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9071: This Week in Haiti 9/12/01 19-26 (fwd)
From: "[iso-8859-1] Haiti Progrès" <email@example.com>
"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES
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"Le journal qui offre une alternative"
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
September 12 - 18, 2001
Vol. 19, No. 26
PLANE CRASHES AND BOMBS DESTROY NEW YORK'S WORLD TRADE CENTERS
PLANE HITS PENTAGON, MANY KILLED
THOUSANDS BELIEVED DEAD
On Sept. 11, 2001, two apparently hijacked airliners were flown
into each of the 110-story World Trade Center (WTC) Towers which
loomed above New York's lower Manhattan financial district.
At 8:45 a.m., an American Airlines Boeing 767, Flt. 11 from
Boston to Los Angeles slammed into Tower 1, about a third of the
way from the top. It had been hijacked shortly after take-off and
had 92 people on board.
Eighteen minutes later, at 9:00 a.m., a United Airlines Flight
175, a Boeing 767 bound from Boston to Los Angeles with 65
people on board, crashed into Tower 2, as Tower 1 billowed black
plumes like a giant smoke stack. Both planes sliced into the
towers and exploded inside.
The crashes sent debris, people, and body parts raining down into
the streets below. Police cars, fire engines, ambulances, news
crews, and photographers raced to the smoking towers as thousands
of people ran out of them and away up the chaotic city streets.
Onlookers lost a sense of urgency and began gawking up at the
giant towers, whose top twenty floors or so were now engulfed in
fire. Crowds screamed and cried as they began to see people
jumping and falling from the skyscrapers, apparently trying to
escape the flames.
At 10:05 a.m., the south tower 2 collapsed, possibly from an
explosion near the base. Witnesses say that both plane crashes
were followed by secondary explosions in the buildings.
The building collapsed to the ground, sending up giant plumes of
gray smoke and dust which blanketed downtown Manhattan. Broken
glass, paper, and gray rubble covered the streets.
At 10:28 a.m., the north tower 1 also collapsed, enlarging the
cloud of smoke and dust which now completely engulfed lower
Manhattan. Thousands took refuge from the choking clouds of soot
and smoke in doorways and under vehicles.
An estimated 50,000 people worked in the Trade Towers, which also
received tens of thousands of visitors every day. Officials
estimate about 10,000 were in each tower at the time of the
explosions. Those killed are expected to soar into the thousands
as bodies are dug out of the rubble. Streets near the former WTC
were lined with hundreds of incinerated and exploded cars and
buses. At about 5:30 p.m., the 47-story World Trade Building #7
collapsed and others, like WTC Building #5 were on the verge of
collapse at press time.
The world watched the drama unfolding in New York via television
cameras in helicopters hovering outside a five mile no fly-zone
established around Manhattan shortly after the first crash.
Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., at 9:43 a.m. another hijacked
airliner, American Airlines Boeing 757, Flt. 77 from Washington
D.C./Dulles airport to Los Angeles, dove into the Pentagon,
causing what CBS News reported to be "massive loss of life." The
crash started a huge fire which consumed the West Wing of the
vast building, collapsing it around 10:10 a.m. A second plane
reportedly crashed near the Pentagon later in the day.
Early reports said that a total of eight airliners were hijacked
and in the air as the crisis unfolded. One of them, United
Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 en route from Newark, N.J., to
San Francisco, Calif. crashed in the Somerset, Pennsylvania about
80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, near a strip mine, with 45
Meanwhile, there was pandemonium across the U.S.. For the first
time in history, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) closed
down all air traffic in the U.S.. Flights already in the air were
forced to land at the nearest airport, sometimes by U.S. Airforce
F-16 fighters. International flights were diverted to Canada,
which also shut down air traffic. U.S. borders with Mexico and
Canada were closed.
In New York, thousands of commuters were stranded at the peak of
the morning rush hour. All bridges and tunnels were closed to
incoming traffic. Subways and buses going into Manhattan were
stopped, snarling mass transportation throughout the other
boroughs. Thousands evacuated Manhattan by walking over bridges,
making many of them look like the New York Marathon. Meanwhile
more than 10,000 rescue workers were rushed to the scene.
Television transmissions for most networks was cut with the crash
of the second jet into Tower 2, on top of which transmitters were
stationed. In New York, only WCBS managed to provide broadcast
coverage. Cable subscribers were not affected.
President Bush was in Sarasota, Florida when he was told about
the crashes. He was flown at exceptionally high altitude in Air
Force One shortly thereafter, escorted by F-16s, to Barksdale Air
Force Base near Shrevesport, Louisiana for a brief stop where he
declared: "The United States will hunt down and punish those
responsible for these cowardly acts." He was then flown to the
Strategic Air Command headquarters in Nebraska while CBS News
reported that Vice-President Dick Cheney "is in charge of the
government in Washington."
Federal buildings across the country, including the White House,
museums, and monuments, were evacuated, closed, and surrounded by
soldiers or policemen. There were also reports of a car bomb
attack on the State Department's headquarters in the U.S.
capital. Wall Street stock exchanges, based near the WTC, were
closed or never opened.
New York hospitals were overwhelmed with the wounded. "Hundreds
of people are burned from head to toe," Dr. Steven Stern of the
St. Vincent's Hospital told Reuters. Other injuries were
abrasions to the corneas from the dense dust and soot in the air,
and many rescue workers had bloodied hands from digging through
the rubble for survivors.
Who is responsible for the suicide jet attacks on the World Trade
Center (WTC) and the Pentagon? Without even knowing, U.S.
government officials at press time are pointing their finger and
missiles at "Arab terrorists," promising retaliation, just as
they did after the 1995 bombing of the federal building in
Oklahoma City. Of course, that 1995 terrorist attack turned out
to be the work of U.S. citizens, far-right extremists Timothy
McVeigh, a former U.S. Army soldier, and Terry Nicholls.
Early in the day, the media reported that the Democratic Front
for the Liberation of Palestine had claimed responsibility for
the attacks, a report which was later denied by the group.
Most of the accusatory speculation centers on Osama bin Laden,
the Saudi Arabian exiled businessman and Islamic militant, who
reportedly is based in Afghanistan. Bin Laden was trained by the
CIA to overthrow the Afghan government in the 1980s, but he later
turned against the U.S..
However, Afghanistan's Taliban government rejected charges that
bin Laden was behind the attack. Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the
Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, said "we want to tell the
American children that Afghanistan feels your pain and we hope
that the courts find justice."hrthrthrt
Nonetheless, as we go to press, CNN reports that there were many
explosions in the Afghan capital of Kabul on the night of Sept.
11. The U.S. denied responsibility for the rocket attacks, saying
they were likely actions launched by rebels based in the north of
Throughout the day, U.S. officials and news anchors took on a
menacing tone, referring to the "cowardly" acts. Of course,
destruction of cities carried out in many lands by high altitude
U.S. bombers has never been called "cowardly."
In fact, the pain and suffering caused by the suicide jet attacks
in New York and Washington, D.C. is just a tiny taste of that
inflicted on countless victims of terrorist U.S. bombings in
mostly defenseless countries over the past half century. From
1950 to 1953, U.S. troops and bombings killed 5 million Koreans,
3.5 million of them civilians. Whole towns and cities were
leveled by bombs. A War Crimes Tribunal in New York found the
U.S. government and its soldiers guilty of biological warfare,
massacres, rape, dividing families, and fomenting war, among
other crimes (see Haïti Progrès, Vol. 19, Nos. 16 & 17, 7/4/01 &
During the Vietnam War in the 1960s and early 1970s, U.S. B-52
bombers carpet-bombed cities and countryside, killing hundreds of
thousands of Vietnamese and poisoning their land and water for
In Dec. 1989, over 2000 Panamanians were killed when invading
U.S. troops bombed Panama City's popular neighborhoods like El
Chorillo, an independent investigating committee found.
In Jan. and Feb. 1991, the U.S. launched devastating raids
against Iraq. U.S. jets flew 110,000 aerial sorties against Iraq,
averaging one every 30 seconds, dropping 88,500 tons of
explosives, the equivalent of 7 l/2 Hiroshima bombs. As former
U.S. Attorney General Ramsy Clark explained in a Jan. 26, 2000
letter to the U.N. Security Council: "This was by far the most
intensive bombardment in history. It killed tens of thousands of
people, injuring many more. Medicines and medical supplies were
exhausted. It devastated water systems from reservoir, pumping
station, pipeline, filtration plant to kitchen faucet as well as
urban sewage and sanitation systems nationwide. Food production,
processing, storage, distribution, and marketing facilities were
widely destroyed. Poultry was nearly wiped out by loss of
electricity and lack of grain. Animal herds were decimated.
Fertilizer and insecticide plants and storage structures were
destroyed. Communications systems, telephone, radio, TV, were
shattered. Transportation was badly battered. Vital industries
were attacked everywhere. Electric power was knocked out across
the nation in the first 24 hours of the assault. Petroleum
production, refining, storage and distribution from well to
service station were attacked across the nation." This savage
bombardment has been followed by a decade of merciless sanctions
which have claimed the lives of over 500,000 Iraqi children,
according to U.N. estimates.
A similar aerial bombardment took place against Yugoslavia from
March to June, 1999. Over 1200 North Atlantic Treaty Alliance
(NATO) aircraft, led by the U.S., flew over 35,000 combat
missions over Yugoslavia. More than 20,000 laser or
satellite-guided weapons were launched and over 79,000 tons of
explosives were dropped, including 152 containers with 35,450
cluster bombs, thermo-visual and graphite bombs, which are
prohibited under international conventions. As a direct result of
the bombings, thousands of civilians were killed and more than
6,000 sustained serious injuries. Children made up about 30% of
all casualties as well as 40% of the total number injured.
In Aug. 1998, U.S. missiles destroyed the Al Shifa pharmaceutical
factory in Khartoum, Sudan, supposedly in retaliation for
terrorist bombing attacks against its embassies in Tanzania and
Kenya. The U.S. tried to justify the strike, which killed several
factory workers, on the grounds that the medicine factory was
producing nerve gas elements. This charge has since been
discredited by chemical experts.
Since George W. Bush came into office last January, U.S.
warplanes have repeatedly bombed Iraq, killing and wounding
hundreds of people. Just on Sept. 10, Iraq said that eight
civilians were killed and three wounded when U.S. and British
jets attacked farms 170 kilometers southeast of Baghdad on Sept.
9 with missiles and cluster bombs.
This brief and incomplete listing of U.S. terrorist bombings is
not meant in any way to justify the terrible crashes which
resulted in the death of thousands of innocent civilians on Sept.
11, 2001. The attack, whether carried out from abroad or by U.S.
citizens, must be condemned.
Our review, however, should put this week's tragedy into
historical perspective and make U.S. citizens more sensitive to
the terrible pain, fear, and suffering caused when one bombs
civilian targets, particularly buildings in the middle of cities.
As we go to press, President Bush has just made a statement on
Tuesday night saying that the U.S. "will make no distinction
between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who
harbored them." This is apparently a reference to Afghanistan,
which has given bin Laden asylum. But what if it turns out that
the U.S. harbors the terrorists, as was discovered in Oklahoma
Meanwhile, governments around the world resoundingly condemned
the attacks. Russia's Vladimir Putin said that the "barbarous
terrorist acts aimed against wholly innocent people cause us
anger and indignation." Palestine's President Yasser Arafat
called the attacks a "terrible act." Libyan President Muammar
Gaddafi condemned the "horrific attacks" while Iranian President
Mohammad Khatami also condemned them as "terrorist" and offered
"deep sympathy" to the U.S. people.
Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque offered his deepest
condolences to the victims of the attacks and said that his
country has always taken a position to "totally condemn and
reject terrorism wherever it comes from and against whoever it is
"Our people have had to suffer 40 years of acts of terrorism, so
we know the consequences of this type of action," Pérez Roque
Finally, we close with a Sept. 11 statement from the
International Action Center (IAC), a coalition of progressive
international activists based in New York City. It elucidates
many of the dangers of the coming days:
Everyone here has been deeply affected by today's events. The
International Action Center extends its most heartfelt sympathies
and condolences to all those who have lost loved ones today as
well as the thousands of workers who were in lower Manhattan
While, at this moment, thousands of families are in mourning for
the death and injuries of loved ones, the Bush administration is
taking advantage of the tragic human toll to strengthen the
forces of repression while intensifying the Pentagon's war drive,
especially in the Middle East.
Arab and Muslim peoples in the United States are reporting that
they are facing racist harassment in their communities, on their
jobs and at mosques. Anti-Arab racism is a poison that should be
repudiated. We call on all people who oppose racism to stand
shoulder to shoulder with the Arab-American community in the face
of this reactionary frenzy.
After the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in
1995, the U.S. government and media were quick to speculate that
Arab and Islamic organizations were responsible; but as everyone
now knows, extreme right-wing Army veteran Timothy McVeigh was to
NEW WAR DANGER
The International Action Center urges all anti-war activists and
progressive people to remain on the highest alert in opposing the
Bush administration and the Pentagon's plans to use this crisis
as the springboard for a new round of aggression in the Third
World, especially against the people of the Middle East.
In August 1998, the Pentagon delivered murderous cruise missile
air strikes against a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan without any
evidence, supposedly in retaliation for the bombing of the U.S.
Embassy in Kenya. The cruise missiles destroyed the Al Shifa
Pharmaceutical factory that provided most of Sudan's medicines.
Thousands of African people perished as a direct result of the
President Ronald Reagan ordered the invasion of Grenada in the
Caribbean shortly after a truck bomb exploded at a U.S. Marine
Corps base in Lebanon in 1983. Under Bush senior, over 2,000
Panamanians were killed in the middle of the night on Christmas
Eve in 1989 under the pretext of the war on drugs.
In 1986, after pointing a finger at Syria, Iran and several
Palestinian organizations for an explosion at a discothèque in
Germany, U.S. aircraft bombed Tripoli and Benzagi in Lybia.
Hundreds of civilians, including children, died in their sleep as
the U.S. Air Force carried out this nighttime sneak attack.
We ask activists and the people of this country to be ready to
protest new Pentagon aggression in the coming period.
The Bush administration will use this current crisis as a means
to justify a further expansion of the Pentagon's war budget at
the expense of money for housing, education, health care, jobs
and other human needs.
DANGER OF MORE STATE REPRESSION
Throughout the country, the military, FBI and local police
authorities are now sealing off large urban areas, blockading
bridges, tunnels and roads, and mobilizing a massive presence of
police and the National Guard. All this reveals an advanced stage
of planning for domestic repression that can be used against the
progressive and labor movements, and the Black, Latino, Asian,
Arab and other oppressed communities.
All the more reason to resist the current efforts to strengthen
police measures under cover of the present crisis.
The people of New York City and the country cannot allow the Bush
administration and the Pentagon to play on their genuine feelings
of shock and disbelief to stir reaction and strengthen the forces
of repression. This will not help the working and oppressed
people of this or any country.
The only way to respond to today's events is to extend solidarity
to the families and friends of those who perished or who were
injured at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; build global
solidarity with people around the world struggling against war,
poverty and exploitation; and deepen the movement to protest new
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