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> The Herald, 13/09/01
>
> Inevitable ring to the unimaginable
> JOHN PILGER
>
> IF the attacks on America have their source in the Islamic world, who can
> really be surprised?
> Two days earlier, eight people were killed in southern Iraq when British
> and
> American planes bombed civilian areas. To my knowledge, not a word
appeared> in the mainstream media in Britain.
> An estimated 200,000 Iraqis, according to the Health Education Trust in
> London, died during and in the immediate aftermath of the slaughter known
> as
> the Gulf War.
> This was never news that touched public consciousness in the west.
> At least a million civilians, half of them children, have since died in
> Iraq
> as a result of a medieval embargo imposed by the United States and
Britain.> In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Mujadeen, which gave birth to the
> fanatical
> Taliban, was largely the creation of the CIA.
> The terrorist training camps where Osama bin Laden, now “America’s most
> wanted man”, allegedly planned his attacks, were built with American money
> and backing.
> In Palestine, the enduring illegal occupation by Israel would have
> collapsed
> long ago were it not for US backing.
> Far from being the terrorists of the world, the Islamic peoples have been
> its victims – principally the victims of US fundamentalism, whose power,
in> all its forms, military, strategic and economic, is the greatest source of
> terrorism on earth.
> This fact is censored from the Western media, whose “coverage” at best
> minimises the culpability of imperial powers. Richard Falk, professor of
> international relations at Princeton, put it this way: “Western foreign
> policy is presented almost exclusively through a self-righteous, one-way
> legal/moral screen (with) positive images of Western values and innocence
> portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted political
> violence.”
> That Tony Blair, whose government sells lethal weapons to Israel and has
> sprayed Iraq and Yugoslavia with cluster bombs and depleted uranium and
was> the greatest arms supplier to the genocidists in Indonesia, can be taken
> seriously when he now speaks about the “shame” of the “new evil of mass
> terrorism” says much about the censorship of our collective sense of how
> the
> world is managed.
> One of Blair’s favourite words – “fatuous” – comes to mind. Alas, it is no
> comfort to the families of thousands of ordinary Americans who have died
so> terribly that the perpetrators of their suffering may be the product of
> Western policies. Did the American establishment believe that it could
> bankroll and manipulate events in the Middle East without cost to itself,
> or
> rather its own innocent people?
> The attacks on Tuesday come at the end of a long history of betrayal of
the> Islamic and Arab peoples: the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the
> foundation
> of the state of Israel, four Arab-Israeli wars and 34 years of Israel’s
> brutal occupation of an Arab nation: all, it seems, obliterated within
> hours
> by Tuesday’s acts of awesome cruelty by those who say they represent the
> victims of the West’s intervention in their homelands.
> “America, which has never known modern war, now has her own terrible
league> table: perhaps as many as 20,000 victims.”
> As Robert Fisk points out, in the Middle East, people will grieve the loss
> of innocent life, but they will ask if the newspapers and television
> networks of the west ever devoted a fraction of the present coverage to
the> half-a-million dead children of Iraq, and the 17,500 civilians killed in
> Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. The answer is no. There are deeper
roots> to the atrocities in the US, which made them almost inevitable.
> It is not only the rage and grievance in the Middle East and south Asia.
> Since the end of the cold war, the US and its sidekicks, principally
> Britain, have exercised, flaunted, and abused their wealth and power while
> the divisions imposed on human beings by them and their agents have grown
> as
> never before.
> An elite group of less than a billion people now take more than 80 per
cent> of the world’s wealth.
> In defence of this power and privilege, known by the euphemisms “free
> market” and “free trade”, the injustices are legion: from the illegal
> blockade of Cuba, to the murderous arms trade, dominated by the US, to its
> trashing of basic environmental decencies, to the assault on fragile
> economies by institutions such as the World Trade Organisation that are
> little more than agents of the US Treasury and the European central banks,
> and the demands of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in
> forcing the poorest nations to repay unrepayable debts; to a new US
> “Vietnam” in Colombia and the sabotage of peace talks between North and
> South Korea (in order to shore up North Korea’s “rogue nation” status).
> Western terror is part of the recent history of imperialism, a word that
> journalists dare not speak or write.
> The expulsion of the population of Diego Darcia in the 1960s by the Wilson
> government received almost no press coverage.
> Their homeland is now an American nuclear arms dump and base from which US
> bombers patrol the Middle East.
> In Indonesia, in 1965/6, a million people were killed with the complicity
> of
> the US and British governments: the Americans supplying General Suharto
> with
> assassination lists, then ticking off names as people were killed.
> “Getting British companies and the World Bank back in there was part of
the> deal”, says Roland Challis, who was the BBC’s south east Asia
> correspondent.
> British behaviour in Malaya was no different from the American record in
> Vietnam, for which it proved inspirational: the withholding of food,
> villages turned into concentration camps and more than half a million
> people
> forcibly dispossessed.
> In Vietnam, the dispossession, maiming and poisoning of an entire nation
> was
> apocalyptic, yet diminished in our memory by Hollywood movies and by what
> Edward Said rightly calls cultural imperialism.
> In Operation Phoenix, in Vietnam, the CIA arranged the homicide of around
> 50,000 people. As official documents now reveal, this was the model for
the> terror in Chile that climaxed with the murder of the democratically
elected> leader Salvador Allende, and within 10 years, the crushing of Nicaragua.
> All of it was lawless. The list is too long for this piece.
> Now imperialism is being rehabilitated. American forces currently operate
> with impunity from bases in 50 countries.
> “Full spectrum dominance” is Washington’s clearly stated aim.
> Read the documents of the US Space Command, which leaves us in no doubt.
> In this country, the eager Blair government has embarked on four violent
> adventures, in pursuit of “British interests” (dressed up as
> “peacekeeping”), and which have little or no basis in international law: a
> record matched by no other British government for half a century.
> What has this to do with this week’s atrocities in America? If you travel
> among the impoverished majority of humanity, you understand that it has
> everything to do with it.
> People are neither still, nor stupid. They see their independence
> compromised, their resources and land and the lives of their children
taken> away, and their accusing fingers increasingly point north: to the great
> enclaves of plunder and privilege. Inevitably, terror breeds terror and
> more
> fanaticism.
> But how patient the oppressed have been.
> It is only a few years ago that the Islamic fundamentalist groups, willing
> to blow themselves up in Israel and New York, were formed, and only after
> Israel and the US had rejected outright the hope of a Palestinian state,
> and
> justice for a people scarred by imperialism.
> Their distant voices of rage are now heard; the daily horrors in faraway
> brutalised places have at last come home.

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