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The Manchester bombing was a consequence of British imperialism's sponsorship of jihadists abroad

SECURITY professionals and anti-terrorism experts have been wheeled into radio and TV studios to pontificate about lessons to be learned from intelligence failures related to last year’s Manchester bombing, but it took Communist Party leader Rob Griffiths to identify the elephant in the room.

Griffiths swept aside the Establishment platitudes to nail collaboration between Britain’s intelligence services and Libyan jihadists as crucial to understanding security failures.

British sponsorship of jihadi extremists to carry out dirty work against regimes deemed unfriendly to the West has a habit of coming back to haunt us.

Unfortunately, those bitten by extremists in Britain are invariably civilians, including children, or unarmed police officers paying the ultimate price for their superiors’ miscalculations.

Salman Abedi went to Libya with his father, a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, in 2011 to assist in the armed struggle to overthrow Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi.

Despite propaganda spouted then by our government and by the French, which jointly provided the air power that enabled Gadaffi to be overthrown and murdered in October 2011 — namely, that the jihadist opposition wanted to replace dictatorship with democracy — British and French politicians, together with both countries’ intelligence services, knew who they were dealing with.

Just seven years earlier, Britain’s war criminal prime minister Tony Blair had travelled to Libya to welcome the country back into imperialism-approved polite society after Gadaffi renounced weapons of mass destruction.

Britain’s transnational energy corporations benefited from contracts to exploit Libyan oil and gas reserves, while Gadaffi could count on Britain’s intelligence services to hand over his political opponents to be jailed in Libya.

Such “renditions” were later the subject of deservedly embarrassing legal proceedings in Britain’s courts after the Gadaffi regime’s overthrow.

Former Tory prime minister John Major sought to excuse Blair for his love-in with Gadaffi in the Libyan leader’s desert tent, prior to his downfall, sneering that “international politics isn’t a Hampstead debating society … it is necessary for governments to make those judgements.”

He too had shaken hands with people he would rather not have done, but it was all “in the British strategic interest.”

Major went on to say that people opposing overseas arms sales would be the same people protesting against job losses should the defence industry close down.

The cynical high-handedness expressed by Major, engaged in by Blair and other prime ministers, mirrors the role of the intelligence services in an amoral stance that negates platitudes about an ethical foreign policy, democracy and human rights.

All manner of dirty tricks will be deployed, whether it was arming, training and supplying the so-called mojahedin, including Osama bin Laden, who were deployed against Afghanistan’s secular government in the 1980s in the hope of weakening the Soviet Union.

The unfortunate blowback, apart from developing bin Laden’s al-Qaida network, was a never-ending war in Afghanistan that still rages today.

A similar process was set in train in Syria, with Britain, the US and France encouraging Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to recruit jihadists from all over the world, including Britain, to wage war on President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

That is still going on today, as the US is setting up a militant training camp in the al-Tanf region of southern Syria, with no thought of the possible consequences.

The bus and Tube train bombings in London and other terrorist atrocities are a consequence of the approach favoured by Britain’s Establishment, which has been a disaster for our people and other countries.

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