14 September 2002
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Memorials for the 9/11 tragedy are over. We received many messages and articles from Research Associates at the Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements, in Grenoble.
Below please find two of these articles reflecting on the "Post-9/11
World" in its historical context : the first article, by Molly
Ivins, was sent to us by Elisabeth Chamorand (Grenoble); the second article, by Royce Carlson, was sent by Richard DuBoff (Pennsylvania).
Also, there are useful web sites listed at the end of these articles,
for those interested in further research.
Director of Research
From Elisabeth Chamorand:
Austin, Texas (USA)
"Excuse me: I don't want to be tacky or anything, but hasn't
it occurred to anyone in Washington that sending Vice
President Dick Cheney out to champion an invasion of Iraq on the grounds that Saddam Hussein is a "murderous dictator" is somewhere between bad taste and flaming hypocrisy?
When Dick Cheney was CEO of the oilfield supply firm Halliburton, the company did $23.8 million in business with Saddam Hussein, the evildoer "prepared to share his weapons of mass destruction with terrorists."
So if Saddam is "the world's worst leader," how come Cheney sold him the equipment to get his dilapidated oil fields up and running so he to could afford to build weapons of mass destruction?
In 1998, the United Nations passed a
resolution allowing Iraq to buy spare parts for its oilfields, but
other sanctions remained in place, and the United States has consistently
pressured the U.N. to stop exports of medicine and other needed upplies
on the grounds they could have "dual use." As the former Secretary
of Defense under Bush the Elder, Cheney was
in particularly vulnerable position on the hypocrisy of doing business with Iraq. (Although in 1991, after the Gulf War, Cheney told a group of oil industry executives he was emphatically against trying to topple Hussein.)
Using two subsidiaries, Dresser-Rand
and Ingersoll-Dresser, Halliburton helped rebuild Saddam's war-damaged
oil fields. The combined value of these contracts for parts and equipment
was greater than that of any other American company doing business with
Iraq -- companies including Schlumberger, Flowserve, Fisher-Rosemount,
They acted through foreign subsidiaries or associated companies in France, Belgium, Germany, India, Switzerland, Bahrain, Egypt and the Netherlands.
In several cases, it is clear the European companies did no more than loan their names to American firms for the purpose of dealing with Hussein. Iraq then became America's second-largest Middle Eastern oil supplier.
This story was initially reported by
the Financial Times of London over two years ago and has since been more
extensively reported in the European press. But as we have seen with the
case of Harken Energy and many other stories, there is a difference between
a story having been reported and having attention being paid to it (a distinction
journalists have trouble with). Thus the administration was able to dismiss the new information on shady dealings at Harken as "old news" because not much attention was ever paid when the old news was new.
When Cheney left Halliburton, he received a
$34 million severance package despite the fact that the single biggest
deal of his five-year career there, the acquisition of Dresser Industries,
turned out to be a huge blunder since the company came saddled with asbestos
liability. (On the campaign trail, Cheney often claimed he had been "out
private sector creating jobs." The first thing he did after the Dresser merger was lay off 10,000 people.)
Halliburton, America's No. 1 oil-services company,
is the nation's fifth-largest military contractor and the biggest non-union
employer in the United States. It employs more than 100,000 workers worldwide and does over $15 billion a year. Halliburton under Cheney dealt with several brutal dictatorships, including the despicable government of Burma (Myanmar). The
company also played questionable roles in Algeria, Angola, Bosnia, Croatia, Haiti, Somalia and Indonesia.
Halliburton also had dealings with Iran
and Libya, both on the State Department's list of terrorist states. Halliburton's
subsidiary Brown & Root, the old Texas construction firm that does much business with the U.S. military, was fined $3.8 million for re-exporting goods to Libya in violation of U.S. sanctions.
If you want to know why the Democrats
didn't jump all over this story and make a big deal out it, it's
because -- as
usual -- Democrats are involved in similar dealings. Former CIA director John Deutsch is on the board of Schlumberger, the second largest oil services firm after Halliburton, which is also doing business with Iraq through subsidiaries.
Americans have long been aware that corporate
money has consistently corrupted domestic policy in favor of corporate
interests, and that both parties are in thrall to huge corporate
campaign donors. We are less accustomed to connecting the dots when
it comes to foreign policy. But there is no more evidence that corporations
pay attention to anything other
than profits in their foreign dealings than they do in their domestic deals.
Enron, as usual, provides some textbook examples of just how indifferent to human rights American companies can be. Halliburton's dealings in Nigeria, in partnership with Shell and Chevron, provide another such example, including gross violations of human rights and environmental abuses.
No one is ever going to argue that Saddam
Hussein is a good guy, but Dick Cheney is not the right man to make the
case against him. I have never understood why the Washington press
corps cannot remember
anything for longer than 10 minutes, but hearing Cheney denounce Saddam is truly "Give us a break" time.
To find out more about Molly Ivins and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
From Richard DuBoff:
Prescott, Arizona (USA)
The First Ground Zero
The site of the World Trade Center in New York has become known as Ground
Zero ever since the two towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001. But
there was another, far more devastating, ground zero.
With two bombs in 1945, the United States military killed 90 times as
people as died in the World Trade Center attack last September. Ninety
times! This is especially important to remember as the Bush Administration
creates contingency plans for the use of nuclear weapons against seven
countries (China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria). What
are they thinking?
Until last year the term "ground zero" applied only to nuclear bomb
detonations. As we remember the terrible events of 9/11 let us also
remember the first ground zero - Hiroshima, Japan, and the arms race it
On August 6, 1945, at 8:15 in the morning an atomic bomb called Little
was dropped over the city of Hiroshima by a B29 bomber called the Enola
Gay. The 15-kiloton nuclear device was detonated about 2000 feet above the
city immediately generating temperatures in the millions of degrees and
sending a fireball out in all directions. Even though the explosion was
2000 feet up, the temperatures on the ground below it reached 7,000 degrees
Fahrenheit, melting tile and glass and instantly burning anything
combustible. The blast generated winds up to 620 miles per hour and
destroyed most houses and buildings within a mile and a half radius.
The men, women and children who were not instantly incinerated by the
were badly burned and exposed to very high levels of radiation. Most died
within a few months. It is estimated that 140,000 people died by the end of
that year. Subsequent deaths from radiation poisoning brought the death
toll to somewhere around 200,000. Three days later, a second bomb was
dropped on Nagasaki killing an additional 70,000 people bringing the total
from both bombs to 270,000 people. Some were soldiers but most were
civilians - including students, teachers, mothers, fathers, children and
the elderly. That was the last time a nuclear weapon was used in a conflict.
After that, the Soviet Union developed its own nuclear capabilities
arms race began that continued for 20 years. At the height of it in the
60's I remember drills at school where we would "duck and cover" and people
were digging bomb shelters in their backyards. It was a frightening time
when one wrong move by either side could have meant the end of life as we
As more countries developed nuclear weapons and the number of weapons
the global stockpile increased, the world governments realized the extreme
danger of this situation and began to negotiate treaties that would reduce
the chances of nuclear annihilation. Non-proliferation treaties were
written to stop additional countries from developing nuclear arms. START
(Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) was created to get existing nuclear
powers to reduce the number of weapons they kept on hand, and nuclear test
ban treaties were signed to reduce the amount of radiation put into
atmosphere. The world's efforts to reduce nuclear threat have now gone on
for close to 30 years. The Bush administration's new plans appear to
undermine all this work and may throw the world back into a very dangerous
There are eight countries that currently have nuclear capabilities -
Great Britain, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, and the United
States. Two countries, North Korea and South Africa, know how to make them
but have abandoned their nuclear weapons programs. According to Natural
Resources Defense Council data, the world nuclear weapons stockpile is
currently over 31,000 warheads.
Three of the nations on Bush's new nuclear attack contingency list
currently have nuclear weapons or the capacity to make them (China, Russia,
North Korea) and two more countries on the list are known to be trying to
develop nuclear weapons (Iraq and Iran).
How can the U.S. government assume that the people of other countries
respond differently than the people of the United States would when faced
with a similar threat? If another country made threats against the U.S.
would we not accelerate our weapons development? Of course we would and we
are. I would not be surprised to see the other countries on the Pentagon
list start nuclear weapons programs to defend themselves against the U.S.
The amount of devastation caused by even a limited nuclear exchange
make Hiroshima look like a small affair. The U.S. currently stockpiles
nearly 10,000 nuclear warheads, some of them with yields greater than 1
megaton - 66 times as powerful as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Over 10
million people could be killed with just one well-placed bomb of this size!
The United States is the only country to have used nuclear weapons in a
war. The world must be terrified.
In our zeal to stop terrorism around the world, let us look back, before
9/11, to August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima, Japan and remember that we must be
careful to not become perpetrators of the kind of terror that we seek to
destroy. The threat of nuclear weapons use is just that sort of terror.
Let's not go there.
What Can I Do to Help?
You can help stop this madness by letting President Bush and Congress
that you do not approve of creating new nuclear weapons and the
government's plans to use them. The Council for a Livable World was created
by a scientist who was involved in the first nuclear tests. It functions as
a watchdog organization to monitor nuclear weapons, arms control and
weapons of mass destruction. They have an easy-to-use "e-mail activism"
section that allows you to send pre-prepared e-mails to your congressmen
and the President. Do it now! - <http://www.clw.org/>
[The photos are of various nuclear tests carried out by the United States
between 1952 and 1962]
Royce Carlson is the editor and webmaster at Zenzibar Alternative Culture
a portal and directory to alternative thought and culture on the Web -
<www.zenzibar.com>. He lives in Prescott, Arizona.
This article is by Royce Carlson and Zenzibar Alternative Culture
For more on the first Ground Zero, see:
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research at CIESIMSA
Center for the Advanced Study of American
Institutions and Social Movements
University of Grenoble-3