NPK-info 22-09-2001 - Nederlands Palestina Komitee / www.palestina-komitee.nl


NPK/WL, 22-9-2001


BADIL Resource Center
For immediate release, 21-9-2001 (E/51/2001)


BADIL Occasional Bulletin No. 7

Equality, Justice and Dignity" - OVERVIEW AND ANALYSIS
(BADIL Resource Center, September 2001)

The third world conference to combat racism and racial
discrimination, held in Durban, South Africa between 26 August and 9
September 2001, brought together youth, non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), and governments from around the world in
parallel for a to hammer out a declaration and program of action
against racism. This was the first time that the conference was held
outside of Europe, with South Africa playing host in recognition of
the successful struggle to end apartheid (even though the residue of
apartheid continues to manifest itself in sever landlessness and
economic segregation).

This bulletin provides basic background to the 2001 conference, an
overview of the issues on the agenda, analysis of the impact of the
conference, and some thoughts on future work related to Palestinian
rights in general, and Palestinian refugee rights in particular.

Electronic copies of BADIL Occasional Bulletin No. 7 can be ordered
via email (info@badil.org). The Bulletin will also be posted shortly

BADIL Resource Center aims to provide a resource pool of alternative,
critical and progressive information and analysis on the question of
Palestinian refugees in our quest to achieve a just and lasting solution for
exiled Palestinians based on the right of return.
PO Box 728, Bethlehem, Palestine; tel/fax. 02-2747346; email:
info@badil.org; website: www.badil.org


Vredesweek Vlaardingen

In het kader van de landelijke Vredesweek wordt in Vlaardingen een
thema-avond gehouden:

Palestijns-Joodse dialoog "werken aan vrede"

Thema avond:    donderdag 27 september 2001
Tijd:                     20:00 - 22:15 uur
Plaats:                Ichthuskerk
                            Van Maerlantlaan 2
                            Vlaardingen (Westwijk / nabij Aldi)

20: 00 u.   Opening, mw. Maha de Kok / PJVS (Palestijnse  jongeren).
20: 05 u.   Dhr. Toine van Teeffelen / IKV  (docent in Betlehem).
20: 20 u.   Dhr. Berl Sijes / EAJG  (Een Ander Joods Geluid).
20: 35 u.   Mw. Anja Meulenbelt / schrijver en voorzitter St. Kifaia.
20: 50 u.   Pauze.
21: 05 u.   Forumdiscussie   o.l.v.  dhr. Daan van Heere.
22: 10 u.   Slotwoord, dhr. Jan Terwan /namens Vredesweek werkgroep.


From F r e e d o m 21-9-2001

An interesting quote by a Jesuit priest regarding the
current situation.  One paragraph that says it all.

A Jesuit priest with the West Side Jesuit Community in
New York City, G. Simon Harak said today: "If we in
our turn plan on militarism, vengeance, and
retaliation, if we steel our spirits against the
suffering which such pursuits always cause to the
innocent, in short, if we turn to the tools of
death, then whatever hollow triumph we may trumpet, it
will have been Death alone which has won." Harak has
visited the Mideast many times, he added:
"When I've spoken to families in Iraq who have
suffered from the economic sanctions and bombings; or
with Palestinian fathers and sons tortured by an
Israeli government which we back -- they asked me the
same question people have been asking: 'Why does
America hate us?'"


ZNet 22-9-2001


First, the virus is gone, our data is recovered, our backups are in
place, and so, though it was a very close call, ZNet is fine. Some
interactive sections won't be be operational until tomorrow or Sunday,
but crisis coverage is unaffected. Material is updated constantly.

ZNet top is:
(and if you don't want update mailings you can remove yourself there...)

The crisis page with current terror and war related links is:

For today's commentary mailing, first we have Albert and Shalom with a
simple statement of five arguments against going to war. This augments
their earlier extensive Question and Answer piece
(http://www.zmag.org/qacalam.htm) and both mean to help activists
address those who aren't yet anti-war.

Second, we have a composite Chomsky interview assembled by Albert from
various email exchanges that Chomsky is doing around the world. This
provides context and follows up Chomsky's longer B92 interview on the
site (http://www.zmag.org/chomb92.htm).

Also, many people have been asking about ZNet/Z's slow mail address, to
send donations to help our efforts...it is...

ZNet Sustainer Program
18 Millfield St
Woods Hole, MA 02543

The first and most productive thing people can do is to become a ZNet
Sustainer and or Z Subscriber, or both -- using the online sign up
facilities which will be working again shortly. If you want to do
something more than that, that would be wonderful, too, of course, and
the above address is suitable.



Five Reasons Not to Go to War
By Michael Albert and Stephen R. Shalom

In the wake of the horrific attacks of September 11, many people find
their feelings of sadness and shock mixed with anger and calls for war.
But war would be horribly wrong for at least five reasons.

1. Guilt hasn't yet been proven.

As the New York Times acknowledged, "Law enforcement officials ...
appear to have little solid evidence tying Mr. bin Laden's group to the
attacks" (NYT, 20 Sept. 2001). If we believe in law and justice, when
crimes are committed we don't advocate that victims who have a strong
hunch about culprits impose punishment. We demand proof. We reject
vigilantism. We reject guilt by association. This is elementary and
uncontestable, except when fear and the drums of war cloud
consciousness. In the case of September 11, though an Islamic or Middle
Eastern connection seems clear, there are many extremist groups that
might have been responsible. To rush to punitive judgment, much less to
war, before responsibility has been determined violates basic principles
of justice. Guilt should be proven, not suspected.

2. War would violate International Law.

International law provides a clear recourse in situations of this sort:
present the matter to the Security Council, which is empowered under the
UN Charter, the fundamental document of contemporary international law,
to take appropriate action. The Security Council has met and unanimously
denounced the terrorist attacks, passing a strong resolution. But the
Security Council resolution did not -- despite what Washington might
claim -- authorize the use of force, and especially not a unilateral use
of force. The resolution ends by saying that the Council "remains seized
of the matter," which, as former UN correspondent Phyllis Bennis notes,
is "UN diplo-speak" meaning that "decision-making remains in the hands
of the Council itself, not those of any individual nation." To be sure,
the UN Charter allows countries to act in self-defense which would
permit the United States to shoot down a terrorist plane, for example.
But it has long been clear UN doctrine that self-defense does not allow
countries to themselves launch massive reprisal raids -- precisely
because to allow such reprisals would lead to an endless cycle of
unrestrained violence.

3. War would be unlikely to eliminate those responsible for the
September 11 attacks.

If bin Laden is indeed the evil genius responsible for the September 11
attacks, is it credible that he and his top aides would be so bumbling
as to wait around for the U.S. military to exterminate them? We know
they have already abandoned their training camps (NYT, 19 Sept. 2001).
They may have relocated themselves to some unknown caves in the Afghan
mountains, they may have moved into various Afghan villages, blending in
with the population, or they may even have left the country entirely.
Are U.S. bombers and cruise-missiles really going to find bin Laden and
unknown associates? It's doubtful that Washington has good intelligence
as to their whereabouts; when the U.S. launched cruise missiles at bin
Laden in 1998 -- with the advantage of surprise -- its information was
out of date and he was already gone. It's likely to be even harder to
find him and his lieutenants now. War is hardly the most effective way
to pursue the perpetrators and they are hardly likely to be its primary

4. Huge numbers of innocent people will die.

It was precisely the fact that the September 11 attacks killed large
numbers of civilians that made the attacks terroristic and so horrific.
If it is immoral to slaughter thousands of Americans in an effort to
disrupt the U.S. economy and force a change in U.S. policy, it is no
less immoral to slaughter thousands of Afghans in an effort to force the
Taliban to change its policy. The United States is moving large numbers
of warplanes and missile-launching vessels into the region, yet there
are hardly any military targets in Afghanistan for them to attack. It is
inevitable that civilians will bear the brunt of any major campaign --
civilians who, in their vast majority, probably are ignorant not only of
the recent terrorist assault on the U.S., but probably even of bin Laden
himself. Ground forces might be less indiscriminate, but it's hard to
imagine that Washington's military plans won't involve the massive
application of force, with horrendous human consequences.

While the image of bombers flying over Afghanistan and bombing a people
whose average lifespan is about 45 years of age and who are suffering
terrible deprivation already -- not least due to the Taliban, which the
U.S. helped create and empower -- is horrifying enough, it is important
to realize that death and deprivation come in many forms. Even without
widespread bombing, if the threat to attack the civilian population or
outright coercion of other countries leads to curtailment of food aid to
Afghanistan, the ensuing starvation could kill a million or more Afghans
by mid-winter. Is this the appropriate response to terror?

5. War will reduce the security of U.S. citizens.

What drives people to devote -- and even sacrifice -- their lives to
anti-American terrorism? No doubt the causes are complex, but surely
deep feelings of anger and frustration at the U.S. role in the Middle
East is a significant factor. If the United States goes to war some
terrorists will probably be killed, but so too will many innocent
people. And each of these innocent victims will have relatives and
friends whose anger and frustration at the United States will rise to
new heights, and the ranks of the terrorists will be refilled many times
over. And the new recruits will not just come from Afghanistan. To many
Muslims throughout the Middle East, war will be seen as an attack on
Islam -- and this is one reason that many of Washington's Islamic allies
are urging caution. Significantly, the New York Times reports that the
"drumbeat for war, so loud in the rest of the country, is barely audible
on the streets of New York" (NYT, 20 Sept. 2001). Their city suffered
unbearable pain, but many New Yorkers know that the retaliatory killing
of people in the Middle East will not make them any safer; on the
contrary, it is likely to lead to more, not less terror on U.S. soil,
and in any event, would inflict the same pain on still more innocent

The dynamic of terror and counter-terror is a familiar one: it leads not
to peace but to more violence. Israel's response to terrorism hasn't
brought Israelis more security. Nor has retaliatory terrorism made
people more secure elsewhere. Indeed, it is quite likely that the
perpetrators of the terror attack on the United States would like
nothing more than to induce a massive U.S. military response which might
destabilize the whole region, leading to the creation of millions of
holy warriors and the overthrow of governments throughout the Islamic
world. Whether bin Laden's al-Qaeda or some other extremist group or
groups is responsible, war might play right into their hands, reducing
the security of us all.



Composite Interview 2
By Noam Chomsky

1. How do you see the media coverage of this event? Is there a parallel
to the Gulf War in "manufacturing consent?"

Media coverage is not quite as uniform as Europeans seem to believe,
perhaps because they are keeping to the NYT, NPR, TV, and so on. Even
the NYT conceded, this morning, that attitudes in New York are quite
unlike those they have been conveying. It's a good story, also hinting
at the fact that the mainstream media have not been reporting this,
which is not entirely true, though it has been true, pretty much, of the
NYT. But it is entirely typical for the major media, and the
intellectual classes generally, to line up in support of power at a time
of crisis and to try to mobilize the population for the same cause. That
was true, with almost hysterical intensity, at the time of the bombing
of Serbia. The Gulf war was not at all unusual. To take an example that
is remote enough so that we should be able to look at it
dispassionately, how did the intellectuals of Europe and North America
react to World War I -- across the political spectrum? Exceptions are so
few that we can virtually list them, and most of the most prominent
ended up in jail: Rosa Luxemburg, Bertrand Russell, Eugene Debs,...

2. Assuming that the terrorists chose the World Trade Center as a
symbolic target, how does globalization and cultural hegemony help
create hatred towards America.

This is an extremely convenient belief for Western intellectuals. It
absolves them of responsibility for the actions that actually do lie
behind the choice of the WTC. Was it bombed in 1993 because of concern
over globalization and cultural hegemony? A few days ago the Wall Street
Journal reported attitudes of rich and privileged Egyptians at a
McDonald's restaurant wearing stylish American clothes, etc., and
bitterly critical of the US for objective reasons of policy, which are
well-known to those who wish to know: they had a report a few days
earlier on attitudes of bankers, professionals, businessmen in the
region, all pro-American, and harshly critical of US policies. Is that
concern over "globalization", McDonald's, and jeans? Attitudes in the
street are similar, but far more intense, and have nothing at all to do
with these fashionable excuses.

As for the bin Laden network, they have as little concern for
globalization and cultural hegemony as they do for the poor and
oppressed people of the Middle East who they have been severely harming
for years. They tell us what their concerns are loud and clear: they are
fighting a Holy War against the corrupt, repressive, and "un-Islamist"
regimes of the region, and their supporters, just as they fought a Holy
War against the Russians in the 1980s (and are now doing in Chechnya,
Western China, Egypt (in this case since 1981, when they assassinated
Sadat), and elsewhere. Bin Laden himself probably never even heard of
"globalization." Those who have interviewed him in depth, like Robert
Fisk, report that he knows virtually nothing of the world, and doesn't
care to. We can choose to ignore all the facts and indulge in
self-indulgent fantasies if we like, but at considerable risk to
ourselves, among others. Among other things, we can also ignore, if we
choose, the roots of the "Afghanis" such as bin Laden and his
associates, also not a secret.

3. Are the American people educated to see this? Is there an awareness
of cause and effect?

Unfortunately not, just as the European people are not. What is
crucially important for privileged elements in the Middle East region
(and even more so, on the streets) is scarcely understood here,
particularly the most striking example: the contrasting US policies
towards Iraq and Israel's military occupation. About the latter, the
most important facts are scarcely even reported, and are almost
universally unknown, to elite intellectuals in particular. Very easy to
give examples. Can easily refer you to material in print for many years,
if you like, including right now.

4. How do you see the reaction of the American Government? Who's will
are they representing?

The US government, like others, primarily responds to centers of
concentrated domestic power. That should be a truism. Of course, there
are other influences, including popular currents -- that is true of all
societies, even brutal totalitarian systems, surely more democratic
ones. Insofar as we have information, the US government is now trying to
exploit the opportunity to ram through its own agenda: militarization,
including "missile defense," a code word for militarization of space;
undermining social democratic programs and concerns over the harsh
effects of corporate "globalization," or environmental issues, or health
insurance, and so on; instituting measures that will intensify the
transfer of wealth to very narrow sectors (e.g., eliminating the capital
gains tax); regimenting the society so as to eliminate discussion and
protest. All normal, and entirely natural. As for a response, they are,
I presume, listening to the foreign leaders, specialists on the Middle
East, and I suppose their own intelligence agencies, who are warning
them that a massive military response will answer bin Laden's prayers.
But there are hawkish elements who want to use the occasion to strike
out at their enemies, with extreme violence, no matter how many innocent
people suffer, including people here and in Europe who will be victims
of the escalating cycle of violence. All again in a very familiar
dynamic. There are plenty of bin Ladens on both sides, as usual.

5. Economic globalization has spread the western model all over, and the
USA in primis have supported it, sometimes with questionable means,
often humiliating local cultures. Are we facing the consequences of the
last decades of american strategic policy? Is America an innocent

This thesis is commonly in advanced. I don't agree. One reason is that
the western model -- notably, the US model -- is based on vast state
intervention into the economy. The "neoliberal rules" are like those of
earlier eras. They are double-edged: market discipline is good for you,
but not for me, except for temporary advantage, when I am in a good
position to win the competition.

Secondly, what happened on Sept. 11 has virtually nothing to do with
economic globalization, in my opinion. The reasons lie elsewhere.
Nothing can justify crimes such as those of Sept. 11, but we can think
of the US as an "innocent victim" only if we adopt the convenient path
of ignoring the actions of the US and its allies, which are, after all,
hardly a secret.

6. Everybody agrees that nothing will be the same after 11th september,
form daily life with a restriction of rights up to global strategy with
new alliances and enemies. What is your opinion about this?

The horrendous terrorist attacks on Tuesday are something quite new in
world affairs, not in their scale and character, but in the target. For
the US, this is the first time since the War of 1812 that its national
territory has been under attack, even threat. Its colonies have been
attacked, but not the national territory itself. During these years the
US virtually exterminated the indigenous population, conquered half of
Mexico, intervened violently in the surrounding region, conquered Hawaii
and the Philippines (killing hundreds of thousands of Filipinos), and in
the past half century particularly, extended its resort to force
throughout much of the world. The number of victims is colossal. For the
first time, the guns have been directed the other way. The same is true,
even more dramatically, of Europe. Europe has suffered murderous
destruction, but from internal wars, meanwhile conquering much of the
world with extreme brutality. But India did not attack England, or the
Congo Belgium, or the East Indies the Netherlands. One can think of
marginal exceptions, but this is truly novel in several centuries of
history -- not in scale, regrettably, but in the choice of target.

I do not think it will lead to a long-term restriction of rights
internally in any serious sense. The cultural and institutional barriers
to that are too firmly rooted, I believe. If the US chooses to respond
by escalating the cycle of violence, answering the prayers of bin Laden
and his associates, then the consequences could be awesome. There are,
of course, other ways, lawful and constructive ones. And there are ample
precedents for them. An aroused public within the more free and
democratic societies can direct policies towards a much more humane and
honorable course.

7. World-wide intelligence services and the international systems of
control (Echelon, for example) could not forsee what was going to
happen, even if the international islamic terrorism network was not
unknown. How is it possible that the Big Brother s eyes were shut? Do we
have to fear, now a Bigger Big Brother?

I frankly have never been overly impressed with concerns widely voiced
in Europe over Echelon as a system of control. As for world-wide
intelligence systems, their failures over the years have been colossal,
a matter I and others have written about, and that I cannot pursue here.
That is true even when the targets of concern are far easier to deal
with than the bin Laden network, presumed to be responsible for the
Sept. 11 crimes. Surely one would expect the network to be reasonably
well understood by the CIA, French intelligence, and others who
participated in establishing it and nurtured it as long as it was useful
to them for a Holy War against the Russian enemy, but even then they did
not understand it well enough to prevent such events as the
assassination of President Sadat in 1981, the suicide bombing that
effectively drove the US military out of Lebanon in 1983, and many other
examples of what is called "blowback" in the literature on these topics.

By now the network is no doubt so decentralized, so lacking in
hierarchical structure, and so dispersed throughout much of the world as
to have become largely impenetrable. The intelligence services will no
doubt be given resources to try harder. But a serious effort to reduce
the threat of this kind of terrorism, as in innumerable other cases,
requires an effort to understand and to address the causes.

When a Federal Building was blown up in Oklahoma City, there were
immediate cries to bomb the Middle East. These terminated when it was
discovered that the perpetrator was from the US ultra-right militia
movement. The reaction was not to destroy Montana and Idaho, where the
movements are based, but to seek and capture the perpetrator, bring him
to trial, and -- crucially -- explore the grievances that lie behind
such crimes and to address the problems. Just about every crime --
whether a robbery in the streets or colossal atrocities -- has reasons,
and commonly we find that some of them are serious and should be
addressed. Matters are no different in this case -- at least, for those
who are concerned to reduce the threat of terrorist violence rather than
to escalate it.

8. Bin Laden, the devil: is this an enemy or rather a brand, a sort of
logo which identifies and personalizes the evil?

Bin Laden may or may not be directly implicated in these acts, but it is
likely that the network in which he was a prime figure is -- that is,
the network established by the US and its allies for their own purposes
and supported as long as it served those purposes. It is much easier to
personalize the enemy, identified as the symbol of ultimate evil, than
to seek to understand what lies behind major atrocities. And there are,
naturally, very strong temptations to ignore one's own role -- which in
this case, is not difficult to unearth, and indeed is familiar to
everyone who has any familiarity with the region and its recent history.

9. Doesn't this war risk to become a new Vietnam? That trauma is still

That is an analogy that is often raised. It reveals, in my opinion, the
profound impact of several hundred years of imperial violence on the
intellectual and moral culture of the West. The war in Vietnam began as
a US attack against South Vietnam, which was always the main target of
the US wars, which ended by devastating much of Indochina. Unless we are
willing to face that elementary fact, we cannot talk seriously about the
Vietnam wars. It is true that the war proved costly to the US, though
the impact on Indochina was incomparably more awful. The invasion of
Afghanistan also proved costly to the USSR, but that is not the problem
that comes to the fore when we consider that crime.





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