Transnational terrorism

By Takis Fotopoulos 

The long war, which became known with the publication of the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defence Review[1], was planned to involve not just the elites of the US and UK -the usual leading players in similar wars- but the entire transnational elite, as well as the military and intelligence forces of as many of its 'allied' elites as possible. The war was envisaged to take the form of an ongoing conflict, unlimited by time and space, as it could be fought in dozens of countries and for decades to come, in a life or death struggle (for which the US defense budget for 2007 was estimated at $513bn), comparable to those against fascism and communism. As the unforgettable Donald Rumsfeld put it at the time: "the enemy have designed and distributed a map where national borders are erased and replaced by a global extremist Islamic empire." At the same time, as Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of US central command covering the Middle East, declared in London, "an extremist ideology seeks to go back to the era of theocratic dictatorship, repression and intolerance while employing the latest technology to do so".[2]The 'new' anti-terrorist war launched by the transnational elite (TE) - basically the elites of the G7 countries administering the New World Order (NWO) of neoliberal globalization - is, in fact, a continuation of the "long war" announced some eight years ago. Then, we first heard about the evolution of the on-going "war" conducted by the transnational elite, from a war against "terrorism" into a "long war" (the term used by the American Pentagon).

As I pointed out at the time[3], it was hilarious indeed that these assertions were made by someone representing one of the most religious countries on earth, in which over 80 percent of its people believe in miracles and its president (George W. Bush) used to declare that he used to consult God before deciding which country to invade next! Yet, what is more important to notice is the striking similarities between the wording used by the TE, at the time, to justify the 'long war', and its present wording --the only difference worth mentioning being, in fact, the replacement of the periphrasis 'global extremist Islamic empire' with the more exact word 'caliphate'.

However, there is one important ideological difference between the 'long war' and the just launched 'new' anti-terrorism war:  the former was justified, at the time, by the ideology of clash of civilizations derived from Huntingdon's "theory" that people's cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world[4] --an obvious attempt to disguise the real war of the TE to subjugate any country or movement that was resisting its full integration into the New World Order (NWO) of neoliberal globalization, through economic and/or physical violence. Yet, today, even the Nobel laureate Obama, who managed to bomb 7 countries in the 6 years of his presidency,[5] had to admit in his recent UN General Assembly speech that this is not a clash of civilizations, presumably because the elites had realized that this approach was going to alienate even those client Islamic regimes which have now been recruited to fight the new war against terrorism.

The new 'ideology' used to justify the present war is expressed in terms of the 'barbaric' methods used by the ISIS jihadists-despite the fact of course that the elites were fully aware of the fact that (mostly the same) jihadists, with the elites' connivance, used exactly the same methods against the Libyan and Syrian peoples in the past few years to achieve 'regime change' in the corresponding cases. In other words, the elites adopted a convenient definition of terrorism, which had nothing to do with the historical origin of the term and its traditional meaning. Thus, first, they 'forgot' that the concept of modern terrorism derives from the French revolution, where terrorism was only state terrorism. Second, they distorted its traditional meaning. As a British analyst pointed out in the aftermath of the 9/11 events:

The tendency in recent years, encouraged by the scale of last month's atrocity in New York, has been to define terrorism increasingly in terms of methods and tactics - particularly the targeting of civilians - rather than the status of those who carry it out. Such an approach has its own difficulties. Liberation movements which most would balk at branding terrorist, including the ANC and the Algerian FLN, attacked civilian targets - as so mesmerizingly portrayed in Pontecorvo's film Battle of Algiers. But more problematic for western governments is the way such arguments can be turned against them. The concept of modern terrorism derives, after all, from the French revolution, where terror was administered by the state - as it is today by scores of governments around the world.[6]

Yet, this clearly distorting definition of terrorism has been imposed by the TE, as well as by the Zionist elites, which have gone so far as to define even the Palestinian national liberation movement as terrorist, because it killed civilians, while the thousands of civilians and many children among them killed by the Israeli security services in the last few years were just characterized as 'collateral damage', if not 'human shields' used by their parents! In the same way, the Transnational Elite's terrorism, which has led to the destruction of millions of lives around the world, either through economic violence or physical violence, is not called terrorism at all but just 'rational economic policies' and humanitarian wars respectively!

One way to avoid the snags associated with the above problematic conception of terrorism is to use instead, as I pointed out elsewhere,[7] a useful definition of terrorism which takes into account these crucial considerations. Such is the definition proposed by professor Johan Galtung', which, starting with Clausewitz's classical definition of war as "the continuation of politics by other means," defines in a similar way terrorism as "the continuation of violence by other means."[8] This definition is particularly helpful because it explicitly takes into account the fact that violence for political aims, either it originates in a socio-economic system and its political expression, the state, or in opposing forces "from below," is always a cycle and is incomprehensible unless seen as such. Based on this definition, (which is consistent with the historical origin of the word), "terrorism" that starts "from below" is always a symptom rather than a cause of political violence and, therefore, should not even be called terrorism, but, instead,  'collective counter-violence'. This may take the form of direct action, violent demonstrations and riots, sometimes leading to revolutions and, in extreme cases, it may assume the form of guerrilla warfare. The traditional form of collective counter-violence in the pre-globalization era was the genuine popular counter-violence against the elites, (e.g. the Cuban revolution).

However, in the NWO, even the meaning of collective counter-violence has been bastardized, following the fate of concepts like 'revolution' (see velvet 'revolutions'). That is why when collective counter-violence takes place in the NWO, (for instance in Libya and Syria but also in Maidan), participants usually act as direct or indirect instruments of the TE and its client states. That is, even if it is only their (formal or informal) leaders who consciously play such a role and most rank and file members may not have a clue about it, still, they do function objectively as instruments of these elites. In this sense, the members of organizations such as ISIS and Al Nousra etc., or the Maidan 'revolutionaries' themselves, are directly or indirectly organs of state terrorism--which of course nowadays could only have a transnational dimension.

In other words, state terrorism in the NWO of neoliberal globalization takes the form of  a controlled transnational terrorism, namely a terrorism that is controlled by the TE and its client states. The main target of transnational terrorism is states that have not been fully integrated into the NWO, either because they are based on liberation movements (e.g. the Baathist regimes in Iraq and Syria, or Jamahiriya in Libya) or because they are based on peoples who have a vivid memory of self-determination and are struggling to maintain their national sovereignty in the globalization era (Russia).

Thus, it can easily be shown that a lot of today's butchers of ISIS, Al Nusra had carried out similar (if not worse) massacres in the recent past. First, in Libya, in 2011 when they were playing the role of NATO infantry, while at the same time the TE's air forces were destroying the country's infrastructure, until, under the enthusiastic applause of the "feminist" Hilary Clinton, they lynched (literally) Gaddafi.[9] Next, after finishing their "work" there, many of these jihadists moved to Syria, where they continued the same project. This time, the aim was the destruction of the Assad regime, which was based on the Ba'athist national liberation movement, and its replacement by a theocratic caliphate.[10] At least this is what the gullible followers of these organizations believed, not being usually conscious of the actual role played by them as instruments of the TE and its client criminal regimes in the region, e.g. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which excelled in organizing crimes against the people of Libya and Syria.

Finally, when these organizations began attacking the direct instruments of the TE in the area (e.g. the 'Free Syrian Army'), which were earmarked to succeed Assad and transform the country into an informal protectorate of the NWO (something like Greece), then the TE decided that their time was up. In other words, ISIS simply functions at present as the pretext for the continuation of the long war, this time against Syria. That is, the main objective has always been to crush the national liberation movement in Syria today and Iran tomorrow, whether this is achieved  by a coup 'from above' (the traditional military coup), or 'from below,' (the "Maidan" model), or whether it is done by external intervention combined with a 'coup from below' (the Libyan model).

To sum it up, transnational terrorism is today's state terrorism against the victims of neoliberal globalization.

Takis Fotopoulos

Takis Fotopoulos is a political philosopher, editor of Society & Nature/Democracy and Nature/The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy. He has also been a columnist for the Athens Daily Eleftherotypia since 1990. Between 1969 and 1989 he was Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of North London (formerly Polytechnic of North London). He is the author of over 25 books and over 1,000 articles, many of which have been translated into various languages.

** An early version of this article was first published in TF's weekly column in Sunday's Eleftherotypia (a Greek daily published in Athens) on 28/9/2014. The translation into English was edited by Jonathan Rutherford.

[1] Simon Tisdall et al. 'America's Long War', The Guardian, 15/2/2006

[2] Simon Tisdall, 'Wasghington digs in for a long war', The Guardian , 7/2/2006

[3] Takis Fotopoulos, 'The "long war" and Islamophobia', The International Journal of INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY, vol. 2, no.4 (November 2006)

[4] Samuel P. Huntigdon, "The Clash of Civilizations", Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993

[5] "O, bomber! Obama bombs 7th country in 6 years", RT, 23/9/2014

[6] Seumas Milne, "Terror and tyranny," The Guardian, 25/10/2001

[7] Takis Fotopoulos, "The Global "war" of the transnational elite", DEMOCRACY & NATURE, Vol. 8, No. 2 (July 2002)

[8] Johan Galtung, "On the causes of terrorism and their removal," IFDA Dossier 66 (July-August 1988), pp. 29-42.

[9] Takis Fotopoulos, Subjugating the Middle East: Integration into the New World Order - Vol. 2: Engineered Insurrections, (to be published by Progressive Press later in the year)

[10] ibid.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov