Blowback in the Ongoing Age of Empire: Paris and Its Aftermath

Recent attacks apparently orchestrated by ISIS and ISIS affiliated groups in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and France have reinvigorated popular debate about terrorism. Sadly, but typically, the mainstream media in Australia has censored and omitted any honest and candid discussion about the true causes of terrorism and how it might be prevented. This article seeks to redress this glaring omission, and, in so doing, its author dares to utter the bleeding obvious.

Broadly speaking, there are three main sources of terrorist acts; those committed by non-state actors, those committed by states, and those not directly committed by states, but covertly sponsored by them.

Whilst the blood has barely dried on the streets of Paris it would be offensively premature to define the latest carnage within the tripartheid system of categorisation I have just offered. ISIS has claimed the attack, and France has already bombed their strong-hold in Al-Raqqa, a densely populated city with over one hundred thousand civilian inhabitants. In truth, the investigations into the attacks are still in their infancy. In this article, I make a supposition; that ISIS did carry out the recent attacks. Unlike the Western political leadership, I do not assume ISIS’s responsibility. Though it may be convenient to do so, I make no assumption, I only suppose, for the sake of scholarly analysis.

In the wake of the 13 November terror attacks in Paris, the old great lie that is always repeated after such terrorist incidents directed at Westerners was again trotted out by every Western leader, and again parroted by a sycophantic and complicit mainstream Western media. The lie goes like this; ‘Nothing in our foreign policy actions could have possibly caused or contributed to the terrorist event in any way. The terrorists only did this to us because they hate us, and they only hate us because we stand for freedom, love, peace and goodness’.

Self-deception is the fundamental well-spring of almost all psychopathology, but I doubt whether any of the Western political elite who vomit this nonsense in the wake of terrorist events actually believe it themselves. They all parrot the line with such monotonous exactitude that it must be an official statement from an internal memo once circulated to all ministers and government spokes-people about how they must respond to media questions about the causes of terrorist incidents.

Let us make one further supposition for the sake of discussion, and this is a bolder and more shaky supposition than the first: that Western governments actually do possess the will to keep their citizenry safe from acts of terrorism. Now, supposing this, the recent waves of terrorist attacks throughout the Middle East and in Paris are a sad reminder that no amount of surveillance, legislation, and ‘anti-terror’ operations by state security forces can keep civilian populations safe.

There is, in fact, only one way for governments to remove the threat of non-state terrorism and to ensure the safety and security of their civilian populations. That is, for those governments to themselves stop committing acts of terrorism. The indiscriminate urban terrorism employed by non-state terrorist groups is characterised by an ever-increasing savagery, sophistication, frequency and effect. The savagery, sophistication, frequency and effect of non-state terrorism does, however, continue to be dwarfed by that of state, and state-sponsored varieties.

ISIS are rightly condemned as a pack of religious fanatics who are willing to kill in the most brutal and indiscriminate fashion in the advancement of their religious ambitions. But are the Western corporate elite and their politician puppets really substantively any different? The savagery and the zealous hatred are the same, only the god is different. Whilst one murders for Allah and for a place in heaven, the other murders for Mammon (money), and for a place on the Forbes super-rich list (though I notice the richest of the rich never appear on Forbes lists). The only real difference lies in their access to resources. Non-state terrorists usually operate with relatively limited means, unless they have been ‘sponsored’, that is, supplied with arms by a state or corporation, or unless they have managed to take materiel from a battlefield which, usually, has been abandoned, often recklessly, by retreating Western armies or their proxies. State terror apparatus’ have a virtually unlimited tax-funded war machine with which to advance the corporate interests of those who really run the show; the contractors, the lobbyists the agencies: Boeing, Bell Air, BAe Systems, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, United Technologies, L-3 Communications, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, General Dynamics, BAE Systems, Finmeccanica, etc.

One way and another, ISIS is a creation of the West. There is ample evidence that this is literally so; that ISIS is a CIA asset that grew out of American (and Saudi) efforts to cultivate a radical form of Islamic fundamentalism (Wahhabism or Salifism) to combat Soviet influence in the region during the 1980’s. But it is also true in the indirect sense; that the foreign policy initiatives of the West are informed by a radical corporate neo-imperialism that creates millions of victims and thousands of survivors intent on avenging the suffering and deaths of those millions. ‘Blow-back’ is the modern abbreviation for the old biblical saying ‘an eye for an eye’. Of course, the wise understand that ‘an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind’, but try telling that to religious fanatics, whether they be those who believe in killing in the name of Allah, or those who believe in killing in the name of Christ or Mammon. Fundamentalism is fundamentalism, be it Wahhabism or neo-conservatism, and both are equally malevolent.

ISIS has been very clear in explaining its actions, continually reminding the West that it is the occupation of Iraq and other interference in the Middle East by the USA and its allies that motivates it.

Were the Western world not run by fanatical neo-imperialist psychopaths, events such as occurred this week in Paris should spell the end of the age of imperialism. Even people of average intelligence can put two and two together. Most honest commentators realise that if you attack countries without cause or provocation, as occurred, for example, in Iraq in 2003, blow-back is inevitable. If Western politicians really wanted to keep their citizenry safe, then they would immediately abandon their murderous neo-imperialist adventurism, apologise to every nation they have ever invaded, plundered, occupied, raped and terrorised in their pursuit and adoration of almighty Mammon, pay reparations, stop occupying the lands of others and treating them as their own ‘back-yard’ ordained by some perverse ‘manifest destiny’, and quietly and humbly withdraw to their own borders.

But, sadly, the Western world is run by psychopaths, and they are firmly in the pocket of the corporate elite who run the show at a higher level still. The Western political elite know very well that their recent foreign policy decisions have caused the deaths of millions of people in the Middle East. And they know that those decisions are now causing ‘blow-back’ on the streets of their own cities on an unprecedented scale. And they know how to fix the problem over-night in the way I have already described. But this would require the yielding up of their neo-imperialist ambitions, and their pay-masters would never allow that. The industrial military complex and the petro-barons have too much invested in maintaining a perpetual state of war to ever allow something as dangerous as peace to break out. Their modus operandi is always the same; secretly foment war, arm both sides in the conflict and hope it never end, sit back and reap the profits.

The various nationalist movements that culminated in the achievement of independence for many new nations during the twentieth century led historians to boldly declare the ‘end of the age of imperialism’. In truth, the age of imperialism never ended, and is set to continue in the more subtle, covert and sophisticated forms it has been forced to adopt since about 1945. We are all being held ransom by an unelected corporate elite who run the show at the highest levels of government, and who have already decided that the best way to advance their worship of Mammon is by sustaining a never ending state of war. As Winston, the main protagonist in 1984, was cooly reminded, ‘we have always been at war with Eurasia’.

Mammon is apparently a very blood-thirsty god, and one requiring a great and continual letting of blood and many sacrifices upon the altar of greed. As Obama candidly observed in 2009; ‘The reason we’re not getting things done is not because we don’t have good plans. The reason is because it’s not our agenda that’s being moved forward in Washington – it’s the agenda of the oil companies, the insurance companies, the drug companies, the special interests who dominate on a day-to-day basis in terms of legislative activity’. (Obamanomics, Timothy P. Carney, page-1-3 Nov 30, 2009). Now, whether this apparently anti-corporate rhetoric by Obama really fits with the actualities of his policy initiatives regarding corporations, you get my point about who really runs the USA.

Spontaneous grass-roots anti-war movements have erupted on the streets of Western capitals before, but they are vehemently resisted and suppressed by politicians who have already been bought by their corporate masters, who remind them that peace is simply not good for business.

Now Hollande and other Western leaders are calling for ‘vengeance’ on a grand scale. French bombs are already falling on Al-Raqqa, as they did upon Iraq during the ‘weapons of mass deception’ saga. Of course, the many civilians who will die in the latest round of allied raids will never be mourned by the Western main-stream media. Those victims are not white, not European, not human. Rather, they are only the unnameable, faceless, sub-human barbarians that need not be counted, let alone mourned. Franz Fanon, a philosopher and revolutionary who condemned with such eloquence and perspicacity a previous generation of French imperialist murderers who occupied his homeland Algeria, had a term for those faceless and forgotten non-white victims: ‘the wretched of the earth’.

Such is the vengeance now being called for by Hollande and the other Western leaders, one thing is sure: for every Parisian life lost this week, dozens, if not hundreds, of those faceless and unnameable ‘wretched of the earth’ must die in the indiscriminate ‘shock and awe’ total war campaigns that have now received a new impetus and rally cry: ‘for Paris’.

Rob Lonetree is a journalist in Australia.