Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ISIL recruits our right-wing politicians and shock jocks

Terrorism is extreme public relations. This is not some new phenomenon that has suddenly arisen in the Middle East and is threatening the free world. It is simply warfare 101 – propaganda.
The objective is to manipulate public opinion in order to achieve your goals. The weapon of choice is the oldest and most powerful known to mankind – fear.
Success for the current ISIL terrorists will depend on their ability to recruit politicians, commentators and, most importantly, members of the media into helping them spread fear and division in our communities.
Terrorists use fear in the same way politicians use it to win votes, media use it to sell papers or attract viewers and advertisers use it to sell everything from insurance to soap.
So what exactly are the terrorists after?
A key objective of wartime propaganda has always been to win over our vulnerable youth – young boys and, albeit to a lesser extent, young girls. Those going through that malleable, impressionable, often rebellious stage of life – from teens to mid-20s.
The young ones that World War I poet Wilfred Owen referred to as “children ardent for some desperate glory”.
Most of our soldiers are recruited in their salad days. We’ve all heard the stories of boys lying about their age in order to qualify to be sent to their slaughter.
It’s that idealistic, “invincible” age when our kids are most at risk of dying in a speeding crash, suicide, or being lured into some cult or cause, like Philby, Burgess and Maclean.
It’s also a beautiful age when they are searching and passionate like the early years of Dylan, Jagger, Joplin, and Cobain.
ISIL is after our youth, and they need outspoken, opinionated journalists, broadcasters and politicians to help round them up and push them towards the cause. They need people who promote division, fear and rage in the community.
The debates about the burqa are just perfect. Any comments or actions that marginalise muslims is just what ISIL needs right now.  
Their objective is to use fear to tap into those rich veins of xenophobia flowing through our sprawling white-bread suburbs in the same way our politicians do.
Those who can, terrorise communities by delivering “ordinance” – napalm, cluster bombs and even nuclear bombs – from 30,000 feet. Those who can’t have to be more innovative, like the IRA and the Jewish Underground fighting British rule after World War II, the Resistance fighting Nazi’s during World War II, or the Palestinians today.
One big mistake that many of our politicians seem to make is assuming that foreigners who don’t speak English must be stupid. They need us Westerners to tell them what to do – to train them.
As Kurt Vonnegut said: “Do you think Arabs are dumb? They gave us our numbers. Try doing long division with Roman numerals.”
ISIL has proved that today you don’t need expensive ordinance and mass killing machines. A knife, a well-chosen victim, Youtube, a few naïve politicians and media personalities can be assembled into a very effective terrorist weapon system.
The result is to spread fear and energise xenophobes into assaulting muslims, and attacking mosques in our communities. 
“Our concern is young men, very juvenile in their outlook and often very insecure,” as Professor Greg Barton, director of the global terrorism research centre at Monash University, said in the Australian Financial Review. “If they have an experience where their mother, their sister or family member was treated badly, that only contributed to their anger and sense of alienation.”
But it doesn’t even have to happen to their family directly. When they witness attacks in the media they can well imagine it happening to them and their families.
Almost all the messages and information coming out of Iraq and Sudan at the moment, from all sides of the conflict, reek of propaganda.
We are getting all sorts of stories about how “evil” this “death cult” is and the atrocities they are inflicting on the hapless people of Iraq. Some of this may well be true, but I feel most of it is about as true as the stories of Iraqi soldiers going into hospitals in Kuwait and murdering babies in humidicribs in the lead up to the first Gulf war.
I find it hard to believe that ISIL could have such spectacular success on the ground war without considerable support from the communities they were invading/liberating. Remember they haven’t come down from outer space – they are Iraqis and Syrians.
This looks very much like the war so many warned would be the result of the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
It’s just a run-of-the-mill turf war in the Middle East that we have for some reason decided to join in.
Thanks to the excellent work of our security services and police, ISIL would find it impossible to get its soldiers into our country. So it’s up to their propaganda corps –the terrorists – to infiltrate our communities and turn just a handful of our young people into terrorists. Just like the British boys who blew themselves up on the London Underground in 2005 with devastating results.
So far – with the help of our tabloids, politicians and the usual racists – they are doing a bang-up job.
We need to be aware. This is war. Words are powerful weapons and very dangerous in the wrong hands.
Sacrificing our liberties is a mistake. We need to stand up for our principles. To create an environment where everyone feels free to express their true feelings – where our angry youth can vent their vile rage without fear of prosecution or persecution.

The answer comes from blogger Iain S Thomas: “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”  

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