The Guardian 27 July, 2005

Editorial

Remove the causes of terrorism

At each new terrorist act the Australian, British and US governments use the opportunity to tighten the legislative screws directed against alleged terrorists. The latest moves include proposals to ban those holding what are said to be extreme Islamic fundamentalist views, to ban books which are said to contain incitement to terrorist acts, even to deport (to where?) those who are alleged to be preparing terrorist acts, etc.

There is talk of extending the time that ASIO can have a person held in detention without being charged and police and also proposals for private security being able to search peopleís bags at random.

To add a new element to the armoury, Howard has suggested the issuing of an ID card for every single man, woman and child in the Australian community.

Of course, there is no recognition in the governmentís discourse that no amount of intrusion upon the civil rights of ordinary citizens will prevent enraged individuals who are hell-bent on taking their own lives and those of others in the community from carrying out their misguided plans.

There is no talk by most of these political leaders of removing the obvious causes of terrorism, even to the point of denying that the Iraq war has anything to do with the upsurge in violence that has taken place since the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

There is a decidedly anti-Islamic and racist coverage of events that is not blunted even where it reports these same dishonest political leaders attempting to enlist "moderate" Islamic clerics in their "war on terrorism".

Let us say it again for the record that the Communist Party of Australia and The Guardian condemn without reservation or exception acts of violence which are solely directed against civilians and kill those who are innocent bystanders.

Terrorist acts play into the hands of conservatives and are used by conservative political forces to advance their agendas. Assassinations and the killing of innocent civilians have always been rejected by progressive, revolutionary organisations.

It must be emphasised once again that much of the present (and proposed) legislation has a decidedly undemocratic flavour. It can be easily used against other sections of the community once enacted. Powers are being given to the authorities, one consequence of which is to be seen in the cold-blooded murder in London of the innocent Brazilian who just happened to come under the suspicious eyes of the police. The British police have been issued with weapons to kill and have been given the right to shoot on sight any suspicious person. The Australian military have also been given similar powers to shoot and kill civilians.

The British government thinks an apology from the police will suffice, and stands by the right of police to repeat this murderous act. This is where the present legislation and other supposed counter-terrorist measures can lead.

There is also a warning to be sounded about proposals to start banning books. Banning ideas is a sure way to popularise those very ideas and, in any case, it is today impossible to prevent the circulation of idea across any and all frontiers. Hasnít this truth been demonstrated many times in the past? Their worthiness may vary, but banned books become popular and sought after, banned films inevitably find a way of being shown in clandestine ways. It is not the first time it has been said that it is impossible to impale an idea on the point of a bayonet and that an erroneous idea can only be replaced with a better idea.

Terrorist ideas and actions can only be overcome when the causes that give rise to them have been removed. These causes are the massive social and economic injustices that have become even more prevalent in the world in recent times. Today, the first step that has to be taken towards a more secure, peaceful international community is the ending the monstrous Iraq war and the huge suffering and death it is bringing to the Iraqi people. No matter how many times that John Howard attempts to deny this connection, it will remain until the war and occupation ended.

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