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London bombs & G8 « Previous | |Next »
July 8, 2005

It's grotesque in a baroque kind of way, but notice the premonination:

RowsonM2.jpg
Steve Bell
The Baghad Bomb Suprise was not a question of if, but one of when and how. It is a counter reprisal to the "war against terror" being waged by the UK; a war that sanctions the use of state terror---bombing raids, torture, countless civilian deaths---in Iraq. It shows the reach of the Islamo fundamentalists in a global world.

It happened in the form of a coordinated terrorist bomb attack on morning commuter trains in the London underground. The attack was timed to coincide with the G8 summit in Gleneagles. The whole of multicultural London's underground system was shut down for the day, London was in gridlock as people left work, around 60 people are dead, and over 700 injured.

An unknown al-Qaida cell called 'The Secret Organisation of al-Qaida' in Europe said that it had carried out the series of blasts in London in retaliation for Britain's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Italy and Demnark were given a warning. Australia was not mentioned. It is assumed by western counter terrorists that those who carried out these attacks are linked to al-Qaida. They are also clear about the intent: to kill and maim many people and to do so on the opening day of the G8 summit in Scotland for maximum international impact.

As Ken Livingston, the Mayor of London, observed the tube bombing was not a terrorist attack against the property of the mighty or the powerful for waging war. It was aimed at ordinary working-class Londoners. That indiscriminate killing of the innocent is what makes the bombing terrible and shocking.

It is quite different from the IRA' bombings that London experienced and it has similar hallmarks to the deadly rush-hour bombings by al-Qaeda terrorists against commuters in Madrid last year. Al-Qaeda never issues a warning and the intent is to kill and injure as many innocent people as possible.

The other side to this is that United States-led forces have disposed of oppressive regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq; around 200,000 foreign troops are now deployed there fighting the insurgencies that have since developed; at least 40,000 people have been killed in the two countries, most of them civilians; many thousands of people are in detention without trial; and rigorous new anti-terror laws have been brought in by many countries including Australia.

Meanwhile G8 leaders continued to work through the day with officials putting the 'feel good' communique on climate change together. The meeting on Africa is tomorrow but a deal on deal on trade and aid may prove impossible to achieve in Gleneagles as it involves the G8 cutting subsidies to their farmers. I cannot see the US or Europe doing that.

The G8 is in the process of becoming irrelevant as a policy making body. Bush has said that he has increased US aid to Africa. What he did not say was that to qualify, recipients had to adopt democratic reform and a free market economy, protect US investment, lift barriers to US goods, and provide a friendly environment for US policies.

Bush continues to promote a US big business agenda. That is the approach of the G8 is it not?

Update: 8.7.05
We have lots of fine Churchillian stoical rhetoric that diplaces the Arab leaders condemnation of the killings. Alas, little mention is being made of this in the western media, despite the frequently drawn distinction between fundamentalist terrorists and moderate Islam, to show that the "war on terror" is not a crusade against a civilization.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:53 AM | | Comments (10)
Comments

Comments

It should be noted, the US Farm Bill of a couple of years ago was $400 billion USD. At the time, that was about the size of the Australian GDP. Basically the US spends the economy of Australia in subsidizing its farmers. So the productive output of 20 million (in a nation of 300 million) makes for dreadful waste.

Cameron,

Though a White House bulletin said the US would reduce farm subsidies if the Europeans would, the US went to Gleneagles with no plan on how they would open up their markets to Africa. It is spin.

Can the G8 be taken as a serious international forum?

Nothing is going to be done about the fossil-fuel industry implement an effective method of disposing of their key waste product, the carbon dioxide generated by the products they sell. The US line sidesteps this conception of market failure and says that any form of greenhouse-gas regulation will damage the economic growth--meaning the profits of the energy intensive industries.

The G8 cannot be taken as a serious international forum.

If western countries continue to kill innocent Islamic civilians around the world at a great rate in their war against terrorism they will undoubtly simply create many more terrorists .
Would it not be better to spend some of america's $300 billion wars effort into diplomatic solutions?? alas probably not enough "profit" in that vision for western leaders .
A very sad state of affairs for all the world .

Kartiya,
Yes you are right.

The "war on terror" has not curbed al-Qaida and its associated groups. The "war on terror" has seen an influx of new recruits, turned Iraq into a battlefield of terrorism, and sen the US as an occupying power respond with massive force.

In the wake of the bombings western political leaders including those in Austrlaia vehemently deny that the bomb attacks could have anything to do with their actions in Iraq. They fool no one. We can all see that the conduct of the US -led "war on terror" is proving deeply counterproductive. The London bombings, following Madrid, and Bali are just some of the examples.

Gary, I dont see the US reducing farm subsidies. Both sides are keen to throw electoral bribes at red states, many of which will be battlegrounds, and are in the semi-rural south/mid-west. The other aspect is that the biggest benefits of this subsidy go to large agri-business, despite that rhetoric of the family farm. Big business helps pay for campaigns, and electoral campaigns.

Cameron,

Tis hard to have much sympathy for the Americans on this. They talk the free trade talk to prise markets for their own firms and work very hard to keep the walls up.

If you talk something like intellectual property regimes in free trade talks, these are loaded in favour of the US firms. The US IPR regime stands for protection from competition, are a form of anti-competitive conduct and at odds with free trade.

Gary, Yes, the Intellectual Property laws that are being coerced into bilateral trade agreements show the danger of Congress being susceptible to powerful lobby groups. The copyright laws are the government granting perpetual monopolies to favoured benefactor industries.

The DMCA is about turning intellectual property laws from civil matters to criminal matters; meaning the content distrbutors can have the FBI go after copyright violations, and then tack government backed punitive measures on top. Actions which Australia is starting to follow now with Ruddock.

IP in the US has become a rent industry bought with the dollars of powerful lobbyist industries and cheap, corrupt politicians.

Cameron,

It is more than big industry like Disney and the music industry using the copy right laws they got through Congress to protect their own.

As I understand it the US Consitutional compromise was to give authors exclusive rights for limited times. But the times have gotten longer, the costs of exclusion have risen, and fewer and fewer members of the public get to benefit from the creative commons that underpins a smoothly functioning market.

People have gone after me for some cartoons even though I referenced the cartoon, acknowledged the author, was not using it for commercial gain, and incorporated it into a public debate.

All that was seen as the theft of intellectual property. Copyright protection and the public interest are seen to be diametrically opposed.Tha tis the consequence of thinking the public domain in terms of a bundle of individual property rights.

Standard academic convention is no longer acceptable. You pay or else with the new IP copy right laws the US is imposing on all it cuts a deal with. The "public's" interests should be subordinated to the private interests of the US companies.

What has happened is the public commons is being squeezed and the idea of fair use is being removed. This is ironic because the way our sprawling, chaotic mediascape works is thrrough the flows of information of images is filtered, ordered and delivered.

Gary, The Sono-Bono Act was jokingly called the Mickey Mouse Act as it was enacted when Mickey Mouse came close to falling out of copyright. Each extension has come from that. IIRC owners of Elvis Presley music were incensed when Elvis' music came close to falling out of copyright in Germany. Havent heard anything more on that.

The EFF argued in the last round of copyright extensions that increasing copyright protection lengths every ten years of so amounted to perpetual terms. The Supreme court didnt buy it. We see those same terms in our US-Au FTA. In the 1968 Copyright Act, any work "made" had fifty years of copyright protection (two generations). Thankfully the Au law wasnt back-dated which meant WWII researchers still have access to cultural heritage.

I am surprised that you continue to post cartoons. Intellectual property is not about protecting creators, it is about subsidizing content distributors (which a website is). I would expect those that license the content to distribute would have a go at you. Australia has no formal fair use definition, we just seemed to have adopted the communal notion of it, without it being backed up by law.

An article of mine was published in an RAAF publication. The editor bundled in a photo that I had on my website and attributed it to me. It was a photo taken by Frank Hurley in 1918. One of his colour ones. Obviously way out of copyright.

I got an angry email from the AWM's curator of photographs demanding to know where I got the image from, and where I thought I had the right to have that pic attributed to me. I ended up quoting the Copyright Act of 1968 back, mentioning that it was a mis-understanding. I heard nothing more of it. But I thought it odd that there was such ignorance of copyright, yet the dis-information campaigns of the distribution cartels lead to that mis-interpretation.

The internet routes around damage, the creative commons is an attempt to route around the damage of legislative incompetence. The SSR book, and the Kifivical book are both under the creative commons. I suspect the commons will continue to be the choice of the long tail.

Cameron,
I continue to post cartoons from the newspapers because they are an integral and important feature of political life in Australia.

They are commonly seen as offering the the best commentary on politics by politicians on all sides.

Taking them seriously by using the images as part of my commentary is an important way to show the importance of fair use, the digitial commons and public debate in a liberal democracy.