Yogyakarta (Indonesia), Oct. 22 (Reuters): Outspoken Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said today state terrorism was worse than that committed by individual groups and accused countries advocating democracy of terrorising the world.
His comments in this central Java city came on the same day US President George W. Bush visited the Indonesian resort island of Bali for talks with President Megawati Sukarnoputri and Muslim leaders in a bid to explain Washington’s war on terror.
Mahathir, who steps down at the end of this month after 22 years in power, has been making headlines in his final days in office with statements about his belief that Jews rule the world.
That subject didn’t come up in a wide-ranging 30 minute speech here as he accepted an award from a regional engineering association, but the topic of terrorism did. Mahathir said “terror attacks are not just by irregulars acting on their own”.
“Indeed, we see states launching massive retaliation, not just to curb suspected terrorists, but his family, his home, his village and his town.”
“It would be ridiculous to think that such attacks do not terrorise the innocent. In fact, the terrorism is even greater, for it is systematic and executed with heavy weapons in the hands of trained soldiers.”
“It would seem that the great exponents and practitioners of democracy believe that the way to spread the doctrine and to break down resistance is by terrorising the world.”
The 78-year-old did not name the country or countries he had in mind, and declined to answer when asked later by a reporter, but he has been a frequent critic in the past of US, Australian and Israeli policies, among a number of others.
A recent remark by Mahathir that “Jews rule the world by proxy” brought widespread criticism, which Mahathir said only proved he was right.
“The reaction of the world shows that they control the world,” he said earlier this week.
In his speech in this centre of ancient Javanese culture and royalty in the world’s most populous Muslim nation, Mahathir also attacked the WTO, whose avowed aim is to liberalise international trade.
“Like the World Bank and the IMF, the WTO is now being made into yet another instrument to enrich the rich and impoverish the poor,” he said.
In a later television interview in Yogyakarta, Mahathir said economic policies could in themselves be a form of terrorism, citing actions of international currency traders he said had hurt Asian economies and helped create poverty and violence.