THE WISDOM FUND: Issues & Answers

Terrorism: Definition, History, Facts

UN High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
The panel defined terrorism as any action intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organisation to do, or abstain from, any act. (Also see U.S. Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113B, Section 2331)
Webster's New World Dictionary - Second College Edition
Terrorism -- use of force or threats to demoralize, intimidate, and subjugate, esp. such use as a political weapon or policy

Power politics -- international political relations in which each nation attempts to increase its own power or interests by using military or economic coercion

Realpolitik -- practical politics; a euphemism for power politics

Often, realpolitik = power politics = terrorism

Sir Peter Ustinov
Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.
Supreme International Crime
The Judgment of the international Military Tribunal: "To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."
Pankaj Mishra, The Ugly Truth of the First World War
British imperialists had recruited up to 1.4 million Indian soldiers. France enlisted nearly 500,000 troops from its colonies in Africa and Indochina. Nearly 400,000 African Americans were also inducted into US forces. The first world war's truly unknown soldiers are these non-white combatants.
U.S. Wars and Hostile Actions -- List
Since World War II, during a supposed golden age of peace, the United States military has killed some 20 million people, overthrown at least 36 governments, interfered in at least 82 foreign elections, attempted to assassinate over 50 foreign leaders, and dropped bombs on people in over 30 countries
American Patriots Question 9/11
More than 3000 military and intelligence personnel, engineers, architects, professors, pilots do not believe the official account of 9/11.

Karen Armstrong, Fields of Blood

Religion is not itself a source of violence and the problem lies more deeply in "our human nature and the nature of the state." To prove her point, she covers roughly five thousand years of religious history, from Gilgamesh to the present day.

United States Senator Barry Goldwater

Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.
Terrorism Depends on Target: Judge
Militants who attack military or state targets, even with suicide bombers, cannot be considered terrorists in times of war or occupation, an Italian judge said in a ruling today.

Washington Post, From U.S., the ABC's of Jihad

In the twilight of the Cold War, the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.

The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system's core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books.

Harold Pinter, Nobel Lecture: Art, Truth and Politics

VIDEO: The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading -- as a last resort -- all other justifications having failed to justify themselves -- as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.
Muslims are Very Strange People
Muslims are inherently violent and desiring of death in a way that few of us can even begin to imagine.

Graham E. Fuller, A World Without Islam

Conflict between East and West remains all about the grand historical and geopolitical issues of human history: ethnicity, nationalism, ambition, greed, resources, local leaders, turf, financial gain, power, interventions, and hatred of outsiders, invaders, and imperialists.

Amal Kassir: The Muslim on the Airplane
VIDEO: Watching the news, it seems like ethnic divides are ever-deepening. But how can we solve these complicated problems when each side lives in fear of the other? The answer is simple, argues Syrian-American poet Amal Kassir - it starts with, "What's your name?"

Andre Vltchek, How the West Creates Terrorism

Even the legionnaires and gladiators of the Empire, like the Mujaheddin, Al-Qaida, or ISIS, can never come close to the savagery that has been demonstrated time and again by their British, French, Belgian, German or US masters. Of course they are trying very hard to match their gurus and bread-givers, but they are just not capable of their violence and brutality.

It takes "Western culture" to butcher some 10 million people in just one single geographic area, in almost one go!

The Intercept, When the State Department Tries to Choose Muslim Thought Leaders to Win 'Hearts and Minds'

As a 2004 Rumsfeld-commissioned study about the causes of Terrorism put it: "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather, they hate our policies," in particular, "American direct intervention in the Muslim world," our "one-sided support in favor of Israel," support for Islamic tyrannies in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and "the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan." As a result, trying to change Muslim perceptions of the U.S. without changing U.S. policies of imperialism and militarism is the ultimate act of futility.
Why Your Bath Tub Is More Deadly Than Terror Attacks
Instances of Use of US Armed Forces Abroad, 1798--2010
Fact Sheet: American Deaths in Terrorist Attacks
American Deaths in Terrorist Attacks
FBI: Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Soil, 1980 to 2005
Princeton University’s Loon Watch chart
How the FBI's Network of Informants Actually Created Most of the Terrorist Plots 'Foiled' in the US Since 9/11
The Chattanooga Shootings: Can Attacking Military Sites of a Nation at War be "Terrorism"?
John Pilger on the U.S. and Terrorism
VIDEO: ABC Australia "Lateline" -- Why do we have a different standard of looking at what a resistance is in Iraq as it is anywhere else?

VIDEO: What he didn't say is that since 1945 the US military has been directly responsible for the deaths of over 10 million people and that America has in that time overthrown 50 governments, including democracies, and intervened in at least 30 more.

Noam Chomsky Interview on CBC
Enver Masud, What's Wrong With Suicide Bombing?
The Real Terrorist Was Me - Mike Prysner
Islam Is A Peaceful Religion: Debate At Oxford
Steve Coll, Remote Control: Our Drone Delusion
America's targeted-killing program has grown into a campaign without borders.
Mats Svensson, Who is the Judge Who Judges? Who is a Terrorist?
. . . it took 19 years before president and Nobel peace prize winner Mandela was removed from the US terrorist list.
The Institute for Economics and Peace, 2012 Global Terrorism Index
U.S. Department of State, 1997 Patterns of Global Terrorism
During 1997 there were a total of 123 attacks against the U.S. Of these, 97 occurred in Latin America; 4 in the Middle East.
Juan Cole, Terrorism and the other Religions
terrorism by religion
Fifty Years of US Targeted 'Kill Lists': From the Phoenix Program to Predator Drones
35 Countries Where the U.S. Has Supported Fascists, Drug Lords and Terrorists
United States Cities by Crime Rate
MAP: 26 Mass Murders Across America in 30 Years
More Than 47,000 Americans Died From Drug Overdoses in 2014
Death Toll From Road Accidents 390 Times That From Terrorism
In the 29 OECD countries for which comparable data were available, the annual average death rate from road injury was approximately 390 times that from international terrorism.
CDC: Food-Related Illness and Death in the United States
We estimate that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year.
John Mueller and Karl Mueller, Sanctions of Mass Destruction
On average far fewer Americans are killed each year by terrorists than are killed by lightning, deer accidents, or peanut allergies. To call terrorism a threat to national security is scarcely plausible.

... economic sanctions may well have been a necessary cause of the deaths of more people in Iraq than have been slain by all so-called weapons of mass destruction throughout history. -- Foreign Affairs, May/June 1999, p. 43

John Mueller, Is There Still a Terrorist Threat?
The massive and expensive homeland security apparatus erected since 9/11 may be persecuting some, spying on many, inconveniencing most, and taxing all to defend the United States against an enemy that scarcely exists.--Foreign Affairs, September/October 2006
John Mueller and Mark Stewart, Chasing Ghosts: The Policing of Terrorism
The chance that an American will be killed by a terrorist within the country is about one in four million per year under present conditions. However, poll data suggest that, although over a trillion dollars has been spent on domestic counterterrorism since 2001, Americans say they do not feel safer. No defense of civil liberties is likely to be effective as long as people and officials continue to believe that the threat from terrorism is massive, even existential.
John Mueller, Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them
Hypervigilance is threatening civil liberties, the economy, and lives. Terrorist threats are overblown; we can learn from the lessons of previous international threats that they are often exaggerated; and by applying these lessons, we can create policy that reduces fear and the cost of overreaction.

Trevor Aaronson, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism
The FBI has, under the guise of engaging in counterterrorism since 9/11, built a network of more than 15,000 informants whose primary purpose is to infiltrate Muslim communities to create and facilitate phony terrorist plots so that the Bureau can then claim it is winning the war on terror.

Stephen Kinzer, All the Shah's Men
AUDIO: Boston's NPR News Source -- New York Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer asserts "It is not far-fetched to draw a line from Operation Ajax through the Shah's repressive regime and the Islamic Revolution to the fireballs that engulfed the World Trade Center in New York."
John V. Whitbeck, 'Terrorism': A World Ensnared by a Word
The low-technology violence of the weak is such an abomination that there are no limits on the high-technology violence of the strong that can be deployed against it.
Leon Hadar, Fears of Terrorism Are Unjustified
Placed in historical context, terrorism is less of a threat than the Cold War and World War II were, and has done far less damage.
Patrick J. Buchanan, Where the Right Went Wrong
Former Communications Director for the Reagan White House, and candidate for U.S. president in 2000, traces the roots of terrorism, its successes, and its failures (pages 89 through 126).
Karen Armstrong, The Label of Catholic Terror Was Never Used About the IRA
Precise intelligence is essential in any conflict. It is important to know who our enemies are, but equally crucial to know who they are not. It is even more vital to avoid turning potential friends into foes. By making the disciplined effort to name our enemies correctly, we will learn more about them, and come one step nearer, perhaps, to solving the seemingly intractable and increasingly perilous problems of our divided world.
Howard Zinn, Declarations of Independence
Aside from its uselessness for military and political purposes, its colossal waste of human resources, its dangers to the survival of us all, nuclear deterrence is profoundly immoral. It means that the United States is holding hostage the entire population of the Soviet Union--the very people it claims are suffering under communism--and stands ready to kill them all if the Soviet government makes the wrong move. And the Soviet government is doing the same to the American population. If we think holding hostage the passengers of an airliner is unspeakably evil and call it terrorism, what name shall we give holding hostage the entire human race? -- p. 287
Empowerment Project, The Panama Deception
The U.S. invasion of Panama took 10 times as many lives as Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. This Academy Award winning documentary, broadcast in more than 20 countries worldwide, Blue Ribbon winner at the American Film & Video Festival in 1993, and recipient of several international film awards, uncovers the true motivation for the invasion. It explains how and why the mainstream media collaborated with the U.S. Government to censor and selectively report information to deceive the American public just as they did during the February 1998 "crisis" over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

VIDEO: The Panama Deception

[You may order Panama Deception from You can schedule Barbara Trent, director and co-producer of The Panama Deception, to speak at a showing of the film on your campus or community center by calling (919)967-1963.]

ACFTV, Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death
Thousands of Afghan prisoners were killed while travelling in sealed containers on their way from Konduz to a prison at Sheberghan. The bodies of the dead and some who survived were then buried in a mass grave at nearby Dasht Leile. US special forces were closely involved and in charge at the time. Were they involved in a war crime? The Pentagon denies the events. The eyewitnesses tell what happened. Watch brief excerpts from the 50 minute documentary.
ITVS, People and the Land
What can be done when civilized societies differ and their differences are profound? Despite incremental progress, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza continues to cut the fabric of this small part of world like a knife, dividing everyone and everything. Award-winning filmmaker Tom Hayes crosses borders and checkpoints to uncover the conflicting opinions and policies of the people who seem unwilling to share this land-and yet are unable to let go. Created at great personal risk by Tom Hayes and his crew. Zionists have lobbied to prevent PBS from showing the film.

[Ask your local PBS station's program director, station manager, and general manager to encourage broadcast of this film. ITVS has provided ALL public television stations with a copy of the program and pertinent press materials. To purchase a copy of the program call Transit Media at (800)343-5540.]

Peter Dale Scott and Robert Parry, A Long History of America's Dark Side
This military tradition has explicitly defended the selective use of terror, whether in suppressing Native American resistance on the frontiers in the 19th Century or in protecting U.S. interests abroad in the 20th Century or fighting the "war on terror" over the last decade.
Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions
If the agenda can be restricted to the ambiguities of Arafat, the abuses and failures of the Sandinistas, the terrorism of Iran and Libya, and other properly framed issues, then the game [fooling the American public] is basically over; excluded from the discussion is the unambiguous rejectionism of the United States and Israel, and the terrorism and other crimes of the United States and its clients, not only far greater in scale but also incomparably more significant on any moral dimension for American citizens, who are in a position to mitigate or terminate these crimes. -- p. 49
Noam Chomsky, What Uncle Sam Really Wants
The use of terror is deeply ingrained in our [US] character. . .

The first step is to use the police. They're critical because they can detect discontent early and eliminate it before "major surgery" is necessary. If major surgery becomes necessary, we rely on the army. When we can no longer control the army . . . it's time to overthrow the government.

The second step is to use the military. The US has always tried to establish relations with the military in foreign countries, because that's one of the ways to overthrow a government that has gotten out of hand.

Peter Dale Scott, U.S. Responsibility For The Slaughters
American media are quick to cast light on the personal atrocities of others, who happen (not by coincidence) to be our enemies. We have been told much about the outrages committed by Nazi Germany and Japan during World War II, and then in the post-war era by Stalin and by China down through the Cultural Revolution and Tien-An-Men. The massacres in Cambodia, with their pyramids of skulls, have been succeeded in our media by the killing fields of East Africa, Bosnia, and Algeria.

The massacres we do not hear about, at least at the time, are those for which the United States itself is responsible. This on-going, systematic suppression, from the Philippines in the 1950s to El Salvador in the 1980s, falsifies our understanding, not just of our own history, but of all managed atrocities throughout the world.

John W. Whitehead, America's Reign of Terror
The US government isn't protecting us from terrorism. The US government is creating the terror.
Head US Special Forces, 60 Minutes
[The special forces are used] to put down rebellions or to start one. -- April 30, 1995

[On October 1, 1997, Gen. Henry H. Shelton became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.]

Major General Smedley D. Butler, Excerpt from 1933 speech
War is just a racket. . . . It has its 'finger men' to point out enemies, its 'muscle men' to destroy enemies, its 'brain men' to plan war preparations, and a 'Big Boss' Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism. . . .

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

[General Butler was one of the few Americans to be twice awarded the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor.]

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Letter to United Nations Ambassadors
Two months have passed since the Security Council last reviewed the murderous sanctions against Iraq and more than 20,000 human beings have died as a direct result of its failure to end the sanctions that time. More than 10,000 of those who died in March and April are infants and children. The entire population of Iraq has suffered. Millions will not overcome the effects of the sanctions in their lifetimes which have been shortened by years.

The history of this violent century does not reveal a more deadly, cruel, inhumane and degrading torture of the whole population of an entire nation inflicted by foreign power for so long a period of time. -- May 1, 1996

Wielding Aid, U.S. Targets Sudan, The Washington Post
Nearly $20 million in surplus U.S. military equipment will be sent to Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda, the officials said, adding that the three countries support Sudanese opposition groups preparing a joint offensive to topple the government of Sudan. -- November 10, 1996
America to Fund Arms for Iraqi Rebels, The Independent
The bill allocating $97m worth of military equipment to the Iraqi opposition was forced on the administration by Congress . . . Laith Kubba, an Iraqi intellectual, said: "The only result of this will be to turn Iraq into another Lebanon, with the development of militias armed by foreign powers in the name of democracy." -- October 16, 1998
Mark Zepezauer, Boomerang!
The author provides a brief, country specific overview of how our covert wars have created enemies across the Middle East and brought terror to America.
William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military And CIA Interventions Since World War II
The U.S. bombing of Iraq, June 26, 1993, in retaliation for an alleged Iraqi plot to assassinate former president George Bush, "was essential," said President Clinton, "to send a message to those who engage in state-sponsored terrorism . . . and to affirm the expectation of civilized behavior among nations."

Following is a list of prominent individuals whose assassination (or planning for same) the United States has been involved in since the end of the Second World War. The list does not include several assassinations in various parts of the world carried out by anti-Castro Cubans employed by the CIA and headquartered in the United States.

1949 - Kim Koo, Korean opposition leader
1950s - CIA/Neo-Nazi hit list of numerous political figures in West Germany
1955 - Jose Antonio Remon, President of Panama
1950s - Chou En-Lai, Prime Minister of China, several attempts on his life
1950s - Sukarno, President of Indonesia
1951 - Kim Il Sung, Premier of North Korea
1950s (mid) - Claro M. Recto, Philippines opposition leader
1955 - Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India
1957 - Gamal Abdul Nasser, President of Egypt
1959 and 1963 - Norodom Sihanouk, leader of Cambodia
1960 - Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Kassem, leader of Iraq
1950s-70s - Jose Figueres, President of Costa Rica, two attempts on his life
1961 - Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, leader of Haiti
1961 - Patrice Lumumba, Prime Minister of the Congo (Zaire)
1961 - Gen. Rafael Trujillo, leader of Dominican Republic
1963 - Ngo Dinh Diem, President of South Vietnam
1960s - Fidel Castro, President of Cuba, many attempts on his life
1960s - Raul Castro, high official in government of Cuba
1965 - Francisco Caamano, Dominican Republic opposition leader
1965 - Pierre Ngendandumwe, Prime Minister of Burundi
1965-6 - Charles de Gaulle, President of France
1967 - Che Guevara, Cuban leader 1970 - Salvador Allende, President of Chile
1970 - Gen Rene Schneider, Commander-in-Chief of Army, Chile
1970s, 1981 - Gen. Omar Torrijos, leader of Panama
1972 - General Manuel Noriega, Chief of Panama Intelligence
1975 - Mobutu Sese Seko, President of Zaire
1976 - Michael Manley, Prime Minister of Jamaica
1980-1986 - Muammar Qaddafi, leader of Libya, several plots and attempts on his life
1982 - Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of Iran
1983 - Gen. Ahmed Dlimi, Moroccan Army commander
1983 - Miguel d'Escoto, Foreign Minister of Nicaragua
1984 - The nine comandantes of the Sandinista National Directorate
1985 - Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanese Shiite leader (80 people killed in attempt)
1991 - Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq
-- Appendix III
Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman, The United States and Biological Warfare
The United States developed biological weapons and tested them on the North Koreans and the Chinese during the Korean War -- outbreaks of cholera and plague in China are linked to American aerial attacks -- say authors.
Ivan Eland, Does U.S. Intervention Overseas Breed Terrorism?
According to the Pentagon's Defense Science Board, a strong correlation exists between U.S. involvement in international situations and an increase in terrorist attacks against the United States.
David B. Kopel, Hearings on Wiretapping and Terrorism
Analyst at the Cato Institute testifies before the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate that there is no terrorism crisis.
Leon T. Hadar, The Green Peril: Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist Threat
University professor, and former bureau chief for the Jerusalem Post, describes the creation of the myth of Islamic fundamentalism by the US foreign policy establisment.
Eqbal Ahmad, Terrorism: Theirs and Ours
A presentation at the University of Colorado by Professor Emeritus of International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.
David Campbell, Dad ... What's a Terrorist?

Kenneth Ballen, The Myth of Muslim Support for Terror

Linda Rothstein et al, Rethinking Doomsday

Loose nukes, nanobots, smallpox, oh my! In this age of endless imagining, and some very real risks, which terrorist threats should be taken most seriously?
Mahathir Mohammed, Interview with Mehr News Agency

The Mail, Maclean's - Canada's Weekly Newsmagazine

[Essays on the Millenium, Oct. 12] leaves out the real reasons why, after 1492, Western Europe "began a trajectory, dramatically outpacing China and the world of Islam in wealth creation and in political liberty": superior weapons, disease, slavery, and two new, recently depopulated continents to plunder. -- October 26, 1998, p. 5

Image Gallery: Victims of Terror

CDC Fatal Injury Reports, National and Regional

Death Tolls for the Major Wars and Atrocities of the Twentieth Century

Why 94 Deaths From Terrorism Are Scarier Than 301,797 Deaths From Guns

Global Incidents Map

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