(fwd) ZNet re: the horrific events


Richard Moore

Bcc: a few folks.

additional materials after this long one from ZNet...  My own thoughts at the 
very bottom...


From: "Michael Albert" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: ZNet Commentary / Pilger and Herman / Context / Sept 14
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001 21:36:07 -0400
Importance: Normal
Sender: •••@••.•••


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Today's commentaries, responding again to the recent terror in the U.S.,
are by John Pilger from England, and Edward Herman from the U.S.

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Brief Preparatory Note:

A number of folks receiving ZNet Commentaries say they want help dealing
with their neighbors', school mates', friends', and family's
militaristic feelings and even with their own emotions. They wonder how
our recent essays, full of context and history, bear on all that.

There could be about 5,000 deaths from the horrific events in NYC. If
so, some relevant context is that the same level of human loss would
have to happen in the U.S. once every month, all year long, for over
fifteen years, for the death toll to match what U.S. policies have
imposed on Iraq. This grisly accounting doesn't make the pain here any
less, but it may help reveal that the pain elsewhere, induced by U.S
policies, is even greater, perhaps opening the way to compassion and

If there is a moral principle that ought to apply to bin Laden or the
Taliban or to anyone who may commit or abet acts of terror, shouldn't
that principle also apply to us? If so, a relevant bit of context is
that to employ terror was our stated policy in Iraq and Yugoslavia,
where in both cases we admitted and even bragged that we were attacking
the population to collapse the governments. So who brings us to justice?
And do we really think being brought to justice ought to mean suffering
terror, in turn?

In my experience, sometimes using the kinds of information in ZNet's
essays to make such connections opens avenues of understanding. On the
other hand, I have to admit, sometimes it doesn't. Maybe others have
better ideas about how to connect with people and if so, sharing those
ideas and experiences in coming days may help. Changing minds is not
easy or fast, but it is certainly necessary, and contrary to what many
pundits are saying, I think the public is mostly confused, and not
mostly lusting for blood. 


Inevitable ring to the unimaginable  
By John Pilger

If the attacks on America have their source in the Islamic world, who
can really be surprised?

Two days earlier, eight people were killed in southern Iraq when British
and American planes bombed civilian areas. To my knowledge, not a word
appeared in the mainstream media in Britain.

An estimated 200,000 Iraqis, according to the Health Education Trust in
London, died during and in the immediate aftermath of the slaughter
known as the Gulf War.

This was never news that touched public consciousness in the west. 

At least a million civilians, half of them children, have since died in
Iraq as a result of a medieval embargo imposed by the United States and

In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Mujadeen, which gave birth to the
fanatical Taliban, was largely the creation of the CIA.

The terrorist training camps where Osama bin Laden, now "America's most
wanted man", allegedly planned his attacks, were built with American
money and backing.

In Palestine, the enduring illegal occupation by Israel would have
collapsed long ago were it not for US backing.

Far from being the terrorists of the world, the Islamic peoples have
been its victims - principally the victims of US fundamentalism, whose
power, in all its forms, military, strategic and economic, is the
greatest source of terrorism on earth.

This fact is censored from the Western media, whose "coverage" at best
minimises the culpability of imperial powers. Richard Falk, professor of
international relations at Princeton, put it this way: "Western foreign
policy is presented almost exclusively through a self-righteous, one-way
legal/moral screen (with) positive images of Western values and
innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted
political violence."

That Tony Blair, whose government sells lethal weapons to Israel and has
sprayed Iraq and Yugoslavia with cluster bombs and depleted uranium and
was the greatest arms supplier to the genocidists in Indonesia, can be
taken seriously when he now speaks about the "shame" of the "new evil of
mass terrorism" says much about the censorship of our collective sense
of how the world is managed.

One of Blair's favourite words - "fatuous" - comes to mind. Alas, it is
no comfort to the families of thousands of ordinary Americans who have
died so terribly that the perpetrators of their suffering may be the
product of Western policies. Did the American establishment believe that
it could bankroll and manipulate events in the Middle East without cost
to itself, or rather its own innocent people?

The attacks on Tuesday come at the end of a long history of betrayal of
the Islamic and Arab peoples: the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the
foundation of the state of Israel, four Arab-Israeli wars and 34 years
of Israel's brutal occupation of an Arab nation: all, it seems,
obliterated within hours by Tuesday's acts of awesome cruelty by those
who say they represent the victims of the West's intervention in their

"America, which has never known modern war, now has her own terrible
league table: perhaps as many as 20,000 victims."

As Robert Fisk points out, in the Middle East, people will grieve the
loss of innocent life, but they will ask if the newspapers and
television networks of the west ever devoted a fraction of the present
coverage to the half-a-million dead children of Iraq, and the 17,500
civilians killed in Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. The answer is no.
There are deeper roots to the atrocities in the US, which made them
almost inevitable.

It is not only the rage and grievance in the Middle East and south Asia.
Since the end of the cold war, the US and its sidekicks, principally
Britain, have exercised, flaunted, and abused their wealth and power
while the divisions imposed on human beings by them and their agents
have grown as never before.

An elite group of less than a billion people now take more than 80 per
cent of the world's wealth. 

In defence of this power and privilege, known by the euphemisms "free
market" and "free trade", the injustices are legion: from the illegal
blockade of Cuba, to the murderous arms trade, dominated by the US, to
its trashing of basic environmental decencies, to the assault on fragile
economies by institutions such as the World Trade Organisation that are
little more than agents of the US Treasury and the European central
banks, and the demands of the World Bank and the International Monetary
Fund in forcing the poorest nations to repay unrepayable debts; to a new
US "Vietnam" in Colombia and the sabotage of peace talks between North
and South Korea (in order to shore up North Korea's "rogue nation"

Western terror is part of the recent history of imperialism, a word that
journalists dare not speak or write. 

The expulsion of the population of Diego Darcia in the 1960s by the
Wilson government received almost no press coverage.

Their homeland is now an American nuclear arms dump and base from which
US bombers patrol the Middle East.

In Indonesia, in 1965/6, a million people were killed with the
complicity of the US and British governments: the Americans supplying
General Suharto with assassination lists, then ticking off names as
people were killed.

"Getting British companies and the World Bank back in there was part of
the deal", says Roland Challis, who was the BBC's south east Asia

British behaviour in Malaya was no different from the American record in
Vietnam, for which it proved inspirational: the withholding of food,
villages turned into concentration camps and more than half a million
people forcibly dispossessed.

In Vietnam, the dispossession, maiming and poisoning of an entire nation
was apocalyptic, yet diminished in our memory by Hollywood movies and by
what Edward Said rightly calls cultural imperialism.

In Operation Phoenix, in Vietnam, the CIA arranged the homicide of
around 50,000 people. As official documents now reveal, this was the
model for the terror in Chile that climaxed with the murder of the
democratically elected leader Salvador Allende, and within 10 years, the
crushing of Nicaragua. 

All of it was lawless. The list is too long for this piece.

Now imperialism is being rehabilitated. American forces currently
operate with impunity from bases in 50 countries. 

"Full spectrum dominance" is Washington's clearly stated aim. 

Read the documents of the US Space Command, which leaves us in no doubt.

In this country, the eager Blair government has embarked on four violent
adventures, in pursuit of "British interests" (dressed up as
"peacekeeping"), and which have little or no basis in international law:
a record matched by no other British government for half a century.

What has this to do with this week's atrocities in America? If you
travel among the impoverished majority of humanity, you understand that
it has everything to do with it.

People are neither still, nor stupid. They see their independence
compromised, their resources and land and the lives of their children
taken away, and their accusing fingers increasingly point north: to the
great enclaves of plunder and privilege. Inevitably, terror breeds
terror and more fanaticism.

But how patient the oppressed have been.

It is only a few years ago that the Islamic fundamentalist groups,
willing to blow themselves up in Israel and New York, were formed, and
only after Israel and the US had rejected outright the hope of a
Palestinian state, and justice for a people scarred by imperialism. 

Their distant voices of rage are now heard; the daily horrors in faraway
brutalised places have at last come home.

 John Pilger is an award-winning, campaigning journalist.

September 13, 2001



Edward S. Herman

One of the most durable features of the U.S. culture is the inability or
refusal to recognize U.S. crimes. The media have long been calling for
the Japanese and Germans to admit guilt, apologize, and pay reparations.
But the idea that this country has committed huge crimes, and that
current events such as the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks may
be rooted in responses to those crimes, is close to inadmissible.
Editorializing on the recent attacks ("The National Defense," Sept. 12),
the New York Times does give a bit of weight to the end of the Cold War
and consequent "resurgent of ethnic hatreds," but that the United States
and other NATO powers contributed to that resurgence by their own
actions (e.g., helping dismantle the Soviet Union and pressing Russian
"reform"; positively encouraging Slovenian and Croatian exit from
Yugoslavia and the breakup of that state, and without dealing with the
problem of stranded minorities, etc.) is completely unrecognized.

The Times then goes on to blame terrorism on "religious fanaticism...the
anger among those left behind by globalization," and the "distaste of
Western civilization and cultural values" among the global dispossessed.
The blinders and self-deception in such a statement are truly
mind-boggling. As if corporate globalization, pushed by the U.S.
government and its closest allies, with the help of the World Trade
Organization, World Bank and IMF, had not unleashed a tremendous
immiseration process on the Third World, with budget cuts and import
devastation of artisans and small farmers. Many of these hundreds of
millions of losers are quite aware of the role of the United States in
this process. It is the U.S. public who by and large have been kept in
the dark. 

Vast numbers have also suffered from U.S. policies of supporting
rightwing rule and state terrorism, in the interest of combating
"nationalistic regimes maintained in large part by appeals to the
masses" and threatening to respond to "an increasing popular demand for
immediate improvement in the low living standards of the masses," as
fearfully expressed in a 1954 National Security Council report, whose
contents were never found to be "news fit to print." In connection with
such policies, in the U.S. sphere of influence a dozen National Security
States came into existence in the 1960s and 1970s, and as Noam Chomsky
and I reported back in 1979, of 35 countries using torture on an
administrative basis in the late 1970s, 26 were clients of the United
States. The idea that many of those torture victims and their families,
and the families of the thousands of "disappeared" in Latin America in
the 1960s through the 1980s, may have harbored some ill-feelings toward
the United States remains unthinkable to U.S. commentators.

During the Vietnam war the United States used its enormous military
power to try to install in South Vietnam a minority government of U.S.
choice, with its military operations based on the knowledge that the
people there were the enemy. This country killed millions and left
Vietnam (and the rest of Indochina) devastated. A Wall Street Journal
report in 1997 estimated that perhaps 500,000 children in Vietnam suffer
from serious birth defects resulting from the U.S. use of chemical
weapons there. Here again there could be a great many people with
well-grounded hostile feelings toward the United States.

The same is true of millions in southern Africa, where the United States
supported Savimbi in Angola and carried out a policy of "constructive
engagement" with apartheid South Africa as it carried out a huge
cross-border terroristic operation against the frontline states in the
1970s and 1980s, with enormous casualties. U.S. support of "our kind of
guy" Suharto as he killed and stole at home and in East Timor, and its
long warm relation with Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, also may
have generated a great deal of hostility toward this country among the
numerous victims.

Iranians may remember that the United States installed the Shah as an
amenable dictator in 1953, trained his secret services in "methods of
interrogation," and lauded him as he ran his regime of torture; and they
surely remember that the United States supported Saddam Hussein all
through the 1980s as he carried out his war with them, and turned a
blind eye to his use of chemical weapons against the enemy state. Their
civilian airliner 655 that was destroyed in 1988, killing 290 people,
was downed by a U.S. warship engaged in helping Saddam Hussein fight his
war with Iran. Many Iranians may know that the commander of that ship
was given a Legion of Merit award in 1990 for his "outstanding service"
(but readers of the New York Times would not know this as the paper has
never mentioned this high level commendation).

The unbending U.S. backing for Israel as that country has carried out a
long-term policy of expropriating Palestinian land in a major ethnic
cleansing process, has produced two intifadas-- uprisings reflecting the
desperation of an oppressed people. But these uprisings and this fight
for elementary rights have had no constructive consequences because the
United States gives the ethnic cleanser arms, diplomatic protection, and
carte blanche as regards policy.

All of these victims may well have a distaste for "Western civilization
and cultural values," but that is because they recognize that these
include the ruthless imposition of a neoliberal regime that serves
Western transnational corporate interests, along with a willingness to
use unlimited force to achieve Western ends. This is genuine
imperialism, sometimes using economic coercion alone, sometimes
supplementing it with violence, but with many millions--perhaps even
billions--of people "unworthy victims." The Times editors do not
recognize this, or at least do not admit it, because they are
spokespersons for an imperialism that is riding high and whose
principals are unprepared to change its policies. This bodes ill for the
future. But it is of great importance right now to stress the fact that
imperial terrorism inevitably produces retail terrorist responses; that
the urgent need is the curbing of the causal force, which is the
rampaging empire._

Date:         Thu, 13 Sep 2001 19:15:47 -0700
Sender: International forum for discussion and information on social
              movements <•••@••.•••>
From: CyberBrook <•••@••.•••>
Subject:      Predicting the Consequences of the Recent Attacks
To: •••@••.•••

From: Ted Goertzel <•••@••.•••>

Most of the comments have dealt with the immediate reaction
to the recent attacks.  Perhaps now it is time to begin
thinking about the long term consequences. What I have in
mind is making some testable predictions.  By testable, I
simply mean that we should be able to look at them in a year
and see whether, or to what extent, they have come true. 
Here are some of mine:

Isolationist sentiment in America (as measured in surveys
and political speeches) will decline.

Oppostion to using American ground troops abroad will
decline to a residual of pacifist and far-left groups
(because people will realize isolation is hopeless and
bombing is of limited effectiveness).

Participation in anarchist demonstrations with symbolic
violence, such as smashing the windows of Starbucks stores,
will decline markedly (since this kind of rhetoric and
symbolic violence will remind people of the World Trade
Center disaster).

Yassir Arafat and his group will reach some kind of
accommodation with the Israelis, drawing a sharper line
between himself and the avowedly terrorist groups in

Suburban "sprawl" will increase as companies recognize that
it is safer to locate their offices in smaller, dispersed
locations that are less likely to be attacked.

Opposition to "globalization" in general will decline both
in the United States and abroad as it will be tainted by
association with terrorism.

There will be steps toward a "global anti-terrorism police
force" involving forces from the United States, European
nations and some Third World nations (possibly India, Egypt,
China).  By "steps toward" I mean at least a fairly broad
international coalition to use troops from various nations
against terrorists, I don't expect we will have troops
working full time for an international agency.

The Taliban will stop protecting Osama Bin Laden and allow
U.S. and other forces access to their territory for purposes
of rooting him out (note I am not saying they will find

Global acceptance of capitalism as the preferred way to
organize an economy will increase, anti-capitalist forces
will be increasingly marginalized and tainted by the
association with terrorism. 

Use of the Internet and other
communication technologies for shopping, business,
telecommuting, etc. will continue to increase in part
because they will be viewed as safer.

These are just a few off the top of my head.  I would like
to start a "Delphi Technique" discussion with others. In a
year, we will revisit them and see how we did.

Please send your responses so that we can get the maximum


Ted Goertzel


Some unthinkable observations...

1) every major US military adventure throughout history has been enabled by a 
horrific incident which we later learned had been fabricated or intentionally 
provoked/arranged/permitted. (eg, Perl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin, invasion of 

2) there is a HUGE gap in the reporting we've been seeing:  when commercial 
flights first began veering off course, and the pilots did not respond to air 
traffic control, and transponders were turned off... WHAT WAS HAPPENING?  Did no
controller contact the FAA or air defense centers?   Why have we heard no 
recordings of controllers trying to contact the pilots??  Especially after the 
first hit on the Trade Center, why were no fighters scrambled to deal with the 
remaining planes which were off course and not responding??  We have heard 
nothing about this all-important interval, and that makes no sense whatever.  If
Air Force One knew enough to change course, why were no other actions taken?  
Why is this interval not even being discussed??  What were military radar 
operators doing?

Don't ask me, I don't have a clue re/these questions.