News Release

* Bio-Warfare * “Blowback” * Nukes

SUSAN WRIGHT
Co-author of Preventing a Biological Arms Race and of the forthcoming book The Biological Warfare Problem: A Reappraisal for the 21st Century, Wright said today:”As the U.S. faces the threat of biological warfare at home, calls for strengthening defenses against biological warfare are certainly justified. But there is a deep contradiction in the U.S. position. Abroad, the government — under both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations — has pursued a unilateralist policy that has weakened the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, which bans biological and toxin weapons. This was done both directly — by supporting BW-related activities that undermine if not violate the treaty — and indirectly by diluting and ultimately rejecting a draft Protocol designed to provide the treaty with an inspection regime.”
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DAVID GIBBS
Associate professor of political science at the University of Arizona and author of the article “Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion in Retrospect,” Gibbs said today: “The rise of bin Laden can be seen as ‘blowback’ from past failed U.S. policies in Afghanistan. Not only did the CIA back the most extreme of all the Islamic groups, but new evidence suggests that U.S. officials helped provoke the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In a 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur in France, former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski recounts that, contrary to the official version of events, CIA aid to the mujahaddin guerrillas began six months before the invasion of Afghanistan — with the anticipation that this would make a Soviet intervention more likely. Brzezinski boasts about his role in ‘drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap.’ When questioned about the wisdom of supporting Islamic fundamentalism, Brzezinski offers a chilling dismissal: ‘What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire?'”
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WILLIAM HARTUNG
Hartung is senior research fellow at the World Policy Institute and author of “The New Business of War.” He said today: “Far from representing a ‘new approach,’ the military actions being undertaken by the Bush administration — engaging in massive bombing attacks, unleashing the CIA to permit assassinations of foreign leaders and arming rebel groups to pressure regimes that allegedly support terror groups — are a collection of discredited policies from the past. The Pentagon’s current allies of convenience — the Northern Alliance — had a dismal human rights record when they ruled Afghanistan, and many residents of Kabul fear a return of the Northern Alliance to power even more than they fear the current repressive policies of the Taliban…. Putting a U.S. stamp of approval on brutal policies of ‘coalition’ partners that will in all likelihood be carried out with U.S. arms is hardly a way to increase our popularity or our security with the people of these countries.”
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HARVEY WASSERMAN
This week, the Sunday Times of London reported that terrorists may have planned to use one of the planes on Sept. 11 “to bomb a nuclear power station.” Wasserman, author of The Last Energy War and co-author of Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation, said today: “The planes that crashed into the WTC could have easily obliterated the two atomic reactors now operating at Indian Point, about 40 miles up the Hudson, or Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. Had those jets instead hit such reactors, an unimaginable holocaust could have occurred.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167