London's Terror Scare
Looks From Beirut
By Robert Fisk
14 August, 2006
When my electricity returned
at around 3am yesterday, I turned on the BBC World Service television.
There were a series of powerful explosions which shook the house--just
as they vibrated across all of Beirut--as the latest Israeli air raids
blasted over the city. And then up came the World Service headline:
"Terror Plot". Terror what, I asked myself? And there was
my favorite cop, Paul Stephenson, explaining how my favorite police
force--the ones who bravely executed an innocent young Brazilian on
the Tube, taking 30 seconds to fire six bullets into him--had saved
the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians from suicide bombers on
I'm sure our readers will
join me in watching how many of the suspects--or "British-born
Muslims" as the BBC defined them in its special form of "soft"
racism (they are surely Muslim Britons or British Muslims, are they
not?)--are still in custody in a couple of weeks' time.
And I'm sure it's quite by
chance that the lads in blue chose yesterday--with anger at Lord Blair
of Kut al-Amara's shameful failure over Lebanon at its peak--to save
the world. After all, it's scarcely three years since the other great
Terror Plot had British armored vehicles surrounding Heathrow on the
very day--again quite by chance, of course--that hundreds of thousands
of Britons were demonstrating against Lord Blair's intended invasion
So I sat on the carpet in
my living room and watched all these heavily armed chaps at Heathrow
protecting the British people from annihilation and then on came President
George Bush to tell us that we were all fighting "Islamic fascism".
There were more thumps in the darkness across Beirut where an awful
lot of people are suffering from terror--although I can assure George
W that while the pilots of the aircraft dropping bombs across the city
in which I have lived for 30 years may or may not be fascists, they
are definitely not Islamic.
And there, of course, was
the same old problem. To protect the British people--and the American
people--from "Islamic terror", we must have lots and lots
of heavily armed policemen and soldiers and plainclothes police and
endless departments of anti-terrorism, homeland security and other more
sordid folk like the American torturers--some of them sadistic women--at
Abu Ghraib and Baghram and Guantanamo. Yet the only way to protect ourselves
from the real violence which may--and probably will--be visited upon
us, is to deal, morally, with courage and with justice, with the tragedy
of Lebanon and "Palestine" and Iraq and Afghanistan. And this
we will not do.
I would, frankly, love to
have Paul Stephenson out in Beirut to counter a little terror in my
part of the world--Hizbollah terror and Israeli terror. But this, of
course, is something that Paul and his lads don't have the spittle for.
It's one thing to sound off about the alleged iniquities of alleged
suspects of an alleged plot to create alleged terror--quite another
to deal with the causes of that terror and to do so in the face of great
I was amused to see that
Bush--just before my electricity was cut off again--still mendaciously
tells us that the "terrorists" hate us because of "our
freedoms". Not because we support the Israelis who have massacred
refugee columns, fired into Red Cross ambulances and slaughtered more
than 1,000 Lebanese civilians--here indeed are crimes for Paul Stephenson
to investigate--but because they hate our "freedoms".
And I notice with despair
that our journalists again suck on the hind tit of authority, quoting
endless (and anonymous) "security sources" without once challenging
their information or the timing of Paul's "terror plot" discoveries
or the nature of the details--somehow, "fizzy drinks bottles"
doesn't quite work for me--nor the reasons why, if this whole panjandrum
is correct, anyone would want to carry out such atrocities. We are told
that the arrested men are Muslims. Now isn't that interesting? Muslims.
This means that many of them--or their families--originally come from
south-west Asia and the Middle East, from the area that encompasses
Afghanistan, Iraq, "Palestine" and Lebanon.
In the old days, chaps like
Paul used to pull out a map when faced with folk of different origins
or religion or indeed different names. Indeed, if Paul Stephenson takes
a school atlas, he'll notice that there are an awful lot of violent
problems and injustice and suffering and--a speciality, it seems, of
the Metropolitan Police--of death in the area from which the families
of these "Muslims" come.
Could there be a connection,
I wonder? Dare we look for a motive for the crime, or rather the "alleged
crime"? The Met used to be pretty good at looking for motives.
But not, of course, in the "war on terror", where--if he really
searched for real motives--my favorite policeman would swiftly be back
on the beat as Constable Paul Stephenson.
Take yesterday morning. On
day 31of the Israeli version of the "war on terror"--a conflict
to which Paul and the lads in blue apparently subscribe by proxy--an
Israeli aircraft blew up the only remaining bridge to the Syrian frontier
in northern Lebanon, in the mountainous and beautiful Akka district
above the Mediterranean. With their usual sensitivity, the pilots who
bombed the bridge--no terrorists they, mark you--chose to destroy the
bridge when ordinary cars were crossing. So they massacred the 12 civilians
who happened to be on the bridge. In the real world, we call that a
war crime. Indeed, it's a crime worthy of the attention of Paul and
his lads. But alas, Stephenson's job is to frighten the British people,
not to stop the crimes that are the real reason for the British to be
Personally, I'm all for arresting
criminals, be they of the "Islamic fascist" variety or the
Bin Laden variety or the Israeli variety--their warriors of the air
really should be arrested next time they drop into Heathrow--or the
American variety (Abu Ghraib cum laude) and indeed of the kind that
blow out the brains of Tube train passengers. But I don't think Paul
Stephenson is. I think he huffs and he puffs but I do not think he stands
for law and order. He works for the Ministry of Fear which, by its very
nature, is not interested in motives or injustice. And I have to say,
watching his performance before the next power cut last night, I thought
he was doing a pretty good job for his masters.