Keeping Us in the Dark


We're told that we live in the age of terrorism. Our government and mainstream media fill our heads with an imminent threat. ASIO recently estimated that up to 800 Muslim 'extremists' are living in Australia and, in the words of The Australian, 'could be motivated to carry out a London-style attack.'

It's a petrifying thought that Australia could be vulnerable to terrorist attack. But do we know how much reliable information about terrorism we are actually receiving? In the Western media, there appear to be limits on the acceptable parameters of the debate surrounding terrorism. Two recently released books received little coverage in the Australian media, despite offering major revelations into the function of the 'War on Terror'.

There are limits on such debates because our media and political elite are either unwilling or incapable of seriously analysing Western culpability for terror. Islamic fundamentalism threatens our safety and peace-of-mind, but Western-sponsored State terror has killed far more people than al-Qaeda could ever hope to. This is the unspoken reality of the terrorism debate.

In The War on Truth: 9/11, Disinformation and the Anatomy of Terrorism (Olive Branch Press, 2005), author Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed reveals an incestuous, co-dependent relationship between Western intelligence services and Islamic fundamentalists, both before and since 9/11. Ahmed is executive director of Britain's Institute for Policy Research and Development and author of the best-selling, The War on Freedom: How and Why America was Attacked: September 11, 2001.

'It is a matter of public record that the US government and military intelligence apparatus has in the past deliberately provoked or permitted attacks on US symbols of power in order to justify military action', writes Ahmed. He quotes various intelligence experts who claim the September 11 attacks were unlikely to have been wholly co-ordinated by Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

He doesn't claim Western leaders received forewarning about the atrocities, but that certain elements of the intelligence or military apparatus may have had strategic reasons for allowing the attacks to occur (such as re-shaping the Middle East and gaining access to much-needed oil reserves). It's an explosive claim that requires further investigation.

Ahmed reveals the tacit support offered by Western governments to numerous terrorist organisations, and finds the long-arm of Western intelligence in the Balkans, Caucasus, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Asia-Pacific, often working covertly with shadowy governments and freelance terror groups. Ahmed concludes:

The supposed global conflict between us (the West), and them (the terrorists), turns out to be less a reality and more of a convenient narrative, a façade, concealing a core system of reciprocal interests and policies binding the West to its solemn enemies.

Take the 9/11 attacks. Numerous intelligence experts claim that 9/11 couldn't have occurred with al-Qaeda working alone and would have needed State assistance. But who? Saudi Arabia remains the most likely target, though this has yet to be publicly confirmed. Defining terrorism becomes all the more difficult when our allies may have been involved. 'Our' terrorism is rarely discussed in Australia.

The mainstream media doesn't engage in such debate. It's much easier to dismiss these matters as 'conspiracy theories'. In fact, the actions of our government in the 'age of terrorism' remains clearly too hot to handle for the establishment. The War on Truth has received no coverage in Australia, illustrating that there is much for the political and media elite to lose if the true agenda of the 'War on Terror' is revealed.

Closer to home, Plunging Point (HarperCollins, 2005), by former intelligence officers Lance Collins and Warren Reed, was released in September this year. The book offers a raw and disturbing critique of our failed services. It has also had little coverage in the Australian media.

Both Collins and Reed have spent much of their professional lives in a world where gleaned information can affect whether somebody lives or dies, and they offer a fascinating account of how this universe operates.

Take the example of David Kelly, the British weapons inspector found dead in 2003. The official line told of a tortured man who took his own life, but the truth may be murkier. One official investigation after another gave the Blair Government a clean bill of health, but reliable rumours continue to circulate that a high-level conspiracy existed to silence a man who had refused to accept government lies on Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction. He may have paid the ultimate price for simply doing his job.

If we truly want to examine the origins of terrorism, we need to look at what is committed in our name. Now is the time for dissenters to come forward and speak up. We have seen what happens when intimidated intelligence services refuse to openly question official government doctrine the Iraq war is the greatest intelligence failure of the modern age and has caused the deaths of untold thousands.

Healthy scepticism is the best policy whenever our self-appointed 'terrorism' experts spew forth.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.