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John Passant

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January 2011



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
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Who was the best terrorist of 2010?

The new year brings a rash of awards, often based on reader responses. 

So who do you think was the best terrorist of 2010?

To kick start the contest, here are some of my thoughts.

Was it Barack Obama with his drones killing hundreds in places as diverse as Pakistan and Yemen, his surge in Afghanistan killing thousands, his ongoing occupation of Iraq unleashing fear and destruction across that country, his continuation of Guantanamo Bay and torture,  his war games off the Korean coast and his military bases in 134 countries around the world?

Or might it be Benjamin Netanyahu driving the Bedouin off their land and his attacks on a defenceless aid ship killing 9 Gaza blockade breakers, his settlement policies stealing Palestinian land and his occupation of the West Bank all continuing the long slow genocide of the Palestinian people?

Maybe its our very own Julia Gillard with her policies killing up to 50 asylum seekers on the rocks of Christmas Island and her support for Australian involvement in the new operation phoenix in Afghanistan where there are up to 17 capture or kill actions every night? But wait, there’s more in Gillard’s CV. Her Northern Territory intervention  continues Australian capitalism’s long slow genocide and dispossession of aboriginal people. 

Chinese President Hu Jintao presides over a dictatorship which imprisons nations – like Tibet – and peoples – like the Uighurs.

Or maybe it is the deadly Russian duo of Medvedev and Putin who suppress Chechnya and parts of Georgia.

Then of course there are the tin pot dictators around the world, many of them supported by or the creatures of imperialism.

Personally I think the winner is clear cut – the best terrorist is Barack Obama, or rather the regime he heads, a brutal regime that enslaves the world.

He spends over $700 billion a year on this killing machine – as much as the next 16 countries combined. He uses that strength directly or indirectly from Afghanistan to Iraq and on to Iran and Australia, to make the world safe for US profits.

He’s not just the best terrorist because he commands such a massive and brutal military machine. He’s the best because many people deny he is a terrorist. He runs the world through fear and murder and many think he is doing good – spreading peace, democracy and freedom.

You can’t beat that, I don’t reckon. Killing people and winning the Nobel peace prize. What other terrorist can claim that? 

Hit the comments button to make your suggestion and the reasons why the person you have nominated deserves this prestigious award.



Comment from bec
Time January 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm

The best ‘terrorist’ is definitely Assange, for very clearly different reasons:)

in terms of actual terrorists, Id agree with Obama, but there are many close seconds.

Comment from RedDragon
Time January 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I can’t argue with your conclusion John, Obama and the US Death Machine is winner by a long shot. I like to give some credit to the students and workers protesting in the UK and Europe though, the former finance minister in Greece was utterly terrified when workers dragged him out of a meeting blood streaming down his face! The looks on Charles and Camilla’s faces as hundreds of students surrounded their Rolls chanting ‘off with their heads’ can only be described as abject terror. Students and Workers in Europe and elsewhere around the World have been filling the hearts of the ruling class and their parliamentary pets with terror, it’s a good start and I hope they keep it up!

Comment from John
Time January 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Ah, I can see a definite trend here. Our terrorism and theirs. Ours is exposing their lies. Theirs is killing people.

Comment from Auntie Rhoberta
Time January 1, 2011 at 9:36 pm

The best terrorist (in one sense) must be Osama Bin Laden as he continues to wreak havoc in America and elsewhere, while being sighted less than Elvis. No doubt that is due to his having friends in high places.

Comment from John
Time January 1, 2011 at 9:51 pm

I think the American elite’s reasoning is that in propagating the war on terror and all the benefits that flow to US imperialism from that war they are much better off not capturing or killing bin Laden.

Comment from Marco
Time January 2, 2011 at 6:29 am

I’ve got to agree with the first two posters: whatever fear you might have of being torn to pieces by a drone, having electricity applied to your balls or your rectum, having your fingers broken with a plier, or simply beeing waterboarded or some such is nothing compared to the sheer terror of having one’s Rolls Royce rocked by a bunch of teenage kids.

But the most fearsome thing of all: workers getting uppity. Now, that’s terror, lemme tells ya.

Comment from John
Time January 2, 2011 at 6:55 am

Puts it into perspective really doesn’t it Marco?

Comment from Peter
Time January 2, 2011 at 6:58 am

The best terrorist for 2010 was not a person but a thing: a meme

As heretical as it will sound to many from the En Passants school of thought, the best terrorist for 2010 was Islam.
–All year long, it motivated open and systematic genocide.
–All year long, it oversaw the suppression of contrary forms of thought and expression.

And, even more noteworthy, it did this while all the while exhibiting a chameleon like ability to hide it’s real nature ,masquerading as a champion of tolerance and peace when opportunities for terrorism were limited.

And despite a false start or two:

It has started the year off with a bang:
And is well on its way to retaining its title in 2011

Comment from Walter
Time January 2, 2011 at 9:30 am

How about Hamas for firing thousands of rockets into civilian areas in the hope of killing women and children who have no part in any conflict?

Or Al Qaeda for bombing Christian churches in Egypt and killing innocent church goers?

Or the Chinese for their torture, mass deportations and murder of Tibetans and activists?

Or the Taliban for executing women who do not obey their harsh religious laws; and the execution of those who play western music or seek an education or other freedoms?

How about those African ‘leaders’ who commit genocide and mass murder against their own people? Ivory Coast is a good example. The Congo too.

How about our friends the Saudis? Sponsors of terror, suppressors of women and human rights, friends of George W etc?

Take your pick John – all of the above are far more deserving than Obama.

And PS, your comment about Gillard is offensive and rather sick. You cannot say that people will not seek to come here by boat even if our asylum entry laws are changed. Gillard did not cause their death any more than Howard ‘stopped the boats’! In fact, your statement would support a return to the Pacific Solution. I believe a retraction of that sentance is warranted.

Comment from John
Time January 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm

yes Walter, you point out all the subsidiary causes and effects of imperialism. But you don’t address the cause – imperialism itself. I take issue with you over Hamas. I think firing rockets is futile. I actually think the road to Jerusalem lies through Cairo, as I have written elsewhere on this blog. But Hamas are responding to Israeli genocide. It is right to resist. There is an interesting new formation in Gaza called Gaza Youth Break out. No idea how strong it is. I suspect pretty weak.!/pages/Gaza-Youth-Breaks-Out-GYBO/118914244840679

Comment from John
Time January 2, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Peter, you mistake effect for cause. Imperialism has invaded their homelands, divided them up into arbitrary countries, colonised them, exploited them etc etc. In any event the suicide bombers are small proportion of Islam. Just as the ruling elite in the West, the ones with the blood of millions on their hands, are a small minority.

Actually it is our ruling classes’ invasions, bombings and killings, their imperialism, propping up of dictatorships in their lands etc which creates the backlash.

it is a convenient story for the ruling elite to create enemies aboard to chip away at our freedoms here and at the same time justify their expansionist policies abroad. Refugees, reds and religionists of a certain variety (Muslims, Jews, catholics, depending on the period) are the usual enemies. Or in Australia’s case for much of its history non-whites were the enemy.

Comment from Peter
Time January 2, 2011 at 8:49 pm

So you would have us believe that all the nasty things that Islam does started happening , only after those dastardly Western imperialists got involved and messed up the Middle East, which had been up till then one giant garden of Eden — sorry to break it to you , but is aint real.

Don’t take my word for it , ask around :
–Ask the Copts of Egypt
–Ask the Zoroastrians of Iran
–Ask the Samaritans of the Levant
–Ask the Yezidis of Iraq
–Ask the Baha’i (formerly of ) Iran .

It is no recent anomaly – it is a long, established practiced.

Comment from Walter
Time January 3, 2011 at 7:34 am

John, you always seem to excuse terrorism (as Peter aptly points out above) as being a response to imperialism/capitalism etc.

As for cause and effect, your history is a bit askew. The USA supported the Afghanis against the imperialist Soviets. They gave them weapons and billions in aid to defend their land against an invader. The Taliban then turned around and attacked the USA. Cause and effect – the USA invaded Afghanistan to defeat the terrorist threat. And you blame the Americans!! Blame the Taliban. They are the terrorists who attacked a country for what reason? They backed them against the Soviets? They prefer capitalism over Sha’ria law? C’com John, that’s not a reason to kill thounsands!

Israel is declared an independant nation in 1947. It is invaded by the Arab League, and the Arabs are defeated. 1967 they again attack and Israel takes Gaza. Hamas is formed as a result of having lost a war of aggression!! They are not interested in land, if they were they would have agreed to the Camp David accord. They are interested in killing millions of people in the name of their sect of extremist Islam.

I have said in the past you should go there and see for yourself John and not be duped by the media and biased websites.

Cause and effect – Hamas fire rockets, unleash suicide bombers, smuggle weapons, kidnap soldiers etc … they pay the price, according to your dictum.

Comment from John
Time January 3, 2011 at 9:36 am

Hamas is resisting genocide. You would the do same thing in their situation. The real terrorists are Obama and Gillard.

Comment from Redmond
Time January 3, 2011 at 9:50 am

Just a word of congratulation John on your wonderful article in today’s Age. This is how the forces of progress gain a little ground, consolidate and then advance. Years ago The Age was your standard bourgeois consumerist bulletin, deliberately positioned just a little bit to the left of orthodox Australian thought.

Now we have moved firmly into the vanguard of the progressive movement and I think it is worth noting how this was achieved. By small steps and slow degrees!

It is a long march to reform the mouthpieces of capitalism and this has been achieved at The Age by gradually increasing the numbers of people here who can look at 2 + 2 and say categorically that they equal four.

Congratulations! I see your column today as a genuine milestone in the journey to capturing the turf formally occupied by capital and class enemies.

If everyone who appreciates a voice of logic and justice can call 03 9600 4211 and ask for the Chief of Staff they can register how much they approve of the newspaper’s embrace of revolutionary themes.

Do it! We Melbournians need to make sure that The Age remains as a useful tool for change.

Comment from marianK
Time January 3, 2011 at 10:01 am

Well, if Obama receives the award, it would make a nice bookend match for his Nobel Peace Prize.

Failing that, is there a category for anti-feminist blog terrorist of the year?

If so, I’d like to collectively nominate all those blog commenters who, whenever I try to discuss feminism on a blog site, just keep telling me over and over again that I hate men. Terror by tedium.

Comment from Walter
Time January 3, 2011 at 12:21 pm

John, you have no idea what the word genocide means. Look up the UN definition.

Fact – Isreal has been the victim of 25 years of genocidal wars by Arab nations who have targetted civilians, starting with the massacres in 1929 of non-Zionists and long before Israel became a ‘state’.

Fact – Ben-Gurian dismantled Jewish terrorist groups in the 1940s.

Fact – between 1948-67 Palestinian terrorists mirdered hundreds of civilians in cross border raids violating the laws of warfare.

Fact – the Jordanian fired 6,000 shells on the civilian population of Jerusalem with the intend to “destroy and kill everyone present”.

Fact – Nasser said that war with Israel will lead to “Israel’s destruction” and be “total”.

Fact – in 1967 Syria and Lebanon targetted civilian populations in air raids, Israel did not target Arab civilans in the same war!

Fact – Palestinan terrorism began BEFORE any peace negotiations could begin after 1967. If occupation justified terrorism, then the Ku Klux Klan and Night Riders were also ‘right’ to use terror against the invading Union Army (cause & effect John!).

Fact – most Palestinan civilian deaths result from terorists hiding within the general population.

Fact – Hamas massacred 29 Jews having a prayer service which resulted in the so-called Jenin ‘massacre.

Fact – 23 Israeli soldiers and 52 Palestinians died in Jenin refugee camp fight – a few less than the thousands killed in 9/11 and less than were massacred by suicide bombers.

Fact – Hamas has stated that they want to erase the line between combatants and non combotants, in breach of the Geneva Convention!

fact – the IDF adheres to strict Rules of Engagement and has convicted its own troops for murder etc – no Palestinan has ever been tried for murdering civilians, kidnap etc.

Fact – the Arabs call the 1948 war the “Arab War of Extermination” – which they continued in 1967 and 1973.

Do you want to know more? Happy to keep going as I am very interested in this aspect of Middle East history ….

Comment from John
Time January 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm

As a law lecturer I do have an idea what the UN definition of genocide means. Israel satisfies it.

Comment from Walter
Time January 3, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Yet again you fail to answer any questions put to you John. You refuse to debate issues or enter into any adult discussion when your views are challenged or questioned.

I thought you were interested in discussing the socialist alternative, but every time I write a detailed response you answer with glib, flippant and arrogant put-downs. No facts. No first-hand evidence. No argument garnered from looking for yourself at situations overseas. Nothing.

I understand that you lecture in tax law; you admit to never having been to the Middle East and that your knowledge comes from secondary sources.

I am very disappointed in you John. Your website is all about your views and anyone who wants to engage in learned discussion is dismissed out of hand.

I presume that is the socialist alternative way … if you question, challenge, query, demand evidence based responses etc then you are met with cliches and blind rhetoric.

I so hope your students get better engagement on critical issues of law and history.

Comment from John
Time January 4, 2011 at 7:37 am

You don’t question, or provide evidence or facts, Walter; you parrot nonsense. One can’t reason with the irrational. If I was marking the shit you write I would fail it every time. As to personalising my work here, let me just say that some students love my attempts to encourage critical thought. Some hate it. You are one of those for whom different ideas challenge your own preconceptions and all you can answer with is rubbish. Stick to your unthinking world. I know, why not do some research, for example, to see why the Left says Israel is a genocidal state? Or god forbid read previous articles on this blog? I set the agenda here, not you and I am not going to waste my time pandering every day to the irrational ramblings of a fool. Or why not join Andrew Bolt in his condemnation of me yesterday? That’s more your intellectual and moral level.

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