John Pilger on terrorism

Michael Keaney Michael.Keaney at
Thu Sep 13 06:13:44 MDT 2001

Pilger: Inevitable ring to the unimaginable


The Herald, 13 September 2001

      IF the attacks on America have their source in
      the Islamic world, who can really be surprised?

      Two days earlier, eight people were killed in
      southern Iraq when British and American planes
      bombed civilian areas. To my knowledge, not a
      word appeared in the mainstream media in

      An estimated 200,000 Iraqis, according to the
      Health Education Trust in London, died during
      and in the immediate aftermath of the slaughter
      known as the Gulf War.

      This was never news that touched public
      consciousness in the west.

      At least a million civilians, half of them children,
      have since died in Iraq as a result of a medieval
      embargo imposed by the United States and

      In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Mujadeen,
      which gave birth to the fanatical Taliban, was
      largely the creation of the CIA.

      The terrorist training camps where Osama bin
      Laden, now "America's most wanted man",
      allegedly planned his attacks, were built with
      American money and backing.

      In Palestine, the enduring illegal occupation by
      Israel would have collapsed long ago were it not
      for US backing.

      Far from being the terrorists of the world, the
      Islamic peoples have been its victims -
      principally the victims of US fundamentalism,
      whose power, in all its forms, military, strategic
      and economic, is the greatest source of
      terrorism on earth.

      This fact is censored from the Western media,
      whose "coverage" at best minimises the
      culpability of imperial powers. Richard Falk,
      professor of international relations at Princeton,
      put it this way: "Western foreign policy is
      presented almost exclusively through a
      self-righteous, one-way legal/moral screen (with)
      positive images of Western values and
      innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a
      campaign of unrestricted political violence."

      That Tony Blair, whose government sells lethal
      weapons to Israel and has sprayed Iraq and
      Yugoslavia with cluster bombs and depleted
      uranium and was the greatest arms supplier to
      the genocidists in Indonesia, can be taken
      seriously when he now speaks about the
      "shame" of the "new evil of mass terrorism"
      says much about the censorship of our collective
      sense of how the world is managed.

      One of Blair's favourite words - "fatuous" -
      comes to mind. Alas, it is no comfort to the
      families of thousands of ordinary Americans
      who have died so terribly that the perpetrators of
      their suffering may be the product of Western
      policies. Did the American establishment
      believe that it could bankroll and manipulate
      events in the Middle East without cost to itself,
      or rather its own innocent people?

      The attacks on Tuesday come at the end of a
      long history of betrayal of the Islamic and Arab
      peoples: the collapse of the Ottoman Empire,
      the foundation of the state of Israel, four
      Arab-Israeli wars and 34 years of Israel's brutal
      occupation of an Arab nation: all, it seems,
      obliterated within hours by Tuesday's acts of
      awesome cruelty by those who say they
      represent the victims of the West's intervention
      in their homelands.

      "America, which has never known modern war,
      now has her own terrible league table: perhaps
      as many as 20,000 victims."

      As Robert Fisk points out, in the Middle East,
      people will grieve the loss of innocent life, but
      they will ask if the newspapers and television
      networks of the west ever devoted a fraction of
      the present coverage to the half-a-million dead
      children of Iraq, and the 17,500 civilians killed in
      Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. The answer
      is no. There are deeper roots to the atrocities in
      the US, which made them almost inevitable.

      It is not only the rage and grievance in the
      Middle East and south Asia. Since the end of
      the cold war, the US and its sidekicks,
      principally Britain, have exercised, flaunted, and
      abused their wealth and power while the
      divisions imposed on human beings by them
      and their agents have grown as never before.

      An elite group of less than a billion people now
      take more than 80 per cent of the world's wealth.

      In defence of this power and privilege, known by
      the euphemisms "free market" and "free trade",
      the injustices are legion: from the illegal
      blockade of Cuba, to the murderous arms trade,
      dominated by the US, to its trashing of basic
      environmental decencies, to the assault on
      fragile economies by institutions such as the
      World Trade Organisation that are little more
      than agents of the US Treasury and the
      European central banks, and the demands of
      the World Bank and the International Monetary
      Fund in forcing the poorest nations to repay
      unrepayable debts; to a new US "Vietnam" in
      Colombia and the sabotage of peace talks
      between North and South Korea (in order to
      shore up North Korea's "rogue nation" status).

      Western terror is part of the recent history of
      imperialism, a word that journalists dare not
      speak or write.

      The expulsion of the population of Diego Darcia
      in the 1960s by the Wilson government received
      almost no press coverage.

      Their homeland is now an American nuclear
      arms dump and base from which US bombers
      patrol the Middle East.

      In Indonesia, in 1965/6, a million people were
      killed with the complicity of the US and British
      governments: the Americans supplying General
      Suharto with assassination lists, then ticking off
      names as people were killed.

      "Getting British companies and the World Bank
      back in there was part of the deal", says Roland
      Challis, who was the BBC's south east Asia

      British behaviour in Malaya was no different
      from the American record in Vietnam, for which
      it proved inspirational: the withholding of food,
      villages turned into concentration camps and
      more than half a million people forcibly

      In Vietnam, the dispossession, maiming and
      poisoning of an entire nation was apocalyptic,
      yet diminished in our memory by Hollywood
      movies and by what Edward Said rightly calls
      cultural imperialism.

      In Operation Phoenix, in Vietnam, the CIA
      arranged the homicide of around 50,000
      people. As official documents now reveal, this
      was the model for the terror in Chile that
      climaxed with the murder of the democratically
      elected leader Salvador Allende, and within 10
      years, the crushing of Nicaragua.

      All of it was lawless. The list is too long for this

      Now imperialism is being rehabilitated.
      American forces currently operate with impunity
      from bases in 50 countries.

      "Full spectrum dominance" is Washington's
      clearly stated aim.

      Read the documents of the US Space
      Command, which leaves us in no doubt.

      In this country, the eager Blair government has
      embarked on four violent adventures, in pursuit
      of "British interests" (dressed up as
      "peacekeeping"), and which have little or no
      basis in international law: a record matched by
      no other British government for half a century.

      What has this to do with this week's atrocities in
      America? If you travel among the impoverished
      majority of humanity, you understand that it has
      everything to do with it.

      People are neither still, nor stupid. They see
      their independence compromised, their
      resources and land and the lives of their children
      taken away, and their accusing fingers
      increasingly point north: to the great enclaves of
      plunder and privilege. Inevitably, terror breeds
      terror and more fanaticism.

      But how patient the oppressed have been.

      It is only a few years ago that the Islamic
      fundamentalist groups, willing to blow
      themselves up in Israel and New York, were
      formed, and only after Israel and the US had
      rejected outright the hope of a Palestinian state,
      and justice for a people scarred by imperialism.

      Their distant voices of rage are now heard; the
      daily horrors in faraway brutalised places have
      at last come home.

      * John Pilger is an award-winning, campaigning

Full article at:

Michael K.

PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message

More information about the Marxism mailing list