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In Denial Over Terrorism

JNV Anti-War Briefing 104 | 07.07.2007 08:26 | Terror War


The failed carbombs in the Haymarket on Fri. 29 June and the attempted suicide attack on Glasgow airport on Sat. 30 June have demonstrated the continuing threat of al-Qaeda-type violence in Britain. While much remains confusing or unknown to the public, at the time of writing some insiders believe ‘the leaders of the cell were from overseas but that local “home-grown” extremists may have helped.’(1)

It appears therefore that there are British citizens involved in indiscriminate attacks on other British citizens, just as happened in the 7 July 2005 attacks. For national security reasons, we need to understand why this continues to happen, but our leaders refuse to face reality.


In a BBC interview, Gordon Brown said that the attacks happened ‘irrespective of Iraq, irrespective of Afghanistan’. He said the attacks were ‘unrelated in detail to one specific point of conflict in the world’. Asked whether a British troop withdrawal from Iraq would reduce the risk of such attacks, the Prime Minister avoided the question, saying rather that making progress on Israel/Palestine ‘will make a difference’, quite a different matter.(2)

In this, Brown is merely following in the footsteps of his predecessor, who said that defeating al-Qaeda-type terrorism meant defeating many Muslims’ ‘completely false sense of grievance against the West’.(3)

Tony Blair said in a recent interview: ‘We’re not actually standing up to these people and saying, “It's not just your methods that are wrong, your ideas are absurd. Nobody is oppressing you. Your sense of grievance isn't justified.”’(4)


Claim: In his interview(4), Blair said of the US/UK occupation of Afghanistan: ‘How are [we] oppressing them? You’re oppressing them when you support the people who are trying to blow them up.’

Reality: ‘While militants killed 178 [Afghan] civilians in attacks [from the beginning of 2007] through [to] June 23, Western forces killed 203, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Afghan and international officials.’


Brown and Blair are well aware of the judgement of counter-terrorism experts, those who are actually monitoring al-Qaeda-connected networks.

For example, after the 7/7 London bombings British counter-terrorism officials made an intense effort to understand why some Muslims were turning to violence. They drew up a report, leaked to the Guardian, which had this headline introducing one section: “Foreign policy and Iraq; Iraq HAS had a huge impact.” ’

The report went on: ‘What will change them [the jihadists]—gradually—is argument, the removal of justifying causes (Palestine, Iraq), the erosion of perverted beliefs and day-to-day frustrations.’(6)

Just weeks before the 7/7 attacks the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre noted that ‘events in Iraq are continuing to act as motivation and a focus of a range of terrorist-related activity in the UK’.(7)

Earlier there was a secret high-level Whitehall review which produced a report entitled 'Young Muslims and Extremism’. This joint Home Office/Foreign Office investigation with intelligence input identified British foreign policy as a key motive for involvement in terrorism:

‘It seems that a particularly strong cause of disillusionment among Muslims, including young Muslims, is a perceived “double standard” in the foreign policy of western governments, in particular Britain and the US... The perception is that passive “oppression”, as demonstrated in British foreign policy, eg non-action on Kashmir and Chechnya, has given way to “active oppression”. The war on terror, and in Iraq and Afghanistan, are all seen by a section of British Muslims as having been acts against Islam.’ (8)

Before the invasion of Iraq, on 10 February 2003, the apex of British intelligence, the Joint Intelligence Committee, reported to the Prime Minister:

‘The JIC assessed that al-Qaida and associated groups continued to represent by far the greatest terrorist threat to Western interests, and that threat would be heightened by military action against Iraq.’(9)

Then there is the MI5 website(10), which now (3 July) says in its section on ‘International Terrorism and the UK’:

‘In recent years, Iraq has become a dominant issue for a range of extremist groups and individuals in the UK and Europe.’


We know a great deal about earlier British bombers, including the 7/7 cell, two of whom left behind video statements. Mohammed Sidique Khan said:

‘Your democratically-elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world. And your support of them makes you directly responsible, just as I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters. Until we feel security, you will be our targets. And until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people we will not stop this fight.’(11)

Shehzad Tanweer said:

‘What you have witnessed now is only the beginning of a series of attacks, which by the Grace of Allah, will intensify and continue until you pull all of your troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq. Until you stop all financial and military support to the US and Israel, and until you release all Muslim prisoners from Belmarsh and your other concentration camps... You will never experience peace until our children in Palestine, our mothers and sisters in Kashmir, our brothers in Afghanistan and Iraq feel peace.’(12)

We do not know what the motivations of the latest bombers are. However, we do know a lot about the motivations of previous bombers.


Gordon Brown claims those carrying out these attacks have ‘a grievance against society’, against ‘the values that we represent’, the values of ‘decent people in all religions’.(13)

Michael Scheuer, who headed the CIA’s bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999, disagrees: ‘I think the most basic thing for Americans to realize is that this war has nothing to do with who we are or what we believe, and everything to do with what we do in the Islamic world.’ (14)

Scheuer argues that Osama bin Laden has ‘clear, focused, limited and widely popular foreign policy goals’: ‘the end of U.S. aid to Israel and the ultimate elimination of that state; the removal of U.S. and Western forces from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Muslim lands; the end of U.S. support for the oppression of Muslims by Russia, China, and India; the end of U.S. protection for repressive, apostate regimes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, et cetera; and the conservation of the Muslim world’s energy resources and their sale at higher prices.’ (15)


No doubt there are real cultural issues, but these goals listed by Scheuer relate to legitimate grievances (not simply ‘absurd’ thinking) not against the Western hedonism, but against the brutality of Western foreign policy.

The desperate reality of these problems—and the apparent inability or unwillingness of conventional politics and nonviolent movements to change these policies—are what create fertile ground for al-Qaeda.

(1)Stephen Fidler, FT, 3 July, p. 2
(9) - pg 34
(11)BBC translation -
(15)Imperial Hubris, p. xviii -

JNV Anti-War Briefing 104


Display the following 2 comments

  1. state propaganda — peter powers
  2. You said it! — Whole Brainer