Flirting with Terror By William Bowles

7 August 2004

Buster Hi There Suckers!

If you enter the keywords “terror” into Google, you’ll get over 6.5 million hits. Enter the word “terrorism” and you’ll get almost 5.5 million and “terror” will return almost 5 million. “Terrorist” will get you 4.3 million and the “war on terror” returns a little over a 500,000.

A search for “Islamic fundamentalist” returns 53,900, “Muslim fundamentalist” 16,100, “Muslim fanatic” a paltry 1940, “Christian fanatic” a pathetic 617 but “Christian fundamentalist” a modest 25,500.

Bear in mind that only about 5% of all Website pages are actually scanned by Google and that of the 5%, many are out of date. The last time I pointed Google at I’n’I, it showed just over 600 pages out of a total of nearly 4000 on the site.

Quite a few of the hits are part of the multi-billion dollar business that’s grown up around ‘the war on terror’. For example there’s the ‘Terrorism Research Center’ or the ‘Counter-Terrorism Page’ or what about the tasteless ‘Terrorism and Children, talking with children about terrorism’ page and then there’s “UKTerrorist – The UK’s leading counterstrike news site”. The CIA even has a “Terrorist Buster” logo (reproduced above) and what an amateurish piece of crap it is too. It’s so badly drawn it looks like the ‘terrorist’ is waving to us and perhaps he is. Perhaps he’s thinking ‘Hi there suckers!’

But then the entire ‘terrorism’ campaign is amateurish by advertising standards where it would no doubt be condemned as ‘misleading advertising’ and have to be withdrawn were it advertising washing powder instead of al-Qu’eda. But then governments can pretty well do whatever they like and until recently at least, the government’s word was akin to God’s (or whichever deity commands your attention).

But no longer. The Emperor is definitely not wearing any clothes, yet the propaganda machine rolls on regardless, an unstoppable juggernaut that continues to churn out the obligatory ‘alerts’ that the media needs like a junkie needs a fix.

The issue however, of whether it works as intended is open to question. My pal Edward Teague told me about the reaction of some Manchester United supporters to the phony ‘alert’ concerning an alleged ‘al-Qu’eda attack’ on a football game last Christmas who expressed amazement with ‘How’d they get hold of the tickets?’

One must surely ask the most obvious of questions concerning the media’s reportage of the never-ending parade of ‘alerts’ that the government, through the ‘security services’, feeds to the press. If, for example, your ‘average’ football fan can figure out that getting a ticket for a United game is next to impossible, how does the media get away with headlines that relays without question, the scare story being peddled by the state that the game has been ‘targeted’ knowing full well that gaining entrance to the stadium would have been well nigh impossible? But then logic has little to do with the propaganda onslaught.

The coordinated (with the media) roundups of ‘Asians’ for example, whereby the police/security services always make sure that the press is on hand to record the degrading treatment handed out to the ‘suspects’. But:

“According to Home Office figures, by May this year only 14 of the 562 people arrested under the Terrorism Act since 11 September 2001 had been convicted of charges under it.”
BBC News Website 6/8/04

And as to what they’ve actually been convicted of is not available. Where are the headlines that read ‘Majority of ‘Terrorist’ suspects Innocent!’

The London Evening Standard on 6/8/04 for example, had a front-page headline “The web of terror in London” authored by James Langton In New York, Oliver Finegold and Valentine Low, but the article reveals nothing about the alleged Terror Web. In fact the story says absolutely nothing about a “Terror Web” and aside from the headline, the phrase doesn’t appear at all in the body of the text! So where’s the “Web of Terror” then? The juxtaposition of arachnid and terrorist is akin to Blair’s use of words when describing ‘terrorists’ as pathogens in need of innoculation, evoking as it does something poisonous that sticks in the public imagination.

One section of the story plays fast and loose with the facts when it says:

“Information from Khan is also understood to have triggered this week’s major security alert in the US after the discovery of highly-detailed plans dating back four years to bomb targets that included the New York Stock Exchange and the World Bank in Washington.”

Notice that it says “highly-detailed plans dating back four years,” not that the information is four years old.

That alleged source of objective and impartial news, the BBC is just as guilty of describing events utterly divorced from reality. A search of the BBC’s News Websites using the word “terror” yielded 8,243 hits, but when I used the phrase “terrorist convicted” it returned only 15 hits, not one of which was related to ‘Islamic fundamentalists’. In fact, most referred to Northern Ireland’s paramilitary UVF members. The vast disparity between the number of times the BBC uses the word “Terror” and the reality is nothing short of staggering!

Closer scrutiny of the thirteen people detained this week under the ‘Anti-Terrorism’ laws reveals that the probable basis for their arrest is that they knew or had contact with Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, the man arrested in Pakistan on 12 July and who had the four-year old information on his laptop. Why? Because Khan was a student at the same university as some of those detained. What’s the bet that not a single one gets charged as a terrorist? Two of the unfortunate ‘Asians’ (or Brits of Asian descent) have already been released without charge (after being pinned to the ground at gunpoint, swathed in ‘forensic suits’ and whisked off for interrogation in the full glare of the media).

And it appears that the latest ‘terrorist alert’ is based entirely on sources from the Pakistan ‘intelligence’ service, not exactly the most reliable source of information. According to the latest reports, a certain Abu Eisa al-Hindi (‘codename’ Bilal) is one of those arrested and is, according to the reports, a “high ranking al-Qu’eda operative”. But real, hard information is, as ever, thin on the ground, allowing the media to speculate every which way. But this tactic is consciously part of the propaganda process with the state using the spurious ‘protection of sources’ excuse, a claim that is rarely if ever challenged by the media.

And in fact, because the ‘anti-terrorism’ laws are so broad to begin with, all kinds of actions fall under the title of ‘terrorism’ including alleged fund-raising for alleged ‘terrorist’ organisations, sending and receiving emails (that we never get to read), advocating a ‘jihad’ and so forth. So no doubt advocating the overthrow of capitalism ‘by any means necessary’ would fall under the heading of terrorism.

The ‘coincidence’ that they were arrested at precisely the same time as the alleged ‘terror’ plot to blow up Citibank et al in the US, beggars belief, based as it was on four year-old information (with a hastily rolled out rewrite when the dastardly deed was revealed as a lie, that ‘newer’ information had conveniently come to light). And indeed, the Home Office says that no specific threat in the UK has been uncovered. Instead, it says:

“We are maintaining a state of heightened readiness in the UK”.

Readiness for what though? More repressive ‘anti-terrorism’ laws that’s what, scheduled to be announced later this year by our very own ‘law ‘n’ order’ fanatic Home Secretary Blunkett who has the dubious distinction of being described by the Tory shadow Home Secretary (as the opposition MP with the title is called) as the ‘most authoritarian on record’.

This is the same Blunkett who by the way used to fly the Red Flag over Sheffield City town hall. Ah, the follies of youth for which he has obviously been forgiven but will history forgive this piece of scum for building a police state and using terror as the pretext?


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