Thursday, July 14, 2005

Galloway, Milne, Suicide, London

Happy Bastille Day! Anyone for storming a prison and impaling the head of a prison warden on a pike? Uh, maybe next year...

Today all postings are related to London in one form or another, mostly analyses placing the blame on UK foreign policy. I'll post other issues tomorrow. I especially recommend the second posting, which argues persuasively why such violence is not random.

1) Galloway is not backing down:

George Galloway: London bomb atrocities are the bitter fruit of Western policies in the Middle East
George Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green & Bow

No one can condone the violence aimed at working people going about their daily lives in London last Thursday. They have not been a party to, nor are they responsible for, the decisions of their government. They are entirely innocent and I, and Respect, condemn those who have killed or injured them.
I spent time at the Royal London hospital in my constituency where the medical staff toiled, without a break, to deal with the casualties. I walked among the emergency workers, including the firefighters from the stations that have had engines taken away from them as economy measures. I have spoken to the transport workers, whose heroism on the day is too rarely recognised and whose questions over the handling of the disaster have yet to be answered. These are all public-sector workers serving the public, not private interests, and they should stay in the public sector.

I have been attacked, from predictable quarters, for speaking out in parliament and in the media last Thursday. But within three hours of the atrocities Tony Blair and George Bush were claiming them as a vindication of their “war on terror”. That cannot be allowed to stand. The primary responsibility for last Thursday’s bloodshed lies with the perpetrators of those acts. However, the acts did not come out of a clear sky.

People killed in explosions by razor-sharp red-hot steel and splintering flying glass die the same death whether they are in London or Fallujah. When the US armed forces, their backs guarded by our armed forces, reduced Fallujah to rubble not a whisper found its way into the House of Commons.

A swamp of hatred towards this country has been watered by the invasion and occupation of Iraq, by the daily destruction of Palestinian homes and by the occupation of Afghanistan. The enmity generated by those great events feeds the terrorism of bin Laden and the other Islamist terrorists. Is that such a controversial point?

When I was on the Labour benches and spoke in the aftermath of 9/11, I said that I despise Osama bin Laden. I have always despised him. I did so when the US and British governments set him to war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. I said nearly four years ago that if they handled 9/11 in the wrong way they would create 10,000 bin Ladens. Does anyone doubt that 10,000 bin Ladens at least have been created by the events of the past few years?

The pictures from Abu Ghraib, the hell of Guantanamo Bay, the daily humiliation of the Palestinians by Ariel Sharon’s forces - all these have contributed to the bitterness against us.

Blair’s government has hitched this country, against the will of the majority of its people, to Bush’s global ambitions. The government says this has nothing to do with Iraq because 9/11 happened before the invasion of that country. But Al Qaida took shape out of the last attack on Iraq, in 1991, and the murderous sanctions regime that followed only gave it another grievance to exploit.

The policies of successive US and British governments had already created manifold grievances. The anti-war movement, and the British government’s own security services, warned that the invasion of Iraq would inflame those grievances and make a terrorist attack in Britain more likely.

Bush and Blair said the war on Iraq would create a safer world - it has not. They said there were weapons of mass destruction - there were not. They said Al Qaida operated there - they did not. But they do now.

If the British government continues with this disastrous policy, greater disasters will follow - to the people of Iraq, to our troops in Iraq and to the citizens of our country. If we bomb them, they will bomb us.

The only way out of this morass is to reverse the policies that have taken us into it. As the Spanish people showed us last year, the way out is to withdraw from Iraq and to break from Bush’s war on terror. It is to address the grievances across the region, not to add to them by support for Israel’s Ariel Sharon, and for the corrupt kings and presidents of Arabia.

If we start to drain the swamp, we can look forward to the day it dries up, when the monsters that lurk in it will have nothing to feed on.

George Galloway was the only MP to challenge the consensus in parliament in the debates last Thursday following the bombings. You can find the record of his speech on Hansard <>

2) This analysis makes a lot of sense -- and note the publication source:

The Logic of Suicide Terrorism
It’s the occupation, not the fundamentalism

Last month, Scott McConnell caught up with Associate Professor Robert Pape of the University of Chicago, whose book on suicide terrorism, Dying to Win, is beginning to receive wide notice. Pape has found that the most common American perceptions about who the terrorists are and what motivates them are off by a wide margin. In his office is the world’s largest database of information about suicide terrorists, rows and rows of manila folders containing articles and biographical snippets in dozens of languages compiled by Pape and teams of graduate students, a trove of data that has been sorted and analyzed and which underscores the great need for reappraising the Bush administration’s current strategy. Below are excerpts from a conversation with the man who knows more about suicide terrorists than any other American.

By Scott McConnell

07/11/05 "American Conservative" - - : Your new book, Dying to Win, has a subtitle: The Logic of Suicide Terrorism. Can you just tell us generally on what the book is based, what kind of research went into it, and what your findings were?

Robert Pape: Over the past two years, I have collected the first complete database of every suicide-terrorist attack around the world from 1980 to early 2004. This research is conducted not only in English but also in native-language sources—Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, and Tamil, and others—so that we can gather information not only from newspapers but also from products from the terrorist community. The terrorists are often quite proud of what they do in their local communities, and they produce albums and all kinds of other information that can be very helpful to understand suicide-terrorist attacks.

This wealth of information creates a new picture about what is motivating suicide terrorism. Islamic fundamentalism is not as closely associated with suicide terrorism as many people think. The world leader in suicide terrorism is a group that you may not be familiar with: the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.

This is a Marxist group, a completely secular group that draws from the Hindu families of the Tamil regions of the country. They invented the famous suicide vest for their suicide assassination of Rajiv Ghandi in May
1991. The Palestinians got the idea of the suicide vest from the Tamil Tigers.

TAC: So if Islamic fundamentalism is not necessarily a key variable behind these groups, what is?

RP: The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide-terrorist campaign—over 95 percent of all the incidents—has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw.

TAC: That would seem to run contrary to a view that one heard during the American election campaign, put forth by people who favor Bush’s policy. That is, we need to fight the terrorists over there, so we don’t have to fight them here.

RP: Since suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation and not Islamic fundamentalism, the use of heavy military force to transform Muslim societies over there, if you would, is only likely to increase the number of suicide terrorists coming at us.

Since 1990, the United States has stationed tens of thousands of ground troops on the Arabian Peninsula, and that is the main mobilization appeal of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. People who make the argument that it is a good thing to have them attacking us over there are missing that suicide terrorism is not a supply-limited phenomenon where there are just a few hundred around the world willing to do it because they are religious fanatics. It is a demand-driven phenomenon. That is, it is driven by the presence of foreign forces on the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. The operation in Iraq has stimulated suicide terrorism and has given suicide terrorism a new lease on life.

TAC: If we were to back up a little bit before the invasion of Iraq to what happened before 9/11, what was the nature of the agitprop that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were putting out to attract people?

RP: Osama bin Laden’s speeches and sermons run 40 and 50 pages long. They begin by calling tremendous attention to the presence of tens of thousands of American combat forces on the Arabian Peninsula.
In 1996, he went on to say that there was a grand plan by the United States—that the Americans were going to use combat forces to conquer Iraq, break it into three pieces, give a piece of it to Israel so that Israel could enlarge its country, and then do the same thing to Saudi Arabia. As you can see, we are fulfilling his prediction, which is of tremendous help in his mobilization appeals.

TAC: The fact that we had troops stationed on the Arabian Peninsula was not a very live issue in American debate at all. How many Saudis and other people in the Gulf were conscious of it?

RP: We would like to think that if we could keep a low profile with our troops that it would be okay to station them in foreign countries. The truth is, we did keep a fairly low profile. We did try to keep them away from Saudi society in general, but the key issue with American troops is their actual combat power. Tens of thousands of American combat troops, married with air power, is a tremendously powerful tool.

Now, of course, today we have 150,000 troops on the Arabian Peninsula, and we are more in control of the Arabian Peninsula than ever before.

TAC: If you were to break down causal factors, how much weight would you put on a cultural rejection of the West and how much weight on the presence of American troops on Muslim territory?

RP: The evidence shows that the presence of American troops is clearly the pivotal factor driving suicide terrorism.

If Islamic fundamentalism were the pivotal factor, then we should see some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world, like Iran, which has 70 million people—three times the population of Iraq and three times the population of Saudi Arabia—with some of the most active groups in suicide terrorism against the United States. However, there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Iran, and we have no evidence that there are any suicide terrorists in Iraq from Iran.

Sudan is a country of 21 million people. Its government is extremely Islamic fundamentalist. The ideology of Sudan was so congenial to Osama bin Laden that he spent three years in Sudan in the 1990s. Yet there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Sudan.

I have the first complete set of data on every al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from 1995 to early 2004, and they are not from some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world. Two thirds are from the countries where the United States has stationed heavy combat troops since 1990.

Another point in this regard is Iraq itself. Before our invasion, Iraq never had a suicide-terrorist attack in its history. Never. Since our invasion, suicide terrorism has been escalating rapidly with 20 attacks in 2003, 48 in 2004, and over 50 in just the first five months of 2005. Every year that the United States has stationed 150,000 combat troops in Iraq, suicide terrorism has doubled.

TAC: So your assessment is that there are more suicide terrorists or potential suicide terrorists today than there were in March 2003?

RP: I have collected demographic data from around the world on the 462 suicide terrorists since 1980 who completed the mission, actually killed themselves. This information tells us that most are walk-in volunteers. Very few are criminals. Few are actually longtime members of a terrorist group. For most suicide terrorists, their first experience with violence is their very own suicide-terrorist attack.

There is no evidence there were any suicide-terrorist organizations lying in wait in Iraq before our invasion. What is happening is that the suicide terrorists have been produced by the invasion.

TAC: Do we know who is committing suicide terrorism in Iraq? Are they primarily Iraqis or walk-ins from other countries in the region?

RP: Our best information at the moment is that the Iraqi suicide terrorists are coming from two groups—Iraqi Sunnis and Saudis—the two populations most vulnerable to transformation by the presence of large American combat troops on the Arabian Peninsula. This is perfectly consistent with the strategic logic of suicide terrorism.

TAC: Does al-Qaeda have the capacity to launch attacks on the United States, or are they too tied down in Iraq? Or have they made a strategic decision not to attack the United States, and if so, why?

RP: Al-Qaeda appears to have made a deliberate decision not to attack the United States in the short term. We know this not only from the pattern of their attacks but because we have an actual al-Qaeda planning document found by Norwegian intelligence. The document says that al-Qaeda should not try to attack the continent of the United States in the short term but instead should focus its energies on hitting America’s allies in order to try to split the coalition.

What the document then goes on to do is analyze whether they should hit Britain, Poland, or Spain. It concludes that they should hit Spain just before the March 2004 elections because, and I am quoting almost verbatim: Spain could not withstand two, maximum three, blows before withdrawing from the coalition, and then others would fall like dominoes.

That is exactly what happened. Six months after the document was produced, al-Qaeda attacked Spain in Madrid. That caused Spain to withdraw from the coalition. Others have followed. So al-Qaeda certainly has demonstrated the capacity to attack and in fact they have done over 15 suicide-terrorist attacks since 2002, more than all the years before 9/11 combined. Al-Qaeda is not weaker now. Al-Qaeda is stronger.

TAC: What would constitute a victory in the War on Terror or at least an improvement in the American situation?

RP: For us, victory means not sacrificing any of our vital interests while also not having Americans vulnerable to suicide-terrorist attacks. In the case of the Persian Gulf, that means we should pursue a strategy that secures our interest in oil but does not encourage the rise of a new generation of suicide terrorists.
In the 1970s and the 1980s, the United States secured its interest in oil without stationing a single combat soldier on the Arabian Peninsula. Instead, we formed an alliance with Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which we can now do again. We relied on numerous aircraft carriers off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and naval air power now is more effective not less. We also built numerous military bases so that we could move large numbers of ground forces to the region quickly if a crisis emerged.

That strategy, called “offshore balancing,” worked splendidly against Saddam Hussein in 1990 and is again our best strategy to secure our interest in oil while preventing the rise of more suicide terrorists.

TAC: Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders also talked about the “Crusaders-Zionist alliance,” and I wonder if that, even if we weren’t in Iraq, would not foster suicide terrorism. Even if the policy had helped bring about a Palestinian state, I don’t think that would appease the more hardcore opponents of Israel.

RP: I not only study the patterns of where suicide terrorism has occurred but also where it hasn’t occurred. Not every foreign occupation has produced suicide terrorism. Why do some and not others? Here is where religion matters, but not quite in the way most people think. In virtually every instance where an occupation has produced a suicide-terrorist campaign, there has been a religious difference between the occupier and the occupied community. That is true not only in places such as Lebanon and in Iraq today but also in Sri Lanka, where it is the Sinhala Buddhists who are having a dispute with the Hindu Tamils.

When there is a religious difference between the occupier and the occupied, that enables terrorist leaders to demonize the occupier in especially vicious ways. Now, that still requires the occupier to be there. Absent the presence of foreign troops, Osama bin Laden could make his arguments but there wouldn’t be much reality behind them. The reason that it is so difficult for us to dispute those arguments is because we really do have tens of thousands of combat soldiers sitting on the Arabian Peninsula.

TAC: Has the next generation of anti-American suicide terrorists already been created? Is it too late to wind this down, even assuming your analysis is correct and we could de-occupy Iraq?

RP: Many people worry that once a large number of suicide terrorists have acted that it is impossible to wind it down. The history of the last 20 years, however, shows the opposite. Once the occupying forces withdraw from the homeland territory of the terrorists, they often stop—and often on a dime.

In Lebanon, for instance, there were 41 suicide-terrorist attacks from 1982 to 1986, and after the U.S. withdrew its forces, France withdrew its forces, and then Israel withdrew to just that six-mile buffer zone of Lebanon, they virtually ceased. They didn’t completely stop, but there was no campaign of suicide terrorism. Once Israel withdrew from the vast bulk of Lebanese territory, the suicide terrorists did not follow Israel to Tel Aviv.

This is also the pattern of the second Intifada with the Palestinians. As Israel is at least promising to withdraw from Palestinian-controlled territory (in addition to some other factors), there has been a decline of that ferocious suicide-terrorist campaign. This is just more evidence that withdrawal of military forces really does diminish the ability of the terrorist leaders to recruit more suicide terrorists.

That doesn’t mean that the existing suicide terrorists will not want to keep going. I am not saying that Osama bin Laden would turn over a new leaf and suddenly vote for George Bush. There will be a tiny number of people who are still committed to the cause, but the real issue is not whether Osama bin Laden exists. It is whether anybody listens to him. That is what needs to come to an end for Americans to be safe from suicide terrorism.

TAC: There have been many kinds of non-Islamic suicide terrorists, but have there been Christian suicide terrorists?

RP: Not from Christian groups per se, but in Lebanon in the 1980s, of those suicide attackers, only eight were Islamic fundamentalists. Twenty-seven were Communists and Socialists. Three were Christians.

TAC: Has the IRA used suicide terrorism?

RP: The IRA did not. There were IRA members willing to commit suicide—the famous hunger strike was in 1981. What is missing in the IRA case is not the willingness to commit suicide, to kill themselves, but the lack of a suicide-terrorist attack where they try to kill others.

If you look at the pattern of violence in the IRA, almost all of the killing is front-loaded to the 1970s and then trails off rather dramatically as you get through the mid-1980s through the 1990s. There is a good reason for that, which is that the British government, starting in the mid-1980s, began to make numerous concessions to the IRA on the basis of its ordinary violence. In fact, there were secret negotiations in the 1980s, which then led to public negotiations, which then led to the Good Friday Accords. If you look at the pattern of the IRA, this is a case where they actually got virtually everything that they wanted through ordinary violence.

The purpose of a suicide-terrorist attack is not to die. It is the kill, to inflict the maximum number of casualties on the target society in order to compel that target society to put pressure on its government to change policy. If the government is already changing policy, then the whole point of suicide terrorism, at least the way it has been used for the last 25 years, doesn’t come up.

TAC: Are you aware of any different strategic decision made by al-Qaeda to change from attacking American troops or ships stationed at or near the Gulf to attacking American civilians in the United States?

RP: I wish I could say yes because that would then make the people reading this a lot more comfortable.
The fact is not only in the case of al-Qaeda, but in suicide-terrorist campaigns in general, we don’t see much evidence that suicide-terrorist groups adhere to a norm of attacking military targets in some circumstances and civilians in others.

In fact, we often see that suicide-terrorist groups routinely attack both civilian and military targets, and often the military targets are off-duty policemen who are unsuspecting. They are not really prepared for battle.
The reasons for the target selection of suicide terrorists appear to be much more based on operational rather than normative criteria. They appear to be looking for the targets where they can maximize the number of casualties.

In the case of the West Bank, for instance, there is a pattern where Hamas and Islamic Jihad use ordinary guerrilla attacks, not suicide attacks, mainly to attack settlers. They use suicide attacks to penetrate into Israel proper. Over 75 percent of all the suicide attacks in the second Intifada were against Israel proper and only 25 percent on the West Bank itself.

TAC: What do you think the chances are of a weapon of mass destruction being used in an American city?

RP: I think it depends not exclusively, but heavily, on how long our combat forces remain in the Persian Gulf. The central motive for anti-American terrorism, suicide terrorism, and catastrophic terrorism is response to foreign occupation, the presence of our troops. The longer our forces stay on the ground in the Arabian Peninsula, the greater the risk of the next 9/11, whether that is a suicide attack, a nuclear attack, or a biological attack.

Copyright © 2005 The American Conservative

3) Seumas Milne backs up Galloway:,16141,1528127,00.html

It is an insult to the dead to deny the link with Iraq

Tony Blair put his own people at risk in the serviceof a foreign power

Seumas Milne Thursday July 14, 2005The Guardian

In the grim days since last week's bombing of London,the bulk of Britain's political class and media hasdistinguished itself by a wilful and dangerous refusalto face up to reality. Just as it was brandedunpatriotic in the US after the 2001 attacks on NewYork and Washington to talk about the link withAmerican policy in the Middle East, so those who haveraised the evident connection between the Londonatrocities and Britain's role in Iraq and Afghanistanhave been denounced as traitors. And anyone who hasquestioned Tony Blair's echo of George Bush's fatefulwords on September 11 that this was an assault onfreedom and our way of life has been treated as anapologist for terror.

But while some allowance could be made in the Americancase for the shock of the attacks, the London bombingswere one of the most heavily trailed events in modernBritish history. We have been told repeatedly sincethe prime minister signed up to Bush's war on terrorthat an attack on Britain was a certainty - and havehad every opportunity to work out why that might be.Throughout the Afghan and Iraq wars, there has been astring of authoritative warnings about the certainboost it would give to al-Qaida-style terror groups.The only surprise was that the attacks were so longcoming.But when the newly elected Respect MP George Galloway- who might be thought to have some locus on thesubject, having overturned a substantial New Labourmajority over Iraq in a London constituency with alarge Muslim population - declared that Londoners hadpaid the price of a "despicable act" for thegovernment's failure to heed those warnings, he wasaccused by defence minister Adam Ingram of "dippinghis poisonous tongue in a pool of blood". Yesterday,the Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy was in thedock for a far more tentative attempt to question thissuffocating consensus. Even Ken Livingstone, who hadhimself warned of the danger posed to London by aninvasion of Iraq, has now claimed the bombings werenothing to do with the war - something he clearly doesnot believe.

A week on from the London outrage, this officialotherworldliness is once again in full flood, asministers and commentators express astonishment thatcricket-playing British-born Muslims from suburbiacould have become suicide bombers, while Blair blamesan "evil ideology". The truth is that no amount ofcondemnation of evil and self-righteous resolutenesswill stop terror attacks in the future. Respect forthe victims of such atrocities is supposed to precludeopen discussion of their causes in the aftermath - butthat is precisely when honest debate is most needed.

The wall of silence in the US after the much greatercarnage of 9/11 allowed the Bush administration to seta course that has been a global disaster. And there islittle sense in London that the official attitudereflects the more uncertain mood on the streets. Thereis every need for the kind of public mourning thatwill take place in London today, along with concertedaction to halt the backlash against Muslim Britonsthat claimed its first life in Nottingham at theweekend. But it is an insult to the dead to misleadpeople about the crucial factors fuelling this deadlyrage in Muslim communities across the world.

The first piece of disinformation long peddled bychampions of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistanis that al-Qaida and its supporters have no demandsthat could possibly be met or negotiated over; thatthey are really motivated by a hatred of westernfreedoms and way of life; and that their Islamistideology aims at global domination. The reality wasneatly summed up this week in a radio exchange betweenthe BBC's political editor, Andrew Marr, and itssecurity correspondent, Frank Gardner, who was leftdisabled by an al-Qaida attack in Saudi Arabia lastyear. Was it the "very diversity, that melting potaspect of London" that Islamist extremists found sooffensive that they wanted to kill innocent civiliansin Britain's capital, Marr wondered. "No, it's notthat," replied Gardner briskly, who is betteracquainted with al-Qaida thinking than most. "Whatthey find offensive are the policies of westerngovernments and specifically the presence of westerntroops in Muslim lands, notably Iraq and Afghanistan."

The central goal of the al-Qaida-inspired campaign, asits statements have regularly spelled out, is thewithdrawal of US and other western forces from theArab and Muslim world, an end to support for Israelioccupation of Palestinian land and a halt to supportfor oil-lubricated despots throughout the region.Those are also goals that unite an overwhelmingmajority of Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhereand give al-Qaida and its allies the chance to recruitand operate - in a way that their extreme religiousconservatism or dreams of restoring the medievalcaliphate never would. As even Osama bin Laden askedin his US election-timed video: if it was westernfreedom al-Qaida hated, "Why do we not strike Sweden?"
The second disinformation line peddled by governmentsupporters since last week's bombings is that theLondon attacks had nothing to do with Iraq. The LabourMP Tony Wright insisted that such an idea was "notonly nonsense, but dangerous nonsense". Blair hasargued that, since the 9/11 attacks predated the Iraqwar, outrage at the aggression could not have been thetrigger. It's perfectly true that Muslim anger overPalestine, western-backed dictatorships and theaftermath of the 1991 war against Iraq - US troops inArabia and a murderous sanctions regime against Iraq -was already intense before 2001 and fuelled al-Qaida'scampaign in the 1990s. But that was aimed at the US,not Britain, which only became a target when Blairbacked Bush's war on terror. Afghanistan made a terrorattack on Britain a likelihood; Iraq made it acertainty.

We can't of course be sure of the exact balance ofmotivations that drove four young suicide bombers tostrike last Thursday, but we can be certain that thebloodbath unleashed by Bush and Blair in Iraq - wherea 7/7 takes place every day - was at the very leastone of them. What they did was not "home grown", butdriven by a worldwide anger at US-led domination andoccupation of Muslim countries.

The London bombers were to blame for attacks oncivilians that are neither morally nor politicallydefensible. But the prime minister - who was warned byBritish intelligence of the risks in the run-up to thewar - is also responsible for knowingly putting hisown people at risk in the service of a foreign power.The security crackdowns and campaign to uproot an"evil ideology" the government announced yesterdaywill not extinguish the threat. Only a Britishcommitment to end its role in the bloody occupationsof Iraq and Afghanistan is likely to do that.

4) Another analysis, in a similar spirit:

The Horror In LondonBy Eric Margolis

07/11/05 "Foreign Correspondent" - - LONDON - After the worst bombings in London’s recent history, a determined Prime Minister Tony Blair declared: `The purpose of terrorism is just that – it is to terrorize people and we will not be terrorized.’

Blair spoke for all Britons. In the crowds milling about central London right after the four bombings, I saw people who were dazed, confused, and edgy, but there was no fear or mass panic. Britons rise to their fullest measure in adversity. And so they did on 7/7, their smaller version of America’s 9/11.

On the eve of the bombing, I had, along with thousands of other Londerners, ridden the two Underground Lines that were attacked. As I did so, I mused about the omnipresent danger posed by London’s extremely deep, narrow and poorly ventilated subway tunnels. My fears were amply confirmed fourteen hours later at King’s Cross station where trains became trapped far underground.

London’s emergency service functioned brilliantly treating the at least 52 dead and 700 wounded. There was none of the chaos or flag-waving patriotism we saw after 9/11 in New York. Britons uniformly exhibited stiff upper lips, coolness, and the good manners for which they are deservedly respected. I was very proud of them.

The bombings paralyzed London during morning rush hour, but by afternoon the city’s trademark red busses were again careening around corners and underground service partly resuming. There were no witch hunts or calls for revenge against London’s Muslims, 10% of that great city’s population.

A senior British police official made a point of declaring there is no reason why the words `Islamic’ and `terrorist’ should go together, even though Blair had just linked them.

The police official was right. The terrorists who struck London on 7/7 may have been Mideast, Pakistani or British Muslims, but their motivation was entirely political, not religious.

Britain’s most outspoken, controversial and, many would say, courageous MP, George Galloway, ignored the outpouring of platitudes from British and G8 politicians over the bombings and identified the real reason: `Londerners paid the price for Tony Blair’s decision to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan.’

A hitherto unknown group called European al-Qaida affirmed the transit attacks were indeed revenge for Britain’s invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. You can’t expect to invade other nations without getting some form of return fire.

Iraq and Afghanistan’s regimes were too feeble to resist US-British invasion, and quickly crumbled. But angry Mideasterners and Afghans have launched their own privatized war to counter-attack the west for its invasions of their nations. Lacking any modern arms or military organization they resort to their only major weapon, bombs – the poor man’s cruise missiles.

We are horrified that anyone would attack innocent civilians packed in subway cars. But the extremists and fanatics who do so say they are exacting revenge for the 500,000 Iraqi civilians who died, (confirmed by the UN), from the ten year US-British embargo of Iraq. For the criminal destruction in 1991 of Iraq’s water and sewage treatment plants that cause massive cholera and typhoid. Or for the occupation of Iraq and destruction of the city of Falluja that killed tens of thousands more civilians, and, of course, for Palestine.
We saw the frightful TV footage from the London bombing but no footage at all of the destruction of an entire Afghan village just days before by the US Air Force.

I am not in any way justifying terror attacks, only putting them into context. I believe US and British military forces do not target civilians – though this has happened far too often – but in the end what they term `collateral damage’ means many dead civilians.

When we kill them in droves, some of them will strike back. Calling on such avengers to fight fair is a waste of time. Claiming these extremists attacked because they hate our western way of life, as Bush and Blair have done, is dishonest. They attacked us because we have been attacking them.

As Tony Blair rightly said, murdering civilians on their way to work is `barbaric.’ But so is dropping bombs on Afghan or Iraqi villages, using tanks to crush Palestinian demonstrators, or the slaughter of 100,000 Chechen civilians by our ally, Russia.

The London bombing was clearly designed to humiliate President George Bush, who had declared his co-called `war on terror’ almost won.

If bin Laden was behind the attack, it showed America’s nemesis was still alive and dangerous. But the relatively modest number of casualties suggested this might not have been a bin Laden operation but one carried out by a new, like-minded extremist group. The attacks came embarrassingly right after Tony Blair had assured Olympic officials Britain’s security was solid.

The bombers may have come from among Europe’s 20-million strong Muslim community, or were perhaps angry, radicalized British youths of Mideast or Pakistani origin.

We do know the head of British counter-intelligence, MI5, just reported to Prime Minister Blair, `Iraq is producing a new generation of militants,’ replacing the former role of Afghanistan. CIA leaked a similar report last month. In other words, the US invasion of Iraq, which Bush now claims was designed to end terrorism, has back-fired badly and produces more extremists than ever.

Al-Qaida has gone from being a small, isolated organization into a hydra-headed transnational movement whose power and danger is growing.

So the bloody week of 7/7 should have made the G8 summit turn from pop star evangelism about saving Africa from itself to asking what the western powers can do about those hothouses now germinating anti-western violence, Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2005

5) Another analysis, in the same spirit:

July 7, 2005

The Message of TerrorLondon's BurningBy GILAD ATZMON*

We are used to seeing images of horrors from the Iraqi capital. For most Londoners and Britons, those images are nothing more than a remote call from a foreign country. Somehow, most of us have managed to forget that it is basically our government who is responsible for the continued horror in Iraq.

Today's images of horror are coming from London, seemingly, Baghdad and London appear to share a very similar fate.

I am sitting in my front room watching BBC 24 learning that the metropolitan police and the emergency services are operating according to a plan. Clearly they all anticipated such an attack. A government that is fully engaged in some criminal colonialist activity better prepare its voters for the outcome of its policies. A minute ago I heard Tony Blair telling the nation that 'our' determination to defend 'our values' of life is greater than 'their' determination to cause death and destruction. I ask myself, what values is he referring to? Surely the continuation of the robbery of Arab oil is a major value for Blair but it isn't my value. Tony Blair, a man who initiated a war without UN backing, a man with blood on his hands wants us to believe that he is really concerned about African poverty and climate changes.

Whether we like it or not, we must admit that Terror is a message and we better learn to listen to it attentively:
First, it tells us that we are as vulnerable as anyone else.

Second, it tells us that we may have to let other people live their life according to their values and beliefs.
Third, it tells us that we must never again give our votes to war criminals.

More than anything else it tells us that we have a moral duty. It is down to us to stop our governments. It is our duty to stand up and to demand the resignation of Blair who is responsible for the death of so many Iraqis and arguably now many Innocent Britons. We must remember that voting in a non-ethical politician makes us all into active shareholders in a criminal company.

We know already that both in America and Israel the consequences of terror led the general public towards an endorsement of right wing zealously. I do hope that the British people will follow the Spanish public's reaction. Warmongers and militant aggressors must be ousted from our political climate. Only then peace will prevail.

6) On the bus bombing's location:,16141,1526575,00.html

Story of a street

It gave birth to the nuclear bomb, was home to Yeatsand Dickens and withstood the Blitz. But from now on aLondon street that begins at the Strand and ends inHampstead, will evoke the image of a mangled number 30bus. John Lanchester says the bombers will not hijackthe memories of his favourite street

Tuesday July 12, 2005The Guardian

No street in London changes its name as often in asshort a space as the one which starts at the BBC'soverseas broadasting centre Bush House, just aroundthe corner from the Strand. The street begins, below abad piece of sculpture by the American artist MalvinaHoffman depicting Anglo-American friendship, as thecharacterless, traffic-despoiled Kingsway. A couple ofhundred metres later, at the perma-jammed crossroadswith Holborn, it is reborn as Southampton Row. Abouttwo hundred metres ahead it becomes the pretty buthorribly polluted Russell Square, then turns brieflyinto Woburn Place, then leafy Tavistock Square, thenUpper Woburn Place, shortest-lived of its many names,for a scant hundred metres, before becoming grimEversholt Street, then manic Camden High Street, thengrimy Chalk Farm Road, before growing slowly posher asit climbs Haverstock Hill and becomes Rosslyn Hill andthen Hamptstead High Street. Once you've noticed this,its hard not to be amused by it, and to take it as anexample of the crowded specificity of London - atribute to the city's sheer amount of history, oflives, of human density.

One of the most important moments in human historyhappened in this street, on September 12 1933.

TheHungarian physicist Leo Szilard was standing waitingfor a light to change at the point where SouthamptonRow becomes Russell Square. That morning, the papershad reported a British Association speech by ErnestRutherford, concerning the splitting of atomic nuclei.The 33-year-old Szilard, a friend and colleague ofEinstein's - they had patented an unusable butingenious new kind of magnet-powered fridge - had beenthinking deeply on the subject.When the green signal came and Slizard moved,something about that moment of stepping off the kerbput an idea into his head: what would happen ifneutrons were smashed into the nuclei of atoms in away that released two neutrons from the second atom?You would get two neutrons for the price of one, andif those two neutrons did the same, then you'd havefour, and then four for eight, and so on, and veryquickly "it might be possible to set up a nuclearchain reaction, liberate energy on an industrialscale, and construct atomic bombs". And all this cameto Szilard in one blinding revelation, as he crossedSouthampton Row, the street where the atom bomb wasborn. Whoever it was planted that bomb on the number30 bus had a terrible idea, one designed to bringnothing but grief. But their visions, however dark,are not as dark as some things that have already cometo the world from Southampton Row.

I spent six years working on the long street, in theBMA building on Tavistock Square, and would oftenthink of Szilard when I walked down past RussellSquare. There's no plaque - and I'm not sure thatSzilard would have wanted one, given how stronglypacifistic he came to feel once he had worked out,long before anyone else, the moral and politicalconsequences of his own discovery. (He pulled everystring he could, unsuccessfully, to try to get ameeting with President Truman to warn him of theinevitability of an arms race if America dropped thebomb.) Szilard was a good man, a utopian well-wishermotivated only by a desire to being peace andprosperity, who learned the hard way that history isdominated by unforeseen consequences.
Iris Murdoch's great line, in her novel Under the Net,was that "some parts of London are necessary, othersare contingent". This is still true, I think, with theproviso that the necessary and contingent parts ofLondon can swap roles over time. (Who now would thinkthat Mayfair was necessary?) And anyway, some of usprefer the contingent parts of London. The long streetis one of them, full of history but at the same timescrappy-feeling and unplanned and random, and all thebetter, all the more characteristic of London, forthat. On the corner of Eversholt Street and Euston isa St Pancras New Church, a neo-classical kludge whichat the time of its construction in 1822 was the mostexpensive church building since St Paul's. But thecaryatids that hold up the Ionian pillars were orderedthe wrong size. To be made to fit they had to have abit taken out of the waist, making them look, by thegeneral standards of caryatids, unclassically chunky.Once you've had it pointed out, it's unmistakable, andevery time you go past the church it makes you smile.

Another of my favourite places is a passageway justoff Woburn Place called Woburn Walk, where there was asandwich bar run by gloomy Italians with a plaquesaying that WB Yeats had lived there. What the plaquedidn't tell you was that that was also where Yeatslost his virginity, at the decidedly late-starterishage of 31. He and Olivia Shakespear had to go toHeal's specially to order a bed before finallyconsummating the relationship, and he found theexperience - that of ordering the bed - deeplytraumatic, since "every inch added to the expense".

All this is what this street used to mean to me.Everybody has their own version of their own bits oftheir own towns; history and memory overlap, and theyare what make cities liveable; they are the humanstuff with which we fight the city's potentiallyoverwhelming feelings of anonymity, depersonality, andanxiety. They are how we make it human.

Now, though, my and everybody else's sense of thislong street is set to be for ever changed by the factthat the diverted number 30 bus exploded just whereUpper Woburn Place becomes Tavistock Square. The sightof the bus was horrible enough, but for me the mostindelible image is that of the doorway of the BMAbuilding, splattered with the baked-in blood of thebomb's victims. That is the doorway I went throughevery day for those six years, and the London Reviewof Books' offices, where I worked, were directly abovewhere the bomb exploded. That doesn't mean anything orhave any consequences but it does make the horror ofthe moment all too easy to imagine.

It is meant to be easy to imagine. That is part of theterrorists' intention. When Don DeLillo's novel Mao IIcame out 13 years ago I was one of many readers whothought it was, to use a technical term in literarycriticism, a howling dog. DeLillo seemed to be makingsome confused point about the similarity between artand terrorism, and how terrorists now did what artistsused to do, or something. Reviewers, myself included,couldn't get on with it. Now, though, I think Iunderstand what DeLillo meant. His argument was thatterrorism is trying to change the world by changinghow people see the world. It is trying to get into ourheads; to come between our thoughts and memories ofthe place we live and rewrite them, reorder them. Ithas designs on our sense of ourselves; it has designson our memories and our fears. The idea is that whenwe get on the tube, when we get on a bus, when we seea young man with a beard looking fidgety, the memoryof last Thursday will get inside our minds. When thebombers, or someone sympathising with them, said ontheir website that London is "burning with fear", theywere expressing their own deepest wish, because if wearen't then they have failed.

Have they failed? Obviously it's too early to say. Butit doesn't seem to me as if London is burning withfear. Indeed, the general lack of panic is, it seemsto me, extraordinary, remarkable, and deeply moving.Speaking purely for myself, I won't know whether theyhave failed or not until the next time I am on a bus,perhaps specifically a bus going up that long street Ilove; or the next time I am on the tube, perhapsspecifically a Piccadilly line train between RussellSquare and King's Cross. But I hope they have failed,and I suspect they have. The length and depth andspecificity of London's history is a source not justof stories and memories but of certain kinds ofstrength too.

A fter all, it's not the first time that street hasbeen bombed. The Luftwaffe blew up Bush house in 1941,and Malvina Hoffman's dodgy statue had one of its armsreplaced as recently as 1977. But we don't need to goeven that far back to encounter a bomb in that road.The last time a bomb went off there was February 181996. I remember it vividly because I was there at thetime, more or less. My wife and a friend and I werehaving dinner in a restaurant in Wellington Streetwhen, at about 10.30, there was a thumping noise. Ourfriend, who worked in Canary Wharf, which had beenattacked by the IRA, eight days previously immediatelysaid, "That's a bomb." We were keen not to be trappedbehind a police cordon for the whole night, so werapidly paid and left. Just outside, in Aldwych, wherethe Strand feeds round a sweeping half-curve intoKingsway, a bus had been blown up. It was black,still, silent, and windowless. The sense ofnoiselessness and calm were eerie. Somebody shouted,"Get back, there could be another bomb." We got in ourcar - in those pre-Livingstone days, Londonerssometimes used cars - and drove home.

Later it turned out that a 21-year-old IRA membercalled Edward O'Brien, on his way to do who knowswhat, had accidentally blown himself up. No one elsedied. It seemed terrible, at the time; it wasterrible, just as the Docklands bomb was terrible, andthe Harrods bomb before that, and all the other bombstoo. Another time, only 18 years ago, the King's Crossfire, 500 metres up the line from last Thursday'sbomb, killed 31 people and made a great many othersfeel that they were never going to go on the tubeagain. They did, though. My point is that not only isthis not the first time that the long street thatincludes Woburn Place has been bombed; it is not eventhe first time it has been bombed by a terrorist on abus during the last decade. The people who are tryingto get inside our heads and rewrite our sense of ourcity may not realise just how much there is torewrite.

7) I think this analysis is absolutely crackpot, but I put it out there for general information, to show what's
floating around the internet:

London Underground Bombing 'Exercises' Took Place atSame Time as Real Attack

Culpability cover scenario echoes 9/11 wargames

Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones/Prison Planet July 92005

A consultancy agency with government and policeconnections was running an exercise for an unnamedcompany that revolved around the London Undergroundbeing bombed at the exact same times and locations ashappened in real life on the morning of July 7th.

On a BBC Radio 5 interview that aired on the eveningof the 7th, the host interviewed Peter Power,
ManagingDirector of Visor Consultants, which bills itself as a'crisis management' advice company, better known toyou and I as a PR firm.

Peter Power was a former Scotland Yard official,working at one time with the Anti Terrorist Branch.Power told the host that at the exact same time thatthe London bombings were taking place, his company wasrunning a 1,000 person strong exercise which drilledthe London Underground being bombed at the exact samelocations, at the exact same times, as happened inreal life.

The transcript is as follows.

POWER: At half past nine this morning we were actuallyrunning an exercise for a company of over a thousandpeople in London based on simultaneous bombs going offprecisely at the railway stations where it happenedthis morning, so I still have the hairs on the back ofmy neck standing up right now.

HOST: To get this quite straight, you were running anexercise to see how you would cope with this and ithappened while you were running the exercise?

POWER: Precisely, and it was about half past nine thismorning, we planned this for a company and for obviousreasons I don't want to reveal their name but they'relistening and they'll know it. And we had a room fullof crisis managers for the first time they'd met andso within five minutes we made a pretty rapid decisionthat this is the real one and so we went through thecorrect drills of activating crisis managementprocedures to jump from slow time to quick timethinking and so on.

Click here for a clip of this dialogue. Click here fora longer clip where the comments can be heard in theirfull context.

The fact that the exercise mirrored the exactlocations and times of the bombings is light yearsbeyond a coincidence. Power said the drill focusedaround 'simultaneous bombings'. At first the bombingswere thought to have been spread over an hour, but theBBC reports just today that the bombings were in factsimultaneous.
Mr. Power (pictured above) and Visor Consultants neednot have been 'in on the bombing' or anything of thatnature for this to be of importance. The Britishgovernment or one of their private company offshootscould have hired Visor to run the exercise for anumber of purposes.
We are not suggesting that Mr. Power had any knowledgeof the real purpose of the exercise, and the openshock he exclaims in relating the story underlinesthis.

The exercise fulfils several different goals. It actsas a cover for the small compartamentalized governmentterrorists to carry out their operation without thelarger security services becoming aware of whatthey're doing, and, more importantly, if they getcaught during the attack or after with anyincriminating evidence they can just claim that theywere just taking part in the exercise.

This is precisely what happened on the morning of9/11/2001. The CIA was conducting drills of flyinghijacked planes into the WTC and Pentagon at 8:30 inthe morning.

It is clear that at least five if not six trainingexercises were in operation in the days leading up toand on the morning of 9/11. This meant that NORADradar screens showed as many as 22 hijacked airlinersat the same time. NORAD had been briefed that this was part of the exercise drill and therefore normal reactive procedure was forestalled and delayed.

The large numbers of 'blips' on NORAD screens thatdisplayed both real and 'drill' hijacked planesexplain why confused press reports emerged hours afterthe attack stating that up to eight planes had beenhijacked.

The Anglo-American establishment that controls themilitary-industrial complex of the West has beencaught over a hundred times carrying out bombings andother terrorist attacks around the world to furthertheir corporate aims and to blame their enemies.

The US government has been caught planning to carryout attacks and carrying out attacks. The Britishgovernment has been caught red-handed as well. Membersof Vladimir Putin's FSB were caught planting bombs ina Russian apartment building in 1999 by the Moscowpolice.

This is not speculation. Kermit Roosevelt admited onNPR radio that in 1953 the CIA and Britishintelligence carried out a wave of bombings andshootings in Iran. He then went on to brag about howthey subsequently blamed the bombings on Iran's President, Mossadegh. Do you understand, these people brag about what they do 40 years later?

The London bombings have the same signature as theMadrild bombings of 3/11. Both of these bombings arealmost indistinguishable from the Bologniabombing in 1980 that killed over 80 people.
The bombing in Bolognia was part of a CIA operationcode named Gladio, where the US government would payright-wing terrorists to carry out bombings to beblamed on leftists in Europe. All of this was blownwide open when two of the Bolognia bombers wereconvited in an Italian court, forcing them to spilltheir guts admitting that they were neo-fascistscontracted by the CIA. Operation Gladio documents havesince been declassified.

The London terror alert level was lowered before thebombings took place. This gave the purpotrators extracover to plan and execute the attack without having toevade the most stringent security.

In any crime you look at history and motive. TheBritish government has been caught in multipleexamples of carrying out bombings in London which werethen blamed on the IRA. They even had one of their ownMI5 agents wihin the Omagh bomb squad. Click here foran archive of this evidence.

The wider agenda will become clearer when Blair firmlypoints the finger at the selected patsies designatedto take the fall. But for the moment he's happy tograndstand as the courageous leader who immedatelyreturned to London to take control of the chaos.

BBC polls that were showing 80 per cent plus opposedthe ID card will now likely flip back in the oppositedirection. Support for the European Union andincreased globalization through the G8 will rise. Whostands to gain from all this? Who has the motive?

From Putin blowing up his own apartment buildings toIsrael being behind Hamas, the evidence isconsistently clear that large scale terrorism isalways state sponsored.

The Madrid train bombing is another example. Thebombers were found to be police informants with closelinks to the Spanish security services. They hadaccess to the most secure areas of the Madrid trainsystem. The Spanish government initially tried toblaim the Basque group ETA for the blast in the hopethat the people would rally behind the government andget them re-elected. After ETA denied involvement and the people started saying the government was involved, the Spanish government had to blame Al-Qaeda and kill some patsies by claiming they blew themselves up during a raid.

The London Underground exercises were used as thefallback cover to carry out the attack. This is thebiggest smoking gun yet pointing directly to the mostsecretive levels of the British establishment itselfbeing behind the attack.

More on this story as and when it develops.

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