[sixties-l] Chomsky Transcript: The New War Against Terror (fwd)

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    Subject: Chomsky Transcript: The New War Against Terror

    The New War Against Terror

    Noam Chomsky
    October 18, 2001 - Transcribed from audio
    recorded at The Technology & Culture Forum at MIT

    Everyone knows it's the TV people who run the world [crowd laugher]. I just
    got orders that I'm supposed to be here, not there. Well the last talk I
    gave at this forum was on a light pleasant topic. It was about how humans
    are an endangered species and given the nature of their institutions they
    are likely to destroy themselves in a fairly short time. So this time there
    is a little relief and we have a pleasant topic instead, the new war on
    terror. Unfortunately, the world keeps coming up with things that make it
    more and more horrible as we proceed.

    Assume 2 Conditions for this Talk

    I'm going to assume 2 conditions for this talk.

    The first one is just what I assume to be recognition of fact. That is that
    the events of September 11 were a horrendous atrocity probably the most
    devastating instant human toll of any crime in history, outside of war.
    The second assumption has to do with the goals. I'm assuming that our goal
    is that we are interested in reducing the likelihood of such crimes whether
    they are against us or against someone else.
    If you don't accept those two assumptions, then what I say will not be
    addressed to you. If we do accept them, then a number of questions arise,
    closely related ones, which merit a good deal of thought.

    The 5 Questions

    One question, and by far the most important one is what is happening right
    now? Implicit in that is what can we do about it? The 2nd has to do with the
    very common assumption that what happened on September 11 is a historic
    event, one which will change history. I tend to agree with that. I think
    it's true. It was a historic event and the question we should be asking is
    exactly why? The 3rd question has to do with the title, The War Against
    Terrorism. Exactly what is it? And there is a related question, namely what
    is terrorism? The 4th question which is narrower but important has to do
    with the origins of the crimes of September 11th. And the 5th question that
    I want to talk a little about is what policy options there are in fighting
    this war against terrorism and dealing with the situations that led to it.

    I'll say a few things about each. Glad to go beyond in discussion and don't
    hesitate to bring up other questions. These are ones that come to my mind as
    prominent but you may easily and plausibly have other choices.

    1. What's Happening Right Now?

    Starvation of 3 to 4 Million People

    Well let's start with right now. I'll talk about the situation in
    Afghanistan. I'll just keep to uncontroversial sources like the New York
    Times [crowd laughter]. According to the New York Times there are 7 to 8
    million people in Afghanistan on the verge of starvation. That was true
    actually before September 11th. They were surviving on international aid. On
    September 16th, the Times reported, I'm quoting it, that the United States
    demanded from Pakistan the elimination of truck convoys that provide much of
    the food and other supplies to Afghanistan's civilian population. As far as
    I could determine there was no reaction in the United States or for that
    matter in Europe. I was on national radio all over Europe the next day.
    There was no reaction in the United States or in Europe to my knowledge to
    the demand to impose massive starvation on millions of people. The threat of
    military strikes right after September^..around that time forced the removal
    of international aid workers that crippled the assistance programs.
    Actually, I am quoting again from the New York Times. Refugees reaching
    Pakistan after arduous journeys from AF are describing scenes of desperation
    and fear at home as the threat of American led military attacks turns their
    long running misery into a potential catastrophe. The country was on a
    lifeline and we just cut the line. Quoting an evacuated aid worker, in the
    New York Times Magazine.

    The World Food Program, the UN program, which is the main one by far, were
    able to resume after 3 weeks in early October, they began to resume at a
    lower level, resume food shipments. They don't have international aid
    workers within, so the distribution system is hampered. That was suspended
    as soon as the bombing began. They then resumed but at a lower pace while
    aid agencies leveled scathing condemnations of US airdrops, condemning them
    as propaganda tools which are probably doing more harm than good. That
    happens to be quoting the London Financial Times but it is easy to continue.
    After the first week of bombing, the New York Times reported on a back page
    inside a column on something else, that by the arithmetic of the United
    Nations there will soon be 7.5 million Afghans in acute need of even a loaf
    of bread and there are only a few weeks left before the harsh winter will
    make deliveries to many areas totally impossible, continuing to quote, but
    with bombs falling the delivery rate is down to of what is needed. Casual
    comment. Which tells us that Western civilization is anticipating the
    slaughter of, well do the arithmetic, 3-4 million people or something like
    that. On the same day, the leader of Western civilization dismissed with
    contempt, once again, offers of negotiation for delivery of the alleged
    target, Osama bin Laden, and a request for some evidence to substantiate the
    demand for total capitulation. It was dismissed. On the same day the Special
    Rapporteur of the UN in charge of food pleaded with the United States to
    stop the bombing to try to save millions of victims. As far as I'm aware
    that was unreported. That was Monday. Yesterday the major aid agencies OXFAM
    and Christian Aid and others joined in that plea. You can't find a report in
    the New York Times. There was a line in the Boston Globe, hidden in a story
    about another topic, Kashmir.

    Silent Genocide

    Well we could easily go on^.but all of that^.first of all indicates to us
    what's happening. Looks like what's happening is some sort of silent
    genocide. It also gives a good deal of insight into the elite culture, the
    culture that we are part of. It indicates that whatever, what will happen we
    don't know, but plans are being made and programs implemented on the
    assumption that they may lead to the death of several million people in the
    next couple of weeks^.very casually with no comment, no particular thought
    about it, that's just kind of normal, here and in a good part of Europe. Not
    in the rest of the world. In fact not even in much of Europe. So if you read
    the Irish press or the press in Scotland^that close, reactions are very
    different. Well that's what's happening now. What's happening now is very
    much under our control. We can do a lot to affect what's happening. And
    that's roughly it.

    2. Why was it a Historic Event?

    National Territory Attacked

    Alright let's turn to the slightly more abstract question, forgetting for
    the moment that we are in the midst of apparently trying to murder 3 or 4
    million people, not Taliban of course, their victims. Let's go back^turn to
    the question of the historic event that took place on September 11th. As I
    said, I think that's correct. It was a historic event. Not unfortunately
    because of its scale, unpleasant to think about, but in terms of the scale
    it's not that unusual. I did say it's the worst^probably the worst instant
    human toll of any crime. And that may be true. But there are terrorist
    crimes with effects a bit more drawn out that are more extreme,
    unfortunately. Nevertheless, it's a historic event because there was a
    change. The change was the direction in which the guns were pointed. That's
    new. Radically new. So, take US history.

    The last time that the national territory of the United States was under
    attack, or for that matter, even threatened was when the British burned down
    Washington in 1814. There have been many^it was common to bring up Pearl
    Harbor but that's not a good analogy. The Japanese, what ever you think
    about it, the Japanese bombed military bases in 2 US colonies not the
    national territory; colonies which had been taken from their inhabitants in
    not a very pretty way. This is the national territory that's been attacked
    on a large scale, you can find a few fringe examples but this is unique.
    During these close to 200 years, we, the United States expelled or mostly
    exterminated the indigenous population, that's many millions of people,
    conquered half of Mexico, carried out depredations all over the region,
    Caribbean and Central America, sometimes beyond, conquered Hawaii and the
    Philippines, killing several hundred thousand Filipinos in the process.
    Since the
    Second World War, it has extended its reach around the world in ways I don't
    have to describe. But it was always killing someone else, the fighting was
    somewhere else, it was others who were getting slaughtered. Not here. Not
    the national territory.


    In the case of Europe, the change is even more dramatic because its history
    is even more horrendous than ours. We are an offshoot of Europe, basically.
    For hundreds of years, Europe has been casually slaughtering people all over
    the world. That's how they conquered the world, not by handing out candy to
    babies. During this period, Europe did suffer murderous wars, but that was
    European killers murdering one another. The main sport of Europe for
    hundreds of years was slaughtering one another. The only reason that it came
    to an end in 1945, was^.it had nothing to do with Democracy or not making
    war with each other and other fashionable notions. It had to do with the
    fact that everyone understood that the next time they play the game it was
    going to be the end for the world. Because the Europeans, including us, had
    developed such massive weapons of destruction that that game just had to be
    over. And it goes back hundreds of years. In the 17th century, about
    probably 40% of the entire population of Germany was wiped out in one war.
    But during this whole bloody murderous period, it was Europeans slaughtering
    each other, and Europeans slaughtering people elsewhere. The Congo didn't
    attack Belgium, India didn't attack England, Algeria didn't attack France.
    It's uniform. There are again small exceptions, but pretty small in scale,
    certainly invisible in the scale of what Europe and us were doing to the
    rest of the world. This is the first change. The first time that the guns
    have been pointed the other way. And in my opinion that's probably why you
    see such different reactions on the two sides of the Irish Sea which I have
    noticed, incidentally, in many interviews on both sides, national radio on
    both sides. The world looks very different depending on whether you are
    holding the leash or whether you are being whipped by it for hundreds of
    years, very different. So I think the shock and surprise in Europe and its
    offshoots, like here, is very understandable. It is a historic event but
    regrettably not in scale, in something else and a reason why the rest of the
    world^most of the rest of the world looks at it quite differently. Not
    lacking sympathy for the victims of the atrocity or being horrified by them,
    that's almost uniform, but viewing it from a different perspective.
    Something we might want to understand.

    3. What is the War Against Terrorism?

    Well, let's go to the third question, 'What is the war against terrorism?'
    and a side question, 'What's terrorism?'. The war against terrorism has been
    described in high places as a struggle against a plague, a cancer which is
    spread by barbarians, by "depraved opponents of civilization itself." That's
    a feeling that I share. The words I'm quoting, however, happen to be from 20
    years ago. Those are^that's President Reagan and his Secretary of State. The
    Reagan administration came into office 20 years ago declaring that the war
    against international terrorism would be the core of our foreign
    policy^.describing it in terms of the kind I just mentioned and others. And
    it was the core of our foreign policy. The Reagan administration responded
    to this plague spread by depraved opponents of civilization itself by
    creating an extraordinary international terrorist network, totally
    unprecedented in scale, which carried out massive atrocities all over the
    world, primarily^.well, partly nearby, but not only there. I won't run
    through the record, you're all educated people, so I'm sure you learned
    about it in High School. [crowd laughter]

    Reagan-US War Against Nicaragua

    But I'll just mention one case which is totally uncontroversial, so we might
    as well not argue about it, by no means the most extreme but
    uncontroversial. It's uncontroversial because of the judgments of the
    highest international authorities the International Court of Justice, the
    World Court, and the UN Security Council. So this one is uncontroversial, at
    least among people who have some minimal concern for international law,
    human rights, justice and other things like that. And now I'll leave you an
    exercise. You can estimate the size of that category by simply asking how
    often this uncontroversial case has been mentioned in the commentary of the
    last month. And it's a particularly relevant one, not only because it is
    uncontroversial, but because it does offer a precedent as to how a law
    abiding state would respond to^did respond in fact to international
    terrorism, which is uncontroversial. And was even more extreme than the
    events of September 11th. I'm talking about the Reagan-US war against
    Nicaragua which left tens of thousands of people dead, the country ruined,
    perhaps beyond recovery.

    Nicaragua's Response

    Nicaragua did respond. They didn't respond by setting off bombs in
    Washington. They responded by taking it to the World Court, presenting a
    case, they had no problem putting together evidence. The World Court
    accepted their case, ruled in their favor, condemned what they
    called the "unlawful use of force," which is another word for international
    terrorism, by the United States, ordered the United States to terminate the
    crime and to pay massive reparations. The United States, of course,
    dismissed the court judgment with total contempt and announced that it would
    not accept the jurisdiction of the court henceforth. Then Nicaragua
    went to the UN Security Council which considered a resolution calling on all
    states to observe international law. No one was mentioned but everyone
    understood. The United States vetoed the resolution. It now stands as the
    only state on record which has both been condemned by the World Court for
    international terrorism and has vetoed a Security Council resolution calling
    on states to observe international law. Nicaragua then went to the General
    Assembly where there is technically no veto but a negative US vote amounts
    to a veto. It passed a similar resolution with only the United States,
    Israel, and El Salvador opposed. The following year again, this time the
    United States could only rally Israel to the cause, so 2 votes opposed to
    observing international law. At that point, Nicaragua couldn't do anything
    lawful. It tried all the measures. They don't work in a world that is ruled
    by force.

    This case is uncontroversial but it's by no means the most extreme. We gain
    a lot of insight into our own culture and society and what's happening now
    by asking 'how much we know about all this? How much we talk about it? How
    much you learn about it in school? How much it's all over the front pages?'
    And this is only the beginning. The United States responded to the World
    Court and the Security Council by immediately escalating the war very
    quickly, that was a bipartisan decision incidentally. The terms of the war
    were also changed. For the first time there were official orders
    given^official orders to the terrorist army to attack what are called "soft
    targets," meaning undefended civilian targets, and to keep away from the
    Nicaraguan army. They were able to do that because the United States had
    total control of the air over Nicaragua and the mercenary army was supplied
    with advanced communication equipment, it wasn't a guerilla army in the
    normal sense and could get instructions about the disposition of the
    Nicaraguan army forces so they could attack agricultural collectives, health
    clinics, and so on^soft targets with impunity. Those were the official

    What was the Reaction Here?

    What was the reaction? It was known. There was a reaction to it. The policy
    was regarded as sensible by left liberal opinion. So Michael Kinsley who
    represents the left in mainstream discussion, wrote an article in which he
    said that we shouldn't be too quick to criticize this policy as Human Rights
    Watch had just done. He said a "sensible policy" must "meet the test of cost
    benefit analysis" -- that is, I'm quoting now, that is the analysis of "the
    amount of blood and misery that will be poured in, and the likelihood that
    democracy will emerge at the other end." Democracy as the US understands the
    term, which is graphically illustrated in the surrounding countries. Notice
    that it is axiomatic that the United States, US elites, have the right to
    conduct the analysis and to pursue the project if it passes their tests. And
    it did pass their tests. It worked. When Nicaragua finally succumbed to
    superpower assault, commentators openly and cheerfully lauded the success of
    the methods that were adopted and described them accurately. So I'll quote
    Time Magazine just to pick one. They lauded the success of the methods
    adopted: "to wreck the economy and prosecute a long and deadly proxy war
    until the exhausted natives overthrow the unwanted government themselves,"
    with a cost to us that is "minimal," and leaving the victims "with wrecked
    bridges, sabotaged power stations, and ruined farms," and thus providing the
    US candidate with a "winning issue": "ending the impoverishment of the
    people of Nicaragua." The New York Times had a headline saying "Americans
    United in Joy" at this outcome.

    Terrorism Works Terrorism is not the Weapon of the Weak

    That is the culture in which we live and it reveals several facts. One is
    the fact that terrorism works. It doesn't fail. It works. Violence usually
    works. That's world history. Secondly, it's a very serious analytic error to
    say, as is commonly done, that terrorism is the weapon of the weak. Like
    other means of violence, it's primarily a weapon of the strong,
    overwhelmingly, in fact. It is held to be a weapon of the weak because the
    strong also control the doctrinal systems and their terror doesn't count as
    terror. Now that's close to universal. I can't think of a historical
    exception, even the worst mass murderers view the world that way. So pick
    the Nazis. They weren't carrying out terror in occupied Europe. They were
    protecting the local population from the terrorisms of the partisans. And
    like other resistance movements, there was terrorism. The Nazis were
    carrying out counter terror. Furthermore, the United States essentially
    agreed with that. After the war, the US army did extensive studies of Nazi
    counter terror operations in Europe. First I should say that the US picked
    them up and began carrying them out itself, often against the same targets,
    the former resistance. But the military also studied the Nazi methods
    published interesting studies, sometimes critical of them because they were
    inefficiently carried out, so a critical analysis, you didn't do this right,
    you did that right, but those methods with the advice of Wermacht officers
    who were brought over here became the manuals of counter insurgency, of
    counter terror, of low intensity conflict, as it is called, and are the
    manuals, and are the procedures that are being used. So it's not just that
    the Nazis did it. It's that it was regarded as the right thing to do by the
    leaders of western civilization, that is us, who then proceeded to do it
    themselves. Terrorism is not the weapon of the weak. It is the weapon of
    those who are against 'us' whoever 'us' happens to be. And if you can find a
    historical exception to that, I'd be interested in seeing it.

    Nature of our Culture How We Regard Terrorism

    Well, an interesting indication of the nature of our culture, our high
    culture, is the way in which all of this is regarded. One way it's regarded
    is just suppressing it. So almost nobody has ever heard of it. And the power
    of American propaganda and doctrine is so strong that even among the victims
    it's barely known. I mean, when you talk about this to people in Argentina,
    you have to remind them. Oh, yeah, that happened, we forgot about it. It's
    deeply suppressed. The sheer consequences of the monopoly of violence can be
    very powerful in ideological and other terms.

    The Idea that Nicaragua Might Have The Right To Defend Itself

    Well, one illuminating aspect of our own attitude toward terrorism is the
    reaction to the idea that Nicaragua might have the right to defend itself.
    Actually I went through this in some detail with database searches and that
    sort of thing. The idea that Nicaragua might have the right to defend itself
    was considered outrageous. There is virtually nothing in mainstream
    commentary indicating that Nicaragua might have that right. And that fact
    was exploited by the Reagan administration and its propaganda in an
    interesting way. Those of you who were around in that time will remember
    that they periodically floated rumors that the Nicaraguans were getting MIG
    jets, jets from Russia. At that point the hawks and the doves split. The
    hawks said, 'ok, let's bomb 'em.' The doves said, `wait a minute, let's see
    if the rumors are true. And if the rumors are true, then let's bomb them.
    Because they are a threat to the United States.' Why, incidentally were they
    getting MIGs? Well they tried to get jet planes from European countries but
    the United States put pressure on its allies so that it wouldn't send them
    means of defense because they wanted them to turn to the Russians. That's
    good for propaganda purposes. Then they become a threat to us. Remember,
    they were just 2 days march from Harlingen, Texas. We actually declared a
    national emergency in 1985 to protect the country from the threat of
    Nicaragua. And it stayed in force. So it was much better for them to get
    arms from the Russians. Why would they want jet planes? Well, for the
    reasons I already mentioned. The United States had total control over their
    airspace, and was using that to provide instructions to the
    terrorist army to enable them to attack soft targets without running into
    the army that might defend them. Everyone knew that that was the reason.
    They are not going to use their jet planes for anything else. But the idea
    that Nicaragua should be permitted to defend its airspace against a
    superpower attack that is directing terrorist forces to attack undefended
    civilian targets, that was considered in the United States as outrageous and
    uniformly so. Exceptions are so slight, you know I can practically list
    them. I don't suggest that you take my word for this. Have a look. That
    includes our own senators, incidentally.

    Honduras The Appointment of John Negroponte as Ambassador to the United

    Another illustration of how we regard terrorism is happening right now. The
    US has just appointed an ambassador to the United Nations to lead the war
    against terrorism a couple weeks ago. Who is he? Well, his name is John
    Negroponte. He was the US ambassador in the fiefdom, which is what it is, of
    Honduras in the early 1980's. There was a little fuss made about the fact
    that he must have been aware, as he certainly was, of the large-scale
    murders and other atrocities that were being carried out by the security
    forces in Honduras that we were supporting. But that's a small part of it.
    As proconsul of Honduras, as he was called there, he was the local
    supervisor for the terrorist war based in Honduras, for which his government
    was condemned by the world court and then the Security Council in a vetoed
    resolution. And he was just appointed as the UN Ambassador to lead the war
    against terror. Another small experiment you can do is check and see what
    the reaction was to this. Well, I will tell you what you are going to find,
    but find it for yourself. Now that tells us a lot about the war against
    terrorism and a lot about ourselves.

    After the United States took over the country again under the conditions
    that were so graphically described by the press, the country was pretty much
    destroyed in the 1980's, but it has totally collapsed since in every respect
    just about. Economically it has declined sharply since the US take over,
    democratically and in every other respect. It's now the second poorest
    country in the Hemisphere. I should say^.I'm not going to talk about it, but
    I mentioned that I picked up Nicaragua because it is an uncontroversial
    case. If you look at the other states in the region, the state terror was
    far more extreme and it again traces back to Washington and that's by no
    means all.

    US & UK Backed South African Attacks

    It was happening elsewhere in the world too, take say Africa. During the
    Reagan years alone, South African attacks, backed by the United States and
    Britain, US/UK-backed South African attacks against the neighboring
    countries killed about a million and a half people and left 60 billion
    dollars in damage and countries destroyed. And if we go around the world,
    we can add more examples.

    Now that was the first war against terror of which I've given a small
    sample. Are we supposed to pay attention to that? Or kind of think that that
    might be relevant? After all it's not exactly ancient history. Well,
    evidently not as you can tell by looking at the current discussion of the
    war on terror which has been the leading topic for the last month.

    Haiti, Guatemala, and Nicaragua

    I mentioned that Nicaragua has now become the 2nd poorest country in the
    hemisphere. What's the poorest country? Well that's of course Haiti which
    also happens to be the victim of most US intervention in the 20th century by
    a long shot. We left it totally devastated. It's the poorest country.
    Nicaragua is second ranked in degree of US intervention in the 20th century.
    It is the 2nd poorest. Actually, it is vying with Guatemala. They
    interchange every year or two as to who's the second poorest. And they also
    vie as to who is the leading target of US military intervention. We're
    supposed to think that all of this is some sort of accident. That is has
    nothing to do with anything that happened in history. Maybe.

    Colombia and Turkey

    The worst human rights violator in the 1990's is Colombia, by a long shot.
    It's also, by far, the leading recipient of US military aid in the
    1990's maintaining the terror and human rights violations. In 1999, Colombia
    replaced Turkey as the leading recipient of US arms worldwide, that is
    excluding Israel and Egypt which are a separate category. And that tells us
    a lot more about the war on terror right now, in fact.

    Why was Turkey getting such a huge flow of US arms? Well if you take a look
    at the flow of US arms to Turkey, Turkey always got a lot of US arms. It's
    strategically placed, a member of NATO, and so on. But the arms flow to
    Turkey went up very sharply in 1984. It didn't have anything to do with the
    cold war. I mean Russian was collapsing. And it stayed high from 1984 to
    1999 when it reduced and it was replaced in the lead by Colombia. What
    happened from 1984 to 1999? Well, in 1984, [Turkey] launched a major
    terrorist war against Kurds in southeastern Turkey. And that's when US aid
    went up, military aid. And this was not pistols. This was jet planes, tanks,
    military training, and so on. And it stayed high as the atrocities escalated
    through the 1990's. Aid followed it. The peak year was 1997. In 1997, US
    military aid to Turkey was more than in the entire period 1950 to 1983, that
    is the cold war period, which is an indication of how much the cold war has
    affected policy. And the results were awesome. This led to 2-3 million
    refugees. Some of the worst ethnic cleansing of the late 1990's. Tens of
    thousands of people killed, 3500 towns and villages destroyed, way more than
    Kosovo, even under NATO bombs. And the United States was providing 80% of
    the arms, increasing as the atrocities increased, peaking in 1997. It
    declined in 1999 because, once again, terror worked as it usually does when
    carried out by its major agents, mainly the powerful. So by 1999, Turkish
    terror, called of course counter-terror, but as I said, that's universal, it
    worked. Therefore Turkey was replaced by Colombia which had not yet
    succeeded in its terrorist war. And therefore had to move into first place
    as recipient of US arms.

    Self Congratulation on the Part of Western Intellectuals

    Well, what makes this all particularly striking is that all of this was
    taking place right in the midst of a huge flood of self-congratulation on
    the part of Western intellectuals which probably has no counterpart in
    history. I mean you all remember it. It was just a couple years ago. Massive
    self-adulation about how for the first time in history we are so
    magnificent; that we are standing up for principles and values; dedicated to
    ending inhumanity everywhere in the new era of this-and-that, and
    so-on-and-so-forth. And we certainly can't tolerate atrocities right near
    the borders of NATO. That was repeated over and over. Only within the
    borders of NATO where we can not only can tolerate much worse atrocities but
    contribute to them. Another insight into Western civilization and our own,
    is how often was this brought up? Try to look. I won't repeat it. But it's
    instructive. It's a pretty impressive feat for a propaganda system to carry
    this off in a free society. It's pretty amazing. I don't think you could do
    this in a totalitarian state.

    Turkey is Very Grateful

    And Turkey is very grateful. Just a few days ago, Prime Minister Ecevit
    announced that Turkey would join the coalition against terror, very
    enthusiastically, even more so than others. In fact, he said they would
    contribute troops which others have not willing to do. And he explained why.
    He said, We owe a debt of gratitude to the United States because the United
    States was the only country that was willing to contribute so massively to
    our own, in his words "counter-terrorist" war, that is to our own massive
    ethnic cleansing and atrocities and terror. Other countries helped a little,
    but they stayed back. The United States, on the other hand, contributed
    enthusiastically and decisively and was able to do so because of the
    silence, servility might be the right word, of the educated classes who
    could easily find out about it. It's a free country after all. You can read
    human rights reports. You can read all sorts of stuff. But we chose to
    contribute to the atrocities and Turkey is very happy, they owe us a debt of
    gratitude for that and therefore will contribute troops just as during the
    war in Serbia. Turkey was very much praised for using its F-16's which we
    supplied it to bomb Serbia exactly as it had been doing with the same planes
    against its own population up until the time when it finally succeeded in
    crushing internal terror as they called it. And as usual, as always,
    resistance does include terror. Its true of the American Revolution. That's
    true of every case I know. Just as its true that those who have a monopoly
    of violence talk about themselves as carrying out counter terror.

    The Coalition Including Algeria, Russia, China, Indonesia

    Now that's pretty impressive and that has to do with the coalition that is
    now being organized to fight the war against terror. And it's very
    interesting to see how that coalition is being described. So have a look at
    this morning's Christian Science Monitor. That's a good newspaper. One of
    the best international newspapers, with real coverage of the world. The lead
    story, the front-page story, is about how the United States, you know people
    used to dislike the United States but now they are beginning to respect it,
    and they are very happy about the way that the US is leading the war against
    terror. And the prime example, well in fact the only serious example, the
    others are a joke, is Algeria. Turns out that Algeria is very enthusiastic
    about the US war against terror. The person who wrote the article is an
    expert on Africa. He must know that Algeria is one of the most vicious
    terrorist states in the world and has been carrying out horrendous terror
    against its own population in the past couple of years, in fact. For a
    while, this was under wraps. But it was finally exposed in France by
    defectors from the Algerian army. It's all over the place there and in
    England and so on. But here, we're very proud because one of the worst
    terrorist states in the world is now enthusiastically welcoming the US war
    on terror and in fact is cheering on the United States to lead the war. That
    shows how popular we are getting.

    And if you look at the coalition that is being formed against terror it
    tells you a lot more. A leading member of the coalition is Russia which is
    delighted to have the United States support its murderous terrorist war in
    Chechnya instead of occasionally criticizing it in the background. China is
    joining enthusiastically. It's delighted to have support for the atrocities
    it's carrying out in western China against, what it called, Muslim
    secessionists. Turkey, as I mentioned, is very happy with the war against
    terror. They are experts. Algeria, Indonesia delighted to have even more US
    support for atrocities it is carrying out in Ache and elsewhere. Now we can
    run through the list, the list of the states that have joined the coalition
    against terror is quite impressive. They have a characteristic in common.
    They are certainly among the leading terrorist states in the world. And they
    happen to be led by the world champion.

    What is Terrorism?

    Well that brings us back to the question, what is terrorism? I have been
    assuming we understand it. Well, what is it? Well, there happen to be some
    easy answers to this. There is an official definition. You can find it in
    the US code or in US army manuals. A brief statement of it taken from a US
    army manual, is fair enough, is that terror is the calculated use of
    violence or the threat of violence to attain political or religious
    ideological goals through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear. That's
    terrorism. That's a fair enough definition. I think it is reasonable to
    accept that. The problem is that it can't be accepted because if you accept
    that, all the wrong consequences follow. For example, all the consequences I
    have just been reviewing. Now there is a major effort right now at the UN to
    try to develop a comprehensive treaty on terrorism. When Kofi Annan got the
    Nobel prize the other day, you will notice he was reported as saying that we
    should stop wasting time on this and really get down to it.

    But there's a problem. If you use the official definition of terrorism in
    the comprehensive treaty you are going to get completely the wrong results.
    So that can't be done. In fact, it is even worse than that. If you take a
    look at the definition of Low Intensity Warfare which is official US policy
    you find that it is a very close paraphrase of what I just read. In fact,
    Low Intensity Conflict is just another name for terrorism. That's why all
    countries, as far as I know, call whatever horrendous acts they are carrying
    out, counter terrorism. We happen to call it Counter Insurgency or Low
    Intensity Conflict. So that's a serious problem. You can't use the actual
    definitions. You've got to carefully find a definition that doesn't have all
    the wrong consequences.

    Why did the United States and Israel Vote Against a Major Resolution
    Condemning Terrorism?

    There are some other problems. Some of them came up in December 1987, at the
    peak of the first war on terrorism, that's when the furor over the plague
    was peaking. The United Nations General Assembly passed a very strong
    resolution against terrorism, condemning the plague in the strongest terms,
    calling on every state to fight against it in every possible way. It passed
    unanimously. One country, Honduras abstained. Two votes against; the usual
    two, United States and Israel. Why should the United States and Israel vote
    against a major resolution condemning terrorism in the strongest terms, in
    fact pretty much the terms that the Reagan administration was using? Well,
    there is a reason. There is one paragraph in that long resolution which says
    that nothing in this resolution infringes on the rights of people struggling
    against racist and colonialist regimes or foreign military occupation to
    continue with their resistance with the assistance of others, other states,
    states outside in their just cause. Well, the United States and Israel can't
    accept that. The main reason that they couldn't at the time was because of
    South Africa. South Africa was an ally, officially called an ally. There was
    a terrorist force in South Africa. It was called the African National
    Congress. They were a terrorist force officially. South Africa in contrast
    was an ally and we certainly couldn't support actions by a terrorist group
    struggling against a racist regime. That would be impossible.

    And of course there is another one. Namely the Israeli occupied territories,
    now going into its 35th year. Supported primarily by the United States in
    blocking a diplomatic settlement for 30 years now, still is. And you can't
    have that. There is another one at the time. Israel was occupying Southern
    Lebanon and was being combated by what the US calls a terrorist force,
    Hizbullah, which in fact succeeded in driving Israel out of Lebanon. And we
    can't allow anyone to struggle against a military occupation when it is one
    that we support so therefore the US and Israel had to vote against the major
    UN resolution on terrorism. And I mentioned before that a US vote against^is
    essentially a veto. Which is only half the story. It also vetoes it from
    history. So none of this was ever reported and none of it appeared in the
    annals of terrorism. If you look at the scholarly work on terrorism and so
    on, nothing that I just mentioned appears. The reason is that it has got the
    wrong people holding the guns. You have to carefully hone the definitions
    and the scholarship and so on so that you come out with the right
    conclusions; otherwise it is not respectable scholarship and honorable
    journalism. Well, these are some of problems that are hampering the effort
    to develop a comprehensive treaty against terrorism. Maybe we should have an
    academic conference or something to try to see if we can figure out a way of
    defining terrorism so that it comes out with just the right answers, not the
    wrong answers. That won't be easy.

    4. What are the Origins of the September 11 Crime?

    Well, let's drop that and turn to the 4th question, What are the origins of
    the September 11 crimes? Here we have to make a distinction between 2
    categories which shouldn't be run together. One is the actual agents of the
    crime, the other is kind of a reservoir of at least sympathy, sometimes
    support that they appeal to even among people who very much oppose the
    criminals and the actions. And those are 2 different things.

    Category 1: The Likely Perpetrators

    Well, with regard to the perpetrators, in a certain sense we are not really
    clear. The United States either is unable or unwilling to provide any
    evidence, any meaningful evidence. There was a sort of a play a week or two
    ago when Tony Blair was set up to try to present it. I don't exactly know
    what the purpose of this was. Maybe so that the US could look as though it's
    holding back on some secret evidence that it can't reveal or that Tony Blair
    could strike proper Churchillian poses or something or other. Whatever the
    PR [public relations] reasons were, he gave a presentation which was in
    serious circles considered so absurd that it was barely even mentioned. So
    the Wall Street Journal, for example, one of the more serious papers had a
    small story on page 12, I think, in which they pointed out that there was
    not much evidence and then they quoted some high US official as saying that
    it didn't matter whether there was any evidence because they were going to
    do it anyway. So why bother with the evidence? The more ideological press,
    like the New York Times and others, they had big front-page headlines. But
    the Wall Street Journal reaction was reasonable and if you look at the
    so-called evidence you can see why. But let's assume that it's true. It is
    astonishing to me how weak the evidence was. I sort of thought you could do
    better than that without any intelligence service [audience laughter]. In
    fact, remember this was after weeks of the most intensive investigation in
    history of all the intelligence services of the western world working
    overtime trying to put something together. And it was a prima facie, it was
    a very strong case even before you had anything. And it ended up about where
    it started, with a prima facie case. So let's assume that it is true. So
    let's assume that, it looked obvious the first day, still does, that the
    actual perpetrators come from the radical Islamic, here called,
    fundamentalist networks of which the bin Laden network is undoubtedly a
    significant part. Whether they were involved or not nobody knows. It doesn't
    really matter much.

    Where did they come from?

    That's the background, those networks. Well, where do they come from? We
    know all about that. Nobody knows about that better than the CIA because it
    helped organize them and it nurtured them for a long time. They were brought
    together in the 1980's actually by the CIA and its associates elsewhere:
    Pakistan, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China was involved, they may
    have been involved a little bit earlier, maybe by 1978. The idea was to try
    to harass the Russians, the common enemy. According to President Carter's
    National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the US got involved in mid
    1979. Do you remember, just to put the dates right, that Russia invaded
    Afghanistan in December 1979. Ok. According to Brzezinski, the US support
    for the mujahedin fighting against the government began 6 months earlier. He
    is very proud of that. He says we drew the Russians into, in his words, an
    Afghan trap, by supporting the mujahedin, getting them to invade, getting
    them into the trap. Now then we could develop this terrific mercenary army.
    Not a small one, maybe 100,000 men or so bringing together the best killers
    they could find, who were radical Islamist fanatics from around North
    Africa, Saudi Arabia^.anywhere they could find them. They were often called
    the Afghanis but many of them, like bin Laden, were not Afghans. They were
    brought by the CIA and its friends from elsewhere. Whether Brzezinski is
    telling the truth or not, I don't know. He may have been bragging, he is
    apparently very proud of it, knowing the consequences incidentally. But
    maybe it's true. We'll know someday if the documents are ever released.
    Anyway, that's his perception. By January 1980 it is not even in doubt that
    the US was organizing the Afghanis and this massive military force to try to
    cause the Russians maximal trouble. It was a legitimate thing for the
    Afghans to fight the Russian invasion. But the US intervention was not
    helping the Afghans. In fact, it helped destroy the country and much more.
    The Afghanis, so called, had their own...it did force the Russians to
    withdrew, finally. Although many analysts believe that it probably delayed
    their withdrawal because they were trying to get out of it. Anyway,
    whatever, they did withdraw.

    Meanwhile, the terrorist forces that the CIA was organizing, arming, and
    training were pursuing their own agenda, right away. It was no secret. One
    of the first acts was in 1981 when they assassinated the President of Egypt,
    who was one of the most enthusiastic of their creators. In 1983, one suicide
    bomber, who may or may not have been connected, it's pretty shadowy, nobody
    knows. But one suicide bomber drove the US army-military out of Lebanon.
    And it continued. They have their own agenda. The US was happy to mobilize
    them to fight its cause but meanwhile they are doing their own thing. They
    were clear very about it. After 1989, when the Russians had withdrawn, they
    simply turned elsewhere. Since then they have been fighting in Chechnya,
    Western China, Bosnia, Kashmir, South East Asia, North Africa, all over the

    The Are Telling Us What They Think

    They are telling us just what they think. The United States wants to silence
    the one free television channel in the Arab world because it's broadcasting
    a whole range of things from Powell over to Osama bin Laden. So the US is
    now joining the repressive regimes of the Arab world that try to shut it up.
    But if you listen to it, if you listen to what bin Laden says, it's worth
    it. There is plenty of interviews. And there are plenty of interviews by
    leading Western reporters, if you don't want to listen to his own voice,
    Robert Fisk and others. And what he has been saying is pretty consistent for
    a long time. He's not the only one but maybe he is the most eloquent. It's
    not only consistent over a long time, it is consistent with their actions.
    So there is every reason to take it seriously. Their prime enemy is what
    they call the corrupt and oppressive authoritarian brutal regimes of the
    Arab world and when the say that they get quite a resonance in the region.
    They also want to defend and they want to replace them by properly Islamist
    governments. That's where they lose the people of the region. But up till
    then, they are with them. From their point of view, even Saudi Arabia, the
    most extreme fundamentalist state in the world, I suppose, short of the
    Taliban, which is an offshoot, even that's not Islamist enough for them. Ok,
    at that point, they get very little support, but up until that point they
    get plenty of support. Also they want to defend Muslims elsewhere. They hate
    the Russians like poison, but as soon as the Russians pulled out of
    Afghanistan, they stopped carrying out terrorist acts in Russia as they had
    been doing with CIA backing before that within Russia, not just in
    Afghanistan. They did move over to Chechnya. But there they are defending
    Muslims against a Russian invasion. Same with all the other places I
    mentioned. From their point of view, they are defending the Muslims against
    the infidels. And they are very clear about it and that is what they have
    been doing.

    Why did they turn against the United States?

    Now why did they turn against the United States? Well that had to do with
    what they call the US invasion of Saudi Arabia. In 1990, the US established
    permanent military bases in Saudi Arabia which from their point of view is
    comparable to a Russian invasion of Afghanistan except that Saudi Arabia is
    way more important. That's the home of the holiest sites of Islam. And that
    is when their activities turned against the Unites States. If you recall, in
    1993 they tried to blow up the World Trade Center. Got part of the way, but
    not the whole way and that was only part of it. The plans were to blow up
    the UN building, the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, the FBI building. I think
    there were others on the list. Well, they sort of got part way, but not all
    the way. One person who is jailed for that, finally, among the people who
    were jailed, was a Egyptian cleric who had been brought into the United
    States over the objections of the Immigration Service, thanks to the
    intervention of the CIA which wanted to help out their friend. A couple
    years later he was blowing up the World Trade Center. And this has been
    going on all over. I'm not going to run through the list but it's, if you
    want to understand it, it's consistent. It's a consistent picture. It's
    described in words. It's revealed in practice for 20 years. There is no
    reason not to take it seriously. That's the first category, the likely

    Category 2: What about the reservoir of support?

    What about the reservoir of support? Well, it's not hard to find out what
    that is. One of the good things that has happened since September 11 is that
    some of the press and some of the discussion has begun to open up to some of
    these things. The best one to my knowledge is the Wall Street Journal which
    right away began to run, within a couple of days, serious reports, searching
    serious reports, on the reasons why the people of the region, even though
    they hate bin Laden and despise everything he is doing, nevertheless support
    him in many ways and even regard him as the conscience of Islam, as one
    said. Now the Wall Street Journal and others, they are not surveying public
    opinion. They are surveying the opinion of their friends: bankers,
    professionals, international lawyers, businessmen tied to the United States,
    people who they interview in McDonalds restaurant, which is an elegant
    restaurant there, wearing fancy American clothes. That's the people they are
    interviewing because they want to find out what their attitudes are. And
    their attitudes are very explicit and very clear and in many ways consonant
    with the message of bin Laden and others. They are very angry at the United
    States because of its support of authoritarian and brutal regimes; its
    intervention to block any move towards democracy; its intervention to stop
    economic development; its policies of devastating the civilian societies of
    Iraq while strengthening Saddam Hussein; and they remember, even if we
    prefer not to, that the United States and Britain supported Saddam Hussein
    right through his worst atrocities, including the gassing of the Kurds, bin
    Laden brings that up constantly, and they know it even if we don't want to.
    And of course their support for the Israeli military occupation which is
    harsh and brutal. It is now in its 35th year. The US has been providing the
    overwhelming economic, military, and diplomatic support for it, and still
    does. And they know that and they don't like it. Especially when that is
    paired with US policy towards Iraq, towards the Iraqi civilian society which
    is getting destroyed. Ok, those are the reasons roughly. And when bin Laden
    gives those reasons, people recognize it and support it.

    Now that's not the way people here like to think about it, at least educated
    liberal opinion. They like the following line which has been all over the
    press, mostly from left liberals, incidentally. I have not done a real study
    but I think right wing opinion has generally been more honest. But if you
    look at say at the New York Times at the first op-ed they ran by Ronald
    Steel, serious left liberal intellectual. He asks Why do they hate us? This
    is the same day, I think, that the Wall Street Journal was running the
    survey on why they hate us. So he says "They hate us because we champion a
    new world order of capitalism, individualism, secularism, and democracy that
    should be the norm everywhere." That's why they hate us. The same day the
    Wall Street Journal is surveying the opinions of bankers, professionals,
    international lawyers and saying `look, we hate you because you are blocking
    democracy, you are preventing economic development, you are supporting
    brutal regimes, terrorist regimes and you are doing these horrible things in
    the region.' A couple days later, Anthony Lewis, way out on the left,
    explained that the terrorist seek only "apocalyptic nihilism," nothing more
    and nothing we do matters. The only consequence of our actions, he says,
    that could be harmful is that it makes it harder for Arabs to join in the
    coalition's anti-terrorism effort. But beyond that, everything we do is

    Well, you know, that's got the advantage of being sort of comforting. It
    makes you feel good about yourself, and how wonderful you are. It enables us
    to evade the consequences of our actions. It has a couple of defects. One is
    it is at total variance with everything we know. And another defect is that
    it is a perfect way to ensure that you escalate the cycle of violence. If
    you want to live with your head buried in the sand and pretend they hate us
    because they're opposed to globalization, that's why they killed Sadat 20
    years ago, and fought the Russians, tried to blow up the World Trade Center
    in 1993. And these are all people who are in the midst of ^ corporate
    globalization but if you want to believe that, yeh^comforting. And it is a
    great way to make sure that violence escalates. That's tribal violence. You
    did something to me, I'll do something worse to you. I don't care what the
    reasons are. We just keep going that way. And that's a way to do it. Pretty
    much straight, left-liberal opinion.

    5. What are the Policy Options?

    What are the policy options? Well, there are a number. A narrow policy
    option from the beginning was to follow the advice of really far out
    radicals like the Pope [audience laughter]. The Vatican immediately said
    look it's a horrible terrorist crime. In the case of crime, you try to find
    the perpetrators, you bring them to justice, you try them. You don't kill
    innocent civilians. Like if somebody robs my house and I think the guy who
    did it is probably in the neighborhood across the street, I don't go out
    with an assault rifle and kill everyone in that neighborhood. That's not the
    way you deal with crime, whether it's a small crime like this one or really
    massive one like the US terrorist war against Nicaragua, even worse ones and
    others in between. And there are plenty of precedents for that. In fact, I
    mentioned a precedent, Nicaragua, a lawful, a law abiding state, that's why
    presumably we had to destroy it, which followed the right principles. Now of
    course, it didn't get anywhere because it was running up against a power
    that wouldn't allow lawful procedures to be followed. But if the United
    States tried to pursue them, nobody would stop them. In fact, everyone would
    applaud. And there are plenty of other precedents.IRA Bombs in London
    When the IRA set off bombs in London, which is pretty serious business,
    Britain could have, apart from the fact that it was unfeasible, let's put
    that aside, one possible response would have been to destroy Boston which is
    the source of most of the financing. And of course to wipe out West Belfast.
    Well, you know, quite apart from the feasibility, it would have been
    criminal idiocy. The way to deal with it was pretty much what they did. You
    know, find the perpetrators; bring them to trial; and look for the reasons.
    Because these things don't come out of nowhere. They come from something.
    Whether it is a crime in the streets or a monstrous terrorist crime or
    anything else. There's reasons. And usually if you look at the reasons, some
    of them are legitimate and ought to be addressed, independently of the
    crime, they ought to be addressed because they are legitimate. And that's
    the way to deal with it. There are many such examples.

    But there are problems with that. One problem is that the United States does
    not recognize the jurisdiction of international institutions. So it can't go
    to them. It has rejected the jurisdiction of the World Court. It has refused
    to ratify the International Criminal Court. It is powerful enough to set up
    a new court if it wants so that wouldn't stop anything. But there is a
    problem with any kind of a court, mainly you need evidence. You go to any
    kind of court, you need some kind of evidence. Not Tony Blair talking about
    it on television. And that's very hard. It may be impossible to find.

    Leaderless Resistance

    You know, it could be that the people who did it, killed themselves. Nobody
    knows this better than the CIA. These are decentralized, nonhierarchic
    networks. They follow a principle that is called Leaderless Resistance.
    That's the principle that has been developed by the Christian Right
    terrorists in the United States. It's called Leaderless Resistance. You have
    small groups that do things. They don't talk to anybody else. There is a
    kind of general background of assumptions and then you do it. Actually
    people in the anti war movement are very familiar with it. We used to call
    it affinity groups. If you assume correctly that whatever group you are in
    is being penetrated by the FBI, when something serious is happening, you
    don't do it in a meeting. You do it with some people you know and trust, an
    affinity group and then it doesn't get penetrated. That's one of the reasons
    why the FBI has never been able to figure out what's going on in any of the
    popular movements. And other intelligence agencies are the same. They can't.
    That's leaderless resistance or affinity groups, and decentralized networks
    are extremely hard to penetrate. And it's quite possible that they just
    don't know. When Osama bin Laden claims he wasn't involved, that's entirely
    possible. In fact, it's pretty hard to imagine how a guy in a cave in
    Afghanistan, who doesn't even have a radio or a telephone could have planned
    a highly sophisticated operation like that. Chances are it's part of the
    background. You know, like other leaderless resistance terrorist groups.
    Which means it's going to be extremely difficult to find evidence.

    Establishing Credibility

    And the US doesn't want to present evidence because it wants to be able to
    do it, to act without evidence. That's a crucial part of the reaction. You
    will notice that the US did not ask for Security Council authorization which
    they probably could have gotten this time, not for pretty reasons, but
    because the other permanent members of the Security Council are also
    terrorist states. They are happy to join a coalition against what they call
    terror, namely in support of their own terror. Like Russia wasn't going to
    veto, they love it. So the US probably could have gotten Security Council
    authorization but it didn't want it. And it didn't want it because it
    follows a long-standing principle which is not George Bush, it was explicit
    in the Clinton administration, articulated and goes back much further and
    that is that we have the right to act unilaterally. We don't want
    international authorization because we act unilaterally and therefore we
    don't want it. We don't care about evidence. We don't care about
    negotiation. We don't care about treaties. We are the strongest guy around;
    the toughest thug on the block. We do what we want. Authorization is a bad
    thing and therefore must be avoided. There is even a name for it in the
    technical literature. It's called establishing credibility. You have to
    establish credibility. That's an important factor in many policies. It was
    the official reason given for the war in the Balkans and the most plausible

    You want to know what credibility means, ask your favorite Mafia Don. He'll
    explain to you what credibility means. And it's the same in international
    affairs, except it's talked about in universities using big words, and that
    sort of thing. But it's basically the same principle. And it makes sense.
    And it usually works. The main historian who has written about this in the
    last couple years is Charles Tilly with a book called Coercion, Capital, and
    European States. He points out that violence has been the leading principle
    of Europe for hundreds of years and the reason is because it works. You
    know, it's very reasonable. It almost always works. When you have an
    overwhelming predominance of violence and a culture of violence behind it.
    So therefore it makes sense to follow it. Well, those are all problems in
    pursuing lawful paths. And if you did try to follow them you'd really open
    some very dangerous doors. Like the US is demanding that the Taliban hand
    over Osama bin Laden. And they are responding in a way which is regarded as
    totally absurd and outlandish in the west, namely they are saying, Ok, but
    first give us some evidence. In the west, that is considered ludicrous. It's
    a sign of their criminality. How can they ask for evidence? I mean if
    somebody asked us to hand someone over, we'd do it tomorrow. We wouldn't ask
    for any evidence. [crowd laughter].


    In fact it is easy to prove that. We don't have to make up cases. So for
    example, for the last several years, Haiti has been requesting the United
    States to extradite Emmanuel Constant. He is a major killer. He is one of
    the leading figures in the slaughter of maybe 4000 or 5000 people in the
    years in the mid 1990's, under the military junta, which incidentally was
    being, not so tacitly, supported by the Bush and the Clinton administrations
    contrary to illusions. Anyway he is a leading killer. They have plenty of
    evidence. No problem about evidence. He has already been brought to trial
    and sentenced in Haiti and they are asking the United States to turn him
    over. Well, I mean do your own research. See how much discussion there has
    been of that. Actually Haiti renewed the request a couple of weeks ago. It
    wasn't even mentioned. Why should we turn over a convicted killer who was
    largely responsible for killing 4000 or 5000 people a couple of years ago.
    In fact, if we do turn him over, who knows what he would say. Maybe he'll
    say that he was being funded and helped by the CIA, which is probably true.
    We don't want to open that door. And he is not he only one.

    Costa Rica

    For the last about 15 years, Costa Rica which is the democratic
    prize, has been trying to get the United States to hand over a John Hull, a
    US land owner in Costa Rica, who they charge with terrorist crimes. He was
    using his land, they claim with good evidence as a base for the US war
    against Nicaragua, which is not a controversial conclusion, remember. There
    is the World Court and Security Council behind it. So they have been trying
    to get the United States to hand him over. Hear about that one? No.
    They did actually confiscate the land of another American landholder, John
    Hamilton. Paid compensation, offered compensation. The US refused. Turned
    his land over into a national park because his land was also being used as a
    base for the US attack against Nicaragua. Costa Rica was punished for that
    one. They were punished by withholding aid. We don't accept that kind of
    insubordination from allies. And we can go on. If you open the door to
    questions about extradition it leads in very unpleasant directions. So that
    can't be done.

    Reactions in Afghanistan

    Well, what about the reactions in Afghanistan. The initial proposal, the
    initial rhetoric was for a massive assault which would kill many people
    visibly and also an attack on other countries in the region. Well the Bush
    administration wisely backed off from that. They were being told by every
    foreign leader, NATO, everyone else, every specialist, I suppose, their own
    intelligence agencies that that would be the stupidest thing they could
    possibly do. It would simply be like opening recruiting offices for bin
    Laden all over the region. That's exactly what he wants. And it would be
    extremely harmful to their own interests. So they backed off that one. And
    they are turning to what I described earlier which is a kind of silent
    genocide. It's a^. well, I already said what I think about it. I don't think
    anything more has to be said. You can figure it out if you do the
    A sensible proposal which is kind of on the verge of being considered, but
    it has been sensible all along, and it is being raised, called for by
    expatriate Afghans and allegedly tribal leaders internally, is for a UN
    initiative, which would keep the Russians and Americans out of it, totally.
    These are the 2 countries that have practically wiped the country out in the
    last 20 years. They should be out of it. They should provide massive
    reparations. But that's their only role. A UN initiative to bring together
    elements within Afghanistan that would try to construct something from the
    wreckage. It's conceivable that that could work, with plenty of support and
    no interference. If the US insists on running it, we might as well quit. We
    have a historical record on that one.

    You will notice that the name of this operation^.remember that at first it
    was going to be a Crusade but they backed off that because PR (public
    relations) agents told them that that wouldn't work [audience laughter]. And
    then it was going to be Infinite Justice, but the PR agents said, wait a
    minute, you are sounding like you are divinity. So that wouldn't work. And
    then it was changed to enduring freedom. We know what that means. But nobody
    has yet pointed out, fortunately, that there is an ambiguity there. To
    endure means to suffer. [audience laughter]. And a there are plenty of
    people around the world who have endured what we call freedom. Again,
    fortunately we have a very well-behaved educated class so nobody has yet
    pointed out this ambiguity. But if its done there will be another problem to
    deal with. But if we can back off enough so that some more or less
    independent agency, maybe the UN, maybe credible NGO's (non governmental
    organizations) can take the lead in trying to reconstruct something from the
    wreckage, with plenty of assistance and we owe it to them. Them maybe
    something would come out. Beyond that, there are other problems.

    An Easy Way To Reduce The Level Of Terror

    We certainly want to reduce the level of terror, certainly not escalate it.
    There is one easy way to do that and therefore it is never discussed. Namely
    stop participating in it. That would automatically reduce the level of
    terror enormously. But that you can't discuss. Well we ought to make it
    possible to discuss it. So that's one easy way to reduce the level of
    Beyond that, we should rethink the kinds of policies, and Afghanistan is not
    the only one, in which we organize and train terrorist armies. That has
    effects. We're seeing some of these effects now. September 11th is one.

    Rethink it.

    Rethink the policies that are creating a reservoir of support. Exactly what
    the bankers, lawyers and so on are saying in places like Saudi Arabia. On
    the streets it's much more bitter, as you can imagine. That's possible. You
    know, those policies aren't graven in stone.

    And further more there are opportunities. It's hard to find many rays of
    light in the last couple of weeks but one of them is that there is an
    increased openness. Lots of issues are open for discussion, even in elite
    circles, certainly among the general public, that were not a couple of weeks
    ago. That's dramatically the case. I mean, if a newspaper like USA Today can
    run a very good article, a serious article, on life in the Gaza Strip^there
    has been a change. The things I mentioned in the Wall Street Journal^that's
    change. And among the general public, I think there is much more openness
    and willingness to think about things that were under the rug and so on.
    These are opportunities and they should be used, at least by people who
    accept the goal of trying to reduce the level of violence and terror,
    including potential threats that are extremely severe and could make even
    September 11th pale into insignificance. Thanks.

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