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Apocalypse Now or Pack of Lies?*
UK Airport Terror Plot

Felicity Arbuthnot**


Security policies developed apparently in some government insane asylum

August 29, 2006

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populous alarmed (and hence, clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.

- H.L. Mencken, 1920

Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil ... to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it.

- General Douglas MacArthur, 1957

On September 11, 2001, when Prime Minister Blair announced, in the wake of the disaster of the Twin Towers apparently without discussing Britain's stance with his Cabinet and with no debate in Parliament that Britain stood "shoulder to shoulder" with the United States, the refrain on the street, on the bus, among friends was broadly "thanks a bunch, Tony, we are all targets now." Inspite of the outpouring of sympathy for innocent lives lost, people were mindful of possible reasons, such as the 21 countries attacked or destabilized by America since 1945.

Yet when London's bombings of July 7, 2005, took place, grief and sadness were accompanied by huge doses of cynicism. The emergency services in an "extraordinary coincidence" were conducting, that very day, an excercise to test their response if a number of tube stations and trains were bombed simultaneously. This is according to Peter Power, CEO of Visor Consulting, who spoke on BBC Radio 5 that same day: "At the half past nine this morning we were actually running an exercise for a company of over a thousand people in London based on simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened this morning" (Prison Planet).

Questioning Why

Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who had "guided" New Yorkers through the Trade Center trauma, just happened to be in town to tell Londoners that this was their 9/11 and that the world was a dangerous place, populated with people who resented our freedoms, way of life, and democracies. (Try reading Britain's Terrorism Act and freedoms long gone further: According to the Independent, 3,023 new "crimes" have been introduced since the Blair government's inception in 1997, including "purchasing Polish potatoes.")

So again, when Britain woke to news of an apocalyptic wave of attacks and "mass murder on an unimaginable scale" (Metropolitan Police) on airliners crossing the Atlantic, it also woke to a wave of skepticism and blame. Was an unthinkable act set up with extraordinary timing to remind us of the "menaces" we face as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine hemorrhage into hell and Lebanon lies in ruins, their citizens from the infant to the senior lying under them, in another illegal invasion where the United States, Britain, and Israel are seen by most of the world as indivisible?

Simon Carr, political sketch writer for the Independent wrote of cause, if it were a genuine plot. Security levels had been raised to seven-headed-beast level. "Arrival of anti-Christ imminent." Questioning why, he referred to Blair's recent messianic speech: We invaded Iraq (and elsewhere) "to change their value system." "We what?" asks Carr. Continuing re Blair: "My values are the values of the entire world" is delusional, bedlamic (Bedlam: a notorious 19th century mental institution), as well as extraordinarily rude to the rest of the world. And as "our values" include vaporizing entire cities, I wouldn't want to spread them round indiscriminately. Out of eight hundred (mainly Muslim) arrests under new draconian anti-terror laws, he cites just three convictions. He ends by quoting poet Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) on an epitaph on a far away tombstone: "A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East."

On August 13, an Independent editorial trod a fine line, condemning any excuse for acts of terrorism, but citing again Prime Minister Blair's recent speech in Los Angeles: "... a war not just against terrorism but about how the world should govern itself in the 21st century, about global values." This elemental struggle was in part between "reactionary Islam and moderate, mainstream Islam hence Afghanistan, hence Iraq." George W. Bush's "Crusade" in which he enjoined Britain is either forgotten or the silent "elephant in the living room."

Azzan Tamimi, director of London's Institute of Islamic Thought, commented that, inspite of a vast cost, "I suspect that the entire episode ... to be a utility of a government seriously short of public support. I wonder (also) whether [it is] to smear the image of Islam at a time when the world can see they are the victims of an unjust USA/UK dominated world order."

Victims and Prejudices

George Bush and Tony Blair love the limelight of their fatuous war leader status

While there have been the aggressor-as-the-eternal-victim headlines "Target Britain," "Bomb plot 'just the tip of the iceberg' of UK al-Qa'ida activity" and the manic tabloid The Sun: "Hate-filled Mums willing to sacrifice themselves and their babies are being hunted in the war on terror" , global coverage too has been interesting. Paul Joseph Watson, TV presenter whose Prison Planet website reaches millions, responded paraphrasing Bush's 9/11 take: "You're either with us or with the babies." Bush, of course, within moments of London's chaos had a new war with "Islamic fascists." At the time, it was not known who had been arrested. A familiar pattern now emerges of those in custody being described as normal people with normal jobs. Home Secretary John Reid, who to many defies anything humanity should represent, declared that those responsible were now in custody thus instantly giving the defense lawyers a gift by immediately prejudicing any trial.

Further, a new kind of bomb, the world was told, had been identified. It could be hidden in drinks taken on flights. All drinks were banned. However, Info Wars website had the headline "Liquid terror ... terrorists planned to mix liquids so why are they being poured into airport bins?" with an accompanying photograph of just that. No wonder Britain and America are spearheading any excuse to restrict the Internet.

Passengers in London, the city that is to host the Olympics in six years' time (and presumably become a prime target), endured unprecedented peacetime chaos, deprivation, disorganization, theft, and twenty thousand lost bags. Others were reportedly left planeside in the open, in pouring rain. A "ring of steel" security operation was implemented, so stringent that a 12-year-old runaway managed to board a flight to Lisbon, Portugal, without parents, passport, money, or ticket. Security was "child's play." Passengers in all airports were not allowed to board with hand baggage and were told to put their valuables into suitcases destined for the hold. Predictably, countless suitcases were collected slashed open, with valuables gone.

Insane Security Policies

Gatwick, Britain's second largest airport, admits to a 200 percent increase in theft. Perhaps British and American authorities should be looking at some of the references of their planeside staff and baggage handlers. Numerous passengers found their flights grounded or missed them (and their bags) because they failed to get through the security checks on time. British Airports Authority (BAA) blames the airlines and the airlines are blaming BAA. Some airlines are threatening to sue the government.

Security policies developed apparently in some government insane asylum, include airline pilots who wear contact lenses being forbidden to take lens solution on board, according to the president of the British Airline Pilots Association, who added wryly, "It gives a whole new meaning to blind flying." On a flight from Malaga, Spain, to Manchester, UK, passengers mutinied when they heard two of their number apparently speaking Arabic, resulting in them being ejected from the flight.

The Britain of Asian extraction who remarked to the effect that there would soon be a new crime of attempting to fly if olive skinned is apparently already proved correct. Passenger profiling is the new security game in town. Spot anyone in an airline queue looking nervous or distracted, or sweating and give them a good grilling. In the current clime that is probably all but those with nerves of reinforced steel.

A Chaotic Scene

Whoever is responsible for this chaos, denial is rife. Prime Minister Blair says British foreign policy has nothing to do with "alienation by sections of the community" inspite of a letter to him from every aspect of Muslim society in the United Kingdom stating just that. David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, talks of "radicalization within our shores and facing a threat from fundamentalism and terror."

Meanwhile, Blair asks for help from the Muslim community while denying desperate requests from relatives of British residents held in the US concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, uncharged and in despairing legal limbo, year after hopeless year. However, attention is forever on the Muslim community. Attention needs to be paid to the anger and outrage expressed in the United Kingdom by ordinary British citizens from all aspects of society. Two million of every color, class, and creed marched against the Iraq invasion.

There is another oddity in the potential "apocalypse" faced by Britain and America. George Bush and Tony Blair love the limelight of their fatuous "war leader" status. Yet President Bush remains in these "apocalyptic times" in Crawford, Texas, and for Tony Blair, life's a beach on Barbados. No statesman-like rushing home in suits to reassure in funereal tone. Funny that. Do they know something we don't? Has "wolf" been cried once too often? Have Mencken's "imaginary hobgoblins" come home to roost? Oh, and it has to be wondered if the Olympic Committee is quietly looking at a switch to runner up, Paris.

:: Article nr. 26225 sent on 29-aug-2006 23:41 ECT


Link: www.islamonline.net/English/EuropeanMuslims/PoliticsCitizenship/2006/08/01.shtml

:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

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