When I was a combat infantry unit commander in the 1st Air Cavalry Division during Tet 1968 in the former Republic of South Viet Nam, I fought conventional North Vietnamese Army (NVA) soldiers and guerrilla Viet Cong forces. Most of our engagements (combat) were during the day. At night, Viet Cong cadre would terrorizethe basically agrarian Vietnamese population in the villages or towns, and through force, intimidation, torture, and executions, bent the will of the populace to do the terrorists’ bidding. The point is that terrorism is not a new tactic suddenly developed by fanatical Islamic groups to take over the United States of America.
In 1980, as a Major, Judge Advocate General’s Corp, Arizona Army National Guard officer attending the Legal Aspects of Terrorism Course at the JAG school in Charlottesville, Virginia, I learned more about terrorism—that it was not just a tactic of warfare, but that it was conducted to attain intellectual goals. I also learned that terrorists did not follow the Law of War which civilized nations were obligated to observe as a result of the Hague and Geneva Conventions.
Terrorism has been defined as the calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to attain political, religious, or ideological goals by instilling fear or using intimidation or coercion. TC 19-16, Countering Terrorism On US Army Installations (April 1993). AR 190-52.
Violence for violence’s sake, violence for revenge, or violence simply in the course of criminal acts (e.g., murder, rape, robbery, assault, etc.) is not "terrorism" unless its use is intended to attain political, religious, or ideological goals. This point is crucial in understanding terrorism because unless one understands terrorism one cannot fight it effectively. "Terror" is great fright or great fear—terrorism is something different.
When President Bush says America is at war with "terror", he shows his ignorance of the real issues confronting America’s security. I know this statement will offend some political loyalists, but US security is at stake.
The pundits, the talk show hosts, the media anchors, the so-called "terrorism experts" who talk about the so-called "war on terror" or on "terrorism" without discussing the political, religious, or ideological goals or issues involved or who do not focus on the WHY OF TERRORISTS ACTS do not promote a greater understanding of how to combat terrorism. And to mention the "goals" of some of the parties to a conflict and not mention the "goals" of other key parties to the conflict is either ignorance or deceptiveness or both.
We must fight terrorism, especially if it is directed against innocent US citizens, but we must understand it to target or prevent it.
The Meaning Of September 11, 2001
Without going into minute detail about the attack in the Twin Towers of the World trade Center and on the Pentagon, it is fair to say it was a well devised attack by people who caused great damage and loss of lives of about 2800 Americans. The carnage and destruction was shocking, but the greater shock was that a group of people could do this to Americans in America.
When Did It Happen?
That’s the easiest question to answer. The actual attacks of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were on September 11, 2001, otherwise referred to as "nine-eleven".
Where Did It Happen?
Again, it’s relatively easy to figure that out. The actual attacks were at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but investigations have shown that preparations for the attacks may have occurred by the "attackers" taking flight lessons earlier on at different flight schools. They may have even had more formalized training in military, para-military, guerrilla, or terrorist tactics in other countries.
How Did It Happen?
Some men of Middle Eastern descent commandeered commercial aircraft and flew them into highly populated buildings. The planes were in essence aerial bombs that caused extensive loss of civilian lives at the World Trade Center, loss of military and civilian lives at the Pentagon, and extensive property damage at both locations. Its effect was surprising, stunning, shocking, and angering to the American public.
Who Was Responsible For The Attacks?
Some Saudi Arabian and Egyptian men were identified as the attackers. Al Qaeda, a group of fundamental Islamic Middle Eastern operatives, has been linked to the 9/11 attacks. But do we really know who was responsible for the attacks? We only know what the government and the media tell us, and both of those institutions have lost their credibility and have often been shown to be biased or inept.
The FBI and the CIA have been shown to be inept in doing their jobs. There are innuendos of cover-ups for Israeli "art students" who may have been spies, or for the FAA and the Air Force who should have detected and destroyed the deadly aircraft flying off course to their targets, or for the real cause of the destruction of the Twin Towers which were the first steel reinforced buildings ever to collapse due to fire.
Some even think that the Bush Administration knew the attacks were going to occur, but they wanted the catastrophe to occur so Bush could divert America’s attention from his poor domestic policies to a wartime footing, which would force the public to support him in time of "war". Some think that’s his "War on Iraq" strategy, also.
Others believe that Israeli Mossad agents infiltrated Al Qaeda cells and gave the order for the attacks because this would make it easier for Israel to persuade the US to attack Arabs or Muslims. Some believe that an Israeli controlled Congress, intimidated by a monstrous Israeli-Zionist-Jewish financial war chest for Israel supporters, steam- rolled President Bush and America into an aimless and protracted adventure into Afghanistan.
Perhaps the only people responsible for the 9/11 attacks are the perpetrators, themselves. And they are dead. Yet, the investigations go on to find out who knew so and so who may have heard such and such about so and so.
Individuals probably linked to Al Qaeda and Usama Bin Laden and some of his other associates probably planned for and organized the attacks and executed them. Others like some Al Qaeda and Taliband members may have morally supported the 9/11 attacks but have not actually had anything to do with them. This is what seems to have emerged from the muck of rumors, innuendos, media investigative reporting, Congressional hearings, and actual facts.
WHY DID IT HAPPEN?
This is the most difficult of all the questions to answer relating to the 9/11 attacks.
Again, there are several possible reasons for the attacks—some absurd, some plausible. President Bush opines that the "terrorists" simply hate us Americans and our opulent life style. That is absurd. People who live on the other side of the world are not going to come to America, blow themselves up, and kill nearly 3000 innocent people simply because we have a better life style.
Usama Bin Laden, himself, in an interview with Peter Arnett, indicated three reasons why his Al Qaeda may have had a motive to attack the US—the US occupation of Saudi Arabia with troops during the Gulf War, the unnecessary and prolonged suffering of the Iraqi people after the war due to US backed sanctions, and the illegal occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people by Israel also strongly supported by the US.
Some think Israel had something to do with triggering the Al Qaeda cells to action on 9/11. The Mossad, Israel’s intelligence arm, is absolutely unscrupulous when acting in the interests of Israel. They have the capability to infiltrate terrorist groups; therefore, they can act as messengers conveying orders from superiors. Israel gained the most from the 9/11 attack because it took the world’s attention off the illegal expansion of the "settlements" by the Israelis on Palestinian land. It also took the world’s attention away from Ariel Sharon’s provocation of the Palestinians at Al Aqsa Mosque, which incited another intifada.
Most Americans have little or no sense of history other than what the news media told them last week, and the 9/11 attacks were a perfect diversion of attention from what was going on in the Middle East at the time. Let me be clear; I am not saying Israelis flew the planes, which did the damage on 9/11. I am saying that it is possible (and they have the motives) that Israeli agents had some part in triggering or allowing the attacks to occur.
It wouldn’t be the first time. Do you remember how the Israelis did not tell us, when they knew, that the US Marines barracks were going to be bombed in Lebanon? I do. Do you remember how the Israelis attacked the USS Liberty killing and wounding US sailors and later lied to cover it up? I do.
Do you remember how Israel has spied on the US over the years? I do. The Israelis have agents in this country who monitor some of our most sensitive phone conversations.
The terrorist attacks may have been for a combination of reasons, but I believe the real reason there were "terrorist" attacks against the US on 9/11 is because of the United States’ one-sided support of Israel’s occupation and blatant repression of the Palestinians. America’s one-side support of Israel, to include attacking Arab nations to defend Israel, have angered the 22-member Arab League who are irate over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Shortly after the 9/11 attacks some commentators attempted to link US support to Israel as a key factor for the tragedy. The mainstream media covered it up as long as it could, but the escalation of violence in the Middle East put things in perspective, and the Israeli factor could no longer be kept secret. Israel has always been a problem for America in the Middle East for the Arab countries and now for us.
The Palestinians are living in occupied territories; they have little food or clothing; they have meager medical supplies; they can’t work, go to school, or travel freely; and international law says that an occupied people can fight for its freedom. They are the underdogs; the Israelis oppress them. But when they fight with what they have, they are called terrorists.
Israel on the other hand can and does use modern weapons (attack helicopters, jet fighters, and tanks), which kill innocent women and children to level homes and parts of towns, and they say they do this for their "security". They say they destroy Palestinian buildings and homes for their "security". The Israelis say they build "settlements" on confiscated Palestinian land for their "security". I don’t believe those claims, and the rest of the entire world does not believe the Israelis except for the US administration and Congress.
The Israelis are not called "terrorists", yet, they clearly are. In fact, Israel was founded by terrorism. Research the Haganah or the Irgun or the Stern Gang. These Zionist thugs killed innocent British and Arab men, women, and children as well as moderate Jews who did not go along with them.
WHAT HAPPENED TO AMERICA?
Anger and Lashing Out
After 9/11 Americans were shocked, stunned, and angry. The US wanted justice. The US decided to attack Al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan and to send troops to hunt for Usama Bin Laden and the Taliband who may have supported the Al Qaeda. The US was going to get the terrorists who did or supported 9/11. Remember the president saying, "You’re either with us or with the terrorists?" The ones who did 9/11 died in the crashes. If the Al Qaeda and the Taliband in Afghanistan along with Usama Bin Laden truly aided and abetted in the attacks, the US should bring them to justice in accordance with US and international law. My question is did they support the attacks morally or spiritually or intellectually or did they really aid and abet the crimes of 9/11? I don’t really know the answer to that question. That is a fair question since the US has held prisoners for trial without bond and free access to their attorneys and since the US has waged war elsewhere throughout the world supposedly in response to the 9/11 attacks.
Meanwhile, on the home front, crazy things were happening to innocent Americans. People were held without bond, without charges being filed, or charged with minor visa violations, or denied the right to talk to an attorney. Secret wiretaps have been conducted without warrants or with permission from a secret court. The government secret court is authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to issue secret warrants for foreign intelligence purposes. The FISA court rendered a public opinion which noted that the FBI presented at least 75 false applications for warrants in the past. The US government prosecuted Arabs in America for testifying falsely about the status of their visas, but excused FBI agents who lied to the federal courts to get secret warrants against Americans.
The airports were turned into facilities one might find in a banana republic. Armed National Guardsmen were observing security screenings. . The maintenance and service people at the airlines needed to be checked adequately, and they were not. The public was scared and conned into giving up their rights for the illusion of safety and security.
Hundreds of Middle Eastern men were incarcerated by the US without bond or access to lawyers. The FBI questioned hundreds of Middle Easterners and intimidated them solely because of their ethnicity. Suspected "terrorists" (Arabs and Muslims) were not allowed to have private conversations with their attorneys while convicted murderers, robbers, or child molesters were still allowed the attorney-client privilege.
The government talked about military tribunals for US citizens or for trials of persons charged under US law while US courts were available to handle the cases. There was even talk about sending Arabs or Muslims suspected of terrorism to Israel to have them interrogated by means of torture, if necessary. The government talked about making informants out of postal workers and utilities’ employees to spy on the public—to be "tipsters".
Profiling of Arabs and Muslims
The word "terrorist" was made to be associated with Arabs or Muslims because most Americans were uniformed about the Middle East or Southwest Asia, and the attacks on 9/11 gave the unscrupulous the opportunity to promote an anti-Arab, anti-Muslim campaign. Ethnic profiling or religious profiling suddenly became acceptable in the interests of national security. A great many Americans do not know that all Arabs are not Muslim, and that all Muslims are not Arab. While the vast majority of the people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran are Muslim, they are not Arab. Most Muslims are not in the Middle East; they are in Indonesia.
The point is that profiling is merely harassment and does not insure our national security. Remember that Padilla—the "dirty bomb" guy—was a Puerto Rican. Remember that Germany and France and Britain had Al Qaeda hiding in those countries. Should we profile people from those European countries? Should we attack them?
AMERICA IS ABOUT OUR RIGHTS
I have been practicing criminal law for over 30 years—half as a state level prosecutor—and the other half as a defense attorney practicing in city, state, federal and military courts. I have seen an ominous attitude emerge in this country—a mob-like attitude which wants to get the "bad guy" no matter what it takes, no matter what law enforcement methods are used, no matter if some innocent people are accidentally harmed. The so-called war on terror has some of that aura to it. After all, "You’re either with us or with the terrorists".
America means many things to different people. To me, America means a way of life with a lot of choice and freedom to get educated or not, get a job or not, be involved in free enterprise or not, learn a trade or not, to participate in the political process or not. I believe in the freedoms the creators of the Constitution for our government devised. I believe America is about our rights stated in the Constitution and in the Declaration of Independence.
- I believe in freedom of religion as long as religion is not mandatory or becomes a state religion as in Saudi Arabia or Israel.
- I believe in freedom of speech to air opposing views and spark debate. I believe in a free press not controlled by government or any other group.
- I believe in the rights of association or assembly, and the right to tell the government we want it to do or not do something.
- I believe in the individual citizen’s right to keep and bear arms.
- I believe that the government should not violate our right to privacy and should conduct searches with the proper warrants properly reviewed by impartial judges.
- I believe in the individual’s right not to have to incriminate himself.
- I believe that a person should only be charged with a serious crime by an impartial grand jury or judge.
- I believe that a person has a right to be tried by an impartial judge and jury of his peers, and that he has a right to be represented by counsel at trial and on appeal.
- I believe that an accused has a right to fair bail and not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
- I believe that these rights extend to all US citizens and to those subject to US jurisdiction in this country. I do not believe 9/11 is an excuse to abandon the principles this country was founded on. We are becoming more and more a police state whose goal it is to control the populace under the guise of providing security, and I do not believe the tragedy of 9/11 justifies the President of the United States or his Attorney General to deny Americans and others the rights granted to them by the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
We need to ask questions and not be stampeded into giving up our rights.
We must make our voices heard in all manners and methods possible or we will become slaves to an arrogant, elite few who somehow think they are the chosen ones to enslave us. Lean on the media, the talk shows, and the politicians to get them to do the right thing for a change. The terrorists took some innocent lives and destroyed property. Our government, on the other hand, took, and is taking, our sacred freedoms and rights that countless other lives were sacrificed for in order to preserve them.