leveled by the British, US and Pakistani regimes that they uncovered
a major bomb plot directed against nine US airlines is based on
the flimsiest of evidence, which would be thrown out of any court,
worthy of its name.
of the current state of the investigation raises a series of questions
regarding the governments claims of a bomb plot concocted
by 24 Brits of Pakistani origin.
were followed by the search for evidence, as the August 12, 2006
Financial Times states: "The police set about the mammoth
task of gathering evidence of the alleged terrorist bomb plot
yesterday." (FT, August 12/, 2006) In other words, the arrests
and charges took place without sufficient evidence - a peculiar
method of operation - which reverses normal investigatory procedures
in which arrests follow the "monumental task of gathering
evidence." If the arrests were made without prior accumulation
of evidence, what were the bases of the arrests?
search of financial records and transfers turned up no money trail
despite the freezing of accounts. The police search revealed limited
amounts of savings, as one would expect from young workers, students
and employees from low-income immigrant families.
government, backed by Washington, claimed that the Pakistani governments
arrest of two British-Pakistanis provided "critical evidence"
in uncovering the plot and identifying the alleged terrorist.
No Western judicial hearing would accept evidence procured by
the Pakistani intelligence services that are notorious for their
use of torture in extracting confessions. The Pakistani
dictatorships evidence is based on a supposed encounter
between a relative of one of the suspects and an Al Qaeda operative
on the Afghan border. According to the Pakistani police, the Al
Qaeda agent provided the relative and thus the accused with the
bomb-making information and operative instructions.
The transmission of bomb-making information does not require a
trip half-way around the world, least of all to a frontier under
military siege by US led forces on one side and the Pakistani
military on the other. Moreover it is extremely dubious that Al
Qaeda agents in the mountains of Afghanistan have any detailed
knowledge of specific British airline security, procedures or
conditions of operations in London.
evidence, Pakistani intelligence and their British counterparts
touched all the propaganda buttons: A clandestine meeting with
Al Qaeda, bomb-making information exchanges on the Pakistani-Afghan
border, Pakistani-Brits with Islamic friends, family and terrorist
connections in England...
intelligence claimed, and London
repeated, that sums of money had
been wired from Pakistan to allow the
plotters to buy airline tickets.
Yet air tickets were found in only
one residence (and the airline and
itinerary were not stated by the police).
None of the other suspects possessed
plane tickets and some did not
even have passports.
claimed, and London repeated, that sums of money had been wired
from Pakistan to allow the plotters to buy airline tickets. Yet
air tickets were found in only one residence (and the airline
and itinerary were not stated by the police). None of the other
suspects possessed plane tickets and some did not even have passports.
In other words, the most preliminary moves in the so-called bomb
plot had not been taken by the accused. No terrorist plot to bomb
airplanes exists when the alleged conspirators are lacking travel
funds, documents and tickets. It is not credible to argue that
the alleged conspirators depended on instructions from distant
handlers ignorant of the basic ground level conditions.
the British and US authorities claimed that the explosive device
was a "liquid bomb," yet no liquid or non-liquid bomb
was discovered on the premises or persons of any of the accused.
Nor has any evidence been produced as to the capability of any
of the suspects in making, moving or detonating the "liquid
bomb" - a very volatile solution if handled by unskilled
No evidence has been presented on the nature of the specific liquid
bomb question, or any spoken discussion or written documents about
the liquid bomb, which would implicate any of the suspects. No
bottle, liquid or chemical formula has been found among any of
the suspects. Nor have any of the ingredients that go into making
the "liquid bomb" been uncovered. Nor has any evidence
been presented as to where the liquid was supposed to come from
(the source) or whether it was purchased locally or overseas.
liquid bomb story was ridiculed into obscurity, British Deputy
Assistant Commissioner Peter Clark claimed that "bomb making
equipment including chemicals and electric components had been
found." (BBC News, 8/21/2006.)
there is no mention of what "electronic components"
and "chemicals" were found, in whose home or office
and if they might be related to non-bomb making activities. Were
these so-called new bomb-making items owned by a specific person
or group of persons, and if so were they known by the parties
implicated to be part of a bombing plot.
when and why have the authorities switched from the liquid bombs
to identifying old fashion electronic detonators? Is there any
evidence - documents or taped discussions - that link these electronic
detonators and chemicals with the specific plot to "blow
up 9 US bound airliners"?
the British and US authorities
claimed that the explosive device
was a "liquid bomb," yet no liquid or
non-liquid bomb was discovered
on the premises or persons of any
of the accused. Nor has any evidence
been produced as to the capability
of any of the suspects in making,
moving or detonating the
"liquid bomb" - a very volatile solution
if handled by unskilled operatives...
When the liquid bomb story was
ridiculed into obscurity, British Deputy
Assistant Commissioner Peter Clark
claimed that 'bomb making equipment including chemicals and electric
components had been found'.
providing relevant facts clearing up basic questions of names,
dates, weapons, and travel dates, Commissioner Clark gives the
press a laundry list of items that could be found in millions
of homes and the large number of buildings searched (69 so far).
If stair climbing earns promotions, Clark should be nominated
for a knighthood. According to Clark the police discovered more
than 400 computers, 200 mobile telephones, 8,000 computer media
items (items as catastrophic as memory sticks, CDs and DVDs);
police removed 6,000 gigabytes of data from the seized computers
(150 from each computer) and a few video recordings.
One presumes, in the absence of any qualitative data demonstrating
that the suspects were in fact preparing bombs in order to destroy
nine US airliners, that Commissioner Clark is seeking public sympathy
for his minions enormous capacity to lift and remove electronic
equipment from one site to another in up to 69 buildings. This
is a notable achievement if we are talking about a moving company
and not a high-powered police investigation of an event of "catastrophic
Some of the
suspects were arrested because they have traveled to Pakistan
at the beginning of the school year holidays. British and US authorities
forget to mention that tens of thousands of Pakistani expats return
to visit family at precisely that time of year.
guys on Wall Street and The City of London never took the liquid
bomb plot seriously: At no point did the Market respond, nose-dive,
crash or panic. The announced plot to bomb airlines was ignored
by all Big Players on the US and London stock markets. In fact,
petrol prices dropped slightly.
In contrast to 9/11 and the Madrid and London bombings (to which
this plot is compared) the stock market makers were
not impressed by the governments claims of a major
catastrophe. George Bush or Tony Blair, who were informed
and discussed the "liquid bomb plot" several days beforehand,
didnt even skip a day of their vacations, in response to
the catastrophic threat.
and every claim and piece of evidence put forth by
the police and the Blair and Bush security authorities runs a
cropper. Some of the alleged suspects are released, and new equally
paltry evidence is breathlessly presented: two tape
recordings of "martyr messages" were found in the computer
of one suspect, which, we are told, foretold a planned terrorist
team claimed with great aplomb that they found one or a few martyr
videotapes, without clarifying the fact that the videos were not
made by the suspects but viewed by them. Many people the world
over pay homage to suicide martyrs to a great variety of political
causes. Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan visits a shrine dedicated
to World War II military dead - including kamikaze suicide pilots,
defying Chinese and Korean protests. Millions of US citizens and
politicians pay homage to the war heroes in Arlington cemetery
each year, some of whom deliberately sacrificed their lives in
order to defend their comrades, their flag and the justice of
wise guys on Wall Street and
The City of London never took the
liquid bomb plot seriously:
At no point did the Market respond,
nose-dive, crash or panic.
The announced plot to bomb airlines
was ignored by all Big Players on the
US and London stock markets.
be of no surprise that Asians, Muslims and others should collect
videos of anti-Israeli or anti-occupation martyrs. In none of
the above cases where people honor martyrs is there any police
attempt to link the reverent observer with future suicide bomb
plots - except if they are Muslims. Hero worship of fallen fighters
is a normal everyday phenomenon - and is certainly no evidence
that the idolaters are engaged in murderous activity.
message" is neither a plot, conspiracy nor action, it is
only an expression of free speech - one might add, internal
speech (between the speaker and his computer) which might
at some future time become public speech. Are we to make private
dialogue a terrorist offense?
As the legal
time limit expires on the holding of suspects without charges,
the British authorities released two suspects, charged 11, and
11 others continue to be held without charges, probably because
there is no basis for proceeding further.
As the number of accused plotters thin out in England, Clark and
company have deflected attention to a world-wide plot with links
to Spain, Italy, the Middle East and elsewhere. Apparently the
logic here is that a wider net compensates for the large holes.
In the case at hand, of the 11 who have been remanded to trial,
only eight have been charged with conspiracy to prepare acts of
terrorism; the other three are accused of "not disclosing
information" (or being informers... of what?) and "possessing
articles useful to a person preparing acts of terrorism."
(BBC News, 8/21/06.)
Since no bombs have been found and no plans of action have been
revealed, we are left with the vague charge of conspiracy,
which can mean a hostile private discussion directed against US
and British subjects by several like-thinking individuals.
The reason that it appears that ideas and not actions are in question
is because the police have not turned up any weapons or specific
measures to enter into the locus of attack (air tickets to board
planes, passports and so on). How can suspects be charged with
failing to disclose information, when the police lack any concrete
information pertaining to the alleged bomb plot. The fact that
the police are further diluting their charges against three more
plotters is indicative of the flimsy basis of their original arrests
and public claims.
To charge a 17-year-old-boy with "possessing articles useful
to a person preparing acts of terrorism" is so open-ended
as to be laughable: Did the article have other uses for the boy
or for his family (like a box cutter)? Did he possess
written articles because they were informative or fascinating
to a young person? Since he still possessed the article, he had
not passed these articles to any person making bombs. Did he know
of any specific plans to make bombs or any bomb-makers?
could implicate anyone possessing and reading a good spy novel
or science fiction thriller in which bomb making is discussed.
The 11 have already pleaded innocent; the trial will begin in
due time. The government and mass media have already convicted
the accused in the electronic and print media. Panic has been
sown. Fear and hysterical anger is present in the long security
lines at airports and train stations... Asian men quietly saying
prayers are being pulled off of airplanes and planes diverted
or airports evacuated.
plot hoax has caused enormous losses (in the hundreds of millions
of dollars) to the airlines, business people, oil companies, duty
free shops, tourist agencies, resorts and hotels, not to speak
of the tremendous inconvenience and health related problems of
millions of stranded and stressed travelers. The restrictions
on laptop computers, travel bags, accessories, special foods and
liquid medicines have added to the costs of traveling.
criminal frame-up of young
Muslim-South Asian British citizens
by the British security officials was
specifically designed to cover up
for the failed Anglo-American invasion
of Iraq and the Anglo-American backing
for Israel's destructive but failed
invasion of Lebanon. Blair's "liquid
bombers" plot sacrificed a multiplicity
of British capitalist interests in order
to retain political offices and stave off
an unceremonious early exit from
power. The costs of failed militarism
are borne by citizens and businesses.
decision to cook up the phony bomb plot was not motivated by economic
interests, but domestic political reasons. The Blair administration,
already highly unpopular for supporting Bushs wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan, was under attack for his unconditional support
for Israels invasion of Lebanon, his refusal to call for
an immediate ceasefire and his unstinting support for Bushs
servility to US Zionist lobbies.
Even within the Labor party over a hundred backbenchers were speaking
out against his policies, while even junior cabinet ministers
such as Prescott stated that Boss Bushs foreign policy smelled
of the barnyard. Bush was not yet cornered by his colleagues in
the same way as Blair, but unpopularity was threatening to lead
his Republican party to congressional defeat and possible loss
of a majority of seats.
to top security officials in England, Bush and Blair were "knowledgeable"
about the investigation into a possible "liquid bomb"
plot. We know that Blair gave the go-ahead for the arrests, even
as the authorities must have told him they lacked the evidence
and, at best, it was premature.
Some reports from British police insiders claim that the Bush
Administration pushed Blair for early arrests and the announcement
of the liquid bomb plot. Security officials then launched
a massive, all-out terror propaganda campaign designed
to capture the attention and support of the public with the total
support of the mass media. The security-mass media campaign served
its objective - Bushs popularity increased, Blair avoided
censure and both continued on their vacations.
plot political ploy fits the previous political pattern of sacrificing
capitalist economic interests to serve domestic political and
ideological positions. Foreign policy failures lead to domestic
political crimes, just as domestic policy crises lead to aggressive
frame-up of young Muslim-South Asian British citizens by the British
security officials was specifically designed to cover up for the
failed Anglo-American invasion of Iraq and the Anglo-American
backing for Israels destructive but failed invasion of Lebanon.
Blairs "liquid bombers" plot sacrificed a multiplicity
of British capitalist interests in order to retain political offices
and stave off an unceremonious early exit from power. The costs
of failed militarism are borne by citizens and businesses.
In an analogous
fashion Bush and his Zioncon and other militarists exploited the
events of 9/11 to pursue a militarist multi-war strategy in South-west
Asia and the Middle East. With time and scientific research, the
official version of the events of 9/11 have come under serious
questioning - both regarding the collapse of one of the towers
in New York, as well as the explosions in the Pentagon.
The events of 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq sacrificed
major US economic interests: Losses in New York, tourism, airline
industry and massive physical destruction; losses in terms of
a major increase in oil prices and instability, increasing the
costs to US, European and Asian consumers and industries.
the Israeli military invasion of Gaza and Lebanon, backed by the
US and Great Britain, were economically costly destroying property,
investments and markets, while raising the level of mass anti-imperial
words, the politics of US, British and Israeli (and, by extension,
World Zionist) militarism has been at the expense of strategic
sectors of the civilian economy. These losses to key economic
sectors require the civilian-militarists to resort to domestic
political crimes (phony bomb plots and frame-up trials) to distract
the public from their costly and failed policies and to tighten
On both counts, the civilian militarists and the Zioncons are
losing ground. The "liquid bomb" plot is unraveling,
Israel is in turmoil, the Zioncons are preaching to the converted,
and the US is, as always, the United States: The Democratic civilian
militarists are capitalizing on the failures of their incumbent
James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University,
New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is
an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina,
and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). His latest
book is The Power of Israel in the United States (Clarity Press,
2006). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.