Many people by now are aware of the failed car bombs in London and now an apparent attempted attack on the Glasgow airport where a jeep, set on fire and allegedly containing molotov cocktails, smashed into the terminal building. It doesn’t appear as yet that anyone was hurt, or that the attack was terribly damaging, other than the national emotional trauma for the Scottish and British peoples, perhaps the main target of the attack.
I think it should go without saying that I condemn the attacks, foiled as they were, or any attack that focuses on civilian targets. Its a no-brainer. Such a strategy is inherently counter-productive, in that it only serves to demonise whatever movement is behind them, just as the cause for a liberated Palestine is just, the use of suicide bombers reduces the support for it. Alternatively one can look at the WTO/G8 protests, where a so-called ‘Black block’ often gets all the media attention (selectively edited in my experience BTW) showing wanton violence, and thus distracting from the much more important ideological challenges presented by the majority of the anti-globalisation protestors. It makes it easy for the capitalist media to alienate the anti-globalisation movement from its natural allies by portraying such challenges to capitalist hegemony as violent and unruly thugs.
Furthermore, such terrorist attacks are often used by certain elements within the capitalist state to strenghten the authoritarian tendencies within the system, or rather to roll back hard won civil rights and liberties under the guise of national self-defence. Often these terrorist attacks even give a white card, a pre-text, to the imperialists, as we have seen especially in the post-9/11 invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Cobra, which stands for ‘Cabinet Office Briefing Room A,’ is the civil contingencies committee that leads the UK national response to national crises, in particular, terrorist attacks. In addition to acting kind of like our Emergency Measures Organisation does in a post-hurricane situation, Cobra also puts forward reccomendations for how to prevent future attacks. In particular Cobra has the authority to execute part two of the Civil Contingencies Act, which is a nice way really of declaring martial law and suspending general civil liberties (right to assembly, right to protest, right to due process, right not to be wire tapped, right of free speech, etc.).
There is a very real danger that certain elements will take advantage of the generalised trauma and panic that will naturally ensue from the alleged terrorist events of the last few days. There will be a public that are prone to demagogary and reactionary acts. Whereas yesterday a majority of people would have abhorred widespread wiretapping, unlimited detention without charge and identity cards along with that phenomena widespread in totalitarian regimes of an internal passport system.
Unfortunately there will be little reflection as to the root causes of the attacks, namely a combination of general alienation prevalent in our advanced societies, compounded by a sense of victimisation and discrimination by visible religious and racial minorities, and a general anger/resentment drawing from Western hegemonic games in the Middle East and elsewhere and the naked imperialist interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, designs on Iran, and support for Isreali regional imperialism and subjugation of Palestine.
Beware the cobra. Behind its veneer of rhetoric about self-defence lies imperialist designs, both domestically for the British peoples (regression of civil liberties) and internationally concerning British national (capitalist) interests.