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NGO Statement * Vulnerability and Choices Remain for Uncertain Peace

16 September 2001

By Bruce Gagnon

Dear Friends:

I've heard from several folks who wonder if our plans for October 13 are still on. The answer is yes, yes, yes. Now more than ever.

Bush and Congress are moving money in truck loads to the Pentagon and aerospace industry for Star Wars research and development. Just last night Congress voted to give Bush $40 billion to handle this new crisis.

It is my feeling that our October 13 Int'l Day of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space needs to be broadened to include the coming reality of war preparation. I strongly suggest that when possible our actions try to incorporate the following:

· Oppose preparations for war. Revenge and the likely killing of more innocent people will only fuel the fires of hatred and terrorism

· U.S. "control and domination" of space or the Earth below only creates more global instability

· Deployments of Theatre Missile Defense (TMD) in the Middle East and Asia will escalate tensions and conditions for war in those regions

· Cuts in social security and other social spending programs are likely results of massive military expansion

· NATO's plan to "support" U.S. military action will essentially give the alliance the excuse to permanently "occupy" the Middle East. (Former President Bill Clinton called for this very thing when he ran for president the first time.)

· American people must acknowledge that there are root causes for the tremendous anger against our government and we must deal with them

· The tragic incidents of September 11 reveal how Star Wars will not offer any real protection from those who are determined to attack the U.S.

· We must remind the public that many of those suspected as the leaders of this terror were trained by the CIA

· We must defend our constitutional rights to peacefully assemble and speak

In times like this we must all show great courage. Our views might not appear popular as the public casts about looking for answers and revenge. But in fact many people will respond positively to our call that violence begets more violence. Our October 13 actions should be used to convey this message.

For the list of 246 Endorsing Organizations of the International Day of Protest to Stop the
Militarization of Space and locations of 90 action sites for protests on October 13, link to:

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Editor's Note:

My daughter challenged me the other day about what sort of impact does anyone have to influence such events now taking shape. I have to admit that I am uncertain, but only know that we must continue to try to awaken the world to a new shift of consciousness, so we are not led by past mistakes and find a new way in learning and responding for a sustainable future for all life. One thing is for certain, only with a united front do we have any chance to eventually reach the critical mass for positive change that would end the vulnerability of non-effective deterrent and offensive war policies that actually create proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, and provide incentives and easy targets for terrorist acts.

To add to the excellent suggestions of Bruce Gagnon for actions on October 13, please keep in touch with the proposals of Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich. Besides his space weapon ban legislation to be announced on October 2, 2001, the Congressman has also proposed other legislation introduced in the US House of Representatives (H.R.2459) to establish a Department of Peace.

Yet all peace efforts has taken a blow with the gripping images of the Twin Towers collapsing and the Pentagon on fire. Power without wisdom becomes a fool-hearty force that can consume itself with arrogance and ignorance of how vulnerable our world has become. Following are examples and reasoning for the consideration of transforming policies for peace, because if we continue on our pathway of vulnerability by the technologies and weapons of destruction that we have spread throughout the world, the hell in NYC this past week could be minuscule compared to the reality of destruction we can witness in our future.

1) NGO Statement on the attacks in the US
2) Report of Missile Defense Plan Buoyed by a Bipartisan Mood
3) U.S. shouldn't fight violence with violence
4) Bin Laden's CIA ties come home to roost


1) NGO Statement on the attacks in the US

The organizations signed below wish to express their sincere sorrow for the enormous loss of life in the United States today. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of the victims throughout the world as well as to the American people.

We condemn all acts of terrorism, whether state sanctioned or the actions of individuals or small groups, as indefensible.

These tragic events show us that our current strategies are not effective.

The US has been attempting to construct artificial walls around its nation through schemes such as the National Missile Defense proposal. It is clear that no amount of military spending could have prevented the attacks witnessed by the world today.

We call for a calm response in the face of this tragedy. The world needs to take a deep breath and not take rash and counterproductive steps in retaliation for these attacks. Retaliation can never be justified, and will only serve to perpetuate a cycle of violence.

We call on the international community not to allow this atrocity to increase hatred, racial and religious intolerance. We encourage our leaders to view this as an opportunity to assist the US and the world in its search for peaceful solutions to conflicts.

We add our voices to those of colleagues around the world who recognize that true security can only be rooted in social and environmental justice.


Australian groups:

The Wilderness Society
Earth Worker
Friends of Palestine
Friends of the Earth Australia
Action for Peace
Canberra Program for Peace
Rev. Ray Richmond, Wayside Chapel, uniting Church in Australia
Australian AntiBases Campaign Coalition
Campaign for International Cooperation and Disarmament (CICD)
Two Billion Voices for Peace
Environment Centre of the Northern Territory
Albury-Wodonga Environment Centre
National Union of Students (NUS)
Medical Assocn.for the Prevention of War (WA)
SA Nuclear Free Future
Everyone for a Nuclear Free Future, SA
Grass Roots Resource Centre (Brisbane)
Ecoteam in Brisbane
Ausnews Global Network
Justice for Refugees
Coalition for Justice
UNSW Centre for Refugee Research
ANCORW (The Australian National Committee on Refugee Women)

Kelly Hoare, ALP Federal Member for Charlton

UK Organisations
Sussex Peace Alliance

Nevada desert Experience

Flyby News and other NGO's (Non Government Organizations) are being added to this list. The document will be sent to President Bush, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, US Congressional leaders, Tony Blair, US Allies. Please feel welcomed to use any of it for a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. If your Organization wants to sign this statement, please contact John Hallam < >.


2) Report of Missile Defense Plan Buoyed by a Bipartisan Mood

September 14, 2001

Shield Plan Buoyed by a Bipartisan Mood

New York Times

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 - The suicide attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon appear to have strengthened, not weakened, the prospects for Congressional support of President Bush's missile defense plan.

Representative David R. Obey of Wisconsin, the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said that even though the attacks showed that the biggest threat to the nation was from terrorism, Congressional reluctance to oppose the president at this time seemed likely to overwhelm that circumstance.

One Democratic senator after another, while stopping short of Mr. Obey's blunt prediction, said they felt that this was no time for partisanship - and the ballistic missile issue is inevitably partisan.

Moreover, the money issue has all but disappeared, swept away by Congress's sudden post-attack willingness to tap the Social Security surplus for all forms of defense. That has weakened the argument that the president's request for $8.3 billion for an antimissile system would divert needed money from more pressing dangers like terrorism, critics of the plan concede.

"We have enough resources to do both," said Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania.

Before the attacks, the Senate Armed Services Committee had recommended cutting $1.3 billion from Mr. Bush's request of $8.3 billion for all forms of missile defense, including the uncontroversial shield for troops in the field with weapons like Patriot missiles. The cut in the antiballistic missile program would amount to $510 million out of a requested $3.94 billion. Committee aides said the administration request was for more than it could realistically spend in the year beginning Oct. 1.

But the committee's more serious challenge to the administration was an effort to ban any testing that would violate the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty, which Mr. Bush wants to abandon.

That prohibition led Donald H. Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, to say that he would urge a Bush veto if the language survived on the Senate floor and in a Senate-House conference.

It is now singularly at risk because of Congress's readiness to rally behind Mr. Bush in the wake of the attacks.

Tom C. Collina, director of global security for the Union of Concerned Scientists, one of the leading foes of the antimissile plan, said, "There's a real danger because of this crisis that the Democrats will give up this fight, which would be a real shame."

The subject is not being openly debated. Instead, lawmakers, eager to present a united front, are trying to avoid contentious issues in the wake of Tuesday's attacks. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Democrat of Maryland, who has argued in the past that terrorism was a bigger threat than a rogue missile, said, "Nobody wants to say `I told you so.' "

But a few Democratic critics said the devastation caused by hijacked airliners showed the administration was focusing on the wrong threat. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said: "I think we probably will not argue about it now. But eventually there will come a realization that these planes were missiles a defense shield could not defend against."

Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota, chairman of the Budget Committee, said: "What we see here is that we are much more vulnerable" to terrorism than to missiles. "We've got to use our resources to defend against this sort of attack."

Republican supporters of the president drew a different lesson. "What Tuesday showed is that attacks can come in many different forms," said Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi said: "We can't predict what our enemies are going to use as a way to intimidate or harm us or our country. We can't just single out one or two things to work on."

Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee said, "To say that because yesterday's attack came from this direction, then tomorrow's can't come from another direction is foolish."

At the White House today, Ari Fleischer, the press secretary, insisted that there was no question of balancing threats from terrorism and from missiles. He said: "The two are not connected. The United States still faces risks of many natures. This was a terrorist risk that was carried out in a different form of delivery, within our borders. But that does not mean there are not other threats out there that also need to be addressed, per missile defense." And he observed that the government was spending much more money on terrorism, "lopsidedly, overwhelmingly," than on missile defense.

In the House, Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, the minority leader, said "we will continue to see if we can divert some of this money" from missile defense to antiterrorism activities.

But Mr. Obey, who was hopeful before the attacks that the administration's request would be trimmed, said he had no idea now whether that could be done. "It is times like this when the political system produces some of the craziest results and some of the biggest mistakes."

And an aide to a House Democrat who opposes missile defense explained, "What happened Tuesday was just so terrible that people are rallying round, saying we have to let the president lead us. So we're going to give him a lot of leeway."


3) U.S. shouldn't fight violence with violence

By Stephen Zunes
Originally published September 12, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO - Terrorism is not rational, but an emotive reaction by frustrated and angry people. Yet the common reaction to terrorism is often no less rational, no less a reaction by a frustrated and angry people.

It would behoove this great nation not to respond to yesterday's terrorist attack on America in ways that would restrict civil liberties, particularly if the terrorists are from an immigrant community. Already, analogies are being drawn to Pearl Harbor, which resulted in the internment of tens of thousands of loyal U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry.

It is also important that the United States not retaliate militarily in a blind dramatic matter, as has been done in the past. In 1997, in retaliation for the terrorist attacks of two U.S. embassies in Africa, the United States bombed a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that supplied more than half the antibiotics and vaccines for that impoverished country. The Clinton administration falsely claimed it was a chemical weapons plant controlled by an exiled Saudi terrorist.

In 1986, the United States bombed two Libyan cities, killing scores of civilians, in response to the bombing of a West German discotheque that killed American servicemen. Though the United States claimed it would curb Libyan-backed terrorism, Libyan intelligence operatives ended up blowing up a U.S. airliner in retaliation.

Military responses usually result only in a spiral of violent retaliation. Similarly, simply bombing other countries after the fact will not protect lives. Indeed, it will likely result in what Pentagon planners euphemistically call "collateral damage," i.e., the deaths of civilians just as innocent as those killed in New York City. And survivors bent on revenge.

Today, in the Middle East, the United States backs an occupying Israeli army as well as corrupt autocratic Arab dictatorships, which kill innocent civilians using weapons our government supplies. We justify supporting these repressive governments in the name of defending our strategic interests in that important region. Ironically, it is just such policies that may have provoked these terrorist attacks, inevitably raising the question as to whether our security interests are really enhanced through such militarization.

Even when the United States puts itself forward as a peacemaker, as with the Camp David accords that led to the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1979, it may look very different to those in the region.

Indeed, not only did it avoid resolving the Palestinian question - the key to peace in the Middle East - but the accords more closely resembled a tripartite military pact than a real peace agreement in that it resulted in tens of billions of dollars worth of additional American armaments flowing into that already overly militarized region.

It is no coincidence that terrorist groups have arisen in an area where the world's one remaining superpower puts far more emphasis on weapons shipments and air strikes than on international law or human rights and even blocks the United Nations from sending human rights monitors or enforcing its own resolutions against an ally.

Nor is it surprising that superpower would eventually find itself on the receiving end of a violence backlash.

Similarly, it is not surprising that in the Middle East and other parts of the world that have suffered violence, some people have the perverse reaction of celebrating that the United States has now also experienced such a massive and violent loss of life on its own soil.

These tragedies remind us of the need to focus not on unworkable missile defense projects but instead on improved intelligence and interdiction.

Instead of continuing the cycle of violence, we need to re-evaluate policies that lead to such anger and resentment.

Instead of lashing out against perceived hostile communities, we need to recognize that America's greatest strength is not in our weapons of destruction, but the fortitude and caring of its people.

* * *

Stephen Zunes is a senior policy analyst and Middle East editor for the Foreign Policy in Focus project. He is an associate professor of politics and chair of the Peace & Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco.

For original posting of this article see,
Copyright © 2001, The Baltimore Sun

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4) Bin Laden's CIA ties come home to roost

Bin Laden comes home to roost
His CIA ties are only the beginning of a woeful story

By Michael Moran MSNBC

NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 1998 - At the CIA, it happens often enough to have a code name: Blowback. Simply defined, this is the term that describes an agent, an operative or an operation that has turned on its creators. Osama bin Laden, our new public enemy Number 1, is the personification of blowback. And the fact that he is viewed as a hero by millions in the Islamic world proves again the old adage: Reap what you sow.

BEFORE YOU CLICK on my face and call me naive, let me concede some points. Yes, the West needed Josef Stalin to defeat Hitler. Yes, there were times during the Cold War when supporting one villain (Cambodia's Lon Nol, for instance) would have been better than the alternative (Pol Pot). So yes, there are times when any nation must hold its nose and shake hands with the devil for the long-term good of the planet.

But just as surely, there are times when the United States, faced with such moral dilemmas, should have resisted the temptation to act. Arming a multi- national coalition of Islamic extremists in Afghanistan during the 1980s - well after the destruction of the Marine barracks in Beirut or the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 - was one of those times.


As anyone who has bothered to read this far certainly knows by now, bin Laden is the heir to Saudi construction fortune who, at least since the early 1990s, has used that money to finance countless attacks on U.S. interests and those of its Arab allies around the world.

Osama bin Laden's network

As his unclassified CIA biography states, bin Laden left Saudi Arabia to fight the Soviet army in Afghanistan after Moscow's invasion in 1979. By 1984, he was running a front organization known as Maktab al-Khidamar - the MAK - which funneled money, arms and fighters from the outside world into the Afghan war.

What the CIA bio conveniently fails to specify (in its unclassified form, at least) is that the MAK was nurtured by Pakistan's state security services, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, the CIA's primary conduit for conducting the covert war against Moscow's occupation.

By no means was Osama bin Laden the leader of Afghanistan's mujahedeen. His money gave him undue prominence in the Afghan struggle, but the vast majority of those who fought and died for Afghanistan's freedom - like the Taliban regime that now holds sway over most of that tortured nation - were Afghan nationals.

Yet the CIA, concerned about the factionalism of Afghanistan made famous by Rudyard Kipling, found that Arab zealots who flocked to aid the Afghans were easier to "read" than the rivalry-ridden natives. While the Arab volunteers might well prove troublesome later, the agency reasoned, they at least were one-dimensionally anti-Soviet for now. So bin Laden, along with a small group of Islamic militants from Egypt, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestinian refugee camps all over the Middle East, became the "reliable" partners of the CIA in its war against Moscow.


Though he has come to represent all that went wrong with the CIA's reckless strategy there, by the end of the Afghan war in 1989, bin Laden was still viewed by the agency as something of a dilettante - a rich Saudi boy gone to war and welcomed home by the Saudi monarchy he so hated as something of a hero.

America strikes back

In fact, while he returned to his family's construction business, bin Laden had split from the relatively conventional MAK in 1988 and established a new group, al-Qaida, that included many of the more extreme MAK members he had met in Afghanistan.

Most of these Afghan vets, or Afghanis, as the Arabs who fought there became known, turned up later behind violent Islamic movements around the world. Among them: the GIA in Algeria, thought responsible for the massacres of tens of thousands of civilians; Egypt's Gamat Ismalia, which has massacred western tourists repeatedly in recent years; Saudi Arabia Shiite militants, responsible for the Khobar Towers and Riyadh bombings of 1996.

Indeed, to this day, those involved in the decision to give the Afghan rebels access to a fortune in covert funding and top-level combat weaponry continue to defend that move in the context of the Cold War. Sen. Orrin Hatch, a senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee making those decisions, told my colleague Robert Windrem that he would make the same call again today even knowing what bin Laden would do subsequently. "It was worth it," he said.

"Those were very important, pivotal matters that played an important role in the downfall of the Soviet Union," he said.


It should be pointed out that the evidence of bin Laden's connection to these activities is mostly classified, though its hard to imagine the CIA rushing to take credit for a Frankenstein's monster like this.

It is also worth acknowledging that it is easier now to oppose the CIA's Afghan adventures than it was when Hatch and company made them in the mid-1980s. After all, in 1998 we now know that far larger elements than Afghanistan were corroding the communist party's grip on power in Moscow.

Even Hatch can't be blamed completely. The CIA, ever mindful of the need to justify its "mission," had conclusive evidence by the mid-1980s of the deepening crisis of infrastructure within the Soviet Union. The CIA, as its deputy director William Gates acknowledged under congressional questioning in 1992, had decided to keep that evidence from President Reagan and his top advisors and instead continued to grossly exaggerate Soviet military and technological
capabilities in its annual "Soviet Military Power" report right up to 1990.

Given that context, a decision was made to provide America's potential enemies with the arms, money - and most importantly - the knowledge of how to run a war of attrition violent and well-organized enough to humble a superpower.

That decision is coming home to roost.

[Michael Moran is MSNBC's International Editor]

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Related 9/16/01 NYTimes story:
Lawmakers See Need to Loosen Rules on CIA
Congressional leaders have concluded that America's spy agencies should combat terrorism with more aggressive tactics.

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Who Is Osama Bin Laden?
by Michel Chossudovsky
The URL of this article is:
Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa
Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), Montréal

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