Glasglow: Murderous Masterminds or Hopeless Idiots?

On Saturday, a couple of guys drove a Jeep Cherokee into Glasglow airport’s main terminal hoping to inflict mass casualties on Britain in retaliation for helping Uncle Sam occupy Iraq. Immediately, the corporate media sprang into action, filling the airwaves with terror alerts, talk of murderous terrorist masterminds, and commentary from self-proclaimed terror “experts”, none of whom could build a car bomb even with instructions.

The hysteria comes despite the fact that the only people they managed to injure were themselves. The hysteria comes despite the fact that these guys only had a couple cans of gas and a box of nails in the back of the Cherokee, which, even if it had exploded, would have just set the car on fire and not even come close to damaging the terminal much less killing even a dozen people.

A day before the “attack,” the British police defused a bomb consisting of a propane tank and 33 gallons of gas, which they claim could have caused “significant loss of life.” The gas tank of a Cadillac Escalade has a capacity of 26 gallons and the propane tank in the car couldn’t have been much bigger than the one people use at their family barbeques, so you get an idea of what kind of monstrous Weapon of Mass Destruction this thing was. The only significant loss of life would have been the millions of innocent bacteria that would have perished in the heat of the explosion.

Already the pundits and politicos are saying these “terrorists” are “linked” to Al-Qaeda. Apparently AQ does it all — from mass murder at symbols of economic and political power (WTC and the Pentagon) to amateur burn-only-yourself crash-and-burns. One thing that comes to mind is the terrorist “graduate ceremony” footage that ABC aired a couple weeks ago, which showed English speakers vowing to attack Britain, the possibility of which US counter-terrorism officials dismissed as “a bit of a stretch.” Sometimes it’s hard to tell which group of terrorist idiots is worse, the ones armed with AK-47s and cheap video cameras or the ones running “our” government.

Of course I’m glad no one was hurt (except the idiot driving the car), but Britain is lucky these guys were not the fanatical masterminds that the media is making them out to be. Both Britain and the US have been very lucky thus far that the people angry enough to take up bomb-making in response to the deaths of 650,000 Iraqis and thousands of Afghans haven’t come to the homeland to wreak havoc. Apparently, most of them just want to kick the occupiers out rather than launch (counter-productive) strikes on innocent civilians on this side of the ocean.

What a surprise!

I say lucky because a handful of angry people building bombs and launching attacks can’t be stopped by warrantless wiretapping, e-mail snooping, racist profiling, torturing detainees, putting video cameras on every street corner, or forcibly occupying other countries. The only reason the recent plot against Fort Dix was foiled was because the would-be terrorists brought a jihad propaganda tape into Circuit City (so much for “Jihad vs. McWorld”) to get it transferred to DVD and the clerk thought that was a little strange. The only reason the 1993 WTC bombers were caught was because one of them was stupid enough to go back to the car rental company and demand his $400 deposit back for the truck he had blown up.

The corporate media says we should be scared. I agree, but not because I’m dumb enough to think that more and more people are willing to die because they “hate our freedom.” I’m scared because the only thing separating us from another 9/11 is the stupidity of the terrorists who increase in number with every day US forces stay in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pham Binh is an activist and recent graduate of Hunter College in NYC. His articles have been published at Znet, Asia Times Online, Dissident Voice, and Monthly Review Online. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Pham, or visit Pham's website.

4 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Michael Kenny said on July 3rd, 2007 at 8:08am #

    A small aside on this: note the difference in the reaction between the US and British and other European media. The US media, and the usual suspects among the neocon pundits, are making a big thing of this, but over here in Europe it’s all very low key. They delude themselves that Europe is all worked up about these things and will follow the Kenebunkport cowboy on some crusade of vengance against the pesky indians and are furious when Europe doesn’t come up to their expectations.

  2. Rowan Berkeley said on July 3rd, 2007 at 12:05pm #

    There is currently a great gulf between people who think in terms of actual urban guerrillas, however incompetent, and people who think in terms of “patsies”, “black ops”, and provocateurs. The reason for this great gulf is, I think, that we suffer from a moralistic view of human psychology, a view that was created largely in order to rationalise the imposition of individual moral responsibility (“law & order”). The reality is more that people are highly suggestible (especially when living under anomic urbanisation), and a professional provocateur can easily trigger an act which is neither an exact expression of his own will nor an exact expression of the feelings of the perpetrators.

    Because I see it like that, I hardly feel it necessary to get into the really detailed disputes I constantly see on blogs about whether some particular supposed “outrage” was “real” or “fake”.

    However, when I look at the process as a whole (the pathologisation of Muslim identities), it seems obvious that the Western powers are deliberately goading Muslims of every variety, trying to provoke them to lash out verbally or physically, since the Western publics must be inflamed with atrocity propaganda, by one means or another.

  3. Rowan Berkeley said on July 3rd, 2007 at 11:49pm #

    ‘The Register’ (the british tech mag) has got a genuine bomb disposal guy to pour some metaphorical cold water on the latest excitement:

  4. Diane Johnson said on July 4th, 2007 at 6:40pm #

    I’m an Australian and I was appalled when one of the more reputable presenters on Lateline the later evening news, went on and on about how could doctors attempt to take human lives like that,
    Before history died or was killed off, by the post modernists, I can clearly remember reading, that guerilla movements attracted the young intellectuals, I think even good old Che was a doctor at some point. Its time the left pulled its finger out and started challenging Big Media about its dumbing down of social movements to stereotypes, such as it was fundamentalisml that drove them to it. Opposition to occupation by Imperialist Powers has a long and true history, lets start remembering it.