The global ‘War on Terror’ instigated after the events of 9/11 led directly to war in Afghanistan and the preemptive invasion of Iraq as well as setting the conditions for the conflicts witnessed in Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Indeed, the global ‘War on Terror’ has, in multiple ways, defined the political conditions of Western military action for 18 years now. Millions of lives have been lost as a result of these military campaigns; countless more irreparably damaged on all sides of these conflicts and the ‘War on Terror’ has both eroded civil rights and deflected attention away from other pressing political issues. As with all military campaigns throughout history, the global ‘War on Terror’ has been enabled through a massive and concerted propaganda drive. From the initial promotion of al-Qaeda as the sole actor responsible for the events of 9/11, to the demonstrable lies and distortions about the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ that precipitated the invasion of Iraq, through to misleading ‘narratives’ regarding Libya and Syria, manipulation of public opinion via techniques of propaganda has been commonplace across Western public spheres.
This working group has been established in order to foster scholarly engagement with these issues as well as to deepen public understanding and political debate. A central if not overriding goal of the working group is to establish a more critical understanding of the nature of the 9/11 global ‘War on Terror’, the extent to which it has involved manipulation through propagandising, and to explore ways in which democratic and legal accountability can now be fostered.
This working group is fully independent of any state, committed to upholding and defending the rule of law, both domestic and international, and aims to discuss, circulate and produce rigorous and scholarly research.