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Nonviolence USA:

A website for scholarship
in the theory and practice of nonviolence
in the USA.


(Pages A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S)

Reflections conducive to a nonviolent future,
following the massacre of Sept. 11, 2001.

Page G
GIA Background

  • “Extremely bothered, they [American intelligence officers in a meeting with French intelligence officers] requested from their French peers exact details about the Algerian activists [connected to bin Laden through Dubai banking institutions], without explaining the exact nature of their inquiry. When asked the question, “What do you fear in the coming days?’ the Americans responded with incomprehensible silence.”…
       --Le Figaro (Michael Ruppert's timeline 11/8/2001).

  • The French are acutely aware of the potency of Algerian terrorism and see it reflected in al-Qaeda. In 1994 — in what was a grim precursor of attacks to come — guerrillas of Algeria’s Armed Islamic Group (G.I.A.) hijacked an Air France plane in Algiers, intending to crash it in the middle of Paris; they were killed by French commandos while refueling in Marseilles. In the G.I.A.’s subsequent brutal bombing campaign in Paris, terrorists tried to blow up the St. Michel metro station, tucked below a national monument, Notre Dame Cathedral — just as al-Qaeda tried twice to take out the World Trade Center. "The history of fundamentalist Islamist terrorism isn’t exactly a huge book — you only need to go back 10 to 15 years to get the entire story," notes investigating magistrate Jean-François Ricard, who along with Jean-Louis Bruguičre leads the French antiterrorist effort. "You learn a lot about their capacity to strike and the kinds of targets that interest them, by reviewing the past and factoring in the potential for adaptation."

    The old fights feed the new ones — or as Ricard puts it, "while cells and even entire networks may have different origins, they all look to al-Qaeda and bin Laden as the great leader, the umbrella under which all these groups fall." Several suspected terrorists identified in Bosnia in recent weeks have been linked to both the G.I.A. and al-Qaeda. Another case in point: in late September Spanish police arrested six Algerians on suspicion of being part of the al-Qaeda network and planning attacks against U.S. interests in Europe. The six are all members of a G.I.A. splinter organization, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, which according to several European antiterrorist officials has largely melded into al-Qaeda. In the northern Spanish town of Cascante, police secured 32 videotapes in the apartment of one of those arrested, Mohammed Belaziz. Among them were shaky handheld videos of four Algerian soldiers dying in a burning jeep, their throats slit; in the same cache were images of Chechen rebels exhorting a crowd to kill and another of Palestinian suicide bombers dressed in white as they prepare to go to their deaths.
       --Time Europe (11/1/2001).

  • Sept. 11 wasn’t the first time someone tried to hijack a plane and turn it into a guided missile...

    The four men dressed as airport officials were actually hijackers, members of a fanatical terror squad known as the “Armed Islamic Group,” a group terrorism experts believe has ties to Osama bin Laden...

    As the hijacking stretched into day two, Christmas Day [1994], a third passenger was killed aboard the parked jetliner. The pilots were in the dark about the hijackers’ intentions, but the French government secretly began assembling a commando team after receiving a dire warning from a secret informant, and from some of the released hostages — the hijackers actually wanted to fly the jet into the Eiffel Tower, and explode it over Paris....

    In this case, though, the hijackers didn’t know how to fly. “Yeah, for just a short part of this time, the rule was different; we’re in charge, in command,” says co-pilot Borderie.

    At Marseilles, the hijackers demanded the plane’s tanks be filled with three times the amount of fuel they’d actually need to fly to Paris. As we now know, in the recent attacks against the U.S., the hijackers apparently targeted flights that would have heavy loads of fuel.

    Retired Army colonel and terrorism expert John Alexander says that’s when authorities knew what the hijackers were trying to do. “They didn’t need 27 tons of fuel to reach Paris. They were creating a bomb.”...

    But it now seems clear that the terrorists learned a lesson. The plot was thwarted partly because the hijackers couldn’t fly the plane. And federal investigators say, soon after, men with ties to Osama Bin Laden began taking flying lessons.
       --MSNBC (9/30/2001).

  • “None of the terrorist operations of al-Qaida could have been decided after May 2001 except with the accord of the Taliban and their chief, Mullah [Mohammed] Omar,” Beghal said.

    He added: “Al-Qaida is an integral part of the Taliban regime and its political and military structures.”

    Beghal said that after the pact, the Taliban closed all training camps in the country that were not linked to bin Laden.

    Beghal, 36, a French-Algerian, was arrested in late July in Dubai with a false passport and extradited to France after the Sept. 11 attacks. In Paris, he has been under investigation for alleged participation in a plot to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Paris and other targets.
       --MSNBC (10/19/2001).
  • The Armed Islamic Group, the most radical and violent of Algerian organisations claiming to be Islamic integrists, came into being a couple of months before the Algerian parliamentary elections of December 1991. A keen supporter of the armed struggle to establish an Islamic republic, it has, since the interruption of the electoral process in January 1992, declared total war on the government. Opposed to any cease-fire or dialogue with the government in power, the GIA has also claimed responsibility for most of the assassinations of journalists, intellectuals, political activists opposed to its point of view and foreigners living in Algeria. The GIA also claims responsibility regularly for the massacres of ordinary civilians...

    The GIA mainly recruits among former Algerian volunteers trained in guerilla tactics by the Afghan freedom fighters (see Afghans ), and others who fought in Bosnia, as well as among young men from the most disadvantaged social groups. Many members of the dissolved FIS joined its ranks and local gangs of petty criminals and dealers are also said to be mixed up in its activities. A large part of its membership is said to be of Kabyle or Berber origin...

    Some observers claim that the Algerian military supported GIA violence, sanctioning it to a certain extent in order to legitimate its own use of repression. Others were speaking of direct involvement of certain Algerian security services in the escalation of violence. Similarly, there were questions about an objective alliance between the Islamic guerilla and certain corrupt circles such as the "political-financial mafia" (which includes former FLN members, the former single party) in the murder of intellectuals who dared condemn the corruption which is corroding Algerian society.

  • Canadian police have been investigating possible bin Laden cells in Canada for almost two years, since the December 1999 arrest of Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian who lived illegally in Canada. Information from his trial showed he belonged to an Algerian terrorist cell and trained at a bin Laden camp in Afghanistan....

    Last week, authorities detained a Moroccan-born Canadian, Abdellah Ouzghar, who was convicted in absentia in France of terrorism charges. Ouzghar, 37, was sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly procuring false papers for Algerian Islamic extremists.
       --MSNBC (10/19/2001).

  • A Canadian woman arrested at the U.S. border with Canada last week was linked by federal prosecutors yesterday to an organization close to the Armed Islamic Group (often referred to by its French acronym GIA), a shadowy Algerian organization that is believed linked to hardline elements in the Algerian army and intelligence services that are opposed to peace with the country's Islamists. The GIA has claimed responsibility for a number of brutal massacres that observers say were staged to discredit Algeria's Islamic movement. The group has also claimed responsibility for the assassinations of a number of Algerian Islamists. U.S. and Canadian authorities said yesterday that they had traced both Lucia Garofalo's cellular phone and her car to the Algerian Islamic League, whose leader, Mourad Dhina, has been accused of providing arms to the GIA.
       --IANA (12/24/1999).

  • Twenty-four alleged members of an Algerian extremist network have gone on trial in Paris for a wave of bombings that left 12 dead.
       --BBC (6/1/1999).

  • Britain has in recent years also been the refuge of choice of members of the Armed Islamic Group, an Algerian group blamed for a wave of bombings in France in the 1990s. Muslim militants linked to armed groups fighting Indian rule in the Himalayan province of Kashmir are also known to operate in Britain.
       --AP (Las Vegas Sun 10/21/2001).

  • The holy war trainees came from Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Libya. With all expenses paid, they were flown to Pakistan to enroll in madrasas, or religious schools like ones in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province and in Lahore, near the border of India. The CIA is widely considered to have bankrolled the efforts of the Pakistani intelligence service to train fighters.
       --John K. Cooley (ABC 10/4/2001).

  • Meanwhile, Djamel Begal, an Islamic militant suspected of trying to organize terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in France, has been extradited from the United Arab Emirates to France, CNN confirmed Monday.

    Information supplied by Begal led to a series of arrests in France, Belgium and the Netherlands in the days following the terror attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, police said.
       --CNN (10/2/2001).

  • LONDON -- At the end of July, police in the United Arab Emirates, acting on a tip from France, detained an Algerian believed to have spent time at the training camps in Afghanistan run by Osama bin Laden. Djamel Begal, 35, subsequently confessed to being part of a plot to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Paris in the coming months, police say....

    On Tuesday, French authorities placed three of those arrested in Paris under investigation, a formal step toward being officially charged. They are believed connected to the Algerian fundamentalist Salafist Group for Call and Combat, which on Monday was listed by President Bush among the groups and individuals banned from banking transactions because of their suspected links to bin Laden. Four more suspects were arrested in Paris Tuesday.
       --Liz Sly (9/26/2001).

  • The shooting down of two Libyan planes in 1981; the bombardment of Beirut in 1983 and 1984; the bombing of Libya in 1986; the bombing and sinking of an Iranian ship in 1987; the shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane in 1988; the shooting down of two more Libyan planes in 1989; the massive bombing of the Iraqi people in 1991; the continuing bombings and sanctions against Iraq; the bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan in 1998; the habitual support of Israel despite its cruel destructiveness and routine torture, and condemnation of Arab resistance to this; the double standard applied to Israeli terrorism, such as the wilful massacre of 106 Lebanese at the UN base at Qana in 1996; the continued persecution of Libya, now nearing the end of its second decade; the abduction of wanted men from Muslim countries, such as Malaysia, Pakistan, Lebanon and Albania; the large military and hi-tech presence in Islam's holiest land, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf region ...

    These are some of the American actions that can turn an Arab or a Muslim into a fanatic, into a terrorist, into a decrier of "America, the Great Satan".
       --Bill Blum (Rogue State).

  • In other words, there is a dialectic between specific US actions on the one hand and consequent attitudes towards America on the other hand that has literally very little to do with jealousy or hatred of America's prosperity, freedom, and all-round success in the world. On the contrary, every Arab or Muslim that I have ever spoken to expressed mystification as to why so extraordinarily rich and admirable a place as America (and so likeable a group of individuals as Americans) has behaved internationally with such callous obliviousness of lesser peoples. Surely also, many Arabs and Muslims are aware of the hold on US policy of the pro-Israeli lobby and the dreadful racism and fulminations of pro-Israeli publications like The New Republic or Commentary , to say nothing of bloodthirsty columnists like Charles Krauthammer, William Safire, George Will, Norman Podhoretz, and A M Rosenthal, whose columns regularly express hatred and hostility towards Arabs and Muslims. These are usually to be found in the mainstream media (e.g., the editorial pages of The Washington Post) where everyone can read them as such, rather than being buried in the back pages of marginal publications.
       --Edward Said (Al-Ahram 27 Sept. - 3 Oct., 2001).

  • We find it reprehensible that at this time - with the insistent drumbeat of the war buildup, with the racist anti-immigrant backlash in this country - that WBAI, the premier radio station that was founded on the principles of anti-war and anti-bigotry should cancel shows that speak for precisely the affected communities. Shows that discuss these issues of war hysteria and bigotry and that try to get information out to the affected communities, that try to provide critical legal and immigration advice to the communities under attack.
       --Aniruddha Das ( savepacifica.net).

  • Why is it that bomb suspects who are white and American generate roughly one-tenth to one-twentieth of the media interest of an Arab bomb suspect? Actually, these numbers perhaps exaggerate the attention paid to the alleged domestic terrorists; many of the stories about the Algerian suspect ran on the front page, while the California and Texas stories were often news briefs. The network evening news shows had 44 stories that mentioned Ressam, two that mentioned Patterson and Kiles (both on CBS--12/15/99, 12/20/99), and no mentions of Haney.
       --FAIR (Jan. 2000).

  • Few news reports have pointed out that there is one body under international law that can authorize military action: the United Nations Security Council. If the U.S. has strong evidence against Osama bin Laden and associates, and Afghanistan continues to refuse extradition to the U.S., the two countries could negotiate surrender of the suspects to a neutral country for trial (as happened with Libyan agents tried for the Lockerbie explosion). If that approach fails, the U.S. could present its case to the Security Council, which could authorize the equivalent of an international arrest warrant.
       --Jeff Cohen (FAIR 9/19/2001).

  • International law does not recognize the legitimacy of wars of retaliation. Therefore, even if the terrorist attack this time signifies a beginning of a war, retaliation cannot be allowed unless the terrorists continue their attacks.
       --Hisatake Kato ( 9/19/2001).

  • In Afghanistan the ulemas --religious leaders of a traditionally combative and brave people-- are meeting to adopt fundamental decisions. They have already said that they will not oppose the application of justice and the relevant procedures if those accused, living in their country, are really guilty. They have simply asked for evidence, and for guarantees of impartiality and equity in the process, something that the United Nations could perfectly ensure, with full support from the international community. If such evidence exists, as the leaders of the U.S. government have categorically affirmed, and the religious leaders are not asked to override the deepest convictions of their faith, which they are known to defend with their own lives, then an alternative to war could be worked out. They would not sacrify their people uselessly if their ethically unquestionable request was taken into account. In fact, a bloodshed could be avoided and this could become the first great step towards a world without terrorism or unpunished crimes: a true world association for peace and justice could emerge and the American people would earn enormous prestige and respect. Cuba would resolutely support such a solution. But, there is not a minute to spare; there is little time left. To fail to make such a basic, simple and viable effort would make it an unjust war.
       --Statement from Cuba (9/19/2001).

  • The fact is that as a culture and as a people, we are not equipped emotionally, psychically and spiritually to manage the magnitude of this tragedy in our minds. We have, mercifully, lived for so long under the dark shroud of ignorance to the scope of our vulnerability.
       --angel Kyodo williams (ubanpeace.org 9/11/2001)

  • The people of New York City and the country cannot allow the Bush administration and the Pentagon to play on their genuine feelings of shock and disbelief to stir reaction and strengthen the forces of repression. This will not help the working and oppressed people of this or any country.
       --Ramsey Clark's International Action Center (IAC)

  • The first effect of any such attack, other than killing massive numbers of innocent civilians, will be to multiply tenfold the number of people in the Islamic world willing to die to wreak havoc on the United States. If fewer than two dozen people, supported by a few hundred more, could carry off last week's attacks, what will happen when we arouse the anger of 1 billion people by a blatantly unjust and destructive "retaliation?"
       --Robert Jensen and Rahul Mahajan (Common Dreams 9/17/2001)

  • We have made clear our opposition to targeted killings. It's not a question of the weapons so much as it is a question of the event. Obviously, they are aware and we are aware of the restrictions on the use of American weaponry. Obviously they are aware of that.
       --Robert Boucher, State Dept. (Common Dreams 8/28/2001)

  • As an alternative to military action of this sort, I propose a strategy that combines global law enforcement collaboration plus moral and religious combat. It would compel the Bush administration to drop its war rhetoric and instead treat its hunt for bin Laden as a criminal investigation.
       --Michael T. Klare (Salon 9/13/2001)

  • 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.
       --Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez (Letter to Pres. Bush 9/15/2001)

  • But, more importantly to me is what has mostly gone unseen by the American public. I have to ask why these scenes of a few Palestinians been shown again and again and again, as if they capture the 'truth' of Palestine. How few cameras have caught the spontaneous sorrow, despair, tears and heartache of the vast majority of the Palestinian people. As the news unfolded here on Tuesday afternoon about the extent of the attacks, people gathered, as people did everywhere, in front of television screens to learn as much as possible. My phone rang and rang as Palestinians from around the West Bank called to express their horror and their condolences.
       --Rev. Sandra Olewine United Methodist Liaison - Jerusalem(Full Text)

  • We condemn in no uncertain terms the horrifying attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11. We are shocked and angered by such brutality and share all the emotions of our fellow citizens about these attacks, which target all Americans without exception. We firmly believe that there can be no justification for such horrible acts. We join with the nation in calling for the perpetrators of this terrible crime to be brought swiftly to justice. We commend the statements of Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of State Colin Powell and the numerous senators and members of Congress who have cautioned against attempts to stigmatize the Arab-American and American Muslim communities or blame them for this tragedy. We urge our fellow Americans, the government and media to follow their example and not assign any form of collective guilt against communities for the crimes of individuals.
       --Joint Arab-American, Muslim Amerian Statement (Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, ADC).

  • This is a great opportunity -- so far largely missed -- for the west to mend fences with Islam, and help Moslems separate themselves from the fundamentalists under whose influence millions of true Moslems so grievously suffer. We are on the same side of the fence; after all, these terrible acts are at least as offensive to the values espoused by the Prophet as they are to Christian or western secular values.
       --Richard Farr (Note 9/18/2001)

  • Innocent civilians living within any nation that may be found responsible, in part or in full, for the crimes recently perpetrated against the United States, must not bear any responsibility for the actions of their government, and must therefore be guaranteed safety and immunity from any military or judicial action taken against the state in which they reside.
       --The Petition (911-peace.org)

  • It was the Americans, after all, who poured resources into the 1980s war against the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul, at a time when girls could go to school and women to work. Bin Laden and his mojahedin were armed and trained by the CIA and MI6, as Afghanistan was turned into a wasteland and its communist leader Najibullah left hanging from a Kabul lamp post with his genitals stuffed in his mouth.
       -- Seumas Milne (Guardian 9/13/2001)

  • Back in May, you gave the Taliban in Afghanistan $48 million dollars of our tax money. No free nation on earth would give them a cent, but you gave them a gift of $48 million because they said they had "banned all drugs."
       --Michael Moore ( 9/14/2001).

  • In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba....

    The secret plans came at a time when there was distrust in the military leadership about their civilian leadership, with leaders in the Kennedy administration viewed as too liberal, insufficiently experienced and soft on communism. At the same time, however, there real were concerns in American society about their military overstepping its bounds.
       --ABC ( 5/1/2001).

  • There are several other painful stories which are now more complete thanks to Bamford, such as the capture of the Pueblo by North Korea in 1968 and the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. The one operation that is the scariest of all, which fortunately was not executed, was Operation Northwoods, drawn up around the end of Eisenhower's administration and the beginning of John F. Kennedy's term in office. The plan was signed by all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It called for a series of staged execution of Americans on the streets, bombings in Washington DC, and the sinking of boats full of Cuban refugees. Innocent people would be framed for the crimes with the intention of blaming it all on Fidel Castro to sway the American public to support an invasion of Cuba. Much of this book reads like fiction, but as they say: who could make up this stuff?
       --Robert Bruen (IEEE 5/27/2001).

(Pages A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S)

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