Fear! Fear! shouted the profiteers
- Fear! Fear!? shouted hawks and profiteers
By Brian Bogart
August 11, 2006
As soon as it came out that the apparent ?new 9-11? threat had been
thwarted with the help of Pakistani Intelligence Services (ISI), it
also became clear that it was a political tool for further
legitimizing the lucrative ?war on terror.?? After all, the ISI with
Saudi financing and covert CIA training created al-Qaeda in the first
place, to counter another ?threat?: Soviet communist ?enslavement.
In 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt appointed a handful of Wall
Street lawyers and investors to posts in his administration, including
James Conant, James Forrestal, and Paul Nitze. Upon Roosevelt's death
(and the coinciding fall of the Third Reich), this influential group
began an attempt to fill the trade vacuum left in postwar Europe.?
While Europeans and Soviets would have preferred a neutralist trade
environment, these State Department officials in the final years of
the 1940s sought US trade supremacy, and thus set about creating a
Soviet 'communist threat' that ran counter to the CIA?s own National
By 1951, this group had formed the Committee on the Present Danger
(CPD), which by March of that year successfully motivated Congress and
the public to buy into the 'threat of communist enslavement' through
fear-based rhetoric in the media, setting in motion the Cold War and a
US economy driven by conflict.
As CPD members moved from administration to administration regardless
of party affiliation, the Cold War policy of 'containment militarism'
ran strong through the late 1960s. In the wake of the 1968 Tet
Offensive in Vietnam, according to Richard Falk, a split between
foreign policy elites emerged: Imperialists, who sought to
remilitarize the US for global conquest still using the fear-inciting
Soviet 'communist threat'; and managers (Trilateralists), who
attempted to rally the corporate spheres of Europe, East Asia, and the
US to adopt a new era of interdependent international trade.
In 1976, this split led to the first CPD-free administration in the
office of President Carter, though CPD quickly regrouped to kill
dé´¥nte, oust Carter, and reestablish itself in the Reagan
administration, using 'Soviet-backed international terrorism' as the
new fear factor.
Around June of 1979, according to Zbigniew Brzezinski, The United
States launched a covert operation to bolster anticommunist guerrillas
in Afghanistan at least six months before the 1979 Soviet invasion of
that country. We did not push the Russians into invading, but we
knowingly increased the probability that they would.
The US had actively recruited Afghan warlords to form terrorist groups
along the northern border, forcing the USSR to conduct a full-scale
invasion in December 1979 to counter the US destabilization program.
Among the methods used by the US in this program was the production
and distribution of textbooks to schools (madrassas), promoting the
war-values of murder and fanaticism, and fostering a generation
steeped in violence.
Upon taking office in January 1981, Reagan outlined his new foreign
policy in a speech by Alexander Haig, which boiled down to:
International terrorism will take the place of human rights in our
concern. Thus, the 1979 US destabilization program using terrorist
groups to lure the Soviets into Afghanistan was used by the US to call
the Soviet invasion ?terrorism? and to point to that invasion as a
model for the newly invented phenomenon of 'Soviet-backed terrorism'
around the world.
This cemented the CPD?s original hegemonic goal of a fear-based
structure. Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and its 'communist
threat,' this structure still prevails, requiring new external threats
to maintain today's US-global trade supremacy.? Absent the old
communist threat, the degree of deceit necessary to sway public
opinion increasingly grew, ultimately employing first strikes against
Western assets both to satisfy this demand for public acceptance and
acquiescence, and to serve as pretexts for the placement of US forces
in geostrategic regions. The US currently has 750,000 troops in 135
What we are left with is simply ?international terrorism,? a perpetual
threat? straight out of the plotline of the film V for Vendetta, and
one that satisfies most corporate executives and serves to cover such
inconvenient truths as climate change - imperialism's product and
archenemy - the raging and disproportionate conflict in Lebanon and
the Gaza Strip, and the criminal invasion of Iraq (not to mention that
this particular 'thwarted 9-11' is a timely boost for the pro-war
Senator Joe Lieberman).
Immediately after 9-11, Vladimir Putin promised support for George
Bush's 'war on terror,' with the caveat that NATO cease its eastward
push. Bush agreed, and just as immediately set about pushing NATO
eastward. Professor Stephen Cohen of NYU points out that with the US
today openly stating that Georgia and Ukraine are to become NATO
partners and with Putin having drawn the line with Ukraine, as Russia
subsidizes much of Ukraine's economy a new and very real tension has
risen between the two largest possessors of nuclear arms. In fact, a
US warship and 200 Marines were recently chased out of the Russian
province of Crimea by a group of protesters.
The heightened illusion of what Bush calls a 'global war against
Islamic fascists' also serves to back Putin into a corner, as Putin
must be perceived as even-handed toward the 25 million Muslims in Russia.
Most people would find all of this easy to digest had they the time to
read two excellent books on US post-World War II and post-Cold War
imperialism respectively: Peddlers of Crisis, by Jerry Sanders, and
The War on Truth, by Nafeez Ahmed. Unfortunately, few will take the
time to do so, and thus the rush of fear derived from such an event as
just occurred means a near total success for maintaining the Conflict
Incorporated status quo.
In other words, in the last 25 years the US created the threat and,
through the resultant fear, the worldwide authoritarian means to
pretend to deal with it while exercising the full scope of its
imperial ambitions, with friends and puppets tagging along.? Moreover,
that the US (and apparently now the UK) knowingly harbored al-Qaeda
cells throughout the 1990s and up to and beyond 9-11 lends a new
perspective to President Bush?s post-9-11 promise to ?make no
distinction between those who committed these terrible acts and those
who harbor them.
Who gained?? The ruling elite (the minority). Who lost?? The majority,
everywhere. Who were the 'terrorists?' Patsies. The need for a new and
real (fully allowed to unfold) 9-11 has been forestalled for the
moment as one waits for the other shoe to drop: the linking of Syria
and Iran and whomever else to the current 'investigation.'
Funny how Bush administration officials denied any foreknowledge that
planes could be used as weapons after 9-11, particularly when the same
officials are now saying that they recognized this plot because of its
similarities to one carried out by Ramsey Yousef in 1995. What a fine
Already, US news outlets are calling the 24 suspects 'Pakistanis,'
failing to mention that most if not all are British citizens, born and
'If ever there was a verification that there is a war on terror, this
was it,' said one reporter - and that is precisely what it was
intended to be. And so much for the so-called 'national threat level,'
which apparently stays low during months of intensely high threat
levels and rises after a threat is 'thwarted.'
The state of global affairs from the US perspective can be summed up
in one statement from a lengthy essay, Constant Conflict, by Major
Ralph Peters: 'There will be no peace. The de facto role of the US
armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy, and open
to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of
Where once they shouted 'Hear! Hear!' toward progress in public
chambers, one can almost catch the resonant echoes of some Western
leaders happily whispering in private 'Fear! Fear!' while their
profits soar and their people tremble. Somebody should be checking
market 'put options' right about now.
A human rights activist for 45 years, Brian Bogart is the first
graduate student in Peace Studies from the University of Oregon. He
can be reached at bdbogart @ gmail.com
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