Sunday, September 21, 2014

It only takes one drop to swell the tide of terrorism

Almost 12 years ago, in October, 2002, the mighty imperial capital of Washington was brought to a state of emergency by a single gunman. His name was John Muhammad. He was a former member of the US Army, where he qualified for Expert Rifleman's Badge. He used a high-powered sniper's rifle to shoot 13 people. Ten of them died. The killings took place over three weeks, October 2 to October 22, and sent the national capital from a state of alert, to alarm, to siege. The Washington media, in particular, developed a case of collective hysteria, which did not help.

All because of one gunman. He was born John Williams, but changed his family name to Muhammad after joining the Nation of Islam, the black supremacist, anti-Semitic religious cult set up by Louis Farrakhan (born Louis Wolcott, converted to Islam). Investigators claimed that Muhammad had admired  Osama bin Laden, especially after the September 11 mass killings the previous year.

Muhammad had an accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, an illegal immigrant and criminal from Jamaica, who testified that Muhammad's plan was to terrorise the nation by killing white people. They repeatedly were able to exit the scene of their crimes undetected.  A fingerprint eventually led to an identification and the men were arrested and convicted of multiple homicide and terror crimes. Muhammad was executed in 2009.

The point is, it only takes a handful of people, or a single determined gunman, to strike terror into a city, even a city as loaded with security as Washington. It takes only a small cadre of killers to move an entire nation to fear.


Last week's police sweep in Sydney is a classic case in point. Eight hundred police were used to round up a group of morons. The cost to taxpayers would be enormous. Although the police targets were poorly educated and unskilled, they were discussing murder. It is fortunate that the morons went out of their way to bring themselves to the attention of the police, attending a courtroom and showing  open contempt for the process, then chattering on their phones about jihad.

What happens if someone smarter decides they want to wage jihad against kaffir infidels in Australia? It only takes one. It only takes a tiny percentage of a population to tilt a society from the axis of common decency to rule by the gun.

When the Communist Party wrested control of Russia in 1917-1918, it had 200,000 members out of a population of about 180 million. So a tiny proportion of the population was able to take control during a time of chaos, but that tiny minority had machine guns and was willing to mow down other citizens.

When the Nazi party came to power in 1933 it had two million members in a population of 65 million, or 3 per cent of the population, but the Nazi's violent hard core would have been smaller.

The same with Mao Tse Tung's Chinese Communists, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Shining Path in Peru, and the numerous groups currently wielding state power via the gun throughout the Middle East, from Libya to Iran.

One per cent of any population, if armed and willing to kill its fellow citizens, can take control of any society because most people are not killers.

There was a time when terrorism was chic, at the height of the Bader-Meinhof Gang in Germany in the 1970s. That movement was never much more than a left-wing journalist, Ulrike Meinhof, and a criminal, Andreas Bader, with a handful of others, but by killing people and calling themselves the Red Army Faction they played their drama on a national stage. (After Bader and Meinhof committed suicide in prison, the glow went off terrorism chic in Europe.)

Now it is Islamists who have replaced Communists and Fascists and Maoists as the practitioners of the one per cent principle, leveraging murder for political control. But the emergence of the psychopathic Islamic State is not some sudden pivot. It is a ratcheting up of the intensity that has been coming to a boil in the Middle East ever since the Iranian revolution in 1979. That was the  point when Islamic fundamentalists took control of a large nation state. The massacres began immediately, and Iran began to ferment the Sunni-Shiite schism.

Twenty-five years later, that schism has become a bloodbath. The one per cent factor is working with a vengeance. Muslims are killing Muslims on a large scale in Syria and Iraq, and on a lesser scale in Libya, Afghanistan, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan and Gaza. Muslim fundamentalists are killing non-believers in Nigeria, Chad and elsewhere, with outbreaks of violence in Europe.

Over the past 50 years, Muslims have been killed by other Muslims in enormous numbers as colonialism gave way to nation states. In 1971, more than a million Muslims were killed by Muslims in East Pakistan alone (now Bangladesh). More brutal civil wars followed in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere. The Syrian civil war has seen about 200,000 killed. Iraq has broken apart along the Sunni-Shiite divide. The cumulative death toll is measured in the millions.

The Muslim world has about 1.5 billion adherents. If just one tenth of one per cent interpret the Koran as a command to perform unforgiving jihad, then 150,000 people will engage in violent war. That is what we are seeing. One per cent of one per cent.

It is a statistic we must not forget. Those who engage in terror seek to cast a much larger shadow than their real numbers. We are not at war. We are not confronting a monolith. We are seeing the one per cent of one per cent at work. In Australia, in the past few days, we have rolled up a dozen sub-bogans invoking "jihad" to obtain notoriety.

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