PERMANENT WAR: THE STAKES FOR WORKING PEOPLE
by Ralph Schoenman
October 19, 2002
The category of "terror" has become the rationale of the U.S. ruling class for a state of permanent war and a measure of repression that rends the façade of formal bourgeois democracy in the United States.
An ultimate conspiracy theory has been propounded by U.S. rulers to the point of patent absurdity: More powerful than the Soviet Union, more dangerous than 50,000 H bomb bearing intercontinental ballistic missiles, more imminent and omnipresent than the ‘‘communist menace" – SHAZZAM – it’s Osama Bin Laden and his evil band – direct from his cave in AFGHANISTAN!
The tiny oligarchy that comprises the U.S. ruling class contrived this category of "terror" with deliberation in the 1970’s. It has been used to demonize resistance to U.S. imperial designs in dependent countries and to suppress opposition here at home.
In reality, the Pentagon, CIA and associated agencies organized, directed and financed real terror groups among the far right killer militia that they have deployed across Latin America and Africa. The death squads and ruthless military commanders who murdered and tortured hundreds of thousands of trade union leaders, students and peasant activists across the world were trained at the School of the Americas.
Roughly 2 percent of the population in the United States owns 90 percent of the national wealth. The former President of Avis and American Express, Robert Townsend, calculated that some 5,000 people control what he called the commanding heights of the U.S. economy.
This small, concentrated ruling class presides over corporate and banking capital and has captured the state through the one big property party with two names.
We have but 5 percent of the world’s population within our frontiers but the rapacious capitalist ruling class commands close to 70 percent of the world’s natural resources. It has been evident since the advent of the first World War, that U.S. rulers preside over an empire and deploy the State to subsidize their rule and to enforce it.
They make and they conceal their policies in their boardrooms, think tanks and clandestine councils of State.
Whatever the vicissitudes of daily and yearly political life in America and beyond, our tiny, rapacious ruling class depends upon a vast military and intelligence apparatus to sustain its rule.
Behind the ideological façade promulgated in our media of communication, theirs is an unrelenting war against working people – a class war to destroy our self-organization in the work place, to deprive us of any viable political vehicle and political expression of our own and to prevent an organized challenge to the rule of capital.
The employer lockout on the West Coast docks set the stage with deliberation, not just for the invocation of Taft-Hartley but to open a relentless assault upon the viability on the docks of the ILWU itself. It is PATCO and the government assault upon the Teamsters revisited.
The U.S. publication, Insight on the News, reported on August 10, 2001:
"Every year trillions of dollars go unaccounted by federal agencies. Robert Lieberman, the Deputy Inspector General of the Department of Defense, admitted that $4.4 trillion in the Pentagon’s books had to be cooked to compile required financial statements.
"In one year, $1.1 trillion was simply gone and no one can be sure when, where and to whom the money went."
"Untold trillions of dollars are stolen every year and disappear into off-shore numbered accounts, holding companies and banks without records."
The article spells out that in the year 2000, the Pentagon "lost" more than the $855 billion in individual taxes that the IRS collected in 1999.
On September 10, 2001, the day before attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, CBS News and its anchor, Dan Rather, reported that the Pentagon had "lost" $2.3 trillion – fully one-quarter of its budget for the decade.
To put this in perspective, Helen Caldicott calculated that one trillion dollars represent a $1,000 expended every minute since the life of Jesus!
This does not begin to approximate the rape of human productive capacity and resources that fund the Pentagon and 14 intelligence services in order to sustain U.S. imperial control abroad and capitalist dominion at home. Beyond this, it is the corporate soup line wherein trillions of dollars serve to subsidize command over all resources and the fruit of our labor on a planetary scale.
Capitalism in our era is little more than a gangster kleptocracy operating under the color of State authority.
The day after 9/11 – on September 12, 2001 – Dan Rather interviewed Tom Kennedy, director of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), whose origins derive from Oliver North’s scheme for mass detention camps in the U.S. and the round-up of hundreds of thousands of people.
The FEMA official informed CBS News that FEMA had been well prepared for September 11: they arrived in New York to cope with the calamity the day before on September 10.
This prescience was not an isolated occurrence.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on September 12, with the headline "Willie Brown Got Early Warning About Air Travel," that Mayor Willie Brown cancelled his flight plans after receiving a call from "security people" advising him that he couldn’t travel on September 11.
The Chronicle reported on September 14 that former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz received a memo on September 7 from State Department Intelligence the week before, advising that Americans would be the target of attacks on major buildings within days and that he should adjust his travel plans accordingly.
The series of these events prompted the Chronicle to run a further story with the headline "How Could the United States Not
It cited the specific prior advisory to the U.S. government of the attacks of September 11 by the Indian intelligence services.
MSNBC reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed to NBC that his government had warned the U.S. well in advance and in the strongest terms of imminent attacks on airports and government buildings.
Reports in Russian newspapers detailed the information: notice of specific attacks involving 25 pilots.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany’s largest newspaper, reported that German intelligence had monitored in advance the specific operational plans for September 11 and alerted U.S. authorities.
David Wise, an author who has specialized in writing about U.S. intelligence operations – notably "False Flag" operations – imputed to groups run by the CIA, wrote an extended critique in the Los Angeles Times called "Omens of Terror."
"Three separate instances in the 1990’s," he stated, "foretold how such ‘terrorists’ would use airlines to strike at American targets." He specified three distinct plans and plots to use airplanes as flying bombs to target buildings and people – operations known to U.S. intelligence, he writes, prior to the September 11 attacks.
In the past year, multiple reports from around the world have shown that the calamity of September 11, 2001 was an operation in the long tradition of provocations contrived to facilitate longstanding plans for war and conquest.
James Bamford, the former producer of ABC News Tonight with Peter Jennings, wrote a book called Body of Secrets, in which he published documents derived from government files bearing upon the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Primary among these was Operation Northwoods – a paradigm of the long established use by the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies of "False Flag" operations.
Operation Northwoods was prepared in the National Security Council in 1962 and was the particular project of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Lyman Lemnitzer.
Operation Northwoods was signed off on and approved formally by each member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
It called for the sinking of U.S. ships by the U.S. military and attributing these acts to the Cuban government. It detailed a plan to crash civilian aircraft into U.S. cities, to kill U.S. civilians in major cities, including Miami, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., and to impute these acts of "terror" and mayhem to the Cuban revolutionary authorities.
Operation Northwoods projected that the rocket carrying astronaut John Glenn would be destroyed after launching – with the horror of its explosion and the death of the astronaut imputed, as an act of state terror, to Cuba.
These were not the wet dreams of marginal people. They were State plans painstakingly prepared, approved by the highest military and intelligence authorities, and presented as a demand upon Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and President John F. Kennedy.
Kennedy requested alternative scenarios. The option prepared was an attack on the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay by secret U.S. units. These would kill large numbers of U.S. military personnel and the assault would then be trumpeted by the U.S. government as an act of war by Cuba.
This is the record. From the blowing up of the Maine at the time of the Spanish American War, to the sinking of the Lusitania preparatory to U.S. entry into World War 1; from Pearl Harbor to the hidden history of the Korean War; from Operation Northwoods to the Gulf of Tonkin – and from the induced "invasion" of Kuwait to the attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and 2001, U.S. rulers have created the casus belli of their own concoction for the purpose of terrorizing the American people into numbed acquiescence in long prepared plans of U.S. imperial design.
On the anniversary of September 11, Richard Bernstein in the New York Times provided an account of how Mohammad Atta had "met" Ramsey Youssef, a key recruit for the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.
The article labels the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center "the linchpin of September 11." Mohammad Atta is designated as "the boss of the September 11 attacks."
This is most instructive. The bombing of 1993 was ascribed by U.S. authorities to followers of a blind Egyptian cleric, who had himself been involved earlier in the CIA’s Operation Cyclone in Egypt .
We find, however, that the person who organized the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, Emad Ali Salem, was, in reality, both an Egyptian intelligence agent and a longstanding and current operative of the F.B.I.
Emad Ali Salem, under FBI direction, proposed the bombing, prepared it and recruited people to the operation on a need-to-know basis. Amongst other provocations advanced by Salem with FBI direction were the blowing up of the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, the Statue of Liberty and the George Washington Bridge.
Salem, with FBI funding, not only organized the meetings and supplied the wherewithal. He wore a "wire" during each meeting, made transcripts of every discussion and deposited these in the offices of the FBI in New York.
For a period of six months prior to the bombing, the FBI possessed fifty boxes of these transcripts and documentation about the planned bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.
It was later established that the person who secured the rental van and organized the apartment where the preparations occurred was a Mossad operative named Guzie Hadas.
Salem would complain, as reported in the New York Times, that he had been assured by the FBI that fake explosives would be supplied for this government operation. He claimed to have been unaware that the explosives he provided those he ensnared were live, and would detonate with their consequent destruction and loss of life.
The hands of the FBI and of the Mossad were all over the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.
Arnaud de Borchegrave, editor at large of United Press International, published an extended report by General Gul Hamid, the head of the International Inter-Services (ISI) in Pakistan, Pakistan’s de facto behind-the-scenes government since 1948.
It was, in part, through the good offices of General Gul Hamid that the "terror" apparatus of Osama bin Laden and of Gulbedin Hekmetyar was created by the CIA for deployment in Afghanistan and in the Central Asian Republics of the Soviet Union, and funded with $6 billion by the CIA.
It was via the ISI and General Gul Hamid that the Taliban were organized, funded and placed in power in Afghanistan.
Those so demonized as terrorists were long under the direction of U.S. intelligence. Their units were and remain penetrated by U.S. operatives, such as Emad Ali Salem.
Fox News carried a four-part series documenting Mossad operations in the U.S. involving two hundred agents. Sixty were based in the environs of Hollywood, Florida and had penetrated the group of Mohammad Atta. One group of Mossad operatives was based a few houses down from Mohammad Attta’s residence on the same street.
ABC’s 20/20 detailed Operation Urban Moving – wherein the Mossad, under the cover of a moving company, had set up operations across from the World Trade Center and filmed the World Trade Center for hours prior to and during the attacks upon it.
The Israeli newspaper, Yediot Aharanoth, published an article on September 14 stating that the Shabak prevented Prime Minster Ariel Sharon from traveling to New York on September 11, where he was due for a long planned festival organized by Zionist organizations in support of Israel.
Ha’aretz revealed on the same day that "the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested five Israelis four hours after the attack on the Twin Towers, filming since early morning from the roof of their company’s building. The newspaper states that the FBI report describes them as "videotaping the disaster while emitting cries of joy and mockery."
The Sunday Telegraph in London reported that Israeli intelligence officials had discussed planned attacks on U.S. targets in New York and Washington in August. It specified two Mossad experts who held meetings on these plans with the CIA and the FBI.
In his interview with Arnaud de Borchegrave of UPI, General Gul Hamid stated,
"It is clear. There was a plot by United States Air Force officers. The twin towers were first attacked at 8:45 a.m. and four flights were diverted from their assigned airspace; yet Air Force jets did not scramble - standard procedure until 10:00 a.m.
"I know these operations. This was the Mossad with its U.S. accomplices. The United States spends $40 billion on intelligence control and monitoring. I know this well. $400 billion in ten years. Little escapes them. Yet this administration claims it was taken by surprise.
"Don’t believe it. Within ten minutes of the second twin tower being hit, CNN announced that Osama bin Laden had done it. I am in intelligence. This was a typical piece of planned disinformation by the real perpetrators. It creates an instant mind-set. It puts public opinion in a trance that prevents even intelligent people from thinking for themselves."
"What about Bin Laden?" insists de Borchegrave.
"From a cave inside a mountain, from a peasant’s hovel?" replies Gul Hamid. "Be serious. He does not have the capacity for so sophisticated an operation. … Four flights are diverted from their assigned airspace, but there was not one air controller sounding the instant alarm. In Pakistan, if there is no response to I.F.F. (Friend or Foe Identification) jets are instantly scrambled and the aircraft is shot down with no further questions asked.
"We’re talking about the Pentagon – interdicted space. We’re talking about the White House. This is an inside job."
Gul Hamid then elaborates on how the Pentagon quest for massive funds and U.S. conquest of Central Asian oil without opposition was unthinkable before September 11.
His successor as director of Pakistan’s ISI was General Mahmoud Ahmad. General Ahmad was in Washington in the week preceding September 11, where he met over several days with the National Security Council, the CIA and the Pentagon.
While there, General Mahmoud directed $100,000 into the account of Mohammad Atta. The disclosure of this by the BBC and the Hindustani Times in New Delhi, led to his resignation.
Who is Mohammad Atta and who were his associates?
In a flurry of reports in the Washington Post, Newsweek and Knight Ridder newspapers it was established that at least five of the "terrorists" were trained at high level U.S. military facilities.
Newsweek stated that "U.S. military sources have confirmed FBI information that five of "the terrorists," including Mohammad Atta, were cleared through and trained at secure U.S. military installations.
"Mohammad Atta was trained at the International Officers’ School at Maxwell Air Force base in Montgomery, Alabama. Abdul Aziz Alamari received his training at the Aerospace School at Brooks Air Force base in Texas.
"Said Aghmadi attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California."
The presence of U.S. military intelligence permeates the events of September 11.
These accused terrorists had all given, at various times, an address at the Pensacola Naval Air Station and were cleared through U.S. Air Force International Officers School.
Newsweek’s George Wehfritz, Catherine Skipp and John Barry concluded that "five of the alleged hijackers of the planes used in Tuesday’s terror attacks received their training at secure U.S. military installations."
The BBC Washington correspondent, Tom Carver, reported on October 11, 2002, "The U.S. Targets the Entire Middle East. … Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are next. The intellectual underpinning comes from Paul Wolfowitz, deputy Secretary of Defense. It is shared by his boss, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, by Vice President Cheney and by the President.
"America," concludes the BBC, "will use its military power all around the world. Before September 11, their ideas never got beyond policy papers. September 11 gave them the opportunity to put their ideologies into practice."
The Sunday New York Times Magazine cover story of September 22, 2002 was entitled "The Sunshine Warrior." It described an important meeting at Fort Leavenworth in midsummer for the U.S. army’s "new leaders."
Army Chief of Staff, General Eric K. Shenseki, is quoted as follows:
"A young Pentagon analyst, Paul Wolfowitz, directed a secret assessment of the Persian Gulf that marked Iraq as a menace to American interests. This, Shinseki informs them with everything but a drumroll, was in 1979, a dozen years before Desert Storm."
Indeed, a detailed plan was prepared by the Israeli Mossad and the Department of Information of the World Zionist Organization and published in its journal Kivunim (Directions) by Oded Yinon.
It called for the fragmentation of each Middle Eastern country in its turn into its ethnic components. The report was detailed and specific:
"Iraq is first. Rich in oil, and internally torn, it is guaranteed as the initial target. Its dissolution is even more important than of Syria. … Egypt will then be torn apart, like a second Lebanon. ... The entire Arabian peninsula is a natural for dissolution. … The matter is inevitable, especially in Saudi Arabia."
The Oded Yinon plan was taken up by Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Kenneth Armitage, Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney, and by the Committee on the Present Danger.
These plans were analyzed fully in late 1978 by the Brookings Institution. Its detailed study, "U.S. Armed Forces as a Political Instrument," was prepared for the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency. It revealed "215 times between 1946 and 1975 when U.S. armed forces were used for specific political objectives."
As set forth in my book, Iraq and Kuwait: A History Suppressed, the article by Pentagon analyst Miles Ignotus in Harpers Magazine in 1975, entitled "Seizing Arab Oil," described the "rapid deployment and strike force" prepared to seize "Saudi oil fields, installations and airports."
The London Sunday Times confirmed on February 9, 1975:
"The National Security Council compiled a detailed review of a top secret Department of Defense plan to invade Saudi oil fields. The plan code, named Dharan Option Four, has been drawn up by the Pentagon and provides for a U.S. attack on oil fields that contain 40 percent of the world’s known reserves."
Intelligence and military analyst Robert Tucker addressed the feasibility of seizing Arab oil fields by direct military intervention in Commentary in January 1975, in his article entitled "Oil: The Issue of American Intervention":
"Without intervention," he concluded, "there is a distinct possibility of an economic and political disaster bearing more than a superficial resemblance to the disaster of the 1930’s."
He described secret U.S. plans of long standing for "intervention in an area which, if effectively controlled, would contain a sufficient portion of present world oil production and proven reserves to break the present price structure by breaking the core of the cartel, politically and economically.
"The Arab shoreline of the Gulf," he concluded breathlessly, "is a new El Dorado waiting for its conquistadors."
By 1979, Lawrence Mosher had formulated "the plan circulating in many Washington corridors:"
"… what military people call the U.S. 100,000 man Quick Strike Force rapidly deployable anywhere. But, as a top Defense official said, ‘We need a real bogeyman to come in and have to be stopped before we can talk of using the Quick Strike Force.’ It may be that this bogeyman may not be defined the same in Arabic as in English."
The stratagems of U.S. imperialism, worked out in each decade, bear a striking similarity to their antecedents.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security Adviser under Jimmy Carter, published a book entitled The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (Basic Books, 1997) that is remarkable in its candor regarding U.S. imperial plans:
"America’s global primacy is directly dependent upon how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained. … The power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. … Most of the world’s physical wealth is there – both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 percent of the world’s GNP and about 75 percent of the world’s known energy resources."
Brzezinski spells out the object of U.S. military and imperial policy:
"The Eurasian Balkans are infinitely more important as a potential economic prize with an enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves in the region. … The Central Asian region and the Caspian Sea basin are known to contain reserves of natural gas and oil that dwarf those of Kuwait, the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea."
For over a decade, the major think tanks of U.S. rulers have prepared for the seizure of the oil and natural gas of Central Asia and of the Caspian Sea basin. The U.S. Energy Information Administration prepared a series of studies over several years which calculated the returns from U.S. seizure of Central Asian oil.
One report stated, "By 2020 the U.S. will import 64 percent of its crude oil – 25.8 million barrels per day. Caspian region oil reserves are the third largest in the world and within the next 15 years … will offset Persian Gulf oil. Caspian Sea oil and gas are not the only hydrocarbon deposits in the region. Turkmenistan’s Karakum Desert holds the world’s third largest gas reserves – three trillion cubic meters – and has six billion barrels of oil reserves. Current estimates indicate that in addition to huge gas deposits, the Caspian basin holds … 200 billion barrels of oil, 33 times the holdings of Alaska’s North Slope and a current value of $4 trillion."
U.S. News and World Report quoted a private memo to oil industry executives from Vice President Richard Cheney in 1998 in his capacity as CEO of Halliburton, "I can not think of a time when we have had a region emerge so suddenly to become as strategically important as the Caspian." The short-term gains from the oil and natural gas resources were calculated by U.S. News and World Report at $4 trillion.
In "Oil Politics: America and the Riches of the Caspian Basin" (World Policy Journal, Spring 1998), Ian Bremmer examined the pipeline structure required to secure "proven oil reserves of 15 to 30 billion barrels … with reserves of 200 billion (and) proven natural gas reserves of 200-350 trillion cubic feet."
In his report to the U.S. Heritage Foundation of July 25, 1997, Ariel Cohen does a calculation of these resources at "$4 trillion at current market prices" and further estimates a bonanza in "the region’s reserves as "similarly enormous – larger than those in all of North America."
Under the heading "A Silk Road Blueprint" he urges creation of conditions in Afghanistan for rapid construction of a pipeline to carry this bonanza of profiteering to the Indian Ocean.
The same theme was sounded by UNOCAL Vice President John Maresca, former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
These reports of the Council on F0reign Relations, the U.S. Afghanistan Foundation, the Energy Information Administration and the CIA outlined the necessity for the U.S. to create the conditions for seizing control of resources and the generation of $5 trillion in short term profits for the oil companies involved.
Chevron, Unocal, Mobil and B.P. had already divided up percentages along lines mapped out in the San Remo Agreements of 1922, when the oil of the Middle East was divided among the oil companies and the governments they directed.
U.S. rulers have stated that they have 60 countries in their sights. It is a permanent war that "will not end in our lifetimes or the lifetimes of our children."
As the capitalist economy falters, as the rapacious U.S. ruling class dismantles the gains of working people representing a century of struggle, the destruction of workers’ rights and the ravaging of remaining democratic achievements of the 18th century bourgeois democratic revolution in America unfold relentlessly and rapidly.
As workers resist, as strikes are sustained and as mass disaffection increases, so will the repression of our rulers.
It is not the evil that is new, nor is it the crisis that has changed. It is rather that the human cost of capitalist rule in our era as in others is measured in mass murder and unbridled destruction.
In his book Clouds of Secrecy, Leonard Cole, Public Health professor at Rutgers and formerly of U.S. Biological Weapons facilities at Fort Detrick, Maryland, documented what the New York Times acknowledged were "239 cities and locations in the United States" where the Pentagon, over a period of 40 years, released clandestinely hundreds of trillions of bacilli, bacteria, fungi and spores.
In his introduction, Senator Alan Cranston of California acknowledged that over 10 million U.S. citizens were affected.
These biological agents were deployed by the Pentagon in the subway system of New York and the school systems of Minneapolis and St. Louis.
In the Bay Area of San Francisco and environs, spinal and brain meningitis increased by ten fold as a result of this secret assault upon U.S. citizens.
Yet not a day goes by when our rulers fail to declaim that demonic "terrorists" are preparing to release biological agents in our water supply, our nuclear power plants and to spread everything from small pox to anthrax.
The people of the United States are being terrorized, indeed, – by our own degenerate ruling class. That is the true gravamen of September 11 and of the barbarous attacks yet to be unleashed by our rulers.
The American working class has not been crushed in this country. It has never suffered a generalized defeat. At the point of production, we retain the ability to organize, to resist and to challenge our murderous ruling class. We have the opportunity and the obligation to break with the one big property party with two names and to forge a political instrument of our own.
The word remains important and we must not shrink from a clear and precise exposure of the perfidy of our rulers.
This is the prerequisite for clear sighted and independent working class political action; but, as Rosa Luxemburg enjoined, "In the beginning was the deed."
If, as our anthem proclaims, we are approaching the final battle, we had better wage it to win.
© Ralph Schoenman, October 2002
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