When ‘terrorism’ isn’t terrorism

THE LATEST developments in the bare knuckle fight between Harry’s Place and academic Jenna Delich continues, with the latest twist focusing on 9/11 “conspiracies”.

Conspiracy theories and the strange individuals who waste their time reading about them can be easily dispensed with. What is more dangerous are those who seek to use their status, position and skills to justify or excuse acts of terrorism.

A few years back I was greatly offended by an article in The New Statesman by John Pilger. No surprise there, you might say – isn’t everyone? Pilger had written a piece about 9/11 and had come out with all the usual nonsense about how America wasn’t really the victim. What incensed me was his use of the word “terrorists” to describe Muhammad Atta and his fellow murderers. Let me make this clear: Pilger inserted inverted commas round the word “terrorist” within his article.

Now, my understanding of journalistic rules is that there are two reasons for using double inverted commas: when quoting someone, and to indicate irony. Pilger was not quoting anyone, so he was using “terrorist” as an ironic description of the… er, terrorists.

The implication Pilger intended was that Atta and his henchmen were unfairly labelled as terrorists by the mainstream media, but that he wasn’t going to make the same mistake, oh no. After all, anyone who hated the United States that much can’t be all bad, surely?

I found myself writing a letter of complaint, which was published and, surprisingly, responded to by Pilger himself. Can’t remember now what names he called me; they probably weren’t any worse than some of the things left as comments on this blog.

We should be very careful indeed of those in the mainstream media using language that seeks, even in a subtle way, to excuse or justify acts of random murder. Explain, yes; excuse, never.


Filed under Media, Politics, Uncategorized, United States

14 responses to “When ‘terrorism’ isn’t terrorism

  1. Richard

    On the other hand it’s perfectly arguable that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist.

    He was the leader of a group that perpetrated random acts of violence and killed men, women and children in order to further their political aims.

  2. Madasafish

    And of course Golda Meir and other Presidents of Israel were by that definition terrorists..
    And the IRA.

    And the US that supported the IRA.

    And the US that supports resistance to the Iranian Governments.
    And the killing of Allende.
    And the French resistance were all terrorists.
    And the Jews who fought in Warsaw were terrorists.

    And the SAS troops who killed unarmed Irish in Gibraltar.

    I could go on and on..

    New definition?

  3. Tom: “Conspiracy theories and the strange individuals who waste their time reading about them can be easily dispensed with.”

    Is that right?

    Thanks to declassified government documents we know that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident was a US false flag operation to inflame the situation in Vietnam.

    We know that Operation Ajax was an MI6/CIA plot using various tactics, including violence, to discredit Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh and which led to his ousting in 1953.

    We know that Operation Gladio was (still is?) a secret NATO campaign that used terrorism to discredit anti-government movements. Concern about this has been raised in European Parliament resolutions.

    Operation Northwoods is a declassified US document that sets out how to stage false flag terror attacks and blame them on Cuba, so as to have reasons to invade.

    Dastardly ideas from it include:

    “we could sink a boatload of Cubans enroute to Florida (real or simulated)”

    “Exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots”

    “It is possible to create an incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner enroute from the United States to Jamaica, Guatemala, Panama or Venezuela.” (by swapping planes and using a drone)

    And you really don’t think they would do something like 9/11? You really think buildings collapse at near freefall speed, even Building 7 which wasn’t hit by a plane?

    You think it was just coincidence that, like 7/7, drills were taking place to prepare for exactly the same scenario at precisely the same time the real attacks took place?

    What about CCTV video confiscated from local businesses within minutes of the Pentagon strike?

    What about Norad failing to act and a thousand other inconsistencies?

    The fact is that elements in the US Government had to mount a major attack on their own people in order to further their geopolitical aims. Like the PNAC document, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” states (September 2000),

    “the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”

    Cue 9/11.

  4. You took longer than I expected, Stewart

  5. Andrew F

    I have no belief whatsoever that 9/11 was the work of the CIA.

    However, isn’t it rather dangerous to simply “dispense” with conspiracy theories? Isn’t that a way to guarantee that our governments can get away with whatever they want? But you don’t really believe in questioning authority – unless, of course, it’s something really “Stalinist”… like a photo-shopped flag.

  6. I took longer than I expected myself, Tom, due to being busy in the office (and playing table tennis).

    You have allowed me to mention this video before – Terrorstorm – which features your comrade Michael Meacher. (slide to 29:06 of the film)

    Mr Meacher says of 7/7:

    “It’s a very convenient way of ensuring there is fear, of ensuring that there is control and of ensuring that those who are in the know, and of course we cannot tell you because it is all secret, are in a position of extreme power.”

    Mr Meacher wrote a piece for the Guardian in September 2003, titled “This war on terrorism is bogus” in which he wrote:

    “The conclusion of all this analysis must surely be that the “global war on terrorism” has the hallmarks of a political myth propagated to pave the way for a wholly different agenda – the US goal of world hegemony, built around securing by force command over the oil supplies required to drive the whole project. Is collusion in this myth and junior participation in this project really a proper aspiration for British foreign policy?”

    Another colleague, Harry Cohen MP, wrote an article this year called “Profiting from Iraq’s occupation” in which he says that

    # the US is attempting to force a civil war
    # the British are helping US take over Iraq’s assets
    # US/UK failure to ensure security, humanitarian aid and economic investment
    # the US are to stay in Iraq for the long term to rob the country of its resources

    Do you agree with your fellow MPs, Tom, that there is much more to recent terrorist attacks and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq than we are expected to believe?

  7. Tom, you posted my last comments really quickly, which is nice, but it didn’t seem like you had long enough to check out exactly what your colleagues were arguing in their respective articles before replying: “No”.

    Here are videos of WTC7 collapsing.

    This building was not hit by a plane, yet collapsed several hours after the twin towers, just like a controlled demolition.

    The BBC and others reported it had collapsed over 20 minutes before it had and emergency workers have come out and said they heard a countdown.

    Please take a look at the videos and tell me if you have ever seen a building collapse like this (unlike the towers, WTC7 fell from the bottom) that wasn’t a controlled demolition.

    Even the Oklahoma City Murrah building didn’t totally collapse, despite the whole front being blown away.

    How could WTC7 fall at very near freefall speed to land in a neat pile and not have had its support columns deliberately blown?

    Surely this bizarre occurrence alone makes you want to investigate.

  8. Stewart – you’re absolutely right. And the moon landings were faked, and princess Diana was killed by Lord Lucan…

  9. Controlled Demolition Of WTC: Compare and Contrast

    If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s not Lord Lucan, it’s a duck.

  10. Tom. I’m not a conspiracy theorist but I put use ” around the word terrorist because there is no working definition which can be applied. The UN has failed to come up with one. The term terrorist is applied by one group against another. Therefore, the ” are useful. This in no way removes moral blame or horror at the actions. In the sentence: “terrorists” kill thousands of people: the important part is kill thousands of people. Throwing around the word terrorist is an abuse of language. The example of Mandela was mentioned above in the thread. The ANC were only recently (as in the last couple of months) taken of the “terrorist” list in the US. We shouldn’t be playing politics with the term.

    As for conspiracy theories to do with 9/11 or 7/7, there are a lot of wacky and stupid things out there. However, it can not be denied that there are certain details in both atrocities which seem peculiar or not to fit perfectly. This leads one to suggest the official account isn’t 100% accurate, nor could it be, nothing can be. Scrutiny of 9/11 is crucial and should be welcomed. We must know all we can about this generation defining horror.

    This is not to say that I accept the 9/11 truthers version of events one bit, but often the devil is in the detail. The Bay of Tonkin was mentioned above, another example is the Iranian speed boat incident of January 6th this year. (http://schneiderhome.blogspot.com/2008/01/filipino-monkey-just-fact-or-sinister.html).

    P.S. On the term “terrorist” I invite you to read Simon Rees’ book “Dining with Terrorists”. Its very good indeed.

  11. Some valid points, James. But the 9/11 attackers were terrorists by any definition, and I reserve the right to regard with the utmost suspicion anyone who refuses to use the term in relation to this particular atrocity.

  12. Yes, Tom, I agree, the 9/11 attackers were terrorists by any definition.

    But who orchestrated them?

    The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the restriction in our freedoms are a direct result of bin Laden and his chums carrying out the 9/11 attacks.

    There’s a big problem though. Bin Laden is on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list for the African embassy bombings, but no mention of 9/11. They obviously don’t have the evidence.

    Which is more crazy – believing 9/11 was an inside job or ignoring the evidence that it was?

  13. Tom,

    Those who carried out the attacks on 9/11 committed mass murder, horrific atrocities, and heinous crimes. However, if you can define the word terrorist then I’d be happy to use it. I’ve not seen one (as I’ve said above the UN hasn’t managed one yet). Have a go.

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