Tuesday 13 September 2011

Interview With A Terrorist

Good evening. Your favourite reporter, Bill the Butcher, went to great trouble to meet and interview one of Al Qaeda’s top terror masterminds, Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi, in his hideout somewhere in the wilds of a major European city.

The process for arranging the interview was simple; I just picked up the nearest telephone directory and looked under “freedom-hating evildoer”. A few phone calls later, a discreet car turned up at my front door, discreetly escorted by two CIA men in another discreet vehicle. A very nice-looking young terrorist drove me back to the secret hideout, regaling me with stories of his friends in the corridors of power in Washington. After reaching the million dollar mansion modest suburban flat without internet or air-conditioning where the terror mastermind was hiding out, my driver escorted me through a series of body scanners and TSA-trained body searchers before admitting me to the Holy of Holies, Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi’s inner chamber where he sat at a large desk in an oval-shaped office.

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi is a man you would instantly know is an evildoer. He’s tall and handsome, and has a brilliant smile with even teeth and perfectly set hair. When he talks, he exudes such perfectly insincere charm that he’d be a natural for the role of presidential candidate used car salesman. Before starting the interview, he kindly posed for photographs with his charming wife, two daughters, and pet cat. However, due to the fact that the TSA-trained body searchers had confiscated my camera, I could not actually take photographs. Mr Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi promised me that he would Change the security measures to make it easier for those like me to do our jobs in future.

Excerpts from the interview:

Bill: Thank you for granting me this interview, Mr Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi. I must say that I’m impressed by your group’s dedication.

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: It’s all the fruit of the sacrifices made by our valiant terrorists in the war against freedom and democracy. We will strive on until final victory, because our enemy represents everything we hate in the world, like freedom and democracy. We hate freedom and democracy, in case I haven’t mentioned it before.

Bill: Why do you hate freedom and democracy?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: Because we’re evildoers. Didn’t you do any research before coming here?

Bill: Uh, well. Why did you decide to become an Al Qaeda terrorist?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: It’s tough being a freedom-hating evildoer in a nine-to-five job. You try and see how that works out for you. Besides, how could you ever get famous that way? If I were a construction supervisor, would you’ve bothered interviewing me?

Bill: Any other reason?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: We wanted Change. Al Qaeda guarantees Change. Also it guarantees that people in key defence industries continue to make a profit. While the rest of the world economy goes down the drain, it's nice to see someone profiting for a Change.

Bill (reaching into pocket): I think I have some Loose Change here...

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: Not that kind of Change. We don't want the Truth, just the youth.

Bill: Tell me, now that the Americans killed Osama bin Laden, isn’t your group feeling the pressure?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: Bin Laden? I have a secret to tell you about bin Laden.

Bill: Secret? What secret?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: He was a zombie.

Bill: Huh?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: You know how many times he died? But he kept coming back and coming back from the dead, over and over. It got to the point you could hardly stand the smell. So they put him down by shooting him through the head. Even then the stink was so great they had to throw him in the ocean. Otherwise it would’ve stunk up some very high places. Places just below High Heaven. You know how bad odours are.  

Bill: Uh, yeah. I mean, anything’s possible, right? So you mean to say his killing hasn’t weakened your organisation?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: No, why should it? Our greatest friends and allies sit in the highest positions of power, after all. They need us strong, not weak. You saw the escort they provided to make sure you reached me safely? And you saw the security they’ve laid on?

Bill (massaging crotch): Yes, and they groped me hard enough to blow up any bombs I might have been carrying. Why do they need you strong, if they call you their enemies?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: Why do you think? [Pours whisky] Try this. The best bourbon in the world. With the compliments of the FBI, and tested toxin-free, don’t worry.

Bill: Thanks. So the conspiracy theorists are right? You’re in this together?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi [sinister silence]

Bill (hurriedly): What do you have to say to accusations that you want to set up an Islamic Caliphate?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: Why shouldn’t we? Our dear friends in the decadent West are busy setting up a Denominationist Christian realm, after all. We’re both against the weak-kneed anti-religion bleeding-heart liberal scum who...[trails off into incoherent abuse] And those secular dictators. Like, I mean, man, we all hate them there socialist vermin. You know, how we’re on the same side against them.

Bill: So you’re still strong?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: You bet we’re still strong. Just yesterday we set up another group of freedom-hating democracy-hating freedom fighter democracy activists in Syria.

Bill (after brief pause): Can you tell me why you haven’t attacked the US recently with effective weapons? After all, shoe bombers and underwear bombers aren’t very effective, are they?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: But now everyone has to take off their shoes and pretty much take off their underwear before boarding a flight, don’t they? And once we carry out our next planned failed bombing...

Bill: Which is?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: They’re going to demand every passenger have dental X-rays and enemas before being allowed to fly. I’ll say no more.  

Bill: Are you scared of assassination by drones?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: I love the drones. I love how I can have them kill my rivals and enemies. Only yesterday I... [passage redacted in order to protect identities of sources and preserve military secrets]. Besides, by wiping out kids and women, it keeps the population under control. You know what a problem overpopulation is.

Bill: Uh. OK. I have another question that you might want to answer. Why have you never thought to attack Wall Street?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: Why should we attack Wall Street? They’re doing our jobs for us. Hitting Wall Street would be like chopping off your worst enemy’s hand just as he’s about to cut his own throat. Not a good idea. [Stands] Well, I’ve some evil to do before supper.

Bill: One final question. How long do you think it’s going to take to destroy freedom and democracy?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: It’s already done. It was done for us.

Bill: It was?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: You haven’t been paying attention, have you? We’re proud to announce those things don’t exist anywhere any longer. [Gestures] Your escort is here.

Bill: My escort? What escort? [CIA men grab him] What the hell is this?

Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi: You know too much now to let you go. Happy renditioning!

[I’ve just escaped from a secret CIA prison under Buckingham Palace. I am now crouching under the Queen’s chair, and am posting this interview in haste before I can be recaptured. Look out! Abu Qatil-i-Khoonkharabi’s secret hideout is in bhiohgoighgfh0-

Sunday 11 September 2011

A couple of thoughts about religion and war

Caution: This post contains atheist views and mocks organised religion.

If we try and pin down factors that cause most of the wars and conflicts around the world today, I think you’d find that they come down to three, and actually pretty predictable, points.

The first is the Great Satan (no, not that Great Satan) – the Profit Motive. It’s what drives capitalism and the constant hunger for resources, the need to brainwash people into consuming ever more, and to indoctrinate them into believing that they can’t survive on what they’ve got or on what they had survived on perfectly adequately yesterday. Capitalism can’t allow stagnation, because stagnation is the enemy of profit. Now, if you’ve to keep driving up consumption, you’ve got to keep producing enough to feed that consumption, and the ancillaries, like transport and distribution networks. And to power those networks, you need some things.

One of these is cheap labour. The cheaper the better; slaves would be fine for capitalists, but you have to feed, clothe and house them. A starvation wage is usually a better option, and if you can, you ought to outsource to wherever you can pay that starvation wage.

Then you need raw materials and energy. This is where the real problems start, because neither of these two things is infinite and easily available. Energy sources for those transport and distribution networks, in particular, often lie under some other peoples’ lands, and buying them at a fair price might drag the profit margin too low.

There’s another factor there as well – the captive market. The old imperialist nations understood the concept very well. Take over a country, strip it of everything it has, destroy any native industry, and sell your products, at gunpoint if necessary, to the colonised people. It can’t be done so blatantly today – one needs a fictional national government, which rules by fictional democracy – but it can be done.

The second is racism. Like imperialism, it’s the factor that dare not speak its name, unless it’s operating at the tribal level. Even then, it’s usually competition over resources these days, llike grazing lands and water. Still, its existence even in more allegedly civilised climes is undeniable, as when you listen to someone writing something like “How dare those ragheads attack us? Them diaper-heads need smacking down!” The racism is there, but buried below the surface, and showing itself in flashes.

Now, it’s no longer politically correct to openly admit that one wants to go to war for the sake of resources or because one doesn’t like the shape of someone else’s nose. Fear, of course, can be used as a key. Threats of acute danger can be manufactured, but they’re usually not very credible unless the population is already primed to believe and hate the “other”. And an excellent way of making them fear and hate the “other” – historically speaking – well, think for a moment and you’ll get it. Yes.

Organised religion.

Think for a moment about the Crusades, about the Holy Wars through history, down to today’s jihads. What’s one sure way of making one people hate another? Call their religion a monstrous death-cult that is an existential threat to one’s own religion, that’s what. People tend to have intense herd mentalities, and, even in many so-called advanced societies, have to be overtly religious for political, social and business reasons. (Organised religion is, of course, a business, but that’s a matter for another day.)

The thing about organised religion – why I’m stressing the word “organised” – is that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the stated purpose of the religion. It can quite easily lend itself to political and military purposes, just as Pope Urban II ordered the First Crusade, and staffed it with people who were promised absolution for their sins if they died in the Holy War against the “wicked race” (the Muslims, and incidentally the Eastern Church as well). All over Western Europe, people threw away their livelihoods and flocked the roads to go ‘liberate the Holy Land’, though most of them were too illiterate to have the faintest idea where it even might be located. Yes - they were given the licence to loot and murder in the name of Christ (no point wondering what he might have thought of that, poor man), and given a ticket to heaven at the end of it too, and they jumped at the chance. Wouldn't you?

Religion does things to peoples' brains.

And, today, the same goes to suicide bombers who can be brainwashed into blowing themselves up for religion; the same goes to Zionists who talk about the need to exterminate the Palestinians and take over the “land God promised them”, just as their ancestors allegedly slaughtered entire peoples at “god’s” behest, sparing not even the animals. The same goes to indoctrinated Christian soldiers who bomb and rocket people on the other side of the globe in the name of "freedom". The same goes, in India, to the Hindunazis who organise riots in which Muslim businesses are targeted for destruction – riots so preplanned and organised that Muslims who have camouflaged their businesses with Hindu names aren’t spared. It’s all for the money, honey.

The tragedy of this, of course, is its irrationality. The whole thing is people doing things in the name of some power which they can’t even prove exists – whose existence has to be taken entirely on faith and the desire to believe. If that faith and the desire to believe is on a personal level, of course, it’s fine; it’s harmless and can even be personally beneficial for some people. But personal faith is as unacceptable to Organised Religion as atheism or agnosticism is. Individually religious or spiritualist people can’t be brainwashed into religious frenzies, can they? You tell some Progressive Christian or Sufi to go on a neo-Crusade or to sacrifice himself for the Holy Jihad, and once he’s stopped laughing, he’ll tell you to go boil your head.

You know what I’d like? I’d like people for a change to think about the wonders we already know about and can prove – let’s say, black holes, from which light can’t escape; or red giant stars; or the way life seems to exist in places (like underwater volcanic vents) one couldn’t ever imagine it existing. I’d love it if someone looks at a flower as an evolutionary marvel designed to further plant reproduction, instead of something to snip off and lay at the plaster feet of some god.

Now, I’d like to propose a different kind of Holy War. Just look, now, at a Force that is everywhere, which acts on us at every moment, and has extreme, almost incalculable effects on us; literally, a Force without which we could not exist. There absolutely is such a force, and not only can we see its effects in our own lives, we can prove its existence.

It’s called gravity.

Does it exist? Is it strong? You bet. If you have doubts, step off your balcony and see. Scream out your God's name and ask him/her/it to stop you from falling - you'll go splat every time. Inference: gravity is stronger than your god.

So, now we've got that established, can you imagine putting on Kevlar body armour, strapping on an M-16, and going out to do battle in the name of gravity? Can you perhaps pull on a suicide vest and make a martyr’s video before going out to destroy yourself and a bunch of people in its holy name? Are you interested? No?

The idea’s ridiculous, huh? After all, why should Gravity need a holy war or a holy warrior? It’s only...uh, Science, isn’t it?

Ah, you get it now.