Reproduced from: https://scienceforpeace.ca/why-is-there-a-war-in-afghanistan
Why is there a War in Afghanistan?
John McMurtry Phd, FRSC
Opening Address, Science for Peace Forum and Teach-In, University of Toronto, December 9, 2001
I have been asked to speak on the topic “Why Is There A War in Afghanistan?” I could focus on the innumerable suspicious circumstances of this latest U.S. aerial war on a poverty-stricken country – its typical overriding of international law, its strategic fit with U.S. corporate designs for foreign oil resources, and the U.S. past strategic support of the very Enemy said to be targeted – like Noriega, Saddam, and Milosevic in the past.1 But instead I am going to situate this latest U.S.-led war on a third-world region within a much wider global process. I am going to consider “America’s New War” as the latest expression of a much deeper and wider terrorist campaign of an emergent totalitarian pattern of instituting world corporate rule with no limit of occupation or accountability beyond itself. Unhappily, it is not easy to see Canada’s foreign policy role in all this as anything other than obedient subjugation to this transnational corporate agenda at every senior level of decision-making.
The Unseen Terrorist Pattern
The gravest problem with corporate market fundamentalism is that it is decoupled from society’s life conditions. It is, in fact, incapable of recognizing any value to anything except corporate “value adding” which, it is assumed, should regulate all peoples and conditions of life on earth for “efficiency” and “maximum growth”. To this point, there has been no outside margin to this total doctrine’s demands, or government subservience to them.
Since the commitments of a society to safeguard the lives of its members and to ensure they are able to express themselves as human is the measure of its civilization, this global corporate program is not merely uncivilized. It is, beneath recognition, terrorist in its meaning. For if we recognize the real meaning of “terrorism” – to instill in innocent people fear for their life security to coerce their compliance to an armed faction’s demands – we see its pattern increasingly at work across world life organization. Under the financial dictates of the corporate market backed by rising extremes of armed force, citizens everywhere are subjected to a low-intensity campaign of destabilization and fear that leaves no aspect of their lives secure.2
Even in Canada, one of the world’s most well-off societies, the silent terror grows. Its vast water heritage is so in peril that people unprecedentedly die from for its pollution, while our governments sign its future away to U.S.-engineered trade-and-investment dictates. The minds of our young are so shackled by a culture of violence and demands to buy that their capacity to think is stunted, while their public education is increasingly structured as a marketing site to reproduce students as compliant servo-mechanisms. The rule of law is cumulatively overridden by transnational trade edicts to subjugate all that exists for corporate profit. Riot squads club and gas unarmed opponents, and civil liberties are stripped by Orwellian “security” machinations.
Always the threat is against life and life means to coerce compliance to corporate demands. Our country’s national symbol for the hemisphere, healthcare for all, is degraded and privatized for profit as citizens are deprived of family physicians by the hundreds of thousands (30,000 in my own small city). Corporate motor commodities and schemes now so lay waste to Canada’s land, water and public ways that it may be unsafe to breathe the air, walk freely, or count on a forest or aquatic habitat being there in a year. The vocation of serving fellow human and planetary life by one’s daily service of work, our humanity itself, is slashed in every life function. Always the command is to turn money into more money for corporate investors, or “not survive”.
The pattern cannot be plausibly denied once it is exposed. There are two major forms of attack on peoples’ means of life to coerce them to conform to global financial and corporate demands. The first is to defund societies’ non-profit social infrastructures everywhere until peoples have no choice but to privatize their management for profit. The second front of attack is more directly violent – to wage one financial and military war after another on the poorest peoples of the world to control their states and expropriate their regional resources. Both these wars on humanity are driven by a fanatic fundamentalism – to produce ever more money for those with most money, with no limit, regulation or higher goal permitted to “obstruct” these transnational money sequences.
The shape of this Beast’s ever grosser lines dwarfs the monster beheld by St. John of the Apocalypse, or the boundless greed of Duryodhana told by the Mahabharatta. We live under an increasingly global reign of terror, but our disconnection from the meaning is its triumph. Instead we are made to believe that the terror comes from pre-industrial fanatics in poor countries.
The Shape of the Beast
The world has been usurped by a pattern familiar in the microcosm, but not yet decoded at the macro level – a revolt against human society itself. The historical maturation of nations after the world’s greatest Depression and War was called “the Great Transformation” by Karl Polanyi, but the Great Reversal has not yet been publicly understood. Its meaning is primeval. It is the atavistic return of society to an unaccountable male gang seeking to dominate the world.
We see this pattern in the 9-11 War. Its public phase began when thousands of people of mixed nationalities, most American civilians, were killed by suicide bombers of a foreign male gang of Islamic fundamentalists.3 Each side then duly proclaimed the other the embodiment of evil, each repudiated the rule of law from start to finish, and both killed as many innocent people as got in the way of their war to rule other countries. While the gang leaders throughout stayed unscathed behind walls of armed protectors, both called each other “cowards”.
There is little difference in moral substance between these atavistic gangs, although a megalomaniac rhetoric of each side proclaims direct backing from God. Both sides are mass killers, and both systematically destroy civilians and their means of life with sanctimonious justification overriding all accountability to truth or due legal process. Both proclaim their mission as the working of divine Justice, and both destroy the lives and human conditions of innocent others with a pathological abandon that takes the breath away. This is, in fact, the function of the demonstration killings and destructions – to command by terror, and seize whatever is wanted. With complicit governments like Britain’s and Canada’s barking and crouching behind, the real deal is struck beneath public notice – incalculably more innocent people in terror in exchange for incalculably more oil supplies for U.S-led. oil corporations and, as a side deal, $200,000,000,000 in giveaways of public revenues to corporations and the very rich.4
But the primeval criminal-gang structure is not tracked for two reasons. The first is that saturating conditioning disconnects people from reality. “It is easy. All you have to do is tell the people they are being attacked, and denounce the the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.”5 These are Herman Goering’s words, and they transmit the code of this the gang form of rule. Concealed under the most ludicrous lies, its coercion reigns supreme. Already university employees and a talk-show host have been unconstitutionally suspended in the U.S. for pointing out the most undeniable truths. The disorder goes to the heart of the ruling corporate psyche.
Images of Manliness – Decoding the Global Market as Corporate Gang Occupation
Consider the pattern. The adolescent group-mind plots in secret behind the closed doors of secluded forts for control of the rest of society to maximise the gang’s private take. Privately multiplied debt issuances are the currency of the global corporate gang’s control. Sex and violence are the ruling images of its kingdom of ever bigger deals and attacks on designated out-groups. The gang’s ethos of power and control pervades the larger society with a barbaric code of acquisitive stratagem, takeover of others’ territories, continuous extraction of gang tribute, and indiscriminate violence and armed force at will.
Throughout, group slogans and tough-talk re-enforce the bonds of male and servant-female bravado in the face of ever greater extremes of life-depredation, confiscation and fear. The universal insecurity the many feel is, as the resistance grows, played back to them as what the gang is protecting them from. The logic of rule by force is then openly declared. The U.S. President declares an ultimatum to the world – “You are either with us or for the terrorists”, and after starving Afghanistan is carpet-bombed, his administration proclaims, “Who will be next? “. Charles Krauthammer declares the mood in Time Magazine: “America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome. Accordingly, America is in a position to reshape norms – – – How? By unapologetic and implacable demonstrations of will”.6 The extortion racket of the neighbourhood is, in a word, writ large as “the international war against terrorism” – a war in which those who monopolize terror are licensed to exempt themselves from its meaning.
Lacking the resources of character to compete head-on, the global corporate gang everywhere relies on controlled images instead. The image-set loved most by the gang’s crowds are performed around the clock – symbolic male gangs in corporate logos attacking one another day in and day out in competitive spectacles, all constructed to glorify the riches of the winners. The never-ending sudden-death dramas hold the many in thrall, and so the actual violent struggles of life and death in the wider world are diverted from. They are displaced onto the sports or war screen as a universal marketing site for corporations and banks.
“Sport”, as it is ironically called, is the corporate gang’s daily morality play of trained groupthink, fanatic factionalism and ever more money for those with most. Defeating others by overpowering monopoly is the heroic display most highly revered. Pistols, bombs, collisions, space thrusts, takeovers, wars, round-the-clock terror, get-rich schemes, endless machines and fast-lane consumption are “our way of life” before adoring crowds and female bodies.
Behind the scenes, the real action goes on. “Instruments of transnational trade and investment”, “competititive mergers” and “privatisation and deregulation of the public sector” are the deep booty system. Outside of the manufactured conflicts of the mass-spectacle games the many have their hearts and minds fastened to, the world is restructured as a pay-on-time system where the payments issue more and more debt for all to pay. As this or that entertainment product wins or loses in the coliseums, the gang’s trade lawyers secretly construct hundreds of new laws behind everyone’s backs in which only the rich can win. This “new world order” is backed by iron cages, starvation, rains of gas and clubs for resisters, and genocide for peoples from which the latest declared Enemy comes. But few dare to name the game. And so its order is ritualised with ever more one-sided shows of mass destruction and violence discharged on the dispossessed to demonstrate the inevitability of its rule.
Outside the bombing of poor peoples, whatever stands in the way of the global corporate gang’s axings of expenditures on life is declared “an obstacle” to its freedom or – in revealing slogan – a “protectionist barrier”. Any public law to regulate, protect or retain control over any sector of domestic economies is prohibited. There is a prize for all this, and it is a prize without end – all free existence which corporate vehicles can reconstruct to extract profit from. In the end, the global corporate gang wages a war on life organization itself. The world, in the revealing terms of the occupiers, is a “limitless market opportunity” for “maximum penetration and control”.
Yet in the era of “the global knowledge economy”, there is a vulnerability of this reign of fear and rapine which cannot be overcome. It can only work where its deep pattern evades exposure.
The New Totalitarianism
The deep pattern of the male corporate gang in its global form is, as David Rockefeller put it at the June 1991 Bilderberg’s meeting in Baden Germany, a “supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers which is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries”.7 As such a structure of world rule, it is accomplished by the same financial and media system deciders as put Tony Blair into office in Britain and George Bush Jr. into the White House against majority vote. Transnational corporations have marketed and financed these political leaders to ensure that captive states serve them rather than the peoples governments are elected by, guaranteeing through state plenipotentiaries and transnational trade edicts that governments can no longer govern them in common interest without infringing the new trade and investment laws in which transnational corporations alone are granted rights.
All along the corporate media have, as Rockefeller again advises, co-operated with this “plan for the world ” by a “discretion” of public secrecy for which he thanks them. “It would have been impossible for us to develop a plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years”. With financial and media selectors ensuring compliant party government leaders, all the requirements for this “plan for the world” have been set in place for a totality of control of world societies by a centralised global system which is by law not accountable to any electorate.
The meaning of the post-September 11 bombing of Afghanistan may be best understood in the light of this general background. What is important to recognize beneath all the spasms of propaganda of “America’s New War” and “the forces of Good versus Evil”, variations on an old theme, is that every step of the preparation and aftermath of this “whole new war with no end” confers cumulatively more strategic, legal and military control over the world’s peoples from an unaccountable U.S. financial and armed-force centre. But the “war with no end” is not just for world dominion and, as it is humorously titled, a “fight for civilization”. The grand prize of this war is unimpedable control by U.S. multinational oil corporations over the world’s greatest oil and gas deposits which are located around the Caspian Sea of Central Asia, formerly the territory of the Soviet Union.
Long-time U.S. strategic adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, counselled “unhindered financial and economic access” to precisely these “Central Asia natural resources” years ago in 1997, referring specifically to the “enormous economic prize of natural gas and oil located in the region”. Brzezinski advised that in the face of domestic resistance, it will become ever “more difficult to fashion a concensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstances of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat” (emphasis added).8 Brzezinski’s plan is not disconfirmed by any evidence since.
The result is that the U.S.-led corporate regime is more effectively total and pre-emptive of thought or act in opposition to it than any previous totalitarian interregnum – as successive catechisms of “no alternative”, “globalisation”, “controlling earth from space”, and “the whole world has changed” reveal to connective thought. In Congressional expression of this totalitarian mind-set, U.S. Senator Bob Smith, whose legislation got the U.S. “Space Commission” for monopoly military control of the heavens passed in 2000 long prior to September 11, prescribes this new world order as the plan of Fate: “It is our Manifest Destiny. You know we went from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States of America settling the continent [sic] and they call that Manifest Destiny and the next continent if you will is space, and it goes on forever”.9
This is the supra-terrestrial correlative of the doctrine of total power, and it can conceive of no limit to itself. As earth events interfere in resistance to the unaccountable world rule, military and police links are forged on the very sites of any resistance, constructing and exploiting the new Enemy to justify the sweeping new powers of coercion and terror which the global corporate system requires to rule an unwilling world. As in all protection rackets by terror and financial manipulation, the greatest threat to life comes from the very system of armed force, surveillance and attack which is said to be protecting citizens from it – conceptualised by presidential proclamation after September 11 as one in which all “in every region – – are for us, or are with the terrorists”. U. S. Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick then explained this meaning to include those protesting against the WTO. “This President and this administration will fight for open markets. We will not be intimidated by those who have taken to the streets to blame trade – and America – for the world’s ills”.10
The Omnipresent Centre
Totality of rule is not the only parameter of totalitarianism. In Hannah Arendt’s phrase, limitlessness of power also proceeds from “an omnipresent centre”. In the new totalitarian movement, this omnipresent directive force communicates through global financial and media control centres, with Washington and Wall Street the dominant nodes of the interlocked system.11 The world’s means of life and mass media are the material and symbolic vehicles by which the flows of goods and demand for goods control populations. The regulating principle of all decisions is to multiply by ever more deregulation and new financial instruments the monetised circuits of power through which directive control of all of the world’s means of existence increasingly pass.
As with all totalitarian systems, the dominant instruments of social power are wrested from traditional authorities, and then unleashed with none of the formerly inhibiting mechanisms of law, custom and social norm to limit their use and magnification. The telltale sign of the totalitarian movement is that it cannot stop by its nature. It careens from one life-destructive crisis and suppression to another in supreme confidence of its limitless power and capacities until its overreach exposes it to collapse or destruction. This is the totalitarian career path we know in previous usurpations of accountable public authority.
Armed terror is not the essence, but the punctuation mark of the new totalitarianism’s meaning. The money-and-consumption command channel is the secret of the movement’s success because it avoids responsibility for its failures. Wall-Street prescribed market failures to provide for societies are, instead, always attributed to transcendental forces of “the invisible hand” punishing these societies for alleged sins against “market laws”. Thus as catastrophes increasingly befall the majority of the world, the victims are blamed for their new deprivation, misery and oppression. This is a far more effective mode of rule than jackboot terror which is more overt, but it exposes the system to another form of resistance. For such a regime depends throughout on keeping knowledge silenced and repressed. This is its Achilles heel. As soon as people see through it and flag it to surrounding community, the collective trance which it depends on begins to come undone.
The new totalitarianism is, ultimately, an American corporate confidence game which rules the world by images and projections of power arcing over the globe’s surface, while limitlessly rapacious financial sequencings called “free flows of capital and commodities” strip world’s peoples and their life-ground underneath. The evidence is all around. The meta-pattern is most globally fatal with the planetary ecosystem, but has played out catastrophically on the social level in Russia, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and South-East Asia since 1990.12 But never is the private and centralised financial control of these operations raised publicly as an issue, nor is the control of the money used by private investment banks and the financial divisions of corporations whose revenues are generated on the basis of creating over 95% of the world’s money-demand. Thus “the omnipresent centre” of interlocked global finance can deprive hundreds of millions of citizens of their very means of existence or their life-security overnight, with no exposure of the foreign private powers behind the control of the world money supply constitutionally vested in national governments. The system’s choice paths of value are assumed, on the contrary, to be as given as the laws of nature and as unchangeable as the tides – to which they are sinisterly compared.
The question thus arises. Where is the failed global experiment of this totalising rule by private corporate power ever raised? The ground of the silence in even social science classrooms is that this monopolist program become internalised as public value-set. The omnipresent centre is, in this way, made more invisible and unaccountable as it spreads. The public signifiers and meanings to see it are increasingly ruled out in the steering media to set the public mind-lock upon which this totalitarian system depends. All becomes secret in “the war with no end” to ensure closure against the public even knowing the lines of this system’s world advance.
Rule By Insecurity and Constructed Crises
To sustain acquiescence in the sacrifices it requires, a totalitarian movement must keep all its subjects off-balance by a nonstop succession of disruptive changes and demands. Private fear for one’s own security is a necessary condition across communicatively isolated citizens for their submission to such a regime. The violation of long-accepted norms presented as fait accomplis, and the loss of life-bearings by permanent threat to secure livelihood are the psychological operations which are at work in any totalitarian movement. To keep the majority in a continual state of inner anxiety works because people are made too busy securing or competing for their own survival to co-operate in mounting an effective response. In the past decade, the entire population of the globe has been kept permanently off-balance with one financial meltdown and transnational trade fiat after another emptying national coffers and overriding rights of domestic self-determination. Populations have been so overwhelmed by the moving juggernaut of economic and environmental crises that a rule of universal insecurity has rendered social majorities paralysed by a low-intensity terror – the necessary condition for any totalitarian movement to continue its advance, for keeping its subjects perpetually off balance is its modus operandi. That is why in the Afghanistan case, the war no sooner seems over than the cry goes up, “Who is next?”
Again, the two system deciders in the new totalitarianism are financial and media selectors. Together they confront peoples with continuous uncertainty about their future, destabilising threats from without, and images of dream-like omnipotence of success – the latter of great importance in a social field where grandiose images are all that exists to redeem the increasingly shabby lives of the majority . Orwell describes the phenomena of totalitarianism brilliantly as fiction, Hannah Arendt as reality in their great works of 1984 and The Origins of Totalitarianism respectively. But the mechanics of this ever-shifting world of primary fears and aggressions are not based in the new totalitarianism on what Orwell and Arendt’s descriptions feature – brutal shows of violence by the state.
Arendt’s 1955 study is confined to “the only two forms of totalitarianism we know” — Nazism and Stalinism. But Arendt warns in words that are not remembered that totalitarianism is “an ever present danger” grounded in “the endless process of capital and power accumulation” which erupts past former historical and social limits by its “alliance with classless masses”.13 Arendt’s far-seeing overview of “endless capital accumulation” mobilising as overwhelming social force by “alliance with classless masses” is revealingly silent in even scholarly texts on Arendt’s work and in complaisant analyses of totalitarianism as only elsewhere. The agenda of thought is, rather, distant “rogue states” and shadowy foreign “terrorists” which are ever ready as new pretexts for more mechanisms of social repression.14 “The negative solidarity of atomized masses” which remains is a mental pulp incapable of mutual life defence, and manipulatable by any new scheme of war fever, attack-the-poor populism, or civil self-destruction. Totalitarianism is thus always accompanied by a public communication culture of formulaic discourse and bizarre extremes.
Beneath communication, totalitarianism is a pathological solution to insecure and atomised life bearings which it appears to remedy with a homogenised unity – as we saw in the 1930’s, or after the 9-11 crisis. In the latter case, orchestration of patriotic fervour overrides popular awareness of a collapsing internal economy, an illegitimate presidential vote, and rising forces of life-ground opposition. In fact, however, the new unity is false-bottomed. The civil vacuum is not resolved, but exploited to occupy with the restructuring of democracy by the “new order”. Demagogic images are then sold at will to demoralised populations. When there is security for life, people claim life freedoms, as we saw at the acme of the “golden age” of the post-war “welfare state”. The transnational Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Council, the Bank for International Settlements and other interlocking corporate-financial-state bodies that were functioning before the turn to the “no-alternative” future did not fail to observe this general fact. The Trilateral Commission is now known by scholars for its 1976 “Crisis of Democracy” report on “the excess of democracy” and “entitlements” for “previously passive and unorganized groups in the populace, blacks, Indians, Chicanos, white ethnic groups, students and women”.15 In other words, fear of the people being free was the ruling motive of the world’s corporate CEO’s, U.S. presidential candidates, and Harvard concept-setters leading the Commission’s strategic recommendations. What eventually came – global capitalism with no “barriers” of democratically accountable public authority, life-protective regulations, or social ownership – was constructed in accordance with their strategic plan. External wars then become saleable again behind new veils of total control of images. If spectacularly one-sided, they can be sold as patriotic events to a population whose conditions of life freedom no longer ground demands for an alternative order.
The campaign of life destabilisation was continuous and many-sided – “the global terrorist” scare to justify the reversal of the Carter “human rights agenda” and genocidal armed interference in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Grenada, with every citizen made to feel the suspicion frisk at airports from then on; the arms race to bankrupt and thus conquer “the Soviet conspiracy to rule the world” while testing the new “low intensity warfare” against poor populations seeking land reforms who were labelled as “pro-Soviet communists”; the interest-rate constructed “debt crises” across the globe which broke the institutional backbone of social spending and stripped social and welfare programs across the world; nonstop globe-roaming currency attacks continuing to “hold governments’ feet to the fire” whenever they were perceived as deviating from the global “fiscal and monetary reform” experiment; and transnational “free trade” regimes imposed across continents with massive firings and casualisation of labour forces, rise of part-time and insecure livelihoods for more and more peoples, and the return of the world sweatshop and mass unemployment in the industrial North.
The permanent war against “terrorists” of the Third World is the cap of a continuous and historically unprecedented financial deregulation of markets and haemorrhages of transnationally mobile capital in and out of nations leading to meltdowns from Brazil and Mexico to Russia and Asia. – – The pace of “re-engineerings” of societies’ economic bases has been dizzying, as all totalitarian movements require to keep destabilising expectation. Within a decade, the world has been made to serve the only legitimate value-set now permissible in public discourse: “private investor value”, a condition overtly celebrated as “the brutal global competition to survive”.16
The Inner Logic of the Big Lie
The most notorious characteristic of totalitarianism is “the big lie” – a pervasive overriding of the distinction between fact and fiction by saturating mass media falsehoods. In the familiar forms of totalitarianism, “the big lie” occurs in a moving, ad hoc form – typically targeting an internal group for systematic attack by brutal persecution, and filling the news with false portrayals of an external enemy. The traditional form of the big lie targets a highly symbolic event (the Reichstag fire or the U.S. Trade Centre attack), or a claimed enemy of the populace (“communists” or “Islamic extremists”). Global corporate totalitarianism, however, is not plausibly distinguishable as totalitarian in this way – although the targeting in the U.S. and its Latin American “backyard” of falsely alleged “Soviet-led communists” to justify the violent persecution of hundreds of thousands of people by death-squads and orchestrated military pogroms was certainly a lead-up to the present corporate system. What interests us here, however, is a more routine and pervasive form of “the big lie”. The big lie – in the sense of omnipervasive lie – is disseminated by round-the-clock, centrally controlled multi-media which are watched, read or heard by people across the globe day and night without break in the occupation of public consciousness instead of national territories. Group-think, not soil, is the breeding ground of the new totalitarianism.
On the micro level, the omnipervasive lie operates through a total conditioning apparatus – not only through continuous television, newspaper, car-and-home radio, disc and film mass-programming across private and social life, but increasingly against the citizen’s will by unstoppable phonecalls and messages, ad mail and corporate flyers occupying mailboxes and home entrances, and round-the-clock invasions of fields of sight and hearing by demands to buy corporate commodities – eventually compounded by corporate security-state systems to “put people in jail simply for participating in a political protest”.17 What is in common among all these saturating occupations of citizens’ sense-organs is that all their statements and images are false and misleading as a form of communication. Typically they are voluminously trivial with no meaning beyond their occurrence, or repetitions of mind-shackling misrepresentations in high-decibel certitudes.
Questions do not arise in such a total sign field. Indeed there is no ground of truth from which to raise them. For no criterion of truth or falsehood exists within this “knowledge economy” system. This is its quintessentially totalitarian feature. Across the increasingly invasive occupations of all attention fields by corporate ad-vehicles, including school classrooms and public policy meetings, the regulating standard overriding all others is more sales for more profits to dominant corporations. In the old totalitarian culture of the Big Lie, the truth is hidden. In the new totalitarianism, there is no line between truth and falsehood. The truth is what people can be conditioned to believe.18 The dare is now out, and not for the first time – “We can take anything, anywhere, and have the masses’ support by declaring that someone else is attacking them”.
Published 2001-12-09 by Science for Peace
Sunday December 9, 2001 1:00-5:30 P.M.
Medical Sciences Building, University of Toronto
1 King’s College Circle, College and University
|Why Is There A War In Afghanistan?||Prof. John McMurtry, University of Guelph||download audio · transcript|
|The UN & International Legal Responsibilities||Senator Lois Wilson, Professor Jutta Brunnée||transcript|
|Civil Liberties and the “Anti-Terrorism” Bill (C36)||Rocco Galati, LLB.||transcript|
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|Refugee & Human Rights- the Humanitarian Response||Dr. Tommy Laulajainen, Doctors Without Borders (MSF)|
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|Canada’s Role: What Ought It To Be & Who Decides?||Prof. Leo Panitch, York University||download audio|
|How Should Canada Respond to War and Terrorism||Aileen Carroll MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs||download audio · transcript|
|How Should Canada Respond to War and Terrorism||Prof. Emeritus Ursula Franklin, University of Toronto||download audio · transcript|
|This war is illegal and immoral, and it won’t prevent terrorism||Prof. Michael Mandel, York University||download audio · transcript|
- There is growing suspicion, which is officially unspeakable, that the Afghanistan War is “a set-up”, including September 11 itself. With any such hypothesis, one looks not only for the evidence confirming it, but more conscientiously, for the evidence disconfirming it. The evidence confirming U.S. and allied security awareness of and possible complicity in the 9/11 attack is considerable, but I have found no evidence disconfirming it. The principal reason against is the assumption that it is impossible that the U.S. national security apparatus would ever permit such a mass killing of Americans on U.S. soil, but this assumption itself is shaky given that Pearl Harbour itself was likely known about in advance, and non-defensive wars since have sacrificed tens of thousands of U.S. citizens (not to say millions of others) for so-called “foreign policy and national security objectives”. On September 12, I wrote a paragraph for publication that seems no less telling today. “The pervasive Echelon surveillance apparatus and the most sophisticated intelligence machinery ever built is unlikely not to have eavesdropped on some of the very complicated organisation and plans across states and boundaries for the multi-site hijacking of planes from major security structures across the U.S. – especially since the suicide pilots were trained as pilots in the U.S., and the World Trade Centre had already been bombed in 1993 by Afghan ex-allies of the CIA. Since the prime suspect, Osama bin Laden, is himself an ex-CIA operative in Afghanistan, and his moves presumably under the intensest scrutiny for past successful terrorist attacks on two U.S. embassies in 1998, one has to reflect on the connections. To begin with, the forensic principle of “who most benefits from the crime?” clearly points in the direction of the Bush administration. One would be naive to think the Bush Jr. faction and its oil, military-industrial and Wall Street backers who had stolen an election with its man rated in office by the majority of Americans as poor on the economy (a Netscape Poll poll taken off the screen when the planes hit the towers), and more deplored by the rest of the world as a deep danger to the global environment and the international rule of law, do not benefit astronomically from this mass-kill explosion. If there was a wish-list, it is all granted by this numbing turn of events. Americans are diverted from a free-falling economy to attack another foreign Satan, while the Bush regime’s popularity climbs. The military, the CIA and every satellite armed security apparatus have more money and power than ever, and become as dominant as they can over civilians in ‘the whole new era’ already being declared by the White House. The anti-missile plan to rule the skies is now exonerated (if irrelevantly so), and Israel’s apartheid civil war is vindicated at the same time. Even the surgingly popular ‘anti world-trade’ movement is now associated with foreign terrorists blowing up the World Trade Centre. The more you review the connections and the sweeping lapse of security across so many co-ordinates, the more the lines point backwards” (published in The Record, September and Economic Reform, October 2001). As we will see ahead, these benefits of the 9/11 attack go still deeper than the payoffs enumerated here. Isolated reports by major newspapers across the world of pre-9/11 links between the CIA, the Pakistan ISI, and bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network have been usefully documented by Michael C. Ruppert www.copvcia.com.
- The meaning of terrorism I remind us of here retains its linkage with “terror”, unlike the official definitions of terrorism, which have delinked its meaning from public experience, and redefined it as what obstructs official and corporate business. For example, Canada’s “Anti-Terrorist Bill” (Bills C-35 and C-36), defines as “terrorist” what is “intended to cause serious interference with or disruption of an essential service, facility or system” (Bill C-35 83.01 (1)(b)(ii)(E)). Much well-taken criticism has been directed at the sinisterly sweeping definition here, but none has recognized the deeper delinkage from meaning itself which is presupposed. No connection with terror remains. Only the emotive charge of the word remains – which is then linked to what corporate-led states are set to criminalise and impose right to arbitrary rule over, without normal protections of law. The disconnection from meaning escapes detection of even those who are opposed to the law. Thus eminent Professor of Law, Martin Friedland, properly objects to the “too broad” definition, but seeks to ameliorate it by substituting (like the U.K. law) “an electronic system” for “an essential service, facility or system” (Martin Friedland, “Police Powers in Bill C-36”, in (eds. R.J. Daniels et al) The Security of Freedom (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001), p. 270). The Orwellian operation of expanding criminalizing concepts into unconnected meanings in the law itself is internalised without demurral – a sign of the totalitarian communications field analysed ahead.
- The official number began as “almost 7000 Americans”. Unpublicised counts then disclosed, with no comment on the radical changes of facts, that there were a great number of non-Americans killed, and the official number was revised to 3900. AP News Service then counted the actual deaths, and reported a figure of 2772 persons killed, 40% of the number killed on the basis of which “America’s New War” was declared.
- This figure is cited by Julian Borger, “Tax Bonanza for Bush’s Cronies”, Guardian Weekly, November 8-14, 2001, p. 4.
- I am grateful to Connie Fogel and the Canadian Defence of Liberty Committee for this quotation in their November 18, 2001 newsletter.
- Cited by Lewis Lapham, “The American Rome”, Harper’s Magazine, August 2001, pp. 32-3.
- Cited inter alia by http://freedomlaw.com/coffee.html which lists among its sponsors the Cato Institute, the Heritage, and the Mackinac Centre for Public Policy. Rockefeller’s further words below are drawn from the same source.
- Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard : American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (New York: Basic Books, 1997), pp. 124, 211. Brzezinski’s former Trilateral Commission and NATO colleague, Johannes Koeppl, reportedly recalls: “It was a criminal society I was dealing with – – In 1983-84, I warned of a takeover of world governments being orchestrated by these people [including Brzezinski] – – It was not possible to publish anymore in the so-called respected publications.” The quotation from Koeppl is provided by Michael Ruppert, “A War in the Planning for Four Years”, guerrillanews.com.
- Quotation is from Karl Grossman, “Beyond Missile Defense: Bush Team Envisages Space Weaponization”, Economists Allied for Arms Reduction (ECAAR) Newsletter, June 2001.
- Cited by Katherine Ainger, “A Culture of Life, A Culture of Death”, New Internationalist, November 2001, p. 22.
- A few global media conglomerates, who “work together for the greater good”, control most to all of the world’s mass news, entertainment and publishing (ie., AOL-Time-Warner, Murdoch/News Corporation, Bertelsmann, Viacom, Disney, Berlusconi/Vivendi), . Most of these media firms are, in turn, put together by Wall Street firms, such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, which alone constructed media and telecom mergers worth $888,000,000,000 in 1999 and the first quarter of 2000 (Robert McChesney, “Global Media, Neoliberalism and Imperialism”, Monthly Review, March 2001, pp. 1-20).
- The predictable failure of IMF “emergency loans” to do anything but sink their Asian targets deeper into economic crisis while bailing out Wall Street “investors” has led the IMF to rename its “Emergency Structural Adjustment Programs” as “Poverty Reduction and Growth Facilities”. Meanwhile 21 million more people in Indonesia alone fell beneath the absolute poverty line.
- Arendt, Hannah (1955). The Origins of Totalitarianism. London: George Allen and Unwin.
- Before the Quebec Summit in April 2001, the imminent threat of “terrorism” and “terrorists” who never materialised except in the form of a police plant equipping and egging on a small group (see Chapter 1, note 87) was the central public pretext of a steel wall around the city, thousands of riot troops, and 5000 toxic teargas grenades subsequently launched indiscriminately into crowds (“Police Prepare For Terrorist Attacks At Summit of Americas” (Canadian Press, April 7, 2001). No subsequent comment by the media or government on the false threats was occurred. On the more internationally institutionalised level, “rogue states” and “foreign terrorist threats” remain the constant pretext for totalisation of US military control of the planet which is recently expressed in official plans to (emphasis added) “project power through and from space in response to events anywhere – – – with little transit, information or delay in weather” (Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organisation, 2001, cited by Karl Grossman, “”Bush Team Envisages Space Weaponization”, ECAAR Newsletter, June, 2001 http://www.ecar.org./Library/News/grossmanspaceweapons.htm.
- Cited in Murray Dobbin, The Myth of the Good Corporate Citizen (Toronto: Stoddart Publishing, 1998), p. 162. See also Peter Steinfels, The Neo-conservatives (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1998).
- The documentation of this pattern is provided in my Cancer Stage, ibid, pp.64-85.
- The words are those of the Canadian Bar Association in response to the Canadian government’s “anti-terror bill”, one of numerous police-state bills put into law after the constructed September 11 2001 “war” on the U.S. (Daniel LeBlanc, “Anti-Terror Bill Goes Too Far, Lawyers’ Group Says”, Globe and Mail, October 25, 2001, p. A 6).
- 165,000 corporate public relations professionals now outnumber the total number of journalists who work for all newspapers, radio and television stations, with 9000 P.R. firms the source of an estimated 50%-80% of the news presented (Jason Plouffe, “In Your Interest”, Ontario Public Interest Group, Guelph, Winter 2000, p.4).