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UPDATE*: To all my 17 readers (I am proud of you*) – Sorry I have updated this countless times in an attempt to tighten it up.

Antagonist, I was compelled to write a response to your post on Sanguinetti’s Terrorism, which got a little too unruly, so I am posting it here.

The BBC recently aired a Panorama investigation into the BAe scandal. A senior civil servant dropped a bombshell during the programme, describing the pressure that was put on him to halt investigating links to Prince Bandar of the House of Saud, BAe and Downing Street in the autumn of 2006. He was told displeasing Bandar would lead to the Saudis ceasing to cooperate with UK intelligence services on terrorism which could have led to untold numbers of UK citizens dying on our streets in terrorist attacks.

The investigations were dropped but in the meantime British taxpayers have been funding Bandar’s jet set lifestyle to the tune of several million UK£££s each year since the 1980’s. The British government promised to deliver us from terror but in actuality this is how it protects us. Once this would have been a scandal but not anymore! The incident illustrates the point that Sanguinetti makes, “Our general and the other strategists of the high political police also know that spectacular terrorism is always anti-proletarian, and that it is the pursuit of politics by other means: pursuit, however, of the anti-proletarian politics of all States.”

While Guy Debord points out the dangers of such tangled webs of deceit:

“So it is that thousands of plots in favor of the established order tangle and clash almost everywhere, as the overlap of secret networks and secret issues or activities grows ever more dense along with their rapid integration into every sector of economics, politics and culture. In all areas of social life the degree of intermingling in surveillance, disinformation and security activities gets greater and greater. The general plot having thickened to so that it is almost out in the open, each part of it now starts to interfere with, or worry, the others. All these professional conspirators are spying on each other without really knowing why, are colliding by chance and yet not identifying each other with any certainty. Who is observing whom? On whose behalf, apparently? And actually? The real influences remain hidden, and the ultimate aims can only be seen with great difficulty and almost never understood. So that while no one can say he is not being tricked or manipulated, it is only in rare instances that the manipulator himself can know if he is a winner. And in any case, to be on the winning side of manipulation does not mean that one has chosen the right strategic perspective. Tactical successes can thus lead great powers down dangerous roads.”

So I found myself perusing Debord’s criticisms of Sanguinetti’s text and then I had to reread Spectacle of the Society. Since then, Lenin’s Tomb has been expounding on conspiracy theories, and particularly 911 conspiracy theories, as a diversionary tactic of the ruling class. Debord pointed out how the Spectacle invites such endless commentary by we, the passive spectators, and how the discourse of power is a one-way dialogue in which everything is reduced to mere appearance (in this situation – the appearance of freedom of speech); there are things that cannot be said because they are bound to spoil the party.

You can discuss the conspiracy theory that some fanatical Arab men funded by the evil cave-dwelling Osama bin Laden conspired to fly planes into the Twin Towers and kill 3000 US citizens. This is an apparently acceptable truth because it is the official truth. You cannot, however, discuss why certain privileged white males residing in the US and the UK might want to see those towers come down or how that dreadful event enabled them to massacre one million Iraqis for oil and hegemony!

You can also make the case for how seeking to unravel what happened on September 11th has become heretical and that those who persist in trying to bring to light the nefarious deeds of those who have benefited from 911 are now engaging in useless dialogue because there is no way to ascertain the truth (this “truth” which only becomes something of relevance because it has been FOUGHT for). Do we have to wait for declassification in 30 years? And is this not bowing to ruling class demands that this dialogue be based on the factual record which we know they are more than happy to corrupt and redact? LT weakly argues that such lies will be impossible to untangle and further, his main point, they are diverting us from the task of fighting the institutions that perpetuate human suffering, human terror.

That’s Noam Chomsky’s line too, which is essentially an anarchist position (not a socialist one, I am perplexed that LT the Socialist advocates this line some 4 years after Chomsky’s book on 9-11). Pray tell when have anarchists ever usurped the institutions in the history of anarchist struggle? When people on the left join with those on the right in attempting to squash the search for truth about something as pivotal as 911 and the subsequent war on terror, Debord’s analysis that these competing ideologies are part of the Spectacle is borne out. Changing the institutions has a nice ring to it but it is futile, nothing short of recognizing that we don’t need them will suffice – however, that’s a truth too far.

Ex-MI5 Whistleblower – Annie Machon on complacency around 9-11

To my mind 911 is the single most important event to have transpired in my life time and for that reason alone, I want to know what happened. The media have in no way attempted to answer the questions I have about what happened that day. If an investigator, after analyzing footage of the twin towers collapsing, then demonstrates that there is no way aeroplanes flying into them could have caused them to collapse on their own foot print, is that a conspiracy theory? That’s an attempt to discover what happened, surely? Those non-officials who have examined the collapse are looking at the same material the 9-11 commission contemplated and they are coming up with different conclusions. How so? Is it because the Commission chose to ignore certain annoying details because they did not fit in with the official truth?

Facts like the collapse of Building 7, or how kerosene that was able to melt the building trusses into molten pools of steel despite the fact that it burns at a lower temperature than that needed to cause steel to melt, and other facts about how office furniture that met with US fire safety regulations (i.e had to be resistant to fire) was able to burn and be turned to dust stand out as annoying details that to date pundits both bloggers and professional journalists keep shtum about.

The Spectacle can’t handle it, so it is not discussed. The very act of mentioning this then becomes a revolutionary act. Calling for people to shut up about it and get on with the task at hand, i.e. overthrowing the state (for whom or what, I ask) is no different to those reporters embedded with the US military who ask us to to trust them even though they are not reporting the whole truth because Saddam is a very bad man. Do we really need a new layer of very bossy white men to come in and sort out the mess for the rest of us? Who tell us we are not thinking right thoughts? Is this not where we are being led by such apathy towards truth and power?

Where were all these anti-conspiracy theorists when the US and UK were selling Iraq’s WMD? That is the most huge fucking conspiracy, leave out the theory part because we know who did what, when, where and why!

In the meantime, 911 is a sacred truth, always called upon by our leaders to justify the sickening carnage meted out on innocent people in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine; to convince us that rolling back civil liberties is for our own good and to stir up the reactionary forces of racism and xenophobia. It’s the only way to keep you safe to shop, for God’s sake… get out there and shop! Didn’t Bush say that a day or so after 3000 people died? “We have to fight them there to be safe here” to enjoy the Spectacle of the endless production of images and commodities that distinguish this way of life from those poor bastards being dragged from the scene of another car bomb on a stretcher to a hospital that has a generator providing electricity and no anaethetic since March 2003.

Sanguinetti and Debord were well aware of conspiracies and this document outlines some startling events that took place in Italy that point to the ruling class engineering events to achieve outcomes, not so different from those who sat down and put their signatures to various PNAC documents which proclaimed that nothing short of a new Pearl Harbour would bring in the new American Century. Then it was only a short step to create it, just like Pearl Harbour or the Reichstag fire.

Why the horror in saying in our own lifetimes that the State is ruthlessness enough to kill it’s own citizens, why wait 30 years to do so? The British State has shown it is quite capable of aiding and abetting the cold-blooded murder and torture of Iraqi people, it’s prepared to send it’s own men to die in a war that it’s subjects did not have the stomach for, how much different is it to kill it’s own citizens to achieve it’s objectives? How can we forget the IRA bombs and the fact that the public were never warned by officials despite the IRA transmitting warnings to the police. We could be forgiven for thinking that the State would have wasted no time in capitalizing on the deaths of a few citizens that it had allowed to occur.

Sanguinetti points to some ruling class tactics that will confuse us further. He says it is far easier to attack a simulated enemy than a real one and:

“…for the real enemy, the proletariat, power would like to refuse it even the status of enemy: if workers declare themselves to be against this demented terrorism, then “they are with the State,” if they are against the State, then “they are terrorists,” that is to say enemies of the common good, public enemies. And against a public enemy, everything is permitted, everything is authorised.”

The principal war is being carried out against the proletariat disguised as a war on Muslims. So in timely fashion a poll is conducted prior to the anniversary of the July 7th bombing which reveals that UK Muslims are highly skeptical of the war on terror and the government’s role in 7/7 – a quarter of those polled believed that government agents were involved with the terrorist attacks on 7/7 to howls of disbelief among the establishment’s scribes who opine that they find it difficult to believe (Muslim) people still believe this.

Moderate Muslims are attacked for not countering the extremism that leads a man, a neurosurgeon who it would seem had everything to live for, to apparently set himself on fire in the most ludicrous terror attack on an airport. Later extremists are introduced on Newsnight and published in the Guardian as ex-Jihadis! It is acceptable for reformed Jihadi Muslims to publish screeds blaming all terrorism on Islamic theology, but the same media is reticent about publishing wrong thoughts by “moderate” Muslims who question Western Imperialism. Hassan Butt “I feel absolutely nothing for this country. I have no problem with the British people…but if someone attacks them I have no problem with that either” has been the voice of Islamic radicalism in this country and no column inch has been spared in publicizing his hopes and wishes that Islamic terrorists bomb and maim the innocent on UK soil.

“One thing I’ve always tried to stress is the point that the mujahideen that are coming in from Britain should strike at the heart of the enemy which is within its own country, within Britain.

“Those mujahideen that are coming from America should strike, again, at the heart of America and I have always been in favour of this.”

That was in 2002. This has been followed by other cold rationalizations for terrorism in the West but his latest career move, following a damascene moment, sees Butt giving up terrorism to write for the Guardian!

Yet not so long ago Butt was featured on CBS

Like thousands of other young British Muslims, [Butt] became exposed to some of the most radical Imams in Britain – Imams who supported attacks on westerners all over the world and believed that they had a tacit agreement with the British authorities.

They could preach hatred, they could recruit followers, they could raise funds, and they could even call for Jihad – Holy war – as long as they didn’t call for attacks on British soil. London became such a safe haven for Muslim militants that it came to be known as “Londonistan.”

“Do you think this was an unspoken deal with the establishment? That, do whatever you want here as long as you don’t blow us up?” Simon asks Butt.

“Absolutely. I believe that sincerely,” Butt tells Simon. “That was an unspoken deal. And as a result of that, what tended to happen is the British government lost count of how many people were going abroad getting trained and coming back and going into operational mode as sleeper cells.”

If there was such a deal, it was shattered in July 2005, when the four suicide bombers blew themselves up on the London subway; three of the terrorists were born in Britain of Pakistani parents.

Hints of the connection of MI6 to Islamic terror networks. Is that why Butt has not been charged under the Terrorsim Act 2000 despite admitting to recruiting individuals for terrorism and his open incitement of terrorism?

In the meantime, Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP confidently asserts that the BNP are one crisis away from power. It seems that Nulabour are doing their best to bring this crisis about.

It is clear now that the media need not be concerned with presenting facts, these organs can print pretty much whatever they like, claims such as “45 minutes to WMD” are followed by hand-wringing mea culpas the next only to be topped by fantastical plots of bombs that can be constructed easily from ingredients found in an ordinary kitchen. No journalist need ever fear the response of an outraged public.

It is only necessary to believe as passionately in today’s hand-wringing mea culpa as one did in yesterday’s passionate defense of the war to rid Iraq of WMD, to nobly and selflessly bringing democracy and enlightenment to the people of Iraq. The public, we are told, have the memory of a goldfish and won’t remember what happened 3 seconds ago. That’s what they like to think but the news cycle is designed to turn over stories at such a vast speed, it is the media that is unable to recall what happened 3 seconds ago. So we can watch a BBC journalist pointing to Building 7 (Saloman Brothers Building) in the background of a New York skyline, proclaiming that Building 7 had collapsed when in actual fact it is still standing and clearly visible behind her. It collapsed some 20 minutes later, conveniently onto it’s own footprint!

Has the BBC to date offered a satisfactory explanation for this extraordinary act of premonition by one of their journalists?

There will be no mourning of the truth within the pages of their holy tributes to anorexic celebs and blatant propaganda, so why should they care if the public suspend all credulity when presented with the next plot? We all know the story will unravel as more details surface.

A similar poll carried out among other groups would have discovered similar levels of doubt as for instance in New York, following 911, a majority of New Yorkers expressed the view that the government knew about the impending attacks on the Twin Towers and allowed them to be carried out. Opinions that are borne out by documents published by the Project for a New American Century documents two years before 911, which argued that for the US to dominate the world “some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor” needed to happen.

In the UK it fell on Michael Meacher to address this in the press (This War on Terrorism is Bogus) and since then the whiff of whacko conspiracy theorist has attached itself to him. Saying the unthinkable in the society of the spectacle is never a good career move.

Elsewhere in the media, verisimilitude was given to stories of passports belonging to Saudi hijackers found lying on the streets of New York following the fireball that was intense enough to melt steel trusses of the Twin Towers but, inexplicably, not paper passports… That’s broadcastable, but reasonable doubts about the Spectacle will not be allowed to enter that one way discourse on power and on consumption of the image of the twin towers collapsing.

Even if the State had not engineered the terrorist attacks, it certainly has not been shy in capitalizing on them. Afterwards, Donald Rumsfeld advertised the formation of the Proactive Pre-emptive Operations Group, or P2OG, which he said would provoke terrorist attacks, then requiring “counter-terror” reprisals by the US on countries harbouring terrorists.

Secrecy

It is necessary to ensure that “ .. the spectators must certainly never know everything about terrorism, but they must always know enough to convince them that, compared with terrorism, everything else must be acceptable, or in any case more rational and democratic.” (Debord) and by this standard it is then permitted to execute Brazilians in the underground or shoot Muslims in their homes. Today it is Muslims who have had their most basic right to life overturned by the State in the name of protecting citizens from terrorism.

Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (part of our Human Rights Act) protects the right to life and places onerous obligations on the State to protect the lives of all us. This principle places tight limitations on the use of deliberate and lethal force.

Such action is the gravest of steps in a democracy. It can only ever be justified where “absolutely necessary”; where there is no other way of effectively protecting the lives of others.

Even in the context of a suspected suicide bomber, Article 2 requires that everything possible is done to avoid a moment where lethal force is the only viable means of preventing the suspect from detonating a device and bringing injury and death to others. However, there may be situations where lethal force is the only means of protecting huge loss of life.

Tomorrow it will be everyone else

When all the laws of the State are in danger, “there only exists for the State one sole and inviolable law: the survival of the State.” It is interesting how every terrorist act has occurred just when that survival looked tenuous, when the state was in crisis and rocked by scandal. Harpies Blair, Blunkett or Reid would shriek of impending terrorist attacks and it mattered not one jot to the supine media that no evidence, intelligence or facts were presented.

“The only attack capable of fatally wounding the State is today uniquely that which consists of denouncing its terrorist practices, and violently denouncing them.”

Think Madrid.

We Need More Attacks on American Soil

“In his first interview as the chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, Dennis Milligan told a reporter that America needs to be attacked by terrorists so that people will appreciate the work that President Bush has done to protect the country. ‘At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001],’ Milligan said to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, ‘and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country.’”

Another salient point, these acts of terror are like a drug and must be managed because each new act looks less terrifying than the one preceding it. Nothing can compare to 911 and since 7/7/05 acts of terror in the UK have now been reduced to the constant streaming of farcical spectacles of exploding cars driving into airport terminals (no doubt aided and abetted by the technologically superior Iran) or Somalis looking ominously out of the media, suspected of plots uncovered by mind-readers which is enough to ensure that they are held behind bars for 28 days awaiting their day in a kangaroo court and all relayed to us by breathless commentators on 24 hour news channels.

This latest Piccadilly/Glasgow incident became a full scale terrorist event within a day, it was enough to cause disruption to the fourteen thousand spectators that were waiting to watch the matches at Wimbledon in person and don’t mention the people taking flights that weekend, in what has now become an annual disruption preceding the anniversary of July 7th. Details were leaked slowly on a continuous loop. Gas canisters, we were informed, were being carried in a Mercedes that had crashed. The gas canisters became a device. The upgrading to a device was followed by the news that there were nails involved and it was inevitable that a demonstration of the lethality of this device was followed the next day at Glasgow Airport in an event that killed exactly nobody. Fortunately. While in Iraq real car bombs continue to detonate killing scores of people on a daily basis. In the meantime a suicide letter was recovered from the burnt-out Cherokee at Glasgow Airport, proving once again that the fiendish Al Qaeda are more competent at making fire-proof paper than bombs.

Thus demonstrating another truism from Sanguinetti’s pamphlet – that it is essential bloodless rehearsals for future acts of terrorism are carried out first. These acts are mere rehearsals preparing the public for future spectacles.

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All the white working class kids in my little corner of the world are onto this one and have been for the past year or so!

Soaring global demand for copper is a growing threat to the British railway network leading to a surge in trackside metal theft, police have warned. Copper theft caused more than 240,000 minutes of delays for train passengers last year after a near-fivefold rise in robberies at tracks and depots.

Rail customers are the victims of an economic crime that is being driven by the insatiable demand for industrial material in China and India, said Andy Trotter, deputy chief constable of the British Transport police. “It is a growing problem,” he said. “You have only got to look at the rising copper price on the metal market and the theft of copper matches that rise almost absolutely. Unfortunately, the impact on the infrastructure is beginning to bite.”

Copper theft is a major problem in north-east England, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the delays related to metal thieves in the UK and wreaking havoc with the Northern Trains franchise. Mr Trotter said the regional bias of the problem may reflect the north-east’s industrial heritage. “The north-east has a tradition of heavy industry and of people who know how to deal with copper and metals,” he said. “There are also lots of people who know how to trade in it.”

Police also blamed copper thieves for the demolition of a bungalow in Bradford yesterday. The unoccupied house exploded after copper gas pipes on the outer walls were fractured, apparently by someone trying to rip them out. Police are looking for two boys, aged 10 and 11, in relation to the explosion.

“The copper is going through larger scrapyards, then to smelters and then by ship to China, which has an incredible demand for copper, particularly with the Beijing Olympics coming and the demand for telecoms infrastructure,” Mr Trotter said.

The global price of copper has risen fivefold since 2001 and has risen above $8,000 (£4,000) a tonne this year, driven by demand for its use in car production, building and power grids. China accounts for about 20% of global copper consumption and the US for 13%. Such is the demand that 2p pieces are more valuable if they are melted down for their copper…

…The clampdown has also led to stakeouts at suspect scrapyards, which have emerged as key outposts in the cable crime food chain.

Copper theft is also spreading to other industries. Earlier this month, Northumbrian Water said it had stepped up security after a spate of thefts from some of its sewage works in the north-east which it said would cost the company £100,000.

What makes this theft criminal and why is theft of oil or minerals from the third world through force not? Rhetorical question… Looking from my own lofty height I see no violent crime. Yes, cables are stolen from the railway and sidlngs but these are young boys still in school and some barely out of it who have picked up the profrit motive in an adulterated fashion. He! The Guardian. Non Sexy. So PC.

That aside, I ask you to think of Zambia, a supplier of copper to the world market during the sixties and seventies, eighties, nineties but which always found that the market for copper was controlled abroad in trading markets and ensured that so many Africans in Zambia lived below the poverty line sans water and electricity and good schools on the dirt road that passed their home. A road which a public transport vehicle might pass two or three times a day, if you were lucky. People in Zambia, those who worked the mines that stripped the copper, never saw wealth from copper enriching their communities.

Now I have to feel sorry for a bunch of booted and suited wankers who miss their trains because some entrepreneurial ten year olds steal copper from their railway? Give me a break.

I am watching Filthy Rich and Homeless on the telly and so far I am struck by how free enterprise is not so free.

A bunch of filthy rich brats give up the comforts of their homes to live on the streets sans mobiles, money, contacts.

One of the more entrepreneurial of the group arrogantly imagines he can make £200 pounds a day and begins his new enterprise by blagging flowers on credit from a wholesaler. His attitude to the waifs and strays he has encountered on the streets so far, has been that they are lazy, good for nothings. Given the chance to make hard cash he is dismayed to suddenly discover he needs a license to sell those flowers to the general public. The license costs money. Money he, of course, does not have. The coppers soon get to recognise him and thwart his plan at every underground station he decides to pitch at.

He is cold, tired and hungry and now begins to see the purpose of the soup kitchen.

The Guardian. So PC.

There is a bloody, criminal war in Iraq. The United States military has been sent there, and they are losing the war. On the other hand, public opinion on the war has shifted dramatically in the direction of those of us who said the troops need to come back here where they belong and leave the Iraqis the fuck alone. They’ve had about all the depleted uranium democracy they can stand.

This is a hell of an impasse for the ruling class here. Some of them didn’t like how Bush and Cheney went about it, but they fundamentally agreed that for the US to retain its international power into the forseeable future, it had to readjust its military forces from the old positions to fight the no-longer-existing Warsaw Pact to a place where they could tighten the screws on future competitors if need be. That place was in the Middle East; and that’s because of all the oil that is still sensibly reachable on Earth, over half of it is in that area. That same ruling CLASS, mind you, can pull the plug on Bush and Cheney any time they want… and in fact may be doing that right now. This is not some independent fraternity that is conspiring to take over the world. This is a system. It’s been around for a long time. And it is in trouble. But it is still a system, and it is run by a whole ruling stratum, not one clique.

Every one of them is perfectly capable of reading to the best of my knowledge, and since they are, they know goddamn well that any attack on Iran would make the continued occupation of Iraq untenable.

This administration is not insane, as many people contend. This is just paranoid hyperbole. They are meaner than hell, because they can be, because they are in power. The Bush administration serves at the pleasure of the dominant class. Get your heads around that, folks. The last time a whole destabilized white middle class started convincing themselves that the world was run by a conspiracy, they identified Jews and elected a mediocre Austrian watercolor artist as Chancellor of Germany. This is a dangerous and inaccurate understanding of the world. What you are looking at is disequilibrated imperialism.

Both Nixon and Reagan “played crazy” as a method of political manipulation.

If I were the Bush administration, and I was both losing the war and losing public support like they are, I would give my domestic opposition something new to run off to… like making them believe I was about to attack Iran. Later on, when it didn’t happen, I could portray them all as poule paranoidus. Then they would stop what they are doing… ie, tearing my credibility to shreds and sending my historical legacy into the shithouse.

Think!

When imperialism launches a war of aggression against such a country, all its various classes, except for some traitors, can temporarily unite in a national war against imperialism. At such a time, the contradiction between imperialism and the country concerned becomes the principal contradiction, while all the contradictions among the various classes within the country (including what was the principal contradiction, between the feudal system and the great masses of the people) are temporarily relegated to a secondary and subordinate position. So it was in China in the Opium War of 1840, the Sino-Japanese War of 1894 and the Yi Ho Tuan War of 1900, and so it is now in the present Sino-Japanese War.

But in another situation, the contradictions change position. When imperialism carries on its oppression not by war, but by milder means–political, economic and cultural–the ruling classes in semi-colonial countries capitulate to imperialism, and the two form an alliance for the joint oppression of the masses of the people. At such a time, the masses often resort to civil war against the alliance of imperialism and the feudal classes, while imperialism often employs indirect methods rather than direct action in helping the reactionaries in the semi-colonial countries to oppress the people, and thus the internal contradictions become particularly sharp. This is what happened in China in the Revolutionary War of 1911, the Revolutionary War of 1924-27, and the ten years of Agrarian Revolutionary War after 1997. Wars among the various reactionary ruling groups in the semi-colonial countries, e.g., the wars among the warlords in China, fall into the same category.

When a revolutionary civil war develops to the point of threatening the very existence of imperialism and its running dogs, the domestic reactionaries, imperialism often adopts other methods in order to maintain its rule; it either tries to split the revolutionary front from within or sends armed forces to help the domestic reactionaries directly. At such a time, foreign imperialism and domestic reaction stand quite openly at one pole while the masses of the people stand at the other pole, thus forming the principal contradiction which determines or influences the development of the other contradictions. The assistance given by various capitalist countries to the Russian reactionaries after the October Revolution is an example of armed intervention. Chiang Kai-shek's betrayal in 1927 is an example of splitting the revolutionary front.