Permanent War: the stakes for working people
|PERMANENT WAR: THE STAKES FOR WORKING PEOPLE
by Ralph Schoenman
THE CATEGORY of "terror" has become the rationale of the U.S. ruling
class for a state of permanent war and a measure of the 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 its
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 1970ıs. 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 far
right 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% of the population in the United States owns 90% 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
We have but 5% of the worldıs population within our frontiers but the
rapacious capitalist ruling class commands close to 70% of the worldıs
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 J. Lieberman, the Deputy Inspector General of the Department of
Defense, admitted that $4.4 trillion in the Pentagonıs 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 that 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
To put this in perspective, Helen Caldicott calculated that one trillion
dollars represent a $1,000 expended every minute since the birth of Jesus!
This does not begin to approximate the rape of human productive capacity
and resources that fund the Pentagon and 14 intelligence services and
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
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 Northıs 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 10th.
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 couldnıt travel on September 11.
The Chronicle reported on September 14th that former U.S. Secretary of
State George Schultz received a memo on September 7th 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
The series of these events prompted the Chronicle to run a further story
with the headline "How Could the United States Not Have Known?"
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, Germanyıs 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 1990ıs," he stated, "foretold how such
terroristsı 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 11th attacks.
In the past year, multiple reports from around the world have shown that
the calamity of September 11, 2002 was an operation in the long tradition of
provocations contrived to facilitate longstanding plans for war and
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
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, 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 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 alternative 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 design
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 CIAıs 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
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 Borchgrave, 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, Pakistanıs 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.
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 Atttaıs
residence on the same street.
ABCıs 20/20 detailed Operation Odigo 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.
Haıaretz 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 companyıs 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
"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 10 years. Little escapes them. Yet this
administration claims it was taken by surprise.
"Donıt believe it. Within 10 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
intelligence people from thinking for themselves."
What about Bin Laden?ı insists de Borchegrave.
"From a cave inside a mountain, from a peasantıs hovel? 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.
"Weıre talking about the Pentagon interdicted space. Weıre 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
His successor as director of Pakistanıs 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
While there, General Mahmud 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 six 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 Officersı 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,
The presence of U.S. military intelligence permeates the events of September
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.
Newsweekıs George Wehfritz, Catherine Skipp and John Barry concluded that
"five of the alleged hijackers of the planes used in Tuesdayıs 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
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. armyıs "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 Departmentıs 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 worldıs known
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
"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 1930ıs."
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
" 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.ı 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:
"Americaıs 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 worldıs three most
advanced and economically productive regions. Most of the worldıs physical
wealth is there both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia
accounts for 60 percent of the worldıs GNP and about 75 percent of the
worldıs 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 calculate 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. Turkmenistanıs Karakum Desert holds the worldıs 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 Alaskaıs 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
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 regionıs 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
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
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 workersı 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
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
If, as our anthem proclaims, we are approaching the final battle, we had
better wage it to win.
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