Thursday, August 17, 2006

British terrorism arrests driven by politics!

In further news, the Pope is Catholic and Keith Richards has been known to use drugs once in a while.

It seems that the arrests of the alleged British terrorists were driven more by politics than any actual threat. Wow. Whoever would have guessed? There were no bombs. The "terrorists" didn't have airline tickets. Most of them didn't even have passports. They were almost certainly a bunch of loud-mouthed goons talking big on Internet chat rooms.

When I was a young man, I used to have long telephone conversations with friends of mine where we would "plan" how to destroy aircraft, build nuclear bombs, seed reservoirs with toxic chemicals, and divert asteroids to crash into Moscow or Washington. Mostly it was an intellectual exercise -- "How can we build a rail-gun out of a PVC pipe, two magnets and an electric drill?" sort of nonsense. Obviously we did none of these things. It probably kept us sane during the insanity of adolescence. I think just about every male of a certain age (4 to 94) fantasises about destruction at times. But under today's political climate, we could be labeled "terrorists", kidnapped by masked soldiers from our beds, and disappeared to Poland or Pakistan to have electric shocks applied to our genitals until we confessed.

Confessed to what? Trust me, once those clamps are placed on your genitals, you'll be amazed at how imaginative you can become.

If we had been angry young men with a grudge, maybe we'd have talked about blowing up the Melbourne Cricket Ground in anger rather than in good humour. ("Batteries! A 9V battery has enough energy to vaporize a car if you could release it all at once!") But talk is cheap: no matter how many times we decided that we could make a fusion bomb out of thorium refined from sand, polystyrene and some dynamite, the honest truth was we had no way of building a H-bomb. And it is looking more and more unlikely that these angry British men could have made these fantasy hair gel bombs, no matter how much they talked about it.

Tens or hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded at airports for days. At least ten thousand pieces of luggage lost. Thousands of iPods, books, pens, mobile phones and other items just thrown away by the airlines, without compensation for the owners (that's theft, right?). A shock to the British economy. Chaos. Fear. And terror.

The terrorists did their job well, spreading terror across not only the UK but across the world. Only the terrorists weren't the British Muslims. They were the British or American politicians who apparently leaned on the police to rush the arrests, the airlines that panicked, and the media who not only accepted the story uncritically but did their best to beat it up into an even bigger story.

See also my earlier posts here and here.

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