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July 07, 2005

London bombing

No matter the scale of the casualties or the specific villains the first thing to understand is that this could have been news from Toronto or Paris this morning. I expect the announcement of the London Olympics played a part in the timing of the perpetrators but I equally expect any G8 metropolis would have served the bombers' purposes.

No matter who did this or their claimed motivations they and they alone are to blame for this outrage. Some will claim that Tony Blair, his policies, imperialism or other such abstraction, the collapse of moral values and "tradition" or Islam are to blame depending on the purposes of the person making the claim. These claims are wrong. The people who did this are to blame.

Update: 7:35 EST CNN is claiming a total of seven explosions. Six are reported in the Underground and a seventh on a double-decker bus that was ripped apart.

The BBC has posted a "reporter's log" (that would be a blog) with updates from reporters around London. Four double-decker buses are being used as emergency centres at King's Cross.

Update: 7:39 EST CNN is now reporting news from Scotland Yard. There are reportedly four explosions, three in the Underground and another the bus. It is only now I am wondering at the numbers. Whoever did this: England is not Spain. While there are many who will leap to blame this on the foreign policy of the Prime Minister there are many more who have not forgotten when the IRA carried on its campaign of terror, a neo-Nazi bombed recent immigrants and gay people, or Hitler and the like before them.

More follows including links in the extended entry.

Update: 7:47 EST The blogs: Andrew Ian Dodge, Samizdata, Dean Esmay, Instapundit.

Update: 7:55 EST I turn to the CBC and their Washington correspondent lost no time in finding an anti-American angle. "There is no secret," said Henry Champ, "that (Washington) was unhappy with the G8" and "had nothing to contribute" to the discussion on global poverty or the environment. "Now I am sure the President will get what he wants with the world's attention on the war on terrorism." "This is tailor made for this President, in a tragic sort of way, because he is consumed with his position on the war on terrorism."

Update: 7:59 EST An email arrives from London. The mobile (cell) network is reportedly down because these are the devices "the bastards" use to detonate their bombs. A friend "comes in through Kings Cross and saw the mess down there. She also heard the bus bomb as she walked up the hill to the office. Inspite of the news coverage London seems remarkably calm."

Update: 9:05 EST Spiegel has Tony Blair's complete statement.

It is particularly barbaric that this has happened on a day when people are meeting to try to help the problems of poverty in Africa, and the long term problems of climate change and the environment. Just as it is reasonably clear that this is a terrorist attack, or a series of terrorist attacks, it is also reasonably clear that it is designed and aimed to coincide with the opening of the G8. There will be time to talk later about this.

It is important however that those engaged in terrorism realise that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world. Whatever they do, it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilised nations throughout the world.

Update: 9:09 EST CNN has a minute-by-minute timeline of the London attacks.

12:51 Emergency services personnel tells CNN writer William Chamberlain that all survivors had been evacuated from Kings Cross station, leaving the dead below ground "in the double digits."

12:35 Scotland Yard revises the number of blasts down to four, three in the underground system and one on a bus. These are: Russell Square and Kings Cross Underground, Moorgate, Aldgate and Liverpool Street Underground, Edgware Road station and Tavistock Square where there was an explosion on a bus.

My first concern was to learn news from my family and friends. There are, of course, many friends I have yet to contact. My second concern was to get any sense of what was happening in London. Now, two hours later, I realize I am furious.

It remains a wonder in these times that 3 hours ago the first reported explosion at Aldgate should immediately be attributed to a "power surge".

Update: 9:18 EST Spiegel publishes excerpts from a letter posted by a purported Al-Qaida related group, the "Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe" claiming responsibility for the attacks. Regardless of whether or not this group was directly responsible this represents the first group to celebrate the news.

"Rejoice, community of Muslims," the letter states. "The heroic mujahedeens today conducted an attack in London," it continues. All of Great Britain is now shaken and shocked, "in the north, the south, west and east." "We've warned the British government and the British people time and again," the letter adds. "We've kept our promise and have carried out a blessed military operation." "We continue to warn the governments of Denmark and Italy and all other crusader governments." We demand that all countries pull their troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, states the letter, which has been signed by the "Secret Organization -- al Qaida in Europe."

Update: 9:28 EST Silent Running posts: Carthage must be destroyed. Aut vincere aut mori.

Update: 9:35 EST The BBC publishes a translation of the purported Al-Qaeda statement.

Update: 9:40 EST CBC Newsworld coverage has featured multiple reports from London and statements from G8 leaders. Commentary, however, was initially directed toward the CBC's Washington bureau and featured news of heightened security in the Washington subway system (and indeed has returned to the topic as I post this update). It is critical to note that I have heard no reports of increased security anywhere in Canada. While I can only hope this does not represent the actual position of Canada's police and security services it is a clear indication that at a fundamental, and probably not fully consciously realized, level the CBC regards this issue to be an American problem.

Once again: these attacks just have easily been directed at Toronto this morning. The longer it takes Canadians to take this fact on board the more likely those planning such an attack will succeed and the less prepared we shall be when the day comes. Anyone who does not understand there are people living and working toward this end, or are at the very least sympathetic to such an end, in Toronto are living in a fool's paradise. I find I am bitterly angry with the CBC, the press and my elected representatives in government and the opposition for failing to publicly address this issue with the seriousness it demands.

Update: 9:53 EST John Donovan quotes Winston Churchill.

"I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone."

Update: 9:57 EST This BBC map of the London tube system shows some attack locations though is almost certainly out of date. Some reports suggest that as explosions happened between stations reports from both flanking stations may have been made. For the record, the Flea's London home is near the Angel between King's Cross and Moorgate on the Northern Line (in black).


Update: 10:05 EST Buckingham Palace has reportedly been sealed off. Her Majesty the Queen, speaking from Windsor, issued the following open message.

"The dreadful events in London this morning have deeply shocked us all. I know I speak for the whole nation in expressing my sympathy to all those affected and the relatives of the killed and injured. I have nothing but admiration for the emergency services as they go about their work."

Update: 10:10 EST CBC Newsworld is speaking with their "chief political correspondent", Keith Boag (this Keith Boag) with the G8 at Gleneagle, Scotland who says "the G8 leaders don't want to be knocked off course by the acts of what they call terrorists" (emphasis added). What is damaged at the CBC those who carry out mass murder in this fashion cannot confidently, impartially be described as terrorists? Once again I am convinced of an intellectual and moral cancer in the CBC.

Update: 10:32 EST I am reminded of the words of Rudy Giuliani:

"The number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear ultimately. And I don't think we want to speculate on the number of casualties. The effort now has to be to save as many people as possible."

Update: 10:37 EST Deutsche Welle posts reported upgrading of security alert levels across Europe. Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin reportedly contacted his security advisor in Ottawa and "appeared concerned about security back home". The Toronto Transit Authority has reportedly "issued a vigilance notice to its subway crews and bus drivers, and said its special constables in the subway are 'on special duty protocols.' "

Update: 10:54 EST Psalm 13.

13:1 For the Leader. A Psalm of David.

13:2 How long, O the Lord, wilt Thou forget me for ever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?
13:3 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart by day? How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
13:4 Behold Thou, and answer me, O the Lord my God; lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
13:5 Lest mine enemy say: 'I have prevailed against him'; lest mine adversaries rejoice when I am moved.
13:6 But as for me, in Thy mercy do I trust; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.
13:6 I will sing unto the Lord, because He hath dealt bountifully with me.

Update: 11:17 EST London Mayor, Ken Livingston addresses the murderers (hat tip to a Flea-reader).

"I know that you do fear you may fail in your long term objective: to destroy our free society. And I will show you why you will fail. In the days that follow, look at our airports, look at our seaports and look at our railways. Nothing you do, however many of us you kill will stop that life ... where freedom is strong and people can live in harmony ... whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail."

Update: 11:26 EST George Galloway comments. This should be enough to sober the minds of those who celebrate the man in their shared dislike for democracy. It seems rather more likely they shall agree with him.

Update: 12:07 EST Being American in T.O. reports Toronto Transit Commission board member and Toronto City Councillor, Howard Moscoe as saying: "we don't have any troops to withdraw from Iraq so we should be okay". Leaving aside for a moment the sheer, vile indifference demonstrated by Moscoe in making this remark, Being American in T.O. is correct to point out the purported Al-Qaeda statement citing Afghanistan as a pretext for this massacre.

Howard Moscoe, you should resign your post and your Council position after issuing a detailed apology to the people of London and the people of Toronto. Now that Afghanistan has been retroactively dubbed a good war by so called "progressives" their continuing fixation with George Bush and utter ignorance of the fundamentalist ideologies we face has rendered people like Moscoe indifferent not only to the suffering of others but to his own safety and of those whose safety he has been charged with keeping. I am increasingly convinced that as no Christian fundamentalism is too extreme not to merit the sympathy of all too many on the right that no Islamic fundamentalism is too extreme not to merit the sympathy of all too many on the left. This latest outrage is more likely to deepen those sympathies rather than shake them.

Update: 12:52 EST neveratossBlog suggests a new Olympic sport... posted yesterday (via Andrew Sullivan).

I just rang up Lord Coe to be the first to congratulate him and to nominate a new, typically British, Olympic Sport War! We're very good at it and the French are, quite frankly, merde! Germany are pretty good but lack a decent finish, the Italians don't quite get the "half time no changing sides" rule and Argentinians are rubbish even when playing at home.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at July 7, 2005 07:27 AM

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What an awful event.. I hope your friends and family are well, Nick. I thought Moscoe was a fatuous swine before. He managed to surpass himself today.

The question remains: are the Londoners of today closer to the Londoners of the 1940s or the Madrilenos of 2004? I hope its the former.

Posted by: Dr_Funk [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2005 04:10 PM

actually, there was increased secruity in toronto. on the GO system, Via and the subway system.

all the TTC folks were also told to be extra vigilant in checking for packages etc.

in fact, a bus terminal was shut down because of a 'suspicious' something or other that turned out to be left over construction debris.

Posted by: mainja [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2005 10:47 PM

Four blasts, and as I understand, 2 recovered devices. I can't wait to learn the forensic findings of those marterials if they were disarmed. May not learn much if they were disposed of by detination. Hope not. 73s TonyGuitar

Posted by: TonyGuitar [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 8, 2005 02:40 PM

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