The Guardian 13 July, 2005

The London bombings

Last Thursday the people of London experienced a vicious attack which left dozens of victims dead and hundreds horribly injured after four bombs exploded on underground trains and in a bus. The city's transport system was completely shut down, and telecommunications systems were interrupted. The dead and injured include several Australians.

London emergency crews did heroic work rescuing the survivors. The plans for such an attack were also very thorough. Emergency authorities have long been aware of the risks to people of major UK cities because of British involvement in Ireland and the Middle East in particular.

The attacks occurred during the Gleneagles conference of leaders of the world's eight most powerful industrialised nations. Immediately after the attacks some British commentators blamed the thousands of activists who had protested at the failure of many of those leaders to address issues of world trade, poverty and global warming.

This accusation persisted for a considerable time, despite the fact that the demonstrators' actions were completely open and opposed to the violent imposition of rule by military force or urban terrorism.

After the bombings there were several examples of British officials attempting to deny that the explosions were attacks, or that they might be related to the role of Britain in the Middle East or its involvement in Iraq or Afghanistan.

An hour and a half after the attacks began UK Prime Minister Tony Blair was still saying that he was unsure whether it was a terrorist attack, even though the organisation and method of attack are clearly consistent with this.

Yet such an attack should not be ruled out in response to Britain's alliance with the United States in the invasion of Iraq. Last year a retiring London Police Commissioner warned that such an attack was "only a matter of time".

The Deputy-Assistant Commissioner for London Police, Brian Paddick, was quick to dispute a claim by "the Secret Group of al-Qaida in Europe" which was posted on the internet three and a half hours after the attack. A group with a similar name claimed responsibility for the Madrid bombing, which killed 191 people.

The message relates directly to Australia. It stated that "We continue to warn the governments of Denmark and Italy and all crusader governments that they will receive the same punishment if they do not withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan."

Paddick claimed that after any attack numerous groups would always claim responsibility, even though no other group had done so, or has since.

The prolongation of the war, the revelations about falsified evidence to justify it, and the continuing toll of death and injuries in both Iraq and Afghanistan have increased public resistance to both these US-led wars.

Australia and governments in a number of other countries have indicated they will review their emergency plans and introduce more "security" measures. NSW Labor Premier Bob Carr has flagged that private bus operators will be given sweeping new police powers under legislation being drawn up. Other states and the federal government are also in drafting mode, making the most of the bombings to impose further restrictions on democratic rights and freedoms.

Truth turned on its head

Blair has notably avoided mentioning continued UK involvement in the Iraq war. Instead, he pointedly blamed the attackers for wanting to impose an extremist, alien and hostile way of life on Britain.

He spoke of "our determination to defend our values and our way of life", and "what we hold dear in this country and in other civilised nations throughout the world" as opposed to "a desire to impose extremism on the world".

The truth is that the people of Afghanistan and Iraq want to get the foreign troops off their soil. They want peace, they want their independence and sovereignty back, including control over their economies and natural resources, in Iraq's case, its oil.

The only threat that Iraq ever posed was to the global expansionist plans of US and British corporations to take over and rob the people of their resources and independence.

Blair is under tremendous pressure because of the recently disclosed "Whitehall memo", which demonstrated that evidence of WMDs in Iraq had been fabricated in order to justify invasion by US and Britain. The last thing he would want now is evidence to the British people that the war in Iraq could move to their doorsteps.

The Australian mass media has also gone to great lengths to avoid making connections between the London bombings and Britain's role in the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and the possibility that Australia is a target because of its participation as an ally of the US.

These attempts to avoid linking the London bombings with the Iraq war are similar to the Spanish government's reaction to the Madrid bombings. After the Madrid attack the conservative Spanish Prime Minister unsuccessfully tried to blame ETA for the bombing, to draw attention away from its involvement in the Iraq war. The government was defeated in elections and Spanish forces were withdrawn from Iraq.

Gleneagles conference

Although the initial claims linking the Gleneagles protestors with the bombing have no basis in truth, there is a link between the London bombings and the subject matter of the Gleneagles conference.

At Gleneagles Bush bluntly and arrogantly stated he wasn't going to sign the Kyoto agreement about limiting global warming, because it would damage the US economy i.e. reduce some of the obscene corporate profits. However, much of the global warming arises from the emission of carbon dioxide, most of which comes from burning petrol and fossil fuels. The world's biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions is the USA.

The dominant economy of the US is dependent on access to oil and control of the currency in which oil is traded, threats to both of which provided the motivation for the US-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, the US is determined to retain military facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan because of their strategic positions in relation to its plans for the Middle East, Russia and China. This is the ultimate cause of the suffering of the people in attacks on London.

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