State Terrorism/ Blowback Terrorism


State Terrorism and Blowback Terrorism

Meaning

[Wholesale  and Retail varieties]

hmmm,,,,

Blowback Strikes



Shocked and Horrified

By Larry Mosqueda

Like all Americans, on Tuesday, 9-11, I was shocked and horrified to watch the WTC Twin Towers attacked by hijacked planes and collapse, resulting in the deaths of perhaps up to 10,000 innocent people.

I had not been that shocked and horrified since January 16, 1991, when then President Bush attacked Baghdad, and the rest of Iraq and began killing 200,000 people during that “war” (slaughter). This includes the infamous “highway of death” in the last days of the slaughter when U.S. pilots literally shot in the back retreating Iraqi civilians and soldiers. I continue to be horrified by the sanctions on Iraq, which have resulted in the death of over 1,000,000 Iraqis, including over 500,000 children, about whom former Secretary of State Madeline Albright has stated that their deaths “are worth the cost”.

Over the course of my life I have been shocked and horrified by a variety of U.S. governmental actions, such as the U.S. sponsored coup against democracy in Guatemala in 1954 which resulted in the deaths of over 120,000 Guatemalan peasants by U.S. installed dictatorships over the course of four decades.

Last Tuesday’s events reminded me of the horror I felt when the U.S. overthrew the governments of the Dominican Republic in 1965 and helped to murder 3,000 people. And it reminded me of the shock I felt in 1973, when the U.S. sponsored a coup in Chile against the democratic government of Salvador Allende and helped to murder another 30,000 people, including U.S. citizens.

Last Tuesday’s events reminded me of the shock and horror I felt in 1965 when the U.S. sponsored a coup in Indonesia that resulted in the murder of over 800,000 people, and the subsequent slaughter in 1975 of over 250,000 innocent people in East Timor by the Indonesian regime with the direct complicity of President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

I was reminded of the shock and horror I felt during the U.S. sponsored terrorist contra war (the World Court declared the U.S. government a war criminal in 1984 for the mining of the harbors) against Nicaragua in the 1980s which resulted in the deaths of over 30,000 innocent people (or as the U.S. government used to call them before the term “collateral damage” was invented–“soft targets”).

I was reminded of being horrified by the U. S. war against the people of El Salvador in the 1980s, which resulted in the brutal deaths of over 80,000 people, or “soft targets”.

I was reminded of the shock and horror I felt during the U.S. sponsored terror war against the peoples of southern Africa (especially Angola) that began in the 1970’s and continues to this day and has resulted in the deaths and mutilations of over 1,000,000. I was reminded of the shock and horror I felt as the U.S. invaded Panama over the Christmas season of 1989 and killed over 8,000 in an attempt to capture George H. Bush’s CIA partner, now turned enemy, Manuel Noriega.

I was reminded of the horror I felt when I learned about how the Shah of Iran was installed in a U.S. sponsored brutal coup that resulted in the deaths of over 70,000 Iranians from 1952-1979. And the continuing shock as I learned that the Ayatollah Khomeni, who overthrew the Shah in 1979, and who was the U.S. public enemy for decade of the 1980s, was also on the CIA payroll, while he was in exile in Paris in the 1970s.

I was reminded of the shock and horror that I felt as I learned about the how the U.S. has “manufactured consent” since 1948 for its support of Israel, to the exclusion of virtually any rights for the Palestinians in their native lands resulting in ever worsening day-to-day conditions for the people of Palestine. I was shocked as I learned about the hundreds of towns and villages that were literally wiped off the face of the earth in the early days of Israeli colonization. I was horrified in 1982 as the villagers of Sabra and Shatila were massacred by Israeli allies with direct Israeli complicity and direction. The untold thousands who died on that day match the scene of horror that we saw last Tuesday. But those scenes were not repeated over and over again on the national media to inflame the American public.

The events and images of last Tuesday have been appropriately compared to the horrific events and images of Lebanon in the 1980s with resulted in the deaths of tens of thousand of people, with no reference to the fact that the country that inflicted the terror on Lebanon was Israel, with U.S. backing. I still continue to be shocked at how mainstream commentators refer to “Israeli settlers” in the “occupied territories” with no sense of irony as they report on who are the aggressors in the region.

Of course, the largest and most shocking war crime of the second half of the 20th century was the U.S. assault on Indochina from 1954-1975, especially Vietnam, where over 4,000,000 people were bombed, napalmed, crushed, shot and individually “hands on” murdered in the “Phoenix Program” (this is where Oliver North got his start). Many U.S. Vietnam veterans were also victimized by this war and had the best of intentions, but the policy makers themselves knew the criminality of their actions and policies as revealed in their own words in “The Pentagon Papers,” released by Daniel Ellsberg of the RAND Corporation. In 1974 Ellsberg noted that our Presidents from Truman to Nixon continually lied to the U.S. public about the purpose and conduct of the war. He has stated that, “It is a tribute to the American people that our leaders perceived that they had to lie to us, it is not a tribute to us that we were so easily misled.”

I was continually shocked and horrified as the U.S. attacked and bombed with impunity the nation of Libya in the 1980s, including killing the infant daughter of Khadafi. I was shocked as the U.S. bombed and invaded Grenada in 1983. I was horrified by U.S. military and CIA actions in Somalia, Haiti, Afghanistan, Sudan, Brazil, Argentina, and Yugoslavia. The deaths in these actions ran into the hundreds of thousands.

The above list is by no means complete or comprehensive. It is merely a list that is easily accessible and not unknown, especially to the economic and intellectual elites. It has just been conveniently eliminated from the public discourse and public consciousness. And for the most part, the analysis that the U.S. actions have resulted in the deaths of primarily civilians (over 90%) is not unknown to these elites and policy makers. A conservative number for those who have been killed by U.S. terror and military action since World War II is 8,000,000 people. Repeat–8,000,000 people. This does not include the wounded, the imprisoned, the displaced, the refugees, etc. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated in 1967, during the Vietnam War, “My government is the world’s leading purveyor of violence.” Shocking and horrifying.

Nothing that I have written is meant to disparage or disrespect those who were victims and those who suffered death or the loss of a loved one during this week’s events. It is not meant to “justify” any action by those who bombed the Twin Towers or the Pentagon. It is meant to put it in a context. If we believe that the actions were those of “madmen”, they are “madmen” who are able to keep a secret for 2 years or more among over 100 people, as they trained to execute a complex plan. While not the acts of madmen, they are apparently the acts of “fanatics” who, depending on who they really are, can find real grievances, but whose actions are illegitimate.

Osama Bin Laden at this point has been accused by the media and the government of being the mastermind of Tuesday’s bombings. Given the government’s track record on lying to the America people, that should not be accepted as fact at this time. If indeed Bin Laden is the mastermind of this action, he is responsible for the deaths of perhaps 10,000 people-a shocking and horrible crime. Ed Herman in his book The Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda does not justify any terrorism but points out that states often engage in “wholesale” terror, while those whom governments define as “terrorist” engage is “retail” terrorism. While qualitatively the results are the same for the individual victims of terrorism, there is a clear quantitative difference. And as Herman and others point out, the seeds, the roots, of much of the “retail” terror are in fact found in the “wholesale” terror of states. Again this is not

to justify, in any way, the actions of last Tuesday, but to put them in a context and suggest an explanation.

Perhaps most shocking and horrific, if indeed Bin Laden is the mastermind of Tuesday’s actions; he has clearly had significant training in logistics, armaments, and military training, etc. by competent and expert military personnel. And indeed he has. During the 1980s, he was recruited, trained and funded by the CIA in Afghanistan to fight against the Russians. As long as he visited his terror on Russians and his enemies in Afghanistan, he was “our man” in that country.

The same is true of Saddam Hussein of Iraq, who was a CIA asset in Iraq during the 1980s. Hussein could gas his own people, repress the population, and invade his neighbor (Iran) as long as he did it with U.S. approval.

The same was true of Manuel Noriega of Panama, who was a contemporary and CIA partner of George H. Bush in the 1980s. Noriega’s main crime for Bush, the father, was not that he dealt drugs (he did, but the U.S. and Bush knew this before 1989), but that Noriega was no longer going to cooperate in the ongoing U.S. terrorist contra war against Nicaragua. This information is not unknown or really controversial among elite policy makers. To repeat, this not to justify any of the actions of last Tuesday, but to put it in its horrifying context.

As shocking as the events of last Tuesday were, they are likely to generate even more horrific actions by the U.S. government that will add significantly to the 8,000,000 figure stated above. This response may well be qualitatively and quantitatively worst than the events of Tuesday. The New York Times headline of 9/14/01 states that, “Bush And Top Aides Proclaim Policy Of Ending States That Back Terror” as if that was a rationale, measured, or even sane option. States that have been identified for possible elimination are “a number of Asian and African countries, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, and even Pakistan.” This is beyond shocking and horrific-it is just as potentially suicidal, homicidal, and more insane than the hijackers themselves.

Also, qualitatively, these actions will be even worse than the original bombers if one accepts the mainstream premise that those involved are “madmen”, “religious fanatics”, or a “terrorist group.” If so, they are acting as either individuals or as a small group. The U.S. actions may continue the homicidal policies of a few thousand elites for the past 50 years, involving both political parties.

The retail terror is that of desperate and sometime fanatical small groups and individuals who often have legitimate grievances, but engage in individual criminal and illegitimate activities; the wholesale terror is that of “rational” educated men where the pain, suffering, and deaths of millions of people are contemplated, planned, and too often, executed, for the purpose of furthering a nebulous concept called the “national interest”. Space does not allow a full explanation of the elites Orwellian concept of the “national interest”, but it can be summarized as the protection and expansion of hegemony and an imperial empire.

The American public is being prepared for war while being fed a continuous stream of shocking and horrific repeated images of Tuesday’s events and heartfelt stories from the survivors and the loved ones of those who lost family members. These stories are real and should not be diminished. In fact, those who lost family members can be considered a representative sample of humanity of the 8,000,000 who have been lost previously. If we multiply by 800-1000 times the amount of pain, angst, and anger being currently felt by the American public, we might begin to understand how much of the rest of the world feels as they are continually victimized.

Some particularly poignant images are the heart wrenching public stories that we are seeing and hearing of family members with pictures and flyers searching for their loved ones. These images are virtually the same as those of the “Mothers of the Disappeared” who searched for their (primarily) adult children in places such as Argentina, where over 11,000 were “disappeared” in 1976-1982, again with U.S. approval. Just as the mothers of Argentina deserved our respect and compassion, so do the relatives of those who are searching for their relatives now. However we should not allow ourselves to be manipulated by the media and U.S. government into turning real grief and anger into a national policy of wholesale terror and genocide against innocent civilians in Asia and Africa. What we are seeing in military terms is called “softening the target.” The target here is the American public and we are being ideologically and emotionally prepared for the slaughter that may commence soon.

None of the previously identified Asian and African countries are democracies, which means that the people of these countries have virtually no impact on developing the policies of their governments, even if we assume that these governments are complicit in Tuesday’s actions. When one examines the recent history of these countries, one will find that the American government had direct and indirect influences on creating the conditions for the existence of some of these governments. This is especially true of the Taliban government of Afghanistan itself.

The New York Metropolitan Area has about 21,000,000 people or about 8 % of the U.S. population. Almost everyone in America knows someone who has been killed, injured or traumatized by the events of Tuesday. I know that I do. Many people are calling for “revenge” or “vengeance” and comments such as “kill them all” have been circulated on the TV, radio, and email. A few more potentially benign comments have called for “justice.” This is only potentially benign since that term may be defined by people such as Bush and Colin Powell. Powell is an unrepentant participant in the Vietnam War, the terrorist contra war against Nicaragua, and the Gulf war, at each level becoming more responsible for the planning and execution of the policies.

Those affected, all of us, must do everything in our power to prevent a wider war and even greater atrocity, do everything possible to stop the genocide if it starts, and hold those responsible for their potential war crimes during and after the war. If there is a great war in 2001 and it is not catastrophic (a real possibility), the crimes of that war will be revisited upon the U.S. over the next generation. That is not some kind of religious prophecy or threat, it is merely a straightforward political analysis. If indeed it is Bin Laden, the world must not deal only with him as an individual criminal, but eliminate the conditions that create the injustices and war crimes that will inevitably lead to more of these types of attacks in the future. The phrase “No Justice, No Peace” is more than a slogan used in a march, it is an observable historical fact. It is time to end the horror. CP

Larry Mosqueda teaches at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

http://www.counterpunch.org/mosqueda.html

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Terrorism: The Politics of Language

Noam Chomsky, 1986

excerpted from the book

Stenographers to Power

media and propaganda

David Barsamian interviews

Common Courage Press, 1992, paper

p87
NC: The term “national interest” is commonly used as if it’s something good for us, and the people of the country are supposed to understand that. So if a political leader says that “I’m doing this in the national interest,” you’re supposed to feel good because that’s for you. However, if you look closely, it turns out that the national interest is not E’ defined as what’s in the interest of the entire population; it’s what’s in the interests of small, dominant elites who happen to be able to command the resources that enable them to control the state-basically, corporate-based elites. That’s what’s called the “national interest.” And, correspondingly, the term “special interests” is used in a very interesting related way to refer to the general population. The population are called the “special interests” and the corporate elite are called the “national interest”; so you’re supposed to be in favor of the national interest and against the special interests.

This became very clear in the last few presidential campaigns. The Reagan administration is largely a figment of the public relations industry, and the public relations aspects of it, including control over language, are very striking-it’s a professional public relations outfit. It was interesting to see how the choice of terms they use was carefully crafted. In both the 1980 and 1984 elections, they identified the Democrats as the “party of special interests,” and that’s supposed to be bad, because we’re all against the special interests. But if you look closely and ask who were the special interests, they listed them: women, poor people, workers, young people, old people, ethnic minorities-in fact, the entire population. There was only one group that was not listed among the special interests: corporations. If you’ll notice the campaign rhetoric, that was never a special interest, and that’s right, because in their terms that’s the national interest. So if you think it through, the population are the special interests and the corporations are the national interest, and since overtone’s in favor of the national interest and against the special interests, you vote for and support someone who’s against the population and is working for the corporations. This is a typical case of the way the framework of thought is consciously manipulated by an effective choice and reshaping of terminology so as to make it difficult to understand what’s happening in the world. A very important function of the ideological institutions-the media, the schools, and so on-is to prevent people from perceiving reality, because if they perceived it they might not like it and might act to change it, and that would harm privileged people who control these things.

DB: Perhaps it’s like George Orwell said in his essay “Politics and the English Language,” that in our time political speech and writing is largely the “defense of the indefensible.”

NC: Yes, he gave interesting examples which are now classic, like the term “pacification.” It is used for mass murder; thus we carried out “pacification” in Vietnam. If you look at what the pacification programs were, they were literally programs of mass murder to try to suppress and destroy a resisting civilization population. Orwell wrote long before Vietnam, but he already noted that pacification was being used that way; by now it’s an industry. Orwell had pointed out early examples of this kind of usage. A standard example is “defense.” In the United States, up until 1947, we used to have something called the “War Department.” Since 1947, we haven’t had a War Department; we’ve had a “Defense Department.” Anyone who had his head screwed on realized in 1947 that we were not going to be involved in defense any more, we were only going to be involved in war, and that’s why the War Department has to be renamed the Defense Department-because “defense” means “aggression.” By now this is a sophisticated operation. It’s the same with every term you can think of. Take the term “conservative.” Conservative is supposed to be a good thing, and this is supposed to be a conservative administration. A true conservative like, say, Robert Taft, would turn over in his grave to see what’s being called conservative. Everything the conservatives have always fought against is being advanced by this administration. This administration is in favor of extending the power of the state and increasing the intervention of the state in the economy. State power has increased faster under this administration than under any since the Second World War. It’s also interested in protecting the state against its citizens, cutting down access to the state, controlling thought, controlling expression, attacking civil liberties, attacking individual rights. It’s the most lawless administration we’ve ever had. All of these things are anathema to conservatives. Conservatives want the opposite in every respect, so naturally they call the administration conservative, and if you like it you’re supposed to be conservative. These are all ways of undermining the possibility of independent thought, by eliminating even the tools that you can use to engage in it.

DB: It seems in recent years, certainly starting in the 1970s, through the 1980s and for the foreseeable future, the term “terrorism” has become a dominant issue, a theme and focus for the media and politicians, I wonder if you could talk about the word itself; it seems to have undergone a curious transformation in the last couple of centuries.

It definitely has, it’s a very interesting case. The word “terrorism” came into general use at the end of the 18th century, and it was then used to refer to acts of violent states that suppressed their own populations by violence. Terror was the action of a state against its own citizens. That concept is of no use whatsoever to people in power, so, predictably, the term has come to be changed. Now it’s the actions of citizens against states; in fact, the term “terrorism” is now almost entirely used for what you might call “retail terrorism”: the terrorism of small, marginal groups, and not the terrorism of powerful states. We have one exception to this: if our enemies are involved in terrorism, then you can talk about “state terrorism.” So there are really two things that define terrorism. First, it’s done against states, not by states against their citizens, and it’s done by them, not us. So, for example, take Libya. Qaddafi is certainly a terrorist. The latest edition of the Amnesty International publication, Political Killings by Governments, lists Qaddafi as a terrorist; he killed fourteen people, Libyans, mostly in Libya, in the 1980s. There may be a handful of others, but even taking the most extreme estimate it couldn’t be more than several dozen, probably less. That’s terrorism, and he’s therefore the “Mad Dog of the Middle East” and the “King of International Terrorism.” That’s because he meets our criteria: he’s them, not us, and the terrorism that one talks about is carried out generally by small groups, not by one of our major states.

Let’s compare it with El Salvador. In the same years in which Libya killed maybe fourteen, maybe 20 people, mostly Libyans, the government of El Salvador slaughtered about 50,000 people. Now that’s not just terrorism, that’s international terrorism, because it was done by us. We instituted the government as much as the Russians instituted the government in Afghanistan; we created the army, a terrorist army; we supplied, organized and directed it. The worst atrocities were carried out by American-trained elite battalions fresh from their training. The U.S. Air Force participated directly in coordinating bombing strikes-the terror was not ordinary killing. Libyan terror is bad enough; they kill people. But our terrorists first mutilate, torture, rape, cut them to pieces-it’s hideous torture, Pol Pot-style. That’s not called terrorism. El Salvador is not called a terrorist state. Jose Napoleon Duarte who has presided over all this, who has perceived his role from the beginning as ensuring that the murderers are supplied with weapons, and that nothing will interfere with the massacre which he knew was coming when he joined the military junta-he’s called a great liberal hero, and El Salvador is considered a kind of magnificent triumph of democracy. Here’s a major terrorist state-Libya is a very, very minor terrorist state but we see it the other way around, and the reason is because “terrorism” is used for them, not us, and because in the case of E1 Salvador it’s plainly being done by a major state against its own citizens-in fact a state that we established, a client state of the United States. Therefore it can’t be terrorism, by definition. This is true in case after case. My book about it, Pirates and Emperors, takes its title from a rather nice story by St. Augustine in his City of God. St. Augustine describes a confrontation between King Alexander the Great and a pirate whom he caught. Alexander the Great asks the pirate, “How dare you molest the sea?” The pirate turns to Alexander the Great and says, “How dare you molest the whole world? I have a small boat, so I am called a thief and a pirate. You have a navy, so you’re called an emperor.” St. Augustine concludes that the pirate’s answer was elegant and excellent and that essentially tells the story. Retail terrorism directed against our interests is terrorism; wholesale terrorism carried out for our interests isn’t terrorism.

The same is true in the Middle East region. In case after case, this is the way the term is used, and very effectively. In fact, it was very predictable that the Reagan administration would take international terrorism to be the core of its foreign policy, as it announced right off. The reason was that the administration made it very clear that it was going to be engaged in international terrorism on a massive scale, and since it’s going to be engaged in international terrorism, naturally, in a good public relations directed world, you start off by saying that you’re opposed to international terrorism. That shifts attention away from the crucial issue: that you’re going to maximize international terrorism.

DB: Why the tremendous fascination with terrorism-the TV specials, the articles, the documentaries, the symposia, the conferences, and on and on-is there something deeper that’s being touched by this?

NC: Oh, yes, very deep. It’s very close to the Reagan administration’s domestic policies. It’s important to remember that the Reagan administration’s policies are extremely unpopular, and for obvious reasons. The polls show this very clearly; on just about every major issue the public is strongly opposed to the Reagan programs. Take, say, social spending vs. military spending. When the question is asked in polls: Would you prefer to have a decrease in welfare payments or in military spending?, the overwhelming majority of the population supports social spending and opposes military spending. In fact, much of the population is quite willing to see taxes raised to improve social spending. The same is true on just about every issue. On intervention abroad (in other words, international terrorism, if we were to be honest), the population is strongly against it, by large majorities. The Reagan administration is for it. On the nuclear freeze, the public is overwhelmingly in favor of it; the figure is something like three to one. The administration is against it. And so on. As you go down the line, every major policy program is unpopular. This is a problem, of course; you’ve got to control the population. There is a classic answer to this problem: you frighten them.

Let me just go back to another step of the Reagan program which is even more obvious: an essential part of the Reagan program was to try to transfer resources from the poor to the rich. Now, that’s going to be unpopular, and the attack on social spending is a part of it. Much of the Reagan program is turning an increasingly powerful state into a welfare state for the rich. The military program is very largely for that purpose. That’s a forced public subsidy to advanced industry, again unpopular, and you can’t present it in these terms. What do you do? You have to get the public lined up. They oppose your policies. There’s only one way to deal with this; every leader throughout history has understood it. You’ve got to frighten them, make them think their lives are at stake, that they’ve got to defend themselves, and then they’ll accept these programs that they despise or dislike as an unfortunate necessity. How do you terrify people? Again, there’s a classic answer. you find some “Evil Empire” that’s threatening to destroy them. In our case, it’s now the Soviet Union; it used to be the Huns, before that, the British, and so on. But since the Bolshevik revolution it’s been the Soviet Union that’s threatening to destroy us. So that’s the Evil Empire. But here you run into a problem. Confrontations with the Evil Empire are dangerous. That’s a big, powerful state; it can fight back, and you don’t want to get involved with them because you might get hurt. So what you have to do is have confrontations, but not with the Evil Empire-too dangerous. The best way is ;to have confrontations with groups that you designate as “proxies” of the Evil Empire. What you try to do is to find essentially defenseless countries or groups that can be attacked at will, and designate them to be proxies of the Evil Empire, and then you can defend yourself against them by attacking them. Libya, for example, is perfect for this purpose. It has loose associations with the Soviet Union. It’s a minor actor in the world of international terrorism. Against the background of anti-Arab racism, which is rampant in the United States-it’s the last legitimate form of racism-you can easily talk about the Mad Dog and how he ought to get down from the trees and all this kind of stuff; that works, that scares people. Furthermore, if you can manage to elicit terrorism, which some of our acts have done, that will really frighten people, since that strikes at home. In fact, actual terrorism is very slight; you’re much more likely to be hit by lightning. But people can get scared, and a confrontation with Libya is cheap. You can kill Libyans at will; they can’t fight back, it’s a tiny, defenseless country, we can beat them up every time we feel like it. It will make people here feel that somehow our courageous cowboy leader is defending us from these monsters who are going to destroy us, most of which is a public relations concoction. In fact, throughout the history of the Reagan administration there has been a sequence of carefully concocted, fraudulent incidents created to give us an opportunity to attack and kill Libyans, always for some specific political purpose at home, like building up support for the rapid deployment force, an intervention force in the Middle East or gaining support for contra aid, or one thing or another. They’re very carefully timed, as I said; this is a public relations administration. Their genius is manipulation of the public;. that’s what they’re good at, and Libya is a perfect proxy of the Evil Empire, as I say: you can kill them, you can attack them, you can bomb them, people here can be frightened enough to think that they’re somehow being defended by these terrorist attacks. That way, if people feel sufficiently embattled, they’ll support these programs t that they oppose. And they do. The spring of 1986, for example, was a brilliant exercise in public relations-

DB: The bombing of Libya

NC: … and the impact, the pretext for it was fabricated. It was covered up by the media, which know the true story but will not report it. It terrified the domestic population-people wouldn’t even go to Europe, they were so scared, which is ludicrous, you’re a hundred times as safe in any European city as in any American city-but people were so terrified they stayed at home. That’s wonderful, because if you can terrify the domestic population then they’ll support things like Star Wars or whatever lunacy comes along in the belief that you have to defend yourself. Crucially, you can’t have confrontations with the Russians; they can fight back. So you’ve got to find somebody you can beat up at will: Grenada, Libya, Nicaragua, anybody who can’t fight back, that’s what you need. I should say, incidentally, that this is understood very well abroad. When you read the foreign press, they regularly comment on the thuggishness and the cowardice of this administration, the sort of “bully on the block mentality”: you find somebody little enough to beat up and you go send your goon squads to beat him up, that’s essentially their style; but here somehow people can’t see it.

DB: This retail minor-actor terrorism you’ve been talking about-when it’s presented in the media it occurs ahistorically: it has no context, it’s totally irrational, so it seems that the logical response would be one of loathing and fear, and it’s very effective.

NC: That’s right. Most of the retail terrorism-what is called “terrorism” in the United States-comes out of Lebanon, and that started in 1982. It was a very marginal phenomenon before that, a major phenomenon, mainly in Europe, after 1982;so plainly something must have happened in 1982 to cause terrorism to start coming out of Lebanon. Well, yes, something happened in 1982: with enthusiastic American support, Israel attacked Lebanon. The purpose of the Israeli attack was to demolish the civilian society of the Palestinians so as to ensure Israeli control over the West Bank, and in the process it also destroyed much of what was left of Lebanon. Lebanon was left in ruins, the Palestinian community was destroyed, and Lebanon, already in bad shape, got the final blow. The United States supported it all the way. We vetoed U.N. resolutions trying to stop the aggression, we supplied Israel with arms, diplomatic support, the whole business, and naturally it was perfectly predictable that that was going to evoke international terrorism. You cut off every political option for people and they are going to turn to terrorism. And I should say that this was well understood in Israel. Here you can’t talk about it, because we’re a much more indoctrinated country, but in Israel, which is a more democratic society-at least for the Jewish majority-this was openly discussed. For example, the current prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir, pointed out that there was a threat to Israel from the Palestinians, but said it was a political, not a military threat. The threat was that they would compel Israel to enter into a political settlement that it didn’t want, and that had to be stopped. Israel’s and perhaps the world’s leading specialist on the Palestinians, a professor at Hebrew University named Yehoshua Porath, wrote an analysis shortly after the invasion, a long, detailed article in Ha’aretz, Israel’s major newspaper(kind of like Israel’s New York Times), in which he explained what he thought, very plausibly, the invasion was about. He said, and I’m paraphrasing: Look, here’s the situation. For the last year, the PLO has not engaged in any cross-border terrorism. Israel has tried to get them to do it, we have continually bombed them and murdered them and so on to try to evoke some response across the border, but they haven’t done it. They’ve kept discipline despite the fact that we’ve bombed them, killing dozens of people and so forth. This is a veritable catastrophe for the Israeli leadership, since if the PLO continues to maintain this posture of not engaging in cross-border terrorism and demanding a diplomatic settlement, Israel might be driven to apolitical settlement, which it does not want because in a political settlement it would have to give up control of the occupied territories. What the Israeli leadership wants is to return the PLO to much earlier days when it engaged in random terrorism, a PLO that will hijack airplanes, kill many Jews and be a source of loathing and horror throughout the world. They don’t want a peaceful PLO that refuses to respond to Israeli terrorist attacks and insists on negotiation. That’s what the invasion will achieve.

Others also commented in the same way, and that’s a very plausible analysis. I presume that’s what the planners in the Reagan administration wanted, too. From their point of view, terrorism coming out of Lebanon is very beneficial. It frightens the American population; terrorist acts are indeed loathsome, and if you cut people off from every possible option, you can predict pretty well that that’s what they’re going to do.

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Corporate_Media/Terrorism_Chomsky_STP.html

Wholesale terrorism escalates: the threat of genocide.

by Edward S. Herman

FOR DECADES IT HAS BEEN THE STANDARD practice of the U.S. mainstream media to designate Palestinian attacks on Israelis as acts of “terrorism,” whereas acts of Israeli violence against Palestinians are described as “retaliation” and “counter-terror.” This linguistic asymmetry has been based entirely on political bias. Virtually all definitions of terrorism, if applied on a nonpolitical basis, would find a wide array of Israeli operations and acts of violence straightforward terrorism. Thus, a standard dictionary definition calls terrorism “a mode of governing, or of opposing government, by intimidation.” A U.S. government definition describes it as “a violent act intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” Benjamin Netanyahu himself defines terrorism as “the deliberate and systematic murder, maiming, and menacing to inspire fear for political ends.” (1)

That Israel’s use of force against Palestinians regularly fits these definitions is crystal clear. This was even openly admitted by former Israeli U.N. Ambassador and Foreign Minister Abba Eban in a response to a letter published in the Israeli press by Prime Minister Menahem Begin in August 1981. Begin had railed against the hypocritical Labor Alignment’s criticisms of his bombing of Beirut in that year, which had killed hundreds of civilians, by giving a “partial list” of 30 civilian sites bombed by Labor governments. Begin pointed out that these attacks had regularly inflicted casualties on “Arab civilian populations.” (2) Eban replied harshly to Begin, but not only did he not deny Begin’s facts, he went on to say that deliberate attacks on civilians were defensible when serving larger ends, as when “there was a rational prospect, ultimately fulfilled, that afflicted populations [i.e., innocent civilians deliberately bombed] would exert pressure on governments for the cessation of hostilities.” (3)

Eban’s statement, which admits and justifies deliberate bombing of civilians to intimidate, and which fits both the U.S. official definition and Netanyahu’s definition of terrorism as well, was never quoted in the New York Times or any other U.S. mainstream media institution. But it, plus Begin’s statement, constitute open acknowledgement by the Israeli leadership that Israel has engaged in serious terrorism and is a terrorist state. This was also admitted by Israeli Chief of Staff Mordechai Gur, who pointed out back in 1978 that for years Israel has been “fighting against a population that lives in villages and cities,” citing as examples bombardments that cleared the Jordan Valley of all inhabitants and others that drove a million and a half people from the Suez Canal region. (4) Israeli military analyst Deev Schiff summarized Gur’s remarks as follows: “In South Lebanon we struck the civilian population consciously, because they deserved it…[T]he importance of Gur’s remarks is the admission that the Israe li army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously…the army, he said, has never distinguished civilian [from military] targets…[but] purposely attacked civilian targets even when Israeli settlements had not been struck.” (5)

The Diary of former Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett is another source of evidence that Israel has deliberately targeted civilians, taking advantage of its military superiority and the knowledge that the friendly Western governments and servile U.S. and other Western media would look the other way. Sharett claimed that there were repeated unprovoked attacks across borders designed to destabilize neighboring countries and provoke military responses to which Israel could then answer with escalated violence. Sharett was a relative dove, and was shaken by the ruthlessness of the Israeli military establishment–“the long chain of false incidents and hostilities we have invented, and so many clashes we have provoked,” the “narrow-mindedness and short-sightedness of our military leaders,… [who] seem to presume that the State of Israel may–or even must–behave in the realm of international relations according to the law of the jungle.” (6) Sharett himself referred to this long effort as Israel’s “sacred terror ism.” But again, Sharett’s diary is not a favored source of the New York Times or Washington Post, and for them and their media colleagues Israel has never engaged in terrorism, sacred or otherwise.

The admission of actions that fit the definition of terrorism occurs even today–Ariel Sharon told the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz on March 5, 2002, “Don’t expect Arafat to act against the terror. We have to cause them heavy casualties and then they’ll know they can’t keep using terror and win political achievements.” He was also quoted as saying that the Palestinians must be “hit hard until they beg for mercy.”….

And more Article Excerpts
FOR DECADES IT HAS BEEN THE STANDARD practice of the U.S. mainstream media to designate Palestinian attacks on Israelis as acts of “terrorism,” whereas acts of Israeli violence against Palestinians are described as “retaliation” and “counter-terror.” This linguistic asymmetry has been based entirely on political bias. Virtually all definitions of terrorism, if applied on a nonpolitical basis, would find a wide array of Israeli operations and acts of violence straightforward terrorism. Thus, a standard dictionary definition calls terrorism “a mode of governing, or of opposing government, by intimidation.” A U.S. government definition describes it as “a violent act intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” Benjamin Netanyahu himself defines terrorism as “the deliberate and systematic murder, maiming, and menacing to inspire fear for political ends.” (1)

That Israel’s use of force against Palestinians regularly fits these definitions is crystal clear. This was even openly admitted by former Israeli U.N. Ambassador and Foreign Minister Abba Eban in a response to a letter published in the Israeli press by Prime Minister Menahem Begin in August 1981. Begin had railed against the hypocritical Labor Alignment’s criticisms of his bombing of Beirut in that year, which had killed hundreds of civilians, by giving a “partial list” of 30 civilian sites bombed by Labor governments. Begin pointed out that these attacks had regularly inflicted casualties on “Arab civilian populations.” (2) Eban replied harshly to Begin, but not only did he not deny Begin’s facts, he went on to say that deliberate attacks on civilians were defensible when serving larger ends, as when “there was a rational prospect, ultimately fulfilled, that afflicted populations [i.e., innocent civilians deliberately bombed] would exert pressure on governments for the cessation of hostilities.” (3)

Eban’s statement, which admits and justifies deliberate bombing of civilians to intimidate, and which fits both the U.S. official definition and Netanyahu’s definition of terrorism as well, was never quoted in the New York Times or any other U.S. mainstream media institution. But it, plus Begin’s statement, constitute open acknowledgement by the Israeli leadership that Israel has engaged in serious terrorism and is a terrorist state. This was also admitted by Israeli Chief of Staff Mordechai Gur, who pointed out back in 1978 that for years Israel has been “fighting against a population that lives in villages and cities,” citing as examples bombardments that cleared the Jordan Valley of all inhabitants and others that drove a million and a half people from the Suez Canal region. (4) Israeli military analyst Deev Schiff summarized Gur’s remarks as follows: “In South Lebanon we struck the civilian population consciously, because they deserved it…[T]he importance of Gur’s remarks is the admission that the Israe li army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously…the army, he said, has never distinguished civilian [from military] targets…[but] purposely attacked civilian targets even when Israeli settlements had not been struck.” (5)

The Diary of former Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett is another source of evidence that Israel has deliberately targeted civilians, taking advantage of its military superiority and the knowledge that the friendly Western governments and servile U.S. and other Western media would look the other way. Sharett claimed that there were repeated unprovoked attacks across borders designed to destabilize neighboring countries and provoke military responses to which Israel could then answer with escalated violence. Sharett was a relative dove, and was shaken by the ruthlessness of the Israeli military establishment–“the long chain of false incidents and hostilities we have invented, and so many clashes we have provoked,” the “narrow-mindedness and short-sightedness of our military leaders,… [who] seem to presume that the State of Israel may–or even must–behave in the realm of international relations according to the law of the jungle.” (6) Sharett himself referred to this long effort as Israel’s “sacred terror ism.” But again, Sharett’s diary is not a favored source of the New York Times or Washington Post, and for them and their media colleagues Israel has never engaged in terrorism, sacred or otherwise.

The admission of actions that fit the definition of terrorism occurs even today–Ariel Sharon told the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz on March 5, 2002, “Don’t expect Arafat to act against the terror. We have to cause them heavy casualties and then they’ll know they can’t keep using terror and win political achievements.” He was also quoted as saying that the Palestinians must be “hit hard until they beg for mercy.” This brings him close to Eban’s 1981 statement that “afflicted populations” attacked by Israel might exert pressure to force their governments to terminate hostile actions. It never occurred to Eban and it does not worry Sharon that the attacking of civilian populations and inflicting “heavy casualties” on them is itself terrorism; they leave it to their Western apologists to make it clear that only their victims terrorize; they merely retaliate.

Sharett was wrong; in a laudatory article on General Ariel Sharon in the New York Times Magazine of October 18, 1981, Amos Perlmutter claimed that the slaughter at Qibya was based on knowledge of where terrorists came from, and was a genuine retaliation, an outright fabrication. Even more interesting is the fact that over the last twenty years at least, mentions of Sharon in the New York Times have never cited Qibya, a clear case of a civilian massacre, with numbers killed greater than the more problematic Racak massacre of January 15, 1999, and with most of victims at Qibya women and children, in contrast with Racak, an incident that was used to justify the bombing of Yugoslavia. (8)

Interestingly, and relevant to the situation today, back in the early 1950s Moshe Sharett was enraged at the claim that a cross-border massacre of 66-70 Pales tinian civilians at Qibya in October 1953 by Israeli army Unit 41, headed by Ariel Sharon, was a “retaliatory” action carried out by “border settlers in Israel, people from Arab countries and survivors from the Nazi concentration camps,” as Israeli officials alleged. Sharett wrote in his diary that “Such a version will make us appear ridiculous; any child would say that this was a military operation,” as was tacitly conceded much later. Sharett condemned this massacre in a cabinet meeting, warning that “this stain will stick to us and will not be washed away for many years to come.” (7)

In considering the terrorism issue it is important to distinguish between what we may call “retail” and “wholesale” terrorism. The former is the small-scale violence engaged in by individuals and small groups who have limited capability of terrorizing as compared to states. Wholesale terrorism is the large-scale violence that is carried out by states, as only states have the weaponry to kill on a large scale, (9) and only states can terrorize by the use of torture on an administrative basis.

Israel has in fact used torture on an administrative basis for decades, without serious criticism from the West let alone penalties for this serious form of state terrorism. Its use has been normalized, aided by suppression or very low key treatment of evidence. When the London Times published an in-depth investigative study of Israeli torture back in 1977, which it claimed was already extensive and institutionalized, (10) its offer of publication rights to this study to the New York Times and Washington Post was rejected. The first mention of the study in the New York Times was a back-page article that featured Israel’s denial of the charges. An April 1992 report by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem estimated that 5,000 Palestinians had been tortured in the prior year, or some 420 per month. A New York Times article the following year acknowledged in passing that 400-500 Palestinians were being subjected to torture each month, but this was framed in terms of the Israelis “rethinking” the merits of this treatment. (11) This major form of terrorism was normalized, here and throughout the mainstream media.

Israel’s wholesale terrorism is also displayed in the large numbers killed and put to flight and made refugees. A tabulation made by this writer in 1989, which compared PLO killings of Israelis from 1968 through 1981 with Israeli killings through 1989, showed that in five separate episodes Israel killed larger numbers than the 14 year aggregate of PLO killings; and it also showed that total Israeli killings were a large multiple of PLO killings (between 17 and 27 to 1). (12) Interestingly, with the recent wave of suicide bombings in Israel sharply increasing Israeli casualties, New York Times reporter James Bennet has noted that the ratio of Palestinian to Israeli casualties in the first intifada, 25 to 1, has fallen during the second intifada to only three to one. (13) Bennet’s 25 to 1 estimate, in the same range as shown in the 1989 tabulation, represents the expected difference between wholesale and retail killings. A well-armed state like Israel can and does inflict far more violence on the Palestinians t han the Palestinians have been able to inflict on Israelis. The New York Times has never addressed this huge differential and explained how it is that only the side that has suffered massive victimization as measured by rates of killing is guilty of terrorism.

Israel has also terrorized by small and large deportations and expulsions of non-Jewish populations, in fact engaging in long-term policies of what would be called “ethnic cleansing” if carried out by a non-U.S. client or targeted state. (14) In addition to the massive and rapid expulsions of 1947-48, and the vast clearings of the Jordan Valley and Suez Canal regions in 1970 mentioned by Gur, the Israelis drove 250,000 or more from their homes in the 1978 invasion of Lebanon. But expulsions have been steady in the Occupied Territories over many years, whenever there is land desired by Israelis for their own use, as the Israelis “redeem the land” from unworthy–that is, non-Jewish–inhabitants.

These expulsions fit the category of state terrorism far more clearly than Serbian actions in Kosovo that led to a NATO bombing war, as the Serb actions were military operations in a civil conflict and not a deliberate forcing out of people to make way for Serb occupation. A German Foreign Office report was clear on this point: “The actions of the security forces [were] not directed against the Kosovo-Albanians as an ethnically defined group, but against the military opponent and its actual and alleged supporters.” (15) In contrast, Israeli army operations up to the commencement of Intifada 2, which included hundreds of demolitions of exclusively Palestinian homes, were clearly aimed at an ethnically-defined group, with their task the removal of the non-Jewish occupants from land desired for Jewish settlement.

Israel’s policies of taking over land for Jewish use by force, sometimes incremental, sometimes by large-scale expulsions, is a form of terrorism and ethnic cleansing that rests on a Nazi-like quest for lebensraum sought on behalf of a superior race–the “chosen people.” How in the modem age can such a regressive, brutal and racist policy be sustained, even at a time then Western moralists talk about a new higher morality now guiding Western leaders who will no longer countenance “ethnic cleansing” and human rights violations? How can an Ariel Sharon, the murderer of 66-70 civilians at Qibya, responsible for the slaughter of between 800 and 3,000 mainly women and children at Sabra and Shatila in 1982, be accepted as a legitimate leader of a state in 2002? Carlos the Jackal, the notorious terrorist was reputed to have killed perhaps 80 or 90 people in his terrorist career, most of them not women and children. Can you imagine the Western response if Carlos had been elected head of state in a Soviet satellite be fore the Soviet collapse?

Israel’s ethnic cleansing and state terrorism can proceed, year after year, decade after decade, because of unwavering U.S. support. The United States has armed Israel, gives it massive subsidies, and protects it diplomatically, politically, and by threat of armed force, as it kills, removes, and terrorizes Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and periodically invades its neighboring countries (Lebanon repeatedly). The United States has vetoed UN resolutions some 60 times in order to protect Israel from any international sanctions, allowing it to ignore UN and Security Council resolutions and to commit systematic “war crimes” in violating the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 in its dispossessions and settlements in the Occupied Territories. UN votes are regularly in the order of 150+ to two or three, but as the United States is one of the two or three, the international consensus is powerless and every law and moral standard can be, and has been, violated by Israel.

Why the United States underwrites Israeli ethnic cleansing and state terrorism is in dispute, mainly as to the weight to be given three factors that are part of the mix. The first, and the one widely viewed as of central importance, is that Israel has been given the role of U.S. proxy and military arm to help pacify the locals in an oil-rich area of great economic and strategic interest to the United States. It has also served U.S. imperial interests more broadly, covertly servicing U.S. clients and allies like apartheid South Africa, Mobutu, and various unsavory regimes in Latin America that U.S. officials did not want to seem to be aiding. (16) Of course, supporting Israel has created a fair amount of turmoil and instability in the Middle East, but on the other hand, the system has worked. Fearful and authoritarian Arab regimes in the area, kept in line by U.S. money and protection along with Israel’s interventions and threats, have made possible U.S. domination and exploitation of the local oil resources ….

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On Terrorism: Retail and Wholesale

by Ed Kinane / March 10th, 2008

We keep hearing certain words — “democracy” is one, “terrorism” is another — that are seldom defined. The pretense is that we all know what these words mean. Yet that’s hardly the case.

Here’s how the U.S. State Department defines terrorism: the use of violence or the threat of violence to harm or intimidate civilians for political purposes.

Given all the commentary out there about terrorism, you’d think this pithy definition might often be invoked. It seldom is. Why? Because applying that definition evenhandedly — to assess each violent episode or campaign, regardless of who perpetrates it — would boomerang. It would expose terrorists who usually aren’t thought of as terrorists.

Retail terrorism — like abduction or suicide bombing — is a tactic of the hardware have-nots. It gets all the attention. Wholesale terrorism — invasion and aerial warfare, for example — is the strategy of the haves. It has a bigger budget and cuts a huger swathe. By some magic consensus wholesale terrorism never, never gets called terrorism.

Now, the State Department definition is pretty good. But it needs to make clear that terrorists use all levels of technology. A box cutter can perpetrate terrorism; so can a “smart” bomb. Just because it’s high tech doesn’t mean it isn’t terrorism.

Terrorism need not target civilians directly. Often it targets the infrastructure that sustains human life – hospitals, electrical grids, water purification and sewage systems, etc.

In the U.S. we assume only the other guys use terrorism — never our side. Judging by our media and our politicians, terrorists are only those who oppose powerful military machines. Even if those terrorists are defending their land.

With the fall of the Soviet Union, our military industrial complex no longer has its bogeyman. These days instead of the Red Menace, Swarthy Terrorists are the enemy.

For U.S. people 9/11 was the watershed, the iconic, terrorist event. This serves the neo-conservative world-dominating agenda. 9/11 was the neo-cons’ answered prayer, their Pearl Harbor and Gulf of Tonkin.

A frightened public is so much easier to mobilize for a bellicose, expansionistic foreign policy. Such policy — and the lies promoting it — led the U.S. into the Iraq quagmire and back into the civilian massacring business.

In a further victory for the neo-con agenda, the so-called war on terror erodes civil liberties here at home. Further, it erodes our quality of life. The war on terror diverts resources from health, education and other human needs to the military.

Military adventurism makes us less safe. It generates even more fear. In a self-perpetuating cycle, war spawns further terrorism: reactive terrorism. So does military occupation, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or Palestine.

In the past century most war dead were civilians. They were victims of terrorism — not in the mainstream media sense, but in the U.S. State Department sense.

Tens of millions of civilians have been killed by bullets, shells, missiles, cluster bombs and, in Iraq, many are also being killed by toxic and radioactive depleted uranium.

Depleted uranium is just one of kind of nuclear weapon. As the world learned at Hiroshima, Nukes don’t distinguish civilian from military. Nuclear blackmail has been with us for over 60 years.

Some nations stockpile nuclear weapons. (Remember, the threat of violence is also terrorism.) These devices are delivered by artillery or aircraft which few “terrorists” have access to. One might say aerial warfare by its very nature is terrorist.

Militarism, of course, yields enormous corporate profits. These days war profiteering is rife. Some of these profits finance the purchase of TV networks and other corporate sources of news. For example, the war and nuclear contractor, General Electric, owns NBC. Might that (little publicized) fact affect how NBC News reports on terror?

In our democracy another slice of the profits goes to finance the election campaigns of the candidates who favor warlike rather than diplomatic solutions to international issues.

Although NBC News et al. are too discrete to mention it, a leading presidential candidate, a former Viet Nam bomber pilot, was a wholesale terrorist.

What does that say about our rulers? What does that say about us?

Ed Kinane works to end state terrorism. He was with Voices in the Wilderness in Baghdad in 2003. Reach him at: edkinane@verizon.net. Read other articles by Ed.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2008/03/on-terrorism-retail-and-wholesale/

On Terrorism: Retail and Wholesale

by Ed Kinane / March 10th, 2008

We keep hearing certain words — “democracy” is one, “terrorism” is another — that are seldom defined. The pretense is that we all know what these words mean. Yet that’s hardly the case.

Here’s how the U.S. State Department defines terrorism: the use of violence or the threat of violence to harm or intimidate civilians for political purposes.

Given all the commentary out there about terrorism, you’d think this pithy definition might often be invoked. It seldom is. Why? Because applying that definition evenhandedly — to assess each violent episode or campaign, regardless of who perpetrates it — would boomerang. It would expose terrorists who usually aren’t thought of as terrorists.

Retail terrorism — like abduction or suicide bombing — is a tactic of the hardware have-nots. It gets all the attention. Wholesale terrorism — invasion and aerial warfare, for example — is the strategy of the haves. It has a bigger budget and cuts a huger swathe. By some magic consensus wholesale terrorism never, never gets called terrorism.

Now, the State Department definition is pretty good. But it needs to make clear that terrorists use all levels of technology. A box cutter can perpetrate terrorism; so can a “smart” bomb. Just because it’s high tech doesn’t mean it isn’t terrorism.

Terrorism need not target civilians directly. Often it targets the infrastructure that sustains human life – hospitals, electrical grids, water purification and sewage systems, etc.

In the U.S. we assume only the other guys use terrorism — never our side. Judging by our media and our politicians, terrorists are only those who oppose powerful military machines. Even if those terrorists are defending their land.

With the fall of the Soviet Union, our military industrial complex no longer has its bogeyman. These days instead of the Red Menace, Swarthy Terrorists are the enemy.

For U.S. people 9/11 was the watershed, the iconic, terrorist event. This serves the neo-conservative world-dominating agenda. 9/11 was the neo-cons’ answered prayer, their Pearl Harbor and Gulf of Tonkin.

A frightened public is so much easier to mobilize for a bellicose, expansionistic foreign policy. Such policy — and the lies promoting it — led the U.S. into the Iraq quagmire and back into the civilian massacring business.

In a further victory for the neo-con agenda, the so-called war on terror erodes civil liberties here at home. Further, it erodes our quality of life. The war on terror diverts resources from health, education and other human needs to the military.

Military adventurism makes us less safe. It generates even more fear. In a self-perpetuating cycle, war spawns further terrorism: reactive terrorism. So does military occupation, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or Palestine.

In the past century most war dead were civilians. They were victims of terrorism — not in the mainstream media sense, but in the U.S. State Department sense.

Tens of millions of civilians have been killed by bullets, shells, missiles, cluster bombs and, in Iraq, many are also being killed by toxic and radioactive depleted uranium.

Depleted uranium is just one of kind of nuclear weapon. As the world learned at Hiroshima, Nukes don’t distinguish civilian from military. Nuclear blackmail has been with us for over 60 years.

Some nations stockpile nuclear weapons. (Remember, the threat of violence is also terrorism.) These devices are delivered by artillery or aircraft which few “terrorists” have access to. One might say aerial warfare by its very nature is terrorist.

Militarism, of course, yields enormous corporate profits. These days war profiteering is rife. Some of these profits finance the purchase of TV networks and other corporate sources of news. For example, the war and nuclear contractor, General Electric, owns NBC. Might that (little publicized) fact affect how NBC News reports on terror?

In our democracy another slice of the profits goes to finance the election campaigns of the candidates who favor warlike rather than diplomatic solutions to international issues.

Although NBC News et al. are too discrete to mention it, a leading presidential candidate, a former Viet Nam bomber pilot, was a wholesale terrorist.

What does that say about our rulers? What does that say about us?

Ed Kinane works to end state terrorism. He was with Voices in the Wilderness in Baghdad in 2003. Reach him at: edkinane@verizon.net. Read other articles by Ed.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2008/03/on-terrorism-retail-and-wholesale/

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Chalmers Johnson and The Blowback trilogy

Johnson sees that the enforcement of American hegemony over the world constitutes a new form of global empire. Whereas traditional empires maintained control over subject peoples via colonies, since World War II the US has developed a vast system of hundreds of military bases around the world where it has strategic interests. A long-time Cold Warrior he applauded the collapse of the Soviet Union, I was a cold warrior. There’s no doubt about that. I believed the Soviet Union was a genuine menace. I still think so.[1] But at the same time he experienced a political awakening after the USSR 1989 collapse, noting that instead of demobilizing its armed forces, the US accelerated its reliance on military solutions to problems both economic and political. The result of this militarism (as distinct from actual domestic defense) is more terrorism against the US and its allies, the loss of core democratic values at home, and an eventual disaster for the American economy. The books of the trilogy are:

  • Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire
  • The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic
  • Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalmers_Johnson

Published on Sunday, September 30, 2001 in the Los Angeles Times

The Lessons of Blowback


Even carefully planned actions can have unintended consequences.

Let’s not do something that ultimately benefits terrorists.

by Chalmers Johnson

SAN DIEGO — One of the objectives of terrorism is to provoke the ruling elites of a target regime into disastrous overreaction. When it works, as it has in Israel over the past year, the results can be devastating for all sides. Who does this ultimately benefit? The terrorists.

Carlos Marighella, the Brazilian guerrilla leader whose writings influenced political terrorists in the 1960s and 1970s, explained why. If the government can be provoked into a military response to terrorism, he wrote, this will alienate the masses, causing them to “revolt against the army and the police and blame them for this state of things.”

The overreaction doesn’t necessarily have to alienate only domestic “masses.” If we inflict great misery on innocent people in the Middle East, there will almost certainly be what the CIA refers to as “blowback”–unintended negative consequences of our actions. Vacillating supporters of the terrorists might be drawn into committing terrorist acts. Moderate governments throughout the Islamic world, especially in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, would almost certainly face growing internal dissent and could even be overthrown. Perhaps the prime example of terrorism succeeding is the Philippeville massacre of Aug. 20, 1955, in which Algerian revolutionaries killed 123 French colonials. A conscious act of terrorism carried out by revolutionaries who until then had enjoyed only slight popular backing, the Philippeville massacre led to a massive and bloody retaliation by the French. It also converted a leading French reformer (Jacques Soustelle, then governor-general of Algeria) into an advocate of suppression. The French crackdown eliminated most of the moderates on the Muslim side and caused influential French citizens back home to turn against their country’s policies. This chain of events ultimately provoked a French army mutiny, brought Gen. Charles de Gaulle back to power as the savior of the nation and caused a French withdrawal from Algeria. Franco-Algerian relations are still strained today.

No political cause can justify the killing on Sept. 11 of thousands of innocent people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. But neither would our killing innocent people in retaliation be justifiable. Terrorists attack the vulnerable because their intended targets (the military might of a rich country) are inaccessible. By attacking the innocent, terrorists intend to draw attention to the sins of the invulnerable. Like the anarchism of the 19th century, terrorism is propaganda by deed.

The perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks are all dead. Now we must identify, apprehend and convict their accomplices. If it is discovered that a state harbored or backed them, then a declaration of war against that state would be appropriate. So far, the available evidence pointing to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda organization is circumstantial: Bin Laden has issued edicts calling on Muslims to kill Americans; one of the hijackers had ties to the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, whose leader is a known associate of Bin Laden’s; and U.S. and German intelligence officers have intercepted telephone conversations in which Al Qaeda groups were told of the attacks. But there has been no evidence linking the attackers to Afghanistan. Of the 19 hijackers, 11 have been identified by the FBI as probably Saudi Arabians, three others as, respectively, an Egyptian, a Lebanese and a citizen of the United Arab Emirates. The countries of origin of the others are unknown.

So far, the United States has reacted to the terrorist attacks with an almost classic repetition of the French blunders following Philippeville. From his first remarks to the nation on the evening of Sept. 11, President Bush has been pointlessly, even comically, belligerent (the U.S. wants Bin Laden “dead or alive,” we must “smoke them out of their caves and get them running”). By initially calling his retaliation plan “Operation Infinite Justice,” he gave it a needlessly religious and messianic coloration. He seems to lack insight or candor about what we actually face and the seriousness of the problem (we were attacked because we are a “beacon of freedom” and our attackers are without motives, merely “evil doers, those barbaric people”). The president has rebuffed calls from countries such as China and Iran that the U.S. obtain United Nations sanction for its retaliatory actions. Instead, his hyperbole has led thoughtful listeners to question what sort of actions he intends to pursue. “Our war on terror,” Bush said to Congress and the nation on Sept. 20, “begins with Al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.” Presumably, the words “global reach” were inserted to reassure listeners that he did not intend to bomb supporters of Irish terrorists in Boston or anti-Castro terrorists in Miami.

The gaffes of the United States and its leaders are not just verbal. On Sept. 15, Congress passed a joint resolution that gave President Bush more sweeping authority than has ever been given to a president. “The president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.” The appropriate comparisons here are with Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War, which led to violent protests and court challenges, and to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of Aug. 7, 1964, which escalated the Vietnam War.

The resolution of Sept. 15 passed the Senate by a vote of 98-0 and the House by 420-1. Whereas two senators voted against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, this time only one member of Congress, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), voted no. Now, nearly three weeks after the attacks, consequences of the congressional action have begun to emerge. President Bush has formed the largest air armada since World War II and brought it into position to bomb Afghanistan. He has assembled at least 630 U.S. military aircraft, three times as many as were deployed in the Gulf War against Saddam Hussein. An additional 280 aircraft are on board four U.S. aircraft carriers moving into position, as well as about 120 special forces.

If this armada is used against the hopeless and impoverished people of Afghanistan, there is no doubt that it will produce a general crisis throughout the Islamic world, probably affecting even moderate nations such as Indonesia and Malaysia. The end result will not be “victory” in a “war on terrorism” but a further cycle of terrorist attacks, American casualties and escalation.

What should we do instead? The answers seem obvious. We must recognize that the terrorism of Sept. 11 was not directed against America but against American foreign policy. We should listen to the grievances of the Islamic peoples, stop propping up repressive regimes in the area, protect Israel’s security but denounce its apartheid practices in Palestinian areas and reform our “globalization” policies so that they no longer mean that the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. If the United States’ only response to terrorism is more terrorism, it will have discredited itself and can expect to be treated as the rogue state it will have become.

Copyright 2001 Los Angeles Times

http://www.commondreams.org/views01/1001-06.htm

Terrorism…or Merely “Blowback”?

Lincoln Wright, The Canberra Times (centrist),
Canberra, Australia, Sept. 19, 2001

World Press Review, November 2001

The Central Intelligence Agency uses a curious word when terrorists strike at the United States: “blowback.” That occurs when U.S. foreign policy enrages its opponents so much that they strike back at the U.S. heartland with devastating violence.

The stupefying demolition of the World Trade Center and a section of the Pentagon last week represents a form of blowback against America’s Middle East policy. It was directed by Islamic terrorists aggrieved by America’s support for Israel and emboldened by their former close ties to the CIA, which had funded them in the early 1980s to undermine the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

The Bush administration is now putting together an international coalition to crush Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of the bombings. No one would want to downplay the need of our American friends to bring justice to the terrorists and their backers. Yet, rather than engaging in a global orgy of violence against Muslim peoples, President George W. Bush should consider a diplomatic solution.

A big push to solve the Palestine-lsrael issue would go a lot further to remove the threat of Islamic terrorism than a massive and unjust reprisal. If the United States starts killing innocents in the Middle East as part of its new global anti-terrorist policy, there is no guarantee the attacks will stop in the United States or not extend to a country like Australia.

That factor is probably weighing on the minds of the U.S. leadership, which has been waffling for months over the merits of missile defense when it should have been looking at the risks of blowback from its Middle East policy. If the United States pressured Israel to provide some justice to the Palestinians, even Islamic fanatics like Osama bin Laden would come under pressure from other Muslims to modify their actions.

Chalmers Johnson, a renowned American political scientist, has published a book on how blowback was generated by the vast array of U.S. global interests, which he called America’s informal empire. He said:

“[Blowback] refers to the unintended consequences of policies that were kept secret from the American people.

“What the daily press reports as the malign acts of ‘terrorists’ or ‘drug lords’ or ‘rogue states’ or ‘illegal arms merchants’ often turn out to be blowback from earlier American operations.” As an example of blowback, Johnson cited the blowing up of the Pan Am jet over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988. That bombing, he said, was a revenge attack for former President Ronald Reagan’s decision to bomb Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya in 1986.

Johnson also warned that the conditions for blowback were being laid by America’s Middle East policy, citing in particular the longstanding sanctions against Iraq, which have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.

At the time, Johnson’s views on blowback were ignored. They were regarded as paranoid and polemical. After the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, they seem like common sense.

George W. Bush’s father pushed for a peace deal in the Middle East after the end of the Cold War and the war against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. His son should do the same. Osama bin Laden and the odious Taliban should be brought to justice if they committed the atrocity. But the United States must realize that the terrorist attacks were not the work of apolitical types.

That Osama bin Laden and his buddies are upset with the United States in no way justifies the horrible crime, but it serves as a clue to the long-term diplomatic policy the United States should adopt as a solution. Arab terrorists hate America for a variety of reasons. Their main grudge is that Washington supplies Israel with the arms and moral support to attack Palestinians and steal their land.

The Bush administration has largely turned a blind eye to Israel’s current policy of officially assassinating its Palestinian enemies and has not taken an active role in brokering a peace deal. In retrospect that was a serious mistake. It contrasts with former President Bill Clinton’s bold move to bring Yasser Arafat and Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Barak to the peace table at Camp David last year, when a peace deal that would have given back to Palestinians more than 90 percent of the West Bank was nearly sealed.

The activities of Bin Laden represent blowback in another sense of the word. His group knows the Americans and their working methods. This former closeness has given them the confidence in staging a major attack in the United States. They don’t believe the United States is willing to sacrifice their own people for political causes.

One thing that will hold America back from finding a just and diplomatic solution to the problem is that the American people are to a large extent kept in the dark about the impact of their foreign policy.

American television coverage of the terrorist actions seemed sound enough on the basic facts, but there was very little to answer the underlying question as to why anyone would plan and execute such violence. As far as a lot of American commentators were concerned, the culprits were just a bunch of irrational maniacs striking out at a “perceived” enemy. The U.S. media and the Bush administration have a responsibility to educate their public about what might be driving Islamic terrorism. That political naiveté is characteristic of America, where foreign policy is often dressed up in fancy ethical guise. As Johnson put it in his book, “Most Americans are probably unaware of how Washington exercises its global hegemony, since so much of this activity takes place either in relative secrecy or under comforting rubrics. Only when we come to see our country as both profiting from and trapped within the structures of an empire of its own making will it be possible for us to explain many elements of the world that otherwise perplex us.”

Americans will support violent retribution, but will they look to the deeper causes?


http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Sept_11_2001/Terrorism_or_Blowback.html

How Terrorism Works

by Robert Lamb

Browse the article How Terrorism Works

Introduction to How Terrorism Works
AP Photo/Chao Soi Cheong
On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists flew two airliners into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. The incident has become one of the most infamous and, by some estimates, deadly terrorist attacks in history.

­Miami Hurricane tight end Kellen Winslow found himself in a great deal of hot water in 2003. His team had just been dealt a key defeat and, in a spirited locker room rant, he compared himself to a solider. “It’s war,” he said. “They’re out there to kill you, so I’m out there to kill them.” The United States was just eight months into its occupation of Iraq at the time, so the ensuing media coverage, fan outrage and formal apology were perhaps to be expected.

The “sports is war” comparison is generally a bad move if you’re an athlete, but authors have a much easier time of it. George Orwell called sports “war minus the shooting” and, in his novel “Blood Meridian,” Cormac McCarthy argued that all games aspire to the conditions of war — and that war itself is nothing short of humanity’s destiny. It’s easy to draw the parallels: Two armies march onto the field, two teams take to the turf. They engage, compete and labor to win a victory over their opponent — but where does terrorism figure in to the picture?

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Any attempt to compare terrorism to sports is doomed from the start. Although games and sports may en­capsulate much of the spirit of armed conflict, they tend to reflect only the more admirable visions of what it is to wage war on another people or nation. Terrorism, on the other hand, involves the weaponization of fear itself. Through the targeting of civilian noncombatants, terrorists hope to use fear to achieve their objective. The prospect of a football player creating a climate of terror among innocent fans in order to establish dominance over an opposing team is simply laughable.

Yet, if war is indeed such an inseparable aspect of humanity, if we fill our lives with games just to mimic its power, then what is our true relationship with terrorism?
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Defining Terrorism
Yoray Liberman/Getty Images News/­Getty Images
War and civilian atrocities go hand in hand. In 1994, 5,000 ethnic Tutsis fled into this church in Ntarama to escape Hutu militias during the genocide in Rwanda. The militias followed, murdering men, women and children indiscriminately.

­Nailing down an exact definition for “terrorism” is tricky business. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion.” Of course, humans can find terror in just about anything — some people are deathly afraid of birds or even cats. But the most palpable fear is that of death, and the will to avoid it is hardwired into our genes. Terrorism leverages the threat of imminent death to achieve a goal.

Fear of death also plays a major role in warfare. Soldiers throughout history have labored to appear more terrifying — from dabbing on face paint to draping their horses in the bloody scalps of their adversaries. When two armies meet on the battlefield, the contest ultimately depends on fighting prowess, weapon technology and strategy. But if one army eventually breaks and flees, aren’t the soldiers running to escape death? Likewise, if a soldier sticks to the front lines to avoid summary execution for desertion, then aren’t his heroics fueled by the same fear?

To avoid such semantic complications, most modern definitions of terrorism emphasize the deliberate targeting of civilians. This is different from the incidental targeting of civilians, such as blowing up a school during the aerial bombardment of a nation’s capitol. With terrorism, the school would be the primary target. Yet, even attacks against military targets, such as the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, have been labeled terrorist acts.

Limiting terrorism to violence against civilians hardly lets professional military off the hook. History is filled with examples of armies deliberately targeting regular people. When armies laid siege to walled cities, they leveled the prospect of starvation and disease against the inhabitants. And when the siege broke, massacre, rape and enslavement often followed — and the 21st century is hardly free of such atrocities.

Everyone’s Hands Are BloodyWhile the exact definition may vary depending on who wields it, some form of terrorism has been employed by nearly every nation. For instance, the United States has financed several so-called terrorist groups, such as the contras in Nicaragua and the mujahedeen in Afghanistan

. Meanwhile, the likes of Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and U.S. President Nixon have waged wars that deliberately targeted civilian populations

­In 2006, the United Nations reported that the systematic rape of civilians was a prominent feature of conflicts in Bosnia-Hergovina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Haiti and Darfur

. Darfur, a region of <a href="http://geography.howstuffworks.com/africa/geography-of-sudan.htm">Sudan</a&gt;, has become a prominent modern example of violence against civilians in wartime, with thousands enslaved and hundreds of thousands killed or forced to flee their homes

.

War and violence against civilians are inseparable. To exclude the atrocities committed by soldiers, some politicians and historians limit the definition of terrorism to the actions of groups that aren’t officially affiliated with a state. Under this definition, civilian organizations are capable of terrorism, while a police force isn’t — even if both perpetrate the same heinous acts.

­Yet, as we’ll learn in the next section, the word “terrorism” has its origins not in the acts of civilians, but in the often bloody relationship between a government and its citizens.

Governmental Terrorism
Hulton Archive/Hulton Archive/­Getty Images
No image better illustrates the French Reign of Terror than the guillotine, which the revolutionary government used to execute thousands.

­Targeting civilians with violence may be as old as war, and war may be as old as humanity itself, but our use of the word “terrorism” only dates back to the 1790s. France’s new revolutionary government had just taken control of a country rife with rebellion and civil war. The “enemies of the Revolution” were plentiful and, on Sept. 5, 1793, the government enacted a decree to deal with them. Mass arrests were made and soon suspects’ rights to trial and legal aid vanished as well. The Committee of Public Safety wielded the powers of acquittal and death. This period became known as the Reign of Terror, and before its end on July 27, 1894, an estimated 17,000 men and women were sent to the guillotine.

The goal of terrorism is never to simply control the immediate recipients of the violence, but to reach a wider audience by creating an atmosphere of fear and anxiety. With tyrannical governments, the message of so-called establishment terrorism is usually “obey or else.”

Maintaining rule of law is one of the basic tenets of government, and the ultimate deterrent to unlawful behavior is almost always violence

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. If you fail to pay your taxes, for instance, enough inaction on your part will inevitably lead to law enforcement officers showing up at your door to take you away. When all the bureaucratic avenues have been spent, law comes down to force. The difference between a free society and one living under terror can be seen as a matter of degree. How soon does physical violence materialize in a nation’s enforcement of law? How often does a government exercise its power to kill and disenfranchise?

Ruling with an Iron FistIn 2008, democratic watchdog organization Freedom House compiled a list of the countries with the world’s most repressive regimes: Cuba, Libya, Myanmar, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. They also singled out China’s territorial control of Tibet and Russia’s handling of Chechnya.

The French certainly didn’t invent the use of state-controlled violence on domestic enemies. History books contain plenty of examples of totalitarian terror campaigns, from the Nazis and Stalinists of the 20th century to the ancient Romans and beyond. As long as there have been governments to rebel against, there have been violent attempts to repress the rebels. Military dictatorships often prove useful examples of this.

Augusto Pinochet’s rule in Chile, for example, was marked by the repression of leftist politics. Allegations of human rights violations emerged over time, including accusations that the regime kidnapped and murdered leftist citizens. From 1973 to 1980, Chile joined with several other South American nations to form “Operation Condor,” an intelligence-sharing effort to crack down on insurgents and, yes, ­terrorists.

Revolutionary Terrorism
AP Photo/Eddie Adams
South Vietnamese Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, chief of the national police, executes suspected Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem on Feb. 1, 1968, early in the Tet Offensive. The famous photo remains a defining image of the Vietnam War.

­If estab­lishment terrorism follows a top-down model, then revolutionary terrorism is the bottom-up version (though it’s sometimes sponsored by foreign states). The two models often share a codependent relationship, with a repressive government using terror to combat terrorist forces, each fanning the other’s fires. For instance, the Roman Empire and the rebellious Jewish Sicarii waged wars of terror against each other during the first century A.D. over occupied Judea.

Just as establishment terrorism often arises when more lenient forms of keeping law and order fail, so too does revolutionary terrorism become an option when a military victory isn’t possible. Rebellion can take different forms. On one extreme, you can field an army against a dominant government if you have the resources. If you’re outmatched, however, other methods are available.

Guerrilla warfare involves the use of armed irregular soldiers to wear down dominant police or military forces. Instead of assaulting their opponents head-on, they work to wear them down and destroy their resolve. Like the other facets of war, this strategy has existed throughout human history. In 512 B.C., the Scythians waged a successful guerrilla campaign against the powerful Persian Empire. Similarly, the U.S. military pulled out of the Vietnam War following more than a decade of battling not just the North Vietnamese army, but Viet Cong guerrillas as well.

One Man’s Terrorist…Is the saying “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” mere terrorism apologetics, or is there a degree of truth to it? For starters, virtually no terrorists call themselves “terrorists,” instead opting for the title of soldiers, freedom fighters or insurgents. It also depends who is throwing the labels around. To Soviet forces in Afghanistan, the mujahedeen were terrorist insurgents, while the United States backed them as freedom fighters against an invading communist army.

­If you can’t defeat a superior force on the battlefield, you can chip away at it through guerilla warfare until its forced to yield. This has led many social scientists to refer to such tactics as the “weapon of the weak.” Yet while guerilla warfare may entail violence against civilians, it isn’t generally defined by it. This leads us back to the more specific definition of terrorism as the systematic use of violence against civilians, in this case by noncombatants, to generate a climate of fear to bring about change. In these cases, victory is often impossible, even by attrition. The cause becomes less about achieving an objective (such as political change) as it is about publicizing the cause and gaining reprisals against real or perceived wrongs. In these cases, terrorism becomes a violent revenge drama to attract attention and spread a message through fear.

­Another form of terrorism is subrevolutionary terrorism, in which the terrorists fight to change existing political or social structures, but without deposing a regime. For instance, the African National Congress was classified by the United States as a terrorist organization for its sometimes-violent efforts in the 1980s to end South African apartheid. In the post-Civil War American South, the Ku Klux Klan brutally lynched blacks to push a white supremacist agenda. Both groups attempted to change public and social policy, rather than overthrow the government.

Terrorism as Industry
AP Photo/Paul White
Rescue workers cover up bodies following a 2004 train bombing in Madrid, Spain, March 11, 2004. The terrorist attack killed more than 170 commuters and wounded more than 500.

­No universal definition for terrorism exists, but as we’ve explored, a handful of adjectives allow us to better understand how it fits into human society. We’ve discussed establishment terrorism, revolutionary terrorism and subrevolutionary terrorism. These terms refer to the goals of terrorism and the architects of terror themselves. But if we think of terrorism as a product, the scope and location of the consumers also plays a major role in understanding it.

Terrorism can be separated into domestic and international categories. The former involves terrorists acting within the borders of their own country, such as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings in the United States and the Tokyo subway nerve gas attacks perpetrated by Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo. In international terrorism, however, the organizers export terror to another country. This brand of terrorism gained a great deal of attention following the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States. The suicide terrorists involved in the attack were linked to al-Qaida, an international terrorist group with operations in various countries.

Another important distinction to make is that between retail and wholesale terrorism. In business terms, retail involves selling small quantities to the ultimate consumer. A small store might have three toasters in stock, with the intention of selling individual toasters to individual customers. Wholesale, on the other hand, involves selling large quantities, generally to a wholesaler — such as a chain of home appliance stores. Re­tail ­terrorism involves the small-scale use of terror to achieve its goals, while wholesale terrorism deals in massive, indiscriminate death. For example, hijacking an airplane is retail terrorism, but intentionally crashing it into a major population center is wholesale terrorism.

The difference between the two often comes down to the tools of the trade.

Tools of the Terrorism Trade
Flying Colours Ltd/Digital Vision/­Getty Images
Modern technology makes it possible to fit the deaths of thousands inside a mere piece of carry-on luggage.

­Weapon and communications technology have changed the face of warfare, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that terrorism has benefited as well. In fact, it has evolved — growing from retail terrorist attacks against individuals and small groups to wholesale terrorist attacks that endanger thousands of lives.

In the past, terrorists often depended on the assassination of key individuals or the use of hostage situations. There is, after all, only so much one person can achieve with daggers and bows. Large-scale death was generally the specialty of armies and, as such, most of history’s atrocities were carried out by governments and militaries. Gunpowder would change all this, empowering the individual to inflict unprecedented destruction. After all, how much can you fear one man in an age of daggers and clubs as opposed to the age of suicide bombers and lone gunmen?

Explosives made such activities as the Guy Fawkes’ 1605 Gunpowder Plot against the British Parliament a reality. The 2002 Beltway sniper attacks in the United States demonstrated how two men with a rifle could terrify millions. In 2004, a group of Chechen rebels stormed a school in the Russian town of Beslan, taking more than a thousand hostages. They ultimately killed 334 of them, including 186 children.

Sometimes the weapons of wholesale terrorism aren’t even weapons, but repurposed technology. The destruction of the World Trade Center showed us that a commercial airliner can become a missile. The only real weapons used in the attack were a handful of box cutters, no different in function than Stone Age artifacts.

With the right explosives, biological or chemical agent, terrorists can target densely populated areas and potentially kill thousands. Technology has also added organizational strength to terrorist efforts. E-mail and cellular communication make it po­ssible for terrorists to organize efforts from the other side of the globe, as well as recruit new personnel. Modern banking also makes it possible for terrorist organizations to receive funding from international benefactors and distribute it surreptitiously wherever money helps further their ends.

Terror is wielded by the mighty and by the weak, but how does a nation fight terrorism without becoming terrorists themselves? How do a people oppose a tyrannical government without drowning in as much blood as the tyrant? Human societies continue to strive for answers to these ­questions. Some argue for identifying and treating the root causes of many forms of terrorism, such as the frustration and aggression associated with disenfranchisement. Others argue that it should be treated purely as a criminal or military threat. For establishment terrorism, the arguments range from nonviolent protest to bloody revolution or military intervention by foreign powers.

A definitive answer to terrorism, however, remains as elusive as a definitive definition of the term itself.

Explore the links on the next page to learn even more about terrorism.

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The Threat Of Global State Terrorism

Retail vs wholesale terror

by Edward S. Herman & David Peterson

Z magazine, January 2002

We are living in a very dangerous time, but for reasons almost exactly the opposite of those conventionally accepted. The consensus view in the United States right now is that the danger lies in the terror threat from Bin Laden and his network, and perhaps other terrorists hostile to the West. But Bin Laden and his network, though evidently formidable terrorists, cannot compete in terrorizing with states, and especially with a highly militarized superpower. His is a “retail” terror network, like the IRA or Cuban refugee terrorist network: it has no helicopter gunships, no offensive missiles, no “daisy cutters,” no nuclear weapons, and although its death-dealing on September 11 was remarkable (although down from the initially estimated 6,000 or more to below 3,900), it was unique for a non-governmental terrorist organization.

Really large-scale killing and torture to terrorize-“wholesale” terrorism-has been implemented by states, not by non-state terrorists. The reason people aren’t aware of this is that states define terrorism and identify the terrorists, and they naturally exempt themselves as always “retaliating” and engaging in “counter-terror” even when their own actions are an exact fit to their own definitions. And their mainstream media always follow the official lead. The U.S. Code definition-“any activity…dangerous to human life…intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population…[or] to influence the policy of a government by intimidation”-surely fits U.S. policy toward Iraq, where the incessant bombings and “sanctions of mass destruction” have been designed to intimidate the Iraqi people and influence Iraqi government policy. This serious terrorism has been killing more children per month than the total casualty figure for the September 11 terrorist attacks, but in this country it is Iraq that, if not terrorizing, is a terrorist threat getting what it deserves. This distorted perspective is made possible by a mainstream media that serves state policy by focusing attention on Hussein’s efforts to develop “weapons of mass destruction,” while keeping pictures of dying Iraqi children out of sight.

As another illustrative case, Israel has been using torture on an administrative basis for at least 25 years, a feat no retail (non-state) terrorist could duplicate. This, and the U.S. policy toward Iraq, are wholesale terrorist operations, carried out on a large scale over an extended period of time, as only the institutions of state terrorism are capable of doing. As the 1984 Alfonsin National Commission on the Disappeared explained after reviewing the record of the deposed military regime of Argentina, which had tortured and killed thousands in over 300 detention centers from 1976 to 1983, that regime’s (wholesale) terrorism was “infinitely worse” than the (retail) terrorism it was combating.

The real danger to world peace and security arising out of the events of September 11 lies in the responsive wholesale terrorism that will result-and already is resulting-from the resurgent aggressiveness of the United States, with its excessive military power, its global interests that can be served by a forward military policy, its self-righteousness and habituation to getting its way, and the absence of any country or group of countries able to contain it. This country is also especially dangerous by virtue of its being perhaps the most religiously fundamentalist in the world (ranging from the Christian Right and its various militia-like sects to the blind patriotic fervor in the wake of September 11 to belief in close encounters of the third kind, angels, and End Times); and with a population that, with the help of the mainstream media, can be brought to approve or ignore any level of external violence that the leadership deems useful. We may recall that the United States is the only country that has used nuclear weapons and has threatened their further use many times. Its employment of chemical weapons more than competes with Saddam Hussein’s use in the 1980s, one of the U.S. Iegacies being some 500,000 Vietnamese children with serious birth abnormalities left from a decade of U.S. chemical warfare in the 1960s.

The September 11 bombing was a windfall for the Bush administration and military-industrial complex, so much to their advantage that theories have been circulating suggesting that the U.S. Ieadership engineered, or at least failed to interfere with, the bombings. We don’t accept the purported evidence for this, but we do believe that after the initial shock at their failure to protect U.S. citizens from attack, the leadership realized that this was what they had been waiting for as a substitute for the Soviet Threat to justify a new projection of U.S. power. In fact, the “war against terrorism” may prove to be more serviceable as a tool for managing the public than the Soviet Threat, given its open-ended and nebulous character.

The Soviet Threat gave the United States a Cold War propaganda cover to justify its support of numerous military dictators and other goons of convenience who would serve U.S. economic and political interests. Thus, in the name of fighting both Soviet “expansionism” and “terrorism” the United States supported terrorist states that engaged in really serious terrorism, combating a lesser (retail) terrorism that was frequently a response to that state terrorism. One document produced by the Catholic Church in Latin America in 1977, made the telling observation that the military regimes needed to employ terror because the ruthless economic policies that they encouraged, their “development model,” which featured helping foreign transnationals by giving them a “favorable climate of investment” (i.e., crushing labor unions), “creates a revolution that did not previously exist.” It is hardly a coincidence that “liberation theology,” with its “theology from the underside of history” and its “preferential option for the poor” (Gustavo Gutierrez), was born out of the turmoil and victimization of this era of U.S.-sponsored counterrevolutionary violence.

In the earlier period the United States got away with claims that it was opposed to and was fighting terrorism, while it was actually supporting “infinitely worse” terrorisms. The mainstream media allowed the government to define terrorism and name the terrorists; so, for example, the New York Times regularly referred to the retail terrorism in Argentina as “terrorism,” but never called the infinitely worse state terrorism in that country by its right name. And the Times-and the rest of the mainstream media- rarely discussed the ugly details of Argentinian state terrorism, never related it to any development model, and failed to express indignation over it. Also, they never referred to the Nicaraguan contras or Savimbi’s UNITA as terrorists or the United States as a sponsor of terrorism for giving them support.

In the Cold War years, also, the media never questioned the alleged objectives of U.S. interventions. If the U.S. government claimed back in t e early 1950s that it was overthrowing the elected government of Guatemala for fear of Soviet control and to stop the spread of communism, the media never doubted this; they never suggested that this was a fraudulent cover for the desire to protect the United Fruit Company, to dispose of an annoyingly reformist and independent government, and resulted from an arrogantly imperialistic government’s refusal to brook any opposition in its backyard. The media served then as uncritical propagandists for the “war against communism,” featuring the alleged threats and focusing heavily on the progress of that notorious intervention. They made the destruction of a democratic government and introduction of a police state into a noble venture that saved the United States from a wholly fabricated threat.

Sound familiar? It should, as the media are doing the same job of protecting state actions today. If their government says that what it is doing in Afghanistan is a “war against terrorism,” that is what the media label it. If the Administration hints at extending the war on terrorism to Iraq as one of its state sponsors, the media talk about this only in terms of strategy, whether allies will go along, and possible repercussions. They never suggest that the attack on Afghanistan was itself an act of terrorism, or beyond that, an act of aggression done in straightforward violation of the UN Charter and international law. They never suggest that Iraq has been a victim of very serious state-sponsored terrorism for more than a decade, in which 23 million Iraqis have served as hostages to be starved into rebellion. Never. Although what this country does may fit the official U.S. definition of terrorism with precision, the supposedly free and independent media exempt its actions from the label as a matter of course.

As they did back in 1950-1954 in reference to Guatemala, the mainstream media focus on U.S. claims regarding enemy maneuvers and sinister plans (back then, Red infiltration; today, the location and tricks of Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda); the planning and military activities of the forces supported by the United States (back then, the “contra” army invading Guatemala from Somoza’s Nicaragua; today the military successes of the bombing and “coalition” fighting on the ground in Afghanistan); who is winning and losing in the fighting and diplomatic maneuvering. There was no discussion in the earlier years of objectives other than that supposed “war against communism”-such as the welfare of United Fruit, or the U.S. objection to any social democratic reforms or independent state in its backyard-just as today the media will not discuss the Bush administration’s broader agenda-gaining access to and control over the Caspian Basin’s enormous oil and natural gas resources, or using anti-terrorism as the rationale for going after any global target, or to help create a moral environment that will serve to advance its domestic programs.

Just as the Cold War provided a cover for U.S. support of a “real terror network,” so now the “war against terrorism” is providing a cover for a similar and rapid gravitation to contemporary goons of convenience like Russia’s Putin, Pakistan’s Musharraff, and Uzbekistan’s Karimov. Putin is a major wholesale terrorist, whose political career has been built on terrorizing Chechnya; Musharraff is a military dictator who previously was closely allied with the Taliban; and Karimov is another holdover dictator from the Soviet era, whose only virtue is a willingness to serve the “war on terrorism.” Just as the media back in 1954 never discussed the fact that that first generation contra invasion of Guatemala, allegedly to “free” Guatemala, was being organized in Somoza’s “unfree” Nicaragua, nor questioned U. S. support of that dictator, so today the media never ask the obvious question: How can a new order of democracy be created by supporting and consolidating the power of dictators and wholesale terrorists?

The “war against terrorism” has given a freer hand to terrorist governments that are “with us,” like Russia’s but also that of Israel, whose leaders quickly recognized their improved political position after September 11 and greatly intensified their violence in the occupied territories. China has also joined the fight against terrorism, and is expected to “use the international war against terror for a new crackdown on the Turkic-speaking Uighurs,” and “arrests in the region have increased significantly” since September 11 (“China using terror war against separatists,” UPI, October 11, 2001). The new “war” has encouraged governments across the globe to ask for military support from the United States to fight their own “terrorists,” and the Bush administration has already come through with aid to the Philippines and Indonesia in these local struggles. So it looks very much as if insurgents anywhere, if they don’t happen to be supported by Washington as “freedom fighters,” will be transformed into targets of the new “war against terrorism,” now to be fought on a global basis. Whereas in the Cold War years these insurgents were tied to Moscow in preparation for supporting states like Argentina, which would then crush them; now they will be branded “foreign terrorist organizations” or linked to Bin Laden, or perhaps that won’t even be necessary in the New World Order-just call them terrorists, flash pictures of the victims of the World Trade Center, and bomb them.

In the earlier years, also, as the government wanted the public mobilized to the frightful threat posed by the disarmed Guatemala, the media beat a steady and incessant drum, day in and day out. Similarly, since September 11, the Bush administration wanting the public frightened and mobilized to support its new and open-ended war, the media have provided incessant and frightening-as well as hugely biased-coverage of “A Nation Challenged,” as the New York Times’s daily section would have it, or “At War With Terror,” in the Philadelphia Inquirer’s regular account. The public is led to believe that the Pitiful Giant has had its back against the ropes in its struggle against retail terror, a truly frightening situation; whereas in the earlier case, a social democratic government threatening United Fruit and U.S. prerogatives, but linked to Moscow, provided the media with grist for creating public panic, and justifying U.S. aggression.

In the earlier case, after the elected government of Guatemala was overthrown in June 1954, and was replaced by a puppet that proceeded to dismantle all the human rights and social gains brought by democracy, media attention to Guatemala disappeared, and it stayed invisible as a counterinsurgency state, built on wholesale terror, took over and has remained in place for almost half a century. The media helped overthrow the democratic government, and in the years that followed they kept the public unaware that under U.S. auspices, with U.S. funding, training, Green Beret participation in counterinsurgency campaigns, and diplomatic support, a terror state was built, aided, and protected (for details, Michael McClintock, The American Connection: State Terror and Popular Resistance in Guatemala [Zed, 1985]). The same pattern was observable in the case of Nicaragua in the 1980s: huge media attention to the Sandinista government’s “threat of a good example” that followed U.S. support of the Somoza dictatorship for 45 years; then after the ouster of the Sandinistas, with the crucial aid of U.S. direct and sponsored terrorism, the media once again lapsed into silence.

This media practice allows the United States to carry out a hit-and-run policy, without any serious public cost to its leadership, as the public is kept in the dark about the fact that this country has “run” following its extended and devastating “hit,” because media attention falls to close to zero.

This should clue us in on the likely developments in Afghanistan after this fearsome military challenge is met-and the United States and its anti-terrorist “coalition” can celebrate another victory in which they created a desert and called it peace. There is a great deal of talk now of “nation-building” and modernizing Afghanistan, but that is now, when the establishment needs to fend off suggestions that it is better at killing and starving people than it is at spreading democracy and development that helps them. But Vietnam, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Kosovo, and many other cases, teach us that there will be no nation-building at all, although building oil and natural gas pipelines and military bases is another matter.

Once the great military victory is achieved, budget priorities will hardly extend out to Afghanistan, any more than they did to other victims of imperial violence. Official attention will disappear and the media can be counted on to shift their focus elsewhere. Call it a law of the free press, which falls in line whenever duty calls and boldly follows the flag and priorities of the elite and government establishment. If these call for nation destruction, and then a silent exit, so be it.

Edward S. Herman is an economist and media analyst. His most recent book, co-edited with Philip Hammond, is Degraded Capability: The Media and The Kosovo Crisis. (Pluto Press, 2000). David Peterson is a freelance writer.

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Herman%20/Threat_Global_Terrorism.html

Terrorism Industry The Experts and Institutions That Shape Our View of Terror Edward Herman (Author), Gerry O’Sullivan (Author)

Review From Library Journal:

What is a terrorist act? The authors argue that experts on the subject hold Western views biased in favor of the status quo or government perspectives. The biases, at best, are a product of the “terrorism industry” that has grown up in response to government funding, including the networks of government agencies, think tanks, and private security firms. The mass media also have a big role in promoting terrorist stereotypes, the authors say, often missing a balanced perspective on a “terrorist” act. The authors also discuss the historical use of stereotyping threatening groups (Native Americans, Communists, etc.). A strident yet sophisticated analysis, aimed mostly at specialists in the field.
– William L. Waugh Jr., Georgia State Univ., Atlanta

Review:

The western “corporate” mass media seems to be more concerned about protecting special interests than is disseminating good, unbiased information. This book goes over different conflict areas (South Africa, Middle East, etc) comparing how certain events were reported by the corporate media, and what actually happened. It shows how what we see, read and hear are all highly edited and spun by those that want to obscure the truth. An absolutely fantastic book. I would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind having their eyes opened.

Review:

“We have wondered why it was that Dr. Savimbi’s UNITA in Angloa and the Contras in Nicaragua were ‘freedom fighters, lionized by…Reagan…whereas our liberation movements such as the African National Congress…were invariably castigated as ‘terrorist movements’…We had our suspicions that there was a coherent, well-thought-out policy by the West to exercise a selective morality…This book confirms our suspicions…the ‘terrorism industry has been very much needed in the West as a cover for its own activities and crimes’…”

Archibishop Desmond Tutu
Praise for THE TERRORISM INDUSTRY

In the wake of the Madrid bombings of 2004, coming exactly three years and six months after the World Trade Center 9/11 incident, all people, particularly Americans, must develop the stomach to look at the root causes of the terrorism that threatens us all: THE TERRORISM WE SUPPORT and INITIATE. Edward Herman and Gary O’Sullivan have written a diagnosis of the ills of the modern world with this book THE TERRORISM INDUSTRY that becomes a moral issue of dangerous proportions for any rational person to ignore. In this, they uncover the very definition of terrorism, and how that definition is used by the government and the media, is part of the reason why it continues to exist.

In THE TERRORISM INDUSTRY, you will discover that that which we call the terrorism that justifies the waging of foreign wars and the shredding of the Bill of Rights makes up little more than ten percent of the actual terrorism that has killed literally millions of (mostly non-White) people around the world. And much of it has been supported by our government, for any number of reasons–making much of the terorism that is inflicted upon ordinary people in the Western world actually blind and frightened acts of revenge, though the American Media will never show it to be such. Building on the analysis of bias and marketable propaganda that is at the core of the Media empires’ definition of both news and history in the classic MANUFACTURING CONSENT with Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman develops exactly what his subtitle promises: a complete explication of the experts and institutions that shape our view of terror in the today’s world. Long before the avalanche of frightening alternative scholasrhip that is in their bibliography shows you the relationship of Nazism and the Far Right to the politics of definition of what “terrorism” actually is, it will be all but impossible to see the very way in which we are taught to perceive terror as a conintuation of the colonialist/imperialist policies designed to insure Western hegemony in the world, at the expense of the very democracy we (sometimes) defend at home.

Read this at your own risk. But remember, living in the world as we know it in ignorance is a lot riskier.

Review:

This is a disturbing book, designed obviously to remove the rose colored glasses through which we look at Western culture. According to the findings and actual history of Herman and O’Sullivan, Western culture as we know it was not only created by war but is only maintained through constant war–though much of the wars that are waged to keep our consumptive culture alive, as they are waged against innocent people around the world, are not spoken of or reported in the Western media. They are also, obvviously, just considered part of the everyday of life of Europe and the US by our leaders. This book takes Gore Vidal’s PERPETUAL WAR FOR PERPETUAL PEACE to another level–one even more disturbing. In so doing it makes the newspapers make a lot more sense, despite the new way in which they will break your heart after reading this incredibly well thought out and scholarly book. What is terrorism? If you think you know, read this book and be changed. It is nor surprise that this book, through many of the secret literary terrorist techniques of the politically influenced publishing industry is no longer in print. The surprise, when reading its contents, is that it was ever allowed to be printed in the first place.

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State Terrorism and the United States

From Counterinsurgency to the War on Terrorism

Frederick H. Gareau

Review

“This book is a valuable addition to the literature on terrorism.” — Edward Herman, Wharton School

“an important, courageous analysis of America’s long involvement in training of foreign military and police organizations” — Chalmers Johnson, author, The Sorrows of Empire

Product Description

Summary of the Book

This study exposes the support that administrations in Washington have given right-wing dictatorships that committed terrorism especially during the cold war and war on terrorism. It offers a critique of this latter war, and the study’s portrayal of the earlier war serves as necessary background for understanding and evaluating the latter war. It rejects the narrow definition of terrorism insisted on by Washington that exempts terrorism committed by governments (state terrorism) from the definition, and for political reasons restricts the term solely to the private terrorism committed by private individuals or non-governmental organizations. Every one of the six truth commission reports used in the study—one each for El Salvador, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa and two with remarkably similar conclusions for Guatemala— found that the governments were responsible for the great preponderance of terrorism and other acts of repression that occurred in their respective countries, much more so than the guerrillas. In El Salvador, Guatemala, and Chile the governments were found to be guilty of over 90 percent of the acts of terrorism and other acts of repression. Sponsored by the United Nations, successor governments to those that committed state terrorism, or the Catholic Archdiocese of Guatemala City, each of these reports is based on thousands of interviews mostly with surviving victims or their families and friends. All of the truth commission reports charged that the state terrorists committed unimaginable, unspeakable acts of cruelty and terrorism, what the truth commission for Argentina characterized as an “encyclopedia of horror.” Advertised as a defense against communism and sometimes swayed by other motives— racism in South Africa and Guatemala and anti-Semitism in Argentina— the basic motive for the state terrorists was discovered to be the preservation of the status quo and the prevention of social change. They hunted down, tortured, terrorized, and murdered peasants, workers, students, teachers, priests, and nuns. The truth commission for Guatemala sponsored by the United Nations found the government of that country guilty of genocide. With some exceptions, a compliant national media engaged in self-censorship, even passing on the government inspired lies that held the guerrillas, not the government, responsible for the bulk of the atrocities. This and other evidence suggest that the so-called war on terrorism is a partial war that fails to target the main perpetrators, the state terrorists. The incomplete definition insisted on by Washington shields it from being accused of being a supporter of terrorism.

Washington’s support for state terrorist regimes typically has taken the form of training their troops in “counterinsurgency,” now “counter-terrorism,” and by providing funds and loans, military equipment, and diplomatic backing. The study indicates that Washington helped the Saddam Hussein regime and the apartheid regimes in South Africa successfully develop weapons of mass destruction. Saddam used poison against the Kurds and the Iranians. The racists in Pretoria produced six nuclear weapons, which they destroyed, following a request from Washington, before handing over the government to Nelson Mandela. In order to assure the continuing Kuwaiti financing of Saddam’s war of aggression against Iran (1980-1988), the Reagan administration put the American flag on the ships of the sheikdom to protect them from Iran. This administration also became a co-belligerent in Saddam’s “oil war,” sinking half of the Iranian navy. It is arguable that without this aid Saddam would have been defeated and deposed by Iran in 1988.

The support for Saddam by the Reagan administration and by that of the elder Bush in its early years puts in perspective Washington’s later moral claims for initiating wars against the dictator. Support for Saddam in the Iran-Iraq war also serves the reader as an introduction to what is to come, as Washington’s policy shifted from supporting dictators/oppressors in the cold war to supporting them in the war against terrorism. The intended enemy in the first period was communism/social change, whereas in the later period it was often to contain the type of Islam exemplified by the Ayatollah Khomeini. The study indicates that the administration of the younger Bush has followed this new paradigm in Algeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Its support in Uzbekistan is for a dictator who persecutes Islam, and in Russia it supports an authoritarian president who attacks Muslim Chechens, freedom fighting terrorists. Support for terrorist governments in Colombia has been rationalized by the cold war, the war against drugs, and now the latter plus the war on terrorism. The study adds to the indictment against Washington by references to statistical studies and to the opposition of the Bush administration to the International Criminal Court.

The study critiques the way the Bush administration has conducted the war on terrorism, arguing that it should be carried on without resort to war. Renamed “defense against terrorism,” it would concentrate on the home front and international cooperation. Pre-emption and counter proliferation would be rejected as forms of aggression, and Washington would join the International Criminal Court. The study questions the validity of the reasons given by the Bush administration for invading Iraq in 2003, and it finds that war to be immoral, illegal, and counterproductive. It has alienated large sections of the world population, most especially the Arabs and the Muslims. Aid to Israel, especially military aid, is a major reason for the terrorism directed at the United States, volatile fuel that feeds Arab and Islamic hatred. Israel remains the number one recipient of Washington’s economic and military largess, receives Washington’s diplomat support and intelligence, and is the beneficiary of a strange silence meant to shield public knowledge of the existence of the Israeli stockpile of nuclear weapons. The study recommends that Washington terminate all military aid to Israel as well as aid to Colombia, Uzbekistan, and other countries that are currently committing or sponsoring state terrorism. It recommends that a truth commission be established to investigate and to advertise Washington’s support for state terrorism so that the American public will know what has been done in its name.

Review:

 

 

Here is truth dripping blood and gore. Given the stakes this is the kind of book we ought to have again and again until it is finally impressed on the American people what its government is doing in its name, while hypocritically proclaiming loudly the virtues of freedom and democracy

The body of the book is formed by six case studies of US perpetration of and complicity in repression and terrorism in El Salvado, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, and Indonesia. Sadly, this repression almost unexceptionally has come to pass when the poor and repressed majority has organized to redress the privileged economic elite, often under cover of the Cold War against communism; today more commonly under the cloak of the war on terrorism. Gareau also takes brief but sweeping inventories of similar terror in Cambodia, Iraq, Colombia, Nicaragua, the Congo, Iran and elsewhere. Orwell would fully understand a US State Department list of state sponsors of terror conspicuously missing the United States itself.

Gareau gives lie to the “romantic notion” that the attacks of September 11 were prompted by a pathogical hatred of the United States and its freedoms. It is more accurate, he says, to see them as a response to widespread and similar activity in which the US has been much more intimately involved. It is critical to understand this history as the first step in contrition and thusly to preventing future repeats.

In each of the six case studies, Gareau asks and answers three main questions: did the government being studied commit state terrorism? how much of the terror was perpetrated by the state, and how much by private guerrillas? And, was the country that committed terror upon its own citizens supported by the United States?

Under US diplomatic cover, 95% of the 75,000 killed in El Salvador between 1980 and 1991 were killed by government forces at the same time the US provided El Salvador $6 billion in aid.

In the 1950s successive governments in Guatemala instituted the beginnings of successful reform measures aimed at aiding the poor and disenfranchised. Intolerable to US business interests, in response the CIA trained and supplied an invasion force that deposed President Arbenz in 1954 in a watershed in the history of the country which engendered the bloody repression that followed. An estimated 200,000 were killed between 1962 and 1996, about 93% of them by government forces. The United States provided massive aid to Guatemala during this reign of terror.

At the direct behest of Nixon and Kissinger in 1973, on September 11 no less, the duly elected and popular Marxist President Salvador Allende of Chile was assassinated. Installed in his stead was General Pinochet who “disappeared” 3-4,000 and ruled with an iron fist of terror for three decades, with wide support from the United States.

These are typical of US foreign policy as documented herein, and continue in the Bush adminstration’s war on terror which Gareau says is illegal, immoral, overly belligerent and counterproductive.

Gareau’s closes the book with suggested remedies that include calling it a defense rather than a war against terrorism; treating terrorism as a criminal rather a military matter and responding to it as such; more active US participation in international agencies such as the International Criminal Court and the International Atomic Energy Commission; quitting US support of terror in all its guises; adopting a negotiable rather than a unilateral posture vis-a-vis terrorism; making US amends as far as possible to victims of terror it has supported in the past; and establishing a truth commission for the United States so its citizens can know what has been done in their names.

This is an important book. I can’t think of a topic more important especially in this day and age and especially to Americans. That they are largely unaware of this history is inexplicable. Would they want to remedy this character defect, this book would help.

Review:

 

This is a concise book that covers one of today’s biggest topics: terrorism.

In the millions of hours of TV coverage, and the millions of words in countless newspaper articles, we seldom get a clear picture of state terrorism in the world, and what role the United States really plays in combatting, supporting, and instituting it. Gareau uses a number of case studies to determine the extent of US involvement in countries like El Salvador, Chile, Argentina, and he briefly covers other ‘hot spots’ like Cambodia, Nicaragua, and of course, Iraq.

The information is not ‘secret’. Certainly, the media has covered these areas over the years, usually supporting a very familiar line. However, the reality on the ground is something quite different than the various US administrations have described in all of their lofty rhetoric about combatting terror, about ‘why do they hate us?’, and about eliminating imminent threats.

The book also looks to current events in an evaluation on the Bush II administration’s ‘War on Terror’. Gareau’s summation is anything but laudatory for the ‘counterterror’ being carried out by the US and its allies and proxies. The behavior of the world’s dominant superpower is often arrogant and bullying, and it’s nothing new to Bush II. The case studies stretch back to at least the 1950s, with US involvement in the hemisphere stretching back a century in some cases.

There’s been a very close link between US support and aid and state terrorism in a number of the cases, and some of the shorter bits on other countries and regions echoes this as well. (See Holly Sklar’s ‘Washington’s War on Nicaragua’ for an overview on that ‘successful’ job of ‘spreading democracy’.)

The purpose is to illustrate what the United States has done, is doing, and is capable of doing when its interests are at stake and when a lofty goal is announced. Communism, Drugs, and Terrorism are excellent pretexts for widening America’s sphere of influence and ensuring that clients and potential clients do not step out of line. ‘Counterterror’ becomes a code word for state terror, and when we’ve achieved our ‘goals’, we like to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done, sometimes leaving a trail of misery behind (Central America).

Highly recommended for anyone interested in current affairs. A stark look at the ‘War on Terror’ will reveal something about ourselves, and much about a media, intellectual community, and government that is dedicated to hypocrisy and to state terror when it achieves the ‘right’ goals.

Review:

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful:

5.0 out of 5 stars Useful account of US state’s support for state terrorism, November 19, 2004

This review is from: State Terrorism and the United States: From Counterinsurgency to the War on Terrorism (Paperback)

Using evidence from various truth commissions, Professor Gareau, of Florida State University, presents detailed country studies. In El Salvador in 1980-91, 75,000 people were killed, of whom the government, its army, the National Guard and its death squads, killed 95%. The US gave El Salvador’s state $6 billion, supporting the terror.

In Guatemala in 1962-96, the state’s forces killed more than 90% of the 200,000 people killed. In Chile after the coup of 11 September 1973, the state, again, killed more than 95% of those killed. In Argentina in 1976-83, 8,960 were killed. In Colombia in 1986-95, 45,000 were killed, again 95% by the army and death squads.

Between 1980 and 1988 the South African state killed 1.5 million people in neighbouring countries. Indonesia’s army killed at least 1.5 million people in 1965, 1975 and 1999: the US state supported elections on the back of these massacres.

In every case, the US state backed the state terrorism before, during and after it was committed. Gareau cites three studies proving that the more a state violated its citizens’ rights, the more US aid it received.

This was state terrorism, not even-handed civil wars with half the violence committed by one side and half by the other. It was counter-revolutionary murder by US-equipped, US-trained armed forces against people with hardly any means of self-defence.

Why this one-sided ferocity? US military training teaches recruits to use pre-emptive terrorism – `do it to them before they do it to us’. It tells recruits that the enemy will torture and kill them, take no prisoners and show no respect for the laws of war.

Gareau sums up, “Washington has the right, indeed the duty, to defend the United States against terrorism. The question arises as to how it should do this. … the way the Bush administration has chosen … is immoral, illegal, overly belligerent, and in many ways counterproductive.”

This account of US interventions shows that its brutal and lawless occupation of Iraq is no aberration. Hopes that, this time, US intervention will bring democracy and independence are self-deception and delusion.

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Death Squad: The Anthropology of State Terror (The Ethnography of Political Violence) [Paperback]

Jeffrey A. Sluka (Editor)

“There is real personal danger for anthropologists who dare to speak and write against terror; by doing so, they potentially and sometimes actually bring the terror down on themselves.”—Jeffrey A. Sluka

Review

“An inspiring and disquieting read.”—International Journal of Human Rights

Introduction

Death Squad is the first work to focus specifically on the anthropology of state terror. It brings together an international group of anthropologists who have done extensive research in areas marked by extreme forms of state violence and who have studied state terror from the perspective of victims and survivors.

The book presents eight case studies from seven countries—Spain, India (Punjab and Kashmir), Argentina, Guatemala, Northern Ireland, Indonesia, and the Philippines—to demonstrate the cultural complexities and ambiguities of terror when viewed at the local level and from the participants’ point of view. Contributors deal with such topics as the role of Loyalist death squads in the culture of terror in Northern Ireland, the three-tier mechanism of state terror in Indonesia, the complex role of religion in violence by both the state and insurgents in Punjab and Kashmir, and the ways in which “disappearances” are used to destabilize and demoralize opponents of the state in Argentina, Guatemala, and India.

Another review:

Death Squad: The Anthropology of State Terror (The Ethnography of Political Violence) (Paperback)

This is a good starting point for any reader interested in the subject of state terror. The book is really a series of chapters written by various authors about different examples of state sponsored terror like: Guatemala, Spain, and Northern Ireland. Sluka, who is the editor for the book, also wrote a chapter on Northern Ireland, where he lived during different periods of the war.

Sluka’s chapter addresses in depth the collusion between British security forces and the Protestant loyalist paramilitaries who murdered innocent Catholic people in order to create fear. They hoped that the Catholic population would simply give into Protestant demands and allow them to continue running the Northern Ireland government while continuing to discriminate against the Catholic minority. Ultimately, this strategy backfired and only drove more Catholics into the arms of the IRA, the only institution that was willing to stand against the British state terror.

“Death Squad” gives a good overview of the different ways that different countries have used government terror to advance the state’s goal of maintaining power. However, some of the contributing authors – like the one who wrote about Spain – have a dry, academic writing style. This doesn’t make the subject matter any less important, just more difficult to read. Frederick H. Gareau (Author)

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United States and state terrorism

 

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The United States government has been the subject of accusations of state terrorism by foreign officials, such as Hugo Chavez, governments, such as Nicaragua, and by academics such as Noam Chomsky, Michael Walzer,[1] Richard Falk, Mark Selden, Tony Coady,[2] and Henry Steele Commager.[3] These accusations also include arguments that the US has funded, trained, and harbored individuals or groups who engaged in terrorism.[4]

The states in which the U.S. has allegedly conducted or supported terror operations include the Philippines, Cuba, Chile, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nicaragua, and Vietnam, along with its historic internal operations against Native Americans. Falk, Walzer, and Howard Zinn see the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II as state terrorism.

Contents

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[edit] Definitions

Like the definition of terrorism and the definition of state-sponsored terrorism, the definition of state terrorism remains controversial. There is no international consensus on what terrorism, state-sponsored terrorism, or state terrorism is.[5] Gus Martin described state terrorism as terrorism “committed by governments and quasi-governmental agencies and personnel against perceived enemies,” which can be directed against both domestic and external enemies.[6] The original general meaning of terrorism was of terrorism by the state, as reflected in the 1798 supplement of the Dictionnaire of the Academie Francaise, which described terrorism as systeme, regime de la terreur.[7] Similarly, a terrorist in the late 18th century was considered any person “who attempted to further his views by a system of coercive intimidation.”[7] The Encyclopedia Britannica Online defines terrorism generally as “the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective,” and adds that terrorism has been practiced by “state institutions such as armies, intelligence services, and police.”[8] The encyclopedia adds that “[e]stablishment terrorism, often called state or state-sponsored terrorism, is employed by governments — or more often by factions within governments — against that government’s citizens, against factions within the government, or against foreign governments or groups.”[9] Michael Stohl argued, “The use of terror tactics is common in international relations and the state has been and remains a more likely employer of terrorism within the international system than insurgents.[10] Stohl added that “[n]ot all acts of state violence are terrorism. It is important to understand that in terrorism the violence threatened or perpetrated, has purposes broader than simple physical harm to a victim. The audience of the act or threat of violence is more important than the immediate victim.”[11]

Professor Igor Primoratz of the University of Melbourne wrote that many scholars have been reluctant to assign the word “terrorism” to activities that could be construed as “legitimate state aims”. Primoratz himself defined terrorism as “the deliberate use of violence, or threat of its use, against innocent people…”, and wrote that his definition could be applied to both state and non-state activities.[12][13]

[edit] General allegations against the US

In October 2001, Arno Mayer, an Emeritus Professor of History at Princeton University, charged that “since 1947 America has been the chief and pioneering perpetrator of ‘preemptive’ state terror, exclusively in the Third World and therefore widely dissembled.”[14] Noam Chomsky also argued that “Washington is the center of global state terrorism and has been for years.”[15] Chomsky has charged that the tactics used by agents of the U.S. government and their proxies in their execution of U.S. foreign policy—in such countries as Nicaragua—are a form of terrorism and that the U.S is “a leading terrorist state.”[16]

After President George W. Bush began using the term “War on Terrorism“, Chomsky stated in an interview:”The U.S. is officially committed to what is called “low-intensity warfare”… If you read the definition of low-intensity conflict in army manuals and compare it with official definitions of “terrorism” in army manuals, or the U.S. Code, you find they’re almost the same.”[16][17]

In 1985 the historian Henry Steele Commager wrote that “Americans, too, must confess their own terrorism against those they feared or hated or regarded as “lesser breeds.””[3] Commager cited instances spanning several centuries – the 1637 massacre of the Pequot, the 1864 Sand Creek massacre, the Philippine–American War (1899–1902), and the 1968 My Lai massacre.[3]

[edit] State terrorism and propaganda

Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton, has argued that the U.S. and other first-world states, as well as mainstream mass media institutions, have obfuscated the true character and scope of terrorism, promulgating a one-sided view from the standpoint of first-world privilege. He has said that

if ‘terrorism’ as a term of moral and legal opprobrium is to be used at all, then it should apply to violence deliberately targeting civilians, whether committed by state actors or their non-state enemies.[18][19]

Moreover, Falk argued that the repudiation of authentic non-state terrorism is insufficient as a strategy for mitigating it, writing that

we must also illuminate the character of terrorism, and its true scope… The propagandists of the modern state conceal its reliance on terrorism and associate it exclusively with Third World revolutionaries and their leftist sympathizers in the industrial countries.[20]

Falk also argued that people who committed “terrorist” acts against the United States could use the Nuremberg Defense.

Daniel Schorr, reviewing Falk’s Revolutionaries and Functionaries, argued that Falk’s definition of terrorism hinges on some unstated definition of “permissible”; this, says Schorr, makes the judgment of what is terrorism inherently “subjective”, and furthermore, he suggests, leads Falk to characterize some acts he considers impermissible as “terrorism”, but others he considers permissible as merely “terroristic”.

Mr. Falk overstates his point when he asserts that “revolutionaries and functionaries both endanger political democracy by their adoption and dissemination of exterminist attitudes, policies, and practices.” To say that “all forms of impermissible political violence are terrorism” is to beg the question, requiring the author to make subjective judgments about the “permissible.” Thus, the antiapartheid movement in South Africa becomes “a legitimate armed struggle, even if some of its tactics are terroristic in design and execution.” However justified the struggle against apartheid may be, Mr. Falk’s exception to his own rule seems to be subjectively determined.[21]

[edit] Specific allegations against the US by region

[edit] Atomic bombings of Japan (1945)

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II remain the only time a state has used nuclear weapons against people. Because concentrated civilian populated areas were targeted, critics hold that it represents the single greatest act of state terrorism in the 20th century even though it was done during wartime. Others defend the bombings as shortening the war, arguing that the loss of life could have been greater if the war had continued, even though the dead were civilian.[22][23]

Nagasaki before and after bombing

For scholars and historians, the primary ethics debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,[24] relate to whether the use of nuclear weapons were justified. A number of scholars consider the atomic bombings to be a form of state terrorism, based on a definition of terrorism as the targeting of civilians to achieve a political goal.[25][26]

Some scholars have also argued that the bombings weakened moral taboos against attacks on civilians, and allege that this led to such attacks becoming a standard tactic in subsequent US military actions.[27] The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain the only time nuclear weapons have been used in war.[22][23]

[edit] Views and opinions

According to Thomas Allen, the bombings were part of the overall military strategy to defeat Japan by forcing as quick an end to the war as possible while minimizing loss of life and also avoid a very costly, in terms of both Japanese and Allied casualties, invasion of the Japanese mainland.[28] However, there is considerable debate on the use of nuclear weapons to achieve that military objective that centers on whether killing hundreds of thousands of unarmed civilians with such weapons was moral or even necessary, especially the need for a second nuclear bomb to be dropped on Nagasaki.

Viewed as state terrorism

A Japanese report on the bombing characterized Nagasaki as “like a graveyard with not a tombstone standing”.

Historian Howard Zinn writes: “if ‘terrorism‘ has a useful meaning (and I believe it does, because it marks off an act as intolerable, since it involves the indiscriminate use of violence against human beings for some political purpose), then it applies exactly to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”[29] Zinn cites the sociologist Kai Erikson who states that:

The attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not ‘combat’ in any of the ways that word is normally used. Nor were they primarily attempts to destroy military targets, for the two cities had been chosen not despite but because they had a high density of civilian housing. Whether the intended audience was Russian or Japanese or a combination of both, then the attacks were to be a show, a display, a demonstration. The question is: What kind of mood does a fundamentally decent people have to be in, what kind of moral arrangements must it make, before it is willing to annihilate as many as a quarter of a million human beings for the sake of making a point?[29]

The just war theorist Michael Walzer argues that while taking the lives of civilians can be justified under conditions of ‘supreme emergency’, the war situation at that time did not constitute such an emergency and was influenced by the U.S. demand for an unconditional Japanese surrender.[30] Tony Coady, Frances V. Harbour, and Jamal Nassar also view the targeting of civilians during the bombings as a form of terrorism.[2][31]

Richard A. Falk, professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University has written in detail about Hiroshima and Nagasaki as instances of state terrorism. He writes “The graveyards of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the number-one exhibits of state terrorism… Consider the hypocrisy of an Administration that portrays Qaddafi as barbaric while preparing to inflict terrorism on a far grander scale…. Any counter terrorism policy worth the name must include a convincing indictment of the First World variety.”[18][32]. He writes elsewhere that:[33]

Undoubtedly the most extreme and permanently traumatizing instance of state terrorism, perhaps in the history of warfare, involved the use of atomic bombs against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in military settings in which the explicit function of the attacks was to terrorize the population through mass slaughter and to confront its leaders with the prospect of national annihilation….the public justification for the attacks given by the U.S. government then and now was mainly to save lives that might otherwise might have been lost in a military campaign to conquer and occupy the Japanese home islands which was alleged as necessary to attain the war time goal of unconditional surrender…. But even accepting the rationale for the atomic attacks at face value, which means discounting both the geopolitical motivations and the pressures to show that the immense investment of the Manhattan Project had struck pay dirt, and disregarding the Japanese efforts to arrange their surrender prior to the attacks, the idea that massive death can be deliberately inflicted on a helpless civilian population as a tactic of war certainly qualifies as state terror of unprecedented magnitude, particularly as the United States stood on the edge of victory, which might well have been consummated by diplomacy. As Michael Walzer puts it, the United States owed the Japanese people ‘an experiment in negotiation,’ but even if such an initiative had failed there was no foundation in law or morality for atomic attacks on civilian targets.

Steven Poole, author of Unspeak (2006), states in Chapter 6 (entitled ‘Terror’), page 130 that:

‘Remember that people killed by terrorism are not the people the perpetrators wish to persuade. They are exemplars, bargaining chips. There is a disconnect between victims and audience; the violence is a warning to people other than those targeted. (The writer Brian Jenkins has sumed up this fact in the catchphrase ‘terrorism is theatre’: a US Army lieutenant colonel went one better, telling a reporter in Baghdad in 2003: ‘terrorism is grand theater’)[34] Unfortunately this, too, is true of many government actions. Consider the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945. The US had not identified every citizen in those cities as being an indispensable part of the Japanese war effort. On the contrary, the bombings were designed as an awful demonstration: to instil such fear in the Japanese government that they would surrender. The bomb thus spoke thus: Give up or there’ll be more where this came from. It also sent a powerful message to a secondary audience: Joseph Stalin. On this measure, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are, by many orders of magnitude, the greatest acts of terrorism in history.’[35]

Viewed as primarily wartime acts

Burleigh Taylor Wilkins states in Terrorism and Collective Responsibility that “any definition which allowed the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to count as instances of terrorism would be too broad.” He goes on to argue “The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while obviously intended by the American government to alter the policies of the Japanese government, seem for all the terror they involved, more an act of war than of terrorism.”[36]

It has also been argued, under the view that Japan was involved in a total war, that therefore there was no difference between civilians and soldiers.[37] The targets, while they may not primarily have been chosen for this reason, had, in this view, strategic military value. Hiroshima was used as headquarters of the Fifth Division and the 2nd General Army, which commanded the defense of southern Japan with 40,000 military personal in the city, and was a communication center, a storage point with military factories.[38][39][40] Nagasaki was of wartime importance because of its wide-ranging industrial activity, including the production of ordinance, ships, military equipment, and other war materials.[41]

In 1963, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the subject of a judicial review in Ryuichi Shimoda et al. v. The State.[42] The District Court of Tokyo declined to rule on the legality of nuclear weapons in general, but found that “the attacks upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused such severe and indiscriminate suffering that they did violate the most basic legal principles governing the conduct of war.”[43] Francisco Gómez points out in an article published in the International Review of the Red Cross that, with respect to the “anti-city” or “blitz” strategy, that “in examining these events in the light of international humanitarian law, it should be borne in mind that during the Second World War there was no agreement, treaty, convention or any other instrument governing the protection of the civilian population or civilian property.” [44]

The possibility that attacks such as those on Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be considered war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court was one of the major reasons often given by John Bolton (while US ambassador to the United Nations) for the United States not agreeing to be bound by the Rome Statute.[45]

Viewed as diplomacy or state terrorism not considered

Critical scholarship has focused on the argument that the use of atomic weapons was “primarily for diplomatic purposes rather than for military requirements … to impress and intimidate the Soviet Union in the emerging Cold War.”[46] Certain scholars who oppose the decision to use of the atom bomb, while they state it was unnecessary and immoral, do not claim it was state terrorism per se. Walker’s 2005 overview of recent historiography did not discuss the issue of state terrorism.[47]

[edit] Forward effects

Political science professor Michael Stohl and peace studies researcher George A. Lopez, in their book Terrible beyond Endurance? The Foreign Policy of State Terrorism, discuss the argument that the institutionalized form of terrorism carried out by states have occurred as a result of changes that took place following World War II, and in particular the two bombings. In their analysis state terrorism as a form of foreign policy was shaped by the presence and use of weapons of mass destruction, and that the legitimizing of such violent behavior led to an increasingly accepted form of state behavior. They consider both Germany’s bombing of London (q.v. The Blitz) and the US atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be eamples of this.

Scholars treating the subject have discussed the bombings within a wider context of the weakening of the moral taboos that were in place prior to WWII, which prohibited mass attacks against civilians during wartime. Mark Selden, professor of sociology and history at Binghamton University and author of War and State Terrorism: The United States, Japan, and the Asia-Pacific in the Long Twentieth Century, writes, “This deployment of air power against civilians would become the centerpiece of all subsequent U.S. wars, a practice in direct contravention of the Geneva principles, and cumulatively the single most important example of the use of terror in twentieth century warfare.”[48] Falk, Selden, and Prof. Douglas Lackey, each of whom relate the Japan bombings to what they believe was a similar pattern of state terrorism in following wars, particularly the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Professor Selden writes: “Over the next half century, the United States would destroy with impunity cities and rural populations throughout Asia, beginning in Japan and continuing in North Korea, Indochina, Iraq and Afghanistan, to mention only the most heavily bombed nations…if nuclear weapons defined important elements of the global balance of terror centered on U.S.-Soviet conflict, “conventional” bomb attacks defined the trajectory of the subsequent half century of warfare.”[27]

[edit] Cuba (1959-present)

After Fidel Castro‘s forces vanquished Fulgencio Batista’s forces, a new government was formed in Cuba on January 2, 1959. The CIA initiated a campaign of regime change in the early parts of 1959,[49] and by the spring of 1959 was arming counter-revolutionary guerrillas inside Cuba. By winter of that year US-based Cubans were being supervised by the CIA in the orchestration of bombings and incendiary raids against Cuba.[50] Piero Gleijeses, Jorge I. Dominguez, and Richard Kearney refer to the US actions against Castro during the early 1960s as terrorism. [51][52]

Cuban government officials have accused the United States government of being an accomplice and protector of terrorism against Cuba on many occasions.[53][54] According to Ricardo Alarcón, President of Cuba’s national assembly “Terrorism and violence, crimes against Cuba, have been part and parcel of U.S. policy for almost half a century.”[55] Testifying before the United States Senate in 1978, Richard Helms, former CIA Director, stated; “We had task forces that were striking at Cuba constantly. We were attempting to blow up power plants. We were attempting to ruin sugar mills. We were attempting to do all kinds of things in this period. This was a matter of American government policy.”[56]

The claims formed part of Cuba’s $181.1 billion lawsuit in 1999 in Havana’s Popular Provincial Tribunal against the United States on behalf of the Cuban people which alleged that for over 40 years, “terrorism has been permanently used by the U.S. as an instrument of its foreign policy against Cuba,” and it “became more systematic as a result of the covert action program.”[57] The lawsuit detailed a history of terrorism allegedly supported by the United States. The United States has long denied any involvement in the acts named in the lawsuit.[58]

Gathering of Operation 40 operatives including Guillermo Novo Sampol, (left; fourth from camera) wanted in Venezuela for extradition in connection with terrorist acts,[59] Mexico City 22 January 1963.

Cuba also claims US involvement in the paramilitary group Omega 7, the CIA undercover operation known as Operation 40, and the umbrella group the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations. Cuban counterterrorism investigator Roberto Hernández testified in a Miami court that the bomb attacks were “part of a campaign of terror designed to scare civilians and foreign tourists, harming Cuba’s single largest industry.”[60]

In 2001, Cuban Ambassador to the UN Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla called for UN General Assembly to address all forms and manifestations of terrorism in every corner of the world, including  — without exception  — state terrorism. He alleged to the UN General Assembly that 3,478 Cubans have died as a result of aggressions and terrorist acts. The Ambassador however did not claim that the US had committed terrorist acts.[61] He also alleged that the United States had provided safe shelter to “those who funded, planned and carried out terrorist acts with absolute impunity, tolerated by the United States Government.”[61]

[edit] Operation Mongoose

An objective of the Kennedy administration was the removal of Fidel Castro from power. To this end it implemented Operation Mongoose, a US program of sabotage and other secret operations against the island.[62] Mongoose was led by Edward Lansdale in the Defense Department and William King Harvey at the CIA. Samuel Halpern, a CIA co-organizer, conveyed the breadth of involvement: “CIA and the U. S. Army and military forces and Department of Commerce, and Immigration, Treasury, God knows who else  — everybody was in Mongoose. It was a government-wide operation run out of Bobby Kennedy’s office with Ed Lansdale as the mastermind.” [63]. The scope of Mongoose included sabotage actions against a railway bridge, petroleum storage facilities, a molasses storage container, a petroleum refinery, a power plant, a sawmill, and a floating crane. Harvard Historian Jorge Domínguez stated that “only once in [the] thousand pages of documentation did a U.S. official raise something that resembled a faint moral objection to U.S. government sponsored terrorism.” [64] The CIA operation was based in Miami, Florida and among other aspects of the operation, enlisted the help of the Mafia to plot an assassination attempt against Fidel Castro, the Cuban president; for instance, William Harvey was one of the CIA case officers who directly dealt with the mafiosi John Roselli.[65]

Dominguez wrote that Kennedy put a hold on Mongoose actions as the Cuban Missile Crisis escalated, and the “Kennedy administration returned to its policy of sponsoring terrorism against Cuba as the confrontation with the Soviet Union lessened.” [64] However, Chomsky argued that “terrorist operations continued through the tensest moments of the missile crisis,” remarking that “they were formally canceled on October 30, several days after the Kennedy and Khrushchev agreement, but went on nonetheless.” Accordingly, “the Executive Committee of the National Security Council recommended various courses of action, “including ‘using selected Cuban exiles to sabotage key Cuban installations in such a manner that the action can plausibly be attributed to Cubans in Cuba’ as well as ‘sabotaging Cuban cargo and shipping, and [Soviet] Bloc cargo and shipping to Cuba.” [50] Peter Kornbluh, senior analyst at the National Security Archive at George Washington University, raised the point that according to the documentary record, directly after the first executive committee (EXCOMM) meeting that was held on the missile crisis, Attorney General Robert Kennedy “convened a meeting of the Operation Mongoose team” expressing disappointment in its results and pledging to take a closer personal attention on the matter. Kornbluh accused RFK of taking “the most irrational position during the most extraordinary crisis in the history of U. S. foreign policy”, remarking that “Not to belabor the obvious, but for chrissake, a nuclear crisis is happening and Bobby wants to start blowing things up.”[66].

Historian Stephen G. Rabe wrote that “scholars have understandably focused on…the Bay of Pigs invasion, the U.S. campaign of terrorism and sabotage known as Operation Mongoose, the assassination plots against Fidel Castro, and, of course, the Cuban missile crisis. Less attention has been given to the state of U.S.-Cuban relations in the aftermath of the missile crisis.” In contrast Rabe wrote that reports from the Church Committee reveal that from June 1963 onward the Kennedy administration intensified its war against Cuba while the CIA integrated propaganda, “economic denial”, and sabotage to attack the Cuban state as well as specific targets within.[67] One example cited is an incident where CIA agents, seeking to assassinate Castro, provided a Cuban official, Rolando Cubela Secades, with a ballpoint pen rigged with a poisonous hypodermic needle.[67] At this time the CIA received authorization for thirteen major operations within Cuba; these included attacks on an electric power plant, an oil refinery, and a sugar mill.[67] Rabe has written that the “Kennedy administration…showed no interest in Castro’s repeated request that the United States cease its campaign of sabotage and terrorism against Cuba. Kennedy did not pursue a dual-track policy toward Cuba….The United States would entertain only proposals of surrender.” Rabe further documents how “Exile groups, such as Alpha 66 and the Second Front of Escambray, staged hit-and-run raids on the island…on ships transporting goods…purchased arms in the United States and launched…attacks from the Bahamas.” [67]

[edit] Allegations of harboring terrorists

The Cuban revolution resulted in a large Cuban refugee community in the U.S., some of whom have conducted long-term insurgency campaigns against Cuba.[68] and conducted training sessions at a secluded camp near the Florida Everglades. These efforts are charged to have been directly supported initially by the United States government.[69] The failed military invasion of Cuba during the administration of John F. Kennedy at the Bay of Pigs marked the end of documented U.S. involvement.

The Cuban Government, its supporters and some outside observers have charged that the group Alpha 66, whose former secretary general Andrés Nazario Sargén acknowledged terrorist attacks on Cuban tourist spots in the 1990s[68] and conducted training sessions at a secluded camp near the Florida Everglades,[70] has, according to Cuba’s official newspaper Granma, been supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, the United States Agency for International Development and, more directly, the CIA.

Marcela Sanchez says that the U.S. has also failed to indict or prosecute the alleged terrorists Guillermo and Ignacio Novo Sampoll, Pedro Remon, and Gaspar Jimenez.[59][71] Claudia Furiati has suggested Sampol was linked to President Kennedy’s assassination and plans to kill President Castro.[72]

Luis Posada Carriles a former CIA operative, Posada has been convicted in absentia of involvement in various terrorist attacks and plots in the Western hemisphere, including involvement in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed seventy-three people[73][74] and has admitted to his involvement in other terrorist plots including a string of bombings in 1997 targeting fashionable Cuban hotels and nightspots.[75][76][77] In addition, he was jailed under accusations related to an assassination attempt on Fidel Castro in Panama in 2000, although he was later pardoned by Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso in the final days of her term.[78][79]

In 2005, Posada was held by U.S. authorities in Texas on the charge of illegal presence on national territory before the charges were dismissed on May 8, 2007. His release on bail on April 19, 2007 had elicited angry reactions from the Cuban and Venezuelan governments.[80] The U.S. Justice Department had urged the court to keep him in jail because he was “an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks”, a flight risk and a danger to the community.[77]

On September 28, 2005 a U.S. immigration judge ruled that Posada cannot be deported, finding that he faces the threat of torture in Venezuela.[81]

[edit] Nicaragua (1979-90)

Following the rise to power of the left-wing Sandinista government in Nicaragua, the Ronald Reagan administration ordered the CIA to organize and train the Contras, a right wing guerrilla group. On December 1, 1981, President Reagan signed an initial, one-paragraph “Finding” authorizing the CIA’s paramilitary war against Nicaragua.[82]

The Republic of Nicaragua vs. The United States of America[83] was a case heard in 1986 by the International Court of Justice which found that the United States had violated international law by direct acts of U.S. personnel and by the supporting Contra guerrillas in their war against the Nicaraguan government and by mining Nicaragua’s harbors. The US was not imputable for possible human rights violations done by the Contras. The Court found that this was a conflict involving military and para-military forces and did not make a finding of state terrorism.

Florida State University professor, Frederick H. Gareau, has written that the Contras “attacked bridges, electric generators, but also state-owned agricultural cooperatives, rural health clinics, villages and non-combatants.” U.S. agents were directly involved in the fighting. “CIA commandos launched a series of sabotage raids on Nicaraguan port facilities. They mined the country’s major ports and set fire to its largest oil storage facilities.” In 1984 the U.S. Congress ordered this intervention to be stopped, however it was later shown that the CIA illegally continued (See Iran-Contra affair). Professor Gareau has characterized these acts as “wholesale terrorism” by the United States.[84]

In 1984 a CIA manual for training the Nicaraguan Contras in psychological operations was leaked to the media, entitled “Psychological Operations in Guerrilla War”.[85]

The manual recommended “selective use of violence for propagandistic effects” and to “neutralize” government officials. Nicaraguan Contras were taught to lead:

…selective use of armed force for PSYOP psychological operations effect…. Carefully selected, planned targets  — judges, police officials, tax collectors, etc.  — may be removed for PSYOP effect in a UWOA unconventional warfare operations area, but extensive precautions must insure that the people “concur” in such an act by thorough explanatory canvassing among the affected populace before and after conduct of the mission.
—James Bovard, Freedom Daily[13]

Former State Department official William Blum, has written that “American pilots were flying diverse kinds of combat missions against Nicaraguan troops and carrying supplies to contras inside Nicaraguan territory. Several were shot down and killed. Some flew in civilian clothes, after having been told that they would be disavowed by the Pentagon if captured. Some contras told American congressmen that they were ordered to claim responsibility for a bombing raid organized by the CIA and flown by Agency mercenaries.”[86] According to Blum the Pentagon considered U.S. policy in Nicaragua to be a “blueprint for successful U.S. intervention in the Third World” and it would go “right into the textbooks”.[87]

Colombian writer and former diplomat Clara Nieto, in her book “Masters of War”, charged the Reagan administration was “the paradigm of a terrorist state,” remarking that this was “ironically, the very thing Reagan claimed to be fighting.” Nieto charged direct CIA involvement, claiming that “the CIA launched a series of terrorist actions from the “mothership” off Nicaragua’s coast. In September 1983, she charged the agency attacked Puerto Sandino with rockets. The following month, frogmen blew up the underwater oil pipeline in the same port- the only one in the country. In October there was an attack on Pierto Corinto, Nicaragua’s largest port, with mortars, rockets and grenades, blowing up five large oil and gasoline storage tanks. More than a hundred people were wounded, and the fierce fire, which could not be brought under control for two days, forced the evacuation of 23,000 people.” [88]

Historian Greg Grandin described a disjuncture between official U.S. ideals and support for terrorism. “Nicaragua, where the United States backed not a counter insurgent state but anti-communist mercenaries, likewise represented a disjuncture between the idealism used to justify U.S. policy and its support for political terrorism… The corollary to the idealism embraced by the Republicans in the realm of diplomatic public policy debate was thus political terror. In the dirtiest of Latin America’s dirty wars, their faith in America’s mission justified atrocities in the name of liberty.” [89] In his analysis, Grandin charged that the behaviour of the U.S. backed-contras was particularly inhumane and vicious: “In Nicaragua, the U.S.-backed Contras decapitated, castrated, and otherwise mutilated civilians and foreign aid workers. Some earned a reputation for using spoons to gorge their victims eye’s out. In one raid, Contras cut the breasts of a civilian defender to pieces and ripped the flesh off the bones of another.” [90]

[edit] Nicaragua vs. United States

The Republic of Nicaragua vs. The United States of America[83] was a case heard in 1986 by the International Court of Justice which ruled in Nicaragua’s favor, and found that the United States had violated international law. The court stated that the United States had been involved in the “unlawful use of force,” specifically that it was “in breach of its obligation under customary international law not to use force against another state” by direct acts of U.S. personnel and by the supporting Contra guerrillas in their war against the Nicaraguan government and by mining Nicaragua’s harbors. The ICJ ordered the U.S. to pay reparations. The US was not imputable for possible human rights violations done by the Contras. The case led to considerable debate concerning the issue of the extent to which state support of terrorists implicates the state itself.[91] A consensus among scholars of international law had not been reached by the mid-2000s.[91]

U.S. foreign policy critic Noam Chomsky argued that the U.S. was legally found guilty of international terrorism based on this verdict, which condemned the United States federal government for “unlawful use of force”.[92][93]

The World Court considered their case, accepted it, and presented a long judgment, several hundred pages of careful legal and factual analysis that condemned the United States for what it called “unlawful use of force”  — which is the judicial way of saying “international terrorism”  — ordered the United States to terminate the crime and to pay substantial reparations, many billions of dollars, to the victim.
—Noam Chomsky, interview on Pakistan Television[94]

The essence of this view of U.S. actions in Nicaruaga was supported by Oscar Schachter: “[W]hen a government provides weapons, technical advice, transportation, aid and encouragement to terrorists on a substantial scale it is not unreasonable to conclude that the armed attack is imputable to that government.”[91]

[edit] Guatemala (1954-96)

Professor of History, Stephen G. Rabe, wrote “in destroying the popularly elected government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman (1950-1954), the United States initiated a nearly four-decade-long cycle of terror and repression” [95]

After the U.S.-backed coup, which toppled president Jacobo Arbenz, lead coup plotter Castillo Armas assumed power. Author and university professor, Patrice McSherry argued that with Armas at the head of government, “the United States began to militarize Guatemala almost immediately, financing and reorganizing the police and military.”[96]

In his book “State Terror and Popular Resistance in Guatemala”, Michael McClintock[97] argued that the national security apparatus Armas presided over was “almost entirely oriented toward countering subversion,” and that the key component of that apparatus was “an intelligence system set up by the United States.”[98] At the core of this intelligence system were records of communist party members, pro-Arbenz organizations, teacher associations, and peasant unions which were used to create a detailed “Black List” with names and information about some 70,000 individuals that were viewed as potential subversives. It was “CIA counter-intelligence officers who sorted the records and determined how they could be put to use.”[99] McClintock argues that this list persisted as an index of subversives for several decades and probably served as a database of possible targets for the counter-insurgency campaign that began in the early 1960s.[100] McClintock wrote:

United States counter-insurgency doctrine encouraged the Guatemalan military to adopt both new organizational forms and new techniques in order to root out insurgency more effectively. New techniques would revolve around a central precept of the new counter-insurgency: that counter insurgent war must be waged free of restriction by laws, by the rules of war, or moral considerations: guerrilla “terror” could be defeated only by the untrammeled use of “counter-terror”, the terrorism of the state.
—Michael McClintock[101]

McClintock wrote that this idea was also articulated by Colonel John Webber, the chief of the U.S. Military Mission in Guatemala, who instigated the technique of “counter-terror.” Colonel Webber defended his policy by saying, “That’s the way this country is. The Communists are using everything they have, including terror. And it must be met.”[102]

Utilizing declassified government documents, researchers Kate Doyle and Carlos Osorio from the research institute the National Security Archive documented that Guatemalan Colonel Byron Lima Estrada took military police and counterintelligence courses at the School of the Americas. He later served in several elite counterinsurgency units trained and equipped by the U.S. Military Assistance Program (MAP). He eventually rose to command D-2, the Guatemalan Military Intelligence services who were responsible for many of the terror tactics wielded throughout the 1980s.[103]

[edit] School of the Americas

Professor Gareau argued that the School of the Americas (reorganized in 2001 as Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), a U.S. training institution mainly for Latin America, is a terrorist training ground. He cited a UN report which states the school has “graduated 500 of the worst human rights abusers in the hemisphere.” Gareau alleges that by funding, training and supervising Guatemalan ‘Death Squads’ Washington was complicit in state terrorism.[104]

Defenders of the school argued that the alleged connection to human rights abusers is often weak. For example, Roberto D’Aubuisson‘s sole link to the SOA is that he had taken a course in Radio Operations long before El Salvador’s civil war began.[105] They also argued that no school should be held accountable for the actions of only some of its many graduates. Before coming to the current WHINSEC each student is now “vetted” by his/her nation and the U.S. embassy in that country. All students are now required to receive “human rights training in law, ethics, rule of law and practical applications in military and police operations.”[106][107][108]

[edit] Chile

Michael Stohl and George A. Lopez have accused the United States of supporting and committing State Terrorism in the period 1970-1973, during the overthrow of the socialist elected Chilean government of Salvador Allende. Stohl wrote, “In addition to nonterroristic strategies…the United States embarked on a program to create economic and political chaos in Chile…After the failure to prevent Allende from taking office, efforts shifted to obtaining his removal.” Money authorized for the CIA to destabilize Chilean society, included, “financing and assisting opposition groups and right-wing terrorist paramilitary groups such as Patria y Libertad (“Fatherland and Liberty”).” Project FUBELT was the codename for the secret CIA operations to undermine Salvador Allende‘s government and promote a military coup in Chile. In September 1973 the Allende government was overthrown in a violent military coup in which the United States is claimed to have been “intimately involved.” [109]

Professor Gareau, wrote on the subject: “Washington’s training of thousands of military personnel from Chile who later committed state terrorism again makes Washington eligible for the charge of accessory before the fact to state terrorism. The CIA’s close relationship during the height of the terror to Contreras, Chile’s chief terrorist (with the possible exception of Pinochet himself), lays Washington open to the charge of accessory during the fact.” Gareau argued that the fuller extent involved the US taking charge of coordinating counterinsurgency efforts between all Latin American countries. He wrote, “Washington’s service as the overall coordinator of state terrorism in Latin America demonstrates the enthusiasm with which Washington played its role as an accomplice to state terrorism in the region. It was not a reluctant player. Rather it not only trained Latin American governments in terrorism and financed the means to commit terrorism; it also encouraged them to apply the lessons learned to put down what it called “the communist threat.” Its enthusiasm extended to coordinating efforts to apprehend those wanted by terrorist states who had fled to other countries in the region….The evidence available leads to the conclusion that Washington’s influence over the decision to commit these acts was considerable.”[110] “Given that they knew about the terrorism of this regime, what did the elites in Washington during the Nixon and Ford administrations do about it? The elites in Washington reacted by increasing U.S. military assistance and sales to the state terrorists, by covering up their terrorism, by urging U.S. diplomats to do so also, and by assuring the terrorists of their support, thereby becoming accessories to state terrorism before, during, and after the fact.” [111]

Thomas Wright charged that Chile was an example of State Terrorism of a very open kind that did not attempt a facade of civilian governance, and that had a “September 11th effect” through the hemisphere. Wright, argued that “unlike their Brazilian counterparts, they did not embrace state terrorism as a last recourse; they launched a wave of terrorism on the day of the coup. In contrast to the Brazilians and Uruguayans, the Chileans were very public about their objectives and their methods; there was nothing subtle about rounding up thousands of prisoners, the extensive use of torture, executions following sham court-marshal, and shootings in cold blood. After the initial wave of open terrorism, the Chilean armed forces constructed a sophisticated apparatus for the secret application of state terrorism that lasted until the dictatorship’s end…The impact of the Chilean coup reached far beyond the country’s borders. Through their aid in the overthrow of Allende and their support of the Pinochet dictatorship, President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, sent a clear signal to all of Latin America that anti-revolutionary regimes employing repression, even state terrorism, could count on the support of the United States. The U.S. government in effect, gave a green light to Latin America’s right wing and its armed forces to eradicate the left and use repression to erase the advances that workers  — and in some countries, campesinos  — had made through decades of struggle. This “September 11 effect” was soon felt around the hemisphere.” [112]

Prof. Gareau concluded, “The message for the populations of Latin American nations and particularly the Left opposition was clear: the United States would not permit the continuation of a Socialist government, even if it came to power in a democratic election and continued to uphold the basic democratic structure of that society.”[111]

[edit] Iran (1979-present)

In 2007, an article in the Asia Times Online asserted that the United States has likely ramped up support for Iran’s oppressed minorities in an attempt to push the Iranian regime toward a negotiated settlement over Iraq.” [113] An Asian Times article notes that “Iranian officials have repeatedly accused the United States and Britain of provoking ethnic unrest in Iran and of supporting opposition groups.”[114]

[edit] Jundullah

The Sunni militant organization Jundallah has been identified as a terrorist organization by Iran and Pakistan[115][116]. According to an April 2007 report by Brian Ross and Christopher Isham of ABC News, the United States government had been secretly encouraging and advising the Jundullah in its attacks against Iranian targets. This support is said to have started in 2005 and arranged so that the United States provided no direct funding to the group, which would require congressional oversight and attract media attention.[117] The report was denied by Pakistan official sources.[118][119]

Fars News Agency, an Iranian state run news agency, alleged that the United States government is involved in the terrorist acts of the Peoples Resistant Movement of Iran (PRMI). The Voice of America, the official broadcasting service of the United States government, interviewed Jundullah leader Abdul Malik Rigi in April 2007, and the Iranian government claims that the fact that he was interviewed was proof of US terrorism.[120]

[edit] People’s Mujahedin of Iran

The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, PMOI, known also as the Mujahedeen-e Khalq or MEK, is dedicated to the overthrow of the Iranian regime. Iranian government has accused the MEK of orchestrating a series of bombings inside Iran, including one attack that left the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, partially paralyzed. Until January, 2009 the United States military protected the MEK inside its military camp and on supply runs to Baghdad, although the U.S. has listed the group as a terrorist organizatim since 1997.[121]

They’re terrorists only when we consider them terrorists. They might be terrorists in everybody else’s books . . . . It was a strange group of people and the leadership was extremely cruel and extremely vicious.”

said Lawrence Wilkerson, former Secretary of State Colin Powell‘s chief of staff.[121]

In April 2007, CNN reported that the US military and the International Committee of the Red Cross were protecting the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, with the US army regularly escorting PMOI supply runs between Baghdad and its base, Camp Ashraf.[122] The PMOI have been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States (since 1997), Canada, and Iran.[123][124] According to the Wall Street Journal[125] “senior diplomats in the Clinton administration say the PMOI figured prominently as a bargaining chip in a bridge-building effort with Tehran.” The PMOI is also on the European Union‘s blacklist of terrorist organizations, which lists 28 organizations, since 2002.[126] The enlistments included: Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States in 1997 under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and again in 2001 pursuant to section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224; as well as by the European Union (EU) in 2002.[127] Its bank accounts were frozen in 2002 after the September 11 attacks and a call by the EU to block terrorist organizations’ funding. However, the European Court of Justice has overturned this in December 2006 and has criticized the lack of “transparency” with which the blacklist is composed.[128] However, the Council of the EU declared on 30 January 2007 that it would maintain the organization on the blacklist.[129][130] The EU-freezing of funds was lifted on December 12, 2006 by the European Court of First Instance.[131] In 2003 the US State Department included the NCRI on the blacklist, under Executive Order 13224.[132]

According to a 2003 article by the New York Times, the US 1997 proscription of the group on the terrorist blacklist was done as “a goodwill gesture toward Iran’s newly elected reform-minded president, Mohammad Khatami” (succeeded in 2005 by the more conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad).[133] In 2002, 150 members of the United States Congress signed a letter calling for the lifting of this designation.[134] The PMOI have also tried to have the designation removed through several court cases in the U.S. The PMOI has now lost three appeals (1999, 2001 and 2003) to the US government to be removed from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and its terrorist status was reaffirmed each time. The PMOI has continued to protest worldwide against its listing, with the overt support of some US political figures.[135][136]

Past supporters of the PMOI have included Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), Rep. Bob Filner, (D-CA), and Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), and former Attorney General John Ashcroft, “who became involved with the [PMOI] while a Republican senator from Missouri.”[137][138] In 2000, 200 U.S. Congress members signed a statement endorsing the organization’s cause.[139]

[edit] Iraq (1992-95)

The New York Times reported that, according to former U.S. intelligence officials, the CIA once orchestrated a bombing and sabotage campaign between 1992 and 1995 in Iraq via one of the resistance organizations, Iyad Allawi‘s group in an attempt to destabilize the country. According to the Iraqi government at the time, and one former CIA officer, the bombing campaign against Baghdad included both government and civilian targets. According to this former CIA official, the civilian targets included a movie theater and a bombing of a school bus where children were killed. No public records of the secret bombing campaign are known to exist, and the former U.S. officials said their recollections were in many cases sketchy, and in some cases contradictory. “But whether the bombings actually killed any civilians could not be confirmed because,” as a former CIA official said, “the United States had no significant intelligence sources in Iraq then.”[140][141]

[edit] Lebanon (1985)

The investigative reporter Bob Woodward has accused the CIA of arranging for Saudi Arabia to sponsor a 1985 Beirut car bombing which killed 81 people. The bombing was apparently an assassination attempt on an Islamic cleric, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah.[142][143] The bombing, known as the Bir bombing after Bir el-Abed, the impoverished Beirut neighborhood in which it had occurred, was reported by the New York Times to have caused a “massive” explosion “even by local standards,” killing 81 people, and wounding more than 200.[144] Investigative journalist Bob Woodward stated that the CIA was funded by the Saudi Arabian government to arrange the bombing.[143][145] Fadlallah himself also claims to have evidence that the CIA was behind the attack and that the Saudis paid $3 million.[146]

The U.S. National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane admitted that those responsible for the bomb may have had American training, but that they were “rogue operative(s)” and the CIA in no way sanctioned or supported the attack.[147] Roger Morris wrote in the Asia Times that the next day, a notice hung over the devastated area where families were still digging the bodies of relatives out of the rubble. It read: “Made in the USA”. The terrorist strike on Bir el-Abed is seen as a product of U.S. covert policy in Lebanon. Agreeing with the proposals of CIA director William Casey, president Ronald Reagan sanctioned the Bir attack in retaliation for the truck-bombing of the U.S. Marine Corps barracks at Beirut airport in October 1983, which, Roger Morris alleges, in turn had been a reprisal for earlier U.S. acts of intervention and diplomatic dealings in Lebanon’s civil war that had resulted in hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinian lives. After CIA operatives had repeatedly failed to arrange Casey’s car-bombing, the CIA allegedly “farmed out” the operation to agents of its longtime Lebanese client, the Phalange, a Maronite Christian, anti-Islamic militia.[144] Others allege the 1984 Bombing of the U.S. Embassy annex northeast of Beirut as the motivating factor.[147]

[edit] Philippines

In “The Terrorist Foundations of US Foreign Policy”, Professor of International Law Richard Falk argues that during the Spanish American War, when the U.S. was “confronted by a nationalistic resistance movement in the Philippines,” American forces were responsible for state terrorism. Falk relates that “as with the wars against native American peoples, the adversary was demonized (and victimized). In the struggle, US forces, with their wide margin of military superiority, inflicted disproportionate casualties, almost always a sign of terrorist tactics, and usually associated with refusal or inability to limit political violence to a discernible military opponent. The dispossession of a people from their land almost always is a product of terrorist forms of belligerency. In contrast, interventions in Central and South America in the area of so-called “Gunboat Diplomacy” were generally not terrorist in character, as little violence was required to influence political struggle for ascendancy between competing factions of an indigenous elite.” [148]

In “Instruments of Statecraft” [3], human rights researcher Michael McClintock described the intensification of the U.S. role during the Hukbalahap rebellion in 1950, when concerns about a perceived communist-led Huk insurgency prompted sharp increases in military aid and a reorganization of tactics towards methods of guerrilla warfare. McClintock describes the role of U.S. “advisers” to the Philippine Minister of National Defense, Ramon Magsaysay, remarking that they “adroitly managed Magsaysay’s every move.” Air Force Lt. Col. Edward Geary Lansdale was a psywar propaganda specialist who became the close personal adviser and confidant of Magsaysay. The forte of another key adviser, Charles Bohannan, was guerrilla warfare. McClintock cites several examples to demonstrate that “terror played an important part” in the psychological operations under U.S. guidance. Those psywar operations that utilized terror included theatrical displays involving the exemplary display of dead Huk bodies in an effort to incite fear in rural villagers. In another psywar operation described by Lansdale, Philippine troops engaged in nocturnal captures of individual Huks. They punctured the necks of the victims and drained the corpses of blood, leaving the bodies to be discovered when daylight came, so as to play upon fears associated with the local folklore of the Asuang, or vampire. [4]

For McClintock, this Philippines episode is particularly important because of its formative influence on U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine. In his essay, American Doctrine and State Terror, McClintock explained that U.S. Army instruction manuals of the 1960s concerning ‘counterterrorism’ often referred to “the particular experiences of the Philippines and Vietnam.” Noting that tactics similar to those used during the Huk Rebellion (from 1946–54) in the Philippines were cited in the manuals, he elaborated that the “Department of the Army’s 1976 psywar publication, DA Pamphlet 525-7-1, refers to some of the classic counterterror techniques and account of the practical application of terror. These include the capture and murder of suspected guerillas in a manner suggesting the deed was done by legendary vampires (the ‘asuang’); and a prototypical “Eye of God” technique in which a stylized eye would be painted opposite the house of a suspect.”[149]

[edit] See also

Search Wikiquote Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: State terrorism and the United States

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Michael Howard, George J. Andreopoulos, Mark R. Shulman (1997). The Laws of War: Constraints on Warfare in the Western World. Yale University Press. p. 157. ISBN 9780300070620. http://books.google.com/books?id=KNQtB_VHoYEC&pg=PA157&dq=walzer+hiroshima+terror&lr=lang_en&as_brr=3&cd=18#v=onepage&q=walzer%20hiroshima%20terror&f=false. “Michael Walzer has argued that Hiroshima was not a case of supreme emergency, but rather an act of political terror.”
  2. ^ a b Tony Coady (2007-11-14). “A just cause doesn’t excuse indiscriminate killing”. The Age. http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/just-causes-dont-excuse-indiscriminate-killing/2007/11/13/1194766672031.html. Retrieved 2010-05-12. “Although there were some genuine military targets in Hiroshima, the atomic bomb was not needed to destroy them. If we think of terrorism as the deliberate killing of the innocent, then the bombing was an act of terrorism far greater than any single act of terrorism perpetrated since by non-state agents.”
  3. ^ a b c Annamarie Oliverio (1998). The state of terror. SUNY Press. p. 57. ISBN 9780791437070. http://books.google.com/books?id=5L01qCBf2V0C&pg=PA57&dq=us+state+terrorism+hiroshima&as_brr=3&cd=6#v=onepage&q=hiroshima&f=false.
  4. ^
  5. ^ POLITICS: U.N. Member States Struggle to Define Terrorism
  6. ^ Understanding terrorism: challenges, perspectives, and issues, by Gus Martin, SAGE, 2006, ISBN 1412927226. at [1], p. 111
  7. ^ a b A History of Terrorism, by Walter Laqueur, Transaction Publishers, 2007, ISBN 0765807998, at [2], p. 6
  8. ^ “terrorism”. Encyclopedia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9071797/terrorism. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  9. ^ “Terrorism”. Encyclopedia Britannica. http://www.wip.britannica.com/eb/article-217762/terrorism. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  10. ^ The Superpowers and International Terror Michael Stohl, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, Atlanta, March 27-April 1, 1984).
  11. ^ Stohl, National Interests and State Terrorism, The Politics of Terrorism, Marcel Dekker 1988, p.275
  12. ^ Primoratz, Igor, “State Terrorism and Counterterrorism”, Working Paper Number 2002/2003, University of Melbourne, http://eprints.unimelb.edu.au/archive/00000137/01/Primorat.pdf
  13. ^ a b “Terrorism Debacles in the Reagan Administration”. The Future of Freedom Foundation. http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0406c.asp. Retrieved 2006-07-30.
  14. ^ Arno Mayer, “Untimely reflections upon the state of the world”, guest column in the Daily Princetonian, October 5, 2001; also see George, Alexander, ed. “Western State Terrorism”,1 and Selden, Mark, ed. “War and State Terrorism: The United States, Japan and the Asia-Pacific in the Long Twentieth Century”, 13.
  15. ^ Democracy Now! Noam Chomsky Speech On State Terror and U.S. Foreign Policy
  16. ^ a b Barsamian, David (November 6, 2001). “The United States is a Leading Terrorist State”. Monthly Review. http://www.monthlyreview.org/1101chomsky.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-10.
  17. ^ Military Operations in Low Intensity Conflict. Headquarters Departments of the Army and Air Force. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/100-20/10020ch1.htm#s_9.
  18. ^ a b Falk, Richard (1988). Revolutionaries and Functionaries: The Dual Face of Terrorism. Dutton.
  19. ^ Falk, Richard (January 28, 2004). “Gandhi, Nonviolence and the Struggle Against War”. The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research. http://www.transnational.org/SAJT/forum/Nonviolence/2004/Falk_GandhiNonviolence.html. Retrieved 2007-07-10.
  20. ^ Falk, Richard (1986-06-28). “Thinking About Terrorism”. The Nation 242 (25): 873–892.
  21. ^ [“The Politics of Violence” http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DEFD8133BF932A35756C0A96E948260], Daniel Schorr, 1 May 1988.
  22. ^ a b Frey, Robert S. (2004). The Genocidal Temptation: Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Rwanda and Beyond. University Press of America. ISBN 0761827439.  Reviewed at: Rice, Sarah (2005). “The Genocidal Temptation: Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Rwanda and Beyond (Review)”. Harvard Human Rights Journal 18. http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/hrj/iss18/booknotes-Genocidal.shtml.
  23. ^ a b Dower, John (1995). “The Bombed: Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japanese Memory”. Diplomatic History 19 (2).
  24. ^ See: Walker, J. Samuel (April 2005). “Recent Literature on Truman’s Atomic Bomb Decision: A Search for Middle Ground”. Diplomatic History 29 (2): 334.
  25. ^ Chris E. Stout (2002), The Psychology of Terrorism: Clinical aspects and responses Psychological dimensions to war and peace, Greenwood Publishing Group, pp. 105–7, ISBN 0275978664, “Surely if targeting civilians is a defining characteristic, then the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki would qualify as state terrorism.”
  26. ^ Robert V. Keeley (December 2002), “Trying to Define Terrorism”, Middle East Policy (John Wiley & Sons) 9 (1): 33–39 [35], “Terrorism is also used in nation-state wars, for example in the wholesale and indiscriminate bombings of civilians living in cities – a tactic used by both sides in World War II – culminating in the atom bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a deliberate and successful attempt to end the war quickly by threatening the extinction of populations. How acute the problem of definitions is becomes manifest when anyone who tries to explain these atom bombings as acts of state terrorism in wartime is pilloried as anti-American if not worse.”
  27. ^ a b Selden, War and State Terrorism.
  28. ^ Allen, Thomas; Norman Polmar (1995). Code-Name Downfall. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. pp. 266–270. ISBN 0684804069.
  29. ^ a b “Hiroshima; Breaking the Silence”. http://polymer.bu.edu/~amaral/Personal/zinn.html. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
  30. ^ Simon Caney (2006). Justice Beyond Borders: A Global Political Theory. Oxford University Press. p. 197. ISBN 9780199297962. http://books.google.com/books?id=KhuyAtfeecIC&pg=PA197&dq=walzer+hiroshima+emergency&lr=lang_en&as_brr=3&cd=5#v=onepage&q=walzer%20hiroshima%20emergency&f=false.
  31. ^ Jamal Nassar (2009). Globalization and Terrorism: The Migration of Dreams and Nightmares. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 30. ISBN 9780742557888. http://books.google.com/books?id=KVgUGDJGGl4C&pg=PA30&dq=hiroshima+terrorism&cd=3#v=onepage&q=hiroshima%20terrorism&f=false. “As discussed earlier, the Holocaust, followed by the Allied firebombings of Dresden and Tokyo and the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, represented some of the most severe effects of terrorism directed at civilian populations.”
  32. ^ Falk, Richard (28 January 2004). “Gandhi, Nonviolence and the Struggle Against War”. The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research. http://www.transnational.org/SAJT/forum/Nonviolence/2004/Falk_GandhiNonviolence.html. Retrieved 2007-07-10.
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  34. ^ Danner, Mark “Delusions in Baghdad”, New York Review of Books, 19 November 2003
  35. ^ 2006 Poole, Steven ‘Unspeak’, Little Brown, London. ISBN 0 316 73100 5
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  41. ^ “The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima”. http://www.century-of-flight.net/Aviation%20history/WW2/Atomic%20Bombing%20of%20Hiroshima.htm.
  42. ^ Shimoda et al. v. The State, Tokyo District Court, 7 December 1963
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  44. ^ International Review of the Red Cross no 323, p.347-363 The Law of Air Warfare (1998)
  45. ^ John Bolton The Risks and Weaknesses of the International Criminal Court from America’s Perspective, (page 4) Law and Contemporary Problems January 2001, while US ambassador to the United Nations
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  47. ^ Walker, “Recent Literature on Truman’s Atomic Bomb Decision,” passim.
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  119. ^ n.b. Alexis Debat, one of the sources quoted by Ross and Isham in in their report alleging US support for the Jundullah, resigned from ABC News in June 2007, after ABC officials discovered he faked several interviews while working for the company. See: Kurtz, Howard (2007-09-13). “Consultant Probed in Bogus Interview”. The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/12/AR2007091202333.html?sub=AR. , and Carter, Bill (2007-09-15). “Former ABC Consultant Says He Faked Nothing”. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/15/business/media/15abc.html?ex=1347508800&en=ade79fbecbd7f5de&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss.
  120. ^ Iranian speaker says U.S. supports “terrorists” – swissinfo
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  126. ^ Défense des Moudjahidines du peuple, Yves Bonnet, former director of the French RG intelligence agency (French)
  127. ^ Council Decision, Council of the European Union, December 21, 2005
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  129. ^ EU’s Ministers of Economic and Financial Affairs’ Council violates the verdict by the European Court, NCRI website, February 1, 2007.
  130. ^ European Council is not above the law, NCRI website, February 2, 2007
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  141. ^ Counter Currents, 2004 June 19, “Who Is Allawi?” http://www.countercurrents.org/iraq-hassan190604.htm; World War 4 Report, “Iraq Meets the New Boss” http://ww4report.com/static/iraq5.html
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  143. ^ a b Woodward, Bob (1987). Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA. Simon and Schuster.
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  145. ^ Did A Dead Man Tell No Tales? Richard Zoglin TIME October 12, 1987
  146. ^ title=www.worldpress.org/Mideast/1891.cfm Will U.S. Foreign Policy Increase Terrorism? Paul Cochrane Worldpress.org July 5, 2004
  147. ^ a b title=www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/target/etc/cron.htmlfrontline Target America: terrorist attacks on Americans, 1979-1988
  148. ^ Falk, Richard. Terrorist Foundations of US Foreign Policy, in Western State Terrorism, Alexander George, ed.,Polity Press,110
  149. ^ McClintock, Michael. American Doctrine and State Terror in Western State Terrorism. Alexander George, ed.,Polity Press, 134

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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