Friday, August 18, 2006

Loretta Napoleoni’s Terror Inc- Tracing the Money Behind Global Terrorism was every bit as good as I thought it would be. My only problem with it is her rather freewheeling use of sources that derive from newspaper articles. Call me cynical, but I find it difficult to totally trust articles without knowing more about the background of the journalists who wrote them. Particularly when you think that some might have been written in the heat of the post 9-11 moment. So there were instances when I wondered about the accuracy of her information, or the bias of those supplying the information. Though I was also willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. As one would expect, Terror Inc paints a depressing picture of the world as it exists today, just how endemic terror is, and how intertwined it is with free market capitalism. It also makes clear the extent of the legal- honey, property, acacia gum, the stock market, etc- illegal- drugs, arms, smuggling, money laundering, etc.- and semi-legal sources of Bin Laden’s money and financing of al Qaeda. Of course, Bin Laden is not the only player here. After all, as Napoleoni points out, terror is a $5 trillion a year industry. Reading her book makes one think that Marxists might well be right about capitalism carrying the seed of its own demise. With its creation of shell-states and using the deregulation of capital to their advantage, the terror network, which, like corporate capitalism, overlaps with organised crime, is comprised of some very smart people who seem capable of using and running rings around the moronic ideologues (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc.) who, for the most part, run America. Talk about noir. There are scores of plots to novels in this book.

By the way, what Petit’s The Passenger is not about is the official version of the Lockerbie disaster. His view is more or less corroborated in Napoleoni’s book. So why was Libya willing to take the fall? To come out of the international cold, helped not only by the compensation they supplied but by the post 9-11 information they gave to the West. I wouldn’t want to spoil the book for anyone but, in answer to a couple enquiries, what’s most important in understanding The Passenger is realise that it takes place within the forty-five seconds it took for the plane fall the sky and hit the ground.

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