The usual definition of a ‘terrorist’ is simple: a person who uses violence in the pursuit of a political objective.
By this definition, the two major categories of terrorist are those political leaders who perpetrate state terror by attacking other countries (ranging from launching a war, perhaps following a false flag operation, to conducting a drone strike) – see the classic book The Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda – and those political leaders who use military violence in defense of a political objective. For insight into the damaged psychology of violent political leaders, see ‘Understanding Obama and other People Who Kill’. For much greater detail, see ‘Why Violence?’
However, the narrower Western public perception of a ‘terrorist’ is someone who attacks civilian targets usually, but not always, in the West (that is, far away from any war zone). This is why US drone strikes on civilians in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, for example, do not attract similar condemnation. Nor is there any condemnation of the Western use of terrorist groups as proxies in the war against the Syrian government. Consequently, groups like al Qaeda, Islamic State, al-Shabab and Boko Haram are labelled ‘terrorist’, essentially because they are presented as targeting and attacking ‘our’ civilians (or, as in the case of the girls kidnapped in Nigeria in 2014, ones with whom we are allowed to identify).
In his extensive research in the discipline of critical terrorism studies, Professor Richard Jackson recently concluded that ‘every major terrorist attack on Western targets since 2001, including the attacks in Bali, Madrid, London and Boston, has been claimed by the perpetrators to be revenge for Western military intervention in the Middle East. Even the beheadings of Western hostages were justified by Islamic State captors as a response to US bombing. In fact, every major academic study of the past ten years has confirmed that Western military intervention and its policies in the Middle East, including support for the state of Israel, is the primary motivation for anti-Western terrorist attacks. In 1996, a major study by the CATO Institute concluded that U.S. military intervention overseas was the primary driver of anti-American terrorism. The Chicago Project on Suicide Terrorism has drawn the same fundamental conclusion.’ See ‘How not to tackle Islamic State’.
Professor Jackson goes on to say ‘There is plenty of good research and information which could help to make reasonable and effective policies’. But, as Professor Jackson also knows, we would be naïve to believe that Western elites have any interest in such policies. And here’s why.
Terrorism is the global elite’s ultimate weapon and a primary instrument for achieving its policies. That is, terrorism enables the elite to manipulate geostrategic events in order to extend and consolidate its political, economic and social control over national societies and their resources. Here’s how it works.
Western elites and their allies wage war, in one form or another, on countries in other parts of the world (the Middle East and Africa being the preferred targets at the moment) specifically in order to induce a violent retaliation, including by groups which are secretly supported, materially and militarily, by these elites. See, for example, ‘A Shameless Movement: Boko Haram and the Politics of Terror’. Elites also conduct false flag operations, such as 9/11 – see, for example, ‘The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account of 911 Cannot Be True’ – and the attack on Charlie Hebdo – see, for example, ‘Charlie Hebdo Massacre: Another Staged Event to Incite War and Destroy Freedom?’ – to provoke public outrage. They then use the public outrage generated by these retaliations and the false flag operations to justify the continuation of their military attacks. This enables them to expand elite control both in the regions under attack and also domestically.
By harping on the ‘threat of terrorism’ to scare domestic populations, Western elites and their allies are able to maintain their perpetual war in pursuit of control of essential diminishing natural resources – particularly fossil fuels, strategic minerals and water – while increasing their social control of domestic populations through increasingly repressive domestic legislation that guts human rights and civil liberties, including those in relation to dissent, while increasing the powers of ‘intelligence’ services and the police as they consolidate the surveillance state. See, for example, ‘How Australia just became a “national security state”’.
Needless to say, the elite makes good use of its paid agents in academia, think tanks, the corporate media and elsewhere to make sure that you are kept carefully misinformed and told what to think and how to react.
If you are inclined to resist the elite use of terror against the rest of us, you are welcome to sign the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’.
Terrorism is intended to frighten and kill fellow human beings. Those who conduct terrorism and those who endorse it are badly psychologically damaged.
Biodata: Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address is email@example.com and his website is here.