The State as Terrorist

From New Dawn Special Issue Vol 16 No 6 (Dec 2022)

Terrorism has largely dropped off the radar. Instead, climate change, the pandemic, war in Ukraine, and the global financial crisis dominate headlines. The kind of terrorism that our self-imposed rulers want us to think is terrorism is when groups attack civilians for ideological, political, or financial purposes. When we hear “terrorist,” we tend to think of al-Qaeda, ISIS, and white supremacists like Brenton Tarrant. But the biggest terrorists are nation-states.


There is a simple principle: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely; to quote a clichéd but true statement. Nation-states are the most powerful institutions that have ever existed. They are run by a relatively small elite consisting of financiers, secret agents, militaries, and political frontpeople. They force complicated communities, municipalities, regions, and even countries into monolithic, homogenous systems and brainwash their populations with nationalism. They erect arbitrary and artificial borders to maintain that phony homogeneity. They indoctrinate their populations from the cradle to the grave with schooling and propaganda. Laws and law enforcement are imposed in case the conditioning doesn’t fully work.

The public are terrorised by their local authorities into paying taxes, lest they go to prison: even though the quality of their local services progressively declines, and local debts are often owed by councils to foreign corporations and serviced by the captive taxpayer.1 Federal authorities terrorise with the threat of imprisonment for not paying national taxes that buy governments weapons to blow children to bits in foreign countries. Private tyrannies that monopolise energy supplies and water threaten to take non-payers to court or even break into homes and seize property (bailiffs) for failing to pay utility bills. These are the actions of gangsters who demand “protection money” from shop owners, or else they come and set fire to the store.

Modern society is little more than the subjugation of the populace by thugs in suits who attend top schools and universities; thugs whose ancestors succeeded in brutalising their opponents into submission so that they could be king, lord, etc. When people try to alert the public as to what is taking place, they are removed or murdered in the name of national security. Their convenient deaths are labelled accident, ill-health, or suicide by the propaganda machine that denigrates as conspiracy theorists those who dare to challenge the conventional narrative. Made to look silly, people internalise the lies and come to hate the truth-tellers, deriding them as fringe lunatics. As Bertrand Russell once wrote in The Impact of Science on Society, successful mind control is convincing the public that snow is black.


Examples include Gough Whitlam, who in the 1970s was dismissed as Australian PM by the Governor General, supposedly over a House and Senate gridlock. The more realistic reason was that Whitlam was threatening not to renew the license for Pine Gap, the American spy base that listens in on communications across Asia.2

The state also murders dissidents. In 2003, a British Ministry of Defence contractor, Dr David Kelly, was accused of being the sole source for a BBC journalist, who said that the source confirmed that the Tony Blair government knew that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction – the lie on which the invasion was predicated. The more likely scenario is that a very high-level member of government inside Blair’s cabinet had been speaking to the media and that Kelly was blackmailed into being a “fall-guy” so that the government member could enjoy protection.3 (Kelly had likely been having an affair with an American spy.) To protect the source, or shut Kelly up, or send a warning to other would-be whistleblowers, Kelly was murdered and his death ruled suicide.

Michael Hastingssuicide, accident or state murder?

In the US, a young hot-shot journalist who drove around in a Mercedes, Michael Hastings, had hit upon a major story for Rolling Stone about US military and intelligence activities in Afghanistan. Hastings emailed friends saying that he had uncovered something big and needed “to go off the radar for a bit.”4 His car was seen speeding down a residential street very early one morning in 2013 before hitting a tree and bursting into flames, as luxury cars tend to do on impact. Not. Rumours abound that Hastings had uncovered top-level links to heroin smuggling or child trafficking, but we’ll never know. WikiLeaks later released information that the CIA has the capacity to remotely hack the computer chips in cars,5 leading many to suspect that Hastings was murdered using this method.


There’s also a long history of governments testing biological and chemical weapons on the public. In the 1950s and early ‘60s, the British used South Australia’s Maralinga to conduct nuclear tests. The environmental reports claimed that the areas were terra nullius, no one’s land, and that the only inhabitants were rabbits. But different Aboriginal communities lived there. Some, like Yami Lester, went blind as a result of the tests.6

In more recent years, the evidence has tipped in favour of SARS-CoV-2 being a human-engineered virus by EcoHealth Alliance scientists working under US government grants at a lab in Wuhan, China.7 Having killed millions of people with a likely-human-made virus, governments of the world used violence to enforce draconian lockdowns instead of dealing with the pandemic in a logical and humane way.8

In many countries, governments terrorised their populations with the threat of joblessness, which means homelessness and inability to buy food and pay bills. They demanded that their publics take an experimental “vaccine,” which has been linked by federal reporting systems to excess mortality and does not work like a normal vaccine: it doesn’t prevent transmission or infection; i.e., it’s not a vaccine.


But we should always spare more than a thought for the poor people abroad. The terrorisation of domestic populations is small compared to the “shock and awe” bombing of states’ foreign policies.

With US-British weapons and organisation, the Saudi elites have murdered tens of thousands of Yemenis and tortured millions of babies, toddlers, and children, as well as their desperate mothers, by starving them; many to death.9 Having created the Taliban indirectly in the 1980s and then empowering them briefly in the ‘90s,10 the US withdrew from Afghanistan after 20 years of occupation in such a way that has enabled the regime to return back to where it left off.

In Iraq, the US and Britain shell-shocked the entire nation and surreptitiously fomented a civil war11 to blame Iraqis, not themselves, for the massive death toll. When monsters in the form of ISIS emerged from this monstrous situation, the US and Britain bombed Iraq again, killing tens of thousands more people.

Never lose sight of the fact that the nation-state, regardless of who controls it, is the biggest terrorist of all.

This article was published in New Dawn Special Issue Vol 16 No 6.
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8. See my Capitalism and Coronavirus (2020), Ursa Major
10. Ahmed Rashid (2010 edition) Taliban, IB Tauris
11. Patrick Cockburn (2006) The Occupation, Verso

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About the Author

Dr T.J. Coles is an associate researcher at the Organisation for Propaganda Studies, a columnist with Axis of Logic, a contributor to numerous publications (including CounterPunch and Truthout) and the author of several books including Manufacturing Terrorism (Clairview Books), Human Wrongs (iff Books) and Privatized Planet (New Internationalist).

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