Another World Is Possible

edited by Jee Kim, Jeremy Glick, et al

Subway and Elevated Press, 2001



1. To display an American flag in any form, you must present proof of voter registration.

2. To wave an American flag in public, you must be able to name at least one of the following
a. Your Senator b. Your Representative c. Your President ("George Bush" does not count; ambiguous)

3. To be permitted to scream "Arabs go home," you must list and correctly locate ten Arab homelands.

4. Priority for purchase of American flags will be given to those whose ancestors lived on American soil the longest. When all American Indians who wish to display the red, white and blue are satisfied, other applicants will be accepted.

5. A call for war on any radio talk-show will be construed as a public declaration of willingness to enlist in the US Army: callers will have 24 hours to complete the paperwork.



Le Nouvel Observateur, Jan 15-21, 1998

Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs ("From the Shadows') that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahedeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, Dec 24, 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is s6 completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3,1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, l wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, l wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [intigrismej, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?


Larry Mosqueda, Ph.D.

Like all Americans, on Tuesday, 911, I was shocked and horrified to watch the WTC Twin Towers attacked by hijacked planes and collapse, resulting in the deaths of perhaps up to 10,000 innocent people.

I had not been that shocked and horrified since January 16,1991, when then President Bush attacked Baghdad, and the rest of Iraq and began killing 200,000 people during that "war" (slaughter). This includes the infamous "highway of death" in the last days of the slaughter when US pilots literally shot in the back retreating Iraqi civilians and soldiers. I continue to be horrified by the sanctions on Iraq, which have resulted in the death of over 1,000,000 Iraqis, including over 500,000 children, about whom former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has stated, their deaths "are worth the cost."

Over the course of my life I have been shocked and horrified by a variety of US governmental actions, such as the US sponsored coup against democracy in Guatemala in 1954 which resulted in the deaths of over L20,000 Guatemalan peasants by US installed dictatorships over the course of four decades. Last Tuesday's events reminded me of the horror I felt when the US overthrew the government of the Dominican Republic in 1965 and helped to murder 3,000 people. And it reminded me of the shock I felt in 1973, when the US sponsored a coup in Chile against the democratic government of Salvador Allende and helped to murder another 30,000 people, including US citizens.

Last Tuesday's events reminded me of the shock and horror I felt in 1965 when the US sponsored a coup in Indonesia that resulted in the murder of over 800,000 people, and the subsequent slaughter in 1975 of over 250,000 innocent people in East Timor by the Indonesian regime, with the direct complicity of President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

I was reminded of the shock and horror I felt during the US sponsored terrorist contra war (the World Court declared the US government a war criminal in 1984 for the mining of the harbors) against Nicaragua in the 1980s which resulted in the deaths of over 30,000 innocent people (or as the US government used to call them before the term "collateral damage" was invented-"soft targets").

I was reminded of being horrified by the U. S. war against the people of El Salvador in the 1980s, which resulted in the brutal deaths of over 80,000 people, or "soft targets."

I was reminded of the shock and horror I felt during the US sponsored terror war against the peoples of southern Africa (especially Angola) that began in the 1970s and continues to this day, and has resulted in the deaths and mutilations of over 1,000,000. I was reminded of the shock and horror I felt as the US invaded Panama over the Christmas season of 1989 and killed over 8,000 in an attempt to capture George H. Bush's CIA partner, now turned enemy, Manuel Noriega.

I was reminded of the horror I felt when Iearned about how the Shah of Iran was installed in a US sponsored brutal coup that resulted in the deaths of over 70,000 Iranians from 1952-1979. And the continuing shock as l learned that the Ayatollah Khomani, who overthrew the Shah in 1979, and who was the US public enemy for the decade of the 1980s, was also on the CIA payroll while he was in exile in Paris in the 1970s.

I was reminded of the shock and horror that I felt as l learned about the how the US has "manufactured consent" since 1948 for its support of Israel, to the exclusion of virtually any rights for the Palestinians in their native lands resulting in ever worsening day to-day conditions for the people of Palestine. I was shocked as l learned about the hundreds of towns and villages that were literally wiped off the face of the earth in the early days of Israeli colonization. I was horrified in 1982 as the villagers of Sabra and Shatila were massacred by Israeli allies with direct Israeli complicity and direction. The untold thousands who died on that day match the scene of horror that we saw last Tuesday. But those scenes were not repeated over and over again on the national media to inflame the American public.

The events and images of last Tuesday have been appropriately compared to the horrific events and images of Lebanon in the 1980s with resulted in the deaths of tens of thousand of people, with no reference to the fact that the country that inflicted the terror on Lebanon was Israel, with US backing. I still continue to be shocked at how mainstream commentators refer to "Israeli settlers" in the "occupied territories" with no sense of irony as they report on who are the aggressors in the region.

Of course, the largest and most shocking war crime of the second half of the 20th century was the US assault on Indochina from 19541975, especially Vietnam, where over 4,000,000 people were bombed, napalmed, crushed, shot and individually "hands on" murdered in the "Phoenix Program" (this is where Oliver North got his start). Many US Vietnam veterans were also victimized by this war and had the best of intentions, but the policy makers themselves knew the criminality of their actions and policies as revealed in their own words in "The Pentagon Papers," released by Daniel Ellsberg of the RAND Corporation. In 1974 Ellsberg noted that our Presidents from Truman to Nixon continually lied to the US public about the purpose and conduct of the war. He has stated that, "It is a tribute to the American people that our leaders perceived that they had to lie to us, it is not a tribute to us that we were so easily misled." I was continually shocked and horrified as the US attacked and bombed with impunity the nation of Libya in the 1980s, including killing the infant daughter of Khadafi. l was shocked as the US bombed and invaded Grenada in 1983. I was horrified by US military and CIA actions in Somalia, Haltl, Afghanistan, Sudan, Brazil, Argentina, and Yugoslavia. The deaths in these actions ran into the hundreds of thousands.

The above list is by no means complete or comprehensive. It is merely a list that is easily accessible and not unknown, especially to the economic and intellectual elites. It has just been conveniently eliminated from the public discourse and public consciousness. And for the most part, the analysis that the US actions have resulted in the deaths of primarily civilians (over 90%) is not unknown to these elites and policy makers. A conservative number for those who have been killed by US terror and military action since World War II is 8,000,000 people. Repeat-8,000,000 people. This does not include the wounded, the imprisoned, the displaced, the refugees, etc. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated in 1967, during the Vietnam War, "My government is the world's leading purveyor of violence." Shocking and horrifying.

Nothing that I have written is meant to disparage or disrespect those who were victims and those who suffered death or the loss of a loved one during this week's events. It is not meant to justify" any action by those who bombed the Twin Towers or the Pentagon. It is meant to put it in a context.

Ed Herman in his book The Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda does not justify any terrorism but points out that states often engage in "wholesale" terror, while those whom governments define as "terrorist" engage in "retail" terrorism. While qualitatively the results are the same for the individual victims of terrorism, there is a clear quantitative difference. And as Herman and others point out, the seeds, the roots, of much of the "retail" terror are in fact found in the "wholesale" terror of states. Again this is not to justify, in any way, the actions of last Tuesday, but to put them in a context and suggest an explanation...

The retail terror is that of desperate and sometimes fanatical small groups and individuals who often have legitimate grievances, but engage in individual criminal and illegitimate activities; the wholesale terror is that of "rational" educated men where the pain, suffering, and deaths of millions of people are contemplated, planned, and too often, executed, for the purpose of furthering a nebulous concept called the "national interest." Space does not allow a full explanation of the elites' Orwellian concept of the "national interest," but it can be summarized as the protection and expansion of hegemony and an imperial empire.

The American public is being prepared for war while being fed a continuous stream of shocking and horrific repeated images of Tuesday's events, and heartfelt stories from the survivors and the loved ones of those who lost family members. These stories are real and should not be diminished. In fact, those who lost family members can be considered a representative sample of humanity of the 8,000,000 who have been lost previously. If we multiply by 800-1000 times the amount of pain, angst, and anger being currently felt by the American public, we might begin to understand how much of the rest of the world feels as they are continually victimized.

Some particularly poignant images are the heart wrenching public stories that we are seeing and hearing of family members with pictures and flyers searching for their loved ones. These images are virtually the same as those of the "Mothers of the Disappeared" who searched for their (primarily) adult children in places such as Argentina, where over 11,000 were "disappeared" in 19761982, again with US approval. Just as the mothers of Argentina deserved our respect and compassion, so do the relatives of those who are searching for their relatives now. However we should not allow ourselves to be manipulated by the media and US government into turning real grief and anger into a national policy of wholesale terror and genocide against innocent civilians in Asia and Africa. What we are seeing in military terms is called "softening the target." The target here is the American public and we are being ideologically and emotionally prepared for the slaughter that may commence soon...

Those affected, all of us, must do everything in our power to prevent a wider war and even greater atrocity, do everything possible to stop the genocide if it starts, and hold those responsible for their potential war crimes during and after the war. If there is a great war in 2001 and it is not catastrophic (a real possibility), the crimes of that war will be revisited upon the US over the next generation. That is not some kind of religious prophecy or threat, it is merely a straightforward political analysis.


Arundhati Roy
The American people may be a little fuzzy about where exactly Afghanistan is, but the US government and Afghanistan are old friends. In 1979, after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA and Pakistan's ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) launched the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA. Their purpose was to harness the energy of Afghan resistance to the Soviets and expand it into a holy war, an Islamic jihad, which would turn Muslim countries within the Soviet Union against the communist regime and eventually destabilise it. When it began, it was meant to be the Soviet Union's Vietnam. It turned out to be much more than that. Over the years, through the ISI, the CIA funded and recruited almost 100,000 radical mojahedin from 40 Islamic countries as soldiers for America's proxy war. The rank and file of the mojahedin were unaware that their jihad was actually being fought on behalf of Uncle Sam. (The irony is that America was equally unaware that it was financing a future war against itself.) In 1989, after being bloodied by 10 years of relentless conflict, the Russians withdrew, leaving behind a civilisation reduced to rubble. Civil war in Afghanistan raged on.

The jihad spread to Chechnya, Kosovo and eventually to Kashmir. The CIA continued to pour in money and military equipment, but the overheads had become immense, and more money was needed. The mojahedin ordered farmers to plant opium as a "revolutionary tax". The ISI set up hundreds of heroin laboratories across Afghanistan. Within two years of the ClA's arrival, the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderland had become the biggest producer of heroin in the world, and the single biggest source of the heroin on American streets. The annual profits, said to be between $100 billion and $200 billion, were ploughed back into training and arming militants. In 1995, the Taliban - then a marginal sect of dangerous, hard-line fundamentalists - fought its way to power in Afghanistan. It was funded by the ISI, that old cohort of the CIA, and supported by many political parties in Pakistan. The Taliban unleashed a regime of terror. Its first victims were its own people, particularly women. It closed down girls' schools, dismissed women from government jobs, and enforced sharia laws under which women deemed to be "immoral" are stoned to death, and widows guilty of being adulterous are buried alive. Given the Taliban government's human rights track record, it seems unlikely that it will in any way be intimidated or swerved from its purpose by the prospect of war, or the threat to the lives of its civilians. After all that has happened, can there be anything more ironic than Russia and America joining hands to re destroy Afghanistan?



by William Hartung

In the first few days after the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, President Bush had already described them as acts of war, setting the stage for the introduction of a new "war on terrorism." Congress quickly approved a $40 billion emergency funding package, to be divided equally between domestic reconstruction efforts and support for federal agencies that will be engaged in the fight against terrorism.

Picking up on a theme that had been sounded earlier by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, the President asserted before a joint session of Congress on September 20th that the administration's war on terrorism would be a multi-faceted, long-term effort encompassing covert actions, military strikes, diplomatic initiatives, and domestic security measures (underscored by his creation of a Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Defense, to be headed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge). The speech was long on resolve and short on details on the costs and consequences of this seemingly open-ended anti-terror campaign.


Although there has been considerable editorial comment about the need to rethink US defense strategy in the wake of the September 11th attacks, so far it appears to be business as usual. An article in the September 17-23 issue of Defense News indicates that roughly $12 billion of the $40 billion emergency package is slated to go to the Pentagon, but it quotes a Pentagon official as saying that the emergency funds "will have nothing to do with rescue and emergency efforts." The official further states that "This will have nothing to do with retaliation in response to the Sept. 11 attacks. The funding will go to the [military department's] wish lists for things that we'll have several years from now." Budget analyst Christopher Hellman of the Center for Defense Information has suggested that military spending for the fiscal year starting October 1, 2001 could reach $375 billion. Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz has intimated that the emergency funds are just the down payment on a major increase in Pentagon spending, and conservative analysts such as Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute have suggested that it is possible that Congress will now be willing to push the Pentagon budget to $400 billion per year or more, a figure that was merely a right-wing pipe dream just a few months ago.

This surge in Pentagon spending is good news for major Pentagon contractors, who were among the few companies that showed increases in their stock prices when the market reopened after the September 11th attacks. Among the top gainers for the week of September 17-21 were major military and space contractors like Raytheon (+37%), L-3 Communications (+35.8%), EDO (+24.8%), Alliant Tech Systems (+23.5%), and Northrop Grumman (+21.2%). As James Dao of the New York Times noted, some companies are already up on Capitol Hill pushing their wares in the wake of the September 11th attacks: "Many military contractors have been-hesitant to talk publicly about their improved economic prospects. 'This is such a gruesome way to make money,' a lobbyist said." But other companies, like Continental Electronics, have begun openly lobbying for new business, going so far as to call the Pentagon directly. "We believe that our radio transmitters would be desperately needed in places like Pakistan," said John Uvodich, the company's president. "We are just trying to let people in Washington know that we are here to assist."

A logical approach to retooling the Pentagon would be to set some priorities, not just throw money at the problem under the guise of fighting terrorism. Systems like the costly F-22 fighter plane, the bulky Crusader artillery system, and the administration's $8.3 billion missile defense program seem largely irrelevant to dealing with low tech threats like the September 11th attacks. But as Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace notes, "tragically, some are using the terrible tragedy to justify their existing programs, slapping an 'anti-terrorism' label on missile defense and military budget

increases." Just as no one in the Bush administration has adequately explained why the expect a military response to terrorism to be effective, no one has indicated why a $375 billion budget - comparable to what the US was spending during the Cold War against an adversary with 4 million troops and thousands of nuclear weapons - is not sufficient to fight a series of terrorist networks whose membership is measured in the thousands, not the millions.


Despite the fact that a number of informed observers, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden of Delaware, have noted that the September 11th attacks underscore the irrelevance of the Bush administration's costly missile defense scheme to the most immediate threats to US security, the program may receive a short-term boost in the environment of "consensus" that now reigns on Capitol Hill. A few days after the attacks, The New York Times reported that key Capitol Hill Democrats did not want to appear to be partisan by picking a fight on missile defense at this time. But as Tom Collina of the Union of Concerned Scientists aptly noted, "There's a real danger because of this crisis that the Democrats will give up this fight, which would be a real shame." Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin agreed to hold off on an amendment that would have limited the ability of the administration to undertake tests or other actions that would violate the AntiBallistic Missile Treaty. He promises to introduce the measure later as a standalone measure.

In the mean time, Star Wars boosters are using homey analogies to suggest that we need anti-terrorist measures and missile defense, saying things like "just because the burglar came in the front door last time doesn't mean you want to leave the back door unlocked," or "just because you have insurance against theft doesn't mean you shouldn't buy fire insurance." These comparisons are way off the mark. Given the extreme unlikelihood of a nuclear-armed state, much less a terrorist group, launching a nuclear missile attack at the United States, a more accurate analogy would be more like "Now that your house has just burned down, maybe you should stop spending all your money on insurance against being hit by an asteroid."

Hopefully the Capitol Hill moratorium on criticizing missile defense will end soon, before additional billions are poured into this dangerous and unworkable project. And hopefully the current irresponsible attitude on Capitol Hill of uncritically throwing money at the Pentagon in the wake of the September 11th attack will be cast aside in favor of a vigorous public debate about the best way to prevent terrorism.

A missile defense system - even if it overcame the technical obstacles which have so far proved insurmountable, after billions spent - would have done nothing to stop the September 11 attack. Nor would it do anything to stop any other conceivable terrorist attack on the United States, none of which involve might missile delivery systems. Opportunism and cynical manipulation of tragedy are nothing new in Washington. But the proposals to exploit the September 11 tragedy for narrow corporate aims mark a new low. The United States is emerging from a national mourning period. Now is the time to proceed with caution and care, as the nation seeks to address legitimate security concerns (e.g., airport security) and tend to victims of the attack. It is no time 8 to rush through proposals on matters essentially unrelated to the attack, especially damaging and foolhardy proposals that have been unable to win popular or Congressional support when the public has had a chance to consider them dispassionately, and on the merits.


by George Monbiot

Bin Laden's presumed guilt appears to rest on the supposition that he is the sort of man who would have done it. But his culpability is irrelevant: his usefulness to western governments lies in his power to terrify. When billions of pounds of military spending are at stake, rogue states and terrorist warlords become assets precisely because they are liabilities. By using Bin Laden as an excuse for demanding new military spending, weapons manufacturers in America and Britain have enhanced his iconic status among the disgruntled. His influence, in other words, has been nurtured by the very industry which claims to possess the means of stamping him out. This is not the only way in which the new terrorism crisis has been exacerbated by corporate power. The lax airport security which enabled the hijackers to smuggle weapons on to the planes was, for example, the result of corporate lobbying against the stricter controls the government had proposed. Now Tuesday's horror is being used by corporations to establish the preconditions for an even deadlier brand of terror.

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

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

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

(Reprinted with permission from The Guardian)


by Jacob Levich

Seventeen years later than expected, 1984 has arrived.

In his address to Congress Thursday, George Bush effectively declared permanent war - war without temporal or geographic limits; war without clear goals; war against a vaguely defined and constantly shifting enemy. Today it's Al-Qaida; tomorrow it may be Afghanistan; next year, it could be Iraq or Cuba or Chechnya.

No one who was forced to read 1984 in high school could fail to hear a faint bell tinkling. In George Orwell's dreary classic, the totalitarian state of Oceania is perpetually at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia. Although the enemy changes periodically, the war is permanent; its true purpose is to control dissent and sustain dictatorship by nurturing popular fear and hatred.

The permanent war undergirds every aspect of Big Brother's authoritarian program, excusing censorship, propaganda, secret police, and privation. In other words, it's terribly convenient.

And conveniently terrible. Bush's alarming speech pointed to a shadowy enemy that lurks in more than 60 countries, including the US. He announced a policy of using maximum force against any individuals or nations he designates as our enemies, without color of international law, due process, or democratic debate.

He explicitly warned that much of the war will be conducted in secret. He rejected negotiation as a tool of diplomacy. He announced starkly that any country that doesn't knuckle under to US demands will be regarded as an enemy. He heralded the creation of a powerful new cabinet-level police agency called the "Office of Homeland Security." Orwell couldn't have named it better.

By turns folksy ("Ya know what?) and chillingly bellicose ("Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists"), Bush stepped comfortably into the role of Big Brother, who needs to be loved as well as feared. Meanwhile, his administration acted swiftly to realize the governing principles of Oceania:

WAR IS PEACE. A reckless war that will likely bring about a deadly cycle of retaliation is being sold to us as the means to guarantee our safety. Meanwhile, we've been instructed to accept the permanent war as a fact of daily life. As the inevitable slaughter of innocents unfolds overseas, we are to "live our lives and hug our children."

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. "Freedom itself is under attack." Bush said, and he's right. Americans are about to lose many of their most cherished liberties in a frenzy of paranoid legislation. The government proposes to tap our phones, read our email and seize our credit card records without court order. It seeks authority to detain and deport immigrants without cause or trial. It proposes to use foreign agents to spy on American citizens. To save freedom, the warmongers intend to destroy it.

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. America's "new war" against terrorism will be fought with unprecedented secrecy, including heavy press restrictions not seen for years, the Pentagon has advised. Meanwhile, the sorry history of American imperialism - collaboration with terrorists, bloody proxy wars against civilians, forcible replacement of democratic governments with corrupt dictatorships - is treated as strictly off-limits by mainstream media. Lest it weaken our resolve, we are not to be allowed to understand the reasons underlying the horrifying crimes of September 11.

The defining speech of Bush's presidency points toward an Orwellian future of endless war, expedient lies, and ubiquitous social control. But unlike 1984's doomed protagonist, we've got still got plenty of space to maneuver and plenty of ways to resist.

It's time to speak and to act. It falls on us now to take to the streets, bearing a clear message for the warmongers: We don't love Big Brother.

Originally published through the Common Dreams News Center (

September 11th, 2001

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