11 has been a date of mourning, for
me and millions
of others, ever since that day in 1973 when Chile lost its democracy in
a military coup,
that day when death irrevocably entered our lives and changed us forever
wrote of Chile's painful history, of the U.S.-backed coup that supported
the bombing of the
many Chileans, Sept. 11th marks the day democracy died. When
foreign terrorists (like the U.S.
CIA) supported a reign of dark terror upon the people of Chile, when
thousands were tortured or killed
by the military, a military trained in terror by the U.S. at the
infamous School of the Americas
commentator Ricardo Stevens looked at Sept. 11, and saw mirrors in his
how much alike these new victims are to the boys and girls, to those who
were unable to
be born that December 20  that they imposed on us in Chorrillo; [a
poor ghetto/barrio in Panama City, where an unknown number were killed
by U.S. forces] how much alike
they seem to the mothers, the grandfathers and the little old
of them also innocent and anonymous deaths, whose terrors were called
and the terrorist called liberator [fr.
Radio La Vo del Tropico (Panama) 15.10.2001].
columnist Membo Giardinelli, in his Sept. 13th Pagina 12 piece
wrote of the 30,000 "disappeared"
during the Dirty War when the U.S.-backed military slaughtered
and leftists. He damned "the United States' leading
role" in such events that led to a
harvest of hatred, not toward Americans, "but your arrogant leaders
of the sweet speech of diplomats, writers often give voice to the true
feelings of peoples.
Americans should know how that Other America feels. Perhaps they will ask why.
can be found in the NACLA: Report on the Americas, Nov/Dec. 2001;
power of the media to condition consciousness is vast. For, with the
merest mention of a word, say, for instance, "terror," a flood
of images roar through the mind, like a well-placed row of dominoes,
each falling one into the other, tumbling like a hard, dry, crackling
wave: terror, terrorism, the twin towers of
midtown Manhattan, planes circling like metallic vultures, plunging into
solid rock and steel, flames, smoke, and humans blown into dry dust.
Osama bin-Laden; Mullah Omar; Saddam Hussein, (fill in the blanks).
Those are the thoughts we have been conditioned to think by the media.
We have virtually no choice in the matter.
is though, another terror that ravages the land. It affects not
thousands, but millions. It affects Whites, Blacks, Anglos,
Latinos, Citizens, Immigrants, Male, Female, Gay, Straight, Jew,
Gentile, Northerner, Southerner, from Maine to Mississippi.
is the terror of financial failure. The terror of not getting next
week's paycheck. The terror of being fired; of being unable to pay
rent (or the mortgage); of seeing one's children wracked by hunger.
is the silent terror; the hidden terror. Indeed it is the invisible
terror that is all too real. It is one that the State not only
refuses to fight, but refuses to acknowledge.
the September 11th disaster, at least 800,000 people have lost their
jobs. Dishwashers, maids, hotel workers, computer employees,
travel agents, booking agents, and the like. But as stunning as
that figure seems to be, it is but a mere percentage of a larger
the 11th of September, indeed according to economic indicators since
March 2001, at least 8 million people were out of work due to the
invisible souls, unemployed, gripped by a terror that almost defies
is that not a national emergency?
no mass mobilization, nor media-orchestrated outrage? Is it
because they are poor, and the poor are expendable?
corporate media, the possession and instrument of the wealthy, has no
interest (and sees no profit) in educating
either the poor or working poor in the failures of an economic theory or
system which works for them yet betrays the poor.
is not in the interest of the established to show the holes in the
"economic miracle." Globalists wish to ignore
this ugly reality.
does the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or the S&P rate, or the
latest Nasdaq mean to 8 million unemployed?
year ago, economists were proclaiming the end of the business cycle,
boasting that the only way stocks could
go was up. Their boasts came on the eve of a recession.
a time when the poor are treated like lepers, when their dreams are
dashed, a daily terror reigns.
the aftermath of 9/11/01, the Bush Administration has announced plans to
form, staff and adjudicate military tribunals to try anyone the U.S.
deems a "terrorist." These courts will be presided over
by military officers, as will any appeals process, with the final
arbiter, either the defense secretary or the president, ending the case.
civil judge, of any division or rank of the federal judiciary, will ever
hear any syllable of appeal from anyone
tried before such a tribunal.
frenzied is the American mood, so supine the liberal elite, and so
prostrate the nation's legal community to power, that barely a murmur is
heard in protest to this gross, naked power grab by the Administration.
is not enough that the institution of such courts are the very
antithesis to the grand American claim to "due
process." Nor is it sufficient to argue that such war measures are
inappropriate in the absence of a formal, congressional declaration of
war (this Congress would have no real trouble doing so). This
Congress, already jittery
in light of reports of anthrax contamination of some offices, rushed
through in record speed (with little debate, no public hearing, and
neither a committee report nor a conference) the unprecedented, complex,
and radically repressive USA Patriot Act.
presidential decree ordering military tribunals is, on its face,
unconstitutional. Indeed, the very provision which grants the
president Commander In Chief powers, also limits his powers over
judicial matters. Here's what it says:
II: Sect. 2, Constitution of the U.S.]
President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United
States, ... He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of
the Senate ...; and he shall nominate,
and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint ...
Judges of the Supreme Court ...
from Article III; Section 1 of the Constitution:
judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme
Court, and in such
it is. The president, acting in concert with the Senate, nominates and
appoints Supreme Court
judges, and Congress ordains and establishes new courts.
can't abdicate this duty to the executive.
president's order establishes a court, one which has all of its officers
under his direct control and
is this meant to heap false praise on U.S. civil courts, which are
fundamentally political institutions. Have we all forgotten the
trial of Tim McVeigh, the domestic terrorist, where it was later learned
that the FBI withheld thousands of pages of documents, until days before
his execution? Civil courts merely winked at this violation, as a minor irritancy.
while the government had its way (by executing McVeigh) it was
embarrassed by reports of their handling of the case. That won't happen
now, will it?
the Bush Administration, military tribunals serve as an instrument of
the command structure of the military, each judge, each jury, each
prosecutor, and each court
either Bush, the Secretary of Defense, or even another military panel
serving as a Supreme Court
of Appeals, what would be the result?
after all, the accused are (to use the term of popular appeal) 'sand
niggers' (the Brits would call them
'wogs'), Arabs, Pakistanis, a few Afghans so, why care?
same was said in the '20s when Russian Jews were exiled from the U.S.
after the Palmer Raids, or in the '40s when Japanese were thrown into
concentration camps; they're just 'commie Jews', or
events were said to be separate, involving 'others', yet they tainted
the judicial process and U.S. claims of fair play, up to the present
generation. Let us fight this madness, or it will return to haunt us
readers of this writer will recall the claim that all wars have an
economic interest, and are fought for
economic reasons or resources.
this so with Afghanistan? On its face, most would not agree.
check this out.
you believe that important business interests began discussing the
removal of the Taliban, years ago? Or that wealthy oil interests have
been plotting on ways to re-organize the Central Asian region, in order
to exploit the abundant supplies of oil that are in the Caspian Sea
area? Or that the area is also abundant in natural gas reserves?
early 1998, a major oil executive for the Unocal Corporation, a Mr. John
J. Maresca, Vice-President of
obvious potential route south would be across Iran. However, this
option is foreclosed for American
companies because of U.S. sanctions legislation. The only other possible
route option is across Afghanistan,
which has its own unique challenges.
country has been involved in bitter warfare for almost two decades. The
territory across which the
pipeline would extend is controlled by most other nations. From
the outset, we have made it clear
that construction of our proposed pipeline cannot begin until a
recognized government is in place
that has the confidence of governments, lenders, and our company.
["A New Silk Road: Proposed Petroleum Pipeline in
Afghanistan", Monthly Review, Dec. 2001, pp.
noted that other industrial powers are interested in the proposed oil
pipeline, including Japan.
interests are their own their national, and international
Unocal negotiate with the now-accursed Taliban?
they say they haven't, but they also say that they have.
Again, the words of Vice-President Maresca are important indications of
how Unocal did its business:
Unocal has not negotiated with any one group, and does not favor any
group, we have
had contacts with and briefings for all of them. We know that the
different factions in
Afghanistan understand the importance of the pipeline project for their
country, and have expressed
their support of it. [p. 33]
the halls of government, and in the meeting places of big business,
powerful people carve up the world according
to their own interests.
are declared, and thousands are slain, for the enrichment and the
well-being of the few.
is more than the instrument of big business; it is big
characteristic imperial arrogance, George W. Bush's 'State of the
Empire' speech was a blustering
calling them the world's "Axis of Evil," the Bush regime is
clearly trying to mobilize public support for some
sort of militarist adventure in those regions of the world. If
they cannot be tied to the acts of September 11,
many Americans still smarting from the blows of September 11, and unseated
by the aerial bombardment and humbling of the Taliban in the dusty ruins
of Afghanistan, the challenges of Iran, Iraq, and North
Korea may seem tempting.
makes Washington's charge almost laughable (if it were not so serious)
is that at least two of those states
were either clients or customers of the U.S., in their drive to become
regional military powers.
U.S. was, and indeed remains, the world's pre-eminent arms dealer.
When the bloody, 8-year Iran-Iraq
war raged on, the U.S. supplied it's then-ally (Iraq's Saddam) with what
can only be termed weapons
of mass destruction, as in the poisons used by Iraq to liquidate their
Kurdish minorities on their
border regions. As for the Iranian theocracy, it would not exist
today were it not for the U.S./CIA intervention
which overturned the Iranian parliamentary democracy of Mohammed
Mossadegh of the early
Iran's perspective, where does the "axis of evil" lie?
What must they think of a nation that deposed
their president, installed a brutal, fascist regime, and then armed
their neighboring enemy (Iraq)
with conventional and chemical weapons, which led to over half a million
dead on both sides?
that "mass destruction?"
being an empire means never having to say you're sorry; it means telling
others what they must do,
or else. It means always seeking enemies.
The events of 9/11, and in turn the resultant aerial bombardment of Afghanistan by American military, is now the opening act of what promises to be a global military campaign that threatens to be waged in Iraq, perhaps Iran, Somalia, and even the far Phillipines.
We are told that this war will be waged for years, perhaps for decades, in far-flung areas of the earth. It is, in Bush
Administration terms, a 'war against terrorism,' a 'war against evil,' and a 'clash of civilizations'. (Of course, the royal "we"
are the perfect good; "they" are the eternal evil).
One wonders, when is a 'terrorist,' not a terrorist?
Until the 1930s and 1940s, the Jewish underground in Palestine was described as "terrorist." Then something happened: around 1942, as news of the Holocaust was spreading, a certain liberal sympathy with the Jewish people began to emerge in the Western world. By 1944, the terrorists of Palestine, who were Zionists, suddenly began being described as "freedom fighters." If you look in history books you can find at least two Israeli prime ministers, including Menachem Begin, appearing in "Wanted" posters saying, TERRORISTS, REWARD [this much]. The highest reward I have seen offered was 100,000 British pounds for the head of Menachem Begin, the terrorist (Yitzhak Shamir is the other) [Eqbal Ahmad, Terrorism: Theirs & Ours, Seven Stories, 2001), p. 11]
The terrorism of yesterday has become the nationalism of today.
Copyright © 2001-2002
Mumia Abu-Jamal. All rights reserved.