London Bombing: Why Didn’t they Bomb Sweden?

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Joined: 20-02-04
Dec 12 2005 16:26
London Bombing: Why Didn’t they Bomb Sweden?

The planting of bombs on tubes and buses in London amounts to nothing more than an attack on working class people going about their daily lives. In the immediate wake of the July 7th bombings Organise! joined with other ‘social anarchists and libertarian communists’ in expressing “deepest sympathy to anyone affected by the blasts” and in condemning “the use of violence against ordinary people and the perpetrators of the bombings”.

While it was pretty obviously planned to ‘embarrass’ the British government at a time when the G8 heads of state were meeting in Gleneagles it was working class people who paid with their lives.

With the government denying any connection to the occupation of Iraq, instead insisting that these attacks are part of an assault on our way of life, Al from the Armagh/Down Local of Organise! Repeats the question: ‘Why Didn’t They Bomb Sweden?

It might seem strange on the face of it but really it is a good question. Sweden is a ‘democracy’ too, after all. With Britain, and other states in the elite West, it shares, Blair would agree, certain fundamental ‘values’ which it too ‘holds dear’, which it too wishes to protect from the jealous terrorist. And what are these values? A cricketing sense of decency and fair-play; freedom of speech (and trade of course!), democracy and obedience to the rule of law, progress, development… and so it goes on. Everything, in fact, which the terrorist loathes, envies and wishes to replace with a version of an Islamic state more oppressive and dangerous than the religion itself (this is not to say that the other monotheistic codes are any less ridiculous or oppressive). If only life were as simple as a Rupert Murdoch headline!


But let me be clear. Of course, the bomb attacks were barbaric…any loss of innocent life is. But for Tony Blair to have the audacity to deny the rather patent link between the war in Iraq (military and economic warfare that has been ongoing since 1991 and which has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths….sorry, ‘collateral damage’ – and in which no Swedish military involvement occurred!) and the London attacks of July 7th, and those since, is one of the most astonishing pieces of double-think recorded beyond the pages of Orwell. On June 10th, he said:

"September 11 happened before Iraq, before Afghanistan, before any of these issues and that was the worst terrorist atrocity of all." (Robert Winnett and David Leppard, The Sunday Times, op. cit.)

And how about this? A 2004 joint Home Office and Foreign Office dossier prepared for Tony Blair (!)- 'Young Muslims and Extremism' - identified the Iraq war as a key cause of young Britons turning to terrorism. The analysis stated:

“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 very possibility that Al Qaeda are trying to get public opinion to force Blair to withdraw from Iraq, from his alliance with the United States, and from his adherence to Bush's policies in the Middle East seems too risible to be given serious merit, apparently.

But, two and two makes five, and the 1991 Iraqi war and subsequent sanctions have been casually wiped off the slate of history. September 11th marked the beginning of the War on Terror which the US and its trusted lackey, Britain, were coerced into declaring, irrespective, it seems, of anything that had happened before. So much for Eric Hoskins, a Canadian doctor and co-ordinator of a Harvard study team, who reported in January 1992 that the allied bombardment "effectively terminated everything vital to human survival in Iraq - electricity, water, sewage systems, agriculture, industry and health care". (Hoskins, 'Killing is killing - not kindness,' New Statesman, January 17, 1992)

None of this was ‘terror’, obviously. Genocide is not terror, if the maniacs are on the side of freedom…

Media consent

The Daily Blair, of course, rushed to fulminate on the horrors of July 7th and rightly so, but what of the past ten years? What of the recent past? What actually is happening in Iraq now? For a rare piece of clarity:

"The American army's use of its massive fire-power is so unrestrained that all US military operations are in reality the collective punishment of whole districts, towns and cities. Mass arrests of young men may eliminate a few insurgent fighters, but they ensure that plenty of recruits will take their places." (Cockburn, 'We must avoid the terrorist trap,' The Independent, July 11, 2005)

Hospital staff have been attacked by US marines, doctors have been shot, emergency medicines blocked. Children have been murdered in front of their families. Atrocities less worse that events in London?

But this was Britain’s first taste of suicide bombers, hooted the tabloids. This kind of thing is surely the preserve of those countries affected by the never-ending saga of Middle Eastern politics. Lest we forget, however, before March 2003, there had also never been a suicide bomb attack in Iraq. Now the roll-call of dead is reaching alarming proportions. Consider these five days in July… On July 11, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a line of recruits at an Iraqi army recruitment centre in western Baghdad, killing 25 people and wounding 47. On July 12, four civilians died in Kirkuk when a suicide car bomb exploded near the city's hospital and municipal headquarters. Several of the wounded were hospital employees. On July 13, 26 Iraqi children were killed by a suicide bombing in Baghdad. On July 14, two suicide bombs in Baghdad killed two policemen. On July 15, 10 suicide bombs exploded across Baghdad. On July 16, a bomb killed at least 98 people in Musayyib, south of Baghdad. The Associated Press estimates close to 2,000 Iraqis have died since the Iraqi 'government' was formed on April 28.

Naturally enough, the British media dances to its own tune. The Madrid attacks of March 12, 2004, where 191 people were killed and 1,800 injured by ten bombs placed on trains at the height of rush hour were wildly condemned. The link between the attacks and the presence of Spanish troops in Iraq was eventually made (after some Spanish government mind games with ETA) and a Guardian editorial commented:

"Many voters expressed anger against the ruling Popular party: first for making Spain a target for Islamist extremists by its support for the Iraq war; and second for rushing too quickly to accuse the armed Basque separatist group ETA of the bombing." (Leader, 'Europe responds,' The Guardian, March 15, 2004)

Unlike now, of course, where any voice rationalising on the reasons for the London attacks is roundly chastised as unpatriotic, ‘vile’ (the Sun), shameful apologetics for terror. As for Christopher Hitchens (author on that not very complimentary work on Henry Kissinger) writing in the Mirror:

"How can anyone bear to be so wicked and stupid? How can anyone bear to act as a megaphone for psychotic killers?" (Hitchens, '07/07: War on Britain: we cannot surrender,' The Mirror, July 8, 2005)


What remains remarkable is the complete unwillingness for Blair and co. to appreciate the fact that perhaps, just perhaps, the enemy in their great Jihad against Terror (though how you fight an abstract is beyond me) may just be willing to strike back. He was warned by the Joint Intelligence Committee that "by far the greatest terrorist threat" to this country would be "heightened by military action against Iraq". He ignored 79 per cent of Londoners who, according to a YouGov survey in February 2003, believed that a British attack on Iraq "would make a terrorist attack on London more likely". A month ago, a leaked, classified CIA report revealed that the invasion had turned Iraq into a focal point of terrorism. Before the invasion, said the CIA, Iraq "exported no terrorist threat to its neighbours" because Saddam Hussein was "implacably hostile to al-Qaeda".

So, obviously, Blair is very stupid, or doesn’t care about the dangers of his foreign policy for domestic life? Either way, stiff upper lips everyone, or else move to Sweden!

From the pages of Working Class Resistance, magazine of Organise!