How to make a terrorist (reloaded)

This article was first published back in March 30, 2016. I don't know why I feel the need to bring it back today, I really don't know what it has to do with it. I'll put it here. Perhaps it is useless indeed it certainly is. Anyway good reading.


Winston once happened to mention the war against Eurasia and Julia stunned him by casually stating that in her opinion this war did not exist. The rocket bombs that fell on London every day were probably dropped by the Oceanian government itself, " to keep the people in fear ." Such an idea had never even occurred to him. Winston had also felt a kind of envy towards him when Julia had told him that during the Two Minutes of Hate the hardest thing for her was to keep from laughing. (George Orwell, 1984)

As an attachment to this reflection, I like to propose to the most patient readers the text I translated from an investigation conducted by the American investigative journalist Trevor Aaronson at the end of 2011.

The article is one of many in which it is described how the FBI, in conducting its activities to combat Islamic terrorism in the territory of the United States of America, artfully creates these threats by selecting, educating, arming and financing the subjects that later he will boast of having arrested.

In summary, this is how it works. Federal agents recruit an "informant", preferably of Middle Eastern origins and with pending criminal charges, so that they can blackmail him if he does not cooperate, and infiltrate an Islamic community with the task of posing as a member of a terrorist organization and identifying subjects poor, maladjusted and / or mentally unstable to whom to propose an attack. Thanks to the logistical and financial support provided by the FBI, the infiltrator provides his pupil with money, weapons and explosives, suggests a plan and puts him in a position to carry it out by removing any obstacles to its implementation. Then, just before the detonator is triggered, the FBI arrested the "bomber" in flagrant crime and a federal court sentenced him to dozens of years in prison for an attempted terrorist act.

The scheme faithfully replicates the story told by George Orwell in 1984 , where the government executive O'Brien pretends to be a dissident to win the trust of Winston and Julia so that they declare themselves ready to carry out terrorist acts and swear allegiance to the elusive conspirator Emmanuel Goldstein (in one case described in the investigation, the FBI mole makes a ward take a fake oath to Al Qaeda). The two protagonists of the novel, believing they have found complicity and refuge with an antiquarian – actually a member of the psychopolice – will end up being arrested and tortured by O'Brien himself.

Compared to Orwell's fantasy, in the reality of American counter-terrorism the prey are not politically aware citizens, but indigent subjects, psychologically disturbed and raised in the material and moral misery of the ghettos, who in the local Islamic communities were perhaps looking for an escape from marginalization. and an identity reference. And their false friends are not high party leaders, but jailbirds , scammers, drug dealers and violent people hired by the state in exchange for some money or a penalty to deceive others and public opinion.

The "terrorists" framed and arrested by the FBI are obviously not terrorists, even if they wanted to. Misfits who survived on the fringes of an unequal and hyperclass society, generically angry with the world, would have swelled the ranks of petty crime to the fullest and " would have done nothing if government agents hadn't kicked them in the ass " (Aaronson, p. . 4). Rather, they appear to be sacrificial victims that the government has used to boast successes in the fight against domestic "terrorism", while keeping the public's attention to that alleged threat high. Thus combining the Orwellian dystopia with the fanaticism of distant times , when marginalized, crippled and mentally retarded were induced to confess relations with the devil (which is the ancient – and more honest – name of Goldstein and Bin Laden) and sacrificed to satisfy fear and ignorance of right-thinking people , cementing their trust in authority.

It would be all too easy – but fair – to observe that the resources used to frame those wretches could have been spent on alleviating the plagues that gave birth to them – unemployment, denied access to health care, low schooling, material degradation, etc. – and to clear up an undergrowth where, if not terrorism, there is discomfort, exclusion and social anger.

But what is the purpose of this pantomime? Why does the US government "create crimes to solve crimes" ( ibid. )? The answer is suggested by the quote that opens this pedantry: to keep fear alive . And certainly not for the purpose of protecting the salaries and employment levels of the FBI, which I doubt is among the priorities of the American government today.

Articles and books have been written about the ways in which the self-styled "war on terror" has expanded the power and wealth of a few elites, as well as terrorism itself , taking away freedom and security from the remaining 99% of the population. It has also been mentioned on this blog about the socialism of the rich . A fearful people are easier to control and less inclined to question the acts of a government perceived as the only possible defense against the de-civilizing fury of the "bad guys". Like the sheep with its shepherd, that people will allow themselves to be led towards whatever outcome is presented to them as saving and decisive with respect to the imminent emergency. We have seen this after the recent events in Brussels, in the aftermath of which political representatives and journalists invoked, with disturbing synchrony, an acceleration of the process of political and military unification of the European states. A total non sequitur , whose timing and widespread acceptance demonstrate how fear serves the objectives of the dominus while preserving them from the critical scrutiny of the masses.

So it is not surprising that, if the eventual sheikhs of terror slack off, the task of keeping the alarm alive and the goad of fear can directly affect governments that want to operate in derogation from the democratic compromise.

Trevor Aaronson's investigation has the merit of presenting the phenomenon with documentary rigor, placing it in its historical and legal context. After the events in Paris and Brussels, the fact that our most important ally – the same one who has titled the role of defending the West from terrorists – employs its police forces to devise terrorist plans, recruit their perpetrators, indoctrinate them , arm them and put them in a position to operate, is a detail that I think should concern us. At the very least, it signals that the relationship between Western governments and Islamic terrorism is much more complex and symbiotic than it emerges from the mortifying Manichaeism of media narratives.

As for the doubt that, once the attack and the bomber have been packaged, the government puppeteers can "forget" to stop the hand of those who operate the bomb, it is an undocumentable question that I leave to the trust that each reader places in common sense and in the good intentions of those who govern us.


Trevor Aaronson, How a Terrorist Is Made


This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Il Pedante at the URL on Mon, 30 Aug 2021 15:04:05 PDT.