Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Bit Skeptical

AMY GOODMAN: If you could talk about the climate in Britain right now and the response to what the British government says was a plot -- they say they have arrested about two dozen people. It looks like they’re of Pakistani descent. They're British citizens.

MILAN RAI: I think that there is a bit of hesitancy, even in the mainstream media, in mainstream political opinion, because of the massive blunders, which there have been with British intelligence. So, the Forest Gate incident two months ago, when 200 armed police dressed in chemical and biological warfare suits raided a house in East London and shot one of the men inside it, only to discovery that there wasn’t anything there and no terrorism-related charges were laid on anyone connected to that house. So there’s a real sense of hesitancy about fully accepting what the government is saying. However, obviously, as details emerge, then that will change.


JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Salma Yaqoob, some of those arrested were from Birmingham, and the names have been released by the British government today. Any of those names familiar to you at all? Or what’s the reaction in Birmingham?

SALMA YAQOOB: No, none of the names are familiar to me personally. But the reaction in Birmingham is one of shock, you know, people gearing up for their holidays, and this has just come out of the blue for many people; and also a real feeling of cynicism, as well, as Milan pointed out, because there have been so many blunders. I mean, he mentioned the Forest Gate incident, which was a recent one. We've had the ricin plot, which in the end turned out not to be a ricin plot. Manchester football stadium, we were told, there was a huge terrorist plot there. Then it turned out there wasn't anything. The Brazilian young man was shot last year, and we were told at that time, "No, we’re 100% confident we’ve got a terrorist here."

And so, because of this, there’s a major caution in the general public in accepting what is going on, and also because the timing of this, with Prime Minister Blair coming under so much pressure. Just last weekend, we had 100,000 people demonstrating against his support for Israel and America with what’s happening in Lebanon at the moment. And so, people are a bit skeptical.

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