The bomb on the “paradise-island” of Bali in Indonesia recently is predictably being blamed on Al Qaeda by US, Australian and Indonesian officials under a lot of pressure. Very conveniently an identity card, pointing in the “expected” direction, namely Moslem fundamentalists, is reported to have been found near the site of the blast. There is the obvious contradiction that people who act very professionally in assembling a bomb and delivering it to the chosen target should (again) be so careless and stupid that they are not only carrying identification cards on such an operation but are so clumsy that they drop it for the investigators to find. We ought to be a bit suspicious by the continuing habit by some western nations of blaming all acts of violence on Al Qaeda. Links or no links! Identity cards or not! Even though it is very convenient to think so and, no doubt, comforting. One organization with a leader and some order of command can be fought and eradicated.
But Al Qaeda is not General Motors or the CIA, with Bin Laden sitting in a cave in Pakistan surrounded by CEOs planning terrorist acts around the globe and supervising operations with logistics, funding, training and recruiting being handled by diverse departments with access to sophisticated intelligence and communications. We have to stop allowing ourselves from being deceived into believing one organization is behind all attacks on “western interests”. Comforting it may be but the truth is another. The truth is that millions, if not billions, of people, from Papua New Guinea to Colombia, have well-founded reasons to hate the greedy western imperialism. Some of them will finally get desperate enough to turn that hate into action, as the moral right that is on their side doesn’t get them far when the adversary is backed by IMF, WTO, the World Bank, not to mention the Armed Forces of US, UK and a few more. Little does the wellbeing of the Iraqis or the Palestinians, the Indonesians or the Congolese, count when oil, minerals or power is at stake. The people on the receiving side of oppression have a limit. When they have had enough and justice is denied them, no one should be surprised that some of them turn to bombs and guns. Some to kill anyone they connect to the oppressors. Some prepared to die themselves in the process. They may be Moslems, Christians, Hindus or something else, but they are human beings who finally had enough. Don’t call them Al Qaeda, call them desperate!
I’m talking about the arrogant terror of multinational corporations into the game of stealing valuable resources from less powerful countries, reaping the profits and leaving their populations to live with the poison and destruction while going on to the next profitable venture. I’m talking about the game of “strategic interests” played by countries that are prepared to walk over dead bodies to achieve what some of their amoral leaders deem is important. US, UK, Australia, some Europeans countries and Canada play both games, more or less ruthlessly and more or less successfully, but they play them and as a result they have to expect being hit by foul play when the oppressed side finally finds out that the rules are tailored to benefit the oppressors.
Now identify the REAL enemy! Let’s turn our perspective 180 degrees and try to imagine being on the receiving side of the stealing, robbing and oppression. Some examples give some clues on where to look for the enemy.
Australian Normandy Mining Ltd mines gold in Bergama, Turkey. In the process thousands of tons of cyanide comes out, in the air and the water. The poisoning of the area is destroying the olive harvest and causing thousands of farmers to lose their livelihood. When the mine is empty, NM goes to the next site leaving the dead protesters and destruction to the farmers and their offspring. The profits leave too.
Senegalese farmers were forced by western banking institutions to grow much more peanuts to get some loans. The west wanted salt peanuts with the beer and drinks in front of the TV. Result: Peanuts produced in abundance, price goes down and the farmers have to import expensive rice and other food on credit from the west (bought cheap in Vietnam or Thailand). A country is again on or over the limit to starvation. A few corrupt politicians get a handout but the main profits go elsewhere.
We all remember the terrible accident in Bhopal, India ’84, when 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate leaked out from Union Carbide’s pesticide factory. So far the accident has claimed more than 10,000 lives and 100,000 still live with severe health damages. Union Carbide got away with a settlement of $470 millions and US refused to extradite chairman Warren Anderson, apparently with a nod from bribed Indian officials.
Canadian Ivanhoe Mines Ltd is one of the biggest investors in the military junta’s Myanmar (Burma). According to Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi “foreign capital lines the pockets of the generals”. Villagers in Myanmar has filed a lawsuit accusing another company, American Unocal of using forced labor in construction of a pipeline. Cost cutting is really the word these days!
Exxon Mobil is accused of knowing about but not trying to stop its gas fields security forces (Indonesian military) from committing murder, torture and other crimes in the Aceh province of Indonesia. The Bush administration tries to assist Exxon Mobil by influencing Indonesia. Do some Indonesians, who are not on the bribed side, get mad? One thing is sure. After all the years of American weapons exports, that country must be loaded with hardware and explosives!
In Papua New Guinea transnational mining giant Rio Tinto is accused of environmental and human rights abuses. So as not to “interfere with ongoing peace process and adversely affect American foreign policy” an American federal court is reported to have dismissed the lawsuit.
There are more! Many, many more examples! There’s no shortage of information about what western corporations are involved in, and anyone who has learned about what some of them are prepared to do for profit in their own countries should not be surprised that human lives matter less the further from home they are. Anyone wanting to learn more about international mining ought to visit: <http://www.minesandcommunities.org/Company/company.htm>
In most less developed/poor countries the same goes on, over and over again. In the Mideast and some other places it’s oil that is wanted by the west and causes one intervention after another. How many people in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela have a chance to share in the resources of their own country? And how much is controlled by the western oil dinosaurs? In Africa and Asia it’s mainly minerals, diamonds and gold. Congo, Angola, and many other African states are blessed with more natural wealth than are US. Sadly that wealth is not helping the Congolese and Angolans but running in wide streams to London’s City and Wall Street. It’s coffee, cocoa, peanuts, bananas, copra, rubber and cheap labor elsewhere. Forced on poor countries by the WTO, IMF and the World Bank or by US forces. Do we expect those countries to be thankful that we in the west sell them expensive food and machinery after forcing them to produce coffee and peanuts cheap for us to the exclusion of needed eatables? Do we think that selling weapons to the rulers is adequate compensation for taking the oil from under the sands that the forefathers of their people walked?
We protect our vital industries and agriculture with tariffs, but blackmail poor nations to be wide open to our trade demands. Cause for concern or anger? Just imagine! To make it even more stupid we saturate those areas with weapons too! All in the name of Greed.
. . . and be aware that WE are the guilty bystanders! The CEOs and owners of the companies that profit from the imperialism, just as the leaders of the countries that encourage it, have nothing to fear from enraging the world. They just collect the winnings and the power and stay in their guarded bunkers and palaces and armored Mercedes and Cadillacs. They never order anyone killed. Thy just tell underlings they want a “problem” solved. Mercenaries prepared to kill for money are easier to find than terrorists prepared to kill for god.
WE are the people who are tricked to give power to the greedy. WE are the ones who get killed when the desperation and hate overflows as a result of their greed. And WE are the ones who are not paid for that risk and are badly protected besides! But WE have, in our ignorance and indolence let the guilty ones get away with it. WE share the guilt!
Terrorists prepared to kill because of fanatic religiosity are not many. Their percentage of the world’s population is probably smaller than the percentage of people in US going off on killing sprees or committing murder for other insane reasons. They might be convenient for propaganda purposes but still constitute a limited problem. The normal people whose land is stolen, fields and water is poisoned and sisters and brothers are tortured or murdered are the powder keg whose fuse is rapidly burning. If they ever decide enough is enough, we westerners will have a price to pay. They might be a few billion!
We, or more correctly, our greedy capitalists are the real enemies! Why should we or anybody suffer because of them?
The west is continuing to rape the poor people of the world. Are they supposed to say “thank you” afterwards? Do we expect them to take it lying down?
JERRE SKOG is a Swedish writer, musician and alternative observer living in Germany since 1999. More articles, political and satirical can be found on: Jerre?s Thinktank www.skog.de Comments are welcome at: firstname.lastname@example.org