THE UK capitalist state has always used terrorist attacks, such as the latest attack in Tunisia, to strengthen its continuing preparation of special armed groups at home, as well as for rushing in legislation that allows the state to trample all over the basic rights of its citizens.
On Monday, an armed exercise, codenamed Strong Tower, involving 1,000 police officers at locations across London began, and will continue till today. The Metropolitan Police says this exercise in London is not based on any specific intelligence and is part of a long-term strategy of planning and preparing for all possible types of terror attack.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: ‘The exercise is at the extreme end of what might happen. We’re doing this so that if the very worst happens we are prepared to do our very best. It’s only through carrying out thorough exercises and challenging out assumptions can we be confident in dealing with different scenarios.’
He added: ‘We have not put together an exercise of this magnitude before – officers will not have come across anything like this before. It is about making sure we have the capability and skills for anything that terrorists could throw at us.’ Deputy Assistant Commissioner Maxine de Brunner, the exercise’s director, said the aim was to test and challenge police and other agencies in an ambitious multi-site marauding terrorist attack. She added: ‘Emergency services are under a legal duty to test their preparedness for all manner of crises from terrorism attacks to flooding.’
The agencies involved in the operation include the police, London Fire Brigade, London Ambulance Service, Transport For London, the NHS and a string of government departments who will face tests of their decision-making and crisis-management skills. The government’s Cobra emergency committee will take part in the exercise, which was devised in January.
At the same time it has emerged that Scotland Yard has created an SAS-style unit of armed officers.
The 130 counter-terrorism specialist firearms officers (CTSFOs) who make up the elite unit have been equipped with new weapons and retrained in new tactics, such as fast-roping from helicopters and storming burning buildings to rescue hostages, a process that takes at least a number of months.
The unit has trained alongside the army’s special forces to respond to assaults such as the 2008 attacks in Mumbai and the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi, which developed into a siege. This assembly and training of state armed gangs, supported by the emergency services, who cannot refuse such collaboration, has been accompanied by legal changes that allow mass spying by the state on all of its citizens, give the state the right to prevent citizens either leaving or returning to this country, bring in ‘relocation’ of suspects and also secret trials which can be held without the public having any knowledge that they are taking place.
Objectors are told that this police state is necessary and for the good of its citizens and that therefore their patriotic duty is to grin and bear this situation. However the fundamental reason for the surge of terrorism is nothing to do with the conduct of UK citizens at home.
The current terrorism has its roots in western state terror. This saw state terrorists Bush and Blair invade and destroy Iraq, smashing the infrastructure of the country, creating a vacuum that first Al Qaeda and then IS have filled. Their successors did the same for Libya and then attempted to do the same in Syria. They created the terror groups and also millions of refugees.
The best way to fight terrorism is to stop invading Arab countries and to stop supporting Gulf feudalists. This the British government will not do. As well, the government is about to impose new anti- union laws that will abolish the right to strike, a move that will greatly sharpen the class struggle in the UK. We will then see all of the agencies that have been developed to fight ‘foreign terrorists’ being used against the working class at home.
British imperialism has always acted in this way. The only solution to the world crisis it has helped create is to overthrow the British ruling class at home with a socialist revolution and make peace with the Arab peoples and the other oppressed nations abroad.