The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 15th July 2005

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by Daphne Liddle

Charles Clarke last Thursday, a few hours after the bombs that rocked London, admitted that identity cards could not have prevented the tragedy. In the shock of the moment, he was being honest.

But by this Wednesday he was urging the emergency European counter-terrorism summit adopt a plan to compulsorily fingerprint all European Union citizens who have identity cards – bringing their ID card systems up to the biometric detail level of those proposed for Britain.

 Tony Blair’s ID card proposals were in deep trouble before the terrorist attacks and losing popularity every day through soaring costs and a growing realisation of the loss of civil liberties involved.

 Now, it will be a very brave backbench MP who will stand up to Blair when he insists that, in the light of the attacks, ID cards and other “anti-terrorist” measures are essential.

 And recent history has shown we do not have enough very brave backbench MPs.

More to the point, Tory leader Michael Howard has been praising Blair as “calm, resolute and statesmanlike” in the wake of the bombings. There is a possibility that the Tories could drop their opposition to ID cards and the Bill could sail through.

It hardly matters that Blair’s position is totally illogical if his real aim is to prevent terrorism. A raft of anti-terrorist measures passed in the aftermath of 11th September 2001 led to the imprisonment of innocent men in Belmarsh without charge or trial for over two years. Many of them, though now released are still effectively under house arrest.

 In the United States the “war on terror” led to similar breaches of human rights culminating in the setting up of the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, the invasion of Afghanistan and eventually to the illegal invasion of Iraq.

 None of these “anti-terrorist” measures did anything to end terrorism. They did the opposite. They created fear, anger and desperation in many places that helped the terrorist organisations recruit thousands. They increased the likelihood of terrorism.

 The young men who blew themselves up – along with dozens of ordinary Londoners – last Thursday were carrying plenty of things to identify them. They were not trying to hide their identity. If ID cards had been compulsory, they would have had them and it would not have made the slightest difference to what happened.

 Blair knows this and so does Clarke. Anti-terrorism is not their real goal – tighter control of the working class is – but they will use the issue of the London bombings as an excuse to force in ID cards and many other breaches of our civil liberties.

Last Wednesday Clarke and Blair presented their European Union counterparts with a 10-point anti-terrorism package that includes the retention of email and telephone records for up to three years.

 It also includes all ID cards in Europe carrying an electronic fingerprint. A Home Office official explained: “Identity cards are valid travel documents. We cannot afford to have them be a weak link in international travel.

 “A really significant amount of travel within Europe is done not on a passport but on an identity card which is just a piece of cardboard with a photograph attached. It is a weak link. We need to have a standard.”

 Tony Bunyan of the civil liberties group Statewatch said: “This proposal, with the others, means that everyone living in the EU and their details are held on an EU-wide database.

 “At a time of great tragedy it is all the more important that we act with care and do not bequeath to future generations a society where every movement and every communication is under surveillance.”

 Just in case other European countries had any doubts about the proposals, Gordon Brown warned a meeting of EU finance ministers that any country that fails to crack down on “terrorist money laundering” will face the threat of sanctions.

 Meanwhile Blair is promising a new draft Counter Terrorism Bill for this autumn.

 On the other side of the Atlantic, Bush is also preparing to ratchet up “anti-terrorist” measures, further reducing civil liberties in the US.

 Some political analysts believe that last Thursday’s bombings have helped Bush and Blair to lift their failing popularity and remove the focus or world attention from the catastrophe of the occupation of Iraq.

 It seems likely now that the bombings were carried out by a group linked to Al Qaeda. That organisation was created and fostered by US imperialism to undermine the socialist government of Najibullah in Afghanistan.

 It seems that it is still – indirectly and perhaps inadvertently – helping to strengthen US imperialism.

 Britain has, in the last week, celebrated the end of the war to defeat Nazi fascism. Britain suffered heavy bombing in that war, far in excess of anything Al Qaeda could manage. But the British people were not asked or expected to surrender their civil liberties for ever in order to defeat Nazism. There is no logical reason to surrender them now.


Terror in London

LONDON’S TRANSPORT system was brought to a standstill last Thursday by a wave of terror bombings that killed scores of innocent working people and wounded hundreds more. The New Communist Party of Britain condemns outright the terror bombings of 7th July and expresses its deepest sympathy for all the victims, their families and friends.

No-one knows who was responsible for the terror attack but the Government, from Tony Blair downwards, is assuming it was the work of supporters of Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda movement. If so, the maelstrom of terror that has encompassed the Middle East for decades has now swept Londoners into its path.

Blair and Bush justify Anglo-American imperialism’s offensive against the peoples of the Middle East as a “war against terror”. They claim to be fighting to “root out” the causes of global “terrorism”. But the causes are of their own doing and their names are Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Oil.   

Last Thursday innocent London workers experienced the terror that has been part of everyday life for millions of Iraqis, Afghans and Palestinians. Blair denies any link between the invasion of Iraq and the London bombings but even he conceded that “old injustices, poverty and the democratic vacuum” in the Middle East had to be addressed if terror was to be countered effectively. He also praised Muslim leaders at home and abroad who have joined in the public condemnation of London bombings and the shadowy movements that incite and plan these acts of terror. But their remarks went much further than those of the Prime Minister.

In a sermon last Friday, Ayatollah Mohamed Emami-Kashani, dismissed Al Qaeda as a “fake version of Islam” but then added: “Has the British Prime Minister forgotten who Al Qaeda’s parents are? I remind him then that the United States is Al Qaeda’s father and Israel is the mother of that illegitimate child…it was you yourselves who created this group in the name of Islam and therefore the conduct of a child whose father is global arrogance and whose mother is the Israeli butchers should not surprise anyone”.

Fifty years ago the Arabs were breaking the chains of colonialism and dreaming of creating modern democratic states built on the vast oil wealth their lands possessed. Imperialism destroyed that vision by working with feudal elements to smash the communist parties and the national democratic movements led by Nasser and the Baath that stood in their way.

Imperialism allied itself with the feudal kings and princes and the reactionary movements in the region, rewarding them with a tiny fraction of the vast profits made from the oil industry. Imperialism nursed and succoured reactionary groups like Al Qaeda to destroy the people’s democracy in Afghanistan. Now the carnage has blown back with a vengeance.

Imperialism is not concerned one iota about the “human rights” they claim to defend. Working people are just expendable pawns to be used whether they live in Baghdad or London.   

The overwhelming majority of the world’s known oil reserves are in the Middle East and imperialist control and plunder of this vast source of energy has been the root cause of conflict in the region since 1948. This is what it’s all about.

The Government will, no doubt, be using the bombings to justify the introduction of ID cards and other repressive measures in the next few months. Fascists and Zionist elements will be striving to fan the flames of anti-Arab and anti-Islamic sentiment in its wake.

Only when the real root causes of terrorism are dealt with will the cycle of violence end. There must be a just solution to the Palestinian problem; an end to the occupation of Iraq and the recognition of the right of all countries in the Middle East to control their own natural resources.

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