IN THE wake of the London bombings on 7 July the political establishment and mainstream media declared war on anyone who dared to link bombs at home to bombs abroad, or to give a historical context to what had happened.
George Galloway was denounced as a “traitor” in the Sun. Defence secretary John Reid accused a BBC interviewer of siding with Al Qaida for even posing the question of links with Iraq.
The message was that any attempt to give a context to the bombings was “appeasing” terrorism. Any attempt to suggest responsibility might extend beyond the bombers and their “ideology of evil” was tantamount to treachery.
Now consider the reactions of the very same politicians and newspapers to the summary execution of Jean Charles de Menezes. All of a sudden they are tripping over themselves to excuse and absolve the police.
The “terrorists” are to blame, they trumpet. Jean Charles himself was to blame, they whisper. Anyone and everyone is to blame, it seems, apart from those who pulled the trigger, those who gave the orders and those who cheered them on, whipping up hysteria and baying for blood.
Unlike the hypocrites and moral simpletons of the right, most people understand that these deaths happen for reasons that cannot be deflected or contained. There is a chain of responsibility that inevitably links trigger happy police officers to their warmongering political paymasters.
There is a context to all the deaths that have occurred—Bush and Blair’s war on Iraq. That is why we say stop shoot to kill and get the troops out of Iraq.
The state machine—the enemy we face
ALMOST UNNOTICED by the press, a series of reports in the last fortnight have gone a long way to confirm that over 100,000 civilians have died in Iraq as a result of the war.
Their “headline” figure may be lower, but that is because they count certain categories of deaths or those where there is irrefutable proof.
This appalling carnage shows how brutally the British and US state machines have acted to protect their power and influence in the world. And at home Blair’s police gun down an innocent man in pursuit of a failed policy of repression.
This is the true face of the state machine—a war which ignored the democratic wishes of the population, bodies of armed men who can kill with impunity.
G8 has let the people of Niger die
WHEN THE G8 leaders met in Gleneagles earlier this month they announced they were launching a drive against world poverty. As they gathered for their banquet millions of people in Niger in Africa were already starving. For nine months the UN had urged the great powers to give aid for desperately needed food, but not a penny had been pledged.
While talking about helping Africa, the G8 did nothing for Niger. Now 2.5 million people are malnourished and, according to the UN, 150,000 children could die. Even as the tragedy unfolded on our television screens, just one third of the $30 million needed immediately had been made available at the start of this week.
The emptiness of the Gleneagles summit is revealed in the suffering of Niger.