tv Documentary RT April 24, 2013 9:30pm-10:00pm EDT
a word we hear all of the time but what do we mean when we use it because terrorism is a specific form of criminality practiced under certain circumstances focused on a specific group of people when we consider weapons is there much that separates had bombs and high tech drones it would appear the only difference between justice and terrorism is whose side you're on. the side to cross talk terrorism i'm joined by my guest in washington william blum he is an author of books on u.s. foreign policy and an internet newsletter called anti empire report we also have max abrams he is a terrorist expert and a fellow johns hopkins university and finally we cross the line eunice he is a clinical associate professor at the university of maryland and founder of american dot com all right john cross talk rose in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want for what is let's go to you first why is boston called
terrorism but aurora sandy hook tucson and columbine not. that's a great question peter and let me start by saying that as a member of one of the in the community most of us who believe in. god we first met an organization to make it very clear that there is no concept of holy war in islam that there is no such thing as jihad against the infidel but you take a sword and try to convert the word now why is that important because the word islamic terrorism to me is an oxymoron i'm coming to exactly what you're asking me but the point is these differences will already exist that all of this will exist in the muslim community in america today in fact is asking that same very question that why are some things labeled terrorism worse is another which is not but more importantly the discussion that is going on in the dinner tables on the inner tables these days among muslim families is that why is it that always
a non muslim when somebody goes to sandy hook that they are all of this insane but when a muslim commits an act of terrorism that they're all is perfectly fine psychologically lax what do you think about terrorism go ahead ken i hop and share yeah i mean i can't i completely disagree the definition of terrorism that we adhere to certainly in north america is three fold first it should involve a non-state actor that is an individual or a group secondly the targeting the violence should be directed against civilians some kind of a civilian target and third third should be some kind of a political aim and it's so that last point that last part of the definition which separates the boston attack from the other ones which you just mentioned the other ones which you mentioned didn't have any kind of a political motive and so by definition we do not regard them as terrorism whereas
in the body. the brother who lived sans that the motive was indeed political it was religious it was his law now i'm not saying he's a do we really know we really know we really know that we do we really know that it was political we really know that to you we trust that's what traders themselves say ok one is dead and one can't talk william jump in. yes i would assume a divorce for. the the older brother who's dead he's made statements make it very clear that he has a great beef with american foreign policy as one example so i knew right away it was political and that's what it is. it can be called terrorism for
him go ahead once again that is why that is why peter i keep repeating this it's very important that we don't look at millions of americans who are muslim in america as suspects and that is why it's very important i agree with in principle. community hasn't come out it's been now it's very clearly a muslims william go ahead go ahead. william go ahead jump in no no i agree but that is the fear that's where this is and that's where it's going now not in a million muslims in america ok maxine streets non-state actors why why is that so important to you. well just because i'm speaking from from north america and so for us when we talk about terrorism that's what we're typically talking about i understand that that's not the case for example if you go
to the middle east and say your you want to research terrorism they may well think that you're talking about government attacks against civilians academics so tend to separate. we use a different definition when non-state act. attack civilians versus when say down let's marry you think it's very. very real and immediate isn't it it's very convenient well it's certainly it's certainly convenient for our research because when it's convenient for a guy who manufacture and it's convenient for you to me i think like you know it's can feel inconvenient for governments for him what do you think about that exactly and i think if you look around you can find over one hundred different definitions of the word terrorism and there is a reason why we can never agree on any one definition peter the reason is that it's a derogatory term it's a horrible label that nobody wants to accept so therefore it's very common to find a war of each side as labeling the other as a terrorist but here is a solution i think instead of getting boxed into that term as a member of the
a muslim community once again i would like to go to the deeper principle which is the principle of sanctity of human life and that is where our faith teaches us and as the muslim youth leader that's what i've taught all the youths in america that i've interacted with that islam our faith teaches us that whosoever took one life it's as if he took the life of all mankind and whosoever gave one life to someone it's as if they give life to mankind so i think the principle that we can agree with is the sanctity of human life what do you think is in that truth well listen. this if we have a good time to come. can i can i just interrupt go ahead max jump in no i would i would i just want to i just want to add one thing when i say that terrorism by most accounts in north america focuses on non-state actors that doesn't mean
that when states use violence against civilians it's somehow ok the thing is that we have a very rich vocabulary we can use many different words terrorism is not the only negative word to apply to actors in the international system. so i i don't want to give. you know i don't want to in any way exonerate seeds from attacking civilians indeed when states attack civilians they tend to kill many many more of them then when non-state actors do but that's terrorism isn't it max it depends i suppose on which country you're in william we use a much more restrictive definition go ahead well i think the definition of a definition you gave before is for terrorism i think is quite suitable there has to be a political motive involved and usually there is where that where the state actor
where the government. would individuals there was nobody in the case of boston i think it was political and so we can call it terrorism when the u.s. uses a drone to kill people in pakistan or afghanistan the motive is political so that's terrorism could be called terrorism for him jump in yeah i mean unless he jump in unless you want a very important visit this is a very important point peter because if you just listen to tom brokaw last week on meet the press he made the exact same point the amount of resentment these drone attacks are creating there causing there was this young pakistani man who stepped up to tom and he said that i love america but if you horror one here on the head of my sister that i will fight you forever i think that's the important piece that we have to understand here in america that by killing these civilians now we very conveniently sometimes call collateral damage we are creating all generation of
terrorists if that's the term to use max go ahead. i cannot cannot i really i strongly disagree that the drone campaign is terrorism not only is it a state actor as opposed to a non-state actor but the intended target is not civilian be intended target is you know is militants and so you're right mistakes are sometimes made civilians are killed that is a private matter and terrible but that's not that's not by design that's accidental and so that makes it very different you know or as i know which is the intention. of civilians william go ahead you know no it's right listen that that's probably that's propaganda if you go if you send out a drone on monday to kill somebody and it kills a bunch of people who are not your target and you say and i guess you apologize and on tuesday you send out
a drone again and again and kills the launch of civilians and you apologize on a wednesday the same thing happens at what point do you lose the right to use that excuse you cannot use that excuse for ever and ever if you keep killing innocent civilians you must you must face the jury at some time for him. and peter peter once again here is a prediction i think we're never going to agree on a definition of the word terrorism i sort of agree with mack on this point i was not calling drone attacks terrorism i'm not equating the two but i think once again let's think of it from the lens of faith let me think of it from the lens of my faith of the muslim community we believe that it's the principle of absolute justice that the world is craving for today those principles we can agree on so when innocent lives are lost anywhere around the world whether that's israel palestine iraq iran pakistan or of honest on we need to stand up and say this was
unfair this was unjust and i think when we say that that's a healing message that's what's going to bring people together the word terrorism is a divisive message and i think it will continue to divide us and again my prediction is we will never agree on a definition all right gentlemen i'm going to jump in here we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on terrorism stay. with. the band . the british. the time. you get. to get market.
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international in the very heart of moscow. welcome back to cross talk where all things considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing charism. ok william and i to go back to you before the break you want to jump in go right ahead yes what are your guest keeps mentioning his religion i don't think one has to be religious to have a. full life and i don't i resent what he implies there only a religious person maybe only a muslim can have such a high regard for the sanctity of life i wish he would stop saying that for him
would you want to reply that sure william again i think i respect whatever belief you have please don't be offended that's not my intent i want to make sure that that's what my belief is that's that's what drives me in life i'm not a politician what drives me in life are those core principles and let's call them secular principles that's not even call them religious principles but my idea is not to claim superiority here my idea is really to come across with a healing principle i think you would agree with that let's agree with sanctity of life forget about religion i agree with you that let's not give it give the color of religion ok max obama said anytime bombs are used to target innocent civilians it's an act of care. when you think about that. this is this is what the president said yes that's right you know obama yes that's a quote i don't think i don't think that he was talking about by states i think that he was talking about i did not ask you know what you think of the statement
i'm just asking you what you think of the statement that's all you know sure so the fact i think what he was thinking because it wasn't just one bomb but it was small ball that showed at that early point that it was intentional and that it was directed against civilians and dos it was terror i think it was just one example. of that was. on which side by which william jump in yes at the u.s. use of. against multiple civilian targets we have a thousand and one examples of that you can't find any definition of terrorism which would exclude american foreign policy it's full of terrorism and has been for decades and decades. ok maxy wouldn't you want to reply that i don't want to be too repetitive but i mean what the expert just said before me
that you can find no definitions of terrorism which would exclude us foreign policy is absurd indeed the conventional explanation in north america what it was like you could say knowing. i was a terrorism affected all the whole world right but words have different meanings in different regions and in north america terrorism denotes non-state actors that's not true of other regions in the world ok william. i live in north america and i don't ax collude state actors i think the definition which was mentioned earlier which is the same one used by the un and the f.b.i. and the cia is the is the use of violence or the threat of violence against civilians for a political purpose that's a very good definition and it implies a part of the world to a state actor as to a an individual and certainly includes almost all of us foreign policy for him
your thoughts. peter i'm going to try and you know i think it's about time i disappoint william one more time because the reason i have to bring religion back into the picture is because five six seven million american muslims they're all being looked upon as suspect now you have to walk into my shoes to understand why that discussion is relevant to us because all of a sudden when the bombing happened in boston i was seeing patients in the hospital that day and all of a sudden i knew all my god please don't make him a muslim you know we're trying to raise our foundation and we have to do it american citizens and this is very difficult this is very difficult i understand that you're saying what you're saying is totally your time and most of them is dragged into a conversation of terrorism because somehow the implication is that that religion is is fueling that and once again you will look at the media start reading the newspapers from today on and for the next month they're going to try to find all those links and all those out of context of horses from got on so therefore i think
it is important that we need to make sure our country in the world should know where we stand on these issues again william you want to jump in here to actually i'm going to for a second i want to risk ok matt i want likely respond to that go ahead. i absolutely sympathize with the muslim expert who just spoke and i think that he's absolutely right that right now the muslim community in the united states is under the lens they were before but particularly so in light of the bombings and the fact that the presumed perpetrators are muslim. and what i would have what i want to stress from here more generally is that terrorism is politically counter productive and so when when people use terrorism to advance their given political cause it frequently backfires based i mean details are still sketchy about what's going on with with the boston bombing but my understanding at least based on what
the perpetrators see. i'm to have sad is that it was done in the name of at least their interpretation of islam but in reality terrorism is detrimental to islam and indeed it's detrimental to the causes professed by any terrorist perpetrators william you want to apply that i wish i wish we could all stick to the subject the whether the fact that this is. a very hard time for muslims in america is totally irrelevant that is not the if you were discussing and whether it's terrorism and question is successful or not or counterproductive is not the issue at all again we're talking about terrorism per se and what it how it was defined and what or how we can judge us foreign policy and other actors i wish i think guess what stick to that service act i'm not concerned on this program with where the muslims feelings
are hurt that is not the issue and the question of whether these acts counter productive work productive is also not relevant to their to their discussion ok for him i think it's very interesting is that in america a lot of people will look at muslim muslims and islam is so alien and it's the where we get terrorism but the fact of the matter is most people they don't die of terrorism in the world today are muslim. well that's exactly true there are more muslims dying at the hands of these terrorists than non muslims and i think i fully agree with that it's counterproductive it is counterproductive to the core message of the faith it is counterproductive it's kind of that it was for american foreign policy as well riis. no question about that i think exactly because by what peter king look at that what peter king is now this has already started he's come out day one and he's saying we need more surveillance of these
young muslim men how much more surveillance do you need you know and do you understand the amount of resentment and the amount of conflicted identity and crisis of their minds of these muslim youth are going through that what we're trying to do is trying to help them forge a strong muslim and an american identity we are trying to make sure that the american muslim youth believe that there should be no conflict between their pledge of allegiance to their faith and their pledge of allegiance to the flag of united states of america that it is a daunting task and when people and particularly strong politicians visible people in the media when they come out and make these derogatory statements as if everybody now has to stand in for the act of these two people i think they have no idea the amount of alienation that's creating and how counterproductive that is right here in america when you think about that max i i i absolutely agree it's really a shame that people struggle march to differentiate between muslims and i think
that terrorists like the ones who have bombed boston do a great disservice to the vast majority of muslims and i think that we need people wake but one so you're having on this program to do a better job of educating the american public and beyond william you think this will change american foreign policy go ahead i'm afraid and that is the basic problem the basic problem the basic problem is american foreign policy we create. and here mercan terrorists every day of the week and as long as we can we can recreate them we're going to we're going to have to suffer the way we do we we must stop invading and bombing and overthrowing governments and torturing people and stopped eating and him american terrorists i say and to mentor is because we can prevent the creation of all terrorists but we can at least stop those who are
motivated by anti american feelings against us foreign policy that is the main task at hand for american citizens max just to reply that i really don't think that there are going to be any fundamental changes in u.s. foreign policy. so they're changing asian should it change. no no i don't believe that it that it should change i mean the obama administration when you add it on secretary kerry and secretary hagel these are people who are very reluctant to deploy u.s. forces abroad i don't think that they're going to start any more conflicts or increase me in power i do think that the drone campaign will continue however william you look go ahead go ahead you're speaking of a man you're speaking of a man who has waged war against seven nations and you say he's reluctant to use all forces abroad what world are you living in max i give you the last word go ahead.
well sure i'm making a comparative statement in comparison to his predecessor he's relatively gun shy except when it comes to the drone campaign really well you go ahead go ahead best you can do. is that the best you can do max i think those are the facts all right gentlemen we've run out of time fascinating discussion many thanks to my guests in washington and thanks to our viewers for watching us here see you next time and remember crosstalk.
you know how sometimes you see a story and it seems so for lengthly you think you understand it and then you glimpse something else you hear sees some other part of it and realize everything you thought you knew you don't know i'm tom harvey welcome to the big picture. we are facing a lot of problems you know. because no one thought to drink no good schools. no developments when you visit our parks. club the local what's national of all business law in all community one a community l.n.g. multiple mortgages does shelly's do that and you would that give general dunford or match up artist i was fights back i must fight so. i'll fight.
oh i'm john marburger washington d.c. and here's what's coming up tonight on the big picture today work hundreds of fast food workers from all over chicago's struck to demand higher wages and stable schedules is this just what we need to jumpstart the middle class let's ask our analysts in tonight's alone liberal rumble in just a moment also if the united states is fighting a global war against terrorism why are its special forces committing acts of terror themselves and wanted to become ok for our government to assassinate our own citizens i ask journalist germy scahill in a special extended interview at the bottom of the hour and big businesses have all sorts of ways to pad their wallets.