It’s not true that every Muslim is a terrorist.
But it’s currently true that just about every terrorist is a Muslim.
Why this is, I don’t know. I fail to see the significance of using religious beliefs to kill, maim, torture and hate. To murder on either such a gargantuan scale or in such barbaric fashion for no other reason than because someone shares a different belief system from your own is evidence of a faith without any civilising influences whatsoever. Inhuman is possibly the word I’m searching for.
But then when I think about it, I also fail to see why most Christians seem to be on such a mission to alter other people’s beliefs. Live and let live, brother.
Does it really matter whether you're a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Taoist, a Zoroastrian or a Jehovah’s Witness? Not in the slightest. Does it matter if you follow the teachings of Confucius, Buddha, Ramakrishna or Mary Baker Eddy? Of course not. Does it matter if your ritual object or talisman is an amulet, a tabernacle, a horse shoe, holy water, a wishbone, a St. Christopher, a rabbit's foot, rosary beads, a broomstick or a seven-branched candlestick? No at all, it's just something to focus your mind on. The real power is within you.
But I digress. Back in 1095 the Roman Catholic Church commenced a 200-year campaign in the Holy Lands. Historians still argue as to the reasons for this and the subsequent six major Holy Wars. Some see them as a defensive war against Islamic conquests, while others view them as intrusive, papal-led expansion attempts by Western Christendom. Interesting how the perspective changes with the point of view.
Either way, the objective of the Crusades was to crush all Muslims in the Holy Land, and the Christians attempted this in what can only be described as a genocidal war. The whole of Western Europe marched against the Middle East in what is now known as the Dark Ages with the express purpose of killing Arabs, and of doing so in unbelievably brutal fashion – torturing, raping, enslaving, burning alive and eating (men, women, children & babies). The war crimes are well documented, so it will serve no purpose to elucidate further here.
Now I’m not accepting this as an excuse, or even a reason. All I’m saying is that we’re not whiter than white ourselves, and there’s very little in the Koran that isn’t also in the Bible. The difference, of course, is that we’ve moved on. By we, I mean Anglo-Saxons and those of Western descent currently living in Christian countries.
But what does this have to do with the American Government? Very little actually, but it does lead into my point, concerning the culture of hatred, intolerance and terrorism based on an extreme interpretation of Islamic teachings, leading extremists to believe in the legitimacy of war, hatred and murder.
By the way, human beings aren’t born with an inherent capacity to hate. It has to be taught. And terrorism is a crime committed out of irrational hatred by people whose hearts and minds have been completely corrupted and chiseled into gross delusion of the realities. Terrorism is the fruit of blind irrational hatred. I hope you picked up on the word irrational, for currently England, America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and France are ‘infected’ with those who resent our way of life and loathe us personally for absolutely no rational reason other than they’ve been taught to do so.
But you see, America, we’re accustomed to this in the British Isles. We’re an island race and deep-rooted within our psyche is the knowledge that we’ve been invaded for the last 2000 years by the Celts, Julius Caesar, the Vikings, the Great Heathen Army, King Canute, the Normans, the Danes, Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Armada Española, Napoleon, Hitler and more recently the Irish Republican Army. More about the IRA in a minute, for while all that was going on we also had the Wars of Independence, the Crusades, the Hundred Year War, the Wars of the Roses, the Anglo-Spanish War, the English Civil War, the Anglo-Dutch Wars and plenty more.
But we’re still here, aren’t we?
Onto the IRA. In 1971 the Kilburn Battalion of the IRA exploded a bomb in the Post Office Tower in Central London (Kilburn is a multicultural area of North-West London with a large Afro-Caribbean population, and the highest Irish population of any London area).
In 1972 the Official IRA killed seven civilians – and wounded 19 - in Aldershot with the use of a car bomb.
In 1973 the Provisional IRA exploded a car bomb outside The Old Bailey, the central criminal court of Great Britain. That same year they set off bombs at King’s Cross and Euston stations by throwing bags containing explosives into busy booking halls. People and baggage trolleys were thrown into the air, but miraculously nobody died.
In February 1974 they blew up a coach on the M62 Motorway, killing nine soldiers and three civilian family members, including two young boys. Another 6-year-old boy was badly burned. In June they exploded a bomb outside the Houses of Parliament, injuring 11 people. In October they detonated two explosive devises in two separate pubs in Guilford, South-West of London. The pubs were popular with soldiers and the bombs killed four of them plus a 22-year-old plasterer. 65 other people were injured. Six days later two bombs were thrown through the windows of two ‘gentlemen's clubs’ in the West End of London. In November a gelignite bomb containing shrapnel of nuts and bolts was thrown through the window of a pub in Woolwich, South-East London, killing two people and injuring dozens of others. That same month bombs were left in two crowded Birmingham pubs, killing 21 people and injuring 182 others, including passers-by in the street who were hit by flying glass and those on a passing West Midlands bus that was wrecked in the blast. Several victims were actually blown right through a brick wall. Most of the dead and wounded were aged between 17 and 25. You see, they weren’t targeting soldiers or the military. Just young people out for a drink.
Seven days before Christmas two car bombs went off outside a shopping centre in Bristol, injuring 21 people, the second one designed to catch as many police as possible who were involved in the mop-up operation after the first.
It should be made clear that the term ‘injured’ in this document often serves to dilute the phrase ‘permanently disabled.’ Something to bear in mind.
This Active Service Unit of the IRA were actually responsible for 40 bombings, 35 murders, nine shootings, three kidnappings, and almost £20 million worth of damage over the next 14 months.
This is true terror. When car bombs are going off in the high street and no pub is safe from being bombed. A simple trip to the shops or the pub could no longer be considered the safe option it should be.
Five days before Christmas, 1975, the Ulster Defense Association bombed Biddy Mulligan’s pub in Kilburn. Five people were injured. The attack was ordered by the Protestant Loyalist Army Council against the Catholic IRA, and Biddy Mulligan’s was chosen because it was a favourite of Irish Republican sympathisers. Two days earlier the Protestant Red Hand Commando had bombed two taverns on the Irish border. England was becoming the battleground for warring factions of Irish extremists. Another war based on religion.
Three years later, again at Christmas, the shoppers of Bristol were hit again. The bomb went off in the department store, Maggs, injuring seven people.
Just after Christmas two pubs frequented by Catholics in Glasgow were bombed by the Ulster Volunteer Force because the pubs were used for IRA fundraising. Three days later eleven members of the UVF known as the ‘Shankill Butchers’ were sentenced to life in prison for 19 murders. They were famed for torturing and defacing their victims with butcher’s knives.
Airey Neave, British army officer and politician (and one of the few servicemen to escape from the German prisoner-of-war camp Oflag IV-C, otherwise known as Colditz) was assassinated in a car bomb attack outside the House of Commons. The Irish National Liberation Army, an Irish Republican organisation, claimed responsibility.
Neave had been decorated with the Military Cross, appointed a Member of the British Empire, awarded a Distinguished Service Order, appointed the Order of the British Empire and awarded the Bronze Star by the U.S. government. To have his legs blown off in a car bomb before being pronounced dead an hour later in hospital was an undignified way for a hero to die.
Margaret Thatcher led the tributes at his funeral, saying, “He was one of freedom's warriors. No one knew of the great man he was, except those nearest to him. He was staunch, brave, true, and strong; but he was very gentle and kind and loyal. It's a rare combination of qualities. There's no one else who can quite fill them. I, and so many other people, owe so much to him and now we must carry on for the things he fought for and not let the people who got him triumph.”
In 1981 the IRA detonated a nail-bomb outside Chelsea Barracks, killing two people and injuring 39 others, including two children. Two weeks later the IRA bombed a Wimpy Bar in London’s Oxford Street, killing the police officer who was attempting to defuse the bomb.
On July 20th 1982 the IRA killed 11 members of the Household Cavalry and the Royal Green Jackets during military ceremonies at Hyde Park and Regent’s Park. Seven of the Blues and Royals horses were also killed.
Eight days before Christmas, 1983, a car bomb planted by the IRA exploded outside Harrods, killing three police officers, three civilians and injuring 90 others.
In 1984 five people were killed and 31 injured in an IRA attempt to kill Margaret Thatcher at the Grand Hotel, Brighton, where coincidentally this author stayed for two days last weekend. The whole mid-section of the hotel collapsed into the basement, leaving a huge hole in the façade. Thatcher’s bathroom was destroyed but her bedroom and sitting room survived. She left the police station at 4 a.m. and at 9.30 a.m. addressed the Conservative Party Conference by stating, “The bombing was an attempt to cripple Her Majesty's democratically elected Government. That is the scale of the outrage in which we have all shared, and the fact that we are gathered here now—shocked, but composed and determined—is a sign not only that this attack has failed, but that all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.”
This has been termed a ‘Churchillian’ moment that encapsulates both her own steely character and the British public's stoical refusal to submit to terrorism. A few days later she addressed her constituents saying, “We suffered a tragedy not one of us could have thought would happen in our country. And we picked ourselves up and sorted ourselves out as all good British people do, and I thought let us stand together for we are British! They were trying to destroy the fundamental freedom that is the birth-right of every British citizen; freedom, justice and democracy.”
God, couldn’t we do with someone of Thatcher’s grit at the helm now!
In 1989 the Provisional IRA blew up the Royal Marines Barracks in Deal, Kent, killing 11 Royal Marines bandsmen and injuring 22 others. In May 1990 they detonated a bomb under a mini-bus at Wembley, killing a soldier from The Queen’s Regiment. In June, at Lichfield City Railway Station, two IRA gunmen opened fire, killing an off-duty soldier and injuring two others. In July they detonated a bomb at the London Stock Exchange. Ten days later, Conservative MP Ian Gow was assassinated by the IRA when they detonated a bomb under his car outside his home.
In February 1991 the Provisional IRA launched three mortar shells at the rear garden of 10 Downing Street (the official residence and office of the Prime Minister) in an assassination attempt on John Major and his War Cabinet who were meeting to discuss the Gulf War. Four people received minor injuries. Eleven days later a rush-hour explosion at Victoria Station killed one member of the public and injured 38 others. One woman had a leg amputated below the knee and another had a foot amputated. The youngest victim was a 12-year-boy. Ten days later a bomb exploded at London Bridge Station during the rush-hour peak, injuring 29 people, four of them seriously.
In April 1992 a one-ton bomb in a white truck was detonated outside the Baltic Exchange, London, killing three people (the youngest was just 15) and injuring 91 others. The bomb caused £800 million worth of damage. Again, this was a Provisional IRA attack. In August the IRA detonated three bombs in Shrewsbury. Many priceless historical artifacts were destroyed but no lives were lost. In October a device exploded in the toilets of a pub in Covent Garden, killing one person and injuring four others. In November a huge bomb was planted in Canary Wharf, Docklands. It failed to go off, but experts have estimated that anyone within 200 yards would have been killed. In December they exploded two bombs in central Manchester, injuring 65 people.
In March 1993 two bombs exploded in litter bins outside busy shops in Warrington, killing two children and injuring dozens of others. These attacks again were carried out by the Provisional IRA. A month later they detonated another huge truck bomb, again in the City of London, killing a journalist, injuring over 40 people and causing £1billion worth of damage.
In 1996 the IRA bombed South Quay, London, killing two people. Nine days later an improvised device detonated prematurely on a bus traveling along Aldwych, London, killing the IRA operative transporting the device and injuring eight others. In June they detonated a 1500kg bomb in the Arndale Shopping Centre in Manchester, injuring 212 people and causing £700 million worth of damage (£1.1 billion in today’s money).
And the list, believe it or not, goes on.
You’re probably wondering right now what this has to do with the American Government. Well, first of all the IRA's primary source of funding were Irish-Americans who, while claiming to be aiding the families of political prisoners, were actually helping to arm IRA terrorists. Before this, however, most of the funds collected to buy guns and explosives to kill civilians, police and soldiers in Britain and Ireland came from America. This was well known to the FBI and CIA but nothing was ever done to stop it until Margaret Thatcher put an end to it by demanding that President Ronald Reagan step in. Most Americans, even if they’re aware of this, don't like to think about it.
And how widespread was it? Well Republican representative, Peter T. King, visited Belfast several times, staying with IRA supporters and drinking in a club called The Felons, whose members were all IRA ex-cons. Speaking at a pro-IRA rally in 1982 he pledged support to “those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast.” Not good.
But the final insult to the British public was when Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin, the political arm of the IRA, was granted an audience at the White House by President Clinton. They’d met a few days earlier at a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon. Most of the guests were Irish-American members of Congress. British Prime Minister, John Major had requested Clinton not greet Adams cordially, but Clinton ignored cross-Atlantic diplomacy in favour of chasing the Irish vote. He greeted a murderer with a warm handshake and the room exploded with applause.
Britain was outraged.
I wonder how America would feel if John Major had invited Oklahoma bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols to Number 10.
And then September 11th 2001 al-Qaeda terrorists attacked the United States in New York City and Washington D.C., killing almost 3000 people. The world was appalled.
President Bush requested Britain and other countries stand shoulder-to-shoulder with America. Part of his speech to a joint session of Congress and the American people is quoted here. “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”
Big words America, but here’s my question for you. Where the fuck were you in the 70’s and 80’s when we needed your help? I’ll tell you where you were. You were pledging support to “those brave men and women” who were carrying forth “the struggle against British imperialism.” Your words, not mine. You were funding the IRA so they could carry on murdering innocent people in the shopping centres and pubs of Great Britain.
Where was your ethos of not resting until every terrorist group of global reach had been found, stopped and defeated then? Didn’t matter back then, did it? You weren’t bothered at all in the 1970’s and 80’s, were you? These were just English people being murdered. But you soon came running for help when you found yourselves attacked on your own soil, didn’t you?
But we did stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you. And we have done ever since. Because it’s the right thing to do. And now the whole of the Western World faces a much bigger threat. But the British will be alright. We’re built for this shit, you see. We’ve been doing this for 2000 years. And we’re still standing, aren’t we?
I can’t help wondering, though, if instead of funding and supporting the IRA in their culture of hatred, intolerance and terrorism, instead of acquiescing to their belief in the legitimacy of war, hated and murder, you’d actually stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us back in the 70’s and 80’s. How things might be very different today. We’d have had 40 years experience in fighting terrorism together. And that experience would have stood us in good stead right now.
Still, the Irish vote was important, wasn’t it? Who cares if it cost a few English lives?