By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
British authorities claim 600 now in the U.K. were trained by al Qaeda, some of whom may have been behind the July 7 terrorist bombings in London that killed at least 52 commuters. Hundreds of suspected jihadists have been arrested in recent years and thrown into the Belmarsh high-security prison. While it's possible to round up the usual suspects in Britain, there is not a great deal of compelling evidence -- just as in the U.S. -- that security services have exposed any more than a handful of true al Qaeda members.
Beyond the bombers, who may or may not have been on a suicide mission, there are the rhetoricians. One organization, called the Party for Islamic Renewal, regularly loads my mailbox with a collection of tirades. Since the group is angry, it's labeled radical. Operated through an Arabic language website, tajdeed.net, the party is organized by Mohammed al-Massari, a Saudi dissident. In the past, the British government unsuccessfully tried to deport him, and in the mid 1990's he helped Osama bin Laden open a London office, according to the BBC.
The rants delivered through the Party for Islamic Renewal mailing list discuss reciprocity, the idea that the terrorism in Britain is tit-for-tat, a price for the country's cooperation in George W. Bush's war in Iraq, another cost of which should be Tony Blair's impeachment.
A few reprints, essentially as they appeared in my inbox immediately after the London bombings:Shock and Awe in London Blame It on Blair London Is Burning A Letter to the British People From a Daughter of Iraq
"God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war ... We've committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world." (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
First, it ("Shock and Awe") was displayed in Baghdad, and in response it was seen in Madrid and Istanbul; now it has come to London but on a far smaller scale. It seems we live in a world where the Anglo-Saxon civilisation, assumes the right to unleash their military forces on anyone, but expects everyone to howl terrorism, give minutes of silence, and stand shoulder-to-shoulder, when they face retaliation.
As expected everyone is howling and describing it as barbaric, an act of terrorism, attack on humanity etc. because the bombs were detonated in London not in Baghdad or Kabul! Otherwise I would have expected the same response for the 54 people killed in the wedding party in Iraq and many similar incidences throughout Iraq and Afghanistan by trigger happy US pilots and soldiers.
The US could not identify a wedding party of men, women and children despite being equipped with most sophisticated equipment and training. So, they are either trained monkeys short of brain cells or they were high on alcohol and drugs prior to engaging in combat missions, or they are terrorists that deliberately killed civilians. The latter is more likely, given that they have been following a policy of shoot first and ask questions later, so they bombed the civilians from a high altitude, then apologised for their "mistake". That gets packaged and marketed by the media terrorists as collateral damage, a small price for the war on terror.
Blair and Bush referred to their noble work of discussing how to relieve poverty in the G8 summit (as if the West had no role in causing the poverty in the first place) contrasting that with the acts of the terrorists in London. Hence, Bush and Blair, both absolutely blameless, poor innocent victims! The G8 summit is actually facilitating the new scramble for Africa, lets face it, Capitalism and altruism does not mix together, they are opposites.
They (Bush and Blair) portray the attacks in London without any cause what so ever. Examining the "cause" is an uncomfortable topic; it can be self-incriminating. A way to deflect discussing the "cause" is to say that examining the cause gives some sort of justification to the attackers. Well, do we not need to understand and debate their grievances even if we do not agree with their action?
What is even more perplexing, is that the "man" who is leading the war on terror from the rear or from his bunkers, George Bush, says: "The war on terror goes on" as if this incident is justification for the war waged in Iraq and Afghanistan. But, the problem is, the incident happened well after the war was waged. So, this is a bit like prodding someone with a knife and then when that person retaliates in self-defence that becomes the reason for the initial prodding.
If anything, the incident in London is the product of the initial aggressions in Iraq and Afghanistan; and rationally it cannot be its cause. Quite often terrorism and state terrorism depict the same cause and effect relationship; state terrorism is usually the cause, terrorism is the effect. Recognising this would go a long way towards brining peace and resolving the conflict.