Walk into the jaws of Hell: a terrible day for London

It reminds me of when I went to London, only a few days after the Madrid bombings. At the time, the whole system was on a terror alert, as they feared a reprisal. However, I walked right past heavily armed police onto the Tube, and it wasn't as if they were patting everyone down. "Al-Qaeda shadow looms over London." This was very similar to the Madrid attacks:

"Like the attacks on the Spanish capital, the targets in London were key transportation nodes: underground stations which intersect with main railway stations, feeding through hundreds of thousands of passengers an hour during peak time," says Dr Eyal.

"And, like in Madrid, the purpose was to kill as many people as possible, by striking at different targets at more or less the same time."

The London stock market plunged after the attacks but the FTSE 100 index came mostly back up. US stock markets aren't hosed. And oil is at a record high but for some reason eased off after this. I wonder if the Plunge Protection Team is rolling out? (London's Evening Standard on the PPT)

The Guardian has a news blog running with updates (General summary). The photo here came from flickr.com. There is a large collection of pictures tagged "London Bomb Blasts" that has a lot of original pictures. (BBC also has pictures and a map of the bombed lines)

Wikipedia now has a picture collection as well as large set of emerging information. Wikinews covers "Four bombs rock London" with many news links, including the surprising news that Netanyahu of all people had some kind of advance warning from the Brits.

The Israelis were tipped off minutes before the explosions?! WTF?

Netanyahu Changed Plans Due to Warning

By AMY TEIBEL, Associated Press Writer Thu Jul 7, 7:14 AM ET

JERUSALEM - British police told the Israeli Embassy in London minutes before Thursday's explosions that they had received warnings of possible terror attacks in the city, a senior Israeli official said.

Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had planned to attend an economic conference in a hotel over the subway stop where one of the blasts occurred, and the warning prompted him to stay in his hotel room instead, government officials said.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said he wasn't aware of any Israeli casualties.

Just before the blasts, Scotland Yard called the security officer at the Israeli Embassy to say they had received warnings of possible attacks, the official said. He did not say whether British police made any link to the economic conference.

Reporter Chris Allbritton put a translation on his site back-to-iraq.com, of a statement posted on an al-Qaeda linked website, www.qal3ati.com. The site seems to be gone for now, but this was the post:

Announcement on London's Operation 7/7/2005

Jamaat al-Tandheem Al-Sierri (secret organization group)

Organization of Qaeda't al-Jihad in Europe

In the name of God the most merciful...

Rejoice the nation of Islam, rejoice nation of Arabs, the time of revenge has come for the crusaders' Zionist British government.

As retaliation for the massacres which the British commit in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mujahideen have successfully done it this time in London.

And this is Britain now burning from fear and panic from the north to the south, from the east to the west.

We have warned the brutish governments and British nation many times.

And here we are, we have done what we have promised. We have done a military operation after heavy work and planning, which the mujahideen have done, and it has taken a long time to ensure the success of this operation.

And we still warn the government of Denmark and Italy, all the crusader governments, that they will have the same punishment if they do not pull their forces out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

So beware.

Thursday 7/7/2005

Jamaat al-Tandheem Al-Sierri (secret organization group)

Organization of al Qaeda't al-Jihad in Europe.

BTW Allbritton is releasing podcasts of his journalism over in Iraq. Nice.

Speaking of Afghanistan, an interesting BBC tale about American troops battling near the Pakistan border. As their Afghan ally put it, are mostly Arabs, Waziris from Pakistan and Chechens. Also, the Iranians are going to train Iraqi troops. What could go wrong?! "Will the US be asked to leave key military bases?" in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan & Uzbekistan?

In the evening of the aftermath, Financial Times analysts have published a harsh rebuke to the United States and its Global War on Terror:

Bush has to review strategy, say US experts

By Guy Dinmore and Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington

Published: July 7 2005 18:16 | Last updated: July 7 2005 18:16

A constant theme of the Bush administration is that America and the world are safer because of the US invasion of Iraq and its anti-terror strategy.

That argument prevailed during the US presidential election campaign last year, despite even official US evidence to the contrary, but may have been finally buried by Thursday’s bombings in London.

Experts in Washington said following the blasts that it was time for the Bush administration to re-evaluate its strategy. Confronted by opinion polls showing his falling popularity and waning support for the war in Iraq, Mr Bush stuck to his guns in a speech to the military last week that characteristically showed no hint of change.

“There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home,” said Mr Bush in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Last September, at the peak of his re-election campaign, Mr Bush told the Republican national convention: “We are staying on the offensive striking terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home. Our strategy is succeeding. We have led, many have joined, and America and the world are safer.”

John Hamre, president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former deputy secretary of defence, said: “Clearly [the world] is not safer. I think this highlights the complexity of the problem.

We must defend a vast infrastructure constantly while extremists get to pick the time and place with very limited tools. Obviously we must try to intercept the terrorists. But we must also address the broader socio-political context. We can’t solve this with a relatively limited dimensional model of counterforce. Being mighty is one thing. Being effective is another. This is a much more complex problem.

Classified studies by the CIA and State Department leaked to the media last month concluded that Iraq had replaced Afghanistan as the prime training ground for foreign terrorists who could travel across the world spreading destruction. The Bush administration has struggled even to work out whether the world is a safer place or not.

A year ago, the State Department had to withdraw a report by the Terrorist Threat Integration Centre that claimed terror attacks in 2003 had declined sharply. The revised report more than doubled the numbers of attacks and deaths.

We have to keep on going, doing whatever the hell we are doing...

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