Monday, July 18, 2005
"doing the terrorists’ job for them"
Much attention has been given to the Chatham House report: "Riding Pillion for Tackling Terrorism is a High-risk Policy" by Frank Gregory, University of Southampton and Paul Wilkinson, University of St Andrews reported in, for example, the Times and the Australian "The Age" today.
I find much more interesting the paper by Bill Durodié of Cranfield University Terrorism and Community Resilience – A UK Perspective, which is the next paper in the same Chatham House report (pdf)
Bill Durodié notices a strange thing about all the counter-terrorist measures put in place in the UK since 2001.
He says that they are merely "technical".
".... These include more surveillance, better intelligence, new
protective clothing for so-called ‘first responders’,
along with gadgets to detect chemical, biological or
radiological agents, concrete blocks and fences around
public buildings, endless checks at airports and
stockpiles of vaccines..."
He rightly points out that in seeking to secure society from the outside, we fail
to engage society from the inside. I have thought for some time that it's all very well to erect great blocks of concrete around the Mother of Parliaments - yet such an act of isolation, together with the endless checks from blank faced officials at the doors (someone next to me once had postcards taken away...), makes many of us feel more cut off than ever from the democracy that nurtured us.
Dr Durodié suggests that we are forgetting to ask questions about what we as a society actually stand for.
My nephew Peter reports that people in the Tube are very much friendlier towards each other at the moment. Having to go on earning a living means they have to make the best of it - and the sense of heightened risk makes people feel closer to each other. This is surely one of the good things to come out of the horror.
Bill Durodié notes:
- ".... pushing people out at such times may appear logical and professional but in actuality is counter-productive and fails to capitalize upon the spontaneous social bonds
and behaviour that emerge in such situations.
My own view is that while Parliament is busily rushing through yet more counter terrorism legislation "to be in place by December", very few now dare to question the effect of what appears to be such widespread nailing up of stable doors. The official UK response to the death of 57 innocent people caught up in the events of last Thursday seems to be taking on a sort of ghastly political correctness. "Don't mention Iraq...."
The Chatham House paper that is getting coverage does "mention Iraq" and has, of course, already been dismissed by John Reid. I hope the legislators read the paper that follows with humility
Bill Durodié concludes:
" the purported solutions – for we have yet to
see whether many of these truly work – can end up
encouraging a sense of social suspicion and mistrust.
We are asked to be ‘alert’ as to the activity of our
neighbours, or those seated opposite us on public
transport. Rather than bringing people together as the
times demand, this serves to push people further apart.
In that sense at least, we truly are ‘doing the terrorists’
job for them’."
July 18 2005 ~
Clyde Prestowitz, president of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, said the concern over China's economic growth as a possible national security threat is a byproduct of the huge budget deficits and trade deficits that are putting the United States at a competitive disadvantage.
"We're at odds with ourselves," said Prestowitz, whose new book, "Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East" details China's surge to power. "We're like a spoiled rich kid who realizes he's drowning in debt and doesn't like it." http://www.menafn.com
July 18 2005 ~
"There was no Iraqi nuclear program, and Rove knew this in summer of 2003 when he outed Valerie Plame." Professor Cole's comment on the Karl Rove/ Valerie Plame case is worth reading in full. This particular jury member is fully convinced that Rove's outing of Joseph Wilson's wife was a deliberate ploy of a worried administration to discredit Ambassador Wilson and shut up the journalists about the false Niger claim.