John Perazzo / FrontPage Magazine.com – 2006-10-02 22:11:29
• Peace Action: Seven days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Rania Masri, a National Board Member of Peace Action, wrote that any US military campaign against Iraq would be unjustified because during the 1991 Gulf War, American troops had “massacre[d]” more than 200,000 Iraqis. “And the massacre continues,” said Masri. “… Every day, approximately 150 Iraqi children under the age of five die due to the effects of sanctions.”
Less than three weeks later, on October 7, 2001, Peace Action issued this statement regarding America’s military retaliation against Afghanistan: “We urge the president … instead to seek an end to terrorism through international legal cooperation. Treating the heinous acts of September 11 as an act of war, and waging war in response, will only escalate the violence and loss of life. The terrorist attacks … were criminal acts. The perpetrators of the crimes should be brought to justice through the international legal system. … Terrorism will only be defeated by a long-term commitment to building democracy, respect for human rights, and economic and social development in impoverished areas of the world.” In summation, Peace Action exhorted Americans to seek “justice, not vengeance.”
* Women’s Action for New Directions: This organization’s current objectives include: eliminating the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (bunker buster) bombs from the US arsenal; abandoning efforts to establish a missile defense system; repealing the Patriot Act; and pulling all American troops out of Iraq.
A WAND spokeswoman wrote in September 2006: “I had great hopes that out of our grief and lament [over the 9/11 attacks] would emerge a stronger nation, more compassionate to the world around us … My grief curdled into anger when our national leadership, with the overwhelming support of many Americans, called for vengeance, perpetuating the cycle of violence. I knew our best option was not a hasty resort to war, I believed we were more creative than crying out “an eye for an eye.” I come from a religious tradition that urges me to love the enemy. … Instead of engaging in costly war is if it were the only tool in our toolbox, we can create an exit strategy in Iraq, eliminate the bloat in Pentagon spending … and increase funding for diplomacy and humanitarian programs which prevent terrorism by addressing the root causes of instability.”
• Win Without War: Seeking to make American foreign policy accountable to world opinion and multi-national consent, this organization describes itself as a “coalition of national organizations representing broad constituencies that aim to keep America safe by advocating that international cooperation and enforceable international law provide the greatest security for the United States and the world.” Opposed to what it calls “the militarization of our foreign policy,” WWW encourages groups and individuals to participate in demonstrations that portray America as a terrorist nation and the world’s foremost human rights violator.
Calling for the immediate “phased withdrawal of the US military” from Iraq, WWW characterizes the War in Iraq as a misguided, disastrous failure of foreign policy: “The war has made America less safe by fueling terrorism in Iraq and around the world. It has isolated America, alienating even our strongest allies and friends while putting the burden of securing Iraq almost entirely on the shoulders of our men and women in uniform and American taxpayers. [The occupation] has shamed our nation, undercut our leadership in the world, and aroused Arab and Muslim hatred against us.”
• September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows: This organization seeks “to support and offer fellowship to others seeking non-violent responses to all forms of terrorism”; “to call attention to threats to civil liberties, human rights, and other freedoms in the US as a consequence of war”; “to acknowledge our fellowship with all people affected by violence and war, recognizing that the resulting deaths are overwhelmingly civilian”; “to encourage a multilateral, collaborative effort to bring those responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks to justice in accordance with the principles of international law”; “to promote US foreign policy that places a priority on internationally-recognized principles of human rights, democracy and self-rule”; and “to demand ongoing investigations into the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks … including exhaustive examinations of US foreign policies and national security failures.”
Peaceful Tomorrows also claims that the US government routinely uses torture against prisoners captured in the war on terror, and says that the detention centers at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib “have heaped shame and embarrassment on the values of America.”
• Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies: This organization was founded by Dr. Randall Forsberg in 1980 to advocate for American nuclear disarmament, in the belief that such a course of action would give rise to a worldwide movement to do the same. In 2004, Dr. Forsberg criticized US plans to develop a National Missile Defense system, stating that so-called “rogue states” (like North Korea and Iran) posed no threat to America, and that the missile defense scheme would only prompt Russia and China to expand their intercontinental ballistic missile forces.
• Center for Constitutional Rights: In the post-9/11 era, the pro-Castro CCR has focused its efforts heavily on reining in the US government’s newly implemented anti-terrorism measures such as the Patriot Act, which CCR depicts as having “seriously undermined civil liberties, the checks and balances that are essential to the structure of our democratic government, and indeed, democracy itself.”
In March 2002, CCR president Michael Ratner explained his views on the origins of anti-American terrorism. “If the US government truly wants its people to be safer and wants terrorist threats to diminish,” he said, “it must make fundamental changes in its foreign policies … particularly its unqualified support for Israel, and its embargo of Iraq, its bombing of Afghanistan, and its actions in Saudi Arabia. [These] continue to anger people throughout the region, and to fertilize the ground where terrorists of the future will take root.”
He further condemned America’s post-9/11 attack on Afghanistan — stating that thousands of refugees were being forced to flee, and citing a UN prediction that some 100,000 Afghan children would die as a result of US “aggression.” He suggested that, as an alternative to war, the US ought to “treat the attacks on September 11 as a crime against humanity, establish a UN tribunal, extradite the suspects, or if that fails, capture them with a UN force, and try them.”
At its 2004 annual convention, CCR honored the aforementioned attorney Lynne Stewart, an open supporter of terrorism.
• National Lawyers Guild: Founded in 1936 by Communist Party USA attorneys, NLG is an organization with more than 8,000 members, chapters in every major US city, and tens of thousands of active supporters worldwide. NLG today is an active affiliate of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, which the CIA once described as “one of the most useful Communist front organizations at the service of the Soviet Communist Party, [an organization that] has so consistently demonstrated its support of Moscow’s foreign policy objectives, and is so tied in with other front organizations and the Communist press, that it is difficult for it to pretend that its judgments are fair or relevant to basic legal tenets.”
In recent decades, NLG has been at the forefront of efforts to weaken America’s intelligence-gathering agencies. By effectively pushing such legislation as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, NLG helped limit US law-enforcement and counter-intelligence capabilities. Post-9/11, NLG launched a national campaign to repeal the Patriot Act — arguing that the Act’s provisions trample on the civil liberties of Americans. NLG similarly opposes the Domestic Security Enhancement Act and the use of military tribunals for captured combatants in the War on Terror.
NLG is also a spearhead of the Open Borders Lobby. The organization’s National Immigration Project consists of a network of attorneys, law students, and legal workers who “support the movement for full democratic rights for all non-citizens, and [an] end [to] all deportations and manipulations of the border carried out in the interests of capitalism.” NLG has declared that it “stands in support of the immigrant rights movement, and … is providing political and legal support … for comprehensive immigration reform favorable to undocumented workers.”
• American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee: Harshly critical of the post-9/11 anti-terrorist measures taken by the US government, ADC was a co-plaintiff in the first major legal challenge to a section of the Patriot Act — specifically Section 215, which allows for government access to such information as medical, educational, and library records pursuant to a terrorism investigation.
The Georgia and San Francisco chapters of ADC were signatories to a February 20, 2002 document, composed by the radical group Refuse & Resist (whose director is the Maoist activist C. Clark Kissinger), condemning military tribunals and the detention of immigrants apprehended in connection with post-9/11 terrorism investigations. Titled “National Day of Solidarity with Muslim, Arab and South Asian Immigrants,” the document read, in part, “The recent ‘disappearances,’ indefinite detention, the round-ups, the secret military tribunals, the denial of legal representation, evidence kept a secret from the accused, the denial of any due process for Arab, Muslim, South Asians and others, have chilling similarities to a police state. … We are clear that being an immigrant is not a crime; Muslims, Arabs and South Asians are not terrorists.”
• Abolition 2000: During the buildup to the 2003 war in Iraq, Abolition 2000 stated, “We are gravely concerned that conflict in the region might spiral out of control and that the US would again use nuclear weapons.” “Even if Iraq is found to possess WMDs or their components,” said the organization, “the US approach is wrong. … [T]hough nuclear weapons represent the ultimate form of violence, they cannot and should not be eliminated through the use of force.”
Abolition 2000 further insisted that Iraq was the wrong target in the War on Terror: “While we condemn Iraq’s record of human rights violations, the US policy towards Iraq is selective and hypocritical.
The US continues to support Israel, which has nuclear weapons as well as a long record of noncompliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions, and which has occupied Palestine for decades.” In September of 2004, Abolition 2000 supported a boycott of US products as a means of protesting the alleged fact that “the US operates outside international law.”
• Nuclear Age Peace Foundation: NAPF’s assessment of America’s military response to the 9/11 attacks was a defining statement for the organization: “Our attacks against Afghanistan have resulted in the deaths and injuries of thousands of innocent Afghanis due to our high-altitude bombing,” said NAPF founder and President David Krieger. “Our response to September 11 has probably killed more innocent Afghanis than the number of innocent persons who died in the terrorist attacks. But our president tells us we are a country at war, and dismisses the deaths of the innocent people we kill as collateral damage.”
Opposed to taking military action against the perpetrators of 9/11 and their benefactors, Krieger and NAPF counseled Americans instead to recognize their own role in having given rise to the rage that animated the 9/11 hijackers. “[W]e need to really be thinking deeply about why these people hate us so much,” Krieger told a CNN interviewer in the wake of 9/11. “I don’t think the reason that we’re so hated by these people, whoever they happen to be, is that they want to bring down democracy or they want to bring down our freedoms. … I think they have some far deeper grievances against us with regard to policies that we’ve instituted perhaps in the Middle East region.”
• Human Rights First: Opposed to most of the homeland security measures taken by the Bush administration in the wake of 9/11, HRF charges that the Patriot Act and Operation Liberty Shield severely erode American civil liberties. It has filed amicus curiae briefs on behalf of Jose Padilla, an American accused of attempting to detonate a “dirty bomb” for al Qaeda. It deplores the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities (and others maintained by the US government to house suspected terrorists), claiming that prisoners there are rotuinely tortured by American authorities. In a quest to have US officials charged with war crimes, HRF backs the International Criminal Court, from which President Bush has withheld American support.
In 2006, HRF vehemently opposed House Referendum 4437, legislation (which in December 2005 passed in the House by a margin of 239 to 182) that was intended to make it a felony for anyone to be in the United States illegally; to make it a crime for anyone to help illegal aliens in any way; and to initiate the construction of a 700-mile fence along the US-Mexico border.
• Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: LCCR’s many affiliate offices have filed briefs against the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to limit the wholesale granting of green cards and to identify potential terrorists. The organization has also opposed measures to guarantee that airport security screeners are US citizens. Many individual members of LCCR are members of the Lawyers’ Committee on Human Rights, which has consistently criticized the Patriot Act and America’s handling of military prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Other members of LCCR are affiliated with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for International Rights — both of them fierce critics of US foreign policy, the fight against terrorism, and the war in Iraq.
• Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition: This organization unequivocally supports the full legalization of all illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. To make a case for this agenda, MIRAC’s literature repeatedly uses the generic term “immigrants” to signify every foreign-born person residing in the US — regardless of their legality or lack thereof. On those rare occasions where MIRAC makes explicit reference to illegal immigrants, it euphemistically calls them “undocumented.” “Current immigration laws violate the basic human rights of immigrants,” says MIRAC. “An unconditional general amnesty would provide undocumented immigrants an opportunity to obtain their legal permanent residency, thereby reunifying families and providing equal access to health care, housing, education, and workers’ rights.”
MIRAC further laments that illegal aliens in America are commonly subjected to “worker exploitation” and, because they must live in the proverbial shadows, lack the freedom “to organize for better working conditions.” Such a state of affairs, says MIRAC, “fosters discrimination … undermines civil rights … [and] criminalizes hard work.”
• Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants: Formed in 1997 “in response to an increase in workplace raids by the INS,” the goal of CHRI is to secure labor rights for illegal immigrants in the US by confronting “anti-immigrant policies through grassroots education and action.” The organization has published a brochure entitled Protect Yourself During a Raid, detailing how illegal immigrant workers can avoid being arrested.
Although CHRI caters primarily to illegal immigrants from Mexico, shortly after the 9/11 attacks against the United States this group began distributing a pamphlet calling for the discontinuance of policies aimed at keeping terrorists out of the US The pamphlet further urges illegal immigrants to try to influence public policy by contacting local political representatives. “Whether you are a US citizen or not,” it reads, “and regardless of your legal status, you have a representative and two senators who represent you in the US Congress, and you have the right … to voice your concerns. They won’t ask you about your status, and you don’t have to tell them.”
• Immigrant Legal Resource Center: ILRC has trained more than 800 nonprofit personnel and attorneys in areas of immigration law such as naturalization, deportation defense, ethics, and Delayed Enforced Departure. In addition, from 1999 to 2004 ILRC’s National Immigrant Paralegal Training Project trained over 1,200 nonprofit staff people in basic immigration law and deportation hearing skills. On the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, ILRC executive director Susan B. Lyndon stated, “Twelve months after terrorism struck on US soil, I’m sobered to find myself living in a country that feels less than American to me.”
Lyndon then enumerated what she considered to be injustices that the American government had enacted in the name of national security: “Proposed rules that would require immigrants (from Muslim countries only) to check themselves into police stations. An initiative to proactively hunt down people (once again from Muslim countries only) with outstanding deportation orders for immigration violations. Even a proposal to enlist citizen spies as informers against neighbors they suspect to be terrorists. From my standpoint as a civil rights advocate, these measures are unconstitutional.”
• Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy: Founded in 1981, LCNP is a national, nonprofit coalition of attorneys who pursue two animating principles—support for the wholesale elimination of nuclear weapons and opposition to all military interventions—by working to make global legislative bodies like the United Nations and the International Court of Justice the sole arbiters of international law. LCNP states that it “categorically rejects war as the answer to real or suspected or imagined nuclear proliferation,” and holds that the resolution of international disputes must become exclusively the function of global organizations.
In the aftermath of 9/11, LCNP’s attorneys set about the task of discrediting, by means of legal arguments, the looming American military response. Claiming that lawyers must “swim against the tide of public opinion,” LCNP President Peter Weiss, who was (along with his wife, Cora Weiss) a pro-Soviet activist during the Cold War, insisted that it was insensible to attack al Qaeda’s sponsor in Afghanistan, the Taliban regime: “A terrorist attack, no matter how heinous, committed by non-state actors, is not a casus belli, an ‘act of war,’ except in a metaphorical sense. It therefore cannot justify a state resorting to war against another state in response to the attack, unless the other state’s responsibility for the attack has been unambiguously established.” Weiss predicted that if the US attacked Afghanistan, the result would be “a holy war … and, if not the end of democracy as we know it, at least its diminution.”
• Pax Christi: Though this organization (whose name is Latin for “Peace of Christ”) describes itself as a “Catholic peace movement,” it is not formally recognized as such by the Catholic Church. As soon as the US attacked Afghanistan (in October 2001) in retaliation for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pax Christi USA released a statement not only condemning the military response, but also impugning the United States as a racism-infested, terrorist nation with grossly misplaced priorities. In December 2002, Pax Christi helped organize large-scale protests against America’s then-imminent invasion of Iraq. The group also sent its own delegation to Iraq to protest the coming war and, in effect, defend the legitimacy of the Saddam Hussein regime.
• Nonviolent Peaceforce: This organization’s mission is “to build a trained, international civilian nonviolent peace force” that “will be sent to conflict areas to prevent death and destruction and protect human rights, thus creating the space for local groups to struggle nonviolently, enter into dialogue, and seek peaceful resolution.” Members of this unarmed peace force would enter nations by which they are invited to help nonviolent factions therein perform acts of civil disobedience and disrupt military actions. The group’s first campaign was an unsuccessful effort to end civil tensions in Sri Lanka.
In April 2004, Nonviolent Peaceforce’s co-founder David Hartsough asked members of his organization to join members of another antiwar group, Peaceworkers, in an effort to disrupt American operations in Najaf, Iraq, where terrorists were overrunning the streets. A Peaceworkers statement reported, “The Najaf Emergency Peace Team, ‘Peace Between Peoples,’ [which consists of] a handful of determined volunteers from several well-established peace/global justice/human rights and religious organizations, has now arrived in the area, to place themselves ‘nonviolently, symbolically and physically’ between the US armed forces massed nearby and the civilian population of the ancient holy city — in the way of any American military assault.”
Such are the goals and worldviews of those organizations which benefit from the philanthropy of the Peace and Security Funders Group. They are united by the contempt they feel for the United States — a nation they consider to be a veritable snake pit of racist, imperialistic vipers seeking to gain dominion over the earth via violence and intimidation.
To achieve “peace and security,” these groups advocate nothing less than the wholesale reshaping, if not the outright destruction, of American society. Financing their efforts is the largesse of more than 50 foundations whose aggregate assets exceed $27 billion.
John Perazzo is the author of The Myths That Divide Us: How Lies Have Poisoned American Race Relations. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org