Terrorism: The Origin and the Destination – II
By: Sohail Parwaz
Ironically, the world always criticise and condemn any act of violence, and term it as an act of terrorism without any hesitation, without looking into its reasons and causes which could be political, strategic, individuals’ psychological disorders, group psychological and sociological syndromes and above all socio-economic causes but merely pinning the responsibility on religion and that too solely on Islam would be highly unfair. If we look back at the history of the Subcontinent, era-wise we will find it more peaceful then the contemporary Western time frames.
The American researchers’ hectic work is very much on record, who began to explore various types of terrorism right in 70s. Now that was the time when most of the Muslim countries were having peaceful living code, nonetheless, Europe and America were witnessing the ever increasing violence and still had the highest crime rate in the world. During that very time period, both domestic and international groups flourished rapidly and by that point, modern groups had began to use techniques such as hijacking, bombing, diplomatic kidnapping and assassination to assert their demands and, for the first time, they appeared as real threats to Western democracies and who can deny that they never had any Islamic outfit or Madrassah at that time to make them so-called terrorists? What all they learnt, they learnt it from their ‘Masters’. Their reactions were in response to the injustice by the west, the British colonies, the American bases and the Zionist highhandedness in Palestine. That was the time when the West thought to label the struggle for freedom as an act of terrorism. The strong western media made it possible for the lies to be taken as true and the world incidentally approved the term, even for the just struggles; however, the most interesting thing is that the term terrorism was never used for the American oppression in Viet Nam, Iraq or Afghanistan and that’s probably another cause for ever increasing terrorism throughout the world. The muck didn’t stop there and mysteriously more vocabulary was added to enrich the term ‘Terrorism’. First the causes were talked and now the types were explored and lawmakers, security professionals and scholars defined different types of terrorism basing on what kind of attack agents or attacker would use. Now we knew that terrorism doesn’t mean an individual or group act, anymore. It has expanded beyond groups and countries and have many types like; bioterrorism, cyber terrorism, eco-terrorism, narco-terrorism, nuclear terrorism and above all state terrorism. Since we are taking terrorism in detail, hence every type needs a little intro.
Bioterrorism. The intentional release of toxic biological agents like Anthrax, Botulism, Plague, Smallpox and Hemorrhagic fever, due to Ebola or Marburg Virus, to harm and terrorize civilians, in the name of a political or other cause is referred to as ‘Bioterrorism’.
Cyber Terrorism. It is the next category, where the hostile agents are believed to use information technology to attack civilians for drawing the latter’s attention to their cause. These people use computer systems or telecommunications, as a tool to coordinate a conventional attack. The cyber-terrorists could disable networked emergency systems or hack into networks housing critical financial information; however, no one is sure about the extent of the existing threat by cyber-terrorists.
Eco-Terrorism. This is a most recently invented term describing the resistance by the environmental lovers, wildlife savers and anti-industrialists in the interests of environmentalism. The explanation given is that, since these environmental extremists sabotage properties to inflict economic damage on industries or operators, whom they consider responsible for hurting animals or damaging the natural environment, hence they are called eco-terrorists.
Narco-Terrorism. It is usually known as violence used by drug traffickers to influence governments or prevent government efforts to stop the drug trade. In the last several years, Norco-terrorism has been used to indicate situations in which terrorist groups use drug trafficking to fund their other operations. Interestingly the US, that makes more noise and protest on drug trafficking, its own agency CIA has been actively involved in sponsoring the drug trafficking in many countries but has never been charged or labelled as Narco-terrorist. Interestingly the people with even average memory remembers that as far as the drug dealing is concerned the CIA can’t deny its involvement in arms, money, and disinformation which enabled Corsican criminal syndicates in Marseille to wrestle control of labour unions from the Communist Party, if we look back at the French history from 1947 to 1951. Take a look at the early 1950s of Southeast Asia where the Nationalist Chinese army, organized by the CIA waged a war against Communist China and became the opium barons of The Golden Triangle (parts of Burma, Thailand and Laos), the world’s largest source of opium and heroin. How could one forget Air America, the ClA’s principal airline proprietary, flying the drugs all over Southeast Asia? During 1950s to early 1970s, U.S. military involvement in Laos and other parts of Indochina, Air America flew opium and heroin throughout the area. A laboratory built at CIA headquarters in northern Laos was used to refine heroin. After a decade of American military intervention, Southeast Asia had become the source of 70 percent of the world’s illicit opium and the major supplier of raw materials for America’s booming heroin market. Australia still smells with the drug money which poured into the continent during 1973 to 1980 through The Nugan Hand Bank of Sydney which was a CIA bank in all but name. Among its officers were a network of US generals, admirals and CIA men, including former CIA Director William Colby, who was also one of its lawyers. The Nugan Hand Bank financed drug trafficking, money laundering and international arms dealings. In 1980, amidst several mysterious deaths, the bank collapsed with $50 million in debt. Panama of 70s and 80s still haunts where for more than a decade, Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega was a highly paid CIA asset and collaborator, despite knowledge by U.S. drug authorities as early as 1971 that the general was heavily involved in drug trafficking and money laundering. Noriega facilitated “guns-for-drugs” flights for the contras, providing protection and pilots, as well as safe havens for drug cartel officials, and discreet banking facilities. U.S. officials, including then-ClA Director William Webster and several DEA officers, sent Noriega letters of praise and only turned against him, invading Panama in December 1989 and kidnapping the general, once they discovered he was providing intelligence and services to the Cubans and Sandinistas. . While working to keep key Haitian military and political leaders in power, the CIA turned a blind eye to their clients’ drug trafficking. Finally in Afghanistan from 1980s to early 1990s, ClA-supported rebels from “Northern Alliance” who were engaged heavily in drug trafficking while fight against the Soviet-supported government and its plans to reform the very backward Afghan society. CIA-supplied trucks and mules, which had carried arms into Afghanistan, were used to transport opium to laboratories along the Afghan/Pakistan border. The output provided up to one half of the heroin used annually in the United States and three-quarters of that used in Western Europe. Interestingly, despite the fact that during the Taliban period when in 2001 the opium production was zero, Afghanistan is always known as the new Colombia of the drug world but the sole super power always blamed Taliban for the Norco-terrorism.
Nuclear Terrorism. This is another definition used for explaining a number of different ways nuclear materials might be exploited as a terrorist tactic. Attacking the nuclear facilities, purchasing nuclear weapons, or building nuclear weapons or otherwise finding ways to disperse radioactive materials is reckoned as nuclear terrorism. The western powers especially the US is trying desperately to find a reason for blaming Pakistan for carrying out this sort of terrorism but unable to do so till now, although in the recent past founder of the Pak nuclear program Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan was held responsible for proliferation and was not only penalised but humiliated as well by the Musharraf government, however under the immense public pressure couldn’t be handed over to the Americans which the latter desperately desired.
State Terrorism. Last but not the least is the state-terrorism. History suggests that many states were and are terrorists. The use or the threat of force by many states is very much on the record, which without declaring war, have been found terrorizing citizens to achieve political goals. The examples of Germany under Nazi rule, the Palestinians by Israelis and of Kashmiris by the Indians have been described in this way, however the India never admitted it and the issue, keeping Kashmir as a flash point, is unresolved since sixty four years. It has also been argued that states participate in international terrorism, often by proxy. The United States (not the whole world) considers Iran the most prolific sponsor of terrorism because, according to them Iran arms groups, such as Hezbollah helps carrying out its foreign policy objectives. The United States has also been called terrorist, for example through its covert sponsorship of Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980s, as it is mentioned earlier. There is a strong consensus on a theory that, the states should be held responsible for their actions on moral and ethical grounds, rather than on their status as states, when they use systematic or random violence to terrorize their own citizens or others. However it is very difficult to differentiate between a freedom movement, civil disobedience and an insurgency, running within a state’s boundaries. Pakistan and India are experiencing many such struggles where the people involved in the armed struggle against their respective governments, called the resistance as freedom movement, however the world knows and calls them quite convincingly the act of violence and terrorism.
(to be continue)