Friday, July 08, 2005

London Blitz

In August 1940, Trotsky wrote: "History teaches us that when ad-venturist organizations lack sufficient political forces to solve a task, the idea of terrorist acts arises by itself. This is the classic formula of individual terrorism."

Terrorism is the last act of the desperate organization, an appeal to chaos. If we ignore historical instruction that those who have mastered this foul art form provide, we will become the grave-digger of U.S. freedom and national survival. Trotsky taught that terrorism is a calculated, though misguided and misanthropic, approach to addressing the helplessness of the masses.

Defending against it is a permanent societal posture. The only historically effective short-term solution to terrorism is to deal with its symptoms terroristically. For the long term, state-sponsored, institutionalized terrorism must witness its breeding grounds defoliated by a process of expanding social and economic justice. When common people, in whose behalf the terrorist acts, renounce violence and dare to hope for a better future, terrorism withers away. In navigating a complex, interdependent, yet economically polarized world full of apocalyptic weapons, these are the only roads. MR

Combined Arms Center-May-June 2002 English Edition -Cashiering Freedom for Security: Lessons in Modern Terrorism -J. Michael Brower

This then is the counter-intuitive American policy adopted after 9/11. The irony is the use of Trotsky's analysis of Terrorism to justify America's 'War on Terror'. Which has resulted in Imperialist War in Iraq, and Afghanistan that has done nothing but exasperate and expand the now existing asymmetrical terror war plaguing Europe-not America.

The exortation is that somehow 'the common people' of the Middle East will 'renounce' terrorism, when it is inflicted on them by Osama Bin Laden Inc. on one side and U.S. Imperialism on the other.

Whether a terrorist attempt, even a 'successful' one throws the ruling class into confusion depends on the concrete political circumstances. In any case the confusion can only be shortlived; the capitalist state does not base itself on government ministers and cannot be eliminated with them. The classes it serves will always find new people; the mechanism remains intact and continues to function.

But the disarray introduced into the ranks of the working masses themselves by a terrorist attempt is much deeper. If it is enough to arm oneself with a pistol in order to achieve one's goal, why the efforts of the class struggle? If a thimbleful of gunpowder and a little chunk of lead is enough to shoot the enemy through the neck, what need is there for a class organisation? If it makes sense to terrify highly placed personages with the roar of explosions, where is the need for the party? Why meetings, mass agitation and elections if one can so easily take aim at the ministerial bench from the gallery of parliament?

In our eyes, individual terror is inadmissible precisely because it belittles the role of the masses in their own consciousness, reconciles them to their powerlessness, and turns their eyes and hopes towards a great avenger and liberator who some day will come and accomplish his mission.

The more 'effective' the terrorist acts, the greater their impact, the more they reduce the interest of the masses in self-organisation and self-education. But the smoke from the confusion clears away, the panic disappears, the successor of the murdered minister makes his appearance, life again settles into the old rut, the wheel of capitalist exploitation turns as before; only the police repression grows more savage and brazen. And as a result, in place of the kindled hopes and artificially aroused excitement comes disillusionment and apathy.

Leon Trotsky: 1923 -- Why Marxists oppose Individual Terrorism

As the peoples movment in Lebanon has shown the only way forward is a mass movement for democracy. It's greatest threat is not Osama Bin Laden Inc. but the State Terror of those who seek hegemony over the area and their Imperialist enablers. As we have seen in the brtual repression of the revolts of the 'common people' in Kyrgyztan and the other 'Stans that are now the authoritarian client states of US Imperialism in it's war against Osama Bin Laden Inc.

Osama Bin Laden Inc. is a corporation, a combination of banking and engineering enterprise one of the largest in the Middle East, after Bechtel and Halliburton.

Amid globalization, Al Qaeda looks a lot like GM

By David E. Kaplan and Kevin Whitelaw

"Having lost his deeply religious father while he was still a child, bin Laden would, throughout his life, be influenced by religiously radical older men," Peter Bergen writes in Holy War, Inc: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden. The first of these were professors of Islamic studies at Jeddah's King Abdul-Aziz University. One was a founder of the global jihad movement, the other the brother of a man who'd written the movement's key text. "It's as if Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman's brother had taught him about capitalism," Bergen

Osama Bin Laden Inc. is in inter-imperialist competition with his former employer the United States Government and its spy agency the CIA.

Oil and power make for strange bedfellows. In June 1977, George W Bush started his first drilling company, Arbusto Energy, with a $50,000 investment from Houston businessman James R. Bath. Bath, along with Bush, had been suspended from the Texas Air National Guard for "failure to accomplish [the] annual medical examination" (in Bush's case he refused to be tested for illegal drug use). In their award-winning 1993 expose The Outlaw Bank, Time magazine writers Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne reported that Bath "made his fortune by investing money for [Sheikh Kalid bin] Mahfouz and ... Sheikh bin Laden." Since Bath had "no substantial money of his own at the time," Beaty and Gwynne suggest that Arbusto Energy was financed by Bath's Saudi Arabian clients. And who was bin Laden? The billionaire father of ex-CIA "freedom fighter" Osama bin Laden. Earth Island Journal; March 22, 2002;

As such Osama Bin Laden Inc. is an extension of the Saudi Arabian State in its competiton to maintain its hegemony in the Middle East.

By the end, Osama bin Laden was running Al-Qaeda like a company, according to Bergen, and hence why he put the "inc." in the title of his book. Like a CEO, bin Laden sends orders down the chain of command so the eventual perpetrator may never know his orders came from bin Laden himself. Secondly, bin Laden himself may use corporate tools; for example, writing a statement on a computer, faxing it to an associate who then broadcast it by satellite to newspapers who then posted it on their Web site. Thirdly, Al-Qaeda is like a traditional holding company in the sense it was comprised of numerous groups and nationalities all under an umbrella leadership. Holy War, Inc: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden Inc. is engaged in an asymmetrical war of terror,one that is set out to determine the future of the Middle East in favour of his Saudi masters over their neighbours. And lets not beat around the bush (pun intended) about this, Bin Laden Inc. is the military arm of the Saudi Ruling Class and their imperialist endeavours to dominate the Arab world with their brand of Islamic fundamentalism.

According to Jordanian government sources and European intelligence documents, Zarqawi first set up Jund al-Sham in Afghanistan in late 1999 with $200,000 in startup money from bin Laden. The group's objective was to operate in a geographical area known as the "Levant," which encompasses Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan where al Qaeda's presence was deemed too weak. Headed by Zarqawi, Jund al-Sham federated about 150 jihadis, including Jordanian Islamic militants exiled by the Jordanian government earlier that year, as well as various recruits from Syria (some holdouts of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood), and Lebanon (mostly Palestinian refugees of the movement "Asbat al Ansar"). These militants were trained in explosive, guerrilla warfare and chemical weapons techniques at a training facility ("Al Matar Training Camp") operated by Zarqawi near the Afghan city of Herat, close to the Iranian border. ABC News: The New Head of Jihad Inc.?

The London bombing yesterday, the Spanish train bombing last year, the massacre in Beslan and 9/11 are not reflections of class struggle or even a clash of cultures, as
Thomas Friedman would have it. They are reflections in a mirror darkly of the inter-imperialist rivalries that have existed since the Middle East was carved up by British and American oil interests in the 1920's.

Nor should anyone mistake them for Anti-Imperialist struggles or struggles for National Liberation. They are the last gasp of a fuedalistic empire, that of the Saudi's, biting the hand that has fed it for almost 100 years, Anglo-American Imperialism.

In short it is a fascist movement, as are all such movements that prey upon civilian populations. Such was the case in the bombing of Guernica in the Spanish Civil War and the bombings yesterday in London. These muslim fascists; Osama Bin Laden Inc., Hamas, Hezzbolah,Chechen rebels, the Iranian State, the Saudi State, are Anti-Semite's disguised as Anti-Zionists, who use the Palistinian plight as cover for their defense of their medivalist empire. Like all the other little potentates in the region they fear a real peoples movement, a real peoples revolution. They offer the illusion of Anti-Imperialist struggle against U.S. hegemony, while being opposed to any real revolutionary struggle that would liberate the masses from their authoritarian oil masters.

    "You can't blow up a social relationship. The total collapse of this society would provide no guarantee about what would replace it. Unless a majority of people had the ideas and organization sufficient for creation of an alternative society, we would see the old world reassert itself because it is what people would be used to, what they believed in, what existed unchallenged in their own personalities.

    Proponants of terrorism and guerrillaism are to be opposed because their actions are vangaurdist and authoritarian, because their ideas are wrong or unrelated to the results of their actions, because killing cannot be justified, and finally because their actions produce either repression with nothing in return or an authoritarian regime."

You Can't Blow up a Social Relationship - The Anarchist case against Terrorism

As the United States Government continues to give succour to the Saudi State, in effect gives succour to the fascist terrorists of Osama Bin Laden Inc. In effect America's war on terror has become a terrorist war across the face of Europe, and the Empire is just as responsible for yesterdays terror attack in London as the actual perpetrators are.

As the United States and Britain have privatized their invading armies in Iraq and Afgahnistan, so do fascist regimes like the Saudi's in their use of the private services of Osma Bin Laden Inc. to maintain their regional hegemony.

misguided writers are looking in all the wrong places for why this attack on a civilian population in London occured. They are looking at the mystical eschatology of dates, was July 7 significant etc., was this the anniversary of some event significant in the mind of these terrorists?

The anwser is simple, no.

It was to disrupt the G8 meeting, which it did effectively, including disrupting the protest movement that had gathered demanding aid for Africa and ironically an end to the War in Iraq. It detracts from the issues of African Poverty and Global Warming, since these are of no concern to Osama Bin Laden Inc. and his employers. In fact any positive moves in the direction of aid to Africa would end the Islamic hegemony over the continent. And any moves towards reductions in green house gases would of course impact on Saudi oil exports.

As George II likes to tell the American people; "better to fight a war abroad than at home". Well his war against terror has three fronts now, Afghanistan (the forgotten war), Iraq, and now Europe. The Europeans should take no comfort from the compassionate words of the American Empire, its they who have brought the terror to Europe. Anywhere but their backyard. Whatever the cost in loss of civilian lives in Iraq or Europe , George II will continue his corporate war against his corporate rival in the Middle East.

Those who fight a war on three fronts, historically have failed. Lessons learned by Napolean and Hitler but lost on Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush.


The price of occupation

Tariq Ali
Friday July 8, 2005
The Guardian

During the last phase of the Troubles, the IRA targeted mainland Britain: it came close to blowing up Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet in Brighton. Some years later a missile was fired at No 10. London's financial quarter was also targeted. There was no secret as to the identity of the organisation that carried out the hits or its demands. And all this happened despite the various Prevention of Terrorism Acts passed by the Commons.

The bombers who targeted London yesterday are anonymous. It is assumed that those who carried out these attacks are linked to al-Qaida. We simply do not know. Al-Qaida is not the only terrorist group in existence. It has rivals within the Muslim diaspora. But it is safe to assume that the cause of these bombs is the unstinting support given by New Labour and its prime minister to the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

One of the arguments deployed by Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, when he appealed to Tony Blair not to support the war in Iraq was prescient: "An assault on Iraq will inflame world opinion and jeopardise security and peace everywhere. London, as one of the major world cities, has a great deal to lose from war and a lot to gain from peace, international cooperation and global stability."

Most Londoners (as the rest of the country) were opposed to the Iraq war. Tragically, they have suffered the blow and paid the price for the re-election of Blair and a continuation of the war.

Ever since 9/11, I have been arguing that the "war against terror" is immoral and counterproductive. It sanctions the use of state terror - bombing raids, torture, countless civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq - against Islamo-anarchists whose numbers are small, but whose reach is deadly. The solution then, as now, is political, not military. The British ruling elite understood this perfectly well in the case of Ireland. Security measures, anti-terror laws rushed through parliament, identity cards, a curtailment of civil liberties, will not solve the problem. If anything, they will push young Muslims in the direction of mindless violence.

The real solution lies in immediately ending the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. Just because these three wars are reported sporadically and mean little to the everyday lives of most Europeans does not mean the anger and bitterness they arouse in the Muslim world and its diaspora is insignificant. As long as western politicians wage their wars and their colleagues in the Muslim world watch in silence, young people will be attracted to the groups who carry out random acts of revenge.

At the beginning of the G8, Blair suggested that "poverty was the cause of terrorism". It is not so. The principal cause of this violence is the violence being inflicted on the people of the Muslim world. And unless this is recognised, the horrors will continue.

· Tariq Ali's latest book is Speaking of Empire and Resistance.

This in not a war


Author of eight books of political writing, most recently Free World: Why a Crisis of the West Reveals the Opportunity of Our Time.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Globe and Mail Update

While these bombings have produced the largest single casualty toll in London since 1945, this is not a war in the sense that American commentators like to imagine it.

Wars are won by armies. Armies backed by strong societies, economies and intelligence, to be sure; but still, armies. This one never will be.

There will be more of this. Terrorism is not a single army that can be defeated, like Hitler's Wehrmacht. It's a technique, a means to an end, made more widely available by those "advances" in the technology of killing. It will be used, and used again. To some extent, we will have to learn to live with it, as we do with other chronic threats.

How much freedom are we now prepared to sacrifice in the name of security? There is a real danger that countries like the United States and the United Kingdom move toward a national security state, with further curtailment of civil liberties. That must not be -- for it will cost us liberty without bringing us any guarantee of security. I, for one, would rather remain more free, and face a marginally higher risk of being blown up by a terrorist bomb.

This does not mean being passive in response to these atrocities. But the right response does not lie, as commentators on America's Fox News would have us believe, in more military firepower to zap "the enemy" in Iraq or elsewhere. It lies in skilled policing and intelligent policy.

Quietly refusing the melodramatic metaphor of war, London's Metropolitan Police described the sites of the tube and bus bombings as "crime scenes." That's right. Crimes. Working in the most ethnically diverse city in the world, they have developed patient techniques of community relations and intelligence-gathering, as well as detection after the event.

These days, events that happen faraway, in Khartoum or Kandahar, impact directly upon us, sometimes fatally as we commute to work, sitting in the Underground train between Kings Cross and Russell Square. There is no such thing as foreign policy any more. This is perhaps the deepest lesson of the London bombings. this is not a war in any familiar sense of the term.

It is, however, the beginning of a long struggle, in which the conventional distinction between domestic and foreign policy no longer applies. For example, the way we treat our immigrants affects what happens in the Middle East, and our policies in the Middle East affect the way our immigrants will behave. No developed liberal democracy in the world can afford not to have a foreign policy in regions vital to our security. Europe and the world's other English-speaking democracies need to learn the lessons of London, and fast. But let's be sure we learn the right lessons.

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