I'd like to welcome you here today for Scott Atran's lecture, Looking for Al Qaeda, the, does it say it up there? Oh, it doesn't have a subtitle here, The Evolution of Terror Networks. Scott's current academic home is in Paris where he's the Director of Anthropological Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, but he's also a very well known figure around the campus here at the University of Michigan. Over the years, he's had appointments at ISR, at the Anthropology Department, the Psychology Department as well as here at the Ford School. He's written many, many papers and 5 books covering topics in anthropology, psychology, sociology. And his work has been widely cited in major media outlets. His latest book will be published by MIT Press in March. It's titled The Native Mind and the Cultural Construction of Nature. In it, he and his co-author, Douglas Medin, draw in nearly two decades of cross-cultural and developmental research to examine the relationship between how people think about the natural world and how they act on it, and how these two phenomena are affected by cultural differences. He was here on campus this past academic year and taught a very well received course here in the Ford School called Transnational Terrorism, Religion and The Limits of Reason. We're really delighted to have him back here today to deliver this public lecture. We will try to leave some time at the end of the lecture for your questions and we hope that you will then, after that, join us for our reception and more conversion after the lecture in the hall just outside there, outside the auditorium. So with all of that, I now welcome Scott Atran to the podium. Scott.
Thanks. I'm glad to be back here. I'm going to walk a little so I'm going to move this like this so I can see a little better. Some of these slides I'm going to go through fast because Bob wouldn't let me shorten my presentation 'cause he said we had work to do. So it's a little bit long. And so don't read the slides unless I really stop on them. I'm going to use them sort of these props to keep me going. This is a scene from the Madrid trial which I attended, a very interesting trial. This will give you a picture of sort of what, what a group of terrorist look like, right? And there's nothing terribly informative about that. And in fact these guys are pretty much a bunch of losers. Is Qaeda, or its viral movement, an existential threat to the United States or anybody else? And my answer is not unless we make it so and we're doing a very good job of making it so. On October 25th 1962, there was a vote in a nuclear submarine about whether to launch nuclear weapons against the United States. United States didn't know at the time that Soviet Premier had given operational control of nuclear weapons to the submarine commanders, but release of those weapons depended upon a unanimous vote by the 3 commanders of the sub. Two voted to launch them, one named Vasili Arkhipov, probably saved the world. He deserves 5 Nobel prizes. There was an existential threat at the time. There were tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, each one on the average about 10 times more powerful than the one that destroyed Hiroshima, and could have destroyed hundreds of millions of people within 90 minutes. Nothing remotely like that exists today. Nothing in the wildest dreams of these guys could compare to that. With the reaction of the United States, I consider it to be fairly hysterical one, has led to the growth of this movement around the world to where it has become now on the verge of becoming truly dangerous in places like Pakistan, which does have nuclear weapons. What we're witnessed to do--excuse me. What we'll witness today is a sort of leaderless decentralized Jihad. There are no leaders, there's no command and control. It has the properties of networks, and of course networks are very different from hierarchies. Hierarchies have command and control. They have a delegated responsibilities, networks are flatter, they are loser, they are more flexible. They are also much more reliable to be infiltrated and disrupted than are hierarchies. However, like criminal networks, terrorist networks overcome this problem by having very thick personal ties especially ties based on kinship and friendship, which overcome that. In addition, terrorist networks defer from criminal networks, gangs, drug cartels, by the fact that the people who belong to them are revolutionaries in the sense that they are committed to something that they're willing to sacrifice for that goes beyond their material interests. You have to ask yourself, why do revolutions win out against much more powerful resource rich adversaries? And the reason is basically because of the commitments they're willing to make, of the sacrifices they're willing to suffer in order to achieve their goals. And that's what makes revolutions very difficult to wipe out. And the Jihad is a revolutionary movement. It is part of a massive transnational media-driven, political awakening that has a fairly simple message. A message that Muslims everywhere under attack and that justice in the world can only be brought about by the violent overthrow of the current world [inaudible]. I'm not going to go into the formal properties of these networks. Let me just give you a little notion of what the Jihad is all about. People often conflate Wahhabi, Salafi, Jihadi, Arab, Muslims. The Jihadis are not Wahhabis in general. Wahhabi movement is a purest Salafi like movement, fundamentalist movement, restricted pretty much to Saudi Arabia that is devoted to the Saudi regime and has been for quite some time, does not preach the violent overthrow of the government, and does not preach attacks against fellow Muslims except for Shia. The Salafi movement is a much more general purest movement similar to fundamentalism in the United States, but it would be wrong to equate the Jihadi movement with the Salafi movement in general just like it would be wrong to quite the Christian identity movement with say Christian fundamentalism or William Peers [phonetic] and his brand of militant white supremacism with the Christian fundamental--fundamentalist movement in general. This is a movement which can best be described as the Takfiri movement. The Takfiri movement grew up in Egypt in the 1970s, first in the fairly benign form under Shukri Mustafa and preach Takfir W'al Hijra, which means excommunication and withdrawal, the idea was to emulate of the flight of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina where he withdrew with his friends, he regathered forces in order to go out again to spread the word of Islam and eventually conquer Mecca. The original Takfiri movement was a movement of withdrawal. It based much of its ideology on the writings of a marginal leader of the Muslim brotherhood name Sayyid Qutb who had spent time in the United States. He was hanged by Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1966 and his message of Jahiliyyah of impurity having swept into the Muslim world was having an enormous echo among students in Egypt at the time especially after the 6th day war and the defeat of the Egyptian armies and the humiliation that caused. When Mustafa died in 1978, the Takfir wal-Hijra movement turned violent. The students who were not originally part of the movement were imprisoned at the same time as Shukri Mustafa, and who are radicalizing then drew upon his teachings about withdrawal but also argued that it was right and good to kill fellow Muslims who had become kafir, who had become infidel and could be excommunicated. In 1980, they formed their first movement, it was called the Tanzim al-Jihad, one of the 6th M years of the Cairo section of that movements name was Ayman al-Zawahiri who had since become the sort of number 2 of Al Qaeda, and Al Qaeda itself is a development of this branch of the Takfiri Movement. Almost all of the leaders, the senior leaders of the Al Qaeda movement that began coalescing around Bin Laden in the summer of 1988, were Egyptian. And the Egyptian core of Al Qaeda is this Takfiri core is what made Al Qaeda what it is.
The only difference is that under Bin Laden's tutelage in the mid 1990s, the focus of the Jihad went from attacking apostate governments within the Muslim world to a cat tacking what they thought was the root cause of the continued existence of those governments which was the far enemy, meaning the United States and its allies. Now the first, I'm going to give you some stats of the first wave of this movement in Al Qaeda. Our sample is 439 from Al Qaeda, 164 from the Jemaah Islamiyah which is affiliated organization from Southeast Asia, and from recent sample of Saudi jihadis, who were not explicitly parts of Al Qaeda given to me by the Minister of Interior of Saudi Arabia. And what we find is Al Qaeda members are older on the average than other members of the Jihad. They are also likely to be better educated. They are--the leadership is mostly skilled, the members who actually do the attacks tend to be less skilled, but in any event they're more skilled than on other members of the Jihad. And the plurality among those who's skilled is that of engineer. Engineer is the largest category within the Al Qaeda movement, an occupation followed by medical doctor. In terms of nationality, Al Qaeda itself is an expatriate movement. That this is a Diaspora movement, like many revolutionary movements including the Palestinian movement, the IRA formed initially in the Diaspora not in the countries of origin. The other movements of course tend to be much more localized than national. In terms of income, Al Qaeda also has a higher average income than this other movements. And in terms of marital status, most are married. You can check the testosterone theory about the virgins by the way. I mean no one dies for virgins, that's a sexual fantasy that the west has by politicians and pundits, but at least within that part of the world, I've never come up, and I interviewed these guys all the time, I never come up with anybody who is remotely interest than dying for virgins, probably interest in getting away from sights. The new wave of Takfiri terrorism is very different. The new wave that tends to be much more marginalized in their societies, poor, less educated and much more likely to be involved with criminal networks, and that's a fairly reason phenomena. At far as Al Qaeda itself, there used to be about a thousand members of Al Qaeda mostly built around this Egyptian core of Takfiris. There are maybe 100 less, 100 left that's a reduction by an order of magnitude, most of them are in Waziristan. There are about a dozen small mobile camps with about 6 people in each one and a trainer, sometimes in the system trainer. The largest one is a place called Mir Ali in Northern Waziristan. It's commander is a guy named Abu Ubaydah al-Masri who was the former Al Qaeda representative for Nuristan and of course there were openings in Al Qaeda after the United States attack and he filled up one of those openings. And he's a really dangerous guy. The only, really significant Al Qaeda plot since the bombings in Tunisia in 2002 has been the airplane plot, which is why you have to put your toilet kits in plastic containers. That was a very serious plot. He was going to blow, they were going to blow up 20 airliners over the Atlantic and at very, came close to fusion. That's the only one. There are a couple of other smaller ones in places like Copenhagen that have existed. But for the most part, there are very few true Al Qaeda plots, none have been successful since 2002. Most of the Al Qaeda people don't know who the terrorists are, couldn't communicate with them even if they did know. Let me just give you an idea of what terrorist networks are like in terms of trying to join up with Al Qaeda. Most terrorist are caught trying to link up with Al Qaeda. In fact, trying to link up with something that pretty much doesn't exist anymore. Young people from all over try to get Afghanistan and Pakistan to find, make their way into Waziristan or other parts of the border of the frontier to get training. And they find that most of the people who are waiting to accept them are intelligence agents from the Pakistani authorities or even American agents. Some of them get there to a sort of a silk road that is they know somebody who knows someone, who may have had a relative, who have may have been in the training camp one day and they pay their own way, the people who did the Crevice plot, for example, the plot to blow up Heathrow Airlines, which was headlined in the Boston Globe and New York Times and Lumondes [phonetic], Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda plot foiled were actually a bunch of friends who decided to go and do something. They paid 3500 euros to get in an apartment, they finally found the traitor, a traitor, a trainer, who was a friend of a relative, who trained them. They thought they were going to go to Kashmir where the action was and the trainer said, you know, why don't you do something back where you come from? And so they went back home, and if you look at their e-mails they're sort of, it's ridiculous. You know, one would say, how much of the ammonium nitrate was I suppose to mix? I forgot what they told us. And that's about the level at which these plots have carried out. The reason that these organizations are hitched up to criminal organizations now is because the United States has been largely successful at stopping large scale money transfers between these groups. So you go where the money can be found. And where can money be found that isn't traceable? In criminal networks. It's not that the Jihadi's search for the criminals, it's just that that's where the network exists where they can ride piggyback and get the sorts of ammunition and arms and funds they need to do the actions they want to do. They're mostly self-mobilized, self-generating guys who sit around, talk, smoodge and decide they want to do something in life. There are no recruiters to Al Qaeda, there's never has been any recruiters to Al Qaeda. There's no recruiters gone to Europe, there are no recruiters who go to Saudi Arabia. Al Qaeda used to be like a funding agency like the NSF or the NIH. You put in an application, Al Qaeda would accept maybe 15 to 20 percent if they thought it was good. They'd give you some money, give you some advice, may be try to find a suicide bomber or [inaudible] but that was basically the extent of the involvement. At good cases, the Hamburg plotters, Muhamed Atta and his friends. We spent a lot of time with their friends, their neighbors, their family. Now why did these guys self radicalize? Well, in the 1990s, they were students at the technical university in the Hamburg, suburb of Hamburg. The interesting thing about them was they were all middle easterners. That means they were doubly alienated. All the others were either German, Christians, or Turkish and Moroccan Muslims. So these were the Middle Eastern Muslims who got together. They also broke the Al Qaeda pattern. They were bachelors. They started talking to one another, eating with one another, getting the haircuts with one another, praying with one another and then they'd started to live together. The neighbors described 20 mattresses that play stunk because like many Takfiri, people trying to emulate the profit and his friends as they withdraw from Mecca to Medina, they would taken everybody from the neighborhood, anybody who is passing through and they'd start self radicalizing together. Then they wanted to do something. Islam was under attack everywhere, they want to go to Chechnya, didn't work out, they tried to go to Kosovo. The Alabanian said get lost, and they were lost themselves about what they do. Someone came up with an idea, why don't you go to Afghanistan and find out what's going on. They eventually made their way to Afghanistan where Khalid Sheikh Muhammed, who himself had just come into basically Al Qaeda because his proposal had been accepted by Bin Laden and some of the others to blow up something in the United States to sort of rehash the plot that he had tried out in the early 1990s. And basically he said, "Hey boss, look what we've got. We got Europeans who don't need visas to get into the United States, who can speak English who can get--who are, can mix easily in European-American Society, let's use them." So again, the idea is Al Qaeda didn't go looking for them, they went looking for Al Qaeda, even the sort of err plot Al Qaeda was not something that came from any kind of command and control network. It's now taking place over the internet, okay? You've got 3 high school buddies in Canada, a few more in the United States, couple of guys in Denmark and Sweden, a guy sitting in his basement, calls himself Irhabi 007, Terrorist 007.
Now these guys have met each other, I mean, the high school buddies knew one another, friends in America knew one another, but over the internet they developed a chat room, they decided they're going to blow up the Canadian Parliament, they're going to blow up the American Embassy in Bosnia, of all places. And you know what, they actually get together for the first time at the airport in Bosnia where intelligence authorities have been following them. They're arrested with suicide belts, AK 47s and thousands of rounds of ammunition. What that tells you is anybody can become a terrorist any time, any place today. You don't need recruiters, they never did. The new wave of terrorism is about youth culture, okay. It's not about the Koran, never was about the Koran. About 70 percent of the people who joined the Jihad are Born Again. They have no formal religious education, they don't even come from religious families. They come late in life and they have very little knowledge or even interest in the Koran itself. Again the message from where I've been, you know, jungles of--remote islands in Suluwasi or Borneo to Morocco or London or the suburbs of Paris', Islam is under attack, we've got to do something. It's a flat message in a fairly flat world. Now, how do you change youth culture? That's a big problem. Not bombing these people and hammering it, you know, like and spreading mercury all over the place. How do you deal with young people in search of something greater than themselves? And what I'm going to show you now is that no one's really done any control studies. But when you look at controls, what you find is tens of millions of people are sympathetic to the Jihad and these notions of universal justice. Very few people, 2400 people in all in Europe, 3000 in Saudi Arabia, less in other place of the world have actually committed themselves in some way to violence, it's a very small proportion. And you know what the greatest predictor is of who will commit violence versus who won't, does anybody have any idea?
No. The greatest predictor is when they play soccer together. Whether they play soccer together, whether they're paint ball buddies, whether they're bodybuilding buddies, whether they're friends. No one ever does it alone, okay? And as far as violence is concerned, you know, we did studies. So far as I know the only studies of humiliation, people who are humiliated don't commit violence. They're count. People believe they're responding because others they may love or be committed to, they feel are humiliated but people who are humiliated don't commit violence. We regularly find a negative correlation between them.
What about Khaled Qasim [phonetic]?
Khaled Qasim is a loner. He has nothing--
That's what I mean. You we're talking about [inaudible].
Yeah, he's a crack-pot loner.
This is--these people have no criminal records to speak of, fairly well-educated, poverty isn't a big factor. They spend a normal distribution, there's nothing in their individual psyches that's different from any of us, okay? Really it has nothing to do with individual personality factors. It has to do with a small group dynamics, the patterns of friendship and of kinship and of neighborhood and of common activities which determine who will join the Jihad and whether or not they'll make it happen. It's not about hierarchical organization, command and control, recruitment or brainwashing, there's none of that. There's no brainwashing in the Jihad. It's about fairly flat and fluid networks of friends, families, neighbors, schoolmates, workmates, soccer buddies, camp buddies, body-building buddies, pin-ball buddies, who self-radicalize in groups and go looking for Al Queda. And I'm going to give you some case studies, some of the sort of famous case studies. This notion that there are cells, you know, you hear guys like George Tenet or the president or anyone else talking about sleeper cells, does anybody have any idea how many sleeper cells there's been in the United States. Okay, there's been exactly one sleeper cell in the history of United States. That was Colonel Rudolf Abel who was sent by the Russians in the 1950s in an exchange for Francis Gary Powers who was shut down in the U-2 flight over the Soviet Union. That's it, that's the only sleeper cell that's ever existed. Again, this is pretty much a fantasy. And this notion that there are cells, there's command and control, there's hierarchies, there's bureaus, there's offices, there's the chief of military planning, there's the chief of operations, this is simple bureaucratic mirroring by people who know nothing other than their own bureaucratic lives, who don't see things other than through the lenses of their own lives. You know, I get it from everybody, this is, you know, what the Moroccan police give that I can give you, what the Saudi's give me, what the Indonesians give me, what-- you know, basically, bureaucrats interpret the world in terms of bureaucracies, okay? With structures and hierarchies and all this has nothing to do with it, which makes it a hard problem to deal with, that these are the guys you entrust to deal with a problem. Same thing with Al Queda in the Maghreb. Basically this new range of attacks in North Africa is guys who apply to Zawahiri and Bin Laden to become Al Queda, that actually they have problems with Al Queda. Al-Queda and the group Salafis pull up Shaykhul Islam [phonetic] and the other North African groups who are always in conflict. But it's a big logo now. Zarqawi himself, he was a competitor of Bin Laden. There was no love lost between them, but it's such a big brand name now, everybody wants to belong, and so they applied, it took about 6 months for the word to actually get into the frontier regions. And then, you know, Bin Laden's aware, said, "Okay, call yourselves Al Queda." And all of a sudden there's Al Queda, the Maghreb, they do a suicide attack for the first time and the headlines across the world is "Al Queda in North Africa." But again, basically they've got the consent of somebody to use a brand name, same with Europe. Let me just go through a couple of examples. One is the Jemaah Islamiyah. This is a very interesting organization. It's an outgrowth of a Islamic Revolutionary Nationalist Movement that first emerged in the 1930s in Indonesia. Helped plead Indonesia to independence against the Dutch, fought the Japanese. The leader was executed by Sukarno, and the militant brand grew up during the 1970s founded by 2 clerics whose ancestors were from the Hadrawmat, that's the same area where Bin Laden's father came from. The Hadrawmaties have been in that part of the world for 4 or 500 years. There's a huge network of kinship relations and commercial relations among Arab Seafarers that have been to that part of the world for hundreds of years and Al Queda and the Al Queda movement is parasitic on those pre-existing relationships. Well, within this movement, there was a split between the so called the Sufi's, and this goes back to the Hadrawmat back 4 or 500 years. And those who wanted a Salafi version of the Darul Islam, that is no music, no mysticism, no metaphorical interpretations of God, very similar to the splits between the iconic class and the Catholics in the 9th and 10th century in Western Europe. And they originally modeled themselves on the Gamaat Islami, which was one this Takfiri groups that emerged in Egypt in the 1980s under the spiritual guidance of the blind sheikh, Omar Abdal Rahman who's now in prison in the United States for helping to plan blowing up New York City landmark. Well the Egyptian Islamic group hasn't done anything in years because after the Luxor massacres in late 1990s, their relatives and friends in the Upper Egypt, where they were from, basically said, "Hold off, this is enough, we don't want anymore of this." Since then there's not a peep out of these guys. But this had split off with the other group headed by Zawahiri who was no longer embedded in his society, who was now in Afghanistan and who basically became more apocalyptic in his vision saying, "Yeah, you know, let's carry out any attack possible and who cares about retaliation." So at this time the Jemaah Islamiyah, who had been part of the Jihad against the Soviets, decided to ally itself with Bin Laden. This is about the time that the original Islamic group of which they had been mo--on which they had been modeled, decided to basically call everything off. And they solely developed an organization in 1988, 1989 when they we're invited back, well, when they came back here after Suharto's fall that became increasingly Takfiri. After Sunkarno's death, the founder of the Jemaah Islamiyah died in 1999, his sidekick, Abu Bakar Bashir took over. And Bashir was sort of an oracular leader. He wasn't an operational hands-on guy. And so he allowed in the sense the Takfiris within the group to emerge. Now, almost all of descriptions of the Jemaah Islamiyah are based on these sort hierarchical descriptions that you get officially, through the Jemaah Islamiyah movement or through the intelligence analyst or through the paper.
Now, we've worked a long time among our consultants, the head of Australian intelligence who tracked the Jemaah Islamiyah, worked closely with a strike team leaders of the Indonesian government who've tracked these guys. And we have, sort of, I can't say and I--University of Michigan payroll, but as consultants, our guys who were former leaders of the Jemaah Islamiyah. And by, I spent some time interviewing the amir in prison in Jakarta in 19--in 2005, and this is what we found. The organization predicts nothing. There are 4 things that predict, who will belong to an attack group and the likelihood that they'll continue to belong to attack. The first is what class during the Soviet-Afghan War and then the original and the immediate aftermath that they graduate from. They would go to the Abu Sayyaf training camp near Peshawar. Beginning in 1986 with Zukarnaen, who was a sort of military leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah, and depending on the year and their cohort, they would form groups that kept together ever since. The second greatest predictor is marriages, and this refined again and again. There are 30 marriages, okay, distributed over 10 attacks, and think about it. You know, these films, like the Godfather, we see all these plots being hatched in the marriage at the beginning of the film, that's exactly how it happens, because marriage is a great places to hatch plots, much better than mosques because you got every body there, they're all relaxed, they can talk about whatever they want, no one's really listening, great place to do Jihad. The third greatest predictor is actual kinship relationships, brothers, sisters, cousins. These are the clusters, family clusters of some of the principal actors in the attacks of the Jemaah Islamiyah. These are the family ties over different attacks, AE is the Australian Embassy bombing, Bali is the Bali Attack of 2002, the second greatest terrorist attack after 9/11. PAR is the bombing of the Philippines Ambassador's Residence in 2000. And you can see again there are some fixed family ties running through these things. This is just the family ties in one particular attack. The Bali bombing of 2002 was perhaps the most interesting because it's the most lethal and the most famous attack. It's what made people aware that Jemaah Islamiyah existed. I mean these guys had been existent for some time, and even the intelligence authorities didn't even know they were around. Again, because in a little bit like drug cartels or even gangs, it's family groups, groups of friends, people who've gone to school to one another. This is the, a diagram of the Bali attack, the different operations groups, the suicide bombers and what not. The dark circles mean that everybody within that dark circle has known everyone else and it's thickly related to everyone else, otherwise you have, you know, many more ties. And what we find is the red guys, they all taught or studied at the Lukman School in Malaysia, which was set up after they were kicked out of the Indonesia. The grey group is the guys who had Afghan ties who weren't in any of the other madrassahhs. The Al-Mukmin ties, the yellow guys is another madrassah founded by the father of 3 of the Bali plotters, and the--sorry, the Al-Mukmin ties, that's the original madrassah founded by Abu Bakar Bashir. 17 of the 27 Bali bomb plotters went to the same schools. Now, you look at this and you say like our Secretary of State and our Secretary of Defense, former Secretary of Defense, that means madrassahhs are dangerous. No, it does mean madrassahhs are dangerous. There are tens of thousands of madrassahhs. We're talking about 3 that are responsible for all of the attacks, it's a little but like saying, you have Columbine, you have Virginia Tech, let's close down the American high schools and universities. Now, it's a very small group that are responsible for these kinds of actions. This is the study we did. So far, as I know, the only study ever done of mardassahs themselves, we did a comparative study of madrassahhs. And we found that the ones associated with Jemaah Islamiyah really aren't different, okay. So here's a typical example, I--we try to use. When we do surveys, we do them as experimental designs, we don't do attitude surveys. So we ask questions they've never heard of before, and they have to form inferences and responses on the spot. So one of the questions we ask, for example, "If a Jewish, a child who is born of Jewish-Zionists, is raised since birth by Jemaah Islamiyah, will it grow up to be Jemaah Islamiyah or Jewish-Zionist?" Now, when we asked this to people in a Christian identity movement, for example, we get terribly racist, essentialist responses, a Jew is a Jew, a Jewish-Zionist is Zionist, a Zionist, that's the way God made them, it doesn't matter who raises them. These guys are different, most Muslim groups, including for example of the Hamas or the Hezbollah or even most Al Queda will say, "No, they'll grow up to be a Muslim. In fact in Al Queda Muslim, if he's raised by Al Queda, which is the right way." This is one of the few groups that doesn't believe that. So there are some starling differences. These are just [noise] of what the school connections are between the guys in the classes when they went to high school. Another set of connections, school connections, between the major attack leaders. Again, they crisscross the organizational structure in every which way. Again more school connections. And now I'd like to go over to the Madrid Attack. The Madrid bombing, by a bunch of radical students in hangers on, drug traffickers, small-time dealers in stolen goods and other sorts of petty criminals, improbably succeeded precisely because it was most improbable. There was no ingenius cell structure, no hierarchy, no recruitment, no brainwashing, no coherent organization, no links to Al Queda, yet this half-baked plot, concocted in a few months, with a target suggested over the internet, was the proximate cause of regime change in a democratic society. So that's an interesting problem. How could so few cause such havoc? Not only so few, but basically a few [inaudible]. These were mostly losers who got incredibly lucky. Most of these guys are caught. These guys made it, some of them were fairly smart, but the plot itself when we go through it is so improbable, so unlikely, where most of the people didn't have any idea what the other guys were doing and it worked precisely because of that. The police were informed of what was going on with every part of the plot since its inception and before it, yet they were never able to put it together. So what we have back in the early 1990s. We have up here a group of small time Spanish criminal losers. They go to jail because they're selling dynamite diffusion and to blow out fish, which is illegal. They're stealing dynamite from the dynamite mine where they work Las Conchitas. This woman Carmen Toro, she's the sister of this guy Antonio Toro who is the cellmate of this guy, Trashorras, Emilio Trashorras. And she will eventually marry Trashorras, they also happened to be cousins to begin with. You got a bunch of Salafis who are actually frustrated Muslim Brothers who fled Syria after Hafez al-Asad, in the late 1980s, cracked down on the Muslim brotherhood in Syria. And they fled as refugees to Spain. They were invited for involvement in the 9/11 plot by Baltazar Garzon but they were, since their conviction was since overturned by the Spanish Supreme Court basically had nothing to do with it. These guys, they're all became petty drug dealers from the same neighborhood in a small tumble-down place called the Jamaa Mezuak in Tetuan, North of Morocco, which is right near the Spanish enclave of nothing Ceuta. Nothing changes here. Now, some Moroccan students and one Tunisian, an economic student who got a scholarship to study for a PhD, an honor student, hook up after mask with some of the Salafis that had come from Damascus. These guys are 3 brothers from Tetuan, all drug addicts. This guy, he's a sort of little Napoleon, more like James Cagney in Public Enemy.
I mean, a tough little guy who you don't mess around with, but he's also a drug addict. He meets a girl, Rosa, a Spanish girl in a park bench, who's a crack addict in 1992. She's 13 years old. He's very ugly, and she says basically, "I don't want to talk to anyone as ugly as you are." But he sticks around anyway, and eventually she becomes his girl. She becomes pregnant, and while she's 5 months pregnant, he decides he's going to kick his crack--his heroine habit. He does it by turning to religion. And if you follow people who've actually kicked their heroine habits, the only ones who can do it really cold turkey are usually those guys who find religion, otherwise they really need medical help. Anyway, he's successful. He goes to his friends, fellow drug pushers, the 3. 2 of the 3 decided to kick the habit with him and they become his life long friends and his bodyguards. This is his cousin who also doesn't kick the habit. Okay, the original group of Salafis from Syria together with the students from Morocco, and the 1 Tunisian, started meeting at this river and having picnics on the Nayalcarnero River in the late 1990s. They started singing Jihadi songs. They start chanting, playing soccer together, deciding that they have to do something. They have no idea what to do, and so they started forming new connections. Oops, let me go back. They started forming a thick set of connections of friends, of family, of guys they meet at the culture association in the mosque, at the barbershop, at the butcher shop. It's really hard to get through the thick set of relationships that are involved, but they start forming a thick community. By the way, this guy Cartagena, he's a police informant who's part of the group, who's reporting as this is going on. The whole time they start calling themselves al-Harakat al-Salafiyyah which means the Salafi movement. They also start calling themselves Takfir wal-Hijra after the old Takfiri movement. But again mostly they just talk and scream and yell and run around and play soccer and have picnics together and they're going to do this until right before the plot is hatched because they really have no idea what to do. Meanwhile, this guy who is a jewel thief and a male strip dancer and a bouncer, he gets thrown into jail with these 2 guys who are the guys selling the dynamite to the fishermen. He gets strong in the same cell, he's got a friend, I believe, who's called the rabbit. The rabbit has to be, happens to be, one of the messengers for the drug guys who have since moved to Madrid from Tetuan. The police released Zuhier, who's playing all sides of the gang. And his police handler, named Victor, says, "Look, you go back to Asturias, that's the northern Spanish town where you were imprisoned with Trashorras and Toro, the 2 Spanish losers who were selling dynamite, and you try to find out who's their new market." So Zuhier goes back up in Asturias. He's know one really who's a market, he starts talking to his friend, Aglif. They use to go to this sort of these whore houses on the outskirts of Madrid. And Aglif says, well, my friend who just got out of prison, he had, Jamal Ahmidan, this little sort of Public Enemy James Cagney type, he had been put in prison for murder. He had a knife, some guy kill him but that he paid off the family and was eventually released, besides he was so tough no one wanted to testify against him. He comes back in late July 2003 to Spain. He starts smoodgeing around with Aglif, who says, "Hey, by the way, there's a guy I know, Zuhier who's trying to get rid with some dynamite." Now, meanwhile Ahmidan has become thoroughly radicalized in prison. He wants to go to Palestine to kill Jews. Then they try to get him to be involved in the Sufi movement, yeah. They tried to get him to be involved in the Sufi movement. He's assigning violent enough for me. And he wants to become a Salafi Takfiri. He's mopped in around for a month or 2 and eventually he meets up with the Tunisian, Serhane, where are you Serhane? You're up here somewhere. There you are. Who becomes a sort of substitute radical preacher in the mosque, he's left his economics' scholarship, he's becoming increasingly radicalized with his friends especially in soccer, he's expelled from the mosque. He has nothing to do by the way. These groups of students have nothing to do with the drug pushers, this is where they push the drugs in the same neighborhood of Lavapies. But the interesting thing is it's all the same neighborhood. So this is where they push drugs. This is the restaurant all these guys would eat at called the Alhambra Restaurant, where they eat sandwiches, I like that. [Laughter] They'd all play soccer in front of the Oulad Akcha house in Villaverde, those where the 2 guys who kicked the habit with the little Napoleon guy. But here's the most amazing thing. Five of the 7 guys, so they do this plot, the plot is hatched from October to December, they still don't know what they're doing, right? But Jamal, this sort of hands-on guy, this drug dealer who's actually killed people and he actually goes up in the middle of the plot to blow away 2 guys in Babel for not giving them the drug money because he needed the drug money in order to buy the explosives for the Jihad. Five of those 7 guys, who blew themselves up, were the drug guys, who had found religion. And who only gotten to the plot a few months before it was hatched. The plot itself, by the way, they concocted it finally when they downloaded something on the internet from the Zarqawi website, which said, "Why don't you blow up something in Spain before the elections," and finally they felt something to do. The students who had been yelling for 3 years, 4 years about something to do, finally found a little guy who's willing to get the dynamites to them and actually do something. And the interesting thing is 5 of the 7 guys who blew themselves up all came from one neighborhood. Two were brothers all linked to that friend Jamal Ahmidan, that little Napoleon guy. A guy named Kounjaa, who was known as the first Afghan in the neighborhood because he put on this Afghan smock, this hat and start preaching Takfiri, and a candy salesman, a gay candy salesman named Rifaat. These were the guys who blew themselves up when the police captured them, cornered them in Madrid. Now, Kounjaa's cousin was married to a guy named Hamza, and these guys, all on 2006 and 2007, went to Iraq to blow themselves up. They all came from this neighborhood within 400 square meters, grew up as kids together, went to this elementary school called the Abdelkrim Khattabi Elementary School, and were all in the same class since first grade. This is the kids coming out of the school. This is the kids going to the school. Now, Kounjaa preached in this mosque. But again it's not in the mosque, we though it was in the mosque. You know, there was an article in the Washington Post when we first gave this information which said, you know, they're Al Queda recruiters. Al-Queda, I'm looking for the Al Queda recruit, all I see is the donkey. [Laughter] And we find out most of these stuff is going on at the Chicago Cafe, you know, that's because that's where things happen, you know, people watch Al Jazeera and they get supper--I don't know if you ever watched Al Jazeera News, you get 15 minutes of Iraq. It's not like watching CNN or Fox, you see fathers running through the streets of Baghdad with the brains of their children falling out. You get 5 minutes of Palestine, pretty gruesome images as well and 1 minute for the rest to the world. It's a little bit like Fox in reverse, right? This is the scene right below the mosque where they play soccer in Jihad. They were all soccer buddies and they all went as soccer buddies to Iraq. When I went to Ceuta, which is a nearby Spanish enclave, and I was asking the kids, you know, trying to figure out, you know, why do these guys do it? How do they get involved? So I say to them, you know, who are your heroes? So they say to me, okay, first hero is about 50, a sample of about 50, first hero is Ronaldinho, okay? He's the Brazilian soccer star from the Barca team. Everybody is either a Barca soccer fan or a Madrid soccer fan. In fact there are 2 cafes in this plaza, one right there which is the Madrid Cafe for the Madrid guys and the other for the Barca guys, but it's both showing Al Jazeera all the time. The Terminator is number 2, but they have no idea he' related to the present Governor of California. And number 3 is Osama Bin Laden. So why do they do it, people in our society now? Well, Muslims in our society bind into the American dream, okay? Muslim, the demographics on Muslims in the United States society exactly mirror the average of the United States society. Muslims in Europe, in Spain for example are 19 times more likely to be poor, marginal, and it goes more or less in the same fashion for the rest of Western Europe. We find, for example, there is no radicalization despite the hype you get in congress and I've testified in front of God knows how many organizations or committees and what not, they've only been really 2 cases of radicalization in the prison population of 2.3 million, I mean that's not a lot, okay?
But 60 to70 percent of the Muslims, of European prison populations are Muslim. Very much like African-Americans in the United States and for very much the same reasons. So there are no reasons, in the sense social reasons for Muslims become radicalized in the United States. The problem of radicalization of prisons in the United States is basically among Afro-Americans, not Muslims who originated from foreign sources. And what makes someone become radicalized to take the path of violence is first of all not humiliation again, okay? It's moral outrage. And that moral outrage is often lived vicariously looking at the internet or in television where people feel that their people are being violated, murdered or whatever. Now, that is a virtual, imagined community. Why should someone who lives in the jungles of Sulawesi, this remote island where anthropologists like myself would dream about going a generation ago 'cause they were cannibals, 3 generations ago, and people in Morocco or Spain dream about the same thing when they've never been out of their villages. That's only possible again because of this sort of massive media driven transnational awaking. And it's creating a virtual community. That virtual community, that media driven virtual community is being created to a large extent as well by the actions of the United States. I'm not going to go into that, everybody knows the story. All I can report to you is that the greatest heroic thing anybody, any of these young people can do is say go to Iraq and fight American soldiers. They dream of it. They've never been out of Borneo or Sumatra, they dream of fighting Americans in Iraq. I'm not going to go through to any of this. I will go towards the end, but what not to do? You know, I have many prescription about what not to do like spend millions of dollars to study the Koran or make predictive models and widgets. I mean, look at these guys, you know, you're going to predict this male strip dancer is the key link between the losers and the Spanish prison and these drug guys and these students who couldn't get it together? Come on. You'll never going to get that with skill free modeling or skill modeling or God knows what. But how do you deal with it? Well, this moral outrage becomes effective only if it personally resonates with you, okay? It doesn't personally resonate with Muslims in the United States. There's just nothing to resonate with. It does resonate with people in Europe and in North Africa and in the Middle East. If police, for example, are particularly hostile then although you don't experience the violence of occupation or invasion or anything else, you start empathizing with it. And that's what we find again and again. We find the most successful people at stopping the Jihad or people who treat it as a public health problem, it's not a criminal problem. The way the Saudis, the way the Turks, the way the Indonesians have virtually stopped Salafi attacks is basically go to the families, the friends, the relatives, the neighborhood, say, look we don't want to a problem. What can we do so that people don't take the path of violence? They give gifts in Ramadan, they find jobs, they talk to the families, now, oh, this is being filmed. One senior law enforcement agent, who is a witness to testimony by this various heads of intelligence said, "Can you see me with Timothy McVeigh." I mean, one of these guys, the head of one of this intelligence was actually hugging a mass suicide bomber who had been released because he was much more effective in getting others to turn than if he had stayed in prison and been hunger shot. So he's out hugging this suicide bomber and this law, senior American law enforcement agent says can you imagine me hanging--hugging Timothy McVeigh? I'd be hanging my balls from the dome of congress. So it is very hard for law enforcement in the United States to go into this mindset because of our laws. But I want to tell you, it is very successful. There hasn't been a single Salafi incident in Turkey for example, since the Istanbul bombings and in Indonesia since 2005. So how did we deal with it? This is what [noise], well of course we have to deal with problems of social alienation in these societies. But more important, think of things like the boy scouts, high school football. You know, where did that come from? Why did it work? It worked because we were an immigrant society and we had to integrate people in our social structure, in our social network. And it was largely successful. You know I had, as I said with Bobby [phonetic], you know, I had also been one of the first ones, you know, back in the 19, late 1960s, first one to vote against ROTC, fraternities, young college football, you know, kicking around a pig skin and making a big deal of it. But now I really see what that does. It binds people in a sort of communitas like no other thing. And that what's happens with these friends and that's the only way to get them, I think a way from the kinds of, given that their structure is basically one of family and friends. 70 percent of the people who join the Jihad do it through their friends, 20 percent through their family. Their friends become their families because their sisters start cooking for them and they start marrying their sisters one another. Less than 10 percent come from many schools and that's only in 2 countries, Pakistan and in Indonesia. Provide for alternative dreams and heroes because that's what youth can connect into. Look at the new comic book series called the Muslim 99 Super heroes. This has going great guns in Indonesia, Qatar and Kuwait even in Iraq. Kids are buying this up, eating this up like kids in our society use to eat up Marvel comics, Superman and Batman and Truth and Justice of the American way, and it's making headway. That's going to have a lot more effect than giving the e-moms to preach moderation. Dreams and heroes mobilized in the Fight for Faith and Friends, Causes and Camaraderie, perhaps more than industry and power, give impetus to lives and civilizations. Faith and friendship, this is my punch line, faith and friendship provide humans with a sense of being that is larger, deeper, and more enduring, than a walking shadow of poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more it, a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. And just another quote from Shakespeare, which really captures the people who join Jihad, never alone, always as friends, always for a cause that gives their friendship solidarity, and eternity in the sense of being and meaning, greater than themselves. This story shall the good man teach his son, from this day to the ending of the world. But we in it shall be remembered, we few, we happy few, we band of brothers, for he today that sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother, but he ne'er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition. And ask yourselves, and this is final slide, ask yourselves why all political systems, all imagined communities of none of kin describe themselves in terms of fictive kinship of brothers, and sisters, and homelands, and fatherlands, and motherlands. Aristotle, I think got it right in the ethics, where he said friendship, philia, is the basis of all political union. All political union that defines who human beings are, that as communities of none of kin. And as a final reflect for those interest in evolutionary theory, it's a fact worthy of deep meditations, of Konrad Lorenz, that for all we know the bond of personal friendship was evolved by the necessity for certain individuals to cease from fighting each other in order to more effectively combat other fellow-members of our species. Since the Pleistocene, humans have been their own worst predators. When humans first formed groups of none of kin, they were able to dominate all threats that came from the animal world. They soon became their own worst enemies and they began forming larger and larger groups. And if we look at the way they form larger groups from the Pleistocene until today through all of recorded history and through every society the anthropologist ever studied, it's always in terms of bonds of friendship and fictive kinship. And that's what you got to deal with really. That's what this movement is about. It's not about generals, and command and control. Thank you.
And thank you. Thank you very much. We've got time for questions. So, I'll let you identify them unless--
No questions? Yeah?
I've got a question. So this is a very interesting and unique perspective on the terrorism problem and what motivates the terrorists, it's very different form what we typically hear from the US policy and the way it's framed in media.
And so if this is the, you know, the basis, it would suggest that the US government's approach is very off-phase. And if that is the case, then what do you think is motivating the US government to take this approach that's not, you know, as [noise] reminded about the actual problem?
Okay, the question is, this is a very different approach from the approach we usually hear from policy makers in the United States, and if this is truly the case, why is it that the United States government leaders pursue the policies they do, which don't seem to have much relevance to this particular set of phenomena. That's complex, the answer is fairly complex. For one thing, a very superficial level, I've talked about bureaucratic mirroring. It's stunning that no one actually does fieldwork with these guys, no one talks to them. If you look at the books written, you know, any of them, dying to win or the latest book by Alan Krueger out of Princeton University on the Economic Causes of Terrorism, they're very smart people, but none of them had ever met a terrorist, ever seen where they live, never talked to them, never eaten with them and they really have no idea who these people are, and why--and they're normal people who do the things they do, that's one problem. The second problem is this idea of bureaucratic mirroring. The guys who do the analysis of intelligence or in the case officers, they're just out of school like you. There are reasons, structural reasons, why the field officers never do analysis, but they just mirror their bureaucracies and they can't interpret the world in any other way, they have no references to do it. But third, and most important, it is politically convenient to believe there's a boogeyman out there. I mean, nothing mobilizes society and political passions like an enemy you can put your teeth into. And the Al Qaeda is about the best boogeyman you can possibly come up with, fits it all together, and there's a sort of perfect storm of psychological biases that can be plugged into this, the need to tell a story, sort of fundamental actr--all sorts of, which of cognitive biases. And if you look at the actual response of our political leaders, you know, it's sort of pathetic. Basically you got, you know, I shouldn't say this, but you know bunch of a little Indians with no chief running around, and these guys are determining the course of the debate on presidential politics. Thankfully or unthankfully is moving to economics because were driving into a recession right now. But it still dominates to a larger extent and literally at least in the beginning of the campaign, not only here, but in the countries of Western Europe, is run on the basis of how you're going to respond to this particular threat without any knowledge of what the threat is or care. Let me tell you, we've talked to some of the candidates and their staffs and things like that suggesting the things like, no, war and terror, this is ridiculous. I said, no, we can't, we can't put that phrase aside, the public understands that. And there was a debate actually in the administration, the first couple of days about whether this was supposed to be a war and terror or crime against humanity. Think of how it would have played out if it was declared a crime against humanity, and the support and the were--whether it could have actually been sustained. Politically in the United States is another matter. But if it had been sustained as a crime against humanity, the present status of the world would be much different than it is today. So it is a political issue, and the careers of our major politicians and political parties and affiliations depend upon how it's treated and how are you going to describe. You're going to describe this is a bunch of guys running around the place, opening up with opportunities, you know, getting involved here and there and maybe succeeding. No, you got to make it something profound and strong and deep. And by so doing, by the way and this is a peculiarity of human categorization versus a, you know, categorization of natural kinds, when people categorize human kinds, whether they'd be people or political process, is there's a looping effect. No matter how arbitrary and false it is to begin with, once you make that category, the frame, you force in the sense history and behavior into that frame, okay? I'll give you just another example. African-American, okay? Or that was once called Negro that they were supposed to be some race. I remember a friend of mine who was supposed to pick up some guy from New Guinea because his skin was dark and he was dark, and this was a French intellectual leader, south, who said, "Well, you're black and he's black." Well, biologically that's crazy notion, but the fact that the world treated, the western world treated those people as the same even though there were as distant as you could possible be in human evolution since 50,000 years, made that category real however false it was. And that's a property of human kinds and we do it all the time, and I'm afraid Al Qaeda has become one of those things. It has created and so in reality, and so in reactions in the world, is now become a logo that carries essential properties, it's being transformed all the time because it never fits reality quite nicely, and we're witnessed to the spread of this viral ideology because of this category creation. Yes?
Couple of years ago Charles Tilly was lecturing here in Michigan
And he was asked, he was talking about networks, and he was asked what does he think about terrorism? He said, you know what, terrorism is not a network, it's a strategy usually used by governments but some times used by pride of people, too. You seemed to suggest that sort of forming the networks, junior rate terror. Isn't, sort of some independent networks that form sort of your own radicalization to terror, or it is sort like in my term, I don't know, maybe Muslim radicalism network that some times at some small chance can sort of manifest it this way?
I'm not sure if I understand you correctly. So Charles Tilly came here and said terrorism is a strategy.
Terrorism is a sort--
Sort of strategy, not networking. And are you asking me if I consider these networks to generate terrorism?
Yes, what do you think of [inaudible].
Is it a network or a strategy?
Is it like a network around this strategy or just like much larger network that sometimes involves this one--
All right, terrorism is even worse than Al Qaeda or democracy as concepts. I mean, it's so fuzzy and vague. I use it because it's get me in the front door of policy groups. Terrorism of course is a method. It's essentially being applied these days to the use by transnational actors for attacks against non-combatant civilians. That's the way most people sort of feel about it. It's actually a method like guns. I mean there's nothing to it, there's no kind, that's called terrorism. Anybody can be called a terrorist or freedom fighter or whatever. I'm talking specifically about a specific group, the Takfiri groups. Although there are various very, very great similarities between how these groups form in human groups in general, be they spontaneous groups of the internet or gangs or drug cartels or our own political leadership. I mean, it's an all boys network and things like that. What I'm saying is that terrorism, the phenomena of Takfiri terrorism, the one that everybody is scared about but won't call that, you know, Muslim terrorism or whatever for whatever reasons, that phenomena is based on 2 things, the kinds of ordinary networks that drive most of human behavior, and the most important predictive factors are just knowing the ordinary networks, okay? Secondly, the friendship [inaudible]. Secondly is the cause, this sort of ideological factor that gives coherence to fraternity and camaraderie and friendship in a sort of eternal way and cause people to actually commit their lives to one another and die for one another, and that's a result of historical process of fairly reason origin that I've mentioned, the collapse of the Soviet Union being one. A very similar phenomena occurred between 1878 and 1914, and that was the Anarchist Movement. People thought that the anarchist, there were some central movement. And these were terrorists in the same way. They would blow up people, they would blow up themselves to blow up people. A lot of them were students, very well educated, middle class. They were quite successful on the havoc they wrote much more than Al Queda. I mean they manage to kill the President of the United States, the Archduke of Austria that started World War I, Prime Minister of France, was it the Queen of Italy or Queen of Italy. Half, you know, about, a half of dozen top Russian ministers, caused havoc all over the world. Scotland Yard was set up, the Russian Okhrana, which became the PCIAs or the NKVD and the KGB.
The secret service sort of split and became the FBI at the same time, all those result the anarchist threat. Teddy Roosevelt, when he took over from McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist, gave his first speech to Congress and said, "Look," this is very similar to George W. Bush's speech on September 19th. There is evil in the world, okay? This is a battle against good and evil, you're for us or against us, and also gave himself the right for the United States for the first time in history to interfere in other places in the world in order to stop this evil act, which was the greatest threat against humanity at that time. It was only until the Warren commission redid a study in the assassination of presidents. They cited, well, there really was no anarchist central after all, okay? And it's very similar. Why did the anarchist movement disappear? Well, basically it disappeared because it was, because of the war and because it was, I mean, it had, you know, it kept going, they blew up things in New York, there was a Spanish Civil War, but basically died out after World War I because the Bolshevist co-opted their support and their audience. Well, I don't think we should wait for someone like the Bolshevists to co-opt this. You know, and Marvel Comics is even better. But we should think about what kinds, and we can't predict this stuff, but we should start forming strategies about what can attract young people? Besides rave, okay? What can really move young people to find meaning in their lives and Devo's [phonetic] won't do it, right? Globalization isn't going to do it, that's for a bunch of wealthy people who smoodge in airport lounges and wealthy hotels and eating in 3-star restaurants and decides the world is going to be like them. For most of the world, globalization does not mean everybody is happier, healthier, and hippier, it means they're unmoored from their societies and their traditions and they don't know where they are and they're looking for where they are and what are, is our society going to do to get this people sympathetic to us rather to them? And I don't see anything. Did you know the National Security Council, for example, which is the primary mechanism in the United States for forming foreign policy, Congress has no effect, none, okay? The pundits have very little effect, it's the president, it's National Security Council which decide foreign policy in United States. There is not a single permanent representative from health or education or welfare or anything to do with actual human beings in their interactions on the National Security Council with permanent representation, okay? It's mostly military, intelligence and close association with economics. And so we're not getting the kinds of strategies we needed to actually deal with the world as it is now. This is not a soviet threat. This is not a battle against power blocks looking to position themselves for control over the world. This is an ideological battle, but one which is thoroughly integrated into notions of community and neighborhood and friendship of people trying to find again the meaning in lives in a world where traditional relationships are being unmoored in an incredibly rapid-base.
I think one more question?
Is it possible that 9/11 and Al Qaeda itself is a part of that frame?
What frame do you mean?
You said that some people crave category if they [inaudible].
Well, and the question is this 9/11 and Al Qaeda a part of a frame. It's part of lots of competing frames. I mean, we can describe all of human discourse, political discourse in terms of frames, as Bob would say. The particular frame of Al Qaeda, the historical frame of Al Qaeda is, you know, I've talked about anarchism as sort of the model for understanding the social dynamics of it. The Nazi movement, I'm not saying these people are Nazis, I'm just talking about the--the Nazi movement is a good example of what of--what Al Qaeda is like in the sense that it is a thoroughly modern movement, thoroughly modern. But it has atavistic cultural elements of a very peculiar kind. It is almost tribal in the sense that it wants to create a sense of deep community of communitas almost of collective [inaudible]. There's, there are many sort of symbol, if you look at the poetry of it, of the ritual of it, you find that the idea of trying to create a virtual community of people who can personally relate to one another at a very emotional level, not in intellectual level at all. And in that sense, it's a derivative of that movement and let me, I don't know if I talked about it here, I don't think I did. So my last comment monotheism created the notion of humanity. Humanity didn't exist before monotheism. If you go to the jungle in New Guinea or even Egypt which had the classification of different human kinds, there was no notion of humanity between monotheism. The secular monotheism since the enlightenment are monotheisms nonetheless. All the -isms, the anarchisms, colonialism, Fascism, Communism, even democratic, and they try to save humanity. You see that's their object. You can even find in Matthew, in the book of Matthew, Christ saying you're either for us or against us. And so there was a division in humanity between those who should or could be saved and those who couldn't. And most of the clashes that have led to the greatest mass murders in human history are result of that fact that ones group wants to save humanity, and there's another group who doesn't really want to be saved. And so they can be dumped in the garbage, and they fight back. And I think Al Qaeda fits very well into this millennial tradition of monotheisms that are out to save humanity. And as such it's intrinsically violent movement because all movements that try to save humanity will become violent because there a lots of people who just don't want to be saved by that movement.
Okay, thank you very much.
[ Applause ]
That was wonderful, and now we've got food and drink out in the hallway, and, you know, we can continue the conversation out there. Thank you very much. - See more at: http://old.fordschool.umich.edu/events/calendar/78/#sthash.O9Wy9xMK.dpuf