On Terror & State Terror (fwd)

Tony Tracy tony at tao.ca
Fri Sep 14 11:49:21 MDT 2001

[ Part I ]

The enclosed was written by my longtime comrade and friend Garth Mullins
in Vancouver, BC.


Tony Tracy

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001 09:31:00 -0700
From: Garth Mullins <garth at tao.ca>
Subject: On Terror & State Terror

On Terror and State Terror
by Garth Mullins

The savage murder of thousands, or tens of thousands in New York and
Washington DC is abhorrent. When the WTC towers collapsed, a good friend
and activist in Vancouver's pro-choice community was only two blocks away,
in a building in which the windows imploded. She was treated for smoke
inhalation, released and is now volunteering as part of the relief effort.
Myself and others were extremely worried about her until she called. This
was a horrendous crime against humanity. The victims are not the
architects of American imperialism and genocide, but rather regular
working people. The growing backliash and reaction from western states and
police apparatus is sure to further victimize the world's oppressed
peoples. Tuesday saw the chickens of the new world order coming home to
roost on a nation that has come to dominate the world through political,
economic, and military force. The holy trinity of Dow-Jones, Happy Meals
and Cruise Missiles. This act of terror will surely be used by western
states as a pretext for further repression at home and abroad.

Jean Chretien was quick to follow the lead of Bush, Blair and other
leaders in taking a firm stand against terrorism, or more accurately,
against selected incidents of terror. Apparently the long tradition of
state terror inflicted by the US (and a lesser extent Canada) is exempt
from such passionate indictments - Clinton's bombing of Sudan, Iraq, and
Kosovo; Poppa Bush's war against Iraq, the US's continued military and
political support for the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, all
involved large civilian casualties, or "acceptable collateral damage."
With almost one million Iraqis dead since the Gulf War, it is clear that
western leaders are selective in their condemnation of terror and violence
- even accepting collateral damage as they seek retribution.

The Coming Backlash

At the time of posting, there is little evidence of who is responsible for
the attacks, however Osama bin Laden and his al-Qa'ida organization are
the US authorities' prime suspects. Reuters reported that "frightened
Afghans braced Thursday for possible U.S. retaliation... Arab residents
fled the capital [Kabul} or began digging trenches on the outskirts of the
city." Diplomats and UN international staff have left the country in
anticipation of American retaliation. Bin Laden said he had nothing to do
with the attacks, describing them as "punishment from Allah.''

Immediately after the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma federal building, media
and politicians blamed "Arab terrorists." Two days and a significant
racist backlash later it was revealed that a home grown white fascist was
responsible. Within hours of Tuesday's attacks, pundits and politicians
were again scapegoating Arab extremists, well before any evidence had come
to light. Canadian and US security and intelligence agencies have been so
busy spying on the anti-globalization movement that they were taken almost
completely unawares.

Ultra-conservative, xenophobic elements in Washington (and Ottawa) are
sure to be rubbing their hands together with glee. This atrocity gives the
state and police agencies all the excuses they need to severely ratchet up
the level of surveillance on immigrants and refugees and various political
communities. Canada's having been labeled a "haven" for terrorists will
mean a tightening of immigration rules and asylum criteria. Middle eastern
communities within Canada and the US are already feeling the racist
backlash from jingoistic citizens, and hearing the knock of CSIS at the

In a chilling echo of the Gulf War, a racist backlash against Arab
communities is underway. In Chicago, a Molotov cocktail was hurled at an
Arab-American community center, and a crowd of 300 waved flags and marched
on a mosque.  An AP report quotes Colin Zaremba, one of the marchers as
saying"I'm proud to be American and I hate Arabs and I always have." A
mosque in Lynnwood, WA, was vandalized. In Australia, racists hurled
stones and invectives at a school bus carrying Muslim children and an
arson attempt was made on Lebanese church.

Terrorism - Born in the USA

The US and the west have strategic and material interests in the Middle
East, and Isreal is compelled to act as the American watchdog in the
region. The current political landscape of the middle east reflects its
status as a cold war arena of conflict between superpowers. Historically,
the US and the USSR played a 35 year long game of cold war chess, with
Israel, the PLO, Afghanistan and many other states and organizations as
the pawns.

The US saw an opportunity to get one up on the commies after they invaded
Afghanistan. The struggle against the soviet invasion was framed in terms
of an Islamic Jihad against communist atheism. Tens of thousands of
radical Muslims from various parts of the middle east would join the
Mujahideen. The largest covert operation in the history of the CIA
supplied masses of arms and specialists to the Mujahaideen and its Jihad
via the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). The latter two
organizations would eventually form the Taliban, which has taken power in
Afghanistan. The Taliban protects Osama bin Laden, who was a key fighter
against Afghani communism and recipient of CIA resources. The
Mujahaideen's CIA sponsored bases are now the "terrorist training camps"
of bin Laden. The US and CIA are now experiencing Jihad Blowback.

Iraq and Iran made the short list of suspects shortly after the attacks.
Both countries have been at one time or the other the recipient of US
support and meddling. Saddam Hussein received training and support from
the CIA and US when he was seen as a strategic ally against Iran. More
chess. The uncritical and unqualified political and military support of
the US for Israel's annexation of Palestine and occupation of the West
Bank and Gaza strip has made enemies of the Palestinian people and many
other Arab nations.

This is what I mean by chickens coming home to roost. The US has used
excessive military force, economic coercion, and political manipulation to
pursue its interests around the world, and deny many of its peoples their
self-determination. By way of explanation, rather than justification,
terrorism is the subjugated lashing out, is the last resort, the
desperate, cruel cry of the oppressed. It is evidence of the truism that
absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely. Further state repression will
likely lead to further acts of terrorism, or put another way, violence
begets violence.

Implications for the Movement

The events of September 11, 2001 have many implications for the
anti-globalization movement. Many of the movements constituents and
member-communities will be under the microscope of the state. The movement
as a whole is likely to experience an increase in infiltration and
monitoring by CSIS, the RCMP, etc. Movement events will attract even more
police attention. Many in the Arab and Iranian communities have already
been approached by CSIS, as well as at least one member of the
anit-globalizaiton movement. Tuesday's events will further politically
polarize the public, impacting the population of our soft supporters and
future activists.

The attacks will likely mean the cancellation of the IMF/WB meeting in
Washington, DC at the end of the month as well as the G8 summit scheduled
for next year in Alberta. This may mean the end of high profile
international summits where a number of world leaders gather together to
work out trade agreements and the like.  Leaders will be reticent to
gather in one place and present potential terrorists with a target.

Buzz Hargrove and Ken Georgetti have announced that labour is pulling out
of anti-WTO demonstrations to be held across the world on November 9. This
is a mistake. Our movement should show our sadness at this loss of life,
but we should not go into hiding. We should be clearly showing that
peaceful protest is the best way to make political change, and is an
alternative to the terror and violence seen in the US. This demonstration
is an opportunity to put forward an analysis that promotes
internationalism, and not jingoism and a knee-jerk retaliatory military
response. Tuesday's events impact the anti-globalizaiton movement is a
strong vehicle on international solidarity between the world's peoples and
as such has a positive, highly visible role to play in the aftermath of
these attacks. Further, it now more than ever important that institutions
like the WTO be exposed for the social and economic damage they do the
world, the distance the increase between have and have not nations, and
classes. Globaliztion is not stopping, and neither should we. The
diversity of the anti-globalization movement is united by a general
world-view that is completely opposed to the mass violence seen this week.
While the western states thirst for war and revenge, we can be a voice of
peace and humanity.

According to Thursday's Guardian "NATO is now drawing up an emergency plan
for a massive attack on Afghanistan if proof emerges that Osama bin Laden,
the wanted Saudi-born terrorist sheltered by Afghanistan, was responsible
for the attacks." Our movement will not have the luxury to remain neutral
if the US and NATO (of which Canada is a member) decide to retaliate,
declare war and invade Afghanistan. We may have to move very quickly to
engage in an anti-war struggle.

Market Jitters

An interesting side note to all of this is the impact this is having on
the US, and thus world economies. The New York Stock Exchange, along with
many other forms of trading, will not resume until Monday. This is not a
respectful period of mourning, or because of security issues or the chaos
in Manhattan. It is because market analysts fear a serious crash. One
economist made the understatement of the year; "my hopes are dashed for a
recovery in the fourth quarter." A bad spike in an already slumping
American economy could hasten a global recession on the scale of that of
the early '90s. So huge sectors of the economy are frozen, Meanwhile, Alan
Greenspan is burning the midnight oil, and doing what the Federal Reserve
does best, bailing out capitalism's periodic crisis, Greenspan is quietly
adding billions into the banking system to ensure the stability of
inflation and presumably the American dollar(!) This just underscores the
fragility and volitillity of capitalism.

The events of September 11, 2001 have severely altered the global
political landscape. Activists in the anti-globalization movement have to
begin to assess this situation, to analyze the politics of terror and
state terror, to determine how constituents of the movement are affected
as well as how the movement as a whole is affected, and how we should
respond to Tuesday's events and intervene against the reaction and
backlash that is surely coming.

Garth Mullins, Vancouver.

The Guardian                  September 13, 2001

They can't see why they are hated

      Americans cannot ignore what their government does abroad

      By Seumas Milne

Nearly two days after the horrific suicide attacks on civilian workers in
New York and Washington, it has become painfully clear that most Americans
simply don't get it. From the president to passersby on the streets, the
message seems to be the same: this is an inexplicable assault on freedom
and democracy, which must be answered with overwhelming force - just as
soon as someone can construct a credible account of who was actually

Shock, rage and grief there has been aplenty. But any glimmer of
recognition of why people might have been driven to carry out such
atrocities, sacrificing their own lives in the process - or why the United
States is hated with such bitterness, not only in Arab and Muslim
countries, but across the developing world - seems almost entirely absent.
Perhaps it is too much to hope that, as rescue workers struggle to pull
firefighters from the rubble, any but a small minority might make the
connection between what has been visited upon them and what their
government has visited upon large parts of the world.

But make that connection they must, if such tragedies are not to be
repeated, potentially with even more devastating consequences. US
political leaders are doing their people no favours by reinforcing popular
ignorance with self-referential rhetoric. And the echoing chorus of Tony
Blair, whose determination to bind Britain ever closer to US foreign
policy ratchets up the threat to our own cities, will only fuel
anti-western sentiment. So will calls for the defence of "civilisation",
with its overtones of Samuel Huntington's poisonous theories of post-cold
war confrontation between the west and Islam, heightening perceptions of
racism and hypocrisy.

As Mahatma Gandhi famously remarked when asked his opinion of western
civilisation, it would be a good idea. Since George Bush's father
inaugurated his new world order a decade ago, the US, supported by its
British ally, bestrides the world like a colossus. Unconstrained by any
superpower rival or system of global governance, the US giant has
rewritten the global financial and trading system in its own interest;
ripped up a string of treaties it finds inconvenient; sent troops to every
corner of the globe; bombed Afghanistan, Sudan, Yugoslavia and Iraq
without troubling the United Nations; maintained a string of murderous
embargos against recalcitrant regimes; and recklessly thrown its weight
behind Israel's 34-year illegal military occupation of the West Bank and
Gaza as the Palestinian intifada rages.

If, as yesterday's Wall Street Journal insisted, the east coast carnage
was the fruit of the Clinton administration's Munich-like appeasement of
the Palestinians, the mind boggles as to what US Republicans imagine to be
a Churchillian response.

It is this record of unabashed national egotism and arrogance that drives
anti-Americanism among swaths of the world's population, for whom there is
little democracy in the current distribution of global wealth and power.
If it turns out that Tuesday's attacks were the work of Osama bin Laden's
supporters, the sense that the Americans are once again reaping a dragons'
teeth harvest they themselves sowed will be overwhelming.

It was the Americans, after all, who poured resources into the 1980s war
against the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul, at a time when girls could go
to school and women to work. Bin Laden and his mojahedin were armed and
trained by the CIA and MI6, as Afghanistan was turned into a wasteland and
its communist leader Najibullah left hanging from a Kabul lamp post with
his genitals stuffed in his mouth.

But by then Bin Laden had turned against his American sponsors, while
US-sponsored Pakistani intelligence had spawned the grotesque Taliban now
protecting him. To punish its wayward Afghan offspring, the US
subsequently forced through a sanctions regime which has helped push 4m to
the brink of starvation, according to the latest UN figures, while Afghan
refugees fan out across the world.

All this must doubtless seem remote to Americans desperately searching the
debris of what is expected to be the largest-ever massacre on US soil - as
must the killings of yet more Palestinians in the West Bank yesterday, or
even the 2m estimated to have died in Congo's wars since the overthrow of
the US-backed Mobutu regime. "What could some political thing have to do
with blowing up office buildings during working hours?" one bewildered New
Yorker asked yesterday.

Already, the Bush administration is assembling an international coalition
for an Israeli-style war against terrorism, as if such counter-productive
acts of outrage had an existence separate from the social conditions out
of which they arise. But for every "terror network" that is rooted out,
another will emerge - until the injustices and inequalities that produce
them are addressed.


               Who Is Ousmane Bin Laden?

    by Michel Chossudovsky
    Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa

    Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), Montréal
    Posted 12 September 2001

    The URL of this article is:


    A few hours after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and
    the Pentagon, the Bush administration concluded without supporting
    evidence, that "Ousmane bin Laden and his al-Qaeda organisation were
    prime suspects". CIA Director George Tenet stated that bin Laden has
    the capacity to plan ``multiple attacks with little or no warning.''
    Secretary of State Colin Powell called the attacks "an act of war" and
    President Bush confirmed in an evening televised address to the Nation
    that he would "make no distinction between the terrorists who
    committed these acts and those who harbor them". Former CIA Director
    James Woolsey pointed his finger at "state sponsorship," implying the
    complicity of one or more foreign governments. In the words of former
    National Security Adviser, Lawrence Eagleburger, "I think we will show
    when we get attacked like this, we are terrible in our strength and in
    our retribution."

    Meanwhile, parroting official statements, the Western media mantra has
    approved the launching of "punitive actions" directed against civilian
    targets in the Middle East. In the words of William Saffire writing in
    the New York Times: "When we reasonably determine our attackers' bases
    and camps, we must pulverize them -- minimizing but accepting the risk
    of collateral damage" -- and act overtly or covertly to destabilize
    terror's national hosts".

    The following text outlines the history of Ousmane Bin Laden and the
    links of the Islamic "Jihad" to the formulation of US foreign policy
    during the Cold War and its aftermath.

    Prime suspect in the New York and Washington terrorists attacks,
    branded by the FBI as an "international terrorist" for his role in the
    African US embassy bombings, Saudi born Ousmane bin Laden was
    recruited during the Soviet-Afghan war "ironically under the auspices
    of the CIA, to fight Soviet invaders". 1

    In 1979 "the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA" was
    launched in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in support
    of the pro-Communist government of Babrak Kamal.2:

      With the active encouragement of the CIA and Pakistan's ISI [Inter
      Services Intelligence], who wanted to turn the Afghan jihad into a
      global war waged by all Muslim states against the Soviet Union,
      some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 40 Islamic countries joined
      Afghanistan's fight between 1982 and 1992. Tens of thousands more
      came to study in Pakistani madrasahs. Eventually more than 100,000
      foreign Muslim radicals were directly influenced by the Afghan

    The Islamic "jihad" was supported by the United States and Saudi
    Arabia with a significant part of the funding generated from the
    Golden Crescent drug trade:

      In March 1985, President Reagan signed National Security Decision
      Directive 166,...[which] authorize[d] stepped-up covert military
      aid to the mujahideen, and it made clear that the secret Afghan war
      had a new goal: to defeat Soviet troops in Afghanistan through
      covert action and encourage a Soviet withdrawal. The new covert
      U.S. assistance began with a dramatic increase in arms supplies --
      a steady rise to 65,000 tons annually by 1987, ... as well as a
      "ceaseless stream" of CIA and Pentagon specialists who traveled to
      the secret headquarters of Pakistan's ISI on the main road near
      Rawalpindi, Pakistan. There the CIA specialists met with Pakistani
      intelligence officers to help plan operations for the Afghan

    The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) using Pakistan's military
    Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) played a key role in training the
    Mujahideen. In turn, the CIA sponsored guerrilla training was
    integrated with the teachings of Islam:

      Predominant themes were that Islam was a complete socio-political
      ideology, that holy Islam was being violated by the atheistic
      Soviet troops, and that the Islamic people of Afghanistan should
      reassert their independence by overthrowing the leftist Afghan
      regime propped up by Moscow.5

Pakistan's Intelligence Apparatus

    Pakistan's ISI was used as a "go-between". The CIA covert support to
    the "jihad" operated indirectly through the Pakistani ISI, --i.e. the
    CIA did not channel its support directly to the Mujahideen. In other
    words, for these covert operations to be "successful", Washington was
    careful not to reveal the ultimate objective of the "jihad", which
    consisted in destroying the Soviet Union.

    In the words of CIA's Milton Beardman "We didn't train Arabs". Yet
    according to Abdel Monam Saidali, of the Al-aram Center for Strategic
    Studies in Cairo, bin Laden and the "Afghan Arabs" had been imparted
    "with very sophisticated types of training that was allowed to them by
    the CIA" 6

    CIA's Beardman confirmed, in this regard, that Ousmane bin Laden was
    not aware of the role he was playing on behalf of Washington. In the
    words of bin Laden (quoted by Beardman): "neither I, nor my brothers
    saw evidence of American help". 7

    Motivated by nationalism and religious fervor, the Islamic warriors
    were unaware that they were fighting the Soviet Army on behalf of
    Uncle Sam. While there were contacts at the upper levels of the
    intelligence hierarchy, Islamic rebel leaders in theatre had no
    contacts with Washington or the CIA.

    With CIA backing and the funneling of massive amounts of US military
    aid, the Pakistani ISI had developed into a "parallel structure
    wielding enormous power over all aspects of government". 8 The ISI had
    a staff composed of military and intelligence officers, bureaucrats,
    undercover agents and informers, estimated at 150,000. 9

    Meanwhile, CIA operations had also reinforced the Pakistani military
    regime led by General Zia Ul Haq:

      'Relations between the CIA and the ISI [Pakistan's military
      intelligence] had grown increasingly warm following [General] Zia's
      ouster of Bhutto and the advent of the military regime,'... During
      most of the Afghan war, Pakistan was more aggressively anti-Soviet
      than even the United States. Soon after the Soviet military invaded
      Afghanistan in 1980, Zia [ul Haq] sent his ISI chief to destabilize
      the Soviet Central Asian states. The CIA only agreed to this plan
      in October 1984.... `the CIA was more cautious than the
      Pakistanis.' Both Pakistan and the United States took the line of
      deception on Afghanistan with a public posture of negotiating a
      settlement while privately agreeing that military escalation was
      the best course.10

The Golden Crescent Drug Triangle

    The history of the drug trade in Central Asia is intimately related to
    the CIA's covert operations. Prior to the Soviet-Afghan war, opium
    production in Afghanistan and Pakistan was directed to small regional
    markets. There was no local production of heroin. 11 In this regard,
    Alfred McCoy's study confirms that within two years of the onslaught
    of the CIA operation in Afghanistan, "the Pakistan-Afghanistan
    borderlands became the world's top heroin producer, supplying 60
    percent of U.S. demand. In Pakistan, the heroin-addict population went
    from near zero in 1979... to 1.2 million by 1985 -- a much steeper
    rise than in any other nation":12

      CIA assets again controlled this heroin trade. As the Mujahideen
      guerrillas seized territory inside Afghanistan, they ordered
      peasants to plant opium as a revolutionary tax. Across the border
      in Pakistan, Afghan leaders and local syndicates under the
      protection of Pakistan Intelligence operated hundreds of heroin
      laboratories. During this decade of wide-open drug-dealing, the
      U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Islamabad failed to instigate major
      seizures or arrests ... U.S. officials had refused to investigate
      charges of heroin dealing by its Afghan allies `because U.S.
      narcotics policy in Afghanistan has been subordinated to the war
      against Soviet influence there.' In 1995, the former CIA director
      of the Afghan operation, Charles Cogan, admitted the CIA had indeed
      sacrificed the drug war to fight the Cold War. `Our main mission
      was to do as much damage as possible to the Soviets. We didn't
      really have the resources or the time to devote to an investigation
      of the drug trade,'... `I don't think that we need to apologize for
      this. Every situation has its fallout.... There was fallout in
      terms of drugs, yes. But the main objective was accomplished. The
      Soviets left Afghanistan.'13

[ end Part I ]

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