Terrorism: What is the Truth?
It would be unfeeling not to be saddened and outraged by the Manchester and London terror attacks, or to have no sympathy for those who knew the victims. But what are we to make of the reaction to it? The traditional laying of flowers and paying of respect to the dead is one thing, and you would expect an expression of solidarity, but holding hands and singing does nothing of itself to dig down toward the causes of terrorism and the solutions to it. How can people find out the motivations and machinations behind war and terrorism? How can the public find out the truth about who is supporting, arming and supplying Islamic State, when there is little or no transparency between government and the public, and when the mainstream media hardly bothers to address these issues?
‘We stand together’ said the Prime Minister; but if the public knew what she knows then they would likely refuse to stand with her. Not that we see the political parties standing together. After the expression of condolences, and the platitudes, they immediately break into open argument, live, and in public. What we see is division and factionalism. The establishment, either wilfully or through ignorance, would never go so far as to admit that the protection of trade and profit is what really drives war and military intervention in the Middle East. We socialists believe that capitalism is the root cause of war, terrorism, poverty, and all of the major social ills that plague mankind. That is why we want to get rid of it.
It is clear that governments are attempting to deal with the terror situation by only addressing the symptoms. Radicalisation is not a cause of terrorism, but both a symptom of it, and a method to inflict it. The insistence of focusing on de-radicalisation programmes won’t do much to help. Behind those that the government mistakenly describes as having ‘become radicalised’, are whole nations of people that have become ‘radicalised’ as they’ve watched their families being blown to smithereens and their countries destroyed by air strikes. People became ‘radicalised’ as soon as the first bombs fell on Iraq, on Afghanistan, on Syria. Of course, it isn’t just as simple as that. The conflicts in the Middle East have a long and complex history, but there is a kind of group denial by Western governments that the terror attacks here are in any way a result of Western foreign policy in the Middle East.
When the Leader of the Opposition suggests that British foreign policy may be playing a role in causing terrorism here in Britain, he (and anyone else who states a similar view), is slated by the government and the mainstream media. The Home Secretary’s reaction to this suggestion was to state categorically that there was no connection between British foreign policy and the Manchester bombing. And over at the BBC, the typical reaction from news correspondents to this kind of suggestion was, ‘cannot compute’. Perhaps the government’s view is that that the existence of Islamic State is simply down to the Devil himself; and that they just happen to be particularly successful at persuading vulnerable people. Their line on this is, “Nothing to do with us, nothing to see here”.
Fake views, fake news
To kill the debate says everything about the government’s position, and given that the sale of arms has long been an important part of British foreign policy, they certainly wouldn’t compromise the relationship with, say, the Saudi Royal Family, by asking awkward questions about the alleged support and encouragement of terrorism by the Saudi government. These allegations are skirted around by the mainstream media; and if there is evidence out there which would prove the allegations, then the Establishment will put up fierce opposition to those attempting to uncover it. But it is acceptable for western governments and mainstream media to turn allegation into fact, as with ‘Russian hacking’, but, of course, this cannot apply when it comes to their friends in the Middle East. The double standard sticks out like a sore thumb.
All wars are commercial wars. There is no humanitarian war, but governments do their best to persuade the public that we are fighting them, and for our own good. The record-breaking, corruption ridden Al-Yamamah (Arabic: the Dove) arms deal of 1985 between the UK and Saudi Arabia still has elements in it that are yet to be completed. The latest tragi-comedy is that the ‘deal-maker-in-chief’, President Trump, wants to bring peace to the Middle East by signing a new record-breaking, $350bn-over-10 years arms deal with the Saudis. Is it true that UK-made cluster bombs are currently being used by the Saudi-led coalition in the conflict in Yemen? Or are they just relics of old conflicts, as the Saudi government claims? We will probably never find out. The less that people know, the less chance of them questioning the present situation; and so it is that the reaction to the terrorist attacks here will probably remain the same, and the cycle will continue.
The truth is in there
The lack of transparency in government inevitably results in the degradation of democracy, and it is more than a little sickening to see the ‘leaders of the free world’ stand up after terrorist atrocities and state that we stand together to protect democracy, or freedom of speech, or western values, or anything else that they can co-opt and misappropriate in order to serve the purposes of capitalism and the capitalist class. This isn’t just social observation or commentary. War, poverty, misery, terrorism – as socialists we find it impossible to imagine that these would exist in a socialist society. We cannot state that there would never be conflicts, but these are most likely to be local, and easily and peaceably resolved.
If, by some fantastic occurrence, a truth serum was to become mixed into the water at the next G7 summit, then the revelations thereof from these renowned leaders of the free world might bring their democracy crashing down around them.