I’ll stick my neck out and say, judging by the contorted response I’ve seen on Facebook and in e-mails littering my inbox, we – the average man and woman of western bias, the 25th of December Christmas folk, us members of the seemingly extraordinary number of armchair might-is-right warriors, us Average Joes - are the mislead idiots, the duped sheep.
What could possibly set back the cause of Islam more than the Paris outrage?
It is widely recognised that ISIS is an American/UK creation. In 2007 Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh reported on how clandestine operations carried out by the United States in Lebanon had the direct by-product of bolstering Sunni extremist groups, which went on to form ISIS.[i] Investigative journalist-author Tony Cartalucci adds detail on a Pentagon backed plan ‘to drown the Middle East in sectarian war’ and ‘to do so by arming and funding extremist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda itself.’[ii] Simply, as an offshoot of the invasion of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan and all other US led Western war-making in the region, violence has left its scars. Weapons supplied are still in use but the target has now shifted, the student is surpassing the master.
Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), a division of the global giant Halliburton that counts former George W. Bush Vice-President Dick Cheney as a former CEO, was caught red-handed in the war cookie jar. Awarded a no-bid, open-ended seven year long contract to rebuild and operate Iraqi oil-fields after they were decimated in the post 9/11 invasion, the company was found guilty of price gouging on areas like troop feeding and oil supply for military vehicles, poorly constructed buildings, inadequate electricity and even a faulty shower that electrocuted a soldier. Along with Halliburton 82 other companies and individuals were convicted of illegal activities while contracting in Iraq.[iii] [iv]
Halliburton was offered the contract even before the war began. To date it has profited from $39.5 billion in contracts from the US government, while Iraq’s top ten contractors have raked in a total of $72 billion between them.[v]
With that amount of money on the table, with that level of cowboy like unaccountability, and with the confirmation that there were zero weapons of mass destruction to begin with - the hook on which the entire invasion was hung - clearly, the world is being interfered with.
The events we find unfolding in front of us are being shaped, whether directly or as a hangover, an unanticipated ‘by-product’ of meddlings of the past. 9/11 and whacking Gadaffi were not the same as what happened in Paris last Wednesday, but events like the London Bombings and the Boston Marathon forcibly demonstrate how it is that ‘we’ seem to ‘need’ a government with its super powerful forces to ‘protect’ us from ‘them’.
‘Who Profits From Killing Charlie?’ asks Brazilian activist-author and political analyst Pepe Escobar.[vi] Well, I’m sure if we put our heads together we can come up with something. We’re smart. Fox News, the BBC and major outlets the world over have kept us up-to-date on a range of possible suspects, none who it would be upsetting to accuse. To assist us the attackers were well armed with Eastern-bloc weapons, they made a precision attack, the perfect escape, and spoke the magic, ‘We're Al-Qaeda.’
‘Who should be blamed for Muslim terrorism?’, asks war reporter Andre Vltchek, writing on the West’s callous and easy murder of millions of Muslims. ‘The West is manufacturing Muslim monsters,’ he answers. I agree.[vii]
‘Why do they kill when we don’t?’ bleat us Average Joes, feeling the outrage of those dead in Paris. Joe, we do kill, but we do it bigger, and better. We the public have conveniently learnt to draw the conclusions drawn for us.
‘Will France Repeat US Mistakes after 9/11?’ asks Ray McGovern, an ex-CIA officer turned activist. ‘What mistakes?’ is my response. In 2000 the US military budget was the largest in the world at $312 billion, in 2011 it had climbed to $712 billion.[viii] Since 9/11 American Taxpayers have put $1.6 trillion into war spending, equating to roughly $337 million per day or a $¼ million per minute, for 13 years.[ix] 9/11 stirred Western economies including France to buoyancy. Where there was no work and no profit all was changed by producing the promised land of milk-it-for-its-honey. Since August 2014 US taxpayers have spent more than $1 billion, $8 million a day, on air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Also, 1,300 troops will be re-depolyed to Iraq this month (at the time of writing); it all begins again.
‘I’ve previously covered cases where Muslims were imprisoned for many years in the U.S. for things like translating and posting ‘extremist’ videos to the internet, writing scholarly articles in defense of Palestinian groups and expressing harsh criticism of Israel …’ says the genius political theme interpreter Glenn Greenwald. On the solidarity marches in Paris after the attacks, he adds: ‘I’m hoping this week’s celebration of free speech values will generate widespread opposition to all of these long-standing and growing infringements of core political rights in the west, not just some.’[x]
If the crime of translating and posting an ‘extremist’ video to the internet is that it has a direct link to abhorrent violence, if that is the line in the sand between ‘free speech’ and ‘hate speech’, why should posting, say, a ‘vote Republican’, ‘vote Democrat’ or ‘buy Mobil’ advertisement be any different? Ah, of course. The former is direct, the latter is convoluted and protected by the machinery big business employs to keep the profit lines open: indoctrination, manipulation, brain-washing. Show a video of Barrack Obama in certain or many parts of the Arab World and the reaction would be exactly the same as a video of Osama Bin Laden in the suburbs. First fear, then anger, then hate.
To think about the repercussion that must come from the activities of the US, UK, France, Germany and others over just the last 20 or 30 years in the ‘other’ two thirds of our little interconnected world is enough to send an Average Joe into depression. But the proclamation ‘The West is Manufacturing Muslim Monsters’ falls way short of the fullness of the problem. This horror incident has claimed a handful of human lives and will serve to allow us all to forget for a few days the bad odour of millions upon millions of bodies the Christian-Capitalism alliance has created in lands as far afield as tiny Venezuela, the giants China and India and on-going in the Congo. There death in the name of profit is a daily occurrence, but unnoticed, because cleverly, those places are nothing like home, and those people seem to be nothing like our own.
And here’s the rub, the real horror, the consequence that hits us at our home, hardest. Soon the man who takes up arms against the West and it’s policies wont only be the unhealthy, scruffy, ¼ educated, badly armed obvious figure who can do little but sit wounded and angry in his or her resentments, or the smart man who has chosen to lie low, waiting for the moment that may only come on the 50th anniversary of his parents’ violent sexually flavoured death. Instead there will be increasing numbers of us, you and me, and our children, who indignantly decide that their own fathers and grandfathers in the European-American, British, French and other assorted aggressor armies were the real terrorists, and choose to join the forces of the oppressed.
It seems a life time ago that American political historian Chalmers Johnson warned an eye for an eye will be practiced by the off-spring of enough of the victims.
Who killed Charlie Hebdo? If the question has not been answered already then let me do so bluntly. The attack on the Charlie Hebdo Magazine offices in Paris was orchestrated by the West. If not specifically planned and executed, which would not surprise me, the attack has come as the result of a sustained and full-frontal assault on the Muslim world as a collective, with specific incidents of devastating violence creating humans who will never, without some sort of drastic therapy, be able to lay down the sword and talk peace, so ingrained is the language of violence and retribution inside them.
All of us killed Charlie Hebdo. Charlie Hebdo killed Charlie Hebdo. My life as a Westerner, the privileges I’ve enjoyed because of it, is a contributing factor to what happened last Wednesday. I am in part to blame. Our leaders, with our consent, are doing what they have always done; expending the lives of the small on both sides in pursuit of a personal, profit making agenda.
This week Parisians are out in their thousands in support of the victims and in solidarity of the worldwide movement to not give in to the attacker’s (and the instigator’s) aim, which is to create a world divided along racial and ideological lines. This is a good thing. But let Parisians remember that France as a nation is complicit in the creation of this war, and that the current Capitalist system that France supports demands conflict, fear and uncertainty in order to keep those in charge and profiting in power. Showing solidarity is a great thing, so is marching against. But again, against who?
Here’s my recommendation for your next click. Take a break with Bill Maher, as he hilariously explained on a show last year, 'Yes, 85 individuals own more wealth than 3.5 billion people'.
Image: GI Joe.