Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Economic destruction is terrorism

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-11-03

Financial houses sold junk debts as triple-A rated assets.  This is misrepresentation.

Millions of investors (if only through superannuation funds) and agencies of government were sucked in, losing squillions.  This is major fraud.

The officers of the financial sector pocketted squillions.  These are the proceeds of crime.

As lower foreign aid and orders for goods hit poorer nations, how many people will die of starvation and disease that would not have otherwise died?

More damage to the economy and the viability of states was done by the financial engineers than Osama bin Laden could have done in his wildest fantasies.  The definition of terrorism and sedition introduced during the Howard regime included economic damage.  This makes the financial engineers terrorists (see newly-added notes below for some justification of this statement).

These financial terrorists adhere to a fundamentalist philosophy, with practices almost diametrically in opposition to the words of their prophet Adam Smith.

If governments confiscated the proceeds of these crimes, then there would be at least some resources made available to remedy the harm done, and maybe the financial engineers of the future might cause less damage to societies.

How about extraordinary rendition of ill-gotten gains from tax havens?  How about removing various legal rights from bankers and altering the burden of proof?

Don’t hold your breath – because that would make those receiving large political donations from the finance sector and it’s big fish guilty of terrorism by association, and much larger funds than put "Jihad Jack" in so much trouble.

Notes / See Also:

  • In a speech sourced from the Australian Attorney-General’s website, Prof. AJW (Tony) Taylor in "Bringing ‘complex terrorism’ and ‘corporate malfeasance’ into a classification schema for disasters" points out that the outcome of destructive activity is the important thing – not the source (my bolding):

    In times of turbulence there is much to be said for putting traumatic events in appropriate context before considering their features in detail. For that reason, and if the idea is not too reprehensible to contemplate because of the negative emotions that prevail from the awareness of 2,823 fatalities, the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York and on the Pentagon in Washington DC, and the concurrent but independent revelations of large-scale financial chicanery in the international conglomerates, can be considered in some ways, comparable catastrophes.

    So, if the financial shenanigans then were comparable to the Word Trade Centre attack, then the current financial meltdown is much worse than all the "normal" terrorist acts put together!
    Taylor goes on further:

    With the economic emphasis in mind, it is difficult not to think that the internal machinations of executives in bringing about the commercial collapse of certain leading international companies might rival the actions of terrorists.  The billionaire investors Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, no less, are quoted as saying that they are disgusted by the way in which "in the last few years … shareholders have suffered billions in losses while the CEOs, promoters, and other higher-ups who fathered these disasters (Taylor’s emphasis) have walked away with extraordinary wealth" (Reuters 5/3/2002).

  • Given that most of the wheelings and dealings that have been so harmful have used the internet for information transfer, it’s valid to label the perpetrators of the fraudulent statements of assets as economic cyberterrorists.  In a speech on "Terrorism and Internet Warfare" to the Australian Institute of Criminology in 1998, Nigel Thompson stated:

    It is through some of these latter examples that the cyberterrorist may now have at his disposal methods of terrorism which might be considered non-lethal if not non-violent, particularly where a cyberterrorist chooses to use economic terrorism methods.  This form of terrorism could have insidious effects which cause significant strategic harm to a nation but only evoke insipid responses when life is not directly threatened.  A lack of protection or swift response against this type of threat could have severe consequences.

    It’s worth noting that the financial engineers have an ideological antipathy to many dearly-held values of Australian society including nationalized health, education and infrastructure.  Thompson goes on to discuss the fine line (if there is any difference in outcome) between activity primarily motivated by personal gain, versus simple destructiveness: (my bolding)

    One theme raised in the introduction is the potential difficulty in recognising whether an act is criminally or politically motivated.  There could be some disparity between the motive of the attacker and the perception of the attacked. Where the perpetrator chooses anonymity or covertness in his activities, his activities may, at least initially, be perceived quite differently than the way they were intended.  For instance what may have been instigated as a theft for personal gain may have ramifications which evoke security responses, and what may have been intended to damage national power may be responded to as a criminal activity.  This has very similar hallmarks to the problems of handling Low Intensity Conflict where an adversary to a nation conducts destabilising harassment operations that are non-attributable or deniable and may appear to be criminal rather than military in nature..


3 Responses to “Economic destruction is terrorism”

  1. […] destruction is terrorism” expanded 2008-11-04 — Dave Bath I’ve added some notes and references (sourced from sites) that support my assertion that the financial engineers who made money from treating liabilities as […]

  2. […] "Economist destruction is terrorism" (2008-11-03) cites Oz Attorney-General website documents arguing that economic damage is a type of terrorism… yet we support those terrorists rather than sieze assets like we would for other criminals who cause far less misery! […]

  3. […] "Economic Destruction Is Terrorism" (2008-01-03) includes comments from the Australian Attorney General’s website by Prof Taylor on the equivalence of wilful economic destruction (one consequence of climate change) with terrorism, even to the relatively insignificant (in climate terms) destruction wrought by corporate shenanigans. […]

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