Posts tagged terrorism

Posted 3 years ago
By his focus on how territory animates world politics, Stuart Elden demonstrates how far we are from the borderless world of popular fantasy. More specifically, in this deftly argued and richly empirical book, he shows how, in responding to 9/11 as an act of war, the U.S. government, through its association of al-Qaeda with the Afghan Taliban and in its preemptive invasion of Iraq, directly undermined the very territorial integrity norm that the terror of 9/11 was held to have violated. In this way, ‘terror’ sheds light on the continuing political importance of territory.

John Agnew

My geography professor just sent me a link to Stuart Elden’s work and I now feel compelled to read it.

Posted 3 years ago
douglashaddow:

Adam Curtis: The Pope and the Axis of Terror

This is the story of the man who tried to kill the previous Pope in 1981 and how in doing so he unwittingly helped create one of the great religious beliefs of our modern age. It is the belief in a global network of terror - and the conviction among its believers that anyone who questions it is a heretic.
It begins with a very brave, but also very obsessive, Lieutenant Colonel in Vietnam called Alexander Haig. Here he is talking as his troops bulldoze and flatten a Vietnamese village. He perfectly expresses the American military’s famous explanation - “It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it.”  …

douglashaddow:

Adam Curtis: The Pope and the Axis of Terror

This is the story of the man who tried to kill the previous Pope in 1981 and how in doing so he unwittingly helped create one of the great religious beliefs of our modern age. It is the belief in a global network of terror - and the conviction among its believers that anyone who questions it is a heretic.

It begins with a very brave, but also very obsessive, Lieutenant Colonel in Vietnam called Alexander Haig. Here he is talking as his troops bulldoze and flatten a Vietnamese village. He perfectly expresses the American military’s famous explanation - “It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it.”  …

Posted 4 years ago
in democratic countries, the most important private organizations are economic. unlike secret societies, they are able to exercize their terrorism without illegality, since they do not threaten to kill their enemies, but only to starve them.

Bertrand Russell, power: a new social analysis, ch. 12 (1938)

(via nosexchiefofstaph)

Posted 4 years ago
I have declared a jihad against terrorism. I am trying to bring [the terrorists] back towards humanism. This is a jihad against brutality, to bring them back towards normality. This is an intellectual jihad.
Tahir ul-Qadri, one of Pakistan’s leading religious scholars
Posted 4 years ago

But Guantánamo is not simply an aberration; its closure will not return America to the rule of law or to its former standing among nations. Guantánamo is a particular way of seeing the Constitution, of constructing the landscape as a murky terrain of lurking enemies where the courts become part of the bulwark against such dangers, where rights have limits and where international standards must be weighed against national security. It is an outgrowth of a “war on terror” with historical precedents that took root under Clinton (in legislation like the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act), spread like kudzu under Bush and infiltrated the fabric of the justice system. It is a pre-emptive strategy where stopping terrorism has come to mean detaining and prosecuting people who may not have committed any actual act of terrorism but whose religious beliefs and political associations ostensibly reveal an intention to do so.

From the article Guantánamo at Home in The Nation. (Illustration by Zina Saunders)

Posted 4 years ago

How the US Funds the Taliban

On October 29, 2001, while the Taliban’s rule over Afghanistan was under assault, the regime’s ambassador in Islamabad gave a chaotic press conference in front of several dozen reporters sitting on the grass. On the Taliban diplomat’s right sat his interpreter, Ahmad Rateb Popal, a man with an imposing presence. Like the ambassador, Popal wore a black turban, and he had a huge bushy beard. He had a black patch over his right eye socket, a prosthetic left arm and a deformed right hand, the result of injuries from an explosives mishap during an old operation against the Soviets in Kabul.

But Popal was more than just a former mujahedeen. In 1988, a year before the Soviets fled Afghanistan, Popal had been charged in the United States with conspiring to import more than a kilo of heroin. Court records show he was released from prison in 1997.

Flash forward to 2009, and Afghanistan is ruled by Popal’s cousin President Hamid Karzai. Popal has cut his huge beard down to a neatly trimmed one and has become an immensely wealthy businessman, along with his brother Rashid Popal, who in a separate case pleaded guilty to a heroin charge in 1996 in Brooklyn. The Popal brothers control the huge Watan Group in Afghanistan, a consortium engaged in telecommunications, logistics and, most important, security. Watan Risk Management, the Popals’ private military arm, is one of the few dozen private security companies in Afghanistan. One of Watan’s enterprises, key to the war effort, is protecting convoys of Afghan trucks heading from Kabul to Kandahar, carrying American supplies.

Welcome to the wartime contracting bazaar in Afghanistan. It is a virtual carnival of improbable characters and shady connections, with former CIA officials and ex-military officers joining hands with former Taliban and mujahedeen to collect US government funds in the name of the war effort.