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Anti-Terror Laws as Instruments
of Imperialism, Fascism and War


Contribution to the World People's Youth Conference
Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle
4 March 2007

  

On behalf of the entire International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS), I express warmest greetings of solidarity to all the delegations participating in this World People's Youth Conference. I congratulate the ILPS Youth Commission for successfully undertaking this conference.

I wish all of you the utmost success in exchanging views on the oppression and exploitation of the youth and people by imperialism and local reaction, sharing the experiences of the youth in anti-imperialist and democratic struggles in various countries, and arriving at general conclusions and practical agreements for unity, cooperation and coordination in the struggle for the rights and better conditions of the youth all over the world.

I feel at home with you because I started my political activism in the youth movement. I am deeply pleased that you have asked me to be one of the panelists on the subject of imperialist aggression, anti-terror laws, migration, social destruction and youth and to focus on the particular topic of anti-terror laws with due attention to the context of the said subject of the entire panel.

Quick Historical Background

Since time immemorial, despotic rulers who in the first place maintain a reign of terror against the people have used the word "terrorism" as an emotional and political cussword to demonize popular resistance. In modern times, the fascist rulers have been the most adept at labeling the opposition as "terrorist" and in adopting so-called anti-terror laws to curtail fundamental democratic rights and repress the people with the brute force of the state.

In the aftermath of the defeat of the fascist powers in World War II, the imperialist states stressed anti-communism as a catch-all slogan against the socialist states, the national liberation movements, the communist parties and all progressive forces. The imperialist propagandists hurled the label of "terrorism" more at the national liberation movements engaged in armed revolution than at any other political force.

For a while, the imperialist-lining policy makers, think tanks and academicians in the US raved about the "moderation" of monopoly capitalism being at the center of a political scale, whose supposed extremist ends are the "radicalism" of the Right (fascism) and the "radicalism" of the Left (communism). But steadily, they developed and promoted the term "terrorism" as an ideological and political category for stigmatizing all revolutionary opponents of imperialism.

They exaggerated as examples of "terrorism" the cross-border acts of violence like plane hijackings and hostaging of civilians by certain groups in retaliation to the unbridled and far larger acts of violence (especially massacres) by the US-Zionist alliance against the Palestinian people inside and outside of Palestine. But special operatives of the US (especially the CIA) systematically built the anti-communist Islamic fundamentalists groups in the course of the Cold War. They instigated the formation of terrorist groups that would eventually run out of control and become Al Qaida in several countries and Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines in particular.

Even as such "terrorist" groups are no longer under direct US orders, the US can still induce them to act in certain ways, manipulate them or simply take advantage of their outrageous criminal acts as pretext for the undertaking of the largest and worst acts of terrorism by the US and other imperialist powers. Thus, Bush has been able to use 9/11 to whip up war hysteria in the US and the whole world, launch wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan and military intervention in the Philippines and elsewhere and push the adoption of fascist executive and legislative acts in the name of anti-terrorism on a global scale.

The Biggest Terrorists in the World

At this juncture, let me clarify that "terrorism" can be properly used as a political term to refer to systematic and deliberate violence used solely or mainly against civilians or entire communities of people. The largest and worst kind of terrorism is the imperialist war of aggression launched by imperialist states. The number of less than 3000 civilian death casualties in 9/11 is so small in comparison to the 1.5 million Iraqi death casualties in the US-UK war of aggression and sanctions against Iraq and the more than 650,000 Iraqi civilian death casualties in the second war of aggression and occupation of Iraq. State terrorism or the rule of open terror within particular states is another big form of terrorism. It usually entails the repression of the entire people through massacres, assassinations, illegal detention and torture and the displacement of people from their homes and land with the use of armed force

The imperialists and their puppet states are the worst terrorists in the world. Their terrorism through the use of state power is to preserve and aggravate their system of exploitation and plunder. To deflect the condemnation of their terrorist character which is on the grand scale, they preemptively apply the label of "terrorists" on private groups and individuals that engage in small-scale terrorism and more importantly on those movements, organizations and leaders that stand and fight for national and social liberation. They have generated massive confusion, arbitrariness and errors in legal systems by using "terrorism" as a legal term to refer to the supposed crimes committed exclusively by private groups and individuals purportedly against civilians and communities, even as the US imperialists sometimes accuse certain states of being "rogue states" allegedly sponsoring "terrorist" groups.

By inventing "terrorism" as a supercrime that is too vague and too broad, the imperialists and their puppet states have messed up the clear distinction between common crimes and political offenses. These are sufficiently encompassed by the criminal code which defines and punishes common crimes such as murder, kidnapping, robbery and the like, and likewise political crimes such as rebellion, sedition and the like. The punishment for political crimes is usually lighter than common crimes because the former are considered socially motivated rather than driven by self-interest and may be open to political solution through negotiations and satisfaction of social demands. But the US has made it a point to define terrorism as the threat or use of violence against persons and property to "advance social and political objectives". It is hell-bent on criminalizing as "terrorism" the people's struggle for national and social liberation.

To deal with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in time of war and in the aftermath, there are the Geneva Conventions and its protocols and related laws of war which set the norms for humanitarian conduct and requires respect for human rights. These prohibit and punish crimes against the civilian population and against soldiers who have surrendered or have become incapacitated to fight. It is entirely wrong and criminal for the US and its camp followers to deprive prisoners and "terrorist" suspects of their rights enshrined in the International Humanitarian Law and the International Bill of Rights. The practice of torture, murder and other gross human rights violations by US military personnel and puppets in Iraqi homes and streets and in such US prisons as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are utterly condemnable and outrageous.

The Anti-Terror Laws

Until now, there is no clear legal definition of the crime of terrorism. Attempts to define it in anti-terror laws in various countries involve characterizing it as worse than murder for seeking to realize social and political objectives through the use of threats or violence against persons and property, exaggerating the element of sowing of fear and enumerating certain crimes that have existed in the criminal code and the laws of war and making extremely vague, broad and loose the scope of criminal acts (including writings, speeches, strikes and protest actions) and ways of acting criminally (committing, conceiving, planning, facilitating, supporting, etc.). In any case, private groups and individuals are deprived of their basic democratic rights and the overwhelming power of the state is increased in the name of national security and combatting terrorism,

The anti-terror laws that have been enacted since 9/11 are not only dangerous surplusage but are outrageous outright violations of the basic civil and political rights of the people and their organizations. They follow the example and signals of the USA PATRIOT ACT and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and certain anti-terror resolutions that the US has succeeded in pushing in the UN Security Council. They presume that only private individuals and organizations are capable of terrorism, ranging from sowing of fear among the people by the most limited means to wielding imagined weapons of mass destruction for threatening or destroying the people.

They cast away the time-tested democratic principle won by the people in the advance of constitutionalism that their rights must be guaranteed in a bill of rights against the high potential of rulers doing a lot of mischief and damage with the concentrated and absolute power of the state. The anti-terror laws presume that the state is incapable of terrorism and they serve to strengthen the state in the name of national security to combat terrorism. They allow the state to disregard the writ of habeas corpus, to torture and even to kill prisoners and suspects, to arrest without judicial warrant and detain people indefinitely on the basis of mere intelligence reports, to prevent access to lawyers and evidence, to intrude into privacy and family life, to deprive people of their means of existence and to subject them to grave threats and damage to personal integrity, honor and reputation through defamation and stigmatization as "terrorists."

The anti-terror laws attack and violate the right to freedom of thought and belief. In my particular case, US authorities have threatened an American publishing firm for publishing the book, At Home in the World: Portrait of a Filipino Revolutionary, and have frozen the bank remittance of royalty payments to me. The presumption is that "terrorism" is heinous and obnoxious supposedly because it is destructive to life and property by having an ideological, political or religious motive. Thus, before any crime has materially occurred and before there can be any criminal suspect, there is already a highly emotional political bias and preemptive criminalization of the Marxism-Leninist ideology, the political line of national liberation and the Islamic faith. Islamic fundamentalism and jihadism are conveniently invoked most often to justify the attack on the freedom of thought and belief. There is indeed a retrogression to the times of medieval inquisition and Hitlerite fascism, rolled into one.

Even if there is no single material act of terrorism that can be imputed, any organization or individual can be listed as "terrorists" by state authorities on the mere say-so of the intelligence agencies of the US, allied or puppet states of the US. In violation of the rights to the presumption of innocence, to due process and to defense, those listed are made to suffer punitive sanctions, including detention or "rendition" to another country (where they can be tortured or even murdered), the freezing of bank accounts and other financial assets, prohibition from work, termination of social benefits, and so on. They are stigmatized as "terrorists" and their freedom, life, means of livelihood and honor are damaged by the state.

When you are put in the list, it is impossible or almost impossible for you to get out of the list. In my particular case, I have been in the list since 2002. The cynical argument of those in power is that I am merely subjected to temporary administrative restrictions. But I am in fact falsely accused of the heinous crime of terrorism and subjected to the violation of my rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. The rights violated are as follows: the right to life and to enjoy one's possessions (referring to my paltry bank account and social benefits), the right to the presumption of innocence, the right to due process, the right against inhuman and degrading treatment, the right to private and family life, the right to the equal protection of the law and against discrimination and the right to one's physical and moral integrity against physical threats and defamation.

As a result of stigmatization as "terrorist" by several states and by the dominant mass media, I often get hate mail and death threats via phone calls and email and via feedbacks to my website and YouTube film clips. The psywar and intelligence agencies and their paramilitary assets wish to generate a chilling climate as in a police state. Fascism is a growing monster in the world under the guise of anti-terrorism whipped up by the biggest terrorists, the imperialists and their puppet states.

Worsening Conditions and Growing Resistance

In the US, Europe and other imperialist countries, the states have adopted anti-terror laws in order to make it appear that so-called terrorism is the No. 1 problem and not imperialism or monopoly capitalism which is the cause of the economic and social crisis, including high levels of unemployment and underemployment, the rapid erosion of income and social benefits, the undermining of democratic rights, political repression and involvement in wars of aggression. The imperialists claim that these anti-terror laws are directed against suspected members of Al Qaida and Islamic jihadist groups. But they are in fact being used far more widely to intimidate, control and violate the rights of the immigrants, the workers and the youth and generate jingoism, racism and fascism. As the crisis of monopoly capitalism worsens, we can expect more repressive and more exploitative conditions.

The US and its imperialist allies have used the hysteria about "terrorism" at home and abroad in order to launch wars of aggression and military intervention in the underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America and expand economic territory as sources of raw materials (especially oil and other strategic minerals), markets, fields of investment and spheres of influence. The imperialist powers unite and collude with each other at the expense of the proletariat and the people of the world. But they also compete and contend with each other. The US is overbrimmining with arrogance as the No. 1 imperialist exploiter and terrorist power. It is the most active in pushing its imperialist allies as well as puppet states to adopt and implement anti-terror laws. It has laid the legal foundation for state terrorism and fascism on a global scale.

The crisis of the world capitalist system is daily worsening under the auspices of neoliberal globalization and the global war of terror. The broad masses of the people are suffering the rigors of the crisis. But they are goaded to fight back against their oppression and exploitation. All over the world, revolutionary parties of the proletariat, mass organizations of workers, peasants, women and youth and people's movements of national and social liberation are surging forward against imperialism and reaction. The youth play an outstanding role. They are courageous and militant in bringing forward and spreading the revitalizing ideas of the anti-imperialist and democratic movement and in generating organized strength and bringing about a new and higher level of struggle.###

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