by Michel Chossudovsky
September 11, 2008
Today's "Global War on Terrorism" is a modern
form of inquisition. It has all the essential ingredients of the French and
Going after "Islamic terrorists", carrying out a Worldwide preemptive war
to "protect the Homeland" are used to justify
a military agenda.
Global War on Terrorism" (GWOT) is presented as a "Clash of
Civilizations", a war between competing values and religions, when in
reality it is an outright war of conquest, guided by strategic and economic
The GWOT is the ideological backbone of the American Empire. It defines US
military doctrine, including the preemptive use of nuclear weapons against
the "state sponsors" of terrorism.
The preemptive "defensive war" doctrine and the "war on terrorism" against
Al Qaeda constitute essential building blocks of America's National
Security Strategy as formulated in early 2002. The objective is to
present "preemptive military action" - meaning war as an act of
"self-defense" against two categories of enemies, "rogue States" and
"Islamic terrorists", both of which are said to possess weapons of mass
The logic of the "outside enemy" and the evildoer, allegedly responsible for
American civilian deaths, prevails over common sense.
In the inner consciousness of Americans, the
September 11, 2001 justify acts of war and conquest:
"As was demonstrated by the losses on
September 11, 2001, mass civilian casualties is the specific objective
of terrorists and these losses would be exponentially more severe if
terrorists acquired and used weapons of mass destruction."
(National Security Strategy, White House,
The legitimacy of the inquisition is not questioned. The "Global War on
Terrorism" justifies a mammoth defense budget at the expense of health,
education, and virtually every single category of (civilian) public
The "Global War on Terrorism" requires "going after" the terrorists, using
advanced weapons systems. It upholds a preemptive religious-like crusade
against evil, which serves to obscure the real objectives of military
The lies underlying 9/11 are known and documented. The American people's
acceptance of this crusade against evil is not based on any rational
understanding or analysis of the facts.
America's inquisition is used to extend America's sphere of influence and
justify military intervention, as part of an international campaign against
"Islamic terrorists". Its ultimate objective, which is never mentioned in
press reports, is territorial conquest and control over strategic resources.
The GWOT dogma is enunciated and formulated by Washington's neoconservative
think tanks. It is carried out by the military-intelligence establishment.
It is embodied in presidential speeches and
"We've been warned there are evil people in
this world. We've been warned so vividly... And we'll be alert. Your
government is alert. The governors and mayors are alert that evil folks
still lurk out there. As I said yesterday, people have declared war on
America and they have made a terrible mistake... My administration has a
job to do and we're going to do it. We will rid the world of the
(George W. Bush, CNN, September 16, 2001)
An understanding of fundamental social and
political events is replaced by a World of sheer fantasy, where "evil folks"
The objective of the "Global War on Terrorism"
launched in September 2001 is to galvanize public support for a Worldwide
campaign against heresy. In the eyes of public opinion, possessing a "just
cause" for waging war is central.
A war is said to be Just if it is waged on
moral, religious or ethical grounds.
The Demonization of
Muslims and the Battle for Oil
The US led war in the broader Middle East Central Asian region consists in
gaining control over extensive reserves of oil and natural gas.
The Anglo-American oil giants also seek to gain
control over oil and gas pipeline routes out of the region. (See table and
maps below). Muslim countries possess 66 percent of total oil reserves.
The "Demonization" of Muslims and the Battle for Oil,
Global Research, Jannuary 4, 2007).
In contrast, the United States of America has
barely 2 percent of total oil reserves. Iraq has five times more oil than
the United States.
Demonization is applied to an enemy, which possesses more than 60 percent of
the world's oil reserves. "Axis of evil", "rogue States", "failed nations",
"Islamic terrorists": demonization and vilification are the ideological
pillars of America's Inquisition. They serve as a casus belli for waging the
battle for oil.
The Battle for Oil requires the demonization of those who possess the oil.
The enemy is characterized as evil, with a view to justifying military
action including the mass killing of civilians. (Ibid)
Historical Origins of
The objective is to sustain the illusion that "America is under attack" by
Al Qaeda. Under the American inquisition, Washington has a self-proclaimed
holy mandate to extirpate Islamic fundamentalism and "spread democracy"
throughout the world.
"Going after Bin Laden" is part of a consensus.
Fear and insecurity prevail over common sense.
Despite the evidence, the White House, the State Department, the two Party
system, cannot, in the minds of Americans, be held responsible for a
criminal act (9/11/) resulting in the deaths of American civilians.
What we are dealing with is an outright and blind acceptance of the
structures of power and political authority.
In this regard, the American Inquisition as an ideological construct, is, in
many regards, similar to the inquisitorial social order prevailing in France
and Spain during the Middle Ages. The inquisition, which started in France
in the 12th century, was used as a justification for conquest and military
Initially it took the form of a campaign in southern France directed against
the Cathars and Waldensians, which challenged the teachings of the Roman
Cathar movement was a religious sect which
was protected by the regional feudal order in southern France, against the
dominion of the Catholic Church and the French monarchy in Paris.
"The Cathars believed they were the true
Christians and the Catholic Church was a false church, founded by the
In the early 13th Century, "Pope Innocent III
declared a crusade against the Cathars" at the behest of the French royal
family. The crusade was in fact a war of conquest under the disguise of a
campaign against heresy.
The Inquisition directed against heresy was intended to consolidate the
Monarchy's territorial control. It provided a pretext to intervene
militarily in south and southwestern France, using the authority of the
Catholic Church as a façade.
The inquisition became part of a political consensus, carried out by the
Church's inquisitors, imposed by the ruling feudal order and supported
militarily. Its purpose was to maintain and sustain the social and political
order, extend the powers of the central State, subjugate regional powers in
France, using the campaign against heresy as "a justification to wage war".
Anybody who doubts the legitimacy of the American inquisition (9/11 and the
"Global War on Terrorism") is a heretic conspiracy theorist or an accomplice
of the terrorists.
The American Inquisition is part of a Bipartisan Consensus. Both the
Democrats and the Republicans support the American Inquisition. "Going after
Osama bin Laden" is part of the election platform of both political parties.
In fact it is the central component of the
I [Barack Obama] argued for more resources
and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually
attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin
Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.
(Barack Obama, Acceptance Speech,
National Democratic Convention, Denver, August 2008)
We have dealt a serious blow to al Qaeda in
recent years. But they are not defeated, and they’ll strike us again if they
(John McCain, Acceptance Speech, Republican National Convention, St
Paul, September 2008)
There is an "outside enemy". The Homeland is under attack. Islamic
terrorists "threaten our way of life". "We must defend ourselves"
preemptively against Osama and his lieutenants.
US Northern Command (Northcom), with headquarters at the Petersen Air Force
base in Colorado was established in early 2002 to protect America against a
terrorist attack. It was presented to public opinion as a response to the
The real strategic objectives of Northern
Command using sophisticated aero defense weapons including nuclear warheads,
are not mentioned.
The mouthpiece of America's inquisitorial order is the Western corporate
People who question the validity of any of these statements or who have
doubts about who is behind the 9/11 attacks, are considered to be
accomplices of those who threaten the American Homeland.
In 1232, Pope Gregory IX set up a system of special religious courts called
The Dominican friars were sent out to find and
"Heresy cannot be destroyed unless heretics
are destroyed and... their defenders and [supporters] are destroyed, and
this is effected in two ways:... they are converted to the true catholic
faith, or... burned."
(Henry Charles Lea,
A History of the
Inquisition of the Middle Ages, p. 535, 1887)
Those who refused to recant, which means give up
their heresy, were burned alive.
Today's Patriot Act, the military courts, the Guantanamo concentration camp,
the CIA rendition camps, Abu Ghraib, etc., are part of an advanced
inquisitorial system. Terrorist suspects are held incommunicado. They are
tortured, tried by military courts and sentenced.
They are not given the
right to recant.
The objective is not to "make the World safer" by putting the terrorists
The show trials of the alleged terrorists perform an important social
function. They are an integral part of Pentagon's disinformation campaign.
Quite concretely, they give a real face to the enemy. They sustain the
illusion, in the inner consciousness of Americans, that the "Islamic
terrorists" constitute a real threat.
The arrests, trials and sentences of "Islamic terrorists" sustain the
legitimacy of America's Homeland Security State and its inquisitorial legal
and law enforcement apparatus.
The ultimate objective is to instill in the minds of millions of Americans
that the enemy is real and the US Administration will protect the lives of
Washington does not silence its antiwar critics. Quite the opposite. The
inquisitorial social order allows certain forms of dissent. It is
politically correct under a "democracy" to condemn US foreign policy in the
What is not allowed is to question the inquisition. Those who oppose
the US Administration are not branded as heretics.
Many "Progressives", Liberals and Antiwar
activists, led by prominent intellectuals, firmly believe that Muslims were
behind the 9/11 attacks.
"We are against the war, but we support the
war on terrorism."
World Order builds a political and media consensus (i.e. the GWOT)
but at the same time it creates and moulds its own opposition. It
establishes the limits of dissent. It "manufactures dissent".
The presidential candidates in the bipartisan race are supported by powerful
corporate interests including the oil companies, Wall Street and the defense
At the same time, these same corporate interests, through their various
foundations (including Ford, Rockefeller, Gates, et al), support and finance
a number of Liberal/Progressive organizations and alternative media.
9/11 is the cornerstone of the American Inquisition. The lies underlying
9/11 are accepted by the mainstream antiwar movement.
US foreign policy is condemned, but the "Global War on Terrorism" is upheld.
Wittingly or unwittingly, this endorsement of the GWOT by those who claim to
be opposed to the US administration, provides a legitimacy to the
inquisitorial order, which underlies the actual practice of US foreign
On the other hand, those who have serious doubts regarding the official 9/11
narrative, including the 9/11 Truth Movement, are branded as heretics and
The "Just War" theory
The "Just War" theory (justum bellum) has a longstanding tradition.
It has been used throughout history to uphold the dominant social order and
provide a justification for waging war.
In the case of Afghanistan, 9/11 played a key role in justifying the
invasion. The war on Afghanistan was considered a "Just War", waged on
On September 12, 2001, NATO invoked for the first time in its history,
"Article 5 of the Washington Treaty - its
collective defense clause" declaring the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade
Center (WTC) and the Pentagon "to be an attack against all NATO
Afghanistan was tagged, without a shred of
evidence and prior to the conduct of an investigation, as the "state
sponsor" of the 9/11 attacks.
The invasion of Afghanistan in early October
2001 was presented as a counter-terrorism operation directed against the
perpetrators of 9/11 and their state sponsors.
Trade unions, NGOs and many "progressive" intellectuals endorsed the US-NATO
The events of 9/11 played a key role in gaining the support of
various sectors of American society including the opponents and critics of
the Bush administration's foreign policy.
The war on Afghanistan was prepared prior to 9/11. War preparations were
already in an advanced stage of readiness. The green light to wage war by
the US and NATO on Afghanistan was provided within 24 hours of the 9/11
The press reports failed to reveal a fact which is known and acknowledged by
military analysts: a major theater war cannot, under any circumstances, be
planned and carried out in a matter of 4-5 weeks.
9/11 was used as a justification to carry out a "humanitarian war".
Known to military analysts, the war on
Afghanistan had been planned well in advance of the tragic events of
September 11, 2001.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Inquisition spread
to other parts of Europe.
the Inquisition went after nationalist
movements in regions like Lombardy in the north, Venice, or Sicily. It was
used to suppress these political movements.
In northern France and Germany,
the inquisition used the pretext of small mystical sects, to intervene
politically and militarily. Regional powers including local principalities
refused to cooperate with the inquisition. In today's world, this form of
interventionism is carried out by sending in US special forces to "help
governments" to combat terrorism.
Spain, conquered by Muslims and in part reconquered by Christians in the 13th
"religiously heterogeneous, and a tolerance
had developed so Muslims, Christians, and Jews could live together in
Toward the end of the 15th Century,
coinciding with a period of political and territorial consolidation,
"Spanish tolerance changed abruptly. Spain
saw the rise of a form of inquisition more ruthless and disruptive than
anywhere else in Europe."
(Bill of Rights in Action)
The Spanish inquisition was also characterized
by a process of building a consensus, of going after the heretics and
The inquisition was used to support the process
of territorial consolidation in the Iberian peninsula. The objective was to
reinforce the absolute monarchy and the powers of the landed aristocracy
against the Muslim and Jewish merchant classes.
The Spanish Inquisition was executed at the behest of Queen Isabel, Reina
In 1483, The Reyes Catolicos, Isabel de Castilla
and Ferdinando de Aragon, established a Council to direct the Inquisition.
Tomas de Torquemada, an advisor to Isabel become the first General
Inquisitor. Torquemado had previously preached against the Jewish and
Muslim Converts (Conversos).
The objective was to repress the upcoming
"One country, one ruler, one faith" became
the mandate of the General Inquisitor.
The pope upheld the inquisition, the hidden agenda was the feudal order and
the Spanish led colonial wars. The Spanish inquisition lasted for 300 years.
Today in America, the General inquisitor is the
Secretary of the Department
of Homeland Security.
The Legal Apparatus
The inquisition in the Middle Ages would collect accusations:
"If two witnesses under oath accused someone
of heresy, the accused person would be summoned to appear. opinions,
prejudices, rumors, and gossip were all accepted as evidence. the
accused was never told the names of the accusers, nor even the exact
Inquisitors examined the accused in secret. Anyone who refused to
confess immediately was assumed to be guilty. Inquisitors were trained
only in religion, and they would try to trap the accused with religious
For example, an inquisitor might ask,
"Do you believe what the holy church
"I am a faithful Christian," the fearful suspect might reply.
"So!" the inquisitor might shout. "We already know you believe in
heresies! You're saying your beliefs are the true Christianity and the
church is false!"
(Bill of Rights in Action)
No lawyers were allowed, because it was
considered heresy to defend a heretic:
"They would torture those who refused to
recant. During torture, the religious inquisitors would stand by as
witnesses to record confessions or take down the names of other
heretics. The government also carried out the final sentence of
imprisonment or death.
Those who recanted immediately might receive a fairly light sentence -
saying prayers, fasting, being whipped in public, or making a
pilgrimage. Some who recanted were forced to wear a yellow cross of felt
sewn on all their clothing. The cross marked them as a former heretic,
and many people would stay away from them in fear.
Many who refused to recant right away were sentenced to prison for life.
If they refused to recant at all, the Inquisition turned them over to
government authorities to be burned alive. Some inquisitors were so
thorough that they went after the dead. If a dead person was accused of
heresy, his or her bones could be dug up and burned.
For most accused heretics, there was no appeal. A few rich or powerful
people might beg the pope to change a sentence, but for most of the
condemned, the sentence was final. The families of those sent to prison
or to the stake lost their property."
(Bill of Rights in Action, see
History of the inquisition)
Today's legal system in America has all the
essential features of an inquisitorial order.
Torture is permitted "under certain
circumstances", according to an August 2002 Justice Department "legal
"if a government employee were to torture a
suspect in captivity, 'he would be doing so in order to prevent further
attacks on the United States by the Al Qaeda terrorist network,' said
the memo, from the Justice Department's office of legal counsel, written
in response to a CIA request for legal guidance.
It added that arguments
centering on "necessity and self-defense could provide justifications
that would eliminate any criminal liability" later. (See Washington
Post, June 7, 2004)
"Even if an interrogation method might arguably cross the line drawn in
Section and application of the stature was not held to be an
unconstitutional infringement of the President's Commander in Chief
authority, we believe that under current circumstances [the war on
terrorism] certain justification defenses might be available that would
potentially eliminate criminal liability."
August 2, 2002 Justice Department Memorandum in pdf)
"The Spanish Inquisition was particularly
terrifying because of its inherent characteristics. The accused never
knew who their accusers were. Once arrested, the accused heretic's
properties were seized."
"These properties were then administered at first by the Crown, and
later by the General Inquisitor....
Even if the accused was now a devout Christian, he was tried as severely
as possible because of his roots. The accused was also not allowed to
have a lawyer or counsel for his defense, and the names of all witnesses
were kept secret from him.
(Jason L. Slade,
The Spanish Inquisition
August 6, 1996)
Torture was the order of the day.
The accused were not allowed to have a lawyer.
The torture methods applied by today's CIA
inquisitors bear a canny resemblance to the torture techniques used by the
Inquisitors in the Middle Ages, including the water torment or aselli,
commonly referred to in CIA jargon as "water boarding":
"Because the trials were for spiritual
matters, the Church handled them. However, the punishments were usually
very much physical, so they were handled by the state. There were many
means of this physical torture for confession. The two most famous or
infamous were the strappado or pulley, and the aselli or water torment.
(Jason L. Slade,
The Spanish Inquisition
August 6, 1996)
Alfred McCoy reports in the regard that the CIA:
"had often added to their no-touch
repertoire physical methods reminiscent of the Inquisition's trademark
tortures - strappado, question de l'eau, "crippling stork," and "masks
At the CIA's center near Kabul in 2002, for
instance, American interrogators forced prisoners "to stand with their
hands chained to the ceiling and their feet shackled," an effect similar
to the strappado.
Instead of the Inquisition's iron-framed
"crippling stork" to contort the victim's body, CIA interrogators made
their victims assume similar "stress positions" without any external
mechanism, aiming again for the psychological effect of self-induced
The Hidden History of CIA
Torture: America's Road to Abu Ghraib, December 2004)
In Spain in the 16th Century, the
inquisition was accepted. It was a consensus.
The population was led to believe that it was a
good thing and that torture "served to purify society".
"A bishop came out and shouted out the names
of the condemned. then the heretics were led out, wearing black robes
decorated with red demons and flames. officials of the government tied
them to the stake.
"do you give up your heresy against the holy church?" a priest would
anyone who repented would be strangled to death before the fires were
lit. most, however, stood silent or defiant. the fires were lit, and the
square echoed with the screams of the heretics and cheers from the
(quoted in Bill of Rights in Action, op
Anybody who dared to question the validity of
this "war on terrorism" was himself branded a terrorist and subjected to the
anti-terrorist laws, which at the time, in Spain, was death.
In today's inquisitorial environment, most people are skeptical regarding
the official 9/11 narrative, but nobody dares question the validity of the
"war on terrorism".
"These are bad people, and we must go after
them, take them out."
The discourse is almost the same.
The ultimate objective is to subdue the citizens, totally depoliticize
social life in America, prevent people from thinking and conceptualizing,
from analyzing facts and challenging the legitimacy of the inquisitorial
social order which rules America.
The Big Lie becomes the Truth
Realities are turned upside down
War becomes peace, a worthwhile
Peaceful dissent becomes heresy
The objective is to create an atmosphere of fear
and insecurity, with a view to upholding the New World Order.
In the words of Monthy Python:
"NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise....
Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency....
Our 'three' weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an
almost fanatical devotion to the Pope....
Our 'four'...no... 'Amongst' our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry... are
such elements as fear, surprise....
I'll come in again."
(Monthy Python, The Spanish Inquisition)
How to reverse the
Undermine the Inquisition
Reveal the lies behind 9/11
Break the consensus
Reveal the Crimes committed by those in
Unseat the inquisitors:
"Millions of people have been misled
regarding the causes and consequences of September 11.
Across the land, the image of an "outside enemy" is instilled in
the consciousness of Americans. Al Qaeda is threatening America
and the world. The repeal of democracy under the Patriot
legislation is portrayed as a means to providing "domestic
security" and upholding civil liberties.
When people across the US and around the World find out that Al
Qaeda is not an outside enemy but a creation of US foreign
policy and the CIA, the legitimacy of the bipartisan war agenda
will tumble like a deck of cards...
"War on Terrorism", Global Research 2005)