Democracy Now!

Before London Bombing, Leaked UK Memo Warned Iraq War a Key Cause for Growth of "Extremism" in Britain
Broadcast 07/13/05 

We go to Britain to speak with author and activist Milan Rai about how a leaked British government study concluded that British foreign policy, and the Iraq war in particular, was a key cause of young Britons turning to terrorism.





British police now believe that four-British-born men carried out last week's deadly bombings in London that killed at least 52 people and injured 700.

Police said all four men are of Pakistani descent and at least three are believed to have died in the explosions.

The four suspected bombers were aged between 19 and 30 and were so-called "cleanskins" -- with no convictions or known connections to terrorist organizations.

Police first learned of the four men when the family of one of them called the police last week to report their 22-year-old son, Hasib Hussain, was missing. Closed circuit television film from around 8.30am the day of the bombings shows four young men, all wearing identical large rucksacks similar to those carried by infantry soldiers. The three subway bombs went off 20 minutes later.

Police said personal documents belonging to three of the men were later found at three blast sites. Police have not recovered any timing devices at the bomb sites and it is possible that all four men blew themselves up deliberately.

Police raided six homes in and near the northern industrial town of Leeds on Tuesday and arrested a relative of one of the suspects. The relative was brought to London for questioning. The raids led police to a bomb factory in Leeds. Explosives were also found in a car at Luton railway station.

Meanwhile, British home secretary, Charles Clarke, today warned that Britain must be prepared for more attacks. He said, "We have to assume there are others who are ready to do the kinds of things that these people did last Thursday." Britain remains on its highest-ever security alert.

Prime Minister Tony Blair's office said on Tuesday there was no link between last week's bombings in London and the Iraq war.

In the House of Commons a day earlier, Blair rejected a suggestion that Britain was more at risk from a terrorist attack because of its involvement in Iraq. Blair said, "It is a form of terrorism aimed at our way of life, not at any particular government or policy."

Not everyone may agree. In the aftermath of the bombings last week, CNN's Christiane Amanpour was reporting live from the streets of London when her broadcast was interrupted.

  • Christiane Amanpour, reporting for CNN from London.
We go now to Britain to speak with Milan Rai, author of "Regime Unchanged" and "War Plan Iraq" and one of the founders of Voices in the Wilderness, UK. He is currently coordinating the group Justice Not Vengeance and has been doing extensive analysis of the aftermath of the London bombings. He joins us on the phone from Hastings, England.

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