Well, it's good to be back online again. And lots has happened since my last post. A few weeks ago I did a talk in Maida Vale, which has been received with some interest in certain circles. Here's a brief description of the talk as advertised by the venue, Islamic Centre England:
"Nafeez will give an introduction into the covert intelligence operations, economic intrigues and rampant political corruption that have dominated Western 'national security' policies since the end of the Second World War. Using newly declassified secret government files and other reliable documentation, Nafeez will reveal the official deceit that justified Anglo-American imperial expansion during the Cold War, post-Cold War and post-9/11 periods. He will lay bare the dynamics behind historical and current US and British militarism, its overarching goals, and the escalating political, economic and ecological crises generated by the current global imperial system."
The talk was recorded in full, including the Q & A session, by the London Sound Posse, and is available online here.
Paul Stott from the parapolitical journal, Notes from the Borderland, who attended the talk has put up a short summary and review, which i paste below for your ease:
November 12, 2006
I went to see Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed speak in Maida Vale this evening, discussing war, terrorism and international relations. Ahmed is best known for three books he has published in very short succesion about the "war on terror' and more recently for his book on the 7 July bombings.
The Good Old Days?
Ahmed started from the position that the war on terror is a continuation of an Anglo-American imperialism that has been going on for some time, with Britain accepting the role of "junior partner" at the start of the Cold War. To Ahmed the Bush/Blair partnership is not unique, but historically consistent. Secondly the Cold War saw the "Communist threat" justifying American expansion into all corners of the globe - Ahmed argues this threat was not only greatly overstated, but that internal government documents indicate that by and large both the British and the Americans were far more concerned about "ultra-nationalist" movements. As for terrorism, the Gladio (stay behind) networks in Europe after World War II indicate the clear involvement of the US in terrorism, often in the name of left-wing organisations.
Friend or Foe?
With the Cold War ending, the US was faced with both new opportunities, and new challenges. Ahmed argues that America still sees its rival in several significant oil-producing areas as Russia, whilst in the long term China is its principal fear. Given this he feels it essential to look at areas where American interests overlap with those of Islamist groups such as Al-Qaeda. Ahmed sees clear evidence of this in different parts of the world - the Caucases, the Balkans, North Africa and Chechnya were cited. Indeed Dutch intelligence reports from Bosnia (where Dutch troops are accused of failing to prevent a major massacre by the Serbs) indicate the Americans severly de-stabilised the area by bringing ex-Mujahideen fighters into the region.
Although there is not a lot of good published material in English on developments in Algeria, Ahmed cited Robert Fisk on the dirty tricks in the war between Western intelligence agencies, the Algerian state and Islamists. This has included bombings on the French Metro which appear to have been conducted by groups after they had been thoroughly penetrated by the French intelligence services.
In conclusion Ahmed sees two major roles for Al-Qaeda - they justify the militarisation of western societies, and they justify Western intervention in parts of the world that are rich in natural resources. As these resources become increasingly under threat, such struggles will become more important, not less. Pessimistically he sees the world approaching the end of a particular epoch, the American epoch, and one that will get very unpleasant. Ahmed called for the development of new values, and new thinking that rejects capitalism and respects the environment. As a Muslim, he believes this should have a spiritual dimension.
From The Floor
At talks like this making an intervention is a rather inexact science. However the size of the audience required brevity, and one of the three activists from the 9/11 Truth Movement rather struggled with this concept. Ahmed was critical of the general conduct of the Britan and Ireland 9/11 Truth Movement, who appear less relevant and more closed in their thinking than similar groups in the States. The central point is perhaps this - 9/11 showed the world as it is, rather than being some sort of Year Zero for a new world order. Another intervention came from Shane Collins of Lambeth Green Party who talked of the need to introduce "carbon quotas" which could be bought and sold by individuals. As that appears to suggest that the very wealthy such as Roman Abramovich are going to be able to do a lot more than me in this future green world - count me out!
Personally I was deeply impressed by Ahmed's grasp of history and his use of sources. If I have a criticism of his talk it is that he actually repeated a mistake I have seen from the 9/11 Truth campaigners - he talked of America and Britain, but not of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, all "players" with dishonourable intentions of their own. Indeed Iran has looked to greatly increase its influence in the Muslim world in the past decade - from Sudan, to the Lebanon and most recently to Iraq. Imperialism can come in all colours, and in small packages as well as large.
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