Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Britain 2017 : 'A Summer of Terror' and Political Polarisation.

Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, has opined, as regards the white van attack outside Finsbury Park mosque that 'police were on the scene and responded within one minute. Within eight minutes they had declared it a terrorist attack.' There is as yet no evidence this was a 'terrorist attack' rather than a straightforward hate crime.

There is no evidence he was part of a group with an ideology or any far-right ultranationalist movement that parallels Al Qaeda or that was the motive was political. The same is true of Khalid Masood, the Westminster Bridge attacker. He came as though out of nowhere, ran down five people, murdered a police officer and was shot by police.

Masood spent five years in Saudi Arabia but he was barely known at any mosque and was a convert with 'anger management issues', a low life deracinated drifter who self-identified as a jihadist and a history of violence and drug use. There was barely any dissent as to whether this really was a terrorist attack or if it was not.

One reason is this weird collective flower bearing and grief culture, one in which narcissism and emotion prevails over reason and evidence, of asking the necessary sceptical and probing questions that would put terrorism in its proper context. The Manchester Terrorist Attack was clearly just that, though. oddly, it's not emphasised.

Terrorism is a method and it's used to advance a political or politico-religious goal or set of goals. IS blows up targets to stimulate outrage against Muslims so it triggers off polarisation between the West and Muslim World, an end-time war. That may well appeal to rootless drifters and those who regard themselves as foot soldiers in a cause.

But unless they are actually connected to networks, they are more like free lance psychopaths self identifying with a cause so they can die for something rather than nothing. In the case of Masood and the Westminster Bridge Attack, IS claimed it but it claims every free lance one for it even if it doesn't not know who they are.

In which case, without evidence the 'lone attacker' is connected to a network, they are not terrorists. It might be proved Masood had connections to jihadi groups while spending five years in Saudi Arabia as an English teacher. But that isn't a fact the media or government thinks is worth investigating, for some odd reason.

Masood should not be given the title 'terrorist' just because IS wants to claim it. There is a weird symbiosis often. The government wants just as much as IS to claim these attacks are 'terrorist' when it is not clear why they are and to play down as 'lone wolf' those that obviously are jihadi terrorist attacks such as the Manchester Terrorist Attacks.

It's all about 'shaping the narrative' to the government's political ends and that the police and security services are in on these acts should raise disturbing questions. Within days of Salman Abedi's suicide bomb blast, the media was focusing more on 'his last movements' after a flurry of arrests yielded no network and on him as 'lone agent'.

This was convenient given the obvious fact Abedi was part of long term jihadi networks facilitated by the government in its geopolitical game against the Libyan state of Colonel Gaddafi, one where jihadists could be deployed as 'assets' in that struggle to oust him by assassination, as in the 1990s, or by military uprising, as in 2011.

While Abedi and the British-Libyan network has virtually been given no media attention and has been eclipsed by that old Blairite imperative 'it's time to move on' with the Grenfell Tower Block fire or with the Finsbury Park attack or any other mass media covered disaster as spectacle and drama to be pointlessly covered 24/7.

Bigging up these attacks into 'terrorism' just contributes to an exaggerated menace, justifying greater powers for the authoritarian national security state. This Darren Osbourne, the attacker, could well be a psychopath with drug abuse issues and voices in his head. It's far too early to conclude it's a 'terrorist attack'.

As regards the jihadi-salafist ideology that drives terrorism, Amber Rudd stated at the start of June the government report of 2015 into Saudi funding of this ideology in Britain was only an 'internal report'. Nothing has been mentioned on that, it's conveniently slipped down the memory hole as the election ended and more events followed.

To Jeremy Corbyn's credit, he has demanded the report published. However, it is not clear whether he is genuinely interested in 'the truth' of Saudi funding of jihadi ideology or whether he would prefer to attack one basis for the US and UK strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia and align more towards both Russia and Iran in the Middle East.

Even if this were the aim, the demand the report is published and not suppressed is a serious test of whether Britain is going to move closer towards a more Kremlinoid model of a national security state or whether facts inconvenient to a corrupt and deeply corrupting 'special relationship' are going to be prevented from entering the public domain.

The reason why the attack on Finsbury Park mosque was designated 'within eight minutes' as a 'terrorist attack' was purely political in so far as any attack on Muslims in Britain had to be regarded as that given the Westminster Attack by Khalid Masood was so designated too. Britain is engaged in a media narrative war with IS.

If the Finsbury Park attack had not been termed 'terrorist', as a purely objective assessment of the crime scene the attack would not have, then the fear, and it is a fear, would be that IS or other jihadi Islamist groups would exploit the double standards to portray British Muslims as second class citizens who are not victims.

The problem with creating a state of emergency and of fear of terrorism is that it could be counter-productive in politically turbulent times. The politicisation of terrorism, the coopting of 'terror' to bolster certain foreign policy and domestic security agendas could well be, with Corbyn's controversial ideas, playing with fire.

The Rising Prospect of Political Polarisation and Cultural Warfare

There is a lot of hatred and vitriol out there and social media is multiplying the psychopathology. The stage is being set for vicious cultural warfare and not only from 'extremists' but also between large numbers identifying with mutually polarised political positions, right and left following the Leave vote and Brexit.

Corbyn's spin doctor is Seumas Milne, a public school boy Leninist who framed the 9/11 terrorist attacks simply as what was 'visited upon them' because of US foreign policy. This came out even before Al Qaeda was formally identified as the perpetrators and was written to insinuate 'they had it coming' as a historical inevitability.

Milne's view of terrorism is that it is merely a part of the blowback cycle of violence that necessarily comes from an 'imperialist' western foreign policy, which is actually not that far from that of jihadi Islamist groups themselves. Anger at the undoubted hypocrisy of the British state shaded into a form of moral nihilism

Indeed, Corbyn is positioned as 'man of peace' but, of course, by that he means that the terrorist threat would simply 'stop' when 'the war' stops. But that war means not just Iraq or Libya but even theatres where Britain has had no military role such as with Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. It's all interconnected.

Wherever any force considered 'Western' is in conflict with any force considered 'Islamic Other', one 'othered' by Milne and other leftist radicals for the convenience of the battle lines being drawn up, then Corbyn has tilted towards rationalising the violence as a mere reflex action against 'our imperialism' and state policies.

This is subsumed within the twin concepts of 'racism' and 'Islamophobia' meaning that any criticism of jihadi movements, no matter now much antisemitism or occidental hatred that fuels them, or criticism of intolerant forms of Islam, are to be proscribed as a deflection away from the prime responsibility of the West and 'Imperialism'.

The other side to that was the obvious fact there was this daft rhetoric of 'liberal humanitarian intervention' and 'liberal imperialism' touted by opinion formers in the early 2000s in the run up to the war in Iraq. The idea that military intervention was about taking on 'terrorism' was a staple claim in the 'war on terror'

It was in reaction to the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars that the StWC developed and a lot of its protests were not back then, as Corbyn is pretending now, about citing expert opinions that it would practically enable jihadist groups to spread and gain ground. In fact, back then Corbyn and the hard left were making different claims.

It was about opposing Britain as an 'imperialist power' and using the outrage at an attack on a 'Muslim country' to ramp up the outrage so as to use it to build a popular front run by the hard left ranged against the British state. These details are forgotten now that Corbyn is positioning himself as a responsible statesman

The Desperation of Hope over Experience.

Corbyn is presented in 2017 as though a Nordic style social democrat, though he's far more of a far left socialist ideologue who rebranded himself as offering a kinder and warmer, more inclusive sort of politics in which Britain would remodel itself as a universal force for love, open borders, anti-imperialism and, of course, hope.

As John Gray pointed out, this is a form of populism for the middle classes, especially those based in London and other fortresses of globalised multi-culti 'at-oneness' and searching for salvation through a new secular saint and messiah that offers utopia as a substitute for the populist nationalism that accompanied the Brexit vote.

Depending on how Brexit proceeds, Corbyn could seem to the British public to offer another counter vision of Britain that goes back to the 1970s and, in its own way, clings to a nostalgic idea of a period of lost socialist idealism and Bennite ideas of transforming a declining post-imperial state into socialist millennium.

As the post-1945 global order declines with the US mired in domestic disputes over President Trump's alleged 'Russian connections' and lack of belief in US support for NATO and multilateralism, Corbyn would appear to be a leader that could finally relieve Britain of its post-war role as upholder of a US led world order.

The danger with this is with Britain's potential for absolute decline, whether global events, such as a revived IS or similar organisation or Iran, could  trigger off vicious polarisation within Britain as to its role in  maintaining 'world order'. If Corbyn is regarded as 'threat to the West', all manner of heated attacks are bound to mount up.

It is thought Corbyn has taken a back seat on security and even Brexit in favour of his acting as a radical tribal totem pole for the socially and economically alienated. It would be the PLP that would decide on Trident renewal and on defence. But with Corbyn as potential PM, there would surely be a new approach to defence and foreign policy.

This is why the prospect of war over the Persian gulf could be dangerous. With the Conservatives being cornered by May's desperate coalition with Northern Ireland's Paisleyite DUP, the idea of re-affirmative military action against Iran in some form could offer an 'escape forwards' from the fall out from Brexit is spun a certain way.

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