Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The London And Glasgow Attacks In Perspective

Unfortunately I was not able to keep up with the breaking news from London and Glasgow, and I am only now catching up.

Fortunately for me, Craig Murray has been making all kinds of sense about the car-bomb-wannabe pseudo-attacks that happened, or almost nearly happened, in several recent posts on his blog. Links and excerpts appear below; in my opinion the following posts are all worth reading in their entirety:

June 29: London Bomb - Cui Bono?
Whoever was behind the apparent car bomb in London, it almost certainly wasn't the police explosives experts who made it safe, and we should acknowledge the heroism it takes to do that job.

Peter Clarke, the Met's anti-terrorism point man, gave a press conference claiming he was not going to speculate, but then doing everything he could to indicate it was an Islamic plot. He referred to other recent cases, including the Barot case, in which night clubs were mentioned as targets, and the use of gas canisters in cars discussed. The one bit of modus operandi pointing another way - the fact it wasn't a suicide bomber - he was at pains to explain away by speculating that the driver had lost his nerve.

Of course the last time a nail bomb was actually exploded among clubbers in Central London, it was by a homophobic fascist. So it is right to keep an open mind. But whoever did this, the only people who can possibly benefit are the vast and ever-burgeoning security industry of all kinds, and those who want discord between the Islamic World and the West. Unfortunately, the extremists on all sides are strengthened by this incident.
June 29: Bombs and the Great Wen
A good rule is to look at what did happen, not what might have happened. Consider this:

a) Nobody committed suicide. Rather than follow Scotland Yard's Peter Clarke and speculate that was because the driver lost his nerve, let us admit that it is at least possible that nobody was intended to commit suicide. If suicide was not part of the modus operandi, that vastly increases the number of groups and individuals who might have been responsible.

b) No bomb exploded and nobody was killed. There seems a general presumption that was because the trigger failed, or was defused in time. That is possible, certainly. It could well be so. But there is another possibility that cannot be ruled out yet - perhaps the thing was not meant to explode, perhaps no-one was meant to be killed. Perhaps it was meant to look like a convincing bomb, even like a convincing failed bomb. If you accept that as a logical possibility, that would bring in even more individuals and organisations who might have been responsible. To be up for a bomb scare is very different to being up for a bomb.

Let me be quite clear again: Islamic extremists may very well be responsible. I am not saying they are not. I am saying nobody knows yet. But let me expand a bit on my Cui Bono theme.

There are plenty of companies - and wealthy individuals - making huge amounts of money from both the War on Terror and its equally ugly sister, the War in Iraq. There has been much speculation that Brown will edge away from both of these. If British troops were to withdraw from Iraq, for example, that could reduce the access currently enjoyed by companies, including Aegis and BAE, to billions of dollars of US government contracts for arms and mercenaries. These companies make money out of killing. Death is their business. Today's car bomb - and the immediate media presumption it is Islamic terrorism - certainly forces Brown further into the War on Terror. The fact that the Iraq war is the root cause of an upsurge of terror in the UK, strangely does not negate the surge of political support for the War that this sort of incident brings as a reflex reaction from our leaders.

I am not saying it was Aegis or BAE. I am saying don't be one-eyed about the possibilities. Look at the list of amazing things in London above. Do I really believe that there are wealthy people in London who would stage this sort of thing to protect or further their financial interests? Yes, I do.
June 30: Glasgow Airport Incident
It will take a little time to work out what has happened in Glagow. From eyewitness accounts, this does seem like a definite attack, but an eyewitness on BBC News 24 has just described seeing two men get out of the car and try to torch it with bottles of petrol. The BBC also have a photo plainly showing the car well ablaze on the pavement, under the canopy and pointed towards, but not having penetrated, or apparently reached, the airport doors. This would have to have been taken after the occupants got out as it is very well ablaze. This is hard to reconcile with continued journalists' reports of the car being inside the terminal building.

Anyway, four people have been arrested, so we should get some answers on this one fairly quickly. At least two of the arrested men were Asian. There is no simple equation between Asian and Muslim but in the UK, and particularly in Glasgow, it does increase the likelihood. Fortunately, on the information so far, it seems nobody has been killed.

Thankfully, whatever is happening, we do not appear to be facing a wave of attacks by sophisticated terrorists with good bomb making skills.
June 30: Home Grown Terror
According to Willie Rae, Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, there are clear links between today's Glasgow incident and the London car bombs. He declined to expand further, but I presume he meant more than that both events involved cars and petrol. A copycat crime is, in a sense, always linked to the crime it copies. But Willie Rae is not the Metropolitan Police, with its track record of lying to us, so I am prepared to believe that he knows something more substantial.

I still cannot understand why the Met does not release the CCTV footage of the London suspects. As the suspects must realise that they will have been caught on CCTV, I can't think of a single sensible motive for witholding it.

Thank goodness the only injured in Glasgow were the attackers, and one member of the public, who is not in danger. Fortunately, amateur does not do justice as a description of these attackers - absolute rubbish comes closer to it. It is worth noting that, if the London car bombs had ignited, they would probably have burnt like the Glasgow car, and almost certainly would not have had the kind of explosive force that the media tried to claim. Gas canisters are designed to withstand fire without exploding; they will eventually vent and the gas flare as it comes out. That is what looked on TV like it might have been happening in the back of the car in Glasgow.

Petrol and gas can be a deadly effective component of a bomb, and even a very small quantity of high explosive would have made the London car bombs potentially devastating. But there was no explosive present - I have held back on blogging on this aspect until I could confirm that fact from my own sources.

So this is not al-Qaeda, and we are not dealing with trained bomb-makers. [...] This threat will indeed remain with us until we stop being an acolyte for US foreign policy. Nobody is attacking Ireland - if Western hedonism and culture were the target, Ireland should be in big trouble.
July 2: Terror Attacks
The link between the Glasgow and London bombs now appears to be fairly convincing, particularly as much of the confirmation is coming out of Scotland rather than from the discredited Met. What we have this time appears not to be home grown discontent, but more direct blowback from our Middle Eastern policy. I make no apologies for having noted at the start of this series of events that, while this was likely to be terrorism perpetrated by Islamic extremists, there were other possiblities and we should not straightaway jump to that conclusion.

Now it does appear that Islamic extremists were indeed responsible for both Glasgow and London.

But my question cui bono? was also helpful in pointing out that these terrorist attacks are not only callous and inhuman, but extraordinarily stupid. Islamic terrorism fills those who hate Muslims with unholy glee. You only have to surf the internet for five minutes to prove that. At the same time it sends those of us who try to improve community relations, and it sends the established Muslim communities in the UK, into deep despair. Those in the security, weapons and mercenary industries who make billions from continued War are rubbing their hands and counting the cash.
From a slightly different point of view, Gwynne Dyer predicts that the stillborn attacks will have a much greater impact in the USA than in the UK.

Excerpts from Dyer's most recent column, via the Framingham (MA) MetroWest Daily News:
More competent terrorists might have killed dozens of people, of course, but it's safe to say that this incident will be taken more seriously in the United States than it is in Britain itself or anywhere else in Europe.

An occasional terrorist attack is one of the costs of doing business in the modern world. You just have to bring a sense of proportion to the problem, and in general people in Europe do.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued the obligatory statement that Britain faces "a serious and continuous threat" and that the public "need to be alert" at all times. But there were none of the efforts to pump up the threat, the declarations that civilization itself was under attack, that were standard issue when Tony Blair was running the show.

Most European cities have also been heavily bombed in a real war within living memory, which definitely puts terrorist attacks into a less impressive category. So most Europeans, while they dislike terrorist attacks, do not obsess about them. They know that they are likelier to win the lottery than to be hurt by terrorists.

Russians are also pretty cool about the occasional terrorist attacks linked to the war in Chechnya, and Indians are positively heroic in their refusal (most of the time) to be panicked by terrorist attacks that have taken more lives there than all the attacks in the West since terrorist techniques first became widespread in the 1960s.

In almost all of these countries, despite the efforts of some governments to convince the population that terrorism is an existential threat of enormous size, the vast majority of the people don't believe it.

Whereas in the United States, most people do believe it.

Inexperience is one reason: American cities have never been bombed in war, so Americans have no standard of comparison that would shrink terrorism to its true importance in the scale of threats that face any modern society. But the other is relentless official propaganda: the Bush administration has built its whole brand around the "war on terror" since 2001, so the threat must continue to be seen as huge and universal.

Ridiculous though it sounds to outsiders, Americans are regularly told that their survival as a free society depends on beating the "terrorists." They should treat those who say such things as fools or deliberate liars, but they don't. So the manipulators of public opinion in the White House and the more compliant sectors of the U.S. media will give bigger play to the British bombings-that-weren't than Britain's own government and media have, and they will get away with it.
I don't always agree with Gwynne Dyer, nor do I always agree with Craig Murray, but they both seem close to the mark on this one.

I may change my mind about this, but not without letting you know.