Volume 2Fall 2001

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"If thought corrupts language, language also corrupts thought."
George Orwell

Words cannot express how deeply the tragedy of September 11, 2001 has shattered so many lives and how reactions afterward have promulgated an atmosphere of fear and suspicion not seen in the United States in many decades. We condemn this violent act and offer comfort to those in pain after September 11th.
We condemn all violence--especially violence against innocent civilians--the children of the world, the elderly, regular working men and women--going about the business of their lives.

At Burning Bush Publications we recognize how important it is for all of us to engage in critical thinking in response to this event. We caution those with the responsibility of protecting the public to act wisely, not rashly.
We would also like to point out the danger of stifling dissent; freedom of the press and access airwaves are precious elements of democracy. On this page we offer articles and letters that have been widely distributed. All copyrights as well as opinions belong to the authors. History did not begin on Sept. 11th. Many complex events have led the world and its players to this point. Without language and information to discuss our world situation, other than worn out phrases found in the corporate-owned media of the U.S., how will it be possible to think about war and peace: death and life? For a table of contents to this page click here.


Not in our son's name
(letter of parents of son missing at World Trade Center)
Saturday, Sep 15, 2001 8:35pm

[Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez's son Greg is one of the
Trade Center victims.They have asked that people share
these letters (this copy of letter was sent to NY Times) as
widely as possible.]

Not in Our Son's Name

Our son Greg is among the many missing from the World
Trade Center attack. Since we first heard the news, we
have shared moments of grief, comfort, hope, despair,
fond memories with his wife, the two families, our
friends and neighbors, his loving colleagues at Cantor
Fitzgerald / ESpeed, and all the grieving families that
daily meet at the Pierre Hotel.

We see our hurt and anger reflected among everybody we
meet. We cannot pay attention to the daily flow of news
>>about this disaster. But we read enough of the news to
>>sense that our government is heading in the direction
>>of violent revenge, with the prospect of sons,
>>daughters, parents, friends in distant lands dying,
>>suffering, and nursing further grievances against us.
>>It is not the way to go. It will not avenge our son's
>>death. Not in our son's name.
>>Our son died a victim of an inhuman ideology. Our
>>actions should not serve the same purpose. Let us
>>grieve. Let us reflect and pray. Let us think about a
>>rational response that brings real peace and justice to
>>our world. But let us not as a nation add to the
>>inhumanity of our times.
Copy of letter to White House:
Dear President Bush:

Our son is one of the victims of Tuesday's attack on
the World Trade Center. We read about your response in
the last few days and about the resolutions from both
Houses, giving you undefined power to respond to the
terror attacks.

Your response to this attack does not make us feel
better about our son's death. It makes us feel worse.
It makes us feel that our government is using our son's
memory as a justification to cause suffering for other
sons and parents in other lands.

>>It is not the first time that a person in your position
>>has been given unlimited power and came to regret it.
>>This is not the time for empty gestures to make us feel
>>better. It is not the time to act like bullies. We urge
>>you to think about how our governement can develop
>>peaceful, rational solutions to terrorism, solutions
>>that do not sink us to the inhuman level of terrorists.
>>Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez, NYC

September 18, 2001, Interviewing Chomsky, Radio B92, Belgrade Q: Why do you think these attacks happened?
Chomsky: To answer the question we must first identify the perpetrators of
the crimes. It is generally assumed, plausibly, that their origin is the
Middle East region, and that the attacks probably trace back to the Osama
Bin Laden network, a widespread and complex organization, doubtless inspired
by Bin Laden but not necessarily acting under his control. Let us assume
that this is true. Then to answer your question a sensible person would try
to ascertain Bin Laden's views, and the sentiments of the large reservoir of
supporters he has throughout the region. About all of this, we have a great
deal of information. Bin Laden has been interviewed extensively over the
years by highly reliable Middle East specialists, notably the most eminent
correspondent in the region, Robert Fisk (London Independent), who has
intimate knowledge of the entire region and direct experience over decades.
A Saudi Arabian millionaire, Bin Laden became a militant Islamic leader in
the war to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan. He was one of the many
religious fundamentalist extremists recruited, armed, and financed by the
CIA and their allies in Pakistani intelligence to cause maximal harm to the
Russians -- quite possibly delaying their withdrawal, many analysts suspect
-- though whether he personally happened to have direct contact with the CIA
is unclear, and not particularly important. Not surprisingly, the CIA
preferred the most fanatic and cruel fighters they could mobilize. The end
result was to "destroy a moderate regime and create a fanatical one, from
groups recklessly financed by the Americans" (London Times correspondent
Simon Jenkins, also a specialist on the region). These "Afghanis" as they
are called (many, like Bin Laden, not from Afghanistan) carried out terror
operations across the border in Russia, but they terminated these after
Russia withdrew. Their war was not against Russia, which they despise, but
against the Russian occupation and Russia's crimes against Muslims.

The "Afghanis" did not terminate their activities, however. They joined
Bosnian Muslim forces in the Balkan Wars; the US did not object, just as it
tolerated Iranian support for them, for complex reasons that we need not
pursue here, apart from noting that concern for the grim fate of the
Bosnians was not prominent among them. The "Afghanis" are also fighting the
Russians in Chechnya, and, quite possibly, are involved in carrying out
terrorist attacks in Moscow and elsewhere in Russian territory. Bin Laden
and his "Afghanis" turned against the US in 1990 when they established
permanent bases in Saudi Arabia -- from his point of view, a counterpart to
the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, but far more significant because of
Saudi Arabia's special status as the guardian of the holiest shrines.

Bin Laden is also bitterly opposed to the corrupt and repressive regimes of
the region, which he regards as "un-Islamic," including the Saudi Arabian
regime, the most extreme Islamic fundamentalist regime in the world, apart
from the Taliban, and a close US ally since its origins. Bin Laden despises
the US for its support of these regimes. Like others in the region, he is
also outraged by long-standing US support for Israel's brutal military
occupation, now in its 35th year: Washington's decisive diplomatic,
military, and economic intervention in support of the killings, the harsh
and destructive siege over many years, the daily humiliation to which
Palestinians are subjected, the expanding settlements designed to break the
occupied territories into Bantustan-like cantons and take control of the
resources, the gross violation of the Geneva Conventions, and other actions
that are recognized as crimes throughout most of the world, apart from the
US, which has prime responsibility for them. And like others, he contrasts
Washington's dedicated support for these crimes with the decade-long
US-British assault against the civilian population of Iraq, which has
devastated the society and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths while
strengthening Saddam Hussein -- who was a favored friend and ally of the US
and Britain right through his worst atrocities, including the gassing of the
Kurds, as people of the region also remember well, even if Westerners prefer
to forget the facts. These sentiments are very widely shared. The Wall
Street Journal (Sept. 14) published a survey of opinions of wealthy and
privileged Muslims in the Gulf region (bankers, professionals, businessmen
with close links to the U.S.). They expressed much the same views:
resentment of the U.S. policies of supporting Israeli crimes and blocking
the international consensus on a diplomatic settlement for many years while
devastating Iraqi civilian society, supporting harsh and repressive
anti-democratic regimes throughout the region, and imposing barriers against
economic development by "propping up oppressive regimes." Among the great
majority of people suffering deep poverty and oppression, similar sentiments
are far more bitter, and are the source of the fury and despair that has led
to suicide bombings, as commonly understood by those who are interested in
the facts.

The U.S., and much of the West, prefers a more comforting story. To quote
the lead analysis in the New York Times (Sept. 16), the perpetrators acted
out of "hatred for the values cherished in the West as freedom, tolerance,
prosperity, religious pluralism and universal suffrage." U.S. actions are
irrelevant, and therefore need not even be mentioned (Serge Schmemann). This
is a convenient picture, and the general stance is not unfamiliar in
intellectual history; in fact, it is close to the norm. It happens to be
completely at variance with everything we know, but has all the merits of
self-adulation and uncritical support for power.

It is also widely recognized that Bin Laden and others like him are praying
for "a great assault on Muslim states," which will cause "fanatics to flock
to his cause" (Jenkins, and many others.). That too is familiar. The
escalating cycle of violence is typically welcomed by the harshest and most
brutal elements on both sides, a fact evident enough from the recent history
of the Balkans, to cite only one of many cases.

Q: What consequences will they have on US inner policy and to the American
self perception?

Chomsky: US policy has already been officially announced. The world is being
offered a "stark choice": join us, or "face the certain prospect of death
and destruction." Congress has authorized the use of force against any
individuals or countries the President determines to be involved in the
attacks, a doctrine that every supporter regards as ultra-criminal. That is
easily demonstrated. Simply ask how the same people would have reacted if
Nicaragua had adopted this doctrine after the U.S. had rejected the orders
of the World Court to terminate its "unlawful use of force" against
Nicaragua and had vetoed a Security Council resolution calling on all states
to observe international law. And that terrorist attack was far more severe
and destructive even than this atrocity.

As for how these matters are perceived here, that is far more complex. One
should bear in mind that the media and the intellectual elites generally
have their particular agendas. Furthermore, the answer to this question is,
in significant measure, a matter of decision: as in many other cases, with
sufficient dedication and energy, efforts to stimulate fanaticism, blind
hatred, and submission to authority can be reversed. We all know that very

Q: Do you expect U.S. to profoundly change their policy to the rest of the

Chomsky: The initial response was to call for intensifying the policies that
led to the fury and resentment that provides the background of support for
the terrorist attack, and to pursue more intensively the agenda of the most
hard line elements of the leadership: increased militarization, domestic
regimentation, attack on social programs. That is all to be expected. Again,
terror attacks, and the escalating cycle of violence they often engender,
tend to reinforce the authority and prestige of the most harsh and
repressive elements of a society. But there is nothing inevitable about
submission to this course.

Q: After the first shock, came fear of what the U.S. answer is going to be. Are you afraid, too?
Chomsky: Every sane person should be afraid of the likely reaction -- the
one that has already been announced, the one that probably answers Bin
Laden's prayers. It is highly likely to escalate the cycle of violence, in
the familiar way, but in this case on a far greater scale.

The U.S. has already demanded that Pakistan terminate the food and other
supplies that are keeping at least some of the starving and suffering people
of Afghanistan alive. If that demand is implemented, unknown numbers of
people who have not the remotest connection to terrorism will die, possibly
millions. Let me repeat: the U.S. has demanded that Pakistan kill possibly
millions of people who are themselves victims of the Taliban. This has
nothing to do even with revenge. It is at a far lower moral level even than
that. The significance is heightened by the fact that this is mentioned in
passing, with no comment, and probably will hardly be noticed. We can learn
a great deal about the moral level of the reigning intellectual culture of
the West by observing the reaction to this demand. I think we can be
reasonably confident that if the American population had the slightest idea
of what is being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled. It
would be instructive to seek historical precedents.

If Pakistan does not agree to this and other U.S. demands, it may come under
direct attack as well -- with unknown consequences. If Pakistan does submit
to U.S. demands, it is not impossible that the government will be overthrown
by forces much like the Taliban -- who in this case will have nuclear
weapons. That could have an effect throughout the region, including the oil
producing states. At this point we are considering the possibility of a war
that may destroy much of human society.

Even without pursuing such possibilities, the likelihood is that an attack
on Afghans will have pretty much the effect that most analysts expect: it
will enlist great numbers of others to support of Bin Laden, as he hopes.
Even if he is killed, it will make little difference. His voice will be
heard on cassettes that are distributed throughout the Islamic world, and he
is likely to be revered as a martyr, inspiring others. It is worth bearing
in mind that one suicide bombing -- a truck driven into a U.S. military base
-- drove the world's major military force out of Lebanon 20 years ago. The
opportunities for such attacks are endless. And suicide attacks are very
hard to prevent.
Q: "Do you think the world will never be the same after 11.09.01"
Chomsky: The horrendous terrorist attacks on Tuesday are something quite new in world affairs, not in their scale and character, but in the target. For
the US, this is the first time since the War of 1812 that its national
territory has been under attack, even threat. Its colonies have been
attacked, but not the national territory itself. During these years the US
virtually exterminated the indigenous population, conquered half of Mexico,
intervened violently in the surrounding region, conquered Hawaii and the
Philippines (killing hundreds of thousands of Filipinos), and in the past
half century particularly, extended its resort to force throughout much of
the world. The number of victims is colossal. For the first time, the guns
have been directed the other way. The same is true, even more dramatically,
of Europe. Europe has suffered murderous destruction, but from internal
wars, meanwhile conquering much of the world with extreme brutality. It has
not been under attack by its victims outside, with rare exceptions (the IRA
in England, for example). It is therefore natural that NATO should rally to
the support of the US; hundreds of years of imperial violence have an
enormous impact on the intellectual and moral culture.

It is correct to say that this is a novel event in world history, not
because of the scale of the atrocity -- regrettably -- but because of the
target. How the West chooses to react is a matter of supreme importance. If
the rich and powerful choose to keep to their traditions of hundreds of
years and resort to extreme violence, they will contribute to the escalation
of a cycle of violence, in a familiar dynamic, with long-term consequences
that could be awesome. Of course, that is by no means inevitable. An aroused
public within the more free and democratic societies can direct policies
towards a much more humane and honorable course.

"First Writing Since"
Suheir Hammad
September 25, 2001
Suheir Hammad is the author of _Born Palestinian, Born Black_
and _ Drops of This Story_.
©2001 Suheir Hammad

1. there have been no words.
i have not written one word.
no poetry in the ashes south of canal street.
no prose in the refrigerated trucks driving debris and dna.
not one word.

today is a week, and seven is of heavens, gods, science.
evident out my kitchen window is an abstract reality.
sky where once was steel.
smoke where once was flesh.

fire in the city air and i feared for my sister's life in a way never
before. and then, and now, i fear for the rest of us.

first, please god, let it be a mistake, the pilot's heart failed, the
plane's engine died.
then please god, let it be a nightmare, wake me now.
please god, after the second plane, please, don't let it be anyone
who looks like my brothers.

i do not know how bad a life has to break in order to kill.
i have never been so hungry that i willed hunger
i have never been so angry as to want to control a gun over a pen.
not really.
even as a woman, as a palestinian, as a broken human being.
never this broken.

more than ever, i believe there is no difference.
the most privileged nation, most americans do not know the difference
between indians, afghanis, syrians, muslims, sikhs, hindus.
more than ever, there is no difference.

2. thank you korea for kimchi and bibim bob, and corn tea and the
genteel smiles of the wait staff at wonjo the smiles never revealing
the heat of the food or how tired they must be working long midtown
shifts. thank you korea, for the belly craving that brought me into
the city late the night before and diverted my daily train ride into
the world trade center.

there are plenty of thank yous in ny right now. thank you for my
lazy procrastinating late ass. thank you to the germs that had me
call in sick. thank you, my attitude, you had me fired the week
before. thank you for the train that never came, the rude nyer who
stole my cab going downtown. thank you for the sense my mama gave me
to run. thank you for my legs, my eyes, my life.

3. the dead are called lost and their families hold up shaky
printouts in front of us through screens smoked up.

we are looking for iris, mother of three. please call with any
information. we are searching for priti, last seen on the 103rd
floor. she was talking to her husband on the phone and the line
went. please help us find george, also known as a! ! del. his family
is waiting for him with his favorite meal. i am looking for my son, who
was delivering coffee. i am looking for my sister girl, she started
her job on monday.

i am looking for peace. i am looking for mercy. i am looking for
evidence of compassion. any evidence of life. i am looking for

4. ricardo on the radio said in his accent thick as yuca, "i will
feel so much better when the first bombs drop over there. and my
friends feel the same way."

on my block, a woman was crying in a car parked and stranded in hurt.
i offered comfort, extended a hand she did not see before she said,
"we"re gonna burn them so bad, i swear, so bad." my hand went to my
head and my head went to the numbers within it of the dead iraqi
children, the dead in nicaragua. the dead in rwanda who had to vie
with fake sport wrestling for america's attention.

yet when people sent emails saying, this was bound to happen, lets
not forget u.s. transgressions, for half a second i felt
hold up with that, cause i live here, these are my friends and fam,
and it could have been me in those buildings, and we"re not bad
people, do not support america's bullying. can i just have a half
second to feel bad?

if i can find through this exhaust people who were left behind to
mourn and to resist mass murder, i might be alright.

thank you to the woman who saw me brinking my cool and blinking back
tears. she opened her arms before she asked "do you want a hug?" a
big white woman, and her embrace was the kind only people with the
warmth of flesh can offer. i wasn't about to say no to any comfort.
"my brother's in the navy," i said. "and we"re arabs". "wow, you
got double trouble." word.

5. one more person ask me if i knew the hijackers.
one more motherfucker ask me what navy my brother is in.
one more person assume no arabs or muslims were killed. one more person
assume they know me, or that i represent a people.
or that a people represent an evil. or that evil is as simple as a
flag and words on a page.

we did not vilify all white men when mcveigh bombed oklahoma.
america did not give out his family's addresses or where he went to
church. or blame the bible or pat robertson.

and when the networks air footage of palestinians dancing in the
street, there is no apology that hungry children are bribed with
sweets that turn their teeth brown. that correspondents edit images.
that archives are there to facilitate lazy and inaccurate

and when we talk about holy books and hooded men and death, why do we
never mention the kkk?

if there are any people on earth who understand how new york is
feeling right now, they are in the west bank and the gaza strip.

6. today it is ten days. last night bush waged war on a man once
openly funded by the cia. i do not know who is responsible.
read too many books, know too many people to believe what i am told.
i don't give a fuck about bin laden. his vision of the world does not
include me or those I love. and petitions have been going around for years trying to
get the u.s. sponsored taliban out of power. shit is complicated, and i
don't know what to think.

but i know for sure who will pay.

in the world, it will be women, mostly colored and poor. women will
have to bury children, and support themselves through grief. "either
you are with us, or with the terrorists" - meaning keep your people
under control and your resistance censored. meaning we got the loot
and the nukes.

in america, it will be those amongst us who refuse blanket attacks on
the shivering. those of us who work toward social justice, in
support of civil liberties, in opposition to hateful foreign

i have never felt less american and more new yorker, particularly
brooklyn, than these past days. the stars and stripes on all these
cars and apartment windows represent the dead as citizens first, not
family members, not lovers.

i feel like my skin is real thin, and that my eyes are only going to
get darker. the future holds little light.

my baby brother is a man now, and on alert, and praying five times a
day that the orders he will take in a few days time are righteous and
will not weigh his soul down from the afterlife he deserves.

both my brothers - my heart stops when i try to pray - not a beat to
disturb my fear. one a rock god, the other a sergeant, and both
palestinian, practicing muslim, gentle men. both born in brooklyn
and their faces are of the archetypal arab man, all eyelashes and
nose and beautiful color and stubborn hair.

what will their lives be like now?

over there is over here.

7. all day, across the river, the smell of burning rubber and limbs
floats through. the sirens have stopped now. the advertisers are
back on the air. the rescue workers are traumatized. the skyline is
brought back to human size. no longer taunting the gods with its

i have not cried at all while writing this. i cried when i saw those
buildings collapse on themselves like a broken heart. i have never
owned pain that needs to spread like that. and i cry daily that my
brothers return to our mother safe and whole.

there is no poetry in this. there are causes and effects. there are
symbols and ideologies. mad conspiracy here, and information we will
never know. there is death here, and there are promises of more.

there is life here. anyone reading this is breathing, maybe hurting,
but breathing for sure. and if there is any light to come, it will

shine from the eyes of those who look for peace and justice after the
rubble and rhetoric are cleared and the phoenix has risen.

affirm life.
affirm life.
we got to carry each other now.
you are either with life, or against it.
affirm life.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ©2001 Suheir Hammad - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Suheir Hammad graciously circulated the above poem at the end of 2001 so that others may be comforted and hear a more accurate and complex perspective than the drivel dominating commercial U.S. media. We post her poem here in that spirit and apologize to her for any altered linebreaks that may be present.
Her readings are not to be missed!!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


By Barbara Kingsolver

"Tucson -- I cannot find the glory in this day.  When I picked up the

newspaper and saw "America Strikes Back!" blazed boastfully across it in

letters I swear were 10 inches tall -- shouldn't they reserve at least one

type size for something like, say, nuclear war? -- my heart sank.  We've

answered one terrorist act with another, raining death on the most

war-scarred, terrified populace that ever crept to a doorway and looked out.

 The small plastic boxes of food we also dropped are a travesty.  It is

reported that these are untouched, of course -- Afghanis have spent their

lives learning terror of anything hurled at them from the sky.  Meanwhile,

the genuine food aid on which so many depended for survival has been halted

by the war.  We've killed whoever was too poor or crippled to flee, plus

four humanitarian aid workers who coordinated the removal of land mines from

the beleaguered Afghan soil.  That office is now rubble, and so is my heart.

 I am going to have to keep pleading against this madness.


"I'll get scolded for it, I know.  I've already been called every name in

the Rush Limbaugh handbook:  traitor, sinner, naive, liberal, peacenik,

whiner.  I'm told I am dangerous because I might get in the way of this holy

project we've undertaken to keep dropping heavy objects from the sky until

we've wiped out every last person who could potentially hate us.  Some

people are praying for my immortal soul, and some have offered to buy me a

one-way ticket out of the country, to anywhere.  I accept these gifts with a

gratitude equal in measure to the spirit of generosity in which they were

offered.  People threaten vaguely, "She wouldn't feel this way if her child

had died in the war!" (I feel this way precisely because I can imagine that

horror.)  More subtle adversaries simply say I am ridiculous, a dreamer who

takes a child's view of the world, imagining it can be made better than it

is.  The more sophisticated approach, they suggest, is to accept that we are

all on a jolly road trip down the maw of catastrophe, so shut up and drive.

"I fight that, I fight it as if I'm drowning.  When I get to feeling I am an

army of one standing out on the plain waving my ridiculous little flag of

hope, I call up a friend or two.  We remind ourselves in plain English that

the last time we got to elect somebody, the majority of us, by a straight

popular-vote count, did not ask for the guy who is currently telling us we

will win this war and not be "misunderestimated."  We aren't standing apart

from the crowd, we are the crowd.  There are millions of us, surely, who

know how to look life in the eye, however awful things get, and still try to

love it back.


"It is not naive to propose alternatives to war.  We could be the kindest

nation on Earth, inside and out.  I look at the bigger picture and see that

many nations with fewer resources than ours have found solutions to problems

that seem to baffle us.  I'd like an end to corporate welfare so we could

put that money into ending homelessness, as many other nations have done

before us.  I would like a humane health-care system organized along the

lines of Canada's.  I'd like the efficient public-transit system of Paris in

my city, thank you.  I'd like us to consume energy at the modest level that

Europeans do, and then go them one better.  I'd like a government that

subsidizes renewable energy sources instead of forcefully patrolling the

globe to protect oil gluttony.  Because, make no mistake, oil gluttony is

what got us into this holy war, and it's a deep tar pit.  I would like us to

sign the Kyoto agreement today, and reduce our fossil-fuel emissions with

legislation that will ease us into safer, less gluttonous, sensibly

reorganized lives.  If this were the face we showed the world, and the model

we helped bring about elsewhere, I expect we could get along with a military

budget the size of Iceland's.


"How can I take anything but a child's view of a war in which men are acting

like children?  What they're serving is not justice, it's simply vengeance.

 Adults bring about justice using the laws of common agreement.  Uncivilized

criminals are still held accountable through civilized institutions; we

abolished stoning long ago.  The World Court and the entire Muslim world

stand ready to judge Osama bin Laden and his accessories.  If we were to put

a few billion dollars into food, health care and education instead of bombs,

you can bet we'd win over enough friends to find out where he's hiding.  And

I'd like to point out, since no one else has, the Taliban is an alleged

accessory, not the perpetrator -- a legal point quickly cast aside in the

rush to find a sovereign target to bomb.  The world "intelligence" keeps

cropping up, but I feel like I'm standing on a playground where the little

boys are all screaming at each other, "He started it!" and throwing rocks

that keep taking out another eye, another tooth.  I keep looking around for

somebody's mother to come on the scene saying, "Boys!  Boys!  Who started
it cannot possibly be the issue here.  People are getting hurt."

"I am somebody's mother, so I will say that now:  The issue is, people are

getting hurt.  We need to take a moment's time out to review the monstrous

waste of an endless cycle of retaliation.  The biggest weapons don't win

this one, guys.  When there are people on Earth willing to give up their

lives in hatred and use our own domestic airplanes as bombs, it's clear that

we can't out-technologize them.  You can't beat cancer by killing every cell

in the body -- or you could, I guess, but the point would be lost.  This is

a war of who can hate the most.  There is no limit to that escalation.  It

will only end when we have the guts to say it really doesn't matter who

started it, and begin to try and understand, then alter the forces that

generate hatred.

"We have always been at war, though the citizens of the U.S. were mostly

insulated from what that really felt like until Sept. 11.  Then, suddenly,

we began to say, "The world has changed.  This is something new."  If there

really is something new under the sun in the way of war, some alternative to

the way people have always died when heavy objects are dropped on them from

above, then please, in the name of heaven, I would like to see it.  I would

like to see it now."
©2001 Barbara Kingsolver

A Column By Jack Forbes
Asking the Right Questions:Bush and Sept. 11, 2001

>>The combined power of government and media are calling for "getting
>>behind the president" at a time when we have good cause to question why
>>the billions of dollars spent on "defense" and spying resulted in a
>>complete failure to halt the horrible events of September 11. Many in
>>government seem to be promising revenge without analyzing why the US Air
>>Force and the Department of Defense, CIA, and the FBI were all caught
>>napping, and why our president continued to read to Florida elementary
>>children after he had been given the word about the first assault on the
>>World Trade Center. Are these big and obvious questions not to be asked?
>>Mainland USA has not seen an attack of this type since 1861 when South
>>Carolina launched a bloody assault on the US flag and military at Fort
>>Sumter. That started the Civil War which resulted in the death of several
>>million people. Civilians also suffered massive "collateral damage" in
>>that bloody, "modern" war. After 1865 the US Army turned to fighting
>>Comanches, Kiowas, Cheyennes, Arapahos, Apaches, Sioux, and countless
>>other Native Nations in order to open lands up for white capitalists and
>>settlers. So we have known our share of bloodshed and sacrifice on US
>>soil, including the bombing and burning of Black Tulsa in 1921 and
>>Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the innocent in Oklahoma City (blamed on our
>>currently favored enemies, the Arabs, initially).
>>Supposedly, we, as a people, are now thirsting for revenge. But we must
>>remember the experience of our Native American Nations, because all too
>>often our peoples cried out for revenge when one of ours was killed and
>>we sent our young men out to kill the first of the enemy people that they
>>came upon, guilty or innocent. We practiced "collective guilt" sometimes
>>and what was the result? Why, we were killing each other off while the
>>Europeans got stronger and stronger and helped to play us off against
>>each other! The doctrine of revenge did not make us any stronger. On the
>>contrary, it made us sitting ducks for white conquest. And did revenge
>>bring back any of our departed ones? I wonder.
>>"Collective guilt" is something that the Nazis practiced in World War II,
>>when they would line up twenty Frenchmen or twenty Poles and kill them
>>for the death of one German, or when an entire village would be wiped out
>>for some attack by guerrillas. This is what the Israeli government has
>>been charged with, retaliating against an entire people for the actions
>>of individuals.
>>And we remember this well, since during the US War of Independence white
>>militiamen from western Pennsylvania murdered an entire community of
>>peaceful Christian Delawares at Gnadenhutten simply for being Indians:
>>"collective guilt" and revenge!
>>But I want to return to Bush and to the strange behavior of the US Armed
>>Forces on September 11. It is my understanding that Bush was told about
>>the first attack on New York and yet he returned to reading to the
>>children. Wow!! If true, that is not only incredible but it raises all
>>kinds of questions, such as: is Bush really in charge; did he expect the
>>attack and so was not surprised; did he expect Cheney to handle the
>>thing; or is he really so unintelligent as to not know what a president
>>should do in a crisis? My thought is that any other president would have
>>immediately said goodbye to the children, would have ordered the Air
>>Force into the air over the entire eastern seaboard, with the highest
>>level of alert of all defense units immediately. I am guessing that if he
>>had scrambled the Air Force immediately, that the attacks on the second
>>tower and the D.C.-Pentagon area could have been avoided, with a
>>tremendous saving in human life and property.
>>I am also puzzled about how three or four airliners could have radically
>>deviated from their flight paths without causing a "red alert" with the
>>Air Force. The New York and especially the D.C.-Pentagon areas are
>>certainly among the most sensitive areas of the USA. One would expect an
>>elaborate defense response system in place, with jet fighters ready to
>>scramble at a moment's notice. Am I wrong? Why then were these hijacked
>>planes able to behave erratically without arousing suspicion? Why was an
>>airliner able to fly around the White House and Pentagon, and then come
>>in low to the ground, without causing an instant air defense response?
>>There are only two answers, it seems to me in my current ignorance: (1)
>>the air defense system is lousy, with incompetent leadership; or (2) they
>>were prevented from scrambling to do their job--but why? In any case,
>>Bush must take ultimate responsibility for his apparent failure to act
>>promptly and for his seeming incompetence as the commander in chief.
>>A commander does not continue to read to children when his country is
>>under attack, or does he? What do you think?
>>And before we go after those easily-targeted Muslims and Middle
>>Easterners, let us remember that there was a time when American Indians
>>were the "dirty, treacherous redskins" targeted on the frontier. We were
>>often blamed when actually the US government or white settlers were at
>>Revenge is not justice. Justice requires that we know who committed a
>>wrong and why. It requires that we not act precipitously in the midst of
>>our pain, sorrow and anger. Justice has to be even-handed and not
>>one-sided. Revenge, however, may cause us to become evil-doers ourselves,
>>harming persons as innocent as those killed by the terrorists. What then
>>is the difference between us and them? Are we to be terrorists to others?
>>[Jack Forbes, Powhatan-Delaware, is a historian, social critic, poet and
>>writer. His web site is







September 18, 2001

Guardian of London

The Need for Dissent

Voices from Britain and the US highlight the risks of a hasty response

by George Monbiot

If Osama bin Laden did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.
For the past four years, his name has been invoked whenever a US
president has sought to increase the defense budget or wriggle out of
arms control treaties. He has been used to justify even President Bush's
missile deface program, though neither he nor his associates are known
to possess anything approaching ballistic missile technology. Now he has
become the personification of evil required to launch a crusade for
good: the face behind the faceless terror.

The closer you look, the weaker the case against Bin Laden becomes.
While the terrorists who inflicted Tuesday's dreadful wound may have
been inspired by him, there is, as yet, no evidence that they were
instructed by him. Bin Laden's presumed guilt appears to rest on the
supposition that he is the sort of man who would have done it. But his
culpability is irrelevant: his usefulness to western governments lies in
his power to terrify. When billions of pounds of military spending are
at stake, rogue states and terrorist warlords become assets precisely
because they are liabilities.

By using Bin Laden as an excuse for demanding new military spending,
weapons manufacturers in America and Britain have enhanced his iconic
status among the disgruntled. His influence, in other words, has been
nurtured by the very industry which claims to possess the means of
  stamping him out. This is not the only way in which the new terrorism
crisis has been exacerbated by corporate power. The lax airport security
  which enabled the hijackers to smuggle weapons on to the planes was,
for example, the result of corporate lobbying against the stricter
controls the government had proposed.

Now Tuesday's horror is being used by corporations to establish the
preconditions for an even deadlier brand of terror. This week, while the
  world's collective back is turned, Tony Blair intends to allow the
mixed oxide plant at Sellafield to start operating. The decision would
  been front-page news at any other time. Now it's likely to be all but
invisible. The plant's operation, long demanded by the nuclear industry
and resisted by almost everyone else, will lead to a massive
proliferation of plutonium, and a high probability that some of it will
find its way into the hands of terrorists. Like Ariel Sharon, in other
words, Blair is using the reeling world's shock to pursue policies which
would be unacceptable at any other time.

For these reasons and many others, opposition has seldom been more
necessary. But it has seldom been more vulnerable. The right is seizing
the political space which has opened up where the twin towers of the
World Trade Center once stood.

Civil liberties are suddenly negotiable. The US seems prepared to lift
its ban on extra-judicial executions carried out abroad by its own
  The CIA might be permitted to employ human rights abusers once more,
which will doubtless mean training and funding a whole new generation of
Bin Ladens. The British government is considering the introduction of
identity cards. Radical dissenters in Britain have already been
identified as terrorists by the Terrorism Act 2000. Now we're likely to
be treated as such.

The authoritarianism which has long been lurking in advanced capitalism
has started to surface. In these pages yesterday, William Shawcross
  - Rupert Murdoch's courteous biographer - articulated the new
orthodoxy: America is, he maintained, "a beacon of hope for the world's
poor and dispossessed and for all those who believe in freedom of
thought and deed". These believers would presumably include the families
of the
  Iraqis killed by the sanctions Britain and the US have imposed; the
peasants murdered by Bush's proxy war in Colombia; and the tens of
  millions living under despotic regimes in the Middle East, sustained
and sponsored by the US.

William Shawcross concluded by suggesting that "we are all Americans
now", an echo of Pinochet's maxim that "we are all Chileans now": by
which he meant that no cultural distinctions would be tolerated and no
indigenous land rights recognized. Shawcross appeared to suggest that
those who question American power are the enemies of democracy. It's a
different way of formulating the warning voiced by members of the Bush
administration: "If you're not with us, you're against us."

The Daily Telegraph has set aside part of its leader column for a
directory of "useful idiots", by which it means those who oppose major
  military intervention. Perhaps the roll of honor will soon include
families of some of the victims, who seem to be rather more capable of
restraint and forgiveness than the leader writers of the rightwing
press. Mark Newton-Carter, whose brother appears to have died in the
  outrage, told one of the Sunday newspapers: "I think Bush should be
caged at the moment. He is a loose cannon. He is building up his forces
  getting ready for a military strike. That is not the answer. Gandhi
said: 'An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind' and never a truer
word was spoken." But when the right is on the rampage, victims as well
as perpetrators are trampled.

Mark Twain once observed that "there are some natures which never grow
large enough to speak out and say a bad act is a bad act, until they
  have inquired into the politics or the nationality of the man who did
it". The left is able to state categorically that Tuesday's terrorism
was a dreadful act, irrespective of provenance. But the right can't
bring itself to make the same statement about Israel's new invasions of
Palestine, or the sanctions in Iraq, or the US-backed terror in East
Timor, or the carpet bombing of Cambodia. Its critical faculties have
long been suspended and now, it demands, we must suspend ours too.

Retaining the ability to discriminate between good acts and bad acts
will become ever harder over the next few months, as new conflicts and
  paradoxes challenge our preconceptions. It may be that a convincing
case against Bin Laden is assembled, whereupon his forced extradition
  would be justified. But, unless we wish to help George Bush use
barbarism to defend the "civilization" he claims to represent, we must
  distinguish between extradition and extermination.

Tuesday's terror may have signaled the beginning of the end of
globalization. The recession it has doubtless helped to precipitate,
coupled with a new and understandable fear among many Americans of
engagement with the outside world, could lead to a reactionary
protectionism in the US, which is likely to provoke similar responses on
this side of the Atlantic. We will, in these circumstances, have to be
careful not to celebrate the demise of corporate globalization., if it
merely gives way to something even worse.

The governments of Britain and America are using the disaster in New
York to reinforce the very policies which have helped to cause the
problem: building up the power of the defence industry, preparing to
launch campaigns of the kind which inevitably kill civilians, licensing
  action. Corporations are securing new resources to invest in
instability. Racists are attacking Arabs and Muslims and blaming liberal
asylum policies for terrorism. As a result of the horror on Tuesday, the
right in all its forms is flourishing, and we are shrinking. But we must
not be cowed. Dissent is most necessary just when it is hardest to


  © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2001 ###

NATIVE INTELLIGENCE:A Column By Jack Forbes, ©2001 Jack Forbes

President George W. Bush has stated that he intends to lead a war against "evil. He states: "In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocents, they have become outlaws and murderers themselves. And they will take that lonely path at their peril....".
Does this mean that he will now punish Israel if the Israelis kill "innocents"? Does this mean that US personnel will be prohibited from killing "innocents"?

Terrorism is the idea, the process, and the act of inflicting terror, that is, the act of frightening, intimidating, and terrifying a given group (usually civilians) so that they will surrender, give in, or otherwise agree to the demands of the attackers, or materially change their behavior in a direction desired by the attackers. Terrorism can take many forms. For example, the use of selective torture of prisoners can be used to terrify others into silence or complicity. Similarly, the seizure of people's homes, fields, and livestock can be a means to frighten a population into flight or surrender, etc.
Terrorists may be working for a state (a government), a private corporation, a private organization, a group, or, rarely, an individual. There is no fundamental difference between state-sponsored terrorism and group-sponsored terrorism, since the latter very often involves one or more governments or government-like entities (or groups which seek to govern or command).

The use of terror has been practiced since ancient times, as with certain empires which sought to terrify independent cities and nations into surrendering their freedom, or to intimidate those who might rebel. Such terror was practiced by Hernan Cortes in his conquest of Mexico and by Pizarro in the invasion of Peru. It was also practiced by the Puritans in New England against the Pequots and other American nations. It was practiced by white Georgians against peaceful Cherokees and by Virginia rabble against peaceful Powhatan, Occaneechi and other Native People, among many other examples.

Is President Bush now condemning the use of terrorism against the Native American peoples of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua as carried out in the 1970s and 80s by groups armed and even created by the US government under his father and Ronald Reagan? Perhaps 200,000 to 300,000 persons of American race, it is said, were killed by the Contras, death squads, and military units directly supported by the US and sometimes funded by Congress. There can be no question but what the death squads, Contras, etc, practiced terrorism by any definition, often murdering civilians and wiping out entire villages and communities, including, of course, women and children.

Will anyone ever be punished for the murders of these American innocents, or for the killing of priests, nuns, and others who stood up for the Native People?

We also have the example of Henry Kissenger and Dick Nixon's bombing of neutral Cambodia, an apparent violation of international law and an attack upon civilians and anyone else in the bombing zone; we have also Indonesia's terrorism against the East Timorese, clearly backed by the US government; and the terror tactics of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile aided again by the US. Finally, let us cite the direct use of US weapons specifically against Iraqi civilians, and specifically their water, health, and food supplies, during and since the Gulf War.

But President Bush has declared: "Success or failure depends upon rooting out terrorism where it may exist all around the world." (San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 12, 2001, p. A17). Now I have a good proposal: Why not show the world that we are not being hypocritical in wanting to outlaw only terrorism directed against us. Shall we not set an example for other countries and for the UN by providing criminal penalties for any such acts carried out by the U.S. or its allies and surrogates?

Here's sample language: "Acts of terrorism, including torture, directed against civilian non-combatants are illegal, whether carried out by military forces of the United States, by law enforcement units funded in whole or in part by federal programs, or by any and all governments, operatives, agents, or surrogates receiving aid, assistance, funding, or military equipment, or by any such entities under contract or working with any agency of the United States, whether secretly or openly."

"If any person or group shall engage in any act or acts of terrorism, they shall be charged with a crime under the laws of the United States or under international law. Any government so charged shall immediately cease to receive funding, assistance, aid, or materiel of any kind, from the United States, pending a full investigation of the charge. If the charge is sustained, the said government will be ineligible to receive any assistance from the United States for a period of five years, in addition to the necessary punishment of all guilty individuals including those ultimately responsible.

I think you can see that I want to have the murderers of the Mayas of Guatemala, the Contra killers of Nicaraguans, and the slaughterers of Palestinian refugees, along with the September 11 murderers all brought to justice! Do we value the 5000 of New York more than the 200,000 of Central America?
[Professor Jack D. Forbes, Powhatan-Delaware, is the author of RED BLOOD, AFRICANS AND NATIVE AMERICANS, ONLY APPROVED INDIANS and other books. He is professor emeritus of Native American Studies, University of California, Davis. ]

House Representative Barbara Lee of Oakland delivered this speech in Congress 9/13/01. She was the only "no" vote to President Bush's expanded powers of war; however, she did vote for the bill giving 40 Billion dollars for defense expenditures:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with a heavy heart, one that is filled with
sorrow for the families and loved ones who were killed and injured in New
York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Only the most foolish or the most callous
would not understand the grief that has gripped the American people and
millions across the world.

This unspeakable attack on the United States has forced me to rely on my
moral compass, my conscience, and my God for direction.
September 11 changed the world. Our deepest fears now haunt us. Yet I am
convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of
international terrorism against the United States.

I know that this use-of-force resolution will pass although we all
know that the President can wage a war even without this resolution.
However difficult this vote may be, some of us must urge the use of
restraint. There must be some of us who say, let's step back for a moment
and think through the implications of our action today--let us more fully
understand its consequences.

We are not dealing with a conventional war. We cannot respond in a
conventional manner. I do not want to see this spiral out of control.
This crisis involves issues of national security, foreign policy, public
safety, intelligence gathering, economics, and murder. Our response must be
equally multi-faceted.

We must not rush to judgment. Far too many innocent people have
already died. Our country is in mourning. If we rush to launch a
counter-attack, we run too great a risk that women, children, and other
non-combatants will be caught in the crossfire.
Nor can we let our justified anger over these outrageous acts by
vicious murderers inflame prejudice against all Arab Americans, Muslims,
Southeast Asians, or any other people because of their race, religion, or

Finally, we must be careful not to embark on an open-ended war with
neither an exit strategy nor a focused target. We cannot repeat past
In 1964, Congress gave President Lyndon Johnson the power to ``take
all necessary measures'' to repel attacks and prevent further aggression.
In so doing, this House abandoned its own constitutional responsibilities
and launched our country into years of undeclared war in Vietnam.

At that time, Senator Wayne Morse, one of two lonely votes against the
Tonkin Gulf Resolution, declared, ``I believe that history will record that
we have made a grave mistake in subverting and circumventing the
Constitution of the United States.........I believe that within the next
century, future generations will look with dismay and great disappointment
upon a Congress which is now about to make such a historic mistake.''

Senator Morse was correct, and I fear we make the same mistake today.
And I fear the consequences.

I have agonized over this vote. But I came to grips with it in the very
painful yet beautiful memorial service today at the National
Cathedral. As a member of the clergy so eloquently said, "As we act,
let us not become the evil that we deplore.''


Sat Sep. 29, 11 am, San Francisco Anti-Racist, Anti-War Call to Action
Dolores Park, San Francisco

>We extend our most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to all those who
>lost loved ones on September 11, as well as to the thousands of workers
>who were in lower Manhattan that day. Like many others, our organizations
>had members and friends who worked in the World Trade Center and the area,
>and who lost loved ones. In light of the current crisis, with its tragic
>consequences for so many thousands of people, we call for a demonstration
>to address the immediate danger posed by racism and the grave threat of a
>new war.
>While thousands of families are in mourning for the death and injuries of
>loved ones, the Bush administration is taking advantage of the tragic
>human toll to strengthen the forces of repression while intensifying the
>Pentagon's war drive, especially in the Middle East. Arab and Muslim
>peoples in the United States are reporting that they are facing racist
>harassment in their communities, on their jobs and at mosques. Anti-Arab
>racism is a poison that should be repudiated.
>The government is attempting to take away our civil liberties and to
>create a climate in which it could be impossible for people to speak out.
>The Bush administration is attempting to take advantage of this crisis to
>militarize US society with a vast expansion of police powers intended to
>severely restrict basic democratic rights.
>As people in the United States, we need to reflect on US government policy
>around the world that devastated the lives of millions of people. Now is
>the time for all people of conscience to join together. If you believe in
>civil liberties and oppose racism and war, join us on September 29th in
>front of the White House and in San Francisco. We urge all organizations
>to join together at this critical time.
>We demand that the government spend billions to rebuild New York City and
>compensate the victims of the September 11th bombing and their families,
>many of whom lost not only loved ones, but also jobs, homes and health
>care -- not for a new war against the people in the Middle East or
>All those who oppose racism should stand shoulder to shoulder with our
>sisters and brothers in the Arab, Muslim and other communities of color
>who are the victims of violence, scapegoating, harassment, and
>intimidation in a racist frenzy that's being created throughout the United
>States. We call on all people---Black, Latino, Asian, Arab, Native and
>white--to stand together and say no to racism.
>Contact: 415-821-6545 or 510-845-8835
>Good site for news:
Sat Sep. 29
>11 am
>San Francisco Anti-Racist, Anti-War Call to Action
>Dolores Park
>San Francisco
>We extend our most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to all those who
>lost loved ones on September 11, as well as to the thousands of workers
>who were in lower Manhattan that day. Like many others, our organizations
>had members and friends who worked in the World Trade Center and the area,
>and who lost loved ones. In light of the current crisis, with its tragic
>consequences for so many thousands of people, we call for a demonstration
>to address the immediate danger posed by racism and the grave threat of a
>new war.
>While thousands of families are in mourning for the death and injuries of
>loved ones, the Bush administration is taking advantage of the tragic
>human toll to strengthen the forces of repression while intensifying the
>Pentagon's war drive, especially in the Middle East. Arab and Muslim
>peoples in the United States are reporting that they are facing racist
>harassment in their communities, on their jobs and at mosques. Anti-Arab
>racism is a poison that should be repudiated.
>The government is attempting to take away our civil liberties and to
>create a climate in which it could be impossible for people to speak out.
>The Bush administration is attempting to take advantage of this crisis to
>militarize US society with a vast expansion of police powers intended to
>severely restrict basic democratic rights.
>As people in the United States, we need to reflect on US government policy
>around the world that devastated the lives of millions of people. Now is
>the time for all people of conscience to join together. If you believe in
>civil liberties and oppose racism and war, join us on September 29th in
>front of the White House and in San Francisco. We urge all organizations
>to join together at this critical time.
>We demand that the government spend billions to rebuild New York City and
>compensate the victims of the September 11th bombing and their families,
>many of whom lost not only loved ones, but also jobs, homes and health
>care -- not for a new war against the people in the Middle East or
>All those who oppose racism should stand shoulder to shoulder with our
>sisters and brothers in the Arab, Muslim and other communities of color
>who are the victims of violence, scapegoating, harassment, and
>intimidation in a racist frenzy that's being created throughout the United
>States. We call on all people---Black, Latino, Asian, Arab, Jewish, Native and
White--to stand together and say no to racism.
>Contact: 415-821-6545 or 510-845-8835
>Good site for news:




Revindications Viequenses
*©R. Rabin

In the constant Southerly breeze you can hear the scream of the Guatemalan people. Bullets with the name of Jacobo Arbenz mix with sea shells and unexploded bombs stuck in the white sand of the beach. The whisper of the waves sings the song of the Popular Unity Party of Chile and a brown pelican writes, with the movement of his flight, the name of Salvador Allende. On the ocean bottom, a short distance from where the invasion of Cuba was practiced in 1961, lay old fragmentation grenades labeled: US Navy/Bay of Pigs. The intense heat of the Vieques sun burns the skn, as did the bullets that left this place to enter Dominican skin in 1965. The napalm that burned so many children and old women in the rice fields of Vietnam left its petroleum stench and gelatinous existence in the contaminated Anones lagoon. Sandino raises his fist from the highest point on Conejo Key - but the pelicans that nest there cannot hear his call over the sound of mortars that kill his people. The suffering of a hundred thousand Iraqi and Kosovari children turn the sound of the breeze into a continuous weeping in this bombing zone at Vieques.

But now, each bomb crater turns into a smile, fed by young warriors from Bieké** and Borikén** who have come to revindicate Vieques, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Chile and thousands of Children in Vietnam, Iraq and Kosovo.

Playa Carrucho (Conch Beach)
Bombing Range of the U.S. Navy on Vieques
8 May, 1999
** The taíno indigenous names for Vieques and Puerto Rico, respectively.
* (Director of the Vieques Historic Archives and member of the Committee for the Rescue and Devlopment of Vieques. Box 1424 Vieques, PR 00765. Tel. (787) 741-8651 E mail: bieke@coqui.net)

Angels of Hope in Vieques (Puerto Rico)    
*©R. Rabin

What a chaos of metal and corral, stone and gunpowder, peace and war on the Eastern end of Vieques! At Salinas, the Eastern extremity of the Isla Nena*, for more than half a century the US Navy has been destroying what Nature has created and recreated for millennium. After twenty years on Vieques, I finally had the chance to see - in all its splendor - the maximum expression of the Beauty and the Beast that is this part of the Puerto Rican archipelago. From the white sandy beach in Carrucho Bay - one of the tens of precious beaches in the areas restricted by the military - its a short distance to Conejo Key. On this big rock, battered by machine guns and rockets, the brown pelican nests (the brown pelican is an endangered species). The blue green color of the Caribbean sea and its crystal clear waters form only part of the scenery. Upon expanding the view, fragments of military metal, shells of exploded rockets, bullets of diverse calibers, enormous bombs - some exploded others live - stuck in the sand, on the ocean bottom, in the surrounding hillsides, in the Anones lagoon - that looks more like the moon than a lagoon from the exaggerated number of craters that injure its pained body.

This place has another destiny - the forces of Creation and the future generations of Vieques, visualize another type of activity on the Eastern part of Vieques. Eco tourism, reforestation projects, conservation and the use of this area - controlled by the community of Vieques and not by Naval Station Roosevelt Roads - will create employment for our people while allowing the return of the flora and fauna in this besieged zone - now rescued by a group of Angels from Esperanza (Hope), who impose their beauty with songs and laughter over the canons and bombs of the beast.

*Isla Nena = Baby Island, nickname for Vieques. Stems from 1940's poem by Luis Llorens Torres.

Monday September 17 11:39 AM ET
Defense Stocks Surge, Led by Electronics
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares of defense contractors rose in morning trade
on Monday, led by makers of military electronics systems, as investors
bet on an increase to defense spending following Tuesday's attack on the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon .
``The terrorist attack on America is a major watershed event likely to
bolster U.S. weapons spending, buttressing already solid earnings
prospects for most defense contractors,'' said Cai von Rumohr, analyst
at SG Cowen. ``Given the heightened perception of threat and eroding
cyclical prospects, defense stocks appear positioned for a broad and
vigorous trading upswing.''
Earlier Monday, SG Cowen upgraded its investment rating on Raytheon to
``trading buy'' from ``hold,'' and named Northrop and L-3 as top picks.
Gains among defense stocks came as the broader market struggled in its
first session since Tuesday's attack. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial
average fell 5 percent while both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite
index lost more than 4 percent.
Wall Street analysts noted military electronics companies were likely to
be clear winners as the U.S. government prepared to strike back against
what it has dubbed ``terrorist acts.''
``We expect the natural reaction by investors will be to buy the defense
contractors in the belief that we will see increased defense spending,''
said Sam Pearlstein, analyst at First Union Securities. ``However, it
should also become increasingly clear that many of the weapons the
contractors currently build might not be the best ones for fighting
terrorism and the enemies of today.''
First Union highlighted the ISR, or intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance, area, along with precision weapons, defense electronics,
and nuclear, biological and chemical defenses, as groups likely to see
higher spending.
In line with those views, shares of Alliant Techsystems Inc. (NYSE: ATK
<http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=atk&d=t> - news
<http://biz.yahoo.com/n/a/atk.html> ), a leader in munitions and
precision capabilities, jumped 23 percent, or $15.09 to a new year high
of $80.38.
Engineered Support Systems, maker of electronics and military support
equipment, surged 33 percent, or $10.48 to $41.53. The stock was the
leading gainer on the Nasdaq.
L-3, which supplies secure communications and specialized products to
prime contractors in the aerospace and military industry, saw its stock
gain 33 percent, or $21.16, to $84.16.
Raytheon, a leader in defense electronics and maker of the Patriot
missile, also stands to gain from a boost in spending on warfare
technologies, analysts said. The stock surged 21 percent, or $5.35, to
Traditional names in the defense industry posted substantial gains as
well. Shares of Northrop, maker of the B-2 bomber and Global Hawk
unmanned surveillance plane, were up 16 percent, or $13.16, at $95.10,
and No. 1 contractor Lockheed, maker of fighter jets, were up 12
percent, or $4.84, at $43.15.
Some analysts, however, noted that the upswing may be temporary.
Christopher Mecray, of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown, said he expects
anti-terror action on the part of the U.S. government to be
manpower-intensive rather than equipment-intensive, which limits
benefits to the defense contractors.
International Network on Disarmament and Globalization
405-825 Granville Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6Z 1K9 CANADA
tel: (604) 687-3223 fax: (604) 687-3277
info@indg.org http://www.indg.org

Three Arguments Against the War
By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

>Unspeakable acts of violence were committed on September 11. The
>perpetrators of the horrific attack of September 11 must be brought to
>justice, using the instruments of domestic and international law. The
>unconscionable slaughter demands prosecution.
>But bombing a desperately poor country under the yoke of a repressive
>regime is a wrongheaded response. The U.S. bombing of Afghanistan should
>cease immediately.
>It is a policy that will diminish U.S. security, ignores overriding
>humanitarian concerns, and precludes more sensible approaches to achieving
>justice and promoting security in the United States and around the world.
>1. The policy of bombing increases the risk of further terrorism against
>the United States.
>This is an uncontested claim.
>The Bush administration along with virtually every commentator
>acknowledges that the U.S. bombing and military response is likely to
>worsen the possibility of additional terrorism on U.S. soil.
>The recent Congressional leak that so outraged the White House involved a
>Washington Post report that an intelligence official, responding to a
>senator's question, "said there is a '100 percent' chance of an attack
>should the United States strike Afghanistan, according to sources familiar
>with the briefing."
>The horror of September 11 allows for no satisfactory response. But surely
>the United States must not act to increase the risk of terrorism.
>No matter how great one's outrage at September 11, no matter how intense
>one's desire to "do something" -- it doesn't make sense to pursue a course
>of action that intensifies the very problem the Bush administration says
>it is trying to solve.
>And the increased risk of terrorism will not be short-lived. Secretary of
>Defense Donald Rumsfeld says the war against terrorism will take years to
>win. Former CIA chief James Woolsey and others have talked about a two- or
>three-decade war. That's coming from proponents of the U.S. military
>action, people who view terrorism as something that can be defeated,
>rather than as a tactic assumed by weak and disgruntled parties.
>2. The bombing is intensifying a humanitarian nightmare in Afghanistan.
>"The terrorist attacks of 11 September, in terms of security and access
>within Afghanistan, have created the potential for a humanitarian crisis
>of massive proportions," according to the UN's World Food Program (WFP).
>The WFP estimates 7.5 million people are in danger of starvation in
>The U.S. threat of military response to September 11, and now its bombing,
>has made a horrible situation worse. The WFP has predicted nearly two
>million additional people will need food assistance due to the disruptions
>caused by the expectation, and now the reality, of a U.S. military
>"It is now evident that we cannot, in reasonable safety, get food to
>hungry Afghan people," says Oxfam America President Raymond C.
>Offenheiser, "We've reached the point where it is simply unrealistic for
>us to do our job in Afghanistan. We've run out of food, the borders are
>closed, we can't reach our staff and time is running out."
>After September 11, relief agencies pulled their staff out of Afghanistan,
>though the WFP has managed to continue to deliver some food supplies via
>Afghani staff.
>But aid agencies warn that time is running out to deliver food supplies.
>By mid-November, heavy snows block key roads, making it impossible to move
>trucks into many areas of the country.
>"If WFP is to meet its target of delivering 52,000 tons of food aid each
>month to millions of hungry people inside Afghanistan, it urgently needs
>to fill-up its warehouses before the region's harsh winter sets in," said
>Mohamed Zejjari, WFP assistant executive director and director of
>Oxfam has called for a pause in the bombing on humanitarian grounds. "We
>just don't know how many people may die if the bombing is not suspended
>and the aid effort assured," Offenheiser says.
>Here the humanitarian imperative is aligned with the most narrowly defined
>U.S. national interest. No action can better serve to reduce the risk of
>future terrorism than providing sufficient food aid to the suffering
>3. There are better ways to seek justice.
>If law is to have meaning, it must constrain and guide our actions in the
>times of greatest stress and challenge, not just when it is convenient.
>Reviewing the principles of international law, Michael Ratner of the
>Center for Constitutional Rights, urges the United States to:
>* Convene a meeting of the UN Security Council.
>* Request the establishment of an international tribunal with authority to
>seek out, extradite or arrest and try those responsible for the September
>11 attack and those who commit or are conspiring to commit future attacks
>* Establish an international military or police force under the control of
>UN and which can effectuate the arrests of those responsible for the
>September 11 attacks and those who commit or are conspiring to commit
>future attacks. It is crucial that such force should be under control of
>the UN and not a mere fig leaf for the United States as was the case in
>the war against Iraq.
>A fair trial of bin Laden -- one perceived as fair not just in the United
>States but around the world -- is essential to avoid turning him into a
>martyr and worsening the spiral of violence.
>Opponents of the war should not be content to be a dissenting minority.
>While there are many compelling arguments against the war, it is critical
>to emphasize those with the best prospect of moving the U.S. public and
>The widespread U.S. public support for military action against Afghanistan
>is based in part on a desire for a modicum of justice and for action to
>reduce the risk of future terrorist action.
>These are both vital goals, but both -- especially reducing the risk of
>future terrorism -- can be better achieved through peace than war.

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime
>Reporter. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based
>Multinational Monitor. They are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The
>Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common
>Courage Press, 1999; http://www.corporatepredators.org)
©Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

Tracking bin Laden's money flow leads back to Midland, Texas
by Wayne Madsen

On September 24, President George W. Bush appeared at a press conference in the White House Rose Garden to announce a crackdown on the financial networks of terrorists and those who support them. "U.S. banks that have assets of these groups or individuals must freeze their accounts," Bush declared. "And U.S. citizens or businesses are prohibited from doing business with them."

But the president, who is now enjoying an astounding 92 percent approval rating, hasn't always practiced what he is now preaching: Bush's own businesses were once tied to financial figures in Saudi Arabia who currently support bin Laden.

In 1979, Bush's first business, Arbusto Energy, obtained financing from James Bath, a Houstonian and close family friend. One of many investors, Bath gave Bush $50,000 for a 5 percent stake in Arbusto. At the time, Bath was the sole U.S. business representative for Salem bin Laden, head of the wealthy Saudi Arabian family and a brother (one of 17) to Osama bin Laden. It has long been suspected, but never proven, that the Arbusto money came directly from Salem bin Laden. In a statement issued shortly after the September 11 attacks, the White House vehemently denied the connection, insisting that Bath invested his own money, not Salem bin Laden's, in Arbusto.

In conflicting statements, Bush at first denied ever knowing Bath, then acknowledged his stake in Arbusto and that he was aware Bath represented Saudi interests. In fact, Bath has extensive ties, both to the bin Laden family and major players in the scandal-ridden Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI) who have gone on to fund Osama bin Laden. BCCI defrauded depositors of $10 billion in the '80s in what has been called the "largest bank fraud in world financial history" by former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. During the '80s, BCCI also acted as a main conduit for laundering money intended for clandestine CIA activities, ranging from financial support to the Afghan mujahedin to paying intermediaries in the Iran-Contra affair.

When Salem bin Laden died in 1988, powerful Saudi Arabian banker and BCCI principal Khalid bin Mahfouz inherited his interests in Houston. Bath ran a business for bin Mahfouz in Houston and joined a partnership with bin Mahfouz and Gaith Pharaon, BCCI's frontman in Houston's Main Bank.

The Arbusto deal wasn't the last time Bush looked to highly questionable sources to invest in his oil dealings. After several incarnations, Arbusto emerged in 1986 as Harken Energy Corporation. When Harken ran into trouble a year later, Saudi Sheik Abdullah Taha Bakhsh purchased a 17.6 percent stake in the company. Bakhsh was a business partner with Pharaon in Saudi Arabia; his banker there just happened to be bin Mahfouz.

Though Bush told the Wall Street Journal he had "no idea" BCCI was involved in Harken's financial dealings, the network of connections between Bush and BCCI is so extensive that the Journal concluded their investigation of the matter in 1991 by stating: "The number of BCCI-connected people who had dealings with Harken-all since George W. Bush came on board-raises the question of whether they mask an effort to cozy up to a presidential son." Or even the president: Bath finally came under investigation by the FBI in 1992 for his Saudi business relationships, accused of funneling Saudi money through Houston in order to influence the foreign policies of the Reagan and first Bush administrations.

Worst of all, bin Mahfouz allegedly has been financing the bin Laden terrorist network-making Bush a U.S. citizen who has done business with those who finance and support terrorists. According to USA Today, bin Mahfouz and other Saudis attempted to transfer $3 million to various bin Laden front operations in Saudi Arabia in 1999. ABC News reported the same year that Saudi officials stopped bin Mahfouz from contributing money directly to bin Laden. (Bin Mahfouz's sister is also a wife of Osama bin Laden, a fact that former CIA Director James Woolsey revealed in 1998 Senate testimony.)

When President Bush announced he is hot on the trail of the money used over the years to finance terrorism, he must realize that trail ultimately leads not only to Saudi Arabia, but to some of the same financiers who originally helped propel him into the oil business and later the White House. The ties between bin Laden and the White House may be much closer than he is willing to acknowledge.

Wayne Madsen, an investigative journalist based in Washington, is the author of Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa 1993-1999.

©2001 The Institute for Public Affairs


The algebra of infinite justice

As the US prepares to wage a new kind of war, Arundhati Roy challenges the instinct for vengance

Arundhati Roy
Saturday September 29, 2001
The Guardian

In the aftermath of the unconscionable September 11 suicide attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre, an American newscaster said: "Good and evil rarely manifest themselves
as clearly as they did last Tuesday. People who we don't know massacred people who we do. And they did so with contemptuous glee." Then he broke down and wept.

Here's the rub: America is at war against people it doesn't know, because they don't appear much on TV. Before it has properly identified or even begun to comprehend the nature of its
enemy, the US government has, in a rush of publicity and embarrassing rhetoric, cobbled together an "international coalition against terror", mobilised its army, its air force, its navy
and its media, and committed them to battle.

The trouble is that once Amer ica goes off to war, it can't very well return without having fought one. If it doesn't find its enemy, for the sake of the enraged folks back home, it will have to
manufacture one. Once war begins, it will develop a momentum, a logic and a justification of its own, and we'll lose sight of why it's being fought in the first place.

What we're witnessing here is the spectacle of the world's most powerful country reaching reflexively, angrily, for an old instinct to fight a new kind of war. Suddenly, when it comes to
defending itself, America's streamlined warships, cruise missiles and F-16 jets look like obsolete, lumbering things. As deterrence, its arsenal of nuclear bombs is no longer worth its
weight in scrap. Box-cutters, penknives, and cold anger are the weapons with which the wars of the new century will be waged. Anger is the lock pick. It slips through customs unnoticed.
Doesn't show up in baggage checks.

Who is America fighting? On September 20, the FBI said that it had doubts about the identities of some of the hijackers. On the same day President George Bush said, "We know exactly who
these people are and which governments are supporting them." It sounds as though the president knows something that the FBI and the American public don't.

In his September 20 address to the US Congress, President Bush called the enemies of America "enemies of freedom". "Americans are asking, 'Why do they hate us?' " he said. "They hate
our freedoms - our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." People are being asked to make two leaps of faith here.
First, to assume that The Enemy is who the US government says it is, even though it has no substantial evidence to support that claim. And second, to assume that The Enemy's motives are
what the US government says they are, and there's nothing to support that either.

For strategic, military and economic reasons, it is vital for the US government to persuade its public that their commitment to freedom and democracy and the American Way of Life is
under attack. In the current atmosphere of grief, outrage and anger, it's an easy notion to peddle. However, if that were true, it's reasonable to wonder why the symbols of America's
economic and military dominance - the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon - were chosen as the targets of the attacks. Why not the Statue of Liberty? Could it be that the stygian anger
that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American freedom and democracy, but in the US government's record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite things - to military and
economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide (outside America)? It must be hard for ordinary Americans, so recently bereaved, to
look up at the world with their eyes full of tears and encounter what might appear to them to be indifference. It isn't indifference. It's just augury. An absence of surprise. The tired
wisdom of knowing that what goes around eventually comes around. American people ought to know that it is not them but their government's policies that are so hated. They can't possibly
doubt that they themselves, their extraordinary musicians, their writers, their actors, their spectacular sportsmen and their cinema, are universally welcomed. All of us have been
moved by the courage and grace shown by firefighters, rescue workers and ordinary office staff in the days since the attacks.

America's grief at what happened has been immense and immensely public. It would be grotesque to expect it to calibrate or modulate its anguish. However, it will be a pity if, instead of
using this as an opportunity to try to understand why September 11 happened, Americans use it as an opportunity to usurp the whole world's sorrow to mourn and avenge only their own.
Because then it falls to the rest of us to ask the hard questions and say the harsh things. And for our pains, for our bad timing, we will be disliked, ignored and perhaps eventually silenced.

The world will probably never know what motivated those particular hijackers who flew planes into those particular American buildings. They were not glory boys. They left no suicide
notes, no political messages; no organisation has claimed credit for the attacks. All we know is that their belief in what they were doing outstripped the natural human instinct for
survival, or any desire to be remembered. It's almost as though they could not scale down the enormity of their rage to anything smaller than their deeds. And what they did has blown a
hole in the world as we knew it. In the absence of information, politicians, political commentators and writers (like myself) will invest the act with their own politics, with their own
interpretations. This speculation, this analysis of the political climate in which the attacks took place, can only be a good thing.

But war is looming large. Whatever remains to be said must be said quickly. Before America places itself at the helm of the "international coalition against terror", before it invites (and
coerces) countries to actively participate in its almost godlike mission - called Operation Infinite Justice until it was pointed out that this could be seen as an insult to Muslims, who
believe that only Allah can mete out infinite justice, and was renamed Operation Enduring Freedom- it would help if some small clarifications are made. For example, Infinite
Justice/Enduring Freedom for whom? Is this America's war against terror in America or against terror in general? What exactly is being avenged here? Is it the tragic loss of almost
7,000 lives, the gutting of five million square feet of office space in Manhattan, the destruction of a section of the Pentagon, the loss of several hundreds of thousands of jobs, the
bankruptcy of some airline companies and the dip in the New York Stock Exchange? Or is it more than that? In 1996, Madeleine Albright, then the US secretary of state, was asked on
national television what she felt about the fact that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of US economic sanctions. She replied that it was "a very hard choice", but that, all things
considered, "we think the price is worth it". Albright never lost her job for saying this. She continued to travel the world representing the views and aspirations of the US government.
More pertinently, the sanctions against Iraq remain in place. Children continue to die.

So here we have it. The equivocating distinction between civilisation and savagery, between the "massacre of innocent people" or, if you like, "a clash of civilisations" and "collateral
damage". The sophistry and fastidious algebra of infinite justice. How many dead Iraqis will it take to make the world a better place? How many dead Afghans for every dead American? How
many dead women and children for every dead man? How many dead mojahedin for each dead investment banker? As we watch mesmerised, Operation Enduring Freedom unfolds on TV
monitors across the world. A coalition of the world's superpowers is closing in on Afghanistan, one of the poorest, most ravaged, war-torn countries in the world, whose ruling Taliban
government is sheltering Osama bin Laden, the man being held responsible for the September 11 attacks.

The only thing in Afghanistan that could possibly count as collateral value is its citizenry. (Among them, half a million maimed orphans.There are accounts of hobbling stampedes that
occur when artificial limbs are airdropped into remote, inaccessible villages.) Afghanistan's economy is in a shambles. In fact, the problem for an invading army is that Afghanistan has
no conventional coordinates or signposts to plot on a military map - no big cities, no highways, no industrial complexes, no water treatment plants. Farms have been turned into mass
graves. The countryside is littered with land mines - 10 million is the most recent estimate. The American army would first have to clear the mines and build roads in order to take its
soldiers in.

Fearing an attack from America, one million citizens have fled from their homes and arrived at the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The UN estimates that there are eight million
Afghan citizens who need emergency aid. As supplies run out - food and aid agencies have been asked to leave - the BBC reports that one of the worst humanitarian disasters of recent times
has begun to unfold. Witness the infinite justice of the new century. Civilians starving to death while they're waiting to be killed.

In America there has been rough talk of "bombing Afghanistan back to the stone age". Someone please break the news that Afghanistan is already there. And if it's any consolation, America
played no small part in helping it on its way. The American people may be a little fuzzy about where exactly Afghanistan is (we hear reports that there's a run on maps of the country),
but the US government and Afghanistan are old friends.

In 1979, after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA and Pakistan's ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) launched the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA. Their purpose
was to harness the energy of Afghan resistance to the Soviets and expand it into a holy war, an Islamic jihad, which would turn Muslim countries within the Soviet Union against the
communist regime and eventually destabilise it. When it began, it was meant to be the Soviet Union's Vietnam. It turned out to be much more than that. Over the years, through the ISI, the
CIA funded and recruited almost 100,000 radical mojahedin from 40 Islamic countries as soldiers for America's proxy war. The rank and file of the mojahedin were unaware that their
jihad was actually being fought on behalf of Uncle Sam. (The irony is that America was equally unaware that it was financing a future war against itself.)

In 1989, after being bloodied by 10 years of relentless conflict, the Russians withdrew, leaving behind a civilisation reduced to rubble.

Civil war in Afghanistan raged on. The jihad spread to Chechnya, Kosovo and eventually to Kashmir. The CIA continued to pour in money and military equipment, but the overheads had
become immense, and more money was needed. The mojahedin ordered farmers to plant opium as a "revolutionary tax". The ISI set up hundreds of heroin laboratories across Afghanistan.
Within two years of the CIA's arrival, the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderland had become the biggest producer of heroin in the world, and the single biggest source of the heroin on American
streets. The annual profits, said to be between $100bn and $200bn, were ploughed back into training and arming militants.

In 1995, the Taliban - then a marginal sect of dangerous, hardline fundamentalists - fought its way to power in Afghanistan. It was funded by the ISI, that old cohort of the CIA, and
supported by many political parties in Pakistan. The Taliban unleashed a regime of terror. Its first victims were its own people, particularly women. It closed down girls' schools,
dismissed women from government jobs, and enforced sharia laws under which women deemed to be "immoral" are stoned to death, and widows guilty of being adulterous are buried alive.
Given the Taliban government's human rights track record, it seems unlikely that it will in any way be intimidated or swerved from its purpose by the prospect of war, or the threat to
the lives of its civilians.

After all that has happened, can there be anything more ironic than Russia and America joining hands to re-destroy Afghanistan? The question is, can you destroy destruction? Dropping
more bombs on Afghanistan will only shuffle the rubble, scramble some old graves and disturb the dead.

The desolate landscape of Afghanistan was the burial ground of Soviet communism and the springboard of a unipolar world dominated by America. It made the space for neocapitalism and
corporate globalisation, again dominated by America. And now Afghanistan is poised to become the graveyard for the unlikely soldiers who fought and won this war for America.

And what of America's trusted ally? Pakistan too has suffered enormously. The US government has not been shy of supporting military dictators who have blocked the idea of democracy
from taking root in the country. Before the CIA arrived, there was a small rural market for opium in Pakistan. Between 1979 and 1985, the number of heroin addicts grew from zero to
one-and-a-half million. Even before September 11, there were three million Afghan refugees living in tented camps along the border. Pakistan's economy is crumbling. Sectarian
violence, globalisation's structural adjustment programmes and drug lords are tearing the country to pieces. Set up to fight the Soviets, the terrorist training centres and madrasahs,
sown like dragon's teeth across the country, produced fundamentalists with tremendous popular appeal within Pakistan itself. The Taliban, which the Pakistan government has sup ported,
funded and propped up for years, has material and strategic alliances with Pakistan's own political parties.

Now the US government is asking (asking?) Pakistan to garotte the pet it has hand-reared in its backyard for so many years. President Musharraf, having pledged his support to the US,
could well find he has something resembling civil war on his hands.

India, thanks in part to its geography, and in part to the vision of its former leaders, has so far been fortunate enough to be left out of this Great Game. Had it been drawn in, it's more than
likely that our democracy, such as it is, would not have survived. Today, as some of us watch in horror, the Indian government is furiously gyrating its hips, begging the US to set up its
base in India rather than Pakistan. Having had this ringside view of Pakistan's sordid fate, it isn't just odd, it's unthinkable, that India should want to do this. Any third world country with
a fragile economy and a complex social base should know by now that to invite a superpower such as America in (whether it says it's staying or just passing through) would be like
inviting a brick to drop through your windscreen.

Operation Enduring Freedom is ostensibly being fought to uphold the American Way of Life. It'll probably end up undermining it completely. It will spawn more anger and more terror
across the world. For ordinary people in America, it will mean lives lived in a climate of sickening uncertainty: will my child be safe in school? Will there be nerve gas in the subway? A
bomb in the cinema hall? Will my love come home tonight? There have been warnings about the possibility of biological warfare - smallpox, bubonic plague, anthrax - the deadly payload
of innocuous crop-duster aircraft. Being picked off a few at a time may end up being worse than being annihilated all at once by a nuclear bomb.

The US government, and no doubt governments all over the world, will use the climate of war as an excuse to curtail civil liberties, deny free speech, lay off workers, harass ethnic and
religious minorities, cut back on public spending and divert huge amounts of money to the defence industry. To what purpose? President Bush can no more "rid the world of evil-doers"
than he can stock it with saints. It's absurd for the US government to even toy with the notion that it can stamp out terrorism with more violence and oppression. Terrorism is the
symptom, not the disease. Terrorism has no country. It's transnational, as global an enterprise as Coke or Pepsi or Nike. At the first sign of trouble, terrorists can pull up stakes and
move their "factories" from country to country in search of a better deal. Just like the multi-nationals.

Terrorism as a phenomenon may never go away. But if it is to be contained, the first step is for America to at least acknowledge that it shares the planet with other nations, with other
human beings who, even if they are not on TV, have loves and griefs and stories and songs and sorrows and, for heaven's sake, rights. Instead, when Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence
secretary, was asked what he would call a victory in America's new war, he said that if he could convince the world that Americans must be allowed to continue with their way of life, he
would consider it a victory.

The September 11 attacks were a monstrous calling card from a world gone horribly wrong. The message may have been written by Bin Laden (who knows?) and delivered by his
couriers, but it could well have been signed by the ghosts of the victims of America's old wars. The millions killed in Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia, the 17,500 killed when Israel - backed
by the US - invaded Lebanon in 1982, the 200,000 Iraqis killed in Operation Desert Storm, the thousands of Palestinians who have died fighting Israel's occupation of the West Bank. And
the millions who died, in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Haiti, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Panama, at the hands of all the terrorists, dictators and genocidists whom the
American government supported, trained, bankrolled and supplied with arms. And this is far from being a comprehensive list.

For a country involved in so much warfare and conflict, the American people have been extremely fortunate. The strikes on September 11 were only the second on American soil in over a
century. The first was Pearl Harbour. The reprisal for this took a long route, but ended with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This time the world waits with bated breath for the horrors to come.

Someone recently said that if Osama bin Laden didn't exist, America would have had to invent him. But, in a way, America did invent him. He was among the jihadis who moved to
Afghanistan in 1979 when the CIA commenced its operations there. Bin Laden has the distinction of being created by the CIA and wanted by the FBI. In the course of a fortnight he has been
promoted from suspect to prime suspect and then, despite the lack of any real evidence, straight up the charts to being "wanted dead or alive".

From all accounts, it will be impossible to produce evidence (of the sort that would stand scrutiny in a court of law) to link Bin Laden to the September 11 attacks. So far, it appears that
the most incriminating piece of evidence against him is the fact that he has not condemned them.

From what is known about the location of Bin Laden and the living conditions in which he operates, it's entirely possible that he did not personally plan and carry out the attacks - that he is the inspirational figure, "the CEO of the holding company". The Taliban's response to US demands for the extradition of Bin Laden has been uncharacteristically reasonable: produce the evidence, then we'll hand him over. President Bush's response is that the demand is "non-negotiable".

(While talks are on for the extradition of CEOs - can India put in a side request for the extradition of Warren Anderson of the US? He was the chairman of Union Carbide, responsible for the Bhopal gas leak that killed 16,000 people in 1984. We have collated the necessary evidence. It's all in the files. Could we have him, please?)

But who is Osama bin Laden really? Let me rephrase that. What is Osama bin Laden? He's America's family secret. He is the American president's dark doppelgänger. The savage twin of all
that purports to be beautiful and civilised. He has been sculpted from the spare rib of a world laid to waste by America's foreign policy: its gunboat diplomacy, its nuclear arsenal, its
vulgarly stated policy of "full-spectrum dominance", its chilling disregard for non-American lives, its barbarous military interventions, its support for despotic and dictatorial
regimes, its merciless economic agenda that has munched through the economies of poor countries like a cloud of locusts. Its marauding multinationals who are taking over the air we
breathe, the ground we stand on, the water we drink, the thoughts we think. Now that the family secret has been spilled, the twins are blurring into one another and gradually becoming
interchangeable. Their guns, bombs, money and drugs have been going around in the loop for a while. (The Stinger missiles that will greet US helicopters were supplied by the CIA. The
heroin used by America's drug addicts comes from Afghanistan. The Bush administration recently gave Afghanistan a $43m subsidy for a "war on drugs"....)

Now Bush and Bin Laden have even begun to borrow each other's rhetoric. Each refers to the other as "the head of the snake". Both invoke God and use the loose millenarian currency of good
and evil as their terms of reference. Both are engaged in unequivocal political crimes. Both are dangerously armed - one with the nuclear arsenal of the obscenely powerful, the other with
the incandescent, destructive power of the utterly hopeless. The fireball and the ice pick. The bludgeon and the axe. The important thing to keep in mind is that neither is an acceptable
alternative to the other.

President Bush's ultimatum to the people of the world - "If you're not with us, you're against us" - is a piece of presumptuous arrogance. It's not a choice that people want to, need to, or
should have to make.

© Arundhati Roy 2001
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2001

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