|Those who define Terrorism
|Bruce G. Richardson
Emblematic of Imperial Hubris: Those who command center stage on the world scene today define that which constitutes terrorism…in realistic terms terrorism has no beginning and no end.
Those who hunt monsters must take caution in the process that they themselves do not become monsters…Anonymous
“Terrorism is the war of the poor…war is the terrorism of the rich”, though coined many years ago by Sir Peter Ustinov, these prophetic words resonate with an unmistakable poignancy to this day.
Such historical caveats as international precedent, proscribed aggressive warfare under international sanction, had any semblance of cautionary influence on the Bush Administration. Hailed as a ‘war on terror’ and in retributive response to 9/11, America’s mighty military armada attacked Afghanistan in October of 2001. Both the Bush and Obama Administrations had, and have falsely labeled Afghanistan as the ‘hub of international terrorism.’ Afghanistan, it has been certifiably proven beyond any reasonable-doubt among all but Hawkish Republicans, had no role whatsoever in 9/11. Not a single, solitary Afghan citizen participated in the orchestration or implementation of the fateful, deadly attack against the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001. Additionally, of equal import is the fact that the Taliban made numerous concessions regarding the residency and extradition of Osama bin Laden to the Bush Administration yet were rebuffed at each and every turn. In light of the available evidence, the farcical claims underscoring the president’s stated justification for war in Afghanistan were therefore rendered as imperialist posturing, cowboy braggadocio, rhetorical dogma and an unlawful, premeditated crime against peace. The question therefore becomes… who and what entity defines ‘terrorism’ in the modern day parlance of statecraft and public media intercourse? (1)
History accords that the term ‘terrorism’ was issued during the 17th century while France was embroiled in revolution and was used as a literary device to portray the so-called Jacobins, a ruthless and oppressive government who institutionalized torture, imprisonment, rape, and summary execution by guillotine to thwart opposition to their brutal and bloody reign. Terrorism is not new, and even though it has been used since the beginning of recorded history, it can be difficult to define. Terrorism has been described variously as both a tactic and a strategy; a crime and a holy duty; a justified reaction to oppression and an inexcusable abomination.
The United States defines terrorism as ‘the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate government or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological. The UN defines terrorism: An anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action employed by (semi -clandestine) individual, group, or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons.’
In 1974, Great Britain defined terrorism as: The use of violence for political ends, and includes any use of violence for the purpose of putting the public or any sector of the public in fear. In the real world, there are three perspectives of terrorism: the terrorist, the victims, and the general public. Shaping the narrative, however, we find that the US, as other of powerful nations, are highly ideological, jingoistic cliques, masquerading as objective scholars, all to justify militarism, and through their respective media organizations which function as ministries of information engaging in unwarranted, covert actions that can only be described as state-sponsored terrorism while defining what they wish to convey to the public as to what constitutes the literal, lawful, internationally-accepted definition of terrorism as opposed to legitimate resistance to invasion and occupation.
Misconceptions surrounding the subject of terrorism are legion. Were one to commission a poll amongst rank-and-file Americans, the data collection would with certainty reflect political and ideologically- expedient and connected media functioning as a government ministry of information, who therefore have become complicit enablers and the ever-present Christian Evangelical and government pronouncements manifest as stereotypical-characterizations. That is to say; the singular-most often held perception is that ‘terrorism is unique to Islam’. The data would also indicate that a majority of Americans believe that the ubiquitous car bomb was the invention of a deranged Muslim. Further, our hypothetical poll would corroborate the widely held notion that responsibility for a majority of terrorist attacks worldwide lies with Muslim extremists. However, the trouble with this data is that it is without foundation…it is simply untrue! (2)
The first-known terrorists were not Muslims but Jews. According to history, the world’s first terrorists were two militant Jewish revolutionary groups, the Zealots and the Sicarii. Determined to liberate Judea from Roman occupation, these groups used violence to provoke a popular uprising which historians credit with precipitating the Jewish War of A.D. 66, committing numerous public assassinations and other acts of violence in Judea from approximately 4 B.C. to A.D. 70. Their struggle for independence would end at Masada.
Contrary to politically expedient claims by both the Bush and Obama Administrations and NATO, the widespread use of the car bomb is thought by a number of leading asymmetrical or counterinsurgency (COIN) warfare experts to have originated with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), a Catholic secessionist group enmeshed in an eight-hundred year struggle against Protestant Britain. During the 1990s, terrorism spread to several additional countries. Starting in July of 1990, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam initiated a series of deadly attacks against Sri Lankan political leaders, military targets, and civilian activists. The explicitly anti-religious Liberation Tigers are of a secular caste or background in a country that embraces Hinduism and are credited with committing more acts of violence than any other group worldwide.
The term ‘terrorist’ is used today injudiciously. To cast one who self- obliterates himself with an explosive-laden vest and who attacks the troops and interests of the invading and occupation army as a ‘terrorist’, and then sanction the dropping of thousands-of-tons of high explosives on rural villages as a noble cause and portraying such monstrous activity as fighting the ‘war on terror’ is barbaric, monstrous and decidedly inhuman. When foreign troops break into private homes in the nighttime clad in armor and bristling with weapons and bright lights, shouting at the frightened inhabitants in an unintelligible language and appearing as an invasion force from outer space, is this not an act of terror? I submit that that is precisely what it represents!
On Wednesday night, February 8th, NATO aircraft struck a rural village in Kapisa Province that took the lives of eight children. The raid was the result of French troops forwarding bogus information to NATO. The information obtained from an informant alleged that children herding sheep outside the village of Geyaba, ‘were preparing to attack the village.’ Unfortunately this is all too common and far from an isolated incident. Members of the Northern Alliance, for example, often present falsified information to US and or NATO personnel as a device to induce attack against their political rivals.
When children herding sheep are not protected from marauding aircraft or criminal informants seeking bounty payments and subject to indiscriminate bombing or strafing, is this not an act of terror? In October of 2005, Frank Wuterich led a Marine death squad in the Anbar Province town of Haditha and slaughtered 24 people, all civilians in an apparent revenge killing. Those on the receiving end of this massacre and their surviving family members will with certainty see this as an act of ‘terrorism.’ The casualty rate among Afghan civilians, callously and inhumanely cast as ‘collateral damage’ by the Obama Administration is extraordinarily high, numbering in the many tens-of thousands. Most fall victim to indiscriminate air assault and pilotless drones, one of which took the lives (47) of an entire wedding party. Some have died from exposure, especially the children who have been separated from their normal support groups and services through dislocation caused by the imperatives and priorities of a war of occupation.
Civilians that are victimized by carpet bombing, drone attack, helicopter gunships, or alien troops entering their homes in the nighttime are all being terrorized as a result of an illegal war of aggression. For the architects of this bloodshed, this war of aggression, to hold an exclusive on the issuance and definition of what constitutes terrorism in the world court and public arena is inarguably mind numbing, and therefore makes a mockery of international law, convention, treaty and people-oriented organizations such as UNHCR and others. (3)
Tampa Bay Times, 13 August 2012:‘Senior ranking US military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the US Congress and the American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable’ ,Lt. Colonel Daniel L. Davis, US Army Afghanistan veteran.
(1) The mainstream and alternative news media, through their overt censorial practices, their consistent failure to place events in meaningful historical contexts, their obscurantism and overall deliberate obeisance to dubious and unaccountable authorities, compound the conspiracy by ensnaring the public in questionable realities from which it cannot escape.
(2) But with Afghanistan, as with Iraq, public indifference swiftly took hold, absolving American leaders of responsibility for the human costs of war, while its proponents practiced the politics of reductionism…that is, presenting the war as a stark choice between good and evil. America’s wars are always presented by the leadership, the political-cognoscente, and their acolytes in the sympathetic media as ‘good and just.’ But killing innocent people…including children…for the purpose of war aims is terrorism. Those defending these murderous acts on the basis of necessity are defending the indefensible.
The Body of Secrets, Anatomy of the ultra-secret NSA, by James Bamford, 2002
War by Other Means: an Insider’s Account of the War on Terror, by Richard Posner, 2006.
How A Good Versus Evil Mentality, Destroyed the Bush Presidency, by Glenn Greenwald, 2007.
The Future of Justice: In the Age of Terror, by Benjamin Wittes, 2008.
Takeover: Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy, by Charlie Savage, 2007.
The War on Terror: And the Rule of Law, by Richard M. Pious, 2006.
The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld; A Prosecution by Book, Michael Ratner, 2008.
Afghanistan: Political Frailty and External Interference, by Dr. Nabi Misdaq, 2006.
American Raj, Liberation or Domination? Resolving the Conflict between the West and the Muslim World by Eric S. Margolis, 2008.
Afghanistan, A Search for Truth, by Bruce G. Richardson, 2009.
Kill Anything That Moves, by Nick Turse, 2013.
Documents on the Laws of War edited by Adam Roberts and Richard Guelff: Second Edition, 1989. re-printed in 1994, 1995.