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Monday, June 10, 2013

Terror Bites

The cyclical nature of terrorism and war is that the more war we wage, the more we radicalise those opposed to us. 

There have been some horrendous terrorist attacks over the last few decades, including:
  • New York City and Washington, 11 September 2001: 2,996 dead
  • Bali bombings, 12 October 2002: 202 dead
  • London, 7 July 2005: 56 dead
So what is a terrorist? 

A terrorist is a person or group who uses or advocates terrorism. Ok ... so what is terrorism? According to, terrorism is 'the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes'. Often terrorism is used against civilians in order to spread terror or  influence Governments for political purposes.

Why the hell would someone want to kill hundreds or thousands of innocent people? Surely no purpose, political or otherwise, justifies killing innocent people?

Apparently, it does. Otherwise we wouldn't see attacks such as those listed above. 

Even the former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, understands that killing 500,000 children for political purposes is worth it. That's what she said in an interview with 60 Minutes aired on 12 May 1996:
Lesley Stahl (regarding US sanctions in Iraq): 'We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?'
Madeleine Albright: 'I think this is a very hard choice, but the price ... we think the price is worth it'. 
You can view this scintillating justification for terrorism here:

I think it is time to add a view more terrorist events to the list:
  • America's war in Iraq (since 2003): more than 1.4 million deaths(1)
  • America's war in Iraq (1992 - 2003): more than 1 million deaths (2)
  • Afghanistan (2001 - now): thousands, exact number is unknown (3)
  • Afghanistan (1979 - 1989): thousands - produced Al Qaeda & Taliban
Ok, these are 'wars' ... but war is terrorism and terrorism is often in response to war. Each of these wars has directly contributed to the anti-Western terrorism that we now see.

In 1979, the United States funded anti-Soviet incursions by the rebel Mujahideen in Afghanistan. These were terrorist strikes which attacked Afghan and Soviet troops and infrastructure. It was as a result of these activities that the Soviets invaded Afghanistan on 24 December 1979 (4)

Over the next ten years the United States provided the Mujahideen with billions of dollars in weapons and terrorist training. One of the leaders trained by the USA was Osama bin Laden. Through the use of an Islamic recruiting agency known as Jemaat al-Tabligh (Tablighi Jemaat), the CIA was able to surreptitiously recruit Muslims from around the world to join the holy war, the Jihad, in Afghanistan against the infidel Soviet Union (5).

In the mid-80s, the Mujahideen commander, Ahmad Shah Massoud, warned the United States that their years of funding extremists in the name of Jihad was creating a major problem. He advised that once the Soviets were expelled from Afghanistan the extremists would go looking for their next big target: the infidel United States (6). As it turns out, Massoud was correct; by 1989 the Soviets left Afghanistan and Al Qaeda was formed by bin Laden (7) to 'defend' Islamic interests throughout the world and introduce an global Islamic Caliphate. Interestingly, Massoud was assassinated two days before 9/11 in 2001, allegedly on the orders of Osama bin Laden (8) for warning of an upcoming major terrorist attack against America.

The Jihadis used in Afghanistan had been recruited from around the world, and returned to fight in places such as Kashmir, Palestine, Phillipines, Algeria and other parts of North Africa (9). During their occupation of Afghanistan, the Soviet Union used Muslim fighters from around the world, particularly from the Balkans and Central Asia (10). These Jihadis also returned to their homelands with skills and anger honed in Afghanistan. The 1990s saw the brutal conflicts in the Balkans and Chechnya.

In the early 1990s, the Taliban formed from the remnants of the Afghan extremists with the support of Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence agency (ISI) and established a brutal regime which supported Al Qaeda.

To this day, the world is suffering from the violence and terrorism employed by the USSR, USA and their allies in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Another outcome of the the US's involvement in Afghanistan was an increase in the global drug trade. Afghanistan is part of the 'Golden Crescent', one of the largest poppy and cannabis growing areas in the world which spans Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. The US used the supply of Afghan produced drugs to assist in funding the fight against the Soviets. In the 1990s, the Taliban were in control of the drug supply and by the late 1990s, South Asian produced marijuana, opium and heroin was hitting the streets of the West in quantities never before seen. (11) 

During this time, China was funding the Muslim Uighurs to also fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The armed and trained Uighurs returned from the Afghan Jihad, armed and trained, and turned on the Chinese government (12).

The 1980s were a critical period for the rise of global terrorism. Fuelling the situation, was the US, British and Soviet funding of regimes in Libya, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan and so on. There was the US and Soviet sponsored war between Iran and Iraq. Other nations, such as France and Germany, also provided funding and arms to despotic regimes and wars. 

Furthering the cause of Islamic terrorists is the occupation of Palestine by Israel, which has left hundreds of thousands of Palestinians dead and over a million displaced since 1948. The occupation is supported and funded by many western nations, with the greatest benefactor being the USA who provides Israel with billions of dollars a year despite Israel's violation of dozens of UN resolutions.

It is far too simplistic to blame Islam for terrorist attacks against the West. These attacks have nothing to do with Muslims hating democracy or hating our freedoms. The superpowers (USA, USSR and China) and their allies have contributed to decades of war against Islamic nations, and others throughout Asia, Africa and the Americas, as well as funded terrorism and despots to their own political advantage. The human face of these atrocities are the millions asylum seekers and refugees who make their way into Western nations or who spend years in refugee camps throughout the world.

The cost to innocent lives through decades of Western political posturing is horrendous: millions dead, millions displaced. And yet Islam is labelled a terrorist religion?

Modern terrorism is blow-back from decades of Western funded atrocities across the globe.

Terror bites ... and it bites back!


1. 'Just Foreign Policy' - based on a study published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet. Note, that other estimates range from 100,000 to 250,000. For instance, Iraq Body Count records 114,000, (note, that some sources have recorded up to 250,000 deaths). Both accessed 8 June 2013.

2. Global Issues, 'Iraq - Post 1991 Persian Gulf War/Sanctions',, accessed 8 June 2013.

3. 'Afghan Civilian Casualties', The Guardian,, accessed 10 June 2013.

4. John K. Cooley (2001), 'Unholy Wars - Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism', Pluto Press, Chap 1 'Carter and Brezhnev in the Valley of Decision'.

5. John K. Cooley (2001), 'Unholy Wars - Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism', Pluto Press, pp. 83-85.

6. John K. Cooley (2001), 'Unholy Wars - Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism', Pluto Press, p. 100.

7. John K. Cooley (2001), 'Unholy Wars - Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism', Pluto Press, p. 226.

8. Erin Cunningham, 'Ahmad Shah Massoud, assassinated by Al Qaeda but no friend of the US', The National, accessed 10 June 2013.

9. John K. Cooley (2001), 'Unholy Wars - Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism', Pluto Press, Chap. 5 'Recruiters, Trainers, Trainees and Assorted Spooks'.

10. John K. Cooley (2001), 'Unholy Wars - Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism', Pluto Press, Chap. 8 'Russia: Bitter Aftertaste and Reluctant Return'.

11. John K. Cooley (2001), 'Unholy Wars - Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism', Pluto Press, Chap. 7 'Poppy Fields, Killing Fields and Druglords'.

12. John K. Cooley (2001), 'Unholy Wars - Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism', Pluto Press, Chap. 4 'Deng Xiaoping'.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Capitalism - opiate of the masses

During the Global Financial Crisis we saw just how much influence large Corporations have as the Government handed out welfare to prop up Big Businesses that were deemed 'too big fail'.  Meanwhile individuals went bankrupt, losing everything that they had gained in the name of Capitalism, in pursuit of the 'American Dream'.

And dream it was. Capitalism is merely a tool of the rich to subdue the masses, to have them believe they can also be filthy rich if they work hard enough ... if they work hard enough enslaved to the rich, to the corporations run by the rich. Capitalism makes a very few uber-rich, while the rest are sold an unattainable dream and fed just enough scraps to keep from rebelling.

Aristotle wrote that 'poverty is the parent of revolution and crime'. It is in the best interests of the rich to ensure the 'common people' don't revolt. What better way to suppress revolution than by providing a dream, an illusion of potential wealth that not only subdues the public, but has them willingly enslaved in pursuit of the dream.

Capitalism is the opiate of the masses.

The insidious nature of Capitalism has seen it follow it's natural course by usurping Government that once represented the people, with Government that represents the rich and their corporations. Such Governments are no longer democracies, they have became plutocracies which have yielded to corporatocracies through privatisation - Government by the corporation, for the corporation.

The fuel on which the Corporatocracy feeds, is consumerism. Of course, this is sold to us from a young age through advertising that challenges us to have the latest 'thing', to keep up with, or be better than, the Jones's.

In order to keep up with consumerism, we must have wealth, and to have wealth we must work. There is nothing wrong with working, in fact, it is necessary for society to function. But when workers are exploited in order to transfer wealth to the rich and the Corporations, then there is something seriously wrong.

Capitalism is transfer of wealth from the worker to the rich.

Workers were once proud members of Unions and would often vote for parties that supported workers rights, such as Labor or the Democrats. These days, workers are disparaging of Unions through negative campaigns run by corporations and parties hijacked by the Corporatocracy, and are more willing to vote for parties opposed to union membership. Why do they do this? Because the opiate of Capitalism has convinced them that they are not an exploited proletariat, but are temporarily embarrassed millionaires (as John Steinbeck once observed). These workers do not understand that they are the commodity with which the rich get richer. It is overworked and underpaid labour that builds mega-profits. And these profits do not trickle down in the way that the Corporatocracy leads the gullible to believe.

Alvin Toffler stated, 'Profits, like sausages… are esteemed most by those who know least about what goes into them'.  An insightful comment that describes the dichotomy between worker viewpoint and worker reality.

Small businesses once operated independently and were often family-owned. These days there has been an incredible growth in franchises, which has effectively turned business people into workers while they think they are operating their own business. Many small businesses are reliant on contracts from multi-nationals, effectively turning their owners into glorified workers for the corporation while under the illusion that they 'work for themselves'.

Corporatocracy is a form of feudalism. Banks hold over-valued mortgages on houses and land, forcing the vassals to work. The exploited vassals return profits and homage to the corporation. Yes, the vassal may make some money from their ventures, enough to keep them from total poverty and subsequent revolution, but it is a pittance compared to the obscene profits being made at the expense of their freedom.

Voltaire said, 'The comfort of the rich depends on the abundance of the poor'. It is no accident that we now have a growing class of people known as the 'working poor'. They are the ones at the end of the corporate production line; the ones who work extremely hard for little return. They are exploited by corporations both through under-paid jobs and the wealth-transfer of consumerism.

And then there is the candy-coated Capitalism of pyramid schemes, or multi-level marketing, which market themselves as legitimate ways to get-rich quick. Again, the only ones who get rich are those at the top of the tree, while the rest are exploited proletariat.

If ever there was a time for a workers' revolution it is now.

Revolution, however, does not necessarily have to come in the form of the flag-waving proletariat burning Parliament. Vladimir Nabokov said 'revelation can be more dangerous than revolution'.

The revelation that Capitalism is an opiate, that it feeds on greed and fear - the fear that 'someone' may steal our wealth. It is this greed that keeps people giving up their wealth as they strive to accumulate more Capital. It is this fear that keeps people willing to sacrifice freedoms for the illusion of protection provided by Government which supports a 'strong' Capitalist economy through propping up those corporations deemed 'too big to fail'.

Greed and fear can be overcome through generosity, caring for each other and understanding that individual accumulation of wealth is more dangerous to society than sharing wealth for the benefit of all. This revelation will undermine the power that Corporations and the Corporatocracy have over the masses, ultimately leading to a revolution that returns power to the people and ensures that wealth is spread evenly in order to overcome poverty and provide equal opportunity for all, rather than exploitation of all.