Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I thought this was interesting

I came across this article on CNN.COM while waiting for something to install at work. I thought the words of the mayor of London were interesting, and to a point, true. The fact is, the West's hand have been dirty in the Middle East for decades, and much of what is being dealt with now is the repercussions for many of these actions. Case in point, we created UBL, and paid the piper dearly for it. We created, to a degree, Saddam, and then decided we didn't want him anymore once he started to do "his own thing." Oh the hypocrisy!

London mayor: West fueled terror

Wednesday, July 20, 2005; Posted: 9:33 a.m. EDT (13:33 GMT)

Livingstone said Western policy in the Middle East was motivated by oil.
LONDON, England (CNN) -- London Mayor Ken Livingstone has said that Western "double standards" in the Middle East have contributed to the growth of Islamic extremism and terrorist groups such as al Qaeda.

Livingstone told BBC radio on Wednesday that Western intervention in the Middle East since the end of World War I had been motivated by a desire to control the flow of oil.

While condemning suicide bombings, Livingstone indicated that he recognized the conditions that had led Palestinians to take that route in Israel.

"Under foreign occupation and denied a right to vote, denied the right to run your own affairs ... I suspect that if it had happened here in England we would have produced a lot of suicide bombers ourselves," said Livingstone.

"But I don't just denounce suicide bombers. I denounce those governments which use indiscriminate slaughter to advance their foreign policy."

Livingstone's comments were rejected by Downing Street, which said that British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Livingstone had "different views of the world."

"Equally, however, we recognize that Ken Livingstone has provided, as an elected official in London, a lead to the people of London at this tragic time -- at the same time as he expresses views which we fundamentally disagree with," a spokesman told the UK's Press Association.

Blair said on Wednesday he was considering calling a global conference to discuss ways of tackling Islamic extremism following the July 7 London bombings which killed 56 people and injured hundreds more.

"We are looking at the possibility of holding a conference which would bring together some of the main countries who are closely involved in these issues," he told lawmakers.

Blair said the conference would focus on rooting out extremist teaching in religious schools, known as madrassas, and said concerted action was needed across the world.

After meeting Muslim leaders on Tuesday, Blair described extremism as an "evil ideology" that needed to be confronted "by the force of reason." (Full Story)

Blair also praised the work of British intelligence and security officials following a report in the New York Times which claimed the UK's terror alert was lowered prior to the London bombings because no imminent threat was anticipated. (Full Story)

"Though it is terrible that these terrorist attacks took place ... over the past few years our security services and our police have done an immense amount to protect this country also," Blair said.

He said he was satisfied they had done "everything possible" to reduce the terror risk and said the government was moving in the "right direction" to combat the threat of further attacks with new anti-terror legislation.

In a briefing before parliament, Home Secretary Charles Clarke outlined three new criminal offenses at the heart of the government's proposals.

One provision would make the indirect incitement of terrorism an offense, a measure intended to silence radical clerics who have praised terrorist attacks.

Another proposed offense would be acts considered preparatory to terrorism. That would enable security authorities to intervene at an earlier stage to protect the public.

A third would apply a broader definition applied to the giving and receiving of terrorist training.

Clarke said the government also intended to establish a database of extremists around the world who had demonstrated "unacceptable behavior," such as preaching intended to provoke terrorism and running extremist Web sites.

Anyone on the list would face possible exclusion from the UK, or could be refused entry to the country.

"At a series of meetings with the Prime Minister, myself and others, positive proposals are emerging to strengthen our capacity to fight the destructive and nihilist philosophy of those who promoted the London bombing," said Clarke.

"There is unity of purpose. The Government wants to work with other parties to make sure we have the most effective anti-terrorism legislation on our statute book. Similarly we want to work with the Muslim community to isolate and weaken dangerous extremists."

CNN's European Political Editor Robin Oakley said lawmakers would consider the legislation on their return from summer recess in October and could pass the measures by December.

British Muslim leaders said on Wednesday they had called for an independent judicial inquiry into what motivated the London bombings during their talks with Blair at Downing Street.

"The scale of disenchantment amongst Muslim youth is very clear to see," Inayat Bungalwala of the Muslim Council of Britain told the Associated Press.

"Various factors are at play: underachievement in education; a high rate of unemployment; discrimination in the workplace; social exclusion, and also the government's own policies, especially in Iraq.

"The process of how we get four homegrown suicide bombers must be understood and that is why we are calling for an inquiry."

The Home Office said Clarke would decide whether to open an inquiry in September, AP reported.

London's Underground network moved closer to resuming a normal service after one of the bombed trains was lifted out of Edgware Road station late on Tuesday and taken to an undisclosed location for further forensic examination.

Transport police said on Wednesday that sniffer dogs had been deployed at tube stations and on trains for the first time.

"They operate just like dogs who search for drugs except they have been trained to sniff out explosives," a police spokesman told the UK's Press Association. "They have already started patrolling the Tube with their handlers and they will carry on indefinitely."

But Livingstone said the Underground system would still be disrupted for some time and praised Londoners' resilience and solidarity in the aftermath of the attacks.

"London's communities will continue to stand together in condemnation of anyone who attacks the city," he told London Assembly members.

-- European Political Editor Robin Oakley contributed to this report.


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