by Mahboob A. Khawaja / April 9th, 2011
Terrorism originates from the Western colonial powers but none would dare to concede it for the fear of unknown in contemporary history. When the European businessmen explored new world markets for diminishing resources and their armed forces invaded and occupied the vast Islamic world, there were no television, internet, video cameras and stone throwing public and voices of reason to call them foreign mercenaries, aggressors and terrorists.
The colonization scheme of things was not outcome of the Western democratic values to spread freedom, liberty and justice but ferocity of violence and killings of millions and millions of human lives for the Empires to be built on colored bloodbaths. The European crusaders crossed the channels and unknown time zones to subjugate the much divided Muslim people as part of their nationalism perception and values that Muslims were inferior to the European race and could be used as raw material to erect the new Empires. Many centuries past, if there was a UNO, it would not have dared to call the European intruders as terrorists because it would have been their own organization as Muslims lived in slavery and denial of basic human rights and identity.
In an information age, knowledge–driven global culture of reason, ignorance is no longer a requisite to learn from the living history. History speaks of the Al-Andalusia Arab civilization as the longest advanced civilization lasting for eight centuries in Europe. Now, the Europeans identify themselves as civilized people but the effective date for the claim remains a mystery.
The previous Empires knew their geography and limits, but the newly articulated American Empire in its infancy, is challenging to the limits of the Laws of God and appears obsessed with “fear” of being replaced by the new emerging economically productive nations of Asia such as China, Japan and India and combination of others. President George W. Bush invoked the War on Terrorism as a dictum of power, not reason and wisdom, to camouflage the prospective future with acts of barbarity and to dispel the notion of accountability in global affairs. Historically, people and nations pursuing this path of behavior have ended up in self-delusional and self-destruction.
The 9/11 attacks in the US were carried out by individuals and not inspired or supported by the religion of Islam or Muslims. Some hourly paid intellectuals turned guardian of the approved truth, allege that Islam breeds terrorism. The Western mass media complements the self crafted notion to poison the public thinking and perceptions and source of judgments against the Arabs and Muslims as “terrorists” making the treacherous claim as if Islam was at the threshold of the paradigm. The US Neo-Conservatives gang helped to rob the mankind of its human heritage. The perception of ‘radical Islam’ was invented and enhanced by the ‘fear’ of terrorism as if Arabs and Muslims were born in the eye of the storm and terrorism was an exclusive domain of the Islamic religious tenets.
Gwynne Dyer, a London based writer,1 points out: “Terrorism is a political technique, not an ideology and any group willing to use violence in pursuit of its political goals may resort to it.” He explains that “there are left-wing terrorists and right-wing terrorists; national terrorist and international terrorist; Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and atheist terrorists. In theory, you could have a “war against terrorism”, but it would involve trying to kill everybody who uses this technique anywhere in the world. The United States is not trying to do that, so it is not fighting a “war against terror.” In reality, what the United States leadership is doing is fighting its own articulated war against the people and nations who had no animosity, nor did any perceive capability to threaten the US as a global power.
British author and producer Adam Curtis spells out the myth with clarity: “international terrorism is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services and the international media.”2 Remember, after the 9/11 attacks, the US official statements made no mention of involvement of the government or people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran in the accused list of the 9/11 perpetrators. In 1997, many leading architects of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), did include the name of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, PLO as selected targets to impose the American liberal democracy and throw out the authoritarian regimes. It was a strategic stunt to inject the fear into people’s mind.
Paul Craig Roberts, co-author of the Tyranny of Good Intentions, in his article “The High Price of American Gullibility,” makes a logical assertion: Bush’s rhetoric “you are with us or against us” is perfectly planned to influence the common masses. Emotional appeals to fear and to patriotism have led close to half of the population to accept unaccountable government in the name of “the war on terrorism.” What a contradiction it is that so many American have been convinced that safety lies in their sacrifice of their civil liberties and accountable government.” Obviously, human intelligence, emotions and perceptions, superficially turned antagonistic with compelling impulse of media propaganda strategies to view Arabs and Muslims as the qualified candidates for extreme militancy.
Truth is one and indivisible. When it comes to terrorism and the Arabs or Muslims, the North American and European mass media portrayals enforces two distinct order of truth – one for the general public and one reserved for the Muslims. In all human affairs, facts are considered to reach the conclusion. End cannot be assumed to play with the facts, nor based on dogmas to explain the facts of human life. Under the guise of the Anti-Terrorist legislation, America, Britain and Canada have misused the logic of power to arrest, defame and punish people of Arabian and Islamic origin who had no linkage to the terrorism myth.
The strategy dictates that selected groups should be detained and tortured indefinitely, to drain out their moral, intellectual and creative energies, making them incapable to survive socially or professionally credible citizens of the country. Consequently, the public will view them as crazy and undesirable people to be counted as numbers and digits in economic terms, but not dignified human beings.
During the 2nd World War, America and Canada detained and imprisoned their own citizens of Japanese, German and Italian origins and sent thousands of them to internment camps. More than half a century later, both governments have offered apology to the innocent victims of the state terrorism. Are the Muslims expected to wait for another half a century to have their voices heard?
Take the case of Maher Arar, an Engineer, Canadian citizen of Syrian origin, held up at the NY air terminal while in transit, arrested without charges, sent to Syria against his will, and imprisoned there for over one year, beaten and tortured. The Canadian intelligences agencies denied any knowledge and involvement in his ordeal. But during the Public Enquiry, reported in the news media, it turned out that they had participated and shared secret information about Maher Arar with the American authorities and probably a distinct role in his severe imprisonment. What was his fault? Why was he sent to Syria for the year-long cruel punishment? Ostensibly, he is an Arab, a law abiding decent citizen of Canada with no criminal background. Was that the reason to persecute him?
Reflect on Dr. Rafil Dhafir – an internationally known reputable American medical doctor of Iraqi descent living in Syracuse, NY State, a world known humanitarian, dedicated to help the starving children, poor and destitute civilians affected by the war in Iraq. Why was he arrested and indicted politically to 22 years of imprisonment? Simply, because he was a Muslim doctor of high caliber, involved in much needed humanitarian aid work that nobody else could dare to undertake and to save the human lives while the American and British were bombing the civilian population.
According to eyewitness reports, the authorities raided 89 local Muslim families at the time of Dr. Rafil’s house search. Contentious evidence was made available to prove his involvement in charity fundraising activities under the State legislation. It seems, law and justice failed miserably to consider the human affairs of the real world from a humanitarian perspective. Was that contrary to the dictum of the liberal democracy? Shocking, as it is to learn about Dr. Rafil Dhafir’s ordeal, who is a wonderful moral being – an institution of hope and human dignity, and highly respected for his humanitarian zeal in that region. Fair or foul, nobody could question the anti-terrorist laws. In public eyes, he is honorable medical doctor, doing best to his professional credibility and its criterion requirements.
Talk to Ms. Marziah Hashemi, an American Muslim widow with three kids residing in Colorado. In June 2004, the FBI agents and police raided her home during the early hours of the morning. Her kids were taken out of bed at gunpoint, house turned ups and down for suspected terrorist activities and questioned her on religious and political affiliations matters. On request, she was informed that the search warrant relate to tax issues. But she was asked about the 9/11 attacks, and if she had any contact with Al-Qaida organization. Her youngest son believed that police was going to shoot him while getting out of the bed. After months, the psychological scars remained fresh in the minds of her kids, who could not go out or attend the school.
Could anybody reassure Marziah why she and her children were arrested against their will and their social lives endangered? As American citizens, were their rights, individual freedom and human dignity violated? The police was supposed to protect her and the kids, not violate their rights and victimize them.
Members of the Khawaja family in Canada were the first victims of the Anti-Terrorist Legislation in Canada. The parents worked diligently to raise educated and law-abiding children, well known for their moral and responsible upbringing and multicultural community-building work. On March 29, 2004, approximately, 60-70 military armed squad and police raided the family home, smashed the front doors, damaged the property like the US army killing pursuits in Iraq, and arrested the family members at gunpoint. The lady of the house was picked up from the grocery store, and two other kids were called out of the classrooms. While his house was under police raid, Dr. Khawaja was detained and imprisoned in Arabia at the formal request of the CSIS-RCMP, accusing him of involvement in “bomb-making and “terrorism” activities.
It was all simultaneously dramatized across the globe in live media coverage arranged by the intelligence agencies. The documentary evidence clearly showed that he was arrested on the behest of the Government of Canada but the Minister responsible at the time, Ms. Anne McClellan denied any knowledge of it. The allegations were false extending cruel treatment to the family. The neighbors were outraged at the show of military force and its brutality and complained as if it was a military camp. No evidence was found at the premise to support the allegations of “bomb making” or “terrorism” activities. After almost five years in jail, Momin Khawaja, one of the captive was tried on terrorism charges but the court acquitted him of the focal charge of involvement in the UK bomb-making plot. On other charges, he was sentenced to 10.5 years. The Canadian news media never clarified to the public that Momin Khawaja was acquitted by the trial judge for lack of evidence in the UK bomb plot.
The Canadian masses wonder, why the Muslims are being targeted as terrorists? Could the Canadian armed forces including the intelligence establishments, be under the direct control of the American General Petreaus-NORTHCOM and NORAD? According to Michael Ruppert (Crossing the Rubicon), if Canada does not comply with the American security agenda, could the Bush Administration seal the Canada-US borders? Some political observers suspect that Canada is making headway in its role for greater North American economic and political prosperity and to become a satellite of the Bush Administration.
In violation of civil liberties and under bogus accusations, Amnesty International regularly informs public that thousands of innocent people, mostly of Arab and Islamic origins, have been imprisoned in UK and America without legal trials. In numerous other raids and arrest of the Arabs and Muslims throughout North America and Western Europe, there appears to be a unified policy in force and collaborative action, setting a very dangerous precedent for further conflict and global disharmony, not societal reconciliation or peace-making. The police raids and arrests of innocent citizens do not bridge the civilization gaps; they instill mistrust and endanger the survivability of the human civilization. The anti-Terrorist Laws and police actions clearly formulate the anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic pattern of police behaviors, not normally applicable to other people or ethno-religious communities in the Western world. Why?
Divergent scenarios flourish to manifest lies and deception about the real aims of the “War on Terror.” When the Western leaders play with words, it is known and often acknowledged, but when the Muslim leaders offer ignorant excuses, they are masked under willful lies and deceptions without any accountability. Many Western scholars wonder, why leaders of the Muslim countries and the masses appear disinterested in the post 9/11 affairs when it had direct impacts on the entire Arab and Muslim world? Foremost reasons being that the Arabs and the Muslim countries in general, have no educated and responsible leadership to represent the masses and their interests. The West and its scheme of political subjugation institutionalized the neo-colonial authoritarianism.
Arabs and Muslim societies are devoid of public institutions for thinking, change and policy development. There are various shadowy groups and organizations claiming to represent the Arab-Islamic interests in North America. In real world affairs, hardly anyone seems genuinely capable to deal with the issue of terrorism that directly confronts the Muslims living in North America and Europe. Many pretend to be the spokespersons of the Arabs and Muslims communities but they are aligned with the official establishments including the intelligence agencies, lacking credibility, often playing the role of informants rather than representing the Islamic concerns. Generally speaking, Muslims live in millions across North America and Western Europe but lack the political presence in any organized political party or interest group. In the given politics of wars, Muslims have no weight on the scale except digits and numbers.
There are 57 or more, so-called Muslim countries member of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), not one of them has genuine Muslim leadership, nor Islam as a system of life. When the Muslim Ummah (nation), looks for intellectual security, all authoritarian leaders operate under the dictates of Western masters, namely the American and British leaders. Islam is One and so should be the believing folks, but there is no unity of thought and actions across the Muslim world, a typically neo-colonial landscape governed by ignorant and intellectually bankrupt rulers, subservient to the West. For ages, the Arabs and Muslims masses continue to pray to Almighty God for change, reformation and democratically elected governments without public demonstrations. Strangely enough, they seemed eager to hold demonstrations for the symbolic “cartoon” controversy, but not for the real world problems affecting the lives and future of the common Muslims. For sure, there is no “terrorism” in thoughts and in words of the prayers and no Arabic- Islamic vocabulary exists of “extremism” or “terrorism” to reciprocate the Western accusations and mass media propaganda campaigns.
Would the American and British political leaders learn any lessons from the on-going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? There are ample media reports that George w. Bush and Tony Blair have been identified as candidates for war crimes against humanity. Would the masses pursue the war crimes against these sadistic egomaniacs? It remains to be seen at this a stage. John Laughland offers a real world perspective: “Just an old fashioned colonial war – the reality of killing and escalation of violence, disguised with the hypocritical mask of altruism. If Iraq has not taught us that, then we are incapable of ever learning anything.”3 Every beginning has its end. It is just that most transgressors do not know about it when they crossover the limits of the Laws of God. The Roman, Austro-Hungarian and British Empires collapsed after they violated the limits. Nazis claimed to run the world for thousands of years, but ended up in just 12 years after killing millions of human beings throughout the Western hemisphere. Fascism met resistance at its early stages. The beginning envisions the end.
The USSR was defeated, the day it raided the destitute people of Afghanistan and disturbed the dead in graveyards with continuous bombing. The American and British surrendered the day international community learned about the Guatonomo Bay prisoners and photos of the Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq. An estimated three million civilians have been killed by the American-British war in Iraq since March 2003. After the facts, the American and British apologists would put up the explanations that the soldiers had social and mental disorders. On the continuing daily massacres of the civilians and rapes of women in Iraq, Mike Whitney shares an historical image visualized by Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar4 :
And let us bathe our hands in blood, up to the elbows
And besmear our words
Then we will walk forth, even to the market place.
And weaving our red weapons o’er our heads
Let us all cry “peace, freedom and liberty.”
According to Paul Craig Roberts, the neo-conservative policy claims: …evil terrorists attacked virtuous America. America is protecting itself by going to war and overthrowing regimes that sponsor or give shelter to terrorists, erecting in their place democracies loyal to America. In a rational context, the “War on Terrorism” has nothing to do with the alleged terrorists; it is a war to help Halliburton, Bectal and other corporations to capitalize their holds on the oil supplies and gas business. The then Defense Secretary Rumsfeld contracted Halliburton of Dick Cheney for 7 billion works to be done in Iraq before the invasion of March 2003. President Bush passed the Executive Order # 13303, giving complete immunity from criminal prosecution to the American oil companies dealing with the Iraqi oil management. The intelligence agencies in America, Canada and Western Europe have huge sum budgets approved by the accomplice politicians to support the terrorism of wars. The sadistic politicians and secretive agencies must appear active in terrorism activities otherwise, billions of dollars of public money as their budgetary resources could be lost. Muslims everywhere are the conveniently available object to consume these budgetary allocations by the security establishments. It is a game of the fittest. Who is going to write the closing chapter of the history of the “War on Terrorism?” Is the history going to wait for the cessation of the aggressive hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan? Would the American-led war achieve its agenda priorities or meet the same destiny as it happened to the Roman, Nazis and the USSR Empires? Obviously, history will judge the nations by their actions, not by claims of the leaders. Paul Craig Roberts5 puts the answer in a nutshell:
“In National Socialist Germany, by the time propaganda lost its grip, Germans were in the hands of a police state. It was too late to take corrective measures. Not even the military could correct the disastrous policies of the executive. In the end, Germany was destroyed. Does a similar fate await Americans?”
After waging a decade old bogus wars of terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, American and some of their hired European allied policy makers and military strategists seem to have exhausted their rational thinking and miserably failed to understand or differentiate between the myth of power and realities on the ground that they cannot win any wars against Islam and Muslims. Of all the forbidden truth that the Western news media does not exhibit and the political leaders failed to grasp is that the US and its former colonial allies do not have the weapons to fight against God and Islam. If time and history could reawaken their conscience and give them a space for self-reflection, would they ever learn this compelling reality from the recorded history?
- The International Terrorist Conspiracy. [↩]
- The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear: BBC documentary challenging the American version of the War on Terrorism. [↩]
- “The Mask of Altruism Disguising a Colonial War,” Guardian, Aug 2, 2004. [↩]
- “Crackdown in Ramadi,” 06/2006. [↩]
- “The High Price of American Gullibility.” [↩]
Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja, an academic with special interests in global peace and security and conflict resolution, and comparative civilizations and author of numerous publications in global affairs. His latest book includes: To America and Canada with Reason. Comments are welcome:firstname.lastname@example.org. Read other articles by Mahboob.