Scott Scottdale interviews Prof. John McMurtry for Canadian Challenger
John McMurtry is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and his work is published and translated from Latin America to Japan. He is the author and editor of the three-volume Philosophy and World Problems published by UNESCO’s Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), and his latest book is The Cancer Stage of Capitalism/from Crisis to Cure.
SS/CC: You have said that “the trick of the endless US-led wars in the Middle East is to control both sides so as to ensure against sovereign states able to defend the common interests of their peoples”. Please explain.
JM: Whenever any nation has an independent government with fossil fuel, financial, agricultural or strategic resources not yet subjugated to transnational corporate control, there is a US-led campaign to destroy it. Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Syria have all experienced this over many decades dating from the overthrow of the social-democratic president Mossadegh of Iran in 1953 to Syria’s still mildly independent social state being destroyed to the roots today. Lebanon was a civilized center of the Middle East before warred upon by Israel in 1982 and has been civil-war divided ever since. Iraq’s region-leading social state with universal health-care, free higher education, public water and electricity, local agricultural and food subsidies has been subjected to genocidal destruction and civil war imposition from 1990 to now, with Syria being destroyed by foreign-supported civil war from 2011. Once CIA-agent and coup leader Saddam Hussein could not destroy Iraq’s oil-worker-led society from within after his US-supplied war against Iran was over, Iraq was attacked on contrived pretexts – the constant excuse for non-stop war crimes in the Middle-East – and the state was irreversibly destroyed “because it was floating on a sea of oil” (Wolfowitz’s phrase).
Iraq is a model example of controlling both sides of the ever-shifting Middle-East wars to seize the assets of all, and so too the NATO bombing and jihadi overthrow of Gadhafi in Libya whose socialized oil state was even more developed than Iraq’s with public programs and infrastructures, including quasi-free homes for young couples. Libya’s long-time leader was first welcomed into the Western fold after 2000 and his opponents deported and reditioned by British M-15, then jihadis were joined by massive NATO ‘humanitarian bombing’ in 2011 to overthrow his social state, and Libya too is now in civil war chaos. Induced civil wars are the divide-and-rule policy across borders, and especially successful social states like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya where their people are clearly better off than neighbouring peoples under US diktat. A better example of society is always prohibited even by war criminal attacks – as in Yugoslavia and Nicaragua in the 1980’s, and Ukraine today. All are orchestrated into sectarian insanity and internecine wars. At the same time vast new profits, resources, lands, price climbs, markets, agribusiness and – most of all – looting of public resources and finances by private foreign financiers and corporations proceeds more freely with stable social fabrics destroyed, not only in the victim societies but at home.
SS/CC: How does ISIL connect to all this?
JM: The historical background is that US-financed Islamic fundamentalism coupled with royal absolutism has come to rule inside and outside governments – Saudi Arabia being the prime example. When I travelled overland through the Middle East including North Africa decades ago, secular ‘Arab socialism’ was the rule led by Nasser and Egypt, and Islam was the background mass religion. Then a great US-led policy turn occurred in which fanatic jihadists were financed and armed across the region to ensure against “communism”, the Great Satan of the US. The massive funding and arming of jihadis as a war machine began with the US-orchestrated civil war in the then quasi-socialist secular state of Afghanistan to bleed the Soviet Union dry. Since the 9-11 construction, the US with local allies has increasingly sponsored jihadists of every kind to take down any remaining social state while also justifying their oil-for-weapons empires producing no life good but only death and destitution. Observe the connections today. Private armaments and military servicing corporations drain the public treasuries of the US and allied royal states trading oil for arms in the trillions, while financed jihadis provide justification for all the death machines and attack target states at the same time.
The civil war model of long-term society destruction to feely loot its resources has continued to the present day in a strategic arc of devastating civil wars from Pakistan to Iraq to Muslim Africa – not to mention now in Europe itself in Ukraine after the Chechnya civil war in Russia was ended. ISIL is a supremely atavistic instrument of the civil-war strategy. The US-Israel sponsored split of the originally secular-socialist PLO (Palestine Liberation Army) into warring factions, where the demonized Hamas was itself sponsored by Israel to divide it, is another example of the society-wrecking pattern at the sub-state level. ISIL today continues it at a more diabolical extreme – originally funded and armed by the very US-led forces now dropping bombs on it in Syria. Israel even gives ISIL terrorists hospital service on the Syrian border after Mossad and the CIA trained them as a largely ex-Saddam jihad army. All of this seems quite insanely contradictory. But all promotes civil wars and they render peoples helpless against foreign money control.
If one wonders how a desert-crawling line of Japanese open-back trucks gifted by the US filled with countless irregular fighters in plain view could ever have ever made it overnight to the point where Western military and political leaders are saying “the war against ISIL may be interminable”, one begins to see through the game. ISIL is a construction financed and trained by covert US and oil-king allies that ruins every place it enters, like Syria once the regime began to win the civil war. Al-Nusra/Al Qaeda was not enough. ISIL is a step up in the US-led control of the Middle East by terror, chaos and social devastation. “The Salvador option” was the first name for the post-war death squads in Iraq, but “Islamic State” stirs much more apocalyptic passions pro and con. Best of all, the ruling foreign war machines of the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and NATO are now far better justified to “fight the barbaric terrorists”. Saudi Arabia with US support is now even projecting the “terrorist” and sectarian “Shiite” labels on the popular uprising of the poor in Yemen against a corrupt US-Saudi puppet government. One object alone is achieved. Peoples and resources of the region can be predated without sovereign social defences or unity of collective life purpose, the ultimate target of every US-led aggression. As long as all evils can be blamed on an ever-shifting Enemy, there is no overcoming recognition.
SS/CC: If someone were to say, this is “another conspiracy theory,” how would you reply?
JM: It is the very opposite of a conspiracy theory. Civil war chaos has been instituted across agents, places and times. The underlying pattern of destroying evolved societies and their collective control of life resources is far deeper. The only diagnostic model that fits all the hallmark characteristics is a runaway cancer system at the macro level with no social immune recognition. It is unflagged even as it keeps hollowing out more societies towards social collapse. Look for disconfirming evidence of the objective pattern – for example, a society made better rather than worse anywhere in the Middle East since 1991. The divide and rule reign of civil destruction is now deep into the US and Israel themselves, with civil war or its repression now pervasive in the Arab world. This was not originally gamed as the outcome. US geostrategic planners are social morons by the nature of their game model, as I have explained in my The Moral Decoding of 9-11: Beyond the US Criminal State. But the invariable result of the civil wars they foment and manipulate still forces other societies’ resources open to private corporate control and exploitation without limit until they move onto the next. You do not even need corporate trade agreements to do it. Even if the US people themselves keep being bled dry with their common life bases and interests stripped out by military and financial claws in the trillions every year, not to mention agro-industry, the same private transnational corporations producing no life goods but destroying them keep money-profiting more. Plundering public purses and resources across continents is the unseen means.
As transnational private money sequences alone multiply, everything connects in social and environmental life depredation out of control. There are myriad masks of the disorder, but always the evolved collective life capital bases of societies and their ecological life hosts are devoured and torn apart. Now Kenya and Nigeria too join the jihadi-split nations to open a state of permanent war, looting and profit with no social organization to stop it. In Venezuela and Ukraine peoples fight back, but the same civil war method unfolds across continents with few connecting the dots. Twenty-five years after the dismantling of Yugoslavia into atavistic nationalisms steeped in the Nazi past, the same happens again in Ukraine. One outcome has become predictable across borders. Socially organized development is reversed for a private transnational feeding frenzy on collective financial, agricultural, natural and strategic resources of the victim societies. Only the rule of life-protective law with the force of law works across peoples. But Palestine even seeking protection of international law is openly threatened and its taxes seized by Israel with US support. When Palestine joins UNESCO by invitation, the US defunds UNESCO. This is not a conspiracy. It is a lawless rule of normalized terror, life destruction and tyrannical oppression.
SS/CC: How does Harper Canada fit into all this?
Canada is very privileged with vast natural resources. It is not historically soaked in blood, and has evolved a civil culture without fanatic ‘isms’. Yet after Alberta Reform swallowed the Progressive Conservative Party with money from Big Oil and the retailer Eaton’s, PM Harper incarnates the divide-and-rule war method. His CEO rule strips Canada of its social life infrastructures and public tax funds in the name of the nation, while serving only private market powers to multiply and pillage across borders. This is his program, and there is no exception to it. Now Canada is aerial bombing in Arab lands from Libya to Syria – also funded by public money –even though the target ISIL beheaders now have been trained and financed by the allied states bombing them. Up North his regime now trains and supplies a violent-coup US-installed regime whose one-way aerial bombing of East-Ukraine civilians and infrastructures has driven two million people from their homes.
Whatever one’s own preferences, the morality in charge means only what serves the transnational corporate system. This is the market God which now dwarfs all world religions in power to dictate and destroy and capture imagination. Its cornerstone of defence for war crimes is to blame another enemy– as with the Nazis “terrorists” are those who block or resist its rule. The differences between Canada and Palestine or Syria are obvious at the level of conventionalized horror and life deprivation. But the underlying value system is the same in principle. The master driver is the solely ruling compulsion to turn private money demand into maximally more private money demand without limit, border or higher purpose at all. This is called “freedom”. No life coordinates ever enter the sequences and equations in this system in its deregulated mutations. Not even eco-genocide can be seen through its prism. Yet few dare recognize the blind war against life itself which spreads the more its fatal disorder is denied and rationalized away.
SS/CC: How does Islam fit into this destruction of societies by corporate globalization?
JM: The Prophet’s abomination of idolatry above all fits very well to the disorder. Turning money into more money for money controllers is the greatest idol worship of history, and no stationary idol of the past remotely approaches its direct ruin of one society after another – a consequence Mohammed chorally emphasizes in the Koran. No idol can make or breathe life, and here the idolatry goes far beyond anything ever before. It seeks to reduce all that exists into private money value, and devours ever more life and life means to multiply its global demand. Its world-consuming, flesh-eating code is even more deeply at work behind the Middle East holocaust of nations than the US which has become its creature.
Civilizing Islam long ago worked – as, for example, in architecture-rich Moorish Spain from the eighth century to 1492 when a rising European imperialism launched its genocidal seizures and destructions of other people’s life bases across continents. Degenerate versions of ‘Islam’ from absolutist oil-kings to jihadist death squads have followed, and whatever their pretences, they serve only the underlying agenda of corporate money-sequence globalization. They keep peoples superstitiously suggestible, and force obedience by violence and threats without understanding. Collective life-serving programs for all – as found in Iraq and Libya before the saturation bombings – have disappeared into the Arab past almost altogether. The corporate state now rules as pseudo-Muslim and suffocating. Even ‘austerity programs’ have been instituted across the Middle East, with life-serving social organization – public health and free higher education, social security of the person, ecological regulation – not funded or stripped out.
Islam confined to ritual repetitions and prohibitions without social life standards does not confront the corporate money-sequence idolatry. It allows submission to life-blind rules of oppression as ‘submission to God’s will’. Thus the transnational lootings of the people’s common wealth by oil dealing, weapons, finance, GMO agribusiness, and money-trough military services and reconstruction multiply to more corrupt and private oligarchical control and demand. Mass submission, resignation, obedience, faith without organization beyond faction parallels the dispossessed mass anomie of the West. The ‘Arab Spring’ itself – which never pronounced one public policy – seems to have been a construction without common life-ground dividing the people into even more helpless impotence of collective self-determination. People think “well at least they got rid of Mubarak.” Down the memory hole goes the fact that Mubarak was a marked man after he refused to commit Egypt to the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq which he prophetically declared “would open the gates of Hell”.
SS/CC: You emphasize the ‘ad adversarium fallacy’ as the dominant “track-switch of people’s thought” which always diverts their attention away from humanity’s underlying real problems.
JM: A simple example would be accusing me of being “a communist” or “an unbeliever” or “a conspiracy theorist” for what I say above. The topic is diverted to a familiar hate-object of the audience. Corporate mass media and politicians do this as their stock in trade. It gets attention and usually sells. This blame-the-enemy diversion dominates across cultures, but is almost never named. It runs so deep into the group psyche that not even logicians, psychologists and cognitive scientists define it.
Once diverted to the hate-object of the group – say “Saddam” or “Putin” or “state socialist” or “terrorist” – most people block out disproving facts so as to remain acceptable to the surrounding group. Challenge by evidence or reason is derailed onto blaming a known enemy of the audience. This is the underlying track-switch of thought upon which all mass-murderous wars and system oppressions depend, as well as most propaganda of daily life. It is the cornerstone of American ideology which has no common ground but animosity to the latest designated enemy. Yet not even academics will stand up to the accusation of “Putin-lover”, “9-11 conspiracy theorist”, “communist”, or whoever the shifting enemy may be. US Republicans and branch-plant Harperism now rely on this enemy-hate for every attack ad and proclamation.
This is why evidence, public statistics, knowledge of anything outside the game, is not now safe in corporate states. Public knowledge itself is the ultimate enemy of the whole game. That which sees, documents, shares, certifies, distributes, or organizes to prove and act for the public good is forbidden in a thousand ways even in Canada – the secret behind the Harper agenda of information control – from defunding and de-listing progressive NGO’s, to gags on government ministries and scientists, to allowing only his photographer’s pictures into the mass media.
In the Middle East, silencing is by drones, secret police, bombing, special forces, mind-stopping lies, and unending murder, mayhem and terror in imposed civil wars. Always the ultimate operation is to blame the enemy for all that goes wrong – - even if the enemy is the endless victim, as in Palestine. In the case of Israel, the imperialist nation with its boot in the face of the people is for the first time in history proclaimed as the victim, as bravely observed by Gideon Levy. “Who is denying whose right to exist?” is not a question asked. “Who is throwing stones at Goliath in Israel today?” is an unspeakable thought. Total reversal, blaming the oppressed for what you doing, endless diversions to the designated enemy is the ultimate lie of today’s human condition. But it today rules the Middle East by a more complex process of shifting wars and hates than ever before. /30 JM