In times of relative peace and prosperity, it's easy for those under
our sphere of influence to forget just how unpleasant life could be without
our protection. Sometimes the protected need reminding. Otherwise, they
can become over-confident, too daring, a danger to ourselves or others.
One such reminder which brings my own daughter running for protection,
is when papa growls 'Fee fye foe fum', the words which signal the arrival
of the child-eating ogre of Jack & The Beanstalk.
I find this interesting because, anecdotally, it suggests that mythology
or the repetition and embellishment of stories we tell each other - trigger
fear just as effectively as a rational assessment of what's before our
And so to today and the media descriptions of the recent bomb threats
airport and Tesco
supermarkets. Note the trigger words - 'terror', 'extremists'.*1
We easily recognise their place in the storybook of 9/11 and 7/7, the
stories of the ogre that crushed skyscrapers, smashed trains and killed
Does the diminutive bobby on the beat stand a chance against such a monster?
Of course not. No wonder the poor head of the Association of Police Chief
Officers has chosen this moment to demand more
But hang on. Let's step back and get some perspective. Do we really want
to give our policemen the green light to lock people up indefinitely without
charge? How much does that raise the probability of innocent people being
victimised on the basis of mistaken identity, bad intelligence or simply
looking the part? That would be terrible too, wouldn't it?
In fact, this is not the first time that politicians in Europe have braced
themselves for the next deadly bout of violence against civilians. This
isn't even the first time we've seen massacres at train stations or in
During the Cold War years, numerous acts of violence were perpetrated
across Western Europe.*2
What can we learn from the motivations behind them?
For one thing, we learn that, in nearly all the worst cases, it was a
mistake to assume that the first suspect that sprang to mind was actually
responsible. The blame was successfully pinned on communists - or, more
specifically, on the political parties, activists, unions, and governments
with communist or left leaning sympathies - but they were not the instigators.
During this period, trained neo-fascists and secret agents infiltrated
extreme left groups and egged them on to carry out acts of extreme violence.
Only in 1990 did the wall of silence finally give way to the revelation
that these dark actors were members of secret 'stay behind' armies set
up by Nato to resist a Soviet invasion... an invasion which never came.
We don't have much hard evidence of CIA and MI6 involvement. That's because
anybody who does know about their activities is sworn to silence.
What we do now know from declassifed documents, is that the destruction
of communism was the secret services' cause celebre throughout the cold
Was this a sensible precaution?
May be. But a positive feeling about Soviet socialism was also understandable
in post war Europe. 13 million Russian soldiers gave their lives helping
save Europe from fascism during WWII. *3
Given that level of sacrifice, how did Communism wind up being branded
Most likely, Western power brokers didn't much like the idea. Given its
promise to distribute wealth more equitably, it was never going to be
the rich person's first choice.*4 Demands
from the fat controller to stop the spread of communism, almost certainly
resulted in this marriage of convenience to repress it - the marriage
between big money, big business chiefs, judges, secret services, the military
officer class, senior policemen ... even the mafia.
Before we think that this is all getting a bit far fetched, the history
of Cuba provides ample
evidence that these sections of US society have indeed collaborated
with the aim of destroying Castro's Cuba. They have also protected and
provided cover for those that would attack the Cuban system. *5
But were these Cold War atrocities against civilians solely carried out
to turn the public against an ideology? Certainly not. It would be naive
to think that the participants acted solely out of patriotism with no
hope of extending their own power and influence.
Skip to the USA where the combination of urgency and a feeling of powerlessness
in Congress due to 9/11, provided the climate in which the Patriot Act
would be approved without serious debate.
Passed just 45 days after 9/11, the 1200 page Act's full implications
are yet to be felt. But Americans aren't
now so sure they like the way the Act sanctioned wiretaps and clandestine
house searches and on-demand access to a businesses' confidential records
about customers. Whatever the cause, the effect, in any case, was an extension
of state and executive powers.
Why would the ruling Executive in the US and UK want the power to put
civilians behind bars without hard evidence that a crime has been committed?
What has spooked the fat controller this
Is it really Al Qaeda that has given the world's greatest superpower a
dose of the heebie-jeebies?
Winding back, we note that the CIA , during the Cold War, offered training
to all sorts of combative people who could help them repel Communism.
This included the Mujahedeen, the group of Islamic fundamentalists for
whom Bin Laden was a fundraiser. Equipped by the CIA, they expelled the
Soviet army from Afghanistan before regrouping as the Taleban and rebranding
as Al Qaeda.
It's messy, but what these Cold War events seem to tell us is that, when
real power feels threatened, no executioners are ruled out for the job
of stamping out the threat.
Snap back to today and it seems that the covenant
of peaceful co-existence, made when Islamic Fundamentalists were helping
us remove the Russians from Afghanistan, is now in tatters and these allies
have become the fat controller's worst 9/11 and 7/7 nightmares.
Or have they?
Not so, if you believe that the biggest threat facing the USA today, is,
in fact, oil depletion combined with the diving
In this case, having an arch enemy in the Middle East is rather helpful.
It helps justify the continued presence of US troops in the part of the
world where the largest remaining reserves of cheap- to- extract oil are
waiting to be drilled.
oil is very definitely a concern to all major oil consumers. Supplies
are already tight. In fact, 27 of the 51 oil producing nations mentioned
in BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy reported output declines
Tightness of supply hasn't been helped by a series of devastating oil
industry leaks, fires and explosions which
took the UK perilously close to winter gas shortages early in 2006. Who
exactly was responsible for these has not, to my mind, been adequately
explained. But these shocks were not a bad way to impress on a Parliament
the seriousness of the threat... the real threat of shortages to which
Iraq's ample oil reserves might seem to be the answer.
So, this is my assessment.
It is obvious that, all things being even, when shortages begin, the world's
greediest per capita energy consumer of oil will find it hardest
Consider the US army without oil for 24 hours. The planes, humvees and
helicopters would stall. The generators, refrigerators, air conditioners
and rock music would fall silent. Darkness would descend.*6
*1 A google search on the words 'terror,
extremists' currently calls up 2,040,000 published articles.
*2 In Italy, from 1969-87, 14,591 acts of
violence with a political motivation were recorded. A bomb attack at Bologna
railway station on 2 Aug 1980, killed 85 people and maimed 200. In Belgium
on 9 Nov 1985, a killing spree in a supermarket resulted in the deaths
of 8 people. The perpetrators have never been identified. For more see
Secret Armies: Operation Gladio & Terrorism in Western Europe,
by Danielle Ganser
*3 This compares to US and UK troop losses
of 400,000 and 300,000 respectively.
*4 Some well known families and interests
in the USA and UK have accumulated or inherited collossal financial power.
Historically, and to this day, they have exercised extraordinary influence
on a government's ability to sell its bonds and finance its wars. It is
said that in the early 1800s, financier Nathan Rothschild managed to accumulate
a personal fortune in excess of the entire money stock of Britain! See
Micheal Rowbotham's Grip
of Death p199. Recent evidence reveals that Rothschild
made money from the slave trade, even though he has often been portrayed
as an opponent of slavery.
*5 CIA operative, Luis
Posada Carriles, is yet to face trial for his well documented involvement
in an act of terrorism which killed all 73 passengers of a Cuban airliner
on 6 Oct 1976. All indications suggest Carriles has enjoyed US protection.
The Bush administration resisted calls to extradite him for trial in Cuba
or Venezuela during the time he was resident in Miami in 2005.
Above: Excerpt from Allan Frankovich's series about Gladio. Operated
by the CIA and MI6 through Nato, the secret 'stay behind' army was trained
to lead the resistance in the event of a Soviet Invasion of Europe. Instead
it was used to commit atrocities against civilians as part of a CIA strategy
of tension designed to frighten Europe's political classes into adopting
US policies. 86 people were killed in the
1980 train station bombing in Bologna, Italy, and gunmen went on a
shooting spree in Belgian supermarkets. All three parts of the series
(normally available on Google Video)