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Year 2005 No. 99, July 20, 2005 ARCHIVE HOME JBBOOKS SUBSCRIBE

State Terrorism and “Perverted Logic”

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State Terrorism and “Perverted Logic”

For Your Information: Further Draconian “Anti-Terrorist” Measures Planned by the Government

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State Terrorism and “Perverted Logic”

The government’s assertion that the London bombings and other such attacks have no connection with Britain’s foreign policy suffered several major rebuttals this week.  Yet the Prime Minister and others continued to argue that such a connection could only be established on the basis of what was referred to as “perverted logic”.

            First, Chatham House published Security, Terrorism and the UK. This is the first of a series of briefing paper based on a five-year academic research programme, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which suggested that Britain is at particular risk from such attacks. This is because, amongst other things, “it is the closest ally of the United States, (and) has deployed armed forces in the military campaigns to topple the Taleban regime in Afghanistan and in Iraq”.

            The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, when interviewed by the BBC claimed that he was “astonished if Chatham House is now saying that we should not have stood shoulder to shoulder with our long standing allies in the United States”. He then went on to say that “the time for excuses for terrorism is over” and presented the government’s view that “terrorists” have struck in many countries, both those that supported the invasion of Iraq and those that did not.

            Then the Chatham House report was followed by and ICM opinion poll published in the Guardian, which showed: “Two-thirds of Britons believe there is a link between Tony Blair's decision to invade Iraq and the London bombings despite government claims to the contrary.” Following that, on Wednesday, the Labour Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, who was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, argued that several factors had created the conditions for such attacks to take place including “80 years of western intervention into predominantly Arab lands because of the western need for oil”. He went onto say that Britain and the US had “propped up unsavoury governments”, and “overthrown ones we didn't consider sympathetic ”. He also added that “a lot of young people see the double standards, they see what happens in Guantanamo Bay, and they just think that there isn't a just foreign policy", and he denounced “those governments which use indiscriminate slaughter to advance their foreign policy”.

            The government’s position boils down to the assertion that it and its allies can use any means to achieve their aims, even if these means are violent and illegal, since these aims are entirely laudable and based on “civilised” and “universal” values. Thus it attempts to develop an ideology and make out a case to justify state terrorism, while at the same time hypocritically condemning the use of violence for political ends. What is more, in a week in which it is announced that members of the British Army are to be tried for war crimes in Iraq and the media is full of reports of imminent civil war in that country, the government is still attempting to peddle the myth that it is a force for good in the world, that it is spreading democracy and a factor for peace and security.

            The government is using the terrible events of July 7 and those of this week for its own purposes. The full story behind those events has not yet been told but even so the government’s explanation, that these are acts simply carried out by those influenced by an “evil ideology” and have no connection with the crimes carried out by Britain, the US and others, is one that has no credibility. What is clear is that the government refuses to accept responsibility for all the consequences of its past crimes and those of its predecessors. Indeed it is daily carrying out more criminal acts throughout the world, creating an ever more dangerous situation at home as well as abroad.

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For Your Information

Further Draconian “Anti-Terrorist” Measures Planned by the Government

In the wake of the bombing outrages of July 7, Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, won Opposition support to speed through new “anti-terrorism” legislation. New offences will be created of receiving training in terrorist techniques; of indirectly inciting terrorism and of committing acts “preparatory to terrorism”. They will be pushed on to the statute book by December, six months earlier than planned. The Home Secretary announced that the major differences between the Labour government and the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had been resolved. Detailed discussions on the legislation will begin in September, with the new Counter Terrorism Bill published in October and becoming law within two months.

            Mr Clarke said: “We believe that is the right way to go and we believe it will enable us to address the threat we face with a unity and determination which is critical ... The central message from today is the determination by all of us to legislate on counter-terrorism and make progress on the matters we have been discussing.” Before the bombings, the government had intended to publish its “anti-terrorism” proposals in the spring with a view to them becoming law next summer.

            Charles Clarke won the backing of David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, and Mark Oaten, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, after the Home Secretary agreed to a Tory suggestion that a planned debate on the government's “control orders” should be postponed until next year.

            One of the chief proposals for the Counter Terrorism Bill is to create an offence of “indirect incitement to commit terrorist acts”, which is reported to be intended to cover Islamic preachers who appear to condone violence.

            In a statement to the House of Commons earlier today (July 20), the Home Secretary said: “The heart of the Bill is the creation of three new offences. The first of these criminalises acts preparatory to terrorism in order to ensure that early intervention does not mean that those responsible, who may be planning very serious terrorist crimes, should escape prosecution. The new offence will capture those planning serious acts of terrorism.

            “The second proposed new offence focuses on indirect incitement to terrorism. Direct incitement to commit acts of violence is already a criminal offence. The proposal targets those who, although not directly inciting, glorify and condone terrorist acts, knowing full well that the effect on their listeners will be to encourage them to turn to terrorism. So indirect incitement, when it is done with the intention of inciting others to commit acts of terrorism—that is an important qualification—will become a criminal offence.

            “Thirdly, the Bill will deal with the giving and receiving of terrorist training. Our existing law already criminalises much activity that could fall within that description, but we want to close the gaps to make sure that anyone who gives or receives training in terrorist techniques is covered. Legislating for those last two offences will enable the UK to ratify the Council of Europe convention on the prevention of terrorism, which I very much welcome. The Bill will also make a number of other amendments to existing legislation, which are set out in the letter that I have placed in the Library of the House.”

            At a meeting in Downing Street on July 19, the Prime Minister demanded that community leaders put forward proposals on how to tackle the rise of “Islamic extremism”, particularly among young Muslims.

            Tony Blair's official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has said that we have to recognise where this perversion of Islam came from and we have to recognise that all of us need to stand together and that includes the Muslim community.”

            Downing Street refused to give a list of those invited to No 10. The Prime Minister also met President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan at Downing Street.

            Tony Blair told the Cabinet last week that people blamed “anything but faith”, “including poverty, discrimination or the war on Iraq" for the bombings. His remarks appeared to contradict Brian Paddick, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, who said in the immediate aftermath of the bombings that the words “terrorist” and “Islam” did not go together.

     The government is also to set up a global database of “extremists” who face automatic vetting before being allowed in, Home Secretary Charles Clarke told MPs. He said the database would list "unacceptable behaviour" such as radical preaching, websites and writing articles intended to foment terrorism. An individual’s presence on the list means that they may face exclusion from the UK. Charles Clarke told MPs he wanted to apply more widely the home secretary's powers to exclude an individual from the UK if their presence is deemed "not conducive to the public interest".

            Charles Clarke said that he had asked the Home Office, Foreign Office and the intelligence agencies to "establish a full database of individuals around the world who have demonstrated relevant behaviours".

            In a Commons statement, he said: "In the circumstances we now face, I have decided that it is right to broaden the use of these powers to deal with those who foment terrorism or seek to provoke others to terrorist acts. I intend to draw up a list of unacceptable behaviours which would fall into this - for example preaching, running websites or writing articles which are intended to foment or provoke terrorism." He said there would be consultation before the final list of "unacceptable behaviours" was decided upon.

            The Prime Minister also outlined his intentions for holding an “international conference for countries concerned about or affected by Islamic extremism”. He said that the aim was "to try and take concerted action across the world to try to root out this type of extremist teaching".

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