Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/447/5329
One year after July London bombings
'War on terror' undermining our democratic rights
ON 7 JULY 2005 four suicide bombers on London's public transport system blew themselves up killing 52 people and injuring hundreds.
Two weeks later another group of terrorists attempted a similar attack but their bombs failed to detonate and they were subsequently arrested. However, the police operation led to the gunning down of an innocent Brazilian migrant worker, Jean Charles de Menezes in Stockwell Tube station.
The Socialist Party, whilst condemning the bombings, warned that the government would use these events to deflect criticism of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and also introduce new draconian 'anti-terrorist' laws which would undermine democratic rights.
"The attacks indiscriminately killed and injured ordinary people from many of London's communities. Nonetheless, the fact that very small groups of alienated Muslims have felt motivated to carry them out is connected to the war on Iraq, the treatment of the Palestinians and to many other areas of the world where the imperialist powers have worsened the situation of poor and working-class people through their drive for economic domination.
"However, the terrible actions of the suicide bombers only plays into the hands of the enemies of working-class Muslims and all working people, because they allow the government to respond by attacking civil liberties, and the right-wing media and far-right parties to respond by whipping up racial tension." (the socialist 28/7/05)
This climate of fear and racism is partly reflected in the increased vote for the far-right BNP in the May 2006 local elections and in opinion polls which show a majority of adults (74% in a recent Guardian poll 27/6/06) supporting pre-emptive police raids such as that in Forest Gate, east London, last month - despite the shooting of an innocent man, Abdul Kahar.
We warned after the July bombings that the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes by police had set a dangerous precedent. "Sir Ian Blair, London Metropolitan Police Chief, has declared that the 'shoot-to-kill' policy will remain and that more innocent people could be shot." (the socialist 28/7/05)
All the new police and legal powers introduced after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the USA and after the London bombings have made little difference in combating terrorism. After all, two of the 7 July bombers were known to the security forces.
In the last 12 months there has been a huge increase in stop and search measures by police of black and Asian people. Over 1,000 people have been charged under various anti-terrorist laws but only a handful have been found guilty of 'terrorist-related' offences.
These measures have, however, curtailed democratic rights - including freedom of speech, introduced house arrest ('control orders') and increased police arrest of 'terror suspects' without charge to one month. (MPs are now calling for this to be extended to three months.)
Tony Blair's support for Bush's 'war on terror' has produced two destructive wars - Afghanistan and Iraq - and led to the indefinite detention of people in Guantanamo Bay. It is these imperialist wars that have stirred up hatred and hostility to the West throughout the world and helped terrorist organisations increase political support.
Rather than creating a safer world, Blair and Bush's wars have led to more violence and greater insecurity in the world.
In The Socialist 6 July 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Campaign for a New Workers Party
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party workplace news