Bcc: a few folks. additional materials after this long one from ZNet... My own thoughts at the very bottom... rkm ============================================================================ From: "Michael Albert" <•••@••.•••> To: <•••@••.•••> Subject: ZNet Commentary / Pilger and Herman / Context / Sept 14 Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001 21:36:07 -0400 Importance: Normal Sender: •••@••.••• Hello, During September we are mailing to ZNet's 50,000 Free Update Recipients our Daily Sustainer Commentary which usually goes only to our Sustainer Program members. If you don't want these mailings you can turn them off at the ZNet Top Page (www.zmag.org/weluser.htm). Today's commentaries, responding again to the recent terror in the U.S., are by John Pilger from England, and Edward Herman from the U.S. We hope you will consider joining our Sustainer Donor Program to help us enlarge ZNet's offerings and sustain Z Magazine and our summer school (ZMI) as well. To learn more about the Sustainer Program and for links you can use to join it, please visit: http://www.zmag.org/Commentaries/donorform.htm ====== Brief Preparatory Note: A number of folks receiving ZNet Commentaries say they want help dealing with their neighbors', school mates', friends', and family's militaristic feelings and even with their own emotions. They wonder how our recent essays, full of context and history, bear on all that. There could be about 5,000 deaths from the horrific events in NYC. If so, some relevant context is that the same level of human loss would have to happen in the U.S. once every month, all year long, for over fifteen years, for the death toll to match what U.S. policies have imposed on Iraq. This grisly accounting doesn't make the pain here any less, but it may help reveal that the pain elsewhere, induced by U.S policies, is even greater, perhaps opening the way to compassion and solidarity. If there is a moral principle that ought to apply to bin Laden or the Taliban or to anyone who may commit or abet acts of terror, shouldn't that principle also apply to us? If so, a relevant bit of context is that to employ terror was our stated policy in Iraq and Yugoslavia, where in both cases we admitted and even bragged that we were attacking the population to collapse the governments. So who brings us to justice? And do we really think being brought to justice ought to mean suffering terror, in turn? In my experience, sometimes using the kinds of information in ZNet's essays to make such connections opens avenues of understanding. On the other hand, I have to admit, sometimes it doesn't. Maybe others have better ideas about how to connect with people and if so, sharing those ideas and experiences in coming days may help. Changing minds is not easy or fast, but it is certainly necessary, and contrary to what many pundits are saying, I think the public is mostly confused, and not mostly lusting for blood. ----------------- Inevitable ring to the unimaginable By John Pilger If the attacks on America have their source in the Islamic world, who can really be surprised? Two days earlier, eight people were killed in southern Iraq when British and American planes bombed civilian areas. To my knowledge, not a word appeared in the mainstream media in Britain. An estimated 200,000 Iraqis, according to the Health Education Trust in London, died during and in the immediate aftermath of the slaughter known as the Gulf War. This was never news that touched public consciousness in the west. At least a million civilians, half of them children, have since died in Iraq as a result of a medieval embargo imposed by the United States and Britain. In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Mujadeen, which gave birth to the fanatical Taliban, was largely the creation of the CIA. The terrorist training camps where Osama bin Laden, now "America's most wanted man", allegedly planned his attacks, were built with American money and backing. In Palestine, the enduring illegal occupation by Israel would have collapsed long ago were it not for US backing. Far from being the terrorists of the world, the Islamic peoples have been its victims - principally the victims of US fundamentalism, whose power, in all its forms, military, strategic and economic, is the greatest source of terrorism on earth. This fact is censored from the Western media, whose "coverage" at best minimises the culpability of imperial powers. Richard Falk, professor of international relations at Princeton, put it this way: "Western foreign policy is presented almost exclusively through a self-righteous, one-way legal/moral screen (with) positive images of Western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted political violence." That Tony Blair, whose government sells lethal weapons to Israel and has sprayed Iraq and Yugoslavia with cluster bombs and depleted uranium and was the greatest arms supplier to the genocidists in Indonesia, can be taken seriously when he now speaks about the "shame" of the "new evil of mass terrorism" says much about the censorship of our collective sense of how the world is managed. One of Blair's favourite words - "fatuous" - comes to mind. Alas, it is no comfort to the families of thousands of ordinary Americans who have died so terribly that the perpetrators of their suffering may be the product of Western policies. Did the American establishment believe that it could bankroll and manipulate events in the Middle East without cost to itself, or rather its own innocent people? The attacks on Tuesday come at the end of a long history of betrayal of the Islamic and Arab peoples: the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the foundation of the state of Israel, four Arab-Israeli wars and 34 years of Israel's brutal occupation of an Arab nation: all, it seems, obliterated within hours by Tuesday's acts of awesome cruelty by those who say they represent the victims of the West's intervention in their homelands. "America, which has never known modern war, now has her own terrible league table: perhaps as many as 20,000 victims." As Robert Fisk points out, in the Middle East, people will grieve the loss of innocent life, but they will ask if the newspapers and television networks of the west ever devoted a fraction of the present coverage to the half-a-million dead children of Iraq, and the 17,500 civilians killed in Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. The answer is no. There are deeper roots to the atrocities in the US, which made them almost inevitable. It is not only the rage and grievance in the Middle East and south Asia. Since the end of the cold war, the US and its sidekicks, principally Britain, have exercised, flaunted, and abused their wealth and power while the divisions imposed on human beings by them and their agents have grown as never before. An elite group of less than a billion people now take more than 80 per cent of the world's wealth. In defence of this power and privilege, known by the euphemisms "free market" and "free trade", the injustices are legion: from the illegal blockade of Cuba, to the murderous arms trade, dominated by the US, to its trashing of basic environmental decencies, to the assault on fragile economies by institutions such as the World Trade Organisation that are little more than agents of the US Treasury and the European central banks, and the demands of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in forcing the poorest nations to repay unrepayable debts; to a new US "Vietnam" in Colombia and the sabotage of peace talks between North and South Korea (in order to shore up North Korea's "rogue nation" status). Western terror is part of the recent history of imperialism, a word that journalists dare not speak or write. The expulsion of the population of Diego Darcia in the 1960s by the Wilson government received almost no press coverage. Their homeland is now an American nuclear arms dump and base from which US bombers patrol the Middle East. In Indonesia, in 1965/6, a million people were killed with the complicity of the US and British governments: the Americans supplying General Suharto with assassination lists, then ticking off names as people were killed. "Getting British companies and the World Bank back in there was part of the deal", says Roland Challis, who was the BBC's south east Asia correspondent. British behaviour in Malaya was no different from the American record in Vietnam, for which it proved inspirational: the withholding of food, villages turned into concentration camps and more than half a million people forcibly dispossessed. In Vietnam, the dispossession, maiming and poisoning of an entire nation was apocalyptic, yet diminished in our memory by Hollywood movies and by what Edward Said rightly calls cultural imperialism. In Operation Phoenix, in Vietnam, the CIA arranged the homicide of around 50,000 people. As official documents now reveal, this was the model for the terror in Chile that climaxed with the murder of the democratically elected leader Salvador Allende, and within 10 years, the crushing of Nicaragua. All of it was lawless. The list is too long for this piece. Now imperialism is being rehabilitated. American forces currently operate with impunity from bases in 50 countries. "Full spectrum dominance" is Washington's clearly stated aim. Read the documents of the US Space Command, which leaves us in no doubt. In this country, the eager Blair government has embarked on four violent adventures, in pursuit of "British interests" (dressed up as "peacekeeping"), and which have little or no basis in international law: a record matched by no other British government for half a century. What has this to do with this week's atrocities in America? If you travel among the impoverished majority of humanity, you understand that it has everything to do with it. People are neither still, nor stupid. They see their independence compromised, their resources and land and the lives of their children taken away, and their accusing fingers increasingly point north: to the great enclaves of plunder and privilege. Inevitably, terror breeds terror and more fanaticism. But how patient the oppressed have been. It is only a few years ago that the Islamic fundamentalist groups, willing to blow themselves up in Israel and New York, were formed, and only after Israel and the US had rejected outright the hope of a Palestinian state, and justice for a people scarred by imperialism. Their distant voices of rage are now heard; the daily horrors in faraway brutalised places have at last come home. John Pilger is an award-winning, campaigning journalist. September 13, 2001 ------ FOLKS OUT THERE HAVE A "DISTASTE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION AND CULTURAL VALUES" Edward S. Herman One of the most durable features of the U.S. culture is the inability or refusal to recognize U.S. crimes. The media have long been calling for the Japanese and Germans to admit guilt, apologize, and pay reparations. But the idea that this country has committed huge crimes, and that current events such as the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks may be rooted in responses to those crimes, is close to inadmissible. Editorializing on the recent attacks ("The National Defense," Sept. 12), the New York Times does give a bit of weight to the end of the Cold War and consequent "resurgent of ethnic hatreds," but that the United States and other NATO powers contributed to that resurgence by their own actions (e.g., helping dismantle the Soviet Union and pressing Russian "reform"; positively encouraging Slovenian and Croatian exit from Yugoslavia and the breakup of that state, and without dealing with the problem of stranded minorities, etc.) is completely unrecognized. The Times then goes on to blame terrorism on "religious fanaticism...the anger among those left behind by globalization," and the "distaste of Western civilization and cultural values" among the global dispossessed. The blinders and self-deception in such a statement are truly mind-boggling. As if corporate globalization, pushed by the U.S. government and its closest allies, with the help of the World Trade Organization, World Bank and IMF, had not unleashed a tremendous immiseration process on the Third World, with budget cuts and import devastation of artisans and small farmers. Many of these hundreds of millions of losers are quite aware of the role of the United States in this process. It is the U.S. public who by and large have been kept in the dark. Vast numbers have also suffered from U.S. policies of supporting rightwing rule and state terrorism, in the interest of combating "nationalistic regimes maintained in large part by appeals to the masses" and threatening to respond to "an increasing popular demand for immediate improvement in the low living standards of the masses," as fearfully expressed in a 1954 National Security Council report, whose contents were never found to be "news fit to print." In connection with such policies, in the U.S. sphere of influence a dozen National Security States came into existence in the 1960s and 1970s, and as Noam Chomsky and I reported back in 1979, of 35 countries using torture on an administrative basis in the late 1970s, 26 were clients of the United States. The idea that many of those torture victims and their families, and the families of the thousands of "disappeared" in Latin America in the 1960s through the 1980s, may have harbored some ill-feelings toward the United States remains unthinkable to U.S. commentators. During the Vietnam war the United States used its enormous military power to try to install in South Vietnam a minority government of U.S. choice, with its military operations based on the knowledge that the people there were the enemy. This country killed millions and left Vietnam (and the rest of Indochina) devastated. A Wall Street Journal report in 1997 estimated that perhaps 500,000 children in Vietnam suffer from serious birth defects resulting from the U.S. use of chemical weapons there. Here again there could be a great many people with well-grounded hostile feelings toward the United States. The same is true of millions in southern Africa, where the United States supported Savimbi in Angola and carried out a policy of "constructive engagement" with apartheid South Africa as it carried out a huge cross-border terroristic operation against the frontline states in the 1970s and 1980s, with enormous casualties. U.S. support of "our kind of guy" Suharto as he killed and stole at home and in East Timor, and its long warm relation with Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, also may have generated a great deal of hostility toward this country among the numerous victims. Iranians may remember that the United States installed the Shah as an amenable dictator in 1953, trained his secret services in "methods of interrogation," and lauded him as he ran his regime of torture; and they surely remember that the United States supported Saddam Hussein all through the 1980s as he carried out his war with them, and turned a blind eye to his use of chemical weapons against the enemy state. Their civilian airliner 655 that was destroyed in 1988, killing 290 people, was downed by a U.S. warship engaged in helping Saddam Hussein fight his war with Iran. Many Iranians may know that the commander of that ship was given a Legion of Merit award in 1990 for his "outstanding service" (but readers of the New York Times would not know this as the paper has never mentioned this high level commendation). The unbending U.S. backing for Israel as that country has carried out a long-term policy of expropriating Palestinian land in a major ethnic cleansing process, has produced two intifadas-- uprisings reflecting the desperation of an oppressed people. But these uprisings and this fight for elementary rights have had no constructive consequences because the United States gives the ethnic cleanser arms, diplomatic protection, and carte blanche as regards policy. All of these victims may well have a distaste for "Western civilization and cultural values," but that is because they recognize that these include the ruthless imposition of a neoliberal regime that serves Western transnational corporate interests, along with a willingness to use unlimited force to achieve Western ends. This is genuine imperialism, sometimes using economic coercion alone, sometimes supplementing it with violence, but with many millions--perhaps even billions--of people "unworthy victims." The Times editors do not recognize this, or at least do not admit it, because they are spokespersons for an imperialism that is riding high and whose principals are unprepared to change its policies. This bodes ill for the future. But it is of great importance right now to stress the fact that imperial terrorism inevitably produces retail terrorist responses; that the urgent need is the curbing of the causal force, which is the rampaging empire._ ============================================================================ Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001 19:15:47 -0700 Sender: International forum for discussion and information on social movements <•••@••.•••> From: CyberBrook <•••@••.•••> Subject: Predicting the Consequences of the Recent Attacks To: •••@••.••• From: Ted Goertzel <•••@••.•••> Most of the comments have dealt with the immediate reaction to the recent attacks. Perhaps now it is time to begin thinking about the long term consequences. What I have in mind is making some testable predictions. By testable, I simply mean that we should be able to look at them in a year and see whether, or to what extent, they have come true. Here are some of mine: Isolationist sentiment in America (as measured in surveys and political speeches) will decline. Oppostion to using American ground troops abroad will decline to a residual of pacifist and far-left groups (because people will realize isolation is hopeless and bombing is of limited effectiveness). Participation in anarchist demonstrations with symbolic violence, such as smashing the windows of Starbucks stores, will decline markedly (since this kind of rhetoric and symbolic violence will remind people of the World Trade Center disaster). Yassir Arafat and his group will reach some kind of accommodation with the Israelis, drawing a sharper line between himself and the avowedly terrorist groups in Palestine. Suburban "sprawl" will increase as companies recognize that it is safer to locate their offices in smaller, dispersed locations that are less likely to be attacked. Opposition to "globalization" in general will decline both in the United States and abroad as it will be tainted by association with terrorism. There will be steps toward a "global anti-terrorism police force" involving forces from the United States, European nations and some Third World nations (possibly India, Egypt, China). By "steps toward" I mean at least a fairly broad international coalition to use troops from various nations against terrorists, I don't expect we will have troops working full time for an international agency. The Taliban will stop protecting Osama Bin Laden and allow U.S. and other forces access to their territory for purposes of rooting him out (note I am not saying they will find him). Global acceptance of capitalism as the preferred way to organize an economy will increase, anti-capitalist forces will be increasingly marginalized and tainted by the association with terrorism. Use of the Internet and other communication technologies for shopping, business, telecommuting, etc. will continue to increase in part because they will be viewed as safer. These are just a few off the top of my head. I would like to start a "Delphi Technique" discussion with others. In a year, we will revisit them and see how we did. Please send your responses so that we can get the maximum participation. Thanks, Ted Goertzel ============================================================================ Some unthinkable observations... 1) every major US military adventure throughout history has been enabled by a horrific incident which we later learned had been fabricated or intentionally provoked/arranged/permitted. (eg, Perl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin, invasion of Kuwait) 2) there is a HUGE gap in the reporting we've been seeing: when commercial flights first began veering off course, and the pilots did not respond to air traffic control, and transponders were turned off... WHAT WAS HAPPENING? Did no controller contact the FAA or air defense centers? Why have we heard no recordings of controllers trying to contact the pilots?? Especially after the first hit on the Trade Center, why were no fighters scrambled to deal with the remaining planes which were off course and not responding?? We have heard nothing about this all-important interval, and that makes no sense whatever. If Air Force One knew enough to change course, why were no other actions taken? Why is this interval not even being discussed?? What were military radar operators doing? Don't ask me, I don't have a clue re/these questions.