A World Out of Touch With Itself:
>Where the Violence Comes From
>by Rabbi Michael Lerner

>Editor, TIKKUN Magazine
> There is never any justification for acts of terror against innocent
>civilians--not in Israel and not in the U.S.--it is the quintessential
>act of dehumanization and not recognizing the sanctity of others, and a
>visible symbol of a world increasingly irrational and out of control.
> It's understandable why many of us, after grieving and consoling the
>mourners, feel anger. Unfortunately, demagogues in the White House and
>Congress have manipulated our legitimate outrage and channeled it into
>a new militarism and a revival of the deepest held belief of the
>conservative world-view: that the world is mostly a dangerous place and
>our lives must be based around protecting ourselves from the
>threatening others. In this case, terrorism provides a perfect base for
>this worldview--it can come from anywhere, we don't really know who is
>the enemy, and so everyone can be suspect and everyone can be a target
>of our fear-induced rage. With this as a foundation, the Bush team has
>been able to turn this terrible and outrageous attack into a
>justification for massive military spending, a new war and the
>inevitable trappings: repression of civil liberties, denigration of
>"evil others," and a new climate of fear and intimidation against
>anyone who doesn't join this misuse of patriotism toward distorted
> Of course, the people who did this attack are evil and they are a
>real threat to the human race. If they could, they would use nuclear
>weapons or chemical/biological weapons. The perpetrators deserve to be
>punished, and I personally would be happy if all the people involved in
>this act were to be imprisoned for the rest of their lives. But that is
>quite different from talk about "eliminating countries" which we heard
>from Colin Powell in the days after the attack. Punishing the
>perpetrators is different from making war against whole populations.
> The narrow focus on the perpetrators allows us to avoid dealing with
>the underlying issues. When violence becomes so prevalent throughout
>the planet, it's too easy to simply talk of "deranged minds." We need
>to ask ourselves, "What is it in the way that we are living, organizing
>our societies, and treating each other that makes violence seem
>plausible to so many people?" And why is it that our immediate response
>to violence is to use violence ourselves--thus reinforcing the cycle of
>violence in the world?
> We in the spiritual world will see the root problem here as a
>growing global incapacity to recognize the spirit of God in each
>other--what we call the sanctity of each human being. But even if you
>reject religious language, you can see that the willingness of people
>to hurt each other to advance their own interests has become a global
>problem, and its only the dramatic level of this particular attack
>which distinguishes it from the violence and insensitivity to each
>other that is part of our daily lives.
> We may tell ourselves that the current violence has "nothing to do"
>with the way that we've learned to close our ears when told that one
>out of every three people on this planet does not have enough food, and
>that one billion are literally starving. We may reassure ourselves that
>the hoarding of the world's resources by the richest society in world
>history, and our frantic attempts to accelerate globalization with its
>attendant inequalities of wealth, has nothing to do with the resentment
>that others feel toward us. We may tell ourselves that the suffering of
>refugees and the oppressed have nothing to do with us--that that's a
>different story that is going on somewhere else. But we live in one
>world, increasingly interconnected with everyone, and the forces that
>lead people to feel outrage, anger and desperation eventually impact on
>our own daily lives.
> The same inability to feel the pain of others is the pathology that
>shapes the minds of these terrorists. Raise children in circumstances
>where no one is there to take care of them, or where they must live by
>begging or selling their bodies in prostitution, put them in refugee
>camps and tell them that that they have "no right of return" to their
>homes, treat them as though they are less valuable and deserving of
>respect because they are part of some despised national or ethnic
>group, surround them with a media that extols the rich and makes
>everyone who is not economically successful and physically trim and
>conventionally "beautiful" feel bad about themselves, offer them jobs
>whose sole goal is to enrich the "bottom line" of someone else, and
>teach them that "looking out for number one" is the only thing anyone
>"really" cares about and that anyone who believes in love and social
>justice are merely naive idealists who are destined to always remain
>powerless, and you will produce a world-wide population of people
>feeling depressed, angry, unable to care about others, and in various
>ways dysfunctional.
> I see this in Israel, where Israelis have taken to dismissing the
>entire Palestinian people as "terrorists" but never ask themselves:
>"What have we done to make this seem to Palestinians to be a reasonable
>path of action today." Of course there were always some hateful people
>and some religious fundamentalists who want to act in hurtful ways
>against Israel, no matter what the circumstances. Yet, in the situation
>of 1993-96 when Israel under Yitzhak Rabin was pursuing a path of
>negotiations and peace, the fundamentalists had little following and
>there were few acts of violence. On the other hand, when Israel failed
>to withdraw from the West Bank, and instead expanded the number of its
>settlers, the fundamentalists and haters had a far easier time
>convincing many decent Palestinians that there might be no other
> Similarly, if the U.S. turns its back on global agreements to
>preserve the environment, unilaterally cancels its treaties to not
>build a missile defense, accelerates the processes by which a global
>economy has made some people in the third world richer but many poorer,
>shows that it cares nothing for the fate of refugees who have been
>homeless for decades, and otherwise turns its back on ethical norms, it
>becomes far easier for the haters and the fundamentalists to recruit
>people who are willing to kill themselves in strikes against what they
>perceive to be an evil American empire represented by the Pentagon and
>the World Trade Center.
>Most Americans will feel puzzled by any reference to this "larger
>picture." It seems baffling to imagine that somehow we are part of a
>world system which is slowly destroying the life support system of the
>planet, and quickly transferring the wealth of the world into our own
> We don't feel personally responsible when an American corporation
>runs a sweat shop in the Philippines or crushes efforts of workers to
>organize in Singapore. We don't see ourselves implicated when the U.S.
>refuses to consider the plight of Palestinian refugees or uses the
>excuse of fighting drugs to support repression in Colombia or other
>parts of Central America. We don't even see the symbolism when
>terrorists attack America's military center and our trade center--we
>talk of them as buildings, though others see them as centers of the
>forces that are causing the world so much pain.
> We have narrowed our own attention to "getting through" or "doing
>well" in our own personal lives, and who has time to focus on all the
>rest of this? Most of us are leading perfectly reasonable lives within
>the options that we have available to us--so why should others be angry
>at us, much less strike out against us? And the truth is our anger is
>also understandable: the striking out by others in acts of terror
>against us is just as irrational as the world-system that it seeks to
>confront. Yet our acts of counter-terror will also be
>counter-productive. We should have learned from the current phase of
>the Israel-Palestinian struggle, responding to terror with more
>violence, rather than asking ourselves what we could do to change the
>conditions that generated it in the first place, will only ensure more
>violence against us in the future.
> Luckily, most people don't act out in violent ways--they tend to act
>out more against themselves, drowning themselves in alcohol or drugs or
>personal despair. Others turn toward fundamentalist religions or
>ultra-nationalist extremism. Still others find themselves acting out
>against people that they love, acting angry or hurtful toward children
>or relationship partners.
> This is a world out of touch with itself, filled with people who
>have forgotten how to recognize and respond to the sacred in each other
>because we are so used to looking at others from the standpoint of what
>they can do for us, how we can use them toward our own ends. The
>alternatives are stark: either start caring about the fate of everyone
>on this planet or be prepared for a slippery slope toward violence that
>will eventually dominate our daily lives.
> None of this should be read as somehow mitigating our anger at the
>terrorists. Let's not be naïve about the perpetrators of this terror.
>The brains and money behind this operation isn't a group of refugees
>living penniless in Palestinian refugee camps. Many of the core
>terrorists are evil people, as are some of the fundamentalists and
>ultra-nationalists who demean and are willing to destroy others. But
>these evil people are often marginalized when societal dynamics are
>moving toward peace and hope (e.g. in Israel while Yitzhak Rabin was
>Prime Minister) and they become much more influential and able to
>recruit people to give their lives to their cause when ordinary and
>otherwise decent people despair of peace and justice (as when Israel
>from `1996 to 2000 dramatically increased the number of settlers). So
>here is what would marginalize those who hate the United States.
>Imagine if the Bin Ladins and other haters of the world had to recruit
>people against America at a time when:
> 1. America was using its economic resources to end world hunger and
>redistribute the wealth of the planet so that everyone had enough.
> 2. America was the leading voice championing an ethos of generosity
>and caring for others-leading the world in ecological responsibility,
>social justice, open-hearted treatment of minorities, and rewarding
>people and corporations for social responsibility..
> 3. America was restructuring its own internal life so that all
>social practices and institutions were being judged "productive or
>efficient or rational" not only because they maximized profit, but also
>to the extent that they maximized love and caring,
>ethical/spiritual/ecological sensitivity, and an approach to the
>universe based on awe and wonder at the grandeur of creation (what I
>call an Emancipatory Spirituality). We are trying to develop this kind
>of "New Bottom Line" in Tikkun. To build support for this approach we
>are now starting what we call "The TIKKUN COMMUNITY"--both as a vehicle
>to raise money for the magazine, and as a way of taking some steps to
>acknowledge the reality that we have been functioning not only as a
>magazine, but as a kind of movement. The TIKKUN COMMUNITY will be a
>cadre of people who agree with certain basic principles. The founding
>statement can be found in this very issue of TIKKUN magazine (Nov-Dec,
>2001) and on our website. We hope you'll join us. If you want to,
>contact me at RabbiLerner@tikkun.org. Think it's naive and impossible
>to move American in that direction? Well, here are two reasons why,
>even if it's a long shot, it's an approach that deserves your support:
> a. It's even more naïve to imagine that bombings, missile defense
>systems, more spies or baggage searches can stop people willing to lose
>their lives to wreak havoc and capable of airplane hijacking, chemical
>assaults (like anthrax), etc.
>b. The response of people to the World Trade Building collapse was an
>outpouring of loving energy and generosity, sometimes even risking
>their own lives, and showing the capacity and desire we all have to
>care about each other. If we could legitimate people allowing that part
>of themselves to come out, without having to wait for a disaster, we
>could empower a part of every human being which our social order
>marginalizes. Americans have a deep goodness-and that needs to be
>affirmed. Indeed, the goodness that poured forth from so many
>Americans should not be allowed to be overshadowed by the subsequent
>shift toward militarism and anger. That same caring energy could have
>been given a more positive outlet--if we didn't live in a society which
>normally teaches us that our "natural" instinct is toward aggression
>and that the best we can hope for is a world which gives us protection.
> The central struggle going on in the world today is this one:
>between hope and fear, love or paranoia, generosity or trying to shore
>up one's own portion. In my book Spirit Matters I show why there is no
>possibility in sustaining a world built on fear. Our only hope is to
>revert to a consciousness of generosity and love. That's not to go to a
>lalla-land where there are no forces like those who destroyed the Word
>Trade Center. But it is to refuse to allow that to become the shaping
>paradigm of the 21st century. Much better to make the shaping paradigm
>the story of the police and firemen who risked (and in many cases lost)
>their lives in order to save other human beings who they didn't even
>know. Let the paradigm be the generosity and kindness of people when
>they are given a social sanction to be caring instead of
>self-protective. We cannot let war, hatred and fear become the power in
>this new century that it was in the last century.
> And it's up to us. We can't expect the Left to be able to organize a
>successful movement, because they will define it in the narrowest
>terms. They will talk about the rights of the oppressed and make
>everyone believe that they don't really care about the terrible loss of
>life and the terrible fear that everyone now how to endure about our
>own safety. Their justified anger at the way capitalist globalization
>has hurt people around the world will make them play down the
>outrageousness of this particular attack--and hence be disconnected to
>the righteous indignation that most the rest of us feel. Rather, we
>need a movement that puts forward a positive vision of a world based on
>caring--and a commitment to rectify the injustices that the
>globalization of selfishness has wreaked on the world--while
>simultaneously making it clear that we have no tolerance for reckless
>acts of violence and terror such as those which Israel has had to
>experience this past year or those which the U.S. faced in September.
>It's only with that balanced view that we can say that it is a huge
>mistake to make war or violence the primary way we respond to this
>situation. It's about time we began to say unequivocally that violence
>doesn't work--not as an end and not as a means. The best defense is a
>world drenched in love, not a world drenched in armaments.
> We should pray for the victims and the families of those who have
>been hurt or murdered in these crazy acts. We should also pray that
>America does not return to "business as usual," but rather turns to a
>period of reflection, coming back into touch with our common humanity,
>asking ourselves how our institutions can best embody our highest
>values. We may need a global day of atonement and repentance dedicated
>to finding a way to turn the direction of our society at every level, a
>return to the notion that every human life is sacred, that "the bottom
>line" should be the creation of a world of love and caring, and that
>the best way to prevent these kinds of acts is not to turn ourselves
>into a police state, but turn ourselves into a society in which social
>justice, love, and compassion are so prevalent that violence becomes
>only a distant memory.
>--Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of TIKKUN Magazine and rabbi of Beyt
>Tikkun Synagogue in San Francisco. He is the author of Spirit Matters:
>Global Healing and the Wisdom of the Soul
> and most recently (Sept 2001) editor: Best Contemporary Jewish
>Writing RabbiLerner@tikkun.org
> P.S.
>Because TIKKUN Magazine has taken the stance that Palestinians are
>equally precious to God as Jews, we've lost much financial backing and
>support. We very much need your help. Would you please please please
>subscribe to TIKKUN ($29) or make a tax-deductible contribution?
>TIKKUN, 2107 Van Ness Ave, Suite 302, S.F., Ca. 94109. You can do it by
>credit card at www.tikkun.org or subscribe@tikkun.org. If you wish to
>receive more email analyses from me, write "Yes, Keep Sending" in the
>"subject" box, and send it to my email address RabbiLerner@tikkun.org


A discreet way of doing business with Iraq
FT.com site; Nov 3, 2000

Millions of dollars of US oil business with Iraq are being channelled discreetly through European and other companies, in a practice that has highlighted the double standards now dominating relations between Baghdad and Washington after a decade of crippling sanctions.
Though legal, leading US oil service companies such as Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, Flowserve, Fisher-Rosemount and others, have used subsidiaries and joint venture companies for this lucrative business, so as to avoid straining relations with Washington and jeopardising their ties with President Saddam Hussein's government in Baghdad.
By submitting their contracts to the UN via mainly French subsidiaries, many of which do little more than lend their name to the transaction, the companies are treated as European, rather than US or Japanese, applicants.
In 1998 the UN passed a resolution allowing Iraq, the world's sixth largest oil producer, to buy spare parts for its dilapidated oil industry.
Since then, only two of the 3,058 contracts for oil industry parts that have been submitted to the UN have officially come from US companies. But the facts behind these figures tell a very different story.
US companies have in fact submitted contracts worth at least $100m to the UN for approval to supply Iraq with oil industry spare parts, through their foreign subsidiaries. Some informed estimates put that value as high as $170m.
They have used, or allowed, associated companies, mainly in France, but also in Belgium, Germany, India, Switzerland, Bahrain, Egypt and the Netherlands, to put the contracts through.
"It is a wonderful example of how ludicrous sanctions have become," says Raad Alkadiri, analyst at the Petroleum Finance Company, a Washington-based consulting firm.
"On the one hand you have the Americans, who do not want to be seen trading with Iraq, despite the fact that it is above board and legitimate, because that would contradict their image of being tough towards Iraq. On the other hand you have the Iraqis, who on the technocratic level would like to buy the best stuff on the market - in many cases that comes from the US - but politically have to be able to say they are refusing to deal with US companies," he said.
Halliburton, the largest US oil services company, is among a significant number of US companies that have sold oil industry equipment to Iraq since the UN relaxed sanctions two years ago.
From 1995 until August this year Halliburton's chief executive officer was Dick Cheney, US secretary of defence during the Gulf war and now Republican vice-presidential running mate of George W.Bush.
From September 1998 until it sold its stake last February, Halliburton owned 51 per cent of Dresser-Rand. It also owned 49 per cent of Ingersoll-Dresser Pump, until its sale in December 1999. During the time of the joint ventures, Dresser-Rand and Ingersoll-Dresser Pump submitted more than $23.8m worth of contracts for the sale of oil industry parts and equipment to Iraq. Their combined total amounted to more than any other US company; the vast majority was approved by the sanctions committee.
Mr Cheney is not the only Washington heavyweight to have been affiliated with a company trading with Iraq. John Deutch, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is a member of the board of Schlumberger, the second largest US oil services company.
Schlumberger has submitted at least three contracts for well-logging equipment and geological software via a French subsidiary, Services Petroliers Schlumberger, and through Schlumberger Gulf Services of Bahrain.
Some of the companies, such as General Electric and Dresser-Rand, say that not only political considerations shape their decision to do business through their European offices.
"It is customary for GE to do its business for the Middle East out of its European offices," says Louise Binns, a GE spokeswoman, who acknowledged that GE does business with Iraq. Other companies the FT contacted admitted doing business with Iraq, either directly or through their subsidiaries.
US companies that use foreign associates can also reduce the risk of their contracts being blocked by France and Russia in retaliation for blocks by the US.
The US is behind nearly all the $289m of contracts delayed by the sanctions committee, which has received $1.7bn of contracts. These delays were ostensibly intended to prevent transfer to Iraq of dual-use technology that could be adapted for military purposes.
"Washington doesn't want to enable the Iraqi economy to recover, therefore it keeps the infrastructure very weak," a UN diplomat said.
However, Iraq is the US's second biggest Middle Eastern oil supplier after Saudi Arabia, making Washington uneasily dependent on Iraq's steady oil flow. Using this influence as an oil provider, as well as the ties it has developed with US business, Iraq has tried to acquire lobbying power in the US.
Despite the US business ties to Iraq, however, fear of official US disapproval of contacts with Baghdad has also prompted one US ally - Japan - to do its trade through third parties.
Tomen, the Japanese company supplying industrial transport equipment to Iraq, submits its contracts through its French subsidiary, Tomen France.
US companies have themselves been among those which have suffered from the US practice of blocking contracts. But they have an edge when it comes to arguing for the approval of their contracts, diplomats say.
By temporarily dropping their guise as European companies, they have managed to reverse the blocks by going directly to US officials, rather than having their case argued by the European mission on behalf of their subsidiary.
At least two US companies have recently managed to reverse Washington's objections over their contracts. In an exchange of letters between company officials and one UN mission, seen by the FT, it became clear the US companies had resolved its case directly with Washington. Few non-US companies have been able to exercise similar influence.
Copyright © Financial Times group

Southern California
Americans for Democratic Action
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
Sunday, February 17, 2002
United States Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio)

Email responses to Dkucinich@aol.com

A Prayer for America.

(to be sung as an overture for America) "My country 'tis of thee. Sweet land
of liberty of thee I sing. . . . From every mountain side, let freedom
ring. . . . Long may our land be bright. With freedom's holy light. . . ."
" Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave. O'er the land of the free
and the home of the brave?" "America, America, God shed grace on thee.
And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea. . . . "

I offer these brief remarks today as a prayer for our country, with love of
democracy, as a celebration of our country. With love for our country. With
hope for our country. With a belief that the light of freedom cannot be
extinguished as long as it is inside of us. With a belief that freedom rings
resoundingly in a democracy each time we speak freely. With the
understanding that freedom stirs the human heart and fear stills it. With
the belief that a free people cannot walk in fear and faith at the same time.
With the understanding that there is a deeper truth expressed in the unity
of the United States. That implicate in the union of our country is the
union of all people. That all people are essentially one. That the world is
interconnected not only on the material level of economics, trade,
communication, and transportation, but innerconnected through human
consciousness, through the human heart, through the heart of the world,
through the simply expressed impulse and yearning to be and to breathe free.
I offer this prayer for America.

Let us pray that our nation will remember that the unfolding of the promise
of democracy in our nation paralleled the striving for civil rights. That is
why we must challenge the rationale of the Patriot Act. We must ask why
should America put aside guarantees of constitutional justice?

How can we justify in effect canceling the First Amendment and the right of
free speech, the right to peaceably assemble?
How can we justify in effect canceling the Fourth Amendment, probable cause,
the prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizure?
How can we justify in effect canceling the Fifth Amendment, nullifying due
process, and allowing for indefinite incarceration without a trial? How can we justify in effect canceling the Sixth Amendment, the right to
prompt and public trial?
How can we justify in effect canceling the Eighth Amendment which protects
against cruel and unusual punishment?

We cannot justify widespread wiretaps and internet surveillance without
judicial supervision, let alone with it. We cannot justify secret searches
without a warrant. We cannot justify giving the Attorney General the ability
to designate domestic terror groups. We cannot justify giving the FBI total
access to any type of data which may exist in any system anywhere such as
medical records and financial records.

We cannot justify giving the CIA the ability to target people in this country
for intelligence surveillance. We cannot justify a government which takes
from the people our right to privacy and then assumes for its own operations
a right to total secrecy. The Attorney General recently covered up a statue
of Lady Justice showing her bosom as if to underscore there is no danger of
justice exposing herself at this time, before this administration.

Let us pray that our nation's leaders will not be overcome with fear.
Because today there is great fear in our great Capitol. And this must be
understood before we can ask about the shortcomings of Congress in the
current environment. The great fear began when we had to evacuate the Capitol
on September 11. It continued when we had to leave the Capitol again when a
bomb scare occurred as members were pressing the CIA during a secret
briefing. It continued when we abandoned Washington when anthrax, possibly
from a government lab, arrived in the mail. It continued when the Attorney
General declared a nationwide terror alert and then the Administration
brought the destructive Patriot Bill to the floor of the House. It continued
in the release of the Bin Laden tapes at the same time the President was
announcing the withdrawal from the ABM treaty. It remains present in the
cordoning off of the Capitol. It is present in the camouflaged armed
national guardsmen who greet members of Congress each day we enter the
Capitol campus. It is present in the labyrinth of concrete barriers through
which we must pass each time we go to vote. The trappings of a state of siege
trap us in a state of fear, ill equipped to deal with the Patriot Games, the
Mind Games, the War Games of an unelected President and his unelected Vice

Let us pray that our country will stop this war. "To promote the common
defense" is one of the formational principles of America. Our Congress gave
the President the ability to respond to the tragedy of September the
Eleventh. We licensed a response to those who helped bring the terror of
September the Eleventh. But we the people and our elected representatives
must reserve the right to measure the response, to proportion the response,
to challenge the response, and to correct the response.

Because we did not authorize the invasion of Iraq.
We did not authorize the invasion of Iran.
We did not authorize the invasion of North Korea.
We did not authorize the bombing of civilians in Afghanistan.
We did not authorize permanent detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
We did not authorize the withdrawal from the Geneva Convention.
We did not authorize military tribunals suspending due process and habeas
We did not authorize assassination squads.
We did not authorize the resurrection of COINTELPRO.
We did not authorize the repeal of the Bill of Rights.
We did not authorize the revocation of the Constitution.
We did not authorize national identity cards.
We did not authorize the eye of Big Brother to peer from cameras throughout
our cities.
We did not authorize an eye for an eye.
Nor did we ask that the blood of innocent people, who perished on September
11, be avenged with the blood of innocent villagers in Afghanistan.
We did not authorize the administration to wage war anytime, anywhere, anyhow
it pleases.
We did not authorize war without end.
We did not authorize a permanent war economy.

Yet we are upon the threshold of a permanent war economy. The President has
requested a $45.6 billion increase in military spending. All defense-related
programs will cost close to $400 billion. Consider that the Department of
Defense has never passed an independent audit. Consider that the Inspector
General has notified Congress that the Pentagon cannot properly account for
$1.2 trillion in transactions. Consider that in recent years the Dept. of
Defense could not match $22 billion worth of expenditures to the items it
purchased, wrote off, as lost, billions of dollars worth of in-transit
inventory and stored nearly $30 billion worth of spare parts it did not need.
Yet the defense budget grows with more money for weapons systems to fight a
cold war which ended, weapon systems in search of new enemies to create new
wars. This has nothing to do with fighting terror. This has everything to
do with fueling a military industrial machine with the treasure of our
nation, risking the future of our nation, risking democracy itself with the
militarization of thought which follows the militarization of the budget.

Let us pray for our children. Our children deserve a world without end. Not
a war without end. Our children deserve a world free of the terror of
hunger, free of the terror of poor health care, free of the terror of
homelessness, free of the terror of ignorance, free of the terror of
hopelessness, free of the terror of policies which are committed to a world
view which is not appropriate for the survival of a free people, not
appropriate for the survival of democratic values, not appropriate for the
survival of our nation, and not appropriate for the survival of the world.

Let us pray that we have the courage and the will as a people and as a nation
to shore ourselves up, to reclaim from the ruins of September the Eleventh
our democratic traditions. Let us declare our love for democracy. Let us
declare our intent for peace. Let us work to make nonviolence an organizing
principle in our own society. Let us recommit ourselves to the slow and
painstaking work of statecraft, which sees peace, not war as being
inevitable. Let us work for a world where someday war becomes archaic. That
is the vision which the proposal to create a Department of Peace envisions.
Forty-three members of congress are now cosponsoring the legislation. Let us
work for a world where nuclear disarmament is an imperative. That is why we
must begin by insisting on the commitments of the ABM treaty. That is why we
must be steadfast for nonproliferation.

Let us work for a world where America can lead the way in banning weapons of
mass destruction not only from our land and sea and sky but from outer space
itself. That is the vision of HR 3616: A universe free of fear. Where we can
look up at God's creation in the stars and imagine infinite wisdom, infinite
peace, infinite possibilities, not infinite war, because we are taught that
the kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven.

Let us pray that we have the courage to replace the images of death which
haunt us, the layers of images of September the Eleventh, faded into images
of patriotism, spliced into images of military mobilization, jump cut into
images of our secular celebrations of the World Series, New Year's Eve, the
Superbowl, the Olympics, the strobic flashes which touch our deepest fears,
let us replace those images with the work of human relations, reaching out to
people, helping our own citizens here at home, lifting the plight of the poor
everywhere. That is the America which has the ability to rally the support
of the world. That is the America which stands not in pursuit of an axis of
evil, but which is itself at the axis of hope and faith and peace and

America, America. God shed grace on thee. Crown thy good, America. Not
with weapons of mass destruction. Not with invocations of an axis of evil.
Not through breaking international treaties. Not through establishing
America as king of a unipolar world. Crown thy good America.

America, America. Let us pray for our country. Let us love our country.
Let us defend our country not only from the threats without but from the
threats within. Crown thy good, America. Crown thy good with brotherhood,
and sisterhood. And crown thy good with compassion and restraint and
forbearance and a commitment to peace, to democracy, to economic justice here
at home and throughout the world. Crown thy good, America. Crown thy good
America. Crown thy good.

Thank you.

Send replies to Dkucinich@AOL.com


Rumsfeld Pares Oversight of Missile
Defense Agency
by Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, February 16, 2002; Page A02

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has granted the agency that is overseeing development of a national missile defense system extraordinary freedom from normal Pentagon procedures for controlling and monitoring new weapons programs.

Under the special authority, the agency will be exempt from regulations that compel military commanders to specify requirements for new weapons. The agency also will not be subject to traditional reporting about program timelines and costs. And many of its testing efforts will be free from oversight by the Pentagon's test evaluation office.

The unusual exemptions, outlined in a memo from Rumsfeld released with little fanfare last month, illustrate how the Bush administration is proceeding apace with plans to accelerate development of a national missile defense system -- its chief defense policy objective before last September's attacks -- even as it wages global war on terrorism.

But the wide latitude the administration has given missile defense planners to skirt traditional Pentagon accountability and oversight rules also has drawn warnings from watchdog groups and some members of Congress concerned that the Pentagon is handing missile defense officials what amounts to a blank check.

The Bush administration is spending $7.8 billion on missile defense research and development in the current fiscal year, up $2.5 billion from a year ago, and has asked Congress for an additional $7.8 billion for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

E.C. "Pete" Aldridge, the Pentagon's undersecretary for acquisition, said the moves were intended to streamline oversight activities that too often have imposed intrusive paperwork, overlapping requests for information and other unnecessary and time-consuming demands on missile defense authorities.

"We needed to give them a process by which they could put all these things together without all the encumbrances of having so much oversight and so many briefings that have to be done at multiple levels," he said in an interview.

Some in Congress, however, are already expressing doubts about the wisdom of the Pentagon's rationale and say the measures may require additional legislation.

"It raises a whole set of questions," said a senior Democratic staff member in the Senate. "They're getting out of many of the checks and balances that usually apply in major weapons development."

Aldridge said he could think of no other Pentagon program that has such exemptions. He drew an analogy with establishment of the National Reconnaissance Office, which was set up in great secrecy in the 1960s to develop and operate spy satellites.

"While we can't do exactly the same thing with missile defense, the concept is still similar," he said. "So we need to make sure that they have all the mechanisms they have to make decisions quickly, appropriately and in a way that they can solve this very difficult problem."

Further underscoring the high priority the administration is placing on the missile defense program, Rumsfeld's memo elevated the Pentagon group responsible to full agency rank and changed its name -- from Ballistic Missile Defense Organization to Missile Defense Agency.

The memo directed that the agency be staffed at 100 percent of authorized levels, a significant move in a department where many branches make do with personnel slots unfilled.

"The special nature of missile defense development, operations and support calls for nonstandard approaches to both acquisition and requirements generation," the memo said.

Asked why the missile defense effort should receive such exceptional treatment, Aldridge replied, "National priority." A second reason for assigning special status to the initiative, he said, is the particularly complex nature of its mission to invent not just a single anti-missile weapon but "a system of systems" for defending the United States against attack.

The administration intends to pursue a host of possible weapons -- land- and sea-based interceptors, airborne lasers and space-based devices -- aimed at knocking down enemy warheads in various stages of flight.

Rumsfeld's memo made clear that the Missile Defense Agency director -- a three-star position currently filled by Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish
-- will be in charge of shepherding the programs through their experimental phases. Once deemed ready for procurement, the plan is to turn control of the weapons over to the Army, Navy or Air Force. At this point, they would be subject to normal oversight procedures.

Rumsfeld also reserved the right of the secretary of defense to approve use of any of the experimental test assets for "contingency or emergency deployment."
Administration officials have made no secret of their desire to have in place as early as 2004 a new testing facility in Alaska that could also constitute a rudimentary defense against North Korean missiles.

Normally, work on a new weapon system is guided by detailed operational requirements that, in turn, are based on specific projected threats. Instead, the Bush administration intends to define a more general set of capabilities and attempt to reach them in phases or developmental "blocks" spaced in two-year intervals.

The decision to dispense with normal Pentagon performance requirements, critics say, is like putting the cart before the horse. "Rather than first spell out what's needed, it sounds like they're just going to create something and then say this is something we need," said Lisbeth Gronlund, a missile defense specialist with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"In effect, they're saying: 'Whatever you've got, we'll take.' "

Several members of the Joint Chiefs also expressed reservations last year when first briefed by Rumsfeld and Kadish on the new approach, according to participants. They worried that the missile defense organization might stop short of developing an optimal system and settle for something insufficient. They also were wary of handing the agency billions of additional dollars without some way of controlling how the money would be spent.

To protect the services' interests in the Missile Defense Agency's programs, Rumsfeld has established a high-level oversight group called the Senior Executive Council, consisting of the service secretaries as well as the deputy secretary of defense and the undersecretary for acquisition. He also has set up an advisory team -- the Missile Defense Support Group, which includes senior representatives from such Pentagon offices as finance, policy, personnel and acquisition.

© 2002 The Washington Post Company
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Faking Nuclear Restraint: The Bush Administration's Secret Plan For Strengthening U.S. Nuclear Forces

WASHINGTON (February 13, 2002) -- After a year in office the Bush administration has completed the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) mandated by Congress in the fall of 2000. The NPR establishes the broad outline of Pentagon planning for U.S. nuclear strategy, force levels and infrastructure for the next 10 years and beyond. It also endorses significant revisions to the nuclear war planning process to enhance its flexibility and responsiveness, which would allow the Pentagon to generate new nuclear attack plans and have them approved quickly in a crisis.

The administration has provided the public with a cursory view of the NPR, but the entire report remains secret. The NPR has received little attention from the news media and even less from analysts. This is unfortunate. The logic and assumptions underlying the administration's hostility to arms control, and its infatuation with nuclear weapons, deserve vigorous public scrutiny and debate. Not since the resurgence of the Cold War in Ronald Reagan's first term has there been such an emphasis on nuclear weapons in U.S. defense strategy. Behind the administration's rhetorical mask of post Cold War restraint lie expansive plans to revitalize U.S. nuclear forces, and all the elements that support them, within a so-called "New Triad" of capabilities that combine nuclear and conventional offensive strikes with missile defenses and nuclear weapons infrastructure.

NRDC has learned from a variety of sources more about the likely implications of this review for the evolution of the U.S. nuclear posture. Words and phrases in quotation marks are said to be from the NPR or the Department of Defense (DOD) special briefing on the NPR:

Nuclear Weapons Forever?

* The Bush administration assumes that nuclear weapons will be part of U.S. military forces at least for the next 50 years. Starting from this
premise it is planning an extensive and expensive series of programs to sustain and modernize the existing force and to begin studies for a new ICBM to be operational in 2020, a new SLBM and SSBN in 2030, and a new heavy bomber in 2040, as well as new warheads for all of them. Nuclear weapons will continue to play a "critical role" because they possess "unique properties" that provide "credible military options" for holding at risk "a wide range of target types" important to a potential adversary's threatened use of "weapons of mass destruction" or
"large-scale conventional military force."

* The NPR uses terminology from the September 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review, which states the purpose of possessing nuclear weapons is
fourfold: to "assure allies and friends," "dissuade competitors," "deter aggressors" and "defeat enemies."

* The Bush administration will not eliminate the relatively inflexible nuclear "counterforce" Major Attack Options that characterized the Cold War nuclear planning process, despite the administration's pronouncements about being in a post-Cold War world. Instead, the administration will scale the attack options to the size required to preempt opposing threats, and supplement them by an "adaptive planning" process that anticipates a range of nuclear contingencies and is flexible enough to respond quickly where and when a crisis occurs.

The Numbers Game

* The United States is "adjusting its immediate nuclear force requirements" for "operationally deployed forces" downward, from 8,000 warheads today to 3,800 in 2007, in recognition of the changed relationship with Russia, but "Russia's nuclear forces and programs remain a concern." Barring unforeseen adverse developments, the NPR's eventual "goal" is to reach the level of 1,700 to 2,200 "operationally deployed weapons" in 2012.

* Over the next 10 years, the Bush administration's plans call for the United States to retain a total stockpile of intact nuclear weapons and weapon components that is roughly seven to nine times larger than the publicly stated goal of 1,700 to 2,200 "operationally deployed weapons." This is an accounting system worthy of Enron. The operationally deployed weapons are only the visible portion of a huge, hidden arsenal. To the "accountable" tally of 2,200 one must add the following:

* about 240 missile warheads on two Trident submarines in overhaul at any given time;
* about 1,350 strategic missile and bomber warheads in the "responsive force;"
* about 800 "nonstrategic" bombs assigned to US/NATO "dual-capable" aircraft;
* about 320 "nonstrategic" sea-launched cruise missile warheads in the "responsive force;"
* about 160 "spare" strategic and nonstrategic warheads;
* about 4,900 intact warheads in the "inactive reserve" stockpile; equals
* about 7,800 intact warheads;
* about 5,000 stored plutonium "primary" and HEU "secondary" components that could be reassembled into weapons.

In other words, the Bush administration is actually planning to retain the potential to deploy not 1,700 to 2,200 nuclear weapons, but as many as 15,000.

Future Plans

* The administration plans to deactivate the MX/Peacekeeper ICBMs in phases over a three-year period beginning October 1, 2002. It will withdraw them in conjunction with introducing Trident II missiles into the Pacific. In the order of their conversion to Trident IIs, the
Pacific fleet SSBNs are the Alaska (SSBN-732), Nevada (SSBN-733), Henry M. Jackson (SSBN-730), and Alabama (SSBN-731). Current plans call for the MX silos to be retained, rather than destroyed as specified in the SALT and START treaties. MX missile stages and nuclear warheads will also be retained.

* The administration plans to cut the number of Trident ballistic missile submarines from 18 to 14 by FY2007 (of which two in overhaul at any given time will not be considered part of the "operationally deployed force"). Four Trident SSBNs (Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Georgia ) will be converted to each carry up to 154 conventional cruise missiles. The submarines also may be used to support Special Operations Forces. There is $1 billion in the FY 2003 budget to begin the conversion. The submarines would remain accountable under the START I Treaty, though they will not carry SLBMs or the 768 warheads attributed to them.

* After these initial modest force reductions, the NPR provides that "no additional strategic delivery platforms are scheduled to be eliminated from strategic service."

* Each of the 500 Minuteman III ICBMs to be retained and modernized under the administration's plan will be equipped with a single reentry vehicle/warhead combination, either the Mk12A/W78 or a Mk21/W87. The Safety-Enhanced Reentry Vehicle (SERV) program permits the MM III to carry the Mk21. NRDC estimates that the 150 Minuteman IIIs at Minot AFB and 150 at Malmstrom AFB would carry the W78, while 150 Minuteman IIIs at F. E. Warren AFB and 50 more at Malmstrom would carry the W-87.

* The Pentagon is considering extending the life of the dual-capable F-16C/D and F-15E or to make some of the new Joint Strike Fighters nuclear capable.

* In the event of an international crisis, "the U.S. may need to revise its nuclear force levels and posture" by returning weapons from what henceforth will be labeled a "responsive" reserve back to the "operationally deployed" force. This "uploading" could be accomplished in a period ranging from days or weeks to months or years, depending on the particular weapon system.

Satellites, Intelligence and C3

* The administration believes that our military satellites are not "optimized" for the "current and developing mobile target challenge." Consequently, the DOD plans to develop extensive new real-time intelligence systems and long-range precision strike weapons to "dissuade a potential adversary from investing heavily in mobile ballistic missiles" or other "threatening capabilities." Planned improvements would
provide the capability to rapidly locate and track mobile targets "from the time they deploy from garrison until they return."

* The administration will continue to invest in better intelligence capabilities for "Information Operations targeting, weaponeering, and strike execution," including better data on "adversary computer local area networks" and "other command and control systems."

* The current nuclear command and control system architecture will be expanded "to a true C2 conferencing system" through deployment later in the decade of new secure wideband and survivable Extremely High Frequency satellite communication systems.

Missile Defense

* The administration believes that deploying missile defenses will increase the United States' ability to "counteract WMD-backed coercive threats" by defeating small-scale missile attacks intended to coerce the United States into abandoning an embattled "ally or friend."

* The administration plans to integrate missile defense into the New Triad, which will enhance the United States' ability "to use its power projection forces" by "improving the ability to counterattack an enemy," and may also provide the president with "an option to manage a crisis" involving "one or more" opponents with weapons of mass destruction.

* The administration believes that missile defenses can have a "dissuasive effect" on potential adversaries by making it "more arduous and costly for an adversary to compete militarily with or wage war against the United States."

* The administration is considering an "emergency missile defense capability" for the 2003-2008 time period consisting of a single Airborne Laser for "limited operations" against "ballistic missiles of all ranges," a "rudimentary" Alaska-based midcourse interceptor system against "longer-range threats," and a sea-based Aegis system with "rudimentary midcourse capability" against "short-to-medium range threats."

* Based on the technical progress achieved with these early systems, the United States could deploy "operational capabilities" in the 2006-2008 time frame, including two to three Airborne Laser aircraft, "additional" ground-based midcourse sites, four sea-based midcourse ships, and "terminal" defense systems, such as the PAC-3 (an upgraded version of the Patriot "Scudbuster" missile that missed most of its targets in the 1991 Persian Gulf War) and the Theater High Altitude Area Defense
(THAAD) system, slated for deployment by 2008.

The Nuclear Complex and Infrastructure

* The administration plans to revitalize U.S. nuclear infrastructure with the capacity to: upgrade existing systems, "surge" production of weapons, and develop and field "entirely new systems." All of this is designed to "discourage" other countries from "competing militarily with the United States."

* The administration believes that the current arsenal -- a subset of what was in place at the end of the Cold War -- is not what is needed for the future. That arsenal was developed and deployed mainly to deter the former Soviet Union and to carry out the "Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP)." In the administration's view, significantly modified and quite possibly new nuclear warheads will be required to accomplish new military missions, and thus the NPR calls for a revitalized nuclear weapon complex that could, if directed, design, develop, manufacture and certify new warheads. The administration believes that the development of this arsenal must begin now because it will take much longer than a decade to complete. This arsenal would have the capability to target and destroy mobile and re-locatable targets and hard and deeply buried targets.

* Plans are underway to expand the capacity and capability of the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) Pantex nuclear weapons assembly-disassembly plant near Amarillo, Texas, to meet a planned workload of some 600 warheads (assembled or
dismantled) per year, up from the current capacity of 350 warheads per year.

* For the "long term," the NPR projects the need for "a new modern production facility" to deal with the "large-scale replacement" of plutonium components and "new production." The NNSA is "accelerating preliminary design work" on a "modern pit manufacturing facility" so that new production capacity can be "brought on line when it is needed."

* The NNSA is embarked on a seven- to eight-year project to expand the capacity and capability of the Y-12 Plant at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to meet the planned workload for replacing nuclear warhead secondary stages and other uranium components.

* The NNSA is reestablishing advanced warhead concept design teams at each of the three design laboratories -- Los Alamos, Sandia, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories -- "to energize design work on advanced concepts." This initiative will focus on "evolving DOD requirements," including nuclear weapons to defeat "Hardened and Deeply Buried Targets" and "Agent Defeat Weapons" for attacking chemical and biological warfare sites, and to reduce collateral damage via improved accuracy and variable and reduced yields.

* The NNSA is launching a program to enhance nuclear explosive test readiness at the Nevada Test Site by "replacing key underground-test-unique components," modernizing test diagnostic capabilities, augmenting key personnel, increasing their proficiency in underground test operations, conducting "test-related exercises of appropriate fidelity," and shortening the time required to show "regulatory and safety compliance."

Spinning the Nuclear Posture Review While Violating U.S. Treaty Commitments

Administration officials have sought to cast the NPR as a watershed step in breaking with the Cold War past. As Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated in the publicly released foreword:

"First and foremost, the Nuclear Posture Review puts the Cold War practices related to planning for strategic forces behind us.… As a result of this review, the U.S. will no longer plan, size or sustain its forces as Russia presented merely a smaller version of the threat posed by the former Soviet Union."

In fact, a fully informed analysis of the NPR suggests that far more has been retained than discarded from the Cold War's doctrine and practice regarding nuclear weapons, and the break is not nearly as clean as suggested.

Moreover, a strong case can be made that the nuclear weapons policies and programs laid out in the NPR effectively preclude further U.S. "good faith" participation in international negotiations on nuclear disarmament. Good faith participation in such negotiations, leading to the achievement of "effective measures" (such as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) "relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament," is a legal and political obligation of all parties under Article VI of the nearly universal nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that entered into force in 1970. The Bush administration posture of avoiding further binding legal constraints on the U.S. nuclear arsenal, while pursuing the reinvigoration of the U.S. nuclear weapons production complex and the development of new nuclear weapons, will be viewed by many nations as a blatant breach of the "good faith" negotiating standard under the treaty, and tantamount to a U.S. "breakout" from the NPT.

U.S. Nuclear Forces (2002-2012)

Today there are an estimated 10,650 intact nuclear warheads in the U.S. stockpile (See Table 1). In addition, there are in storage at Pantex and Oak Ridge, respectively, approximately 5,000 plutonium pits and approximately the same number of canned subassemblies, i.e., thermonuclear secondaries, which are retained as a "strategic reserve." There are another 7,000 pits at Pantex that have been declared excess from warheads dismantled during the first Bush and Clinton administrations. The 10,650 intact warheads and the 5,000 "strategic reserve" pits so far have not been included in the Bush administration plans for nuclear reductions. What will change is how they are counted.

The Departments of Defense and Energy characterize the intact nuclear warheads in the stockpile as either active or inactive.

* Active warheads are maintained in a ready-for-use status with tritium and other limited life components installed.

* Inactive warheads do not have limited life components installed, and may not have the latest warhead modifications.

Currently there are approximately 8,000 active warheads and approximately 2,700 inactive warheads in the U.S. stockpile, according to NRDC estimates.

The Pentagon also characterizes its nuclear forces as either strategic or non-strategic. The strategic forces comprise intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers -- the B-52s and B-2s. NRDC estimates that there are approximately 6,800 active strategic nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal today and that there are about 1,160 active non-strategic
warheads (See Table 1).

With the issuance of the NPR some new terms have been introduced into this special lexicon that legislators and reporters should be sensitive to as they analyze this administration's policies and plans. The active warhead inventory is now broken down into deployed warheads, responsive force warheads, and spares. Deployed warheads consist of " operationally deployed warheads" and those associated with weapon systems in overhaul. "Responsive force warheads" consist of active warheads not on deployed systems. These are kept in secure storage, but are available to be returned to the operationally deployed force to meet some contingency. Depending on the particular weapon system this may take days, weeks, months, or as long as a year or more.

For example, if Russia were to deploy forces that the United States determined to be hostile and aggressive, the option is there to reintroduce ICBM or SLBM warheads and/or bomber weapons back into service. Finally, there are a number of spare warheads that are part of the "active," but not "operational" inventory. While each weapon system and warhead type is different, we estimate that the number of spares is about 5 percent to 10 percent of the number of "operational" warheads.

Unlike the counting rules agreed to in past SALT and START treaties, warheads removed from weapon systems in overhaul are not included in the projected level of ~3,800 in 2007 and the goal of 1,700 to 2,000 warheads by 2012. Only operationally deployed warheads are counted.

The Bush administration's proposed stockpile "reductions" are to be implemented in two phases, the first by FY 2007 with "operationally deployed" warheads reduced to ~3,800, and a second step by 2012 to 1,700 to 2,200 warheads. The main actions are retirement of the MX/Peacekeeper, removal of four Trident submarines from strategic service, and the downloading of warheads on deployed ICBMs and SLBMs. Table 2 is our estimate of what an operationally deployed force of 3,800 warheads might look like with 1,400 warheads transferred to the responsive force and 1,000 to the inactive category.

As can be seen by comparing Tables 1 and 2, the total number of warheads remains essentially the same. While there are no treaty requirements or bilateral agreements calling for the elimination of warheads, the U.S. Senate attached the following "condition" in July 1992 to its Resolution of Ratification for the START I Treaty:

"Inasmuch as the prospect of a loss of control of nuclear weapons or fissile material in the former Soviet Union could pose a serious threat to the United States and to international peace and security, in connection with any further agreement reducing strategic offensive arms, the President shall seek an appropriate arrangement, including the use of reciprocal inspections, data exchanges, and other cooperative measures, to monitor -- (A) the numbers of nuclear stockpile weapons on the territory of the parties to this Treaty; and (B) the location and [fissile material] inventory of facilities on the territory of the parties to this treaty capable of producing or processing significant quantities of fissile materials.

The Bush administration's plans as laid out in the NPR for further reductions in strategic arms, which the administration has said will be codified in some kind of formal "agreement" with Russia, make no provision for the measures mandated by the Senate in 1992, and would appear to contravene the so-called "Biden Condition," named after its primary sponsor, Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden.

Table 3 is our estimate of what an operationally deployed force of 2,200 warheads might look like in 2012. This was accomplished by further
downloading SLBMs and shifting warheads to the responsive force and inactive warhead category. We conclude that under current plans there will be few, if any, real reductions in the size of the total stockpile of active and inactive warheads in the U.S. arsenal between 2002 and 2012 (compare Table 1 and 3). In a decade with only one warhead type scheduled for retirement (approximately 600 W62s), and with a modest new production capability planned, the number will not decrease significantly.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 500,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Additional Downloadable Materials for the Press
Table 1. Nuclear Forces (January 2002) in PDF format, 6k.
Table 2. Nuclear Forces (end-FY 2006; conceptual) in PDF format, 6k. Table 3. Nuclear Forces (2012; Conceptual) in PDF format, 6k.

Greg Mello
Los Alamos Study Group
212 East Marcy Street, #10
Santa Fe, NM 87501
505-982-7747 voice
505-982-8502 fax

To subscribe to the Abolition Global Caucus, send an email from the account you wish to be subscribed to: "abolition-caucus-subscribe@egroups.com"


The ugly war: Israel undercover-The BBC-

Sayeret Golani commando unit about to break into a house of a Palestinian suspect in the West Bank

Given rare access to the Israeli military machine, Correspondent follows two Israeli commando units taking part in snatch and ambush missions deep in the heart of Palestinian territory and reveals the criteria by which the Israeli military decide when to try to take someone alive - and when and how to kill them. John Kampfner reports.
Another night, another raid deep inside enemy territory.

It is 0200 in the back streets of a small town in the West Bank. A team of commandos, armed with semi automatics and grenades, jump out and take up positions around a white washed house.

Sayeret Golani head toward their target in the West Bank

The commander, Mordechai, has cover from his men. He rings the buzzer. "Come and open the door immediately," his second in command shouts in Arabic. "Your house will be destroyed if you don't open the door."

We are with Sayeret Golani, the elite of Israel's elite forces. They have been given a particular mission - to snatch Nasser Zakarna, a Hamas operative who has already served three terms in Israeli jails.

He is wanted alive for interrogation. Intelligence reports say Zakarna would be at home that night, armed. Women and children would be with him.

Ticking bombs

"The people we are after are ticking bombs. We don't stop until we get them," says Colonel "Chico", the commander of the Golani brigade.

"We prefer, or we are forced, to kill someone only when four conditions are met," says Major General Gyora Eiland, head of military planning of the Israeli Defence Force. He reveals a list that sets out criteria for assassinations.

"Number one: when there is no way to arrest someone. Number two: when the target is important enough. Number three: we do it when we believe that we can guarantee very few civilian casualties. And number four: we do it when we believe that there is no way that we can delay or postpone this operation."

The aim is to capture the next "ticking bomb" before it strikes

Often it's a matter of only a few miles and a few hours between the terrorist cell - the engineer, organiser, suicide bomber - and the targeted Israeli town. This is what the Israelis call the ticking bomb.

Eighteen months into the second intifada, Israel's armed forces are locked in the psychology of permanent combat. This is the dilemma - do military operations slow down the cycle of violence or just cause more bloodshed? The army commanders are not thinking in these terms. For the moment, it is a matter only of getting to the next ticking bomb.

Who lives and who dies?

The inner workings and tactics of Israel's military machine have until now been a closely guarded secret. How do they gather intelligence? Who do they identify as targets? When and how do they go for them? And, crucially, how do they determine when to arrest - and when to kill?

Intelligence is the most important tool in this Intifada

Gidon Ezra

"Intelligence is the most important tool in this Intifada," says Gidon Ezra, former number two in Shin Bet, the domestic intelligence agency. He gives us the example of one particular terrorist suspect.

"You have to know where he will be, away from other people, to be able to arrest him. Then you understand you can't arrest him, you can't reach him because he lives in the middle of Bethlehem. So you decide to kill him."

The planning is meticulous. "You have this information that he has got pigeons he has to feed. Now he goes to feed his pigeons. A helicopter hits him and kills him."

Methods of murder

The Israelis have several ways of isolating and taking out Palestinian targets. Ambush, as a method, works when the enemy is within a soldier's shooting range.

But many Palestinian fighters are harder to reach. This leaves assaults from the air - either from F16 fighter jets or Apache combat helicopters - which are by far the most controversial means of attack.

Israeli air force Apache helicopter

The helicopter pilots are trained to 'detach' themselves emotionally from their targets. One tells us that as a matter of course, even the most experienced were given information about targets on a need-to-know basis.

"We don't know who is the target or what the target is," says Hagai, a deputy squadron leader. "We get only the coordinates." Concern over human rights prosecutions in international courts is weighing heavily.

Raiding the West Bank

Israeli intelligence has information that the terrorist, Nasser Zakarna, has been using his house in Qabatiya as a weapons factory. The arms cache is then moved to a different location.

After days of training and classroom briefings, the commandoes of Sayeret Golani are ready. Every last detail has been practised. The unit has even used a cardboard model of Zakarna's house, detailing every room.

Commander Mordechai outside the target's door

As they reach the narrow winding streets they follow the drill. They ring the bell, once, twice. They whisper into each other's radios. Mordechai, the commander, gives the order to fire on the door, using a short-range shotgun to break through. The dog they bring with them starts yelping.

They are shot at from a neighbouring house. Pinned against the white concrete wall at the front of the house, they return fire. Mordechai instructs his explosives expert to blow the door.

It is at this point that Zakarna decides to bring his family out.

A textbook operation

The women and children file out, their faces a mixture of dread and contempt. The men are ordered to kneel down on the pavement. Hands are tied. The house is searched for weapons.

Sayeret Golani deliver their captives to prison for interrogation

Zakarna and two brothers are led into the jeeps. The women are ordered back inside. The soldiers shut them back inside. Zakarna is taken to an Israeli prison. His brothers are later released.

On one level, this was a textbook operation in a very difficult location. Who knows? Perhaps this averted another suicide bombing. But what, we ask Chico, about the one after, and the one after that?

This is the question the Israeli army chiefs cannot seem to answer. At what point will they ever believe their work is done? "I hope for an end, but to give you a practical answer, I don't think in the near future we will see a happy end," Chico says. "I think for the time being we are not ready for that."

The Dirty War: Israel undercover. Sunday 17 February 2002 at 19:15 on BBC Two

Producer/Director: Dominic Allen
Co-Producer: Israel Goldvicht
Executive Producer: Tom Roberts
Editor: Fiona Murch

FAIR Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting 112 W. 27th Street New York, NY 10001
For NPR, Violence Is Calm if It’s Violence Against Palestinians
January 10, 2002

Before the January 9 gun battle on the Gaza Strip, National Public Radio (NPR) had for weeks been telling its listeners that Israel/Palestine was in a period of “relative quiet.”
“Morning Edition” anchor Bob Edwards on January 3 stated that U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni was coming to the region during “a time of comparative quiet.” In another report the same day, correspondent Linda Gradstein referred to “the relative calm of the past few weeks.” Other NPR reports have mentioned the “recent calm” (1/5/02) or the “fragile period of quiet” (1/7/02).
What NPR means by this was spelled out most explicitly by Linda Gradstein in a January 4 report on the envoy’s mission. "You know, there's been actually three weeks of relative quiet,” she said. “Only one Israeli has been killed in those three weeks, as opposed to 44 Israelis who were killed when Zinni was here last time in November and early December."
What Gradstein didn’t mention-- and what someone who relied on NPR for their Middle Eastern news would have little idea of -- was that this has been in no way a period of calm for Palestinians. In fact, in the three-week period that Gradstein referred to, at least 26 Palestinians were killed by occupation forces-- more than one a day.
Media critic Ali Abunimah documented the killings in a letter of protest to NPR (1/8/02), starting with 13-year-old Rami Khamis Al-Zorob, shot in the head on December 13 while playing near his home in Rafah, Gaza. Most of the deaths cited by Abunimah were of unarmed civilians; six were minors, ranging in age from 12 to 17.
But none of these deaths received much attention from NPR, leaving the impression that calm for Israelis was calm for Palestinians as well. One of the few times that the Palestinian toll was even vaguely referred to was in this December 24 exchange between "All Things Considered" anchor Robert Siegel and correspondent Peter Kenyon:
SIEGEL: “There was a resumption of violence today, I gather, a shooting of a Jewish settler.”
KENYON: “That's right, the first such shooting of a Jewish settler after a week of comparative quiet. There have been some deaths on the Palestinian side in the past week. But tonight a Jewish settler was shot in the chest, seriously wounded by Palestinian gunmen up near Nablus and the West Bank. One of the gunmen was also shot, and he was killed.”
Kenyon agrees with Siegel’s claim that December 24 marked a “resumption of violence,” even while acknowledging that “there have been some deaths on the Palestinian side.” In fact, there had been at least five Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the previous week, including 12-year-old Muhammad Huneidek, shot in the chest at a checkpoint near the Neve Dekalim settlement near Gaza. Are we to conclude, then, that the killing of Palestinians is not violence?
That’s the contention of the Israeli government, and NPR appears to take this position seriously. Here’s a January 5 report by Kenyon:
“The raids into the West Bank and Gaza Strip have continued. They were yesterday in the West Bank village of Tel up near Nablus. They killed one Palestinian; four arrested. The army said they were all Hamas members.... But the Israelis don't consider these military raids to be violence. They consider that doing what Yasser Arafat should have been doing, by their rights, which is arresting these people and rounding them up.”
The unequal treatment of Israeli and Palestinian deaths is a long-standing pattern at NPR; a FAIR study of six months of the network’s coverage (Extra!, 11-12/01) found that 81 percent of Israeli conflict-related deaths were reported, but only 34 percent of Palestinian deaths. Strikingly, NPR was even less likely to report the deaths of Palestinian minors killed; only 20 percent of these deaths were reported, as compared to 89 percent of Israeli minors’ deaths. While NPR was more likely to cover Israeli civilian deaths than those of Israeli security personnel (84 percent vs. 69 percent), the reverse was true with Palestinians (20 percent vs. 72 percent).
Of course, NPR is not the only outlet that has misreported the Israeli/Palestinian conflict by downplaying violence against Palestinians. When a battle in Israeli-occupied Gaza recently left four Israeli soldiers and two Hamas guerrillas dead, the New York Times described the story on its front page (1/10/02): “Palestinian gunmen in Gaza put an end to a lull in the violence, ambushing and killing four Israeli soldiers before being shot dead.” The fact that the story inside acknowledges that “at least 20 Palestinians have died violently” in recent weeks only underscores how some violence doesn’t seem to register with mainstream U.S. media.
ACTION: Please contact the NPR’s ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin to ask for an end to NPR’s double standard in reporting on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and for equal treatment of all victims of violence, regardless of ethnicity or nationality.
Jeffrey Dvorkin
NPR Ombudsman
As always, please remember that your comments are taken more seriously if you maintain a polite tone. Please cc fair@fair.org with your correspondence.
To read Abunimah's letter to NPR, see:

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