Column written. 9/24/01
THE FORGOTTEN TERRORISTS
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
For far too many Americans, the word 'terrorism' has acquired a whole new meaning in the dusty aftermath of 11 September 2001. The word now instantly refers to the mental imagery of the shattered twin towers of the WorldTrade Center in downtown Manhattan, or the broken edifice of the Pentagon building in Washington, or even the smouldering mound of earth in southwestern Pennsylvania.
They refer to the thousands of people, from dozens of countries, who lost their lives when the buildings were shattered, broken and leveled into dust. But, if truth be told, they refer mostly to Americans.
When an airliner in the far-off South China Sea area develops engine trouble, and plummets into the ocean depths, reporters always rush to inform us, "Flight 502 of a PanAm to Hong Kong went down over the South China Sea today: 15 Americans were onboard." In such a common report, it is implicitly assumed that those of other nationalities are of lesser importance. They don't *really* matter.
It is indeed possible to look at the events of 11 September in a somewhat similar light. For, if it is indeed found that the acts of that day may be traced to terrorists, working out of Middle Eastern organizations, what most will ignore is another kind of terrorism. It is waged against the poor and powerless of many nations. It kills, maims, tortures, and destroys many thousands of people every year.
It is the spectre of State Terrorism.
Don't expect to find eye-catching exposes in the Daily Blah, or to hear about it on your favorite network news program in the evening on the tube. You have to look hard for this stuff. Consider the views of John Stockwell, a former CIA station chief (Angola), who considers the work that he was doing overseas, on behalf of the US government, to be supporting terrorism. He looks at the time when a man named Bush headed the CIA:
CIA Director George Bush allegedly worked to convince the former OPMONGOOSE operators to reorganize outside the United States. In June 1976, they went to the Dominican Republic and founded CORU, a counter-revolutionary group. On October 26, 1976, they blew up an airplane that was taking off from Barbados, killing 73 passengers on board in a raw act of terrorism. Luis Posada Carrilles and Orlando Bosch were jailed in Venezuela for that bombing. There is evidence that members of this same CIA/Cuban exile community participated in the killing of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. We also know that the CIA's 1980 contra program later managed to get Luis Posada Carilles out of prison in Venezuela. They put him to work for Felix Rodriguez, who was reporting directly to then Vice- President Bush's Office. As Felix Rodriguez told the press, "We needed him." He was referring to Carilles, the terrorist airplane bomber (See The Praetorian Guard: The U.S. Role in the New World Order (Boston: South End Press, 1991).
These are the words of a man who spent over a decade in the CIA, and even served briefly on a subcommittee of the National Security Council, during the Kissinger era. Even though his work had to be cleared by CIA censors to be published, his view of how the United States government has functioned, through its CIA, is telling:
To summarize, the CIA has overthrown functioning constitutional democracies in over 20 countries. It has manipulated elections in dozens of countries. It has created standing armies and directed them to fight. It has organized ethnic minorities and encouraged them to revolt in numerous volatile areas. (p. 73)
Looking at CIA activities abroad, in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, this former station chief offers a conservative estimate of how many people, all over the world, "...would not have died if U.S. taxdollars had not been spent by the CIA to inflame tensions, finance covert political and military
activity, and destabilize societies," and comes up with a figure of: 6,000,000. Six million people, he says, "and this is a minimum figure" (p. 81).
Are Afghan-trained rebels, from various Middle Eastern states, responsible for the carnage of 11 September, 2001? Who armed them? Who trained them? Who loosed them upon the world? Their very deadly expertise are your tax dollars at work.
Americans mean one thing, when they think of terrorism.
Americans from the South, in Peru, Colombia, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Brazil, Cuba, El Salvador, Chile, etc., think of something else.
People from Indonesia, South Africa, Angola, Egypt, the Occupied Territories of Palestine,Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and the like, think of something else.