“… those who form the ISIS… were previously regarded as freedom fighters who fought in Syria against the Government of Al Assad… the great powers change too easily the concept of friend-enemy or of terrorist-non-terrorist.” – President of Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in her recent speech to the UN General Assembly.
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s recent speech at the UN was a breath of fresh air. She spoke about economic terrorism and the reasons why some people turn to violence and told the audience how a bankrupt Argentina managed to turn away from hard-line economic neoliberal orthodoxy and stimulate growth. She also discussed the need for multilateral approaches to solving the world’s problems as well as the need to regulate ‘vulture funds’ that cripple sovereign states’ ability to function.
While the President of Argentina offered some alternatives to US unilateralism and institutionalised economic injustices, British PM David Cameron promoted the usual tired rhetoric. In an attempt to justify attacking Iraq and Syria, he spoke of the supposed virtues of Western-style freedom, democracy and economic neoliberalism, while denouncing the Islamic State (IS), extremism and terrorism.
Cameron also stated that anyone who questions the official stories concerning 9/11 in the US or 7/7 in Britain or who criticises British foreign policy is a ‘non-violent extremist’. While pointing the finger at radical Muslims clerics and their followers, Cameron was regarded by many as sending out a warning to anyone, Muslim or otherwise, who questions such things or criticizes certain policies.
After all, who could possibly protest against illegally bombing or invading sovereign nation states to eradicate head-chopping extremists or tyrants or evil-doers that would otherwise attack Britain and carry out butchery and terror?
Defeating terrorism as cover for wars of imperialism
Such made-for-TV narratives are repeated time and again and are so effective because they are so simplistic. Create a threat, demonise it, invoke fear and get the population on board to deal with it militarily. Who could question ‘honest Dave’ with his ‘we are all in this together’ platitudes.
Prior to Cameron’s speech, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told the British press that IS militants are turning large swathes of Iraq and Syria into launch pads to stage terror attacks on Western nations. He said that with the “barbaric ideology” of the Sunni insurgents, “sooner or later they will seek to strike us on British soil.”
Not long after, Home Secretary Theresa May announced she was preparing new laws to tackle Islamist militants at home and to stop them going abroad to fight. May said that that Britain faced a long struggle against a deadly extremist ideology that could take even decades.
To the uniformed, Cameron, Hammond and May’s narratives can be very convincing – as convincing as Blair’s lies were back in 2003 regarding those non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Leading politicians act as the PR arm of the military-financial industrial complex: the big oil companies, the Wall Street/City of London financial institutions, the weapons manufacturers and huge corporations. All of these own strategic sectors of the economy and determine the nature of politics via their think tanks, foundations, funding and wealth, high-level contacts, revolving doors into the high echelons of power and compliant politicians. From BAe, Lockheed Martin and Boeing to Barclays, Goldman Sachs, BP, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum, these and dozens of other similar entities constitute the backbone of what is a structurally overlapping Anglo-US led Western establishment. Like Tony Blair, Cameron’s media-friendly bonhomie is slicker than the most experienced used car salesman and is key to selling the establishment’s endless wars to the public.
Of course, you will never hear Cameron bring up the extremism of the Project for a New American Century or discuss the Wolfowitz doctrine, the neo-con blueprints for the West’s ongoing wars of terror, destabilisations, covert operations, killings and torture that have nothing to do with humanitarianism or ‘fighting evil’ and everything to do with securing world domination, pipeline routes and resources, while denying the same to others. Such things are not to be discussed in public. Defeating terrorism serves as rhetorical cover for imperialist wars.
We must keep to the ‘facts’; the facts as designated by Cameron and those who wish to bury the real facts. We must listen to rhetoric about the wonders of economic liberalism and a thriving democracy, while populations live under the yoke of banker-imposed austerity and mass state surveillance. We must stick to the story that the proper and effective way of preventing terror involves stopping the brain washing of young Muslims at home and that preventing terror abroad is all about rooting out extremists (in resource-rich or resource-transit countries).
Do not associate the ‘Muslim problem’ with wars of intervention and occupation and the machinations of Empire in Muslim countries. Out of sight, out of mind, thanks partly to the media, including the BBC – a taxpayer-funded ‘public service’ broadcaster whose selective reporting and willingness to tow the official line does anything but serve the public.
Economic terror of ‘globalisation’: democracy under threat
According to economics professor John Foster, the aggregate wealth of Britain’s richest 1,000 people was in 2010 some 333 billion pounds. In 2010, Britain’s aggregate national debt was half that amount. In 2009, at the height of the economic crisis, the top 1,000 increased their wealth by a third, meaning that the amount they actually increased their wealth by in just one year was half of the national debt. Yet public sector jobs are being slashed and the welfare state dismantled, while money is always readily available for the next war. Is this not extremism?
How easy it is to conveniently ignore state-corporate extremism under the guise of ‘globalisation’ across the world that has resulted in central states abdicating their responsibilities by submitting to the tenets of the Wall Street/City of London-backed pro-privatisation policies, free capital flows, commodity market rigging, debt speculation, massive profits and unaccountable cartels, which aim to maximise profit by beating down labour costs and grabbing resources. Is that not extremism?
While Cameron stood at the UN eulogising about neoliberalism and Western democracy, powerful financial institutions attempt to impoverish and destabilise states like Argentina and render the concepts of national sovereignty and democracy utterly meaningless. To rake in even further unimaginable profits, ‘vulture funds’ have no compulsion in wrecking the lives of millions of ordinary people by bankrupting national economies, seizing their assets and crippling sovereign states’ ability to properly function by extorting money and chaining them to debt.
Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said in her speech to the UN General Assembly:
“… terrorists are not only those who go planting bombs, there are economic terrorists who destabilise the economy of a country and produce poverty, hunger and misery from the sin of speculation. It is something we should say very clearly.”
She also asked who gave the ‘terrorists’ in the Middle East their weapons in the first place, subtly pointing to the West’s complicity in arming ‘freedom fighters’ who, according to how the geo-political game is going, are suddenly labelled ‘terrorists’ (and vice versa). From Kosovo to Syria and Libya, the US and its allies have excelled in this.
How easy it is for officials to bypass democratic processes, sideline the public and negotiate secretive ‘free trade’ deals on behalf of powerful private corporations. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (and similar agreements around the world) could undo decades of hard work that resulted in laws protecting consumers, workers and their families and the environment. Regulations are to be dismantled, laws to be written, investors’ rights to be prioritised and democratic processes disregarded for the benefit of wealthy private corporations under the pretence of ‘free’ trade. Is this type of bare-faced corporate plunder and duplicity not extremism? Is this the type of economic freedom Cameron means?
How easy it is to destroy any notion of freedom via the illegal mass surveillance of the state that pries into habits, beliefs, motivations, conversations, allegiances of every ordinary citizen. Is that not extremism?
As democracy is hollowed out and corrupt global cartels record massive profits and institute their plunder, all of this is portrayed by the mainstream media and political leaders as ‘normality’ as the way things are and have to be, based on the lie that ‘there is no alternative’.
Does the type of democracy that Cameron has in mind involve record levels of inequalities, an unhindered revolving door between government and big business, food safety/regulation authorities being hijacked by corporate interests and police and intelligence agencies infiltrating, harassing or subverting legitimate groups?
From India to South America, the destruction of food sovereignty and traditional agriculture and indigenous people’s being driven from their lands by big agritech concerns, resource extraction industries and land grabbing speculators is commonplace and facilitated by the process of ‘globalisation’.
The current economic system facilitates plunder and is presided over by well-funded and influential foundations and powerful financial-corporate entities and their stooges in the IMF, World Bank and WTO.The result is the deception that imperialist wars are fought in the name of fighting terror, austerity is imposed in the name of prosperity and mass surveillance is carried out under the banner of protecting freedom.
In finishing, it should be acknowledged that there are extremist violent thugs who carry out barbarity under the banner of Islam and who should never be funded or armed in order to do the bidding of what Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner called the ‘great powers’ (or their allies) as has been the case. Sovereign states should receive genuine assistance to tackle such groups on their own soil.
Nevertheless, David Cameron, Theresa May and Philip Hammond would do well to ponder on Cristina de Kirchner’s speech and just where the heart of extremism really lies in today’s world.