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Thread: Terrorism: Who Benefits And Why?

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    Terrorism: Who Benefits And Why?

    Terrorism: Who Benefits and Why

    http://www.politicalaffairs.net/arti...ew/2477/1/140/

    By Gary Tedman
    12-29-05, 12:00 pm

    (Preliminary note: I wrote much of this in reaction to the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. Finding myself in the middle of Hyde Park, London, on July 7, 2005, with sirens all around and the city in which I live under attack, it has a new and obviously rather more personal relevance for me.)

    Before the events of Genoa, because of the fall of the Soviet Union, many of the peoples of the Western world had been led to believe the possibility of a global capitalism free from any hampering opposition. Yet, obviously, for those represented by the demonstrations at Genoa this was just a Hobson’s choice between exploitation either by one giant global capitalist corporation or another. This was underlined by the fact that recent democratic elections in much of the West seemed increasingly to be irrelevant, little more than a sport, and a pretty dull one at that.

    Fewer and fewer people in the “advanced democracies” engaged in the process of voting, voter turnout in the general election in Britain had been, according to the BBC, the lowest for 80 years. This so worried politicians that they quickly began considering schemes that would allow for greater postal and Internet voting, newly unconcerned about the increased possibilities of electoral fraud; and of course there was the Bush election fiasco.

    During this peculiar hiatus, no more could the Western powers use the “evil empire” of the Soviet Union to blame for its own failings, as the excuse for authoritarian measures, or to justify the still massive expenditure on arms and security, and there was now little reason for people not to look forward to what capitalism had always promised in its peacetime: a world of freedom from poverty and need, of cultural enjoyment and benign competition that (apparently) acted, in the end, for the good of all; a truly “postmodern world” in which grand designs had come to an end and we could relax in mutually respected “difference and diversity.”

    But the large protests of Genoa sat strangely with this image; here was a massive demonstration against the world (G7) trade negotiations, up against high-tech portable military walls that seemed peculiarly to resemble the only recently departed Berlin wall, but in a postmodern version perhaps. Already in this period there were new concerns being raised by the media to take the place of the vacancy left by the old cold war and atomic bomb threats: the possibility of asteroid impact, global warming, HIV/Aids, genetic meddling, the upsetting of biological diversity, pollution, anything, in fact, that could draw the attention away from the usual economic crises. Nature abhors a vacuum, and the vacuum of a transparent peace seemed to be psychologically and affectively intolerable to the media.

    Nevertheless, these threats were not in themselves enough to quell a certain kind of euphoria in the people, many of whom now simply desired, and could see no major obstacles to, the better future that had always been promised them. Genoa, however, was a good number of Western people showing their concern with the economics of capitalism, no matter how hard was the attempt by much of the media to paint them all in terms of the minority of crazed anarchists (the “black bloc” some witnesses saw coming from police vans). They could not easily be painted as “the enemy.”

    Whoever meticulously and callously planned the attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, not long after Genoa, would clearly have known what the likely consequences of their actions would be, set against this political backdrop. The same is now true of the July 7, 2005 bombings in London. It was clear from the outset that, by “terrorists,” we were not talking about the poor and ordinary people of the world, such as the destitute Afghan and Iraqi civilians who were going to pay with their blood for 9/11, but about affluent and well-connected people. We were talking about a sophisticated, well-financed, cosmopolitan global “sect,” one that dealt in stocks and shares, and espionage, and who had access to the expertise capable of financing and directing a global terrorist network (no matter how loose or disorganized).

    However, whilst it would be relatively easy to recount here all the economic reasons for the recent wars: economic competition and crisis, oil, drugs, arms, security and the struggle for new markets, along with the history of members of the US administration’s involvement in prior conflicts, of BCCI, of money laundering, of insider dealing and pilfering people’s pension funds, of family and political links to Saudi dictators and the terrorists held responsible for 9/11, and of competition between different secret agencies. Whilst this information is available and can be gathered together to make a resounding indictment, it all inevitably begins to sound, when doing so, like a grand conspiracy, and can be too readily dismissed as cranky.

    But indeed, there are conspiracies here. It is well known that today’s powerful worldwide interests do not operate without their clandestine sides, governmental and corporate, and these two factions blend at their perimeters in a murky, unregulated gray area that overlaps with outright organized crime, drug warlords in Afghanistan being only the most obvious example. And what government does not conspire to achieve its aims? What capitalist does not conspire to gain more profits? Nevertheless, such a conspiracy, that would see such terrorism as 9/11 and 7/7 to be the result of a Western plot to generate a never-ending state of war to replace the cold war, would seem extreme and bizarre. Is it likely that the Western ruling class, or a strong faction of it, could allow, support, even cause, terrorist acts in order to conjure up a new state of war, a never-ending flexible (and thus very convenient) war that could justify state authoritarianism and interventions anywhere, in order to deaden the global class struggle? Surely not?!

    It is possible, but we don’t have to suppose a grand conspirator, arch evil forces (Bush in his secret bunker, Bin Laden in his secret cave), above all the little conspiracies that happen day to day. All we need to understand is some commonly held feelings that are at work amongst the people that occupy the most crucial positions of power. Feelings that give to each connected, unconnected, and seemingly trivial event enacted by each human subject in the course of this history an unconscious, subliminal, group inflected motivation that adds to the whole underlying economic movement, and the rationalized interests which knowingly and unknowingly follow this.

    Consider this: much has already been said about “blowback”: the fact that the terrorists held responsible were once financed by the US secret services and that this has now returned to haunt “us” (rebounded) after they have served their purpose against the Soviet Union. We must remember, however, that blowback is not an unquantifiable mystical phenomenon over which there is no control, like a force of nature. It is a consequence of direct human political intervention. Indeed, it is because of the constant evasion (a sign of repression) of the question of culpability for blowback evinced by the authorities involved that we are led to assume a link between the interventions and the class feelings that semiconsciously desire just such blowback.

    As we see, the result of the recent interventions is that we find ourselves in wars when the majority of people in the developed democracies, the countries of the main perpetrators of these wars, have no wish to be, and we find that almost anything is used to justify these wars in the aftermath, indeed, the justifications change from one day to the next. Why? Because it is difficult for the ruling classes of the various nations involved to validate them precisely since they acted on their feelings for class survival, and to begin to rationalize such feelings would be to encounter the “unthinkable.” The latter is one of the fond expressions of apoplectic politicians when faced with something uncomfortable, an expression, which in this case is apt, because of the repression that must function to quell the horror of the realization of exactly their own class desires. For example, this is why, in April 2003, Donald Rumsfeld of the US administration, in the long aftermath of the prematurely “ended” war between coalition forces and “something or someone in Iraq,” in which the US’s chief weapon was the terror of aerial bombardment, included Lenin in a list of evil dictators who inflicted terror on populations. Notably, he omitted Hitler and Mussolini from this list. This was not simply a form of senile forgetfulness, or a deliberately staged historical falsification, although of course it was deliberately staged. It was a statement made by an individual embedded in his assignment, in its history, impelling him to do and say what was necessary for his personal allegiance to the shamefaced desires of the class he represented. And, peculiarly, in doing this, as if by cataleptic reflex action he refers to his most dangerous opponent, the one who could reveal the untruth of what he says, acknowledging that they (his class) were still arguing with him, Lenin, and that this was what it was really all about. It shows a certain obsession with Lenin, who, after all, has been dead some time now.

    End Part I
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #2
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    So what would Lenin say about our current world of terror? Lenin wrote against terrorism in the context of his argument with the politics of “economism,” a tendency in the Russian Social Democratic movement during the 1890’s. What he says here is still relevant. His thesis against the economists was that they defended the lagging of the conscious leaders behind the spontaneous awakening of the masses. In the economist’s eyes, the masses reacted only in relation to the economy, and so they must follow the masses only when the economic conditions entailed a working-class revolt. They therefore defended the lack of theory and opposed the necessity for a revolutionary vanguard, such as the leadership of Lenin and the party. According to Lenin they vulgarized Marxism and strove to restrict political agitation and struggle to petty activities, while failing to convincingly express themselves against terror when it was necessary to do so. In Lenin’s text “What is there in Common between Economism and Terrorism” he does what the title says, he informs us of the commonality between these positions. So, for Lenin, there was a necessary and inherent connection between economism and terrorism, even though at first sight it may appear paradoxical, so great being the difference between those that stress “drab everyday struggle” and those who call for the most self-sacrificing struggle of individuals (such as suicide attacks). According to Lenin, both camps bowed to the different poles of spontaneity. The economists bowed to the spontaneity of the “pure” working-class movement, while the terrorists bowed to the spontaneity of the passionate indignation of the intellectuals, who lacked the ability to link with the revolutionary struggle of the working-class movement to form an integral whole. Both camps, as he said, worshiped spontaneity.

    Here, “bowing” and “worship” are key phrases: Lenin was clearly referring to the theological aspect of these tendencies. What we find here is the operation of an essentially neurotic theology, a false dialectic of dejection versus euphoria, the sadness of a lack (of progress) and the rage (terror) against that same sadness. What this psychology sought (and still seeks) at its head was the shaman, the transcendent leader who would be able to reflect back to his subjects all their desires in a purified form, and who shores-up all their weaknesses and seemingly turns them into heroic traits. Ironically and tragically, even Lenin was subjected to this essentially humanist theology after his death, and made into a cult figure.

    Those who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks and the recent bombings in London, fall into Lenin’s category of economist-terrorists, but on today’s technologically advanced, global scale. Theology, whether in the guise of Islam or in the name of Western liberalism or Christian or Zionist fundamentalism, is linked to such goals and divorced from the struggles of the people, even while these each rely upon an image of themselves as representing the “true interests” of the people and willfully act “in their name,” or for their “essence.” The use of terror in this context is expected to excite people (in this case Middle Eastern Muslims and Western liberal and Christian citizens) into the psychological state of war. They are expected to succumb to an indignant craving for revenge, to blame the global crisis on an abstract “evil,” and to a disposition where the further loss of civil liberties is taken for granted and even welcomed.

    Lenin’s thesis, however, allows us to see something that was previously shrouded by this psychology and its attendant media hype: the role of the class struggle and of contradiction in the economic and political policies of both the Western and Middle Eastern ruling classes. There is the primary and fundamental contradiction (which is repeated in a similar form throughout the world) between, to give only one example, the dictatorship of the Saudi capitalist state for instance, and the WTO (IMF, World Bank, etc.) and the process of globalization; in other words, the expansion of secular Western economic imperialism. The development of the latter’s laws governing trade, the attempted opening up of all markets to competition from giant, most often US, corporations such as Unocal and Enron, automatically carries with it a liberal Westernizing cultural ethos that goes against the almost feudal, theological power of, for example, the House of Saud. While this power is on one level buttressed by US political interests, on another level its own favored laws of trade and deregulation work to undermine this very position. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are on this account the concrete manifestation of this contradiction between two basic political processes. Firstly, the Western political attempt to maintain dictatorial regimes in the Middle East to protect oil and drug pipelines from falling into the hands of the working-class, left-secular people of the region. The peculiar result of Saddam Hussein being allowed to remain in power, even after committing war crime atrocities, while the Iraqi people suffer the consequences of Western sanctions, reveals this policy at work. Secondly, the worldwide economic process that destabilizes this very situation through the enforcement of deregulation and the opening up of all markets in pursuit of profits.

    The apparent catalyst for the recent wars was, of course, the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center: a terrorist crime that was interpreted as an act of war. If, indeed, it had been taken as a crime, one of those famous New York detectives might simply have been allowed to say: “Follow the money” (the earlier bombing of the World Trade Center, which killed seven people, was treated as a crime). We would have been, therefore, on a different path, one that would probably have been stealthier and thus more productive in the fight against terrorism. But instead we are transported to the realms of the spiritual, and a battle between the forces of “good and evil,” and to a never-ending, will-o-the-wisp war, which the perpetrators themselves are not very interested in pursuing above its peripheral but profitable side effects (security, oil, drugs, etc.).

    The US World Trade Center stood as a symbol of the policies and principles of Western globalization. The Western ruling classes may now be depicted as trying to protect these principles from evil, rather than imposing them. The attack on the twin towers, on the face of it, was the ideal media cataclysm to work as the justification for a general state of terror: a visible sign, a piece of destruction that appeared greater in importance than the Rwanda genocide, for example (in which about 800,000 died) or some of the recent awful natural disasters, because it was spectacular and happened in such a “civilized” context and against the world’s most powerful nation. It was gruesomely right for the job it had to do, and the job it had to do it did. It was an atrocity, a despicable act, impossible to understand from within the mainstream ideology.

    But it is apparent that a significantly powerful faction of those involved in the vicious competition for global markets at this time (from around 9/11 to now) needed and sought a war. What makes this evident is the fact that while 15 of the suicide attackers of September 11 were Saudi citizens, and ostensibly the war was between Saudi and other local factions, such as in Pakistan, and US interests, it was nevertheless to be played-out inside Afghanistan (drugs and oil), and later in Iraq (oil). Afghanistan and Iraq became the battleground because these were the most convenient and lucrative places, economically, geographically, politically and strategically, for the ruling classes both Western and Eastern. This was the case both before, and after, the 9/11 attacks, but the attacks enabled and helped legitimate the wars. As global multinational corporations expand their markets and prepare the ground for further terrorism in exactly this way, the energy, arms, drugs, and security industries are those that increase their profits, we only have to note that Afghanistan is increasing its export of drugs to the West to record levels after its “liberation.” Of course we must not forget that it is also in this way that on a personal level President George W. Bush seeks to live up to the war fame of his father, and many in the current US administration can achieve personal ambitions. Petty, short-term aims and small-mindedness can have quite drastic consequences when these traits are carried by those with considerable power, but these people also inherit their conditions of existence and do not make them themselves.

    If the Iraq war was the so-called unfinished business of the first Gulf War, what Bush and Blair continues is in fact the act of unfinishing the already unfinished business by extending its state of unfinishedness to a higher level, so that, all the contradictions that led to terror remain in place, but now at an increased state of exacerbation, and with a higher degree of tension. A tension that enables the justification for the new state of terror in the West at a time when a globalized ruling class feels the need to increase this terror against the people, because they fear the peace and they fear the class struggle continuing past what has been declared to be its final “end.” To find the secret of the current world tension it is sufficient, therefore, to invert the terms of the repeated maxim: the “war on terror” is in fact the terror imposed on the class war, the “terror on war.”

    Whatever the terrorists believed were their aims in perpetrating the acts in New York, Madrid, and London, the material effects of their carnage has been to oppose working-class struggles and to give the G7/G8 leaders reasons to clamp down on civil liberties and evade their responsibilities to the people.

    End
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  3. #3
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    This is a wierd article. I can't tell if he's saying it was an inside job, or not.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  4. #4
    rayrayjones Guest
    i believe it comes down to one sentence in his article...

    If, indeed, it had been taken as a crime, one of those famous New York detectives might simply have been allowed to say: “Follow the money”

    in other words - inside job.

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