Category Archives: The War on Terror

Real Americans Question 9/11

Real Americans Question 9/11

These days it’s difficult to remember what values the American people share. That’s because the U.S. government does so many things that seem to contradict basic human values. Wars of aggression, torture, kidnapping and indefinite detention, warrantless wiretapping, and so many other oppressions have become standard operational procedure for the U.S. government. Those who recognize and seek to correct this system of abuse soon realize that the key to doing so is to reveal the truth behind the primary driver for all of them—the crimes of 9/11.

It’s important to know what makes someone an American and what does not. Here are some examples of what does not make someone an American.

  • Loyalty to the flag
  • Respect for the national anthem
  • Serving in the military or honoring military veterans
  • Paying taxes

A person can do these things to any extent possible and it will not make them any more American than they were before they began. Popular culture and corporate media make every effort to present American patriotism as a sum of these kinds of activities but it is easy to see through that false front.

Only one thing makes someone an American and that is support and defense of the U.S. Constitution. The founding fathers of the United States defined Americans as those who are committed to the ideals of the Constitution. To this day, anyone claiming to represent the nation must swear an oath to uphold those ideals.

Each president, when taking office, affirms that he will “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” All congress members must swear or affirm that they will “support and defend the Constitution.”

All new citizens of the United States and every member of the U.S. military must swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;” and that they “will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

The U.S. Constitution is comprised of articles that spell out the government’s powers and the process of making amendments. It also includes the 27 amendments that exist today. The first ten amendments, ratified four years after the original text, are known as the Bill of Rights. These include the freedoms of speech, religion, and the press. Also, there are the rights to bear arms, to privacy, and to a speedy and public trial. The rejection of cruel and unusual punishment is another basic tenet of the U.S. Constitution.

Unfortunately, virtually every Article and Amendment of the Constitution has been under attack since September 11, 2001. Yet very few people have risen to support or defend it. In fact, many so-called Americans have encouraged assaults on the core American values.

That abuse began with the violation of Article 1 of the Constitution that rejects starting wars of aggression without having been “actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.” Instead of working to determine what actually happened on 9/11 and thereby defend the nation, the Bush Administration immediately invaded Afghanistan, a country that it had planned to invade long before the 9/11 attacks. Sixteen months later, the government invaded Iraq based on what everyone now knows was a pack of lies.

Americans who questioned that anti-American approach were silenced with claims that they were not “supporting the troops” if they did not consent to the growing greed-fueled militarism. The Afghanistan invasion was coupled with the passing of the Patriot Act—an attack on basic Constitutional rights and a failure to preserve those rights as described in Article 2.

In 2006, national polls showed that over one third of Americans believed that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so that the United States could go to war in the Middle East. At the same time, Americans witnessed a growing list of abuses of their Constitutional rights. These abuses violated the Bill of Rights in nearly every way and were driven by unproven claims about what happened on September 11, 2001.

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the Center for Constitutional Rights described how the Constitution had been shredded based on assumptions about the 9/11 attacks. By then, it had also become clear that the government was actually giving aid and comfort to the enemy (violating Article 3) through arming and training terrorists. One might think it obvious that stopping such actions would be the goal of all Americans but to do so one Congress member has had to spell it out in legislation.

Failing to protect Americans against domestic violence (a violation of Article 4), the FBI was found to actually be manufacturing terrorism. It was further learned that some FBI leaders had been facilitating or sponsoring terrorism since long before 9/11. This practice continues today and the manufactured plots have become so obvious that officials are finding it difficult to explain why Americans should take them seriously.

Attorney and author John W. Whitehead has detailed the continuing attacks on the Bill of Rights by writing that,

“What began with the passage of the USA Patriot Act in October 2001 has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse. Since then, we have been terrorized, traumatized, and tricked into a semi-permanent state of compliance. The bogeyman’s names and faces change over time—Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and now ISIS—but the end result remains the same: our unquestioning acquiescence to anything the government wants to do in exchange for the phantom promise of safety and security.”

The attacks on American values have been so extensive that people often no longer notice how bad it has become. For example, the government has named those captured and tortured in the name of 9/11 as “forever prisoners”—a term that exemplifies the hatred of freedom represented by the new phony Americanism. The fact that one of these men was a central character in building the official account of 9/11 and has since been exonerated for any involvement in those crimes makes no difference.

How can real Americans respond to this ongoing assault against the Constitution by flag-waving, militaristic, greed-driven fools? How can we “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” by “bearing true faith and allegiance to the same?”

To end the wave of anti-Americanism that began with the crimes of 9/11, Americans have two options. The first is to stand up publicly and fight the attacks on our Constitution by helping everyone understand that the crimes of 9/11 have not been solved. In fact, there are still so many unanswered questions about those crimes that everything done in “response” is almost certainly a crime in itself.

The second option is to end the tyranny through revolution. This was how America began, of course, and that great beginning is enshrined in the precursor to the Constitution—the Declaration of Independence. At the time, the founders stated that, “When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

As Americans it is our duty to throw off the tyrannical abuses of power that are threatening to end America. That duty starts with questioning 9/11—the driver behind all of it.

Book review of Bruce Riedel’s “What We Won: America’s Secret War in Afghanistan, 1979-89

Book review of Bruce Riedel’s “What We Won: America’s Secret War in Afghanistan, 1979-89

By Elias Davidsson,   August 24, 2014

Unreliable author

The author, a former CIA official, purports to write scholarly books. I have analysed a paper by the author, Bruce Riedel, published on November 30, 2008 by the Brookings Institution entitled “Terrorism in India and the Global Jihad.” The paper was written in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. Approximately half of all factual statements made in this short essay are either baseless, wrong or unsubstantiated. Here are the results of my analysis

  1. “India has been a target for al Qaeda and the global jihadist movement for over a decade.” (No evidence)
  2. “India has often been listed by bin Laden and his accomplice Ayman Zawahiri as a part of the `Crusader-Zionist-Hindu’ conspiracy against the Islamic world.” (No evidence)
  3. “The targets of the killers in Mumbai –Americans, Brits, Israelis and Indians–fit exactly into the profile al Qaeda and its partners vilify and plot against.” (wrong, no Americans and Brits were targeted)
  4. “Both bin Laden and Zawahiri have spoken about the “U.S-Jewish-Indian alliance against Muslims.” (No evidence)
  5. “Usama bin Laden was an early supporter of the group [LeT] and provided some of the initial funding for its start.” (No evidence)
  6. “LeT’s self professed goal is to create an Islamic state in all of south and central Asia, not just Kashmir.” (No evidence)
  7. “LeT’s operatives have worked closely with al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and there are reports of LeT volunteers fighting in Iraq.” (No evidence)
  8. “Like al Qaeda, LeT has raised funds in the Gulf states.” (No evidence)
  9. “Since 9/11 several key al Qaeda operatives arrested in Pakistan have been found in safe houses run by LeT.” (No evidence)
  10. “The first major al Qaeda lieutenant caught after 9/11, Abu Zubayda, was apprehended in an LeT safe house in Faisalabad.” (No evidence)
  11. “Bin Laden was also a key figure in the creation of another Kashmiri group that works closely with global jihadists, the Jaish-e Muhammad (Army of Muhammad).” (No evidence)
  12. “In December 2001 JeM, possibly with help from LeT, was behind an attack on the Indian parliament.” (No evidence)
  13. “By focusing Pakistan’s army on its eastern border with India the attack [on the Indian Parliament] also left the western border with Afghanistan open to the retreating al Qaeda and Taliban leadership including bin Laden, Zawahiri and Mullah Omar who were fleeing the American Operation Enduring Freedom forces in Afghanistan.” (No evidence)
  14. “Trained and armed killers [were] intent on operating in small teams or alone targeting Americans, Brits, Israelis as well as Indians” in Mumbai.” (wrong, Americans and Brits were not targeted; the words “as well as Indians” is a gross misrepresentation. Most victims were Indians)
  15. “Hotels have long been a favorite target of al Qaeda and its allies from the multiple hotel bombings in Amman by Al Qaeda’s Iraq franchise in November 2005 to the attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul this January and the bombing of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad in September.” (No evidence that these attacks had any relation with Al Qaeda or an alleged Al Qaeda “franchise”)
  16. “Many accounts of the incident say the terrorists arrived by sea from the Pakistani megacity port of Karachi.” (Only a single witness, Bharat Tamore, testified in the Mumbai court to have seen “terrorists” arrive by sea, and his credibility was nil)
  17. “Khalid Shaykh Mohammad, the tactical mastermind of 9/11, trained most of the Saudi hijackers in Karachi in a safe house.” (No evidence for the allegation. The claim that KSM was tactical mastermind of 9/11 is baseless and absurd)

U.S. Counter-terrorism Strategy to Rely on Surgical Strikes, Unmanned Drones

U.S. Counter-terrorism Strategy to Rely on Surgical Strikes, Unmanned Drones

By Ken Dilanian
June 30, 2011″LA Times”

The Obama administration has concluded in a newly released counter-terrorism strategy that precision strikes and raids, rather than large land wars, are the most effective way to defeat Al Qaeda.

“Al Qaeda seeks to bleed us financially by drawing us into long, costly wars that also inflame anti-American sentiment,” John Brennan, President Obama’s counter-terrorism advisor, said in a speech Wednesday unveiling the new strategy. “Going forward, we will be mindful that if our nation is threatened, our best offense won’t always be deploying large armies abroad but delivering targeted, surgical pressure to the groups that threaten us.”

Brennan, a longtime former CIA officer, spoke at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, as the White House posted the new strategy on its website.

The strategy codifies policies the administration has been pursuing for 2 1/2 years, and much of it mirrors the practices of the Bush administration, Brennan said.  But at its core is a repudiation of the thinking that sent large numbers of American troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. Al Qaeda’s leadership has been decimated, Brennan said, thanks not to the wars but to “unyielding pressure” from U.S. operations to kill the group’s leaders one by one in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

The more acute threats to the U.S. these days come from Al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and perhaps Somalia, U.S. officials have said, and no one is contemplating sending large numbers of American troops to those countries.

Instead, the U.S. will pursue a war in the shadows, one relying heavily on missile strikes from unmanned aerial drones, raids by elite special operations troops, and quiet training of local forces to pursue terrorists.

Brennan said the recently announced troop reduction in Afghanistan would have no impact on U.S. counter-terrorism strategy in that country and Pakistan, where, he said, the U.S. has been delivering “precise and overwhelming force” against militants.

In the peculiar dance that marks the administration’s discussions of this issue, Brennan did not explicitly mention the vast expansion of drone strikes the U.S. has undertaken in Pakistan since January 2009— 213 of them, according to the New America Foundation, which counts them through media reports. That is because the program technically is secret, even though it is widely discussed and openly acknowledged by U.S. and Pakistani officials in private.

Later, when asked whether a policy of targeted killing was appropriate for the United States, Brennan responded that the U.S. is “exceptionally precise and surgical in terms of addressing the terrorist threat. And by that I mean, if there are terrorists who are within an area where there are women and children or others, you know, we do not take such action that might put those innocent men, women and children in danger.”

He added that in the last year, “there hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities that we’ve been able to develop.”

Brennan presumably was referring to covert strikes by the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command, because in April, two American servicemen were killed by a Hellfire missile fired from a military drone after apparently being mistaken for insurgents moving to attack another group of Marines in southern Afghanistan.

Brennan’s willingness to boast about the precision of the drone strikes without actually acknowledging them underscores one of the implications of the Obama counter-terrorism strategy: It will be conducted largely in secret, without public accountability. When the military makes a mistake in a drone strike, as it has done in Afghanistan, there is an investigation and some transparency.

But when it comes to targeted killing by the CIA or clandestine special operations units, government officials are able to avoid public scrutiny, citing the need for secrecy. They are willing to make claims about limited civilian casualties, but are not willing to document those claims by, for example, releasing the video taken of each strike.

While members of Congress briefed on the drone program, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), back the administration’s claims that civilian casualties are minimal, other experts, including Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and Obama advisor, question how officials can be so sure.

Asked about this, the White House declined to comment.

Jordanian female police, military participate in Bay Area terrorism exercise

Jordanian female police, military participate in Bay Area terrorism exercise
By Sophia Kazmi

Contra Costa Times
Posted: 10/15/2011 08:16:23 PM PDT
Updated: 10/15/2011 08:54:49 PM PDT

DUBLIN — A lot of teams have participated in the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Urban Shield training exercise in the past four years, but none quite like this one.

The first all-female team will attend with 30 other teams this year in the homeland security exercise aimed at protecting urban, populated areas.

The seven-member team from the kingdom of Jordan — five military and two police officers — made the journey from the Middle East to the Bay Area to share skills and learn new ones.

As for being the only female team to participate, the captain whose name could not be used because of the country’s policy of not identifying officers, said they just want to learn.

“We don’t care if we are female or male,” she said. “We have a job, and we have to do it.”

A handful of other women on mixed-gender teams are participating in the four-day training exercise, which concludes Monday morning. Teams face 32 live scenarios — such as an active shooter, a hostage rescue on the Bay Bridge, a courtroom takeover by a terrorist group, an airplane hijacking, or a chemical agent dispersal — held in various parts of the Bay Area.

The exercise tests teams’ communication, planning and execution skills under life-or-death situations, as well as assessing their stamina. It is the largest of its kind in the United States, costs about $1.3 million and requires nearly a year of planning to produce.

While most of the teams are from Northern California, the event has attracted teams from outside the area. The Chicago Police Department is participating this year.

This year Jordan sent three teams, the Israeli National Police sent a team, and the French have participated in the past.

Ayman Masri, who retired from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office two months ago, was instrumental in bringing the Jordanian teams to Urban Shield. Masri, who now works for Cytel Group Inc., an organization focused on bringing the Urban Shield program to other parts of the United States and the world, said he wanted the Jordanian teams to gain the experience.

His goal is to have the international community participate in Urban Shield. Terrorism, Masri said, goes beyond country, religion and race.

“We are all fighting terrorism these days,” said Masri, who was born and raised in Jordan.

The female Jordanian team will be in town just for the exercise. Asked if her team is excited about the exercise, the team captain smiled:

“For sure.”

Contact Sophia Kazmi at 925-847-2122. Follow her at

Is The War On Terror A Hoax?

Is The War On Terror A Hoax?

By Paul Craig Roberts
September 30, 2011 “Information Clearing House” —

In the past decade, Washington has killed, maimed, dislocated, and made widows and orphans millions of Muslims in six countries, all in the name of the “war on terror.” Washington’s attacks on the countries constitute naked aggression and impact primarily civilian populations and infrastructure and, thereby, constitute war crimes under law. Nazis were executed precisely for what Washington is doing today.

Moreover the wars and military attacks have cost American taxpayers in out-of-pocket and already-incurred future costs at least $4,000 billion dollars–one third of the accumulated public debt–resulting in a US deficit crisis that threatens the social safety net, the value of the US dollar and its reserve currency role, while enriching beyond all previous history the military/security complex and its apologists.

Perhaps the highest cost of Washington’s “war on terror” has been paid by the US Constitution and civil liberties. Any US citizen that Washington accuses is deprived of all legal and constitutional rights. The Bush-Cheney-Obama regimes have overturned humanity’s greatest achievement–the accountability of government to law.

If we look around for the terror that the police state and a decade of war has allegedly protected us from, the terror is hard to find. Except for 9/11 itself, assuming we accept the government’s improbable conspiracy theory explanation, there have been no terror attacks on the US. Indeed, as RT pointed out on August 23, 2011, an investigative program at the University of California discovered that the domestic “terror plots” hyped in the media were plotted by FBI agents.

FBI undercover agents now number 15,000, ten times their number during the protests against the Vietnam war when protesters were suspected of communist sympathies. As there apparently are no real terror plots for this huge workforce to uncover, the FBI justifies its budget, terror alerts, and invasive searches of American citizens by thinking up “terror plots” and finding some deranged individuals to ensnare. For example, the Washington DC Metro bombing plot, the New York city subway plot, the plot to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago were all FBI brainchilds organized and managed by FBI agents.

RT reports that only three plots might have been independent of the FBI, but as none of the three worked they obviously were not the work of such a professional terror organization as Al Qaeda is purported to be. The Times Square car bomb didn’t blow up, and apparently could not have.

The latest FBI sting ensnared a Boston man, Rezwan Ferdaus, who is accused of planning to attack the Pentagon and US Capitol with model airplanes packed with C-4 explosives. US Attorney Carmen Ortiz assured Americans that they were never in danger, because the FBI’s undercover agents were in control of the plot.

Ferdaus’ FBI-organized plot to blow up the Pentagon and US Capitol with model airplanes has produced charges that he provided “material support to a terrorist organization” and plotted to destroy federal buildings–the most serious charge which carries 20 imprisoned years for each targeted building.

What is the terrorist organization that Ferdaus is serving? Surely not al Qaeda, which allegedly outwitted all 16 US intelligence services, all intelligence services of America’s NATO and Israeli allies, NORAD, the National Security Council, Air Traffic Control, Dick Cheney, and US airport security four times in one hour on the same morning. Such a highly capable terror organization would not be involved in such nonsense as a plot to blow up the Pentagon with a model airplane.

As an American who was in public service for a number of years and who has always stood up for the Constitution, a patriot’s duty, I must hope that the question has already popped into readers’ minds why we are expected to believe that a tiny model airplane is capable of blowing up the Pentagon when a 757 airliner loaded with jet fuel was incapable of doing the job, merely making a hole not big enough for an airliner.

When I observe the gullibility of my fellow citizens at the absurd “terror plots” that the US government manufactures, it causes me to realize that fear is the most powerful weapon any government has for advancing an undeclared agenda. If Ferdaus is brought to trial, no doubt a jury will convict him of a plot to blow up the Pentagon and US Capitol with model airplanes. Most likely he will be tortured or coerced into a plea bargain.

Apparently, Americans, or most of them, are so ruled by fear that they suffer no remorse from “their” government’s murder and dislocation of millions of innocent people. In the American mind, one billion “towel-heads” have been reduced to terrorists who deserve to be exterminated. The US is on its way to a holocaust that makes the terrors Jews faced from National Socialism into a mere precursor.

Think about this: Are not you amazed that after a decade (2.5 times the length of WW II) of killing Muslims and destroying families and their prospects in six countries there are no real terrorist events in the US?

Think for a minute how easy terrorism would be in the US if there were any terrorists. Would an Al Qaeda terrorist from the organization that allegedly pulled off 9/11–the most humiliating defeat ever suffered by a Western power, much less “the world’s only superpower”–still in the face of all the screening be trying to hijack an airliner or to blow one up?

Surely not when there are so many totally soft targets. If America were really infected with a “terrorist threat,” a terrorist would merely get in the massive lines awaiting to clear airport “security” and set off his bomb. It would kill far more people than could be achieved by blowing up an airliner, and it would make it completely clear that “airport security” meant no one was safe.

It would be child’s play for terrorists to blow up electric sub-stations as no one is there, nothing but a chain link fence. It would be easy for terrorists to blow up shopping centers. It would be easy for terrorists to dump boxes of roofing nails on congested streets and freeways during rush hours, tying up main transportation arteries for days.
Before, dear reader, you accuse me of giving terrorists ideas, do you really think that these ideas would not already have occurred to terrorists capable of pulling off 9/11?

But nothing happens. So the FBI arrests a guy for planning to blow up America with a model airplane. It is really depressing how many Americans will believe this.

Consider also that American neoconservatives, who have orchestrated the “war on terror,” have no protection whatsoever and that the Secret Service protection of Bush and Cheney is minimal. If America really faced a terrorist threat, especially one so professional to have brought off 9/11, every neoconservative along with Bush and Cheney could be assassinated within one hour on one morning or one evening.

The fact that neoconservatives such as Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, John Bolton, William Kristol, Libby, Addington, et. al., live unprotected and free of fear is proof that America faces no terrorist threat.

Think now about the airliner shoe-bomb plot, the shampoo-bottled water plot, and the underwear-bomb plot. Experts, other than the whores hired by the US government, say that these plots are nonsensical. The “shoe bomb” and “underwear bomb” were colored fireworks powders incapable of blowing up a tin can. The liquid bomb, allegedly mixed up in an airliner toilet room, has been dismissed by experts as fantasy.

What is the purpose of these fake plots? And remember, all reports confirm that the “underwear bomber” was walked onto the airliner by an official, despite the fact that the “underwear bomber” had no passport. No investigation was ever conducted by the FBI, CIA, or anyone into why a passenger without a passport was allowed on an international flight.

The purpose of these make-believe plots is to raise the fear level and to create the opportunity for former Homeland Security czar Michael Chertoff to make a fortune selling porno-scanners to the TSA.

The result of these hyped “terrorist plots” is that every American citizen, even those with high government positions and security clearances, cannot board a commercial airline flight without taking off his shoes, his jacket, his belt, submitting to a porno-scanner, or being sexually groped. Nothing could make it plainer that “airport security” cannot tell a Muslim terrorist from a gung-ho American patriot, a US Senator, a US Marine general, or a CIA operative.

If a passenger requires for health or other reasons quantities of liquids and cremes beyond the limits imposed on toothpaste, shampoo, food, or medications, the passenger must obtain prior approval from TSA, which seldom works. One of America’s finest moments is the case, documented on UTube, of a dying woman in a wheelchair, who requires special food, having her food thrown away by the gestapo TSA despite the written approval from the Transportation Safety Administration, her daughter arrested for protesting, and the dying woman in the wheelchair left alone in the airport.

This is Amerika today. These assaults on innocent citizens are justified by the mindless right-wing as “protecting us against terrorism,” a “threat” that all evidence shows is nonexistent.

No American is secure today. I am a former staff associate of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee. I required high security clearances as I had access to information pertaining to all US weapons programs. As chief economist of the House Budget Committee I had information pertaining to the US military and security budgets. As Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury, I was provided every morning with the CIA’s briefing of the President as well as with endless security information.

When I left the Treasury, President Reagan appointed me to a super-secret committee to investigate the CIA’s assessment of Soviet capability. Afterwords I was a consult to the Pentagon. I had every kind of security clearance.

Despite my record of highest security clearances and US government confidence in me including confirmation by the US Senate in a presidential appointment, the airline police cannot tell me from a terrorist.
If I were into model airplanes or attending anti-war demonstrations, little doubt I, too, would be arrested.

After my public service in the last quarter of the 20th century, I experienced during the first decade of the 21st century all of America’s achievements, despite their blemishes, being erased. In their place was erected a monstrous desire for hegemony and highly concentrated wealth. Most of my friends and my fellow citizens in general are incapable of recognizing America’s transformation into a warmonger police state that has the worst income distribution of any developed country.
It is extraordinary that so many Americans, citizens of the world’s only superpower, actually believe that they are threatened by Muslim peoples who have no unity, no navy, no air force, no nuclear weapons, no missiles capable of reaching across the oceans.

Indeed, large percentages of these “threat populations,” especially among the young, are enamored of the sexual freedom that exists in America. Even the Iranian dupes of the CIA-orchestrated “Green Revolution” have forgotten Washington’s overthrow of their elected government in the 1950s. Despite America’s decade-long abusive military actions against Muslim peoples, many Muslims still look to America for their salvation.

Their “leaders” are simply bought off with large sums of money.

With the “terrorist threat” and Al Qaeda deflated with President Obama’s alleged assassination of its leader, Osama bin Laden, who was left unprotected and unarmed by his “world-wide terrorist organization,” Washington has come up with a new bogyman–the Haqqanis.

According to John Glaser and anonymous CIA officials, US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mike Mullen “exaggerated” the case against the Haqqani insurgent group when he claimed, setting up a US invasion of Pakistan, that the Hagganis were an operating arm of the Pakistan government’s secret service, the ISI. Adm. Mullen is now running from his “exaggeration,” an euphemism for a lie. His aid Captain John Kirby said that Mullen’s “accusations were designed to influence the Pakistanis to crack down on the Haqqani Network.” In other words, the Pakistanis should kill more of their own people to save the Americans the trouble.

If you don’t know what the Haqqani Network is, don’t be surprised. You never heard of Al Qaeda prior to 9/11. The US government creates whatever new bogymen and incidents are necessary to further the neoconservative agenda of world hegemony and higher profits for the armaments industry.

For ten years, the “superpower” American population has sat there, being terrified by the government’s lies. While Americans sit in fear of non-existent “terrorists” sucking their thumbs, millions of people in six countries have had their lives destroyed. As far as any evidence exists, the vast majority of Americans are unperturbed by the wanton murder of others in countries that they are incapable of locating on maps.

Truly, Amerika is a light unto the world, an example for all.

Terrorism case worries Finnish Somali community

Terrorism case worries Finnish Somali community

NEWS ANALYSIS: Terrorism case worries Finnish Somali community
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By Irina Vähäsarja

Helsingin Sanomat, October 1, 2011

When the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Security Intelligence Service (SUPO) revealed two weeks ago Friday that it had started an investigation into suspicions of financing terrorism and recruiting for terrorist activities, many people of Somali background in Finland knew that something was going on.

After the arrest of the suspects, there was talk that nobody had heard about a Somali woman living in Vantaa for several days. The wildest rumour was that she had been killed.

A question to police revealed what was happening. After that, word started spreading.

 In the two weeks that followed, there has been much talk in the Somali community: in schools, cafes, mosques, and on the street. Confusion and concern are sparked by both the suspicions of crime, as well as how it might affect the attitudes of the majority population.

A study by the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights two years ago revealed that Finland’s Somali community experiences more threats, violence, or serious harassment than any other minority in Europe.

News about suspected crime certainly does not ease the situation, even though the Finnish Somali League, for instance, has publicly denounced terrorism.

“On the streets and in the metro people have been called terrorists”, says Abdirahim Hussein, a Centre Party politician from Helsinki. “Many have told me.”
In addition to direct threats, Somalis fear that getting a job might become more difficult if suspicions increase.

People are also more cautious about sending remittances of money to Somalia. Some people wonder if just anyone might end up on a list of terror suspects if relatives have formed excessively close ties with the rebels.
“Not everyone in Finland knows what their relatives think about al-Shabaab, or ask what the money is used for”, Abdirahim Hussein says.
There is also no certainty about how many Somalis living in Finland actually support al-Shabaab. The issue is generally not discussed in public, as supporting the Islamist organisation is not allowed.

It is know that for some al-Shabaab is still seen as a liberation movement rather than a terrorist organisation. However, the support base is not believed to be very wide.  

“It is on the decline, but undoubtedly there are those who sympathise”, says former Somali League chairman Said Aden, who now works as a project coordinator for the Finnish Ministry of the Interior.

He believes that many of the movement’s supporters who live outside Somalia have a naive image of what the organisation does; al-Shabaab’s iron grip on power where it is in control can create the impression that life is safe in those areas.

In Somalia the situation is seen differently. Tuomas Portaankorva, chief inspector at SUPO, says that he believes that local support for al-Shabaab has decreased recently, because the organisation has prevented aid agencies from operating in its territory, and has committed severe acts of violence.
Although suspicions of terrorism are extremely unpleasant from the point of view of the Somali community in Finland, many feel that a thorough airing of the matter within the community could also have some benefits.

At least the investigation can serve as a warning that maintaining contact with extremist movements can lead to problems in Finland.

To Fight Terrorism, Indonesia Blocks 300 Websites

To Fight Terrorism, Indonesia Blocks 300 Websites
by Ratri Adityarani on September 29, 2011 in Asia, Web

In a recent measure intended to prevent terrorism in Indonesia, the nation’s Ministry of Information and Communication will start closing down websites which contain messages or images of extremist violence.

The plan’s original target was to block 900 reported websites that contain violence and could lead to terrorist behavior by August 2011. But so far only 300 of those sites have been taken down. Tifatul Sembiring, the infamous minister whom we have written about frequently, believes that the root of violence and terrorism is an incorrect understanding of religion or ideology. He says that violent content on a website could trigger a dangerous act.

Tifatul told Antara about this blockade:

There were calls to block or shut down sites that agitate and insult religion, but we will do it gradually […] And the community should manage the information more rationally so they won’t be easily influenced.

Indonesia is still fighting against terrorism after serial bombings and online threats. It’s impossible to gauge what effect the blocking of these reportedly violent websites will have. But in my opinion, giving a correct and more balanced education to people about ideology and religion, on alternative websites, would be another path of action the government could take.

Turkey, France Set To Sign Anti-Terrorism Agreement

Turkey, France Set To Sign Anti-Terrorism Agreement

by AK Group
September 29, 2011 at 3:00 am

Five soldiers were injured in a roadside bomb attack in the southeastern province of Tunceli, the daily Hürriyet reported Wednesday.

The soldiers were responding to a kidnapping and arson attack by alleged members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, near the Pülümür district in Tunceli when the bomb went off.

PKK members barricaded the road between Tunceli and Erzincan provinces near Pülümür district and kidnapped a village guard named İsmail Gürbüz. The militants also took two petrol tankers to a nearby avalanche tunnel and set them on fire, causing extensive damage to the tunnel.

The report said the PKK members also stole numerous vehicles that could be used in possible attacks in the future.

Around 10 militants wearing military uniforms forced two trailer trucks to stop near the village of Suveren in Iğdır by shooting at their tires. The two truck drivers, Adem Yılmaz and Yusuf Demir, were forced to leave the vehicles, after which the militants set fire to the trucks. The militants eventually released the two drivers who made their way to a gendarmerie post by hitchhiking. The two trucks were carrying a load of beans from Uzbekistan to the southern province of Mersin.

Another engineering vehicle and a pickup truck were also set on fire by alleged PKK members around 11 a.m. on Tuesday on the outskirts of Mount Ararat in the same province.

A truck carrying construction materials to the Yeniyazı gendermarie outpost in the southeastern province of Bingöl was set on fire on Sept. 17.

Eight Teachers, One Village Guard Kidnapped by PKK

Alleged members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, kidnapped eight teachers in two separate provinces in southeastern Turkey on Tuesday. Militants also kidnapped a village guard, İsmail Gürbüz, in the eastern province of Tunceli.

The teachers were returning to the Arıcak district of Elazığ province from the Yoğunbilek village school when their vehicle was stopped by PKK militants near Gündoğdu village around 5 p.m.

The militants left behind the four female teachers and the van driver but abducted the remaining male teachers, who were identified as Gökhan Yıldız, Abdullah Karan, İrfan Sarıkaya and İsmail Yücel, all born in Elazığ.

PKK members abducted elementary school teacher Ahmet Ürün from his home in the Çiftlibahçe village of Diyarbakır on Tuesday night. Two more teachers in Dolunay village and another in Çavundur village in Diyarbakır were also kidnapped by the PKK.

Reports said operations were underway to apprehend the kidnappers.

‘Do Not be Affected by Such Incidents’

The kidnappings come days after Education Minister Ömer Dinçer had commented on the use of teachers as human shields by the PKK in an attack in the southeastern province of Siirt over the weekend, saying, “All precautions are being taken by security forces. These are isolated events. Our teachers can continue doing their work.”

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

NATO Official Makes Missile Trip to Ankara

The visit of a senior NATO commander to Ankara on Tuesday for talks regarding a radar system in southeastern Turkey as part of the alliance’s missile shield project came as Iran increased its criticism of Turkey’s recent attitude toward Israel.

“Landing in Ankara, Turkey, for discussions on missile defense, Afghanistan, Libya, and NATO reform,” NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe James Stavridis said in a post on Twitter late Monday.

Stavridis held talks in Turkey after visits to Israel and Romania, meeting with Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel and Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz. Although the admiral requested an appointment with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, he could not meet Turkey’s premier due to Erdoğan’s busy schedule. The core of the discussions was the U.S.-led NATO missile shield project, whose early-warning radar system will be deployed in Turkey.

Ankara decided to host the radar at a military facility base near Malatya as part of NATO’s defense architecture. The discussions also included Turkey’s objections to Israel’s attempt to open a representation office at NATO headquarters, the Daily News has learned.

Turkey blocked a recent Israeli attempt to open an office at NATO headquarters when Tel Aviv submitted a request in early September. Israel has made requests to open a representation office at NATO headquarters under NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue program that was launched in 1994 with seven Mediterranean countries.

The Iranian supreme leader’s top advisor for military affairs, Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim, played down the current tension between Turkey and Israel, characterizing it as a political gesture.

“Turkey’s gestures against the Zionists are political and they [the Turks] have maintained their relations [with the Zionist regime] behind the scenes,” he said on Monday, according to the Iranian news agency Fars.

Ankara has rejected suggestions that NATO and Israel could share intelligence data collected by the U.S.-led radar system in eastern Turkey, insisting that the information should be available only for alliance members.

Stavridis last visited Turkey in March to discuss Turkish participation in NATO-led operations in Libya.

Meanwhile, pro-Turkish chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ foreign affairs committee’s sub-committee on Europe and Eurasia Dan Burton met Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and was scheduled to meet with President Abdullah Gül and Erdoğan when the Daily News went print.

Erdogan Reiterates Pledge to Protect Natural Resources Rights

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey would take all necessary measures to defend its rights over natural resources in the sea during a ceremony to launch Turkey’s first domestic warship.

Amid rising tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey’s first domestically made warship was formally delivered to the Turkish Navy.

“Turkey’s interests in the seas reach from surrounding waters out to Suez Canal and Indian Ocean,” Erdoğan said, adding that Turkey would take all the necessary measures to defend its commercial interests and its rights over the natural resources in the sea. “We have sent the Piri Reis [a Turkish exploration vessel] to the eastern Mediterranean for research activities. We will continue to bring into action anything that our national interests requires without any hesitation,” Erdoğan said.

As Erdoğan continued his harsh rhetoric over the gas drilling operation of Greek Cyprus, the Turkish research ship Piri Reis entered block 13 off Cyprus where Greek Cypriots are continuing natural gas exploration with United States company Noble Energy, Turkish Foreign Ministry sources confirmed.

Sources added that the Piri Reis was only 60 kilometers away from the Greek Cypriot drilling platform. Erdoğan has already said the Turkish ship will be escorted by the Turkish Navy; the Turkish frigate Yavuz set sail from its Turkish Mediterannean base two days ago to escort and conduct patrolling duties.

Despite Erdogan’s words, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz said tensions were decreasing in the eastern Mediterranean.

“After Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou called Prime Minister Erdoğan [Monday] and they talked on the phone for one hour, the tension decreased and things began returning to normal in the eastern Mediterranean,” Yılmaz told the Hürriyet Daily News.

President Abullah Gül said Turkey was now building its own warships with its own engineers, workers and technicians, which in the past it had to buy from other countries and proud of this fact.

“Even the countries whose national income is way behind ours have decided to make nuclear weapons because their rivals have done so,” Gül said. “Nobody wants war, war is the worst case scenario, but if you want to maintain peace and stability you also have to be ready for war.”

Turkey, France to Sign Cooperation Agreement to Fight Terrorism

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant will pay a formal visit to the Turkish capital of Ankara on Oct. 6, when the two countries will sign a cooperation agreement on domestic security.

Gueant and Turkish Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin will put their signatures under the agreement, which will cover concrete cooperation mechanisms in combatting terrorism. The agreement has an underlying importance as it is the first time Turkey will sign such a comprehensive text on domestic security with an important European Union member state.

Once the presidential secretary general and President Nicolas Sarkozy’s “right hand man,” Gueant will be received by Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara.

France has been staging intense operations against the terrorist organization PKK for the last two years.

The Paris Court recently tried 18 people, including top members of the terrorist organization in Europe. The prosecutor’s office demanded prison terms ranging between six months and six years for the suspects, and requested that the headquarters of the terrorist organization in Paris be closed. The court will make its verdict on the case on Nov. 2.

Uganda: Kayihura Links A4C to Terrorism

Uganda: Kayihura Links A4C to Terrorism

Andrew Bagala & Joseph Kiggundu

28 September 2011

The Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, yesterday said Activists for Change (A4C), a pressure group that has been leading protests against the soaring commodity prices, has links with terrorist groups.

The accusation, however, was immediately refuted by A4C activists. Gen. Kayihura said the A4C leaders are ferrying youth to Afghanistan for training in terror tactics. “We are also following information that there are youth trained in terror tactics in such places as Afghanistan that have been recently infiltrated into the country,” Gen. Kayihura said at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala yesterday.

A4C coordinator Mathias Mpuuga yesterday described Gen. Kayihura’s statements as “ridiculous and calculated move to terrorise the opposition.” “I can frankly tell you that I can’t locate Afghanistan on the globe without assistance. The IGP shouldn’t think that Ugandans are too stupid to swallow all concoctions he tells them,” Mr Mpuuga said in an interview. His statement comes after A4C announced it will launch new ways of protest against the rising commodity prices next week.

It is not the first time government has linked opposition members to terrorism. The State in 2005 accused Forum for Democratic Change party leader Kizza Besigye of having links with the People’s Redemption Army (PRA), but court dismissed the treason charges.

Liberia: China Tackles Terrorism in the Country

The New Dawn (Monrovia)

Liberia: China Tackles Terrorism in the Country
Winston W. Parley
28 September 2011

The Chinese government has signed an Economic and Technical agreement with the government of Liberia to enhance the fight against terrorism and small arms in the post-conflict West African state.

During the brief signing ceremony, which took place at the Foreign Ministry Tuesday in Monrovia, Chinese Embassy Charged d’ Affaires Ad Interim Mr. Li Zhigong, said his government sees it important and helpful to provide technical support for Liberia, because they are aware that the country was going through an election year.

“We think it is important to increase your government’s revenue against terrorism and small arms. I hope that these kinds of grants will be used to help Liberia. We are aware of the fact that this year is an election year. We’re glad to contribute a two set of mobile containers and vehicle system to Liberia,” he said.

At the request of the Liberian Government, the People’s Republic of China has agreed through a Memorandum of Understanding to provide two sets (2) of NUCTECH Mobile Container/Vehicle Inspection System; and to dispatch Chinese Technicians here to install and adjust the equipment.

Under agreement, China will also conduct technical training for Liberian personnel with additional gratuitous assistance of RMB Yuan $100,000,000 (One Hundred Million RMB Yuan) on a need basis.

So far, forty million or 40% of the One hundred million will be paid out of the gratuitous assistance stipulated in the agreement on the Economic and Technical Cooperation signed on September 27, 2011, between the two governments, including freight, insurance premium and technical services fees. Responding to the Chinese Diplomat, Liberia’s Acting Foreign Minister Sylvester Grigsby, thanked Mr. Li and the Government of China for the project.

“This initiative is one that we deeply appreciate because it is significant. It ensures that our governments have strong relations in the future. Your government played very important role in our peace process. And we hope that we will continue to cooperate,” said Grigsby.

He said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was pleased with the project, saying she is the initiator of the project. Notwithstanding, a Chinese Government designated institution is expected to issue settlement bill in quadruplicate in lump sum through the China Development Bank and the Ministry of Finance of Liberia.

The Yemen Hidden Agenda: Behind the Al-Qaeda Scenarios, A Strategic Oil Transit Chokepoint

The Yemen Hidden Agenda: Behind the Al-Qaeda Scenarios, A Strategic Oil Transit Chokepoint

by F. William Engdahl, Global Research, January 5, 2010

On December 25 US authorities arrested a Nigerian named Abdulmutallab aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on charges of having tried to blow up the plane with smuggled explosives. Since then reports have been broadcast from CNN, the New York Times and other sources that he was “suspected” of having been trained in Yemen for his terror mission. What the world has been subjected to since is the emergence of a new target for the US ‘War on Terror,’ namely a desolate state on the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen. A closer look at the background suggests the Pentagon and US intelligence have a hidden agenda in Yemen.


For some months the world has seen a steady escalation of US military involvement in Yemen, a dismally poor land adjacent to Saudi Arabia on its north, the Red Sea on its west, the Gulf of Aden on its south, opening to the Arabian Sea, overlooking another desolate land that has been in the headlines of late, Somalia. The evidence suggests that the Pentagon and US intelligence are moving to militarize a strategic chokepoint for the world’s oil flows, Bab el-Mandab, and using the Somalia piracy incident, together with claims of a new Al Qaeda threat arising from Yemen, to militarize one of the world’s most important oil transport routes. In addition, undeveloped petroleum reserves in the territory between Yemen and Saudi Arabia are reportedly among the world’s largest.


The 23-year-old Nigerian man charged with the failed bomb attempt, Abdulmutallab, reportedly has been talking, claiming he was sent on his mission by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), based in Yemen. This has conveniently turned the world’s attention on Yemen as a new center of the alleged Al Qaeda terror organization.

Notably, Bruce Riedel, a 30-year CIA veteran who advised President Obama on the policy leading to the Afghan troop surge, wrote in his blog of the alleged ties of the Detroit bomber to Yemen, “The attempt to destroy Northwest Airlines Flight 253 en route from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day underscores the growing ambition of Al Qaeda’s Yemen franchise, which has grown from a largely Yemeni agenda to become a player in the global Islamic jihad in the last year… The weak Yemeni government of President Ali Abdallah Salih, which has never fully controlled the country and now faces a host of growing problems, will need significant American support to defeat AQAP.”[1].

Some basic Yemen geopolitics


Before we can say much about the latest incident, it is useful to look more closely at the Yemen situation. Here several things stand out as peculiar when stacked against Washington’s claims about a resurgent Al Qaeda organization in the Arabian Peninsula.

In early 2009 the chess pieces on the Yemeni board began to move. Tariq al-Fadhli, a former jihadist leader originally from South Yemen, broke a 15 year alliance with the Yemeni government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and announced he was joining the broad-based opposition coalition known as the Southern Movement (SM). Al-Fadhli had been a member of the Mujahideen movement in Afghanistan in the late 1980’s. His break with the government was reported in Arab and Yemeni media in April 2009. Al-Fadhli’s break with the Yemen dictatorship gave new power to the Southern Movement (SM). He has since become a leading figure in the alliance.

Yemen itself is a synthetic amalgam created after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, when the southern Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) lost its main foreign sponsor. Unification of the northern Yemen Arab Republic and the southern PDRY state led to a short-lived optimism that ended in a brief civil war in 1994, as southern army factions organized a revolt against what they saw as the corrupt crony state rule of northern President Ali Abdullah Saleh. President Saleh has held a one-man rule since 1978, first as President of North Yemen (the Yemen Arab Republic) and since 1990 as President of the unified new Yemen. The southern army revolt failed as Saleh enlisted al-Fadhli and other Yemeni Salafists, followers of a conservative interpretation of Islam, and jihadists to fight the formerly Marxist forces of the Yemen Socialist Party in the south.

Before 1990, Washington and the Saudi Kingdom backed and supported Saleh and his policy of Islamization as a bid to contain the communist south.[2] Since then Saleh has relied on a strong Salafist-jihadi movement to retain a one-man dictatorial rule. The break with Saleh by al-Fadhli and his joining the southern opposition group with his former socialist foes marked a major setback for Saleh.

Soon after al-Fadhli joined the Southern Movement coalition, on April 28, 2009 protests in the southern Yemeni provinces of Lahj, Dalea and Hadramout intensified. There were demonstrations by tens of thousands of dismissed military personnel and civil servants demanding better pay and benefits, demonstrations that had been taking place in growing numbers since 2006. The April demonstrations included for the first time a public appearance by al-Fadhli. His appearance served to change a long moribund southern socialist movement into a broader nationalist campaign. It also galvanized President Saleh, who then called on Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council states for help, warning that the entire Arabian Peninsula would suffer the consequences.

Complicating the picture in what some call a failed state, in the north Saleh faces an al-Houthi Zaydi Shi’ite rebellion. On September 11, 2009, in an Al-Jazeera TV interview, Saleh accused Iraq’s Shi’ite opposition leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, and also Iran, of backing the north Yemen Shi’ite Houthist rebels in an Al-Jazeera TV interview. Yemen’s Saleh declared, “We cannot accuse the Iranian official side, but the Iranians are contacting us, saying that they are prepared for a mediation. This means that the Iranians have contacts with them [the Houthists], given that they want to mediate between the Yemeni government and them. Also, Muqtada al-Sadr in al-Najaf in Iraq is asking that he be accepted as a mediator. This means they have a link.”[3]

Yemen authorities claim they have seized caches of weapons made in Iran, while the Houthists claim to have captured Yemeni equipment with Saudi Arabian markings, accusing Sana’a (the capital of Yemen and site of the US Embassy) of acting as a Saudi proxy. Iran has rejected claims that Iranian weapons were found in north Yemen, calling claims of support to the rebels as baseless. [4]

What about Al Qaeda?

The picture that emerges is one of a desperate US-backed dictator, Yemen’s President Saleh, increasingly losing control after two decades as despotic ruler of the unified Yemen. Economic conditions in the country took a drastic downward slide in 2008 when world oil prices collapsed. Some 70% of the state revenues derive from Yemen’s oil sales. The central government of Saleh sits in former North Yemen in Sana’a, while the oil is in former South Yemen. Yet Saleh controls the oil revenue flows. Lack of oil revenue has made Saleh’s usual option of buying off opposition groups all but impossible.

Into this chaotic domestic picture comes the January 2009 announcement, prominently featured in select Internet websites, that Al Qaeda, the alleged global terrorist organization created by the late CIA-trained Saudi, Osama bin Laden, has opened a major new branch in Yemen for both Yemen and Saudi operations.

Al Qaeda in Yemen released a statement through online jihadist forums Jan. 20, 2009 from the group’s leader Nasir al-Wahayshi, announcing formation of a single al Qaeda group for the Arabian Peninsula under his command. According to al-Wahayshi, the new group, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, would consist of his former Al Qaeda in Yemen, as well as members of the defunct Saudi Al Qaeda group. The press release claimed, interestingly enough, that a Saudi national, a former Guantanamo detainee (Number 372), Abu-Sayyaf al-Shihri, would serve as al-Wahayshi’s deputy.

Days later an online video from al-Wahayshi appeared under the alarming title, “We Start from Here and We Will Meet at al-Aqsa.” Al-Aqsa refers to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem that Jews know as Temple Mount, the site of the destroyed Temple of Solomon, which Muslims call Al Haram Al Sharif. The video threatens Muslim leaders — including Yemeni’s President Saleh, the Saudi royal family, and Egyptian President Mubarak — and promises to take the jihad from Yemen to Israel to “liberate” Muslim holy sites and Gaza, something that would likely detonate World War III if anyone were mad enough to do it.

Also in that video, in addition to former Guantanamo inmate al-Shihri, is a statement from Abu-al-Harith Muhammad al-Awfi, identified as a field commander in the video, and allegedly former Guantanamo detainee 333. As it is well-established that torture methods are worthless to obtain truthful confessions, some have speculated that the real goal of CIA and Pentagon interrogators at Guantanamo prison since September 2001, has been to use brutal techniques to train or recruit sleeper terrorists who can be activated on command by US intelligence, a charge difficult to prove or disprove. The presence of two such high-ranking Guantanamo graduates in the new Yemen-based Al Qaeda is certainly ground for questioning.

Al Qaeda in Yemen is apparently anathema to al-Fadhli and the enlarged mass-based Southern Movement. In an interview, al-Fadhli declared, “I have strong relations with all of the jihadists in the north and the south and everywhere, but not with al-Qaeda.”[5] That has not hindered Saleh from claiming the Southern Movement and al Qaeda are one and the same, a convenient way to insure backing from Washington.

According to US intelligence reports, there are a grand total of perhaps 200 Al Qaeda members in southern Yemen. [6]

Al-Fadhli gave an interview distancing himself from al Qaeda in May 2009, declaring, “We [in South Yemen] have been invaded 15 years ago and we are under a vicious occupation. So we are busy with our cause and we do not look at any other cause in the world. We want our independence and to put an end to this occupation.”[7] Conveniently, the same day, Al Qaeda made a large profile declaring its support for southern Yemen’s cause.

On May 14, in an audiotape released on the internet, al-Wahayshi, leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, expressed sympathy with the people of the southern provinces and their attempt to defend themselves against their “oppression,” declaring, “What is happening in Lahaj, Dhali, Abyan and Hadramaut and the other southern provinces cannot be approved. We have to support and help [the southerners].” He promised retaliation: “The oppression against you will not pass without punishment… the killing of Muslims in the streets is an unjustified major crime.” [8]

The curious emergence of a tiny but well-publicized al Qaeda in southern Yemen amid what observers call a broad-based popular-based Southern Movement front that eschews the radical global agenda of al Qaeda, serves to give the Pentagon a kind of casus belli to escalate US military operations in the strategic region.

Indeed, after declaring that the Yemen internal strife was Yemen’s own affair, President Obama ordered air strikes in Yemen. The Pentagon claimed its attacks on December 17 and 24 killed three key al Qaeda leaders but no evidence has yet proven this. Now the Christmas Day Detroit bomber drama gives new life to Washington’s “War on Terror” campaign in Yemen. Obama has now offered military assistance to the Saleh Yemen government.

Somali Pirates escalate as if on cue

As if on cue, at the same time CNN headlines broadcast new terror threats from Yemen, the long-running Somalia pirate attacks on commercial shipping in the same Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea across from southern Yemen escalated dramatically after having been reduced by multinational ship patrols.

On December 29, Moscow’s RAI Novosti reported that Somali pirates seized a Greek cargo vessel in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia’s coast. Earlier the same day a British-flagged chemical tanker and its 26 crew were also seized in the Gulf of Aden. In a sign of sophisticated skills in using western media, pirate commander Mohamed Shakir told the British newspaper The Times by phone, “We have hijacked a ship with [a] British flag in the Gulf of Aden late yesterday.” The US intelligence brief, Stratfor, reports that The Times, owned by neo-conservative financial backer, Rupert Murdoch, is sometimes used by Israeli intelligence to plant useful stories.

The two latest events brought a record number of attacks and hijackings for 2009. As of December 22, attacks by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and the east coast of Somalia numbered 174, with 35 vessels hijacked and 587 crew taken hostage so far in 2009, almost all successful pirate activity, according to the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center. The open question is, who is providing the Somali “pirates” with arms and logistics sufficient to elude international patrols from numerous nations?

Notably, on January 3, President Saleh got a phone call from Somali president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in which he briefed president Saleh on latest developments in Somalia. Sheikh Sharif, whose own base in Mogadishu is so weak he is sometimes referred to as President of Mogadishu Airport, told Saleh he would share information with Saleh about any terror activities that might be launched from Somali territories targeting stability and security of Yemen and the region.

The Oil chokepoint and other oily affairs

The strategic significance of the region between Yemen and Somalia becomes the point of geopolitical interest. It is the site of Bab el-Mandab, one of what the US Government lists as seven strategic world oil shipping chokepoints. The US Government Energy Information Agency states that “closure of the Bab el-Mandab could keep tankers from the Persian Gulf from reaching the Suez Canal/Sumed pipeline complex, diverting them around the southern tip of Africa. The Strait of Bab el-Mandab is a chokepoint between the horn of Africa and the Middle East, and a strategic link between the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean.” [9]


Bab el-Mandab, between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Oil and other exports from the Persian Gulf must pass through Bab el-Mandab before entering the Suez Canal. In 2006, the Energy Department in Washington reported that an estimated 3.3 million barrels a day of oil flowed through this narrow waterway to Europe, the United States, and Asia. Most oil, or some 2.1 million barrels a day, goes north through the Bab el-Mandab to the Suez/Sumed complex into the Mediterranean.


An excuse for a US or NATO militarization of the waters around Bab el-Mandab would give Washington another major link in its pursuit of control of the seven most critical oil chokepoints around the world, a major part of any future US strategy aimed at denying oil flows to China, the EU or any region or country that opposes US policy. Given that significant flows of Saudi oil pass through Bab el-Mandab, a US military control there would serve to deter the Saudi Kingdom from becoming serious about transacting future oil sales with China or others no longer in dollars, as was recently reported by UK Independent journalist Robert Fisk.


It would also be in a position to threaten China’s oil transport from Port Sudan on the Red Sea just north of Bab el-Mandab, a major lifeline in China’s national energy needs.


In addition to its geopolitical position as a major global oil transit chokepoint, Yemen is reported to hold some of the world’s greatest untapped oil reserves. Yemen’s Masila Basin and Shabwa Basin are reported by international oil companies to contain “world class discoveries.”[10] France’s Total and several smaller international oil companies are engaged in developing Yemen’s oil production. Some fifteen years ago I was told in a private meeting with a well-informed Washington insider that Yemen contained “enough undeveloped oil to fill the oil demand of the entire world for the next fifty years.” Perhaps there is more to Washington’s recent Yemen concern than a rag-tag al Qaeda whose very existence as a global terror organization has been doubted by seasoned Islamic experts.


F. William Engdahl is the author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order



1. Bruce Riedel, The Menace of Yemen, December 31, 2009, accessed in

2. Stratfor, Yemen: Intensifying Problems for the Government, May 7, 2009.

3. Cited in Terrorism Monitor, Yemen President Accuses Iraq’s Sadrists of Backing the Houthi Insurgency, Jamestown Foundation, Volume: 7 Issue: 28, September 17, 2009.

4. NewsYemen, September 8, 2009; Yemen Observer, September 10, 2009.

5., May 14, 2009, cited in Jamestown Foundation, op.cit.

6. Abigail Hauslohner, Despite U.S. Aid, Yemen Faces Growing al-Qaeda Threat, Time, December 22, 2009, accessed,8599,1949324,00.html#ixzz0be0NL7Cv.

7. Tariq al Fadhli, in Al-Sharq al-Awsat, May 14, 2009, cited in Jamestown Foundation, op. cit.

8. al-Wahayshi interview, al Jazeera, May 14, 2009.

9. US Government, Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Bab el-Mandab, accessed in

10 Adelphi Energy, Yemen Exploration Blocks 7 & 74, accessed in


The Global War on Tribes

April 13, 2010

Return to “Indian Country”

The Global War on Tribes


The so-called “Global War on Terror” is quickly growing outside the borders of Iraq and Afghanistan, into new battlegrounds in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and beyond. The Pentagon is vastly increasing missile and gunship attacks, Special Forces raids, and proxy invasions–all in the name of combating “Islamist terrorism.” Yet within all five countries, the main targets of the wars are predominantly “tribal regions,” and the old frontier language of Indian-fighting is becoming the lexicon of 21st-century counterinsurgency. The “Global War on Terror” is fast morphing into a “Global War on Tribes.”

Tribal regions are local areas where tribes are the dominant form of social organization, and tribal identities often trump state, ethnic, and even religious identities. Tribal peoples have a strongly localized orientation, tied to a particular place. Their traditional societies are based on a common culture, dialect, and kinship ties (through single or multiple clans). Although they are tribal peoples, they are not necessarily Indigenous peoples–who generally follow nature-centered spiritual and cultural systems. Nearly all tribal communities in the Middle East and Central Asia have been Islamicized or Christianized, but they still retain their ancient social bonds.

Yet modern counterinsurgency doctrine only views tribal regions as festering cauldrons of lawlessness, and “breeding grounds” for terrorism, unless the tribes themselves are turned against the West’s enemies. The London Times (1/5/10), for example, crudely asserts that Yemen’s “mountainous terrain, poverty and lawless tribal society make it… a close match for Afghanistan as a new terrorist haven.” This threatening view of tribal regions is, of course, as old as European colonialism itself.

Tribes and Ethnic Nations

Tribes are distinct from ethnic groups. Ethnic group identity is based largely on language, such as Pashtun, Kurdish, Somali, Tajik, and so on. Many ethnic groups also assert a territorial nationhood, whether or not they have their own independent state. Tribal group identity is based on smaller and older regional clans and dialects—such as Zubaydi and Jibbur (Iraq), Durrani and Ghilzai (Afghanistan), Wazir and Mehsud (Pakistan), Wahidi and Zaydi (Yemen), and Darod and Hawiye (Somalia). These internal divisions are familiar to anyone who has studied ethnic nationhood. (The Lakota Nation, for example, contains seven bands such as the Oglala, Hunkpapa, and Sicangu. In most other countries, these “bands” would be termed tribes, and the Lakota Nation would not be called a tribe.)

Tribes can be viewed as the building blocks for ethnic nations, but in many countries the cement has never really dried. (Even in Europe, different local dialect regions were only recently absorbed into modern states, as Eugèn Weber demonstrates in his Peasants into Frenchmen). Tribal regions in the Middle East and Central Asia function as a layer below ethnic and religious territories, which in turn function as a layer below modern states and their 19th-century colonial boundaries. Contemporary armed conflicts in the region can be best understood not as struggles between political ideologies, but between these different layers of collective identity.

Western society tends to portray tribes as primitive, backward peoples, and views “tribalism” as merely ignorant villagers brutally acting in their narrow self-interest. Colonial authorities often diminished the status of ethnic nations by defining them as “tribes,” and employed divide-and-conquer strategies to pit them against each other. Yet in some regions, a local tribal identity may be more inclusive of human differences than larger-scale ethnic or religious identities. For example, some Iraqi tribes include both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, and help to transcend the tense sectarian divide. Within some tribes around the world, more than one language or dialect may be spoken. Tribal identities and boundaries are not simply fixed in the past—they can be fluid and dynamic.

Tribal Areas under Siege

Afghanistan. In southern and eastern Afghanistan, Pashtun tribes have existed for millennia, and have only nominal loyalty to the modern state. Because Pashtun tribes straddle the colonial “Durand Line” boundary between Afghanistan and Pakistan, they do not recognize the authority of either country, and exhibit their traditional hospitality to Taliban insurgents. Although tribal stature has been weakened somewhat by Soviet occupation, civil war, and pan-Islamic ideologies, the NATO occupation has—perhaps  inadvertently–resurrected a role for  some tribal leaders. The U.S. has been paying and arming them to turn against the Taliban, with only limited success.

The New York Times (1/29/10) reports that “American civilian and military leaders are turning to some of these tribes as potentially their best hope for success…. Led by councils of elders, tribes provided their members with protection, financial support, a means to resolve disputes ….Successfully turning Pashtun tribes against the Taliban… could deliver a serious blow to the insurgency.” The Council on Foreign Relations report A Tribal Strategy for Afghanistan (11/7/08) admits that “Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist… predicted that arming Pashtun militias in the south would renew tribal rivalries that had been dormant for years; some analysts believe that has happened.”

Pakistan. In northwestern Pakistan, U.S. drones and Special Forces raids have attacked insurgents in the Pashto-speaking North-West Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, particularly in the tribal area of Waziristan. President Bush evoked American frontier imagery when he stated in the New York Times (2/18/07)., “Taliban and Al Qaeda figures do hide in remote regions of Pakistan. This is wild country; this is wilder than the Wild West.”

The U.S. media consistently refers to Pakistan’s Northwest as a “lawless” tribal region. But in its fascinating article “Waziristan: The Last Frontier,” The Economist (12/30/09) clarified that “the tribes are mostly free to decide…matters among themselves, which they do, remarkably harmoniously, through jirgas and riwaj—tribal customary law. In Waziristan, as in most of the tribal areas, there is no written land register. Nor, until 2001, was there much crime. ‘The tribal areas was lawless only in the sense that there are no laws. But they have a certain way of going about things there,’ says Major Geoffrey Langlands, 92, a British colonial officer who stayed on…”

Iraq. In central Iraq, tribal traditions and territories are somewhat more critical to Sunni Arabs than to religious Shi’a Arabs in the south or ethnonationalist Kurds in the north. Tribal sheiks serve as community leaders, mediators, intermediaries, and regional power-players, and their support has become critical to both insurgent and occupation forces. The British and Saddam Hussein earlier tried to exercise control over tribes (and larger tribal confederations)–and also attempted to curry their favor–but ended up alienating them from state power.

An article in Military Review (9-10/07) reports that for U.S. operations in Iraq, “Tribal engagement has played a particularly prominent role…This reflects the enduring strength of the tribes in many of Iraq’s rural areas and some of its urban neighborhoods. And tribal engagement has been key to recent efforts to drive a wedge between tribally based Sunni Arab insurgents and Al-Qaeda in Iraq in Anbar province and elsewhere.” This Sunni “Awakening” did more to weaken Al Qaeda than the U.S. “Surge,” but now it appears the tribes are dissatisfied with the weak support shown by Baghdad and Washington.

Yemen. In southern Yemen, the U.S. has launched missile attacks against what it describes as Al Qaeda targets, and assists Yemeni military raids against separatist rebels in the tribal region. Like in central Iraq, instead of the tribes giving haven to Islamist “terrorists,” their sense of independence may end up being directed against both the Pentagon and Al Qaeda.

In the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report What Comes Next in Yemen? (3/10), Sarah Phillips explains, “Al-Qaeda operatives have found safe haven in some of Yemen’s tribal regions, but their goal of establishing an international caliphate conflicts with many local political realities, potentially limiting this hospitality. Tribal society in Yemen is regulated by complex rules that bind its members to one another. Much of Yemen’s periphery is without effective formal, state-administered governance, but this does not mean that these regions are ungoverned—or there for the taking, particularly by outsiders to the area” (p. 1).

Somalia. In southern Somalia, virtually all Somalis hold the same customs, speak the same language, and practice the same religion. Nevertheless, since 1991 the region has been torn by civil war along clan lines (which in a non-African context could be described as tribal lines). When in 1992 U.S. forces intervened ostensibly as “peacekeepers,” they failed to consult with tribal elders, who are the traditional decision-makers in Somali society. Instead, the U.S. took the side of some militia warlords against other clan warlords, and paid the price in the infamous Black Hawk Down battle.

In 2006, an Islamist front took control of the capital of Mogadishu, and brought a relative calm to the country, which was shattered when the U.S. backed an Ethiopian invasion. The renewed war stimulated a nationalist backlash, offshore “piracy,” and the growth of the small ultra-Islamist Al Shabaab militia. The Pentagon is now using missile strikes, Special Forces raids, and AC-130 aerial gunship attacks to help a new government retake Mogadishu from Al Shabaab rebels. The New York Times (3/5/10) reports that “Even though there is a new religious overlay to Somalia’s civil war… clan connections still matter and could spell success — or disaster.”

Nothing New

If the Global War on Tribes is as old as European colonialism, in the United States it is as old as the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. In U.S. foreign policy, we can trace it back to the Vietnam War (including the tribal highlands of South Vietnam and Laos), and farther back to the Philippine-American War and the Indian Wars. In his classic Facing West: the Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire Building, Richard Drinnon connects the colonization of Native American nations in the West to U.S. overseas expansion into the Philippines and Vietnam, which used the identical rhetoric of insurgent territory as hostile “Indian Country.”

Drinnon concluded, “In each and every West, place itself was infinitely less important …than what the white settlers brought in their heads and hearts to that particular place. At each magic margin, their metaphysics of Indian-hating underwent a seemingly confirmatory ‘perennial rebirth.’ Rooted in fears and prejudices buried deep in the Western psyche, their metaphysics became a time-tested doctrine, an ideology, and an integral component of U.S. nationalism….All along, the obverse of Indian-hating had been the metaphysics of empire-building….Winning the West amounted to no less than winning the world” (pp. 463-65).

One of the hallmarks of American colonization is to pit favored tribes and ethnic nations against the national security threat of the moment— Crow against Lakota, Igorot against Filipino, Montagnard against Vietnamese, Hmong against Lao, Miskito against Nicaraguan, Kurd against Arab. When the minority tribal allies (with their very real grievances) are no longer needed, Washington quickly abandons its defense of their “human rights.” We love ‘em, we use ‘em, and then we dump ‘em. These divide-and-conquer strategies are being revived from Pakistan to Yemen, as the Pentagon arms tribal militias to do its bidding—often against other tribes.

The Global War on Tribes can be traced even farther back in history, to its roots in Europe–including the English colonization of Celtic tribal lands, the mass burning of women who kept tribal healing practices alive, and the suppression of peasant rebellions emerging from local clan resistance (as shown by Carolyn Merchant in her The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution). Perhaps the ultimate model is the Roman Empire, which itself emerged from three early tribes in Rome (the word “tribe” comes from the Latin for “three”), and waged wars against numerous so-called “barbarian” tribes.

Updating the War

Proponents of the “Global War on Tribes” are seemingly unfraid to connect it to past campaigns against tribes around the world. The analyst and author Robert D. Kaplan wrote in the Wall Street Journal (9/24/04) that “…the American military is back to the days of fighting the Indians. The red Indian metaphor is one with which a liberal policy nomenklatura may be uncomfortable, but Army and Marine field officers have embraced it because it captures perfectly the combat challenge of the early 21st century….The range of Indian groups, numbering in their hundreds, that the U.S. Cavalry…had to confront was no less varied than that of the warring ethnic and religious militias spread throughout Eurasia, Africa and South America in the early 21st century.”

Kaplan brazenly compared Iraq to “Indian Country”: “When the Cavalry invested Indian encampments, they periodically encountered warrior braves beside women and children, much like Fallujah….Indian Country has been expanding in recent years because of the security vacuum created by the collapse of traditional dictatorships….Iraq is but a microcosm of the Earth in this regard.”          

Tribal resistance against Western intervention and corporate globalization take different forms in different countries. In Pakistan and Iraq, tribes may fight under the green banner of political Islamism. In India and Peru, some tribal peoples have fought under the red flag of Maoist rural insurgent armies. In Bolivia, Ecuador and Mexico, they have coalesced within their own self-defined indigenist movements, which have effectively intersected with socialist and environmental movements.

But to U.S. counterinsurgency tacticians, the ideology is secondary. The real primary threat is that the people retain a tribal identity and allegiance—an identity that has not been formed or encouraged by capitalism. The goal of the Pentagon and CIA is either to harness tribal loyalties to weaken their enemies, or to destroy tribal identity. Even in supporting tribal allies for their own ends, they may end up destroying the tribes in the process.

In central and northeastern India, the Indian Army has launched a counterinsurgency war against Naxalite rebels, to open up the tribal forest regions to mining and timber companies. The Naxalites are usually described as “Maoists,” but as the writer Arundhati Roy observed in Outlook India (3/29/10), “It’s convenient to forget that tribal people in Central India have a history of resistance that predates Mao by centuries…. Naxalite politics has been inextricably entwined with tribal uprisings.”

On Democracy Now (3/22/10), Roy further explained, “If you look at Afghanistan, Waziristan…the northeast states of India…the entire thing is a tribal uprising. In Afghanistan, obviously, it’s taken the form of a radical Islamist uprising. And here [in India], it’s a radical left uprising. But the attack is the same. It’s a corporate attack…on these people. The resistance has taken different forms.”

In the Americas, powerful and growing Indigenous tribal movements are increasingly being targeted by U.S. military and intelligence agencies, as a potential national security threat to U.S. interests, as explained by Naomi Klein in The Nation (11/4/05). The National Intelligence Council projected in its 2005 report Mapping the Global Future 2020 that “the failure of elites to adapt to the evolving demands of free markets and democracy probably will fuel a revival in populism and drive indigenous movements, which so far have sought change through democratic means, to consider more drastic means” (p. 77).

The Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO), headquartered at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, has applied this emerging doctrine to Latin America. In a Military Review bibliography (7-8/99), the FMSO lumped together “Insurgencies, Terrorist Groups and Indigenous Movements,” and in another article warned of Indigenous rebellions and other “insurgencies” in Mexico (5-6/97). FMSO official Lt. Col. Geoffrey Demarest stated in his book Geoproperty: Foreign Affairs, National Security and Property Rights that “The coming center of gravity of armed political struggles may be indigenous populations, youth gangs…or insurgents” (p. 84) and that the Internet is increasingly being used by “Indigenous rebels, feminists, troublemakers…” (p. 243). Counterinsurgency planners are no longer simply targeting “Communists” or “narcoguerrillas” in Latin America, but also Indigenous-led social movement alliances.

Reasons for War

Whether in Mexico, India, Iraq, or the United States and Canada, the Global War on Tribes has some common characteristics. First, the war is most blatantly being waged to steal the natural resources under tribal lands. The rugged, inaccessible terrain that prevented colonial powers from eliminating tribal societies also made accessing minerals, oil, timber and other resources more difficult–so (acre for acre) more of the resources are now left on tribal lands than on more accessible lands.

Resources are not always the underlying explanation for war, but they’re a pretty good start at an explanation. In the case of Indigenous tribal peoples, their historic attention to biodiversity has also enabled natural areas to be relatively protected until now, as corporations seek out the last remaining pockets of natural resources to extract. Look no further than the Alberta Tar Sands, for instance, to see the exploitation of Native lands by modern oil barons.

Like in Avatar, Native peoples often resist the militarization brought by corporate invaders seeking to mine “unobtainium,” and they don’t need a white messiah riding a red dragon to guide them to victory. In his book Resource Rebels: Native Challenges to Mining and Oil Corporations, Al Gedicks notes, “Up until recently, the tendency in the mass media has been to stereotype native people as fighting a losing battle against the onslaught of industrial civilization. But after two decades of organizing local, national, regional and international alliances, assisted by…the Internet, native voices can no longer be ignored in powerful places” (p. 1).

Second, the Global War on Tribes is a campaign against the very existence of tribal regions that are not under centralized state control. The tribal regions still retain forms of social organization that has not been solely determined by capitalism. In her anthology Paradigm Wars, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, comments that “promoters of economic globalization, the neocolonizers, use the overwhelming pressure of homogenization to teach us that indigenous political, economic and cultural systems are obstacles to their ‘progress.’” (p. 14).

The point is not that all tribal peoples pose an egalitarian alternative to neoliberal capitalism. Some (such as Indigenous peoples) certainly do have strong egalitarian principles, but many other tribal peoples –such as in the new conflict zones–certainly do not (particularly toward women). The salient point is not that all tribal cultures are paradise, but that they are not capitalist, and neoliberal capitalism cannot stand anything other than Total Control.

Third, the collective form of organization enables tribal peoples to fight back against state control and corporate globalization. When I asked Arundhati Roy at a Seattle forum (3/29/10) why counterinsurgency wars seem to be focused on tribal regions, she answered that tribal peoples do not have a “bar-coded” view of the world. Tribes still have the social networks to defend their lands and ways of life—networks of trust anchored in deeply held values that citizens of urban industrial society generally lack.

That is why the “lawless tribal regions” have to be “tamed,” so as not to become a “festering sore,” and a source of resistance to the corporate state. The only way for tribal leaders not to be crushed by the counterinsurgency campaign is to accept its aims, its money, and its weapons. Tauli-Corpuz concludes that Indigenous peoples “believe they already constitute a viable alternative to globalization, underpinned by the fundamental values of reciprocity…community solidarity and collectivity” (p. 218).

During European colonial expansion, small, tribal peoples who could not muster large military alliances were more vulnerable to conquest and occupation. In most countries, the colonization process left them divided and fighting each other. In the 21st century– just as many remaining pockets of exploitable resources are located in tribal regions–the only successful pockets of resistance may be found in the mountains, deserts and forests where tribal peoples refuse to die.

Dr. Zoltan Grossman is a faculty member in Geography and Native American & World Indigenous Peoples Studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, currently co-teaching a course on “American Frontiers: Homelands and Empire.” He is co-chair of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group.

UK / Anti-Terrorism – Whose Hearts and Minds? Contest 2 in Context.


Monday, 28 September 2009 12:22

This briefing seeks to provide an overview of the updated version of the ‘Counter-Terrorism Strategy of the United Kingdom.

Islamic Human Rights Commission

1 October 2009

BRIEFING:  UK / Anti-Terrorism – Whose Hearts and Minds? Contest 2 in Context.


This briefing seeks to provide an overview of the updated version of the ‘Counter-Terrorism Strategy of the United Kingdom’, also known as ‘CONTEST’, as published on the 24th of March 2009 [1]. CONTEST is one part of the first United Kingdom National Security Strategy, published in 2008.

Additionally, the briefing will consider plans formulated by the government, that were in the end shelved and not included in the latest release of CONTEST in March, which intended to widen the definition of what should be considered “extremist” views. These abandoned plans, given the working title ‘CONTEST 2’, were leaked by the Home Office to the Guardian newspaper which in turn published them on February 17th 2009 [2]. Controversially, the leaked document touched upon various issues that, if adopted into the revised anti-terrorist strategy document, would render not only the vast majority of Muslims in the UK as holding “extreme” views by targeting their religious beliefs specifically, but would also severely curtail the universal right to freedom of expression as well as the right of other faith groups to observe their own religious beliefs. The leaked document included, but was not limited to, considering views supporting armed resistance anywhere in the world (including Palestine) and the failure to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan as indicative of extremism.

Attempts by the government to define extremism in this polemic manner have largely been criticised as counter-productive and anti-Islamic in nature, yet the pursuit of such a strategy raises questions about a policy formulation process that has resulted in such a radical government agenda. The final part of the briefing will explore these questions and the role of organisations which have played a pivotal role in influencing the direction and content of government policy vis-à-vis the Muslim population in Britain. 


The original ‘Counter-Terrorism Strategy of the United Kingdom’ was released in 2003 and elaborated upon in 2006 when the strategy was split into four distinct strands; ‘Prevent, Pursue, Protect and Prepare’. Of the four strands, the thinking behind the ‘Pursue’ strategy has been extensively responsible for the introduction of draconian anti-terror laws, racial profiling and the arbitrary arrest and detention of an overwhelming number of Muslims who have by the end of their ordeals been found innocent [3].

The inability to recognise and understand the detrimental effects of the arbitrary application of such legislation upon Muslims in Britain is reflected in the ‘Prevent’ strand of CONTEST which, whilst seeking to ‘actively promote shared values (including democracy and the rule of law)’, fails to see that the prevention of violent extremism is wholly dependent upon not only an understanding of the reasons behind it, but a subsequent rectification of flawed policies that result in it.

In quite a revolutionary step, the latest version of CONTEST does, for the first time since its inception, recognise that foreign policy concerns are at the forefront of factors causing violent extremism:
‘Real or perceived grievances, some international and some local, including in particular: a perception that UK foreign policy in the Muslim world (notably military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan) is hostile to Islam; the experience of wider conflict in the Muslim world and conflict involving Muslims (often attributed either to western intervention or to western indifference); and a range of domestic issues, including racism, inequalities and the experience of criminality and migration.’ [4]

Unfortunately, this hesitant, quasi-recognition of foreign policy as a factor alienating Muslims in Britain today is instantly dismissed as a ‘perceived grievance’ and rather than proceeding to engage in an open and honest debate about British and western foreign policy, the government is instead seeking to identify as ‘extreme’ those who criticize government policy abroad and support what they see as legitimate resistance and liberation movements in the Middle East and the wider Muslim world. 


The most disturbing aspects of the updated counter-terror strategy are not what is now included, but what has been omitted from the final, official version. On the 17th February 2009, just over a month before the updated strategy was published, the Guardian newspaper released details of a leaked Home Office document entitled ‘CONTEST 2’. The article pointed out that the government and civil servants were planning to widen the definition of exactly what beliefs constituted extremist views and sought their incorporation into the revised anti-terror strategy. The leaked document mentioned specifically the following issues as of particular concern to those attempting to define extremist views:

• They advocate a caliphate, a pan-Islamic state encompassing many countries.

• They promote Sharia law.

• They believe in jihad, or armed resistance, anywhere in the world. This would include armed resistance by Palestinians against the Israeli military.
• They argue that Islam bans homosexuality and that it is a sin against Allah.

• They fail to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan. [see endnote 2]

Whilst it is of little surprise that none of the above found expression in CONTEST as released in March 2009, the very fact that the document in which they were contained was leaked to the press to assess their viability and acceptability warrants a consideration of the extent to which they would be extremely counterproductive if included in any future governmental definition of ‘extremism’, and succeed only in alienating Muslims further, as well as violating fundamental universal freedoms. 

The Caliphate

The desire to form an entity comprised of a diverse range of Muslim societies is not in itself an extreme idea or belief. At least it is no more extreme than the idea of a pan-European community as epitomized by the European Union, or even a cohesive and coordinated military force such as NATO. As the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair considers a possible bid for the EU Presidency it would be worth remembering that many people, including Muslims and non-Muslims alike, believe that nation-states possess the sovereign right to form supra-national alliances and organizations which represent their collective socio-economic and political interests, with an individual leader acting as a figurehead of that entity. The advocacy of a caliphate system is therefore all the more pertinent an aspiration in the eyes of many Muslims who believe that repressive dictatorships and monarchies in Muslim lands are not acting in the interests of their people, and that precluding any further military interventions in Muslim lands by hostile foreign powers is dependent upon the formation of a united geo-political entity. Often misconstrued as an offensive and bellicose concept, the advocacy of a caliphate is based upon a realist understanding of international relations and the desire for collective defensive security that organizations such as NATO, the EU and the United Nations are themselves premised upon upon.  


The view that the promotion of shariah law is an extremist stance is in itself ignorant of the fact that, due to its compatibility with the legal systems of law in the United Kingdom, not only Muslims turn to one of the numerous shariah tribunals in the country to solve civil disputes that standard legal institutions may not necessarily be as appropriate in judging [5]. 

Armed resistance

Of particular concern is the belief that support for armed resistance constitutes an extremist view. The vast majority of Muslims, not only in Britain but around the world, believe that Palestinian armed resistance against Israeli occupation is legitimate. The western desire to monopolize the use of violence has long been resisted by oppressed peoples and liberation movements throughout history. Nelson Mandela, an individual now revered by western governments (who once labeled him a terrorist), was a member of the African National Congress, an organisation which utilized violence from 1961 to end South African apartheid (which incidentally was supported by the United States at the time), and the revolutionaries who fought against the US-backed dictatorship in Cuba during the 1960’s had the support of large swathes of domestic and world opinion. The American revolutionary war itself in the eighteenth century pitted a resistance movement fighting for independence and freedom against British colonialism. Unless western powers themselves are now willing to renounce the violence which gave birth to their own independence and freedom, legitimate resistance movements across the world will continue, using all means at their disposal, to fight oppression and injustice whilst continuing to receive the support of Muslims, however impolitic governments who provide support to the oppressors find it, both in Britain and around the world [6]. 


The inclusion of the issue of homosexuality being considered as a sin by Islam was quite a peculiar aspect of the leaked CONTEST 2 document as it represented the discussion of an entirely apolitical issue in the context of preventing violent extremism. As it stands, the religious belief that homosexuality is a sin is not exclusive to Muslims but also orthodox Jews, and most Christian denominations share this view.

Failure to condemn the death of troops

The failure to condemn the killing of British troops in Iraq or Afghanistan is inextricable with the points made earlier in regard to contesting the view that support for armed resistance constitutes an extremist belief. First of all, the majority of Muslims condemn the government policy of sending soldiers to war, in the case of Iraq illegally, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people as well as the death of soldiers who have been sent there. It is the right of peoples that have been invaded to decide upon the legitimacy and viability of their own resistance to foreign occupation, as it is the right of people within Britain, be they Muslim or not, to agree with or criticize government foreign policy without being branded extreme.

Government and anti-Islamic think tanks

Explicitly anti-Islamic in nature, none of the aforementioned points within the document leaked to the Guardian are included in the final counter-terrorism strategy document released in March 2009, and upon closer analysis it has not been particularly difficult to discern why. Yet the very fact that the Home Office considers these to be the key points of concern, and was willing to leak them  to the Guardian to gauge the reaction of public opinion towards the controversial measures, raises some serious questions about the direction in which the future of UK counter-terror strategy is heading and who is helping direct it.
The desire to de-politicise British Muslims specifically and the wider general public in general has been a corner stone of government policy since the disastrous invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and of Iraq in 2003, the same year in which the original CONTEST strategy was released. Instead of engaging with mainstream Muslim organisations with at least some semblance of credibility in the eyes of Muslims in the UK the government has, often haphazardly, sidelined such organisations and instead turned to ‘independent’ think tanks for policy advice [7].

The neoconservative-leaning think tanks engaged by the government are all too willing to reinforce false and negative stereotypes of Muslims in Britain. This results in a perpetual relationship of denial constructed and reinforced by the government and the think tanks that completely evades the root cause of what the government and its selected think tanks identify as radicalism; namely foreign policy decisions made by the government of the United Kingdom as well as its support for the foreign policy of the United States, specifically in relation to Muslim countries across the world. Domestically, as previously mentioned, the introduction of counter-productive anti-terror measures have further alienated Muslims in Britain who are becoming increasingly disaffected by the effect it is having upon their lives, families and communities [8].

The Quilliam Foundation is one such reactionary body that promotes exclusivity and elitism instead of engagement and understanding. Launched in April 2008, Quilliam accredits itself as ‘the worlds first counter-extremist think tank’ and admits that it does ‘not aspire to being a representative body’ with ‘mass support’ and in this vein plays an influential role in shaping government policy [9]. Former members of Hizb ut-Tehrir Ed (Mohammed) Hussain  and Maajid Nawaaz lead the organisation which was provided with almost one million pounds of taxpayers money by the government in January 2009 to counter ‘radicalism’ in Muslim communities [10].  Throwing enormous amounts of money at a think tank so far divorced from the reality of Muslim opinion on the ground is indicative of the wider insistence of the government upon neglecting legitimate grievances articulated by Muslims. The Quilliam Foundation Progress Report 2008-2009 attempts to justify its insider status and massive state funding, yet all evidence points towards a largely vacuous document with little or no evidence of having engaged with any of the issues that Muslims feel strongly about. In this regard Quilliam goes further than the Home Office CONTEST strategy which at least recognises that ‘perceptions’ of foreign policy may cause violent extremism [11].

The problem with organisations such as the Quilliam Foundation is not that they are unrepresentative and elitist, as they themselves go some way to admitting, rather their true danger lies in their influence upon government policy. For organisations which pride themselves upon their intellectual credentials they are startlingly dismissive of evidence which points towards foreign policy as the major cause for concern for the vast majority of Muslims in the UK and the overriding cause of violent extremism in Britain and armed resistance around the world [12].

For those anticipating a change in policy with a possible future Conservative government, it would be useful to recall that the right-wing Policy Exchange was once described as David Cameron’s favourite think tank – an organisation which has attracted severe criticism for its alleged fabrication of evidence in reports published about Islam in Britain [13]. Policy Exchange seeks to influence policymakers and commentators on the right and its hierarchy reflects this. The Head of the Terrorism & Security Unit at Policy Exchange, Dean Godson, worked for the Reagan administration in the US. Charles Moore, the former Daily Telegraph and Spectator editor who has made the case for public debate about whether the prophet Muhammad was a paedophile [14], is the current Chairman. He replaced Policy Exchange’s co-founder, Michael Gove – author of the definitive text for British neoconservatives Celsius 7/7, who is now Cameron’s Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, and special adviser to the Quilliam Foundation [15].

What the government, and Conservative opposition, and the aforementioned think tanks have in common is a lack of engagement with the overwhelming evidence and a propensity for promoting the politics of fear and ignorance, rather than engagement and understanding.
The targeting of Muslims by the hard right is carried out with the aim of seeking to validate the neoconservative assertion that it is not western foreign policy that Muslims stand against but the very notions and principles of freedom that the west associates itself with. The cultivation of these groups by mainstream political parties represents a wider erroneous belief that Muslims are unwilling and/or unable to engage in British society whilst maintain their Muslim identity. Part of an underhanded approach that includes virulent criticism of the hijab and defamatory campaigns against Islamic scholars, members of the hard right in Britain are pushing the government agenda of keeping discourse regarding Muslims as far away as possible from the issues that matter and into the realm of polemics and obfuscation.
What Muslims in Britain do represent is a clarion call for change, in both domestic and foreign policy, a call that as of yet remains unrecognised and unheeded by the government. What is required is a radical re-think of government strategy attempting to deal with the problems facing Muslims in Britain. Keeping foreign policy and the detrimental effects of its anti-terror policies upon British Muslims off the agenda represents a fundamental flaw at the heart of the CONTEST strategy and is evidenced by the engagement of think tanks such as the Quilliam Foundation. It must be accepted, even if it is disliked in some quarters, that Muslims in Britain feel directly connected to the suffering of other Muslims across the world. A denial of this basic fact, based upon the desire to keep foreign policy out of the spotlight, will result only in further and more prominent discrimination against Muslims in Britain caused ostensibly by a misunderstanding and misrepresentation of what they truly stand for and against. 


[1] Full CONTEST document available online at

[2] Guardian article (17.02.2009), ‘Anti-terror code ‘would alienate most Muslims’’ at
 [3] For further information see

[4] See Part 2 Section 9 of CONTEST.

[5] For further information see the TimesOnline article (21.07.2009), ‘Non-Muslims turning to Sharia courts to resolve civil disputes’ at and also

[6] The principle of the right to resist is set out in depth in ‘Towards a New Liberation Theology: Reflections on Palestine’ (eds. A. Merali and J. Sharbaf). Available at

[7] As CONTEST was released in March, Hazel Blears launched a completely unjustified campaign of exclusion against the Deputy Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Dr Abdullah and was soon forced to retract her inexplicable stance. See and

[8] A comprehensive study of this legislation and its effect upon Muslims in Britain is provided in ‘British Anti-Terrorism: A Modern Day Witch-Hunt’ by F. Ansari. Available at

[9] See

[10] TimesOnline (20.01.2009), ‘Government gives £1m to anti-extremist think-tank Quilliam Foundation’

[11] The full report is available online at

[12] See: Pape, R.A. ‘Dying to Win, the Strategic Logic of Suicide Bombing’ (2006), Barkawi, T. ‘The Pedagogy of Small Wars’ (2004),  and

[13] See

[14] See

[15] See


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India may replicate select post-9/11 US anti-terror strategies

India may replicate select post-9/11 US anti-terror strategies

New Delhi, Feb 25, 2009 (PTI) India will try to replicate select anti-terrorism strategies which the US had adopted after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Home Minister P Chidambaram said today.

Insisting that the Government is much more prepared now for handling terror strikes than three months ago, he told Rajya Sabha that there will be better coordination between various security and spy agencies from next month when the multi-agency centre will be in place.

"Our level of preparedness is much higher than it was three months back and in the event of any attack, our response will be swift and deterring," he said responding to members’ concern on internal security during the Question Hour.

Chidamabarm said that he would be presenting his third report on the level of preparedness on February 27.

"A team had gone to the US to study their anti-terror strategies, which they had prepared in the wake of 9/11 attacks. The team has come back and we are trying to replicate the strategies studied there, that suit our requirements," he said.

"By March 31, there will be better coordination between multi-agency centre (MAC) and its subsidiaries and between MAC and special branch of police and various data centres".

By May this year, all these agencies will be much better placed to reply to any kind of terror attacks, the Home Minister said. PTI

Rumsfeld Meets With Leaders in Tunisia

Rumsfeld Meets With Leaders in Tunisia

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

TUNIS, Tunisia, Feb. 11, 2006 – Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had separate meetings today with Tunisia’s president, foreign affairs minister and defense minister to kick off a three-day series of visits to nations in North Africa. 

The secretary also will visit Algeria and Morocco as he seeks to further strengthen the military relationship between the United States and what he called "longstanding friends and longtime partners."

"We have a very long relationship with Tunisia," Rumsfeld said after the meetings. "Tunisia is a moderate Muslim nation that has been and is today providing very constructive leadership in the world. The struggle that’s taking place within that faith is a serious one, an important one. There’s a very small number of violent extremists on the one side against a broad, overwhelming majority of people who are moderate."

Rumsfeld said senior leaders in the country have spoken against violence and extremism and on behalf of moderation. "They have demonstrated, if one looks at this successful country," the secretary noted, "the ability to create an environment that’s hospitable to investment, to enterprise, and to opportunity for their people."

Following his morning meeting with Defense Minister Kamel Morjane, Rumsfeld expressed his appreciation to the Tunisian people for helping and supporting the U. S. after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina last year. He noted that the U.S. Army fought some of its earliest and most difficult battles of World War II on Tunisian soil.

"I’ve had the privilege of visiting the cemetery at Carthage," he said, "which is an impressive reminder for all of us that freedom does not come without cost, and that our nations do need to remain to protect our people."

Rumsfeld cited last spring’s 20th meeting of the U.S.-Tunisian joint military commission as one example of "very constructive military and diplomatic cooperation" between the two nations over the years.

"Both of our countries have been attacked by violent extremists, so we know well the stakes involved in the struggle that’s being waged," he said. "Tunisia has long been an important voice of moderation and tolerance in this region, and has played a key role in confronting extremists not just within this country, but in the area as well."

Morjane said his meeting with Rumsfeld was "fruitful and cordial," and that their talk focused on cooperation prospects and an exchange of views about issues of common interest. "I reiterated to Mr. Rumsfeld the determination of Tunisia, in accordance with the policy orientations of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, to strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation between Tunisia and the United States."

According to a written statement issued by Ben Ali’s spokesman after the Tunisian president met with Rumsfeld, their meeting "allowed for a review of the strong and ancient ties and friendship between Tunisia and the United States and of the means to further develop this relationship based on the determination of the two countries to promote and enhance these ties."

The statement said Ben Ali emphasized Tunisia’s determination to support international efforts aimed at calming the region and ensuring stability. He also expressed the hope "that current developments in Iraq will contribute to guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Iraq, allowing the latter to dedicate its efforts to the tasks of building and reconstruction."

Ben Ali reaffirmed Tunisia’s "unwavering stand" against terrorism and extremism, the statement continued, and called for joint efforts by the international community "to fight this scourge, which constitutes a threat to all humanity."

Tunisia participates actively in the Defense Department’s International Military Education Program. U.S. Embassy officials here said more than 3,600 Tunisian officers and technicians have been trained through IMET since the program’s inception 20 years ago. DoD also supports Tunisia’s counterterrorism program through bilateral exercises and special training courses for selected Tunisian participants and units, officials said. DoD and Tunisia’s Defense Ministry also engage in personnel exchanges and military-to-military events.


For a New, Progressive, War on Terror

For a New, Progressive, War on Terror

Author Don Lutz has written that terror is “what one feels when being kidnapped or raped.”

He goes on to list other terrifying examples:

    “Terror is what poor people worldwide feel when approached by uniformed, armed men; what animals feel in research laboratories; what people feel when their families are faced with starvation; what a child feels when an adult starts to hit; what millions of families feel when they hear planes overhead; what fish feel when hooked in the mouth; what people feel under threat of having loved ones tortured or killed; what forest dwellers feel when the loggers come in to clear-cut; what people feel when they are threatened with invasion; and what animals feel at slaughterhouses.”

If you want to wage war against terror, why not look for the real enemy?

Obama: Afghan front ‘central’ to terror war

Afghan front ‘central’ to terror war

By Carlotta Gall and Jeff Zeleny
in International Herald Tribune, 21 July 2008

Afghanistan must become "the central front" in the war on terror, Barack Obama said Sunday in the Afghan capital, sharpening his policy clash with John McCain over whether the war in Iraq has been a distraction from that effort.

Obama has pledged to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan and to focus more on terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan.

"We have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan, and I believe this has to be the central focus, the central front, in the battle against terorrism, " Obama said in an interview with CBS News.


Terrorized by ‘War on Terror’ – How a Three-Word Mantra Has Undermined America

Terrorized by 'War on Terror' – How a Three-Word Mantra Has Undermined America

By Zbigniew Brzezinski
Washington Post, Sunday, March 25, 2007; B01

The "war on terror" has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration's elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America's psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.

The damage these three words have done — a classic self-inflicted wound — is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were plotting against us in distant Afghan caves. The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare — political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants.

But the little secret here may be that the vagueness of the phrase was deliberately (or instinctively) calculated by its sponsors. Constant reference to a "war on terror" did accomplish one major objective: It stimulated the emergence of a culture of fear. Fear obscures reason, intensifies emotions and makes it easier for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue. The war of choice in Iraq could never have gained the congressional support it got without the psychological linkage between the shock of 9/11 and the postulated existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Support for President Bush in the 2004 elections was also mobilized in part by the notion that "a nation at war" does not change its commander in chief in midstream. The sense of a pervasive but otherwise imprecise danger was thus channeled in a politically expedient direction by the mobilizing appeal of being "at war."

To justify the "war on terror," the administration has lately crafted a false historical narrative that could even become a self-fulfilling prophecy. By claiming that its war is similar to earlier U.S. struggles against Nazism and then Stalinism (while ignoring the fact that both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were first-rate military powers, a status al-Qaeda neither has nor can achieve), the administration could be preparing the case for war with Iran. Such war would then plunge America into a protracted conflict spanning Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and perhaps also Pakistan.

The culture of fear is like a genie that has been let out of its bottle. It acquires a life of its own — and can become demoralizing. America today is not the self-confident and determined nation that responded to Pearl Harbor; nor is it the America that heard from its leader, at another moment of crisis, the powerful words "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"; nor is it the calm America that waged the Cold War with quiet persistence despite the knowledge that a real war could be initiated abruptly within minutes and prompt the death of 100 million Americans within just a few hours. We are now divided, uncertain and potentially very susceptible to panic in the event of another terrorist act in the United States itself.

That is the result of five years of almost continuous national brainwashing on the subject of terror, quite unlike the more muted reactions of several other nations (Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, to mention just a few) that also have suffered painful terrorist acts. In his latest justification for his war in Iraq, President Bush even claims absurdly that he has to continue waging it lest al-Qaeda cross the Atlantic to launch a war of terror here in the United States.

Such fear-mongering, reinforced by security entrepreneurs, the mass media and the entertainment industry, generates its own momentum. The terror entrepreneurs, usually described as experts on terrorism, are necessarily engaged in competition to justify their existence. Hence their task is to convince the public that it faces new threats. That puts a premium on the presentation of credible scenarios of ever-more-horrifying acts of violence, sometimes even with blueprints for their implementation.

That America has become insecure and more paranoid is hardly debatable. A recent study reported that in 2003, Congress identified 160 sites as potentially important national targets for would-be terrorists. With lobbyists weighing in, by the end of that year the list had grown to 1,849; by the end of 2004, to 28,360; by 2005, to 77,769. The national database of possible targets now has some 300,000 items in it, including the Sears Tower in Chicago and an Illinois Apple and Pork Festival.

Just last week, here in Washington, on my way to visit a journalistic office, I had to pass through one of the absurd "security checks" that have proliferated in almost all the privately owned office buildings in this capital — and in New York City. A uniformed guard required me to fill out a form, show an I.D. and in this case explain in writing the purpose of my visit. Would a visiting terrorist indicate in writing that the purpose is "to blow up the building"? Would the guard be able to arrest such a self-confessing, would-be suicide bomber? To make matters more absurd, large department stores, with their crowds of shoppers, do not have any comparable procedures. Nor do concert halls or movie theaters. Yet such "security" procedures have become routine, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and further contributing to a siege mentality.

Government at every level has stimulated the paranoia. Consider, for example, the electronic billboards over interstate highways urging motorists to "Report Suspicious Activity" (drivers in turbans?). Some mass media have made their own contribution. The cable channels and some print media have found that horror scenarios attract audiences, while terror "experts" as "consultants" provide authenticity for the apocalyptic visions fed to the American public. Hence the proliferation of programs with bearded "terrorists" as the central villains. Their general effect is to reinforce the sense of the unknown but lurking danger that is said to increasingly threaten the lives of all Americans.

The entertainment industry has also jumped into the act. Hence the TV serials and films in which the evil characters have recognizable Arab features, sometimes highlighted by religious gestures, that exploit public anxiety and stimulate Islamophobia. Arab facial stereotypes, particularly in newspaper cartoons, have at times been rendered in a manner sadly reminiscent of the Nazi anti-Semitic campaigns. Lately, even some college student organizations have become involved in such propagation, apparently oblivious to the menacing connection between the stimulation of racial and religious hatreds and the unleashing of the unprecedented crimes of the Holocaust.

The atmosphere generated by the "war on terror" has encouraged legal and political harassment of Arab Americans (generally loyal Americans) for conduct that has not been unique to them. A case in point is the reported harassment of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for its attempts to emulate, not very successfully, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Some House Republicans recently described CAIR members as "terrorist apologists" who should not be allowed to use a Capitol meeting room for a panel discussion.

Social discrimination, for example toward Muslim air travelers, has also been its unintended byproduct. Not surprisingly, animus toward the United States even among Muslims otherwise not particularly concerned with the Middle East has intensified, while America's reputation as a leader in fostering constructive interracial and interreligious relations has suffered egregiously.

The record is even more troubling in the general area of civil rights. The culture of fear has bred intolerance, suspicion of foreigners and the adoption of legal procedures that undermine fundamental notions of justice. Innocent until proven guilty has been diluted if not undone, with some — even U.S. citizens — incarcerated for lengthy periods of time without effective and prompt access to due process. There is no known, hard evidence that such excess has prevented significant acts of terrorism, and convictions for would-be terrorists of any kind have been few and far between. Someday Americans will be as ashamed of this record as they now have become of the earlier instances in U.S. history of panic by the many prompting intolerance against the few.

In the meantime, the "war on terror" has gravely damaged the United States internationally. For Muslims, the similarity between the rough treatment of Iraqi civilians by the U.S. military and of the Palestinians by the Israelis has prompted a widespread sense of hostility toward the United States in general. It's not the "war on terror" that angers Muslims watching the news on television, it's the victimization of Arab civilians. And the resentment is not limited to Muslims. A recent BBC poll of 28,000 people in 27 countries that sought respondents' assessments of the role of states in international affairs resulted in Israel, Iran and the United States being rated (in that order) as the states with "the most negative influence on the world." Alas, for some that is the new axis of evil!

The events of 9/11 could have resulted in a truly global solidarity against extremism and terrorism. A global alliance of moderates, including Muslim ones, engaged in a deliberate campaign both to extirpate the specific terrorist networks and to terminate the political conflicts that spawn terrorism would have been more productive than a demagogically proclaimed and largely solitary U.S. "war on terror" against "Islamo-fascism." Only a confidently determined and reasonable America can promote genuine international security which then leaves no political space for terrorism.

Where is the U.S. leader ready to say, "Enough of this hysteria, stop this paranoia"? Even in the face of future terrorist attacks, the likelihood of which cannot be denied, let us show some sense. Let us be true to our traditions.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, is the author most recently of "Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower" (Basic Books).

Terrorism Defined

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Terrorism Defined
by Stephen Lendman

Probably no word better defines or underscores the Bush presidency than "terrorism" even though his administration wasn't the first to exploit this highly charged term. We use to explain what "they do to us" to justify what we "do to them," or plan to, always deceitfully couched in terms of humanitarian intervention, promoting democracy, or bringing other people the benefits of western civilization Gandhi thought would be a good idea when asked once what he thought about it.

Ronald Reagan exploited it in the 1980s to declare "war on international terrorism" referring to it as the "scourge of terrorism" and "the plague of the modern age." It was clear he had in mind launching his planned Contra proxy war of terrorism against the democratically elected Sandinista government in Nicaragua and FMLN opposition resistance to the US-backed El Salvador fascist regime the same way George Bush did it waging his wars of aggression post-9/11.

It's a simple scheme to pull off, and governments keep using it because it always works. Scare the public enough, and they'll go along with almost anything thinking it's to protect their safety when, in fact, waging wars of aggression and state-sponsored violence have the opposite effect. The current Bush wars united practically the entire world against us including an active resistance increasingly targeting anything American.

George Orwell knew about the power of language before the age of television and the internet enhanced it exponentially. He explained how easy "doublethink" and "newspeak" can convince us "war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength." He also wrote "All war propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from (chicken hawk) people who are not fighting (and) Big Brother is watching…." us to be sure we get the message and obey it.

In 1946, Orwell wrote about "Politics and the English Language" saying "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible" to hide what its user has in mind. So "defenseless villages are bombarded from the air (and) this is called 'pacification'." And the president declares a "war on terrorism" that's, in fact, a "war of terrorism" against designated targets, always defenseless against it, because with adversaries able to put up a good fight, bullies, like the US, opt for diplomacy or other political and economic means, short of open conflict.

The term "terrorism" has a long history, and reference to a "war on terrorism" goes back a 100 years or more. Noted historian Howard Zinn observed how the phrase is a contradiction in terms as "How can you make war on terrorism, if war is terrorism (and if) you respond to terrorism with (more) terrorism….you multiply (the amount of) terrorism in the world." Zinn explains that "Governments are terrorists on an enormously large scale," and when they wage war the damage caused infinitely exceeds anything individuals or groups can inflict.

It's also clear that individual or group "terrorist" acts are crimes, not declarations or acts of war. So a proper response to the 9/11 perpetrators was a police one, not an excuse for the Pentagon to attack other nations having nothing to do with it.

George Bush's "war on terrorism" began on that fateful September day when his administration didn't miss a beat stoking the flames of fear with a nation in shock ready to believe almost anything – true, false or in between. And he did it thanks to the hyped enormity of the 9/11 event manipulated for maximum political effect for the long-planned aggressive imperial adventurism his hard line administration had in mind only needing "a catastrophic and catalyzing (enough) event – like a new Pearl Harbor" to lauch. With plans drawn and ready, the president and key administration officials terrified the public with visions of terrorism branded and rebranded as needed from the war on it, to the global war on it (GLOT), to the long war on it, to a new name coming soon to re-ignite a flagging public interest in and growing disillusionment over two foreign wars gone sour and lost.

Many writers, past and present, have written on terrorism with their definitions and analyses of it. The views of four noted political and social critics are reviewed below, but first an official definition to frame what follows.

How the US Code Defines Terrorism

Under the US Code, "international terrorism" includes activities involving:

(A) "violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;"

(B) are intended to –

(i) "intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

(C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States…."

The US Army Operational Concept for Terrorism (TRADOC Pamphlet No. 525-37, 1984) shortens the above definition to be "the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature….through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear."

Eqbal Ahmad On Terrorism

Before his untimely death, Indian activist and scholar Eqbal Ahmad spoke on the subject of terrorism in one of his last public talks at the University of Colorado in October, 1998. Seven Stories Press then published his presentation in one of its Open Media Series short books titled "Terrorism, Theirs and Ours." The talk when delivered was prophetic in light of the September 11 event making his comments especially relevant.

He began quoting a 1984 Reagan Secretary of State George Shultz speech calling terrorism "modern barbarism, a form of political violence, a threat to Western civilization, a menace to Western moral values" and more, all the while never defining it because that would "involve a commitment to analysis, comprehension and adherence to some norms of consistency" not consistent with how this country exploits it for political purposes. It would also expose Washington's long record of supporting the worst kinds of terrorist regimes worldwide in Indonesia, Iran under the Shah, Central America, the South American fascist generals, Marcos in the Philippines, Pol Pot and Saddam at their worst, the current Saudi and Egyptian regimes, Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), and for the people of Greece, who paid an enormous price, the Greek colonels the US brought to power in the late 1960s for which people there now with long memories still haven't forgiven us.

Ahmad continued saying "What (then) is terrorism? Our first job is to define the damn thing, name it, give it a description of some kind, other than (the) "moral equivalent of (our) founding fathers (or) a moral outrage to Western civilization." He cited Webster's Collegiate Dictionary as a source saying "Terrorism is an intense, overpowering fear….the use of terrorizing methods of governing or resisting a government." It's simple, to the point, fair, and Ahmad calls it a definition of "great virtue. It focuses on the use of coercive violence….that is used illegally, extra-constitutionally, to coerce" saying this is true because it's what terrorism is whether committed by governments, groups, or individuals. This definition omits what Ahmad feels doesn't apply – motivation, whether or not the cause is just or not because "motives differ (yet) make no difference."

Ahmad identifies the following types of terrorism:

— State terrorism committed by nations against anyone – other states, groups or individuals, including state-sponsored assassination targets;

— Religious terrorism like Christians and Muslims slaughtering each other during Papal crusades; many instances of Catholics killing Protestants and the reverse like in Northern Ireland; Christians and Jews butchering each other; Sunnis killing Shiites and the reverse; and any other kind of terror violence inspired or justified by religion carrying out God's will as in the Old Testament preaching it as an ethical code for a higher purpose;

— Crime (organized or otherwise) terrorism as "all kinds of crime commit terror."

— Pathology terrorism by those who are sick, may "want the attention of the world (and decide to do it by) kill(ing) a president" or anyone else.

— Political terrorism by a private group Ahmad calls "oppositional terror" explaining further that at times these five types "converge on each other starting out in one form, then converging into one or more others.

Nation states, like the US, focus only on one kind of terrorism – political terrorism that's "the least important in terms of cost to human lives and human property (with the highest cost type being) state terrorism." The current wars of aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine underscore what Ahmad means. Never mentioned, though, is that political or retail terrorism is a natural response by oppressed or desperate groups when they're victims of far more grievous acts of state terrorism. Also unmentioned is how to prevent terrorist acts Noam Chomsky explains saying the way to get "them" to stop attacking "us" is stop attacking "them."

Ahmad responded to a question in the book version of his speech with more thoughts on the subject. Asked to define terrorism the way he did in an article he wrote a year earlier titled "Comprehending Terror," he called it "the illegal use of violence for the purposes of influencing somebody's behavior, inflicting punishment, or taking revenge (adding) it has been practiced on a larger scale, globally, both by governments and by private groups." When committed against a state, never asked is what produces it.

Further, official and even academic definitions of state terrorism exclude what Ahmad calls "illegal violence:" torture, burning of villages, destruction of entire peoples, (and) genocide." These definitions are biased against individuals and groups favoring governments committing terrorist acts. Our saying it's for self-defense, protecting the "national security," or "promoting democracy" is subterfuge baloney disguising our passion for state-sponsored violence practiced like it our national pastime.

Ahmad also observed that modern-day "third-world….fascist governments (in countries like) Indonesia (under Suharto), Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC), Iran (under the Shah), South Korea (under its generals), and elsewhere – were fully supported by one or the other of the superpowers," and for all the aforementioned ones and most others that was the US.

Further, Ahmad notes "religious zealotry has been a major source of terror" but nearly always associated in the West with Islamic groups. In fact, it's a global problem with "Jewish terrorists….terrorizing an entire people in the Middle East (the Palestinians, supported by) Israel which is supported by the government of the United States." Crimes against humanity in the name of religion are also carried out by radical Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and others, not just extremist Muslims that are the only ones reported in the West.

In August, 1998 in the Dawn English-language Pakistani newspaper, Ahmad wrote about the power of the US in a unipolar world saying: "Who will define the parameters of terrorism, or decide where terrorists lurk? Why, none other than the United States, which can from the rooftops of the world set out its claim to be sheriff, judge and hangman, all at one and the same time." So while publicly supporting justice, the US spurns international law to be the sole decider acting by the rules of what we say goes, and the law is what we say it is. Further, before the age of George Bush, Ahmad sounded a note of hope saying nothing is "historically permanent (and) I don't think American power is permanent. It itself is very temporary, and therefore its excesses have to be, by definition, impermanent."

In addition, he added, "America is a troubled country" for many reasons. It's "economic capabilities do not harmonize with its military (ones and) its ruling class' will to dominate is not quite shared by" what its people want. For now, however, the struggle will continue because the US "sowed in the Middle East (after the Gulf war but before George Bush became president) and South Asia (signaling Pakistan and Afghanistan) very poisonous seeds. Some have ripened and others are ripening. An examination of why they were sown, what has grown, and how they should be reaped is needed (but isn't being done). Missiles won't solve the problem" as is plain as day in mid-2007, with the Bush administration hanging on for dear life in the face of two calamitous wars the president can't acknowledge are hopeless and already lost.

Edward S. Herman On Terrorism

Herman wrote a lot on terrorism including his important 1982 book as relevant today as it was then, "The Real Terror Network." It's comprised of US-sponsored authoritarian states following what Herman calls a free market "development model" for corporate gain gotten through a reign of terror unleashed on any homegrown resistance against it and a corrupted dominant media championing it with language Orwell would love.

Back then, justification given was the need to protect the "free world" from the evils of communism and a supposedly worldwide threat it posed. It was classic "Red Scare" baloney, but it worked to traumatize the public enough to think the Russians would come unless we headed them off, never mind, in fact, the Russians had good reason to fear we'd come because "bombing them back to the stone age" was seriously considered, might have happened, and once almost did.

Herman reviews examples of "lesser and mythical terror networks" before discussing the real ones. First though, he defines the language beginning with how Orwell characterized political speech already explained above. He then gives a dictionary definition of terrorism as "a mode of governing, or of opposing government, by intimidation" but notes right off a problem for "western propaganda." Defining terrorism this way includes repressive regimes we support, so it's necessary finding "word adaptations (redefining them to) exclude (our) state terrorism (and only) capture the petty (retail) terror of small dissident groups or individuals" or the trumped up "evil empire" kind manufactured out of whole cloth but made to seem real and threatening.

Herman then explains how the CIA finessed terrorism by referring to "Patterns of International Terrorism" defining it as follows: "Terrorism conducted with the support of a foreign government or organization and/or directed against foreign nationals, institutions, or governments." By this definition, internal death squads killing thousands are excluded because they're not "international" unless a foreign government supports them. That's easy to hide, though, when we're the government and as easy to reveal or fake when it serves our purpose saying it was communist-inspired in the 1980s or "Islamofascist al Qaeda"-conducted or supported now. Saying it makes it so even when it isn't because the power of the message can make us believe Santa Claus is the grinch who stole Christmas.

Herman also explains how harsh terms like totalitarianism and authoritarianism only apply to adversary regimes while those as bad or worse allied to us are more benignly referred to with terms like "moderate autocrats" or some other corrupted manipulation of language able to make the most beastly tyrants look like enlightened tolerant leaders.

In fact, these brutes and their governments comprise the "real terror network," and what they did and still do, with considerable US help, contributed to the rise of the "National Security State" (NSS) post-WW II and the growth of terrorism worldwide supporting it. In a word, it rules by "intimidation and violence or the threat of violence." Does the name Augusto Pinochet ring a bell? What about the repressive Shah of Iran even a harsh theocratic state brought relief from?

Herman explained "the economics of the NSS" that's just as relevant today as then with some updating of events in the age of George Bush. He notes NSS leaders imposed a free market "development model" creating a "favorable investment climate (including) subsidies and tax concessions to business (while excluding) any largess to the non-propertied classes…." It means human welfare be damned, social benefits and democracy are incompatible with the needs of business, unions aren't allowed, a large "reserve army" of workers can easily replace present ones, and those complaining get their heads knocked off with terror tactics being the weapon of choice, and woe to those on the receiving end.

The Godfather in Washington makes it work with considerable help from the corrupted dominant media selling "free market" misery like it's paradise. Their message praises the dogma, turning a blind eye to the ill effects on real people and the terror needed to keep them in line when they resist characterized as protecting "national security" and "promoting democracy," as already explained. All the while, the US is portrayed as a benevolent innocent bystander, when, if fact, behind the scenes, we pull the strings and tinpot third-world despots dance to them. But don't expect to learn that from the pages of the New York Times always in the lead supporting the worst US-directed policies characterized only as the best and most enlightened.

At the end of his account, Herman offers solutions worlds apart from the way the Bush administration rules. They include opposing "martial law governments" and demanding the US end funding, arming and training repressive regimes. Also condemned are "harsh prison sentences, internments and killings," especially against labor leaders. Finally, he cites "the right to self-determination" for all countries free from foreign interference, that usually means Washington, that must be held to account and compelled to "stop bullying and manipulating….tiny states" and end the notion they must be client ones, or else.

Referring to the Reagan administration in the 1980s, Herman says what applies even more under George Bush. If allowed to get away with it, Washington "will continue to escalate the violence (anywhere in the world it chooses) to preserve military mafia/oligarch control" meaning we're boss, and what we say goes. Leaders not getting the message will be taught the hard way, meaning state-sponsored terrorism portrayed as benign intervention.

Herman revisited terrorism with co-author Gerry O'Sullivan in 1989 in their book "The Terrorism Industry: The Experts and Institutions That Shape Our View of Terror." The authors focus on what kinds of victims are important ("worthy" ones) while others (the "unworthy") go unmentioned or are characterized as victimizers with the corrupted media playing their usual role trumpeting whatever policies serve the interests of power. The authors state "….the West's experts and media have engaged in a process of 'role reversal' in….handling….terrorism… focus(ing) on selected, relatively small-scale terrorists and rebels including….genuine national liberation movements" victimized by state-sponsored terror. Whenever they strike back in self-defense they're portrayed as victimizers. Examples, then and now, are legion, and the authors draw on them over that earlier period the book covers.

They also explain the main reason individuals and groups attack us is payback for our attacking or oppressing them far more grievously. As already noted, the very nature of wholesale state-directed terror is infinitely more harmful than the retail kind with the order of magnitude being something like comparing massive corporate fraud cheating shareholders and employees to a day's take by a local neighborhood pickpocket.

"The Terrorism Industry" shows the West needs enemies. Before 1991, the "evil empire" Soviet Union was the lead villain with others in supporting roles like Libya's Gaddafi, the PLO under Arafat (before the Oslo Accords co-opted him), the Sandinistas under Ortega laughably threatening Texas we were told, and other designees portrayed as arch enemies of freedom because they won't sell out their sovereignty to rules made in Washington. Spewing this baloney takes lots of chutzpah and manufactured demonizing generously served up by "state-sponsored propaganda campaigns" dutifully trumpeted by the dominant media stenographers for power. Their message is powerful enough to convince people western states and nuclear-powered Israel can't match ragtag marauding "terrorist" bands coming to neighborhoods near us unless we flatten countries they may be coming from. People believe it, and it's why state-sponsored terrorism can be portrayed as self-defense even though it's pure scare tactic baloney.

The authors stress the western politicization process decides who qualifies as targeted, and "The basic rule has been: if connected with leftists, violence may be called terrorist," but when it comes from rightist groups it's always self-defense. Again, it's classic Orwell who'd be smiling saying I told you so if he were still here. He also understood terrorism serves a "larger service." Overall, it's to get the public terrified enough to go along with any agenda governments have in mind like wars of aggression, huge increases in military spending at the expense of social services getting less, and the loss of civil liberties by repressive policies engineered on the phony pretext of increasing our safety, in fact, being harmed.

The authors also note different forms of "manufactured terrorism" such as inflating or inventing a menace out of whole cloth. It's also used in the private sector to weaken or destroy "union leaders, activists, and political enemies, sometimes in collusion with agents of the state."

The authors call all of the above "The Terrorism Industry of institutes and experts who formulate and channel analysis and information on terrorism in accordance with Western demands" often in cahoots with "Western governments, intelligence agencies, and corporate/conservative foundations and funders." It's a "closed system" designed to "reinforce state propaganda" to program the public mind to go along with any agenda the institutions of power have in mind, never beneficial to our own. Yet, their message is so potent they're able to convince us it is. It's an astonishing achievement going on every day able to make us believe almost anything, and the best way to beat it is don't listen.

Noam Chomsky On Terrorism

In his book "Perilous Power: The Middle East and US Foreign Policy," co-authored with Gilbert Achcar, Chomsky defines terrorism saying he's been writing about it since 1981 around the time Ronald Reagan first declared war on "international terrorism" to justify all he had in mind mentioned above. Chomsky explained "You don't declare a war on terrorism unless you're planning yourself to undertake massive international terrorism," and calling it self-defense is pure baloney.

Chomsky revisits the subject in many of his books, and in at least two earlier ones addressed terrorism or international terrorism as those volumes' core issue discussed further below. In "Perilous Power," it's the first issue discussed right out of the gate, and he starts off defining it. He does it using the official US Code definition given above calling it a commonsense one. But there's a problem in that by this definition the US qualifies as a terrorist state, and the Reagan administration in the 1980s practiced it, so it had to change it to avoid an obvious conflict.

Other problems arose as well when the UN passed resolutions on terrorism, the first major one being in December, 1987 condemning terrorism as a crime in the harshest terms. It passed in the General Assembly overwhelmingly but not unanimously, 153 – 2, with the two opposed being the US and Israel so although the US vote wasn't a veto it served as one twice over. When Washington disapproves, it's an actual veto in the Security Council or a de facto one in the General Assembly meaning it's blocked either way, and it's erased from history as well. Case closed.

Disguising what Martin Luther King called "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today," referring to this country, a new definition had to be found excluding the terror we carry out against "them," including only what they do to "us." It's not easy, but, in practical terms, this is the definition we use – what you do to "us," while what we do to you is "benign humanitarian intervention." Repeated enough in the mainstream, the message sinks in even though it's baloney.

Chomsky then explains what other honest observers understand in a post-NAFTA world US planners knew would devastate ordinary people on the receiving end of so-called free trade policies designed to throttle them for corporate gain. He cites National Intelligence Council projections that globalization "will be rocky, marked by chronic financial volatility and a widening economic divide….Regions, countries, and groups feeling left behind will face deepening economic stagnation, political instability, and cultural alienation. They will foster political, ethnic, ideological, and religious extremism, along with the violence that often accompanies it."

Pentagon projections agree with plans set to savagely suppress expected retaliatory responses. How to stop the cycle of violence? End all types of exploitation including so-called one-way "free trade," adopting instead a fair trade model like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's government follows that's equitable to all trading partners and their people. The antidote to bad policy, brutal repression, wars and the terrorism they generate is equity and justice for all. However, the US won't adopt the one solution sure to work because it hurts profits that come ahead of people needs.

Chomsky wrote about terrorism at length much earlier as well in his 1988 book "The Culture of Terrorism." In it he cites "the Fifth Freedom" meaning "the freedom to rob, to exploit and to dominate society, to undertake any course of action to insure that existing privilege is protected and advanced." This "freedom" is incompatible with the other four Franklin Roosevelt once announced – freedom of speech, worship, want and fear all harmed by this interloper. To get the home population to go along with policies designed to hurt them, "the state must spin an elaborate web of illusion and deceit (to keep people) inert and limited in the capacity to develop independent modes of thought and perception." It's called "manufacturing consent" to keep the rabble in line, using hard line tactics when needed.

"The Cultural of Terrorism" covers the Reagan years in the 1980s and its agenda of state terror in the post-Vietnam climate of public resistance to direct intervention that didn't hamper Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. So unable to send in the Marines, Reagan resorted to state terror proxy wars with key battlegrounds being Central America and Afghanistan. The book focuses on the former, the scandals erupting from it, and damage control manipulation so this country can continue pursuing policies dedicated to rule by force whenever persuasion alone won't work.

A "new urgency" emerged in June, 1986 when the World Court condemned the US for attacking Nicaragua using the Contras in a proxy war of aggression against a democratically elected government unwilling to operate by rules made in Washington. In a post-Vietnam climate opposed to this sort of thing, policies then were made to work by making state terror look like humanitarian intervention with local proxies on the ground doing our killing for us and deceiving the public to go along by scaring it to death.

So with lots of dominant media help, Reagan pursued his terror wars in Central America with devastating results people at home heard little about if they read the New York Times or watched the evening news suppressing the toll Chomsky reveals as have others:

— over 50,000 slaughtered in El Salvador,

— over 100,000 corpses in Guatemala just in the 1980s and over 200,000 including those killed earlier and since,

— a mere 11,000 in Nicaragua that got off relatively easy because the people had an army to fight back while in El Salvador and Guatemala the army was the enemy.

The tally shows Ronald Reagan gets credit for over 160,000 Central American deaths alone, but not ordinary ones. They came "Pol Pot-style….with extensive torture, rape, mutilation, disappearance," and political assassinations against members of the clergy including El Salvador's Archbishop Oscar Romero gunned down by an assassin while celebrating mass inside San Salvador's Hospital de la Divina Frovidencia. His "voice for the voiceless" concern for the poor and oppressed and courageous opposition to death squad mass-killing couldn't be tolerated in a part of the world ruled by wealthy elites getting plenty of support from some of the same names in Washington now ravaging Iraq and Afghanistan.

Chomsky cites the Reagan Doctrine's commitment to opposing leftist resistance movements throughout the 1980s, conducting state-sponsored terror to "construct an international terrorist network of impressive sophistication, without parallel in history….and used it" clandestinely fighting communism.

With lots of help from Congress and the dominant media, the administration contained the damage that erupted in late 1986 from what was known as the Iran-Contra scandal over illegally selling arms to Iran to fund the Contras. Just like the farcical Watergate investigations, the worst crimes and abuses got swept under the rug, and in the end no one in the 1980s even paid a price for the lesser ones. So a huge scandal greater than Watergate, that should have toppled a president, ended up being little more than a tempest in a teapot after the dust settled. It makes it easy understanding how George Bush gets away with mass-murder, torture and much more almost making Reagan's years seem tame by comparison.

Chomsky continued discussing our "culture of terrorism" with the Pentagon practically boasting over its Central American successes directing terrorist proxy force attacks against "soft targets" including health centers, medical workers and schools, farms and more, all considered legitimate military targets despite international law banning these actions.

Latin America is always crucial to US policy makers referring to it dismissively as "America's backyard" giving us more right to rule here than practically any place else. It's because of the region's strategic importance historian Greg Grandin recognizes calling it the "Empire's Workshop" that's the title of his 2006 book subtitled "Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism." In it, he shows how the region serves as a laboratory honing our techniques for imperial rule that worked in the 1980s but now face growing rebellion providing added incentive to people in the Middle East inspiring them to do by force what leaders like Hugo Chavez do constitutionally with great public support.

But Washington's international terror network never quits or sleeps operating freely worldwide and touching down anywhere policy makers feel they need to play global enforcer seeing to it outliers remember who's boss, and no one forgets the rules of imperial management. Things went as planned for Reagan until the 1986 scandals necessitated a heavy dose of damage control. They've now become industrial strength trying to bail George Bush out his quagmire conflagrations making Reagan's troubles seem like minor brush fires. It worked for Reagan by following "overriding principles (keeping) crucial issues….off the agenda" applicable for George Bush, including:

— "the (ugly) historical and documentary record reveal(ing)" US policy guidelines;

— "the international setting within which policy develops;"

— application of similar policies in other nations in Latin America or elsewhere;

— "the normal conditions of life (in Latin America or elsewhere long dominated by) US influence and control (and) what these teach us about the goals and character of US government policy over many years;

— similar matters (anywhere helping explain) the origins and nature of the problems that must be addressed."

It was true in the 1980s and now so these issues "are not fit topics for reporting, commentary and debate" beyond what policy makers disagree on and are willing to discuss openly.

The book concludes considering the "perils of diplomacy" with Washington resorting to state terror enforcing its will through violence when other means don't work. But the US public has to be convinced through guile and stealth it's all being done for our own good. It never is, of course, but most people never catch on till it's too late to matter. They should read more Chomsky, Herman, Ahmad, and Michel Chossudovsky discussed below, but too few do so leaders like Reagan and Bush get away with mass-murder and much more.

Chomsky wrote another book on terrorism titled "Pirates and Emperors, Old and New: International Terrorism in the Real World." It was first published in 1986 with new material added in more recent editions up to 2001. The book begins with a memorable story St. Augustine tells about a pirate Alexander the Great captured asking him "how he dares molest the sea." Pirates aren't known to be timid, and this one responds saying "How dare you molest the whole world? ….I do it with a little ship only (and) am called a thief (while you do) it with a great navy (and) are called an Emperor." It's a wonderful way to capture the relationship between minor rogue states or resistance movements matched off against the lord and master of the universe with unchallengeable military power unleashing it freely to stay dominant.

The newest edition of "Pirates and Emperors, Old and New" explores what constitutes terrorism while mainly discussing how Washington waged it in the Middle East in the 1980s, also then in Central America, and more recently post-9/11. As he often does, Chomsky also shows how dominant media manipulation shapes public perceptions to justify our actions called defensible against states we target as enemies when they resist – meaning their wish to remain free and independent makes them a threat to western civilization.

Washington never tolerates outlier regimes placing their sovereignty above ours or internal resistance movements hitting back for what we do to them. Those doing it are called terrorists and are targeted for removal by economic, political and/or military state terror. In the case of Nicaragua, the weapon of choice was a Contra proxy force, in El Salvador, the CIA-backed fascist government did the job, and in both cases tactics used involved mass murder and incarceration, torture, and a whole further menu of repressive and economic barbarism designed to crush resistance paving the way for unchallengeable US dominance.

The centerpiece of US Middle East policy has been its full and unconditional support for Israel's quest for regional dominance by weakening or removing regimes considered hostile and its near-six decade offensive to repress and ethnically cleanse indigenous Palestinians from all land Israelis want for a greater Israel. Toward that end, Israel gets unheard of amounts of aid including billions annually in grants and loans, billions more as needed, multi-billions in debt waved, billions more in military aid, and state-of-the-art weapons and technology amounting in total to more than all other countries in the world combined for a nation of six million people with lots of important friends in Washington, on Wall Street, and in all other centers of power that count.

It all goes down smoothly at home by portraying justifiable resistance to Israeli abuse as terrorism with the dominant media playing their usual role calling US and Israeli-targeted victims the victimizers to justify the harshest state terror crackdowns against them. For Palestinians, it's meant nearly six decades of repression and 40 years of occupation by a foreign power able to reign state terror on defenseless people helpless against it. For Iraq, it meant removing a leader posing no threat to Israel or his neighbors but portrayed as a monster who did with Iranian leaders and Hugo Chavez now topping the regime change queue in that order or maybe in quick succession or tandem.

It's all about power and perception with corrupted language, as Orwell explained, able to make reality seem the way those controlling it wish. It lets power and ideology triumph over people freely using state terror as a means of social control. Chomsky quoted Churchill's notion that "the rich and powerful have every right to….enjoy what they have gained, often by violence and terror; the rest can be ignored as long as they suffer in silence, but if they interfere with….those who rule the world by right, the 'terrors of the earth' will be visited upon them with righteous wrath, unless power is constrained from within." One day, the meek may inherit the earth and Churchill's words no longer will apply, but not as long as the US rules it and media manipulation clouds reality enough to make harsh state terror look like humanitarian intervention or self-defense by helpless victims look like they're the victimizers.

Michel Chossudovsky on "The War on Terrorism"

No one has been more prominent or outspoken since the 9/11 attacks in the US than scholar/author/activist and Global Research web site editor Michel Chossudovsky. He began writing that evening publishing an article the next day titled "Who Is Osama Bin Laden," perhaps being the first Bush administration critic to courageously challenge the official account of what took place that day. He then updated his earlier account September 10, 2006 in an article titled "The Truth behind 9/11: Who is Osama Bin Ladin." Chossudovsky is a thorough, relentless researcher making an extraordinary effort to get at the truth no matter how ugly or disturbing.

Here's a summary of what he wrote that was included in his 2005 book titled "America's War on Terrorism (In the Wake of 9/11)" he calls a complete fabrication "based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden (from a cave in Afghanistan and hospital bed in Pakistan), outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus." He called it instead what it is, in fact – a pretext for permanent "New World Order" wars of conquest serving the interests of Wall Street, the US military-industrial complex, and all other corporate interests profiting hugely from a massive scheme harming the public interest in the near-term and potentially all humanity unless it's stopped in time.

On the morning of 9/11, the Bush administration didn't miss a beat telling the world Al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center (WTC) and Pentagon meaning Osama bin Laden was the main culprit – case closed without even the benefit of a forensic and intelligence analysis piecing together all potential helpful information. There was no need to because, as Chossudovsky explained, "That same (9/11) evening at 9:30 pm, a 'War Cabinet' was formed integrated by a select number of top intelligence and military advisors. At 11:00PM, at the end of that historic (White House) meeting, the 'War on Terrorism' was officially launched," and the rest is history.

Chossudovsky continued "The decision was announced (straightaway) to wage war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in retribution for the 9/11 attacks" with news headlines the next day asserting, with certainty, "state sponsorship" responsibility for the attacks connected to them. The dominant media, in lockstep, called for military retaliation against Afghanistan even though no evidence proved the Taliban government responsible, because, in fact, it was not and we knew it.

Four weeks later on October 7, a long-planned war of illegal aggression began, Afghanistan was bombed and then invaded by US forces working in partnership with their new allies – the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan or so-called Northern Alliance "warlords." Their earlier repressive rule was so extreme, it gave rise to the Taliban in the first place and has now made them resurgent.

Chossudovsky further explained that the public doesn't "realize that a large scale theater war is never planned and executed in a matter of weeks." This one, like all others, was months in the making needing only what CentCom Commander General Tommy Franks called a "terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event" to arouse enough public anger for the Bush administration to launch it after declaring their "war on terrorism." Chossudovsky, through thorough and exhausting research, exposed it as a fraud.

He's been on top of the story ever since uncovering the "myth of an 'outside enemy' and the threat of 'Islamic terrorists' (that became) the cornerstone (and core justification) of the Bush administration's military doctrine." It allowed Washington to wage permanent aggressive wars beginning with Afghanistan and Iraq, to ignore international law, and to "repeal civil liberties and constitutional government" through repression laws like the Patriot and Military Commissions Acts. A key objective throughout has, and continues to be, Washington's quest to control the world's energy supplies, primarily oil, starting in the Middle East where two-thirds of known reserves are located.

Toward that end, the Bush administration created a fictitious "outside enemy" threat without which no "war on terrorism" could exist, and no foreign wars could be waged. Chossudovsky exposed the linchpin of the whole scheme. He uncovered evidence that Al Queda "was a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet-Afghan war" era, and that in the 1990s Washington "consciously supported Osama bin Laden, while at the same time placing him on the FBI's 'most wanted list' as the World's foremost terrorist." He explained that the CIA (since the 1980s and earlier) actively supports international terrorism covertly, and that on September 10, 2001 "Enemy Number One" bin Laden was in a Rawalpindi, Pakistan military hospital confirmed on CBS News by Dan Rather. He easily could have been arrested but wasn't because we had a "better purpose" in mind for "America's best known fugitive (to) give a (public) face to the 'war on terrorism' " that meant keeping bin Laden free to do it. If he didn't exist, we'd have had to invent him, but that could have been arranged as well.

The Bush administration's national security doctrine needs enemies, the way all empires on the march do. Today "Enemy Number One" rests on the fiction of bin Laden-led Islamic terrorists threatening the survival of western civilization. In fact, however, Washington uses Islamic organizations like Islamic jihad as a "key instrument of US military-intelligence operations in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union" while, at the same time, blaming them for the 9/11 attacks calling them "a threat to America."

September 11, 2001 was, indeed, a threat to America, but one coming from within from real enemies. They want to undermine democracy and our freedoms, not preserve them, in pursuit of their own imperial interests for world domination by force through endless foreign wars and establishment of a locked down national "Homeland Security (police) State." They're well along toward it, and if they succeed, America, as we envision it, no longer will exist. Only by exposing the truth and resisting what's planned and already happening will there be any hope once again to make this nation a "land of the free and home of the brave" with "a new birth of freedom" run by a "government of the people, by the people, for the people" the way at least one former president thought it should be.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Bush Seeks $294.8 Billion for Counterterrorism

08 February 2007
Bush Seeks $294.8 Billion for Counterterrorism

Budget request highlights military operations, international partnerships

By David McKeeby
USINFO Staff Writer

Washington -? President Bush asked Congress for significant spending increases in fiscal year 2008 to fight terrorism and to safeguard the United States from future attacks.

“As commander in chief, my highest priority is the security of the nation,” Bush said in a letter introducing the White House’s 2008 funding request. “My budget invests substantial resources to fight the Global War on Terror and ensure our homeland is protected from those who would do us harm.”

The White House is seeking $294.8 billion to fund global counterterrorism operations, including $99.6 billion for fiscal year 2007, $145.2 billion in 2008 and $50 billion in 2009.

The majority of the funding would be allocated to the Department of Defense, but $9.3 billion is being sought for the State Department, and $0.5 billion for other agencies.

These funds are in addition to the $70 billion passed by Congress for the Defense Department in 2006.

Since 2001, Congress has appropriated more than $425 billion for anti-terrorism activities across the U.S. government.