18 July 2005
The Lord Chancellor told BBC News under new laws people “attacking the values of the West” and “glorifying the acts of suicide bombers” would be imprisoned for “long periods” and “deported wherever possible”, but no law could stop terrorism altogether.
We always obeyed the law. Isn’t that what you do in America? Even if you don’t agree with a law personally, you still obey it. Otherwise life would be chaos. – Gertrude Scholtz-Klink, chief of the Women’s Bureau under Hitler explaining the Jewish policy of the Nazis
It’s a beautiful, hot Sunday afternoon here on Streatham Common, just a short walk from my place. A bee goes about its business, mums push their kids by me, tiny figures dot the landscape, windscreens wink at me in the distance. The sky is dusty blue tinted a pale yellow, no doubt because of all the car exhausts but what the hell, you can’t have everything. But I gotta rare pack of Gitanes to savour, Miles on my walkman and time to think about things whilst Miles jams on ‘Code M.D’ at me. A peaceful afternoon in South London, nothing appears to be amiss. Everything is in its rightful place.
Berlin must have felt something like this in 1933. Condition normal. So how come I’ve got this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach?
I wonder, if soon, I’ll get thrown in the slammer for making statements that “attack the values of the West”? It seems hard to believe sitting here but this exactly what our esteemed, educated and ever-so liberal Lord Chancellor has planned for me following the London bombings.
Events are presented as if, first comes the ‘terrorist’ and then the state’s response, protecting, we are told the ‘British way of life’ by effectively destroying it. Go figure. Everything has the appearance of being us as the victims of the ‘forces of evil’ that have been set loose on the world by a mere handful of people who hate the West and everything it (allegedly) stands for. Seems right doesn’t it. But things are never as they seem in our topsy-turvy world where logic gets stood on its head.
Democracy, as Americans understand it, is not necessarily the future of all mankind, nor is it the duty of the U.S. government to assure that it becomes that. – George Kennan, head of U.S. State Department Policy Planning Staff, 1948
A millionaire Saudi businessman finances, with US support, a war of liberation from the Soviet occupiers of Afghanistan, but then one day we are led to believe, decides that US support for the regime that has made him and his family wealthy beyond measure, is all of a sudden, the enemy. This long time ‘asset’ of US and British capital becomes, almost overnight (thanks to the assistance of a complicit corporate/state media), evil personified. His previous connections to the US are airbrushed out of history. Henceforth, he stands outside of history, a spontaneous creation who is able to come and go at will and ultimately, he is discarded as surplus to requirement, his services are no longer required.
His former ‘friends and allies’, cynical and opportunist and confronted with a crisis of the over-accumulation of capital, brought about in no small measure by the overthrow of the ‘evil empire’ and the economic policies of the previous decades, needs a new ‘enemy’ with which to justify its actions and to further its piratical aims. Thus is born ‘al-’Qu’eda’ and the ‘international terror network’.
Not coincidentally, the Project for the New American Century which sees the US as the predominate military/political force of the 21st century, is spawned at the same time. Foreign oppression and aggression must perforce be accompanied by increasing repression at home, the two go hand in glove.
Then conveniently, along comes 9/11, a ‘Pearl Harbour’ re-run, a convenient hitching post for a new Horse of the Apocalypse that in turn is used to ride rough-shod over our hard-won rights and liberties and to justify the assault on the planet. But any assault by the rich and powerful must first win the backing of its domestic populations first through fear and ultimately through the force of ‘law’.
History teaches us that the first casualty of war is the truth and by their own admission, we have now entered a period of “perpetual war” that per se, must be accompanied by perpetual lies and, as the war intensifies so must the lies.
The propaganda system allows the U.S. leadership to commit crimes without limit and with no suggestion of misbehavior or criminality; in fact, major war criminals like Henry Kissinger appear regularly on TV to comment on the crimes of the derivative butchers. – Edward Herman, Z magazine, Dec 1999
Terror, according to Bush and Blair excludes the ultimate terror, that of the state, the one to fear the most, the one with not only the most physical power to terrorise but importantly, the one with the force of law at its disposal.
Enter the next actor in the run-up to the present, Saddam Hussein, yet another one-time asset of the CIA and corporate capitalism. Hired to assassinate a perceived enemy of capital, Saddam then becomes a pawn in the game of international oil/power politics used to maintain both Iran and Iraq in their own version of perpetual war that took the lives of millions.
But as with all who fail to perceive the real nature of the hand that first feeds before it strikes, he too became a victim of a much larger game and as with the erstwhile ‘freedom fighters’ of Afghanistan, he became in turn a victim of the cynical manipulations of governments who care nothing for the lives of either Iraqis or, as we have seen, their own citizens.
Our governments first deliberately starve Iraq into submitting, then covertly bomb it back into the stone age, and finally, in the coup de grace, ‘liberate’ it in the final act of state terrorism that contravenes every international law and treaty we have (reluctantly) signed over the past century.
I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-soaked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own … And if unfortunately their revolution must be of the violent type because the “haves” refuse to share with the “have-nots” by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their own, and not the American style, which they don’t want and above all don’t want crammed down their throats by Americans. – General David Sharp, former US Marine Commandant, 1966
This then is the prelude if you like to the current situation where in spite of the campaign that has actually failed to terrorise our fellow citizens into accepting the lies of its leaders, it is necessary to ratchet up the fear by making it real, not on the scale of 9/11 you understand, but enough to quell the questions, to push an increasingly sceptical public into accepting the next stage, that of total repression of all independent thought.
For there can be no doubt that in spite of the power of the US and UK to get their way, they have failed miserably to either suppress the liberation struggle of the Iraqi people, nor have they managed to address the issues of the increasing poverty of the poor of the world (Bob Geldof notwithstanding) even as we get richer. Add to this the issue of climate change, corruption in government, indeed a slew of issues for which they have no answers, then it becomes clear that the only answer is increased repression.
The issue then is patently not that of the British or US state’s response to terror for the terror is of their making, not only the terror they have reigned down on the innocent (94% of all the casualties in Iraq are civilian and many of these under the age of 25) but the use of terror at home, whether via their proxies or even those of their former employees whose nihilistic ‘ideology’ prompts them to ‘bring the war home’.
For the bottom line is a state that is itself based upon violence and that, as history reveals, always has been. To talk then of criminalising those who “attack…the values of the West” is not only hyperbole but utter hypocrisy.
And make no mistake, if we allow it, unlike the Fascism of Mussolini (clearly Tony Blair’s inspiration whether through the force of history or a conscious act of will) or that of the Third Reich, one day, with luck, I’ll be sitting once more on Streatham Common and no doubt it will look pretty much the same as it did on that day in July 2005, except I won’t be writing this column, for ‘ordinary Fascism’ will preclude such musings.