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Am Johal: London Calling

London Calling

By Am Johal

Only a few years ago as the Hutton Inquiry raged on in London in the humid summer months of 2003, the case of the suicide of their chief weapons inspector David Kelley was put under intense public scrutiny. The "sexed up" dossier had 10 Downing Street's hands all over it. Tony Blair's chief spin doctor Alastair Campbell eventually walked the plank when he became part of the story. The BBC was also found to have exercised shoddy journalism in the affair.

Tony Blair, by many accounts, had become the chief stooge of the United States in deciding to go to Iraq on a questionable intelligence report.

So this whole charade in Iraq has stunk from the beginning.

Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, argued early on against the invasion of Iraq by saying, "An assault on Iraq will inflame world opinion and jeopardise security and peace everywhere. London, as one of the major world cities, has a great deal to lose from war and a lot to gain from peace, international cooperation and global stability."

There are now 52 dead and over a thousand injured as a result of the Tube and bus bombings carried out with ruthless precision.

Tony Blair now says,"We will pursue those responsible wherever they are and we will not rest until they are identified, and as far as possible, brought to justice."

Curses, like chickens, come home to roost. So it is that the day to day life of the Londoner is about to get more onerous as security precautions begin to take hold.

Bush now says,"The best way to defend America is to stay on the offence." He should be doing play-by-play on Monday Night Football.

Speaking to a thousand FBI officials, he said, "In this difficult hour, the people of Great Britain can know the American people stand with you. And just as America and Great Britain stood together to defeat the totalitarian ideologies of the 20th Century, we now stand together against the murderous ideologies of the 21st Century."

Were it only that simple.

As Londoners hit the streets to walk home on foot that day, it made a compelling picture to anyone who has ever taken the Tube. For the cosmopolitan City on the Thames, it was a day of reckoning. After all, it was not too far north of here that bombing flights originated to Iraq.

This was the largest attack on London since the Second World War. The London of today bears little resemblance to the post-war city - it is now one of the most ethnically diverse capitals of the world.

But the bombings of July 7th should not have come as a shock to anyone - and to disconnect it from Britain's foreign policy in recent years would be disingenuous. Just as with the Occupation in Iraq, innocent civilians have largely suffered the effects of this "War on Terror" and from the attacks by Al Qaeda.

As smoke billowed from the Underground trains last week, the stench of fear arrived. The objective of the bombings had been achieved. The few psychopaths who conceived and carried out this catastrophic tragedy, successfully unleashed a wave of racism against innocent Mulims in Britain and initiated a de facto crackdown in the United States.

>From Bali to Madrid to dozens of other places, the bombings continue. The occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Occupied Palestinian Territories continue. Iran is still heating up.

But the fanatics in this interplay are not just Al Qaeda who have no respect for human life, but also exist in the hallways of power in the United States and Britain.

People like John Bolton, Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz and the neo-cons behind the Project for a New American Century have blood on their hands too. Over 100,000 Iraqis are dead since the war was launched on a flimsy pretext. There are thousands of casualties on the US and British side, also innocent victims of a power structure that led them there in the first place.

But somehow a life lost in Iraq doesn't have the same value as a life lost in London in the Western mind.

And As the G-8 Summit rolled on in the tony golf resort of Gleneagles, enhanced by the rock star lustre of celebrities like Bono, Bob Geldof and the gang, they all came across as hopelessly out of touch. Banging the drum for Africa with their white wrist bands, they did succeed in increasing development aid to the continent.

London's winning Olympic Bid fell to the back pages amidst rumblings of rising security costs.

Welcome to the New World Order.


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