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By Robert Fisk

The Independent
8 July 2005

If we are fighting insurgency in Iraq, what makes us think
insurgency won't come to us?

"If you bomb our cities," Osama bin Laden said in one of his
recent video tapes, "we will bomb yours." There you go, as they
say. It was crystal clear Britain would be a target ever since
Tony Blair decided to join George Bush's "war on terror" and his
invasion of Iraq. We had, as they say, been warned. The G8 summit
was obviously chosen, well in advance, as Attack Day.

And it's no use Mr Blair telling us yesterday that "they will
never succeed in destroying what we hold dear". "They" are not
trying to destroy "what we hold dear". They are trying to get
public opinion to force Blair to withdraw from Iraq, from his
alliance with the United States, and from his adherence to Bush's
policies in the Middle East. The Spanish paid the price for their
support for Bush - and Spain's subsequent retreat from Iraq proved
that the Madrid bombings achieved their objectives - while the
Australians were made to suffer in Bali.

It is easy for Tony Blair to call yesterdays bombings "barbaric" -
of course they were - but what were the civilian deaths of the
Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003, the children torn apart
by cluster bombs, the countless innocent Iraqis gunned down at
American military checkpoints? When they die, it is "collateral
damage"; when "we" die, it is "barbaric terrorism".

If we are fighting insurgency in Iraq, what makes us believe
insurgency won't come to us? One thing is certain: if Tony Blair
really believes that by "fighting terrorism" in Iraq we could more
efficiently protect Britain - fight them there rather than let
them come here, as Bush constantly says - this argument is no
longer valid.

To time these bombs with the G8 summit, when the world was
concentrating on Britain, was not a stroke of genius. You don't
need a PhD to choose another Bush-Blair handshake to close down a
capital city with explosives and massacre more than 30 of its
citizens. The G8 summit was announced so far in advance as to give
the bombers all the time they needed to prepare.

A co-ordinated system of attacks of the kind we saw yesterday
would have taken months to plan - to choose safe houses, prepare
explosives, identify targets, ensure security, choose the bombers,
the hour, the minute, to plan the communications (mobile phones
are giveaways). Co-ordination and sophisticated planning - and the
usual utter ruthlessness with regard to the lives of the innocent
- are characteristic of al-Qa'ida. And let us not use - as our
television colleagues did yesterday - "hallmarks", a word
identified with quality silver rather than base metal.

And now let us reflect on the fact that yesterday, the opening of
the G8, so critical a day, so bloody a day, represented a total
failure of our security services - the same intelligence "experts"
who claim there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when
there were none, but who utterly failed to uncover a months-long
plot to kill Londoners.

Trains, planes, buses, cars, metros. Transportation appears to be
the science of al-Qa'ida's dark arts. No one can search three
million London commuters every day. No one can stop every tourist.
Some thought the Eurostar might have been an al-Qa'ida target - be
sure they have studied it - but why go for prestige when your
common or garden bus and Tube train are there for the taking.

And then come the Muslims of Britain, who have long been awaiting
this nightmare. Now every one of our Muslims becomes the "usual
suspect", the man or woman with brown eyes, the man with the
beard, the woman in the scarf, the boy with the worry beads, the
girl who says she's been racially abused.

I remember, crossing the Atlantic on 11 September 2001 - my plane
turned round off Ireland when the US closed its airspace - how the
aircraft purser and I toured the cabins to see if we could
identify any suspicious passengers. I found about a dozen, of
course, totally innocent men who had brown eyes or long beards or
who looked at me with "hostility". And sure enough, in just a few
seconds, Osama bin Laden turned nice, liberal, friendly Robert
into an anti-Arab racist.

And this is part of the point of yesterday's bombings: to divide
British Muslims from British non-Muslims (let us not mention the
name Christians), to encourage the very kind of racism that Tony
Blair claims to resent.

But here's the problem. To go on pretending that Britain's enemies
want to destroy "what we hold dear" encourages racism; what we are
confronting here is a specific, direct, centralised attack on
London as a result of a "war on terror" which Lord Blair of Kut
al-Amara has locked us into. Just before the US presidential
elections, Bin Laden asked: "Why do we not attack Sweden?"

Lucky Sweden. No Osama bin Laden there. And no Tony Blair