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    Why I’m still unconvinced about a 7/7 inquiry


    by Sunny on 2nd May, 2007 at 9:12 am    

    To be honest I’m still not entirely convinced on the necessity of an inquiry into 7/7. There are two major areas such an inquiry could look into and I’ll discuss each below.

    ******

    First, an inquiry into whether the intelligence services and / or police made mistakes in preventing 7/7.

    Could it have been averted? Was there incompetence involved? In theory this sounds like a good basis to judge whether our intelligence services are up to the tak or letting people down. There is already no doubt that mistakes have been made. A Panorama programme earlier this week detailed an extent to which the 7/7 bombers were already being trailed even though senior intelligence services said they knew little about these people immediately following 7/7.

    Even MI5 has a whole section on the links between 7/7 bombers and the fertiliser bomb crew jailed for life.

    But the intelligence services are unlikely to release information on: (a) who it had and still has under surveillance; (b) the extent to which it had ‘agreements’ with extremists to ensure they did nothing illegal here; (c) the wealth of data they have collected about people. Plus it’s difficult to judge whether their success rate is 5%, 50% or 95% since we don’t know the full number of people attempting to launch terrorist attacks in the UK.

    All this means that any inquiry is likely to be severaly hampered by intelligence protocols and need-to-know basis. So a ‘public inquiry’ is out of the question already. What purpose will a closed inquiry serve?

    ******

    Second, an inquiry into why four Muslim men decided to blow themselves up, apparently with the support of many others.

    Is anything new likely to come out of this? We will be told that the war in Iraq has ‘exacerbated’ the threat of terrorism in this country. We also know that many of these radicalised groups existed before Iraq or even Afghanistan. We know that the process of ‘radicalisation’, or call it brain-washing if you will, takes lots of ingredients. People have to be recruited, introduced to a closed group, constantly fed propaganda and made to feel angry and helpless about the state of Muslims around the world.

    They are also fed a supremacist interpretation of Islam that sees all ‘kafirs’ as expendable and that violent jihad is ok because, well, these people deserve to die anyway. Have I missed anything out? There was a brilliant article in the Saturday Guardian over a year ago on brainwashing. I’ll try and dig it up.

    The point here is two-fold: firstly that while foreign policy plays a part in brain-washing and getting these people angry, the real problem is the supremacist interpretation of Islam they are willing to buy into. After all, once someone is willing to believe that all ‘kafirs’ are worthless and they are stopping the establishment of a religious utopia, the supply of excuses is limitless. Say the Saudi government wants to maintain close links with the United States because it sells oil to them - that’s an excuse right there. Ignore the fact that religious clerics in Saudi may be happy with that arrangement too.

    The second point is the unwillingness of some Muslim organisations to admit the first point. As I’ve demonstrated before, the MCB exclusively concentrates on the Iraq war as the main issue without discussing what can be done about the other factors openly. They’re scared that any discussion of the brain-washing effects of propaganda by extremist groups may lead to the government banning Hizb ut-Tahrir, or will be used to crack down on Muslims seeking to raise awareness of what is happening to Muslims in foreign lands. Those may be legitimate concerns but this lack of honesty means we cannot have a productive discussion on tackling violent extremism.

    ******

    For these reasons I think an inquiry will not take us any further than we are now. Dealing with violent extremism is then a bigger issue than simply pulling out of Iraq or switching the MCB for someone else.

    There are plenty of factors variously at play here: the government’s own inept understanding of issues (not knowing Sunni/Shia differences for example, speaking only to the MCB for ages); low educational achievement, drugs and lack of employment opportunities within communities up north; the political immaturity of Muslim organisations (will expand on this later); foreign policy; having a coherent and consistent policy in dealing with extremists who invite hatred; and more.

    As I keep saying, we need more joined-up thinking on these issues if we are to tackle terrorism. Endless inquiries are unlikely to do the trick.



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    70 Comments   |  


    1. Katy Newton — on 2nd May, 2007 at 9:25 am  

      I agree, and would only add that the cost of public inquiries is staggering. The Bloody Sunday inquiry is still going, having begun in 1998, and the cost is now well over £200m and could be as high as £400m.

    2. Leon — on 2nd May, 2007 at 10:29 am  

      I would prefer to spend our money on inquiries into wrong doing than invasions tbh…

    3. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 2nd May, 2007 at 10:44 am  

      Very good article Sunny, nail meet head. The point of all these demands at an enquiry is an excuse not to discuss what happened:

      “what do you think about 7/7?”

      “I think that there should be an enquiry”

      “But those guys did it right?”

      “I don’t know, there needs to be an enquiry”

      Basically any question can be responsed to with the claim that there needs to be an enquiry.

      They’re scared that any discussion of the brain-washing effects of propaganda by extremist groups may lead to the government banning Hizb ut-Tahrir,

      I doubt that, I don’t that the MCB’s ties to HuT are that strong. Bungles always seems to refer to them with distain.

      In my opinon, which is worth exactly jack shit, they fear the discussion because of the affects it will have on the believers. The last thing that want to happen is admit that their faith can and does santion violence (only in self defense when being ‘attacked’ etc), this may cause people to become disallusioned and leave the faith altogether - that would be a complete disater.

      Besides if you look at the MCB carefully you can see them being pulled by the purse strings, making them dance to the beatless tune of the Saudi clerical regime. That puppet master over there doesn’t really see a problem with the analysis:

      They are also fed a supremacist interpretation of Islam that sees all ‘kafirs’ as expendable and that violent jihad is ok because, well, these people deserve to die anyway.

      In there world that is the absolute truth. Bungles skillfully acknowledges this, acts on this, is a muted mouth piece for this message and dances all over the Guardian pushing blame onto the Government of these ‘kafirs’.

      Bitter? Me? No!

      TFI

    4. sabinaahmed — on 2nd May, 2007 at 11:02 am  

      I agree too, and as I have said on another thread, inquiries are only as good as the remit they are given and the person presiding over them. The government will always choose a “safe pair of hands”.
      I found the Panorama fascinating, I suppose it was done to stop the usual cries of “false allegation”and “harrassment”.
      Not only the MCB but a lot more Muslims argue the same point, that the foreign policy and the Iraq war are the sole reason for all the terrorism. We all know it is an outrage,and when we are appalled at the carnage in that country,we should be appalled at the loss of life in this country too. The British people are not responsable for Iraq war. In fact millions went on a protest march against it. And a popular PM and his government lost all credibility due to it.So why should ordinary people suffer for the sins of their leaders?

    5. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 2nd May, 2007 at 11:35 am  

      The Bloody Sunday inquiry is still going, having begun in 1998, and the cost is now well over £200m and could be as high as £400m.

      That would be the bloody Bloody Sundy inquiry then :)

      TFI

    6. sonia — on 2nd May, 2007 at 11:40 am  

      i find it interesting that sunny says this:
      the real problem is the supremacist interpretation of Islam they are willing to buy into.

      and i think tfi makes some good points:

      “The last thing that want to happen is admit that their faith can and does santion violence (only in self defense when being ‘attacked’ etc), this may cause people to become disallusioned and leave the faith altogether - that would be a complete disater.”

      yeah actually - i think there’s something to that. and also that people will be like ‘this is demonising us muslims!’ especially those who really dont want to look into WHY and WHERE these supremacist interpretations come from.

      yesterday i saw a paragraph from the source of all knowledge - the London Paper - and they mentioned a book by a guy called Ed Husain who was an ‘ex-Islamist’ and is writing about his time with the HuT.

    7. sonia — on 2nd May, 2007 at 11:43 am  

      ooh i know - maybe the MCB think the public inquiry will be into what is Islam actually all about? because that would definitely open a can of worms, if we are going to get out the Quran and look at Quranic exegesis and Hadiths and work out where the people who have funny ideas - actually get them from. How it is that some people have one interpretation and other people can have another - and the ‘fight’t between ‘who’s right’ and who’s not.

    8. sonia — on 2nd May, 2007 at 11:46 am  

      Frankly, what with the research I’ve been doing lately - if that were to become ‘common knowledge’ I don’t know what people’s reactions would be in general. some would be ‘WHAT!’ and others would be like ‘LIES!’ and would others be like …’So What’? I don’t know - i really don’t. If I’d known about ’sex slavery’ as a child growing up i would have told my parents to stuff their religion there and then. Maybe that’s why they don’t tell anyone. ” p.s. we have this on good authority - from a bunch of men who think its ok to have slaves and have sex with them.”

    9. Chairwoman — on 2nd May, 2007 at 12:05 pm  

      Let’s face it, all the enquiries in the world are not going to prevent a bunch of old twats winding up a bunch of younger twats, and setting them on the general public.

    10. Sid Love — on 2nd May, 2007 at 12:25 pm  

      So funding an illegal and mismanaged war is ok, because it itself has been deemed legal by an earlier Public Inquiry.

      But allocating funds towards another Public Inqiry, which orgs like the MCB claim was motivated by the war (claims which would be confirmed or trashed by an Inquiry) is not because that would be mean disengaging security personnel from the same illegal, mismanaged war.

      Here’s to “joined up thinking”.

    11. sonia — on 2nd May, 2007 at 12:35 pm  

      good one Sid. :-)

    12. Chairwoman — on 2nd May, 2007 at 12:39 pm  

      Frankly I’m not interested in what excuse the MCB gives for its co-religionists exploding themselves on the public transport system.

      In my opinion these young men were just looking for an excuse. If they hadn’t had the war (which I always considered ill-conceived and pointless, even if WMDs were discovered) to blame, they would have found another reason.

      Being angry about something is no bloody reason for killing a load of people about whom you know nothing.

      No excuses please.

      And, by the way, it’s not for the MCB, or any other organisation for that matter, to explain why they think it happened, unless of course, they consider themselves directly culpable.

      And surely the Public Enquiry is to discover what went wrong with the security services’ actions, rather than why four young men decided they could do their cause some good by selfishly committing suicide in a manner guaranteed to take a considerable number of their fellow human beings with them.

    13. Sid Love — on 2nd May, 2007 at 1:07 pm  

      And surely the Public Enquiry is to discover what went wrong with the security services’ actions, rather than why four young men decided they could do their cause some good by selfishly committing suicide in a manner guaranteed to take a considerable number of their fellow human beings with them.

      Yes, which is why the government is so against a very public Public Enquiry. Or even if there is, we can at most, expect another Huttonesque whitewash.

    14. Kismet Hardy — on 2nd May, 2007 at 1:12 pm  

      Go back to sleep Great Britain. You are free to do what we tell you

    15. Random Guy — on 2nd May, 2007 at 1:28 pm  

      Sunny said: “As I keep saying, we need more joined-up thinking on these issues if we are to tackle terrorism. Endless inquiries are unlikely to do the trick.”

      There are 2 dots Sunny. One is Western Foreign policy that is responsible for maybe a million times the deaths caused by terrorism, and done so in a way that the majority of the Western population has no idea what is happening, or is subservient enough to believe the media line without question.

      The other dot is the politically minded terrorist(s) who believes that like for like, innocent death for innocent death, is justified, and will attempt to cause that whenever they can, wherever they can to westerners (this was not a problem for the UK until Blair decided to go along with Bush. This is a fact.).

      Since 9/11 and Bush (and therefore the rest of the Western world) decided to approach this problem by demonising Islam (instead of his country’s own actions which fertilised the soil for a generation of terrorists) and muslims, and further killing hundreds of thousands, the 2 dots have become one dot on one side and a lot more on the other.

      I know this may be an unpopular statement to make, but the fact is that is you mess around in other countries enough, then it will come back to bite you at some point. Neo colonialism is no different from old time colonialism. The West wanted oil. Now they have it, and the shadow of terrorism as well.

    16. Sunny — on 2nd May, 2007 at 2:25 pm  

      is not because that would be mean disengaging security personnel from the same illegal, mismanaged war.

      Sid, I don’t doubt that the war was illegal, mis-managed and immoral (or actually I think GW Bush’s aims were immoral… I’d still have liked to see S Hussain taken out). But there seem to be two issues here.

      The likes of Rachel North and many others are asking for an inquiry into where the intelligence and security services got it wrong.

      The MCB on the other hand want an inquiry into what motivated the bombers, presumably with the hope that the Iraq war will be blamed entirely.

      Random guy: Yes, foreign policy had led to 100s of 1000s of extra people being killed. But the vast majority of the population don’t support the war.

      Secondly, (this was not a problem for the UK until Blair decided to go along with Bush. This is a fact.).

      The fact is that 7/7 happened after Iraq. But do a bit more digging into the evidence that has come out after the trial ended, and you’ll see that these people were organised and recruited way before that.

      If a terrorist’s whole ideology is based on blind hatred for anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their notion of the world, what makes you think they wouldn’t have found another excuse to blow us up? Palestine for example? US bases in the Middle East?

      I know this may be an unpopular statement to make, but the fact is that is you mess around in other countries enough, then it will come back to bite you at some point

      I don’t disagree with you. I think we should stop political meddling in the Middle East, it most certainly is colonialism. Though I think we should sort out Israel/Palestine.

      But what I’m saying is the mentality of these people is not always about lofty aims. As Sonia mentioned above, there are plenty of people who have talked about these people’s supremacist ideology. That guy Ed Husain was in theLondonpaper yesterday talking about it. Others such as Shiraz Maher too have talked about it.

      Apart from the MCB and their friends, most people have also come to the conclusion that what motivated the bombers weren’t some lofty ideals about fighting injustice… but the belief that they were superior and that non-Muslim lives are worthless. That is a problem regardless of whether we’re in Iraq (although Iraq exacerbates the problem).

    17. Leon — on 2nd May, 2007 at 2:34 pm  

      I’d still have liked to see S Hussain taken out

      How do you mean ‘taken out’?

    18. Sid Love — on 2nd May, 2007 at 2:40 pm  

      Well, Rachel from North London is right, I’m afraid, When there exists a moral fog on the nature of Muslim terrorism, you will start seeing governments criminalising and demonsising entire populations of Muslims. Don’t believe her? Take a look.

      You can support the quashing for a call for a public inquiry because of cost, security risk, this that or the other. But the price that is paid will be by innocent Muslims. Just so you know.

    19. Sunny — on 2nd May, 2007 at 2:50 pm  

      When there exists a moral fog on the nature of Muslim terrorism, you will start seeing governments criminalising and demonsising entire populations of Muslims.

      Can you expand on this point?
      As for the US policy on visas, well I never defended what their govt did.

      Leon - Well, removed somehow.

    20. Arif — on 2nd May, 2007 at 3:04 pm  

      I would think that the point of having an enquiry is that you want to find out the causes of a problem so that they can be removed by new policies. I’d think the point of a public enquiry would be to reassure the public that the truth is not being hidden from them by the State, or whoever is conducting the enquiry. I don’t know much about them, but that’s just what I’d guess.

      The argument against an enquiry seems to be that it won’t actually help us understand the causes, and it won’t/shouldn’t guide policy. The implicit preference is either that policies should be based on hunches rather than evidence or that they should not be swayed by attention-seeking terrorist actions, I guess.

      I’d agree with the argument that policies should not be swayed by terrorist actions. But I’d also argue that this principle is less important than the principle that policies should be just and humane. We should remove injustices not because we don’t like other people’s reactions, but because we don’t like injustice. So if politicians insist on pursuing (what some people think are) unjust policies, it is a lesser evil for them to change policies in response to terrorist attacks than for them to continue them regardless.

      An enquiry might tell us that injustice x motivated terrorist action y, but some people will still argue that x is not an injustice, while y is a monstrous terrible crime which requires us to suspend a few civil liberies. Other people will argue that x is a far worse crime than any y could ever be, and the refusal to admit, let alone remedy, this is a grotesque evil.

      I agree an enquiry will solve nothing, what is required is either a consensus or a trusted adjudicator on what constitutes just or humane action. Since we don’t/can’t have this, we are left to fight over the narrative of the goodies, baddies and stupids, sometimes to justify the violence and supremacism of one side against that of another. If people feel an enquiry will help them in that fight they’ll argue for it. We are also left to decide on our own moral principles regardless of these fights, but I get the feeling people seem to find that a bit tedious.

    21. Sid Love — on 2nd May, 2007 at 3:08 pm  

      One of the consequences of a PI will be to show that that there is probably more of a link between the surge in terrorism and the Iraq war. This would force more light on the details of the Iraq war, security measures in the UK, surveillance of terror cells and the data they have on the link between the war and terrorists. And bascally undo the good work done by the Hutton whitewash and add to the discomfiture of some very culpable politicians.

      Keeping this information out of the public domain and staying with the status quo of appearding to know nothing about the extent of Muslim terrorism (which could be pervasive, endemic or limited to a handful of known, monitored groupuscules - which one we’ll never know) is their preference. The climate of fear that results is a by-product which they are only too happy to nurture resulting in measures like the UK-Pakistani visa requirement.

    22. douglas clark — on 2nd May, 2007 at 3:13 pm  

      Sunny,

      The request that Rachel North, et al. made via their lawyers mainly talked about the actual attack and the handling of the aftermath. See here:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,,2069589,00.html

      I consider it a well balanced and fair request. It deals, in the main with victims issues and their understandable concern that there should not be more folk like them in the future:

      “One of the key purposes of the inquiry would be to examine issues aimed at saving lives, minimising suffering and improving the response of government agencies to the continuing threat of terrorist attacks in the UK and abroad and in the event of any similar attack in the future.”

      We have public enquiries on wind farms, for crying out loud.

      Given that these are the victims, I do not think their request is in any way unreasonable.

    23. sonia — on 2nd May, 2007 at 3:16 pm  

      thanks for that link douglas.

      p.s. are you the douglas clark on facebook under sunny’s list of friends?

    24. Leon — on 2nd May, 2007 at 3:18 pm  

      This would force more light on the details of the Iraq war

      Indeed and therein lay the point because if it showed there is a link it could pave the way for an inquiry into the decision to go to war. And that can never be allowed because by Blair for obvious reasons…

    25. Katy Newton — on 2nd May, 2007 at 3:18 pm  

      I would prefer to spend our money on inquiries into wrong doing than invasions tbh…

      See, that’s the problem. Everyone is so obsessed with foreign policy and terrorism that they can’t imagine anyone worrying about anything else. It isn’t a choice between inquiries and invasions! I’d like to see money being spent on making people’s lives better here. It is awful that people died in the 7/7 bombings and it’s terrible that the survivors are still struggling to come to terms with it, but my mother’s been sitting in a chair for three years because the NHS doesn’t have the resources to improve her condition even though there is a tried and tested method of treatment. My grandmother died in a ward full of ill, lonely old people who spent most of the day sitting in their own waste because the nurses either didn’t have the time or couldn’t be bothered to come and take them to the toilet. I’m tired of government money being frittered away whilst the NHS, education and transport slide into the gutter. The fact is that when you count up the amount of people directly affected by the bombs that have gone off in this country over the last twenty years, that number pales into insignificance compared to those who are being driven into the ground by government incompetence in the provision of basic services.

    26. douglas clark — on 2nd May, 2007 at 3:22 pm  

      sonia,

      Yes, that’s me. BTW, thanks Sunny. I take it you are the Sonia that just added me as a chum? If so, thanks to you too. I’m still figuring out how to use the damn thing :-)

    27. sonia — on 2nd May, 2007 at 3:23 pm  

      yes of course arif makes good points, particularly this

      “what is required is either a consensus or a trusted adjudicator on what constitutes just or humane action.

    28. Leon — on 2nd May, 2007 at 3:38 pm  

      It isn’t a choice between inquiries and invasions!

      I never said it was but not invading other countries would make our lives better here because we’d have more money that isn’t being spent on er invading other countries.

    29. Leon — on 2nd May, 2007 at 3:39 pm  

      Yes, that’s me.

      Aha! *add Douglas and hopes he joins the Pickled Politics group*

    30. douglas clark — on 2nd May, 2007 at 3:50 pm  

      Katy,

      Dunno the right way to say this as your mum writes here too, but as you’ve raised it….. Chairwoman, forgive me, if I speak about you in the third person.

      There has been huge amounts of money given to the NHS over the last ten years. In these circumstances, it is outrageous that your mother is still awaiting treatment after three years. Can some pressure not be brought to bear - given some of the people who write here - either through media or medical channels?

      My father was in a similar situation to your grandmother at the end of his life and it took a huge stushie to effect improvements. You have my sympathy. It is totally undignified and utterly wrong.

    31. sonia — on 2nd May, 2007 at 3:50 pm  

      hey douglas..yep that’s me! it took a while for me to figure it out, in fact i still am..can’t get the whole ‘Wall’ thing and who can see what!

    32. sonia — on 2nd May, 2007 at 3:55 pm  

      Yes of course Katy makes a valid point - the silly government ought to be spending money actually providing services - like the NHS.

    33. sonia — on 2nd May, 2007 at 3:56 pm  

      and leon has a valid point to make too!

    34. Jagdeep — on 2nd May, 2007 at 4:48 pm  

      Good points Sunny. If an enquiry is going to be held it should be with one thing in mind — helping the security services in their job, which is preventing it happening again, not pointing the finger of blame at the security services, but getting to the bottom of what went on with a focus on the psychos and how the detection and prosecution can be improved and aided. Wanting it for political reasons and browbeating the security services for dogmatic purposes in the hope that you can get at Blair is not the right reason to do it.

      Good that the security services did such a brilliant job in preventing this bunch of ‘dancing slags’ bombers carrying out their job and getting a conviction — hope they rot in peace.

    35. Random Guy — on 2nd May, 2007 at 4:58 pm  

      Sunny said “Apart from the MCB and their friends, most people have also come to the conclusion that what motivated the bombers weren’t some lofty ideals about fighting injustice… but the belief that they were superior and that non-Muslim lives are worthless. That is a problem regardless of whether we’re in Iraq (although Iraq exacerbates the problem).”

      I think that you have hit upon the catalyst for the bombings to be viewed as legitimate by the perpetrators. However, the notion of superiority you refer to is much more applicable to the Western world than it will ever be to the developing world. If the West had such high moral standards, they would never have proceeded with “Shock And Awe”. You can say that “This is how we are viewed by muslim supremacists” but it is no different on the other side of the coin.

      What is more, the level of influence and actions that have been taken by these Western governments in the Third World are of such great volume and such moral repugnance that there really is no comparison at the end of the day.

      Sunny, the problem is much more horrible, complex and starts way back further than you can imagine. True, these people were recruited earlier on, but don’t forget that key elements that MI5/6 were surveying were also being funded in the mid 90s by MI5/6 in places like Kosovo. Simplifying it by talking about ideologies is worth little when the political reality must be addressed first. There is a history behind all of this.

    36. Jagdeep — on 2nd May, 2007 at 5:06 pm  

      However, the notion of superiority you refer to is much more applicable to the Western world than it will ever be to the developing world.

      Yeah, but we’re not talking about ‘the western world’ as opposed to ‘the developing world’, are we? We’re talking about individual jihadi groups who want to blow up children and men and women by the hundreds or thousands in nightclubs, trains, shopping malls as an expression of their ‘developing world’ animosity. Do what you want but don’t hothouse and brainwash so that all kaffirs are cockroaches and dehumanised to be suicide bombed. Everyone else can understand that, except you and them? The mental feebleness on show here of riding with these maggot’s justification is incredible.

      Nice try to do a bait and switch though.

    37. Katy — on 2nd May, 2007 at 5:16 pm  

      I never said it was but not invading other countries would make our lives better here because we’d have more money that isn’t being spent on er invading other countries.

      War without just cause is also a huge waste of valuable funds, of course. But I think it is very unlikely that a public inquiry into the perceived mistakes of the security services in respect of 7/7 would be permitted to include within its remit any investigation or critique of the Iraq war. The bombers themselves may have blamed FP or the Iraq war, but that’s nothing to do with why the security services did or did not act on particular information. If I hear that someone is going to kill my next door neighbour because they are angry with the way she behaves at work, and I tell the police and the police don’t act on it, how does the police’s failure to act on my information have anything to do with how my next door neighbour behaved at work?

    38. Katy — on 2nd May, 2007 at 5:18 pm  

      What I mean is: if people are after an inquiry into why the government went to war in Iraq, then that’s what they should ask for.

    39. Leon — on 2nd May, 2007 at 5:24 pm  

      But I think it is very unlikely that a public inquiry into the perceived mistakes of the security services in respect of 7/7 would be permitted to include within its remit any investigation or critique of the Iraq war.

      Ok, not sure why that’s relevant, I don’t want an inquiry into the ‘motives’ of the terrorists, I want to know why the security services knew them and didn’t manage to stop them killing. If that question isn’t answered about that how can we trust them to be protecting us now?

    40. Arif — on 2nd May, 2007 at 5:34 pm  

      Leon, do you think an inquiry into security service competence be best handled in public - wouldn’t that make them defensive rather than co-operative? Looking to shift blame rather than work out constructive improvements?

      Or is it that you wouldn’t trust the improvements they come up with internally to take into account other important considerations (eg human rights?)

    41. Jagdeep — on 2nd May, 2007 at 5:35 pm  

      I want to know why the security services knew them and didn’t manage to stop them killing. If that question isn’t answered about that how can we trust them to be protecting us now?

      Leon, I think before we go down that road we should acknowledge that they have already protected us by breaking up the gang that just got sent down, right? So they are doing well, and they are protecting us. The fact that people slip through the net is sadly inevitable. The fact is, at some point in the future, there will be another attack that succeeds, no matter how many plots are stopped.

      The thing about what they can learn comes down to the mechanics of the services, doesnt it? Procedure, protocols, emphasis, recources, intra-communication, all these kinds of details. Now, I think that the security services should and probably are looking into this and reviewing it to improve and learn from their mistakes, and if an independent inquiry helps, then maybe it should be done.

      But my worry is that some people just want to berate and curse the security services for ideological and political reasons, and that shouldnt be the reason for calling for an enquiry at all.

    42. Jagdeep — on 2nd May, 2007 at 5:36 pm  

      I mean, helping administrative and response and resource issues is a much more boring thing to desire than a witchhunt of the security services which is what some (though not all) people seem to want.

    43. Don — on 2nd May, 2007 at 6:00 pm  

      It is pointless asking for an enquiry and then second-guessing the results. But I’m going to do it anyway.

      I would not expect an enquiry to place blame on the security services as such, but I would be less than astonished if it showed them to be heavily under-funded and massively overstretched, to show political interference for short-term PR gains, to show that operational control has shifted away from seasoned professionals.

      I know bugger all about the intelligence services, but I suspect that, if blame is to be found, it will be with political figures rather than security operatives and that it will highlight institutional rather than operational failures.

    44. Ms_Xtreme — on 2nd May, 2007 at 7:34 pm  

      The point of having and inquiry was always to have a lessons learned manual for the future. I don’t think anyone (of course besides the extremists) are wanting it so they can say “You, the government, messed up.”

      Laying blame gets us nowhere, just divides the communities more than they already are.

      They are also fed a supremacist interpretation of Islam that sees all ‘kafirs’ as expendable and that violent jihad is ok because, well, these people deserve to die anyway. Have I missed anything out? There was a brilliant article in the Saturday Guardian over a year ago on brainwashing. I’ll try and dig it up.

      Absolutely correct. So why not bring in some prominent religious figures from around the UK to explain what exactly they’re doing to help their own, as well as neighboring Mosque go’ers to change the mentality. Lets hold them responsible to bring about change, of course in a non-threatening, non-patronizing type of way.

    45. Derius — on 2nd May, 2007 at 7:38 pm  

      “Western Foreign policy that is responsible for maybe a million times the deaths caused by terrorism”

      Posted by Random Guy, above.

      And one wonders, exactly, from which magical hat this statistical rabbit has been produced from. Are we to believe, that in Iraq at present, “Western foreign policy” is killing “a million times as many people” as the Sunni-Shia fissure, of which has led over 1300 years, to untold violence between the two factions, and can be seen today all over the world (see Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, to name a few places)? Or is “Western foreign policy” to take responsibility for the factional struggles within Islam as well now, struggles which predate the West by many centuries, and struggles which relate specifically to Islam itself? Are those Muslims, who are engaging in religious, tribal and sectarian violence against each other in Iraq at present, not in control over their own actions, and instead, are all being mind controlled by “Western foreign policy”?

      “The other dot is the politically minded terrorist(s) who believes that like for like, innocent death for innocent death, is justified, and will attempt to cause that whenever they can, wherever they can to westerners”

      Again, posted by “Random Guy, above

      These Jihadists (I use this term as this is how they often describe themselves) are not only against the West: they are against all of the rest. For them, the world is divided not between Westerners and non Westerners, but instead, between believer and unbeliever. And that’s it. To polarise the issue between them and the West is to ignore the ongoing violence that the Jihadists inflict against Hindus in India, Buddhists in Thailand (including schoolgirls and Buddhist monks), Christians in Indonesia, Muslims in Darfur (who have been deemed not devout enough), more Christians in Nigeria, the Copts in Egypt, and the Zoroastrians in Iran, to name only some of many (however, if anyone can explain exactly how all of these groups are connected to “Western foreign policy”, then I would be interested in hearing it).

      The belief, that somehow, the West is the only player on stage, and that all other cultures and peoples are unable to define themselves or carve their own path in life, or make their own choices, and instead, can only be a product of the actions of the West, is in itself deeply racist and insulting to all other cultures. It is nonsense that must stop. And if having an enquiry will confirm what the Jihadists’ motivation really is (to install Islamic Law over the world, regardless of whether Islam actually teaches this or not), then that will be a step forward. However, I very much doubt that this would actually be established, due to the MCB, other Islamic groups and people like “Random Guy” desperately trying to obfuscate the truth, however unpleasant that truth might be.

      Join the dots.

    46. soru — on 2nd May, 2007 at 9:24 pm  

      Jihadists (I use this term as this is how they often describe themselves)

      If you don’t share their goals, why repeat their propaganda?

    47. Random Guy — on 2nd May, 2007 at 9:51 pm  

      Jagdeep said: “The mental feebleness on show here of riding with these maggot’s justification is incredible.

      Nice try to do a bait and switch though.”

      And likewise to you.

      @Derius: The statistic was not meant to be an accurate one. I am making a point which you are trying to detract from. I have no need to make you come over to my point of view. That is a step you will have to be willing to make, unfortunately. You have a clear knack of listing the ‘Jihadists’ (as if they were some homogeneous group) and all their wrongdoings but if you would open your eyes a little wider you would see that this planet is full of violence from one side of the globe to the other. And yes, a lot of it has arisen because of interventions by western countries. Your attempt to sound outraged (”The belief, that somehow, the West is the only player on stage…is in itself deeply racist and insulting to all other cultures. It is nonsense that must stop”) sounds to me like insecurity.

      I knew what I was getting into posting this here, but I find this blog a respectful place full of intelligent people. Alternative voices, when heard, should be debated with. Clearly, marginalising them is a one way road. You won’t care what I say and I won’t care what you say. Isolation of opinion and polarisation follows. Prove me wrong.

    48. Derius — on 2nd May, 2007 at 10:29 pm  

      “To call them ”terrorists” makes them sound glamorous”

      from a previous thread.

      Soru,

      Whatever term I use, somebody will dislike it. Substitute in whatever word you like in its place, as I am sure we both have better things to do than argue over terminology. I would rather hear your views on the subject.

      Random Guy,

      I was not detracting from your point, which was that most violence is a result of Western foreign policy, I was in fact arguing against it, and I am perfectly aware that violence is common across the globe. Where did I say that it wasn’t?

      I must also say I am amused that you suggest I am trying to marginalise you and polarise the debate. Am I not allowed to disagree with you? You made an argument, and I have made a refutation of that argument. Neither of us have actually maginalised anything at all in my mind.

      And why would I be insecure? Over what exactly? I believe that not everything on this planet gravitates around the West. If you can prove otherwise, then please state your argument.

      As for your statement about Jihadist groups, you are correct in that they are not one homogenious group, but given that it is in effect the same ideology that drives them, I saw little reason to differentiate between them in my post above. Is it any different why al-Qaeda or the Jihad martyr brigades kill innocent people, at the end of the day?

    49. soru — on 2nd May, 2007 at 10:58 pm  

      Whatever term I use, somebody will dislike it.

      True.

      Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to be disliked by the stupid people.

    50. Sunny — on 3rd May, 2007 at 2:29 am  

      Random Guy: I think that you have hit upon the catalyst for the bombings to be viewed as legitimate by the perpetrators. However, the notion of superiority you refer to is much more applicable to the Western world than it will ever be to the developing world.

      Firstly, you who is the western world and who is the developing world? Is a British born and bred Muslim still part of the developing world?

      Maybe you didn’t read enough about what these guys were saying… so maybe I should remind you:

      the thwarted terrorist Jawad Akbar who fantasised thus about slaughter on the Ministry of Sound dance floor: “No one can turn around and say, ‘Oh, they were innocent’, those slags dancing around. Do you understand what I mean?”

      Some people do. Ed Husain, author of a revealing and alarming account of his experiences inside radical Islam, said of the “slags” comment: “That was me, man. That’s classic Hizb-ut-Tahrir rhetoric.”

      This from an article in the Guardian today:
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2071237,00.html

      You might think these people have high-minded lofty ideals such as protecting their brothers from slaughter in the name of justice, but actually, like I said above, a lot of the rhetoric is straightforward supremacism.

      I’ve repeatedly said our actions in Iraq are not justified. But you seem to be playing this tit-for-tat game… that the bombers were almost justified because of what is happening in Iraq.

      Let me put this plainly. When people take revenge attacks that are pre-planned, those people are usually not mentally stable. For example, when the Gujaratis went on rampage across Gujarat in 2002 killing Muslims, they too had been fed lots of hateful propaganda, and fed the line that this was retaliation against previous injustices.

      Mate, EVERYONE is retaliating against something! Read the statements made by these people, its not just about retaliation, it’s about them simply abhoring all of western society.

      Sid, you say in #21:
      One of the consequences of a PI will be to show that that there is probably more of a link between the surge in terrorism and the Iraq war. This would force more light on the details of the Iraq war, security measures in the UK, surveillance of terror cells and the data they have on the link between the war and terrorists. And bascally undo the good work done by the Hutton whitewash and add to the discomfiture of some very culpable politicians.

      The link between terrorism and Iraq has already been pointed out by intelligence services here and in the States. What more would you like?

      The PI that most people are demanding is not the second kind mentioned above, but the first kind.

      You seem to be tying all various strands together in the hope that some sort of light can be shed on different issues (some will be classified and some simply depend on opinion) and hope that this will lead to a grand narrative that will shame the UK govt.

      That’s not what Rachel North et al are arguing for… you seem to be confusing the two. It’s not possible to link all those strands together you mention as an ‘inquiry’ because that has be based on evidence not opinion.

    51. Sunny — on 3rd May, 2007 at 2:34 am  

      And to add further to that:

      In The Islamist, Ed Husain confirms what you might suspect: his former colleagues included sexual hypocrites, as well as offenders, thugs and homophobes. Many preferred ranting to prayer.

      The same activists who banned discos and western music at his London college, and who bullied homosexuals and Brick Lane’s prostitutes and inadequately covered female students (”Hijab - put up or shut up”), would decide, having thoroughly reviewed the theology, that pornography was acceptable. And concubines. “I prefer blondes from the Balkans, personally,” announced one hammer of western decadence.

      Tell me, why are they angry again?

    52. Random Guy — on 3rd May, 2007 at 6:42 am  

      Sunny, I don’t disagree with what you are saying. I am not implying that the 7/7 bombers were in any way “high minded or lofty”, because after all there is little that is high minded or lofty about murdering innocent people. However, pre 9/11, a situation like this would never have occurred. The link in the chain is the action of government against Muslims, the huge media demonisation of Islam, and the subsequent murder of innocents in Iraq. Without these, we would have no homegrown bombers. The War Against Terror (TWAT for short) has been disastrous in that it has created more terror than your average ‘jihadist’ - as they are amusingly called - could ever dream of.

      With respect to post #51, this is a fairly common theme, and not surprising to me at all, human nature being what it is. Its pretty hilarious as well.

      Also, you ask “who is the western world and who is the developing world?”. Well, I would not include the 7/7 lot in the developing world by any means, but Western actions in that part of the world is a primary catalyst for the whole terrorist chain of events that let things like 7/7 happen in the first place.

      I notice you mention that I am trying to justify the bombers. Well, I am not, and if that is the impression you have formed please get rid of it. Merely pointing out Western culpability in all this does not automatically make me an apologist.

      @Derius: I too, am amused that you think that I think I was being marginalised by you. So you refute my argument that the West is not a money grubbing, innocent killing entity in the developing world? Are you from that part of the world that you have such knowledde? Tell me then, what exactly do you think they are doing there, in Iraq especially?

    53. soru — on 3rd May, 2007 at 8:32 am  

      Merely pointing out Western culpability in all this does not automatically make me an apologist.

      Words successfully used in communication have meanings. ‘culpability’ and ‘apologist’, in particular, have meanings that make what you say not true.

    54. Random Guy — on 3rd May, 2007 at 8:39 am  

      @Soru: No, you are wrong.

    55. soru — on 3rd May, 2007 at 9:06 am  

      @Random Guy

      2 + 2 = 5

      That’s my opinion. Prove me wrong.

      Note: you are not allowed to assume anything about what I mean by the symbols ‘2′, ‘+’, ‘=’ or ‘5′.

    56. Random Guy — on 3rd May, 2007 at 9:32 am  

      @Soru: Okay then.

      Culpability = blameworthiness: a state of guilt

      Apologist = a person who argues to defend or justify some policy or institution;

      I am not defending anything here. Show me where I am. Blame yes, I am assigning a very significant portion of . Which part of this confuses you? Let me reiterate my points: -

      “Western actions in that part of the world is a primary catalyst for the whole terrorist chain of events that let things like 7/7 happen in the first place.”

      “I notice you mention that I am trying to justify the bombers. Well, I am not, and if that is the impression you have formed please get rid of it.”

      Are you confused by this? If you can’t wrap your head around what I am saying, I cannot make it clearer. I am not talking in absolutes, but in relative terms. If you don’t agree that this is not a question of only cultural failure (or whatever you feel happy for muslims to be burdened with), then you are wrong IMO. Less confused now?

    57. Arif — on 3rd May, 2007 at 9:53 am  

      Random Guy, I think you are up against a queasiness that people have about “moral relativism”.

      Western Governments and their supporters’ violence (A)= bad.

      7/7 bombing (B) = bad

      (A) is only possible because of a supremacist ideology (C)

      (B) is also only possible because of (C)

      We are all capable of (C), but prefer to point out the (C) in other people. This makes it seem like we are justifying either (A) or (B) to people. Why they believe that is up to them to reflect upon. It is better not to speculate why other people misinterpret you, as it makes people more likely to be defensive than reflective.

      That’s what I feel I’ve learned from discussions like this in the past.

    58. soru — on 3rd May, 2007 at 11:05 am  

      Culpability = blameworthiness: a state of guilt

      Apologist = a person who argues to defend or justify some policy or institution;

      Those are reasonable definitions. If you use them in the sentence:

      ‘I don’t wish to come over as an apologist for the bombers, who are culpable for their actions, but there are other important and relevant issues that need to be discussed, including…’

      then that’s all well and good.

      If, instead you claim to be using them, but say

      ‘ok, in a discussion of 7/7, I have spent 500 paragraphs assigning culpability for the bombings to everything from napoleon’s invasion of Egypt to the mossadegh coup. But that doesn’t make me an apologist, because I am not one - that is a state that exists independant of anything I say’.

      then you are wrong about the predictable effects of the communication you are attempting.

    59. Random Guy — on 3rd May, 2007 at 11:22 am  

      Actually Soru, I am balancing out the very widely held view of the 7/7 bombers as fanatics who hated this society, AND NOTHING ELSE, by adding a context and a moral reference point. As no one else has bothered to do this, it makes no difference how many paragraphs I spent because my 500 paragraphs will have to be compared to about 20 or 30 other posters’ 50 paragraphs a piece. So no thank you, I don’t want a meta-argument about interpretation and semantics. Let us stick to the points we were trying to make (hint: in the wider context) shall we?

    60. Jon Rosenberg — on 3rd May, 2007 at 4:58 pm  

      An independent inquiry is pointless.

      It is naïve to think that (with the benefit of the hindsight that makes us all so wise) the security services haven’t tried to address whatever shortcomings they have identified.

      It is also naïve to even contemplate the any independent inquiry will make those shortcoming public.

      There are undoubtedly issues that need to be addressed; but lets be honest about it, all a public inquiry will do is divert the attention and resources that are required to get on with addressing the same issues that the inquiry MAY – if we are lucky – identify.

      Demanding pointless public inquiries is unfortunately a bit of a British disease .. it is an obsession that we really should try to tame.

      Of far greater concern to me is to find out why it is that, given the fact that there were (according to Europol) 500 terrorist attacks in Europe last year - ONE of which was Islamist (and failed miserably) - the vast majority of those arrested are Muslims .. and worse still, why only 32% of those actually arrested under sweeping new powers and detained are actually
      even suspected in any actual involvement in planning terrorist acts.

    61. soru — on 3rd May, 2007 at 6:48 pm  

      @jon: Are you saying there should be a public enquiry into why there are so few successful bomb plots?

      MI5 now has lots of extra funding, smart offices, and public support. It gets to set up a permanent web-site, and advertise in newspapers.

      Isn’t that a form of institutional racism?

      Maybe an outreach training program should be set up to allow the islamists to develop the necessary core competences to allow them to properly compete in the terror market.

    62. Sunny — on 4th May, 2007 at 3:41 am  

      Actually Soru, I am balancing out the very widely held view of the 7/7 bombers as fanatics who hated this society, AND NOTHING ELSE,

      But Random Guy that has never been my view, so I don’t even know why you’re bringing that here. The articles I reference above (on joined up thinking) and elsewhere mention lots of factors.

      So why keep pretending you’re the only one mentioning them? Please drop it.

      What Soru says is important for various reasons. On websites like MPAC too we see people claiming “well if they weren’t in Iraq this wouldn’t happen” etc etc.

      My point is a bit more nuanced than that. Iraq may have been a source of exacerbation, but it was never the spark nor the fuel. It was the extra petrol chucked into the fire. In the mid 1990s we had people going around declaring this country was not compatible with Muslims, that we were all worthless kaafirs who should convert over to Islam etc.

      If you didn’t see it, well then you missed out a lot. I saw the Hizb ‘brothers’ all the time.. though some of them later went to Al Muhajiroun.

      Now it is not entirely out of the ordinary to point out that if we’d clamped down on these fuckers then, 7/7 would not have happened regardless of Iraq… why? Because there are 1.6 million Muslims in the UK and the vast majority are not blowing themselves up.

      On top of that, the ones who are, are primarily of Pakistani origin and were involved with some of these extremist groups in the past. Does that not indicate anything to you? People don’t just randomly watch TV, get angry and decide to blow themselves up. They are brainwashed and prepared over months, maybe years. There is a whole apparatus my friend. That is the problem too… not just Iraq.

    63. Jon Rosenberg — on 4th May, 2007 at 7:28 am  

      “Are you saying there should be a public enquiry into why there are so few successful bomb plots?”

      Sunny,

      No .. I am saying that I’d like someone to explain to me why it isn’t racist that anti-terrorism across Europe is driven by a policy of targeting the Muslim community, when Europol’s own stats clearly show that 497 of the 498 terrorist attacks / plots were inspired by separatist, nationalist, left-wing and anarchist motives .. NOT ‘Islamist’.

      I would like to know why the Europol press release announcing the report says:

      “It indicates that 498 attacks were carried out by Islamist, separatist, left-wing and anarchist terrorist groups in eleven Member States in 2006″

      .. listing the Islamist threat first, when in fact it was the lowest of all the threats.

    64. Jon Rosenberg — on 4th May, 2007 at 7:35 am  

      A public inquiry into why one plot worked is a bit like asking for a public inquiry into why even the most careful of drivers occasionally has an accident, or why I sometimes cut my finger on a bit of paper.

      Did we have public inquiries into IRA bombs? No, because it is glaringly obvious that SOME plots will always succeed.

      The ONLY thing worth investigating, with the benefit of hindsight, is why the response is disproportionate and racist .. and then committing to addressing that.

    65. Random Guy — on 4th May, 2007 at 9:02 am  

      Sunny, I think I have already said in a previous post that I agree with you on your main arguments about these groups and their message etc. My response was to Soru, so I do not see where I am accusing you in particular of holding a certain view. The point I am making is that too much of this discussion has already been biased and steered by the media and in effect, given a platform to the minority of extremist muslim groups in this country. Therefore the main bulk of inquiry/opinion invariably focuses on the buzzwords you so readily use (”Pakistani”, “Brainwashed”, “Hizb Ut Tahir” and so forth).

      I have to call you out on one of your statements:

      “if we’d clamped down on these fuckers then, 7/7 would not have happened regardless of Iraq”

      That is pure conjecture so don’t make statements like that. I completely disagree with it anyhow. Sunny, how informed are you on what has happened in Iraq and how it fits in to wider geo-political issues? The sad fact is that you seem to be unaware of the impact the events of the last few years have had on everyone globally, not least the muslim community. Instead you are trying to isolate the british muslim community and saying: “Look, I found it, here is the problem”. That approach is fruitless and will never work.

      I was not around for the 90s which you speak of, but growing up I had heard enough about these kinds of groups and met enough people who shared their point of view to know even then, that their opinion and behaviours would always be pushed away from the main community. The UK was warned that they would face a threat after Bush and Blair eloped, and they carried on their own MASS-murder of innocents regardless.

      Like I said way back, you don’t mess around with other people and goverments indefinitely without expecting a reprisal of some sort. Please Sunny, tell me you at least agree with that…

    66. Katy Newton — on 4th May, 2007 at 9:36 am  

      I was not around for the 90s which you speak of

      You must have been, unless you’re seven years old.

    67. Derius — on 5th May, 2007 at 2:50 pm  

      Random Guy,

      Perhaps I didn’t make my stance clear. I am also pleased you do not feel I was marginalising you.

      Has American and British foreign policy in Iraq made some muslims more susceptible to being recruited by Jihadist groups than would otherwise have been the case? Certainly. Was invading Iraq justified? Not at all, and I would pull out tomorrow if I was in charge.

      However, I cannot agree, for reasons I have given above, that the supremicist ideology we are now facing is purely a result of Western foreign policy, which is how your first post read to me. There is no logical step between disagreeing with Western policy, and detonating a bomb on a packed tube in London. I disgree with much of Russian foreign policy. However, I’m not going to go to Moscow and kill loads of innocent Russians.

      It should also be noted that there is currently a lot of Wahhabi money coming in from Saudi Arabia into mosques across Europe and in America, which is causing some communities there to be radicalised. Wahhabism is not a product of the West.

      The blame cannot be solely laid down on the doorstep of any one group or culture. The solution will have to acknowlede this.

    68. Naxal 1849 — on 5th May, 2007 at 3:24 pm  

      Random Guy

      You are correct in much of what you say, especially with regard to the way the Western media has been so woefully inadequate at reporting the huge implications of the invasion of Iraq.

      For example, although Bush and Blair are adamant that the war wasn’t about oil, how many people in this country are aware of the new Iraqi Oil Law. It was drawn up by the UK and US and privatised Iraq’s previously public oil, putting it in the hands of Western multinational companies.

      This is just one example, what about all the rapes we never hear about?

      Instead we are fed an official diet of the ‘terror threat’ when, in reality, 7/7 was a tea party compared to the carpet bombing of Iraq.

      If Western governments are going to consistently fuck over other countries they better expect some sort of comeback. An eye for an eye.

      You are also correct about Sunny’s inability to see the wider picture and resort to using ‘buzz words’. He is a perfect example of why liberals will never again run this country: they unable to develop a nuanced view of complex situations.

      As for Sunny trying to ‘isolate the Muslim community’, you are wrong. They don’t need Sunny’s help, they do it all by themselves. Hatred of the non-believer drips from even the most ‘moderate’ Muslims, and the Western intervention into the Middle East only exasperates this hate.

    69. Lopakhin — on 7th May, 2007 at 5:20 pm  

      Jon Rosenberg: ‘Of far greater concern to me is to find out why it is that, given the fact that there were (according to Europol) 500 terrorist attacks in Europe last year - ONE of which was Islamist (and failed miserably) - the vast majority of those arrested are Muslims ..’

      I’d suggest that it’s mainly because Islamist plots tend to kill more people. Of Europol’s 500-odd, most were directed against property rather than people, by the likes of Corsican nationalists, and hardly any managed to kill anyone. You can see its report here:

      www.europol.europa.eu/publications/TESAT/TESAT2007.pdf

    70. Jagdeep — on 7th May, 2007 at 5:22 pm  

      Corsican nationalists? Blimey.

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