Round Up the Usual Suspects

A look back three years…

September 11, 2001: As I sit typing this here in New York City, the radio is blaring news of hijacked planes crashing into the World Trade Center. Instantly, I feared for friends who work in the area. Next, overwhelmed by the inevitability I felt and the sound of F-16s circling in restricted air space, I made a mental laundry list of suspects. Most observers, of course, will reflexively start with the generic term: ‘Arab’. It’s enlightening that Westerners use that word to describe people as diverse as Yemenis and Syrians, but never use ‘European’ to label both an Irishman and a Swede. While it’s clear that only a few groups had the resources to pull off such a coordinated onslaught, I still couldn’t help but wonder who has the U.S. pissed off enough to warrant violent revenge?

I started in our hemisphere and thought of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador . . . by the time I got to Colombia, I changed that to one entry: The entire Western Hemisphere (except non-Quebec Canada). Looking eastward, I thought of the Hawai1ian sovereignty movement, North Korea, East Timor, the Philippines, Laos, Burma, and Vietnam before I realized that the term ‘East Asia’ would suffice. Moving right along, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Tibet, a whole gaggle of former Soviet republics (plus Chechnya), and the entire Middle East (except Israel) all had acceptable motives. In Europe, there’s Bosnian Serbs, Serbian Croats, Croatian Muslims, ethnic Albanians, the Red Brigade, the Basques, or even the IRA (to name but a few). The whole continent of Africa<ETH>from Libya to Nigeria to Zaire to Rwanda to the Sudan<ETH>could justifiably plead self-defense.

But what about right here at home? Well, you’ve got a small army of anti-abortion zealots, the Bo Gritz ‘UN is gonna take over the world’ crowd, a devoted group of followers waiting for David Koresh to return, the Nation of Islam, assorted neo-Nazis and skinheads, and Rush’s fans with the means. Toss in anguished welfare recipients, veterans denied benefits, Gulf War vets with a strange disease, the American Indian Movement, and you have plenty of homegrown suspects, indeed.

By the time you read this, the FBI will have most likely identified the culprits and the media will be busy obscuring the real issues, but it might be worth your time to contemplate exactly how much misery – domestic and/or foreign – your tax dollars are responsible for. In fact, in lieu of the U.S. breeding so much fear, paranoia, exploitation, oppression, torture, and death at home and across the globe, it’s surprising this kind of thing doesn’t happen more often. Maybe this is just a very frightening start. As Malcolm X remarked about the JFK assassination: ‘The chickens have come home to roost.’ As long as U.S. citizens passively allow their tax dollars to fund a violent empire and a repressive domestic policy, there are no legitimately innocent bystanders in this country. We’re all complicit in our own way and thus we’re all fair game for revenge. Sweet dreams, comrades.

MICKEY Z. is the author of “The Seven Deadly Spins: Exposing the Lies Behind War Propaganda” (Common Courage Press). For more information, please visit


Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here. This piece first appeared at World Trust News.