[sixties-l] Terrorism of War

From: Ron Jacobs (rjacobs@zoo.uvm.edu)
Date: Thu Dec 06 2001 - 09:45:28 EST

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    >Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2001 23:32:02 -0800
    >To: Recipient List Suppressed:;
    >From: Vietnam Veterans Against the War Anti-Imperialist <vvawai@oz.net>
    >Subject: Terrorism of War
    >>The Terrorism of War
    >> In the past weeks we have heard and read plenty about the US "war on
    >>terrorism," especially in Afghanistan. What the media doesn't ell us,
    >>however, are the stories of the thousands of civilians rendered homeless at
    >>the onset of the Afghani winter, the women whose burqas may be lifted but
    >>who live in fear of rape and starvation under the reign of America's
    >>allies, and the near-certain starvation thousands of Afghanis now face,
    >>even if food aid is able to reach the areas these people are now struggling
    >>to survive. While US marines dig in outside of Kandahar to either fight
    >>the remaining Taliban forces, "clean up" after those forces surrender, or
    >>settle in for a long time to impose the US vision for the country, Northern
    >>Alliance forces are already fighting amongst themselves for positions of
    >>power. This fighting can quickly turn from the current verbal sparring to
    >>another round of civil war-a civil war that the US will most certainly have
    >>a more difficult time ignoring than the one preceding the current US
    >>campaign. In addition, as part of his "war on terrorism," Bush and his
    >>cohorts are ratcheting up their threats against other populations unless
    >>they do the Pentagon's bidding sooner rather than later.
    >> This war has very little to do with defeating terrorism and much to do
    >>with attempting to establish permanent US domination of the world and its
    >>resources. Like the Athenian, Roman, and British empires before it, the US
    >>government and the interests it serves need easy and unchallenged access to
    >>resources, labor and markets to maintain not only a certain margin of
    >>growth (which means profit), but to continue to exist. Not since the
    >>existence of the Soviet Union and its allies has the capitalist world
    >>perceived such a threat to its rule. During that time, however, it was the
    >>ideology of Marxism-Leninism and national liberation that the US opposed
    >>because its adherents wanted the US corporations and its military out of
    >>their part of the world. Nowadays, politically-charged Islamic
    >>fundamentalism is the ideology which appeals to many of the forces opposing
    >>the US and calling for its defeat. Although what the west terms Islamic
    >>fundamentalism is socially much more regressive than Marxism-Leninism, its
    >>appeal to the oppressed in the Muslim world comes from the same dynamic and
    >>population groups. Despite the differences in their origins, both
    >>ideologies demand, on a very basic level, economic justice and an end to
    >>imperialist domination and both also consider armed struggle as a way to
    >>achieve these goals.
    >> It is these demands that have led the US war machine to decide to fight
    >>this radical Islamic ideology using strategies very similar to those it
    >>used to fight the spread of Marxist-Leninism. Some of those tactics
    >>were/are: continual propaganda denoting the adherents to the "enemy"
    >>philosophy as either less than human (living in caves and tunnels) or
    >>superhuman (evil itself/evil empire); the creation and support of unpopular
    >>regimes and counter-movements whose sole purpose is to repress and fight
    >>grassroots movements opposed to US imperialism (Diem/Thieu in Vietnam,
    >>contras in Nicaragua and Angola/Fahd family in Middle East, KLA/Bosnian
    >>forces in former Yugoslavia); and the attempt to politically isolate those
    >>in the US who oppose this policy by placing them with the enemy
    >>(McCarthy/HUAC hearings and COINTELPRO/the USA-PATRIOT Act and new crime of
    >>domestic terrorism.)
    >> Ironically, it was the US war against the Soviet Union and the various
    >>national liberation forces around the world that the SU supported that
    >>established today's scenario. Most of the forces currently battling in
    >>Afghanistan were armed and trained by the CIA and other US intelligence
    >>forces to fight the Soviet army in Afghanistan. The US supported Saddam
    >>Hussein for many years before the Gulf War as a way to counteract the aid
    >>he was receiving from the USSR. The Mubarak government in Egypt and the
    >>monarchy in Jordan would not exist without the massive US military and
    >>economic aid those regimes receive for their repression of any and all
    >>anti-US movements. The Saudi and Kuwaiti ruling families would not be as
    >>strong as they are without US support-a support most graphically
    >>illustrated during the slaughter of Iraqis in 1991 known as the Gulf War.
    >> What is the common denominator here? I hesitate to say it,
    >>because it is
    >>so obvious-oil and the profits it creates. Clearly, this is the primary
    >>reason any government in the world would be interested in this region.
    >>Since the end of World War I, when the victors created new nations out of
    >>the desert to serve their individual desires, the Middle East and its oil
    >>has been one of the primary causes of imperial interest and the consequence
    >>of that interest-war. After World War II and the creation of Israel as a
    >>US-sponsored garrison outpost in the region-a creation which displaced
    >>millions of Palestinians already living there-the importance of the region
    >>only increased, as did the non-Israeli population's resentment of western
    >>meddling. By now, this western meddling was mostly US meddling, because of
    >>its clear domination of the capitalist world after the second world war.
    >> Up to this point I have been writing only about the Middle East, as if
    >>movements and regimes in this region were the sole targets of the US "war
    >>on terrorism." Unfortunately, this is not the case. Other nations with
    >>large Muslim populations and insurgencies (Somalia, Indonesia, Sudan, too
    >>name a few) are also being mentioned by the White House and the Pentagon,
    >>as are the seemingly permanent enemies of the US establishment-northern
    >>Korea and Cuba.
    >> Another target in this war against GW's bogeyman are the revolutionary
    >>forces in Colombia (FARC/ELN). Indeed, recent statements by the US
    >>Ambassador to Colombia and State Department spokespeople compared these
    >>forces to Bin Laden and the Al-Quedda network and called for "appropriate"
    >>armed intervention. The FARC-ELN have been fighting the oligarchy in
    >>Colombia for over thirty years. Along with a few other now-defunct
    >>revolutionary groups, they tried armed insurgency for several years and
    >>then, in an attempt to bring peace along with justice, lay down their arms
    >>and formed political parties. After winning many local elections and
    >>several seats in the Colombian legislature, they found themselves being
    >>killed off one by one in the early 1990s by paramilitary and military
    >>forces aligned with the government and the oil/coffee/drug cartels it
    >>represents. So, the remaining forces returned to armed struggle. Since
    >>that return, the war has intensified, as has US involvement. In 1999 Plan
    >>Colombia began--a multi-billion dollar US strategy that includes aerial
    >>spraying of coca and poppy crops (along with whatever and whoever happens
    >>to be in the surrounding areas), more military aid, increased involvement
    >>of the CIA and its fronts, and the presence of US advisors and commandos.
    >>Since September 11th, the aid provided by Plan Colombia is being
    >>supplemented by additional counterterrorism funds.
    >> This increased US involvement has brought more environmental
    >>of the countryside, greater repression of labor and social justice
    >>activists including murder by paramilitaries, the displacement of tens of
    >>thousands of Colombian citizens because of aerial spraying and fighting
    >>between revolutionary forces (FARC/ELN) and the military and paramilitaries
    >>aligned with rightwing elements in the government, and the deaths of
    >>thousands of mostly poor Colombians. Why? Once again, to establish, expand
    >>and maintain US markets and domination in the region, and to exploit
    >>Colombia's resources and plentiful cheap labor. Indeed, in the opening
    >>paragraphs of Plan Colombia, it states that very clearly: "The plan also
    >>involves the implementation of measures that would serve to encourage
    >>foreign investment and further promote trade expansion. These
    >>include the completion of the necessary steps to comply with existing
    >>Uruguay Round agreements, especially those dealing with customs valuation,
    >>intellectual property protection, and investment measures, as well as
    >>implementing business facilitation measures proposed in the FTAA
    >>negotiations." Also, once again, that resource that defines most of the
    >>US's wars, comes into the picture: oil. In fact, according to
    >>Americas.org, ''Colombia's petroleum production today rivals Kuwait's on
    >>the eve of the Gulf War. The United States imports more oil from Colombia
    >>and its neighbors Venezuela and Ecuador than from all Persian Gulf
    >>countries combined."
    >> Which leads me neatly into the current strategy in South
    >>America known as
    >>the "Andeazation" of the war against anti-US elements in the region. Much
    >>like the regionalization of the war against the people of Southeast Asia in
    >>the 1960s and 1970s, the United States is now expanding its military and
    >>counterintelligence operations in Latin America. It is the Pentagon's hope
    >>that it can defeat the FARC and ELN, while simultaneously keep their
    >>supporters, both governmental (Cuba, the Chavez government in Venezuela)
    >>and nongovernmental, at bay. Already, sources in the contested and
    >>revolutionary-held regions of Colombia report a drastic increase in
    >>paramilitary and military activities since September 11th (including
    >>massacres of peasants and labor leaders.)
    >> There is another equally important element to the US empire's need to
    >>dominate the world. That element is the creation of and access to consumer
    >>markets for goods made for US corporate profit. From movies and music to
    >>tennis shoes and cigarettes, the culture profiteers need to expand their
    >>reach. Interestingly enough, in another parallel to the Marxist-Leninist
    >>national liberation movements and governments of the cold war era, Islamic
    >>radicals also oppose this aspect of US capitalism. Just as the communists
    >>saw the culture of capitalism to be a culture that emphasizes the dollar
    >>over content, the individual over the common good, and uses the
    >>objectification of women and the glorification of hedonism as the way to
    >>market a culture that would otherwise have little appeal since it has so
    >>little content, the Islamic fundamentalists frame their opposition in
    >>somewhat similar terms. To put it succinctly, the US export of its
    >>capitalist culture is nothing but spreading propaganda for a way of life
    >>that requires greed, egocentrism, murder and war to thrive. In addition,
    >>the technical sophistication, pervasive marketing, and appeal to humanity's
    >>most elemental instincts used by the propagandists makes more conventional
    >>appeals to reason and history virtually irrelevant to much of the world's
    >>population who have neither the time nor the inclination to examine the
    >>The War at Home
    >> The other front in this war against enemies of the US plan for global
    >>domination is right here in the USA. It wasn't more than two or three days
    >>after the tragedy of September 11, 2001 that Attorney General Ashcroft and
    >>his fellow lawmen started calling for a curtailment of the remaining civil
    >>liberties in this country. While they rounded up hundreds of men of Middle
    >>Eastern origin, they were formulating a new office with the rather
    >>Orwellian name Office of Homeland Security. Subsequently, a new law
    >>curtailing our rights to private conversation and protest was enacted by
    >>Congress known as the USA-PATRIOT act, and the establishment of military
    >>tribunals for suspected "terrorists" is underway. Although most members of
    >>Congress succumbed to the hysteria fanned by Ashcroft and his cohorts when
    >>it came time to vote for the USA-PATRIOT bill, even some of them are
    >>questioning the use of military tribunals. Of course, the only way they
    >>might be convinced to forbid their use is if masses of people pressure them
    >>to do so. Even then, the fact that these tribunals are being set up via an
    >>executive order makes it extremely unlikely even this type of pressure will
    >>make much difference. Given this, it is extremely likely that other
    >>dictatorial measures curtailing our freedom of movement and expression will
    >>also be carried out by executive fiat.
    >> These moves are less about war and more about control. Before the
    >>occurrences of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent combat overseas, the
    >>US corporate plan for economic hegemony was under attack. The protests and
    >>riots in the streets at every meeting of the world's capitalist leaders
    >>were but the most obvious aspect of this opposition. Just like the number
    >>of protestors in the streets at these meetings, the opposition was growing.
    >> It was growing so quickly, in fact, that the governments and corporations
    >>who had much to lose from the growing popularity of the protestors' demands
    >>had to do something. The use of live ammunition by police in Gothenburg
    >>and the killing of a protestor in Genoa were indications of what lay ahead
    >>for protestors planning on attending the demonstrations against the IMF and
    >>World Bank in Washington, DC on September 29, 2001-meetings that were
    >>cancelled in the wake of September 11th. The bullets used by the police
    >>and fences constructed around these meetings are a metaphor for the
    >>legislation demanded by the corporations of the governments they control.
    >>It is necessary to silence the protestors by any means necessary. The
    >>terrorist attacks gave the authoritarians the opening they needed. Now
    >>citizens of both Britain and the United States have fewer rights than they
    >>did in the summer of 2001.
    >> Under the USA PATRIOT Act, the Secretary of State could designate any
    >>group that has ever engaged in protest activity designed to prevent an
    >>action from occurring a "terrorist organization" - whether it be Operation
    >>Rescue, Greenpeace, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Such a
    >>designation forbids the group's non-citizen members from entering the
    >>United States, and makes payment of membership dues a deportable offense.
    >>Under the bill, people can be deported regardless of whether they knew of
    >>the Secretary's designation and regardless of whether their assistance had
    >>anything to do with the group's alleged terrorist activity. Furthermore, US
    >>citizens are subject to prosecution under a part of this new law that could
    >>re-define many direct action tactics(lockdowns, street blockades) as
    >>domestic terrorism. Parts of this provision give law enforcement agents
    >>the ability to charge anyone who provides assistance to a person charged
    >>with domestic terrorism with harboring a terrorist. They also now have the
    >>authority to wiretap the home of anyone providing assistance. In addition,
    >>this provision gives the federal government the authority to prosecute
    >>violations of state law, which should be prosecuted in state courts, not in
    >>federal court.
    >>This act also allows law enforcement agencies to enter a house, apartment
    >>or office with a search warrant when the occupant is away, search through
    >>her/his property and take photographs, and in some cases seize physical
    >>property and electronic communications, and not tell the victim of the
    >>search until later. It allows highly personal student information to be
    >>transmitted to many federal agencies that could lead to adverse
    >>consequences far beyond the stated goal of the anti-terrorism bill.
    >> What about military tribunals? According to Bush and
    >>Ashcroft, these are
    >>necessary to preserve national security. As for the right to a trial by
    >>jury and to cross-examine witnesses, forget it--immigrants who the state
    >>thinks are terrorists have no right to these niceties. In short, in order
    >>for the US to preserve its "freedoms", the government now finds it
    >>necessary to curtail those freedoms for certain people who may be accused
    >>of a crime. The current government seems to think that the right to a fair
    >>trial is a uniquely American right that does not apply in all cases to US
    >>citizens and certainly not to non-citizens. However, they are incorrect.
    >>The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states:
    >>Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national
    >>tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the
    >>constitution or by law.
    >>No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
    >>Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an
    >>independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and
    >>obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
    >>Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent
    >>until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had
    >>all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
    >>The military tribunals supported by Bush and Ashcroft provide none of these
    >>guarantees-which is exactly why they are going to be used. Once again, the
    >>people who run this country have proven how little regard they have for the
    >>human rights the founders of this country (with all their faults) fought
    >>for. No longer does the judicial branch and an independent jury stand
    >>between the government and the accused. In lieu of those checks and
    >>balances central to our legal system, non-citizens face an executive that
    >>is now investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury and jailer or executioner. If
    >>these trials do take place without great protest, there is a very real fear
    >>some US citizens could also be facing the tribunals.
    >> What is the solution? I don't claim to have the answers, but here are
    >>some commonsense thoughts that might prevent future attacks by terrorists.
    >>First and foremost, the attack on Afghanistan must end and all troops,
    >>planes and warships in the region must return to the United States.
    >>Secondly, the United States must sign on to the various mechanisms being
    >>designed to prosecute war crimes like the US use of cluster bombs and the
    >>training of death squads and other international actions against humanity
    >>like that of September 11th. Although these mechanisms have their
    >>shortcomings, they are still better than war and its accompanying terror
    >>and murder. It must be the ultimate goal of all nations and peoples to
    >>design a truly fair and representative mechanism for solving disputes
    >>between nations and peoples and for trying crimes against the human race.
    >> In the long run, the US needs to change its foreign policy. It must
    >>consider the needs of all people in the developing world, not just those
    >>reactionary forces it prefers to deal with and put into power (or support
    >>once they seize power). It must end its financial support of Israel's
    >>expansionist policies that ignore the reality of the Palestinian people. I
    >>honestly believe that if these two elements changed in Washington's foreign
    >>policy, the majority of the people in the middle east and central
    >>Asia-along with those folks in predominantly Islamic nations-would no
    >>longer consider extremist philosophies to be the answer to the injustices
    >>they face. However, these changes are not going to come about by
    >>themselves. Indeed, the American people need to inform themselves and make
    >>a fairer foreign policy a key to getting elected in this country.
    >>Unfortunately, our foreign policy has been decided by oil companies and
    >>other corporations for too long. The US can no longer act as if the world
    >>is its real estate. It is essential that we put human needs before
    >>corporate desires. The drive for profit is not only bad for the earth's
    >>environment and its people, it puts the American people in real danger.
    >>Bombing and fighting wars against other countries (or groups within those
    >>countries) only makes the situation worse. It is up to the people of the
    >>world to demand that bombing and other offensive actions end now and
    >>-ron jacobs
    >>burlington, vt

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