Monday, August 01, 2005

Let's party like it's 1948 (part four)

as John Holmes said to the actress – ‘this is going to be a long one’ …

Where was I?

Oh yeah, 1984...

  • Supremely powerful, omnipresent terrorist network, led by shadowy super mastermind TICK
  • Perpetual War TICK
  • Doublethink TICK
  • Newspeak TICK

OK, many would argue that the parallels between the book and the present day are contrived but, the thing is, the book helps me make sense of an aspect of life right now that otherwise doesn’t make sense.

Whenever I, or other people, raise questions about what’s currently being said and done by politicians, the police or the media the inevitable response is…

‘So, are you suggesting that all of them are in on a big conspiracy? Are all those thousands of people are deliberately telling lies? Fuck off, nutter’

And people asking that question have a valid point.

Besides, we in the UK are not led by people of the calibre to instigate and maintain such a deception. Sure, America has its Wolfowitz’s, Rumsfeld’s and Cheney’s. We’ve got Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell. It’s a different ball game altogether.

No, the sad truth is most of our governing class really does seem to believe the manure they’re shovelling, even if much of it is self-evident nonsense. And we’re all infected with the same condition. We believe the nonsense because, by accident or design, we’re predisposed to believe the nonsense.

How else can explain people getting away with some of the things that have been said lately. A couple of examples

Head of the Met, Ian Blair, on the shooting of an innocent man by police in Stockwell Station

Remember, at the end of the day the people responsible for this are the terrorists who bombed our city. If they hadn’t done that we wouldn’t have armed police on the streets looking for suicide bombers

What!? The fact that police are hunting for bombers absolves them of all responsibility for their actions? Fuck me, that’s a blinder I’ll have to try that as a defence if I ever go on trial for something

Tony Blair on connections between the London Bombings and the occupation of Iraq

‘Terrorist attacks were taking place before we occupied Iraq. There is no connection between our liberation of that country and the attacks on London’

Hang on a minute. Terrorist attacks weren’t happening to us before we invaded Iraq. It’s all very well and good saying they’re attacking us because they ‘hate us for our freedoms’ but if so, and quoting Osama, ‘why haven’t Islamists attacked Sweden?’. And if we’re not allowed to connect the bombings to Iraq, how is it Tony can get away with connecting the bombings to Islam? If the connection of Iraq to the bombings is merely a terrorist’s excuse, doesn’t the same logic apply to connecting Islam to the bombings? Or is Tony suggesting that there is a direct link between Islam and terrorism?

Many people who get annoyed with crap like this condemn our leaders for deliberate deceit, but it’s not that easy. That doesn’t explain why people choose to believe it. Take the War on Iraq as another example. The case for war has been thoroughly disproved and there’s enough evidence to demonstrate either incompetence or deliberate deceit by our government. The reasons given for the war changed blatantly from day to day. Yet a large chunk of the general public just hasn’t faced up to that and still think the war was ‘right’.

Ditto for the proposal for the introduction of ID cards. Every reason given for their introduction has been slapped down, yet politicians and a large chunk of the public still feel compelled to support their introduction. Ditto again for introduction of new anti terror laws. What gives? Is it really easy to believe that one of the longest established democracies on Earth doesn’t have laws to cover murder or incitement to murder? Are we really supposed to believe that proven terrorists have actually escaped imprisonment because a judge said ‘gee, I’d really like to lock you up but we haven’t got enough laws’?

The same compulsion to believe the irrational would also explain the unquestioning acceptance of the Al Qaeda myth.

And myth it is.

We read and hear so much about this shadowy, super network; it operates in at least sixty countries, it makes millions on the futures market whenever there’s an attack, it’s connected with every single major terrorist and crime organisation on earth, it operates from the safety of air conditioned underground fortresses, it has trained thousands of suicidally devoted operatives who have become ‘sleepers’, totally indistinguishable from innocent citizens etc etc

As conspiracy theories go, and that’s what it is, it’s the daddy of them all.

And the beauty of the myth is that you absolutely cannot disprove it. In the same way that you cannot disprove unicorns.

So, when the police occasionally catch a disaffected Muslim nutcase, living off benefits in some shitty apartment somewhere, who has half-heartedly put together a little something based on plans from the Internet, he is portrayed as an unknowing footsoldier of the global conspiracy, when all I see is a disaffected nutcase.

When some repressive third world regime, looking for support from the US and UK, boils a political dissident alive and extracts a confession proving a link with Osama Bin Laden, our government takes it as gospel truth. Presumably, if Tony Blair and George Bush were around at the time of the Inquisition they would have believed in demons and witches on broomsticks as well.

But actually Tony doesn’t believe that Al Qaeda is this super powerful terrorist network after all. Or does he? I’m not sure. A few days ago he said the following…

"Al Qaeda is not an organisation. Al Qaeda is a way of working ... but this has the hallmark of that approach."

"Al Qaeda clearly has the ability to provide training ... to provide expertise ... and I think that is what has occurred here"

Now that’s primo Orwellian Doublethink if ever I’ve heard it.

Whenever I’ve spoken with non-British born Muslims about Al Qaeda and OBL, as I have done on several occasions over the last few years, most of them seem to believe that Osama Bin Laden works for the Americans and that Al Qaeda doesn’t actually exist. Both notions receive little airtime in the UK and when they are mentioned they’re written off as conspiracy theories.

But, of course, OBL did work for the CIA in the 1980s and his family did (do?) have extensive business links with the Bush family. So there’s no doubt that OBL did work for the American government. The only real question is when did he stop?

As for Al Qaeda, the evidence for its existence amounts to …

  • A handful of nutcases arrested
  • Some bombing attacks of uncertain provinence
  • A few dodgy websites

Taken together, this proves dick all but you’re not allowed to say that publicly. Mohammad Naseem, the chairman of the Birmingham Mosque made a few public statements last week that included the choice lines…

"I don't think al-Qaeda exists because we Muslims all over the world have not known this organisation … The only information about this organisation is coming from the CIA. Now, the CIA is not known for telling the truth."

"Tony Blair has told lies on going to Iraq and in a court of law if a witness has proved to be a liar he ceases to be a reliable witness. So we cannot give our blind trust to the Government.

Khalid Mahmood, a local Labour party MP responded by saying

"What he has done is brought into disrepute the role of the chair of the Central Mosque and the Muslim community in Birmingham ... If he wants to make cheap political points then he really ought to relinquish his position as chairman and let somebody who is neutral and has the interests of the community do it."

Three guesses as to which one of these two characters I believe to be the greater traitorous threat to the life of my nation and all that it should stand for.


So, I present two possible explanations for what’s going on in London and the rest of the world at the moment

The Dr No/ S.P.E.C.T.R.E Explanation

We’re under threat from a shadowy, octopus-like terror network that hates us for our freedoms run by a superhuman criminal mastermind.

The 1984 Explanation

A confused, interrelated mix of the following characters:

  • A few disaffected Muslims. Some nutcases, some offended by the West’s treatment and slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Muslims. Some claiming inspiration from the concept of Al Qaeda, which may have been invented by a guy called Osama Bin Laden or the CIA or my grandmother, it doesn’t really matter.
  • A few national intelligence agencies looking to stir the pot with their own occasional contributions when it suits their national interests
  • A small number of opinion formers, mostly American neocons, consciously encouraging and taking advantage of the situation
  • A larger number of politicians, journalists and the general public who innocently, and passively, believe the Al Qaeda crap, however insane it appears at times, because it fits in with a long-established world view

So, which one sounds like the loony conspiracy theory then?


David said...

Stef, I suspect both you and I are hoping for our new careers to be in journalism. Maybe if we drew together some of the fellow talents here, combined with many millions from an imaginary investor, we could start our own daily. My title suggestion could be 'The cynical Times'...

Stef said...

Sadly not - a nice idea but talk, and words, are cheap. I could list a couple of dozen blogs without drawing breath written by people much more devoted to such matters as myself (I can't speak for you, obviously).


My cunning plan currently consists of waiting for one of my half dozen premium bonds to come up. Failing that, Plan B consists of training to become a teacher then fucking off to New Zealand, preferably sometime before...

a) this country collapses underneath its accumulated debt and bullshit
b) the Chinese or Indians buy the whole place and turn it into a theme park staffed by people on the kind of wages we're currently happy to see foreigners earning
c) we pick a fight with a country that really can hit us with WMDs
d) all of the above

I'm quietly confident that most if not all of these things will come to pass

The only reason why this blog has taken the turn it has lately is because the fall out from those bombings last month are in my face every day. I'm itching for the opportunity to think of other things, if the bastards will let me

Having said all that, if you can find the imaginary investor I'd be foolish to say no to a few mill in start up capital ;-)