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Rough Music: Blair, Bombs, Baghdad, London, Terror

A seething report on the explosive state of affairs in Britain, after Blair's alliance with Bush.

On July 7, 2005, the murderous mayhem that Blair's war has sown in Iraq came home to London in a devastating series of suicide bombings. Two weeks later, with apparent impunity, security forces shot dead a young Brazilian electrician on his way to work.

Rough Music is Tariq Ali's riveting response to these events.

He lays bare the vengeful platitudes of Blair's war on civil liberties, mounts a scorching attack on the cozy falsehoods of the government's "consensus" on what the threat amounts to and how to respond, and denounces the corruption of the political-media bubble which allows it to go unchallenged. Finally, invoking the perseverance and integrity of the great dissenters of the past, he calls for political resistance, within parliament and without.


  • Shockingly Familiar: Crisis, Reform, and Nationalism in 2016

    After the Brexit vote, a friend of mine said 2016 feels like the right-wing 1960s. Today, right-wing social movements across much of Europe have found their way to Britain, in nationalist campaigns dressed up as anti-establishment crusades. The election of Donald Trump has seen this populism explode across the Atlantic in a manner few predicted, showing once again that this global shift can translate nationalistic rhetoric and sentiment into viable candidates and winnable elections. But rather than seeing these often proto-fascistic movements as a break from the Thatchers, Reagans, Bushes, and Blairs that proceeded them, it may be more useful to see them as a continuation. 

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  • Rationale for Surveillance: the CAGE report on the 'radicalisation' study underpinning Prevent

    — a UK non-profit that advocates on behalf on communities affected by the War on Terror — has released a new report examining the classified study that underpins Prevent and Channel, two of the British government's "anti-radicalisation' counter-terror
     programmes. Reviewed by 18 academics from a variety of disciplines, The 'Science' of Pre-Crime challenges the evidence base and methodology used to develop Extremist Risk Guidance 22+ (ERG22+), the assessment tool designed to help public sector workers identify those vulnerable to Islamic 'radicalisation'. 

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  • After Chilcot: A Reading List on Iraq and the “War on Terror”

    “We have concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort.” — John Chilcot.

    The long-awaited Chilcot Report, spanning almost a decade of UK government policy decisions between 2001 and 2009, was released today. The report finds that there was no “imminent threat” from Saddam Hussein, and that Tony Blair had gone to war before “peaceful options for disarmament” had been exhausted — the UK's invasion of Iraq in 2003 was not a “last resort”.

    Verso presents a reading list of books that contextualize the disaster resulting from the "War on Terror" and the refugee crisis rooted in its violence. After the invasion by coalition forces in 2003, Iraq began fracturing along sectarian lines, unleashing years of violence and displacement. With the outbreak of war in Syria in 2011, ISIS exploited the chaos and societal tensions of the region to sweep to power on a brutal campaign that has displaced millions of civilians. The Iraq War, too, led to increased risk of terrorism in Europe as well as within the Middle East. 

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Other books by Tariq Ali