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October 1, 2001

MID-EAST REALITIES - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 10/01: Yes, it will be very interesting to see if and how Noam Chomsky answers the at first blush surprising attacks from Christopher Hitchens, who has now not only endorsed the new war but also at least parts of the "New World Order" that underpins it. But these answers from Chomsky are to written questions posed by Michael Albert of Z Magazine. As for Hitchens -- a most gifted writer and orator, that much is for sure -- it may be that after a few years of Vanity Fair parties and altered relationships, his own new world of glitz and notoriety has caused a little existential confusion. Stay tuned.

(1) There has been an immense movement of troops and extreme use of military rhetoric, up to comments about terminating governments, etc. Yet, to many people there appears to be considerable restraint...what happened?

CHOMSKY: From the first days after the attack, the Bush administration has been warned by NATO leaders, specialists on the region, and presumably its own intelligence agencies (not to speak of many people like you and me) that if they react with a massive assault that kills many innocent people, that will be answering bin Laden's most fervent prayers. They will be falling into a "diabolical trap," as the French foreign minister put it. That would be true -- perhaps even more so -- if they happen to kill bin Laden, still without having provided credible evidence of his involvement in the crimes of Sept. 11. He would then be perceived as a martyr even among the enormous majority of Muslims who deplore those crimes, as bin Laden himself has done, for what it is worth, denying any involvement in the crimes or even knowledge of them, and condemning "the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans" as an act that "Islam strictly forbids...even in the course of a battle" (BBC, Sept. 29). His voice will continue to resound on tens of thousands of cassettes already circulating throughout the Muslim world, and in many interviews, including the last few days. An assault that kills innocent Afghans -- not Taliban, but their terrorized victims -- would be virtually a call for new recruits to the horrendous cause of the bin Laden network and other graduates of the terrorist networks set up by the CIA and its associates 20 years ago to fight a Holy War against the Russians, meanwhile following their own agenda, from the time they assassinated President Sadat of Egypt in 1981, murdering one of the most enthusiastic of the creators of the "Afghanis" -- mostly recruits from extremist radical Islamist elements around the world who were recruited to fight in Afghanistan. After a little while, the message apparently got through to the Bush administration, which has -- wisely from their point of view -- chosen to follow a different course. However, "restraint" seems to me a questionable word. On Sept. 16, the New York Times reported that "Washington has also demanded [from Pakistan] a cutoff of fuel supplies,...and the elimination of truck convoys that provide much of the food and other supplies to Afghanistan's civilian population." Astonishingly, that report elicited no detectable reaction in the West, a grim reminder of the nature of the Western civilization that leaders and elite commentators claim to uphold, yet another lesson that is not lost among those who have been at the wrong end of the guns and whips for centuries. In the following days, those demands were implemented. On Sept. 27, the same NYT correspondent reported that officials in Pakistan "said today that they would not relent in their decision to seal off the country's 1,400- mile border with Afghanistan, a move requested by the Bush administration because, the officials said, they wanted to be sure that none of Mr. bin Laden's men were hiding among the huge tide of refugees" (John Burns, Islamabad). According to the world's leading newspaper, then, Washington demanded that Pakistan slaughter massive numbers of Afghans, millions of them already on the brink of starvation, by cutting off the limited sustenance that was keeping them alive. Almost all aid missions withdrew or were expelled under the threat of bombing. Huge numbers of miserable people have been fleeing to the borders in terror, after Washington's threat to bomb the shreds of existence remaining in Afghanistan, and to convert the Northern Alliance into a heavily armed military force that will, perhaps, be unleashed to renew the atrocities that tore the country apart and led much of the population to welcome the Taliban when they drove out the murderous warring factions that Washington and Moscow now hope to exploit for their own purposes. When they reach the sealed borders, refugees are trapped to die in silence. Only a trickle can escape through remote mountain passes. How many have already succumbed we cannot guess, and few seem to care. Apart from the relief agencies, I have seen no attempt even to guess. Within a few weeks the harsh winter will arrive. There are some reporters and aid workers in the refugee camps across the borders. What they describe is horrifying enough, but they know, and we know, that they are seeing the lucky ones, the few who were able to escape -- and who express their hopes that ''even the cruel Americans must feel some pity for our ruined country,'' and relent in this savage silent genocide (Boston Globe, Sept. 27, p. 1).

Perhaps the most apt description was given by the wonderful and courageous Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy, referring to Operation Infinite Justice proclaimed by the Bush Administration: "Witness the infinite justice of the new century. Civilians starving to death while they're waiting to be killed" (Guardian, Sept. 29). (2) The UN has indicated that the threat of starvation in Afghanistan is enormous. International criticism on this score has grown and now the U.S. and Britain are talking about providing food aid to ward off hunger. Are they caving in to dissent in fact, or only in appearance? What is their motivation? What will be the scale and impact of their efforts? CHOMSKY: The UN estimates that some 7-8 million are at risk of imminent starvation. The NY Times reports in a small item (Sept. 25) that nearly six million Afghans depend on food aid from the UN, as well as 3.5 million in refugee camps outside, many of whom fled just before the borders were sealed. The item reported that some food is being sent, to the camps across the border. If people in Washington and the editorial offices have even a single gray cell functioning, they realize that they must present themselves as humanitarians seeking to avert the awesome tragedy that followed at once from the threat of bombing and military attack and the sealing of the borders they demanded. "Experts also urge the United States to improve its image by increasing aid to Afghan refugees, as well as by helping to rebuild the economy" (Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 28). Even without PR specialists to instruct them, administration officials must comprehend that they should send some food to the refugees who made it across the border, and at least talk about air drop of food to starving people within: in order "to save lives" but also to "help the effort to find terror groups inside Afghanistan" (Boston Globe, Sept. 27, quoting a Pentagon official, who describes this as "winning the hearts and minds of the people"). The New York Times editors picked up the same theme the following day, 12 days after the journal reported that the murderous operation is being put into effect. On the scale of aid, one can only hope that it is enormous, or the human tragedy may be immense in a few weeks. But we should also bear in mind that there has been nothing to stop massive food drops from the beginning, and we cannot even guess how many have already died, or soon will. If the government is sensible, there will be at least a show of the "massive air drops" that officials mention.

(3) International legal institutions would likely ratify efforts to arrest and try bin Laden and others, supposing guilt could be shown, including the use of force. Why does the U.S. avoid this recourse? Is it only a matter of not wishing to legitimate an approach that could be used, as well, against our acts of terrorism, or are other factors at play? CHOMSKY: Much of the world has been asking the US to provide some evidence to link bin Laden to the crime, and if such evidence could be provided, it would not be difficult to rally enormous support for an international effort, under the rubric of the UN, to apprehend and try him and his collaborators. However, that is no simple matter. Even if bin Laden and his network are involved in the crimes of Sept. 11, it may be quite hard to produce credible evidence. As the CIA surely knows very well, having nurtured these organizations and monitored them very closely for 20 years, they are diffuse, decentralized, non-hierarchic structures, probably with little communication or direct guidance. And for all we know, most of the perpetrators may have killed themselves in their awful missions. There are further problems in the background. To quote Roy again, "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'." She also adds one of the many reasons why this framework is unacceptable to Washington: "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?"

Such comparisons elicit frenzied tantrums at the extremist fringes of Western opinion, some of them called "the left." But for Westerners who have retained their sanity and moral integrity, and for great numbers among the usual victims, they are quite meaningful. Government leaders presumably understand that. And the single example that Roy mentions is only the beginning, of course, and one of the lesser examples, not only because of the scale of the atrocity, but because it was not explicitly a crime of state. Suppose Iran were to request the extradition of high officials of the Carter and Reagan administrations, refusing to present the ample evidence of the crimes they were implementing -- and it surely exists. Or suppose Nicaragua were to demand the extradition of the US ambassador to the UN, newly appointed to lead the "war against terror," a man whose record includes his service as "proconsul" (as he was often called) in the virtual fiefdom of Honduras, where he surely was aware of the atrocities of the state terrorists he was supporting, and was also overseeing the terrorist war for which the US was condemned by the World Court and the Security Council (in a resolution the US vetoed). Or many others. Would the US even dream of responding to such demands presented without evidence, or even if the ample evidence were presented? Those doors are better left closed, just as it is best to maintain the silence on the appointment of a leading figure in managing the operations condemned as terrorism by the highest existing international bodies -- to lead a "war on terrorism." Jonathan Swift would also be speechless. That may be the reason why administration publicity experts preferred the usefully ambiguous term "war" to the more explicit term "crime" -- "crime against humanity as Robert Fisk, Mary Robinson, and others have accurately depicted it. There are established procedures for dealing with crimes, however horrendous. They require evidence, and adherence to the principle that "those who are guilty of these acts" be held accountable once evidence is produced, but not others (Pope John Paul II, NYT Sept. 24). Not, for example, the unknown numbers of miserable people starving to death in terror at the sealed borders, though in this case too we are speaking of crimes against humanity.

(4) The war on terror was first undertaken by Reagan, as a substitute for the cold war -- that is, as a vehicle for scaring the public and thus marshalling support for programs contrary to the public's interest -- foreign campaigns, war spending in general, surveillance, and so on. Now we are seeing a larger and more aggressive attempt to move in the same direction. Does the problem that we are the world's foremost source of attacks on civilians auger complications for carrying through this effort? Can the effort be sustained without, in fact, a shooting war? CHOMSKY: The Reagan administration came into office 20 years ago declaring that its leading concern would be to eradicate the plague of international terrorism, a cancer that is destroying civilization. They cured the plague by establishing an international terrorist network of extraordinary scale, with consequences that are -- or should be -- well-known in Central America, the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere -- while using the pretexts, as you say, to carry out programs that were of considerable harm to the domestic population, and that even threaten human survival. Did they carry out a "shooting war"? The number of corpses they left in their wake around the world is impressive, but technically, they did not usually fire the guns, apart from transparent PR exercises like the bombing of Libya, the first crime of war in history that was timed precisely for prime time TV, no small trick considering the complexity of the operation and the refusal of continental European countries to collaborate. The torture, mutilation, rape, and massacre were carried out through intermediaries. Even if we exclude the huge but unmentionable component of terrorism that traces back to terrorist states, our own surely included, the terrorist plague is very real, very dangerous, and truly terrifying. There are ways to react that are likely to escalate the threats to ourselves and others; there are ample precedents for more sane and honorable methods, which we've discussed before, and are not in the least obscure, but are scarcely discussed. Those are the basic choices.

(5) If the Taliban falls and bin Laden or someone they claim is responsible is captured or killed, what next? What happens to Afghanistan? What happens more broadly in other regions? CHOMSKY: The sensible administration plan would be to pursue the ongoing program of silent genocide, combined with humanitarian gestures to arouse the applause of the usual chorus who are called upon to sing the praises of the noble leaders committed to "principles and values" and leading the world to a "new era" of "ending inhumanity." The administration might also try to convert the Northern Alliance into a viable force, perhaps to bring in other warlords hostile to it, like Gulbudin Hekmatyar, now in Iran. Presumably they will use British and US commandoes for missions within Afghanistan, and perhaps resort to selective bombing, but scaled down so as not to answer bin Laden's prayers. A US assault should not be compared to the failed Russian invasion of the 80s. The Russians were facing a major army of perhaps 100,000 men or more, organized, trained and heavily armed by the CIA and its associates. The US is facing a ragtag force in a country that has already been virtually destroyed by 20 years of horror, for which we bear no slight share of responsibility. The Taliban forces, such as they are, might quickly collapse except for a small hard core. And one would expect that the surviving population would welcome an invading force if it is not too visibly associated with the murderous gangs that tore the country to shreds before the Taliban takeover. At this point, most people would be likely to welcome Genghis Khan. What next? Expatriate Afghans and, apparently, some internal elements who are not part of the Taliban inner circle have been calling for a UN effort to establish some kind of transition government, a process that might succeed in reconstructing something viable from the wreckage, if provided with very substantial reconstruction aid, channeled through independent sources like the UN or credible NGOs. That much should be the minimal responsibility of those who have turned this impoverished country into a land of terror, desperation, corpses, and mutilated victims. That could happen, but not without very substantial popular efforts in the rich and powerful societies. For the present, any such course has been ruled out by the Bush administration, which has announced that it will not be engaged in "nation building" -- or, it seems, an effort that would be more honorable and humane: substantial support, without interference, for "nation building" by others who might actually achieve some success in the enterprise. But current refusal to consider this decent course is not graven in stone.

What happens in other regions depends on internal factors, on the policies of foreign actors (the US dominant among them, for obvious reasons), and the way matters proceed in Afghanistan. One can hardly be confident, but for many of the possible courses reasonable assessments can be made about the outcome -- and there are a great many possibilities, too many to try to review in brief comments. (6) What do you believe should be the role and priority of social activists concerned about justice at this time? Should we curb our criticisms, as some have claimed, or is this, instead, a time for renewed and enlarged efforts, not only because it is a crisis regarding which we can attempt to have a very important positive impact, but also because large sectors of the public are actually far more receptive than usual to discussion and exploration, even it other sectors are intransigently hostile? CHOMSKY: It depends on what these social activists are trying to achieve. If their goal is to escalate the cycle of violence and to increase the likelihood of further atrocities like that of Sept. 11 -- and, regrettably, even worse ones with which much of the world is all too familiar -- then they should certainly curb their analysis and criticisms, refuse to think, and cut back their involvement in the very serious issues in which they have been engaged. The same advice is warranted if they want to help the most reactionary and regressive elements of the political-economic power system to implement plans that will be of great harm to the general population here and in much of the world, and may even threaten human survival. If, on the contrary, the goal of social activists is to reduce the likelihood of further atrocities, and to advance hopes for freedom, human rights, and democracy, then they should follow the opposite course. They should intensify their efforts to inquire into the background factors that lie behind these and other crimes and devote themselves with even more energy to the just causes to which they have already been committed. The opportunities are surely there. The shock of the horrendous crimes has already opened even elite sectors to reflection of a kind that would have been hard to imagine not long ago, and among the general public that is even more true. Of course, there will be those who demand silent obedience. We expect that from the ultra-right, and anyone with a little familiarity with history will expect it from some left intellectuals as well, perhaps in an even more virulent form. But it is important not to be intimidated by hysterical ranting and lies and to keep as closely as one can to the course of truth and honesty and concern for the human consequences of what one does, or fails to do. All truisms, but worth bearing in mind.

October 2001


Bio and Nuclear Threats Escalate As Purposeful Leaks Proliferate to Mass Media
(October 26, 2001)
The timing of newsstories like this in the major Western media should be suspect now more than ever. For more than ever in fact governments and intelligence agencies are using the mass media by leaking things at times of convenience and more importantly with their own twists and turns.

"Stop Israel!" Pleads Israeli Professor
(October 26, 2001)
One Israeli, not invited by the naive and misguided American Jewish "liberals" to the USA, speaks up from Israel with tremendous courage and conviction. Her name is Tanya Reinhart and she deserves to be taken very seriously -- though far too many don't even know about her.

"Palestinian Statehood" - Another Grotesque Deception Unfolds
(October 25, 2001)
The political smokescreens are lifting a bit as the pressures build to go beyond mere words, yet at the same time a purposeful distorting haze is taking over. Bottom line: the kind of "Palestinian State" Yasser Arafat has maneuvered his people toward and is being cornered into implementing is a grotesque distortion of their aspirations and of what use to be meant by the term "Palestinian State."

"A Pen Bought And Sold" - A Saudi Poem Revisited - MER FlashBack
(October 21, 2001)
Change comes in the Middle East, as elsewhere, in complex ways. There is the regular daily news of course; and in the region especially it is inextricably intertwined with an ever-more-sophisticated and propagandistic journalistic establishment.

(October 24, 2001)
Both of the Georges are oh so full of themselves cocky -- just the personality type so many American's truly love. One is (to the amazement of many who wonder how in the world the U.S. chooses such persons to lead it) the President of the United States.

Massacres and Devastation Escalate Further In Palestine
(October 24, 2001)
The Palestinians are essentially defenseless with their backs up against the wall, the firing wall. Their "leadership" has been so corrupted and infiltrated that the Arafat regime has hardly any credibility with its own, not to mention anyone else.

Torture Now Coming to USA?
(October 22, 2001)
Adopting the tactics (as well as the goals) of the Israelis, and the methods long taught by the CIA in Latin America as well as the Middle East, the brave new world post 11 September is changing the face of the American homeland in ways nearly all Americans would have seriously resisted just a few long weeks ago.

Millions Likely To Die in Afghanistan U.N. Warns
(October 21, 2001)
As for Afghanistan, the American CIA worked behind the scenes to bring on the Soviet invasion of 1979, then engaged the Soviet Empire in a way that brought about the near-total devastation of Afghanistan and a huge uncounted death toll.

It's "New Imperialism" says leading British MP
(October 21, 2001)
Much pressure is building at the United Nations to not open itself to still more charges of being complicitous in "genocide", not to mention to do something to stop being seen as "an extension of the American State Department" (the actual private words of a senior U.N. official).

"Comply! Resistance Is Futile!"
(October 20, 2001)
British MP (Member of Parliament) George Galloway calls it the "new imperialism" (his article coming later today). On the whole the Anglo-British press is working up quite a frenzy (with notable exceptions like The Guardian and The Independent in the UK, sometimes The Nation in the U.S.).

The "Arafat Era" Collapsing or About To Be Reborn?
(October 20, 2001)
Yasser Arafat is losing both his grip on power (extended to him by the Israelis and the Americans for the past decade since the Gulf War) and his credibility (with his own people) at the same time.

The Coming Arab Crash
(October 19, 2001)
The west's most important friends in the Arab Middle East - Fahd of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah of Jordan, Mubarak of Egypt and the PLO's Yasser Arafat - are probably the world's most vulnerable political quartet.

Saudi Amb Bandar Badly Fails, Saudi Royals in Paralysis, US Relations in Doubt
(October 19, 2001)
Prince Bandar bin Sultan's 20+ year strategy has now substantially failed. Years ago, very much behind-the-scenes of course, the very controversial and in some circles much despised Saudi Ambassador in Washington began a relationship with the some of the most conservative and militant circles in Washington, very much including those associated with the powerful Israeli/Jewish lobby.

Worse Than Worthless Wartime "Promises"
(October 18, 2001)
The list of broken and disingenuous "promises" made to the Arabs by Western political leaders is something befitting a "Saturday Night Live" parody skit -- if only they would dare!

"New Era" Says Sharon Reacting In Character to "Gandhi" Assassination
(October 17, 2001)
He had called the Palestinians "lice" and "vermin" and "cancer", and he had urged their "transfer" or "extermination". Just Monday he has tendered his resignation as Minister of Tourism, insisting that Ariel Sharon was being too moderate and too compromising.

(October 17, 2001)
As for the British, what's going on in both Palestine and Kashmir, the two most likely potential nuclear flashpoints in our world today, can be traced back directly to what the British did in these areas when they were the "Empire"

(October 17, 2001)
For some time now Palestinians have been warning that because of Israel's assassination of Palestinian leaders, "crossing the red line" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they would respond.

Red Cross Bombed in Kabul Before Presidential Red Cross Visit in Washington
(October 16, 2001)
You gotta love the chutzpa of the Americans. Today the President went a few blocks from the White House to the Headquarters of the American Red Cross -- a little photo op designed to further enlist "the children of America" in his recently announced effort to help the children of Afghanistan. But just as President Bush was getting ready to do his Red Cross pictures reports came in from Afghanistan that the major Red Cross center in Kabul, complete with large Red Cross emblem on its roof, was destroyed by American bombs.

Saudi/U.S. "Meltdown"? And Neutralizing Al Jazeera With A Firm Embrace
(October 16, 2001)
While American and British officials rush to make one TV appearance after another with continual reassurances everything is going "as planned", that's not quite the reality of the situation as this article in today's Guardian makes quite evident.

What Can We Do About Terrorism? by Lt. Col Robert M. Bowman (ret)
(October 15, 2001)
"Mr. President, you did not tell the American people the truth about why we are the targets of terrorism. You said that we are the target because we stand for democracy, freedom, and human rights in the world. Baloney! We are the target of terrorists because we stand for dictatorship, bondage, and human exploitation in the world."

Pentagon Far More Confused and Uncertain Than Americans Realize
(October 15, 2001)
The Bush administration is growing increasingly alarmed by the direction of the military campaign in Afghanistan after a week of almost continuous bombing has failed to dislodge either Osama bin Laden or the Taliban leadership.

Al-Qaeda Weekend Statement
(October 15, 2001)
This isn't really about "secret messages". Anyone with a $300 satellite dish can watch the statements in full, in Arabic, on al Jazeera; and the text is widely available on the Internet, in this case from London and the BBC!

Hundreds Dead in Nigeria
(October 14, 2001)
Hundreds of people have been killed in religious clashes after anti-U.S. protests turned violent, sources have told CNN. The demonstrations against the U.S.-led missile strikes on Afghanistan began peacefully on Friday but spiralled into a killing spree during Saturday, CNN's Lagos bureau chief Jeff Koinange said.

akistan's Benazir Opens Campaign in Washington as Pakistan Trembles Anarchy
(October 14, 2001)
Benazir Bhutto came to Washington this week to open her campaign for a third term as Prime Minister of the world's second largest, and only nuclear armed, Muslim State -- her first two terms she was overthrown, political and financial corruption was rampant, and her arranged husband remains in a Karachi prison.

Iraq Likely To Be Next "Phase"
(October 14, 2001)
A powerful coalition of "hawkish" government officials, lobbyists (especially those connected with the Israelis and the arms corporations), conservative press publications and columnists, many of the national Jewish organizations, as well as millions of Christian fundamentalists associated with Pat Robertson and his daily TV "700 Club" program, is mobilized to make sure that "America's new war" does not end with Afghanistan and al-Qaeda.

Saudi Royals Bugged, Embarrassed, Unstable
(October 13, 2001)
The following information is about to come out in THE NEW YORKER MAGAZINE on Monday and is being leaked in Washington this weekend to stir up interest and try to get publicity for the magazine and author on the Sunday talk shows tomorrow.

Attacks and Demonstrations Escalating in Arab and Muslim Countries
(October 13, 2001)
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in various cities in the Middle East to protest the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan. Many more thronged to mosques for Friday prayers throughout the region and heard anti-American sermons.

Western Commando Forces Getting Ready
(October 13, 2001)
This article in The Telegraph today is a good outline of what now seems likely to be immediately ahead in Afghanistan, pushed forward by weather considerations as well as by current expectations that American-sponsored key governments in Pakistan, Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, as well as the Arafat Regime, will all be able to weather the political storms with much expanded and mostly covert continual help from the western governments and intelligence services.

"War of the Worlds" by Mark Bruzonsky
(October 11, 2001)
In the case of America's new war, the full might of the USA is being mobilized not against the armies of other nation states, but against the fanatical descendants of a puritanical militant Islam whose calling has become relentless opposition to American hegemony and passionate assertion of their own quaintly medieval religious constructs.

Arafat Begs Israelis To Save Him
(October 10, 2001)
It's a most complicated political dance than ever at this historical crossroads. But bottom line Yasser Arafat and his regime have now, even more than before, thrown their future to the Israelis and the now omnipresent CIA...

Uri Avneri - Fronting for Arafat and for a Castrated "Palestinian State"
(October 10, 2001)
The Israeli writer and activist Uri Avneri is "on tour" in the USA on his way to Washington. It shouldn't come as a surprise that a few naive or on- the-take "peace groups" -- Jewish and otherwise -- have invited him to speak.

After Afghanistan, U.S. has Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine in its Sights
(October 10, 2001)
In this case there should be no one saying down the road that they didn't know what was being planned. The Americans have said publicly and in many different ways right from the start of this "new war" that it wasn't going to end with Osama bin Laden, with the Taliban government, or with Afghanistan.

The "Palestinian State" Charade
(October 9, 2001)
Most of the Arab regimes, including that of Yasser Arafat, have proved themselves so co-opted and so gullible over the years that you can't blame the Americans for continuing to try their little tricks and deceptions -- just look how well, at least from their point-of-view, such things have worked in the past..

Anthrax Terrorism Now Likely
(October 9, 2001)
Federal officials suspect foul play rather than an environmental source is at the root of two Florida anthrax cases that have left one man dead and hundreds of co-workers lining up for medical tests.

Biological Attack? Inept or Demonstration?
(October 9, 2001)
Is someone sending a message that they can do it, a kind of primative, and deadly, deterrence attempt to try to protect themselves? Might this be an "inept attack" as today's TIMES in London suggests in its headline? As the third case of Anthrax in Florida is reported this morning, something seems to be up as the following reports indicate.

Bush versus bin Laden - Syria Elected to Security Council
(October 8, 2001)
It's all quite amazing really, President George W. Bush versus Osama bin Laden. On the one hand you have the most powerful man in the world commanding the full might of not only the world's only superpower but a whole entourage of Western European allies, the new Russia, and to a considerable extent at least behind-the-scenes many Arab and Muslim "client regimes".

Arafat's Army Opens Fire On Its Own - More Anthrax in Florida?
(October 8, 2001)
The Palestinian leadership rushed to distance itself Monday from Osama bin Laden while its police forces opened fire on university students protesting the U.S.-led military strikes on Afghanistan.

FBI Knocked...He's Not Home But You Can Find Him at the White House
(October 8, 2001)
Now the world will become much more confusing and dangerous, and the opponents of the American Empire will obviously be forced even deeper underground -- both literally and figuratively -- becoming even more insular and isolated among themselves leading to who knows what kind of future blowback.

US Journalist Warns: "Do not try to change the government in Afghanistan!"
(October 7, 2001)
Late friday evening one of the leading American journalists who is an expert on the Middle East and Islamic affairs was asked a question on CNN to which she immediately briefly answered...and that was more was asked or answered.

"Our Friends are Killers, Crooks and Torturers"
(October 7, 2001)
Surely the British Prime Minister should know better than to try to simplify such a complex world we live in to that understandable by a third-grader. If not we have a little weekend reading Mr. Blair should be doing, starting in one of his own newspapers which we surely hope, especially now, he can find a few moments to read on a regular basis, The Independent.

History Corrected - U.S. Wanted Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
(October 6, 2001)
The world believes that there was an invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union on 24 December 1979 and then, in response, the U.S. and Muslim countries rallied to help Afghanistan repel the invaders. Wrong...just as so much of the widely accepted history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the actual realities of U.S. involvements in the Middle East are wrong because of the manipulation of history by various governments and intelligence agencies -- most especially the U.S. and Israel, the CIA and the Mossad.

(October 6, 2001)
"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)?"

(October 5, 2001)
The government in Afghanistan, popularly known as The Taliban, has finally taken what could be a significant step. Just hours ago through its official representative in Pakistan the Afghan government has publicly offered to turn Osama bin Laden over...not to the United States, but to another Islamic country.

(October 5, 2001)
"The women in the audience -- academics, union members, mental health workers and advocates for female inmates, embraced her anti-American rhetoric, repeatedly interrupting her with cheers and standing ovations."

(October 5, 2001)
Now we know that a few years ago, when President Bill Clinton was meeting privately one-on-one with the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, the U.S. "hired" the agents of the infamous Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) to assassinate Osama bin Laden.

(October 3, 2001)
The United States and Britain yesterday called off military strikes against terrorist targets in Afghanistan at the last minute. Washington officials say today that a severe attack of last-minute cold feet by some key Arab members of the coalition caused President Bush to postpone the operation.

(October 3, 2001)
Osama bin Laden, arch nemesis of America today, is blowback from recent history -- the Gulf war, the permanent stationing of American forces in Arabia, and other American policies in the region, including the deceptive "peace process" fronting for Israel's brutal subjugation of the Palestinians.

(October 3, 2001)
The American Secretary of Defense is rushing to the Middle East, goal #1 to try one more time to "convince" the Saudis that Prince Sultan Airbase and its super-modern regional control center -- just completed in fact during the summer at a cost of many billions -- is needed for the new war.

(October 2, 2001)
"Drafted with a small coterie of loyal aides, mainly civilian political appointees at the Pentagon, the plans argue for open-ended war without constraint either of time or geography and potentially engulfing the entire Middle East and central Asia... The plans put before the President during the past few days involve expanding the war beyond Afghanistan to include similar incursions by special ops forces - followed by air strikes by the bombers they would guide - into Iraq, Syria and the Beqaa Valley area of Lebanon, where the Syrian-backed Hizbollah (Party of God) fighters that harass Israel are based."

(October 2, 2001)
Anyone with an ear tuned to Washington's politicians, lobbyists, and opinion molders can hear it quite loudly and clearly at this point. After taking down Osama bin Laden's al Queda network (said to be in some 50+ countries), after changing the government in Afghanistan, the American-led crusade (now more politely known by Colin Powell's term "campaign") will attempt to march on through the Middle East, next stop Baghdad.

(October 2, 2001)
It took them who intially talked of "crusade" nearly three weeks to figure out that all the "coalition building" wasn't going nearly as well as they keep saying in public and that doing something about all the Israeli oppression and "terrorism" against the essentially imprisoned Palestinian population would be a good idea in the post 11 September world and before the bombs start falling on Muslims here and there.

(October 1, 2001)
The situation is now so tense in Israel in dealing with the "Palestinian Authority" -- which it should be remembered the Israelis themselves created just a few years ago -- that Shimon Peres is getting more and more desperate.

(October 1, 2001)
The Palestinian opposition is usually very weak and confused. Had that not been the case for some time now Yasser Arafat would never have been able to do the things he has done for so long now, especially since the Gulf War; nor would Arafat have have been able to retain power these past few traumatic years, however weakened himself at this point.

(October 1, 2001)
Yes, it will be very interesting to see if and how Noam Chomsky answers the at first blush surprising attacks from Christopher Hitchens, who has now not only endorsed the new war but also at least parts of the "New World Order" that underpins it.

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