By Sourav Banerjee
Since the Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 30th began airstrikes against ISIS and its affiliates in Syria at the request of the Syrian government, the world is thrown into a dark abyss of serious political turmoil. With at one side hubristic US and its allies including major powers like UK, France, Turkey, Canada and on the other Russia, Syria, Iran and now China along with Lebanon’s Hezbollah forces vying for a bigger pie in the strategic region, World War III is evidently not far from a reality, as we have the US government gratuitously threatening two nuclear powers. Ironically, both Washington and Moscow maintain their respective Syrian (mis)adventure is for the purpose of annihilating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al-Qaeda offshoot born out of Iraq and on prowl since 2003. However, deep beneath lay their real agendas hostile to each other that has created the crisis. For US, it is to topple the Bashar al-Assad government of Syria and install an American puppet regime as they did with Chile’s Allende government in another September 11, 1973, while Moscow’s main objective is to save its sole Middle Eastern ally from the US onslaught.
Such drastic change in the geopolitical equation in Syria as well as the world was evident when Putin declared in his UN speech on September 28 that Russia “can no longer tolerate the state of affairs in the world.” By this intolerable state of affairs Putin must have meant the US-manufactured crisis in the Middle East and south African countries, European refugee crisis, wide spread global Islamophobia, ISIS, sectarian violence, racism, apartheid, arbitrary regime change, military invasion of other countries, and plunder of foreign resources among many other ills, all of which gained maximum momentum since 9/11 towards an old Washington dream — “I am the monarch of all I survey.”
Pursuing its imperial aspirations quite systematically, post 9/11, in a theatre of ‘good over evil,’ US imperialism has been razing numerous nations to ground and murdering millions including women and children by whining stories of ‘terror’ and spawning enemies in different guises — al-Qaida, ISIS, Daesh, Taliban or their ‘state sponsors’. Every morning paper-boy brings some more from the battle fields of Afghanistan, Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq or South Africa to serve the mass hysteria on ‘terror’. There is never enough since the serial killing — the Global War on Terror (GWOT) — started fourteen years ago.
And all these make-believe efforts are to persuade that ‘America’ cares for democracy and peace; no matter if it yields heavy ‘collateral damage’(the recent being the killing of dozen’s of medics and patients in a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan). However, the beneficiaries of US neo-colonial policies knowingly abstain from condemning this war against humanity while it is ignorance for the majority of common masses, thanks to the corporate-mainstream media nexus that strives to keep people in dark. Rather, it has artistically embedded in our active consciousness that it’s not our goddamn business; there is a messiah to rid us all from evil. There is America.
And indeed. The country has deployed its ‘Seals’ and ‘Marines’ in thousands for ‘selfless humanitarian intervention’ in every corner of the world at the cost of trillions of dollars in order to fulfil its commitment towards saving democracy and deliver justice. America will never tolerate any entity depriving people of justice, equality and democracy; so it swears before invading any nation or state in search of evil. The world is now convinced and also grateful that the messianic decades long military campaign to eliminate terror from earth was launched by the then US President Bush and later carried on by apostles like Obama, Britain’s Prime Minister Cameron and their counterparts in France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel et al.
But appearances are not necessarily to be true. Thanks to the social and alternative media, it is no more a secret, or ‘conspiracy theory’ that Taliban to al-Qaida or present day ISIS, all were manufactured by US to serve its vested economic and political interests in various strategic regions. But in a tragic twist, with the rise of once loyal fundamentalist forces, the political architect of the crisis is now fighting the monster Frankestine, which it has created and reared out of a crooked intention to savouring political and cultural hegemony over the world and usurp all its rich resources.
The propaganda machinery has always mislead about the ‘compulsions’ behind waging such war. In case of ‘Global War on Terror’, a well organised media disinformation campaign was set to demonise al-Qaeda even before any investigation report confirms the group’s handiwork behind the 9/11 attacks. In order to hide the US state’s failure in providing security to its citizens and therefore converge every attention to al-Qaeda’s brutality and further affirm Laden as the West’s biggest enemy, a plethora of al-Qaeda related stories ranging from terrorist threats, beheading videos, religious fanaticism to regime change was brewed and served chilled on a daily basis in various medias. The theatric crash of the World Trade Centre (WTC) on 9/11 morning, simultaneous attacks on other major installations including Pentagon, and the loss of numerous innocent lives were used as a pretext and justification to manufacture public consent for the invasion campaign, while in essence it was to carry out a global war of conquest, solely to have a greater influence on the oil, natural gas, nuclear material and poppy rich “state sponsors of terrorism” — Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya and others — and also to safeguard its bases in the strategic region. In a March 2, 2007, Democracy Now! interview, retired four-star General Wesley Clark said that soon after the Sept 11, 2001 events, a general called to tell him that the US was going to invade Iraq and would “take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off with Iran.” No doubt the informer was right, as the Mozart of war composed the whole orchestra long before 9/11, and have been playing it beautifully at the face of people, while the ideals of “Just War” (Jus ad Bellum) bark at the moon. No one asks ‘why’, as we are only fed with ‘what’. However, truth too has its day.
After a meeting in Washington on the following morning of 9/11 (September 12, 2001) between the then head of Pakistan’s military Intelligence (ISI) General Mahmoud Ahmed and then US Secretary Colin Powell, Pakistan offered to assist the US in “going after Bin Laden”. The same day NATO’s Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, endorsed the Bush administration’s declaration of war on Afghanistan invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Thus a full-fledged war in derogation of international law which considers the war propaganda as a criminal act under ‘Nuremberg: Crime against the Peace’ provision, began. Meanwhile, the Afghan government twice offered to hand over Osama Bin laden to US. However, President Bush rejected it as America “does not negotiate with terrorists”. Twenty-six days later on the morning of October 7, 2001, the war on Afghanistan was launched. Organising and executing such major military operation thousands of miles away which according to military experts otherwise takes months to up to a year, confirms that the war on Afghanistan was already underway long before September 11, 2001, and also corroborates the long-suppressed intelligence report that Washington had foreknowledge of the attacks.
Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?
According to a hard-core investigative report (CBS news, Dan Rather, January 28, 2002) by a team of CBS news journalists including one of the reliable foreign correspondents in the industry, Barry Petersen, the Pakistan government, the most trusted ally of US in war against terror, in collusion with its intelligence wing ISI admitted the ‘enemy number one’ to the urology ward of a military hospital in Rawalpindi on September 10, 2001. One would wonder, why then Laden was not arrested at the first place and a gory aftermath prevented? Had he been arrested, the humanity would have saved from the psychological scar of 9/11 and immeasurable loss and damage Laden-hunt yielded. But then what about an Osama legend, which apart from justifying the invasion of Afghanistan, generated maximum TRP thus billion dollar media economy in the course of last fourteen years?
The History of Islamic State
Though the IS today has risen to prominence as much as Obama did after being elected as a first black President of US, the group and its leaders have been shrouded in myth and mystery since its foundation by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — a Sunni militant from Jordan — in 1999. The confusion over its existence and modus operandi is so embarrassing that even the US government has to admit that the Islamic State’s second leader, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi never existed. Another top rank IS leader, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, is so elusive that the global intelligence could gather only two photographs and one video recording of him in existence. Such fictitious existence of the most sought after enemies forced the US security experts to admit in a sly, “They know physically who this guy is, but his backstory is just myth.”
However, the Islamic State is a caliphate established by a jihadist Islamic group with an objective to establish Salafist government over the Levant region of Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus and Southern Turkey. Apart from 80,000 fighters, the group possesses convoys of identical Toyota trucks (thanks to the US), and a top grade arsenal including Stinger missiles, US-made anti-aircraft guns, anti-tank weapons, Blackhawk helicopters and cargo planes, and even Scud missiles of Gulf War fame. The group also allegedly got hold of nuclear materials from Iraq’s Mosul University, but the IAEA believes the material is too sub-standard to be a nuclear threat. Though initiated at as early as 1997-98, the so-called Islamic State became a violent phenomenon just a decade ago, evidently as a reaction to US policies and actions in Iraq, Libya and Syria.
The Father of terror
Numerous evidence including official documents of the US Congress and testimonies of US intelligence officials confirms the fact that al-Qaeda was a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet- Afghan war in 1980s and the US had indeed supported Osama bin Laden, but in the wake of the Cold War “he (Osama Bin Laden) turned against us”. Bin Laden was 22 years old when he was enrolled and later trained in one of the CIA sponsored guerrilla training camps of the “Islamic freedom fighters” in Afghanistan unconditionally supported and endorsed by the Reagan administration. “Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the (Islamic) Jihad,” notes one source (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Peace Research, 1 May, 2005). “The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings….The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,” reads another Washington Post article dated 23 March 2002. Such was the provocation. There is no doubt that like Laden many others must have been introduced to the business of ‘holy war’ either in school or through such CIA funded newspaper advertisements seeking Afghan and muslim youths to join Jihad.
In another equation related to Cuba, much of southern Florida had been home to a big training camp for anti-Castro terrorists for decades. Students graduated from these camps have carried out hundreds of heinous terrorist acts in the US as well as abroad including bombing of a Cuban airliner (Cubana de Aviacion Flight 455) in flight on October 6, 1976, killing all 73 people on board. But no wonder, it was never included in the ‘terror list’. Nor were the US supported Contras of Nicaragua in the 1980s, which was leading a ‘counter revolution’ opposing the Sandinista Junta government of Nicargua and had over 1300 deadly terror attacks in their kitty. In former CIA director Stansfield Turner’s admission, “I believe it is irrefutable that a number of the Contras’ actions have to be characterised as terrorism, as State-supported terrorism.” The same applies to groups in Kosovo and Bosnia with close ties to al-Qaeda and Laden which have allied themselves with Washington’s agenda in the former Yugoslavia since the 1990s. Throughout the post 9/11 era, US intelligence in liaison with Britain’s MI6, and Israel’s Mossad, continues to provide covert and at times direct support to the al-Qaeda affiliated radical Islamist organisations like Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and factions within the Free Syria Army (FSA). US proximity with a Taliban led Pakistani group Jundullah, which had kidnapped and killed more than a dozen Iranian soldiers and officials in cross-border attacks has been doing rounds in the intelligence circle. Thousands of Ladens are being produced everyday from such US-backed terror groups while America becomes an awkward father. With its failed policies fuelling the expansion of al-Qaeda like violent groups in over 20 countries, there is hardly any room to argue if Laden symbolises terrorism, then US stands for the father of terror.
The US Culture of Violence: Columbus to Obama
The United States has conducted war in brutal ways since before the country was founded, and perhaps so the country inherits a deep culture of violence, evident from its foreign policies as well as gun violence back home. Columbus discovered the continent and enslaved millions of indigenous peoples. He slaughtered them in thousands, “treated them as workhorse animals and sex slaves; fed live natives to his dogs, cut off the hands of those who did not work hard enough” and thus began a process of ethnic cleansing across the continent and gifted us with America. His son was one of the originators of the African slave trade.
That Columbus way of tyranny and war was pursued by almost all who ascended the throne of America there after, and it is still in vogue. Throughout the 19th century, the doctrine of Manifest Destiny — a widely held belief in the US that American settlers were destined to expand throughout the continent — gave the United States an impetus for a vigorous expansion across North America by capturing new territories, which saw a massive genocide and displacement of millions of American Indian tribes. Post Spanish-American War (1898) and World War I (1914) the country earned the status of a global super power and after WW II it became almost invincible with being the first country to develop nuclear weapons. Then began the era of Cold War (1947), named after its characteristics of indirect, compressed, small-scale proxy wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan. From 1965 to 1973, US Army dropped eight million tons of napalm bombs and between 1962 and 1971, it sprayed nearly 20,000,000 gallons of Agent Orange — the chemical poison that not only kills people and causes serious health problems for generations, but also poisons the land beyond use — over Vietnam, destroying 5 million acres of forest lands and 24 million acres of agricultural land. Even bombing hospitals as a weapon of terror too were rampant. The US bombed Hanoi’s Bach Mai hospital on December 22, 1972, in which 28 doctors and nurses lay dead among the civilian casualties. During the Iraq invasion (2003), health services were categorically attacked under the Presidency of Sr George Bush. On November 9, 2003, US bombed the Hai Nazal Hospital in Falluja killing 35 patients, 15 medics, 4 nurses, 5 support staff and 4 doctors (The Nation, 13 December). Obama too is consistent with Columbus-like psychopathic compulsions of his predecessors, as his troops and allies are currently wreaking havoc in home and abroad. In a tragic similarity, he too bombed a charity hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan hardly a month back.
Washington’s obsession with power and profit unfolds a foretold era of global cricis including the absolute criminalisation of the American state back home. World Trade Centre and Pentagon attacks further gave birth to the most paranoid country on earth, while the world saw the total collapse of civil liberties and democratic rights through the militarisation of US foreign policies seeking to achieve absolute dominance over the world. Washington’s vicious politics have done enough damage to the human civilisation and it is the time for people to resist and seek justice and “if there’s any justice it would result in the arrest of those who lead us into war in Iraq,” as a former CIA acting director said. And justice is not faraway, because “a state cannot survive treason (Roman philosopher Marcus Cicero).”
Sourav Banerjee is a political activist, writer and works as an editor with a US based publication house. He can be reached at email@example.com