I believe that the appropriate immediate response to any act of violence perpetrated on non-combatants is to condemn all such acts out of hand and express sympathy for the victims. The most counterproductive response, if one is trying to build support for a movement opposed to the powers-that-be, is to speculate about false-flag operations.
I saw one outspoken supposed supporter of Scottish independence immediately using the term ‘false flag’ on Facebook in the wake of 22 March’s terrorist attack on civilians and the police at Westminster. Few things are more likely to damage the cause of Scottish independence than this sort of seemingly knee-jerk response.
Indeed, it plays into the hands of the British state, to the extent that if they were tempted to undertake false-flag operations then, ironically, this is the sort of thing they might do. I am not saying that the police/MI5 are responsible for this particular person’s actions, but at the very least they would welcome it. Craig Murray has gone further:
11 April 2015:
A sweeping SNP victory on May 7 is considered enough of a threat to the United Kingdom for the security services to use up some assets. Long term sleepers within the SNP will now be activated, so expect to find one or two such events traced to apparent bona fide SNP members.
More importantly, a major thrust will be agent provocateur activity. Security service agents within the SNP will be trying to initiate and to egg on (yes, that is a deliberate and relevant Jim Murphy reference, think about it) impressionable members to vandalism or violence. Be very, very wary of such people and do not be tempted.
There are, 100% for certain, MI5 agents online posing as “cybernats” who will be quoted in the media saying outlandishly unpleasant and threatening things. We will also see more incidents like the Murphy eggs or the complete set-up of the “mob” jostling Miliband in the St James Centre, which by chance I witnessed.
21 June 2011:
I don’t think it is wise to jump immediately and publicly to conclusions about who did what and why. Think about what impact your words will have on the wider public.
In the long run, of course, one can set things in context:
- What the UK has suffered is as nothing compared to the suffering it has inflicted on others, such as the hundreds of thousands killed directly or indirectly in Iraq, or the treatment meted out to the residents of Diego Garcia, but one act (or many acts) of violence against civilians does (do) not justify another.
- One can argue that the only way to combat terrorism is to treat others with compassion and fairness, to defend civil liberties and to promote social and legal justice. (For me, this, and combating climate change, as Scotland creates an inspiring alternative to neoliberalism, are the reasons I support Scottish independence.)
These points, however, should never be expressed in such a way as to give the impression of diminished sympathy for victims or diminished condemnation of the actions of perpetrators, however one might understand their mental states.
P.S. I am aware of the irony of citing Craig Murray’s words about the extent to which the British state is prepared to undertake false-flag operations in an article in which I urge people not to make quick accusations of false-flag operations, but I hope the gist of what I am trying to say is clear.