4
   

major incident in London

 
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 05:16 am
http://www.guardian.co.uk/attackonlondon/comment/story/0,16141,1525755,00.html

<….>

We know what took place. A group of people, with no regard for law, order or our way of life, came to our city and trashed it. With scant regard for human life or political consequences, employing violence as their sole instrument of persuasion, they slaughtered innocent people indiscriminately. They left us feeling unified in our pain and resolute in our convictions, effectively creating a community where one previously did not exist. With the killers probably still at large there is no civil liberty so vital that some would not surrender it in pursuit of them and no punishment too harsh that some might not sanction if we found them.

The trouble is there is nothing in the last paragraph that could not just as easily be said from Falluja as it could from London. The two should not be equated - with over 1,000 people killed or injured, half its housing wrecked and almost every school and mosque damaged or flattened, what Falluja went through at the hands of the US military, with British support, was more deadly. But they can and should be compared. We do not have a monopoly on pain, suffering, rage or resilience. Our blood is no redder, our backbones are no stiffer, nor our tear ducts more productive than the people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those whose imagination could not stretch to empathise with the misery we have caused in the Gulf now have something closer to home to identify with. "Collateral damage" always has a human face: its relatives grieve; its communities have memory and demand action.

<….>

I posted this elsewhere too. I think it's a good piece.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 05:20 am
Good piece, McTag.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 08:11 am
Quote:
A worm's eye view

Andrew Brown
Monday July 11, 2005

There's very little the US can do to help Britain counter the terrorist threat to its cities, says Andrew Brown.
The bombs in London mark a curious and unpleasant milestone, reversing a trend that has continued for almost 100 years.


From 1917 onwards, whenever the US and Britain have fought side by side, the US has contributed more and more to the victory and the British armed forces have become less and less important.

In 1917, and again after 1941, US troops could not have crossed the Atlantic without the Royal Navy, but in the second world war the Navy was dependent on old US destroyers, while our army was equipped with US tanks.

At Suez, we learned that we could not fight a war at all without US permission. In the 60s, we gave up the ambition to have our own atom bombs (the "dual key" system means that the US controls whether they can be fired, as well as building them).

Ever since the days of Bletchley Park, our signals intelligence has been more and more dependent on US computers and satellites.

The process has gone so far that it looks completely inevitable and unstoppable. But what help can the US give us in our struggle against al-Qaida, whatever that may now be? Looking around, the answer seems to be something between none and very little.

This is an answer quite distinct from the argument that we have been targeted as the US's allies in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a political sense we - and the world - would certainly have been helped by a less arrogant and more competent US.

But that's beside the point. The deal Tony Blair, and his predecessors, struck was that we would abide by the results of US elections and serve faithfully whoever was in the White House.

In exchange for this political fealty, we would get practical help and material assistance - but the practical help that can be given to us in our attempts to stop the next bombs seems tiny.

After all, we know what defeats terrorist networks. It's a mixture of intelligence, politics, and very carefully targeted violence. None of these are commodities we can now get from the US.

Our own intelligence services may not know a great deal about the threats against us - or they may know a lot and have stopped lots of plots we haven't heard about. What's very hard to believe is that they should have learnt anything of value from the CIA, whose record of incompetence is by now second to none.

It may be that US surveillance of the internet will be of some practical help. I hope so. But essentially what we need to do here is co-operate with other European security services facing the same sort of problems that we are, and that have had similar experiences of terrorism.

Politically, I think there is very little any US president can now do to diminish the supply of potential bombers of London.

There is a huge list of things a president might do that would make Tony Blair's life easier - but they would all involve a public, graceful renunciation of things George Bush, and those who elected him, believe as facts. So they're not going to happen.

I don't mean there is nothing political that can be done to make future bombings less likely. The essential objective of any British policy in dealing with Islamist terrorism is to keep it foreign.

Democracy, to use the thriller writer Gavin Lyall's phrase, isn't about elections. It's about the sound of millions of people saying "You can't do that!" when some outrage is proposed or perpetrated. This is now the simple, spontaneous reaction of British Muslims when bombs are put on tube trains.

So all the government - and the rest of us - have to do is to nourish this sense of common humanity. That is a highly political task, but it's also purely domestic and, by definition, something the US government couldn't help with.

When it comes to violence, the last, essential component of policy - well, the US army can't hold down Iraq, and really isn't needed to keep order in Britain. None of its magnificent weaponry is much help against a carrier bag full of explosives on a commuter train.

So in this domestic struggle with terrorism, we're on our own - and, to the extent that we're not, we are equal partners with the US for the first time since 1918.

This may have profound political consequences if the worst comes and low-level urban guerrilla warfare continues for another 30 or 40 years.

At the end of that time, we will have been fighting a war in which our chief allies were European, and the Americas were irrelevant. Could anything be more likely to foster a sense of European solidarity and integration?

* Andrew Brown, whose column now appears on Mondays, is the author of The Darwin Wars: The Scientific War for the Soul of Man and In the Beginning Was the Worm: Finding the Secrets of Life in a Tiny Hermaphrodite. He also maintains a weblog, the Helmintholog.

Source: The Wrap, one of Guardian Unlimited's paid-for services.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/wrap
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 08:16 am
I must say the exhortations and rallying calls to the spirit of the blitz is already wearing thin with me.

A handful of people brought london to a halt last Thursday. Whats more according to John Stephens (recently retired and very well repsected Chief Police Commissioner), they were almost certainly British. Hundreds if not thousands of young Brits went to Pakistan or Afghanistan to attend al Qaida terrorist college.

How we could ever have allowed this situation to develop is beyond me. We are at war with a minority within a minority. The only way to defeat them is to get those communities back on "our" side. Yet those same communities are deeply offended by what we do abroad, and are taunted and attacked by racists at home (which plays directly into the hands of the militants).

7/7 was their first successful attack. I dont think it will be their last.
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 08:24 am
Well thanks, Walter, that's very interesting.

Quite controversial too

"After all, we know what defeats terrorist networks. It's a mixture of intelligence, politics, and very carefully targeted violence. None of these are commodities we can now get from the US. "

I suppose the "new" meaning of intelligence is the one intended here...but it looks a bit cheeky. Smile
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 08:30 am
As far as intelligence in the sense of "spying" goes, the English have always been quite good at that. The Restoration playwright Aphra Benn was also a casual "secret agent," and she warned the government that the Dutch were planning a descent upon the naval base at Medway--but she was ignored. Then the Dutch did take the naval base at Medway, captured two ships, burned four others, and spent the day in town. Samuel Pepys reports that when the English troops arrived, the towns people complained that the Dutch had been courteous and paid for everything they took, whereas the militiamen simply took the opportunity to loot.

Since that time, the English have paid careful attention to intelligence sources, and with great effect. I would suggest, and certainly would hope, that an application of their undoubted expertise would go a long way toward neutralizing the effect of any serpents which the nation is inadvertantly harboring in its bosom.
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 09:03 am
MI5 Speical Branch and all sorts of other strange "intelligence" agencies are no doubt monitoring the militants very thoroughly. But the enemy has some strong cards. They have "clean skins". They network through word of mouth. If they use mobiles they change them constantly. They possess legal passports and will be entitled to perfectly valid id cards. All manner of technical and logistical help is available once they go outside the UK.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 09:57 am
Speaking about intelligence:

Quote:
London bombs suggest local but well-equipped cell
Mon Jul 11, 2005



By Mark Trevelyan and Mike Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - Suspected al Qaeda militants behind the London bombings may well have come from a previously unknown local cell and yet had access to military explosives, European security officials familiar with the probe said.

"The explosives appear to be of military origin, which is very worrying," said Christophe Chaboud, head of the French Anti-Terrorism Coordination Unit and one of five top officials sent by Paris to London immediately after Thursday's attacks.

"We're more used to cells making home-made explosives with chemicals. How did they get them?" he said in an interview with Le Monde newspaper.

"Either by trafficking, for example, in the Balkans, or they had someone on the inside who enabled them to get them out of a military establishment."

Chaboud's comments went further than London police, who have only said so far that the bombs contained less than 10 lb. (4.5 kg) each of "high explosives" and were small enough to be carried in rucksacks.

By comparison, the 10 bombs that blew apart four commuter trains in Madrid last year weighed about 22 lb. (10 kg) each. The explosive, known as Goma 2 Eco and used in quarrying, had been stolen from a mine in northern Spain.

Asked about the French comments, a senior London police spokesman said the explosives were still being examined and there was no confirmation that they were military in origin.

"We are waiting for the forensic tests," he said.

INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

London police summoned investigators and intelligence officials from about 30 countries to a meeting at Scotland Yard on Saturday to brief them on last Thursday's bombings which killed at least 49 people.

A source at a European intelligence agency represented at the meeting said the attacks were most likely carried out by a local cell of Islamist militants with no previous track record.

"We think the known Islamists who live in Britain are under such close observation that they're limited in their capacity for action. Against that background, the suspicion is that it's a local group," the source said.

"At the moment there's no proof, but the thinking is that Islamists who have been known since Afghanistan or through other attacks could not have been involved in detail ... That is less suggestive of a big central network."

Even before the bombings, British officials had expressed increasing concern about a "homegrown" militant threat, and suspects held in several foiled plots have been British citizens.

The United States has sent FBI forensic specialists to help British investigators analyze the bomb sites -- a vast challenge because three of the attacks were on underground trains. The other, on a bus, spread debris over a wide area.

Spanish investigators are also assisting, because of the similarity between the mode of the attacks and those on Madrid 16 months ago.

Back then, Spanish police obtained an almost immediate breakthrough by analyzing a bomb which had failed to go off and tracing the origin of a cellphone whose alarm had been meant to trigger it. This led to early arrests.

London investigators have had no such breaks, but an anti-terrorist spokeswoman said the scarcity of updates about the investigation did not mean there was no progress.

"We wouldn't want that to come across at all. We are not in a position to go public with it," she said.

(Additional reporting by Jon Boyle in Paris)
Source
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 10:03 am
The (UK's) prime minister's first Commons statement after the bomb attacks in London

Full text: Tony Blair's statement to MPs
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 11:51 am
First question on "Any Questions" weekly political slot to varied panel was

Are we reaping what we have sown?

to which

Simon Hughes (Liberal Democrat) said after a pause

Yes. Partly.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 12:46 pm
McT, Good article. Hopelessly cynical when the Bush neocons fails to see our terrorism in Iraq, and continues to tell the world we are making "progress."
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 11:11 pm
cicerone imposter wrote:
McT, Good article. Hopelessly cynical when the Bush neocons fails to see our terrorism in Iraq, and continues to tell the world we are making "progress."


That is a ridiculous position. Of course what we did was entirely different, and I find it hard to believe you don't see the gaping distinction.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 12:06 am
Ticomaya wrote:
cicerone imposter wrote:
McT, Good article. Hopelessly cynical when the Bush neocons fails to see our terrorism in Iraq, and continues to tell the world we are making "progress."


That is a ridiculous position. Of course what we did was entirely different, and I find it hard to believe you don't see the gaping distinction.


By your reckoning, the Brits have every right to bomb the Muslim communities, kill indiscriminately, blow up a large numbers of their houses, jail thousands with no proof, detain them indefinitely, ... .

CI stands with his feet firmly on the ground. It's you Tico, who is seriously delusional. What has been done in Iraq is a textbook definition of terrorism. It fits your own government's definition to a T.

The reasons for this debacle switch faster than a traffic light. It's supported by lie after lie and you have the temerity to question C.I.'s position! Unf***ingbelievable.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 12:22 am
Quote:
US Air Force staff banned from London

By Victoria Ward, PA
Published: 12 July 2005

Thousands of American servicemen and women based in Britain have been banned from entering London in after the terrorist attacks, it emerged today.

Members of the US Air Force stationed at two RAF bases in Suffolk were instructed not to go within the M25 until further notice.

Matt Tulis, a spokesman at RAF Mildenhall, said the directive was issued to 10,000 personnel on Thursday in the aftermath of the bombings and was considered the most effective measure to protect their troops.

"We are are concerned about the safety of our folks and are trying to do what we can to protect them," he said. "This is the best course of action right now."

Mr Tulis said the instruction was also issued to give the British authorities and officials the chance to "do their job" in the aftermath of the atrocity.

The instruction involved around 5,000 servicemen based at RAF Mildenhall and a further 5,000 based at RAF Lakenheath.

Staff Sgt Jeff Hamm, at RAF Lakenheath, said: "Because the attacks were so recent there is an uncertainty as to the reasons why and how imminent the threat is right now.

"Obviously it is in the interests of the air force to ensure its personnel are as vigilant and as safe as possible."

Asked whether he thought the directive may send out a negative message to Britons, he insisted the US military did sympathise with them, particularly having experienced the September 11 terrorist outrage.

"While it's important for some to carry on business as usual, the interests in keeping the air force out of harm's way until we have a bit more knowledge about about what has happened is greater than the need to send them back into the city," he said.

The directive was issued to all active servicemen and women at the two bases but their families were also "highly encouraged" to follow the same guidelines, Mr Tulis said.

Both Londoners and New Yorkers have been urged to go back to work, to use public transport as normal and not to be deterred by the terrorists.

City chiefs in both the UK and the US have made a point of publicly taking the underground in an effort to encourage civilians not to let last Thursday's events instil fear of further attacks.

Thousands of American servicemen and women based in Britain have been banned from entering London in after the terrorist attacks, it emerged today.

Members of the US Air Force stationed at two RAF bases in Suffolk were instructed not to go within the M25 until further notice.

Matt Tulis, a spokesman at RAF Mildenhall, said the directive was issued to 10,000 personnel on Thursday in the aftermath of the bombings and was considered the most effective measure to protect their troops.

"We are are concerned about the safety of our folks and are trying to do what we can to protect them," he said. "This is the best course of action right now."

Mr Tulis said the instruction was also issued to give the British authorities and officials the chance to "do their job" in the aftermath of the atrocity.

The instruction involved around 5,000 servicemen based at RAF Mildenhall and a further 5,000 based at RAF Lakenheath.

Staff Sgt Jeff Hamm, at RAF Lakenheath, said: "Because the attacks were so recent there is an uncertainty as to the reasons why and how imminent the threat is right now.
"Obviously it is in the interests of the air force to ensure its personnel are as vigilant and as safe as possible."

Asked whether he thought the directive may send out a negative message to Britons, he insisted the US military did sympathise with them, particularly having experienced the September 11 terrorist outrage.

"While it's important for some to carry on business as usual, the interests in keeping the air force out of harm's way until we have a bit more knowledge about about what has happened is greater than the need to send them back into the city," he said.

The directive was issued to all active servicemen and women at the two bases but their families were also "highly encouraged" to follow the same guidelines, Mr Tulis said.

Both Londoners and New Yorkers have been urged to go back to work, to use public transport as normal and not to be deterred by the terrorists.

City chiefs in both the UK and the US have made a point of publicly taking the underground in an effort to encourage civilians not to let last Thursday's events instil fear of further attacks.
Source
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 01:00 am
What a bizarre, unhelpful, divisive and wrongheaded decision.
0 Replies
 
Vivien
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 01:07 am
yes, isn't it just supportive of us .... not.

on breakfast TV someone pointed out that we weren't told to avoid NY after 9/11, another suggested that perhaps the Americans would like to pull of out the UK altogether please


- divide and conquer - the US are playing into the terrorists hands giving them excellent headlines.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 02:50 am
McTag

My sentiments, exactly. I didn't realize, at first, that you were quoting a newspaper article. Thought those were your words. I was mightily impressed! Very Happy
0 Replies
 
Lord Ellpus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 02:52 am
Banned from London?

Does this mean that our girls have to buy their own silk stockings and chocolates?

Once this news gets out, it will be the end of the tourist trade from America for another year or so, just like post 9/11.
0 Replies
 
Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 04:21 am
It is a stupid decision made by some quivering jerk. If it makes any difference, military personnel have not been allowed on the Boston Common since the 1950's.

Joe(be defiant)Nation
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Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 04:25 am
Wow! Maybe Americans should have been told to stay out of Iraq because it is too dangerous Shocked
0 Replies
 
 

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