Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Gov’t Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Futurism
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

06.28 New Drone Plans an Ambitious Mission to Plant 100,000 Trees a Day [1:57 video]

06.28 EPA seeks to scrap rule protecting drinking water for third of Americans [the sociopathic Republican nightmare continues...]

06.27 The Senate’s Disastrous Health-Care Bill

06.27 Most Australians want renewables to be primary energy source, survey finds

06.27 Hundreds of US mayors endorse switch to 100% renewable energy by 2035

06.26 New study confirms the oceans are warming rapidly

06.23 From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots

06.23 Latest diesel car models remain highly polluting, tests show

06.23 Norway issues $1bn threat to Brazil over rising Amazon destruction [Good!]

06.22 Al Gore: battle against climate change is like fight against slavery [videos]

06.22 Top global banks still lend billions to extract fossil fuels [who holds the debt when the music stops?]

06.22 Australian health groups urge coal phase-out and strong emissions reduction

06.22 Tories aim to block full EU ban on bee-harming pesticides [what could go wrong...]

06.22 Route to recovery: how people overcome an opioid addiction

06.21 U.S. Coastal Cities Will Flood More Often and More Severely, Study Warns

06.21 London mayor issues emergency air quality alert amid heatwave

06.21 Exxon, BP and Shell back carbon tax proposal to curb emissions

06.21 Climate goals: inside California's effort to overhaul its ambitious emissions plan

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

06.28 Warren Buffett Makes The Case For Single-Payer Health Care

06.28 Republicans eye billions in side deals to win Obamacare repeal votes [avoided Medicaid 'waste' to help the poor and opioid addicts will be divvied-up as bribes to secure votes for Republicans' sociopathic health care bill]

06.28 Why the Democrats Won't Wake Up

06.28 Onward Toward Socialism: America's Demise, and One Way to Survive [we need a healthier blend of methods, guiding principles, tactics and rules for efficiency and fairness]

06.28 Senate Health Bill Would Kill Essential Homecare Jobs

06.28 Urging Democrats To Go Bold, Warren Says 'The Next Step Is Single Payer'

06.28 Make democracy great again: Rep. Don Beyer’s revolutionary bill could transform how we elect Congress

06.27 Trumpcare isn't about health. It's a tax cut for the 1%

06.27 Trump lawyer's firm steered millions in donations to family members, files show [birds of a feather]

06.27 Senate healthcare bill would increase uninsured by 22 million people – CBO

06.27 Bernie Sanders rallies opposition to Republican healthcare reform plan

06.26 RALPH NADER: THE DEMOCRATS ARE UNABLE TO DEFEND THE U.S. FROM THE “MOST VICIOUS” REPUBLICAN PARTY IN HISTORY

06.26 Kansas' Tax Cuts Are a Spectacular Failure. Meanwhile, in California

06.26 Ire for Democrat Who Pulled Plug on California's Single-Payer Bill

06.26 Civil war has broken out inside the Democratic party. Does the future belong to the populist left or the centrists?

06.26 New Orleans mayor: US climate change policy cannot wait for Trump

06.26 Supreme court justice Anthony Kennedy is focus of retirement rumors

06.26 As Trump moves to privatize America's national parks, visitor costs may rise

Justice Matters
High Crimes?

06.23 'I buried my smallest child under a bush': starvation and sorrow in South Sudan

Economics, Crony Capitalism

06.28 Sovereign Debt Jubilee, Japanese Style

06.27 Koch network 'piggy banks' closed until Republicans pass health and tax reform [the Koch bros. mafia-like organization controls the Republican Party]

06.23 Exclusive: Fake online stores reveal gamblers' shadow banking system

06.22 Top global banks still lend billions to extract fossil fuels [who holds the debt when the music stops?]

International & Futurism

06.28 It Pays to Be Smart

06.28 China’s Tech Moguls Warn of AI’s Troubling Trajectory

06.28 Elon Musk Says SpaceX Rockets Will Be Capable of Indefinite Launches Without Being Serviced

06.27 Africa facing shortfall of 50 million jobs by 2040, report says

06.27 Brazil's president, Michel Temer, charged with corruption

06.27 Three-quarters of world has little or no confidence in Trump, Pew study finds

06.26 What jobs will still be around in 20 years? Read this to prepare your future

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  The Farcical Definition at the Heart of the War on Terrorism

COMMENTARY:

The Farcical Definition at the Heart of the War on Terrorism

by James Bovard
More people died as a result of the U.S.-backed invasion of East Timor than were killed by international terrorists in the subsequent 30 years.
A recent denunciation of U.S. government foreign policy offers insights into a paradox of the war of terrorism. On January 24, 2006, the East Timor Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation denounced the U.S. government for backing the 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor. In the following decades, a quarter million East Timorese residents died as a result of this incursion. The commission declared that U.S. "political and military support were fundamental to the Indonesian invasion and occupation."

The Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor were among the most barbaric actions of the late 20th century. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger met with Indonesian President Suharto in Jakarta the day before the invasion and gave U.S. approval. The primary concern of U.S. officials seemed to be to get back to Washington before the bloodbath began. Kissinger told Suharto, "We understand your problem and the need to move quickly but I am only saying that it would be better if it were done after we returned." Kissinger, doing his best imitation of Lady Macbeth, urged Suharto, "It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly."

Indonesia used U.S. military weapons to bombard East Timor and to crush resistance. The Indonesian military finally left East Timor in 1999, inflicting one more orgy of burning and killing on the island in the final days before its exit.

More people died as a result of the U.S.-backed invasion of East Timor than were killed by international terrorists in the subsequent 30 years. According to the U.S. State Department, between 1980 and 2005 fewer than 25,000 people were killed in international terrorist incidents around the globe.

The Bush administration, in its war on terror, stresses that anyone who aids and abets a terrorist is as guilty as the terrorist. By this standard, the U.S. government was guilty of enabling the Indonesian government to terrorize the Timorese people. The Timorese victims of U.S.-backed aggression received far less than 1 percent of the attention than have American victims of terrorist attacks.

The U.S. government currently bankrolls and arms many foreign regimes that terrorize their own people, including Colombia, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.
The U.S. government currently bankrolls and arms many foreign regimes that terrorize their own people, including Colombia, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. Frida Berrigan of the World Policy Institute noted that the State Department's 2002 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices "lists 52 countries that are currently receiving U.S. military training or weapons as having 'poor' or 'very poor' human-rights records."

President Bush declared in 2002, "Our mission is to make the world free from terror." But the only way that Bush's pledge makes any sense is by relying on a myopic —if not absurd—definition of terrorism.

The FBI defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."
The United States has long insisted that government agents cannot be terrorists. The FBI defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." Since government action is almost always lawful—or at least not considered criminal by the government itself—governments almost never qualify as terrorists under the U.S. definitions.

A far sounder definition was offered by Israeli National Security Council chairman Major General Uzi Dayan, who defined as terrorist in a December 2001 speech "any organization that systematically harms civilians, irrespective of its motives." This definition catches all types of terrorism—not just actions that lack political blessings or official sanctions.

If a government systematically attacks civilians, the government is no less culpable than private cabals that blow up planes, buses, or cafes. By this standard, the Indonesian invasion of East Timor was as much a terrorist action as the bombings of Bali nightclubs in October 2002 that killed hundreds of civilians.

With an honest definition of terrorism, many governments in the Bush "freedom-loving coalition" are guilty of inflicting more terrorism than they prevent.
The U.S. terrorism definition is the key to the Bush administration claim that the war on terrorism is automatically a war for freedom. Without the "state-exempt" concept of terrorism, fighting terrorism would, in most parts of the world, have little or nothing to do with defending freedom. With an honest definition of terrorism, many governments in the Bush "freedom-loving coalition" are guilty of inflicting more terrorism than they prevent.

Having a "state action" exemption to the concept of terrorism is like having a "mass murder exemption" in the homicide statute. Any action carried out by private citizens that would be considered terrorism should also be considered terrorism if carried out by government agents. The United States should recognize that its bankrolling and support of governments that terrorize their own people make a mockery of Bush's promise to rid the world of evil.


James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy [2006] and serves as a policy advisor for The Future of Freedom Foundation.


Copyright © 2006 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on January 31, 2006.

 

Public Service Ads: