<%@ Language=VBScript %> <%response.buffer = TRUE%> Book Sheds Light Upon Sources of Domestic Terrorism
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Book Sheds Light Upon Sources of Domestic Terrorism

Though he certainly could not have know it at the time, Gerald Horne's From the Barrel of a Gun shines an incriminating light upon the issue of domestic terrorism. In fact, he has stumbled upon why the government and its affiliated corporations are so reluctant to delve into the anthrax epidemic.

Review by Joel Wendland


Reviewed Here:
From the Barrel of a Gun: The United States and the War Against Zimbabwe
by Gerald Horne

In the weeks following the September 11th attacks, biological terrorism -- now assumed to be the handiwork of right-wing groups or individuals within the US -- has intensified the level of paranoia for many people. Though the anthrax terrorists have killed a number of people and have dramatically affected many public services, little public scrutiny has focused on the investigation of this most recent version of domestic terrorism. Parts of From the Barrel of a Gun, written by Gerald Horne, a renowned scholar at the University of North Carolina, well before the September attacks point to possible reasons for the Bush administration's apparent inaction on domestic terrorism.

Horne's well-crafted book is an account of the reactionary forces that coalesced around the white supremacist government in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. He documents the multinational corporate interests, the right-wing mercenary elements, the secret intelligence networks, and the political alignments that sustained Rhodesia. Union Carbide, Chrysler, Hertz Rental Cars, TWA, McDonnell Douglas, the CIA, Strom Thurmond, Harry Byrd, Richard Nixon, and ex-president George Bush were just some of the major actors that put off majority rule and prolonged the violence and killing in Zimbabwe. Many of the same conservatives and white supremacists that supported Reagan in the 1980s against enforcing sanctions on South Africa's apartheid government also pressed the Nixon administration in the 1960s and 1970s to thwart UN-imposed sanctions on Rhodesia.

Although this fascinating book is of great interest to progressive students of US foreign policy, African de-colonization, and US politics in the 1970s and '80s, it also briefly addresses the issue of covert biological warfare undertaken by the white supremacist Southern African governments (with the support of US-based intelligence and political entities) to maintain their power. At the time of writing, of course, Horne could not have foretold the significance of this portion of the story, but readers, in today's climate, might pay special attention.

During the 1980s, South Africa's apartheid government established a special secret governmental agency -- that not-surprisingly had ties to the CIA but also had ties to the Centers for Disease Control -- to try to control the African National Congress (ANC) and the anti-apartheid movement in general. This included covert efforts to develop biological and chemical weapons, including ecstasy (to diffuse demonstrations), cholera, HIV virus, botulinum, and anthrax. The latter, according to Horne's account, was specifically used in letters to be sent to assassinate leaders of the ANC and other enemies of white supremacy in Southern Africa. After the fall of apartheid, South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in the late 1990s, unearthed witness testimony and documents that Johannesburg prostitutes were purposely infected with HIV, that cholera was deliberately put into water used by Southern African farmers and livestock herders, that poisoned
cigarettes, letters, candies, and other items were developed and sold on the international market (for terrorist and covert governmental intelligence communities that seem to have unique bonds) through phony corporations to raise funds for these "anti-terrorist" efforts. The commission also heard testimony by Americans involved in these activities. From the Barrel of a Gun, draws direct links between the South African efforts to preserve apartheid and those who fought to save the white Rhodesian government.

Most importantly, Horne's research demonstrates how closely intertwined were corporate interests, white racism, and US foreign policy. Political figures such as ex-presidents Bush and Nixon, their corporate sponsors, and closely allied mercenaries -- often right-wing special forces veterans of the Vietnam War -- did not hesitate to find ways to support white supremacy in order to further their common racial and economic interests.

In fact, this book shows that the rise of neo-conservatism in the US with its racist ideology was accompanied, not by accident, by the intensified globalization efforts of multinational corporate interests. And since the investigators of domestic terrorism come from this political formation, there is little wonder at their general failure to pursue the anthrax terrorists publicly and aggressively. It also explains their preference for directing attention on terrorism away from the domestic scene to places such as remote parts of Somalia or Philippine islands where people with darker skin and fewer resources seem to make easier targets.

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