Because of my experience, training, and knowledge, I used to teach classes on terrorism to military and law enforcement personnel. For years, I have been a proponent of improved counter-terrorism intelligence, tactics, and national policies. The "skyjacking" of airliners caught the media’s (hence, the public’s) attention of how foreign nationals were willing to engage in terrorism and die for their cause as it related to what they believed were injustices caused by the United States and its ally, Israel, in the Middle East. The tensions between Israel and the Arab states and Islamic factions in Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan undeniably are the main reasons for the terrorists acts against Israelis and Americans. This essay discusses in "straight talk" what terrorism is , why we are experiencing more of it, and how we can greatly diminish it. The focus will be on Middle East terrorism.
Definition of "terrorism". Over the years, many definitions of terrorism have been devised in various jurisdictions and as the results of various studies. I shall provide two.
Terrorism is 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. (Army Regulation 190-52 as cited in Training Circular 19-16, April 1983).
This definition has been the standard for countering terrorism on U.S. Army installations for years. When one understands this definition, one understands the intent of terrorists--using violence or the threat of violence to attain political, religious, or ideological goals. The terrorists do so by instilling fear or using intimidation or coercion. If the actions of the perpetrators do not meet the previously stated criteria, there may be the actions of crazies or criminals, but not the actions of terrorists. There must be the intent to attain political, religious, or ideological goals by instilling fear. The Viet Cong did it when they killed village chiefs to dissuade the rural Vietnamese populace from supporting the Americans. The radicals of the 1960s and the 1970s did it to dissuade support for the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The Jews did it when they killed Palestinians and British civilians and military in order to take over the land previously occupied by the Palestinians. The Palestinians did it to protest the Jewish takeover and continued occupation of their homeland and to prevent further encroachments by Jewish "settlements". Muslim fundamentalists did it to challenge the actions and policies of the United States and Israel because of the U.S. support of Israel and U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia.
Arguably, the United States and Israel also engaged in "terrorism" when they conducted bombing missions across international boundaries of "suspected" terrorist camps killing innocent civilians or tortured and killed captured Palestinians. A precise understanding of the definition of terrorism and an intelligent and fair policy relating to countering terrorism is crucial if the United States is to maintain its credibility with the other nations of the world and if the United States and some of its leaders do not want to become the subjects of criminal prosecution before some future international criminal court.
The second definition of terrorism relates to criminal prosecution in federal district courts under the jurisdiction of the United States of America. 18 U.S.C. 2331, "Definitions" says:
As used in this chapter--
(1) the term "international terrorism" means activities that--
(a) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;
(b) appear to be intended--
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnaping; and
(c) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum...
This definition becomes more important as the U.S. asserts its domestic criminal law jurisdiction over international boundaries and an emerging International Criminal Court wrestles with the creation of definitions of war crimes and terrorism.
18 U.S.C. 2332b(1) describes offenses to include killing, kidnaping, maiming, and committing an assault which resulted in a serious bodily injury. 18 U.S.C. 2332b(2) describes the jurisdictional bases. 18 U.S.C. 2332c discusses the use of chemical weapons as a prohibited act.
The reason why we must be concerned with how we define terrorism and how we take actions against it is so that we do not lose our credibility with the rest of the world, and more importantly, so that the U.S. never becomes accused of or prosecuted for engaging in terrorism.
What are terrorists’ goals?: As previously discussed, terrorist groups are not new. The goals of terrorists are as varied as there are groups. For example, in reviewing a publication, Domestic Terrorism, prepared by the National Governors’ Association (1979), I found listed:
• NWLF (New World Liberation Front)--active in California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado;
• FALN (Fuerzas Armada de Liberacion National Puertorriquena)--active in Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C.;
• GJB (George Jackson Brigade)--active in Oregon and Washington State;
• JAR (Jewish Armed Resistance)--active in New York City;
• WUO (Weather Underground Organization)--active nationally;
• Cuban Commandos, anti-Castro Cubans--active in southeast United States;
• Croatian National Resistance--active in Chicago, Illinois area;
• KKK (Klu Klux Klan)--active nationally. There were also numerous other known terrorist groups active at that time. One can tell some of their goals just by their names. These groups were domestic terrorist organizations operating on U.S. soil, but we learned that terrorists would strike at U.S. personnel wherever and whenever they could.
In 1983 there were the bombings of a U.S. Embassy and a Marine barracks in Beriut, Lebanon in which 304 people were killed. In 1986 a Berlin, Germany disco was bombed, and two U.S. servicemen were killed. In 1988 the bombing of a Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland killed 270 people. In 1993 the World Trade Center in New York was bombed in a terrorist attack. In 1998 while Americans were preoccupied with knowing whether or not Bill Clinton, the President of the United States, got a "blow-job" from Monica Lewinsky, the U.S. Embassy in Kenya and the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania were bombed. All of these terrorist acts were done by Arabs or Muslim fundamentalists.
Why have these acts being committed? What are the goals of these Arabs or Muslims? Remember, all Arabs are not Muslim, and all Muslims are not Arab. For example, although Iranians, Pakistanis, and Afghans may be Muslims, they are not Arabs. Many Americans don’t know these distinctions, and that is a big part of the problem. We don’t know or care about them; they don’t know or care about us. That is a big reason our intelligence capabilities are so lousy in the Middle East. We have few professionals who speak Arabic or understand the Arabic or Islamic culture, history, or religion. So what do these people want?
Some immediate goals of the radical Arab and/ or Muslim terrorists might be to:
• obtain worldwide, national, or local recognition for "the cause" (e.g., justice for Palestinians, stop the Israeli settlements, dissuade the U.S. from continuing to support Israel with billions of dollars each year and with United Nations Security Council votes, get the U.S. out of Saudi Arabia);
• cause government reaction, overreaction, and repression leading to immediate public dissension (e.g., tighter security at embassies, increased expenditures for construction on them, armed guards outside the Pentagon, increased security at airports, law enforcement overreaction causing violation of privacy and other civil rights);
• harass, weaken, or embarrass government, military, or other security forces;
• show a government’s inability to protect its citizens;
• demonstrate power or threat credibility; or
• prevent or delay executive decisions or legislation. (See Training Circular 19-16, p. 1-7, April 1983).
The whole world knows that President Clinton ordered cruise missile strikes on suspected terrorist bases in Afghanistan and Sudan which were " linked" to Osama bin Laden who is believed to be behind the U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The U.S. retaliation raised many questions--was there an immediate threat to justify this action on "suspected" terrorists, at a "suspected" terrorist meeting, at a "suspected" terrorist camp? If the Sudanese lab truly had deadly chemicals which were a threat to U.S. personnel, why weren’t they destroyed long ago? If the "terrorists" were adequately identified to justify bombing across international boundaries, why were they not sought out to be prosecuted as terrorists by the U.S. or United Nations? Was the Sudanese chemical laboratory-factory truly making chemicals which were a threat to U.S. citizens or anyone else? We may never know the truth, but doesn’t the fact that the questions exist cast serious doubt on the moral or legal justification of bombing foreign countries? Using criminal law terms--there was no proof beyond a reasonable doubt; there was no probable cause; there was not even reasonable suspicion. Those bombings did not and will not stop "terrorism" and were acts of terrorism, themselves. The rest of the world knows this.
Some long range goals of the Middle Eastern terrorists might be to:
• cause dramatic changes in government (e.g., put America at odds with the Arab and/or Muslim countries);
• influence national or international policy decision making (e.g., cause the U.S. to modify its support of Israel in terms of monetary, military, and United Nations support); and
• gain political recognition as the legal body representing an ethnic or national group (e.g.,as the Jewish Haganah and Irgun and the Palestine Liberation Organization did for their causes).
Why are Middle Eastern terrorists attacking U.S. citizens? There is no simplistic answer to this question, but many inferences can be drawn from the relationships among the Americans, the British, the Israelis, the Arabs, and the Muslims. A student of history will recall that the Crusades pitted the European Christians against the Moslems in the Holy Land (Palestine). The Moslems were engaged in a Holy War (Jihad) to ward off the infidels (the Christians). The Moslems succeeded in driving the invaders from their land; hence, they won. After the Crusades, various tribal chieftains and families ruled various parts of what we know of today as the Middle East; and the Turks (Ottoman Empire) also reigned for a while until the Arab countries, as we know them today, were established after World War I. I personally believe that there is still some of that "Christians versus Moslems" mentality prevalent in the U.S. today, partially because of prejudice and ignorance and partially because of the strong Jewish influence in the media, the entertainment industry, and now the United States government.
The history of America stems from a European frame of reference--the Pilgrims were European; the original colonies were tied to England; and Americans have had a history of treating people of color differently --blacks or African-Americans, Hispanics, American-Indians, Orientals, and most recently, Arabs or other Southwest Asian peoples. America, a nation founded with the principle that subjugating "colored people" to slavery was acceptable, still has its prejudices.
Americans’ prejudices against the "Arabs" intensified over the last fifty years as a result of the influence of the development of Israel and the efforts of some militant Jews from within and outside Israel. A brief history of how Israel took over Palestine helps one understand why "terrorists" are directing their efforts against U.S. citizens, today.
The rise of Israel or "The Palestine Problem". The Palestine problem is not new. Ever since the Romans destroyed the Judean state centuries ago, Orthodox Jews continued to hold spiritual claims to the Holy Land. Over the centuries a desire for a Jewish homeland grew, and Jews migrated to Palestine. In the 1870s, a wave of anti-Semitism spurred a new migration from central Europe, and in 1898 , Theodor Hertzl organized a Zionist international movement to establish in Palestine a home for the Jewish People secured by public law. (See War In The Shadows, The Guerrilla In History, by Robert B. Asprey, p. 551, William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, 1994). The only problem with Hertzl’s plan was that thousands of Palestinians were living in Palestine and their descendants had done so for centuries.
In about 1900 there were about 40,000 Jews in Palestine. In a 1922 census there were about 591,000 Muslims, 73,000 Christians, 9500 "others", and 84,000 Jews populating Palestine. (See Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, by Issa Nakhleh, Vol. I, p. 25, Intercontinental Books, New York, 1991). The Balfour Declaration pledged England’s support of Zionist goals in order to win support of international, especially American, Jews to the Allies during World War I. In 1916, one year prior to the Balfour Declaration, a secret agreement was made between the British War Cabinet and Zionists leaders promising the latter a "national home" in Palestine in consideration of their efforts to bring the United States into World War I on the side of Great Britain. ( Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, pp. 1-2).
The Paris Peace Conference and subsequent conferences made Palestine become a British mandate. The League of Nations approved, and more Jews invaded Palestine. Palestine Arabs resented this "invasion" or "immigration" (however one looks at it) into their homeland. In 1920 Arabs and Jews fought over land disputes. In 1929, an anti-Jewish nationalist, the British- appointed Mufti of Jerusalem, incited attacks against Jews. The British tried to maintain a precarious peace, but Hitler’s anti-Semitic policy increased the influx of Jews into Palestine and caused further Arab resentment. The Jewish population continued to rise to nearly half a million in 1935. The Arab rebellion started in 1936 and continued to expand until a major British Military effort suppressed it two years later. (War in the Shadows, p. 552).
Various commissions studied the problem and usually recommended partition--the creation of a small, separate Jewish state. Arab countries objected; and because of their perceived importance to the forthcoming world war, Britain supported them. When war broke out, the international Zionist organization and its executive, the Jewish Agency, supported Britain. So did the Jews in Palestine. During the Arab rebellion in 1936-39 the Jews had a voluntary militia organized in local units primarily for local defense--the Haganah. In 1941 the British allowed the Haganah to organize full-time guerrilla shock units for the fighting in Syria; but the British policy discouraged a separate Jewish military force. (Id., p. 553). In 1942, Zionist leaders met in New York’s Biltmore Hotel to devise the Biltmore Program which called for unlimited immigration of Jews to Palestine which, after the war, would become a Jewish commonwealth state. The war strengthened the Haganah’s military arm. Thirty-two thousand Palestine Jews served in British forces, and in 1944 the British authorized a separate Jewish Brigade Group. The Group dissolved at the end of the war, but an underground Haganah army continued to exist. It was commanded by a cadre of four hundred professional soldiers; it had Palmach guerrilla units of about twenty-one hundred men and women, backed by a ready reserve; and it had widespread territorial militia of about thirty thousand with many thousands of covert supporters. (Id., p. 553). Militarily trained and experienced and motivated Jews were ready, willing, and able to take the Arabs’ land from them. And they did over time; and they still are via their Jewish "settlements".
In 1935 militant Zionists (as though the Zionists were not already militant), who had formed the Revisionist Party in 1925, splintered from the World Zionist Organization. Two years later younger Revisionists formed a militant force, the Irgun. The Irgun concentrated first on smuggling illegal refugees into Palestine. Arab attacks on Jews in 1939 caused the Irgun to open a terrorist campaign against the general Arab population. (Id,.p. 554). The Chamberlain White Paper of 1939, which greatly restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine, prompted the Irgun to target the British for murder. David Raziel and Abraham Stern, Irgun members, were arrested by the British and later released although they were terrorists. Stern disagreed with Raziel’s wartime policy of truce with the British so in 1940 he split from the Irgun and formed the Lokhammei Kherut Israel (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel), or FFI--also known as the Stern Gang. (Id., p. 554). The Stern Gang, who were clearly "terrorists", by anyone’s definition, fought the British by eliminating some Jewish moderates and gentiles; and anyone who opposed creation of a Jewish state became fair game. This was really organized terrorism long before the Arabs ever bombed a bus or hijacked an airliner.
Stern, the criminal that he was, was killed by police bullets in 1942. A year later, another criminal and fanatic believer in a Jewish state, Menachem Begin, took command of the Irgun. From 1939 to 1943 the Stern Gang continued a policy of indiscriminate terror. In 1944, continued British refusal to accept the Biltmore Program caused the Irgun to renounce its truce with the British and to form a loose, sometimes uneasy, alliance with the Stern Gang in a new "war" for the Jewish state. By early autumn, the Stern Gang had murdered fifteen men, mostly moderate Jews, and destroyed several important government installations including four police stations. (Id., p. 555). That was terrorism. A great many Jews, in and out of Palestine, disagreed with the terrorism of the Irgun and Stern Gang on humanitarian grounds and out of concern for reprisals. The Jewish Agency’s security forces had to even wage war against the Irgun.
In May 1945, after the German surrender, the Jewish Agency wrote Prime Minister Churchill demanding the full and immediate implementation of the Biltmore resolution, the cancellation of the White Paper, the establishment of Palestine as a Jewish state, Jewish immigration to be an Agency responsibility, and reparation to be made by Germany in kind beginning with all German property in Palestine. The Palestinians seemed to have no say in any of this. The British stalled, and the Haganah engaged in extensive smuggling. In October 1945 Haganah’s clandestine radio station, Kol Israel, declared the beginning of "The Jewish Resistance Movement". On October 31, 1945 the Jews in Palestine attacked three small naval craft, wrecked railway lines, attacked a railway station and an oil refinery. In June 1946 Jewish terrorists committed more sabotage in Palestine. They destroyed twenty-two RAF planes at one airfield. The Haganah agreed to an Irgun attack on British headquarters in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. The bombings killed ninety-one British, Arab, and Jewish people and wounded forty-five. The British retaliated by raiding the Irgun headquarters in Tel Aviv. By the end of 1946 the Irgun-Sternist groups had killed 373 persons. The Haganah had supposedly disassociated itself from the terrorists, but the terrorists continued to operate with at least tacit support of a large part of the citizenry. (Id., p. 558).
The British still continued efforts toward a political compromise. The UN appointed a special committee, UNSCOP, to investigate the situation and recommend a solution. Meanwhile a reign of terror and counter-terror dominated Palestine. The British execution of Dov Gruner, a popular young terrorist who murdered a policeman, caused widespread Irgun reprisals. The Jewish terrorists attacked British installations and in one day killed eighty British soldiers. The British replied by declaring martial law which infuriated the civilian population but did not halt Irgun operations. (Id., p. 559). In July, 1947 the refugee ship Exodus 1947 arrived with forty-five hundred Jews aboard, only to be sent Back to Europe. This event gave militant Jews an enormous propaganda victory further exploited by Leon Uris’ best-selling novel Exodus.
The terrorism and counter-terrorism continued, and the UN committee worked throughout the summer and autumn and ultimately recommended an end to the British mandate in favor of another partition plan. The Jewish Agency reluctantly adopted the plan when the British made it clear that they intended to yield the mandate and withdraw troops in the near future. In late November 1947, the UN accepted the plan. The Arab League responded by ordering attacks against Jewish settlements in Palestine and throughout the Middle East. In December 1947 Great Britain announced that it would terminate its mandate on May 15, 1948. The Arab-Israeli war had begun. (Id., p. 561). The Palestinian Arabs and the rest of the Arab world were not happy with the theft of Palestine by the Jews with the complicity of Great Britain and the United States. (Note: See also Theft of a Nation, by William W. Baker, Defender’s Publications, Las Vegas Nevada, 1984, addendum 1989).
Zionism has corrupted America. It is important to define what is meant by this statement. "Zionism", as used in this context, refers to the use of "terrorism", murder, theft, sabotage, espionage, and undue and improper political influence to create and further support a homeland for the Jewish people. All Jews are not bad people. Most Jews are probably good people, as are other people, generally speaking; but any religious or ethnic group who used or uses terrorism as part of their tactics to accomplish their political, religious, or ideological goals or who aids and abets in doing so is wrong! The United States is not without fault in this regard.
As Israel was emerging as a state, members of Congress and Jewish organizations pressed President Truman to support immigration of Jews to Palestine. He pressured the British to permit immediate entry of additional 100,000 Jews from Europe into Palestine. Some private Jewish Americans and Jewish members of Congress also warned the British that they may not get American financial aid to rebuild their country after the war if they did not allow the immigration. Some of Truman’s advisors warned him not to create animosity between the United States and the Arab states and the Muslims inhabiting a strategic arc stretching from Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean across North Africa, the Middle East, and Central and Southern Asia as far as the present states of Malaysia and Indonesia on the Pacific rim. Truman told them, "I am sorry, gentlemen, but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism. I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents." (See Stealth PACs: How Israel’s American Lobby took Control of U.S. Middle East Policy, by Richard H. Curtiss, p. 18, American Educational Trust, Washington , D.C., 1990). Truman recognized the new Jewish state only eleven minutes after the British mandate ended and the existence of Israel was proclaimed. He set the standard for Congressmen and Presidents to come.
American politics is corrupted by Zionism. AIPAC ( American Israel Public Affairs Committee) gives political guidance and provides more than eighty pro-Israel PACs set up by Jewish organizations or community groups to raise and funnel campaign funds to friendly candidates. (Id., " Foreword: The Legal Complaint Against AIPAC"). But there is no Jewish conspiracy, is there? AIPAC puts the fear of God, or in this case, the fear of Israel, in candidates running for the U.S. Congress. (Id., p. 144).
Here is how AIPAC operates: At AIPAC conventions, members are encouraged to provide early money to anointed candidates--those who support Israel. Friendly candidates in trouble are targeted to insure they understand who is contributing and why. Many individual Jewish donors make their donation to the candidate’s campaign, but mail the check to a pro-Israel organization. There, it is "bundled" with checks from like-minded donors and delivered to the candidate by an officer of the organization so that the candidate understands where his money came from and how he is to vote regarding issues relating to Israel. (Id., p. 144).
The obvious result is that Congressmen assume that individual Jewish donors will be informed in advance as to exactly where each local and national candidate stands on Israel, and on election day Jewish voters will be willing to cast their votes on that issue alone. Many members of Congress still seem out of touch with the changing opinions on the Middle East among their own non-Jewish constituents, most of which are not one-issue voters on Middle East policy. Few members are able to ignore the demanding lobbyists of AIPAC, or to request answers about violations of U.S. laws both by the lobby and by its intransigent Israeli client. (Id., p. 144). This is the area where campaign finance reform is definitely needed, but not one of our illustrious Congressmen dares to deal with it. Instead Congress aids and abets in the corruption of our political process and our foreign policy.
Prior to Operation Desert Storm, Iraq, formerly an ally of the U.S., attacked Kuwait after supposedly receiving a tacit or ambiguous expression of indifference to its proposed actions from Ambassador April Glaspie. President George Bush wrestled with the idea of invading Iraq for a lot of disingenuous reasons until he decided it was to rescue Kuwait, but he laid the groundwork first. He got U.N. resolutions approving military action; he built a coalition of countries to support his actions; he used economic sanctions; and he sought support from Congress to use American military forces in Iraq. All of the members of Congress were not enthusiastic about giving the President a resolution supporting military action. Many wanted to give the sanctions more time. Saddam Hussein proposed withdrawing from Kuwait if the United States would consider the Palestinian problem which related to the allegations that Israel was occupying territory in Palestine in violation of United Nations’ resolutions. American Jews did not want "linkage" of the two issues, and the Jewish influence in Congress through AIPAC pressured Congress to give Bush the authority to commit U.S. troops to combat in Iraq. (See "Pro-Israel Lobbyists Quietly Backed Resolution Allowing Bush to Commit U.S. Troops to Combat", Wall Street Journal, January 28, 1991, pp. A14-A15).
Probably, one of the best ways to demonstrate Congress’s bias toward Israel is to consider a list of rhetorical questions. Which country in the Middle East has nuclear weapons? Which country in the Middle East refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and bars international inspections? Which country in the Middle East seized the sovereign territory of other nations by military force and continues to occupy it in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions? Which country in the Middle East routinely violates the international borders of another sovereign state with warplanes and artillery and naval gunfire? What American ally in the Middle East has for years sent assassins into other countries to kill its political enemies ( a practice sometimes called "terrorism")? In what country in the Middle East have high ranking military officers admitted publicly that unarmed prisoners of war were executed? What country in the Middle East refuses to prosecute its soldiers who have acknowledged executing prisoners of war? What country in the Middle East created almost a million refugees and refuses to allow them to return to their homes, farms, and business? What country in the Middle East blew up an American diplomatic facility in Egypt and attacked a U.S. ship--The U.S.S. Liberty--in international waters killing 33 and wounding 177 American sailors? What country in the Middle East employed a spy, Jonathan Pollard, to steal classified documents from America and later give some of them to the Soviet Union? What country has made Pollard a citizen and continuously demanded that the American President grant Pollard a full pardon? What country in the whole world has the second most powerful lobby according to a relatively recent Fortune magazine survey of Washington insiders? Which country in the Middle East is in defiance of 69 United Nations Security Council resolutions and has been protected from 29 more by U.S. vetoes? The answer to all of the above questions is Israel. But what country did the United States almost bomb but for United Nations intervention because "U.N. Security Council resolutions must be obeyed?"Iraq. (See "A pop quiz on the Middle East--answers may surprise you", by Charley Reese, Orlando Sentinel, February 8, 1998, p. 8).
The U.S. policy is so tainted and corrupted by its irrational defense of Israel’s transgressions; and it has gotten so blatant that at an AIPAC conference in Washington, Israel’s outgoing ambassador, Eliahu Ben-Elissar, fondly emoted in a speech that when he walks the halls of Congress he feels at home, as if he "were in the Knesset". (See Newsletter 98, by Council for the National Interest, Washington, DC, Vol. VII, Spring 1998, No. 2, p. 2).
International prosecution of terrorism. The United States and its allies won World War II, and the "victors" decided to prosecute the vanquished for "war crimes". The Nuremberg war crimes trials set a precedence for other international criminal tribunals to prosecute war crimes, genocide and other "crimes against humanity". Those accused as war criminals at the Nuremberg trials were convicted of such crimes as murder and extermination since the crime of "genocide" had not yet been defined by international agreement. "Terrorism" also had not yet been defined.
The U.N. criminal tribunal for Rwanda recently rendered the first international conviction for genocide by finding a former Rwandan mayor guilty of orchestrating systematic murders during the 1994 massacres of Rwandan Tutsis by the rival Hutu tribe. Another U.N. court based at the Hague is still dealing with crimes stemming from the civil conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Thus far, that court has not dealt with the concept of genocide. The Rwandan judgement was the first rendered by an international court for the crimes of sexual violence in a civil war and genocide.
Many scholars, judges, diplomats, and national leaders have advocated a permanent international court with international criminal jurisdiction. (See generally, New Legal Foundations for Global Survival: Security Through the Security Council, by Benjamin Ferencz, Oceana Publications, 1994). Legal experts from around the world have been trying to establish an international criminal court which will, among other things, fill the longstanding legal gap by taking on cases of genocide, war crimes, and other crimes against humanity.
One of the major problems in establishing such a court is the U.S. concern that it could be used against U.S. personnel. American officials say that the U.S., with about 200,000 military personnel permanently stationed in 40 countries around the world, has more at stake than other nations do if a permanent international criminal court is established. (See "U.S. Embroiled in Debate Over War Crimes Court", Arizona Republic, April 5, 1998, p. A6). The U.S. wants strict limits on the court’s authority obviously to limit U.S. exposure to criminal prosecution, but it has come under increasing criticism especially from human rights and legal groups which are the court’s foremost advocates. (Id., p. A6).
On July 17, 1998, The committee of the Whole at the United Nations voted to adopt the Statute of the International Criminal Court. Cheers of exultation and rejoicing filled the room while the United States delegation sat silent and stunned. Earlier, 113 governments voted to take no action on two amendments proposed by the United States. The United States called for a formal, electronically recorded vote on the Statute. The vote was 120 in favor, 7 against, and 21 abstentions. Opposing the Statute to create the Court were China, Iraq, Libya, Qatar, Yemen, the United States, and, of course, Israel. (See The InterDependent, "Tyrants Beware: The International Criminal Court is born", by John L. Washburn, United Nations Association of the United Stares of America, Vol. 24, No.2 Summer 1998, p. 5).
The U.S. wanted a guarantee that no American, especially an American military person, would ever be tried by the Court. For a Court to be universal in a world of sovereign states, an exception for any country would be an exception for all countries. Practically, this would have meant that very few, if any, cases would reach the Court other than by referral from the U.N. Security Council. (Id., p. 5). Critics of the U.S. believe that the U.S. wants a court that it, the U.S., can control. " There’s a growing feeling within the African delegates and among other states as well that the United States is willing to have a court, but not one for Americans, one only for others, such as Africans," said Aref Mohammed Aref, a representative of Amnesty International from Djibouti. (See "U.S. Embroiled in Debate Over War Crimes Court", Arizona Republic, April 5,1998, p. A6). The Court does have some flaws--when a case is referred by the Court’s prosecutor (rather than being referred by the Security Council), the ICC (International Criminal Court) may pursue it only if the country of the nationality of the accused, or where the crime occurred, is already a party to the Statute or gives its specific consent. A state becoming a party to the Statute may choose a seven-year exemption from the Court’s jurisdiction over war crimes. When the Court or prosecutor intend to avoid domestic jurisdiction, the procedures the nations can use are excessively long and complicated and can degrade evidence and discourage witnesses. The strength of the ICC is its focus on the accountability of individuals for their personal responsibility for crimes. (See The InterDependent, p. 5).
The next steps involve the General Assembly authorizing the Secretary-General to convene a Preparatory Commission of all U.N. member states, probably in early 1999. The Commission will end when 60 ratifications of the Statute bring it into force and require the Secretary-General to inaugurate the Assembly of States Parties (ASP). Countries then not parties to the ASP (probably the United States) will be able to attend the ASP only as observers. The Preparatory Commission will draft a budget and administrative provisions for the ASP to consider. Its primary work will be to negotiate Rules of Procedure and Evidence and definitions of elements of war crimes. (Id., p.7). Nobody has talked about defining "terrorism", but it is possible that some acts which are presently called terrorism may fall under the new definitions of war crimes. Perhaps the ICC will devise a definition of terrorism similar to and as broad as 18 U.S.C. 2331 and tailor it for international application.
If the U.S. or Israel engages in war crimes or terrorism in the future, and the international criminal court acts fairly and impartially since it is not controlled by the United States, Great Britain, or Israel, the U.S. Congress and media will not be able to protect the perpetrators from international justice.
A "law of war" has evolved governing principles of conduct in combat and treatment of civilians and enemy prisoners of war. International treaties such as the Hague and Geneva Conventions and the Protocols to the Geneva Conventions have codified much of this "law of war". (See Department of Army Pamphlet 27-1, Treaties Governing Land Warfare, December 1956; Department of Army Pamphlet 27-1-1, Protocols to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, September 1979). Some basic rules of the "law of war" include not attacking noncombatants, not causing destruction beyond the requirement of the mission, not attacking protected property, treating all captives and detainees humanely, not using coercion in the questioning of captives or detainees, and not burning or stealing civilian property. I believe an international criminal court could find that the U.S. and Israel have committed many of these war crimes against the Palestinians and other Arabs under the pretext of combating terrorism.
Executive Order 12,333 states that "[n]o person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in assassination." [See Exec. Order No. 12,333, 2.11, 3 C.F.R. 200, 213 (1982), reprinted in 50 U.S.C. app 3401 at 44, 50 (1982)]. Some U.S. Congressmen think that Executive Order means that the U.S. can’t send a sniper to kill Saddam Hussein or Gadafi or Osama bin Laden, but that it can send cruise missiles to try to kill them and to inflict collateral damage on innocent civilians and property. The United States and Israel cannot afford to have a truly independent international criminal court to try war crimes or terrorism or genocide or crimes against humanity because they might find themselves being prosecuted as international criminals, themselves.
Lack of dialogue is the problem. How does one criticize Israel’s transgressions without appearing to be anti-Semitic? How does one say he does not like people who happen to be Jewish and engage in terrorists acts , but he is not anti-Semitic? If some Jews support terrorism, and they have, does their condemnation equate to anti-Semitism? I don’t think so. But many people are afraid to speak out as I have in this essay for fear of being called "anti-Semitic". There are no town hall meetings discussing how America supported the terrorism of Israel over the years, how Israel has spied on the U.S. and killed U.S. personnel, how Israel tortured and murdered Palestinian captives, how Israeli "settlements" are a ruse for theft of Palestinian property, and how Israel dominates our foreign policy especially as it relates to the Middle East by the "bribery" and coercion of the U.S. Congress. Why is there no dialogue about the aforesaid issues? Why are people afraid to speak out? What ever happened to freedom of speech in this country? Are there that many people so afraid to speak out for fear of being called anti-Semitic or are they afraid of something else? Does the power of a strongly Jewish influenced national media and the entertainment industry so overwhelm individuals who might speak out that they dare not? We know that outspoken former Congressmen who criticized Israel paid the price because that is why they are "former Congressmen". Are there no people of good faith who would sit at a conference table and discuss many of the issues I’ve presented in this essay, and if not, why not? Nobody can stop terrorism unless they deal with the root causes of terrorism.
Summary and conclusions. The definition of "terrorism" is important because it, like "beauty", is in the eyes of the beholder. Terrorism can be done by individuals or by nation-states and has been done by both. Because of America’s military might, the U.S. has asserted its criminal law jurisdiction internationally and intends to continue to prosecute terrorists for acts which occur even outside the boundaries of the United States.
Terrorists may have many causes and goals--both immediate and long range. They may want to merely harass and intimidate or they may want to create a new nation such as Israel. The primary reason for the use of violence or the threat of violence is to attain political, religious, or ideological goals by instilling fear or using intimidation or coercion.
Middle Eastern terrorists are attacking U.S. citizens because there is a polarization between the cultures of the U.S. and some groups of Arabs and Muslims. Historically, there has been conflict between the parties, but the conflict has become exacerbated by the formation of Israel as it was done and the alliance of the United States with all Israeli actions. The terrorism and excesses of the Israeli Jews against the Arabs bred terrorism by the Arabs against the Jews, and that terrorism has spilled over to the U.S. because of its one-sided and unconditional support of Israel.
Israel was founded out of terrorism. There were secret deals made by Zionists and agents of Great Britain and the U.S. to give a Jewish homeland to the Jews migrating into Palestine. The problem was that the Jews stole the land by force from the Palestinians, and the Arabs have never forgotten that fact. Israel has been directed by the United Nations to leave certain occupied lands in Palestine and Syria per U.N. resolutions, but Israel has never complied. Israel has violated innumerable U.N. resolutions, but the United States has continued to give unwavering support to Israel. The rest of the world knows that Israel has been a rogue state, but the other nations are powerless to do anything about it as long as Israel has the U.S. under its spell.
Zionism--the Jewish movement to create Israel through terrorism--spread like a cancer to corrupt the United States. It has corrupted the U.S. Congress so powerfully that no Congressman dares to ever question the actions of Israel no matter how outrageous they may be. The U.S. gives billions of dollars to Israel each year. The U.S. always votes to support Israel in the United Nations even though the rest of the world may have condemned Israel’s actions. The entertainment industry frequently furthers a negative stereotype of Arabs in the movies and on television. The national news media and radio talk shows almost never explore the transgressions of Israel unless a breaking news story requires a perfunctory coverage--all this to protect Israel. AIPAC has bought the U.S. Congress.
America likes to think it is a nation of laws, and it would like to see international terrorists brought to justice, especially under America’s laws. The world, on the other hand, would like to see an international criminal court which can operate independently and not be influenced by any particular country. The problem with a totally independent international criminal court, from a U.S. perspective, is that the U.S. and perhaps its "ally", Israel, could be the subjects of criminal prosecution. Sending cruise missiles into foreign countries to kill innocent civilians, to destroy private property, or to "assassinate" suspected terrorists on less information or "intelligence" than a local policeman must legally have to make an arrest in this country is questionable at best and probably criminal under international law at worst. The whole world is watching what the U.S. is doing, and they are not as sold on Israel as the U.S. is.
I believe the U.S. is in a dilemma and doesn’t know how to deal with it. There are too many Jews in American society who have contributed to and who still contribute to the arts, business, law, government, entertainment, medicine, education, etc., and they never supported terrorism and still do not support terrorism. These are good and decent people. As for those Jews and others who have supported terrorism and who may still support terrorism, I have no use for those people any more than I do for any Arab, Irishman, Iranian, Muslim, or American terrorist. The U.S. government must never become engaged in state sponsored terrorism because such conduct only invites more terrorism on U.S. citizens and because the international community may some day hold the U.S. and its accomplice, Israel, accountable before some future international tribunal. Terrorism is a crime. We, as U.S. citizens, need to start having some meaningful dialogue and not be duped by the same old bull feces spouted by some Congressmen or law enforcement officials who merely talk about more cops, more money, more toys to fight terrorism; and they never talk about the things I’ve talked about in this essay. Until there is this public dialogue in the U.S. Congress, in the media, and throughout the education system, Americans will continual to be at risk. This essay has presented facts and reasonable inferences based on the facts. Americans need to wake up and demand more from their elected officials on the issues presented in this essay, and they need to circumvent the traditional media to get the facts out to save this once great country. Nobody can stop terrorism unless they deal with the root causes of terrorism. It is in the best interests of America that Americans deal with this problem keeping America’s well-being foremost in mind.