"Major Incident" in London reported
July 7, 2005 2:17 AM   Subscribe

Major Incident on London Underground reported. Anyone have any further information?
posted by Cobbler (712 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Maybe, oh, I dunno, Google News?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:18 AM on July 7, 2005


Officials are claiming it was a power surge of some kind. A couple of individuals apparently received calls about bomb threats.

BBC News link
posted by Drexen at 2:21 AM on July 7, 2005


Mobile phone reception in my area has stopped, too, on all networks. Lots of sirens about.
posted by Drexen at 2:25 AM on July 7, 2005


Officials are claiming it was a power surge of some kind

I find it hard to believe a power surge could knock out a bus

Mobile phone reception in my area has stopped, too, on all networks.

The emergency responce team can knock out all comms in an area to ensure their lines are clear
posted by handybitesize at 2:29 AM on July 7, 2005


"Maybe, oh, I dunno, Google News?"

See my comment in the other thread. It's too early to get much timely information from the net. If you look at those Google news items that turn up from your link (as of 32 minutes after the hour), they all say basically the same few things.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:29 AM on July 7, 2005


Local BBC reporting several explosions at London stations and explosions on at least one bus. Entire Underground and most major rail stations closed. Eyewitness descriptions of trhe top of a bus in Tavistock square being blown off.
posted by normy at 2:33 AM on July 7, 2005 [1 favorite]


Just phoned my Mum on a hard line -- she is watching this from home out of London. I'm at work in the heart of the city. She said they're saying three buses now. Reports of technical faults on the underground don't make much sense given the buses. I go three these areas all the time. I am having no luck contacting my girlfriend who is out and about at the moment. It's a big old place, and she's not good at answering the phone, though...
posted by nthdegx at 2:34 AM on July 7, 2005


Fair enough. This kind of thread may not be what Metafilter's for, but a similar one was of great comfort to me after the Bali bombing. I retract my mild snark.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:35 AM on July 7, 2005


Right, my girlfriend got through to me, thankfully. Lots of sirens in the background by the sounds of it. She said it was kind of crazy outside.
posted by nthdegx at 2:38 AM on July 7, 2005


My girlfriend's in the City too (she commutes to London from Barcelona - what a crock for this!) Doesn't know much of what's going on - but is safe. It's a mess, and if the buses are true, it's no accident.
posted by benzo8 at 2:39 AM on July 7, 2005


Scotland Yard have confirmed 3 bus explosions (one of which my colleague witnessed at Aldgate). Metronet (who run parts of the tube) confirm at least 3 explosions on the underground network. All London hospitals are on major incident alert and the entire tube and central bus network has been suspended. Reports of multiple fatalities. Finally, an eyewitness on Sky News has just reported a second explosion at Russell Square.
posted by tomafro at 2:45 AM on July 7, 2005


sbs make the interesting link that this is happening the day after england is chosen to host the olympics - is there a connection?
posted by gusset at 2:46 AM on July 7, 2005


Eyewitnesses are now reporting secondary explosions in Russell Sqaure.
posted by Reto at 2:46 AM on July 7, 2005


nthdegx - I'm relieved to hear you heard from her.

I have such a terrible knot in my stomach right now. The news coverage, the chaos, the sketchy reports and unknown numbers of people affected all feels way too horribly familiar. You're all in my prayers.
posted by LeeJay at 2:46 AM on July 7, 2005


For what it's worth, now that Reuters has gone down (thanks for that .NET scalability, Bill), Ananova were one of the very few news sources to stay afloat during 9/11 while providing regular updates.
Current story
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:47 AM on July 7, 2005


Hope it's not as bad as it sounds... must be a nightmare being in the LU when something like this happens.

Perhaps the French are upset about not getting the 2012 Olympics?
posted by Chunder at 2:48 AM on July 7, 2005


If this is intentional, (and it sounds like it is,) I hope the paramedics are careful, I believe there have been cases where follow up bombs have been planted to take out first responders and cause more chaos.

My thoughts and wishes to everyone in London.
posted by Snyder at 2:48 AM on July 7, 2005


Home Secretary requests people not to make "unnecessary journies" in London.
posted by normy at 2:49 AM on July 7, 2005


The Financial Times is now describing it as a ""co-ordinated terrorist attack"
posted by greatneb at 2:50 AM on July 7, 2005


More likely to be a G8 thing than the Olympics I would suspect.
posted by Auz at 2:51 AM on July 7, 2005


fuck - I live in London (hence excitement at yesterday's announcement) but am in the Midlands this week staying with my boyfriend... first I knew about all this was a SMS from a friend asking if I was OK. Can't help but see a link with the Olympic announcement and possibly the G8.

I used to commute in to Russell Sq every day before I went freelance... must contact everyone I can think of. this is awful.
posted by altolinguistic at 2:51 AM on July 7, 2005


A girl I work with just walked in after having seen one of the buses explode. She's not quite sure what she saw and is upstairs, v traumatised.
posted by Summer at 2:52 AM on July 7, 2005


Due in Soho tonight to attend a reunion inc. one friend who's just arrived from Tokyo. Good re-introduction to London life as he left during the days when the IRA were causing security alerts almost daily...

Any updates from London-based MeFites appreciated.
posted by i_cola at 2:52 AM on July 7, 2005


Report of another bomb on Hounsditch (financial district).
posted by normy at 2:53 AM on July 7, 2005


My wife is flying into the UK tomorrow. I would be extremely fucking displeased if anything stops this happening with 100% efficiency.
posted by longbaugh at 2:53 AM on July 7, 2005


And someone finally dropped the T word...
posted by mek at 2:54 AM on July 7, 2005


Up-to-the-second info: here
posted by SharQ at 2:54 AM on July 7, 2005


Greeting from the City of London!

Things ok here, if ppl a bit panicked. We've been asked to shut windows and keep away. Outside, people are milling around but it seems pretty calm.
posted by plep at 2:59 AM on July 7, 2005


Way to distill the information from here and self-link at a time when people are panicky and scared. Fuckwad.
posted by benzo8 at 3:00 AM on July 7, 2005


Where do you work Summer?
posted by i_cola at 3:00 AM on July 7, 2005


All the mobiles are down, can't reach any friends out there.

Even the BBC radio stream is dead.
posted by gsb at 3:01 AM on July 7, 2005


Nothing to say that hasn't already been said. Check-ins and info will help assuage fears and please let us know if and how we can help.
posted by Frisbee Girl at 3:01 AM on July 7, 2005


Good lord. Situation in London is pretty chaotic. Lots of rumours flying around. So far, casualties appear low, although the high level of organisation (tube incident was a time to cause maximum damage) means that I'm just hoping there isn't another shoe to drop.
posted by Hartster at 3:01 AM on July 7, 2005


You can text mobiles in London, I've discovered, even though you can't phone them. On O2, at least.
posted by jonvaughan at 3:01 AM on July 7, 2005


ITV news reporting >20 fatalities.
posted by normy at 3:02 AM on July 7, 2005


Self-links in threads are OK benzo8. Not everyone on the internet can comment on MeFi.
posted by i_cola at 3:02 AM on July 7, 2005


BBC reports police stating that there are multiple bombs - including a possible train crash at Kings Cross.
posted by laukf at 3:03 AM on July 7, 2005


Tube shutdown: Eyewitness reports
posted by gsb at 3:03 AM on July 7, 2005


Thanks, LeeJay. I still have heard no word of fatalities, tomafro -- do you have a source you can link to? I'm trying to keep a total of incidents, and assuming reports here are accurate there have now been 8 or 9: but amid the confusion perhaps its nowhere near that. This Dialy Mail story hints at six.
posted by nthdegx at 3:03 AM on July 7, 2005


This quote from the BBC article pretty much sums up English people in my mind

"People don't seem to be panicked, but there's so many police and ambulances coming into the areas. People are just concerned, and some are just annoyed at the delay."
posted by longbaugh at 3:04 AM on July 7, 2005


jonvaughan: SMS should work fine. In Sri Lanka a lot of the post-tsunami news went via SMS despite voice calls being out.
posted by i_cola at 3:04 AM on July 7, 2005


You can text mobiles in London, I've discovered, even though you can't phone them. On O2, at least.

I think this is the case. I'm on Orange and it works for me.
posted by nthdegx at 3:04 AM on July 7, 2005


ITV speculation of intentional shutdown of mobile phone networks because phones can be used to trigger bombs.
posted by normy at 3:05 AM on July 7, 2005


There was a 'muffled explosion' at Liverpool Street station around the time I got in. More explosions on buses since then.
Confirmed 20 dead.

Also, my mobile texting (Vodafone) isn't working.
posted by plep at 3:05 AM on July 7, 2005


Where do you work Summer?

Bow Street. We've been told to stay inside and not go near the windows. My friend who works in City heard the Houndsditch bomb. Luckily everyone I know is accounted for.
posted by Summer at 3:06 AM on July 7, 2005


An email from a friend:

I’ve just had a call from a friend who works for the US Navy over here and they have an MOD briefing suggesting they were expecting 5 bombs – so it looks highly possible that there will be more.
posted by Summer at 3:07 AM on July 7, 2005


longbaugh: I am going to go ahead and assume I have misunderstood both of your contributions to this thread and write off my negative reaction to them as stress.
posted by LeeJay at 3:07 AM on July 7, 2005


Sky has just confirmed all bus services in central London have been suspended.
posted by Reto at 3:07 AM on July 7, 2005


I cannot get through to anyone in London, by phone or text.
posted by ZippityBuddha at 3:07 AM on July 7, 2005


LeeJay - fuck off. Read them however you like - one is me being worried about my wife flying into the country and the other is me pointing out how wonderful the English are at dealing with this.

I give less than a toss about your fucking reaction.
posted by longbaugh at 3:09 AM on July 7, 2005


Mobile phone reception in my area has stopped, too, on all networks.

It's now standard practice that if a bomb goes off, they shut down the mobile phone network because further bombs can be triggered by mobile.
posted by missbossy at 3:09 AM on July 7, 2005


Confirmed 20 dead.

The BBC just said that there was no confirmed deaths, yet. Where did you here this, Plep?
posted by ZippityBuddha at 3:10 AM on July 7, 2005


Metropolitan Police Commisioner on TV asks people not to move - all public transport in London currently closed down.
posted by normy at 3:10 AM on July 7, 2005


From the London Transport website:
"All London underground lines are suspended due to a network emergency. London buses are withdrawn from cental London & DLR services are only running between bow Church & Lewisham and Beckton & Poplar."
posted by Reto at 3:11 AM on July 7, 2005


LeeJay - fuck off. Read them however you like - one is me being worried about my wife flying into the country and the other is me pointing out how wonderful the English are at dealing with this.

Like I said. I assumed that I was misunderstanding them and that I was reacting out of my own distress. I hope your wife makes it in safely.
posted by LeeJay at 3:12 AM on July 7, 2005


My mobile network (o2) seems to be working ok for texts and telephone, but the other networks in use for our company are patchy at best.

One of our group companies in W1 has decided to close its offices for the day and send all staff home. Others have been told to stay at work if they're already there and go back home if they're out of the office or still on their way.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 3:12 AM on July 7, 2005


BBC is reporting an incident in Brighton, where the railway station has been closed. I'm near Victoria station, where we have been advised not to leave the building. Spoke to my wife briefly after she arrived at a meeting near Oxford Circus by bus, but can't get in touch now. This is absolutely nervewracking...
posted by zarex at 3:13 AM on July 7, 2005


LeeJay - me too goddamn it - sorry to bite at you.
posted by longbaugh at 3:13 AM on July 7, 2005


Just managed to Skype my friends in London, everyone's OK and surprisingly calm. Thank God for the Internet.
posted by fuzz at 3:14 AM on July 7, 2005


News of incidents in both Brighton and Swindon train stations.
posted by NinjaPirate at 3:14 AM on July 7, 2005


Don't worry about it. I shouldn't have said anything to begin with. My apologies.
posted by LeeJay at 3:14 AM on July 7, 2005


Brighton as well? Fuck - my family live there...
posted by longbaugh at 3:17 AM on July 7, 2005


All about you, ain't it Longbaugh?
posted by benzo8 at 3:18 AM on July 7, 2005


Here between Holborn and Covent Garden everything seems calm, though we can hear loads of sirens. Also, we've just seen some army vehicles drive past.
posted by tomafro at 3:18 AM on July 7, 2005


Can't contact my friend who spends every day near Holborn by phone. Have tried SMS but no response yet.

longbaugh - I chuckled a bit at that quote in the BBC article too - it is fairly typical of Londoners to be under threat of terrorism and *still* whinge about delays on the Tube.
posted by altolinguistic at 3:18 AM on July 7, 2005


Reuters is reportnig at least 90 casualties at Aldgate.
posted by walrus at 3:19 AM on July 7, 2005


altolinguistic: The cell phone network has been shut down
posted by fvw at 3:20 AM on July 7, 2005


My flat is 3 mins from Brighton station. Thankfully I ride share...north Surrey may not be such a bad place to work after all...
posted by i_cola at 3:21 AM on July 7, 2005


I can't get any info about Brighton or about this 90 casualties. If you have links, people, please post them if you can.
posted by blacklite at 3:21 AM on July 7, 2005


Can we drop the snarking, please? Just nipped to my local Dixons electronic store in the middle of town.

"Radio, is it, sir?"

"Err, yeah".

"You'll need batteries, too..."

I looked toward the end of the store, and about thrity people were crowded round the TVs.
posted by nthdegx at 3:21 AM on July 7, 2005


benzo8, please, it's perfectly understandable to be worried about family, everyone's under stress here, some more then other, obviously, but it's no reason to lose your cool, please, lets not fight.
posted by Snyder at 3:22 AM on July 7, 2005


Now, Scotland Yard is confirming 6 explosions (so much for power surges), 5 on the tube and 1 on a bus (listening to BBC News 24)
posted by zarex at 3:22 AM on July 7, 2005


"I can't get any info about Brighton or about this 90 casualties. If you have links, people, please post them if you can."

Reuters is down, casualties also reported here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4659331.stm
posted by walrus at 3:22 AM on July 7, 2005


TV reports here say at least 90 fatalities and there are images of busloads (literally) of injured people being ferried to hospital.

Bombs in 3 buses in Russel Square and a tube train between Kings Cross and Aldgate East Station is what has just been reported here on TV. Also at least one suspicious package in another train.

No links for these reports as yet.
posted by dg at 3:22 AM on July 7, 2005


Metropolitan police, on BBC World, confirms six explosions.

Police message to Londoners:

1. Stay where you are. All transport disabled.
2. Don't call emergency sevices unless situation is life-theatening.
3. Will be back soon with more information.
posted by mr.marx at 3:23 AM on July 7, 2005


Yes benzo8 - it's my malignant narcissism shining through as I show concern for my wife and members of my family. What's your point - take it to meta, flag it or email me. Stop clogging up the blue and I will do the same, thanks.
posted by longbaugh at 3:23 AM on July 7, 2005


The 90 casualties is mentioned here, originally from Reuters: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4659331.stm
posted by jonvaughan at 3:24 AM on July 7, 2005


The 90 number comes from Reuters - only from the Algate explosion.
posted by laukf at 3:25 AM on July 7, 2005


Does "casualties" mean deaths? I really fucking hope not
posted by ZippityBuddha at 3:26 AM on July 7, 2005


Does "casualties" mean deaths? I really fucking hope not
No, it means injured people - i.e. anyone from the walking wounded to the dead.
posted by chill at 3:27 AM on July 7, 2005


I have to say from reports on the radio, it sounds like the emergency services plan is working fantastically efficiently - I have images of big red buses ferrying the non-seriously injured to hospitals.
posted by altolinguistic at 3:27 AM on July 7, 2005


This is a sad day.
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:27 AM on July 7, 2005


is it just me or are reports all over the place?
posted by lemonfridge at 3:28 AM on July 7, 2005


Royal London (big East London hospital) now closed for anything but emergencies, due to the number of injuries.
posted by normy at 3:28 AM on July 7, 2005


TV is now saying 6 confirmed explosions - 3 in buses in Russell Square and 3 in the tube network.

altolinguistic, the TV is showing almost exactly that - big white buses ferrying people to hospital.
posted by dg at 3:28 AM on July 7, 2005


Police confirm at least 2 killed - direct from BBC News 24, numerous wounded.
posted by longbaugh at 3:28 AM on July 7, 2005


Any bloggers posting pictures yet?

My thoughts with all of you in the area
posted by ajbattrick at 3:29 AM on July 7, 2005


90 casualties at just one station? Jesus.
posted by LeeJay at 3:29 AM on July 7, 2005


Arab sources monitoring Al Q indicate that they are responsible according to BBC Security correspondent.
posted by longbaugh at 3:30 AM on July 7, 2005


BBC World Service TV news just said that "sources monitoring the Arab news services" are saying that Al Qaeda is liley involved.
posted by zaelic at 3:31 AM on July 7, 2005


Local TV reports sources close to islamic terrorist claim Al Quaeda did the strike. IRA denies any responsability.
posted by elpapacito at 3:31 AM on July 7, 2005


friends of mine are locked in their workplaces in london and brighton. nobody allowed out or in
posted by quarsan at 3:32 AM on July 7, 2005


BBC: "Arab sources say it's Al Qaeda"
posted by fire&wings at 3:32 AM on July 7, 2005


Any bloggers posting pictures yet?

Some screen caps here
posted by handybitesize at 3:32 AM on July 7, 2005


TV reports here say at least 90 fatalities and there are images of busloads (literally) of injured people being ferried to hospital.

Fuck.

Now, Scotland Yard is confirming 6 explosions

FUCK.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:33 AM on July 7, 2005


lemonfridge - of course reports are all over the place - how else could it be? Any reporter close enough to be on the scene will be relying on what she saw herself, plus what people around her saw, which is little more than rumour, really. The police don't have the whole picture, yet. THe Home SEcretary is making an announcement at 12.15.
posted by altolinguistic at 3:33 AM on July 7, 2005


sorry - more screen caps here
posted by handybitesize at 3:34 AM on July 7, 2005


(with due regard for the disparate but iconic status of al-Qaeda, I woudn't place too much faith in that yet.)
posted by NinjaPirate at 3:34 AM on July 7, 2005


Sky News have some pictures, I presume taken with cell phones.

The BBC were showing five explosions on the tube and one on a bus, (One of Sky's pictures is of half a bus), but the Beeb's graphic now shows six at tube stations and one for the bus.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 3:34 AM on July 7, 2005


Radio was a waste of time, no reception. Please keep the info coming; with links where possible.
posted by nthdegx at 3:34 AM on July 7, 2005


Are they still talking about three buses. Or is it just one confirmed?
posted by LeeJay at 3:35 AM on July 7, 2005


first person reports on barbelith, guardian news blog.
posted by gusset at 3:37 AM on July 7, 2005


BBC eyewitness reports here and here.
posted by fuzz at 3:37 AM on July 7, 2005


altolinguistic, i have friends there. im just panicking, and need more information.
posted by lemonfridge at 3:38 AM on July 7, 2005


Six London explosions confirmed by Police:
King's Cross
Aldgate
Edgware Road
Liverpool Street
Moorgate
(tube stations)
and a bus at Tavistock Square.
posted by normy at 3:38 AM on July 7, 2005


Suggestions that the confirmed bus explosion was a "Tourist Bus"
posted by NinjaPirate at 3:38 AM on July 7, 2005


Blair to address the nation at 1200 London Time ; Blair allegedly to remain in Scotland
posted by elpapacito at 3:38 AM on July 7, 2005


Our TV reports are saying there are 6 confirmed blasts - 3 in the tube network and 3 on buses in Russell Square.
posted by dg at 3:39 AM on July 7, 2005


theres gonna be a televised statement from Blair at midday. any chance someone could snag it and get it online? I cant get out of the office, and no one else here seems interested.
posted by lemonfridge at 3:45 AM on July 7, 2005


It's amazing the difference a day makes. Yesterday London and the rest of the country was on such a high after winning the Olympics, and now it's plunged into a sickening low.
posted by chill at 3:45 AM on July 7, 2005


I'm in Canary Wharf, the DLR isn't running into the city and phones are jammed solid. I'm meant to be heading north back to Yorkshire tonight, via Kings Cross - I guess I'm stuck down here.

Security at Canary Wharf is a lot higher than usual, but no bangs yet.
posted by hardcode at 3:46 AM on July 7, 2005


I work off Tottenham Court Road, not far from Russell Square - we heard a big bang earlier which we realise now was the bus exploding.

We've all been told to stay inside and not to leave the building unless absolutely necessary.
posted by kitschbitch at 3:46 AM on July 7, 2005


My friend got in touch via SMS - but she's at home, and lives south of the river, so I'm not sure what this says about mobile networks generally.

lemonfridge - sorry, was being a bit too neutral and objective. I hope your friends are ok. Report on radio just said that mobile networks are back up.
posted by altolinguistic at 3:47 AM on July 7, 2005


this pic doesn't look like a tourist bus, looks like a modern closed double decker. Horrible.
posted by derbs at 3:47 AM on July 7, 2005


I've spoken to a couple of folks back in Brighton (mobiles OK) and no explosions heard.
posted by i_cola at 3:47 AM on July 7, 2005


Well there's constant sirens going past my window as we live on a major route to Kings Cross and Euston.

Us Brits are rather used to bombs so this seems to be being dealt with calmly.
posted by dodgygeezer at 3:49 AM on July 7, 2005


Right, it definitely seems to be 90 casualties, not fatalties.
posted by nthdegx at 3:49 AM on July 7, 2005


Blackfriars area is at a standstill. Just sitting tight here at work and waiting for any updates. Both land line and mobile networks are overloaded, but texting seems to work ok.
posted by Optamystic at 3:49 AM on July 7, 2005


That could be a tourist bus - some of them have closed tops.
posted by dodgygeezer at 3:50 AM on July 7, 2005


All is well, so far, in Notting Hill. One friend unaccounted for.
posted by donfactor at 3:50 AM on July 7, 2005


(caveat: report was from an American tourist, an eyewitness.
Unlike other cities, the classic bus in London has become a design icon; several have been bought after their public life and used as tourist busses for the extra "authenticity")
posted by NinjaPirate at 3:50 AM on July 7, 2005


With a big security focus in Scotland, an 'ideal' time for terrorists to hit London.
posted by i_cola at 3:51 AM on July 7, 2005


A Vodaphone spokesman on the radio seemed to imply the networks were working at capacity and were prioritising emergency calls, not that they had been shut down for security reasons.
posted by Hartster at 3:51 AM on July 7, 2005


May I make a suggestion? Let's keep the noise and comments to a minimum on this thread and allow those MeFites in London and those who need to contact loved ones to use the thread to communicate while the phones are down for the next couple of hours...
posted by zaelic at 3:53 AM on July 7, 2005


Sky News have some pictures, I presume taken with cell phones.

Intriguingly, people with picture taking mobile phones have just been blamed on Radio 5 Live for delays in evacuating some stations.
posted by vbfg at 3:53 AM on July 7, 2005


Have they released any footage from London's numerous security cameras?
posted by PenDevil at 3:53 AM on July 7, 2005


6 tube station hit, buses hit number raises to 3 , total 9 targets. Police advising people to remain at home if possible.
posted by elpapacito at 3:54 AM on July 7, 2005


Mobile networks have not been switched off at all - priority has been given to emergency services, which means it's nigh on impossible to make a voice call, but SMS gets through fine.

A quarter mile from Liverpool St, things are fairly quiet apart from almost continuous sirens and many helicopters overhead.

From a confidential source, there are strong rumours of contact from the terrorist organisation(s), but there's no confirmation on this yet.

Reuters and BBC seem to have the most reliable news - others (especially Sky) seem to be speculating wildly.
posted by daveg at 3:54 AM on July 7, 2005


For fuck's sake, people. GOD DOES NOT EXIST. It's blatently obvious with even the slightest grasp of reasoning. Fuck the fuck off with your bombs and such.

Ironic, I say.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:54 AM on July 7, 2005


Islamists did this .
posted by shoos at 3:54 AM on July 7, 2005


And naturally, there's not a single goddamned word of any of this on my local news stateside.

Fucking goddamn sock puppets are talking about sports while all hell breaks loose across the ocean. "Pay no attention to your internet. Nothing is wrong."
"We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire... Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down."
Hold fast, London.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:55 AM on July 7, 2005


This link is a BBC realplayer news thingy, on the bottom left hand side there's a link to an eyewitness report. Sorry, I can't seem to permalink it.
posted by gsb at 3:56 AM on July 7, 2005


Reports of a suicide bomber been shot at Canary Wharf. (A visiting supplier with offices there has just rec'd a report from a wok colleague via Blackberry)
posted by i_cola at 3:56 AM on July 7, 2005


European people with satellite dish pointed on 13° East (Hotbird) can watch total coverage by BBC World on transponder frequency 12597000 , Vertical Polarization symbol rate 27500. It seems to be free-2-air visible with no subscription needed.
posted by elpapacito at 3:59 AM on July 7, 2005


Forgive my geographic ignorance, but how far away is London from the area of Scotland where the G8 meetings are going on?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:00 AM on July 7, 2005


about 600 miles
posted by ZippityBuddha at 4:01 AM on July 7, 2005


XQUZYPHYR - a long way - 400 miles plus
posted by jontyjago at 4:01 AM on July 7, 2005


BBC Text Only. Take's some strain off their servers which must be getting killed.
posted by PenDevil at 4:01 AM on July 7, 2005


almost entirely opposite ends of the slab of land. scotland is north, london is in the south. maps.google.co.uk should show it nicely.
posted by lemonfridge at 4:02 AM on July 7, 2005


BLAIR: reasonably clear these attacks designed to interact with G8.

Blair to leave G8 and return to London
posted by elpapacito at 4:03 AM on July 7, 2005


Blair's live statement: Confirms terrorist attack. G8 meeting will continue. He looked upset and emotional.
posted by normy at 4:03 AM on July 7, 2005


Blair says it's "reasonably clear" that this is a terrorist attack.
posted by Cobbler at 4:04 AM on July 7, 2005


I've just got in to work, having been dumped out at Kings Cross. I saw a few people coming out looking very shell shocked and covered in soot. I picked the wrong day to leave my mobile phone at home as well - my family was distraught! Fortunately all my friends who work in London are OK.
posted by viama at 4:05 AM on July 7, 2005


Latest word: group claims responsibility, says Denmark and Italy are next if they don't pull troops out.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:05 AM on July 7, 2005


how far away is London from the area of Scotland where the G8 meetings are going on?
maps.google.co.uk should show it nicely.
posted by chrismear at 4:05 AM on July 7, 2005


(Er, radical Islamist group, if that wasn't assumed).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:06 AM on July 7, 2005


Hold fast, London." Thanks, Civ... Appreciated.
posted by nthdegx at 4:06 AM on July 7, 2005


Well Blair's statement was the usual collection of tics and twitches in a desperate attempt to convey emotion. Oh and he got in a plug for relieving debt and Kyoto - WTF?
posted by dodgygeezer at 4:07 AM on July 7, 2005


Can anyone confirm sms is working in central London? I'm trying to get through to one of my best friends.
posted by Tarrama at 4:09 AM on July 7, 2005


It's difficult to confirm anything - it has worked, but SMS isn't the most reliable delivery mechanism, even at the best of times. Hang tight.
posted by benzo8 at 4:09 AM on July 7, 2005


SMS is OK on T-Mobile, at least from here in Leicester Square.
posted by Cobbler at 4:10 AM on July 7, 2005


Yes, Tarrama, it is. Keep trying.
posted by nthdegx at 4:10 AM on July 7, 2005


I'm not having any luck sms-ing central London, so don't think it's working across the board.
posted by nihotaniwha at 4:10 AM on July 7, 2005


I agree that this has to be G8-related and has nothing to do with the 2012 games. Until yesterday morning most of the world thought Paris was going to win the Olympic bid, and if this is a terrorist act, which there seems to be no other possibility at this point, then there's no way it could have been suddenly planned and pulled off in less than 24 hours.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:10 AM on July 7, 2005


There is a report that the bus explosion was caused by a suicide bomber - if true, the first suicide bomber to ever strike in London.

Does Al Qaeda really have an interest in striking during G8? Surely this would be the time when the security forces would be MOST at their guard. It's a terrible indictment on our security forces that an attack on this scale could be pulled off.

I'm a Londoner, but safe - in case anyone is wondering!
posted by skylar at 4:10 AM on July 7, 2005


BBC: "Ongoing rescue operation" in Underground tunnel near King's Cross.
posted by normy at 4:12 AM on July 7, 2005


Times like this I wish I had a TV... Blair sounded emotional on the radio, though. Report of suicide bomber causing one of the bus explosions (in Tavistock Sq, where I lived for a while - student residences)
posted by altolinguistic at 4:12 AM on July 7, 2005


Apparently there's a website with a 200 word statement from European Jihadists taking responsibility.

I'd just like to commend BBC worldTV service. They do a damn fine job and there's little to nil tabloidesque bullshit floating through. They report well.

We haven't heard from my neice yet but she's a nurse. So she's either still drunk and asleep from last night's celebrations or else working. We worry not.

7 confirmed blasts by Scotland Yard.
posted by peacay at 4:12 AM on July 7, 2005


I've been texting people in Soho (UK mob) & the City (Japanese mob).
posted by i_cola at 4:13 AM on July 7, 2005


We've been briefed in the office that preparations are being made to accomodate staff overnight should the transport system still be out of action and that is looking increasingly likely.
posted by greatneb at 4:13 AM on July 7, 2005


Guardian: 12:12 - There are now reports of an explosion in Leicester Square.
posted by anagrama at 4:13 AM on July 7, 2005


I'm in Leicester Square. No explosion.
posted by Cobbler at 4:15 AM on July 7, 2005


Tarrama: Can anyone confirm sms is working in central London?

I can't contact a friend via text (I'm on Orange, she's on Vodaphone) but we are in touch via MSN Messenger. It looks like it's partly working but it's not everywhere yet.
posted by vbfg at 4:15 AM on July 7, 2005


Good to hear.
posted by anagrama at 4:15 AM on July 7, 2005


The security services are at their guard -- in Scotland! There's 11,000 bored cops up here, and I've seen them pull cars over just for a nosy. There's a whole lot of Met police here too (you can tell by the hats), so I imagine this is the perfect time to strike at London.
posted by bonaldi at 4:16 AM on July 7, 2005


We've been told that the company have made enquiries about hotel rooms for staff, and so far they have... 3. For 6000+ staff... it's going to be a cosy night in that hotel.
posted by hardcode at 4:16 AM on July 7, 2005


I'd say this has a lot to do with G8, not least because a huge amount (10k + officers I think) of specialist Metropolitan and Greater Manchester Police units are in Scotland all this week.
posted by fire&wings at 4:16 AM on July 7, 2005


"Tony Blair is to fly to London, describing the attacks in the capital as barbaric terrorist attacks timed to coincide with the G8 summit."
posted by viama at 4:16 AM on July 7, 2005


The area around King's Cross, where I work, is completely sealed off, but I was able to get across to Senate House (just off Russell Square) without difficulty.

At 9.30 people were talking about a 'power failure' on the Underground; then there was some talk of a bus crash at Aldgate. It didn't seem very important. When I got to Euston at about 10 o'clock, there were crowds of people milling about, and the mood was one of puzzlement more than anything else. Then the word 'terrorism' was mentioned, and suddenly it all started to seem a lot more serious. 'What's going on?' I asked a policewoman. 'I can't really tell you', she said. 'Well, where's the centre of events?' 'There is no centre -- it's all over London.' At that point I did start to panic slightly.

Upstairs in the Institute of Historical Research, however, there is a mood of Zen-like calm and tranquillity, and the gentleman at the desk behind me is reading a volume of Elizabethan state papers. Trust historians to take the long view ..
posted by verstegan at 4:17 AM on July 7, 2005


I would recommend that people leave off the mobile phones right now. They're not working and are being prioritised for emergencies. Allow people who really need them to use them. Landlines seem to be working much better. Get inside your home or office and use the landline.

I'm here in the heart of the City and things are okay. A little spooky with the grey skies and the lack of buses, but people seem fine.
posted by skylar at 4:17 AM on July 7, 2005


> says Denmark and Italy are next if they don't pull troops out.

Oh fuckity fuck. Not sure what Danish plans were but Italy had already announced months ago that it would be gradually pulling out troops starting September. If that is a real announcement, then they're thinking of some "clever timing" like for Madrid - Spain had already decided to pull out troops (and most likely also to vote for Zapatero), but the terrorists were able to claim both things as outcomes of their actions.

Maybe it's best not to give credit to any claims before they're confirmed. I really can't stand this kind of speculation.

My thoughts go out to all Londoners, good to see people coping and staying calm. Relatively speaking.
posted by funambulist at 4:18 AM on July 7, 2005


Gosh, we were going to go into Holborn but I lost my glasses..

The emergency services seem to be doing great thankfully - this reminds me of back when I went to school in central london during the IRA things :(
posted by Mossy at 4:19 AM on July 7, 2005


verstegan, thanks for making me smile.
posted by peacay at 4:20 AM on July 7, 2005


While this is a terrible disaster, it is worth noting that as yet *touch wood*, the fatalities and destruction have been far less than many of the IRA bombings in years past, and indeed other Al Qaeda attacks...

BTW I believe that *all* transport is down in London, and buses are down in zone 1. Also, a friend at the office who managed to get into work said that you can't walk along Hungerford Bridge (or at least that was true a couple of hours ago).
posted by adrianhon at 4:20 AM on July 7, 2005


Surely this is an Olympic related thing. London's bid was based on security, if hey were gonna hit the G8, they would would have hit live8.


What's to say there aren't cells in Paris, Moscow, that just packed up, went to sleep, what-ever the fuck you call.

Unite against the Fuck Heads people.
posted by Good Sir Johnny at 4:20 AM on July 7, 2005


Just to add to what quarsan and kitschbitch said, BBC staff in Central London have been asked to stay in the buildings until further notice and the company my gilfriend works for (near Victoria St.) has issued a similar warning to their staff. I guess there's been some sort of general warning from the Met in that sense.
posted by blogenstock at 4:21 AM on July 7, 2005


funambulist wrote: "Spain had already decided to pull out troops (and most likely also to vote for Zapatero), but the terrorists were able to claim both things as outcomes of their actions."

Sorry, this is untrue.
posted by benzo8 at 4:22 AM on July 7, 2005


Haven't seen these numbers posted yet--people may find this useful, if they can get through on the phones.

British Transport Police casualty enquiry
0208 358 0101

Casualty Bureau Number for Missing Persons
0870 156 6344
"This is live, but you will only get a recorded message while the bureau is set up." (LJ community)

There is also a Livejournal community set up for networking, contacting relatives in other countries, and news sharing.

Thoughts and prayers.
posted by calistasm at 4:22 AM on July 7, 2005


i think the number of confirmed deaths is currently low because they have only just started evacuating and rescuing people inside the tunnels. one eye witness report mentioned that there were bodies all over the tracks.

lets just keep our hopes high and be strong.

(and yes, I thought Live8 was a more obvious target too)
posted by lemonfridge at 4:23 AM on July 7, 2005


I'm right in Holborn. It's spooky seeing a grand total of zero buses on Holborn Viaduct.
posted by nthdegx at 4:24 AM on July 7, 2005


This isn't Olympics, it's G8 - the earlier poster was right - a lot of London's police have been diverted to Scotland so it's a good time to strike. But the security services have to take responsibility here too because surely this is an utterly predictable possibility. London was overdue for a terrorist attack... we all knew it was coming sooner or later.

Big love to my fellow London City dwellers.
posted by skylar at 4:24 AM on July 7, 2005


lemonfridge: Yeah, what's underground is the worry at the moment. I have scores of friends in London, less than half of whom I've managed to track down and I'm probably undoing the last six months of diet success with nervous eating...
posted by benzo8 at 4:25 AM on July 7, 2005


Surely this is an Olympic related thing. London's bid was based on security, if hey were gonna hit the G8, they would would have hit live8.

I don't imaging that the terrorists had bombs lined up in all five potential Olympic cities and then only set them off in the one that won, especially considering the city that has been hit wasn't the favourite by any stretch of the imagination.

This has everything to do with G8 and a major part of London's security forces being at the other end of the country dealing with that.

These people need an island to meet on. I hear Alcatraz is sadly underused these days.
posted by vbfg at 4:26 AM on July 7, 2005


A page is up at Wikinews. Includes photos.
posted by Cobbler at 4:26 AM on July 7, 2005


London Ambulance Service "will only respond to life-threatening emergencies" (BBC).
posted by normy at 4:27 AM on July 7, 2005


FTSE has dropped 3.5% so far...
posted by i_cola at 4:27 AM on July 7, 2005


Not sure if I should post this as it could be scaremongering or wrong, but a friend told me this:

"From BBC Monitoring

We have just located on Al-Qal'ah website a 200-word statement issued by Tanzim Qa'idat al-Jihad in Europe claiming responsibility for London bombings. We are processing statement at immediate precedence."

more info on that:
http://www.tkb.org/Group.jsp?groupID=4416
http://library.nps.navy.mil/home/tgp/qjbr.htm
posted by sam and rufus at 4:27 AM on July 7, 2005


Tony Blair came across as quite affected by the events during his speech on the situation. In fact, I felt his speech was quite heartfelt.

Our thoughts are with everyone in London at this terrible time.
posted by davem at 4:28 AM on July 7, 2005


The bus that blew up was a number 30 bus, not a tourist bus (from the TFL website)
posted by daveg at 4:29 AM on July 7, 2005


Best wishes to any and all with friends, family, and selves in the London area.

Methinks I'll walk to work this morning.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:30 AM on July 7, 2005


Tony Blair's not being the strong leader we need now. Still trying to track down two friends...
posted by runkelfinker at 4:30 AM on July 7, 2005


Well Blair's statement was the usual collection of tics and twitches in a desperate attempt to convey emotion.

Looked genuine to me.

My thoughts and sympathies to all Londoners.
posted by pardonyou? at 4:30 AM on July 7, 2005


report on the popbitch board of someone who got off the russel square bus the stop before it blew up and said it was packed, which isn't surprising at that time of the day. Pictures on sky news show the roof of the double decker about thrity foot from the wreckage, definitely not a tourist bus. If the report on pb is true then likely to be many casualties there.

LU workers this morning were adamant (when they kicked us off the station at Finchley rd) that it was just a power surge, which I assume was a very cool and clever way of making sure people didn't panic.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:31 AM on July 7, 2005


That first link of sam and rufus's says they're Zarqawi's group? Surely not.
posted by bonaldi at 4:32 AM on July 7, 2005



FTSE has dropped 3.5% so far...


Reckon anyone bought a whole stack of put options on the FTSE recently?
posted by Mossy at 4:32 AM on July 7, 2005


Another bomb in Tavistock square. Emergency medical procedures taking place on the platforms of King's Cross. The bus doesn't look like a suicide bomb -which would be huge; cars next to it unscathed.

All mainline trains to the capital suspended.

Army on the street.

Colleagues in london told, get inside, close the windows, don't go out. (2ndary devices?)
posted by Pericles at 4:33 AM on July 7, 2005


I thought Blair's speech was really good, and found it very emotionally affecting myself.
posted by Hartster at 4:33 AM on July 7, 2005


TFL website also tells that there is free travel on all boat services up the Thames today. This fact cheered me up, for some reason.

Also that the Heathrow Express is accepting tube tickets. How generous.
posted by altolinguistic at 4:34 AM on July 7, 2005


True, peacay, BBC world is doing a good job. Unlike other channels they're not even going up with cameras to the wounded for interviews.

- benzo8: look, I'm not going to get into any political discussion, but I'm not making that up. A gradual troops pullout had already been planned before the attacks. It was also Zapatero's position before the attacks to have a full pullout, as his party opposed the war. As for election results of course the impact of the attacks is more debatable since polls showed the two parties were close.

I'm only saying, if they're announcing other attacks in Europe with that same pullout demand, they're timing them well. Again.
posted by funambulist at 4:34 AM on July 7, 2005


Where the hell is Ken Livingstone?
posted by PenDevil at 4:35 AM on July 7, 2005


Going by previous incidents, that's them finished for the day now surely.
posted by bonaldi at 4:35 AM on July 7, 2005


I live just on the periphery of Zone 1, in Islington for those of you that know London. I'm at home right now. I think it's worth saying that life is going on as normal. I just went out to buy milk/bread etc, just in case supplies go low in the next 36 hours, and people are going about as normal. There were even two policemen buying sticky buns in the bakery near my house!

Plus, a number of London buses have been going past my window with passengers on. Granted, these buses don't go right through the centre, but they are operating.
posted by ascullion at 4:36 AM on July 7, 2005


Where the hell is Ken Livingstone?

Singapore.
posted by speranza at 4:37 AM on July 7, 2005


Ken is (was) in singapore for the olympic announcement and it has already been announced that he is heading straight back.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:37 AM on July 7, 2005


There was just a blurb on CNN that there may have actually only been three explosions on the tube instead of six. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's true.
posted by LeeJay at 4:38 AM on July 7, 2005


Our thoughts are with Londoners. And whomever is responsible for this couldn't have picked a worse target-- it's very firmly established that attacks on London only strengthen its citizens resolve.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:39 AM on July 7, 2005


In an earlier report it was indicated that the buses were packed with people that had been turned away from closed tube stations. If they planned to blow up buses full of people who couldn't get into the tube stations because of the chaos there...that is chilling.
posted by fire&wings at 4:39 AM on July 7, 2005


Re: Englishness above (moaning about transport etc), it seems in times of crisis Brits revert to their base programming. People here are talking very seriously about going to the pub.
posted by nthdegx at 4:40 AM on July 7, 2005


dammit, now my live stream from the BBC has stopped working. But I expect thats due to shoddy Internet at work rather than the beeb.
posted by lemonfridge at 4:41 AM on July 7, 2005


PenDevil - probably hungover, like a lot of Londoners. I'm sure I saw a comment by him on the BBC website earlier, but I can't find it now.
posted by altolinguistic at 4:41 AM on July 7, 2005


My thoughts and best wishes to everyone affected.
posted by OmieWise at 4:41 AM on July 7, 2005


funambulist - you're right that this is not the thread to discuss this in, but we ought to discuss it somewhere, some time. Your profile contains no email - can you drop me a mail (mine is in my profile).
posted by benzo8 at 4:41 AM on July 7, 2005


50 people confirmed dead
posted by peacay at 4:42 AM on July 7, 2005


"People here are talking very seriously about going to the pub."

It's where we feel safest.
posted by Cobbler at 4:42 AM on July 7, 2005


Sky reporting 50 killed in an explosion in Rome. Any Italian members here?
posted by Pericles at 4:42 AM on July 7, 2005


Brighton station still closed. Trains stopping at Preston Park (last stop 2 miles b4 Brighton). I'd say that any train travel on a London line is not worth it.

Where the hell is Ken Livingstone?

Singapore.


Flying back from Singapore. Nice welcome for the Olympic bid party :-(
posted by i_cola at 4:44 AM on July 7, 2005


BBC confirming fatalities at Edgeware Road. Why would they target an arab-filled area?

Pope and Muslim Council of Britain have condemned the actions.
posted by Mossy at 4:44 AM on July 7, 2005


Nthdegx said: it seems in times of crisis Brits revert to their base programming. People here are talking very seriously about going to the pub.


I have to agree - have already received several calls from people suggesting this very course of action. The FTSE may be down, but stocks in breweries are going through the roof!
posted by skylar at 4:45 AM on July 7, 2005


Scotland Yard apparently got some sort of pre-warning. They contacted Israeli Embassy warning of possible problems.
posted by peacay at 4:45 AM on July 7, 2005


Sky reporting 50 killed in an explosion in Rome. Any Italian members here?

Nothing (yet) at Repubblica.
posted by Marquis at 4:46 AM on July 7, 2005


Where did you hear that, peacay?
posted by louigi at 4:47 AM on July 7, 2005


One eyewitness on the BBC website stated a security alert caused problems this morning prior to the first explosion - anyone got an idea of that?
posted by longbaugh at 4:49 AM on July 7, 2005


Sky reporting 50 killed in an explosion in Rome.

I've just read elsewhere that Italian TV were reporting 50 fatalities in London. May be crossed wires somewhere.
posted by anagrama at 4:49 AM on July 7, 2005


Re: warning of Israeli Embassy - just reported that on the news here in Australia (Israeli embassy official).
posted by Jimbob at 4:49 AM on July 7, 2005


London explosions: live blog - Tube, Rail and Bus suspensions Train stations in Brighton, Poole & Swindon shut as precautionary measure.
posted by Lanark at 4:49 AM on July 7, 2005


Sky reported that Italian sources say 50 killed in London, not Rome. Foreign news wires are often much quicker to call numbers as home news services have to be more careful to get it right.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:49 AM on July 7, 2005


Source for peacay's comment, but it's only the Mail so far AFAIK.
posted by punilux at 4:50 AM on July 7, 2005


it seems in times of crisis Brits revert to their base programming. People here are talking very seriously about going to the pub.

Yep, we're having a luverly cup of tea and a knees-up here on Chancery Lane.
posted by bifter at 4:50 AM on July 7, 2005


Scotland Yard have denied being pre-warned by Israel minutes before the blast according to both BBC and Sky news
posted by greatneb at 4:50 AM on July 7, 2005


Any back-up of the Brighton and Swindon reports and the shot-dead suicide bomber? Can we dismiss any of these yet?
posted by nthdegx at 4:50 AM on July 7, 2005


Most of my office has gone to the pub to watch the cricket (England vs. Australia ODI)
posted by daveg at 4:50 AM on July 7, 2005


BBC confirming fatalities at Edgeware Road. Why would they target an arab-filled area?

I would guess that an Arab suicide bomber would look less conspicuous in an area with a heavy Arab population, just as bombers in the West Bank look for recruits that can "blend in" with the Israeli population. Hundreds of Arabs died on 9/11, too; it's safe to say terrorists don't care about what race the people they're killing are. It's why a lot of people think the idea of racial profiling at airports is nonsensical, as the terrorists are smart enough to realize that people who "look like a terrorist" aren't exactly the best picks to carry out terrorist attacks.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:51 AM on July 7, 2005


The announcement of 50 dead in London came from Oz SBS British correspondent on TV. They are a good news service.
posted by peacay at 4:51 AM on July 7, 2005


I would definitely go to the pub if I was allowed out of the building.
posted by Summer at 4:52 AM on July 7, 2005


Brighton, Swindon and Poole stations have been closed as a precautionary measure. Not actual incidents there as of yet.
posted by greatneb at 4:53 AM on July 7, 2005


Home Secretary making speech to House of Commons - appears now only 4 bomb blasts - 3 on tube trains and one on bus.
posted by prentiz at 4:53 AM on July 7, 2005


Sky reporting 50 killed in an explosion in Rome. Any Italian members here?

WTF? No internet news of that so far, & I work nearby Termini - no explosions here. Vatican City on the other hand, I have no idea.

On preview, I'm gonna guess crossed wires.
posted by romakimmy at 4:54 AM on July 7, 2005


Muslim Council of Britain have cond[emns] the actions

Now that really is news. Are you sure?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:56 AM on July 7, 2005


mossy, in relation to Edgeware Road - the bomb was on a tube train. Whilst it's easy to speculate that fundamentalist terrorists wouldn't possibly care who/where damage was done, it's just as likely that it was timed rather than set off for the location. In other words, inadvertent.
posted by peacay at 4:56 AM on July 7, 2005


If not confirmed by a major news source by now I'd say the shot suicide bomber could be an oh-so-clever hoax. My source has taken most of my dept. to the pub for lunch so I'll see what's said when/if they return.
posted by i_cola at 4:57 AM on July 7, 2005


CNN reporting 10 confirmed dead, up to 160 wounded at King's Crossing Station, which they say is one of the busier of the bunch.
posted by Clay201 at 4:58 AM on July 7, 2005


Now that really is news. Are you sure?
posted by ParisParamus at 10:26 PM ACST on July 7 [!]


Now that's unexpected as well!
posted by Jimbob at 4:59 AM on July 7, 2005


Now that really is news. Are you sure?
posted by ParisParamus at 10:26 PM ACST on July 7 [!]


Now that's unexpected as well!
posted by Jimbob at 4:59 AM on July 7, 2005


No report from Rome or rumor or explosions sounds, and I'm in Rome too. It think it's a spurious panic rumor.
posted by elpapacito at 4:59 AM on July 7, 2005


PP: Muslim Council of Britain site
posted by NinjaPirate at 4:59 AM on July 7, 2005


Look, take that '50 dead' with a grain of salt. I'm absolutely certain of what I heard. But the BBCTV update are only saying a couple dead as at a minute ago. I'm sorry if I mislead - definitely not intentional.
posted by peacay at 5:00 AM on July 7, 2005


The station is King's Cross, not King's Crossing. I think most of the attacks were designed to co-incide with the transport network... the idea of targeting particular races or areas seems a bit far fetched.

It's not exactly panic stations here in the City - while the deaths are absolutely tragic and awful, this is not an attack on the scale of September 11th.
posted by skylar at 5:00 AM on July 7, 2005


Muslim Council of Britain have cond[emns] the actions

Now that really is news. Are you sure?


Yes, quite sure. And it's not really news as the Muslim Council have been pretty consistent in condemning all terrorist actions. Unless you're being sarcastic and it's going over my head. Or you're misreading it for condoned.
posted by Hartster at 5:00 AM on July 7, 2005


Muslim Council of Britain have cond[emns] the actions

Now that really is news. Are you sure?
posted by ParisParamus at 12:56 PM GMT on July 7


Well this Muslim in London condemns the actions. And you too for being such a prick.
posted by zarex at 5:00 AM on July 7, 2005


I just read the Blair transcript:

"It's important, however, that those engaged in terrorism realize 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."

It reads well to me. I am sure any emotion he is displaying is genuine.
posted by nthdegx at 5:00 AM on July 7, 2005


In response to the statement issued by the authors of this horror, for every fatality, the UK should send 100 additional troops to Afghanistan, and 100 additional to Iraq.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:00 AM on July 7, 2005


First LU photo I have found.

Flikr bomb blasts group
posted by herting at 5:01 AM on July 7, 2005


.
posted by sciurus at 5:01 AM on July 7, 2005


A friend from London emails "It's tough getting hold of people in City firms. It's quiet down here in
Wimbledon. Ironically, the southern end of the Northern Line (Stockwell down to me) was out from 7-9am this morning before it happened. It's amazing it hasn't happened before..."
posted by idest at 5:01 AM on July 7, 2005


On preview: or, apparently, being a tool.
posted by Hartster at 5:01 AM on July 7, 2005


Blair looked like he was going to collapse, or cry, or throw up. It was one of the few times that he has ever looked genuinely emotional to me
posted by ZippityBuddha at 5:02 AM on July 7, 2005


XQUZYPHYR : An arab wouldn't look out of place and be automatically treated with suspicion anywhere in London. Thank god.
posted by silence at 5:03 AM on July 7, 2005


Zarex, in all honesty, I was hoping that comment did not post. Not fair on my part: it's Muslim organizations outside the US and UK that seem to never (or only whisper) such condemnations.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:04 AM on July 7, 2005


Canary Wharf is quiet, they are not allowing traffic in, and the Docklands Light Railway station is closed.

A van load of police arrived at the DLR station as I was watching and put on their gloves and went in, presumably to check that the station is clear. I would imagine they will have to do that to all stations and probably walk every foot of the lines, it's going to take a while.

City Airport is still running fine, throwing planes directly towards my office at regular intervals *gulp*.
posted by hardcode at 5:04 AM on July 7, 2005


fox news is reporting al queda is claiming it
posted by rulethirty at 5:04 AM on July 7, 2005


I just noticed all the blasts at the tube stations are along the Hammersmith and City line.
posted by PenDevil at 5:04 AM on July 7, 2005


In response to the statement issued by the authors of this horror, for every fatality, the UK should send 100 additional troops to Afghanistan, and 100 additional to Iraq.

You are an idiot and I request that you keep away from this thread.
posted by Summer at 5:05 AM on July 7, 2005


benzo8: no offence but a discussion on this even by email is the last thing on my mind now. I wrote quickly and I apologise if I was sloppy about it, as a quick clarification: I obviously did not mean Aznar had announced a full immediate pullout. But it had been a campaign policy announced by the PSOE, and even before the attacks, they had a lot of support for that. Also, when the first troops left just days after the Madrid attacks, which was what got the 'appeasement appeasment' choruses rolling, that replacement had already been decided. It was very clever timing.
Did not mean anything polemical with my observation on the timing, other than: if they're announcing other attacks in Europe, they're very clever in using that pullout demand.

Apologies to everybody for the digression.
posted by funambulist at 5:05 AM on July 7, 2005


Sky reporting 50 killed in an explosion in Rome.

No such thing. Did they really say that? That's some seriously sloppy reporting. Ugh.
posted by funambulist at 5:09 AM on July 7, 2005


In response to the statement issued by the authors of this horror, for every fatality, the UK should send 100 additional troops to Afghanistan, and 100 additional to Iraq.

In spite of this I can confirm that the terrorists' continuing efforts to turn us into fearful, hateful small-minded bastards will not succeed.
posted by nthdegx at 5:09 AM on July 7, 2005


.

British Red Cross
posted by moonbird at 5:10 AM on July 7, 2005


funambulist: Yeah. Not suggesting now...

PP: Please leave your soapbox at least until all our friends and family are accounted for, OK? Can we just have that shred of humanity from you?
posted by benzo8 at 5:10 AM on July 7, 2005


I just noticed all the blasts at the tube stations are along the Hammersmith and City line.

Yep, but the first train explosion was on a Metropolitan Line train, which runs on the same track for some of the journey, but isn't the same thing.
posted by bifter at 5:10 AM on July 7, 2005


In spite of this I can confirm that the terrorists' continuing efforts to turn us into fearful, hateful small-minded bastards will not succeed.

Word.
posted by bifter at 5:11 AM on July 7, 2005


Did two trains collide in Kings Cross?
posted by Mossy at 5:11 AM on July 7, 2005


Blair giving a new statement on TV with Bush, Chirac and the rest behind him.
posted by fire&wings at 5:13 AM on July 7, 2005


Flickr Pool where it seems that people are posting images.

This New Yorker has all of you Brits in his thoughts. Stay safe.
posted by plemeljr at 5:14 AM on July 7, 2005


peacay writes "Scotland Yard apparently got some sort of pre-warning. They contacted Israeli Embassy warning of possible problems."

The same kind of anti-Semitic filth was pedaled after 9-11: the jews knew before hand, or they got a special warning, or something, there must be something about the jews in all of this. It's best to allow these rumors to be deeply confirmed, or to leave them alone.
posted by OmieWise at 5:14 AM on July 7, 2005


In spite of this I can confirm that the terrorists' continuing efforts to turn us into fearful, hateful small-minded bastards will not succeed.

Word again. Support and sympathy from this New Yorker, who can imagine all too vividly what Londoners must be feeling right now. You were wonderful friends after September 11. We haven't forgotten that, and we're with you now.
posted by Zonker at 5:15 AM on July 7, 2005


Denying an earlier report, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said that Israel was not warned by Scotland Yard in advance of the blasts.
posted by mediareport at 5:15 AM on July 7, 2005


re: divergent numbers of bombings/reports of more bombings, etc.

In DC on 9-11, there were all kinds of reports of explosions downtown, confirmed by all sorts of people and media. When the dust settled they were all without basis. It's a very confused situation, horrible in the extreme. There will be false reports (not malicious, just wrong) and it will take a while to sort out what is what.
posted by OmieWise at 5:16 AM on July 7, 2005


In relation to the TV coverage, the BBC has been especially good. I watched a few of the other channels (ITV, SKY etc..) and some had interviews with clearly traumatised and bleeding people who looked like they really should have been sitting down having a drink rather then interviewed on live tv.

Fox news even suggested that the G8 summit should forget about global warming and Africa and concentrate on Terrorism... And this just in... Because Chirac was standing near Bush at a news conference Blair was speaking at he now supports the war on Terror....

I hate Fox news....
posted by Meccabilly at 5:17 AM on July 7, 2005


I don't think that's what they're trying to say, OmieWise - it seems pretty obvious to me that it wouldn't be unusual for terrorist alerts to affect Israeli embassies. I think that's probably the strangest anti-Semitism callout I've ever seen.
posted by Jimbob at 5:19 AM on July 7, 2005


The same kind of anti-Semitic filth was pedaled after 9-11

In and of itself, a report that Scotland Yard had passed along concerns about Islamist terror to the Israeli Embassy hardly qualifies as "anti-Semitic filth." It's a horrible, confused situation, yes, but let's please try to stay calm.
posted by mediareport at 5:19 AM on July 7, 2005


Does anyone know about the supposed Canary Wharf suicide bomber? I'm hearing a lot more rumours about it, but can't find any official information.
posted by Drexen at 5:20 AM on July 7, 2005


The Muslim Council of Great Britain has always condemned terrorist action.
posted by altolinguistic at 5:21 AM on July 7, 2005


Suddenly it's just like a few Septembers back, and I'm reading MeFi while listening to NPR over streaming audio as I was then.

Y'all are in my thoughts and prayers today, Londoners.
posted by alumshubby at 5:21 AM on July 7, 2005


We heard another blast a little earlier from our office - turns out it was a controlled explosion at Tottenham Court Road tube station
posted by kitschbitch at 5:22 AM on July 7, 2005


it was insane. I took the tune and on the platform we heard EVERYONE GET OFF THE STATION NOW. tried to get the bus which arrived in front of the train station at kings cross, but all buses were evacuated, people were wandering around, ambulances rushing everywhere.

I am really worried about the political outcome, this is not looking good at all.
posted by Sijeka at 5:23 AM on July 7, 2005


All's quiet around Moorgate - so the report of a bomb there doesn't seem right (not even any police around).
posted by daveg at 5:23 AM on July 7, 2005


Nasty attack against the people of London, not likely to get much support for the cause (whatever that may be) in the UK, so what is the point? Easy attacks against easy targets, but clearly coordinated and in a number that suggests quite a large number of participants. The British have a long history of coping with being bombed, especially London by the IRA. It is possible that the IRA bombing had some part in getting the talks going, but they were targetting businesses for maximum financial disruption at the end of their campaign, having realised that targetting civilians was not getting them the leverage they wanted and entrenching peoples views against them.
If there have been any intentional suicide bombings that would signify a disturbing change of direction for European terror attacks. Interesting that it occured when Blair out of town, so no chance he would be a target. As such it is likely the G8 police presence in Scotland would have been a contributing factor to the plan.
So one conclusion might be that the bombings are a taste of Baghdad. No message, no demands or requirements just a continuation of a war. I wonder if there were any warnings.
However, the markets are panicking to some extent. I suppose it also makes Blair look bad on the international stage, but will likely bolster his support here as he is currently on the 'save Africa' message and is saying the bombings wont stop his good work.

Just listening to Blair repeating usual cliches about freedom and barbaric behaviour, irony not a strong point. 4 explosions reported on underground, 1 on a bus, 2 fatalities at Aldgate East, Edgeware Road also may have fatalities. News readers bandying the name Al Qaida around, pure conjecture.

Best wishes to those affected by these bombings. Hope fatalities are minimised.

Best wishes to my French-Arabic friends stuck in London today, Mourad and Ousama, who already have enough trouble getting through immigration, I hope they are not subjected to any undue stress. It was Ousama who first alerted me to the situation when he texted me to say the transport in London had been brought to a standstill. He said 'It is a sad day', on which I think we can all agree.
posted by asok at 5:23 AM on July 7, 2005


Does anyone know about the supposed Canary Wharf suicide bomber? I'm hearing a lot more rumours about it, but can't find any official information.

I've also heard a rumour that a suicide bomber was shot at Canary Wharf. Not seen it on the news sites though.
posted by Summer at 5:24 AM on July 7, 2005


It's pretty unclear either way about what happened with the Israeli Embassy: Arutz Sheva wrote:

"Army Radio quoting unconfirmed reliable sources reported a short time ago that Scotland Yard had intelligence warnings of the attacks a short time before they occurred.

The Israeli Embassy in London was notified in advance, resulting in Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu remaining in his hotel room rather than make his way to the hotel adjacent to the site of the first explosion, a Liverpool Street train station, where he was to address and economic summit."

Whether or not they knew is certainly not the most important thing at the moment. On preview: stay calm...
posted by louigi at 5:25 AM on July 7, 2005


For the record, reports have it that an Israeli Foreign Ministry official was the person who first told the media about the contact from Scotland Yard.
posted by mediareport at 5:25 AM on July 7, 2005


Summer, especially for you: make that 1000, not 100.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:25 AM on July 7, 2005


And Fox News is no worse than CBS or CNN.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:27 AM on July 7, 2005


When i was still on the bus about to be evacuated this english guy looked at me and said 'thats the french because they are pissed they lost the olympics'. I turned back to him and said 'as a french this is the first time i think englush humour really sucks'.
posted by Sijeka at 5:28 AM on July 7, 2005


PP, can't you for once be something less than a complete asshole?
posted by Zonker at 5:29 AM on July 7, 2005


PP, can't you for once be something less than a complete asshole? People are dead and dying, take your political agenda elsewhere.
posted by Zonker at 5:29 AM on July 7, 2005


Oh, I'm calm. I did not mean to suggest that peacay was anti-Semitic, and if that came through, I apologise. But I do remember how the rumors that no jews were killed at the Towers played after 9-11, and I remember how those rumors started with the rumor about how they all got calls at home not to go in that day. So I was calling out the rumor, ont peacay. My comment was precisely about the confused situation, the rumors that abound, and the use to which those rumors are put.
posted by OmieWise at 5:32 AM on July 7, 2005


My political agenda? That would be not to be a coward in the face of terrorism and evil. Shut up.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:32 AM on July 7, 2005


can't you for once be something less than a complete asshole?

Are you kidding? This is exactly the kind of thread in which Paris likes to spread his cheeks and display his magnificent brown rosebud to us all. He's far from done, I'm sure; just ignore him.
posted by mediareport at 5:34 AM on July 7, 2005


Yeah but you're still a prick.
posted by walrus at 5:34 AM on July 7, 2005


possibly not the time and place for trollery/arguments
posted by NinjaPirate at 5:35 AM on July 7, 2005


Okay, now rumours of an explosion in Brighton. Any information on that? Really an explosion in Rome?
posted by Drexen at 5:35 AM on July 7, 2005


And please calm down, stop trolling, stop responding to trolls.
posted by Drexen at 5:36 AM on July 7, 2005


hardcode: Last time I checked you could leave from Finsbury Park. But I would just stay where you are if you can, to be honest.
posted by grouse at 5:36 AM on July 7, 2005


I'm on Canary Wharf, no suicide bomber shot here as far as we know - it's all business as usual, not been evacuated and I don't think anyone else has.
posted by hardcode at 5:36 AM on July 7, 2005


I'm scheduled to go to London on Sunday. Still coming! My thoughts are with you Brits.
posted by brujita at 5:37 AM on July 7, 2005


Thanks grouse, I'm giving it a few hours to see if any mainline stations open before I decide what to do.
posted by hardcode at 5:38 AM on July 7, 2005


I know that anyone wanting to leave london will not be able to do so within the next 4 hours (security told us that at Kings Cross st pancras), there was no inbound not outbound, for those living outside london.
posted by Sijeka at 5:38 AM on July 7, 2005


ParisParamus do you have to practice at being such a fuck-head or does it just come naturally?
posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 5:38 AM on July 7, 2005


A friend inside Canary Wharf says it's all quiet and has been all quiet there.
posted by benzo8 at 5:38 AM on July 7, 2005


And Fox News is no worse than CBS or CNN

Really? : fox news is reporting al queda is claiming it
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:39 AM on July 7, 2005


Sign on the M25 - London: Closed

A couple of good thoughts:
The emergency plans for London appear to have worked very well indeed and everyone in the media and all the eyewitness reports seem to have nothing but great praise for all the emergency services.
Everyone is also remarking about how very calmly and sensibly Londoners have reacted and how there's been no sign of the slightest panic on the streets.
posted by normy at 5:39 AM on July 7, 2005


quonsar: I wondered how long it would be before someone came out with the "It's not as big as 9/11 - stop whinging". I didn't think it was going to be you.
posted by benzo8 at 5:40 AM on July 7, 2005


quonsar at his caring, concerned and nonjudgmental best...
posted by alumshubby at 5:42 AM on July 7, 2005


PP, shut up. This isn't the thread for politics. Would it be too much for you to show some respect for the dead?
posted by unreason at 5:42 AM on July 7, 2005


Im also appauled by quonsar's comment. asshole.
posted by lemonfridge at 5:45 AM on July 7, 2005


OmieWise writes "I apologise" As you'll notice if you check your email, I was a tiny bit wondering. No problem. No apology necessary but thank you anyway.
posted by peacay at 5:47 AM on July 7, 2005


More good wishes for Londoners from someone who was in NYC for 9/11.

If I may quote myself from the Bali thread, since the same people are pissing here: "Paris, shoos, et al: I really can't believe you people. Save it for the I/P threads, willya? Do you hang out at funerals waving political banners?"

On preview: quonsar, you're disappointing me.

posted by languagehat at 5:47 AM on July 7, 2005


I remember how those rumors started with the rumor about how they all got calls at home not to go in that day

I think most of us remember that hateful crap, too, OmieWise, but - true or not - this rumor appears to have started within the Israeli Embassy. Once British Police take care of the immediate threat, it will be interesting to see what Scotland Yard knew in advance.
posted by mediareport at 5:47 AM on July 7, 2005


Ken Livingstone (Mayor of London) just gave a seething speech of the cuff in Singapore. If I was a terrorist I would be very afraid if Ken caught up with me. Saw it on RTE but can't find the text just yet.
posted by Damienmce at 5:48 AM on July 7, 2005


[Maybe we should just flag & ignore PeePee.]
posted by i_cola at 5:49 AM on July 7, 2005


Imprison quonsar
posted by Catfry at 5:50 AM on July 7, 2005


Ken for PM.
A far better pronouncement than Blair's, hamstrung as he was by his well-practised "sincerity".
posted by NinjaPirate at 5:51 AM on July 7, 2005


with all due respect for the dead, i feel like saying that some people may have a bullet in their heads, if this is major news, as opposed to other stories, like the Iraqi debacle, or various other stories that may not attract so much hype. In other news - as we all know - 20,000 or more people died today in the third world, of starvation or preventable diseases.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:51 AM on July 7, 2005


he's above this. I mean, what kind of person community blogs on under fewer than 200 deaths within four hours?
posted by shoos at 5:51 AM on July 7, 2005


Rumour of a "controlled explosion from a suitcase just outside Imperial College".
posted by Marquis at 5:53 AM on July 7, 2005


quonsar. WTF. I'm astounded and more than a little disappointed that the tard comment comes form you.

Right now I'm trying to find my friend who works in Russel square where the bus bomb went off, so excuse me if I'm not overly concerned with playing the numbers game.
posted by ciderwoman at 5:54 AM on July 7, 2005


thanks for that quonsar you fucking arsehole...
posted by laukf at 5:55 AM on July 7, 2005


quonsar: fuck off. For those of us trying to get through to friends who work in the area of the explosions, the scale of the attack isn't all that fucking relevant.
posted by jack_mo at 5:55 AM on July 7, 2005


I wish I was holy enough that a terrorist attack on one of the world's major cities isn't a major news story cos maybe only 50 people have died.

For somebody who's parading their great love of humanity, UbuRoivas, you seem to be showing a pretty smug indifference to the very real concerns of people in this thread.
posted by Hartster at 6:01 AM on July 7, 2005


UbuRoivas writes "In other news.."
Well, start a thread. This thread is sharing information about an unfolding attack in London. It's crazy to suggest that just because people who have empathy for or connection to this event they are dismissive of any other world event.
quonsar - I think you may have upset some people. Although I read it as a personal sarcaustic comment for zonker in reaction to hyperbole. I'm not trying to be an apologist, just sayin' how I read it. The q invariably has a heart.
posted by peacay at 6:03 AM on July 7, 2005


Clearly this is not on the scale of 9/11. Clearly. But guess what? It's happening now. People need a place to a) share information and b) simply interact with other humans while its happening. We have no idea how many are dead. We have no idea what order of magnitude that number will take. I'm stuck at work and have found this thread very helpful. Please can we not snark here.
posted by nthdegx at 6:04 AM on July 7, 2005


[Maybe we should just flag & ignore PeePee.]

Agreed. I've done the first, and from now on I'll do the second.
posted by Zonker at 6:05 AM on July 7, 2005


Please don't feed the trolls.
posted by idest at 6:05 AM on July 7, 2005


what nthdegx said. I'm in the same situation.

Everyone I know has checked in now *relief*
posted by lemonfridge at 6:07 AM on July 7, 2005


Have any of our prominent British bloggers started turning into psychopath pseudointellectual wiseacre moronpundits yet?
posted by Jongo at 6:09 AM on July 7, 2005


This is awful, regardless of other awful things happening around the globe. Shame on those here who seek to minimize this. God bless the victims and a speedy recovery to the wounded.
posted by caddis at 6:11 AM on July 7, 2005


ParisParamus: In response to the statement issued by the authors of this horror, for every fatality, the UK should send 100 additional troops to Afghanistan, and 100 additional to Iraq.

We have to be sure of our facts. Many of the bombs that have previously gone off in London were built by Irishmen often funded with American money. One needs to know for sure before one lashes out like a petulant child.
posted by vbfg at 6:11 AM on July 7, 2005


quonsar: do us all a fucking favour. I've gotten through to my friends in the area. Still not heard from my cousin, who works in the city, and neither has her mother, so take your corpse-count pissing contests elsewhere.
posted by Len at 6:12 AM on July 7, 2005


Ken's speech was excellent. Almost Churchill-esque. And if it really was off the cuff I'm extremely impressed.
posted by NeonSurge at 6:12 AM on July 7, 2005


I just spoke to my uncle in london and he said my family is fine (thank goodness) and that they are hearng 4 bombs-- 3 on trains and one bus. But I'm not sure whether their information is any better than ours. I do remember all the rumors on 9/11, there were so many it was hard to pick out what was true. The anxiety of that day is coming back to me. What a heartbreak that human beings feel that this is the best way to get their points across.
posted by miss tea at 6:12 AM on July 7, 2005


peacay & Hartster: sorry, and thank you for admonishing me. definitely the wrong time to be "calling for perspective". that was not meant to be or sound sarcastic, btw.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:12 AM on July 7, 2005


I've just had the first report of a friend whose relative has been killed in the incident.

No, this isn't September the 11th, and we don't need to panic, but those who are worried about loved ones or (like me) live right in the midst of the city where the attacks occurred can do with any news or reporting.
posted by skylar at 6:14 AM on July 7, 2005


Marquis. Where did you hear that rumour about Imperial College? I'm at IC.
posted by jonesor at 6:14 AM on July 7, 2005


Oh skylar, I'm so sorry to hear it.
posted by LeeJay at 6:15 AM on July 7, 2005


In spite of this I can confirm that the terrorists' continuing efforts to turn us into fearful, hateful small-minded bastards will not succeed.

Now that's the truth. PP and quonsar: you're utter pricks, the loathsome pair of you. Can you not lay off the shtick just for this thread? Jesus.
posted by Decani at 6:15 AM on July 7, 2005


This is so awful. The toll is going up. I have friends there, haven't heard from all of them.

/so sad
posted by bdave at 6:15 AM on July 7, 2005


Expect to hear a lot of Churchill in the ensuing weeks.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:16 AM on July 7, 2005


[pulled q's comment, you can read it here if you need to]
posted by jessamyn at 6:16 AM on July 7, 2005


On BBC: "the bus blast happened near the offices of the British Medical Association - the front of the building is covered in blood".
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:17 AM on July 7, 2005


Imperial College London controlled explosion rumour confirmed
posted by jonesor at 6:17 AM on July 7, 2005


Transcript of Ken's speech anywhere?
posted by nthdegx at 6:17 AM on July 7, 2005


Please, please stop arguing with/yelling at PP. There's nothing whatsoever to be gained, and it's mucking up the thread. Flag, flag, flag. Ignore, ignore, ignore.

(on preview, I guess the calls to stop responding to PP are also bordering on mucking up the thread. But I'll keep this one).

Also, based on preliminary reports, this appears to be less horrific than it could have been. Let's hope that holds true -- for human, not political, reasons.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:19 AM on July 7, 2005


ken livingstone:
"I want to say one thing: This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty or the powerful, it is not aimed at presidents or prime ministers, it was aimed at ordinary working-class Londoners," Livingstone told reporters. "
full text at eitb
posted by gusset at 6:19 AM on July 7, 2005


I just want to express my sympathy for british people.

although we disagreed on some issues recently, let me emphasize that french people are very sad this day, and are on your side without the slightest hesitation.
posted by BastilleWanderer at 6:20 AM on July 7, 2005


I have to say I'm so impressed with the calm and sense displayed by Londoners this morning. They really are heirs to the Blitz after all.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:21 AM on July 7, 2005


skylar - I'm sorry to hear about your friend. Stay safe.

ParisParamus - go play with the other children. The grownups are talking in this thread.
posted by bshort at 6:21 AM on July 7, 2005


Really? : fox news is reporting al queda is claiming it
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:39 AM CST on July 7 [!]


So was BBC America
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 6:24 AM on July 7, 2005


From MSNBC: I realize it is an anonymous source.

"At least 40 people were killed in the explosions that ripped through three London subway trains and a bus on Thursday, according to a U.S. law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because British officials have yet to make public the death toll.

The near simultaneous explosions caused at least 300 injuries in what Prime Minister Tony Blair said was a "barbaric" terrorist attack.

U.S. authorities learned of the fatalities from their British counterparts, according to the official. "

Hold fast London. Our thoughts are with you.
posted by Critical Masshole at 6:24 AM on July 7, 2005


According to someone I know who works with the NHS in London:

latest: 400 injured 40 dead not counting Kings Cross & Leicester Sq where rescue plans are still underway
posted by walrus at 6:25 AM on July 7, 2005


OMG. I feel sick.
posted by Summer at 6:29 AM on July 7, 2005


Thoughts and prayers to all the UK MeFites and those who have friends/family in London. London is one of my favorite cities on earth.

Here in Chicago they've boosted security in and around the CTA trains and buses and Metra trains. (Chicago Tribune link) Apparently there were lots of police around Union Station today, though I didn't see them. No plans to close Michigan Avenue near the Wrigley Building, where the British Consulate is located. (and I work right across the street)
posted by SisterHavana at 6:30 AM on July 7, 2005


Grabbed from a freerepublic comment. (I was reading their comments out of morbid curiosity)

London Mayor Calls Blasts 'Mass Murder'
Thursday July 7, 2005 1:46 PM
AP Photo EKW103
By YEOH EN-LAI
Associated Press Writer

SINGAPORE (AP) - London Mayor Ken Livingstone said the blasts that ripped through his city Thursday were ``mass murder' carried out by terrorists bent on ``indiscriminate ... slaughter.'

Livingstone, in Singapore where he supported London's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics, was rushing back to London after the simultaneous blasts in London's subway network and a double-decker bus, causing deaths and hundreds of injuries.

``I want to say one thing: This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty or the powerful, it is not aimed at presidents or prime ministers, it was aimed at ordinary working-class Londoners,' Livingstone told reporters.

``That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith, it's mass murder,' Livingstone said. ``We know what the objective is. They seek to divide London.'

A group calling itself ``The Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe' claimed responsibility for the blasts in an Internet posting, saying they were in retaliation for Britain's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

News of the blasts sent jubilation at London's successful bid for the 2012 Games plummeting less than 24 hours after the International Olympic Committee's vote.

Livingstone said the attack was aimed at ordinary Londoners.

``Black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindus and Jews, young and old,' he said. It was an ``indiscriminate attempt to slaughter irrespective of any considerations for age, class, religion - whatever.'

Livingstone said he was being kept informed of developments in London via a communications team set up in case an emergency occurred when he was out of the city.

``I have no doubt whatsoever that this is a terrorist attack,' he said.
posted by ryanrs at 6:30 AM on July 7, 2005


Sorry, skylar. All the best.
posted by nthdegx at 6:33 AM on July 7, 2005


My cousin just told me that the cops stopped a suicide bomber getting into the Citibank building at Canary Wharf.
can't find links though
posted by darsh at 6:33 AM on July 7, 2005


BTW, I posted that article for the snippets of Livingstone's speech. I couldn't find the whole thing.
posted by ryanrs at 6:34 AM on July 7, 2005


Just spoke to my brother working nr Tavistock square who, thankfully, was on the tube train a few behind the bombed one. He saw the bus that was shredded and there's going to be more deaths than are currently being reported.

I work in Scotland for the NHS and we're already getting preparation warnings for further incidents even in Edinburgh.

My economist friends' quote "it's good for the price of gold".....frightening.
posted by you're only jung once at 6:35 AM on July 7, 2005


The police are recommending people to stay indoors but I finish work at 3pm and I'm dying to go home. Work near Tower Hill and nearest train is 6 miles away in Finsbury Park!
posted by movilla at 6:38 AM on July 7, 2005


Just in case you really have to get in/out of London on public transport, it looks like Paddington is the best bet (BBC). Other routes terminating short of the centre.
posted by normy at 6:39 AM on July 7, 2005


Peaceful thoughts for London mefites. For everyone.
posted by bardic at 6:39 AM on July 7, 2005


Sorry, skylar. Stay safe, everyone. You're all in my prayers.
posted by unreason at 6:40 AM on July 7, 2005


darsh, I can see the citibank building from here, and as far as I know there has not been any police activity there.

Looks like I *can* get home, if I can get a lift to Potters Bar and go north from there, could be a long journey though.
posted by hardcode at 6:41 AM on July 7, 2005


I know it's not the time but...

Fox News is not a factual source of information...

Paris, you need to worry a little more about what people are making you think...

Yeah, i'm getting a bit sick about the Stock traders saying what a great opportunity this...

And capitalism is good? Yeah, what a great system that makes people act like this...

I fear for the human race, i really do
posted by Good Sir Johnny at 6:41 AM on July 7, 2005


I am trying to follow this via Web sites, my six year old son is at home with me and I would prefer he watch some cartoons as opposed to this unfolding tragedy. I will try and post what I can find as reliable news reports.
The BBC web site is still reporting 2 dead. The 40 number is on the AP wires now and being carried by CNN and MSNBC.

Skylar, I am so sorry.

I have freinds in London as well.

Today, I am a Londoner.

posted by Critical Masshole at 6:42 AM on July 7, 2005


Walking to work this morning, I was routed around a T stop (Porter Square) due to the police/bomb squad checking out a "mysterious package." I hope this is just an example of post incident jitters and not a sign of things to come.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:42 AM on July 7, 2005


FYI Wikipedia has an entry already on the London Blasts. It is surprisingly up to date. here
posted by jonesor at 6:43 AM on July 7, 2005


movilla: my girlfriend has to get from Westminster to Ilford. At the moment, sleeping at work is looking her best bet.
posted by Hartster at 6:43 AM on July 7, 2005


ryanrs: I don't think there's a full transcript anywhere, but there's more bits of Livingstone's statement here. It might be also be available on video on the BBC site later.
posted by funambulist at 6:46 AM on July 7, 2005


"Looks like I *can* get home, if I can get a lift to Potters Bar and go north from there, could be a long journey though."

Alternative methods of transport
posted by walrus at 6:48 AM on July 7, 2005


ryanrs: I don't think there's a full transcript anywhere, but there's more bits of Livingstone's statement here. It might be also be available on video on the BBC site later.
posted by funambulist at 6:50 AM on July 7, 2005


I know the numbers of injured and dead are likely to increase over time, but with only 2 confirmed fatalities so far I feel we have been incredibly 'lucky' - I know that is no comfort to those have or know those have been involved. My thoughts are with them.
I was working round the corner from Algate East up until just last week and have just heard that all my friends and ex-colleagues seem to be okay as far as we can tell - although they do seem to be being kept in their offices at the moment.

Oh, and quonsar: fuck off.
posted by qwerty155 at 6:51 AM on July 7, 2005


I just chased the boy outside for a few minutes. SkyNews reporting 45 dead. 1000 injured, 150 seriously. Here in the US, our Governor (Massachusetts) has announced upped security on Boston rail.
The concensus seems to be 4 bombs, three in the tube and one on a bus.
Also, there will be a press conference at 10 AM EDT (1400 GMT) from London authorities.
posted by Critical Masshole at 6:52 AM on July 7, 2005


Injured people from tube tunnels emerging at different stations caused initial confusion as to the number of bombs, making it appear more than there were.
posted by nthdegx at 6:59 AM on July 7, 2005


Good wishes for all the London MeFites, and all of England for that matter.
posted by jonmc at 6:59 AM on July 7, 2005


People with a personal interest in what's happening in London: say whatever you want, your emotional reaction is a valid as anyone else's[1]. Other people: whatever your opinions, be respectful of the concerns and difficulties of those personally involved. Keep your provocations to yourselves[2].

Languagehat: you're kidding, right? This is what quonsar does. You're only now noticing?

1. Heartfelt aggressive and vengeful sentiments and heartfelt pacifist sentiments are aroused by this sort of thing, please be respectful that what someone feels just now, while emotions are running high, may not be what they think after long consideration. Let people have their reactions, even if it is one you don't approve of.

2. Especially Americans like PP who want to make some political point about terrorism. And the opposite political point of view from an American might be unnecessarily provocative to some. Let those personally involved work out their feeling and thoughts without our provocations.

posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:00 AM on July 7, 2005


Please take good care of each other, Londoners.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:03 AM on July 7, 2005


Ditto from this New Yorker: Peaceful thoughts for London mefites. For everyone.
posted by eatdonuts at 7:09 AM on July 7, 2005


The Metro system in Washington, DC has cops and security personnel all over. I was rather confused this morning when I saw a cop standing in the station. Now I know why.
posted by heydanno at 7:09 AM on July 7, 2005


BBC: All living casualties now removed from King's Cross tunnels, but "a number" of bodies remaining.
posted by normy at 7:11 AM on July 7, 2005


This morning though people were ALL told to take the bus when the tube closed, i was in camden, and the bus drove right to.... King Cross? (where the explosion happened?)

A woman came around the bus screaming DONT GO THERE A BOMB EXLODED and people yelled at the driver 'dont go we want to get off', people left via the emergency exist, but the bus did drive us right to King Cross.

That was a bit fucked up.
posted by Sijeka at 7:13 AM on July 7, 2005


seems like everything that's ever been said about the "unsolvable middle east peace process" is become applicable to the world at large.
posted by nervousfritz at 7:14 AM on July 7, 2005


For those in London: Scotland Yard Casualty Hotline (From The BBC Web Site) 08701566344

I hope none of you need to call it.
posted by Critical Masshole at 7:14 AM on July 7, 2005


LJ has set up a community for information on this event, including a roll call of users to check in. If you have a livejournal and are from London, please check in.
posted by FunkyHelix at 7:14 AM on July 7, 2005


My family is ok in London. May peace be with all of you. You are in our thought here in Boston.
posted by aj100 at 7:18 AM on July 7, 2005


Stay safe Londoners. Awful incident(s) to hear about first thing in the morning.

Some more info via Alertnet on the group taking credit for these attacks:

The "Secret Group of al Qaeda's Jihad in Europe" claimed responsibility for the attack in a Web site posting and warned Italy and Denmark to withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Italian news agency ANSA and al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper said.

The claim, also sent by email to the London-based daily, could not be verified and did not appear on any of the main Web sites normally used by al Qaeda.

"Heroic fighters of the Arab nation, it is time for revenge against the crusader and Zionist British government, in response to the massacre carried out by Great Britain in Iraq and Afghanistan," ANSA quoted the message as saying on a site it named as "el qal3ah.com".

"Our mujahideen have carried out a blessed invasion in London and here is Britain now burning with fear and terror... We have repeatedly warned Britain and have kept our promise."

posted by dhoyt at 7:18 AM on July 7, 2005


The Metro system in Washington, DC has cops and security personnel all over. I was rather confused this morning when I saw a cop standing in the station. Now I know why.

Same on the NYC subway system. It was rather sparsley populated for rush hour and there were uniformed cops on every platform. I hadn't heard about the attack yet, so I found it strange. Not any more.
posted by jonmc at 7:19 AM on July 7, 2005


So, assuming this was Al-Qaeda, did they smuggle suicide bombers into the country or use local recruits, I wonder?

I'm trying to figure out how this many terrorists go undetected in a post 9-11 world, and if this degree of porousness still exists in the US.
posted by mecran01 at 7:21 AM on July 7, 2005


heydanno writes "The Metro system in Washington, DC has cops and security personnel all over. I was rather confused this morning when I saw a cop standing in the station."

Wow. And here I was wondering why there seemed to be no police presence on the Metyro this morning during my commute on the Red Line. Still haven't decided if I am going to use public transportation on the way home.

Be strong, London. You are in my thoughts.
posted by terrapin at 7:22 AM on July 7, 2005


British Transport Police have just announced that the tube won't open until tomorrow. If it helps anyone trying to get home, there are still some Thameslink trains running. I caught one southbound from Elephant and Castle this morning, when everything going north had been cancelled. Hats off to the guy I saw attempting to organise a sing-song.
posted by mleonard at 7:24 AM on July 7, 2005


When I took the bus this morning, shortly after the first "power surge" was announced, the bus driver was behaving really oddly. He didn't accept any payment or allow us to swipe our cards; he simply told everyone to "get on the bus NOW" and sped off.

It was as if he wanted to get away from the City area as quickly as possible. But also as if he'd already had some sort of warning that bigger developments were in the offing. (Clearly he hadn't been told about any bombs on buses, because then he would have been _really_ freaked out!)
posted by skylar at 7:25 AM on July 7, 2005


My heartfelt condolences to all Londoners. This is terrible.

So far it appears that emergency services are performing exceptionally well given the situation. My hats' off to them. Let's just hope that some of these reports are inaccurate regarding casualties/fatalities and the numbers are much lower than what we're currently hearing.
posted by purephase at 7:26 AM on July 7, 2005


The DC news reports stated that the cops and their machine guns and body armor were stationed in the Metro not as a deterrent but rather mostly to "comfort" passengers. Yes, I'm always much more comfortable around guys with machine guns.

All my best to London. Peace be with you all.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:26 AM on July 7, 2005


Condolences UK mefites; I wish it would stop.
posted by AllesKlar at 7:26 AM on July 7, 2005


Yeah, I was on the blue this morning and the train stopped at the Metro Center so two guys with M-16s and a dog could inspect the train. Not to make this a political argument, but I couldn't help but notice how the "color/alert level" system has apparently disappeared from human memory.

Confused about the "claims of responsibility" such as dhoyt linked to- British Emergency Services are having a presser right now claiming they recieved no advance warning and no claims of responsibility as of yet.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:27 AM on July 7, 2005


The first I heard about this was when I opened my email inbox this morning and saw an email from a friend who lives in England. She is fine, though just yesterday she was at two of the stations that have been bombed Edgeware Rd. and King's Cross.

Paris Paramus's comment about sending more troops to Afghanistan and Iraq would be perfectly acceptable if that were actually a way to fight terrorism, but it is not. We need international cooperation and constructive measures, not more generalized wars, if we're ever to get to the roots of terrorism and prevent things like this from ever happening again. I found myself crying when I read the coverage of this. I don't want to have to read about the bombing of more innocent people.
posted by orange swan at 7:27 AM on July 7, 2005


I'm trying to figure out how this many terrorists go undetected in a post 9-11 world, and if this degree of porousness still exists in the US.

What struck me was the quote "'We do not have any intelligence indicating this type of attack is planned in the United States,' [Homeland Security spokesman] Brian Roehrkasse said."

I'll assume, perhaps improperly, that British officials could say the same thing...yesterday. At least it seems that way. Reactionary, I know, but "lack of intelligence" doesn't make me feel, well, safe.

.
posted by tpl1212 at 7:27 AM on July 7, 2005


That group has never been heard before and claims made on a website are not verifiable.

There's a police conference now (broadcast on Sky news) and they just made a statement that they did not receive any warning before the attack or any claims after the attack from any group, so far.
posted by funambulist at 7:28 AM on July 7, 2005


So, assuming this was Al-Qaeda, did they smuggle suicide bombers into the country or use local recruits, I wonder?

you have the wrong idea about what al-qaeda is. everyone who wants to be al-qaeda is al-qaeda. think of it as a movement rather than a specific group.


London, hang in there. Love.
posted by mr.marx at 7:28 AM on July 7, 2005


mecran01: "So, assuming this was Al-Qaeda, did they smuggle suicide bombers into the country or use local recruits, I wonder?"


The Guardian has an overview of militant Islamic groups in the UK who have stated that their goal is an Islamist state in Britain. If there were local recruits I'd suspect they come out of these groups. However if there were suicide bombers I'd bet they're foreigners.
posted by PenDevil at 7:29 AM on July 7, 2005


My friends in London are safe at home. I fervently wish everyone else could have the same outcome.

.
posted by Space Kitty at 7:30 AM on July 7, 2005


From DC Text Alert:

"There are no credible threats for DC at this time however, as a result of the London bombings, increased security @ Metro stations & critical facilities by MPD has been implemented."
posted by terrapin at 7:30 AM on July 7, 2005


If we all start fighting with each other, then the terrorists have won.

1/4 * :-)

No one's posted the link for the live NPR News mp3 shotcast feed; it's here. That's a winamp bookmark; it won't play directly from my browser; you'll likely have to copy and paste it into your mp3 player.
posted by baylink at 7:31 AM on July 7, 2005


Brighton station was closed for a while and there was a controlled explosion of a suspect package. No bombs.
posted by MrImpossible at 7:32 AM on July 7, 2005


I think Paris Paramus's comment about sending more troops is spot on. I opposed the war in Iraq, but if England doesn't show resolve and refuse to allow violence to set their policy, they are in for a rough time of it in the year ahead.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:32 AM on July 7, 2005


Skylar, that's what I was sayig, the bus driver was WEIRD, but i do not get why he insisted on driving straight through to King Cross when a woman told him a bomb had exploded and the people in the bus were freaking out.
posted by Sijeka at 7:32 AM on July 7, 2005


PenDevil - that list is a bit out of date. I would imagine that Al-Muhajiroun aka The "Saviour" Sect would be likely however. I find it astonishing that Omar Bakri still gets so much state benefit given his nutty teachings, I mean wtf?
posted by Mossy at 7:32 AM on July 7, 2005


Trains are running (infrequently) into Paddington at this moment in time but they are not stopping at Ealing Broadway.

The Heathrow Express is also working.
posted by ralawrence at 7:33 AM on July 7, 2005


This is not going to stop with London. And unlike 9/11, there's no convenient country to target with retaliation. With any luck people will start to understand that this cannot be stopped with conventional methods. Bombs are too easily constructed, and those willing to sacrifice their own lives cannot be stopped. So, what now?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:36 AM on July 7, 2005


.

A sad day indeed.
posted by Who_Am_I at 7:37 AM on July 7, 2005


I'm not surprised by the calm and stoic behavior of the Brits on the ground. A less flappable group of people has never existed. My thoughts and prayers are with the whole of the island.
posted by dejah420 at 7:38 AM on July 7, 2005


There's a police conference now (broadcast on Sky news) and they just made a statement that they did not receive any warning before the attack or any claims after the attack from any group, so far.

Yeah, I dunno. That's just what I was hearing all over the radio & TV before I left work this morning. All references on Google News refer to a terrorist group "unheard of" heretofore.
posted by dhoyt at 7:38 AM on July 7, 2005


I think Paris Paramus's comment about sending more troops is spot on. I opposed the war in Iraq, but if England doesn't show resolve and refuse to allow violence to set their policy, they are in for a rough time of it in the year ahead.

Aha. They should refuse to allow violence to set their policy by setting a policy of sending more troops to war everytime someone is a victim of violence. Well, gosh. That's fucking retarded, you think?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:38 AM on July 7, 2005


I'm incredibly saddened and shaken up by this. Warm, peaceful thoughts to all you Brits. Wish I could put an arm around each and every one of you.
posted by jrossi4r at 7:38 AM on July 7, 2005


I remember living and working in London for quite a while under the daily threat of IRA bombs... we're quite used to this sort of thing and won't be provoked into an irrational response.
My heart goes out to all those involved today.
posted by BobsterLobster at 7:39 AM on July 7, 2005


I couldn't help but notice how the "color/alert level" system has apparently disappeared from human memory.

As the DHS official explained on NPR, the color alert level has to do with known threats via intelligence. So far, DHS does not have any intelligence regarding threats, hence the level has not been raised.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 7:41 AM on July 7, 2005


Bulgatoroktonos, I hope you are being sarcastic. I do think you are being sarcastic.

But still: I'm sitting here in the middle of the City, yards away from where the first bomb is supposed to have gone off, and the last thing on anyone's mind is starting a bloody war. Don't be so ridiculous and moreover disrespectful to those of us who are affected by this attack.

The Afghanistan and Iraq wars clearly had no effect on preventing this disaster which, let's admit it, was going to happen sooner or later as all Londoners knew and understood.

Let's just be grateful this is a small scale attack compared to September 11th. Yes, some of us already know people who have been injured or killed. But we should be glad that it wasn't much worse, and just get on with our lives. Thinking about war will not help. Going to the pub or having a cup of tea possibly might.
posted by skylar at 7:41 AM on July 7, 2005


All of these terrorist attacks - they keep coming, yet nothing ever changes, if anything, it just seems to make the opposition take a harder line.. So its been said before, but it bears repeating: "An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind."

So my heart goes out to the victims and families, but it's frustrated, for it seems this is all I can do.
posted by lilboo at 7:51 AM on July 7, 2005


Four explosions reported; three in tube trains, one on a bus:
British Home Secretary Charles Clarke said the explosions took place between Russell Square and Kings Cross Underground; near the Moorgate, Aldgate and Liverpool Street stations Underground; and the Edgware Road station.

Police said a bomb was aboard one train at Edgware Road, but it exploded as another train was passing and hit that train as well.

The fourth explosion on a bus just outside Tavistock Hotel.
CNN map.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:51 AM on July 7, 2005


XQUZYPHYR, I don't think it's "fucking retarded" to say, we will not be moved by violence directed at our civilian population, and those who attempt to do so will only hurt their cause. It's the best deterrent to future violence I can think of.

on privew: Of course I'm not being sarcastic, the people who did this need to know they can not, and never will be able to accomplish anything with by bombing subways and buses, and I hope the Brits show them just that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:52 AM on July 7, 2005


skylar writes "But we should be glad that it wasn't much worse, and just get on with our lives. Thinking about war will not help. Going to the pub or having a cup of tea possibly might."

Well put.

And of course there would always be those who will react to these bombs by saying that a logical response would actually be to remove troops from Afghanistan/Iraq.
posted by peacay at 7:55 AM on July 7, 2005


"Of course I'm not being sarcastic, the people who did this need to know they can not, and never will be able to accomplish anything with by bombing subways and buses, and I hope the Brits show them just that."

Can you show me evidence that "the people who did this" are currently in Afghanistan and Iraq please? I'll show it to my MP and ask him if we can send some troops directly.
posted by walrus at 7:57 AM on July 7, 2005


OK. All the people I couldn't contact after the bombs have now turned up. I feel a little better now, more able to deal with what's happened, and (some) people's snarky comments about it.

But still, for everyone else out there who still hasn't heard from someone - hang in there. My thoughts are with you.
posted by benzo8 at 8:00 AM on July 7, 2005


So far, DHS does not have any intelligence regarding threats, hence the level has not been raised.

This is true. However, the coordination system has been initiated.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:07 AM on July 7, 2005


Then they're in kind of a weird double bind. If they do pull their troops then they're sending a message that terrorism works and is acceptable. If they send more troops, that just inflames the Middle East further and helps terrorist recruitment. It's a shit sandwich in either direction. I'm not tryinf to be argumentative (and I don't like the war in Iraq to begin with) but that's how it looks to me.
posted by jonmc at 8:07 AM on July 7, 2005


mecran01 writes "if this degree of porousness still exists in the US."

Of course it does. Anywhere you have freedom of travel, association, and a free market this kind of thing is possible. A very small number could cooridinate and plant these sorts of bombs on practically any transit system in Canada or the US.
posted by Mitheral at 8:07 AM on July 7, 2005


The people who did this are doing it to try to force England to withdraw her troops from those countries. By refusing to give in to their demands, it sends the message that their attempts to change England's policy by violence will not be successful. I doubt they will get or care about that message, but it is an important one to send.

England must not show weakness.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:07 AM on July 7, 2005


My prayers for the families of all those hurt and dead. So many bombs went off, 7 at one time-frame in such a large city as London, no subways to get home for the millions working in mid-town, it must be staggeringly stressful and frightening. Londoners are an hour away from what would be their rush hour and likely feeling paralysed about what to do.

Here in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, it seems to be strangely hushed today, few sirens, little traffic noise, almost like a Sunday, not a usually busy Thursday morning. No doubt all of this and many other cities' anti-terrorist administartions are on high alert. I can well-imagine there is a PTSD reaction for all those injured or traumatised on 9/11, a kind of breath-holding in anxiety.

Not knowing what G8 is, since that was supposed to be the timing reason for this attack, I looked it up on Wikipedia

31st G8 summit
"The 31st G8 summit is scheduled to be held from 6 to 8 July 2005 at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland and hosted by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. As host, the UK has stated it intends to focus this G8 meeting on the issues of global climate change and the lack of economic development in Africa. Other announced items on the agenda are counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and reform in the Middle East."
posted by nickyskye at 8:08 AM on July 7, 2005


from Paris : I have Just heard a translation of Ken Levingston speech on a french radio station, ( France info ) .
Speaking to the terrorist he said that they failed and allways will cause people from around the world will keep going to London, city of tolerance and freedom.
Londoners we LOVE you.
posted by luis huiton at 8:09 AM on July 7, 2005


Just found out that one of my work colleagues is missing, has been missing all day and her partner has still had no word. V worried.
posted by Summer at 8:10 AM on July 7, 2005


Im also appauled by quonsar's comment

not by quonsar's comment, you are just "appauled" waiting to happen. of course this is terrible. so are dozens of atrocities which occur every day, many, i might add, inflicted by USian and British citizens. i'm sorry for londoners and hope all of our friends are ok, and i should have edited out that bit about buildings falling because people read it as "our attack was bigger than yours" when what i meant to say is MANY OF YOU ARE ACTING LIKE FOAMING AT THE MOUTH CABLE NEWS JUNKIES yet you mostly ignore bigger, more deadly incidents on a daily basis. WHY?!?!
posted by quonsar at 8:10 AM on July 7, 2005


Bulgaroktonos: Agreed. Too bad the Spanish didn't understand this.
posted by tgrundke at 8:10 AM on July 7, 2005


I cant help but think, is this a reason to get Bits to suupport america? I mean look at it, some of the exact same comments like Mayor Curley were said on 9/11 :We are a strong country and we never get divided.: well we are divided as ever. I mean history repeats over and over, and we are not learning from it. I think that bush has something to do with this after the whole aid to africa thing not to get even but instead when we help them, they will give in to us and Blair and Bush will be friends again and agree on every damn thing. I know it sounds bogus but thats my take. My thoughts are with the victims though. God keep u all safe wherever u may be.
posted by wheelieman at 8:11 AM on July 7, 2005


skylar writes "But we should be glad that it wasn't much worse, and just get on with our lives. Thinking about war will not help. Going to the pub or having a cup of tea possibly might."

Well put.

And of course there would always be those who will react to these bombs by saying that a logical response would actually be to remove troops from Afghanistan/Iraq.
posted by peacay at 8:12 AM on July 7, 2005


be well, all of you.
posted by amberglow at 8:15 AM on July 7, 2005


Wheelieman, are you suggesting the CIA plotted a terrorist attack London to get English support for the War on Terror cause?
posted by falameufilho at 8:17 AM on July 7, 2005


Wikipedia has a good entry on the attacks, including a link to the site that the BBC claims contains a claim of responsibility for the attack by the "Secret Organisation Group of al-Qaeda".

Thankfully all of my friends, family and colleagues in the area seem to be ok - my thoughts are with those who aren't as lucky or don't know yet.
posted by r1ch at 8:21 AM on July 7, 2005


Wheelieman, no. It is bogus. Bush may not be a great guy, but he is not going to kill 35 innocent Brits to get a little closer to his already number one ally because they had some differences over the wording on AIDS and CO2 policies. Things just don't happen that way, at least not at home.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:22 AM on July 7, 2005


I think that bush has something to do with this after the whole aid to africa thing not to get even but instead when we help them, they will give in to us and Blair and Bush will be friends again and agree on every damn thing.

Well, that took longer than I expected.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:23 AM on July 7, 2005


Aren't we already planning to take most of our troops out of Iraq in order to transfer them to Afghanistan with the eventual aim of the UK taking increased military control of Afghanistan? Is this likely to have any impact on that?
posted by biffa at 8:24 AM on July 7, 2005


I fail to see how upping the ante in Iraq as a response to this is anything other than falling for grade school-level reverse psychology. The war in Iraq is the best thing that ever happened to Islamic terrorism -- not only is it an awesome recruiting tool, it's the very War Against The West they've been spoiling for for years. Further enflaming the situation, and further radicalizing people there is supposed to accomplish... what, exactly?
posted by aaronetc at 8:27 AM on July 7, 2005


Clearly, Quonsar, it's the reason why that always is: some of the people here know people who might be personally involved.

The likelihood that a critical mass of Metafiltarians might know the potential targets of a Jerusalem or Baghdad suicide bomb attack is much smaller.

Same thing for African famine.
posted by baylink at 8:28 AM on July 7, 2005


what i meant to say is MANY OF YOU ARE ACTING LIKE FOAMING AT THE MOUTH CABLE NEWS JUNKIES yet you mostly ignore bigger, more deadly incidents on a daily basis. WHY?!?!

Fuck you, quonsar, what do you know about me and how I relate to other catastrophic events? I have a friend missing so of course this means a lot to me, but where do you get off assuming that you know how I react to all other news? You really are looking like a pompous prick from over here.
posted by ciderwoman at 8:49 AM on July 7, 2005


Best wishes to my French-Arabic friends stuck in London today, Mourad and Ousama, who already have enough trouble getting through immigration, I hope they are not subjected to any undue stress.
God forbid anyone be inconvenienced or feel stress on a day where people are being hurt and killed.
posted by darukaru at 8:52 AM on July 7, 2005


Fuck you, quonsar, what do you know about me and how I relate to other catastrophic events? I have a friend missing so of course this means a lot to me, but where do you get off assuming that you know how I react to all other news? You really are looking like a pompous prick from over here.

and before that comment, nothing i posted could conceivably have been interpreted as reflecting on your calm participation in this thread. but now you look like a frenzied madwoman from here. i hope your friend is ok.
posted by quonsar at 8:54 AM on July 7, 2005


I live in the US but have some friends living in London...can anyone point me to a site I could text message them for free/quickly? I'd like to make sure everyone is alright.
posted by rbf1138 at 8:55 AM on July 7, 2005


.
posted by cass at 8:56 AM on July 7, 2005


darukaru, I understand your anger, but take from someone whos Arabic brother-in-law (and father on my half-arabic newborn neice) was a resident on call at a tri-state hospital on 9/11: it's possible to feel anger at the bastards who did this and to also care that decent citizens aren't screwed over for being the same ethnicity as them.
posted by jonmc at 8:56 AM on July 7, 2005


darukaru, i think what he meant by "stress" is "revenge attacks"

what ciderwoman said quonsar. asshole.
posted by lemonfridge at 8:57 AM on July 7, 2005


I couldn't help but notice how the "color/alert level" system has apparently disappeared from human memory.

As the DHS official explained on NPR, the color alert level has to do with known threats via intelligence. So far, DHS does not have any intelligence regarding threats, hence the level has not been raised.


This is a remarkably charitable explanation. My second reaction upon hearing about this attack (after the horror and sympathy for the victims), and that of many of my friends I have since spoken to, was "how can the US government cynically manipulate the fears of people into more dangerous foreign policy experiments?" The terror alert system was a positively Orwellian move to keep the fear level at constantly high points. Now that we're out of the election cycle it wasn't needed.

The terror level used to be a part of the Fox news ticker (and I believe, the CNN one, briefly), constantly, not just when it changed.
posted by norm at 8:57 AM on July 7, 2005


jonmc: it is a catch-22 only if we accept to filter everything that will be discussed at political level about Iraq through the events of this morning. Which, if this was done by the same groups who attacked Madrid, would mean letting a terrorist attack hijack a pre-existing political debate. It's not a given that it should be so.


as a general aside - I find it so unpleasant to hear talk of "resolve" with military implications in reference to Iraq, which since the war has been ravaged by terrorist attacks like this day in day out. Much good that kind of "resolve" has done them. Resolve as a response to today's attacks is people getting back to normal, going to the pub, going to work, taking the tube tomorrow, daily life of ordinary people going on, like Brits are used to, that's what's good to see.
posted by funambulist at 9:03 AM on July 7, 2005


Londoners, please take care. I love your city and wish you well.
posted by fatllama at 9:07 AM on July 7, 2005


Frenzied, quonsar? To an extent, as anyone would be who has spent half the day trying to track down a friend. But the fact is that your assumption that some of us ignore other events (obviously you are above this) is self-righteous bullshit. Unless of course you'd care to back it up with some facts?

I've enjoyed your postings in the past, but today you have woefully misjudged the tone, being neither funny nor illuminating, but rather appearing smug and idiotic.
posted by ciderwoman at 9:07 AM on July 7, 2005


rfb1138, i just used sms.ac to text message an un-found friend in london ... anyone can use this account if they want: username atozota, password mefi, email address atozota@mailinator.com
posted by louigi at 9:09 AM on July 7, 2005


play safe with sms.ac, they have a rather dubious (in places) privacy statement and terms of use.

But in times like this i guess you take what you can get. go for it.
posted by lemonfridge at 9:13 AM on July 7, 2005


When these events occur, I am always struck by the juxtaposition; when an things like this happen, we see the worst of man and the best of man. The cowardice, futility, depravity and smallness of the actions of people at fault is the worst of man. The solidarity, humanism, compassion and resolve of the effected shows all that is good about man as a citizen of a polis.

This is a tragedy. Hopefully more people will take from it a realization of what exactly Western Civilization is facing. The world's eyes were opened in NYC, but here, years later, even after minor events, the message was being forgotten. Hopefully this attack on London will be a reminder: there is evil in this world, and it has to be addressed.
posted by dios at 9:15 AM on July 7, 2005


London, our thoughts are with you. Today, we are all Londoners.
posted by Loudmax at 9:16 AM on July 7, 2005


Quonsar, I used to have a pretty high opinion of you because you'd made some interesting observations in some of your posts. When I asked about a deleted thread over in the gray and you accused me of whining, I began to wonder. And as of this thread, I'm now dead certain.

Quonsar, you're a useless fucktard twit and should STFU forever.
posted by alumshubby at 9:18 AM on July 7, 2005


I like quonsar. Though I don't necessarily agree with every or anything he might say - neither he me. I don't think he's a prick. He didn't, for example, blow up a bus today.

Ooh, I have a looong walk home from central London now :(
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:19 AM on July 7, 2005


thanks atozota, but i cant get it working...
posted by rbf1138 at 9:20 AM on July 7, 2005


I don't think many Londoners are going to call for troops to be taken out of the Middle East as a direct result of this attack. Like I said, the more likely response is for us to feel that this has nothing to do with war - either for or against - whatsoever.

Whether or not we approve of war, I don't think a bombing is going to change any Londoner's opinion. Ken Livingstone put it very well... the terrorist attack is just an insane criminal act and that is that. But we knew it was coming, and it hasn't been anywhere near as huge as it could have been, and the emergency services have been getting progressively more brilliant as the day has worn on.

Amidst all this, however horrible it is, let's be glad we're still here; let's not forget why people gathered last week to protest against poverty in Africa; and let's not forget the scale of the tsunami which took so many lives, including those of Londoners.
posted by skylar at 9:20 AM on July 7, 2005


Today, we are all Londoners.

ah. then yesterday, we must have all been iraqis and africans. who will we all be tomorrow?
posted by quonsar at 9:21 AM on July 7, 2005


.
posted by rand at 9:23 AM on July 7, 2005


I first heard about this at 7:45am (EST). As I'm from London I immediately tried calling friends and family. My family are ok, but I'm still waiting to hear from friends, but mobile phone networks still appear to be congested...
posted by ob at 9:23 AM on July 7, 2005


rbf, works for me ... email me at the address in my profile.
posted by louigi at 9:24 AM on July 7, 2005


I only regret not being in London right now to offer my help.

The people of England have repeatedly shown their mettle against the forces of evil, and were an inspiration to courage for us in New York.

------

On the idiotic comments....

Why are you all surprised about the likes of quonsar? There were exactly the same callous and degenerate remarks right here in New York the very day after 9/11.

Pay close attention to how people are reacting in this hour of need, it will open your eyes about their true nature.
posted by reality at 9:24 AM on July 7, 2005


r1ch: Thank you for the wikipedia link. It's certainly the most thorough coverage I've seen yet.

London: our thoughts are with you. Pull through, and think carefully before you react.
posted by quasistoic at 9:25 AM on July 7, 2005


For reasons completely different than listed by one commenter above, I salute the strength and courage of Londoners to get through this with godspeed, and think that these qualities will surmount the horror they've been confronted with. Evil has always and will always be around, and steady, concerted goodwill will get us through this.
posted by faux ami at 9:26 AM on July 7, 2005


I like quonsar. Though I don't necessarily agree with every or anything he might say - neither he me. I don't think he's a prick. He didn't, for example, blow up a bus today.

Agreed.

Yrs, A. Londoner.
posted by plep at 9:27 AM on July 7, 2005


My condolences! This is awful.

"If there is no God, everything is permissible." -Dostoevsky
posted by aaronshaf at 9:29 AM on July 7, 2005


I will contact anyone in London on behalf of anyone who has friends in London. But text messages are still taking a while to get through. I would really recommend internet chat, e-mail or landlines. Happy to do this on anyone's behalf - just leave a message in this thread and I'll check later.
posted by skylar at 9:30 AM on July 7, 2005


If and when this happens again in the states, good God, Allah, Budda, whatever... our minority red neck populace will be commiting a headshakingly high number of hate crimes.

I think the recruiters for the British armed forces are going to have a sudden upswing in new recruits. Britain never backed down from Hitler's in your face approach, and this approach is not going to work either.
posted by buzzman at 9:31 AM on July 7, 2005


All of you UKers are in my thoughts. Here's hoping you and your family and friends remain safe.
posted by rocketman at 9:32 AM on July 7, 2005


You don't have to blow up a bus to be a prick. All you have to do look down at everyone else because you're the only one who really understands.

Yrs, Another Londoner.
posted by ciderwoman at 9:33 AM on July 7, 2005


You don't have to blow up a bus to be a prick

Well, that's true. Look at me, for example :(
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:35 AM on July 7, 2005


not by quonsar's comment, you are just "appauled" waiting to happen. of course this is terrible. so are dozens of atrocities which occur every day, many, i might add, inflicted by USian and British citizens. i'm sorry for londoners and hope all of our friends are ok, and i should have edited out that bit about buildings falling because people read it as "our attack was bigger than yours" when what i meant to say is MANY OF YOU ARE ACTING LIKE FOAMING AT THE MOUTH CABLE NEWS JUNKIES yet you mostly ignore bigger, more deadly incidents on a daily basis. WHY?!?!

Opposing popular opinion, I agree with quonsar. I opened CNN and saw "WE WERE WAITING TO DIE" in huge font staring at me and I thought "shit, what happend?" then I read that 33 people have been killed and instantly wondered how many Africans died of malaria or AIDS this week and how that didn't cause a blip on the news-radar screen.
posted by ackeber at 9:37 AM on July 7, 2005


our minority red neck populace will be commiting a headshakingly high number of hate crimes.

Or at least you hope, in order that your distorted world view be affirmed.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:38 AM on July 7, 2005


All you have to do look down at everyone else because you're the only one who really understands

although, every once in a while it may be defensible to take up that role when you notice that "dude, where's my planet," every one else that made up the world you once found reasonable has gone into hiding or is being hunted down by the FBI. . . no matter if it makes you an asshole or not, I guess
posted by nervousfritz at 9:41 AM on July 7, 2005


Maybe, Bulgaroktonos, he typed, sitting in an office in London listening to the sirens, as he has been listening to the sirens for the last 8 hours, still waiting for the end of the worried roll call of friends who work in and around Liverpool Street, your opinion on international politics would have a bit more weight if you knew which country had just been attacked.

Britain. Short for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Learn what the country is called before you start telling its inhabitants what we should do.
posted by tannhauser at 9:41 AM on July 7, 2005


Steady as she goes, folks. Multiple timed attacks are an Al Qaida signature, for what that's worth.

We're well past the "golden hour" so now it's gonna be sit back and wait for the late reports. I fully expect to be hearing some stories about on-the-scene "convergent responders."

By my count, we only have one report (Summer's) of a one-degree of separation possible casualty.

Summer: our hopes and wishes are with you and your friends. We are all in this together.

London: it's possible (even likely) that cell networks were used to transmit detonation signals. Better stay off the wireless transmissions for the day, as a prudent precaution.
posted by warbaby at 9:41 AM on July 7, 2005


Steady as she goes, folks. Multiple timed attacks are an Al Qaida signature, for what that's worth.

We're well past the "golden hour" so now it's gonna be sit back and wait for the late reports. I fully expect to be hearing some stories about on-the-scene "convergent responders."

By my count, we only have one report (Summer's) of a one-degree of separation possible casualty.

Summer: our hopes and wishes are with you and your friends. We are all in this together.

London: it's possible (even likely) that cell networks were used to transmit detonation signals. Better stay off the wireless transmissions for the day, as a prudent precaution.
posted by warbaby at 9:42 AM on July 7, 2005


I think that bush has something to do with this after the whole aid to africa thing not to get even but instead when we help them, they will give in to us and Blair and Bush will be friends again and agree on every damn thing. I know it sounds bogus but thats my take.

Totally, bro.

*toke*
posted by dhoyt at 9:42 AM on July 7, 2005


The people of England have repeatedly shown their mettle against the forces of evil, and were an inspiration to courage for us in New York.

For real, good show, thanks for your love then, you have my love now.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:45 AM on July 7, 2005


I mean look at it, some of the exact same comments like Mayor Curley were said on 9/11 :We are a strong country and we never get divided.: well we are divided as ever. I mean history repeats over and over, and we are not learning from it.

wheelieman, rest assured that I wasn't apeing any of Bush's "we're so big and strong" crap. I was making reference to a well-known stereotype of British people and to a piece of recent history called "World War II," specifically "the Blitz".
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:45 AM on July 7, 2005


And... buses are back in operation already. London is getting back to normal. Aren't we Londoners a plucky bunch?!
posted by skylar at 9:46 AM on July 7, 2005


I can't believe we are discussing this, while an attractive white american female is still missing!!
posted by glenwood at 9:46 AM on July 7, 2005


His tone might be a bit indelicate, but if I read quonsar correctly, I think he's trying to say that these awful attacks remind us that there is much suffering in the world every day, and that we'd do well as a species to work as hard at reducing that suffering all the time as we do in times of those great tragedies to which we feel most closely connected.

Whereas if I read PP and now dios correctly, they're trying to say that attacks like these remind us that there is a great evil force in the world - Arabia? Islam? the developing world generally? - that wants to destroy Western Civilization, and it speaks to us in its true voice mostly (exclusively?) through brutal bombings such as these, and we should wage war to eradicate it from the face of the earth, and until then presumably we should live in constant fear and do as our brave leaders tell us.

Me, I'll take quonsar's version.

Godspeed, Londoners. I can't even imagine how awful this day has been for many of you.
posted by gompa at 9:48 AM on July 7, 2005


You're so right, ackeber, that's why we all said "tough shit New York, look at Rawanda" on 9/11. Still, thank god for people like you and quonsar bringing the plight of Africa to our attention, otherwise we'd just never know what's going on.
posted by ciderwoman at 9:49 AM on July 7, 2005


ah. then yesterday, we must have all been iraqis and africans. who will we all be tomorrow?
posted by quonsar at 9:21 AM PST on July 7 [!]


Ok... since you seem so hung up on the plight of Iraqis and Africans..... what have you done to help them, besides piss in this thread... hmmmmm?
posted by Debaser626 at 9:50 AM on July 7, 2005


Please, attacking me for saying England instead of Britain?

I fully aware of the legitimate distinctions between the two terms, but in the popular mind, especially for an American, they are interchangeable. I am a student at a very good university and I've studied a great deal of British(and English) history, so don't try to paint me as ignorant. Which term I use for the country has nothing to do with my point, which you have tastefully ignored.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:52 AM on July 7, 2005


our minority red neck populace will be commiting a headshakingly high number of hate crimes.

In order to do this, they would have to be located in communities that contain Arabs (or generic brownish people). If these ignorant people lived in such areas, you'd think that they wouldn't be quite as ignorant. Then again, there's no accounting for self-insulation.

I couldn't help but notice how the "color/alert level" system has apparently disappeared from human memory.

As the DHS official explained on NPR, the color alert level has to do with known threats via intelligence. So far, DHS does not have any intelligence regarding threats, hence the level has not been raised.


DHS as now raised the threat level to orange though the Secretary still states they have no credible threats.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:54 AM on July 7, 2005


I don't agree with the way that quonsar has represented himself, but he has the right to his opinion, as unpopular as it is. My heart goes out immensely to anyone who has lost a loved one or has seen someone close to them injured. And I sure as hell hope that a few people I know in London are okay.

But consider that we don't yet know which terrorist group was responsible. Consider last year's Moscow subway bombing, which killed 40 people and didn't register nearly the hysterical media headlines that these explosions did. Consider further the crazed hysteria pervading American subways this morning without specific or credible information that there was a threat. (And here in San Francisco, the subways were considerably lighter usual during morning rush hour.)

And now there's more talk of zero risk on the basis of a tragic terrorist attack that, mortality-wise, is small potatoes compared to AIDS and famine and is the same as just about any major metropolitan area's yearly homicide rate.

Well, you know what? As long as humans live and walk on this earth, there will always be risk. You cannot have a life or a society without risk. So let's start being rational and realistic, instead of subscribing to hasty visceral reactions. I dare you to live fearlessly.
posted by ed at 9:56 AM on July 7, 2005


Oh my beloved London how it hurts to see you wounded.

Let's just check on the reasons given for going to war in Iraq.
WMDs.....................No
Ties to 911.............No
"Fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here.".....................Whoops
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:01 AM on July 7, 2005


I read that 33 people have been killed and instantly wondered how many Africans died of malaria or AIDS this week and how that didn't cause a blip on the news-radar screen.
Good point - for comparison lets run a few figures for Heart attacks: in a London population of 7.4 million thats about 93 per day of which about 30 would be fatal, so these attacks are just enough to be the #1 cause of death in London today.
posted by Lanark at 10:01 AM on July 7, 2005


I found Blair's speech eloquent & moving. Livingstone's sounded just a little too much like it would've been okay if they'd blown up rich people - parts of the statement were good, but his condemnation seemed too qualified to me. Bush as usual couldn't put together a coherent thought, poor thing.

Most of my londoners have checked in & are okay, but I'm still worrying about one friend who lives near King's Cross - she's a teacher so hopefully on vacation & so not on the tube in the AM, but I want to hear directly. All my best to all you in London...
posted by mdn at 10:07 AM on July 7, 2005


i was born in London although i live in Canada now. and i only just got out of bed having worked a late shift to turn on the news and find this. i'm hurridly looking for the phone numbers of my sister and teen-age nephews, but i just can't find any of them. i have a bad habit of writing such stuff on little pieces of paper and the backs of envelopes and not immediately putting them into outlook for syncing up with my handheld. i really hope they are ok.
posted by TrinityB5 at 10:07 AM on July 7, 2005


Let's not forget the tens of thousands of transporation deaths in the US alone every year.

Oh wait, it's not how many die, it's who dies and how. Gotcha.
posted by angry modem at 10:08 AM on July 7, 2005


Revenge is never so sweet as when it is served with delicious jellied eels.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 10:10 AM on July 7, 2005


Secret Life of Gravy: LOL
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:11 AM on July 7, 2005


I don't think that this will have a big impact on Londoners going forward - by the end of the month (if not next week) things will be back to normal, with people wondering why there are so many police around and why the tubes aren't back to normal.

--------------

Great Standard headline this evening "Bombs on tube kill commuters" - I'm sure people wouldn't have realised otherwise.
posted by daveg at 10:20 AM on July 7, 2005


Multiple timed attacks are an Al Qaida signature, for what that's worth.

And they wouldn't be too hard to copy by some other fringe group. Yeah, it was probably al Qaeda, but they also claimed responsibilty for the NY power outages and that plane crash a month after 9/11. So they're not exactly trustworthy.
posted by b_thinky at 10:21 AM on July 7, 2005


The Afghanistan and Iraq wars clearly had no effect on preventing this

On the contrary, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars clearly had some effect on causing it.

England must not show weakness.

Pride is a weakness. To those who say "we can't let them think they've won" I say, they've already won. Scores are dead. More are scared witless. Our governments are doing a better job whittling away at our freedom than terrorists could ever accomplish by themselves.

We need to get out of the Middle East. They don't want us there. They never have.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:21 AM on July 7, 2005


"Fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here.".....................Whoops

Perhaps they got lost while turning that last corner.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:21 AM on July 7, 2005


If you're Mr. Terrorist Leader, it has to piss you off to see things cleaned up and back to normal within a few hours. So today I killed a bunch of people and accomplished nothing. Hooray!

We can debate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan all we want, but at least the US is doing things like capturing controlling territory, installing new leaders, holding elections, etc. This is just killing for the sake of killing.
posted by b_thinky at 10:25 AM on July 7, 2005


We need to get out of the Middle East. They don't want us there. They never have.

I disagree completely, we need to get into the Middle East. They want us there. Just not as soldiers... as business partners, tourists, and friends.

Like it or not, the repressive regimes in the Middle East are the most responsible for terrorism. Not because they encourage it, but because they discourage every legitimate form of expression. I agree with Bush, Blair et al that change needs to happen there. I just disagree with their methods, which create more death and misery, not less.
posted by chaz at 10:27 AM on July 7, 2005


BBC Radio 4 news was delayed - and replaced by classical music - just now due to "an emergency at the BBC". Not sure if it is related or not.
posted by skylar at 10:27 AM on July 7, 2005


Dear London,
So sorry to hear about your terrorist attacks. Our thoughts are with you. Please let us know if there's anything we can do.
Love,
New York City
posted by Soliloquy at 10:28 AM on July 7, 2005


.
posted by thethirdman at 10:29 AM on July 7, 2005


Just not as soldiers... as business partners, tourists, and friends.

No. They want to act like barbarians? Fine, they don't get to play with the big kids. No economic ties. No import/export. No tourism. No immigration. Complete isolation.

Let's see how long their countries last without a single infidel dollar/pound/lira/etc. They want us out? Fine, good luck with your famine and diseases and no running water.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:31 AM on July 7, 2005


I am a student at a very good university and I've studied a great deal of British(and English) history, so don't try to paint me as ignorant. Which term I use for the country has nothing to do with my point, which you have tastefully ignored.

Well, given that your point was essentially that if the UK did not do what you wanted it to and continue military support too US forces in the Middle East it was somehow pussy, ignoring it seemed to be the most tasteful thing to do on this of all days.

England, Britain and the UK may be interchangeable to you edjamacated types, but one of the basic lessons of politics is, for future reference, to know the names of the countries you are talking about. Especially in this context, when so many of the British troops currently in Iraq are there as members of regiments based outside England. Otherwise you are not so much painted as ignorant as an enthusiastic and free-willed skinny-dipper in a big pool of ignorant-coloured paint.

Back ontopic, outside the Underground travel in London is getting back to normal - most stations are open and the buses are starting to run. Apparently, the Underground could function physically at this point also, but is being checked for more devices. This is not unimpressive; I'm surprised at how well the emergency plan seems to have worked.
posted by tannhauser at 10:33 AM on July 7, 2005


I still don't understand this requirement to measure one tragedy against another to see if it's worth fretting over. Some of us were missing friends and loved ones today for many hours, not knowing what, if anything, had happened to them, as the clock ticked and the death toll rose. What were we to do - sit here and say "Hey, Scott's missing, but still, there are thousands starving in Africa, so no matter..."?

To all of you who pissed in this thread, I offer a hearty "Fuck you!". When your mother dies, I want you on this message board saying "Shit man. mum's gone but just think of all the African's who've died today too - best not fret. I'll send 'em my inheritance, that's what I'll do."
posted by benzo8 at 10:33 AM on July 7, 2005


how many civilians casualities were there in baghdad this weeK?
posted by specialk420 at 10:33 AM on July 7, 2005


I still don't understand this requirement to measure one tragedy against another to see if it's worth fretting over.

It's not about the tragedies. It's about the commenter's need to display his self-proclaimed moral superiority.
posted by jonmc at 10:36 AM on July 7, 2005


darukaru writes "Best wishes to my French-Arabic friends stuck in London today, Mourad and Ousama, who already have enough trouble getting through immigration, I hope they are not subjected to any undue stress.
"God forbid anyone be inconvenienced or feel stress on a day where people are being hurt and killed."


God forbid anyone be inconvenienced based solely on their ethnic background is what was being said, I think.




Also:

It's times like this I miss the Queen Mum. During the Blitz, she was right out there with everyone. I don't doubt she'd do the same today, if she were alive and young enough.

I'd like to think that these attacks would be a wake-up call for the West to realize that the way we're collectively dealing with things is simply not working, but my optimism can only get me so far.

My heart goes out to you, London.


.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:37 AM on July 7, 2005


how many civilians casualities were there in baghdad this weeK?

Yeah, the way that people here on Metafilter have barely mentioned the whole Iraq thing these last couple of years and yet have the gall to discuss the bombing of London today is sickening.
posted by chill at 10:39 AM on July 7, 2005


http://london.cityfeeds.com/

good way to keep track of what's going on, at least in the blogworld.

also, http://del.icio.us/tag/london

and http://technorati.com/tag/london%20bombings
posted by chaz at 10:40 AM on July 7, 2005


I've just had quite an interesting day. Nothing compared to some, I grant you, but I hope some find this worth reading.

I heard the news (at my flat in Stepney Green, a 20 minute walk from Aldgate East) when I finally crawled out of bed this morning at about 9.30am. I had just ignored a call from one of my flatmates who is up in York and was ringing to check on my situation. Unfortunately, by the time I learnt what was going on and tried to call back, the phone networks were down.

I sat on irc (ircnet, #london) with the radio next to me and kept track of everything that was going on, periodically trying to check on my flatmates, one of whom was due to take a train from kings cross this morning. I finally got through to them both at around midday. (I hate watching breaking news on television - it's a frustrating experience and you can learn a lot more a lot quicker online.)

Shortly after noon I received a text message from a friend who had arrived in london from birmingham this morning for a job interview. She doesn't know the city at all and sent me a slightly worrying message that simply read "I'm somewhere in central london and really scared. call me as soon as you can." Of course, with the phone networks down I then spent 20 minutes trying to call her.

Eventually I got through and managed to figure out that she was somewhere near Picadilly and a little confused. She heard one of the blasts go off this morning and didn't have a clue what was going on.

I packed a rucksack and set off into central london on my flatmate's bike. The rain was chucking it down. I passed by Royal London hospital where ambulances were pulling up, being closely tracked by various news crews. Then on, past aldgate east and liverpool street, having to continually check my route and cut south to get around the road closures. The police were calm and incredibly helpful.

The roads were empty of cars. Lots of people were walking around the strangely quiet, wet streets, and occasionally a couple of police cars and bikes would fly past me, sirens blaring. The bars and cafes were pretty full with people watching the breaking news. I made my way long the river and cut north at embankment. The usually busy streets around Trafalgar Square were empty, save for the occasional emergency vehicle. The weather was improving and on tracking down the right Cafe Nero at Picadilly, I caught up with my poor friend, Flick, who was quite relieved to see me. She couldn't get in touch with her Aunt in Greenwich with whom she is staying tonight.

The atmosphere then was a little strange. From what I saw, away from the bomb sites, things seemed to be rapidly returning to normal - en route I had seen tourists piling onto their coaches parked up on victoria embankment. At Trafalgar Square, where we sat for lunch, people were gradually going back to doing regular weekday stuff, taking photographs, chatting, having lunch. The only difference was the lack of traffic and large numbers of people walking everywhere.

After lunch we wandered down to Charing Cross to see the situation with the trains. Hundreds of people were flooding into the station and it will take some many hours to get home tonight. Continuing east along the river, I put my friend on a ferry to Canary Wharf where hopefully she can get the DLR to Greenwich where she's staying with her family.

One of the strangest moments occurred at around 4pm when suddenly O2 (who appear to have been worst affected) returned to 100% and delivered 7 voicemail messages. Various friends and family had been calling me this morning and had been unable to get through.

The cycle ride back to Stepney Green was surreal. The traffic picked up as I approached Tower Bridge and turned into a mixture of empty and then gridlocked streets as I approached Aldgate. I assume that the police were having to hold off traffic so that emergency services could get access to wherever it was they were going. I have no idea what sort of incidents they were responding to or where they were headed, but a few convoys of emergency vehicles screamed past me in both directions along the empty streets, and squeezed through on the busy ones.

I stopped next to the cordon near Aldgate East and listened to a news reporter talking about the traffic, trying to find out some information as I hadn't heard a news report since leaving the house. He was saying that the roads were empty but traffic was starting to pick up. He was right in that the road he was stood on was empty, but two streets away, the traffic wasn't moving.

A guy handing out religious leaflets was not having much luck.

All the roads around Liverpool St and Aldgate East were cordoned off and there was no view of what was happening from where the police line started. I didn't hang around, preferring to get back and catch up with what was going on. Heading east along the A11, the traffic was being carefully controlled - emergency vehicles were still moving about and I assume that the flow had to be monitored to ensure that police and ambulances were able to move around freely.

The A11 was empty eastbound as I cycled along. The traffic was stationary in the opposite direction. I have no idea why people were trying to head towards the city centre. I passed people waiting at bus stops and told them that there was very little heading east. People will be standing at bus stops for several hours. The 25 bus to Ilford is overloaded at the best of times, so unless people start walking, I don't know how some of them will get home.

I passed the Royal Hospital again. A few ambulances were pulling up as I passed, and a few news crews were still there. I assume they continued to film those being carried off ambulances.

It's amazing how calm the city was and how quickly it seemed to be getting back to normal - bar the huge number of pedestrians. I've never seen so many people walking across Waterloo Bridge, even during rush hour.

I'm back home and wondering whether to try and make it to the gym tonight. I assume Forrest has no means of getting to Erith, so I would imagine that it's cancelled. I'll post shortly to confirm.

In all likelihood, I will be having beers in the west end tomorrow evening and I will be down at London's South Bank on sunday, training just like last week. There's no point living in fear or changing what you do. Be vigilant, yes, but don't let the terrorists affect how you live.

Of course I'm no expert on security operations or emergency responses, but the impression that I got from the police was that (as much as they could be) things were under control and there was no cause for alarm. I've heard people praising them for their work today and I would like to express my thanks also.
posted by Kiell at 10:40 AM on July 7, 2005


Civil_Disobedient writes "Let's see how long their countries last without a single infidel dollar/pound/lira/etc."

Not that I really think this is the time and place to discuss such things, but they would probably last longer than the issuers of the said coins without the imported oil. But I guess this new attack by Saudi Arabian funded terrorists (if the recent news are correct) will develop into just another opportunity to invade Syria or Iran, right?

My condolences to the families who lost their loved ones today and wishes of a quick recover to the injured.

.
posted by nkyad at 10:41 AM on July 7, 2005


The main reason that the underground isn't going to be back up and running this evening is a logistical one - all of the trains and most of the drivers are in the wrong places. It should be back up and running tomorrow morning.

-------------

It is unlikely that the bombs were detonated through the use of the cell phone network as these is no cell coverage at any of the underground locations (although the bus bomb could have used that approach). It's more likely that they had timers attached - I can't see that they would have used suicide bombers as there would have been no need (although it could have been an attempt to raise the overall level of worry)
posted by daveg at 10:42 AM on July 7, 2005


Steve_at_Linnwood, I abhor violence. Why would anybody wish for violence to occur? What I stated was merely the path that will occur should similar events occur again stateside.
posted by buzzman at 10:44 AM on July 7, 2005


Yeah, I'm not sure why I'm a bad person for identifying a bit more closely with my historical colonial oppressors than the countries the US is currently colonializing. Wait, that didn't come out right.

So is the whole world going to turn into Chechnya?
posted by mecran01 at 10:44 AM on July 7, 2005


how many civilians casualities were there in baghdad this weeK?

None that were deliberate, none while shouting "Allahu Jesus", none bragged about afterward on the internet, none in the name of 'martyrdom', none with the calculated intention of disrupting civilian life, and extremely few that relished the violence itself.
posted by dhoyt at 10:44 AM on July 7, 2005


i wonder if tony blair is going invade and blow the shit out of egypt should the perpetrators turn out to be from saudi arabia?
posted by specialk420 at 10:47 AM on July 7, 2005


None that were deliberate, none while shouting "Allahu Jesus", none bragged about afterward on the internet, none in the name of 'martyrdom', none with the calculated intention of disrupting civilian life, and extremely few that relished the violence itself.

If you're a casuality, does that make a lick of difference. No, it doesn't. Keep your eye on the ball.
posted by iamck at 10:51 AM on July 7, 2005


What iamck said.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:52 AM on July 7, 2005


If you're a casuality, does that make a lick of difference. No, it doesn't. Keep your eye on the ball.

Oh, so it's irrelevant who the perpetrators are?
posted by oaf at 10:53 AM on July 7, 2005


none in the name of 'martyrdom'

only 17 men, women and children killed in name of the "crusade" against terror in afganistan this week.

what a shame for all in involved senseless violence this week.
posted by specialk420 at 10:54 AM on July 7, 2005


If you've just been blown up on a bus in London I'm sure the fact that someone's been killed in Iraq doesn't make a lick of difference to you, either. The ball was switched mid-game - this one's deflated.
posted by benzo8 at 10:55 AM on July 7, 2005


This thread (and discussion of this incident at large) could very easily get ugly. I think it's fine to compare interconnected events, such as what's happening daily in Iraq, but when people approach trivialising the events of one or the other, or comparing them in a way that is clearly motivated by preset ideology and not human compassion, it's bound to be nasty.
posted by chaz at 10:57 AM on July 7, 2005


Yeah, I'm not sure why I'm a bad person for identifying a bit more closely with my historical colonial oppressors than the countries the US is currently colonializing. I understand the arguments for dealing with deaths on a statistical level, but really, I'm sure we could dig through the horrific events of the past year and find an incident in which more people died, in a place that *nobody* who is waving the holy banner of egalitarian mourning has heard of.

Although it is disturbing that the many civilian deaths in Iraq this week barely registered, however that's due in part to the sheer frequency of bombings there.

These are acts of terror and theater, and it shows a real lack of imagination that the only way Iraqi terrorists can think of grabbing the limelight is to increase the duration and size of the explosions, like a bad Summer blockbuster.

It's also easier to carp in these threads than let yourself feel the appropriate, but much more painful response to this sort of tragedy.
posted by mecran01 at 10:58 AM on July 7, 2005


I was just about to post that this thread had jumped the shark (as was inevitable), when I got to Kiell's wonderful personal narrative. If only I had the power to delete comments, I could whip this thread right into shape.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:00 AM on July 7, 2005


at least the US is doing things like capturing controlling territory, installing new leaders, holding elections, etc

Really, where? The Taliban is back in Afghanistan, that is in the territories not controlled by tribal leaders and as far as Iraq goes, I think the whole problem there is that we aren't really in control outside the oft mortared Green Zone.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:03 AM on July 7, 2005


Walked home... found out my girlfriend went through Kings Cross to Pimlico and walked very near to Edgeware just before the explosions. I was on the bus in Holborn when they went off not so very far away. We're both very lucky.

Walking home (I left at 4) the first buses were back in operation... the plucky 38 routemaster... this was good. Stopped for a beer. The guys in the pub seemed jolly... defiant... interested in the cricket.

I don't think Quonsar is a prick. I just think he's being insensitive. I put him in the same group as George Bush and David Davis (UK Tory politician) who have used today to make points. In the case of Bush it was to justify the War on Terror. In the case of Davis, to call for a Homeland Security Minister. My thing is, it's a bit soon to be making points about it. Some of them are valid. Some of them are not. Right now, from here, it's hard to tell which are which. There are times and places, really... I'm glad Quonsar is detached enough from the proceedings to be able to make qualitative comparisons. I am sure they're blindingly obvious and I am sure they are right.

Most of the people I've seen seem fine. I walked past full beer gardens with people enjoying the sun. People I've talked to say they are feeling better but as they day goes on I feel more shaken and upset about it. It is harder when it's closer -- that's just a fact of human nature -- place as much blame as you like.

I've been thinking about America, New York and 9/11 today. There've been a lot of talk about how to prevent similar attacks, but the fact is America taught the world a lesson that day: that if some guys hijack your plain and tell you they are taking you hostage they are lying. The truth is such a devastating attack is now impossible. The passengers wouldn't stand for it. America and New York learnt this the hard way. We seem to have many less dead so I guess what I am trying to say is thanks.

Quonsar is right about Africa -- but G8 are meeting about it and talking about it. Things seem to be changing, I think. Slowly -- yeah, but that's the only way it ever does. Surely that is people caring? UK was at the centre of the live8 organizations. You can criticise it many ways... unsubtle, unfocussed -- but well intentioned...

Sorry to ramble.
posted by nthdegx at 11:04 AM on July 7, 2005


thanks Kiell for the first hand account, that's really what we're here for
posted by Pollomacho at 11:06 AM on July 7, 2005


No one is saying that those connected to a tragedy, directly or indirectly, shouldn't be emotional about it, or shouldn't care because of the existence of some other tragedy. What it seems people are saying is that objectively, an innocent death is an innocent death, whether it happens in London or in Baghdad, and whether the dead are white or brown. As someone whose only connection to this tragedy is reading about it on the internet, I think it's awful, and I had tears in my eyes when I read the news. But I don't think it's any more or less tragic than any other innocent deaths. Unfortunately, however, there often seems to be a disparity in the way these things are presented and conceived of. Calls for responding to these sorts of things with more violence are particularly saddening.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:10 AM on July 7, 2005


For PP and any others who erroneously think that the Muslim street and Muslim leaders never condemn attacks like this, I direct you to this article for evidence to the contrary.

I see condemnations like this all the time; there were hundreds of such articles post-9/11. The people who claim that the Muslim world implicitly supports terrorism by not condemning it -- are those people bigoted, ignorant or dishonest? Because it can really only be one of those three options.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:12 AM on July 7, 2005


One question...CNN has photos from the third blast site that feature a woman being assisted by a responder. Although he is bare faced, she has a white cloth over her face with pre-cut holes for eyes, nose and mouth. What is this? A type of bandage?

My heart goes out to you, London. Such a sorrowful day.
posted by Morrigan at 11:18 AM on July 7, 2005


Really amazingly low numbers of dead and injured, considering.
I'm so glad the vast majority of people on the trains were able to walk away.

thanks for your experiences, all, and thank God you're ok.

(BBC America is showing nonstop news, if anyone has that channel)
posted by amberglow at 11:19 AM on July 7, 2005


that picture is haunting me, Morrigan--awful. maybe for burns?
posted by amberglow at 11:19 AM on July 7, 2005


I'm so sorry, London. Get pissed for me, will ya.
posted by tkchrist at 11:24 AM on July 7, 2005


Apparently the reason they thought electrical surges were to blame is due to the explosions taking out electrics on the underground, so the first thing to be noticed is outages in the switch room... reports of explosions followed and so the effect was confused for the cause... this according to the announcement my girlfriend heard on the tube.

Another friend reports "I was on a Piccadilly Line Tube into work but we got stuck in the tunnel a few trains back from one of the expolosions at King's Cross for a couple of hours (although we didn't know about the situation until we reached above ground). The bulk of the explosions were near my place of work in central London and at stations that I normally use so I was very fortunate not to have been there at that time."

She says the passengers had to walk back along the train line the way they had come, and that the train driver, who had walked the entire length of the train before hand to check on the passengers, was very good, keeping everyone's spirits up.
posted by nthdegx at 11:25 AM on July 7, 2005


Thanks to Kiell and nthdegx for such good comments.
posted by idest at 11:25 AM on July 7, 2005


... there is evil in this world, and it has to be addressed

Dios is right. It does need to be addressed. We need to address the grievances of the people of the Middle East. We need to stop committing terrorist acts of our own to stifle the support for the terrorists. There is evil in our world, and it has to be addressed.
posted by Chomskyfied at 11:26 AM on July 7, 2005


you've gotta be kind of patient with people. there's some ranting here, some emotional stuff, some personal insult, but it's how people deal. something crazy happens, something tragic, and you want to be able to sum it up, to find blame, to direct the anger. often, the posting is a quick reflex, a lashing out not necessarily well considered. one might argue that this is revelatory of such poster's base biases and priorities; but one could as legitimately attribute it to irrational response to stress.

however, on the numbers game: i guess it's fashionable that the more cynical, in discussions like this, would seek to chastise those concerned by pointing out a relative lack of regard for comparable- or superlative-scale landmarks of human tragedy. it's one thing to play 'debbie downer' in the midst of good cheer, but it's particularly disdainful to do so when the subject at hand is itself tragic. it's a rather tired (and transparently, irritatingly self-congratulatory) conversational tool that is neither as clever nor as useful as its user might imagine, and invariably it ignores realistic aspects of scale--in this case, those aspects being proximity (in various forms, not simply geographical), urgency, and the frustratingly hampered flow of information. further, if one is going to go there, one might as well acknowledge that psychologically we could not function without somehow filtering our emotional response to the variety of tragedy the world has to offer, and also that in the infinite expanse of time and space every human occurrence is essentially equally equal (or equally in/significant) in magnitude.

i'm very grateful to hear from most of my online uk friends that they and their famlies are okay. i hope that for london the worst has passed.
posted by troybob at 11:36 AM on July 7, 2005 [1 favorite]


idest writes "Thanks to Kiell and nthdegx for such good comments."

2nd that. Kiell if you're not a journo, it's a calling you could follow.
posted by peacay at 11:40 AM on July 7, 2005


Historically, bombing Londoners has never persuaded them of anything -- ask the Luftwaffe or the IRA. But in those cases, it was clear who was responsible and what they wanted. Here we are clearly meant to suppose that Al Qaeda is responsible, and that it's retribution for Britain's participation in the Iraq war. This is a puzzle, because the government is committed to the war while the populace is not. Is the intent then to increase popular support for the war or to shake the government's support for it? My concern is that it's the first, and that the steadfastness of the British in the face of this sort of thing will be used to manipulate them. Al Quada is not a monolithic enemy, and it's not at all clear that the Iraq war is contrary to their interests; it seems to be serving them fairly well.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:40 AM on July 7, 2005


Why's everyone jumped on Quonsar ? The point he's making seems quite reasonable to me. All of the "today we're all londoners" talk really does sound a bit hollow and facile doesn't it? According to the BBC between 20 and 30 civilian casualties a day seems about average for Iraq - basically business as usual and nothing to report.

As for the thousands each day dying from poverty related causes in Africa and elsewhere, well, I wonder if the perspective of this thread would be different if people were posting to MeFi "I'm sitting watching my brother slowly shitting himself to death" rather than "i'm phoning all my friends to see if they're ok". But, of course, that's business as usual as well.

Aaronshaf's quote that "If there is no God, everything is permissible." also seems pretty nuts, since it's the conviction by various parties in the absolute truth of their various gods that's one of the things that has got us here in the first place.
posted by silence at 11:54 AM on July 7, 2005


Here's the thing that strikes me about those who have used this event to try to score cheap points. Some of us have been shouting about the civilian deaths in Iraq until we're blue in the face. Some of us do shout about Darfur, and Afghanistan, and Somalia as well as Madrid and 9/11. And some of us have had to get used to dismissive, sneering responses to that shouting from a certain type of prick. Put an FPP about the latest world atrocity on the blue and you can bet that 9 times out of ten this particular brand of prick will be straight off to the grey to whine "Newsfilter", and "Do we really need this post?" etc.

Now it sticks just a wee fucking bit in our craw to have to deal with yet more dismissive sneering from a different set of pricks because, oh dear, the disaster we're shouting about today isn't quite as big or as ongoing as some of the other days' disasters.

Never mind the fact that some of us come from London; live in London; have friends and relatives in London in a way that, you know, we don't have in Darfur or Baghdad. Oh no. That shouldn't factor into it. Never mind that there are lots of London MeFites in a way that, you know, there aren't lots of Darfur and Baghdad Mefites. Never mind that because of that fact we're understandably concerned about those people and they're concerned about their family and friends perhaps somewhat more than they would be about people they don't know and love. It seems that sort of thing shouldn't factor into it. No, for some people it seems rather that this is an ideal opportunity to take people to task for expressing an inappropriate degree of shock and concern over bombs, deaths and injuries directly affecting significant numbers of their own community. This is clearly a day to play moral balance bingo instead.

I could understand it a bit if MeFi were the sort of site where people ignored or downplayed the atrocities happening elsewhere in the world. But it isn't. So remarks such as quonsar's were not only insensitive, they were inappropriate.
posted by Decani at 11:56 AM on July 7, 2005 [1 favorite]


I agree with Civil_Disobedient and Chomskyfied. If we just surrendered our rights to individual freedom, deomcracy, self defense and free trade these people woudln't be so mad at us.

I have an idea... let's bomb ourselves in retaliation for making al Qaeda so mad at us!!!
posted by b_thinky at 11:59 AM on July 7, 2005


A guy handing out religious leaflets was not having much luck.

Now that has made this particular Brit's day. :-)
posted by Decani at 12:01 PM on July 7, 2005


I'm interested in this early post:
An email from a friend:

I’ve just had a call from a friend who works for the US Navy over here and they have an MOD briefing suggesting they were expecting 5 bombs – so it looks highly possible that there will be more.

posted by Summer at 3:07 AM PST on July 7 [!]
What was *that* about? Expecting 5 bombs, US Navy, MoD, etc. ... Anybody see anything else along these lines?
posted by kenlayne at 12:04 PM on July 7, 2005


What it seems people are saying is that objectively, an innocent death is an innocent death, whether it happens in London or in Baghdad, and whether the dead are white or brown.

Was anybody denying that?

Does expressing shock over A mean automatic indifference to B?

This is an English-language site predominanlty frequented by yanks and brits. Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm neither, by the way. I'm as geographically and culturally close to Africa & the Middle East as to London, actually, closer, but I have lived in London and have friends & colleagues there and it's part of Europe and it just is a shocking extra-ordinary tragic event, period.

I'm sure in Baghdad they're rightfully more upset about the bomb that went off just round the corner the other day, and the day before, and so on. It's natural to be relatively more shocked by something closer to you and affecting people you know personally. It's not necessarily a statement of political priorities, or nationalism. It's a spontaneous human reaction.

Yes there can be too much war-on-terror and us/them and war of civilisations rhetoric and yes politicians jump in by making propaganda points and yes the tabloid kind of media can be vulture-like sensationalist about it, but it's a fact that this is not an ordinary event. How elitist to think everyone must be brainwashed just for having a reaction to a tragedy.

Also, I find it so patronising to bring up Africa and 'brown people' for rhetorical points. Like in London they're all white anglo-saxons? Come on.
posted by funambulist at 12:08 PM on July 7, 2005


would have a bit more weight if you knew which country had just been attacked

London's the capital of both the United Kingdom of Britain & Northern Ireland and England, so I guess the answer's largely academic...
posted by kaemaril at 12:09 PM on July 7, 2005


So refreshing to see the British spirit. I doubt the bumper-sticker industry will be swung into high gear as it was for 9/11. Good luck to everyone and everyone's everyone.
posted by hoborg at 12:09 PM on July 7, 2005


Err, I too have a friend in London. I cannot get in touch with her. OK (deep breath) Knowing Eliza, she is probably downtown helping in anyway she can. She did that during 9/11.

It just sucks. It does not matter if one objects to the war in Iraq. In does not matter what your views are on fighting terrorism. Killing civilians is a low point. For all of us, on any side. I was in the Village during 9/11. I know how it feels to be there...

Sorry for the derail:
Bulgaroktonos, what's distasteful is *your* (nick)name, baby.
posted by carmina at 12:15 PM on July 7, 2005


.
posted by dhartung at 12:17 PM on July 7, 2005


kiell-Thanks for your comment.
posted by OmieWise at 12:19 PM on July 7, 2005


London, home of the brash, outrageous and free. I love you and wish you all the best.

.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:23 PM on July 7, 2005


Whew. Just heard from my friends in London. I didn't realize how scared I was till I got his email just now -- only when I read the words "we're fine: shaken, but not stirred!" did I get a bit choked up.

*sighs with relief; wonders if it's too early to have a drink*

posted by scody at 12:23 PM on July 7, 2005


I don't understand the wikipedia entry, is some jerk editing it, you think?

Here's a couple of quotes taken from it as of 3:19EST:

"At least 9000 injuries have been reported from Aldgate East Station alone."

"Recent reports state that 30000 people (208 at Royal London Hospital alone [30]) are being treated in hospital and 15120 of those are in a serious condition."

The table of casualties has a final total of 1111, which doesn't add up, either.
posted by Liosliath at 12:24 PM on July 7, 2005




.
posted by Sheppagus at 12:32 PM on July 7, 2005


Have that drink, scody -- to everything there is a season.

I don't think Quonsar is a prick. I just think he's being insensitive. I put him in the same group as George Bush and David Davis...

Best. quonsar. Putdown. Ever.

posted by languagehat at 12:39 PM on July 7, 2005


I’ve just had a call from a friend who works for the US Navy over here and they have an MOD briefing suggesting they were expecting 5 bombs – so it looks highly possible that there will be more.

Which means they were warned about it, no? Were measures taken? Was security beefed up in response? Or was everything sent to Scotland for the G8 even tho they were warned?
posted by amberglow at 12:41 PM on July 7, 2005


I just checked again, and the "correct" (though I'm by no means implying they're acceptable) numbers are back. If someone here fixed the entry, thank you.

I have a mid-change screen cap that shows 911 people killed - hardly subtle.
posted by Liosliath at 12:41 PM on July 7, 2005


The biggest fools in this thread are those who think political commentary should not be in this thread. WTF? That's exactly what should be in this thread. This thread isn't, at least exclusively, an emergency UK contact channel. It's an international forum to discuss and make sense of horror and barbarism. It's a forum to ferret-out those in denial; those who are actually surprised by this type of event. Geez, next thing you know (if it's not already present somewhere above), this will all be blamed on Blair and Bush. How depraved and arrogant of so many of you.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:41 PM on July 7, 2005


I was surprised to read just how many deadly bombings there have been in the UK. This page on the BBC has details on one of the worst ones (that killed 29 people in 1998), and links to pages on the other ones.
posted by smackfu at 12:42 PM on July 7, 2005


strange that all those jumping on quonsar didn't seem to have the same kinds of opinions about this thread, which seems to be making a broadly similar point. Fuck - never thought I'd be agreeing with PP on something.
posted by silence at 12:43 PM on July 7, 2005


If we just surrendered our rights to individual freedom, deomcracy, self defense and free trade these people woudln't be so mad at us.

As if that has anything to do with it at all.

Oh, wait, you're one of those "they hate us because we're free" people. Here's a sucker, lolly.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:54 PM on July 7, 2005


Simply not true, silence.
posted by nthdegx at 12:58 PM on July 7, 2005


Um, yeah Civil_Disobedient, did you ever read that one letter from bin Laden demanding that we embrace Islam, stop having an interest based economy, end the use of women in advertising, etc, etc, etc.

Al Qaeda's goal is to set up governments like the Taliban all over the world.
posted by b_thinky at 1:01 PM on July 7, 2005


ParisParamus writes "It's a forum to ferret-out those in denial"

Fuckoff PP you egocentric fearmongering insensitive hatefilled douchebag.
posted by peacay at 1:02 PM on July 7, 2005


To London: My heart and thoughts are with you.
posted by state fxn at 1:02 PM on July 7, 2005


If I was horrified by peoples lack of reaction to death and destruction going on in the Third world, and their focus instead on First World calamities, I'd probably make a Front Page Post about it.

It'd possibly get more positive attention than jumping into another emotive thread and telling people in that thread were basically cuntish.

That's just me, though. My brother's fine, luckily. Overslept and missed the train.
posted by Swandive at 1:04 PM on July 7, 2005


silence: oh yeah, so true, now I realise that the city of London today is exactly like a white female pretty teenager that disappeared in a tropical country. Also, the BBC reporting about what happened in London today is so like Fox News reporting ceaselessy for weeks about said white female pretty teenager to the expense of other non-white or non-female or non-teenagers in the same country who disappear regularly but are not obsessive media material.

Such a perfect analogy indeed.
posted by funambulist at 1:12 PM on July 7, 2005


George_Spiggott wrote "Historically, bombing Londoners has never persuaded them of anything"

Seems to me that it persuades Londoners to stick together in defiance of the ones tossing the bombs. Condolences to those who lost friends and family today.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:16 PM on July 7, 2005


I came late to the party. Looks like Quonsar's comment was deleted, but the hand-wringing tornado of text aimed at turning him into a taxidermy experiment was not. Very confusing.
posted by jscott at 1:18 PM on July 7, 2005


.

London Mefis, you're in my thoughts today.
posted by echolalia67 at 1:19 PM on July 7, 2005


The best and most crushing rejoinder to PP and others of his ilk who would try to use this for political ends, is the response of the British people.

On the same day, the red double decker busses are running again; people are playing darts and drinking in pubs; most businesses continue operation; the tube is scheduled to reopen for business tomorrow; and, as my thankfully-safe parents report, it's a little tense but people are getting on with life.

There's little sign of what history books will doubtless refer to as America's Shame, in which a terrorist attack is exploited, as Paris doggedly advocates, to send our innocent children to an unrelated sandy country to kill innocent civilians and draw the circle of violence ever tighter.

Never been prouder to be British.
posted by felix at 1:19 PM on July 7, 2005


Why are some of you acting like this was inevitable or even a just retaliation for Iraq? The left has lost it's collective mind and balls.
posted by TetrisKid at 1:24 PM on July 7, 2005


I was surprised to read just how many deadly bombings there have been in the UK. This page on the BBC has details on one of the worst ones (that killed 29 people in 1998), and links to pages on the other ones.

Very much so. When I lived in the US in 1999-2000 I remember telling my astonished friends that we still didn't have any rubbish bins in my home town of Manchester as that's where bombs had been planted in the attacks on Manchester (no fatalities) and Warrington (two children killed). And that bomb scares were a regular part of life in London, that no-one batted an eyelid. Or that when my parents lived in Central London in the 70s, they decided not to go out one evening because there had been a spate of bombings...only for their block of flats to get bombed! Although not of exactly the same ilk, terrorism has been a fixture on these shores for a long while and isn't something brand new to us...
posted by kitschbitch at 1:27 PM on July 7, 2005


felix : Wait until the politicians open their mouths ... they'll be doing as much exploitation as they can get away with, have no fear. Newer security laws, ID cards are probably now a given, you name it. Politicians have caught on to the power of fear.
posted by kaemaril at 1:30 PM on July 7, 2005


The best and most crushing rejoinder to PP and others of his ilk who would try to use this for political ends, is the response of the British people.
Ah, ParisParimus is at it again with his wacky neo-nazi antics?
posted by Berend at 1:35 PM on July 7, 2005


Absolutely, kitschbitch, London (not to mention other cities) has been here many times before...
posted by ob at 1:36 PM on July 7, 2005


"It's about the commenter's need to display his self-proclaimed moral superiority."

That's an unfair accusation. You don't know what's going on inside someone's head. And it's self-serving for you to assume that their motivations are as ugly as possible.

What is objectionable about quonsar's comment isn't the point he's trying to make. I happen to agree with that point, and I've written things like it here on MetaFilter many times (and, I suspect, sometimes attacked by quonsar for it). As a general point of moral responsibility, we should always try to remember how selfish we tend to be with regard to our concern for the suffering of other people. No, what's wrong with quonsar's comment is that it is just plain mean and rude in the context of this particular thread. This is not the appropriate place to make that point. In a few days, maybe, or in another more abstract thread about the bombings and terrorism. But not in this thread, today.

We can see from many of the comments above that there are a considerable number of Mefites in London, or who have friends and family in London. This is a personal matter to them and while it's certainly true that this raises political issues, this is not the thread in which to air them, especially if the opinions you want to present are likely to insult or upset those who have a personal involvement in this event.

This is not rocket science. All you have to do is try and you'll likely see what is the best way to behave and how not doing so can be very hurtful to others in sensitive situations.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:37 PM on July 7, 2005


Why are some of you acting like this was inevitable or even a just retaliation for Iraq? The left has lost it's collective mind and balls.
posted by TetrisKid at 4:24 PM EST on July 7 [!]


I don't think this was 'just' by any means, of course not (!), but why would you think a terrorist attack anywhere in the west is not inevitable? If they want to plant bombs, there's very little to stop them, yeah?
posted by jikel_morten at 1:37 PM on July 7, 2005


I sure am not going to miss PP when he joins the service to go fight in Iraq or Afghanistan. Good luck with that, PP.

welcome back, kitchbitch
posted by terrapin at 1:42 PM on July 7, 2005


I'd just like to say thanks to everyone who wished 'us' well in this thread. I'm not a Londoner but live in Kent (about an hour away by train, right in the commuter belt) but have colleagues and family living and working up there. Luckily everyone is alive and well. My heart goes out for those who weren't so lucky.

It's been a strange day, with all of today's newspapers covered with yesterday's olympic announcement celebrations but with the shops, the buildings and town where I work carrying a sombre mood.

We'll be okay, we'll get over this just as we have countless times before over the previous decades. We're a resilient bunch. I hope and pray our leaders and communities will act sensibly and without resorting to knee-jerk reactions.

Take care Londoners; all being well, I'll see you on Monday.

.
posted by TheDonF at 1:56 PM on July 7, 2005


I sure am not going to miss PP when he joins the service to go fight in Iraq or Afghanistan. Good luck with that, PP.

Nah, the cowardly armchair quarterback role seems to suit him fine.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 1:59 PM on July 7, 2005


Why are some of you acting like this was inevitable or even a just retaliation for Iraq? The left has lost it's collective mind and balls.

Just? No. Inevitable? Yeah, those lefties in the administration must have lost their balls. Wasn't it Cheney that was the "when, not if" cheerleader of doom back in the election season?
posted by Pollomacho at 2:06 PM on July 7, 2005


a fact which isn't being reported on the TV news is that both Bank and Monument stations were closed at sometime around 6.30 this morning as a consequence of a security alert on the Northern line. I know this because friends who work in the city had trouble getting in this morning (they get to their desks for 6.30) Does any one know more about this?
posted by johnny novak at 2:08 PM on July 7, 2005


PP was on the right track about the appropriateness of political commentary in this thread. So let's chat ...

... did you ever read that one letter from bin Laden demanding that we embrace Islam, stop having an interest based economy, end the use of women in advertising, etc, etc, etc.

You have a point, b_thinky. It is possible that Bin Laden, and maybe a few other high level terrorist leaders, have a revulsion for secular (and free) societies. But what about the vast majority of terrorists? You would certainly agree that Bin Laden is a fanatic, right? Then why don't you ask yourself why so many people are following this loon? Do you think these leaders would be able to recruit people by saying "they are free and rich, so they deserve to die"?

Or is it more likely that they recruit by saying "they've killed your sisters, brothers, mothers and daughters in Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, etc etc either directly or by supporting some of the most brutal regimes in history. We need justice"?

Do you think terrorist recruitment, since the Iraqi invasion, has gone up dramatically because the sight of American troops reminded people how much they hate freedom? (Sorry for not providing a link. Gotta get back to work soon) The sooner you, PP and all your cronies stop choosing to believe these ridiculous simplifications about the nature of conflict, the sooner we'll be able to start taking steps to end this violence. The fact that you believe this event actually proves your position is laughable.
posted by Chomskyfied at 2:09 PM on July 7, 2005


*sighs with relief; wonders if it's too early to have a drink*

Scody - we're all Londoners, remember? It was time to have a drink over there ages ago.

On preview: Not trying to be flip -- my heart goes out to all Londoners, who I truly hope are having a drink, or several, right about now.
posted by selfmedicating at 2:11 PM on July 7, 2005


Btw, another Al Qaeda franchisee, the one in Iraq, has killed the Egyptian Ambassador to Iraq today.

Doesn't seem like anyone cares what's going on in Iraq today..
posted by ruelle at 2:28 PM on July 7, 2005


Why are some of you acting like this was inevitable...

...Time and again, ministers and security chiefs have said an attack on the UK was inevitable - it was a case of when, not if. ... (BBC)
posted by amberglow at 2:36 PM on July 7, 2005


As a person who was no more than ten miles from the W. T. C. on 9/11 my thoughts and prayers go out to all of you in London. As far as comparing this tragedy to other events, have the Iraqis suffered terrible loss as a result of our attack on there country ? Yup. Did they suffer horrendous losses as a result of U.S./ U.K. backed sanctions leveled on them for the better part of a decade? Yup. It's okay to point these things out but lets not forget that innocent wives, husbands, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters died and were injured today, senselessly. Lets just make sure we stay respectful, they all deserve that. Peace.
posted by harry hood at 2:37 PM on July 7, 2005


It's decided then! I am having a wee nip in my office right this very minute, and I raise it to London (the first city I ever fell madly in love with)... cheers, all.
posted by scody at 2:39 PM on July 7, 2005


Is there a posting somewhere of missing/hurt? Having trouble locating someone.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 2:39 PM on July 7, 2005


peacay:

> Fuckoff PP you egocentric fearmongering insensitive hatefilled douchebag.

Let me modify that, peacay, this thread is a forum for those in denial to rat themselves out. Be my guest.
posted by jfuller at 2:43 PM on July 7, 2005


johnny novak: there was a stopped train at stockwell which screwed the northern line before nay bombing. This stopped my housemates getting in. Perhaps this messed up Bank?
posted by laukf at 2:50 PM on July 7, 2005


A cliche, perhaps, but - as a sorrowing misplaced Londoner today - images from Eliot's The Waste Land did come to mind...
"...A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine..."
posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:04 PM on July 7, 2005


Stay safe, everyone. My sincerest condolences.
posted by interrobang at 3:14 PM on July 7, 2005


A few days after the Madrid bombing there were very moving mass demonstrations which seemed to have been spontaneously organised and made a great impression.

I wonder if something similar could happen in the UK, perhaps someone from Spain can give us some steer. I'm sure most UK MeFites would be up for it.
posted by grahamwell at 3:22 PM on July 7, 2005


adding my thanks to kiell for sharing his experiences with us ... i was beginning to lose hope wading through all the other muck in this thread.
posted by mileena at 3:23 PM on July 7, 2005


I've finally managed to get in contact with most of my friends and they're ok. My thoughts and condolences go out to those less fortunate.

Awld Lahndun Tahn, my town, I'll be raising a drink to you tonight...
posted by ob at 3:35 PM on July 7, 2005


Chomskyfied, while bin Laden literally hates us for our freedom, many of his followers hate us for the way our freedom intrudes on their life. I know what you're saying: "Can't we all just get along?" It's a nice thought but the answer is no, it will never happen, there will never be world peace, not even if you grow your hair even longer or hold that lighter up a little bit longer or even if you attend 10 or 11 free concerts a year. People will always be at odds over something - it's just a way of life.

In this instance, I don't doubt we've done stuff to offend and oppress, but so have "they," and at the end I believe our side is more right than theirs, which is why we need to continue fighting this war. You may call me selfish or an asshole, but at least I live in the real world and not some goddamned hippy utopia.
posted by b_thinky at 3:38 PM on July 7, 2005


"A few days after the Madrid bombing there were very moving mass demonstrations which seemed to have been spontaneously organised and made a great impression.

I wonder if something similar could happen in the UK, perhaps someone from Spain can give us some steer."


Surrendering to the terrorists is a bad idea.
posted by b_thinky at 3:40 PM on July 7, 2005


hey b_thinky, could you do us confused lefties a favor and list a few instances of the times the iraqi civilians oppressed us? Thanks.
posted by felix at 3:40 PM on July 7, 2005


I wish I had a trip to london planned.

to send our innocent children to an unrelated sandy country to kill innocent civilians and draw the circle of violence ever tighter.

Never been prouder to be British.


You did it last year, what's changed?
posted by justgary at 3:43 PM on July 7, 2005


I'm glad some people appreciated my post. I realise that there are numerous blogs out there, many of which were much closer to the action than myself, and I was in two minds as to whether to post. However, I felt a need to write and had few other places to express it, so it appeared here. (You'll notice that in however many years of being a member, I have posted very little.)

In reflection, I hope I'm not undergoing a false sense of security by feeling reassured by the coordinated response today. Cycling around gave me no sense of panic, and the atmosphere around the cordons, though worrying, was one of calm, and not intimidating.

A few other fairly random thoughts (I'm exhausted, so forgive me for not sifting through for numerous links).

This evening I heard a snippet of George Galloway speaking the Commons today (unable to find transcript, apologies), which, from giving it half an ear, sounded like he was equating Britain being targeted with its involvement in the Iraq war. True or otherwise, I instantly felt that his timing for such comments was wholly inappropriate and simply another opportunist attempt to gain a voice. It saddens me that this man is my MP.

I recall several people appreciating the fact that the BBC did not indulge in interviewing bleeding survivors, as seen on Sky and ITV's coverage. On the other hand, a friend complained that the BBC's coverage was not sufficiently shocking to fully convey the horror of the unfolding events, and that they underplayed what had happened.

The BBC occasionally seemed a little slow on reporting on rumours that had already appeared on the internet, but I'm sure that given the changes in their reporting, they are now even more cautious of ensuring the veracity of what they broadcast. One thing that did strike me as odd was a reporter speaking from near to one of the bomb sites who began describing how she saw various phone boxes taped off so as to make them inaccessible. Bannister (Radio 5 presenter) cut her off before she could go into any detail. I guess that such a measure is to stop people from delaying an area's evacuation by stopping to call relatives when the mobile phone networks go down.

The 'Britishness' of it all is remarkable. I hope this stiff upper lip extends itself so that there are no knee-jerk reactions to what has happened, and that people do not live with a new sense of fear.
posted by Kiell at 3:44 PM on July 7, 2005


By the way, in case you were only getting your news from the right wing blogs, the Spanish demonstrations were against the terrorists, not a mass surrender. And the Spanish governmental switch was due to the mendacious craziness of the ruling party attempting to use the tragedy for political purposes, not the train bombs. Ironic, no? FYI.
posted by felix at 3:47 PM on July 7, 2005


Another crazy ironic detail for those still reading:

Giuliani Near Blast


Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was yards away from the explosion near the Liverpool Street, and said the attacks were an ``eerie reminder' of Sept. 11.

posted by felix at 3:49 PM on July 7, 2005


....some goddamned hippy utopia.

First off, the correct spelling is "hippie."
And "living in reality" does not automatically rule out hope for a better future. You make it sound like you can't believe in the world ever being anything beyond Hobbesian tooth-and-claw. I sincerely hope that this is not the case.
And demonstrations are not letting the terrorists win, or any of that shit. They are merely DEMONSTRATIONS, where people display that they are united under a certain belief. They're not fucking swearing allegiance to bin Laden. Just because an asshole wants people to do something doesn't mean they should automatically refuse to do it, especially if it's something that the people, for the most part, wanted to do in the first place.
posted by 235w103 at 3:53 PM on July 7, 2005


And just to complement what felix just said, bringing the Spanish troops back home was part of the Socialist party platform since those troops were send Iraq by the conservative government - that would have happened with or without the attack.
posted by nkyad at 4:03 PM on July 7, 2005


Surrendering to the terrorists is a bad idea.

Until Bush is on the deck of an aircraft carrier handing a sword over to Osama bin Laden, the idea that we're surrendering a goddamn thing to terrorists by not bombing people is a testament to human ignorance.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:10 PM on July 7, 2005


To speak as one who has no connection to this event, yet still feels "connected", I ask myself "Why do we care more about a tragedy in London then tragedies of equal quantitative magnitude?"

I would hasten to guess because "we" (i.e. the majority here, and the majority that create the news) relate more to this situation than, say, a cholera epidemic. It's something we could imagine happening to us. Even if we don't know anyone affected, we've been to London, or at least have had friends who've been.

The bulk the comments that were and will be made comparing this to other tragedies are demonstrations of this, and fueled by anger at this perceived (and our own) hypocrisy.

People care about what they relate to. It's only unfortunate because we live in a global society, where our decisions impact others that we are incapable of feeling anything for, due to the nature of empathy.

It is futile to lament the inability of humans to be consistent in their empathy. The nature cannot be changed, the system in which it operates can.
posted by iamck at 4:13 PM on July 7, 2005


Chomskyfied, while bin Laden literally hates us for our freedom, many of his followers hate us for the way our freedom intrudes on their life.

I better keep my freedom on a leash before it pees in their backyard, then. I always thought that it was the bombs/bullets/support for brutal regimes that pissed them off but now that you've cleared things up, I'll make sure my freedom is potty trained.

it's just a way of life

So now that you've informed everyone what the way of life is supposed to be, please tell me: are you suggesting that because people will "always be at odds", we should not only accept it but contribute to it? That we should continue to sponsor a war that has killed way more civilians than "bad guys" and is driving the terrorist recruitment rates off the scale? That's kindergarten logic.

I believe our side is more right than theirs, which is why we need to continue fighting this war

Assuming your premise is correct, I still don't see how you come to that conclusion. Especially considering the fact that this war is creating an escalation of terrorist activity and is causing unfathomable misery.
posted by Chomskyfied at 4:34 PM on July 7, 2005


Kiell - as a former Londoner, still unable to reach relatives who live there, i really appreciated your post, so thanks.
posted by TrinityB5 at 4:36 PM on July 7, 2005


To continue on the Spanish theme (and to finally answer Funambulist, now things are calmer), this is a piece I wrote on my blog last month after seeing Steve Earl perform here at a festival:

"At one point, Earle congratulated "[the Spaniards] on the quality of their democracy", going on to perpetuate the myth that the Aznar's PP lost the 2004 elections here because the tragic bombs in Madrid on 11th March convinced the Spanish people that if they stopped their involvement in the war on Iraq, that they themselves would be safe - in short, that the Spanish people capitulated to terrorism and were swayed by terrorists. I guess this is a good a place as any to set this thing straight once again:

The Spanish people have lived with terrorism within for many years through the actions of the Basque Separatist movement, ETA - they have not been, and are still not cowed by terrorists. The Spanish people voted for Zapatero's socialist PSOE not because they knew he would pull Spanish troops (though they did - it was a manifesto promise) but because Aznar lied to the people in the face of growing evidence to contrary by saying that this attack must have been ETA - because he thought the people might vote him out in the face of terrorism. In short, Aznar mistrusted the sensibilities of his electorate, and that, coupled with snubbing them previously when they marched to demonstrate against the Iraq War in the first place, was enough to bring out normally apathetic voters. (The votes which lost Aznar the election came from voters above and beyond the average turnout.)"

And that's pretty much the story of it. There was an underground SMS campaign, effectively saying "Wake up - your Government is lying to you" which kicked off shortly after Atocha, and that spurred the electorate into action.

To have never wanted troops in Iraq, and to remove them as soon as the opportunity arises is not capitulation, it's consistency. That more coutries listened to the democratic voice of the people...
posted by benzo8 at 4:41 PM on July 7, 2005


After coming back from all day at work and not hearing much about the incident other than on NPR when I drove in (yes, I get in early, stay late) -- at a place where no one really talked about it and people just went about laughing and talking about other things -- (which I guess is healthy response) -- I was eager to read about the incident on metafilter.

But, after perusing some of the repsonses, it's sad its already turned political, and after an injury toll of 700 and death toll of 37, I think people are missing the point.

You really can't stop terrorism. You can only hope to contain it. And, that's a big hope.

The Anger, Denial, Acceptance reaction pattern to this stuff will eventually hit warp speed, as it almost has, once we understand that. I'm afraid, for whatever reason, the world is really just going to have to take the unfortunate Israeli cue and take each attack almost in stride, and understand that such is the price we pay for a life and society built around freedom and go about our business.

Easily, the most amount of money in the history has been spent on anti-terrorism during recent times and it's not stopped attacks. After today, I'm not sure we can ever be safe and if we can ever stop terrorism.

I just hope that we get most of the bastards and that we as survivors continue to be lucky.

God bless the innocents who are suffering today.
posted by narebuc at 4:54 PM on July 7, 2005


wait a second, I just read this:

NY Times: "The militant group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian fighter, said in an Internet posting late Tuesday that it had kidnapped the Egyptian diplomat, Ihab al-Sharif. The message said Mr. Sharif was abducted "by the hands of our mujahedeen, and he is under the control of the mujahedeen." The group made no immediate demands."

"Jordanian fighter"? Sure, he's a fighter, but first and foremost he's a terrorist. Why call him different? That's the problem with the whole debate. Not eveyone will get on board and treat these crazed killers as crazed killers.
posted by tomplus2 at 5:13 PM on July 7, 2005


Sorry, the NY Times link.
posted by tomplus2 at 5:14 PM on July 7, 2005


Very, very happy to report that at 9.30 this evening my missing friend, who works in Russel square (scene of the bus bomb), finally checked in. She's had a mad day, being moved here and there, not always with her phone (hence the time it took to ring), but is I am glad to say safe and well. I hate to say it but by nine and not contact I was really starting to fear the worst. Since then went to pub and drank, it's what we in London do best.
posted by ciderwoman at 5:14 PM on July 7, 2005


Given an estimated 130,000 Iraqi deaths credited to the war, it should perhaps be pointed out that they lose about five times as many people per capita each day.

Imagine a thousand such attacks, and you start to get close to their reality.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:15 PM on July 7, 2005


iamck:
"I would hasten to guess because "we" (i.e. the majority here, and the majority that create the news) relate more to this situation than, say, a cholera epidemic."

Perhaps humans are wired to be fatalistic about "acts of God" because on an evolutionary scale we've been able to do nothing to stop them. But acts of Man? That's a scope where we may instinctively feel that we can change things.
posted by catachresoid at 5:17 PM on July 7, 2005


The Metropolitan Police Service in London is accepting calls from people seeking information on their friends and family at 0870 1566 344.

for sirmiss and others--hope you find them ok.
posted by amberglow at 5:26 PM on July 7, 2005


Well, catachresoid, that is a salient point, but it's not necessarily the one that I think should be drawn from that - one coule just as easily point to the many "acts of man" that are occurring at this exact moment in time, that far dwarf this particular event...
posted by iamck at 5:56 PM on July 7, 2005


Chomskified: let me clarify myself. Many across the world are offended and feel threatened by "American globalization." Our economic and social freedoms cause the world to purchase our products, work at our companies and enjoy our culture more than with any other country in the world. Many have pointed out that America is addicted to oil. Well, the rest of the world is addicted to America, and it probably doesn't feel to good. Beaming a gyrating Brittany Spears via sattelite goes over particularly poorly in places like Saudi Arabia.

This makes people angry. Some angry enough to commit acts of terror, and others only angry enough to root for our fall even at the hands of terrorists.

America wants to continue to lead the world. Our enemies want the opposite. There is a clash of interest here, which is what the current war is about.

We can argue until we're blue in the face about the war in Iraq and how it's being waged. I do not believe the war was ever about Iraq having WMDs or being a threat. It is about setting up a socially and economically free area in the middle of the arab world, that will hopefully lead to change in other arab countries, which would improve the overall quality of life for the average arab as well as increase the safety of the average American.

The costs of the war in lives and dollars is almost too much to bear, but such was also the case in the Civil War, WWI and WWII. The entire world benefits from each of those wars to this day. Maybe the same will be said in 50 years of this war.
posted by b_thinky at 5:59 PM on July 7, 2005


It is about setting up a socially and economically free area in the middle of the arab world, ...

So, you're saying it's our Colony--one of many more to come? Nice. Why not let the Iraqis take care of their own country, like a normal person would? The insurgents and the terror will never stop until we stop meddling with their lives, and occupying and killing them while we reward their dictators at our whims.
posted by amberglow at 6:06 PM on July 7, 2005


Given an estimated 130,000 Iraqi deaths credited to the war, it should perhaps be pointed out that they lose about five times as many people per capita each day.

Even if it "should perhaps be pointed out," it already has been -- about 20 times.

Every PP and dios post in this thread using this tragedy as a springboard to make a political point is matched by two on the other side. Axes are being ground left and right, and it's just not appropriate here.

I say again: Thanks kiell and nthdegx for redeeming what otherwise devolved into a fairly repulsive thread.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:12 PM on July 7, 2005


Since then went to pub and drank, it's what we in London do best.

I was surprised to see just how empty the bars were in DC on 9/11, given the town's love for strong drink. I think we just weren't prepared for the audacity of an attack on our precious soil. The UK has had plenty over the years, I think they've got the proper mourning process down a bit better by now. It really is a better way than blockading yourself in your home.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:23 PM on July 7, 2005


Theory: The only reason we haven't had a new terrorist attack in America is because GWBush is actually Al-Qaeda's closest ally. He sends troops into battle on a "crusade" over false pretenses and starts a war on hallowed Middle Eastern ground. Osama couldn't have written a better outcome to 9/11.

Theory: If Bush's approval rating keeps slipping lower and lower, we may well see a terrorist attack in this country.

Also, best to London. I take it their calm demeanor is because, after years of IRA bombings and threats, they're used to this sort of thing. Me, I'm thinking of taking the bike to work tomorrow.
posted by fungible at 6:30 PM on July 7, 2005


THE PRESIDENT: We are fighting these terrorists with our military in Afghanistan and Iraq and beyond so we do not have to face them in the streets of our own cities. (Applause.) (October 25, 2004)

Deadly foolishness proven wrong over and over...
posted by amberglow at 6:35 PM on July 7, 2005


I've been watching CNN with their numerous interviews of citizens of London. My admiration for you folks only grows.
posted by Carbolic at 6:54 PM on July 7, 2005


Ok, just to play devil's advocate a little here...

It is about setting up a socially and economically free area in the middle of the arab world, ...

So, you're saying it's our Colony--one of many more to come?


He didn't say colony, nor did his comment imply it. Even if it were, wouldn't that be preferable to Hussein's tyranny?

Nice. Why not let the Iraqis take care of their own country, like a normal person would?

Because doing so meant a likely execution.

The insurgents and the terror will never stop until we stop meddling with their lives, and occupying and killing them while we reward their dictators at our whims.
posted by amberglow at 6:06 PM PST on July 7 [!]


Actually, that won't be enough. From this document on Al Qaeda's motives:

Al Qaeda on Democracy and Reform. Osama Bin Laden and Abu Musab
Al Zarqawi have applied these and other similar principles to current issues of
democracy, reform, and conflict in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian territories.
In both of his December 2004 statements, for example, Bin Laden clearly stated his
view that democracies, constitutional governments, and insufficiently Islamic
monarchies are equally unacceptable forms of governance for Islamic societies
because they empower human rulers and man-made legal systems rather than “the law of God.” Al Zarqawi expanded on these sentiments in a January 2005
statement that characterized democracy as a rival “religion” to Islam and criticized
adherence to democratic principles such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion as un-Islamic and tantamount to apostasy punishable by death. A statement
released by Al Zarqawi’s group following Iraq’s January 2005 election stated that, “we shall not accept the rule of anyone but that of God and His Prophet
[Mohammed].”

posted by jikel_morten at 7:04 PM on July 7, 2005


Obviously the flypaper strategy continues working brilliantly. Anomalies like this and the fact that terrorism is up sharply since America invaded Iraq should be ignored....and will continue to be by our friends on the right.

Same as it ever was.

Reap the whirlwind. And weep for the dead littering England...and Iraq.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 7:09 PM on July 7, 2005


I love the fact that the buses are running and people are drinking in pubs. One reporter on TV said something like "Londoner's relatively calm attitudes has sucked the terror out of terrorism."

Good job London.
posted by jikel_morten at 7:10 PM on July 7, 2005


He didn't say colony, nor did his comment imply it. Even if it were, wouldn't that be preferable to Hussein's tyranny?
Who's setting up this "socially and economically free area"? Who asked them to? Who's really in charge?

No, it's never preferable to invade and occupy (and transform) a country that did nothing to us or their neighbors for years and was safely contained. Never.
posted by amberglow at 7:10 PM on July 7, 2005


I know what you're saying, amberglow, but if I ever lived powerlessly in an oppressive regime, where people were routinely tortured or killed or both, I'd hope for outside help. Of course I have no idea what it must have been like for Iraqis living under tyranny, as I've had a fortunate, cozy Canadian upbringing.
posted by jikel_morten at 7:18 PM on July 7, 2005


I think I just made it sound like I grew up Silver Spooning it...What I meant to say was that I've never known anything like what so many unforunate people on the planet live through on a daily basis.
posted by jikel_morten at 7:24 PM on July 7, 2005


Londoners, you didn't deserve this. As a Yank, please allow me to apologize for U.S. actions that may have spurred this event.

Also allow me to be the first dumb yank to something like as follows;

"LONDON, U.K. '05, NEVER FORGET!!!!!!"

See? It sounds just as stupid as the "911" version, doesn't it?

My heart is with you folks, but I think the shit is really just starting to hit the fan.


On Preview: Regarding Amberglo's: No, it's never preferable to invade and occupy (and transform) a country that did nothing to us or their neighbors for years and was safely contained. Never.

I agree, and I think it's well known that Iraq was the most westernized country in the region. That was the LAST place that should have been invaded.
posted by snsranch at 7:27 PM on July 7, 2005


Allow me to give some back up to Amberglow:

The so-called torturous whatever that occured in Iraq happens much more ofter in the rest of the countries in that region. Iraq was actually very mellow in comparison.

Now that Iraq has again become sectarian, they have guys running around spraying acid on women who don't cover their faces.

This is not forward thinking, this is not new freedom.
posted by snsranch at 7:33 PM on July 7, 2005


As a Yank, please allow me to apologize for U.S. actions that may have spurred this event.

It's true what they say, Americans *are* mind-numbingly stupid.
posted by Krrrlson at 7:39 PM on July 7, 2005


The acid thing - is this happening more now? Did these same people not do this before, or did Saddam punish those who did it?
posted by jikel_morten at 7:43 PM on July 7, 2005


They didn't do it before--it was a Westernized, non-theocratic society where women had full equality and served in government, ran businesses, went to college, etc.

Meanwhile, back home, for the millions of us who take public transportation daily: Senate Cuts Funding for Public Transportation Security--...
In FY 2005, Congress provided $150 million for transit and rail security grants. Last week, the Senate Committee on Appropriations reduced the transit and rail security grants to $100 million when it approved the FY 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations bill.
...
Millar noted that since September 11, 2001, the federal government has spent $18 billion on aviation security, but only $250 million on transit security. Yet, Americans take public transportation 32 million times a day -- 16 times more than they travel on domestic airlines. ...

posted by amberglow at 7:49 PM on July 7, 2005


b_thinky, thank you for clarifying yourself and I apologize for some of the snark earlier. You have given a much more rational elaboration of the "they hate freedom" mentality than any other I've heard. I will agree with you that a lot of anti-Americanism is rooted in envy, and that envy can probably make people do some pretty crazy things.

However, this is where we disagree and where I hope to make up some ground. Though envy is powerful, I would argue that a much more compelling reason to turn to terrorism is suffering at the hands of an oppressor. The US, though often not alone, has given substantial military aid to support Israel's oppression of the Palestinians. It supported the gassing of the Kurds and the genocide of the Timorese. The US bombing of Cambodia before the Khmer Rouge existed cost hundreds of thousands of lives and made that country the most bombed country per unit area in history. While many countries freely buy US products, others have had US corporations forced down their throats, such as the privatization of Bolivian drinking water to an American corporation which led to a revolution by the populace. Given this history of indifference and self-interest, I hope you can see why us "lefties" are highly skeptical of the administration's alleged altruistic intentions.

WWI and WWII have very little similarity to the current war. There's no denying that Hitler was a threat to the entire world. However, countless weapons inspectors and aid workers have stated that the idea that Iraq, crippled by the embargo, is a threat to anyone but itself is ridiculous.

So once again, I agree that envy is persuasive, but I believe the grievances are much deeper than that. Like you said, this is not a peaceful world. Our leaders will take what they want. It is up to the people of America to stop them.

If, however, you still believe that envy is the primary reason, I guess we should stop bickering here and pick it up later in another thread.
posted by Chomskyfied at 7:50 PM on July 7, 2005


I'm sorry for all those involved, and all those who must bear the punishment (loss of legitimate rights) for this act, while I wish for those really responsible to be caught and be brought to proper justice
posted by Balisong at 7:53 PM on July 7, 2005


They didn't do it before--it was a Westernized, non-theocratic society where women had full equality and served in government, ran businesses, went to college, etc.

I'm fully aware of the state of westernization/development of pre-war Iraq. If fanatical muslims were in Iraq then (and of course they were) why were there no acid incidents - was is something Saddam prohibited? Why did they start post war?
posted by jikel_morten at 7:54 PM on July 7, 2005


I think overzealous devotion to mythology is the main reason al qaeda exists.
posted by jikel_morten at 8:07 PM on July 7, 2005


There was law and order back then, and not the vacuum there is now. They started because they can do shit like that now--there's no functioning police or anything to stop them.
posted by amberglow at 8:38 PM on July 7, 2005


fwiw, i am with quonsar on this, i think.

last night (our time) there was an undeniable act of bastardry & all the human tragedy that it brought.

then, there was the reaction.

there was the understandable reaction from people living in London, or with friends, relatives and other assorted loved ones there* - fear, anxiety, etc.

overlaid on this - and perhaps playing off it and stirring it up - was the media circus, which will probably continue for at least a fortnight or more, occupying perhaps 70% of the news media.

whilst it is understandable that western audiences are more likely to have a connection with London (hell, half of australian youth are probably working there at any single point in time!), it does seem likely that this event will receive coverage way out of proportion when compared with other human tragedies that are played out every single day of the year. this is particularly ironic given the recent media specacle of live8.

* i have various relatives & some friends there. the chances of any of them having been killed would be about 10 in 7,500,000, so i am not particularly concerned for their safety. they are more likely to have been hit by a truck in the past year.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:20 PM on July 7, 2005


As a Yank, please allow me to apologize for U.S. actions that may have spurred this event.

Wow, I understand it's a complicated situation, and I can see all sides, but comments like that are as simplistically stupid as anything coming from the right. Pitiful.
posted by justgary at 9:27 PM on July 7, 2005


.
posted by nola at 9:40 PM on July 7, 2005


hey - it's good to hear this "stiff upper lip" talk...somebody *please* tell me that there is a guy next to a bombsite in a three-piece pinstripe suit and bowler hat, umbrella handle slung over his arm as he sips at a cup of tea from fine china, saying "Dreadful weather we are having, what? I say, how do you fancy our chances in the test at Lords?"

(and if anybody wants to tell me that such things are pure mythology, please hold your tongues!)
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:41 PM on July 7, 2005


This was an effort by a group of criminals to get our attention and they got what they wanted! I find the idea that if Iraq and Afghanistan, the invasions that is, had not happened, then all would be quiet on the western front.

The cause of these assholes having their panties in an explosive knot is simply the existence of Israel. That is the start of all this, not the invasions of Iraq or Afghanistan.
posted by stirfry at 9:41 PM on July 7, 2005


speaking of that, Ubu, I keep hearing about the "steely resolve" and "unflappable" all the other Brit stereotypes. It happened with us with 9/11 too. I wonder whether people conform to them because they think they're expected to? Or whether there's real truth to them?
posted by amberglow at 9:49 PM on July 7, 2005


amberglow: interesting question, for which i have no answer.

to the poms: "don't worry about it. she'll be right, mate!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:59 PM on July 7, 2005


The responses in this thread have convinced me that while the majority of Americans are still fine, decent people, there's a significant number who aren't fit to be pissed on.
posted by Hogshead at 10:04 PM on July 7, 2005


Really cute, Hog. Does your dick twist around?
posted by stirfry at 10:12 PM on July 7, 2005


For my part as a Londoner, I'd like to thank the people that have given productive input into this thread. We're hoping that things will return to relative normality today - at least my mobile phone is working consistently again. And yes, we all know that people die around the world every day, but it doesn't mean that it feels any less awful when you have to wait for information about your loved ones who happen to work on one of the bombed sites. That is as relevant as my late mother's line about me having to finish my breakfast as a child because there were kids starving in Ethiopia. But thanks for everyone for their support - we did a fine job in London yesterday and will continue to do so.
posted by keijo at 10:33 PM on July 7, 2005


Hogshead, I think you could cross out "Americans," and put just about any ethnic/geographical/religious group in there, and it would still apply - though I hardly think that the response to this single MeFi thread accurately represents Americans as a whole.

We are all appalled by this morning's events and hoping for the speedy recovery of the injured - and saddened by the number of casualties. If any American doesn't agree with me on at least that, then, well, piss on them. Or not.

One thing that surprised me, though - I remember the bombings in Madrid getting far more TV coverage, at least in my area.
posted by Liosliath at 10:47 PM on July 7, 2005


keep on keeping on, keijo : >

Lios, Madrid had almost 200 deaths and more injuries, and their ex-government's lies about it prolonged it as news. I think the coverage is similar (altho all coverage will mostly stop tom'w morning for us as soon as Rehnquist announces)
posted by amberglow at 10:52 PM on July 7, 2005


I need to re-iterate once again (especially for the benefit of the Americans) that this is not September the 11th, and besides, London is used to terrorist attacks not far removed from yesterday's. I'm not being heartless here - a friend of mine lost a father yesterday - but let me put this in some perspective.

The town where I grew up was bombed by the IRA in the late 70s with five deaths.

A Hilton hotel in London was bombed shortly after with two deaths. In the early 80s a pair of IRA bombs in Hyde Park killed eight. In 1990 the IRA bombed the Stock Exchange, near where I live - and two years later the Baltic Exchange nearby. In 1992 the IRA set off two bombs in Manchester - one of which tore an entire shopping centre to shreds.

In 1993 an IRA bomb killed one, destroyed a church near where I live and damaged Liverpool Street station. In 1996 an IRA bomb exploded in Docklands, with around 40 injuries. In 1996 an IRA bomb destroyed a London bus - so this isn't the first London bus to go down. In April 2000 a gay pub in Soho was bombed, following two others in Brixton and Brick Lane (again near where I now live.) And even as recently as 2001 there were still bombs exploding or being safely detonated here in London.

I have grown up seeing the area in which I live repeatedly targeted - and regularly damaged - by terrorists. Yesterday's attack was more co-ordinated than most, and on a slightly larger scale, but not much so. I have to be grateful that this was not as bad as it could have been; not as bad as 911, not as bad as Madrid and not as bad as the tsunami.

Londoners are used to the threat of terror - and frankly it does sod all for us. We're not moving out, we're not going to be afraid, we're not going to pay attention to any cause which promotes its aims through violence. We're used to there being no trashcans in stations. We're used to regular bomb alerts and closures. Some of us are even used to being stop and searched by police on Prevention of Terrorism claims.

I appreciate all the words of support from the Americans but - living right in the middle of all the action - I have to say the melodrama is not called for. Neither are the comments about war. Sitting here a few yards from the ground zero of yesterday's attacks, all I can say is it's time for another cup of tea.
posted by skylar at 11:04 PM on July 7, 2005


Why are they saying not to come to Central London Fri? Do they think they'll be more bombs?
posted by amberglow at 11:06 PM on July 7, 2005


skylar: what are you wearing? *hopeful* ...and do you think Warney has what it takes to skittle your blokes, after you hammered us in the one-dayer?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:18 PM on July 7, 2005


Amberglow - they just cannot be sure if there might be more, and also the transport will not be back to normal so it's better to have as few people as possible getting into town. Let's hope for the best (no more bombs, and everything working out fine transportwise).
posted by keijo at 11:18 PM on July 7, 2005


heh...last time i checked, the 2nd most popular article at *the age* online (melbourne paper) was:

Warne's Wife Heads Home
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:38 PM on July 7, 2005


UbuRoivas - am I meant to wear something special today? Like black? I'm not wearing a cricket sweater, if that's what you mean. Sorry not to know anything about cricket!

Amberglow... the main reason must be just to give police enough bandwidth both to protect the city and to start the investigations, plus as Keijo says to spare overcrowding on the Underground - because around three lines at least, to my knowledge, are closed.
posted by skylar at 11:51 PM on July 7, 2005


skylar, i thought you were playing on my comment above. no fun! :(
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:02 AM on July 8, 2005


I' m a Londoner and what I will say is that I didn't really understand 9/11 until yesterday. I was horrified and upset by 9/11, but on a gut level I now know I didn't really get it. And I think that was because it was a mediated event. Something that happened to other people in another place. Now I understand.

Those, like quonsar, are quick to point out that there are other bad things happening in the world, some of which we have a hand in. This is of course true, but not actually that useful for people who are scared for the lives of relatives and friends. Though I suspect this says more about the way events are experienced through the media, rather than any particular malice on quonsar's part.

Anyway, in conclusion, I'd say that for those that don't get it; I hope you never do.
posted by johnny novak at 12:25 AM on July 8, 2005


Chomskyfied: I don't disagree with what you're saying about us being oppressors in some instances (i.e. whats going on in Palestine). The unfortunate thing is, these situations are practically unavoidable for a lone world superpower.

Let's face it: the US does (and should do) things that are primarily in its own best interest. Sometimes we choose what seems like the lesser of two evils (Iraq over Iran, the Mujahadeen over the Soviets, etc), only to have the lesser of the evils turn out greater than we ever expected. Other times we simply act to protect the status quo (Israel over Palestine) because our leaders are too timid to make a change. And the rest of the time we choose not to act at all, like in Sudan or Rwanda (doing nothing can bite you in the ass too).

Pretty much whatever we do, we come out fucked. Our grip on power is by no means eternal, in fact, we all know it will come to an end sooner or later. I just don't see this as being the end.
posted by b_thinky at 12:55 AM on July 8, 2005


"Osama couldn't have written a better outcome to 9/11."

That's really silly logic. Before 9/11, Osama was in charge of a country. Now he's in charge of a cave or some equally desolate abode. This is an undeniable fact.

I know you'll point to the insurgency in Iraq, but it must be noted that the vast majority of the insurgency is made up of shiites and baathists, groups Osama would not like to be associated with. The Zarqawi Qaeda group in Iraq is by all accounts the smallest insurgent group in the country. Also, most sunni insurgents are battling as a sort of a bargaining chip for more seats in the government. This, of course as a direct result of stupidly boycotting the national elections.

If you guys were half as hard on the terrorists as you are on Bush, you'd see they've fucked this up at least 10x worse than he has (and I'll even admit, that's saying something!).

Take today, for example. It accomplished nothing besides killing a bunch of people. Nothing will change.

"As a Yank, please allow me to apologize for U.S. actions that may have spurred this event."

That's just dumb.
posted by b_thinky at 1:09 AM on July 8, 2005


In addition:

As a Londoner of just three months, being sat watching events unfold just a short distance from my house was a strange experience. Being able to help a friend was almost a relief. My expedition doesn't even begin to compare to what others went through, but it felt better than doing nothing.

hey - it's good to hear this "stiff upper lip" talk...somebody *please* tell me that there is a guy next to a bombsite in a three-piece pinstripe suit and bowler hat, umbrella handle slung over his arm as he sips at a cup of tea from fine china, saying "Dreadful weather we are having, what? I say, how do you fancy our chances in the test at Lords?"

Just to reinforce a few stereotypes... I mentioned that as I made my way in to London yesterday, the bars were quite busy. I assumed people were watching the news, but it does seem quite likely that the cricket was also drawing an audience. Many people wear pinstripe suits and, as it was raining, most would have been carrying an umbrella. I'm sorry to say that I didn't see any bowler hats.

My friend walked home from his office Holborn yesterday::

[09:07] [kiell] how was last night?
[09:07] [tricky] a *long* walk :)
[09:07] [kiell] yeah, I bet. what time did you get home?
[09:07] [tricky] brb - cup of tea
posted by Kiell at 1:26 AM on July 8, 2005


You know, I came out of the news room yesterday about 8:30pm after being in since just before 8:30 in the morning - and headed straight for bars in the Theatre District. Quite a few weren't open, but down Dury Lane the Lowlander had thrown its doors open and was welcoming people in. It was, well, quiet comparatively speaking, but cosy and warm - they had Eastenders on the big screen. The overriding feeling was that this place seemed like an extension of your living room. As is to be expected in this city, there were folks who heralded from the four corners of the world sitting taking in the days events, having a bite to eat. It felt like everyone shared the same experience, a mass unwilling participation in the event which unfolded - which of course they did.

So there my friend and I sat until they had to close up for the night. Although we didn't bare witness to harrowing slaughter like that seen on , having to deal with the news all day was particularly sapping of ones spirit. Responding to anxious calls, emails and texts all day from worried relatives and friends only served to remind me that someone won't be. I can only imagine how dispiriting it must have been to be on the frontline, clearing out the dead.

I hope none of this has come across as jingoistic - they are just my solemn reflections on the day gone.

posted by shoez at 1:57 AM on July 8, 2005


No, not at all, thanks a lot for sharing shoez. The feelings here were quite similar, although we just followed the government's advice for once and stayed at home, first watching the news, then feeling sick about after a while and watching a movie instead.
posted by keijo at 2:02 AM on July 8, 2005


I have just got in to work to find out that my colleague missing from yesterday has been found in hospital in critical condition. She's consious. We don't know anything more than that. Feel very shell shocked today.
posted by Summer at 2:23 AM on July 8, 2005


Best wishes to you Summer. I'm fervently hoping she'll pull through. This incident has proved to me just how true that old aphorism of it being a small world really is. Even though the numbers were relatively small, and London is so big, many of us know someone affected. My heart goes out to you.
posted by skylar at 2:27 AM on July 8, 2005


I haven't read all the comments, and I waited to post my stupid two cents earlier because there were people providing great info and links.

I have two uncles and three cousins in London, and thankfully they're all ok. In fact, I was the one who broke the news to one of my uncles (who I had raised from his stoned slumber).

My thoughts and sympathies are with you, but I'm not worried about London getting on with it. I was attending an English boarding school during the Falklands war, and as news of sunken British battleships flickered on the television screen my schoolmates watched in awed silence. No one said "Fucking Argentineans!" or anything jingoistic. They just watched stoically and then went about their business. It says a lot about a country when teenaged boys (of all people) behave like that.
posted by Devils Slide at 2:42 AM on July 8, 2005


Hoping for all the best for your friend, Summer.
posted by keijo at 2:45 AM on July 8, 2005


Ditto, Summer - I hope your mate pulls through.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 2:51 AM on July 8, 2005


Thanks Skylar (and, on preview, tqk). We also have one person here who saw the bus explode and a colleague of a friend was on the tube at Kings Cross. So yes, small world indeed.

As for the stoicism of Londoners - I've not been to any other bombed city so I wouldn't know. The fact that it's happened here before and from different sources means that we're not shocked at the audacity and are less likely to take it personally as a nation, as I think the Americans did. We see it as a (rare) fact of life.

I've been expecting something to happen on the tube ever since we went into Afghanistan. I thought I would be safe because bombers usually go for rush hour and I don't leave the house till 9am. Strangely enough yesterday I missed it all because I decided to get in early for once.
posted by Summer at 2:55 AM on July 8, 2005


Well, we just have to remember that it's been a long while since IRA have done any attacks in London and there are lot of people who don't have any recollection of them. But in some ways, I'm sensing a great sense of community and togetherness here now - maybe that's the good thing that we can get out of this all.
posted by keijo at 3:12 AM on July 8, 2005


I really hope your friend pulls through, Summer.
posted by nthdegx at 4:25 AM on July 8, 2005


To have never wanted troops in Iraq, and to remove them as soon as the opportunity arises is not capitulation, it's consistency.

benzo8: thank you for that reply, that is what I meant too (also what felix and nkyad said), sorry for any misunderstanding! I had probably expressed myself badly and somehow completely misinterpreted your reply. Sorry!
posted by funambulist at 4:33 AM on July 8, 2005


I have just learned that one of my colleagues at work was injured yesterday, but thanfully not too seriously.
posted by nthdegx at 5:09 AM on July 8, 2005


Best wishes for your friend, Summer.

b_thinky: Let me join Chomskyfied in thanking you for providing a thoughtful counterpoint on the Iraq issue. I don't agree with you, but you make good points and are admirably civil about it.

i am with quonsar on this, i think.
last night (our time) there was an undeniable act of bastardry ... overlaid on this - and perhaps playing off it and stirring it up - was the media circus,


But this is not the media circus. This is MetaFilter. People have friends and relatives in London. This is not ratings-driven rubbernecking, this is genuine interest and sympathy. quonsar was being a dick, which is his right, but there's no need to jump in with him.

As for "getting on with it," I'd like to share a relevant quote from an excellent Freeman J. Dyson article, "The Bitter End" (a review of two books about the last years of WWII in Germany, focusing on the bombing campaign); it's from Hans Nossack, an eyewitness to the bombing of Hamburg in 1943 (who wrote his account immediately afterwards):
I have not heard a single person curse the enemies or blame them for the destruction. When the newspapers published epithets like "pirates of the air" and "criminal arsonists," we had no ears for that. A much deeper insight forbade us to think of an enemy who was supposed to have caused all this; for us, he, too, was at most an instrument of unknowable forces that sought to annihilate us. I have not met even a single person who comforted himself with the thought of revenge. On the contrary, what was commonly said or thought was: Why should the others be destroyed as well?
Dyson, who was part of Bomber Command headquarters, says: "There is overwhelming evidence that the bombing of cities strengthened rather than weakened the determination of Germans to fight to the bitter end."
posted by languagehat at 6:28 AM on July 8, 2005


I agree with languagehat. We should NOT bomb Germany because of this. Paris? - yeah, maybe. Brussels? - OK we've all thought about it. But the point is, I'm going to Munich tomorrow so let's all just calm down a little for fuck's sake.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:12 AM on July 8, 2005


For all those who were still looking for the full transcript of Ken Livingstone's statement, here it is (really full transcript, not just snippets).
posted by funambulist at 7:15 AM on July 8, 2005


And if you want the video, it's here.
posted by chill at 8:43 AM on July 8, 2005


Before 9/11, Osama was in charge of a country. Now he's in charge of a cave or some equally desolate abode. This is an undeniable fact.

Um, Osama is not the Taliban. The Taliban were protecting Osama, but that does not make him in charge of the country. And as far as the makeup of the insurgency in Iraq, I trust that our government has no idea who they are, or else they would have eliminated them by now. (What that has to do with al-Qaeda bombings in London, I have no idea.)

Besides, Osama's goal has never been power (or a nicer house, to use your example.) That isn't the goal of terrorism.

The goal is to stir shit up. To bring war. To kill. To sow fear and hatred. Bush has been entirely complicit in this plan - to the point of attacking a country that had nothing to do with al-Qaeda. Now that's a fact.
posted by fungible at 10:14 AM on July 8, 2005


The means to their goal may be to stir shit up, but that is not the goal in itself. Again, this document is a pretty good summation of their goals. Pretty much "Islam everywhere" and no democracies in any 'Muslim' land. They seem to hold that democracies form a wedge between man and god. This sort of thing.
posted by jikel_morten at 11:18 AM on July 8, 2005


b_thinky,

It's good that we agree that the U.S. is the oppressor in some instances and that this is often driven by self interest, but we still have two major disagreements: 1) that oppression is unintentional and therefore unavoidable and 2) that oppression can sometimes be justified because it is in our interest.

1) In some cases, your statement that we choose the lesser of the two evils is true, such as the Mujahadeen vs USSR example. I would argue that in those cases, the fact that our chosen side is the lesser of the two evils has no relevance. Clearly the US had a vested interest in siding against the Soviets at that point in time. But let's not go there.

I'm talking about the instances when we choose the side that is uncontroversially the greater of the two evils. Take the East Timor example that I linked to. There is no question that the native Timorise did not deserve to be invaded by Indonesia's genocidal forces. They did not deserve to have hundreds of thousands massacred. Their women did not deserve to be sent to military bases to be slaves to the Indonesian army. But what did the US (and Canada and Britain) do? We sold to the Indonesians the massive bulk of arms that made it all possible.

This is just one example. Selling helicopters to Israel and vetoing (often against the entire UN) UN resolutions on Israel's crimes against the Palestinians is another (I would look for a non-Chomsky link, if I had the time. This is the first site to came to my head).

So that's why some of us don't believe that our overall intentions are good, and that it is through some human weakness that the world's only super power happens to side with the bad guys. I don't believe it is all that hard to avoid stepping on people's toes.

2) Now is it right to hurt others for our own interests? Guess that's a matter of opinion. But I believe that if one has any sense of ethics, (s)he must recognize that what applies to others applies to ourselves. So if you argue that our acts of flagrant self interest are justified, then you must be condoning the assassination of the US president and the installation of a dictator by another country. Or you condone the annihilation of US civilians to the increase arms trade of another country. And so on.

There are far too many examples than I have time for. If you are genuinely interested, please browse the chomsky site I linked to. I'll be happy to read through any links you post.
posted by Chomskyfied at 12:18 PM on July 8, 2005


*to increase the arms trade ...
posted by Chomskyfied at 12:27 PM on July 8, 2005


jikel_morten: How does killing 37 people in London forward the goal of "Islam Everywhere"? It doesn't - unless it helps to create a war between the West and Islam. Which we are working on giving them. Mission accomplished, Osama.
posted by fungible at 12:50 PM on July 8, 2005


Stupid Unimportant Question: Did they tell the Big Brother housepeople? When 9/11 happened, they waited to tell them all about it, and one of the people had lost a cousin.
posted by amberglow at 4:23 PM on July 8, 2005


amberglow: no they haven't told them yet. there's a heated discussion on whether they should .
see, you're not the only one who wondered.
posted by funambulist at 5:34 PM on July 8, 2005


So if you argue that our acts of flagrant self interest are justified, then you must be condoning the assassination of the US president and the installation of a dictator by another country. Or you condone the annihilation of US civilians to the increase arms trade of another country. And so on.

Logical fallacy. I think he was using the Realpolitik argument. So he need not argue any such thing.

If he lives HERE he is solely invested the interests of his Nation State. Only. Realpolitk accepts the contradiction as a necessary result of inevitable conflict between disparate interests.

In Realpolitik the point is simply choosing sides. Ergo: I don't have to condone anything that goes against my interests just because the act shares similar methodology/means to an act my own "side" uses.

You cannot universally use the same moral principles that guide individuals and apply them to large political communities inside nation states. It doesn't work.

Take pacifism. Pacifism is an admirable principle for an individual. And a foolish or unworkable principle for complex political communities. Even Gandhi said that.

I think there is some practical truth in this view. Conflict IS inevitable. On the personal level it is fairly simple to resolve things non-violently. But on the larger scale. The big picture scale— things get complex. Leaders often face the choice of "If I negotiate away resource X, many of MY people die. But. If I go to war (or use some proxy to control resource X) only some of my people die and many of another nations people die."

bThinky is right. This IS the way things have always been.

And in times past nobody thought anything of it. On a finite world eventually you'd have to steal other peoples shit to survive or better your standing. Rarely was any thought even given to The Other. It was join the Empire or die.

It was only when things like "intellectual" property, delicate resources and technologies/wealth intrinsic to a specific culture became a value that societies created modern professional warrior classes that mostly fought with eachother to shield the property from damage during conflict. Then they devised so-called "rules" for warfare. But the goal was still to gain a strategic position to a valuable resource.

It is ironic that in this most advanced age of humanity—when we now have evolved this lens of Human Rights to scrutinize all our conflicting activity through—do we now go back to the most barbaric forms of warfare where we deliberately target innocents.

War is now devised to completely circumvent the professional warrior class—armies fighting armies is nearly obsolete as a concept. Humans now target the more esoteric roots of a culture with twisted protracted guerilla warfare and savage acts such as mass rape and ethnic purges.

Our current war in the ME has it's roots in two thousand years of conflict. Make no mistake if the west was to disengage there as many are advocating, and as Bin Laden is demanding, the killing there would STILL go on uninterrupted or manipulated by the evil 'ol white man. Until a local empire evolved.

I think it is rather unfair to single out the US as being the root of oppression in the world. We are simply the most recent examples of success at empire building. When Europe was slaughtering half the globe unchecked the concept of Human Rights was largely unimagined yet. Lucky Europe. An Europe would not have the living standard it has to this very day with out the bad ol' days of conquest.

Let's not forget. Despite our faltering and imperialistic drives it is we, in the west, who are the ones teaching these GOOD values —of Human Rights— to the world. in modern times it was Militaries in the west who were the FIRST to methodically devise ways to lessen casualties of innocent people. As much as I despise the war Iraq has been a starling example of that.
posted by tkchrist at 6:45 PM on July 8, 2005


thanks funam.

tk, we're not a success at empire building at all. We never have been.
posted by amberglow at 6:47 PM on July 8, 2005


PP: Please leave your soapbox at least until all our friends and family are accounted for, OK? Can we just have that shred of humanity from you?
posted by benzo8 at 8:10 AM EST on July 7 [!]


With all due respect, I really don't get this. I'm supposed to treat this thread on Metafilter.com as an emergency contact and support channel? And one that's exclusively that? I mean you no ill will, but this is not obvious. Shouldn't you be calling the authorities? The local police? Contacting friends? I just don't get this/that.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:23 PM on July 8, 2005


Chomskyfied:

1) I think our biggest mistake as a nation is our totally nutso support of Israel. Unfortunately, in a democracy, a politician's first loyalty is to his office. And he won't have that office for long when he takes a stand with Israel. There is so much money advocating Israel in American politics, you just can't be in the game if you don't sell your soul.

As maddening as this is, it's the biggest fault with the arabs. They wonder why we discriminate. It's because they don't play the game. Osama spent his fortune on bombs, the Israelis spend theirs on marketing. Marketing makes better marketing than bombs.

In terms of the other places we've played a role in oppressing (East Timor, namely), I'd argue we didn't do it simply for the sake of oppression. In the case of East Timor, there was probably an irrational fear of communism and its threat to America, and our entire foreign policy at the time was about combatting communism. Further, I doubt anyone could have foreseen the brutality that took place there.

When global politics are the game, the stakes are high.

2) Is doing stuff for our own interests right? It's an interesting moral dilema.

The United States basically controls the fate of people in Israel, East Timor, Africa and all over. Our choices affect everyone. If we don't choose to protect ourselves first, the tables will be turned and our fate will be the one under the control of others.

Yeah, I wish we could all get a long and be equal and stuff, but for now it's a world with limited resources, and it's just not going to happen.
posted by b_thinky at 12:58 AM on July 9, 2005


ParisParamus writes "With all due respect, I really don't get this. I'm supposed to treat this thread on Metafilter.com as an emergency contact and support channel? And one that's exclusively that? I mean you no ill will, but this is not obvious. Shouldn't you be calling the authorities? The local police? Contacting friends? I just don't get this/that."

No, you were supposed to realise that at the time, there were far more pressing personal and emotional stresses which people had to deal with. You were supposed to realise that it wasn't the time or the place to soapbox, whether or not your soapbox had merit. You were supposed to have some level of empathy; some level of compassion; some level of solidarity. You did not. You still don't.

As a result: "I will not take the thing from your hand." Leave me be ParisParamus, for I will not respond to you again.
posted by benzo8 at 3:13 AM on July 9, 2005


ParisParamus writes "With all due respect, I really don't get this."
I guess part of the answer to your question that you posted more than 1+1/2 days after the original comment you're questioning can be found here.
*shrug* People had other things on their mind. This thread was a connection to salient information. Obviously not all information. You wanted to discuss political motivations or at least tell people what ought to be discussed. Everyone (mostly) else just wanted to share. benzo8 has it. I guess the idea of a community sometimes, especially during actually stressful episodes, is to swim in the same direction or not at all, kind of thing. 2c
posted by peacay at 5:38 AM on July 9, 2005


Burns mask photo woman 'stable'
posted by amberglow at 10:45 AM on July 9, 2005


jikel_morten: How does killing 37 people in London forward the goal of "Islam Everywhere"? It doesn't - unless it helps to create a war between the West and Islam. Which we are working on giving them. Mission accomplished, Osama.
posted by fungible at 12:50 PM PST on July 8 [!]


I never claimed it was an effective means to that end, just that that was what the goal was. How does any of the shit Al Qaeda pulls help their goal? I'm just saying that they have actual goals, stirring shit up not being one of them.
posted by jikel_morten at 5:16 PM on July 9, 2005


Tkchrist and b_thinky:

I have never disagreed with b_thinky about the way the world IS. Our disagreement lies in what we believe the world should be. And you do have to condone such acts, because by accepting Realpolitik, you condone the application of Realpolitik by another state. But I understand what you are saying (although I don’t agree): Realpolitik justifies the acts of a nation even though those acts are not justified on a personal level.

So let me clarify my thoughts. Let’s define a scale where the “left” extreme is the “hippie utopia”: a world where an international governing body deals with all matters of all states and makes decisions based on the greater good. On the right extreme, we have a situation where all states practice Realpolitik without restraint. I think you two will agree with me when I say that the current US empire as well as other powerful nations fall somewhere in between these extremes. Centuries ago, empires could trample over countless peoples without raising an eyebrow from their own populace. In contrast, the Vietnam War ended because popular support had dried up. The general populace questioned not only the morality of the deaths of their own children, but that of ANOTHER nation state. Before the Iraq war, mass worldwide opposition prevented many countries from joining America. I would therefore argue that we have progressed and that the greater good is a growing concern. You’re right, tk, when you say that the extreme left scenario would never work. All that I am arguing, however, is that the current position of the US (among many other states) could and should shift more left than it is now. We cannot depend on our governments to make this shift themselves. We have learned from history that it is dependent on the will of the people.

“If I negotiate away resource X, many of MY people die. But. If I go to war (or use some proxy to control resource X) only some of my people die and many of another nations people die.”

After my ramblings above, I would further argue that current empire builders don’t exactly fit on my left-right scale unless, in Realpolitik, the interests of the nation state is defined as the interests of a small wealthy minority. In most of the examples that I provided, (East Timor, Bechtel) the nation itself benefits very little while a small group of people that have strong ties to the government benefit greatly. In some cases, the current actions of the state actually endangers the general populace i.e. Iraq (debatable, I agree)

… the killing there would STILL go on uninterrupted or manipulated by the evil 'ol white man

True. But they are responsible for ending their killings, we are responsible for ours. And much more people are dying there now than before the coming of the evil ol’ white man.

I think it is rather unfair to single out the US as being the root of oppression in the world

it's the biggest fault with the arabs

Agreed on the first point. But that was never the intent of the discussion nor did I ever believe that. And if you think I am trying to place blame, you have missed the point. As b_thinky points out, the fate of many foreign peoples, and arguably the entire world is dependent on the actions of the US. So although my arguments apply to all states, the US is the most contemporarily relevant.
posted by Chomskyfied at 7:00 AM on July 11, 2005


...it is we, in the west, who are the ones teaching these GOOD values —of Human Rights— to the world. in modern times it was Militaries in the west who were the FIRST to methodically devise ways to lessen casualties of innocent people. As much as I despise the war Iraq has been a starling example of that.

But there is a cruel paradox at work here. Just as international human rights law and international humanitarian law have probably never been as developed, the number of innocent victims of warfare keeps climbing. We saw the trends emerge clearly over the twentieth century. In the First World War, the ratio of civilian to military deaths was 1:10. In the Second World War, it was 1:1. And within the last fifteen years or so, it has reversed itself and is now 10 civilian deaths for each military death.
~David Pratt, Advisor and Special Ambassador, Canadian Red Cross

I don't think today's warfare is as precise as you may think.
posted by Chomskyfied at 2:42 PM on July 11, 2005


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