(Previous: Part I)
*** See use doctrine here
During Kofi Annan's presentation to the General Assembly of the United Nation's Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, he applauded the Club of Madrid for its related efforts in countering terrorism. In 2005, the Club of Madrid conducted a democracy, terrorism and security conference which is said to have been the largest gathering of security and terrorism experts that has ever taken place. Annan delivered the keynote address to the closing plenary where he conveyed that he would form an implementation task force dedicated to fighting terrorism and that all the UN system would play a role. We know that the role of setting the "global conscience" is being fulfilled by the Alliance of Civilizations High Level Group. One need not look too far on the list of conference participants to find individuals connected to the Alliance of Civilizations. Noteworthy participants include John Esposito, Giandomenico Picco, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Javier Solana, etc. Here, I provide a summation of the conference outcome documents.
In Addressing the Causes of Terrorism, identification of the problematic individuals are found on pages 27-33. The core of the experts’ argument is that religion can contribute to a ‘culture of violence’, a condition which must be addressed to stop the spread of terrorism.
- “…religion is often ‘centered around themes that can be inherently polarizing—concepts of truth, notions of good, of absolutes and ultimate realities’. For this reason, religion can contribute to a culture of violence where violence becomes ‘a defining issue’ in the identity of activist groups.”
In Part I of this series, we see that Alliance of Civilisation’s High Level Group member John Esposito equates monotheistic religions’ exclusive truth claims with terrorism. In light of Esposito’s contribution to this counter-terrorism strategy, it’s no surprise that the question “Is violence more frequently linked with monotheistic traditions?” resulted in the following answer:
- “Samuel Peleg pointed out that the monotheistic religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) have a tendency to authoritarianism and intolerance due to ‘their centrist emphasis on a single deity’. Esposito said that the ‘three Abrahamic traditions’ have been ‘more prone to exclusivist theologies/worldviews which can be used by political and religious leaders to legitimate imperialist expansion, violence, and terror’. Elorza gave explanations of why – in his view – Islam and Judaism had a propensity towards violence and Buddhism did not. Other members of the group stressed that some strands of Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism have also been capable of hideous acts of terror, and that these acts have been justified by violent images and themes within these Eastern traditions. Moreover, the distinction between ‘monotheism’ and ‘polytheism’ is much debated by scholars of comparative religion who point out that a supposedly polytheistic religion such as Hinduism has a strong sense of unity behind its diversity, and that notions such as the Christian Trinity and concepts of sainthood introduce a complexity into the idea of God in the supposed monotheisms of Western religions.”
Maybe the monotheistic faiths are too complex for these individuals. So they concluded: therefore, responding to terrorism:
- “Multi-track approaches (involving political, social and economic in parallel with security and military measures) should be employed.”
The Confronting Terrorism working papers lay out these multi track approaches. I subtitled my copy “Directives for a Police State”. There is a common thread running through the three main counter-terrorism strategies which I focus on —one which migrates the military from battlefield situations and embeds it into the populations. This is referred to as peace-keeping. (I will address this further in my next blog article.) This approach is intended for global implementation. Among the Club of Madrid's plans of action are:
- “Legal standards need to be improved by harmonising penal and police laws, as well as by ratifying and implementing the relevant United Nations Conventions and Protocols and similar regional agreements.”
- “Creation of a global citizens’ network.”
- “Transformation of the armed forces - We do not see a need for dedicated counter-terrorist forces as special branches of the military establishment. Rather we would see this role, as well as the anti-terrorist and consequence management roles, as fitting in with what might be considered to be the emerging model for Western armed forces…models geared to peace-keeping (with only a limited capacity for self defense and dependent upon local consent).”
- “The experiences of the humanitarian interventions as well as the counter-terrorist operations of recent years point to a need for lighter, more agile forces, drawing on modern technologies (for example in combining the ability to track targets and attack them with precision) while understanding the difficulties when it becomes necessary to mingle with civil society and the overall political context within which operations are conducted.”
- “Biometrical identification systems will increasingly be used in travel documents as well as in other transactions.”
Travel documents for a world without borders? Hmmm. But, of course, all of this is intended to be conducted within the framework of and with sensitivity to democracy—that is “safe democracy”. The Alliance of Civilizations Giandomenico Picco has provided us with direction on what form of democracy we may expect under this weltanschauung. I noticed after I published my first article in this series that the Club of Madrid had removed Picco’s article from their website. I have attached it to the top of this piece for educational purposes. It can also be found on safe democracy foundation’s website. Simply click on each document to expand it so it becomes readable. According to Picco:
- “Now the challenge which faces most of our institutions, which are part and parcels of the system of indirect democracy, is whether they can evolve to meet a world where there are many ways to express the voice of the people besides elections and where knowledge is so wide spread that a group of few cannot claim monopoly on the truth. The participation of the peoples in elections is diminishing in many societies.”
- “I would venture to say that of the democratic institutions the first to evolve would be the Parliament: no longer the monopolist of the voice of the people, nor of knowledge for the people, they may have to reinvent themselves…”
- “Our societies are likely unprepared for that kind of democracy as we have never experienced it. But for how long can we keep the door closed?”
Well this is one weltanschauung that amounts to nothing more than old fashioned fascism--a relic of extremist ideology has been tested before. Ultimately, it will become known as the most terroristic regime the world has ever known.