In Lugano last Tuesday, a woman who was demonstrably mentally disturbed attacked two women in a supermarket and wounded one of them with a knife. The 28-year-old perpetrator was known to police through previous links with radical Islamists. A similar incident occurred in September when an Islamist with delusions stabbed a man in Morges VD.
These are certainly serious incidents. It will be up to investigators to determine how far the crimes are based on an individual mental illness and to what extent the factor of political terror can be considered as a motive.
However, the media was apparently unwilling to wait or allow this balance to be weighed up. They rush to the incident in Lugano with a rouder, as if terrorists had blown up Piazza della Riforma and its palazzi. “Terror is becoming a concrete threat,” commented the NZZ. It suspects that “the terrorists” want to “compensate for the weaknesses of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State with the actions of individual perpetrators.”
Fedpol director Nicoletta della Valle warned: “There is enough inspiration for a perpetrator to think: Now I’ll take a knife, go out and do something.” The Zurich Tagesanzeiger spoke of that “bad and horrible Tuesday when terrorism came to Switzerland.” The paper puts five top journalists on an analysis and points to a history of terror in Switzerland: 1970 crash of a Swissair plane in Würenlingen, which was attributed to Palestinians, 1981 bombs of Armenian commandos, 1995 murder of an Egyptian diplomat in Geneva and in 2011 explosion of a letter bomb at Swissnuclear in Olten.
So we live in a country where, over the course of half a century, five events have been recorded that can be regarded as terrorist. So every ten years. One may therefore ask whether all those who see Switzerland already sinking into terror after the act in Lugano can still perceive things in their real dimensions. The Tagesanzeiger already consults a terrorism expert from George Washington University, who judges: “A neutral foreign policy is not a means against attacks.” But the neutrality of Swiss foreign policy has hardly ever played a role in the life of the mentally ill perpetrator in Lugano.
Terror obsession since 9/11
The daily press does with the big trowel, it is known to be a continuous heater. This statement could be used to tick off the excitement surrounding the incident in Lugano. But the matter is only a symptom of a much deeper evil. The zeal with which some journalists have been tracking “terrorist networks” in Switzerland for years has something of an obsession. And this obsession is part of a fear machine that has been working extremely effectively since 9/11. Terror dystopia is a thoroughly successful, mass-psychological creation of neo-conservatives in the US and Israel. They invented the narrative that after the 9/11 attack, a new world war against Islamist terror was to be waged.
The myth that the West is in a “war on terror” has since seized itself like a virus of people’s hearts and brains. The fear of terror is reflexively retrievable. After September 2001, strategists such as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Robert Kagan succeeded in persuading Western policymakers that they were in a “clash of civilizations” that had to be fought by military means. The role of the West, he said, is to impose its hegemony under the leadership of the United States, where necessary with gun violence and surveillance of its own citizens. It is about nothing less than the victory of freedom and democracy. This was called “Project for the New American Century” (PNAC). Politics became war politics, terror psychosis was its basis, and this mechanism still works in many minds today.
Richard Perle went so far as to prophesy that with the victory in the Iraq war, the UN’s “Schwatzbude” would lose its significance. In future, it will no longer be the UN Security Council, which has the authority to authorize military intervention.
NATO has been waging a war against the Taliban for nearly twenty years
In 2003, however, the team led by President George W.Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld could not avoid deceiving the UN and the world public. The claims that Saddam Hussein threatened the West with ABC weapons were allied with Al Qaeda, and therefore accomplices in the 9/11 attacks, proved to be fake only when the first hundred thousand Iraqis had already died under the bombs.
The incomprehensible thing about the story is that while the political establishment, while gnashing its teeth, saw that it had been lied to by Washington in the Iraq war, it never questioned the rationale for the war in Afghanistan. Western media still say the U.S. invaded Afghanistan because the Taliban were protecting Osama Bin Laden and because he was the 9/11 mastermind. After the experiences of the Iraq war, the Libyan war (which was sold as “enforcing a no-fly zone”) and the Syrian war, a great deal of naivety is part of swallowing the Afghanistan story as it was brought to the people by the Bush administration from 9/11. You believe Pinocchio on the word as you watch your nose get longer and longer.
It is important to remember what happened before 9/11. After the disgraceful withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan (celebrated in Washington as “revenge for Vietnam”), the US had continued to support the Taliban’s advance from the mid-1990s. It was hoped that they would be strong enough to create stability in Afghanistan, torn apart by warlord fighting. What would have been of particular interest to Washington would have been access to the oil fields in Central Asia and the construction of pipelines through Afghanistan to the Indian Ocean. But even under the Clinton administration, there was little hope of a deal.
In July 2001, two months before 9/11, the Bush administration made one last attempt. A Us delegation met Taliban representatives in Berlin. The US demanded the formation of a government of national unity and power-sharing with PRO-US factions. They said plainly: “Either you accept a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.” (Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié: Bin Laden, la Vérité interdite. 2001)
The Taliban refused. Two months later, they were blamed for the Manhattan attack because they housed Al Qaeda and Bin Laden. On 7 October 2001, NATO, led by the United States, began bombing Afghanistan.
The perpetrator version was obviously ready for printing at the moment when the Towers in Manhattan collapsed. It took the Bush administration less than hours to supposedly be sure that Bin Laden and Al Qaeda were behind the act.
Osama Bin Laden preached the fight against the US and its allies in accordance with his ideological worldview. It presented 9/11 as a just retaliation for Israel’s and US policies in the Middle East. But he repeatedly stated that he had nothing to do with 9/11 as a planner or operationally involved.
It was only later that videotapes emerged to prove that Bin Laden was a perpetrator, for example in an alleged video message he allegedly sent to Al Jazeera. However, the authenticity of such video messages was strongly questioned by many experts. For example, in the Guardian of November 30, 2002: “Swiss scientists 95% sure that Bin Laden recording was fake”, or [David Ray Griffin](/static/downloads/Griffin.Bin Laden.pdf “Einschätzung des Geständnisses von Bin Laden”) on Global Research.
9/11 was not an attack by a foreign state
After the 9/11 attack in October 2001, the US constructed a case of legitimate defense, as provided for in the UN Charter in the attack of a foreign state. And the NATO states constructed the alliance case on this basis. But there was no attack by a foreign state. The three towers in Manhattan had not been destroyed by Afghanistan or the Taliban. The assassins are said to have been Saudis, not Afghans, according to official figures. It is enough to look again today at the bbc and CNN news from those weeks after 9/11 to find that the Taliban have repeatedly agreed to extradite Bin Laden if the Bush administration presented them with evidence of the perpetrators. The answer from Washington came from an answering machine: You don’t have to prove anything, you don’t know that Bin Laden is the perpetrator. Marjorie Cohn, professor of international law, wrote back in November 2001: “The bombing of Afghanistan by the United States and the United Kingdom is illegal.”
Outcry after Trump’s announcement of troop withdrawal
When Donald Trump announced in mid-November that he would withdraw half of the US troops from Afghanistan, the exponents of NATO policy were overwhelmed with warnings, fears, Kassandra calls. The country is now being given free into the hands of the Taliban, it said. The premature withdrawal of troops endangered the peace negotiations, it sounded in Washington from both Democrats and Republicans. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg saw Afghanistan again as a haven for international terrorists planning attacks on NATO countries. The whole thing sounds like a grim parody of November 2001, when the US began bombing Afghanistan with similar claims. Over the past week, our major media have seen themselves as an echo chamber of this absurd logic. Since when would it have threatened peace if an imperial power withdrew from an occupied country? Thousands of prosthesis wearers in Afghanistan are also likely to ask the question.
The war has now lasted 20 years, and there is hardly a US general who does not know that he cannot win and has never been to win. Nobody invests in Afghanistan, the country lives on foreign aid and drug trafficking. The Western-backed government has no control over much of the country.
No one who knows the situation in Afghanistan nor believes that it makes a difference whether officially 4500 or 2500 US soldiers are still stationed at the Hindu Kush. Once upon a time, more than a hundred thousand Americans were killed in a troop march of three dozen countries. But the dirty work is and has been done – as in Iraq – anyway by “private contractors” (i.e. mercenaries) and anonymous undercover commandos. Then there is the drone war. The “targeted killings” of drones kill people suspected of terrorism, often blowing up vehicles and entire apartment blocks. The number of victims is high and difficult to determine independently. Many US lawyers believe that these are nothing more than extrajudicial executions. Lisa Ling, a US drone technician who served in Afghanistan, is one of many whistleblowers who say the war on terror has long reached “criminal scale.” (WoZ, August 13, 2020)
The military prison at the US air base in Bagram has been repeatedly described in the New York Times as a site of the most brutal, sadistic torture practice. The conditions there were worse than in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Last March, the International Criminal Court in The Hague opened an investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan, which was intended to investigate not only crimes committed by the Taliban, but also crimes committed by members of the US army and intelligence services. The Trump administration then threatened members of the court with sanctions. U.S. authorities can freeze assets for court employees and their family members and order entry bans.
One would not be surprised if polls show that most people in the US today do not know exactly why American soldiers have been dying in Afghanistan for 20 years and half a million Afghans have been killed or wounded. The Trump administration signed a peace agreement with the Taliban in Doha in February, which provides for a total Withdrawal of the Americans for April 2021. Skepticism is appropriate. Neither in Syria nor in Iraq have the US ever fully backtracked. Joe Biden is not expected to get soft knees in the “war on terror.” He has always been a staunch supporter of US military intervention, in line with hardliners like Hillary Clinton. He, meanwhile, called the invasion of Iraq a mistake.
The military-industrial complex pulls the strings
There have been repeated voices in Washington saying that they are now fed up with the war on terror. Robert Gates, a veteran CIA man and secretary of defense under Barak Obama, said in 2011 that any defense secretary advising the president to send troops to Asia, Africa, or the Middle East in the future should be “investigated for his state of mind.”
Mark Hannah, a Democratic political analyst at New York University, wrote in 2019: “The war in Afghanistan has become a multigenerational exercise in absurdity.”
The us military interventions had proved to be pointless, and it is now becoming apparent that terrorism is not coordinated in any caves in Afghanistan, but that it is “homegrown” here.
But such critical voices are overshadowed by the loudspeakers of the Rand Corporation and other powerful military establishment think tanks. The defense companies and the hawks in the Pentagon will leave President Biden little room for peace policy. The military-industrial complex and the strategists of the New Middle East are still among those pulling the strings in the background.
Even if there is another nuclear deal with Tehran, Iran remains a target. He stands in the way of many US strategists who want a free corridor to Central Asia, along with Syria. We need to strengthen Israel, block the Chinese advance on the Silk Road, and encircle Russia from its unstable southern flank. Basically, the “war on terror” was never anything other than a phrase used to conceal a geostrategic project. Many people see this a little more clearly today, and yet there is probably something stuck in the collective unconscious about the “war on terror”: a groundset of terror fear and surveillance mentality.