Sunday, April 22, 2007

Lies, damned lies and statistics

According to a Europol Report, of 498 “Terrorist” attacks in 11 EU member states during 2006, just one (failed) was carried out by a group which could be classed as “Islamist”. That in Germany. The only fatal attack, with the deaths of two people in Madrid, was carried out by ETA, the Basque group, who were responsible for 136 attacks.

Of the 14 member states surveyed, statistics on arrest were available in 13 (the UK does not provide statistics on cases awaiting trial). Of 706 suspects arrested in relation to terrorist offences, 257 were “Islamist”. That bastion of liberté, egalité, fraternité, France, accounted for 342 of these arrests of which 139 were “Islamist” and 188 “Separatist”. (Little reported in the UK, where I write, there were 283 separatist attacks in Corsica during 2006).

The report does not include information on the activities of the security services, nor the role of such as Eliza Manningham-Buller (Director General of MI5 until her retirement last week - April 2007) in emphasising the extent of the terrorist threat. There is no means for public scrutiny of the accuracy of the PR from such security services.

I live in the UK, a land where our liberties of action, association, comment and privacy have been shattered over the past decade, principally in the years following the WTC atrocity. I live in a nation which was the focus for a sustained Irish Terrorist assault. Yet even after the bomb at the Grand Hotel (12th October 1984) which almost assassinated the Prime Minister, the Government saw no cause for such draconian intervention in the lives of its inhabitants during that protracted murderous campaign. That within the boundaries of the Island of Britain. In Ulster, riven by sectarian criminality and terrorism in the names both of a "Republic" and of "Loyalist", the application of the law, of military policing and of clandestine security action was less enlightened. Nevertheless, even in that province, the range and reach of legislation remained less draconian than that which applies nationwide over twenty years later.

I live in a nation which has actively supported US policies of propaganda, mendacity, illegal invasion, war, occupation and grand larceny. This after many years of under-reported military attrition and enforcement of murderous UN sanctions policies on Saddam Hussein's Iraq. I live in a nation which has acted in support of the extension and consolidation of the message of State terror to the world. And whose Government has cynically encouraged and exploited a condition of fear of domestic terrorism to justify its domestically repressive and internationally aggressive policies.

Margaret Thatcher, never at the time thought of as a bastion for liberty, in a speech to the Tory conference at 9.30am, seven hours after the Grand Hotel bomb which came so close to killing her (and led to the deaths of five people) said “....the fact that we are gathered here now — shocked, but composed and determined — is a sign not only that this attack has failed, but that all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.”

It is not terrorism, nor the threat of terrorism, which is destroying liberty in this land. It is not terrorism which has so eroded our constitutionally monarchic “democracy”. The creation and exploitation of a condition of fear provides the excuse for an instinctively authoritarian and evidently near-fascist culture of Government to impose its limited vision of humanity upon us all.

I have seen no UK comment on the Europol report.


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