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A catalogue of warnings

New Statesman Monday, July 25, 2005

Terror and the UK - Blair was told about Muslim rage not just by his critics, but by some of his closest advisers, writes Michael Smith


Tony Blair has been at his most contemptuous when dismissing the idea that the bombers might have been angry about Iraq, Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo. "Their cause is not founded on an injustice," he declared. "It is founded on a belief, one whose fanaticism is such that it can't be moderated. It can't be remedied. It has to be stood up to."

The trouble is that in the minds of those four young men their cause almost certainly was founded on injustice. Nor can this be any surprise to the government, for it was warned many times, officially and unofficially, on the record and off. Even at the heart of the security establishment people are well aware of this.

Every opinion poll carried out among British Muslims since the war on Iraq has shown that very many see it as part of an American attack on Muslims, and that young Muslim men in particular are angry. Intelligence officials, too, are convinced that many young British Muslims have been radicalised by Britain's role in the war on terror and the war in Iraq. The London bombings could "only be as a direct consequence", one security source said. "It justifies attacks and it radicalises a load of hotheads who can claim us as a legitimate target."

The hearings of the Commons Home Affairs Committee on terrorism and community relations earlier this year left no doubt that the anger was rising. The committee chairman, John Denham, had to stop one witness expanding on the view that the allied attacks on Iraq were themselves acts of terrorism, while a survey commissioned by the committee in Greater Manchester found that many Muslims saw the situation as "them and us" with some accusing the government of taking advantage of 9/11 "to take out laws against Muslims" and "frame" Iraq. These beliefs were reflected in recent days among friends of Shehzad Tanweer, one of the bombers. "He was sick of it all, all the injustice and the way the world is going about it," one friend told a reporter, adding: "Why don't they ever take a moment of silence for all the Iraqi kids who die?"

And Blair received warnings from closer to home: Robin Cook notes in his diaries that at a cabinet meeting on 11 April 2002 Patricia Hewitt, then Trade and Industry Secretary, said that a unilateral invasion of Iraq would cause "a lot of tension among the Muslim communities in Britain". (The trouble was that, although Blair didn't say so at the time, it was too late. We now know from the Downing Street memos that he had promised Bush three days earlier that the UK would "support military action to bring about regime change".)

Downing Street's argument that terrorist atrocities were happening before Iraq misses the point. "It's true that bin Laden and al-Qaeda and their terrorist activities long predate the Iraq War and 9/11," another security official said. "But the way in which the war in Iraq was handled by the British and US governments has radicalised and provoked many, including Muslims, domestically and internationally, and has facilitated Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda's aims by generating potential recruits and support."
That al-Qaeda terrorists were a threat to Britain before we went to war no-one disputes. Nor do they dispute that we should be doing all in our power to counter that threat.

The problem is, as Chatham House has pointed out, the invasion of Iraq did the reverse, boosting al-Qaeda recruitment and also taking attention away from Afghanistan, almost certainly preventing the allies from bringing Osama bin Laden to justice.

Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, Britain's Chief of Defence Staff, was the first of the prime minister's senior advisers to warn publicly against getting involved in George W Bush's rush to war in Iraq. In a speech in December 2001 he likened the war on terror to a "high-tech 21st century posse in the new Wild West" and declared that the president's "single-minded determination" to extend it to Iraq risked throwing away the achievements made in Afghanistan.

It was Blair's decision, against the advice of many of his most senior officials, to join what one described as Bush's "grudge match" against Saddam Hussein that did the greatest damage. Every US attack that misses its target and kills innocent civilians and every new allegation of abuse in Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo persuades yet more Muslims that it is a war not on terror but on them, and that Britain is a part of it.


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Lets not become sympathetic to terrorists. These are cowards that aim to harm innocent women and childred. We are taking a bad turn here blaming politicians and sympathizing with terrorist. There are other ways to deal with injustice than to kill innocent people.

Since it's been proven that Iraq was not behind 9/11 or that they had no WMD or they were not an immediate threat,can we tell Bush and Blair that there are other ways to deal with injustice than to kill innocent people(Iraq's)

Since Iraq has become lawless,I wonder how many woman have been raped because the war Bush and Blair started on a LIE!
I suppose as men they wouldn't understand or CARE!

Who are the REAL "Terrorists" here? I am looking for TRUTH
and JUSTICE, what are YOU looking for . .. to spin sympathy
for Machiavellian NEO CONS that are systematically destroying
the principles that this country is based on?

Who are the "cowards" here? Rich white men in thousand dollar
suits that send young men and women to die based on total

Don't be including ME in your "WE" as in "WE are taking a bad
turn here." I have a sneaky suspicion "WE" are not on the same

I can say this honestly, I will never support George Bush and his administration OR al-Qaida. Al-Qaida attacked us on 9/11, and they attacked our allies. Bush attacked a defensless country that posed no threat to our national security. Why should I support either?

What makes you so SURE that it was "al Qaeda" on 9/11?
CNN and the New York Times told you so? Oh, the 9/11
Commission said so . . . and who where those guys?? hmmm?

No chance of it being a Mossad/CIA/MI5 operation at all in your mind?

Let's see, where did that great "Anthrax" story go?
How was WTC-7 all ready to be "brought down" by NEW owner
Larry Silverstein if the charges weren't already in place?

How do you get "molten steel" from burning jet fuel?

Why was there a plume of white smoke coming out of the basement
of the Towers when the planes hit several hundred floors up?

What was FEMA doing there?

Do your homework . . .

Cui bono . .. "who benefits?"

Youy have provided a lot of questions that have been answered numerously. (Except about anthrax, I wonder if it was either the CIA or the RNC) There is obviously no point trying to make it clear to someone so blinded by their own opinions. Let me just leave you with one piece of advise: Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly acknowledge the facts that 9/11 was al-Qaida's dirty work. And as much as you would like me to, despite my deep distrust and anger towards Bush and his cronies, I have no sympathy for the Muslim extremists either.

When you come up with reasonable and factual evidence to back up your questions, we can chat again.

Those questions have not been answered numerously as you suggest. Perhaps you should investigate yourself but if you think pop mechanics has the answer then you should look elsewhere.

The really big question that has lead to all others is how did 3 buildings, 2 of which were designed for the kind of event that took place on 9/11, collapse. Building 7 we know already was demolished. Silverstein admitted to it so that is hardly a conspiracy. It's a fact. Challenge yourself to answer the other.

One more little aside. I find it especially strange that building 7 housed Guiliani's command post in New York city ....why be so willing to destroy a building that would be most needed on that day?

When a plane is off course the military scrambles jets within 10 minutes. This happened ~ 60 times , or so, in 2000 and the longest it took was 12 min. The plane that hit the pentagon was known to be hi-jacked for 45 min. it flew over the Capitol made a 270 degree turn and flew into the side of the Pentagon opposite to Rumsfeld, and we should believe anything the govt. tells us ?Why did Bush say he saw the first plane hit the WTT 1, it wasn't on tv?

Bottom line, It was NOT Iraq...This war is based on lies...the other situations you list should also be investigated thoroughly.

Hey! good point!did you E-mail the above-mentioned politicians with this advice before we invaded Iraq?
-note: an "insurgent"is someone who takes agressive action against the established government.Who are the insurgents in Iraq? talk about spin...

I don't think it's sympathy for the terrorist but maybe there should have been some effort before now, to attempt to deal with the roots of the problem. Example, if you have a neighbour who hates you, what do you do. Bush would of course bomb the neighbour, torture his dog and frighten his children. You see how that solves everything nicely. Honestly, I think there has only been one view of how to deal with this constantly shown by're with us or against us. But there have to be other ways that the whole world can deal with this other than this short sighted and stupid mentality. And I refuse to believe, although Bush and Blair say it so convincingly, that there were not other ways to remove Saddam. They just didn't want to listen. That's the answer in a nutshell. They didn't listen.

Message to George Bush, Tony Blair, et all.

Mr Blair did not come armed with an expertise in foreign policy when he took office. We would all hope that he would seek the best advice, consult with others. What is apparent is that he does not want to listen to those whose opinions fail to support his beliefs. An article appeared in the Guardian a while back, referring to a meeting he had with academics, experts on Iraq. It was reported that he listened politely but seemed to want simplify the facts to a single issue, Saddam Hussein was evil. We know Mr Blair does not want to discuss 'foreign policy' under his watch, that is understood to be giving comfort to terrorists, condoning their acions. So no discussion of the history of our involvement in the Middle East, Balfour forgiven and forgotten, the repercussions of a pre-emptive war launched on spurious claims - just an innocent mistake that can happen to any political leader. We must be dismissed like children for asking questions, have our loyalty to our country challenged. His lies are not 'evil lies' that helped trigger a war that claimed many innocent lives. We're living Catch 22.

I feel so pained for the brits. If Blair had any real courage he would immediately demand to get off this ride, apologize for the mistakes, address the muslim world, talk with it's leaders and then set about changing the policy. I think that that is what the British would like to see him do - an honourable act.

folks, forget about Blair. he's more disconnected from reality than
our schizophrenic fucks over on this side of the pond, who, on one hand
profess to be doing the noble and right thing, and on the other, are
helping their buddies get very wealthy off wars they start in the name of fighting TERRORISM. Blair and Bush sprang from the same pile of
amoebic dysentery hatched in some government weapon's laboratory, and planted in condoms their parent's used with no good efficacy.

The last thing I am is sympathetic to anyone who kills innocent people, MOST of the time I don't even agree w/ the death penalty.There are too many missing pieces of the 9-11 puzzle to let me believe that the events of that day were not at least allowed to happen. Planes off course for 10 minutes are intercepted by fighters, the plane that flew over the Capitol and into the Pentagon was known to be hi-jacked for 45 min.My point isn't to justify what terrorists do but I think we must admit that these events are not perpetrated because terrorists hate our freedom or way of life they are perpetrated because of our ( U.S. & British) foreign policy. The B B's (I call them this because of their brain size) are morons to keep insisting that foreign policy has nothing to do with these attacks on us.I hate terrorists wether they are Presidents, Prime Ministers , or Islamic Extremists living in caves,there is no difference to me. Look at what is happening to us because of our leaders, today police in N.Y. are starting RANDOM SEARCHES of CITIZENS. If that doesn't make anyone furious you aren't paying attention. This is another step to Marshall Law. It's for your own good my ass, war is peace, slavery is freedom ... Speak up people or before you can say Fascist State you will be sorry. The terrorists have already changed our lives and we are letting them by going along w/ the B B's instead of throwing them out of office.

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