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Reflections on the London terroristic attacks and their aftermath

by Astrid Essed Monday, Sep. 19, 2005 at 4:01 AM

I'll show in my article, that in contrary to the declarations of the British prime-minister Blair and other Westerm politicians, there are evident causes for the London terrorist attacks dd 7-7. Further I also reflect on the aftermath of the attacks, especially regarding the newly proposed British terrorist-laws and the killing of the Brasilian de Menezes by the British policy. I'll end with a remembreance poem of Eddie Woods concerning Jean de Menezes.

Reflections on the terroristic attacks in London and their aftermath



A The terroristic attacks



Introduction:



At thursday dd 7-7 the world was alarmed by the terroristic attacks in London, by which more than 52 people were killed and 700 were wounded.

In an immediate reaction the British prime-minister Blair called the attacks ''barbaric''

His comment was followed by the European and American condemnation of the attacks.

Also the chairman of the Arabic League, Amr Moussa was condemning the London attacks, by saying, that the League is against condemned the explosions which made innocent victims, whether in London or other European and Arabic cities.



Although it is evident, that those attacks, as any other terroristic attacks, show a fundamental lack of respect for the most fundamental principles of humanity, it is striking, that the condemnations of the most politicians are lacking lack any further reflection of the deeper causes of the London-attacks.

This is the more striking considering the as well as colonial as present political-military position of Great-Britain in the world.





Especially due to its colonial past, Great-Britain has a long history concerning terroristic assaults, counting more then 126 since the end of the sixty years of the last century.

Mostly the responsibility for those assaults has been demanded by the IRA, which has fought since decennia the continuing British occupation of Northern Ireland with legitimated and illegal means, untill last 28th july the organisation ended the military resistance, but not the political one.



Although at first the possibility of an IRA-attack was likely to be considered, it was soon obvious, that the roots of the attacks were to be found in the political-ideological Middle-East resistance-groups, which were opposed to the British military contribution to the Iraq war as well the British-American occupation of Iraq, which followed this war.



1 Reactions of the Western political leaders and their critics:



It is however striking that in contrary to the British prime-minister Blair and the other American-European leading politicians, their political opponants do refer to the underlying causes of the attacks.

However, the weak point of some of those critics is to my opinion, that despite of their just connection between the attacks and the British-American political and military conduct in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are blaming prime-minister Blair being the head-responsible for the recent attacks.



Although I consent with their analysis of the causes of those attacks, I do hold the opinion that in the first and only place the planners and direct executioners [uitvoerders] of those attacks are bearing head-responsibility and should be jugded according to the international judicial principles.



At the other hand it must be emphasized clearily, that terrorism is rooted in clear political-humanitairian causes and events.



Therefore the denial and bagatellisation by prime-minister Blair and other American-European political leaders of the causes of the recent London-attacks will lead to further continuation of terrorism, since the main causes are rooted in the British role concening the occupation of Iraq.



2 Causes of the attacks:



It is evident, that the direct causes of the recent London attacks are rooted in the British-American attack on Iraq dd 20-3-2003 and the ensuing occupation of Iraq, which led to more then 10.000 Iraqi civilian deaths [lowest estimation], caused mainly by the use of the internationally forbidden cluster-bombs, as well by a considerable amount of human rights violations cq war-crimes during the war.



Also human rights violations cq war-crimes were committed during the occupation of Iraq, like for example the arbitrary shooting at civilians, the war-crimes during the besiege and attack on Fallujah like the bombing of civilian targets and the execution of wounded prisoners, and not to be fotgot the torture, mistreatment and humiliation of prisoners, from which Abu Graibh is only the top of the iceberg!



Of course as a reaction on those human rights violations and war-crimes, which are inherent to every occupation in the world, the Iraqi resistance was formed, which was embodied in as well internationally legitimated attacks on the occupation-army as well as rejectable [verwerpelijke] terroristic attacks on civilians and civilian targets, and also abductions and executions of hostages.



Not to be mentioned yet of the by the British-American coalition-troops committed war-crimes in the first Gulf-war and the war in Afghanistan, which have never brought to justice and the UN- economical sanctions against Iraq, which have caused the death of more than a half million children.



In contary with the allegations of the world-leaders, terrorism is no Evil on such, but rather a reaction on earlier committed Evil, however rejectable the attacks.



Of course this is no excuse whatsoever for those responsible for the attacks, yet there is a clear connection between the motives of the terrorists and the cause, lain in the British involvement regarding the war and occupation of Iraq.



It is moreover important to realise, that the frustration of a great number of Iraqi resistance-groups is not only lying in the war and occupation on such, but especially in the relative impunity of the committed British-American war-crimes.



B The aftermath of the London attacks:



Anti-terrorism-law, racist attacks and the policy of shoot to kill:



1 Anti-terrorism-law:



Before referring to the humanitarian consequences of the London attacks for the British muslim-communities and the shoot to kill policy of the British police, which has costed already one life, I think it is of great importance to pay special attention to the dd 5-8 proposed anti-terrorism-measures by the British prime-minister T Blair.



Although it is evident, that the British government has the right and the dury to protect the public from acts of terrorism, it is obvious also that the thus taken measures may not be contradictory to international and Brirish judicial rules as the right of every suspect on a fair trial, a humane treatment cq protection against torture and the right of people in general on freedom of speech and practising their religion.



However, the most worrying aspects of those extended British anti-terrorism measures are the proposals to establish anti-terrorism-courts, the extension for pre-trial detention without charge and the deportation of foreigners deemed “extremist” to places where they might be at risk of torture.

Other worrying proposals are a new offence criminalizing speech that amounts to “indirect incitement,” including speech that justifies or glorifies terrorism and the closure of places of worship used to “foment extremism.”



In the first place is a worrying aspect the vagueness of definitions like ''justification and glorifying terrorism'' and ''foment extremism'' since the term ''extremism'' is not exactly defined and the ''justification of terrorism'' can also include the pointing out of the causes of terrorism, like this article, without any approval with any terroristic attacks.

In the second place, the closing of houses of worship is on such a violation of the freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs in worship and the connection with ''foment extremism'' is a highly vague term, which can be misused easily by the authorities.



However, two most important life-threathening and dangerous aspects of the newly proposed anti-terrormeasures are the deportation of real or alleged ''extremists'' to countries where they might be at risk of torture and the risk of unfair trials.



Deportations with the risks of torture and the so-called diplomatic guarantees:



Since the 11 september attacks in 2001 it became a common policy by the US and European governments to send back alleged terrorist suspects to countries where they know the suspects will be at risk of torture or ill-treatment.



Not only such practices are inhuman, they are also contrary with International Law.

According to International Law there is an absolute prohibition on torture and ill-treatment, in all situations and under all circumstances, as is the transfer of any person under any circumstances to a place where he or she would be at risk of torture.



This absolute prohibition on torture is lain in article 2 of the UN-Convention against Torture and in article 3, ECHR [European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights]

The prohibition of transferring people to countries with the risk of torture is lain in article 3 of the UN-Convention against Torture.



Diplomatic assurances against torture:



To seek assurances of humane treatment in order to transfer terrorism suspects to states with well-established records of torture, the US and European governments ask diplomatic assurances from the countries involved, which must guarantee the humane treatment of the terrorism suspect.



However it is evident, that such guarantees will not give any real humanitarian protection for the referred terrorism-suspect.



In contrary, the reports of the well known human rights organisation Human Rights Watch show, that the thus send back terrorism suspects are being tortured anyway.



Despites all warnings of Human Rights Watch, send to the governments of the American and European countries involved, those practices are still continuing.



Referring to Great-Britain:



Recently, dd the 10th of august, Great-Britain and Jordan signed a so called ''Memorandum of Understanding'', which should give the guarantee, that Jordan would not subject terrorism suspects, who are going to send back by Great-Britain to torture.

However, although given diplomatic guarantees, it may be clear, that when a country has a well-established record of torture like Jordan still has, it is a huge violation of International Law, to send suspects of terrorism back.



The risk of unfair trials:



Another point of great concern is the proposed establishment of special anti-terrorism courts, that is contrary with the fundamental fair trial standards, including access to counsel and evidence, and arbitrary detention.

According to the establishment of special terrorism courts, special advocates are being installed, who are able to hear evidence against the accused in closed hearings, but will not be able to reveal any of that evidence to the accused or to his or her chosen counsel.

It is evident, that when the suspect has no access to a part of the evidence against him, there is a strong limitation of his rights on a fair trial, since he and his counseler can't dispute the validity of the evidence.



By taking such anti-terrorism-measures, the British authorities are not only guilty of grave violations of human rights, they are also further aliening the islamic communities from the British society, with all the risks involved of further radicalism.



2 Racist attacks after the 7-7 attacks:



Soon after the committing of the terroristic attacks, there as a worrying increase of the already existing racism in Great-Britain, which was in this case especially directed against the moslim-community in particular and Asian people in general.

The consequence was, that also not islamic-related Asians like Indian Hindu people and also the Sikh-community was being subjected to those attacks.

According to official records in the two weeks after the 7-7 july attacks the British police received more than 1200 announcements of racist incidents against moslims and other Asian people.

The most horrifying event still were two murders on moslim-teenagers with a racist motive, from which the last took place dd 29-7, eight days after the unsucceeded second attack dd 21-7.



3 Jean de Menezes and the shoot to kill-policy:



However, except those serious racist incidents from individual British citizens or groups, still more worrying was the shooting of the Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes by the London police:



At july 22th, one day after the unsucceeded second terroristic attack in London, the London police killed a Brazilian electrician in an underground-metro, by shooting him seven times through his head and one time in the back, after laying on the ground already.

According to the initial police-allegations de Menezes was a suspected suicide-bomber, who wore a bulky winter coat [in which the alleged bomb could be hided] and was ''behaving suspectedly'' by running suddenly.



However, CCTV evidence, examined by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, that he was only wearing a thin denim jacket, had passed away through the ticket gates, using his travel card and had only run when he expected to miss the underground-metro.



Innocent man:



At saturday the 23th july, the day after the shooting, the Metropolitan Police identified the victim as Jean Charles de Menezes, and said that he had not been carrying explosives, nor was he connected in any way to the attempted bombings. They issued an apology describing the incident as "a tragedy, and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets."



Shoot to kill:



However, despite the regret of the London police it was striking, that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, mr I. Blair, declared dd the 25th of july, that the London police, that their ''shoot to kill policy'' would be applied across the whole of Britain and that more people might die at the hands of armed officers as a result of the investigation into the London bomb attacks.

He repeated this declaration the 13th of september in the presence of three family-members of de Menezes and emphasized again on the fact, that this policy would be maintained.



Also it is striking, that the mayor of London, mr Livingstone, who has the reputation of being critical of the abuses in the British government policy, also has defended the shoot to kill policy of the London police by, without waitening any result of the yet to be taken place investigation after the actings of the police, has supported the police, saying that the action they took was "appropriate" and intended to "protect the public."



By this, yet apart from the illegal character of the shooting to kill policy, the mayor and also the police are taking an illegal and irresponsible risk with the life of possible innocent people, since there is only a suspicion of the person being a suicide-bomber.

The death of the innocent Jean de Menezes proves that.





Shoot to kill in the light of International Law:



However, the discussion here is basically not whether the shoot- to- kill policy is applying to an innocent man or a real suicide bomber, the shooting to kill policy as such is a serious breach of International Law by violating the right on life of anyone, despite a committed or possibly to commit crime.

Therefore it is being considered as a crime against humanity.



Investigation:



In the meanwhile there is an investigation by the IPCC [the Independent Police Complaints Commission] into the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, despite the attempt of the Metropolitan Police Service (Met) to hinder this.



To my opinion it is obvious, that by substantial proof, those responsible for the killing of de Menezes should bring to justice.



Also the practice of shoot to kill should be stopped immediately, not only for the risk of innocent victims, but also because this practice is a fundamental breach on the right on life of anybody, innocent or alleged suicide-bomber.





In remembrance of Jean de Menezes:



At last I want to end my article with a poem a well knows poet and political activist, Eddie Woods has written on the killing of Jean de Menezes:



But before doing that I want to express strongly my condolences and sympathy for as well as the relatives of those, who were killed in the London terroristic attacks dd 7-7 as well the relatives of Jean de Menezes.



And Mr Blair and mr Livingstone:



Please remember the fact, that the one violation of Human Rights [the terroristic attacks] may not be answered by another violation of Human Rights [orders to ''shoot to kill'']



Every man and woman has the same rights, innocent man and criminal alike:



By this the poem by Eddie Woods:



SHOOT TO KILL

In Memory of Jean Charles de Menezes

I can just hear the sentiments

racing through that cop's heart

(do cops actually have hearts?)

as he pumped seven bullets

into an innocent man's head:

“Take this, you Muslim bastard!”

And this - bang!

And this - bang!

And this - bang!

And this - bang!

And this - bang!

And this - bang!

Except he turned out to be Brazilian.

Oh well, win some, lose some.

And I doubt there's a shortage

of electricians in London.

Seven slugs? At pointblank range?

How dead did you want him?

There are lessons to be learned:

Never wear a coat in summer,

you might only end up colder.

Running late for a train?

Miss it and catch another;

yesterday's ride could prove your last.

Forget about taking a lunch to work,

especially in a briefcase or backpack;

choke at a nearby greasy spoon instead,

unless you don't mind never eating again.

If you're being chased by strange men

and are afraid they want to mug you,

stop in your tracks and let them go for it;

better beat up & robbed than safely dead.

Or maybe skip going out of doors altogether;

stay home, quietly starve, and watch on TV

all the lovely ways good people say bye-byes.

Meanwhile, you can trust me on this one:

There are more bombings to come.

And if the West and its lackeys

fail to quickly change their tunes,

very soon you'll be hearing me say

not merely that we asked for it

but that we fucking well deserve it!

EDDIE WOODS

July 26th 2005

Jean Charles de Menezes, I'll never forget you.

You will stay in my prayers, just like the innocent victims in the 7-7 attacks and the innocent Iraqi and Afghan civilian victims of an evil war

Astrid Essed

Amsterdam

The Netherlands

Concerning the newly proposed British anti-terrorlaws:



See the following links:



http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/08/10/uk11620.htm



http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGEUR450372005



http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGEUR450332005?open&of=ENG-GBR





Concerning ''diplomatic guarantees'' by delivering terror-suspects to countries with a structural torture-reputation:



See the following links:

http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/08/13/uk11627.htm



http://hrw.org/reports/2005/eca0405/index.htm





Amnesty International about the investigation after the killing of de Menezes:



http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGEUR450322005?open&of=ENG-GBR



http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGEUR450272005?open&of=ENG-GBR





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