by Waseem Shehzad (Main Stories, Crescent International Vol. 44, No. 10, Safar, 1437)
While absolutely abhorrent, the Paris attacks, as others elsewhere, must be viewed beyond the self-serving statements of Western policymakers. Intensifying the same failed policies will not yield different results.
The November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris have been compared to the events of 9/11 in New York. There may be some validity in such comparisons though perhaps not in the manner in which most people think. The attacks of 9/11 have been turned into the defining moment of human history. Every tragedy in the West must now meet the 9/11 standard.
Thus, the Madrid train bombings of March 11, 2004 (191 dead, more than 2,000 injured) were called the “Spanish 9/11”; London’s subway bombings of July 7, 2005 (56 dead and 700 injured) were called the “British 9/11” and now we have the “French 9/11” (132 dead and nearly 200 injured). The next bombing in whatever European city will earn the title of “…9/11” with the name of the country inserted at the beginning. Of course missing from this discourse is the July 22, 2011 terrorist attack by Anders Behring Breivik, the Christian terrorist who murdered 77 youth in Oslo, Norway. He was not branded a terrorist, only a rightwing extremist.
Absent also from all these names and slogan-mongering is any mention of the horrors visited upon other people, especially Muslims in their homes, villages and towns in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Palestine, Somalia, and Yemen. In the last 15 years, militaristic Western regimes have murdered millions of Muslims and several Muslim countries — Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and now Syria — have been destroyed. Similarly, Muslims are the greatest victims of terrorism yet Western countries make such a fuss when a few hundred of their citizens are killed.
This is not meant to justify the crimes that Muslims commit but it is important to keep things in perspective. Human life is precious regardless of who is the victim. There are good Muslims as well as bad just as there are good Jews and there are bad Jews. And there are good Christians as well as bad Christians. There are also good and bad atheists.
No religion or non-religion has monopoly over violence or terror. We also do not buy into the canard that “not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims,” as the Loon Watch website accurately captured through its delightful headline, “All Muslims are Terrorists, except the 94% that aren’t” (January 20, 2010). Using FBI statistics, Loon Watch showed that between 1980 and 2005, Muslims accounted for a mere 6% of all terrorist acts in the US; Jewish groups were involved in 7%, Latinos in 42% while others accounted for 16% of all acts of terrorism.
Yes, there are Jewish terrorist groups in the US. They go by such names as the Jewish Defence League (banned as a terrorist organization in the US, but not in Canada!), Jewish Armed Resistance, and Jewish Action Movement. There are also Christian terrorist groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Mormon extremists, Vietnamese Organization to Exterminate Communists and Restore the Nation, May 19 Communist Order, and the Fourth Reich Skinheads.
One would never learn about this by watching Fox News or CNN. Even supposedly respectable news outlets — the New York Times, Washington Post etc. — only amplify acts perpetrated by Muslims anywhere in the world while completely ignoring similar crimes by Jewish terrorists or White supremacists in the US. In fact, those crimes are not called acts of terror at all.
Here is a quick example. On November 21, the Italian police thwarted a plot by the mafia to kill the country’s justice minister who had vowed to introduce tougher drug laws. Italy said the mafia plot was not “an act of terrorism,” merely a crime! What constitutes terrorism? Only when Muslims are involved.
Writing in the New Yorker magazine (August 10, 2012), Professor Steve Coll revealed, “In partnership with a team of researchers at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Public Policy, some of my colleagues at the New America Foundation collated and analyzed three hundred and two cases of domestic terrorism during the decade after the September 11th attacks. The numbers do not correspond with the public’s fear or understanding.” He went on, “The entire decade-long domestic death toll from terrorism (that is, where a political or ideological motive was apparent) was thirty.” Yes, a grand total of 30 people were killed over a 10-year period in terror related violence in the US!
Let us compare these 30 deaths (that is three deaths/year) in a decade of terror-related violence with some other statistics. There were 12,664 murders in the US in 2011, the latest year for which the FBI provided detailed breakdown. Of these, 8,583 were caused by firearms. Thus, an American is 422 times more likely to be murdered in the street, the home, or shopping mall than by a terrorist act.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says nearly 4,000 Americans die due to drowning each year, the majority of them young children aged 1–4 years. In the first half of 2015, lightning killed 20 Americans (weather.com, July 17, 2015). The Consumer Product Safety Commission has revealed that Americans are as likely to be killed by falling television sets or furniture as they are by a terrorist act. Anyone for banning those killer couches?
By far the greatest threat to Americans is the proliferation of firearms. Yet, there is a strong gun lobby that would not allow any restriction on the sale of firearms. In the US, there are 98 guns for every 100 people. It is the most heavily armed country in the world and the most violent.
Let us return to Professor Coll’s findings. He wrote, “Of the three hundred domestic terrorism cases studied, about a quarter arose from anti-government extremists, white supremacists, or terrorists animated by bias against another religion. And all of the most frightening cases — involving chemical, biological, and radiological materials — arose from rightwing extremists or anarchists. None arose from Islamist militancy” (our emphasis). He then went on to ask this very pertinent question, “Why do these statistics seem so poorly publicized? Is the media a symptom of this problem or a cause?”
Equally bizarre is the reaction of most politicians. President Francois Hollande announced that French reaction to the terrorist attacks would be harsh and said he would intensify the war against ISIS. He also dispatched France’s only aircraft carrier, Charles De Gaulle, to the Mediterranean to join the fight. The reality, however, is that Western regimes and their regional puppets have been financing, training, and arming these very terrorists under the rubric of supporting “moderate” rebels. They are so consumed by hatred of President Bashar al-Asad of Syria that they are prepared to embrace organ-eating terrorists to overthrow him. Well, the ISIS terrorists — or evil, as the Western rulers are now calling them — have struck back.
Some American politicians have also joined the fray. Donald Trump, who is seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for president, said he would shut down all mosques in the US and force every Muslim to wear a special ID tag. Trump is a vagabond; he has made similar racist comments about Mexicans, African Americans, etc. President Barack Obama tweeted back after Trump’s racist remarks, “Perhaps ignorant racists should wear special ID badges too.” And Obama offered to have one made for him!
Let us readily admit that the Paris attacks were acts of terror; the victims were innocent civilians. But were the victims of similar bombings in Beirut a day earlier (November 12) that were also claimed by ISIS terrorists, killing 43, any less worthy of sympathy? What about the 224 people killed aboard the Russian plane that was brought down over Sinai soon after it took off from the Egyptian holiday resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on October 31? A bomb planted in the plane’s luggage hold resulted in its being blown up in midair. A group affiliated with the takfiri terrorists claimed responsibility for that attack as well. British intelligence apparently knew about the bomb plot but did not inform the Russians!
Russian casualties (224) exceeded those of Paris (132). And if we compare these figures in overall population terms, Lebanon’s 43 civilians killed and twice as many injured far exceed the losses of the other two. Lebanon’s population is merely four million compared to Russia’s 300 million and France’s 66 million. The contrasting Western media reporting of these terrorist acts was also revealing. In Russia’s case, the overriding narrative was that it was a blowback for Russia’s attacks on takfiri positions in Syria. The Beirut attacks were justified as being against the Hizbullah and, therefore, deserved.
Some commentators have also said the Paris attacks were a false flag operation. They point to the fact that security drills were underway on November 13. Without subscribing to conspiracy theories, there is something odd about the fact that during each major terrorist attack, there is some kind of a military drill underway. This was the case during the 9/11 attacks; the London 7/7 attacks and now the Paris attacks. Did the terrorists know about each of these military drills in advance to plan their attacks?
There is something even stranger underway. In the 9/11 attacks, we were told by no less a person than the New York City Police Chief Ray Kelly that the passport of one of the alleged hijackers, Mohamed Atta, was found in the rubble of the World Trade Centre. While on the one hand, we were told the fire was so intense that it melted the steel frames of the buildings causing their collapse, and on the other a terrorist’s passport somehow survived the inferno and gently landed in the street. Equally intriguing was that a terrorist on a suicide mission would take his passport with him.
The same passport theory was floated in the Paris attacks: a Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the terrorists who blew himself up with a suicide vest! These terrorists must be really stupid to be carrying passports while on a suicide mission. Yet they were sophisticated enough to evade detection by planning such an elaborate plot that must have involved hundreds of people.
This is what the Zionist website Debkafile claimed on November 14. Closely linked to the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, it described the multiple attacks as being aimed at French President Francois Hollande. Debkafile also chastised “France’s Director-General for Internal Security (DGSI) and Director-General for External Security (DGSE) for their refusal to pick up the slightest clue to the massive preparations afoot for a horrendous, wide-scale terrorist outrage against their capital city.”
It then conveniently informed us, “at least 200 operatives at various levels were completely in the picture and directly involved in at least two months of advance planning.” How did Debkafile know all this? Was the Israeli Mossad involved in these terrorist acts in some capacity or planted this information to control the narrative? Even the assertion that ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks came from SITE, a website run by Rita Katz. She is an Iraqi-born Jewish woman who worked as a Mossad agent for more than 10 years in Israel before moving to the US. Most al-Qaeda and ISIS claims come through her website. How much credibility can her self-serving (i.e., serving Israel) claims have?
In his commentary under the heading “Paris — Who made the terror?”(November 14), Denis G. Rancourt quotes Paul Craig Roberts, a senior official in the Ronald Reagan regime, “Some people are so naive and stupid as to think that no government would kill its own citizens. But governments do so all the time. There are an endless number of false flag attacks, such as Operation Gladio. Operation Gladio was a CIA/Italian intelligence operation that relentlessly bombed innocent Italians, such as those waiting in a train station, murdering hundreds, and then blaming the violence on the European communist parties in the post-WWII era in order to block the communists from electoral gains.”
Even more egregious than Operation Galdio was Operation Northwoods, concocted by the CIA together with Admiral Lyman L. Lemnitzer, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. The plan involved hijacking and blowing up American passenger planes killing hundreds of Americans and blaming these terrorist acts on the Cuban government. These terrorist acts were then to be used as a pretext to attack Cuba to overthrow the government of President Fidel Castro who had come to power two years earlier. President John F. Kennedy rejected the plan. Some commentators have said this was one of the reasons for Kennedy’s assassination. Powerful figures in government do plan terrorist acts and kill their own citizens. And if the president does not approve it, then the president must be killed.
We must, however, return to the issue of the West’s military aggression in the Muslim world. There was no al-Qaeda before the US got involved in Afghanistan by claiming to help the mujahideen. Zbignew Brezezinski, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, admitted that it was a small price to pay by having the Taliban and al-Qaeda emerge if that resulted in the defeat of the Soviet Union. There was no al-Qaeda in Iraq before the US invaded and destroyed that country, and there was no ISIS before the US-Zionist-Saudi-Turkish-instigated attack on Syria.
The West’s wars on terror have actually increased terrorism. Further, the West and its Zionist ally are using these terrorists to destabilize the entire region primarily for one reason: to protect Zionist Israel and to ensure its supremacy in the region. There is bound to be blowback from such policies even if innocent people have to pay the price.
Unfortunately, the price invariably is paid by innocent Muslims, in the Muslim majority countries as well as by those living in the West.