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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The attempted mass-murder in London

I received an e-mail asking why, as many of the Samizdatistas live in London, we have not commented on the attempted mass murder by followers of Islam (also known as “the Religion of Peace”).

Well, firstly we Londoners are fairly used to people setting off bombs in this city ever since Irish terrorists started doing that in the 1800′s. The current crop of homicidal nutters trying to kill civilians happen to be less discriminating that some in the past (though please do not forget the none too discriminating Irish pub-bombers of days gone by), but in the end it is nothing we have not seen before.

And whilst I am delighted this was attempt to kill people was thwarted, it is not something that will actually have the slightest impact on my life or the lives of most Londoners. We will continue to act today much as we did yesterday. Frankly I am more worried about the pervasive threat posed to my civil liberties by Gordon Brown than the more or less random threat to my life posed by Al Qaeda.

So not much more to say about it other than… oh, that sucks…now I am off to dinner at a nice Thai restaurant tonight with my inamorata.

Update: looks like we were very lucky it was not a suicide bomber this time… thanks to some brisk and highly commendable work by a member of the Plod (who yanked some wires rather than wait for the bomb squad) this was a close call rather than a catastrophe. Our tax money well spent for once it would appear!

70 comments to The attempted mass-murder in London

  • Matt

    Perry I admire your relaxed attitude. My partner is in the MET in the area affected, thankfully she is not working tonight and has not been called in as yet. By luck and the actions of the police it looks (and I hope remains) as if we have dodged the bullet. But this is a serious situation, these people need to be found and brought swiftly to justice as does anyone who may have assisted in their sick actions.

    That said I’ve survived an IRA attack and im going out tonight to spend a pleasant evening drinking and enjoying myself. As far as I’m concerned the devotees of the ‘religion of piece’ can collectively go fuck themselves.

  • I am not going to ignore the coincidence of this failed attempt and the first full day for Gordon’s new Cabinet.

    If I were a nutter I would have done this on Tues or Wednesday, not Thursday, unless I was one of a new set of nutters taking over, I suppose.

  • anon

    Matt: devotees of the Religion of Peace (aka Dirty Mo’s Brigade) frequently fuck themselves, and take a lot of non-fuckers with them in the process. But if you have Allah on your side who cares?

  • Brian

    It’s easy to say from the wild windy wastes of Darlington that I too won’t allow this to affect my life.

    I fail to see any reason why this shouldn’t result in extreme changes in the lives of the piggy-fiddling community, however.

  • James

    I didn’t realise that the public inquiry in to the attempted bombing had already found that it was perpetrated by Muslims.

    My, how efficient our judiciary is these days!

  • Jacob

    had already found that it was perpetrated by Muslims.

    Want to bet ?

  • Tony

    You will be continue to be attacked every year or so with increasing frequency by the followers of the dar el islam until you wake up and reject your liberalism and expel them all. Then again you or your kids could just conver…

  • Best thing I’ve heard a Londoner say about this all day.

    Keep that stiff upper lip guys, the whole point of terrorism is to get you to do exactly the opposite of what you just said you were doing.

    Cheers to you all.

  • Paul Marks

    Well I did not to see Neil Cavuto’s show last night or Brit Hume’s show (I was doing other things – and they are repeated in the morning anyway).

    And I do not wait up till 1A.M. to watch the O’Reilly Factor.

    But when I tuned in today it was all this bomb stuff, I was really irritated and went upstairs to deal with e.mails.

    I suppose this means I am an unfeeling son of a …..

    Oh well perhaps I can say that if lots of people had been horribly killed I would have felt and acted quite differently.

    No, you do not believe me.

    Seriously:

    Of course those Muslims who take a certain interpretation of Islam will do horrible things. The people who violently support this interpretation of Islam should be dealt with (be they Sunni or Shia) – not all Muslims.

    But what good does it do to obsess over carnage as if it was some “torture porn” film?

  • Kim du Toit

    Wait a minute… Perry has a girlfriend?

  • I didn’t realise that the public inquiry in to the attempted bombing had already found that it was perpetrated by Muslims.

    Oh right, I guess it might have been Spanish terrorists or the Swedish mafia. Duh.

  • Wait a minute… Perry has a girlfriend?

    I guess you don’t read this blog much, Kim. Here are some clues who it is! :-D

  • Ray in Atlanta

    Interesting. I have a friend in London and I phoned her up after I read about this shit because she works right by Piccadilly Circus and she was like “so what?” I was more freaked out than she was.

    We’d do well to copy that attitude and not lose it when this stuff happens on our side of the Atlantic.

  • West End Girl

    Did you see the latest? I was in Haymarket when this happened but did not find out what was up until I saw the news later at home. Blimey.

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,70131-1272910,00.html

  • Julian Taylor

    Shows how lackadaisical our system is that the second carbomb was actually towed away by Westminster parking Hitlers to their car pound under Hyde Park and a bomb only discovered when a traffic warden looked on the back seat once it had arrived. I rather suspect that this isn’t the work of Islamics seeking their 72 Virgin Clubcard Points to eternity – wouldn’t they have stayed with the cars and detonated them?

  • James

    Oh right, I guess it might have been Spanish terrorists or the Swedish mafia. Duh.

    Well, I’m glad the concept of presumed innocence has merrily passed you by… Wouldn’t want that to inconvenience you now, would we?

    I had a strong suspicion that this would be Islamist terrorists, but that’s a world away from an assertion. The possibility that this could have been gangland rivalry was still being discussed until the confirmation of the second device. Such things aren’t uncommon these days, but then you’d know that, wouldn’t you?

  • Max

    James,
    Proudly wear your snarky nuance like a suit of armor and watch reality – and those pesky flaming bomb fragments – pass right around you. While you are technically correct, you are not usefully correct.

  • Tedd McHenry

    Well, I’m glad the concept of presumed innocence has merrily passed you by…

    I generally caution against hasty judgements too, but I think you’ve stetched your argument here. Presumed innocence is for the courts. It might be good advice for a person in many situations (though not always), but there’s certainly no obligation for anyone other than the courts to practice it.

  • “The possibility that this could have been gangland rivalry was still being discussed until the confirmation of the second device. Such things aren’t uncommon these days, but then you’d know that, wouldn’t you?”

    Yes fuel-air IEDs are quite common in gangland protection rackets.
    “Could have been those blackmarketeers and not the Lufwaffe”

  • Well, I’m glad the concept of presumed innocence has merrily passed you by… Wouldn’t want that to inconvenience you now, would we?

    Last time I looked Samizdata was not a court of law, it was a place we stated our opinions. And my opinion is that it was Islamic terrorists who did this. I am just stating the fucking obvious.

  • J

    I am just stating the fucking obvious.

    If it’s that obvious, why state it? Or is it merely as obvious as the fact that Mr Menezes was a guilty terrorist who had it coming – which I seem to recall was the last over eager conclusion leapt to by certain anti-muslim factions on this blog….

    The media today was full of much idiot speculation along the lines of “potentially devastating effects” and “Links to Al Qaeda not ruled out”. I’m surprised not have read “might have been very loud” or “Could potentially have contained radioactive elements” or “CIA has failed to categorically denied involvement”.

    All we can really tell so far is that:
    1. Bombs made by people who aren’t good at making bombs.
    2. Bombs didn’t go off
    3. If bombs had gone off, would have destroyed Tiger Tiger, and therefore been a net benefit to London anyway.

    Overall, little cause to complain.

  • The media today was full of much idiot speculation along the lines of “potentially devastating effects”

    Large car bombs in the West End of London, possibly designed with FAE effect in mind… And you think it is ‘idiot speculation’ that these would have been devastating if they had gone off? Riiiight.

    Yes, I am anti-Islam because I am generally not a fan of any religion. I dislike much of modern Wahhabi influenced Islam more than most religions because it is also a political doctrine with vile characteristics.

    However none of that has anything to do with why it is bloody obvious that anyone trying to set off large bombs on London aimed at inflicting mass civilian casualties in 2007 is almost certainly going to be Muslim.

    To pretend otherwise suggest an agenda based all manner of dubious notions. Is it possible someone other than members of the Muslim faith are behind this? Sure. It could be a rather confused faction of ETA who have mistaken London for Madrid, or smokers protesting the impending ban or some crazed ‘better late than never’ faction of the IRA. Is that likely? Not really.

  • Sunfish

    Perry:

    Last time I looked Samizdata was not a court of law, it was a place we stated our opinions. And my opinion is that it was Islamic terrorists who did this. I am just stating the fucking obvious.

    True, a full-on presumption of innocence isn’t appropriate early in an investigation. At this stage, it appears that the intelligent move on the part of police is to go with “These are the two cars. This is whatever circumstantial identifying evidence we’ve recovered from the cars. And here’s all the stuff that I’m not even going to release to the media until I’m sure I won’t alert any targets or scare away any witnesses.”

    I only know of two groups that have popped bombs off in London in recent decades, and the Irish usually made “Patrick Murphy” phone calls before detonation.

    (For those who don’t know, that’s a phone call where the bomber actually tells the cops what to evacuate so as to minimize loss of life. They would use a pre-set and highly secret name, known only to certain IRA cadre and certain senior cops, to authenticate the call. And no, I don’t think the name was actually “Patrick Murphy.)

    If it’s that obvious, why state it? Or is it merely as obvious as the fact that Mr Menezes was a guilty terrorist who had it coming – which I seem to recall was the last over eager conclusion leapt to by certain anti-muslim factions on this blog….

    Menezes died of stupid. When you wear a heavy coat in the summer, it looks unusual. Placed in the context of the then-recent train bombings, it can look like a potential suicide vest. And when you’re told to put your hands in the air, then you DON’T REACH UNDER THE GODDAMN COAT LIKE YOU’RE GOING FOR A WEAPON OR THE SWITCH!

    Fine, so it sucks that he died. BUT YOU DON’T MAKE THREATENING GESTURES WHEN OTHER PEOPLE IN SNS ARE POINTING GUNS AT YOU.

    I’ve been in almost the same situation. I was off-duty, confronted several drunks in a fight with weapons, drew on them, and then had the responding officers draw on me. To them, I was a knucklehead in a flannel shirt with a gun.

    Needless to say, there was only one correct course of action for me: When they told me to “put down the gun and get down on the fucking ground” I did exactly that. I had a bad elbow at the time, and being handcuffed while in prone control hurt like hell. However, it only took another minute or so to figure out that I wasn’t the bad guy and cut me loose.

    I’ve also been in too many other situations where someone else didn’t listen: A few weeks ago, we got a call of an unknown disturbance. I fucking hate those, because I’m basically going in blind to whatever’s going on.

    On arrival, we found a man shouting about how “she is so dead” and waving a KaBar around (a fixed-blade knive, blade about seven inches/18 centimeters long, issued as a fighting knife to the US Marine Corps). Nobody knew why he was acting this way, and he was not responsive to any attempts to talk him down, and all four of us had guns drawn on him.

    So he started walking towards me. I’m giving loud repetive commands: “POLICE STOP DROP THE KNIFE DROP THE KNIFE DROP THE KNIFE” etc.

    He stopped not far from me. Close enough that I could see that his eyes didn’t seem to be focusing. And incidentally, about two steps shy of the point where I would have shot (and likely killed) him.

    After the fact, we found out that he didn’t actually set out with intent to stick anyone. However, we had to go with the situation we had, and the information available at the time. And so did the Met AFOs on the subway platform. In hindsight they were wrong, but they had little choice considering the information they had and the amount of time they had to process it.

    In my first case, had I been rogue I might have shot one person before being dropped. In my second case, had I fired I would have been cleared, as a private citizen likely would be in the same situation. I would also get to add that to the reasons for staring at the ceiling at bedtime. Had Menezes been rogue, everyone on that platform could be dead. While “wouldacouldashoulda” is normally not a helpful game to play, in this case it will illustrate why a couple of cops, with less than two seconds to make a decision while undergoing sympathetic nervous system activation, did what they did. This is also why cops are typically damn reluctant to discuss a fucking thing with anyone else: Everybody’s actions are shaped by their knowledge, their education, their training, and their experiences. These establish a meta-context in which we evaluate our world and make our decisions, and this meta-context is damn rare outside of our professional community.

    You wonder why cops don’t like talking about work, watching TV, or reading the papers, or often really even spending time with “outsiders” for lack of a better word? Here it is. It’s not just that people don’t understand us and why we think and act as we do. It’s that people often don’t even understand that there’s something they don’t understand.

    I’d better stop ranting now, I guess.

  • Sunfish

    I’d like to apologize for some of the language in the previous post. It was perhaps a little too raw.

  • Dub_James

    I’d like to apologize for some of the language in the previous post. It was perhaps a little too raw.

    I doubt that any apology is needed, Sunfish.

    To paraphrase a much cliched line – “This.is.SAMIZDATA”

  • James

    Large car bombs in the West End of London, possibly designed with FAE effect in mind… And you think it is ‘idiot speculation’ that these would have been devastating if they had gone off? Riiiight.

    According to The Register, yes. Make of it what you will.

    Yes fuel-air IEDs are quite common in gangland protection rackets.
    “Could have been those blackmarketeers and not the Lufwaffe”

    Well, it was only some fruitcake homophobe who went round the West End of London last time, successfully detonating nail bombs, so why let minor details like possible profiles bother us, eh? Far better to just jump to conclusions.

  • guy herbert

    It’s not too early to suspect Islamists, for precisely the reasons Sunfish have stated. There are no other current threats. Unless it is something completely new and without warning, then it was of Islamist motivation.

    What is totally unwarranted – and stupid – is the widespread media screeches of “al-Qaeda”, so helpful to the self-esteem of the fanatics. Any idiot (or group of idiots) could put together a device like this. There is some circumstantial evidence that the people who did this were indeed idiots. It really doesn’t require a fantasy ‘global terror network’.

    I wouldn’t be very surprised if it were to transpire that the culprits had got their ideas from reading the newspaper reports of the fantasy plot of Dhiren Barot.

  • guy herbert

    If I were a nutter I would have done this on Tues or Wednesday, not Thursday, unless I was one of a new set of nutters taking over, I suppose.

    Or just an idiot.

    Assume you want to kill and main people representing the decadent West and demonstrate your moralistic insanity in the biggest possible way.

    Do you blow up a car in Haymarket at 2am on a Thursday? Do you choose the much busier Friday night? Or do you do it up 36 hours later during Pride with all the cameras there, hurt not just party-goers but God-hates-them gay party-goers and people who approve of them, get bloody daylight footage on every worldwide news network, and be pretty sure of not being picked out among the half-million people leaving the scene?

  • guy herbert

    Sunfish,

    Menezes died of stupid. When you wear a heavy coat in the summer, it looks unusual. Placed in the context of the then-recent train bombings, it can look like a potential suicide vest. And when you’re told to put your hands in the air, then you DON’T REACH UNDER THE GODDAMN COAT LIKE YOU’RE GOING FOR A WEAPON OR THE SWITCH!

    You may in the ‘States have only received the original spin, not the facts that later came out more quietly, viz that de Menezes was wearing an ordinary denim jacket and doing nothing unusual except, fatally, walking past an erratic observation team while swarthy. He had an ordinary denim jacket. The account in the official IPCC enquiry documents that were leaked is that he was grabbed by one officer and shot several times by another, and nobody knows whether they shouted “police” before, during or after, but the evidence was he wasn’t given any time to react – because the officers involved (under highly stressful circumstances) had been primed to expect he was a suicide bomber.

  • guy herbert

    Ray in Atlanta,

    I have a friend in London and I phoned her up after I read about this shit because she works right by Piccadilly Circus and she was like “so what?”

    Well, we’ve had practice [1] [2] [3]. But I would recommend (without much hope) that our American cousins learn from it – too late. What’s unhinged the world in the last 6 years and helped the spin towards a global national security state has not been the terrorism on 9/11, but US reaction to it, treating it as a Prime Cause and central, rather than a freakishly horrible side-effect.

  • Jacob

    . What’s unhinged the world in the last 6 years and helped the spin towards a global national security state has not been the terrorism on 9/11, but US reaction to it,

    So, it’s all Bush’s fault, right ?

    Have you joined the ranks of the demented lefties ?

    “What’s unhinged the world” are the Islamists and their terrorism and murder campaigns.

    You can criticize this or that item of US policy, without losing sight of the real “what’s unhinged in the world”, without hyperbolic and unhinged statements.

  • Pa Annoyed

    In the hopes that it may fan the flames of dispute over who did this… :-)
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/06/terror-plot-inv.html

    Guy,
    On the British propensity to say “so what?” Don’t they say much the same thing over “the pervasive threat posed to my civil liberties by Gordon Brown” as well? Now that’s what I call British sang froid!

  • There is Islamic terrorism is Kenya, Thailand, Nigeria, Philippines, China, Algeria, etc. etc.

    US policies are not the cause of Islamic terrorism, Wahhabi Islam is the main global cause of Islamic terrorism (with Shiite Iran mostly just a regional problem).

  • If bombs had gone off, would have destroyed Tiger Tiger, and therefore been a net benefit to London anyway.

    I am sure it would have been a benefit to the 1700 people inside that night as well right? What a moronic thing to say.

    Does anyone here honestly believe this was not a ROPMA act?

  • guy herbert

    Pa,

    I fear they do.

    Jacob,

    Have you joined the ranks of the demented lefties ?

    “What’s unhinged the world” are the Islamists and their terrorism and murder campaigns.

    No; I’ve always been on the thoughtful right.

    Of course Islamist violence isn’t Bush’s fault, but the declaration of a “War on Terror” is; the invocation of the “Axis of Evil”, arbitrarily making neutral, irrelevant, and in the case of Iran, newly sympathetic, countries part of the enemy in that black-and-white “war” is; the promotion of ‘security’ to the dominant activity of government is; and letting the nastier elements in the military play to their heart’s content at being Jack Bauer or Jack Ryan is.

    Terrorists can kill people, but to spread actual terror and to alter the way of life in free countries takes government action. Only the US government has the power to do it worldwide. The Islamist threat was as significant on September the 10th as it was on September 12th, and no more significant on the 12th. It was, and remains nowhere outside the Muslim world, more than a marginal threat to life and property. Only our governments can take our liberty or our pursuit of happiness: Islamist violence gives them the opportunity to do it. It hasn’t unhinged the world itself, any more than you should blame gallstones for a subsequent nasty hospital infection.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Perry,

    Don’t blame it all on the Wahhabi. They’re the most open about it, but aggressive Jihad is orthodoxy in all four of the main Sunni schools, as well as Shia and Sufi. The Wahhabis are simply better funded, more strongly government-supported, and less patient. Afghanistan and Pakistan, for example, are predominantly Hanafi, the Chechens are mainly Shafi’i.

    It’s not a doctrinal difference, but a strategic one. Islamists, meaning those who believe Islam should be dominant politically, have become a lot more common as a result of the Wahhabi-funded Da’wa, but the choice to use violent rather than other means to bring it about is more down to how individuals of any school take the message. Most Hanbali are not violent, while a significant few of the other schools are. You just can’t tell.

    Blaming it all on the Wahhabis is part of the standard “tiny minority of extremists” line used to defend Islam, so that we will not too closely examine the rest of it, and worse, will actually fund and support their ‘moderate’ proselytising efforts in their supposed battle against the ‘extremists’. It’s somewhat akin to shipping guns and money to Fatah and the Al Aqsa Martyrs so that they can better fight Hamas.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Guy,

    It is not only governments that can change our way of life, but the fearful mob also. Governments act because people demand that they “do something”. Governments I think would like nothing better than to be able to ignore them. Less money spent on security and foreign wars means more gravy for them. But the media shout the alarm, and as they are people who grab our money on the strength of claiming to be ‘in charge’, they have to be seen to do something about it. Since they truly have no idea what, or fear to say what needs saying, they fall back on knee-jerk legislation and empty rhetoric.

    And there’s a certain amount of personal self-interest there too – while terrorist attack is randomness for the average citizen, it isn’t for politicians. What self-respecting terrorist would blow up a nightclub if he thought he could take out the Palace of Westminster? Terrorism is definitely an unwelcome development for a politician.

  • guy herbert

    Bugger. Italics don’t go around more than one paragraph at a time, seemingly. I hope you can see where my quote of Jacob stops and my comment begins.

    Perry,

    US policies are not the cause of Islamic terrorism, Wahhabi Islam is the main global cause of Islamic terrorism (with Shiite Iran mostly just a regional problem).

    D’accord. Jacob is misinterpreting me. US policies (many, not all of them) are a problem in themselves, and I do criticise them individually, but also where they are tied together by unreason. The only US policies that can be said to be directly responsible for Islamism are (1) the fostering of jihadis in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 80s, and (2) turning a blind eye to Saudi petrodollar missionary activity since the 70s.

  • Random Londoner

    A car bomb? How quaint. Very 1990′s.

  • 1 – Guy, I would not rule out an anti-gay protest at this stage. It could have been a loner who parked up two vehicles, even. The nature of the alert, the timing, the mechanism to me means I would not totally rule out more sinister actors (i.e. new set of nutters = the Brown government).

    2 – Considering the zeal of Westminster’s fine-est, I doubt a delayed car bomb can do anything other than blow up a car pound, especially one meant to sit there until the Pride march. Blowing up in Park Lane pound – now THAT would hack off considerable numbers of people!

    3 – Both were Mercedes – one at least is a W124. Given that, I wonder if the only thing that people would have noticed of the detonation would have been a dull thud, or maybe the bombers hoped it could also serve as the getaway vehicle after the explosion… ;-). W124′s rule, btw. It will be interesting as I suspect the police will now form a trail of that car’s movements over a considerable time. CCTV and ANPR will now be ‘proven’ as a justifiable resource (see 1, above).

    4 – re: Menezes – IIRC the key failure was that he was ‘marked’ incorrectly as a known potential terrorist as he exited the block of apartments where said terrorist lived.

    I understand the stance of Sunfish – I know that I don’t know and appreciate the opportunity to read first hand experiences.

  • Patrick

    New World Order taking you for a ride. The best thing about being a slave in a master slave relationship, though, is not being aware of one’s role as slave being taken for a ride, having one’s buttons pressed so one responds in the desired manner and all that. We need stronger powers for centralising governments, etc.

  • Poor old Menezes is a bit of a red herring in relation to this argument. He was a person mistaken, for whatever reason, as a terrorist.

    That is not the same thing as the sensible money on these car bombs being to bet on it being Islamicist Terrorists. I think my fiver is safe there.

    And why the hatred of ‘dancing slags’ I thought that was their idea of heaven?

    All this stuff about innocent until proven guilty is a side issue to make some sort of a point. This is not a court it is best guessing.

    In any case look at the law relating to vehicle tax in the UK and still tell me innocent until proven guilty.

  • “Well, Guvnor, you wanted to see me.”
    “Come in Constable.”
    “Mind if I smoke Guv?”
    “Yes!And from tomorrow it’s banned anyway!”
    “Right you are then.”
    “What’s this about not waiting for the Bomb Squad?”
    “Well Guv, the ‘Squad was a bit ‘plod’, if you see what I mean.”
    “So you took it upon yourself to pull on wires willy-nilly?”
    “Well Guv, the nightclub was about to empty into the street, and I thought if the bastards were watching they’d blow the car then.”
    “So you risked ‘blowing’ it anyway?”
    “Straight deal Guv.Me and a bit of collateral or twenty young kids out for a night on the town.”
    “Have you any idea about the Health and Safety implicaitons alone? The paperwork?”
    “Look, Guvnor, 2000 people are dead! Are you blind as well as stupid? I did what I did to save lives!I don’t matter! It comes with the uniform!”
    “That’s enough, Constable! Consider yourself supended on full pay!”
    “Well fer Christ’s……right you are Guv.”
    “And if I catch you smoking I’ll have your pay stopped!”

  • John K

    Menezes died of stupid. When you wear a heavy coat in the summer, it looks unusual. Placed in the context of the then-recent train bombings, it can look like a potential suicide vest. And when you’re told to put your hands in the air, then you DON’T REACH UNDER THE GODDAMN COAT LIKE YOU’RE GOING FOR A WEAPON OR THE SWITCH!

    Sorry Sunfish, you are ill-informed. Menezes was killed under the previoulsy secret rules of Operation Kratos, whereby if a suspect was deemed to be a suicide bomber, he was to be killed by shots to the head without warning. I don’t blame the men who killed him, I blame the people who allowed an innocent man to be sentenced to certain death on a bit of flimsy observation evidence. That is a scandal, and of course, as is the British way of doing things, no-one will be held accountable. The officer in charge of this catastrophe has been promoted. Life goes on, minus one innocent man.

  • Guy Herbert

    Phil A,

    And why the hatred of ‘dancing slags’ I thought that was their idea of heaven?

    That’s easy. Autonomous women, particularly sexually autonomous women, are intolerable.

    One plausible sociobiological explanation for the popularity of fundamentalist creeds being covariant with modernisation is that the sexual revolution has losers as well as winners. The winners are metropolitans, almost all women, homosexuals and attractive heterosexual men; the losers are the unattractive heterosexual men who would otherwise have got their allocation of sex and children and paterfamilial status by buggins’ turn: the culturally backward, the spoilt brats and mummy’s boys, the provincial, the uneducated, and the stupid, as well as the physically and psychologically ill-favoured.

  • Pa Annoyed

    John K,

    By “the people who allowed,” I hope you meant the suicide bombers whose operational methods put civilians at risk in this way?

    Let’s take some of the anti-state prejudice out by supposing that instead of it being policemen asked to make this decision, we lived in the ideal Libertarian armed society and that you as Joe Citizen received firm information indicating that a person in your train carriage was a suicide bomber about to detonate. You’ve got a few seconds to decide, and issuing extended warnings would obviously be a bit counterproductive. Would you shoot?

    If there is a 10% chance the guy is a suicide bomber on the verge of killing 50 people, is a 10% chance of you killing 50 innocents better or worse than a 90% chance of killing one? You don’t get to ask for better odds. If you lose, you don’t get to play again. You don’t get to wait and let somebody else do it for you and so take the responsibility.

    A lot of us I suspect wouldn’t shoot. We would rather that everybody die than that we should kill somebody who we were not absolutely certain was guilty. And secretly, everybody is firmly convinced that nothing bad could ever happen to us. Bad things only ever happen to other people. It is a policy that against a real threat would kill more than five times as many; but that sort of rationality is not widely appreciated.

    Be thankful you’re not one of those asked to make such a choice.

  • Jacob

    “Jacob is misinterpreting me.”

    Well, ok. So that’s cleared now, it’s not all the fault of Bush. Fine.

    The Menezes disaster was also the fault of the terrorists. When you commit acts of terrorism you put poor police officers in a state of frenzy, in an abnormal and dangerous situation. Mistakes are human, and are going to happen. It’s the terrorists who cause police officers (and the public) to be in perpetual fear of imminent suicide bombers.

    And I don’t agree that terrorism is such a marginal and irrelevant threat, that no protective measures are needed. The agencies in charge of protecting us – i.e. the police, the secret services, the immigration officers, need to take measures to reduce the risk. Some loss of private liberty might be involved. The trick is to adopt sensible measures and strike the right balance between loss of liberty and protection. I find that your position – that ANY loss of liberty is a-priori wrong – unrealistic.

  • Paul Marks

    I can not be accused of being a uncritical Guy Herbert fan, but he is 100% correct about Mr Menezes.

    Killing an innocent man because you think he is a bomber is one thing. But telling a pack of lies about it afterwards is another.

    The police put out all sorts of spin. He jumped over a bar rather than having a ticket (lie), he was in a long heavy coat (lie), we gave him a chance to give up but he reached under the coat (lie), and so on and so on.

    And it was not the officers who killed him who came out with all the bullshit (in various briefings to the media) it was the brass – going right up to Sir Ian Blair.

    The powers-that-be have got to understand that they should stop telling lies. Otherwise they will not be believed when they really need to be.

  • Sunfish

    Evidently, the brief-in on Menezes that made it to this side of the pond wasn’t quite the unequivocal Truth that we were promised. Someone have a pointer to The Shooting of Menezes V2.0? We periodically review terror attacks and the responses to same in our training, and an ACCURATE and TRUTHFUL after-action review would probably be helpful. And if some brass were actually knowingly lying about what happened, then that prevented other public safety professionals from having useful information to apply to their own communities, and made the rest of us less-credible in our work.

    Assholes, they are. I apologize again for the language, but I don’t know offhand of a better term for it.

    1 – Guy, I would not rule out an anti-gay protest at this stage. It could have been a loner who parked up two vehicles, even. The nature of the alert, the timing, the mechanism to me means I would not totally rule out more sinister actors (i.e. new set of nutters = the Brown government).

    Interesting idea there. The Unabomber[1] was working for a while here before anybody knew for sure what his grudge was or how he picked his targets. And for a few days after the bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City, there was widespread speculation that said bombing originated overseas. (Some militia clown said that he had information from a secret source that the bomber was Jordanian, for instance)

    [1] The Unabomber was a guy who sent letter bombs to university professors and airline executives off and on in the 80′s and 90′s. Eventually, he sent his “manifesto” to a bunch of newspapers with a statement that he’d knock it off if they published it. It turned out to be a rant against technology and about how we should all go back to a pre-industrial society. He’s now a guest of the US Bureau of Prisons and likely will be for quite some time.

    And therefore, since we don’t know, we don’t know. If I had to bet right now I’d guess that the bombing was some sort of jihaddi who was upset that English people drink beer and won’t make their women wear tarpaulins in public, but I wouldn’t put much on that bet.

    Pa Annoyed:

    A lot of us I suspect wouldn’t shoot. We would rather that everybody die than that we should kill somebody who we were not absolutely certain was guilty. And secretly, everybody is firmly convinced that nothing bad could ever happen to us. Bad things only ever happen to other people. It is a policy that against a real threat would kill more than five times as many; but that sort of rationality is not widely appreciated.

    I don’t know what I’d do. That being said, I don’t put a whole lot of stock in the numbers you used for your calculations. Nothing against you or your insight, but this is an area that I just don’t believe can be meaningfully quantified and certainly not on-the-fly the way cops, security guards, a guy with a concealed-firearms license, etc. would do it.

    Jacob:

    And I don’t agree that terrorism is such a marginal and irrelevant threat, that no protective measures are needed

    I don’t know what the body counts are like in the UK. However, if you add up every death to occur at the hands of a terrorist inside the United States in the last two decades, you get an impressive number. Drunk drivers need less than two months to kill that many people, on average. I wouldn’t argue for prohibition, ignition interlocks, or checkpoints. Hell, I’m not even convinced that the 21-year-old drinking age is worth it. But I’m unhappy that so much effort is focused on a smaller threat, causing the greater threats to be blown off.

    I would give real money to know how the Met developed their rules of engagement in the Menezes mess. Were the RoE or the methods used to develop them ever released to the public?

  • Paul Cadier

    It’s a funny old world, but I heard a news report on France Inter the day before the discovery of the car-bomb in the Haymarket which said that a car with 22Kg of explosives and some gas cannisters had been discovered in France. Any thing we can do the Brits are not far behind!……I dismissed this “discovery” as an exercise in image building by macho-Sarko with the help of his chums in the DGSE. Why do I have similar misgivings when the same story has been reheated for British tastes?. Cars misteriously catching fire is not an event worthy of comment here. Most nights 30 or so are torched throughout the republic. At least we are not under routine surveillance like you guys.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Sunfish,

    Agreed. It can’t be quantified precisely. Which is what makes it such a difficult decision, and why it is partly a matter of policy and pre-planning rather than entirely up to the individual officer on the ground. It’s the principle I’m trying to get across. When there isn’t enough information available to know which way to go, it is inevitable that sometimes you will get it tragically wrong. Getting it wrong doesn’t mean its a bad policy.

    As for how they developed the rules of engagement, my recollection from the discussion afterwards was that they had asked the Israelis for advice. I don’t recall that for certain, it’s just something I read somewhere so it might be wrong.

    I seem to remember reading some stories from the US just after 9/11 when various anti-war lefties made the same argument, that more people died in traffic accidents than on 9/11, and getting their lights punched out for it.

    I agree that on a rational assessment of death rates, terrorism is not a significant threat. If people generally made their decisions on a rational basis, I wouldn’t be worried, but they don’t. People respond emotionally, and governments respond to them responding. We have a deal with government – we give them power and they use it to protect us.

    So far, nobody has died in this latest round of incidents, and most people are still in the “so what?” stage. Nothing is going to happen for a while yet, but it all adds up. My concern is that the eventual reaction by the general public will be the wrong one, based on all the myths and misinformation, and will do more harm than good.

  • Jacob

    I agree that on a rational assessment of death rates, terrorism is not a significant threat.

    It is not very big, maybe, because of the precautions taken. It seems to me obvious that without the searches at the airports we would have seem more planes downed.
    You do what you can to prevent terrorist attacks, and you do what you can to prevent drunk driving – the two are unrelated, it’s not either-or, you do both. (And there is little that you can do about drunk driving, anyway).

    I repeat: I do not buy the argument that terrorism is insignificant, and nothing needs to be done about it.

    Big government is a problem, a big problem, but it has nothing to to with the anti-terrorist measures. It’s Socialism and related ideology that produce big government not the war against Islamic fanatics.

  • lucklucky

    “Of course Islamist violence isn’t Bush’s fault, but the declaration of a “War on Terror” is;

    Ok War on Radical Islam. Do you prefer that?

    “the invocation of the “Axis of Evil”, arbitrarily making neutral, irrelevant, and in the case of Iran, newly sympathetic, countries part of the enemy in that black-and-white “war” is;”

    Iran NEUTRAL and newly sympathetic country Hehehe! You think the “moderate” before A-Dinejah was simpathetic?

  • Terry Wrist

    You just can’t let the state sponsored unlawful killing of J.C. de Menezes go, can you? He was a civilian murdered by a trigger-happy, out-of-control, incompetent branch of Britain’s state security services, probably the Metropolitan Police Service. So take a deep breath and say, “He was not a terrorist. He was an innocent victim. Nothing he did was cause for suspicion.” Then the Met spun a pack of lies in an attempt to hide their heinous crime, and unfortunately too many useful idiots still believe some or part of this fiction. Had it not been for an IPCC whistleblower (that was arrested) and ITN, they would probably have got away with it. No officer has been held accountable, and Ms. Dick, the senior officer in charge of the hit squad was promoted, rather than brought before a court of law. With that in mind, you might be wise to withhold judgement on the two recent bomb attempts. Just in case they were a misguided Congestion Charge protest.

  • lucklucky

    “I agree that on a rational assessment of death rates, terrorism is not a significant threat. ”

    Hmm so cars arent getting more safe, planes more safe, health are improving? So we arent fighting there too?

    Car accidents have a know value and dont have the potential of a great hike. We dont expect that car accidents next year grow 1000% or drop 100%.

    They are also not comparable. In terrorism there is imoral intent in usual car accidents there isnt.
    It’s like the argument if someone has money it can be robbed or since a person have 90 years doesnt have right to Justice because death is just around the corner. Any of that can break a society.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Jacob,

    I didn’t say nothing needed to be done about it. But when it comes to rationally assigning our priorities, you could easily argue that persuading people to give up smoking, say, should have a far higher priority than persuading people to stop blowing themselves up. Terrorism is very definitely significant, but because of the effect that it has on people’s intentions and behaviour, not because of the raw death rate. People die. It’s not unusual.

    Terry,

    I don’t have any strongly held emotions one way or the other on the Menezes case. I understand the reasoning behind the policy, and consider it rational and correct. Shooting Menezes was absolutely the right thing to do, even though he was innocent of being the terrorist they thought he was. I don’t agree with attempts to cover it up (if that’s what it was), although I can understand that as a human reaction, given that the officers involved knew what people like yourself would likely say.

    Perfection is the enemy of the good, and requiring the authorities set over us to be perfect in areas where they are only human is precisely what leads to all the corruption and lies. They lie so often because they know the hypocrites that we all are will not tolerate them speaking the truth.

    Yes, the security services could have been better. But only with the aid of a lot more money and manpower, and by being a lot more intrusive into our privacy. Screw-ups like this are the price you pay for limitations on the police state and their ability to identify us. Think about it. Do you really want competent security services able to identify and track us all instantly and perfectly?!

    Lucklady,
    I think perhaps you misunderstood my intent. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t fight terrorism. I’m saying that the argument that terrorism doesn’t kill very many misses the point. If we decided policy based on actual likelihood of death, it might have some weight, but we don’t.

    Percentage rises and falls are a case in point. Logically we should only be interested in the absolute number of deaths we can prevent for a given amount of resource. Preventing 1% of heart disease is a better idea than preventing 1000% of terrorism deaths, because so many more die of the former than the latter. All those percentages fool us into worrying about stuff that isn’t important. As a mathematician I lament it; but politically I accept that this is the way society is, and that one has to work with that.

    We have to respond to this terrorism urgently. My concern is that faced by demands from the people to “do something” and with their hands tied by political correctness and other issues from addressing the root cause, they will instead engage in ineffective wastes of resources like airport scanners and cops with guns. What they need to be doing is fighting the ideology – fighting the information war.

    They’re not even acknowledging such a war exists, let alone fighting it. And that leaves us nearly defenceless.

    I watched yesterday the policeman in charge of the enquiry in Glasgow spend half his briefing talking about the importance of not reacting against some unnamed “communities”, and how they would act “robustly” against anyone who did. He also mentioned how they were getting “useful advice” from people in certain “communities”, who might or might not be the same “communities” as the ones we were not supposed to react against. He very carefully refused to say anything at all about the attackers they had arrested, despite the obvious sub-text beneath the reporter’s question (and in doing so, answered it, of course).

    The police won’t say anything, because they are frightened to do so. Yes, the police and security services of this country are actually scared. Because they are afraid of the reaction of the enemy now firmly in our midst, and because they know they will get zero support from their political masters if they do.

    That is our problem – not a bunch of idiots who can’t even put a simple bomb together straight, yet.

  • Kim du Toit

    Well, this could all have been prevented if only everyone had gone along with Red Ken Livingstone’s plan for a car-free London…

  • John K

    John K,

    By “the people who allowed,” I hope you meant the suicide bombers whose operational methods put civilians at risk in this way?

    No, I mean the police commanders who gave the order to kill an innocent man.

    The scenario was that Menezes left an apartment building where one of the suspects was thought to have an apartment. It was meant to be observed by a special forces soldier, who it turns out was taking a piss at the very moment Menezes left the building, so he was unable to ID him properly. Menezes was then followed taking a bus to Stockwell tube station, where he used his ticket, walked onto the platform, and then boarded a train. He was wearing ordinary clothing, had not behaved at all suspiciously, and was just on his way to work. Somehow, Commander Dick, who was in charge of the operation, became convinced that he was a suicide bomber, and under the rules of Operation Kratos, gave the order. This meant the suspect was to be killed without warning, a death sentence. That she gave the order on such flimsy grounds is truly appalling. Her previous job had been as the Met’s “Head of Diversity”, and that seems to have given her the credentials to be in charge of a life and death op such as this. No doubt her appointment ticked the relevant diversity boxes. Once she gave the order, Menezes’s fate was sealed. He was not going to be challenged, he was not going to be arrested, he was going to be killed.

    The men who killed him were entitled to believe that their superiors had compelling evidence that the target was a suicide bomber. That is the only justification for giving the Kratos order, because it means certain death for the suspect. Commander Dick has never been called to account for her decision, instead she has been promoted to Deputy Assistant Commissioner. If you think that that doesn’t stink, fine. I think it does.

    When something like this happens, I always like to wonder what would have happened if the Prime Minister’s son had been the victim? You can bet Commander Dick would not have been promoted. But so long as it’s only one of the little people it seems it’s just a bit of collateral damage, and no reason to halt the stellar career of one of Britain’s new breed of police chiefs.

  • John K

    The powers-that-be have got to understand that they should stop telling lies. Otherwise they will not be believed when they really need to be.

    I agree. I can understand mistakes happening, it’s the lies I can’t stand.

  • Paul Marks

    I missed the real-reasons-they-think-want-they-think-and-do-what-they-do from Guy Herbert, but it does not work.

    Many of the terrorists are well educated (not uneducated), urban (not rural), wealthy (not poor) and handsome (not ugly).

    Indeed the traditionalist who follows his clan elders (in Afghanistan or Bolton) is very unlikely to be a problem. It is the person who tries to break free of family and clan via Islam that is more likely to be the problem.

    That is why it is when people start to study Islam (rather than just see it as following certain rituals that their parents and other elders do) that they tend to become a problem.

    Of course some people study Islam and come to liberal conclusions. But this does not seem to be the norm.

  • John K: Somehow, Commander Dick, who was in charge of the operation, became convinced that he was a suicide bomber

    IIRC, this was because someone, not the special forces slasher, marked him. If he was marked, that changes everything, including the status of Cmdr Dick’s decision.

  • “Like so what?”
    Not sure HTF I come to be passing through here at 6 am, an hour when I’m not usually conscious, but I do know that within two hours I shall be poddling off to work in the West End of London, so I think I shall fly the jolly old flag here. It’s going to be bloody boring. If there aren’t actual bombs, there’ll be suspected bombs and nearly equal disruption, especially doubtless up to the 7th – if you were a fruitcake in love with death, wouldn’t you rejoice in your little anniversaries. These guys do not impress, they do not intimidate, they are a 24-carat pain in the arse, fundamentally if potentially lethally pathetic.

  • lucklucky

    “Preventing 1% of heart disease is a better idea than preventing 1000% of terrorism deaths, because so many more die of the former than the latter. All those percentages fool us into worrying about stuff that isn’t important.”

    No. Apparently you didnt understood me. You use only numbers you not factor behavoural incentives to determine were you spent your resources, neither morals or ethics. If you want only numbers i can say that heart disease is for olders that dont produce much and i rather spend all money trying to save children. Or like i said why spent resources if a teenager just robbed an old rich lady $10? or an over complicated murder that needs 400 policemen investigating?
    Why just not drop all murder investigations no one cant fix the murder victim at all why spent resources there?

    But if you want numbers only we can still ask this:
    More than 50000 jihadists death since Afeghanistan, what are the value for that? lets suppose they could have make at least a new Iran somewhere. What would be the cost of it?
    What were the market price of 911 in economic terms? We are still paying it in air travel time expense.

  • John K

    John K: Somehow, Commander Dick, who was in charge of the operation, became convinced that he was a suicide bomber

    IIRC, this was because someone, not the special forces slasher, marked him. If he was marked, that changes everything, including the status of Cmdr Dick’s decision.

    All the more reason for a proper calling to account, rather than the cover up that took place. If Cmdr Dick had a compelling reason to have issued the orders to kill, we deserve to know it. Indeed, she deserves to have it known, because otherwise, as far as I am concerned, her name is mud.

  • Pa Annoyed

    You use only numbers you not factor behavoural incentives to determine were you spent your resources, neither morals or ethics.

    I used a particular example of a moral/ethic: that it is the number of deaths that counts (this being the one used in the argument about the threat of terrorists I was disecting). There are of course other ethical rules you could pick, but whichever you pick, the same principle applies; that the normal emotional decision making process is still less ethical than knowing and weighing the odds.

    If you want only numbers i can say that heart disease is for olders that dont produce much and i rather spend all money trying to save children.

    Does that imply that you would only save the lives of rich people, and let the unemployed die? Well, I suppose it’s as valid an ethic as any other.

    Actuaries use a measure called “life-years” for this sort of purpose. It doesn’t actually change the result very much, since so few children die. Less than 1% of people die as children (about half that if you discount infant mortality) so even if you weight them ten times more heavily than the elderly for their longer lifespan, that comes to about 5-10 life-years per hundred people, compared to adding 10 years to the lives of the 20% elderly, amounting to 20 life-years per hundred people. Like for like, curing the diseases of the elderly is still more than twice as important as saving children.

    This is way off topic, but it’s the sort of calculation you would have to do if you wanted to use death counts as a moral guide.

    Or like i said why spent resources if a teenager just robbed an old rich lady $10? or an over complicated murder that needs 400 policemen investigating? Why just not drop all murder investigations no one cant fix the murder victim at all why spent resources there?

    A very good point. And that’s exactly what they do. Nowadays, if you go to the police in Britain to report certain crimes, like burglary, they won’t actually do anything. The benefits of chasing them don’t match the costs, so they don’t bother. Murders they do spend more on, but even there, there is a limit to how long they will spend on it before giving up. The cost of spending more time on burglaries is less time spent on murders.

    Resources are limited and some things you’d like done won’t be. By defining your priorities based on your ethics and then acting based on the probabilities and numbers, you do the most good as you have defined it. By responding with knee-jerk ‘fixes’ every time the newspapers announce some new catastrophe, you waste resources and in the end kill more people.

    I’m not sure, I think we might be in total agreement here, just speaking with a different emphasis. But since it’s so far off topic, I won’t say any more on it.

  • lucklucky

    Deaths are not the only morals because a death by violant means costs much more than a death by accident. So in my opinion you didnt weight all factors.

    How is it off topic when the argument is to do nothing against terrorism?

    “Nowadays, if you go to the police in Britain to report certain crimes, like burglary, they won’t actually do anything. The benefits of chasing them don’t match the costs, so they don’t bother.”

    So do you agree with that? When everyone goes that route how much will be the cost? Or how much it is already?
    How much more productive/rich got New York after the crime drop?

  • Terry Wrist

    “Shooting Menezes was absolutely the right thing to do, even though he was innocent of being the terrorist they thought he was.”
    Now that really does take my breath away. “Kill them all, God will know his own.”
    The police are not your friend. They never were. It’s just taking you rather long to wake up to this obvious reality. The government control the media, the media own you. Again, a little slow to flash to reality.
    But one thing I am convinced of: Media whores and useful idiots. The perfect marriage.

  • Paul Cadier

    Well, all the above islamophobic comments look rather forlorn now that we know that the MI5 had at least a forwarning of the attacks, or at worst actual involvement. 1. Warning the Israli Prime Minister not to leave his hotel. 2. A private security firm was conducting a full-scale rescue exercise at all three tube stations. 3. The CEO of that company was interviewed in the aftermath and was obviously gobsmacked at the co-incidence of real bombs going off. 4. He has since refused to comment. 5 . Eyewitnesses saw none of the bombers. 6. One saw the floor of the carriage rear up as though the explosion was placed under the floor. These claims could be kicked in to touch if the authorities allowed an open inquiry. Fat chance!

  • Well, all the above islamophobic comments look rather forlorn now that we know that the MI5 had at least a forwarning of the attacks, or at worst actual involvement.

    Oh please, spare us the absurd conspiracy theories. Things are screwed up quite enough without imagining MI5 is involved.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Still of the same mind, boys?