Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Terror 'plots' and the state within the state

There is deep scepticism about the government/police claims that they foiled a major terror plot last week. Message boards are full of people doubting the credibility of the alleged ‘plot’ and the decision to arrest more than 20 young Muslims in different parts of Britain. The cynicism is well founded. Iraq was invaded on the basis of disinformation and outright lies. It is clear that the state knew that Iraq possessed no ‘weapons of mass destruction’. The US and Britain had, however, made up their minds to overthrow Saddam Hussein beforehand and didn’t let the truth spoil an opportunity for war. The execution of Jean Charles De Menezes by London police who mistakenly identified him as a suicide bomber is still fresh in people’s minds. So too is the bungled armed raid in Forest Gate recently, apparently on the tip-off of a person with substantial learning difficulties.

The state is not beyond framing people for offences they never committed and for concocting incidents to suit political ends. Many Irish republican sympathisers, including the Birmingham 6, were jailed on the basis of false evidence. The state’s use of agent provocateurs is long established. They penetrate target groups and can, for example, encourage the preparation of terror acts. The trap is then sprung and the people concerned are arrested for conspiring to commit an offence which they may have never considered if left to their own devices. One Sunday newspaper reported that the intelligence agencies had penetrated the circle that was eventually arrested last week. What role did their agents play in subsequent events? We’ll probably never know. But the existence of a secret state within the state, operating in the service of the political and economic status quo, is a real threat to our human rights. These shadowy groups, who destabilise organisations and provoke events as a matter of course, are the real enemy within.

Paul Feldman, communications editor

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