A Tactic of Warfare

Contrary to propaganda proffered by the State Department, terrorism is not a belief system; it is, rather, a tactic of warfare. Sometimes used offensively by states in suppressing dissent or in subduing populations, sometimes used defensively by those being suppressed or subdued, terrorism is an effective means of making one’s determination known. As a systematic tactic that employs collective fear as a lever in political conflict, terrorism is deployed in both spectacular and spectral ways, usually in conjunction with other means of psychological warfare.

Genocide and other extreme extensions of conflict between societies rely on the justifications developed to carry out this warfare, and indeed are natural extensions of commercial philosophy. I thought about the connections between commercialization, terrorism, and psychological warfare recently when listening to a talk by the director of the Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism, who was addressing the formidable task of fighting the commercialization of life and the attendant threat to indigenous cultures worldwide from the corporate states that control the media and international institutions guiding such protocols as the Convention on Biological Diversity.

By chance, I happened to notice a news item the same day about the United States government deploying financial warfare against the whistleblower organization Wikileaks for exposing US war crimes in Central Asia, and recalled how financial warfare was likewise used in the mid 1980s to undermine the former Republic of Yugoslavia. While these hostile acts do not constitute terrorism, they nevertheless are terrifying, and contribute to the destabilizing effect of globalization—the ongoing commercialization project of states and corporations benefiting from the theft of what the rest of us need to live. In that context, it is not surprising that some of the victims resort to terror as a defense.


~ by Jay Taber on October 17, 2010.

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