By now, most Americans have heard, somewhere along the way, at least a passing reference to the Not In Our Name (NION) project – a self-described "peace" movement that has produced, most notably, two documents publicly denouncing our country’s post-9/11 policies, both foreign and domestic.
These documents have received a groundswell of support from many prominent artists, academicians, and activists. Among the tens of thousands to publicly endorse NION’s objectives are Ed Asner, Oliver Stone, Ossie Davis, Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon, Alice Walker, Ramsey Clark, Tom Hayden, Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, Gloria Steinem, Medea Benjamin, Leslie Cagan, and Noam Chomsky.
The NION "Pledge to Resist" condemns "the injustices done by our government" in its pursuit of "endless war"; its supposedly greed-driven "transfusions of blood for oil"; its determination to "erode [our] freedoms"; and its eagerness to "invade countries, bomb civilians, kill more children, [and annihilate] families on foreign soil." Mocking President Bush’s "axis of evil" reference, the pledge adds: "Not by our hearts will we allow whole peoples or countries to be deemed evil." This, of course, is a gross distortion of Bush’s words, which clearly identified the ruling regimes of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea – and not those nations’ populations at large – as "evil." If anything, Bush has repeatedly taken pains to express his compassion for the millions of hapless victims living in terror under those regimes.
A separate document, the NION "Statement of Conscience" condemns not only the Bush administration’s "stark new measures of repression," but also its "unjust, immoral, illegitimate, [and] openly imperial policy towards the world." According to NION, it is the American government – and not that of Iraq, North Korea, Iran, or any other nation – that leads the way in posing "grave dangers to the people of the world."
The NION project was initiated by a man named C. Clark Kissinger, a longtime Maoist activist. Currently a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and a contributing writer for the socialist publication Revolutionary Worker, Kissinger began his public activism in the early 1960s when he was the national secretary of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), founded by Tom Hayden. The leading radical organization of its day, SDS later split into several groups, among which was the militant, revolutionary Weathermen.
Kissinger also worked closely with Fred Hampton and the Black Panther Party, and openly supported Mao Tse-tung’s notoriously oppressive Cultural Revolution in China. Kissinger continues to enjoy strong support from the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM), which, by its own words, "upholds the revolutionary communist ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism," and views the Chinese Cultural Revolution as "the farthest advance of communism in human history."
MIM frankly declares that it can only achieve its ends "by building public opinion to seize power through armed struggle." Chief among its objectives is to foment "revolution [in] North America, as the [US}military becomes over-extended in the government’s attempts to maintain world hegemony." Such are the ideals of Mr. Kissinger and his benefactors. Such are the "peace-loving" roots of the lofty-sounding Communist front group, Not In Our Name.
Wherever there has been a cause aiming to harm or humiliate the United States, Mr. Kissinger has been there. He was a strong supporter of the Iranian revolution, and actually traveled to Iran in 1979. Four years later, he was in West Germany demonstrating against US plans to station cruise and Pershing missiles in Europe. As history has shown that those missile deployments were crucial to the eventual fall of the Soviet empire, it is not at all surprising that Kissinger and his fellow Communists-posing-as-peace-demonstrators opposed them so vehemently.
In 1987 Kissinger was an initiator of an organization called "Refuse and Resist!" – of whose National Council he remains a member. Like Kissinger, R&R squarely opposes any political or legislative measures intended to make the United States more secure. After 9/11, for instance, the Patriot Act – in an effort to impose some order on America’s out-of-control immigration abuses – required that all male immigrants (aged sixteen or older) from some twenty Arab or Muslim countries and North Korea register with the INS. But R&R stridently objected, warning that the US, by such "targeting of men from specific nationalities," was on its way to becoming "a nation behind barbed wire." The registration of Middle Eastern men, R&R claimed, was "quite possibly ‘pre-registration’ for internment" that would one day lead hordes of unsuspecting victims "like sheep to the slaughter." Attorney General Ashcroft stated, quite correctly, "In this new war [on terrorism], our enemy’s platoons infiltrate our borders, quietly blending in with visiting tourists, students, and workers. They move unnoticed through our cities, neighborhoods, and public spaces. They wear no uniforms. . . . Their tactics rely on evading recognition at the border and escaping detection within the United States. Their terrorist mission is to defeat America, destroy our values and kill innocent people."
Nothing, of course, could more precisely describe the actions of the very people who hijacked four airliners on 9/11 and murdered 3,000 human beings. Yet R&R characterized Ashcroft’s words as nothing more than "a disgusting call to hate and fear immigrants," having "nothing to do with stopping terrorists, and everything to do with tightening police state controls over everyone . . . [and] instilling terror in the hearts and minds of Arabs and Muslims." The government’s ultimate goal, brayed R&R, was the establishment of "detention camps . . . all over the country."
Among R&R’s numerous ongoing crusades is its effort to derail the new Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which requires educational institutions to furnish the INS with information on its international students who entered the US on academic visas. For each student in that category, schools must provide his or her name, country of origin, current address, field of study, visa status, and any known history of disciplinary problems or criminal activity.
According to R&R, however, such measures are unreasonable: "SEVIS is a system of racial profiling that singles out and criminalizes international students in the US," and will only bring our country "one step closer to being a police state." Moreover, says Kissinger’s group, SEVIS "will be used to intimidate, round-up, arrest, ‘disappear’ and deport targeted groups . . . in the so-called ‘War on Terrorism.’ "
"There is no evidence," says R&R, "to support the government’s claims that SEVIS is necessary to fight terrorism." This is an egregious lie that insults the intelligence of any thinking person.Consider a few sobering facts. In her book Invasion, Michelle Malkin reports that September 11 hijacker Hani Hanjour and 1993 World Trade Center (WTC) bomber Eyad Ismoil both entered the US legally on student visas, but thereafter disappeared and never enrolled in any American school. They resurfaced only to carry out their horrific acts of war.
Last May, federal prosecutors arrested nearly five-dozen Middle Eastern men in a student-visa fraud ring. These men, Malkin explains, "illegally paid substitutes to take English-language proficiency exams" that they had to pass in order to meet their visa requirements. One of the captured suspects had, in his possession, flight manuals, photos of the WTC vicinity, and adate book with but a single entry: September 11.
There are currently more than a million foreigners holding student visas in the US. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Sudan sent a combined 10,000 students to the US on academic visas between 1991 and 1996. In the first school year of the new millennium, Saudi Arabia – the homeland of three-fourths of the 9/11 hijackers – sent more than 5,000 students to American universities. Egypt sent another 2,300. Once here, these students traditionally faced almost no accountability during the pre-SEVIS era. In December 2001, for instance, an INS operation in San Diego was able to track down only ten of fifty suspected visa violators from countries linked to terrorism, and only one of those ten had his documents in order.
Even more alarming is a 1997 Washington Institute for Near East Policy report stating that US weapons inspectors in Iraq had found documents detailing an Iraqi government strategy to send students to study nuclear-related subjects in American colleges, after which they would return home to help Saddam build his arsenals of genocide. Among such known Iraqi visa recipients was a prominent scientist in Baghdad’s nuclear weapons program who attended Michigan State University. Similarly, three Iranians who helped develop Tehran’s nuclear program also learned their trade in this country, as did a Jordanian who attended Wichita State University and later took part in the 1993 WTC bombing.
Kissinger and his Communist allies know quite well that there is ample evidence "to support the government’s claims that SEVIS is necessary to fight terrorism." Their disingenuous rhetoric cannot erase the fact that under the embarrassingly inefficient system that preceded SEVIS, student visa approval notices were actually issued for dead hijackers Mohamad Atta and Marwan Al Shehhi – fully six months after they had helped carry out their mass murders on 9/11.
Kissinger and his R&R cronies have literally nothing good to say about American life and culture. "Domestically," they crow, "we see subway vigilantes made media heroes and a record of sympathy for white supremacy become the passport to high judicial office. . . . Against women there is escalating violence, with compulsory child bearing and domestic servitude elevated as ideals. . . . Xenophobic attacks are made on anything foreign, combined with calls for the compulsory use of English." Putting aside the untruths contained in such assertions, it is notable that R&R utters not a word about the bigotry, oppression of women, and xenophobia that has been elevated to a virtual art form throughout the Middle East. Only America incurs the wrath of Mr. Kissinger’s group.
"The problem in this country," says Kissinger, can be traced to one root cause: "the oppressive system of capitalism that exploits people all over the world, that destroys our planet, that oppresses minority people, that sends people to the death chambers in droves. That is a problem that has to be done away with." Is there a solution? "Yes," says Kissinger. "Revolution is the solution. And the Revolutionary Worker has put out a call to people to join with them in formulating a new program for revolution in this country, a blueprint to go forward."
Like so many in the contemporary "peace" movement, R&R is also expending considerable energy to "stop the legal lynching of Mumia Abu-Jamal," the man currently serving a prison term for having murdered a Philadelphia police officer. Describing him benignly as "an African-American journalist on death row," Kissinger attributes Mumia’s conviction to America’s "political program of criminalizing black youth, using prisons and death chambers to ‘solve’ the problems of poverty and social breakdown, and the use of police powers to suppress radical or revolutionary opposition." According to Kissinger, Mumia, whose "voice is heard among the most oppressed," has been targeted solely "because of his uncompromising resistance to this whole agenda." In short, Mumia is victim, hero, cult celebrity, and voice of social conscience all rolled into one. By contrast, the bereaved wife of the officer he murdered is merely someone whose expressions of grief Kissinger claims to be "getting pretty tired of."
In 1992, Kissinger and R&R openly supported what they called "the Los Angeles Rebellion," which normal human beings recall as the worst riots in American history – having left 58 people dead, some 2,300 injured, and 5,300 buildings burned. Kissinger expressed deep sympathy for the "prisoners" of that "rebellion," those looters and assailants who were arrested for being what R&R would call noble revolutionaries standing up to an oppressive state.
Kissinger’s volcanic hatred of America occasionally takes his orations into the realm of vulgarity and slander. On August 1, 2000, for instance, he addressed protesters outside the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. Dubbing the event "the Executioner’s Ball," he called the attending Republicans "the greatest collection of mass murderers that has been assembled in this country in decades" – in part because Florida and Texas, headed by Governors Jeb and George Bush, accounted for a hefty percentage of all death-row executions in the US.
Those at the convention, said Kissinger, were there to "decide who will be the imperial ruler of this country for the next four years. F--- their election!" Their ultimate goal, he asserted, was to secure a "coronation for that scumbag George W. Bush. . . . a smirking frat rat son of a former head of the CIA who went on to become a speculator oil man, and from there went on to be a blood-stained executioner, and now wants to be the ruler of the world. This serial killer has now killed 135 people" (a reference to the Texas death penalty).
The next time you hear a Not In Our Name spokesperson piously bleating for "peace," remember the man and the organization underpinning the NION movement, and remember the things for which they stand.