Fear: A Political
By Ghali Hassan
26 April, 2005
rise of the politics of fear has become central to US imperial agenda.In
order to sell its "war on terror" and the war on Iraq, the
Bush administration turned to fear to manipulate the public. Just before
the war on Iraq, US and British politicians played on people's fear
of an imagined enemy and fabricate an "imminent threat" to
justify a war of aggression against a defenceless nation. Fear is the
instrument of those in power to manufacture consent in order to imperil
civil liberties and pursue rejected policy.
The September 11
(9/11) attacks on the US were an "opportunity" used to cultivate
fear and advance US imperial agenda. "The White House carefully
manipulated public opinion, never quite lied, but gave the very strong
impression that Iraq did it", Richard Clarke, Bush administration's
counter-terrorism expert told CBS 60 minutes on March 21, 2004. A false
'link' was established between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks and used wickedly
to play on people's fear.
Just before the
US war on Iraq, a "code orange" terror alert was declared
in the US. Anti-aircraft batteries were deployed in Washington, while
New York streets were patrolled with machine-guns Special Forces. In
Britain, tanks and armed troops were deployed at London Heathrow Airport.
The pretext at the time was, 'a response to perceived increase in terrorist
attacks', a fantasy, which proved to be the first lie in the war on
Iraq. The obvious reasons were: To prepare the public to support an
act of aggression against already demonised and defenceless nation,
to warn the mass media to follow
the government war policy, and to provide pretexts for governments to
pass legislations expanding powers of law enforcement agencies.
The 2001 Patriot
Act in the US and similar offshoots in many countries (e.g. Anti-terrorism
Acts in Canada and Australia) were created on fabricated allegations
and enacted against dissent voices and minorities. Essentially, people
are forced to trade their freedom and civil liberties for protection
from an imaginary enemy. However, this is not entirely true. There is
exception; "Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, and immigrants who
are Arab or Muslim, they have borne the brunt of reduced freedom, reduced
rights", said Professor Corey Robin of City University of New York.
Thousands of innocent people have been detained, interrogated and deported.
Hundreds of people have been arrested, tortured and illegally imprisoned
without charges, and denied their right to fair trails. "Most American
citizens who are white middle-class are not experiencing that at all",
added Professor Corey Robin.
Fear played an important
role during the US elections campaign. The Bush administration uses
fear to frighten the population into total obedience and to maintain
political power. In fact, the public is manipulated to accept just anything.
The victims of this fear mongering are the "others". A survey
conducted by Cornell University found that nearly half of the Americans
who responded to the survey say the US should 'restrict the civil liberties
of Muslim Americans'. In the recent Australian election, the situation
was not much different from that in the US.
have frightened the population, they presented themselves as saviours,
and strip people of their freedoms, of their dignity, and of their human
rights. The detentions of innocent civilians are justified on the basis
that, an imminent threat exists, and warning to others that dissent
is not tolerated. Any one can be arrested and put in jail on the pretext
to 'save the people'. The fabricated threat of terrorism "is a
fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is
a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around
the world, the security services and international media", argued
Adam Curtis, Britain's leading documentary filmmaker.
Throughout the Cold
War, which was a pretext for state of fear, Western secret agents and
NATO collaborated in attacks against civilian targets, which blamed
on left-wing groups in order to create panic and force the public to
turn to governments for more security and protection. One of these right-wing
groups who implicated in attacks on civilians, code-name Gladio. Only
in 1990s, the existence of the group became known in Italy and the Italian
Senate, amid public protests, had to close it down, because it 'was
beyond democratic control'. In other words, the lies became too big
hide from the public. (Cited in 'Secret Warfare: Gladio', by Daniele
Lie after lie have
been fabricated and promoted by warmongers and deceptive mainstream
media outlets in order to convince the public that their fear is linked
to a threat posed by Iraq. Despite mounting evidence to the contrary,
most American citizens bought the lies of the Bush administration and
not only succumb to the restriction on their civil liberties, but also
supported a criminal war against the people of Iraq. The continuous
demonisation of the Iraqi people serves to prop up domestic support
for imperial policy and occupation. Iraq is portrayed in Western mainstream
media as a violent sectarian war zone as if it is not the Occupation
that encourages the violence and preys on sectarian divides. In his
25 years long rule of Iraq, Saddam killed and imprisoned far less people
than Tony Blair or George Bush. An entire nation and a civilised society
have been destroyed and decimated by a small group of white extremist
ideologues, with disregards to humanity and civilisation.
The war on Iraq
is also used as an instrument of fear to bully other nations into submission
to US imperialist agenda. Both, the US and the British governments have
publicly stated that the war on Iraq was "a lesson" to other
defenceless nations. In other words, we are violent and we will use
violence to get what we want. "Such is the viciousness that lies
behind the façade of the British [and US] foreign policy",
writes Mark Curtis, Director of the World Development Movement. Sadly,
people in the West accepted the violence of their own governments with
almost no resistance to the crimes committed in their name.
From March 2003
to October 2004, US forces have killed more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians,
most of them innocent women and children, reported the reputable British
journal, The Lancet. The only credible scientific study published so
far. The estimate is very conservative in that it excluded the high
civilians death in Fallujah, which was considered too high to include
in the final analysis. The US forces self-immunity from prosecution
makes it very easier for them to kill Iraqis with institutionalised
impunity, as if Iraqis were not human beings.
Fallujah was fire
bombed and destroyed by US forces. In violation of International Law
and the Geneva Conventions, US forces used modern form of napalm bombs
(MK-77 Mod 5), which ignites on impact to attack civilian population
there. According to the Red Cross, more than 6,000 innocent civilians
(men, women and children) have been killed, and the rest of the population
is displaced refugees. A war crime termed "collective punishment"
designed to instil fear in the Iraqi population passed with complete
silence in Western capitals.
and self-perceptions reveal the ease with which a civilized country
[US] can engage in large-scale killing of innocent civilians without
public discussion", wrote Jeffery Sachs, Professor of Economics
and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
It is a moral failure
that the crimes against the Iraqi people continue to pass with complete
silence in most Western countries as if the Iraqi people are "unpeople".
The detention in Indonesia of an Anglo-Australian women accused of trafficking
in drugs has attracted far more attention and media
hype than any newsworthy story in the last few months. The daily mass
murder of innocent Iraqi men, women and children, as young as five,
is not newsworthy enough to be covered in Australia's "free press".
Consequently, the fear of drugs was completely removed and the media
marketing the cliché of fear of the "others", the Indonesians.
the New York Times most conspicuous warmonger, is telling Americans
to be extra nervous now because the Iraqi people Resistance might try
to attack America if they are losing in Iraq. Friedman's fascist theory
is: "The more the Jihadists lose in Iraq, the more likely they
are to use their rump forces to try something really crazy in America
to make up for it". He added, "So let's stay the course in
Iraq, but stay extra-vigilant at home". Friedman calls the Iraqi
Resistance "Jihadists"; an American-created reductive word
originated from the Arabic word means 'to struggle'. It could
be struggle peacefully against injustice or strife for spirituality,
education and freedom. This kind of fear mongering is promoted and directed
at American citizens to support their government ongoing atrocities
against the Iraqi people, and Muslims in general. Friedman has no compassion
demonstrable awareness of human suffering. The US brutal occupation
of Iraq, or Israel brutal occupation of Palestine does not detain him
for a moment. His theory is not only criminal, but it is also misleading
the (American) public and promoting fear of an imaginary enemy.
An imaginary enemy
have to be constructed in order to manipulate the population in supporting
ongoing acts of aggression. From the making of Bin Laden to the CIA
"favourite terrorists" and warlords in Afghanistan, Bogymen
and 'phantom terrorists' are created to provide pretext for fear. They
remain useful alive than dead. The phantom of "Al-Zarqawi"
is a CIA-created legend designed to divide Iraqis religious and political
factions and justify a prolong occupation. The myth is promoted in Western
mainstream media on daily basis. Iraqi sources suggest that most terrorist
acts attributed to Al-Zarqawi were actually carried out by secret US
and Israeli agents.
agents in Iraq have admitted, that they are paying people off to make
up stories about Al-Zarqawi to create sectarian divisions among the
Iraqis: "We were basically paying up to $US10,000 (A$13,000) a
time to opportunists, criminals and chancers who passed off fiction
about the fundamentalist anti-Shiites Al-Zarqawi as cast-iron fact,
making him out as the linchpin of just about every attack in Iraq",
one agent said: "Back home this stuff was gratefully received and
formed the basis of policy decisions. We needed a villain, someone identifiable
for the public to latch
on to, and we got one", reported Adrian Blomfield of The Age of
Melbourne on 02 October 2004.
There is a conscious
effort by the US Occupation forces and the mainstream media to distort
the image of the Iraqi Resistance and reduce its members to merely "foreign
fundamentalists" - as if the US forces and western mercenaries
are not the real foreigners. Fundamentalists are also easy to
demonise than nationalists and resistance movements, who struggle for
legitimate cause. There is no evidence to suggest that Al-Zarqawi exists,
and much of the information was from unreliable sources. The promotion
of Al-Zarqawi's myth was very high before and during the criminal US
of the city of Fallujah.
As a result of US
war and Occupation, fear is widespread in Iraq today, particularly among
women and children who continue to be humiliated and abused in violent
house-to-house searches being conducted by US forces. The ceaseless
aerial bombings of Iraq since 1991 war have traumatized and
installed fear among Iraqi women and children.
The Iraqi people
posed no threat to the United States or any other countries. It is the
US, which occupies Iraq, imprisoned, tortured, and killed thousands
(Iraqi men, women and children), seized Iraq's assets and oil resources,
imposed an illegitimate elections and continues to threat the
lives of the Iraqi people.
The fabricated threat
of terrorism "is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted
by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through
governments around the world, the security services and international
media", added Adam Curtis. Fear is political means and like war
must be rejected by any civilised society. The idea of hegemony or domination
by one power is the construction of permanent fear on the rest of the
The US doctrine
of hegemony has failed in Iraq. The majority of the world despises the
US militaristic power. The world is more dangerous today because of
the threat of terrorism promoted by US policy. Had it not been for the
Iraqi people Resistance against US war and Occupation, Syria and Iran
would have been attacked by now. The Iraqi Resistance has also thwarted
and discredited the US militaristic hegemonic agenda.
The fictional fear
in the West is serving the ideology and interests of those who committed
a murderous war of aggression against the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people
have a legitimate right to defend their country and resist foreign occupation.
Their actions of self-defence are legal within international law. What
is to be feared is those who committed this murderous war of aggression
will escape justice, and perhaps live to commit more crimes.
Ghali Hassan lives
in Perth, Western Australia.