The Machine For Making Terrorists

When a repressive elite wants to frighten the populace into accepting dictatorship by taking advantage of terrorists, that elite faces a problem: finding terrorists to exploit.

Terrorists are invaluable tools for a ruling elite looking to consolidate its control. If the level of fear is high enough, almost anyone will willingly sacrifice freedom in the hope of gaining security, and security is exactly what would-be dictators are selling. No secret is more closely guarded than the secret provocation of terror by those who claim to be the saviors of the people, however, so citizens are always the last to know that they have been subjected to such treachery. Nevertheless, modern history is replete with examples, and all who treasure their own liberties need to study them.

Elites aspiring to exploit terrorism to consolidate their power have a problem: where is one to find terrorists? Habib Souaidia, a disenchanted former member of the Algerian military who was a young officer during the 1992 coup, describes the answer found by the Algerian coup leaders:

…au cours de ces premiers mois de 1992, l’essentiel de la repression n’etait pas dirige contre les groupes armes, mais contre les civils….des milliers de jeunes, qui etaient des militants ou des sympathisants du FIS, mais qui n’etaient pas dans la lutte armee, ont ete arêtes, tortures et envoyes dans les camps de concentration du Sud….c’est a ce moment-la que s’est mise en marche la machine a fabriquer des terroristes….deux ou trios ans plus tard, ceux qui avaient ete arêtes ont ete relaches: its avaient tellement la rage de ce quils avaient subi que beaucoup d’entre eux ont pris les armes. [Habib Souaidia, La Sale Guerre (La Decouverte, Paris, 2001, 59).]

Arrest innocent teenagers, throw them in concentration camps for a couple years, then release them when they have become so enraged that they turn to violence without thinking and strike out blindly against…not the corrupt politicians who are their real enemies but the very society that those politicians are victimizing.

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