Ok people, if you REALLY want to understand all this terrorism stuff then get your arse down to the Video store and pick up a copy of "V for Vendetta" - quite possibly the best film I've seen in ten years!
The claim that American and British security forces have thwarted a terrorist plot to blow up commercial flights between Britain and the United States should not be accepted uncritically. It is impossible to determine at this point whether or not such an attack was in the offing, although the mass media have, as usual, reported the assertions of the British and American governments as indisputable fact, without bothering to ask for any specific information that would substantiate the official story.
The British police statement that the alleged plotters aimed to "create mass murder on an unimaginable scale" by blowing up mid-flight an unspecified number of aircraft is chilling. The far-reaching security measures that have been implemented—including the shutdown of London's Heathrow Airport and an indefinite ban on carry-on luggage—add to the climate of fear and apprehension.
At a time such as this—in the midst of spectacular claims from London and Washington, a media barrage supporting them, and a massive disruption of commercial flights resulting from extreme security measures—it is all the more imperative that people not suspend their capacity for critical thought and political judgement.
Raids in the early hours of Thursday morning on homes and business premises in London and the West Midlands resulted in 21 arrests. Spokesmen for the US and British governments asserted that those arrested were involved in the most significant terrorist plot since 9/11.
Later reports said that 24 people had been arrested in Britain and more had been detained in Pakistan. Among those arrested were a Muslim charity worker and a Heathrow Airport employee with an all-area access pass, according to Britain's Channel 4 News. Five suspects in the plot are still at large, according to ABC News, which cited US sources.
BBC News reported Thursday evening that the arrests were the result of a long-standing investigation coordinated between the US, British and Pakistani governments. British Home Secretary John Reid in a press conference earlier on Thursday said Prime Minister Tony Blair had briefed President George Bush on the impending arrests and security measures over the weekend.
Subsequent reports claimed the plotters had planned to target simultaneously up to ten aircraft from three US carriers by smuggling onboard liquid chemical explosives disguised as beverages or electronic devices.
US intelligence officials said the plotters hoped to stage a "dry run" today (Friday) and the actual attack would have followed days later. A senior congressional source claimed the plotters planned to mix a sports drink with a peroxide-based paste to make an "explosive cocktail" that could be triggered by an MP3 player or cell phone.
President George Bush made a brief statement mid-day Thursday that was calculated to heighten public anxieties and exploit the alleged terror plot to justify the panoply of reactionary policies his administration has pursued since 9/11 in the name of the "war on terror."
Speaking on an airport runway in Green Bay, Wisconsin, he said that the thwarted plot was a "stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom." He suggested that the plot vindicated the measures—massive domestic spying, military tribunals, detentions without trial—taken by his administration to "protect the American people," and went on to warn that "it is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America."
The World Socialist Web Site has no information that allows us to make a definitive judgement on the existence or non-existence of a terrorist plot on the scale claimed. However, it is the responsibility of the US and British governments to produce the facts that would substantiate their allegations and justify the extreme security measures they have taken, and to present these facts to the public in a clear and concise manner.
They have produced no such factual account or substantiation.