Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
WE NEED YOU NOW MORE THAN EVER!

We don’t ask often, but when we do we really mean it. It costs a lot to keep our website afloat, and our growing audience, well over two million unique viewers a month (you read that right), eats up a lot of bandwidth–and bandwidth isn’t free. We aren’t supported by corporate donors, advertisers or big foundations. We survive solely on your support. Please, drop us a few dollars if you have the means.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Politics of Terror Mirrors the Politics of Heroin 

by

“The White House is not just doubling the bet in Iraq…..It’s doubling the bet across the region [and the world]. This could get very complicated. Everything is upside down.”

— Martin Indyk (former US ambassador to Israel) 2007

The West’s policies in the Middle East are coming home. Remember the “Vietnamese” heroin that showed up in the body bags at home? Well there’s a lot of body bags at home right now that are full of “Islamic” terrorism. And remember the army that invaded Basra? The British one! Well it’s now on the streets of Britain. And the army that destroyed Libya? The French one! It’s now on the streets of France. Meanwhile in America the US President is fighting the FBI and the US media are begging for a coup. And everywhere in the trans-Atlantic sewer the populists are freaking out the elitists. The Empire of chaos is a structural mess.

It is a case of one contradiction too many. On top of the West’s never ending class wars and imperial wars, the West’s latest “forever and ever war on terror” is a fiasco that has tipped the balance in favour disbelief and dissent. The illegitimacy of this “war on terrorism” points to the illegitimacy of all the structural wars the West is fighting across the planet. It is the domino theory in reverse. One imperial war stops making sense and so all the wars stop making sense (if they ever did). The Western establishment has tied itself in a knot in an attempt to prolong itself. Watch it fall.

Our Western governments tell us  that they’re at war with “Islamic terror”. Yet in the geopolitics of the Middle East our governments align themselves with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States – the kingdoms which sponsor “Islamic terror”. Everyone with half a brain knows that Saudi Wahhabism is the mother of Al-Qaeda and ISIS. And a half of that half a brain can connect the dots between Western Interests in Arabia and “Islamic terror”. It’s obvious that the West have used and still are using “Islamic terrorism” as a proxy in places like Syria, Libya and Iraq. So when these same “terrorists” pop up in the West and cause mayhem: what the fuck?

Could it be that the West’s terrorists in the Middle East are still working for the West when they bomb and shoot in the West? Could our Western governments be targeting the West?

The House of Saud and the House of Commons as well as the White House  (you can add the Houses of Rothschild and Rockefeller to this list of elite Houses) do nothing without each other. So if a Saudi linked death squad attacks the West: the Western establishment is complicit.

Why? To begin with the House of Saud was a British intelligence asset during World War I – long before Saudi Arabia was born in 1932. The British paid for Saudi head chopping back in the 1920s. And nothing has changed since then. For example, since the Saudi invasion of Yemen in 2015 the UK has sold £3.3 billion worth of military equipment to the Saudis.

The USA joined the Saudi bloodbath in the interwar period. The California -Arabian Standard Oil Company institutionalised this nefarious relationship in the 1930s. And Henry Kissinger cemented it in the 1970s. Oil and petrodollars therefore were the parents of Al-Qaeda. And any jihad since the 1980s has been a happy meeting of CIA and Saudi minds.

This includes ISIS. Seymour Hersh explains the latest US/Saudi cooperation explicitly in his 2007 New Yorker article ‘The Redirection’. After the US lost control of Iraq, Washington DC allowed the Saudis to ‘redirect’ US foreign policy in the region – in an effort to “contain” Iran. The end result was Sunni extremism in Iraq and eventually ISIS. And a US/Saudi 2017 military deal worth $110 billion.

This fundamental link between the Western establishment and Saudi Arabia’s overt and covert terror networks doesn’t categorically connect the West’s governments to the bullets and bombs of ISIS that explode in the West. It doesn’t suggest anything else other than blowback. But a more sinister connection than ‘guilt by association’ comes to the surface if we analyse Western elite behaviour elsewhere. If we widen our perspective and look at the war on drugs and compare it to the war on terror, then what the Western elite are capable of within the West is alarming.

It isn’t just blowback – it’s by design. That’s the lesson of the “war on drugs”. Richard Nixon started this war in 1971. However in 2015, according to RT, the illegal drug market was “bigger than the automotive industry and it’s volume is approaching that of the oil and gas sector“. In his book The CIA As Organised Crime, Douglas Valentine answers the following question:

Ken McCarthy: A member of the Sinaloa cartel, Vicente Zambada-Niebla, is currently in prison in the US “on charges of trafficking more than a billion dollars in cocaine and heroin.” Zambada’s attorney is saying that since the late 1990s, the Sinaloa cartel has provided various US law enforcement agencies with information about the other cartels. They help the US eliminate their rivals and in exchange they’re allowed to import limitless quantities of drugs into the US. Chicago is one of their main drop-off points.

So, Doug, has there ever been a case when the US government through its various law enforcement agencies gave a pass to drug dealers in exchange for something else? How often does it happen and how far back does it go?

Valentine: An old FBN [Federal Bureau of Narcotics] agent, Lenny Schrier, once told me: “The only way you can make cases is if your informant sells dope.” So, yes; not only has it happened, and not only does it still happen, but giving dealers a free pass to deal drugs is the foundation stone upon which federal drug law enforcement is based. Once you realise that, you have to look beyond, at the political and economic context that makes such an extra-legal practice possible…

The point here, is that the “war on drugs” is a contradiction. The official Western attempt to stop the trafficking of drugs is responsible for the proliferation of drugs in the West. Valentine’s point is that politics and economics trumps the law in the “war on drugs”. For political and economic reasons the West and its intelligence agencies (primarily the CIA) allows drug trafficking to flourish.

Maybe the reason is that drug money is a good way to fund a secret war (the Contra war against Nicaragua in the 1980s, for example). Maybe drug money maintains Third World CIA assets (landlords, generals, right-wing politicians, organised criminals – the usual anti-communists). Maybe drugs destabilise and therefore controls a strategic country (Mexico) or a strategic class (the working class and underclass). Or maybe drug money fuels a key part of the economy (the Western banks and corporations). Whatever the political or economic reasons the world’s illegal hard drugs are secretly tolerated and encouraged by the West despite the law.

If this is the reality of the war on drugs: can the same contradiction be found in the war on terror? If we superimpose the war on terror onto Valentine’s description of the war on drugs: will the patterns of one fit into the patterns of the other? In the war on terror does politics and economics trump the law? Is terrorism secretly tolerated and encouraged by the Western powers? According to the UK’s Independent newspaper in November 2016:

“A 650 per cent increase in deaths from terrorism in OECD countries and a marked rise in transnational terrorist attacks means the world is now a yet-more dangerous place in terms of terrorism, according to the IEP [Institute for Economics and Peace].”

Is the war on terror therefore like the war on drugs: does it actually promote what it allegedly is fighting against? The facts suggest that this is the case. Why?

As Valentine argues in relation to the war on drugs: the reasons concern politics and economics. The war on terror which George W. Bush began in the 2000s and which Donald Trump continues today is in fact similar to the war on terror which Ronald Reagan initiated in the 1980s. In short, it’s a hoax. It’s deceitful because to paraphrase Martin Luther King: the USA and the West back in the 1980s was, as it is today in the 2010s, the greatest purveyor of terror in the world. And it is so for political and economic reasons.

Like drugs, terrorism facilitates Western power. If no non-Western military force can compete with the military power of the West, then what scares the West? Why is the West panicking if it dominates the air, sea and land when it comes to conventional warfare? Why? Because that which makes the West nervous is the world’s civilian population. Cue unconventional warfare!

When the US war on drugs began in 1971, the US and it’s allies were producing heroin and killing civilians on a massive scale in South East Asia. A postmodern (anti-modern) partnership was born. A postmodern (two faced) pattern was set. Under the cover of Western self righteousness – drugs and terror became tools of the West. And they’ve been dovetailing each other ever since – targeting civilians all the way.

The template for the West’s postmodern terror onslaught, according to Douglas Valentine, was the Phoenix Program that shaped the underbelly of America’s war in Vietnam. Realising that the civilian population of South Vietnam was it’s real enemy the US – using it’s secret CIA “warriors” – in a very conscious, bureaucratic and bloody way covertly attacked it.

Secret detention centres, torture and executions terrorised the south Vietnamese population in the late 1960s and into the early 1970s. Up to 40,000 civilians were killed. And the rest were psyched out with propaganda – if they were not killed by a straightforward bombing raid. In this darkly coordinated approach to disobedient civilians the Western state-mafia found a formula that could be systematically used elsewhere. Like heroin, programmatic terrorism could be exported in a clandestine fashion. And in a massive scale it was.

The Phoenix Program was exported to Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s. It was called the ‘Salvador Option’ up north and ‘Operation Condor’ down south. And it ripped the guts out of civilian life in Central America and the Southern Cone.

A few hundred thousand executed civilians here and a few hundred thousand butchered civilians there. And, it’s fair to say, every one of the Latin American state terrorists responsible for this systematic killing of civilians passed through the US [Terror] School of the Americas which was located in Panama and now, under the name the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation”, is based in Fort Benning, Georgia. And, significantly, all of these terrorists had the political support of Latin America’s Cocaine kings and that ultimate king of war: Henry Kissinger.

At about the same time the CIA was training the mujahideen in the arts of terror and letting them blow secular civilian life in Afghanistan to bits. And so the Phoenix Program slowly made its way back to Asia and the heroin business.

This Western attempt to contain modern civilian life around the world, by throwing hardcore drugs and organised terrorism in the way of social progress, doubled it’s bet – in the 21st century – in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

If the Western 1% or 5% or 10% were to remain sure of their social position in global society, then they needed a countervailing primitive force or forces in the face of modern secular trends. Neoliberal capitalism and all it’s talk of competitive market forces became the primitive mainstream ideology of the 1% – the myth of free market individualism. And as it turned out hardcore drugs and hardcore terrorism covered the social and political backs of this 1% as they globalised themselves.

The catch for the Western 1% was that globalisation implied universalism. In capitalist terms, globalisation weirdly implied global equality or at least a level playing field. The BRICS took advantage of this. And the West hit back with a plethora of excuses to maintain inequality and it’s own privileged access to resources. Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilisations was one excuse. And 911 and the subsequent “war on terror” was another excuse. The bet was that chaos in the heart of the Eurasian continent (think Zbigniew Brzezinski) would divert globalisation back into the familiar ways of Western domination.

However universalism, or the 21st century global civilian, had already bolted from Western parochialism. It was too late to slam the doors of history shut. Hence the need to double the bet against the progressive secular tendencies of the 21st century – the global dimensions of science and technology (reason), and as a result the global (non-Western) dimensions of human society. Feeling unsure of itself the parochial 1% backtracked  away from globalisation and doubled it’s belief in the “Phoenix Program”.

The 1% and it’s allies and tools – NATO, Israel, the Saudis and all their secret services – combined in an attempt to divide and rule the world’s citizens one more time. Strategic cultural and political fractures were exploited in order to engineer social chaos and social reaction. The reason was Western power. And no price was too much for that.

Since World War II, at least, Western governments (the US leading the pack) have had no qualms about working with drug dealers so as to promote their interests. Likewise, since at least the Vietnam War, the West has systematically used for it’s own benefit terrorism and terrorists freely. From Vietnam to the Middle East – via Latin America – even the names of the Western teachers of terror are the same. For example, US colonel James Steele and US diplomat John Negroponte. And hovering above the likes of these are the gods of terror – the CIA, MI6, Mossad, etc. (figures like the ghostly Ted Shackley).

Which brings us back to Saudi Arabia and it’s “free pass” to commit acts of terrorism in what Seymour Hersh calls “The Redirection”. The importance of Saudi Arabia to the financial and petroleum heights of the Western establishment are beyond doubt. So the question now is whether that Saudi free pass extends to Western cities? Are policies like the Salvador Option on the elite table when dealing with Western countries?

If the war on drugs is any guide then Western society is as much a target for a “Phoenix type Program” as any other Third World society. Indeed Douglas Valentine believes that The United States Department of Homeland Security is a direct descendant of the Phoenix Program.

And the bombs and bullets in the streets of Europe? If the black neighbourhoods of Los Angeles could be flooded with drugs with the discreet blessing of a US government which was allegedly fighting a war against drugs: then the working class streets of Europe can be flooded with terrorism with the surreptitious blessing of the Western governments which are allegedly fighting a war against terror.

More articles by:

Aidan O’Brien is a hospital worker in Dublin, Ireland.

October 17, 2017
Suzanne Gordon – Ian Hoffmann
Trumpcare for Veterans? VA Outsourcing Will Create Healthcare Industry Bonanza
Patrick Cockburn
The Real Destabilizer in the Middle East in Not Iran But Trump
Jonathan Cook
The Real Reasons Trump is Quitting UNESCO
Murtaza Shibli
My Friend From ISIS in Raqqa
Kathy Kelly
Wrongful Rhetoric and Trump’s Strategy on Iran
David Bonner
Beyond Taking a Knee: Duane Thomas, Where are You When We Need You?
Tom Gill
Austerity, Macron-Style
Liaquat Ali Khan
Pakistan Faces a Life-Threatening Military Coup
Jeff Mackler
Is Trump a ‘Moron?’
Amena Elashkar
If You Work for Justice in Palestine, Why Won’t You Let Palestinians Speak?
John Feffer
Trump’s Unprecedented Right-Turn on Foreign Policy
Ariel Dorfman
Trump’s War on the Mind
Dean Baker
The Republican Tax Plan to Slow Growth
Gerry Brown
The Return of One-Man Rule in China?
Binoy Kampmark
Climate Change Insurgent: Tony Abbott’s Crusade
Kent Paterson
Assassination in Guerrero: the Murder of Ranferi Hernandez Acevedo
Rob Okun
Men and Sexual Assault in the Age of Trump
October 16, 2017
Vijay Prashad
A Tale of Two Islands
Ben Dangl
Profiting from America’s Longest War: Trump Seeks to Exploit Mineral Wealth of Afghanistan
Jan Oberg
Trump is Moving Toward War With Iran
Thomas S. Harrington
The Baseless Myth of the Poor, Propagandized Catalans
Steve Brown
When a Radio Host Interviews a War Criminal, Is It Churlish to Ask About His War Crimes?
Howard Lisnoff
Capturing the Flag
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS is Facing Near Total Defeat, But It Has Been Beaten and Come Back Before
Julian Vigo
The Fall of Harvey Weinstein and the Sexual Blindspot of Misogyny
James Munson
The Rich Can’t Achieve Plurality, But the Poor Can
Amitai Ben-Abba
The NIMPE Critique of Antifa
Robert Fisk
We Will Soon See What the Word “Unity” Means for the Palestinian People
Alice Donovan
Civil War in Venezuela: a US Joint Operation with Colombia?
Jimmy Centeno
The De-Mexicanization of Duranguito Barrio, El Paso, Texas
Martin Billheimer
The Phantom of Justice in Indian Country
Uri Avnery
The Terrible Problem
Binoy Kampmark
Dirty Ties: the University of New Haven and Saudi Arabia
Ted Rall
Imagine a Brand-New USA
Weekend Edition
October 13, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Richard D. Wolff
The Political Economy of Obama/Trump
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Man in the Soundproof Booth
Becky Grant
My History With Alexander Cockburn and the Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
Orange Thing: Should It Stay or Should It Go?
Ellen Brown
How to Wipe Out Puerto Rico’s Debt Without Hurting Bondholders
Andrew Levine
Loyalty to the Don
Patrick Cockburn
Underground in Raqqa
Linda Pentz Gunter
Could Trump be About to Kill U.S. Solar Industry Jobs?
Conn Hallinan
Of Leprechauns, Nazis, and Truncheons
Mike Whitney
Cowboy’s Boss Draws a Line in Sand: “Stand for Anthem or Else”
Geoff Dutton
Harvard, the CIA, and All That
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail