August 14, 2006
By CHRISTOPHER REED
Yet now the public is asked to give grateful thanks to these same law enforcement officers who have, in the words of politicians and officials from both sides of the Atlantic, foiled another "terrorist plot". This one, based mainly in the similar London suburb of Walthamstow, would have caused "mass murder on an unimaginable scale" in "Britain's 9-11" at a time of "the most severe threat since the end of the second world war." Worse than Hitler!
Then we were told the British police had been A good question, especially as we were also told Odd...for at this time of year in Britain transatlantic tickets are not immediately available -- unless these were going to be First Class terrorists, perhaps comparing their last-minute arrangements over drinks in the VIP lounge?
But we must not be flippant about what president Bush called the "Islamic fascist" threat, which included, according to the Sunday Times of London, the Al-Quaida terrorist group leader in Britain, who was (allegedly) among those arrested. There have of course since 9-11 been terrorist attacks in several countries that killed hundreds of people of a dozen or more nationalities.
Yet it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the authorities, from police to secret service agencies, the military, civilian security forces, and politicians including national leaders and those of cabinet rank, behave in these times in such a way as to erode any confidence or trust not only in their efficiency, but their good faith. It is almost as if they were encouraging the conspiracy theorists.
(The latest terror plot) "is mostly . The aim is to of the Blair-Bush duo in their war against what they call 'Islamic terror'.
"UK government spokespeople claimed in the past that they unveiled terror cells and He and his accomplice Bush, desperately want to shift world attention from their fascist policies of conducting daily massacre against Arab and Muslim people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.
"If it was a real terror plot as claimed by UK police, then Blair is responsible for putting his people in the danger zone because he runs with his accomplice Bush a fascist terror war against the children of Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, thus creating the best environment for extremists.
"If these claims prove correct, we denounce those involved, who should be punished severely. But the real responsibility is on Bush-Blair, the axis of fascism and evil, who are targeting Arab and Islamic countries in their new crusade ... "
Nothing here claimed as fact is inaccurate. The opinions are a curious reversal of what Bush and Blair say about Muslim extremists (note the "evil axis"), but turned upon them. The allegation of fakery is posed -- not stated as fact -- but such a notion, held by many, earns little or no space in British-US media. Not even if you replace the word "fakery" with, for instance, "gross exaggeration." So this media presentation is no worse than what is offered by the English-language mainstream press; it could be argued that at least it also presents an alternative view.
Actually Blair's stand-in, the minister for home affairs, John Reid, spoke in London in a manner that the Arab newspaper would find familiar. He said police had caught the "main players" in the plot, without using the word "alleged" and thus possibly jeopardizing any trial by "prejudging" the evidence in Britain's far stricter rules of criminal justice proceedings. He also dismissed with contempt the charge that Britain's recent foreign incursions into Muslim nations had exacerbated extremist hatred of its policies.
More suspiciously, he
Reid is responsible for the police forces of Britain, and under his jurisdiction were the disgraceful events of two months ago in the neighborhood of The two brothers arrested were later released and no charges were brought. The police who shot and wounded one have been exonerated. Also exonerated is the police officer who shot and killed an aged 27 on a subway train after an earlier "terrorist" raid in London last year. The man's parents are being forced to seek justice over their son's death through a private legal action. Meanwhile, the police officer in charge of the death raid has put in for her promotion, which is under "consideration."
Add to this a lawyers' consensus that The reason is simple: Conspiring means mostly talking ("planning" police would call it) and that can mean something serious and intentional, or speculative and without possible completion. Yet in London's new case, conspiracy is likely to be the main grounds for any prosecution (although already one person has been released).
Not only the Arab papers but anyone with a cynical eye on politics in London and Washington cannot fail to notice . The bloody fiasco of Israeli aggression in Lebanon was removed from the headlines just as they became the worst. And, as Al Quds noted, mounting British protest and parliamentary threats of an official inquiry, were swept away for the rest of the week.
Britain's Tony Blair has also, like George W. Bush, Blair was prevented from doing that by his parliament, but now perhaps the mood might change...
A few Muslim journalists in London have been permittted to voice some concern over Britain's racial politics. One in the Sunday Times, Navid Akhtar, who investigated young Muslims' attitudes for a British television channel. He countered Reid's claim that terrorist attacks prior to 9-11 invalidated the charge of British foreign policy as an aggravation of Islamic anger.
He pointed out that most of those arrested seemed to be "fully integrated" into British society. Two were even converts. Most were also in their young to mid-twenties, so that "they have been caught up in the war on terror for much of their adult lives. They have seen their fellow Muslims being killed in wars conducted by their own government and they feel responsible....and live in a dual reality."
As a consequence, "a number of disillusioned youngsters feel more attached to the global community via the internet than they do to their immediate community on the ground."
This makes immediate nonsense of Reid's argument about British-American foreign policy. Yet the divisions of society come not from just that. They are spurred by the repellent enthusiasm with which the forces of "homeland security" pursue their dubious trade -- appearing almost to rejoice in the mayhem they believe is leveled against them.
Christopher Reed usually reports from Japan but is in England on a visit. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org