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Hot Spot! US 'War on Terrorism'
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Supplement to Sept. 11 Links
- Strikers as Terrorists?: Ridge Calls Longshoremen's Chief
Alexander Cockburn & Jeffrey St. Clair (June 27, 2002) Counterpunch
At the rate things are going, it won't be long before labor organizers are being thrown into military prisons, held without warrant as "enemy combatants". Tom Ridge, director of the Office of homeland Security has been phoning Jim Spinosa, head of the West Coast's Longshoremen's Union, saying that a strike would be bad for the national interest. Next Monday sees the expiration of the current three-year contract between the Longshoremen and the employers, grouped in the Pacific Maritime Association. If the 10,000-strong longshoremen go on strike, ports from Seattle to San Diego could shut down, meaning a big jolt to the already floundering US economy.
A call to Spinosa by the Secretary of Labor would not be surprising, given the stakes, but a call from the man in charge of coordinating the battle against terrorism on America's home turf confirms all the Left's deepest fears that, as so often throughout the twentieth century, national security is being used to justify strike- breaking, invocation of the Taft-Hartley Act and declarations of national emergency to shut down labor activism and if necessary throw labor organizers in jail.
Longshoremen don't need to be told this. They know it's what happened to their most famous leader, Harry Bridges. In World War II the US government, particularly through the US Navy, cut deals with the Mob (mainly involving a hands-off posture on the drug trade), giving the Mobsters specific orders on which labor leaders to rough up and murder. Between 1942 and 1946 there were 26 unsolved murders of labor organizers and dockworkers, dumped in the water by the Mob, working in collusion with Navy Intelligence. (For more, read our book Whiteout, which contains a chapter on this nasty affair.)
- Homeland Security Department Must Be Open and Accountable
Action Alert (June 27, 2002) ACLU
As proposed by the President, the agency would be exempt from FOIA disclosure, drastically limiting the agency's responsibility to answer public questions. The proposal also empowers the secretary of the new agency to waive the safeguards contained in the federal Whistleblower Protection Act. Protection for bravery like that displayed by FBI Agent Coleen Rowley would not exist in the new agency.
- A Prison Where Detainees Disappear: Black Hole in Brooklyn
Chisun Lee (June 26, 2002) Village Voice
Shakir Baloch was one of those who vanished into the MDC "hole"—solitary confinement—for many months, later winding up at home in Canada, a free and, as far as he can tell, unmonitored man. Last week he spoke by phone with the Voice about his ncarceration, bolstering the claims of lawyers and advocates who have filed complaints of cruel conditions and wrangled an ongoing investigation of MDC by the U.S. Office of Inspector General.
- All Along the Watchtower
William Rivers Pitt (June 20, 2002) Truthout
The LIHOP Theory is straightforward: In the months before 9/11, American intelligence agencies received ominous warnings from the intelligence services of nations like Israel, Russia, Egypt and Germany. These warnings were pointed - an attack involving hijacked aircraft and prominent American landmarks was imminent, our security forces were told. Bush himself was briefed of these warnings weeks before they happened. Instead of responding vigorously to these warnings, the Bush administration and its security apparatus did nothing.
- For Agent in Phoenix, the Cause of Many Frustrations Extended to His Own Office
Jim Yardley and Jo Thomas (June 19, 2002) NYTimes
Only last year the Phoenix office, citing budget cutbacks, disbanded the surveillance unit often used by the division's terrorism squad. And Mr. Williams, regarded as the best terrorism agent in the office, had to interrupt his pre-Sept. 11 investigation of Middle Eastern flight students in order to spend six months on a high-profile arson case. He filed his flight-student memo to Washington a month after the arson case was solved. "He fought it," Mr. Hauswirth said of that assignment. "Why take your best terrorism investigator and put him on an arson case? He didn't have a choice."...
By early 2000, Mr. Williams had received a tip that would ultimately lead to his memo to Washington. He began to investigate Middle Eastern students at a flight school in Prescott, about two hours from Phoenix, and became suspicious that they might be terrorists. But by the account of a former agent, Mr. Williams soon requested a transfer from the international-terrorism squad to a related team, foreign counterintelligence.
He had apparently become worn out by internal politics. "He was going home with knots in his stomach," Mr. Hauswirth said. "It shouldn't have been that way. Here's a guy who was one of the best terrorism agents in the F.B.I., and he's got to fight city hall."...
In February 2001, Mr. Hanjour enrolled at a Phoenix flight school for advanced simulator training to learn how to fly an airliner, a far more complicated task than he had faced in earning a commercial license. At the school, since closed, no one suspected that he was a terrorist. But instructors thought he was so bad a pilot and spoke such poor English that they contacted the Federal Aviation Administration to verify that his license was not a fake. The aviation agency verified the license and offered to find Mr. Hanjour a language tutor....
- Qaeda's New Links Increase Threats From Global Sites
David Johnston, Don Van Natta Jr. and Judith Miller (June 15, 2002) NYTimes
Classified investigations of the Qaeda threat now under way at the F.B.I. and C.I.A. have concluded that the war in Afghanistan failed to diminish the threat to the United States, the officials said. Instead, the war might have complicated counterterrorism efforts by dispersing potential attackers across a wider geographic area....
One terrorism suspect who is said to personify the changing threat is Khalid Shaikh Muhammad, a Qaeda member from Kuwait who authorities have said was a central organizer of the Sept. 11 attacks. He has been sought by federal agents since the mid-1990's in a failed plot to blow up a dozen American airliners over the Pacific Ocean. The presence of someone of his standing in carrying out large-scale attacks makes intelligence officials worried. But they say they cannot tell where, how and when such attacks might come.
The six others include several Egyptian men who played a role in the bombing attack on two United States embassies in East Africa in August 1998. They also include Saif al-Adel, a Saudi who is believed to have a seat on Al Qaeda's consultative council, helping to approve attacks, including the embassy bombings....
The International Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, the umbrella group Mr. bin Laden founded in February 1998 in a training camp in eastern Afghanistan, included not only Al Qaeda, which had militants from many countries, but also two leading militant groups from Egypt, as well as Islamist groups from Algeria, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Some experts regard the formation of this alliance as Mr. bin Laden's most significant political achievement.
To some extent, Al Qaeda itself was always something of a hybrid that staged not only highly structured, top-down attacks but also relied on affiliated - or like-minded - militant groups that concocted and financed their own schemes, with Al Qaeda's blessing, to strike at American targets....
Foreign intelligence officials said that even if Al Qaeda's entire leadership were eliminated, Western targets would remain at risk from the broader network posed by radicalized militants from the two major branches of Islam - the majority Sunni branch of the faith, and minority Shiites....
According to government officials, these are the key leaders:
Saif al-Adel is said to sit on Al Qaeda's consultative council, the group that approves all terrorist operations, including the embassy bombings and the attack on the American warship Cole in October 2000 in Yemen. Mr. Adel, a Saudi, came to Al Qaeda as part of its affiliation with Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The United States government has been trying to find Mr. Adel since 1993, when he trained tribal fighters to attack the United Nations peacekeeping force in Somalia, an operation that killed 18 American soldiers.
Fazul Abdullah Muhammad is a native of the Comoros Islands, an impoverished archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Using the alias Haroun Fazul, Mr. Muhammad was Al Qaeda's chief operative in Kenya in the mid-1990's.
Muhsin Musa Matwalli Atwah is a 37-year-old Egyptian who was one of five fugitives indicted in the two American Embassy bombings in East Africa in 1998. Mr. Atwah was believed to have been in Afghanistan last fall, but American authorities said this week they do not know his current location.
Mustafa Muhammad Fadhil is an Egyptian who the authorities said was an important organizational operative in Al Qaeda. Mr. Fadhil is believed to have rented the house in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where a half dozen conspirators made the car bomb that exploded outside the United States Embassy there, an attack that killed 11 people. Mr. Fadhil was also indicted in the embassy bombings case, but he has eluded capture. An American official this week said that Mr. Fadhil "was one of the most important people we are pursuing."
Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, an Egyptian, has served since the early 1990's as a senior adviser to Mr. bin Laden, officials said. He was indicted for his alleged involvement in the bombing of the American Embassy in Nairobi. Cooperating witnesses have told the authorities that he conducted surveillance of the embassy three days before the bombing.
Fahid Muhammad Ally Msalam, 26, is another Qaeda suspect wanted for being directly involved in the bombing of the embassy in Nairobi. Mr. Msalam, a Kenyan, is said to be the Qaeda member who bought the Toyota truck that was used in the bombing. Prosecutors say he packed it with explosives and transported it to the embassy. His fingerprints were found on a magazine that was inside a Nike gym bag that also contained clothing with traces of TNT, according to testimony at the embassy bombing trial last year in Manhattan....
Officials emphasized that it was no longer possible simply to label all post-Sept. 11 plots as Al Qaeda inspired, because the new terror alliance has largely replaced the old bin Laden network. Senior government officials said this week that the Karachi bombing had been an example of the new broad-based coalition of various terrorist groups coming together for operations. "What many of these groups have in common, however, is that they had members go through the Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan," one official said....
- Preempt the Preemptive Wars!
Jack Smith (June 15, 2002) Mid-Hudson Activist Newsletter #66
The United States government has adopted a doctrine of launching preemptive wars, including the first-use of nuclear weapons when deemed appropriate....
Meanwhile, the White House refuses to contemplate measures that would seriously ameliorate the causes of small-group terrorism. Logically, a crucial component of any response to the suicide hijackings should have been an honest analysis of Washington.s role in creating the conditions for the attacks by its domination of the Middle East for the last half-century. A fundamental reorientation away from the practices of hegemony, exploitation, and military actions would have done far more for 'homeland security' than the combined measures the Bush administration is proposing today. The U.S. as constituted will not follow such a course, however, because to do so would contradict the demands of a monopoly capitalist system dependent on enormous supplies of reliable cheap oil to fuel an aggressive, competitive economy requiring the continual expansion of global markets, advantageous trade deals, increasing capital investment, low-wage international labor, and ever-greater profits for its multinational corporations.
Instead, Washington espouses a militaristic preemptive war policy and first-strike nuclear planning based the most deadly military arsenal in the world, elephantine spending on the weapons of war, and an elaborate list of 'rogue' enemies to conquer. These elements are so disproportionate to the events of Sept. 11 as to affirm that President George Bush and the right-wing are really elaborating a strategic scenario intended to eliminate any impediments to the unlimited expansion of the U.S. economic empire and its conservative social/political concomitants....
- Notes on the Sept. 14 Declaration of National Emergency
Mitchel Cohen (June 11, 2002) via email
EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders in to effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen-year period.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months.
(Special thanks to Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz for digging up all of this wording.)
- Bin Laden & Bush Family Connections
Online Vote (as of June 11, 2002) UnansweredQuestions.org
Who are the Investors and individual stockbrokers that placed abnormally high bets just before 911 on American Airlines and United Airlines Stock to take a sudden fall in value?
326 people want to have this question answered.
- Boston Activist Detained
Boston ANSWER (June 8, 2002) via email
Jaoudat was moved to an INS detention facility in the early hours of the morning on Tuesday. Under legislation in force since 1996 (the Counter-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act), now bolstered by the recent USA Patriot Act, Jaoudat can now expect indefinite detention by the INS. In case after case since September 11, Arab and Muslim immigrants have been imprisoned by the INS, generally for minor infractions or irregularities in their immigration papers, and then held incommunicado, denied access to lawyers or family, with no procedures for appeal or judicial intervention. Under provisions for ‘secret evidence’, they may never even learn the nature of the case against them. Expanded powers of domestic surveillance put into place in the last week of May have made it easier to target political dissidents. The Justice Department and the FBI appear to have begun a new wave of arrests, specifically targeting Palestinian political activists. The case of a Palestinian student organizer in Chicago and the case of Jaoudat Abouazza here in Boston are two prominent examples. Both occur in the context of increasingly vocal criticism of Israel, and U.S. support for Israeli policies, in which Arab and Muslim immigrants have played a significant role.
- J. Edgar Mueller
William Safire (June 3, 2002) NYTimes
Under the police powers it operated under last year, and with the lawful cooperation of a better-managed C.I.A., an efficiently run F.B.I. might well have prevented the catastrophe of Sept. 11. That is the dismaying probability that Congressional oversight (it should be called undersight) will begin to show this week.
To fabricate an alibi for his nonfeasance, and to cover up his department's embarrassing cut of the counterterrorism budget last year, Attorney General John Ashcroft - working with his hand-picked aide, F.B.I. Director "J. Edgar" Mueller III - has gutted guidelines put in place a generation ago to prevent the abuse of police power by the federal government.
They have done this deed by executive fiat: no public discussion, no Congressional action, no judicial guidance. If we had only had these new powers last year, goes their posterior-covering pretense, we could have stopped terrorism cold.
Not so. They had the power to collect the intelligence, but lacked the intellect to analyze the data the agencies collected. The F.B.I.'s failure to absorb the Phoenix and Minneapolis memos was compounded by the C.I.A.'s failure to share information it had about two of the Arab terrorists in the U.S. who would become hijackers (as revealed by Newsweek today).
Thus we see the seizure of new powers of surveillance is a smokescreen to hide failure to use the old power.
- The Counter Terrorist: John O'Neill
Lawrence Wright (June 1, 2002) New Yorker
O'Neill never presumed that killing bin Laden alone would be sufficient. In speeches, he identified five tools to combat terrorism: diplomacy, military action, covert operations, economic sanctions, and law enforcement. So far, the tool that had worked most effectively against Al Qaeda was the last one--the slow, difficult work of gathering evidence, getting indictments, hunting down the perpetrators, and gaining convictions....
Meanwhile, intelligence had been streaming in concerning a likely Al Qaeda attack. "It all came together in the third week in June," Clarke said. "The C.I.A.'s view was that a major terrorist attack was coming in the next several weeks." On July 5th, Clarke summoned all the domestic security agencies--the Federal Aviation Administration, the Coast Guard, Customs, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the F.B.I.--and told them to increase their security in light of an impending attack.
When O'Neill told ABC's Isham of his decision to work at the Trade Center, Isham had said jokingly, "At least they're not going to bomb it again." O'Neill had replied, "They'll probably try to finish the job." On the day he started at the Trade Center--August 23rd--the C.I.A. sent a cable to the F.B.I. saying that two suspected Al Qaeda terrorists were already in the country. The bureau tried to track them down, but the addresses they had given when they entered the country proved to be false, and the men were never located.
When he was growing up in Atlantic City, O'Neill was an altar boy at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church. On September 28th, a week after his body was found in the rubble of the World Trade Center, a thousand mourners gathered at St. Nicholas to say farewell. Many of them were agents and policemen and members of foreign intelligence services who had followed O'Neill into the war against terrorism long before it became a rallying cry for the nation. The hierarchy of the F.B.I. attended, including the now retired director Louis Freeh. Richard Clarke, who says that he had not shed a tear since September 11th, suddenly broke down when the bagpipes played and the casket passed by.
- Beat Back the Bush Attack
Jack Smith (June 1, 2002) Mid-Hudson Activist Newsletter #65
Progressive-thinking people been waiting for the
proverbial other shoe to drop ever since Congress, in an hysterical fit of excessive patriotic
zeal a month after the Sept. 11 disaster, passed
that devastating attack on civil liberties known as the U.S.A. Patriot Act.
It finally dropped May 30 when the Justice
Department eliminated a number safeguards against wholesale FBI surveillance of domestic
political organizations, churches, libraries,
internet websites and civilians just going about their business.
It's all being done in the name of fighting
terrorism, as are the new wars President Bush is threatening against several countries with no
relationship to the attacks on the Pentagon and
World Trade Center.
- The War on What?
Thomas L. Friedman (May 8, 2002) NYTimes
"We sometimes fear that America's democratization agenda also got blown up with the World Trade Center," says the Indonesian writer Andreas Harsono. "Since Sept. 11 there have been so many free riders on this American antiterrorism campaign, countries that want to use it to suppress their media and press freedom and turn back the clock. Indonesia, instead of being seen as a weak democracy that needs support, gets looked at as a weak country that protects terrorists, and Malaysia is seen as superior because it arrests more terrorists than we do."
- Oil Fix -- Bush Will Act Globally to Lock In U.S. Supply
Michael T. Klare (April 15, 2002) Pacific News Service
With so many new international crises erupting every day, it is hard to detect any clear forward direction to American U.S. foreign policy. At times, it appears that providing a response to the latest upheaval is about all that Washington can accomplish. But beneath the surface of day-to-day crisis management, one can see signs of an overarching plan for U.S. policy: a strategy of global oil acquisition.
Hot Spot! US 'War on Terrorism'
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