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war on terror

Behind the Lockerbie frame-up

By Norm Dixon

14 February 2001 -- The eminent barrister Horace Rumpole has often noted that the “golden thread running through the history of British justice” is that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty by the prosecution “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Of course, Rumpole is a fictional character created by writer John Mortimer. As the verdict handed down in the Lockerbie bombing trial proves, the “golden thread” is just as fictional.

On January 31, the three Scottish lords sitting in judgement on the charges against two Libyans accused of planting the bomb that felled Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland on December 21, 1988, found Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi guilty of the murders of the 270 people killed in the disaster. Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah was found not guilty.

The nine-month trial was held in the Netherlands and conducted according to Scottish law. It was the result of an agreement between Libya and the US and British governments that finally allowed the trial — which had been stalled for almost five years by London's and Washington's insistence that the case be held in either the United States or Britain — to be heard in a “neutral” third country.

In their 82-page judgement, the three judges found that, despite “uncertainties and qualifications”, “there is nothing in the evidence which leaves us with any reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the first accused [Megrahi]”.

How the US armed Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons

By Norm Dixon

August 28, 2002 -- On August 18, 2002, the New York Times carried a front-page story headlined, “Officers say U.S. aided Iraq despite the use of gas”. Quoting anonymous US “senior military officers”, the NYT “revealed” that in the 1980s, the administration of US President Ronald Reagan covertly provided “critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war”. The story made a brief splash in the international media, then died.

While the August 18 NYT article added new details about the extent of US military collaboration with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during Iraq's 1980-88 war with Iran, it omitted the most outrageous aspect of the scandal: not only did Washington turn a blind-eye to the Hussein regime's repeated use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers and Iraq's Kurdish minority, but the US helped Iraq develop its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.

Taliban: Made by the USA

By Norm Dixon

10 October 2001 -- Since the appalling acts of mass murder in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, US President George Bush has at times sounded like a fire-and-brimstone preacher.

With home-spun, Bible-inspired homilies, Bush has warned that the “evil-doers” — Osama bin Laden and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that shelters him — will pay for their sins. However, Bush has avoided the most pertinent and illuminating Biblical phrase to explain those terrible events: “You reap what you sow”.

The seeds of what became the Taliban were sown by Washington itself in the rugged mountains and deep valleys of Afghanistan and the badlands of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.

In 1978, the left-wing, secular Peoples Democratic Party (PDPA) took power in Afghanistan. Fearing the radical reforms being implemented there would inspire similar demands from the peoples of the region, Washington immediately moved to arm and train counter-revolutionaries — the mujaheddin — organised by Afghanistan's wealthy landlords and its Muslim religious establishment.

US warmongers exploit 9/11

By Norm Dixon

September 11, 2002 -- In the week before the first anniversary of the devastating September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, TV networks aired a seemingly never-ending string of ``special events'' featuring ``exclusive'' or ``never before seen'' footage of the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) and its aftermath. People around the world again experienced the horror, anger and tragedy of that terrible day, when almost 3000 working people were murdered.

Culminating on the anniversary of the day itself, thousands of journalists and TV presenters from across the globe will converge at ``ground zero'' in New York for ``remembrance and reflection''. Solemn ceremonies will be telecast and patriotic speeches by top US politicians broadcast, restating Washington's determination to pursue its ``war on terrorism''.

But by the end of the 9/11 anniversary hoopla, after the thousands of hours of TV time and the column-kilometres published in the world's newspapers and magazines, you can be sure that the most glaring aspect of the post-9/11 period will have remained unmentionable by all but the most honest commentators: that Washington's ``war on terrorism'' is a cynical fraud.

How the Bush gang seized the `opportunity' of 9/11

By Norm Dixon

May 5, 2004 -- Even while working people were still coming to terms with the shock of witnessing the unimaginable and traumatic collapse of the World Trade Center, top US officials were describing this mass-murder of 3000 people as “an opportunity”, recent books by government “insiders” and Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward have revealed.

As the country went into mourning, Bush's war cabinet quickly began to coolly debate just how soon it could get away with shifting the enemy in its coming “war on terrorism” to Iraq, a country that had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks.

In the days that followed September 11, 2001, the US rulers immediately recognised that those awful acts of mass murder had provided them with a golden opportunity to achieve the US capitalist ruling class' long-held objective of unchallenged world domination — the “American century” it predicted was at hand at the end of World War II.

`Topic A'

In January, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind's The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House and the Education of Paul O'Neill was published. O'Neill, a former CEO of the giant Alcoa corporation, was Bush's treasury secretary until December 2002, when he was sacked.

How the CIA created Osama bin Laden

September 19, 2001

BY NORM DIXON

“Throughout the world ... its agents, client states and satellites are on the defensive — on the moral defensive, the intellectual defensive, and the political and economic defensive. Freedom movements arise and assert themselves. They're doing so on almost every continent populated by man — in the hills of Afghanistan, in Angola, in Kampuchea, in Central America ... [They are] freedom fighters.”

Is this a call to jihad (holy war) taken from one of Islamic fundamentalist Osama bin Laden's notorious fatwas? Or perhaps a communique issued by the repressive Taliban regime in Kabul?

In fact, this glowing praise of the murderous exploits of today's supporters of arch-terrorist bin Laden and his Taliban collaborators, and their holy war against the “evil empire”, was issued by US President Ronald Reagan on March 8, 1985. The “evil empire” was the Soviet Union, as well as Third World movements fighting US-backed colonialism, apartheid and dictatorship.

How things change. In the aftermath of a series of terrorist atrocities — the most despicable being the mass murder of more than 6000 working people in New York and Washington on September 11 — bin Laden the “freedom fighter” is now lambasted by US leaders and the Western mass media as a “terrorist mastermind” and an “evil-doer”.

Militarism underpins globalisation

By Francisco Pascual

Francisco Pascual is the executive director of the Resource Center for People's Development, Manila, and a member of the International Coordinating Committee and coordinator of the International Secretariat, International South Group Network. This paper was presented at the Asian Workshop on "Women and Globalisation", November 22-24, 2001, in Manila.

The Bush Doctrine

By Malik Miah, Barry Sheppard and Caroline Lund.

All are members of the US socialist organisation Solidarity.

The criminal September 11, 2001, attacks were greeted by the Bush administration as a godsend. The shock and horror experienced by the US people were mobilised into support of a new, open-ended “War on Terrorism” designed to give a blank cheque to a new stage of US military aggression. This war represents a qualitative change in policy from one of containment to one of more active aggression to destroy enemies who stand in the way of greater US world domination.

Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense (War) Rumsfeld, Attorney General Ashcroft, Secretary of State Powell, and other advisers like Condoleezza Rice in a matter of weeks laid out the new policy, dubbed the “Bush Doctrine” by the White House:

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