Editorial: London bombings fuel state terror

On 7 July 2005, more than 50 people were killed and hundreds injured by bombs planted on a bus and three underground trains in London during the morning rush-hour. The first attacks were followed, two weeks later, by four more attempted bombings of the transport system. It is clear that more may follow. The 7 July bombs were indiscriminate, killing London commuters from a wide range of backgrounds and origins. For the victims, their families and friends, these outrages are profoundly tragic. For the world, the London bombings have contributed to a wider tragedy.

The bombings have provided Britain’s cowardly politicians, and in particular the Labour government, with ample opportunity for hypocrisy about ‘freedom’ and ‘civilisation’. The barbarous activities of Al Qaida and its supporters, who have claimed the first bombings, are the consequences of imperialism, and like all monsters, this one has turned against its creators.

Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban and the Afghani warlords were promoted, financed and armed by the West in order to destroy a progressive regime in Afghanistan, and ultimately, the Soviet Union. The fate of the local people was of no concern. It was only after the attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001 that the US and Britain intervened in the name of ‘freedom’ and the ‘war on terror’. Afghanistan has once again been handed over to the drug barons and the warlords, while the US and Britain continue to bomb and terrorise ordinary Afghans. Tell us now, gross liar Blair, how many Afghani women you have liberated! On 1 July, six days before the London bombings, a US B52 killed 17 women, men and children in a housing compound in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. Are the lives of innocent Afghanis worth less than those of Londoners?

Saddam Hussein and his regime were promoted, financed, and armed by the West in order to destroy Iran and opposition to US/British influence in the Middle East. The imperialists did nothing when the regime was gassing Kurds and murdering the opposition. Only when Saddam Hussein turned maverick, no longer to be relied on, did the imperialists invade and wage war on the Iraqi people in the name ‘freedom’ and ‘civilisation’. It is conservatively estimated that at least 67,365 civilians were reported killed or wounded in Iraq between 19 March 2003 and 19 March 2005. Millions have no jobs, no electricity or access to clean water. Thousands were killed in Fallujah. If Londoners are brave and ‘stoical’ in the face of 56 dead, how do you measure what the Iraqi people have sufferered under foreign occupation?

The experience of young Muslims is that the British and US governments do not care about the suffering in the Middle East; that they care most about dominating the world. In Palestine, Israel, with the backing of the US and Britain, has continued to occupy and steal Palestinian land, terrorising and murdering Palestinians. The Apartheid Wall has been built despite the International Court of Justice finding it illegal one year ago. More than 60 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army during the latest ceasefire. You have not heard Bush and Blair condemn Israeli terror; on the contrary they make common cause with Israel against the Palestinians.

The suffering of ordinary people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine at the hands of the US, British and Israeli armies has been ignored or excused. It can be no surprise that Muslim youth are misled by zealots into believing they are fighting imperialism. The bombs in London did not fight the US and British imperialists; they added to the imperialist slaughter. The bombers did nothing to defeat imperialist terror: they added to the suffering it inflicts.

The turn of the screw...
In the wake of the first bombings, the Labour government – already armed to the teeth with ‘anti-terror’ powers to stop and search, detain and question suspects – has announced that further laws will be rushed through Parliament (see page 16). The Metropolitan Police are asking for the maximum time for detention and interrogation to be extended from two weeks to three months. The Home Secretary believes that the recent events justify the introduction of ID cards as fast as possible, even though identity fraud has not been an issue in the recent events (see below). In the name of ‘freedom’, the Labour government is using the atmosphere of threat and panic as an excuse to curb civil liberties.

MPs have left for their summer holidays while ‘security’ in Parliament is boosted. A law will soon ban political demonstrations within 1 kilometre of the Houses of Parliament; Whitehall already resembles an armed camp (see page 16). In the City of London, the centre of business and finance, millions of pounds have been spent building a so-called ‘ring of steel’ which allows road blocks and continuous surveillance of all traffic. But the targets of the terror, ordinary people using London transport, urged by Prime Minister Blair to ‘remain calm’ and carry on working, are entitled to think that their security is not a priority.

Just before FRFI went to press the police shot dead a man at Stockwell tube station who they claimed was wanted in connection with the second round of bombs. An eye witness described how plain-clothes police chased the man into the tube and then pumped five bullets into his head as they held him on the ground in a tube train. ‘He looked like a frightened fox’, a shocked witness reported. 24 hours later and the Met Police Commissioner admitted that the man had no connection with the bombings. He was a totally innocent 27-year-old Brazilian who the police ‘didn’t like the look of’. This military-style execution has all the hallmarks of Shoot to Kill – the policy used in the north of Ireland to murder Republican suspects.

Asians in London have been targeted for special surveillance and stop and search by Labour minister Hazel Blears: so being Muslim means you are guilty. They, and all young Londoners, must now add the fear of being shot dead by armed police – the same trigger-happy police that killed Harry Stanley as he walked down the street with a table leg in a plastic bag. As usual the press, pensioned off police and a whole gamut of politicians are covering up murder – happy to sacrifice the lives of innocent people in Britain and abroad, as long as its not their own.

At Stockwell the driver of the tube train involved was alarmed by the gunfire and fled down the tunnel. He was then chased and a gun held to his head by armed police. Shortly afterwards the leadership of the RMT railworkers union was refused extra staff at stations and other measures to ensure safety by London Labour mayor, Ken Livingstone who is responsible for London Transport. The union has now guaranteed support for any railworker who refuses to work on the underground for safety reasons.

In this issue of FRFI...
We report on anti-imperialist struggles all over the world where working class and oppressed people are fighting to live in dignity and peace. In Latin America new movements representing the working class and oppressed are winning the battle to take control of their own land and their own destinies (see pages 10-12). The latest news on Iraq and Palestine is analysed on pages 1/3 and 4. On pages 8/9 we review the G8 fraud which failed miserably to act against poverty in Africa or take any steps to halt climate change. On the frontline against imperialism, Cuba leads the battle to organise a society in the interests of all its people – we report on their strategy against the ravages of climate change, and brigadistas from RATB write about their experiences (pages 6 and 14).

The future of humanity lies in the hands of human beings, acting together to meet their common needs and to solve their problems. The slaughter generated by imperialist terror and by the agents and puppets of imperialism must stop. Our aim is to build a movement to oppose war and to defeat imperialism. We ask you to join us.

End the occupation of Palestine!
Destroy the Apartheid Wall!
End the war on Afghanistan!
Release Guantanamo detainees!
End the occupation of Iraq!

FRFI 186 August / September 2005

 

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