"Rachel from North London" , a victim of the London Bombings, criticised attempts by the British government to bring in laws to make it possible to detain terror suspects for up to 90 days without charge. Some have said she "empathised with terrorists". This is our take:
Rachel, am afraid, has both heart and head in the right - and given that she was a victim in the attacks, needs a fair hearing from any pontificators.
Had their 90-day detention-without-charge rule been on the books prior to 7/7, it would not have prevented the bombings. That is clearly evident - and it has been said ad nauseum since then. As Rachel rightly points, such a rule would only serve to criminalise innocent people, alienate many more and serve to reinforce as fact those who say that we are now in a low-level religious conclagration.
Draconian, human rights-bashing legislation
Furthermore, this is clearly a case of the state trying to rush through draconian, human rights-bashing legislation under the cover of a terrorist outrage. Remember Jo something-or-the-other at the DOT re "this being a good day to bury bad news"? Well, this was just a variant: cynically, hypocritically and opportunistically exploiting the 7/7 bombings to sneak in anti-democratic legislation.
That has been the ploy of all undemocratic governments down the ages.
But one shouldn't really be surprised by all of this, for the policy was spearheaded by the very man, one T Blair, who ignored the wishes of not only most of his own people - but also those of almost all earthlings - to launch a massacre of innocent Iraqi people, and then turn around with a straight face and say that his war-crime-indictable foreign policy had nothing to do with the London Bombings.
In a way, he has to be seen doing something, as he knows that any outrages would be blamed on his decision to join Bush in bombing over 100,000 innocent Iraqis to Kingdom Come.
So, even when he knows that locking suspects up for 90 days will not prevent attacks, he has to champion it: so that when an outrage happens, he would have covered his back by claiming he "did everything to stop it, but the Tories and Labour rebels are responsible for being soft on terrorists."
Well, if he wanted to stop the possibility of such outrages ever occurring on British soil, he should have listened when his advisers warned prior to their war/massacre (take your pick)that attacking Iraq would make the country more, not less, vulnerable to attack by jihadists.
Seduced by the Bush presidency
But no, he had to go to war, had to do as the boss wanted, seduced as he was by the power of the Bush presidency, wanting to play with the big boys, to be thought of as a world leader on a footing with Dubya, to prance on the world stage and stick his tongue out at his detractors, as if to say, "look where I am now, guys, eat your hearts out. The President is my Buddy." No matter that 100,000 innocent people died, many on their beds and many more under them. Just collateral damage on the altar of vanity.
And then you had his namesake, Sir Ian Blair, police commissionner, coming forward to try to persuade MPs to vote for the 90-day detention rule.
You will remember the "dodgy dossier" Blair1 produced in the run-up to the "war", the one where we were told that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that could be deployed within 15 minutes, the one that was later found to have been baseless, the same one that a made-to-look-like-a-fool Colin Powell read in front of the UN General Assembly.
Well, Blair2 also came up with his own "dodgy dossier". In it Britain's top policeman claimed 90 days were needed to process suspects because mobile phone, computer and other records needed to be accessed, and on and on.
But, as you would imagine, opponents were on the case as soon as this dossier saw the light of day. And, suffice it to say that the dossier, in a manner of speaking, had no pages to stand on. It was demonstrated that the police could demand whatever information they required in their investigations and would receive it in a week or less.
Killed in cold blood
This attempt by Blair2 to scratch Blair1's back is not surprising in the least. When his officers shot down the Brazilian Jean Charled de Manezes (pictured, right) in cold blood in the aftermath of the July bombings, Blair1 stood by Blair2.
While the almost universal view was that the commissioner should take ultimate responsibility for his officers' shoot-to-kill policy and vacate his post, Blair stood by Blair, saying he had his full confidence. That confidence did not waver even when it was found that Blair2 had tried to scupper the investigation into the shooting by the independent Police Authority.
Maybe the rationale here was, "Hey, if one Blair starts falling, people might develop an appetite for more Blairs."
Now that MPs are looking into claims that the police were politicised in the run-up to the terror bill vote, especially in their very public and active role in trying to influence the vote, we await the outcome of their deliberations with a glimmer hope. May the Blairs would shuffle off together. God, if you're up there, just give us this one sign. We beseech Thee.
But, I digress.
Disagreeing does not equate to empathising with terrorists
Disagreeing with their failed attempt to bang innocent people up for 90 days does not equate to empathising with terrorists. You are empathising with innocent people: people are only guilty at the conclusion of a fair trial. Remember that the so-called "Ricin terrorists" caught in North London were later freed after trial.
However, if even Mr Blair's wife can say openly that she understands why an oppressed Palestinian will become a suicide bomber, who are we to begrudge Rachel "empathising with terrorists".
I too empathise with terrorists, for that matter. I support the Palestinian struggle. I also support the resistance to imperialist occupation of Iraq .
Now, I have to go - to make enough money to retain the same lawyer as Mrs Blair's when we are both arrested for supporting terrorism.