The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

The British Terror Scare:
A Shameless Attempt to Divert the Public’s Attention

Sep 4, 2006

On August 10, British officials announced that they had uncovered a massive terrorist plot. Police raided the homes of 25 British citizens and arrested them as “would-be terrorists.” Supposedly, these “suspects” had been planning to blow up as many as 10 airplanes in the air between Britain and the U.S. with liquid gel explosives.

In both countries, government officials declared high security alerts, saying that terrorist attacks were still imminent. In the U.S. all liquids, gels and pastes were banned from carry-on bags, while in Britain carry-on baggage was banned altogether. Airports, especially in Britain, sank into chaos as 2,380 flights from London were cancelled and tens of thousands of passengers were stranded. In the following two weeks, several transatlantic flights were diverted because passengers who looked Middle-Eastern supposedly “behaved suspiciously”–by “looking at their watches frequently,” for example.

Government officials in both countries seemed to be competing as to who would make the scariest pronouncement. The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, said the terrorist plot was “getting really quite close to the execution stage.” London deputy police chief Paul Stephenson said the terrorists’ goal was “mass murder on an unimaginable scale.” British Home Secretary John Reid called the attacks “highly likely,” with loss of life on an “unprecedented scale.”

As it turned out, the only thing that was on an unprecedented scale was the blatant lies of these charlatans. None of the “suspects” had either bought or reserved a flight to the U.S.–or, for that matter, anywhere else. At least two of them didn’t even have passports. One official even said that some of the would-be bombers had not been recruited and “radicalized” yet!

The famous liquid gel bombs didn’t exist, either. The police said that, during the raids, they had found “the necessary components” to make a liquid explosive known as HTMD–those components being hydrogen peroxide, a sports drink and an MP3 player or cell phone. The police could just as easily have found these items in Tony Blair’s house if they had searched it! And some of this so-called “bomb-making equipment” was supposedly found five days after the arrests in a suitcase buried in the woods! Not to mention that the authorities still have to explain how these “suspects,” who had no skilled chemistry background, could have carried out the very precise and measured actions required to make a highly explosive bomb from these individual items–in the bathroom of an airplane during a flight! British and U.S. authorities seem to be reading from a comic book!

But all this nonsense didn’t prevent the British government from charging eight of the “suspects” with “conspiracy to commit murder and preparing for acts of terrorism.” Three others were charged with “failing to disclose information” about those eight. And one 17-year-old man was charged ... NOT with being part of the same plot, but with “possessing articles that could be used” in some other terrorist act, which apparently hasn’t even been planned yet. And the authorities have the audacity to say that it may take three years to bring these cases to court! In other words–after all the publicity dies away and the elections are over.

This ridiculous farce has nothing to do with terrorism and public safety, and everything to do with the falling poll ratings of Tony Blair and George Bush. There is a “plot” all right–not by some British Muslims with fantastic liquid gel bombs, but by the British and U.S. governments and their accomplice, the corporate mass media, to divert public opinion from the real problems working people face on both sides of the Atlantic.