Ramping up the fear quotient

 
by William Bowles • Tuesday, 26 July 2005
    
 
Day 6 of Open Season on those who are “darker than blue”
    
 

A sure fire way of keeping the spotlight off a murderous government that is neither believed nor trusted by the majority of the population, is to have a diversion of enormous magnitude caused by an enemy, preferably of an elemental kind (anarchists, communists, fanatics, fundamentalists, terrorists, take your pick).

Once you have a public fixated on this perceived enemy, it is necessary to maintain a constant level of fear and when necessary ramp it up, either though potential events (”not if but when”) or to exploit events that do occur by connecting the elemental enemy to the events, however tenuous the connection. If no real connection can be made, invent the connection. If necessary, invent a multitude of connections that can be announced and discarded at will. Nobody, least of all a complicit media will question why ‘connections’ come and go without explanation, everything is in flux in this world of illusions, where fact and fiction blur one into the other.

Aside from the many still as yet unanswered questions and contradictions surrounding who, exactly carried out the bombings of July 7, we now have the ‘failed bombings’ of July 21 to contend with, about which there even more unanswered questions. Questions that the corporate/state media are not asking.

As with the July 7 attacks, initial police reports on the July 21 attacks were followed by contradictory police reports as to the exact nature of the ‘bombs’. Initially we were told the July 7 bombs used “military grade” explosives detonated with timers and there was no mention of ‘suicide bombers’ but then this changed to homemade explosives and the sudden appearance of “suicide bombers”. Then it returned to “military grade” explosives and back to timers. The July 21 attacks have gone through the same metamorphosis. Now it’s back to “homemade” explosives but the jury’s still out on the timers (that obviously didn’t work). The point here is that it’s not important how but that it stays in the headlines at all times, the objective; keep on ramping.

And we still have all the issues the police/security services have not adequately explained about July 7 including; why the four alleged suicide bombers bought return tickets, nor why they left explosives and weapons in their cars parked at the Luton ‘Park and Ride’ lot, nor why it took over a week to find the aforementioned weapons, nor why these alleged suicide bombers had ID with them, nor why they had no history of connection to so-called extremists, in spite of every effort to connect them to the aforementioned.

Then we had the ‘Egyptian’ connection, a story that vanished literally overnight. Remember that it was alleged that it was in the Egyptian guy’s apartment that the police allegedly found a bath tub full of acetone peroxide? Within hours of his name surfacing, the Egyptian foreign minister no less, was denying that he had any connection, a denial that was apparently immediately accepted by the British authorities.

I reported here that the rumour in and around Leeds University was that he was a spy keeping an eye on Egyptian and Arab students at the uni. Did he work for the Egyptian government I wonder, and was this why the Egyptian government was so quick to exonerate him? I note that he hasn’t been interviewed either by the police or the media, in fact he has effectively disappeared off the face of the planet, along with his alleged terrorist connection.

Then there was the 900 quid’s-worth of exploding perfume, allegedly purchased by Lindsay Germaine, one of the alleged suicide bombers, another story that came and went just as rapidly. Then there was the Pakistani ‘connection’, another story that came and went equally as rapidly especially after it was discovered that one of the alleged suicide bombers was misidentified by the Pakistani authorities.

Then it was the ‘madrassas’ connection. This too, came and went without any connection being established between the relevance of the madrassas to the July 7 bombing other than the alleged ‘brainwashing’ said to be conducted at these schools. The point here that needs to be emphasized, is that every time Muslim, Islam, schools, indoctrination, Quran, or any other ‘alien’ sounding word or connection is made, it reinforces every stereotype that the government and the media have implanted in the public’s mind about the nature of this elusive, ‘cunning’ and ‘evil’ enemy.

Where are all these allegations originating from? Why do the police insist in putting out one contradictory story after another? Surely, as with any criminal investigation, the police have clear rules concerning the reportage of investigations into criminal acts. We were told that the “largest forensic investigation in history” was being conducted following July 7, yet the rumours, often reported by the press as having a “police source” continued to emerge, only to be found wanting only hours or days later. Who is authorizing the release of this avalanche of disinformation? What kind of forensic investigation is it that puts out such an endless stream of crap?

And I have mentioned only a few of the plethora of stories that have appeared concerning who, how and why the July 7 bombings occurred. I’ve not mentioned the long list of names allegedly associated with the 4 dead men, that later we find, have no connection whatsoever. But it matters not, the damage has already been done. There are no retractions, no explanations.

So too with the July 21 attacks that went through same process. At first they were “nail bombs” where only the detonators went off, then they were “failed bombs” “similar to” the July 7 bombs, possibly made from the “same batch” of homemade explosive, allegedly the highly unstable acetone peroxide (see Wikipedia entry on this stuff). Then they miraculously metamorphosed back into nail bombs but still made with homemade (and apparently past its sell-by date) explosive. Bombs moreover, that are in police possession.

Is it credible that all four bombs failed to detonate? Is it credible that the alleged bombers followed exactly the same pattern, three on the tube and one on a bus if they are indeed part of some international conspiracy? The police then claimed that the (highly unstable, the BBC called it “volatile” this am) mixture of acetone peroxide (and what, Hugo Boss perfume?) “degraded”. But at the same time, we have been told that the July 7 bombings were planned months in advance by highly sophisticated members of ‘al-Qu’eda’ (Jack Straw the foreign minister on the same day, July 7). So are there two groups of bombers? Apparently not, at least according to the authorities, they are all part of the ‘international terror network’ run by ‘al-Qu’eda’.

Then we have the four photos released by the police of the alleged July 21 bombers, that so far nobody has come forward and identified. Is it credible that nobody can identify these four individuals? Do these people actually exist? Are they the ones responsible for the dud bombs? Will we ever find out? Don’t hold your breath over this or any of the other, dozens of questions surrounding these events.

Not so breaking news: two of the alleged July 21 attempted bombers have been identified and they are neither Asian nor Brazilian, but apparently from East Africa, possibly Somalia or perhaps Eritrea. So now yet another group of those who are ‘darker than blue’ are to be singled out as eligible for getting shot on sight. Apparently their bombs were in plastic sandwich containers, we even know the brand and size. And just in case, should anyone want to imitate them, the police have announced that they used six-and-a-quarter litre, clear, Delta brand family containers, with white lids, made in India. No doubt this announcement will be followed by cries for a boycott of Indian goods.

The media for its part, seems quite content to act as an unquestioning conduit for whatever rubbish the state puts out, not even bothering to correct the record (such as it is) when yet another scurrilous piece of disinformation bites the dust. In fact the media’s role in this entire affair has been, to put it mildly, shameful.

Take for example, the case of the assassinated Brazilian, who according the state and the press was “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

Initially the police issued a statement that was quite categorical about the fact that he was “directly linked” (chief of the Metropolitan police) to the July 21 attacks, although how they could know that, is beyond me, the body wasn’t even cold. There was no retraction until it became known that he was in fact a (Christian?) Brazilian, at which point his assassination turned into a “terrible tragedy” but one which the police refuse to apologise for. Had he in fact, been an Asian, then no doubt he would still be a convenient scapegoat for the state’s propaganda campaign to demonise those who are ‘darker than blue’.

The objective is clear; keep ramping up the ‘fear quotient’ in the minds of the public by issuing an endless flood of baseless accusations that keep the stories in the headlines and which have the additional advantage of sowing total confusion when one tries to find out what is really going on.

As long we don’t focus on Iraq, the poor of the planet (remember them?) or our rapidly disintegrating climate, all is well in the corridors of power. They can get on with blowing away people out of sight in distant lands, using really big bombs, safe in the knowledge that the mass of the public will now look at any Asian (or Asian ‘looking’) person wearing an I-pod and either overweight, cold or wearing a rucksack, as a potential suicide bomber, rather than focus on our government of terrorists and mass murderers. Mission accomplished?

Frankly, the July 21 attempts have all the hallmarks of a bunch of amateurs attempting to capitalize on the first and obviously professional outrages. Ask yourself if it seems credible that following the awful carnage of July 7, that such an obviously botched job was committed by the same group?

The point is, given the way the public have been conditioned to accept the idea of a global network of terrorists, out to destroy the ‘Western way of life’ (but not it seems the manufacture of plastic sandwich containers and hence a return to ‘pre-globalised days’ when sandwiches got wrapped up in wax paper), it matters little where they come from, or indeed what their real motives are. All that matters is that they have Muslim-sounding names, dark skins, they all need a shave and that they are enemies of ‘Western civilization’.

Afterthought: acetone peroxide is a liquid, so how come it didn’t all leak out of the sandwich containers? My feeling is that whoever attempted the July 21 bombings were either totally clueless about making bombs or, were set up to fail but frighten, making sure terrorists stayed in the headlines. Either way, the futility of such acts should be clear to anybody genuinely wanting to get the US or the Brits out of Iraq or any other countries the real terrorists have occupied.

A further postscript: I have been getting quite a few letters from readers who, like me, are desperate about the situation that the government has created here and want advice no less, from me on what we can do. It’s difficult to know how to answer such a question, for on the one hand, I don’t want to throw up my hands in abject defeat nor do I want to offer useless platitudes. But one thing is certain; knowing what is really going on and why, is the first step, that’s why an independent media is so vitally important.

Second, we have all been here before, several times in the past one hundred years and we all know what the outcome was every time; slaughter on an unimaginable scale preceded by witch-hunts and the deliberate demonisation of convenient segments of society. There is nothing new about the current situation. When the state itself feels itself under threat it will strike out using whatever means it has to hand. That there are a tiny minority who will resort to the use of acts of individual violence, is actually quite convenient for the state, for these can then be used to rationalise the use of the overwhelming violence of the state in ‘retribution’. Operation Kratos is but one of the inevitable outcomes with the state promising more to come.

There is no doubt that the failed and unpopular invasion of Iraq is a major reason, not for the bombings, but for the state’s reaction and the use of force and repression. But once again, I resist the urge to talk of ‘blowback’ as there is no evidence to directly connect any of the bombings to the situation in Iraq. Rather, the situation started with the concept of a ‘war on terror’ that once initiated set in motion a train of events with each step reinforcing the state’s terrible logic. Revealing the policies of the state as part of a historical process, in defence of capital is the key to understanding the situation.

Once this accepted, the situation becomes transparent and the solution obvious; get rid of this government like they did in Spain for example. This might sound futile, we have after all, another five or even six years of the monstrosity that is the Labour Party and with no alternative on the horizon, there is no immediate solution.

But another thing history reveals is that situations can change with amazing rapidity. It is conceivable that a sufficiently large section of the public can come to the realisation that in order to avoid yet more July 7s and 21s, we have to abandon our imperial ambitions. Whether this will happen is of course unknown, but it is the only answer I have to the question, what can we do? Taking the first step is the most difficult and speaking out in opposition to the occupation of Iraq and our government’s imperialist policies and ultimately joining forces with others to speak out, is at least a positive step in the right direction.

      
 
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